Top Ten for 12/25/05: The Top Ten Things I Accidentally Ate In 2005:

1. Guinness Extra Stout Ice Cream Float
    Use vanilla ice cream, and any variety of Guinness' dark beer (I find Extra Stout works best). Make sure the beer is chilled. This is unexpectedly fantastic! I find a dash of cinnamon on top is nice as well. I have also tried this experiment with coffee ice cream (did not work)... and I "accidentally" tried it with mint chocolate chip ice cream and, although the results were debatable - it wasn't awful!

2. Popcorn Goober Anchovy Surprise
    I do not even want to tell you what was going on the night I discovered this. Prepare to make popcorn the old-fashioned way (in a large pot with a lid and oil in the bottom, on the stove). Put good quality olive oil in the bottom of the pot. Open a tin of good anchovies packed in olive oil, squeeze all of the oil from the tin and mix it in with the olive oil in the pot that you are going to pop the popcorn with (squeeze as much oil out of the tin as you can, so as to make the anchovies as dry as possible). Take the anchovies out and dice them up into small pieces with a knife, put them aside. Pop the popcorn. Do NOT add salt! Have one or two boxes of Goobers peanut chocolate candy at the ready. When the popcorn is done and still hot, put the Goobers in the pot with the popcorn, close the lid and carefully shake it up so them mix all around and get melted. Then take the diced anchovies and put them in, shake again. Eat immediately. Note: have ChapStick at the ready. Oh, also: do not substitute Raisinettes for the Goobers. The chocolate melts off the rasins and, along with the sharp taste and stringy texture of the anchovies... you slowly get the creepy feeling that you are eating popcorn that is infested with roaches. Maybe then you could change the name of the snack to "Popcorn Kafka Surprise."

3. The Foie Gras Big Mac
    For those that don't know, foie gras is pate made from the engorged livers of ducks and geese that have been forced fed with giant hose machines at PETA-enraging, mass animal torture farms in France - where this product is considered a national pride. Many people are, of course, familiar with McDonald's Big Macs and the weirdly similar American pride associated with this "hamburger sandwich."
    These two national pride-foods are at ultimate odds with each other on every level imaginable! But together - they are the very essence of ying and yang, the ultimate odd couple!
    Make sure the Big Mac is fresh and hot, and pre-chill the foie gras in your fridge beforehand (this warm and cold contrast, you'll find, is key). Also: when buying foie gras, it's important not to gamble with poor or even average quality product - only use the best foie gras will do! Gob the foie gras very thickly between the top layer of meat and top bun on the Big Mac. Foie gras is off-putting the first time you try it, but after you eat it you instantly start craving more because your nervous system and brain instantly connect to it's very, very high fat content. This is key! The instant gratification of the fatty Big Mac taste compliments the oddly bitter, but ecstatically fatty (and mostly mental) after-taste of the foie gras. It's like a high/low-brow, one-two punch! I don't know why they don't serve this brilliant, class-defying, food combination at the McDonald's in Paris! If they started to, you know the headlines in the french papers the next day would read: "Today, We Are All Americans."
    Oh and of course: do not eat a foie gras Big Mac with fries and a Coke! I suggest a fine wine perhaps.

4. Real Meat Products Mixed With Vegetarian Faux-Meat Products (in the same dish)
    My husband Jim Krewson turned me onto this, and he is a skilled expert at it. In a sandwich, use Amy's brand tofurkey slices, alternately layered with slices of the real deal from Oscar Meyer. Make a spaghetti sauce with meatballs from Jimmy Dean sausage along with meatballs made from Gimme Lean vegetarian fake sausage. Can you tell which is which? Turn dinner time into a politically-loaded, baffling ordeal!

5. Crest Peppermint, Cinnamon or Strong Mint toothpaste on a Saltine Cracker
    I can't believe how good this is! These new Crest flavors of toothpaste are un-real - like brushing your teeth with an ice cream sundae. I also tried this on Wheat Thins, and other whole grain crackers - but it wasn't the same. It did work well spread thinly between two slices of white bread (white flour seems to be the key), but oddly did not work spread on a plain bagel. Go figure. You know, I once read a news story about two women who were stranded on a boat off the coast of Florida, and they survived four days on nothing but a tube of toothpaste and a half bottle of flat, warm champagne. The warm champagne sounds gross to me... but I now know I could survive on toothpaste in a life-threatening situation.

