Monday, September 28, 2009

The Truth Emerges as I Listen to my Mom talk to Cady Tonight

Cady is now here.
"Why can't you learn to be good?"
Sighs my Mom sadly.

I'm sorry. But I'm quoting accurately.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Save the Beagle

Why is this little rescue beagle so precious to us?
Is it the way she wiggles when she wants a treat?
The way she curls in her bed, tail to nose?
Perhaps the soft fur of her velvety ears?
Or the way her ears stand forward
When she smells a rabbit while we walk?

No, we love her because she needs our love.
She needs to know what it is to be loved.
And she needs to love.

Katie the Beagle was once a number,
A broken piece of machinery,
Chipped cog off a puppy mill's gear,
A tool who had outlived her usefulness.

She arrived in our home
Scrawny and scared,
Wormy and worried,
Abused and alone.

But now look into her soft brown eyes.

They say,
"I have a name,
And a place,
And a master.
I belong.

"I am Katie the Beagle,
And I belong."

She is loved, and she loves.
And in this simple exchange
We create more love in the world.

In her rescue is our rescue.
We can not save the whole world.
The whole world is too big for us.
But we can save the world
One beagle at a time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Ray Brace Dog Haiku

Mandy is neither a beagle nor a black lab. But Ray did contribute a pretty good doggie haiku to a beagle-haiku thread on Facebook:

Black wiggly Mandy
Greets me sweetly at the gate
Welcome home, Daddy

--Raymond Brace.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back to Our Core Mission: Outsourced *Beagle* Haiku

This bit of outsourced beagle haiku was contributed by Mary Campbell-Droze in a burst of enthusiasm over the outcome of the Colts at Miami game on Monday Night Football:

Monday Night Haiku Starring Katie the Beagle

Katie the Beagle!
For sure, she was rooting for
Indy the Coltses

Alas, Mary is unaware that the late touchdown that Peyton Manning threw to beat the Dolphins also brought defeat to the Basking Beagles fantasy football team by the narrowest of margins, six-tenths of a point.

Thus, the haiku reply:

Katie is bitter.
Peyton's final TD beat
The Basking Beagles.

How do I know that Katie the Beagle was bitter? I'm almost positive that it took her six-tenths of a second longer than usual to fall asleep.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Detroit Lions Post-Game Haiku

What should Cady chew
while she's here? I hope she eats
The Detroit Lions.

Yeah, that's right. 0-2 to start the season. That makes nineteen losses in a row. Ugh.

Truthfully, they did look a bit better than last year's truly horrid squad. I think they'll eventually manage to win a few games before the year is out.

But you're on notice, Lions. Cady the Terrible is coming soon, and if you don't win a game soon, I'm going to set her loose in your locker room.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Savage Seventeen-Syllable Swordfight Continues

Haiku battle with
My fast-typin' Mom? At best,
Pyrrhic victory.

We welcome Cady
As our future furry guest
But I'll hide my shoes!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Cady defense from my Mom

Sweet Cady the lab,
Greeley's gentle companion.
Never terrible.

To which I say, with apologies to Maya Angelou:

A Rock, A River,
A Tree. All since departed,
Eaten by Cady.

Really, though, I should be smarter than to get in a haiku battle with a semi-retired woman who types fast and can quickly convert the hours she spends playing Freecell and solitaire on the computer into hours spent counting syllables.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And now, a healthcare opinion from somebody who is *not* yelling at you.

Just wanted to pass along a great, thoughtful blog post by somebody I know who doesn't have a political slant on the healthcare debate, but who has all too much experience with our healthcare system over the past couple of years.

One Mom's take on Health Care Reform...where did the term 'Socialized Medicine' Come From Anyway?

Mom Strikes Back

Really, my Mom's response to the previous post was worthy of a post of its own, so I have promoted it from the comments section, since not everybody goes in to check the comments.

Sweet, loving Cady
is badly misunderstood.
She's quit eating shoes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Form Must Fit the Canine

So, why no haiku
For Cady the Terrible?
Scan "Mass Destruction!"

My Mom wanted to know why there aren't any haiku for her dog, Cady. The obvious answer is that this is the Internet's #1 site for "beagle haiku" not "black lab haiku." The nearly as obvious other answer is that we rely heavily on the haiku writings of others in these parts, and my Mom apparently can't be bothered to write any Cady haiku.

