Thursday, April 30, 2009

Waiting at the Bus Stop

The corner near our house is a bus stop for students attending the Middle School. It has been one since before Chuck was in seventh grade and the number of kids who board the bus there varies from year to year.
Currently, there appear to be three girls getting on there. One of them lives across the street. I don't know where the other two come from since they are always being driven there. (It can't be too far because the bus stops are no more than three blocks apart.) Every morning when I leave for work, there are two minivans sitting, motors running, with a student and a parent in each, waiting for the bus to arrive.
Our corner bus stop is by no means unique. My route to work takes me past the next three stops the bus makes. (I always want to be on my way before the bus gets to my corner; being behind it means I'll be making all the stops too.) The first of these stops has only one student, who sits in the car with his mother until the bus comes. At the second stop, one boy get out of a minivan and stands at the stop, while his mother sits in the vehicle, watching until the bus arrives. And the third has two more minivans idling with students and parents inside.
Okay, I can understand this if it is raining or very cold. But on a sunny day with temps in the 60s? And if you're going to get up, get dressed, and drive your child to the bus stop, why not just drive him/her to school?

Not all parents in the district are like this. Further along my route to work, I pass another bus stop. I regularly see one skinny boy standing there. Regardless of the temperature, he wears shorts and a t-shirt, and, only in the most frigid or inclement weather, a hooded sweatshirt. One morning it was sleeting; by the time he got on the bus, he had a coating of ice on him. I have to wonder if his parents ever see him before he leaves the house.
If not, maybe they should have a talk with those parents who are sitting in their cars at the other stops.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Random Comments

Summer in April has ended. Today's temperatures are only going to get into the lower 60s. This morning on the Today show, Matt Lauer commented that it was thirty degrees cooler than yesterday. Weatherman Al Roker's response: "Isn't this a great country!" Much laughter ensued.

For those interested in the pool update: The water temperature yesterday was 79 (according to Swanee), 77 (Ducky) or 66 (Tommy Turtle, still not with the program). Just to shake things up, Laurie brought in a fourth member of the team: Snorkel Duck, who became the super-optimist of the group with a reading of 81.

Also in the news this morning is a video of a bus driver who crashed into a car in front of him because he was busy texting rather than paying attention to the road. While this will probably prompt more states to enact laws making texting while driving illegal, it will not stop it from happening. Perhaps they should enact laws that prohibit idiots from getting a driver's license. Or, at least, prohibiting bus companies from hiring them.

Regarding the coming media-generated swine flu pandemic:
1) Apparently some government agency (perhaps the CDC, but I did not catch that particular bit of info) has requested that people start referring to it as "H1N1" rather than "swine flu" because many people will stop eating pork. While this may be true, I would bet that there are a lot of people who cannot even make the swine=pig=pork=bacon/sausage/etc. connection. Why not be equally concerned about those who think swine=wine=grapes and stop eating jelly?
Also, if they want to change the name (which, mixing metaphors, is too late because the horse is already long out of the barn), they should come up with something more catchy than "H1N1." Should we pronounce it "High-Nigh"? And, just to put things in perspective, had this outbreak occurred in the early 20th century, we'd probably be calling it the "Mexican Flu," and blaming it on our neighbors south of the border rather than pigs.
2) Not to in any way diminish the impact on the family of the toddler in Texas that died from the flu, perhaps the media could use a reality check before making their loss the lead story of the day. In the five day period since they began heavily reporting on the flu outbreaks in the U.S., (based on available statistics) 498 children have died of other diseases and natural causes, 105 have died in traffic accidents, 15 have drowned, 7 have died in fires, and 41 have been murdered.
3) How many of the kids who have stayed home from school here in New York and elsewhere because they were exhibiting "flu-like symptoms" are actually experiencing "allergy-like symptoms" or "I-don't-like-school symptoms"?
4) Finally, if you actually do get the flu, do the rest of us a favor: Stay home!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Someone asked me recently, "How long have you been writing?" Thinking that he was referring to this blog, I replied that I had just started. "No," he said, "I meant, in your life. When did you first start writing?"

There are a number of ways to answer that. I sold my first comic book script, "The Touchdown Trap" starring Robin, the Teen Wonder, in 1974. It appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #445 and, over the next 25 or so years, I sold more than 400 others. Though the majority of them were superhero tales, I also wrote some war stories, westerns, monster/horror tales and even a couple of romance stories for the variety of books that DC Comics has published. After I left DC in 1998, I wrote half a dozen Archie Comics stories and "custom comics" for the US Postal Service, Con Edison, the San Francisco Giants, and others.