6. Burned Beets
    Take some olive oil (good quality) and then take beets that have been sliced relatively thin (in sticks or disc shapes) and fry them in the oil until they are burned. Like house-fire, black-as-coal burned. Then take them out, let them cool, sprinkle a little salt on them, and eat them. Something about burning the beets compounds and carmalizes their sugar content in a really alien way. It ends up tasting like some kind of post-apocalyptic, super candy - but still has a weird, earthy taste. Really odd, weirdly addictive, also possibly cancer-causing because of all the burned-ness.

7. Wise Brand Cheez Doodles (by themselves)
    One of the most perfectly realized modern food products ever concocted! These rorschach-like globs of fried dough covered in cheese powder come in a bright blue and yellow plastic bag that has a clear window from which you can experience their blinding hue: an unearthly plutonium orange that almost seems to vibrate. Their nuclear visual intensity may seer your retinas, but their taste (cathartic, visceral, mink-like, concentrated velvet cheese powder) and unique, collapsing texture (the oral equivalant of popping bubble wrap) will make the nerve endings that connect your tongue to your brain feel like they've just found a million dollars in the street, and make your tongue glow with happiness (note: you may experience bleeding gums afterwards). After eating them, you'll feel cool, smart, and sexy - like the first few months of regular heroin or crystal meth use. No I'm not kidding, they're that good. You have no idea the desperate lengths I've gone to to track these down when my local bodega was out. Price: only 99 cents for a bag conveniently designed to the size of the average human stomach. Do not confuse the Wise brand with similarly-packaged knock offs by Utz, etc., these imitations are of very poor quality (even the Cheetos brand is laughably weak in comparison... and for $3.49? Stupid!). Also: Cheez Doodles are also fantastic when spread on, and mixed with, creamy white elements: vanilla ice cream (yes!), cream cheese, etc. I have not tried them with milk poured over them in a bowl (like cereal) yet, but plan to.

8. Crushed Peanuts With La Salle Dulce De Leche Ice Cream
    Two 50 cent bags of salted peanuts, crushed up with a hammer and then sprinkled/mixed in with La Salle brand Dulce De Leche flavor ice cream. La Salle is a fantastically deliscious,  relatively unknown (and inexpensive!) ice cream brand for sale only in Spanish-oriented markets. Their Dulce De Leche flavor is mindblowing, and eating it with the crushed peanuts is so fantastically good, you'll feel like you're doing something illegal. Also: you must not show restraint when eating this combination, or slow down to "savor" it - it should be inhaled as quickly as your inner child wants to (the abundance of caramelized milk, chocolate and crushed peanuts seems to prevent the onset of an ice cream headache). eat this without holding back, and with no sense of decency. Think of Jackson Pollock's painting style while eating.

9. The Pasta With Pesto Sauce at Downtown Cipriani's in Manhattan
    What was I doing at Cipriani's? I don't know! I've had several things on the menu there, but nothing compares to their pasta with pesto sauce (although it's hardly their specialty)!
    It is served on a big white plate in orb-form, swirled in a blobby sphere (softball-sized) around a fork which sticks out of the top like a caramel apple. When I saw it I thought it looked a little dissapointing, but after I unravelled it and took one bite, I immediately hunched over my plate and devoured the whole thing uncontrollably like a wild primate (which will get you noticed at a place like Cipriani's). Who knew pasta with pesto could actually taste like a plant? Well whaddya know... pesto is a plant! Of course now all other variations of pasta with pesto are forever ruined for me. When eating this, I began to get a hint of why some people only believe in the finer things in life... but the feeling didn't last, because...

10. The Aroma of Human Ass and Cigarettes
    This one is not a food, but an odor: it's the smell on your finger tips after scratching your ass and also smoking cigarettes. I discovered this one steamy summer night while sitting on the couch watching television and smoking Marlboro 100s. I had just taken a shower that evening, but I guess I had a little jock itch or something... anyway, the musky smell under my fingernails from the repeated scratching, and that permanent smell of tabbaco that collects on your hands after smoking a lot... I dunno, there was something about the two combined together that was really intoxicating. When I sniffed my fingers, I couldn't believe how good it smelled! I thought; "Wow! Someone should make a cologne out of this! I'd buy it!" But it didn't stop there, right there in the flickering blue light of the TV in the darkened room, I quickly flew into a pheromone/tobacco-induced hypnotic frenzy... I kept scratching my ass more and more and smoking cigarette after cigarette... then stopping to vigorously inhale while my fingertips were practically jammed up my nostrils. I almost reverted into an animal state. What an intoxicating aroma! Then I started licking my fingers! OK I'll stop the story here...