But Cady the Terrible may just be better suited for one of those long Icelandic sagas about Ragnarok. It could be one of those "historic fragments" in which the climactic section covering the Final Battle of the Gods and Frost Giants is lost for all time because it was eaten by a dog.

Or perhaps a week with Cady would best be captured in a Greek epic in which instead of tormenting Odysseus with a ten-yeear journey of pain and desolation, the Gods instead test him by letting a black lab eat all of his shoes.

Whatever the form, I'm sure there's a poetic form out there somewhere that suits Cady. It's probably not haiku, though. Check it out: Rag-nar-ok ap-proach-eth ... see, six syllables. Haiku simply doesn't suit her paradigm.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I said I'd try to keep politics off the blog. I didn't say anything about *politicians*...

Hurrah! More guest beagle haiku, this one sent in from Walled Lake Mayor Pro Tem Monica Lesnau (who may also have drawn further inspiration from last night's sunset cruise on Wolverine Lake):

Diminutive muse,
Four-footed inspiration,
Beagle is thy name.

Well, actually your name is Katie, which coincidentally also works in the syllable count.

--Monica Lesnau

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Beagle Haiku I don't know how to classify

Contributed by renowned Indy fan Mary Campbell-Droze.

Beagle haiku/And Indy, too!!

As delightful as
A Katie the Beagle blog
Entry: a Colts win!!

--Mary Campbell-Droze

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Our Master Plan continues its advance....

Katie the Beagle
Sleeps, unaware she is now
An Internet Star.

Thanks, Arsen!

P.S. I just checked on Google, and we are once again the world's #1 source of beagle haiku! Hurrah!

Fishin' Fotos

Just wanted to post a few photos of some recent fishing hereabouts, for the pleasure of our overseas fishing contingent.

The first is just a photo of Monique and I in the midst of the judging at this year's Wolverine Lake fishing tournament. I'm sure our crew of junior French fishermen would have been very competitive had they not been shipped back to Paris before the tourney.

This was a nice walleye caught be a very non-junior competitor. I had mentioned it in a previous post, and Michelle said that Malcolm wanted to see it for himself.

The grand champion of the fishin' fotos, however, is this picture of our neighbor Dean with a salmon that he caught on Lake Michigan last week. I suspect that when it comes to catching the really big fish, it may be that future French fishermen should consult Dean!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rules, shmules

Haiku rule: season.
So why a beagle instead?
Dog for all seasons!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Midnight Summer Harmony

Crickets, lapping waves,
The soft snores of Monique and
Katie the Beagle.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Visiting Maisy Dog Haiku

Norwich terrier
Visits. Katie the Beagle
Is now the big dog!

The Weekend Beagle

Though we slept in late,
Katie the Beagle moved to
Her mid-morning bed.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

2009 Lost Souls FFL Season Preview

By no popular demand whatsoever, the Patio Boat presents the 2009 Lost Souls FFL Season Preview!

Projected Team Standings
1. Death Mutants (10-2) 1506.7 pts., 94.2 ppg.
2. United Loonies (8-4) 1383.7 pts., 86.5 ppg.
3. Puking Buzzards (8-4) 1371.8 pts., 85.7 ppg.
4. Howling Huns (7-5) 1321 pts., 82.6 ppg.
5. Savage Iguanas (7-5) 1303.1 pts., 81.4 ppg.
6. Rapid Molasses (6-6) 1279.9 pts., 80 ppg.
7. Spaz Corps (6-6) 1276 pts., 79.8 ppg.
8. Sirenian Sisters (6-6) 1267.8 pts., 79.2 ppg.
9. The Wraiths (5-7) 1255.5 pts., 78.5 ppg.
10. Custom Critters (5-7) 1249.9 pts., 78.1 ppg.
11. Fog Bank (2-10) 1202.3 pts., 75.1 ppg.
12. Cornhole Cowboys (2-10) 1195.6 pts., 74.7 ppg.

Parity seems to have arrived in the Lost Souls Fantasy Football League (LSFFL) this year. The Death Mutants are still the favorites, but the gap has closed. Most astonishingly, the projected gap between 2nd and 10th is just a dozen points per game, and the spread from first to worst is just twenty points. When I started doing these previews the projected first-to-worst gap was usually 40 points. Most astonishingly of all, I think a genuine case could be made for even the projected cellar-dwellars to make a run.