But the first time I got paid for something I wrote really goes all the way back to the summer of 1961. (A little background here: I grew up in Elmont, NY in a development that had been built in 1955. There were no through streets so the neighborhood was self-contained and we defined it as those 35 homes.)
In an attempt to earn a little money to buy more comic books (which only cost 10c at the time), I came up with the idea of publishing a neighborhood newspaper. Using a 4x6 pad and carbon paper, I hand-wrote the first issue of The Daily Doodle. The price was one cent. I was able to sell it to my parents (not surprisingly) and a few of the neighbors they were most friendly with. Over the remaining weeks of summer vacation, I produced a new issue every day and built a readership of perhaps a dozen families, delivering such important information as who got a new lawn sprinkler, the scores of our neighborhood baseball games, and that there was a bad smell coming from the drainage ditch that ran along the edge of the development. I even prompted a publishing "war" when one of my friends, envious of my success, started his own newspaper; his endeavor only lasted a week or so.
When school started, I switched to producing only a Sunday paper, priced at two cents. Since it was no longer a daily publication, I changed the name to The Doodler. I also "automated" the process, producing the issues on a typewriter instead of by hand. My circulation had grown to about twenty copies a week, so I would type an original and four carbon copies at a time, repeating the process until I had enough. (It was during this period that I honed my four-fingered typing skills that serve me through today.) Most of my news "stories" were only a couple of sentences long. After you told readers that Mr. Jones had bought a new Buick or Mrs. Smith's dryer was broken, what other information was there?
I continued to publish The Doodler for about four years, eventually expanding to a bi-weekly, two-page format for a nickel. By then, almost all of the families in the neighborhood were buying it, meaning I was typing the same thing six or seven times in order to generate enough copies. (Sometimes I felt sorry for the people who got those fourth-layer carbon copies because they were fuzzy and not that easy to read.) Just imagine what a publishing empire I could have had if I'd had access to a Xerox copier!
When I delivered that final issue, a few of the neighbors were indifferent about it and some who said they would miss it, but there was one who said to me, "How am I going to find out what's going on around here now?" That almost got me to reconsider.

The Daily Doodle was not the first writing I produced for an audience, however. We have to go back even further, to my fourth grade class, for that... next time.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

First Dunk

Thanks to the arrival of summer in April (scheduled to last till Tuesday evening, according to the weather forecast) the pool water was in the mid-60s yesterday and into the mid-70s today. Combined with 80+ degree sunshine, that was more than enough to get me in for the First Dunk of the season.

We actually have three different thermometers floating in the pool. The original, Ducky, looks like Ernie's friend on "Sesame Street," except he has sunglasses. Ducky has been in the pool for a number of years and over that time he's gotten a bit of a sunburn. In fact, he's quite tanned now.
Last year, Laurie decided that perhaps Ducky needed company (or, heaven fordbid, replacement!) and got Swanee. Actually, she got two of the same swan thermometers because they were only a dollar each. One, however, consistently said the water was 42 degrees and was banished. Later last summer, we added Tommy Turtle to the temperature team.
Though they are our temperature team, Ducky, Swanee and Tommy never agree. Swanee ("the optimist") always has the highest reading, Tommy ("the pessimist") always has the lowest, and Ducky ("the realist") is in between. Case in point, today Swanee said the water was 76 degrees and Ducky said 74. Tommy, clearly not yet with the program, said it was only 62 degrees. Since I was in the water, I'm going with Ducky.

With our instant summer still in swing tomorrow, I'm planning to ride my bicycle to work. And when I get home, I'll get in a second dunk. We'll see what the team says the temp is.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Prom Night

It is Prom Night here in Farmingdale. That may surprise you and have you wondering why it is so early, almost two months before the end of the school year. You will probably be more surprised to learn that the prom is for the junior class. Farmingdale High School seniors don't have a prom; they have a senior breakfast at the end of the year. There is only one prom and the only way a senior attends is as the date of a junior.
In any event, when I took a bicycle ride this afternoon (because winter has gone away again and it's going to be summer tomorrow), I passed a number of houses where the prom attendees were out in all their finery, being photographed by family and friends. I was also passed by a number of cars carrying other similarly coiffed and clothed FHS students, on their way to someone else's house to be admired and photographed.