Mark Allen's Top Five for 12/14/05:

1. My tough-love review of Ang Lee's sweet and bleak Brokeback Mountain - (warning: tons of spoilers)
    First of all, within the capacity of what I think the film is (simple in it's seductive sweetness, and way-multifaceted in it's bleakness) I must say I found it very enjoyable (I loved watching it!), but the experience of viewing the picture was narrow in many ways.
    Fussed-over and coiffed even in its gritty moments, the film is oddly fairy tale-like throughout... despite its almost sickeningly blighted ending. On the film's surface it is picturesque, poetic, dreamy, slow and subtle. Skilled director Ang Lee casts the rugged wilderness of Wyoming as a gorgeous, ever-turning Marlboro ad kaleidoscope - his take on the beauty of nature would have made Andy Warhol blush. Fitting, because at it's sad, sweet heart, the story being celebrated in the media as "new" and "shocking" - is only so within it's own slim mainstream pop culture bandwidth. The story's two main characters, Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) play cowboys who take a job herding sheep on Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming during 1963. The two fall into a gay relationship on the isolated mountain, and despite one living in Wyoming and one living in Texas, maintain the relationship for over two decades, using the mountain for an ongoing several-a-year rendezvous spot where they can see each other in blissful secret, away from the people and events that have developed in their own lives over that time.
    Sound romantic? Heavenly so. Which is why Ennis and Jack almost seem like angels, or ghosts. The two main protagonists, despite one fantastic performance and one debatable one, seem like fauxhemian robots in a lot of ways.
    It makes sense seeing as how the entire logic and energy of the film is (and forever will be) enslaved by the grandly bland-ing tradition of Hollywood films that are disciplined in anticipation for an Oscar and Golden Globe vortex parade. Remember how BOYS DON'T CRY ('99) swept the Oscars? Remember the film? No, really... can you remember it? I find this realization regrettable about BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, because I genuinely enjoyed the picture, and was sincerely rooting for it (for many reasons) when I was first steamrolled by it's media hype (over two years ago!) - I just wish the end product had turned out as less of a pose.
    Will BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN forever be branded by the garish spotlight already overcrowded by skull-crushingly dumb product like  WILL AND GRACE, QUEER AS FOLK, or QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY? Not exactly. Ang Lee's film is in the same solar system as those media-washed nightmares - just on a further planet (FYI: Gus Van Sant's MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO ['91] is not even in that same universe... and John Schlesinger's MIDNIGHT COWBOY ['69] is in another dimension altogether).
    Speaking of space, you know that weird logic in films where two characters will be having a conversation as they walk through a setting, and one will ask another one about something, and the other character will be answering the question posed, but the two characters have obviously walked a great distance, like all the way from the exit of a cafe to the entrance of a park... and it seems like they held a pause in their conversation just so they could be in another interesting setting for the director to cut to? Well, that happens a lot in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN - except instead of settings, whole decades seem to pass before Ennis answers Jack's questions about how best to deal with their relationship. While watching the film, one gets the idea that the two men never say anything to each other, or discuss anything at all amongst themselves, all those years the camera was not on them. Does it really take twenty-five years for them to dramatically confront one another about having to always escape to the mountain, and the status of their secret relationship (in a powerful scene near the film's end)? This of course keeps things simple, but ends up giving a lot of the film a high-school-play feel.
    The screenplay was adapted from a short story by Annie Proulx that originally appeared in The New Yorker magazine, and within that context it was probably blissful. But on the grand, all-seeing-eye scale of a full-length motion picture, which simultaneously enlarges and flattens fiction... Proulx's story suffers from improbability that you wonder about later. Is it cynical to think that two people will still feel so strongly for each other after twenty-five year's long time... with so much happening in their own lives, and in having to see each other in such a hassling arrangement over and over and over, month after month, year after year? Also, Ennis and Jack meet in the 1960s and hold a hidden gay relationship all the way up to the 1980s, keeping hush hush the whole time. But were they even aware of the changing culture around them at all? It's like the two characters were inside a time machine that was whizzing them throughout the decades that frame the film's timeline, so the outside world (and 1/4 of a century) was a blur that affected them in no way. An excellent adventure? Probably not, but then again the culture at large within the reality of the film doesn't affect Ennis and Jack because Lee chooses to never show it (to them). And of course I'm getting carried away; whatever structure a director creates in order to diorama a story they want to tell is fine, if it works... and for the story he wanted to get across here - it certainly functions. And changes in the culture outside of their "secret" are touched upon in a few subtle ways: in the beginning of the film, passage to Brokeback Mountain is totally remote and removed from society and prying eyes, accessible only by a prickly journey with a sure-footed mule. But by film's end, Ennis and Jack are able to drive their trucks literally right up to their usual camping spot, via an obviously well-traveled dirt road.
