Thursday, November 24, 2005

SwanShadow Gives Thanks: The Sequel

Continuing a tradition we began here at SSTOL last Thanksgiving, the following is a far-from-comprehensive, alphabetical sampling of things and people for which I'm grateful on this Gorge-Yourself-on-Poultry Day.

Art of the comic book variety, and the gifted people who draw it and write the stories behind it. Thanks especially to all the artists who created art on commission for me this year: Darryl Banks, TGK Sangalang, Jeff Moy, Buzz, Ron Lim, Brian Douglas "Briz" Ahern, James E. Lyle, Christopher Ivy, Bob McLeod, Scott "Shade" Jones, Scott Rosema, Herb Trimpe, Robert Q. Atkins, Trevor Von Eeden, Michael L. Peters, Michael Dooney, Ty Romsa, Kyle Hotz, Steve Mannion, Cully Hamner, Ernie Chan, Chris Rich-McKelvey, Jean-Paul Mavinga, Ron Adrian, Rich Buckler, Bob Almond, Josef Rubinstein, Anthony Carpenter, and Michael McDaniel. My fantasy life is richer for your talents. (My wallet is another story.)

Buttermilk pie. I baked one for Thanksgiving dessert. Yum.

Christ, my Lord. It's a cliché, but it's true: Without Him, I'm nothing.

Dell. They make a fine, dependable computer product. The upgrade to a Dell system this year was money well invested.

The Elements of Style, one of the most indispensible books ever written.

FARK, where weird news goes to be disseminated. Duke sucks. Your dog wants turkey.

Geof Isherwood. More than just an amazing artist — a friend I've never met. My sincere appreciation for all the incredible art you did for me this year, Geof.

Health. They say you don't know what you've got until you don't have it. So far, I have it, and I'm grateful for it.

Ice cream. Dreyer's Home Style Butter Pecan, especially.

Jerry Rice. I'm glad he finally retired. Thanks for all the wonderful memories, Flash 80.

KJ and KM, my girls. It goes without saying, but it needs to be said anyway. Often.

Law & Order. "In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."

Mazda, makers of quality automotive transportation. Zoom, zoom, zoom.

Natalie Cole. Unforgettable, that's what you are.

Online poker. I'm SwanShadow at Come play with me.

Penn and Teller. Seeing their show at the Rio in Las Vegas on our 20th wedding anniversary was the entertainment highlight of the year.

My quartet, Shades of Blue. Throw our ace vocal coach/designated alternate into the mix, and I couldn't ask for four nicer guys to sing with. Jim, Jeremy, Eddie, and Unca Phil: Thanks for putting up with the prima donna every Tuesday night.

Ronin, still my favorite film by the late John Frankenheimer, with marvelously terse and evocative dialogue scripted by the incomparable David Mamet (using the pseudonym Richard Weisz).

"Stormy," the 1960s hit by the Classics IV, covered with smooth style by Santana on their 1978 album Inner Secrets. Bring back my sunny day.

, the Black Panther. Nice to see the King of Wakanda back in a monthly book, even if I don't always like the paces writer Reginald Hudlin puts him through.

The Ultimate Tournament of Champions. What a thrill that was — meeting a cadre of Jeopardy! legends, renewing some long-ago acquaintances, and strapping on the Buzzer of Doom one more time! The $41K was pretty sweet, too. Thanks, Sony Pictures, for the opportunity to prove that the Cardiac Kid still had at least one more rabbit in his hat.

"Viva Las Vegas," the strains of which introduce each week's episode of American Casino. It's 60 minutes of the most curiously engaging reality soap opera on television. I'll miss it when the last of the episodes plays out soon on the Travel Channel.

World Talk Radio, which brings me a new installment of Vincent Zurzolo's interview program The Comic Zone every Tuesday afternoon. Vincent is the world's most inept interviewer — he imposes his (often inane and ill-informed) perspective on his guests, ignores their answers to his questions, mangles their names (how many times did Val Semeiks have to correct him before he got it right?), and basically does everything an interviewer shouldn't do — but he always lands marvelous guests.

Xena, also known as 2003 UB313, the planet-sized body in the Kuiper Belt outside the orbit of Pluto. Its existence reaffirms the truth that we never know all there is to know.

Yan Can Cook. Because if Yan can cook, so can you.

Zeppelins, as seen in the splendiferous double-page splash from Doc Savage, Man of Bronze: Monarch of Armageddon #1 that adorns our living room wall. Beautiful linework by Darryl Banks and Robert Lewis. What else do I appreciate about zeppelins? Spongmonkeys really like them.

And as always, I'm thankful for you, dear SSTOL reader. You make the constant scramble for new material worthwhile.

I hope that you and your loved ones are enjoying a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving. Be sincerely grateful for all that you have.

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