Way back in 1969 (shortly after dinosaurs ruled the earth), my own high school prom was held at, if I recall correctly, the Lido Beach Club in Long Beach. The musical group that performed, the Brooklyn Bridge, was signed to appear, but it was before they had their big hit, "The Worst That Could Happen." In fact, they tried to cancel on us because they had become so famous in the interim. We did not let them out of the deal, so they did as brief a performance as they could get away with and fled into the night.
I did not attend the prom, by the way. I had asked one person (a girl and a friend, but not a girlfriend) if she would be my date, but she turned me down. Rather than do what one of my close friends did -- date a girl once or twice and then ask her because he absolutely had to have a prom date -- I opted to stay home that night. (My unpublished novel, The Junkyard of Memory, has this as a focal point.) I don't recall what I actually did while my high school pals were enjoying the however-brief performance of Johnny Maestro and company, but I do recall most of them being bleary-eyed the next morning when they came to the school to pick up caps and gowns for graduation.

Coincidentally, my wife Laurie also did not attend her senior prom. I don't recall why, but, since she is a faithful reader of this blog, perhaps she will fill us in with a comment below. Once we were married, we told people neither of us had a prom date because we hadn't met each other till college. We did, in fact, attend a junior prom together -- as chaperones -- when Laurie was teaching at Commack High School South. We even have the prom photo!

Some twenty-nine years after I skipped my prom, our son Chuck skipped his as well. He and a group of his friends instead spent the night in our basement, playing video games and eating junk food. As I recall, the next morning, Laurie made them hundreds of pancakes for breakfast.

Breaking what had become something of a family tradition, however, Sammi did attend her prom in 2002. Like the families that I observed earlier this evening, we took lots of photos, in the house, on the lawn, getting into the limo, etc. After the prom, the limo took Sammi and a group of her friends (and their dates) to a comedy club in New York City. And unless I'm confusing it with another event, we were awakened by her knocking on the door at the crack of dawn the next morning. She had given up on trying to sleep at the post-prom sleepover and opted for her own bed instead.

Laurie commented at dinner that for what it cost -- clothes, hair, limo, etc. -- to go to the prom, you could go on a nice vacation. I replied with the comment one of my classmates used when trying to get me to ask "anybody" to be my date, "You can only go to your prom once." And, regardless of whether you attend or not, that is the truth.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Driver's Uneducation

Though my drive to work is only a little more than five miles, I've seen some awfully strange (and scary) things during my commute.
Case in point, I was sitting at a traffic light the other day and noticed the SUV coming up behind me. The woman driving was holding her cell phone to her ear with one hand and holding a cup of coffee in the other. How was she steering? I did not wait around to see; as soon as the light turned green, I zoomed away.
Sitting at another light coming home today, a car making a right turn nearly hit mine. The driver was using only one hand to turn the wheel because he was using his other hand to talk on his cell phone. The result was a herky-jerky turn that was much too wide. He stopped just short of bumping my car and stared at me like it was my fault I was there. He then waited where he was until the light changed and I could drive away so he could finish turning. At no time did he stop talking on the phone.
New York, by the way, is one of the states in which it is illegal to talk on your cell while driving.

Speaking of using a cell phone while driving, why do states have to pass a law making text messaging while driving illegal? Are people so stupid that they don't recognize the danger? (Answer: yes.) I guess the next step will be people driving with their mini-laptops perched on the steering wheel so they can surf the web while cruising the roads. After all, that's not illegal. And why don't they install those in-car TVs far enough forward so the driver can enjoy the videos too? It's not illegal either? While we're at it, maybe they could replace the glove compartment with an easy-bake oven and we can make cookies.

Anyway... another thing I've noticed is that they are apparently no longer putting turn signals in many cars. That, or the drivers of those vehicles are sending out telepathic messages about changing lanes that I'm somehow missing. The driver in the lane next to me suddenly decides he needs to be in front of me. No signal -- he just goes. (Hmm, maybe he is sending telepathic messages; otherwise, I would have crashed into him!)

The meaning of traffic lights seems to have changed as well. Green: Go. Yellow: Go fast. Red: Go, but blow your horn. We have a "right turn on red" rule here. At least, it has been shortened to that from "right turn on red after a full stop if the road is clear." I've had people make turns on red right in front of me when I have the green light. Without stopping...without even looking.
But it gets worse: While on a bike ride over the weekend, I saw someone make a left turn on a red light. Perhaps he needs to have "L" and "R" tattooed on his hands.

