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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My favorite wild animal as a child:
the tiger.

My favorite toy:
a plastic tiger!

My favorite band later on, as a teen:

If the videos hang a bit (playing intermittently at best)
double click on any screen to be transported to YouTube
magically, in a new window,
and watch all the videos THERE instead...!
--- The Saudades Blog's webmaster

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wow - has it been 27 years already?
27 long years ago -
I was but a kid.
And here I discovered high adventure
and even the basics of romantic storytelling
in a comic-book starring
a brutish barbarian
and the most improbable co-star -
a pirate woman!
But the inimitable writing style of one
Roy Thomas
and the incomparable artistic talent
of one John Buscema
made it all feasible,
and immensely enjoyable!
were the first true super-hero
"celebrity couple"
for me anyway!
I never gave a damn about
Lois & Clark
Peter & Mary-Jane
Reed & Sue
and I didn't even KNOW yet
the actual FIRST couple
of super-heroes:
Aquaman & Mera
(A Royal couple, too!)
Conan & Bélit were my first royal couple!
My King Arthur & Guinevere,
Tristan & Isolde,
maybe even Romeo & Juliet
of the Hyborian Age -
doomed from the very start...
No other couple
- not even Aquaman and Mera -
have come close
to the tragedy
of these two:
the barbarian and his queen.

Roy Thomas combined elements from
various genres of literature
in an extra-long story arc
that had many believe that Bélit was
a PERMANENT addition to the Conan book...
But it could not be...
Marvel owned the license at the time
And they were sticking to "cannon" -
that means, at least in broad strokes,
sticking to what the creator of this character
had originally written about him...
Robert E. Howard's original tales
of this brusque barbarian
had no such saga in its middle portion...
And Conan,
like many other genre heroes,
was deemed "best" as a solo act;
a loner and a wanderer,
without any attachments.
Thomas and Buscema
prolonged the blissful
yet tumultuous and
adventurous moment
as long as they could -
but Conan and Bélit would part definitively
in a landmark issue #100.
At the end of that story arc,
itty bitty me felt sad
and yet, it felt right.
For such an ending
was more in tune with what real life is
really all about.
No happy endings here
- à la "Angélique et le Rescator"- no.
The idyllic coupling began at sea,
as Bélit sailed the High Seas
as their de facto queen -
a title she has in common with Mera...
And, years later, ironically,
Aquaman would be
branded as a sort of
"Conan of the Seven Seas"
to complete the analogy
linking the two most tragic
couples in all of
sequential art fiction...

And, as it is,
my four most favorite characters
of all time in the medium.


In a series that started in 1970 -practically as I was born- Conan met Bélit in issue #58... They would form a couple as well as a renowned and feared duo for many thrilling adventures - until issue #100, when it all ended abruptly. (Yes - Marvel had the appalling idea to "save this event" for the landmark 100th issue... In the span of 42 issues, the cover price had rose from 25 cents to 60 cents. It is past the 2 dollar mark nowadays. That's the "House of Ideas" for you...)
Cover art (shown above - or click on this link) was by John Buscema and Ernie Chan - the latter would create another tragic hero for rival DC during practically the same years (in 1975 to be exact) - a character that closely resembles Conan, named Claw The Unconquered, whose tragic fate was to have the hand of a demon grafted onto his right arm... Note the synchronicity that, in issue #36 of the classic Aquaman series, a villain named Claw appeared and was aptly defeated by the hero.
(There was also a villain named Magneto in that issue - he bit the dust too, as did a certain 'Torpedo Man' as well. All three villains were known as the "Awesome Threesome" though - since their names would go on to be worn by such greater characters,
I suppose...?)

Furthermore, Claw The Unconquered is now seen teaming up with an old accomplice of Conan's that reminds me much of Queen MERA - Red Sonja!
The new acolytes have been freed from their respective prisons (in Claw's case, it was DC limbo, pure and simple! In Sonja's case, like her former acolyte of fortune Conan, she used to be misused by Marvel in the seventies and eighties mostly) and now team up in a brand new home: Dynamite Entertainment. Although Claw remains as much a slave of his "devil hand" as of DC Comics Inc - DC (via its Wildstrom imprint) made all of this happen. And Red Sonja evokes her days fighting alongside a pre-Bélit Conan; proving once more that nostalgia always triumphs (and it is the purpose of this site too, to make it so!)