    Heath Ledger's portrayal of Ennis Del Mar is that of a leathery, simple farm-bot with a squinty drawl and sasquatch gait - which he enacts beautifully. Reminding me (to death) of the exact types of men I grew up around during my adolescence in Texas (yes I know this is Wyoming), you must trust me when I tell you he gets every nuance spot-on. The scene of Ledger automatically putting his thumbs in his jean pockets at an empty country western bar and starting a typical plywood-style dance-sway when a girl drags him onto the floor had me howling with nostalgic laughter (especially when contrasted against the twirling, laughing, sex-ritual bounce of his female partner). This casual cardboard cut-out dance style is reserved only for the most self-conscious he-men in country dance bars - and is exactly how Ledger's character would have unconsciously handled the situation. Ledger has countless great scenes, but they were so grizzly real to me while watching the film that it's almost painful to write about them now.
    Unfortunately, Ledger's great performance casts a shadow over Jake Gyllenhaal's earnest but twee inhabitation of a similar role, a shadow from which Gyllenhaal can occasionally shine out of using his anime-like large cartoon eyes. I can't help but be reminded of the way Seth Green's excellent interpretation of extro-freak James St. James commanded the camera from a mis-cast lead Macaulay Culkin in the disappointing PARTY MONSTER ('03), or the way Charlize Theron's hypnotically sick performance of Aileen Wuornos obliterates Christina Ricci's blither-blather sidekick role in the half-great MONSTER ('03). Also of note: Ledger's mannerisms in the film and their obvious similarity to our sitting president is unquestionable. I doubt the makers of the film meant it to turn out that way from the start, although along the way I doubt anyone involved (even Ledger?) thought to tone the similarities down.
    Speaking of shadowy presidents, I have to say found the obvious politicization of hot topics in the story (which were perhaps inserted into it) to be off-putting and forced, even tired; heterosexual marriages are dysfunctional! Traditional family get-togethers are a nightmare! Ohhhh... rise and shine Christian Family Values America!
    The death of Jack is being called a shameless analogy to Matthew Shepard's martyrdom. Shepard was also from Wyoming. I weirdly didn't pick this up when I saw the film, perhaps because I've always eye-rollingly ignored the Shepard legacy out of semi-disgust. Any simple research into the Shepard case reveals complexities in the personas and situations of the victim and his perpetrators that contradict what political activists (on both sides) have tried to turn the whole thing into. Perhaps why I didn't love BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN in a nutshell?
    The over-budgeted fabrication of most of the greeting-card/home-cataloge-ish settings (particularly in the second half of the film) is often depressing, especially when your eye is allowed to wander during many of the long takes. One wonders if it's just an attempt to not confuse or disturb an audience that the creators thought didn't want to face ugly images, or if it's just due to lazy, unimaginative design teams. Gyllenhaal sports a way-obvious fake mustache towards the end of the film (let's hope the added pot belly is also a prosthetic). In one scene during a Thanksgiving dinner at Jack's "real" family's house (set in the 1970s), the characters arranged carefully around the table are dressed in so many blatantly obvious costume and hair choices, and the showroom style dining area has so many barefaced 70s-nostalgia props and furniture pieces placed perfectly around the room, with nary a molecule out of place (even the turkey looks plastic!), that the whole scenario begins to resemble a scene from Todd Haynes' lost and excellent SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY ('87).
    Although having condescendingly "scrooged" my way through most of the above points, I must confess optimistically that director Lee obviously wasn't afraid to show in his film other complexities within troublesome life situations; particularly the devastation that secret affairs can have on established families (and Lee doesn't waste time on glass menagerie clichés). The claustrophobia and pain imposed on Alma Beers Del Mar's (Michelle Williams) world is shown no-holds-barred on screen when she first learns the un-faceable realities of her husband's clandestine affair. And since Williams' excellent performance only makes you care about what happens to her... it's heart-wrenching to see her have to live with the undisclosed arrangement for many more years (when the two were finally shown getting a divorce, I practically fell out of my seat cheering for her - '...that's right! Divorce that lying gay creep!') Perhaps the down-to-earth Alma should have taken a hint from Jack's wife Lureen Newsome Twist (Anne Hathaway), who deals with her husband's secret gay life the only way a Texas power-woman can; practicing reinforced obliviousness while dripping in diamonds. In a heartbreaking scene where Lureen is telling Ennis an obviously made-up story of how her husband died, she's shown reciting the tall tale over the phone in a bored monotone, perched in a gorgeous all-white living room, dripping in silver, turquoise and platinum mile-high hair... any look of emotion on her face obscured by mountains of Mary Kay.