I'm not sure what is being taught in Driver's Ed classes now. One thing I remember from way back when I took it was the admonition, "Watch out for the other guy." I sure hope they are still telling that to new drivers because they need to do that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gym TV

I'm usually at the gym on weekdays between 4:15 and 5:15. At that time of day, the three TVs set up in front of the treadmills, bikes, and "sweat machines" are usually set to a) ESPN (or a local ball game), b) Oprah or Deal or No Deal and c) Judge Judy or The People's Court. Needless to say, I spend a lot more time reading on the machines than I do viewing.
From my intermittent viewing, however, I have gleaned the following:
1) Sports commentators use a lot of words to say very little, and make minor events seem like they are monumental to whichever sport or team is involved.
2) Most players, regardless of their sport, have very little to say when interviewed.
3) Oprah seems to be in love with Skype and the use of it to interview people.
4) Contestants on Deal or No Deal don't understand when the odds are against them. An amazing number seem to think that squatting down on the stage will somehow make the number in the briefcase lower.
5) The judge on People's Court is more attractive than Judge Judy. Both judges have no qualms in calling the people who appear in their courtrooms idiots.
6) Not surprisingly, most of those people are idiots. Many of the cases involve someone who "loaned" money to a former boyfriend/ girlfriend/ significant other and, after breaking up, expect to get it back. The rest seem to involve people who hire a friend of a friend to do some job (replace the roof, fix the truck, shampoo the pooch) that the person is incapable of doing; when the job ends up a disaster, they call in a professional to clean up the mess and then want to sue the guy they first hired. You would think that, after all the years these shows have been around, these people would have figured out that they shouldn't do these things. Unless, of course, their goal is to be on the program!

At 5:00, ESPN has a show in which four sportswriters from different newspapers argue about sports news of the day, all the while winning and losing points awarded by the moderator. I have yet to understand how these points are awarded.
The other two channels, regardless of which shows preceded them, now have their first evening news program. Curiously, all four "5:00" news programs begin at 4:59. One occasionally starts at 4:58. From these, I have determined the following:
1) There is always a building on fire somewhere in New York City at 5:00. Not surprisingly, the NY Fire Department is always there.
2) The NYPD is invariably searching for someone who robbed a bank / gas station / bodega (sometimes all three) that afternoon. Based on the police sketches, I can state for a fact that all robbers wear wool hats, regardless of the season. They also all look remarkably alike, making me wonder if the city has been victim to a decades-long one-man crime spree.
3) If it is snowing (or even just raining heavily), each station has a reporter who stands outside in it to tell us what we know from looking out the window.
4) The in-studio weather person gives forecasts in small portions: "It was 59 degrees at 2:00 this afternoon, but that will change this evening. I'll be back later in the program to tell you about it." Hello -- it's not a forecast if you tell me what it was three hours ago!
5) Important events often occur outside the New York metro area. However, there are apparently rules about when we can hear about them. They are only hinted at by reporters who tell us they will be back on the 6:00 news shows (which, no doubt, begin at 5:59) to fill us in.

One thing I've noticed is that the stations rarely lead with the same story. If the fire is covered first on one channel, it's second or third on the other. I wonder, if you switched among the four channels in the right order, could you see the same fire covered four times? By the same token, you could completely miss the story.
Luckily (or, perhaps, unfortunately) for the rest of the people in the gym, they don't give me the remote, so we'll never find out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Secret History of the "Secret History"