Before we get to the individual teams, let's take a look at the best and worst units in the league. All projections are taken from the stats:

Best Starters: Death Mutants, Puking Buzzards.
Worst Starters: Cornhole Cowboys, Fog Bank.
Best Backups: Death Mutants, Custom Critters.
Worst Backups: Wraiths, Puking Buzzards.
Best QBs: Custom Critters (Brady, Edwards, Orton); Savage Iguanas (Romo, Warner, Vick).
Worst QBs: Sirenian Sisters (Roethlisberger, Bulger, Culpepper); Cornhole Cowboys (McNabb, Russell, Collins).
Best RBs: Death Mutants (A.Peterson, S.Jackson, C.Benson, D.Brown); United Loonies (D.Williams, Gore, T.Jones, J.Lewis, M.Bush).
Worst RBs: Fog Bank (Barber, K.Smith, J.Jones, Coffee, Greene); Cornhole Cowboys (Lynch, Parker, J.Stewart, F.Jackson).
Best WRs: Death Mutants (Fitzgerald, A.Johnson, Avery, Marshall, Morgan); United Loonies (Wayne, Bowe, OchoCinqo, Berrian).
Worst WRs: Cornhole Cowboys (D.Jackson, R.Williams, Mason, Schillens, Heyward-Bey); Fog Bank (Boldin, Ginn, Harvin, Britt).
Best TEs: Wraiths (Olsen, Daniels); Buzzards (Witten, Cook).
Worst TEs: Critters (Scheffler, McMichael); Spaz Corps (H.Miller, Boss).
Best Ks: Rapid Molasses (Bironas, K.Brown); Spaz Corps (Kaeding, Tynes).
Worst Ks: Savage Iguanas (Crosby, Hartley); Death Mutants (Gould, Prater).
Best Ds: Cornhole Cowboys (Minnesota, Washington); Death Mutants (New York Giants, Miami).
Worst Ds: Rapid Molasses (New England, San Francisco); United Loonies (Pittsburgh, Detroit).

And now, the teams:

The Favorite

1. Death Mutants (10-2) 1506.7 pts., 94.2 ppg.
Still Stud City. Check out the starters and their Footballguys forecast ranking: QB Peyton Manning (#4), RB Adrian Peterson (#1), RB Steven Jackson (#5), WR Larry Fitzgerald (#2), WR Andre Johnson (#3), TE Antonio Gates (#1), D New York Giants (#3). But there's a bit of a dropoff at kicker (Robbie Gould, #12) and the legendary Death Mutant depth has been whittled away a smidge over the years. Injuries finally caught the long-time champs in 2008, and if the Mutants falter again, a lot of teams are ready to challenge. And we're all preparing our purple #28 voodoo dolls.

The Contenders

2. United Loonies (8-4) 1383.7 pts., 86.5 ppg.
The Loonies came heart-breakingly close to their first title last year. They may have missed their best chance, but they still have a chance to compete if they can get repeat career performances from QB Jay Cutler, RB DeAngelo Williams, RB Frank Gore, WR Reggie Wayne, WR Dwayne Bowe, and the Pittsburgh defense. So to sum up, as long as all of my players have their best year ever, I have a chance!

3. Puking Buzzards (8-4) 1371.8 pts., 85.7 ppg.
Last year's champs are also poised to repeat if the Mutants falter. There's a lot of talent in the starting lineup of the defending champs: QB Philip Rivers, RB Matt Forte, RB LaDanian Tomlinson, WR Roddy White, WR Marques Colsten, TE Jason Witten, and K Adam Vinatieri. But the backups look thin, so it'll take a healthy run to keep the Buzzards in contention. A healthy run sounds kind of unlikely for a team named "The Puking Buzzards."

The Pack

4. Howling Huns (7-5) 1321 pts., 82.6 ppg.
There's a lot of potential on this team with QBs David Garrard and Carson Palmer, RBs Michael Turner, Joseph Addai, and Knowshon Moreno, and WR Steve Smith. If the upside comes in, the Huns could Howl in '09. Astute analysts, however, feel that there are just not enough Carolina Panthers on this team for them to mount a charge.