    "Nature vs. nurture" debate thrill-seakers will be either love or loathe the events depicted leading up to Ennis and Jack's initial domino coital spark. Rather than an awakening of something deep inside both of them, Lee plays out their first deflowering as the result of the two men being isolated and bored for a great length of time, with no women around.
    Other moral symbols are luridly touched upon in obvious manners, yet still work. After Ennis and Jack's first late-night drunken tryst, Ennis symbolically pays for his sins by discovering the carcass of a gruesomely eviscerated lamb, slaughtered by wolves the night before when it should have been kept safe under his paid night watch. Whether you're rebelling against the laws of structural society, nature, or man... or just following your heart... something has to be sacrificed as a result.
    Despite it all, did I take anything away from the film besides the melancholy and pensive mood it left me in as I walked out of the theater? I learned a great new phrase, slurred-with-daggers by Ennis and Jack's first boss Joe Aguirre (a deliciously beady eyed Randy Quaid), who leeringly accuses them of "..stemming the rose," although strangely I originally had an audial hallucination and heard it as "thorning the lily" (even better!)  I've never heard this real term, or the imaginary one... and plan on using both repeatedly in the bedroom with my boyfriend Jim! See? BAREBACK MOUNTAIN has strengthened my relationship with my longtime companion!
    Speaking of, I found the initial intimate sexual scenes, hyped and debated widely in the press as the film was being made, to be incredibly awkward and really not done very well at all. In their first encounter in the tent, with all the spastic pushing, slap-punching, violent face-butting and pants-ripping, Ledger and Gyllenhaal display the intimacy of a pair of drunken paraplegics fighting over the last belt buckle at a Western Wear closing sale. With the way these scenes have been pointlessly debated in salivating gay blogs for their poignancy or daring (nope!), I can't imagine the horrors these images might have on impressionable gay adolescents anticipating their first dates. But hey, what's a virgin gay sex experience without Keystone Kops-style faux-rape anyway?
    Beyond that nit-picking, and in an a much larger sense; the film does have a nice balance. Jack's initial enthusiasm in looking forward to the life that the two could possibly have if only Ennis would let go of his fear in the film's first half, is mirrored at the end with Ennis looking regretfully back on the life the two could have had if only he had done so.
    When Ennis goes to Jack's childhood home of his own accord to meet his parents after his death, he finds a spooky, confused old rural couple in a depressingly run-down farm in the middle of nowhere, obviously at odds with what really happened to their son. Even more at unease with who Ennis appears to be, Jack's stubborn, skeleton-like father (Peter McRobbie) refuses Jack's wish for his ashes to be spread "...on some place called Brokeback Mountain," and sternly puts his foot down about the remains being laid on the nearby family plot. After this is expressed, Jack's kind and reservedly suppressed mother (Roberta Maxwell), obviously of a different mindset about her son and who Ennis appears to be, stands at the front door and looks right into Ennis' eyes (out of view of her husband) and politely intones the usual "You come back and see us sometime... you hear now?" with a very poignant, telling look in her eyes - seeming to suggest that she wants Ennis to return at a later date and somehow get Jack's ashes from her out of the watch of her husband, because she wants her son's wishes to be fulfilled. I found this to be a very subtle, open-ended move in Lee's direction (and Maxwell's short performance), which was very touching.
    Basically, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is a story of loss, and regret - and ultimately of memory and emotion attached to physical spaces (or times), and the price and value of escaping to them. Ennis is show at film's end (presumably middle aged) relatively alone and somewhat broken. He stands in his trailer and is shown cherishing a jacket Jack wore on their first encounter, with the shirt Ennis wore underneath (a secret momento he discovered hanging in the bedroom closet of Jack's family's house), alongside the most recent mountain invite picture postcard Jack had sent him before he died. Both items are displayed on the inside of a closet door that, when opened, obscures a window view of the outside world (a barren, windswept plain). Ennis swears out loud to keep the upcoming date of what is now the last rendezvous, presumably to fulfill Jack's wish to deliver his remains to his favorite place in the world: a safe space Lureen said Jack had once drunkenly described as "...a place where the blue birds sing all day and the rivers run with whiskey," (mirroring Ennis' criticism of how he thought Jack foolishly saw the mountain hideaway during an argument years before), where " could be so at peace that one could sleep while still standing standing up, just like a horse does," a place that, in his mind, Jack was ultimately resigned to accept as paradise; a dreamy fantasy world removed from the worrisome responsibilities of heterosexual families, children, and even work - exactly how the radical right has been trying to portray the gay lifestyle for eons now.