My "Secret History of All-American Comics, Inc." has been appearing in issues of ALTER EGO and BACK ISSUE magazines (available from for about a year now and I'm just about done with the final chapters. The series is an alternate history of the comic book business, beginning with the premise that Max C. Gaines, one of the "founders" of the biz, bought DC Comics from his business partners, Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz, in 1946, bringing their titles under his AA banner. (The opposite of what really happened.) Additionally, as the result of lawsuits by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (creators of Superman) and Bob Kane (creator of Batman), those two characters cease publication in the late 40s, with Green Lantern and The Flash instead becoming the iconic stars of TV, movies and cartoons.
The series of articles actually had its origin back in 1998, shortly after I left my staff job as Director of Production. DC was publishing stories called "Elseworlds," which took the familiar characters and reinvented them in different incarnations. I had proposed an Elseworlds with a new Justice League, one based in the universe that had the original GL and Flash surviving, but with new versions of Superman and Batman. At the time, the proposal was rejected because the editor said, "There is no interest in the old Justice Society characters." (The JSA characters have since been appearing in their own monthly title as well as a variety of other specials and miniseries.)
In any case, the background for that story -- the "real world" in which it was published -- continued to percolate. I finally contacted Roy Thomas and Michael Eury (the editors of the aforementioned magazines) and asked if they would be interested in running the articles. Both responded enthusiastically and suggested that their staff artists could mock up some covers to go along. I picked out a few covers that seemed fairly easy to modify for the first chapters and we were on our way.
Not long afterwards, I came across the art of Larry Guidry, a fan living in New Orleans. He had created some fake covers of 1960s DC team-ups he would have liked to see. Realizing that, with minor modifications to logos, etc., they could be turned into art for my articles, I contacted him. Larry was willing and then became so excited by the series that he started creating more and more covers, as well as the interior pages for two stories. Most of the covers have been inked by Shane Foley, a regular contributor to ALTER EGO, and, between the two of them, Larry and Shane have created a compendium of AA Comics covers through the years.
Also helping out has been Alex Wright, who mastery of photo-manipulation provided chapters with stills from, among others, the 1950s "Adventures of Green Lantern" TV series, the 1960s campy Flash TV show, and the 1970s "Green Lantern: The Movie." Alex also provided the costume designs for the Silver Age Superman, Aquaman and Aquagirl.
Not to be left out, my former collaborators from my comic book writing days, Alex Saviuk and Stephen DeStefano, provided new looks for a pair of my reinvented characters. Alex came up with a new Batman, while Stephen provided a new look for Green Arrow. And veteran artist Joe Staton introduced his own E-Man character into the AA Universe by delivering a brand-new "1980s" cover.
Many of the chapters have utilized interviews with Ted P. Skimmer, a fictional staff member of AA from the 40s through the 90s. When Roy Thomas asked for a photo of someone who could be Ted, I supplied a photo of my father from 1946, as well as a couple of later ones. Playing the part of Anthony Allan, the media expert who is interviewed about the TV and movie appearances of the characters, is my son Chuck. And the final chapter will have a photo of my daughter Sammi as Samantha Skimmer, Ted's granddaughter, playing a role in the history as well.
A number of people have commented on how the history rings true. Indeed, most of what I've written has a basis in fact; in some cases it is not that far off from the actual events. My wife Laurie is convinced that, years from now, some of my invented history will work its way into real comics lore. She may be right.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Signs of Spring (and Summer)

Paul Schmidt, the son of our next door neighbors, says that when he was growing up, he knew Spring had begun the first day he saw me outside wearing shorts. That usually occurred as soon as the temperature was more tha 65 degrees... sometime in early April.
These days, it's officially Spring when the cover comes off the swimming pool. Since we put in the solar heating panels a few years ago, a stretch of sunny days is enough to get the water temperature up to swimmable. (Well, that's by my definition; Laurie usually won't go in till the water hits 80 degrees. I've been known to go in when it's in the low 70s, if it's a warm enough day. Two years ago, I took my first dip on April 23rd; Laurie did not venture in until May 23rd!) Anyway, by that definition, Spring began yesterday.
With the temps near 70 yesterday. Laurie was able to get our pool guys over to open it up. Today was a great, warm Saturday, and, with Robby the Robot (the automatic pool vacuum) working full-time and the solar panels soaking up the sun, we are a step closer to my first dip. Not quite yet, though -- the water was only 50 degrees at the end of the day -- and a member of the Polar Bear Club I am not!
Though the next few days are not supposed to be as warm, there's something nice about being able to sit in the yard next to the pool like we did today, even if we can't yet swim. Bob and Deb Greenberger joined us for the afternoon and were only slightly surprised to learn the pool had been opened. (After twenty-five years, they've gotten used to some of our foibles.)
So, welcome Spring! Stay tuned for the official sign of Summer --First Dunk!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Man's Trash