Aquaman and Mera are, truth be told, an improvement on the couple that Conan formed with his bodacious Bélit. A true couple too, as in legally married - unlike the Hyborian Age pair or, for instance, the pathetic Sub-Mariner and his illicit on-again, off-again affair with the very married Invisible Woman, Susan Storm (who surely wishes she was invisible now, I am sure...!)
And to think that so-called "comic-book experts" will take away from AQUAMAN & MERA their rightful place as the FIRST and FOREMOST married couple in all of comic-bookland - and give that title instead to Mr. Fantastic & his Invisible bride who CHEATS on him! The Fantastic Four have NOTHING on the Aqua Family; even the pesky Temp-pest would put out the Human Torch's fire within seconds and any old stand-by (such as the Liquidator or that 'Blowhole' whale of a man atrocity that Erik Larsen introduced) could be brought back to keep The Thing busy - long enough for Aquaman to find a way to neutralize him more effectively! As for Sub-Mariner himself - his lady Dorma was a pathetic cheap version of Mera. And then, she died (though in nothing comparable to the Bélit Saga) and 'Namor' wept oceans, allegedly... Up until he found another object to fancy, that is! However, his Marrina was even more pathetic - and was eventually slayed by his own hand!
There's simply not dream couple material there... 
And absolutely none of these broads measured up to MERA - whom I have christened the consummate, ultimate Aquaficionada - on another blog of mine, here, on the TLB Prime Network within Blogger - in another time!

Aquaman The Barbarian Atlantean King - he owed his new look to Conan but also to Kull The Conqueror (his ancestor, in a way) the Russell Crowe Gladiator and probably to Viking lore as well...

I am glad Marvel no longer owns the license rights to Conan! (for now)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Finally - a Four Horsemen DVD

See the preview here

''Diamonds are forever
and so are the Four Horsemen!''

... er, what? 
It's ''wooooo'' with five o's 
not ''whooooooo'' 
with a random number of o's 
each and every time...? 
And kayfabe - it's just for you guys.
Fans must just call it... 
er... wrestling, I guess? 
OK, Naitch... whatever you say!


OH... GOD.


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Tuesday, May 08, 2007
  V-E Day
This Day in History - May 8th
Starring - V-E Day

The LikeTelevision™ History channel proudly presents, This Day in History - May 8! On May 8, 1945 - The fighting of World War II ends in Europe as a total cease fire is declared. This day is cited as V-E Day - for victory in Europe. While the war wouldn't fully end for several months (with the surrender of Japan after dropping 2 atomic bombs) - it was a great day of celebration around the world.

May 8th, 1945 - A ceasefire is declared for Europe -
Also known as V-E Day

This Day in Hollywood - May 8th
Starring - Candice Bergen, Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy

The LikeTelevision History channel proudly presents, This Day in Hollywood - May 8th! On May 8, 1946 - Candice Bergen (Candice Patricia Bergen) was born in Los Angeles, CA. Daughter of famed vaudeville ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen, who created Charlie McCarthy.

May 8th, 1946:
Charlie McCarthy gets a little sister!

Twisted History Revised And Realigned Now:


Happy V-E Day! (That's for Victory in Europe, 1945.)


 (A Victory for Light Over Darkness right there - this birth!)

Three popes all end reigns today though — John II (535 C.E.), Boniface IV (615 C.E.), & Benedict II (685 C.E.).

1886: While trying to create headache remedy, Atlanta pharmacist John Styth Pemberton accidentally invents Coca-Cola.

1902: Martinique Island prisoner has last laugh when he becomes sole survivor of Mt. Pelee volcano eruption that kills 30,000.

1944: First eye bank opens, in New York.

1993: From the idiot-criminal files comes 16-year-old Keron Thomas, who hijacks a NYC subway train. (So, where, exactly, does he intend to hijack it to?)

Also On May 8th (courtesy of

1541 - Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto discovered the Mississippi River.

1879 - George Selden of Rochester, N.Y., filed for the first patent for an automobile. It was granted in 1895.

1945 - U.S. President Harry Truman officially declared V-E Day, the end of World War II in Europe.

1972 - U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered the mining of North Vietnam ports in an effort to force the communists to end the Vietnam War.

1984 - The Soviet Union declared it would not take part in the Los Angeles Olympics, citing fears over security for its athletes.

1991 - To pressure the government of El Salvador into agreeing to a cease-fire, Salvadoran leftist guerillas sabotaged a power system, leaving the country with half its normal electrical supply.

1992 - The shuttle Endeavor blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on its first flight.

1996 - South Africa voted for a new constitution. Its bill of rights included the right to food, housing and education.

1998 - The tobacco industry reached a settlement with Minnesota and with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The deal came as the first trial of a state lawsuit against cigarette makers was about to go to the jury.

2002 Following up on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate committee that the FBI had paid insufficient heed to a July memo from an agent who had warned about Arab men with possible terrorist ties taking flying lessons.