"They have mixed and fixed everything in my life..."

2. Factum Non Fabula: Julie Andrews / Adolf Hitler - Bastards & Blood
    Can the mere appearance of schizophrenic tendencies in an individual be endearing? Can an aura of scariness in a person ever be considered sweet? The fact that these questions don't really need to be asked does not erase the fact that I ponder them daily... preferably from a distance. The value of human nuttiness and the value of the internet are two great tastes that go great together. The experience of dipping into other people's inner worlds is a sport that thrives on the internet... with it's endless, almost zoo-like hallways of human exhibits held safely behind cathode-ray glass walls... allowing one to privately sift through and gawk at a leisurely pace without the aid of a tour guide.
    Ahhh... World Wide Web, you are such a sweet and endless pie... what's that? Why yes, I would love another crunchy slice of you! Why, thank you so much... mmmm... oh wait, what are you doing? Put down that gun! OH MY GOD NO!!!
    Anyway, in the grand and esteemed tradition of web masterpieces like Timecube, American Spy Cow, Toothphone, Mucus Fat, Santa = SATAN?!, Baron Von Volsung, George Dahl, Elizabeth Brady Cabot Winslow, Francis E. Dec, and Theodore Kaczynski... comes Mikko (Michael) Juhani (John) Jack, who is apparently the first born son of actress Julie Andrews.
    Mr. Jack, it appears, is yet another sibling-of-the-famous oddity. He list a few of his favorite things in his rather remarkable, rather fascinating, ode-to-mom web page "Factum Non Fabula: Julie Andrews/Adolf Hitler - Bastards & Blood," and respectfully gives us a very sweet slice of his own mind, to ponder and pick at from behind the cathode-ray glass exhibit wall (which is there for your protection ladies and gentlemen... please do not tap on the glass).

Rated G

3. Meanwhile, Back at the Secret Lair of the Confirmed Bachelor...
    Thanks  much to reader Coye who sent me the link to, a growing collection of covers and snippets of pages from the golden age of comic books (mostly the 40s, 50s and 60s), that can obviously be looked at very differently today.'s main gallery page is here (pick your old-fashioned vice), but of interest is the "Seduction of the Innocent" section, which milks that good old reliable in super hero comics: homosexual overtones, for everything it's worth and then some (examples left and right - click to enlarge). Even the most naive and optimistic among us cannot deny that by today's standards these examples are shocking. Intentional or not? Have a look and you'll agree it's hard to tell exactly. Were these earnest attempts at wholesome comic art in their day, seen only now as value-corrupting, amoral sleaze because of our society's increasingly jaded addiction to lurid sensation? Or were these old comics cruel pranks created by sick perverts with malformed brains who secretly knew exactly what they were drawing? Far be it from me to reveal their true identity. I suppose in a day when you couldn't view women's ankles, guys had to get their thrills the old fashioned way: by drawing Robin "unintentionally" giving a bank robber a rim job while tackling him from behind. Kind of makes you wonder how Mike Diana's Boiled Angel will be looked at decades from now.

"Vision of a world united, beyond all science knowing!"

4. "On a clear day you can see... um..."
    The Association of International Glaucoma Societies presented an operatic hymn about glaucoma in June of 2005 at the Imperial Viennese Glaucoma Ball. Written and composed by Erik Greve and performed by the lovely soprano MelanieGreve (above, please squint). You can download an MP3 of the song here, or hear the song and read the lyrics at the AIGS home page here.

 "Hello God, are you there? It's me Margaret."

5. "A phone that gives you access to your belief wherever you are..."
    Niche marketing heaven: Ilkone offers the world's first and only Islamic cell phone, a mobile phone for Muslims that " you access to your belief wherever you are." Equipped with a 5-times-a-day prayer alarm reminder and a GPS-enabled compass, users can now easily find the direction of Mecca. Phone includes the complete Holy Quran (with approved translation by Al-Azhar), and accesses the voices of Azan of Mecca, Madina and Cairo from anywhere in the world, as well as appropriate designs on the casing and screen.

Copyright 2005 Mark Allen

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