We got a new oven about 16 years ago when we had the kitchen redone. In the past year or so, it has had its problems. The hinges on the top oven's door started to get stuck when the oven was hot, making it almost impossible to get it open. Our appliance repairman advised Laurie that the hinges were no longer available, but we solved the problem for awhile by having him switch the hinges with the ones on the rarely-used bottom over door. Along the way, the clock reset to 0:00 and could not be changed. The replacement hinges started getting cranky a couple of weeks ago. And then the heating element on the top, used for broiling, stopped heating up.
Because the unit is built into a cabinet, we were limited to specifically-sized replacements and, in fact, it turned out to be only one, the same model we had, only updated to a 21st century version, with digital controls instead of knobs. (I haven't looked that closely, but I guess the hinge assembly is different too.) So yesterday afternoon, our regular handyman, Mr G., came to install it. He did so quickly and cleanly, and put the old oven out at the curb for garbage pickup Friday morning.
Except that it won't be there.
Sitting at my desk, I look out on the street in front of the house. This evening, I watched while a minivan slowed to a stop. After a few moments, the driver then backed down the block into the nearby dead end. He got out, walked around to the back of the van, and opened it up. After moving some things inside around, he then backed up the block to the edge of our driveway. Looking around like he expected someone to come out and yell, "Stop, thief!" at any moment, he quickly loaded the oven into his van, slammed the door and drove away.

This is not thte first time this has happened. Many years go, when we first moved into the house, we pulled up a carpet in one of the rooms. The room had apparently been "home" to the dog owned by the previous residents and when poochie wasn't walked often enough, he relieved himself on the carpet. Needless to say, the carpet was stained...and smelled! I rolled it up, tied it and put it out at the curb. That evening, a car pulled up, two women got out, popped the trunk, and put the carpet inside. I have always wondered what their reaction was when they got it home and unrolled it. Maybe they too had a "doggie room"?

But that is not the most bizarre story. When we still had the detached garage, it became the repository for all the big boxes we'd accumulated. One from our TV, others from the air conditioners, and one from the electric typewriter Laurie got me as a birthday gift. Well, one spring day, Laurie decided to clean out the garage and found, way in the back, among the "treasures" we'd stored, a dead raccoon! After trying in vain to get a couple of the neighbors to help, she used a snow shovel and loaded the creature into the typewriter box. She then sealed it up and dragged it out to the curb.
That evening, as I was sitting at my desk, I watched a car pull up. The driver got out and looked at the box. He tried lifting it and, seeing that it was heavy, apparently decided there was a typewriter inside. He popped his trunk, hoisted the box in, and zoomed away.
One can only imagine what happened when he got his treasure home!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On the Move

When I first joined DC Comics back in the summer of 1973, one of the first jobs I had was helping pack up as the company made the move from 909 Third Avenue to 75 Rockefeller Plaza. Over the next twenty-five years, the company moved three more times to 666 Fifth Avenue, then 1325 Avenue of the Americas, and finally to 1700 Broadway. Each of these moves took us further west across Manhattan and we joked that we would eventually end up on a barge in the Hudson River. Luckily for them, since I left in 1998, they have stayed put.
In 2000, not long after I joined the staff at Preload, the company moved from Garden City, NY, where they'd been for decades, to Hauppauge. During my brief six-month stint as a consultant with Accordant, they moved their office a couple of towns over in New Jersey. Even the Johns Hopkins CTY program relocated the site I was working at, from Goucher College in Towson, MD across Chesapeake Bay to Washington College in Chestertown.
So I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that Combined Resources Interiors, my current employer, will be moving -- across the road and up the block -- in a couple of months.
I wonder, does this make me a mover and a shaker?

Preparing to Launch

Seems like just about everyone I know has a blog. Some of them are updated regularly; some have been all but abandoned. Some are interesting; some are boring (especially those that haven't had anything added in weeks or months). I am hopeful that mine will contain something of interest on a regular basis. What more can I offer?

Why "Anything Goes" as a title? It dates back to "ancient times" -- the 1990s, actually -- when, as the Production Director at DC Comics, I hosted a weekly chatroom on AOL. While other chats focused on specific characters or books that the host edited, mine was open to cover the entire DC Universe. (After I left DC, I continued to host the chat and we expanded to cover the entire comic book industry.) The title carried over to my Daily Trivia Quiz that has run at the World Famous Comics site for almost ten years now (

And now I can expand again. The "Anything" will cover not only comic books, but any other topics that come to mind. Right now, though, I'm still setting this up, so I'll move on to handle whatever else is required and be back later.