2002 - Cardinal Bernard Law of the Boston Roman Catholic archdiocese said he had known in 1984 about sexual abuse charges against a former priest but had turned the matter over to aides and never followed up. The former priest, John Geoghan, was accused in 86 sexual abuse cases.

2003 - More than 100 people were reported killed when the main cargo door of a cargo jet suddenly opened at a height of 33,000 feet over the Congo and sucked passengers out of the plane.

2003 - A tornado struck the Oklahoma City area, injuring at least 118 people and leveling hundreds of buildings and homes.

2004 - The body of Nick Berg, a U.S. businessman imprisoned by Iraqi militants, was found near Baghdad. A videotape depicting his beheading was shown on the Internet three days later.

2005 - A U.S. marine task force raided outposts in western Iraq, killing an estimated 100 insurgents.

2005 - Commemorations across Europe marked the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory over Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in World War II.

Ahh - a special day indeed
I never knew I had so much in common with Candice!
And my day was what brought VICTORY too! OFFICIALLY!
Well, it was Candice's day before it was mine, admittedly!
Still - I can take some responsibility for V-E Day, I am sure...
We all have our own personal days of infamy, our personal apocalypses and days of reckoning - surely we can all have our days of victory and triumph too!
For some of us, they are few and far in-between, that's all...
All the more savory when we get them!

Still - despite all these triumphs and pleasant memories
there are those for whom a May 8th on the calendar is synonymous with pain, tragedy, loss, grief, bereavement, mourning, sadness...
Like Stacey whose world fell apart last year too
when she lost her William on May the 8th.
And there have surely been countless more losses
on this day, throughout history...

That, my friends (and foes) is what Saudades* is all about...

* nostalgia... longing... reminiscing with a wistful eye!


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Monday, May 07, 2007

I admit it:
It took me that long to discover that ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE was the greatest James Bond film ever made (in great part due to the absence of either Sean Connery or Roger Moore - but also because of the simply stupendous title sequence by master Maurice Binder (the best such sequence ever made), the awesome action sequences, their realism, the stunning soundtrack by John Barry, the masterful directorial debut of one Peter Hunt, the better use of the locales chosen to shoot in, the flair and panache that dastardingly captures the true essence of the Ian Fleming beast throughout this film and, of course, the casting of Diana Rigg as the first and only Mrs. Bond!)
It took me quite long to give the film a chance, alas; prior to 1980, I had considered this to be a film "that didn't count" - it wasn't "the real Bond", just an impostor! The real Bond was, to me, The Saint! Roger Moore - in other words, Lord Brett Sinclair, Simon Templar and James Bond were all one and the same to me! Sean Connery was himself a mere replacement in my mind - so what did George Lazenby hope to be rated as, when young filmgoers such as me had this kind of "backwards logical thinking" thing going - eh?

The pleasant surprise that "OHMSS" is born in the luminous year of 1969 was a factor, I cannot deny it (plus, one of the locations it was shot in was Portugal - wow!) - but the film itself, in my more mature eyes, proved to be far superior on all technical levels that matter - once I finally gave it a chance, sat down and saw it, in 1980!
I was stunned - this was waaaaaaaaay better than any Connery conk out on celluloid or any Moore merriment caught on film...! (And please spare me any Dalton or Brosnan talk - and that other guy now...! The preceding was a little *clin d'oeil* to the pre-credits in-joke Lazenby so cleverly delivers in this one...! No other Bond has ever been this clever - ever! ;)
THIS, my friends, is the true James Bond!

And DIANA RIGG is the ultimate Bond Girl - no question about it!
Most fully-capable critics will agree with me on that too!

Many kudos and thanks to the Propellerheads for resuscitating that unforgettable and unmistakably unique 
theme music concocted for Bond by the great John Barry exclusively for this film
(the finer music, the meticulous approach to every detail, both in scriptwriting, cinematography and plain plausibility - it was all attributable to the casting of a neophyte 007 in this one! It was the nicest side-effect of all, in the end: in over-compensating for their apparent weakness -their leading man- the 007 team made this the best Bond film of all! More stills from it can be seen here.)

Enjoy the official trailer for this classic timeless film
- while it is available, that is...!


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Born in the Age of Aquarius, destined to seek out truths in many an art form, trained as a historian and a journalist but truly a prose-lover... Luciano is out to dispel any clichés and reinvent them all both to the tune of a little something called the truth as also to his own image - and being old-fashioned, he does not mind that distinction one infinitesimal tiny bit at all...! "There are two ways to spread the light; be the candle... or the mirror that reflects It." I have chosen to be the latter... okay? ~*~ "To be not only a seeker of light... but a dream weaver of light" ~*~ For as surely as the moon reflects the light from the sun, you and I can reflect the Light from Above - and be, indeed, the light of this world! ~*~*~*~

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