5. Savage Iguanas (7-5) 1303.1 pts., 81.4 ppg.
QB Tony Romo, RB Brandon Jacobs, and WRs Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson look like contending pieces. But the RB2 committee (Reggie Bush, Fred Taylor, Felix Jones, and Lawrence Maroney) looks like a weakness. If one of those guys steps up, the Iguanas could make a run. Could this be the year that Ron finally wins it all? Will pigs fly? Oh yeah, that's right: this is the year of "swine flu!"

6. Rapid Molasses (6-6) 1279.9 pts., 80 ppg.
The Molasses have some upside with QB Matt Ryan, RB Steve Slaton, WRs Greg Jennings and Eddie Royal, and TE John Carlson. The real question is whether RB Brian Westbrook has a healthy year left. If so, the Molasses could flow rapidly back up the standings. Longtime LSFFL watchers can only guess that the improved drafting means that Stacey's back in charge of the Molasses.

7. Spaz Corps (6-6) 1276 pts., 79.8 ppg.
RB Aaron Rodgers and RB Chris Johnson are two studly building blocks, but the Spaz Corps will need some surprises from RB Larry Johnson, WR Wes Welker, WR Anthony Gonzalez, and TE Heath Miller to compete for the title. Alas, that group looks more likely to hold a "Welcome to 7th Place" party than a victory celebration.

8. Sirenian Sisters (6-6) 1267.8 pts., 79.2 ppg.
The Sisters went the rebuilding route in the draft with the picks of WR Santonio Holmes, WR Hakeem Nicks, RB LeSean McCoy, and TE Brandon Pettigrew. But QB Ben Roethlisberger and their one true stud, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, will need help from the over-the-hill gang of RB Clinton Portis, WR Terrell Owens, and WR T.J. WhosYourMama if they're going to make a run at the title. If you're looking for a veteran fill-in later this year, this might be the place to look, 'cause the betting money says the Sisters' 2009 motto will be "Wait'll Next Year."

9. The Wraiths (5-7) 1255.5 pts., 78.5 ppg.
Stud QB Drew Brees leads an unholy mess. Maybe there's some hope for the future among RB Ryan Grant, RB Ray Rice, rookie RB Beanie Wells, WR Vincent Jackson, WR Antonio Jackson, and TE Greg Olsen, 'cause 2009 looks like a struggle for the Wraiths. This analyst suggests that Ray claim that he drafted from the hot tub with a bottle of chenin blanc. At least that was a good excuse.

10. Custom Critters (5-7) 1249.9 pts., 78.1 ppg.
Stud QB Tom Brady leads an unholier mess. RBs Ronnie Brown and Darren McFadden might surprise, but the rest of this roster looks like the express train to Nowheresville. Rebuilding looms for the Critters. Chris might not need to claim that he drafted from the hot tub, but he should dump this team in it.

The Cellar-Dwellars

11. Fog Bank (2-10) 1202.3 pts., 75.1 ppg.
Welcome back, Chris. Remember when you used to helm titanic juggernauts that crushed the league year after year? Hold those fond memories tight, man. Hold them tight. We drafted you a lot of rookies and young guys. If you had drafted, you probably would have drafted rookies and young guys with talent. Hold those fond memories tight, man. Hold them tight.

12. Cornhole Cowboys (2-10) 1195.6 pts., 74.7 ppg.
Who drafted this mess? There's a lot of upside buried on Paul's roster. Buried deep. Really deep. Really, really deep. I mean mind-bogglingly deep. If the stars align and the pieces all fall in place, it's possible that QB Donovan McNabb, RBs Marshawn Lynch, Willie Parker, and Jonathan Stewart, WRs DeSean Jackson and Roy Williams, TE Dallas Clark, K Nick Folk, and the Minnesota defense could make a run. Too bad it's more likely that everybody get injured and that by Week 3 the team the Cowboys really roll out there looks more like QB Jamarcus Russell, RB Fred Jackson, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and WR Chaz "Broken Foot" Schilens. Seriously, who drafted Paul a WR with a broken foot? That's cruel, man.

And that's the forecast. As for how it will all turn out this year ... we shall see. It looks a lot closer than ever before, which means that it's going to come down to in-season management for everybody.

So, what's it gonna take for me to get you into this slightly used RB Jamal Lewis (CLE) today? He was only driven to the five-yard line on Sundays by a little old lady from Cuyahoga Falls....

General Weirdness in Today's News

Perhaps it's just that this is the first Sunday in quite a while that I've had opportunity to lounge about in the morning and read the Sunday papers long enough to make it to the news sections of the papers -- I always try to ease my way into the day by starting with the sports and comics before I get to the silly sections -- but lately the news seems to be weirder than the comics.

Let's take it from the top. In the midst of this summer's silliness around the health-care debate comes this sobering news: Blue Cross hits customers with 22% rate hike.

The good news? Blue Cross tried to make it a 56% rate hike, but couldn't get that past the Michigan attorney general's office. In defense of Blue Cross, their basic problem is that right now the private insurers are shedding sick folks as fast as posssible and shoving them over to Blue Cross, which is required by state law to cover everybody.

And yet a vocal minority still thinks we don't need fundamental health care reform in this country.

Speaking of the health-care tempest. I do owe the right-wing crazies one apology. It seems that we are on the verge of death panels: Wall Street Pursues Profit in Bundles of Life Insurance. From the story:

The bankers plan to buy “life settlements,” life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash — $400,000 for a $1 million policy, say, depending on the life expectancy of the insured person. Then they plan to “securitize” these policies, in Wall Street jargon, by packaging hundreds or thousands together into bonds. They will then resell those bonds to investors, like big pension funds, who will receive the payouts when people with the insurance die.

The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.

Forget government bureaucrats with death panels. Wall Street investors will now have a vested interest in seeing you dead.

Yes, this was the winner in this morning's "make John feel as if he's arrived in a strange science-fictional future" contest. Given the chronic shortfall in state government budgets, can it be long before we see a state lottery offering based on a similar death-pool premise? A reality TV show can only ensue.

I'm tempted to pass over the most ridiculous partisan tempest in this weekend's teapot of recent news weirdness: the bizarre right-wing movement to boycott an Obama speech to schoolchildren that will undoubtedly urge controversial positions like studying hard and brushing teeth.

But instead I will ask this. Isn't this the same group of pundits and reactionaries who spent the last eight years telling me that disagreeing with George W. Bush on any point of policy made me a deeply unpatriotic traitor to America because he was the President and we all had to support the President in a time of war?

Bartender, a round of mirrors for the house. Hypocrisy, thy name is the increasingly deranged right-wing punditocracy. Seriously, there used to be serious, thoughtful people in the Republican Party and the conservative movement. Where did they go? And who left the nutcases in charge?

Finally, our survey of the Sunday paper returns to the topic of my sports-and-comics morning habit. After first deciding that they didn't want to bother with delivering my morning paper more than three times a week, the Detroit Free Press has now decided to cut another six comics (including my good buddy, Spider-Man!) from the tattered online remnants of my morning comic page yet again. You told us what features you wanted, and we listened.

I'm pretty sure that I didn't tell them to lop another half-dozen comics out of their already shrunken lineup. Stranger yet, they are now officially recommending that I go to other online sources to feed my morning habit. From the article: "If we discontinued your favorite comic, there are many free Web sites that run comic strips. "

So, my morning paper is no longer delivered in the mornings and is no longer paper. And now it recommends that I just go straight to better online sources for what they used to provide. Then they wonder why their circulation is plummeting.

Um, okay., you've got yourself another "My Comics Page" registrant.

Speaking of, I started there a few months agp after Gil Thorpe got cut from the lineup. There are a few comics aggregators out there. They just happened to be the one that carried Gil Thorpe. But my list over on GoComics is now starting to look like a better bet than the Free Press's comics page. Here's what I'm reading over there:

Bloom County
Calvin and Hobbes
The Quigmans
Gil Thorp
The Fusco Brothers
Tank McNamara
Garfield Minus Garfield
Liberty Meadows
C'est la Vie
The Norm
Too Much Coffee Man
The Argyle Sweater

Beward, Free Press. That list is starting to crowd you out for reading goodness.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back to Our Core Competency: Beagle Haiku

Damp beagle at my feet
I'm glad you smell like shampoo
And not what you rolled in.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Today's Coughing Haiku

Cough. Cough, cough. HACK! Cough!
COUGH! coff-coff! Hack? hack? Cough ... COUGH!
Hack! COUGH! Oh, my head.

Spidey and the Mouse

Alas for Spidey, there are no good web-swingin' skyscrapers in either Anaheim or Orlando.

I saw a post on Arsen's LaMarotte blog (Where Even Spider-Man Fails) that got me thinking about this acquisition and what it means for the future of comic books. After poking around a few news stories, I came across a quote in a story on this acquisition (What Marvel/Disney Merger Means to Comic Book Shops) that I thought got to the heart of the deal:

"Comics are a small part of Marvel. This deal is for the riches in licensing and spin-offs to other media, notably video games and movies," (said Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics in Concord, Calif., and president of the ComicsPRO retailing organization.)

In truth, I can't help but feel that the story of Marvel is a fascinating case-study in corporate killing of the goose that laid the golden egg, and vast profits despite the mismanagement.

Back in the 90s Marvel nearly single-handedly destroyed the established comic-book distribution network whose reach had greatly benefited the entire comics industry. (It's a long story involving the desire to jack up profits by creating a distribution monopoly.) As a result, greatly reduced distribution reach and sales numbers have forced them to jack up the price of individual comic books, so that the comic-book business could maintain its profit margins. So they have since instituted a series of price hikes.

Until the early 1990s an average book would have cost 75 cents to a buck in today's money. Now it retails for $3.99 to a much smaller general audience. This price jump has naturally led to ever-declining sales numbers for individual titles, especially in sales to kids, i.e. "future customers." DC has generally joined in with the price-hiking, since their distribution outreach was just as wrecked, and since their comic-book business is also under a large corporation and subject to the same pressures. And the lack of a widespread distribution system has made it a practical impossibility for the smaller publishers (Dark Horse, Dynamite, Top Cow, Image, etc.) to bust out of the comic-book-shop ghetto.

Here's a recipe for an industry death-spiral if ever there was one. The only thing equally dumb that I can think of is Major League Baseball's decision to schedule the World Series so that nearly all of their championship games end after midnight Eastern Time.

"Holy eating-your-seed-corn, Batman!"

But at the same time that Marvel has been merrily looting their core comic-book business, the media spinoffs (film, video games, toys, licensing and endorsement deals, etc.) from those comic-book characters have proven to be enormously profitable. The troublesome part for both Marvel and DC, however, is that almost all of their popular "properties" (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Iron Man, Hulk, etc. for Marvel, and Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, etc. for DC) were created 40 to 75 years ago.

The financial growth of these companies is now driven by the extension of these characters into new markets, not through the creation of new characters. And, in fact, it's going to be well nigh unto impossible to create new characters with the same sort of popularity because their core character-creation business -- comic books -- no longer has the sort of reach that can create character popularity (i.e. "brand recognition") on the cheap.

To me, the really interesting thing is that comic-book creation itself is one of the cheapest forms of media creation. For a company worth $4 billion, an investment of 1% of that total -- $40 million, which is certainly less than the advertising budget of the Spider-Man 3 movie -- could finance the creation of an entirely new generation of comic-book characters with real potential outreach. Sure, the majority of them would disappear into obscurity, as have the vast majority of all comic-book characters. But somewhere out there is the next Spider-Man or Wolverine.

For Marvel this would be equivalent of a research and development arm, but instead they put the vast majority of their resources into re-hashing the same characters that Stan Lee dreamed up in the 1960s because that's where the proven profits lie. How many companies require their core R&D department to turn a fat quarterly profit? Especially when that R&D department is essentially a publishing business that has historically only produced small profit margins?

As for whether the sale of Marvel to Disney is good or bad for the long-term future of comic books, I'm kind of agnostic. Exchanging one set of corporate overseers for a different set seems to me to be a lateral move at best, and this deal is really more about movie, multimedia, and licensing than it is about comic books.

My guess is that comic books are quickly headed the way of pulp adventure magazines. The narrative adventure heroes of the future are being created right now on the web by individuals in web comics and blogs. Like the comic-book heroes of the past, most of them will only find obscurity. But somewhere out there is the next great fictional hero to inspire future generations of kids.

And who knows? The most recent "great new hero" to emerge was Harry Potter, who came from dead-tree books of all things. Maybe the real lesson is that characters and storytelling are what really matters, not distribution networks, corporate managment, and licensing deals.