Archive for December, 2011

Overall, not a bad year. Not great – it’s kinda fun how the economy reacted to my minor pay raise by making everything correspondingly more expensive – but on the other hand, I HAVE A DISHWASHER IN MY APARTMENT NOW AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL. So things could be worse.

Other than the dishwasher – which, if you are someone who currently has a dishwasher, you do not realize just how many hours of your life end up spent cleaning frying pans – what else was praise-worthy this year?

Movies:
Captain America
Man, I still can’t get over the fact that they finally got around to making the exact movie I’ve wanted to watch since I was five years old.

TV:
Cartoons!
Young Justice is a teen soap opera that also has Jack Kirby characters running all over the place; Avengers is both kid-friendly and has the kind of labyrinthine plotting that can only happen when you cherry-pick all the fun bits of Marvel history and leave out all the crap (for instance, how cool would Secret Invasion have been if we didn’t have to worry about all the continuity and idiot-ball issues it raised? We’re gonna find out in season 2!); AND, DEFYING ALL LOGIC, THUNDERCATS TURNED OUT TO BE AWESOME (and in an odd way at that! So many times – for instance, the aggressively cute “Ro-bears” – did I turn to Megan and say, “This can be a very strange cartoon”).  (more…)

Now that I’ve gotten the foamy ragey “RaaaChristmasblargharaggleblaggle” out of my system, I thought I’d share some youtube – or should I say YULEtube? – no, no I shouldn’t nevermind – holiday treats for you, once you get sick of watching Charlie Brown for the fourth time this month.

Because if you’ve forgotten, it turns out Fox Kids had some fricking great cartoons in the 90’s, and that means they had some fricking great Christmas episodes, too.

Eek! The Cat: “It’s a Very Merry Eek’s-Mas”  (more…)

A few years ago, my friend Pam and I coined a phrase that has served us well in dismissing idiocy: “Shut the fuck up, go to bed.”

Unfortunately, it feels like the end of the year, with its fake outrage over whether baby Jesus is getting enough respect, is when I mentally chant “shut the fuck up, go to bed” the most.  (more…)

Hahah, I am kidding, I don’t believe in hagiographies in the first place, and if I was going to participate in one, it definitely wouldn’t be for Christopher Hitchens.  Maybe David Hume?  Probably that guy, I guess.  But he, at least, was a philosopher; what’s the point in idolizing, or iconoclast…ing (iconoclasm?  Icono…I guess it must be “iconoclazing”) iconoclazing a writer like Hitchens?

As you may know, Christopher Hitchens died recently, and a lot of people have had some things to say on the subject.

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Boy, this has been an awfully incesty TV season, huh? More incesty than I would have necessarily expected at the start of the year. I can say that.

Mostly HBO. Like, ¾ HBO. Even less, if it turns out there’s some surprise twist to 2 Broke Girls that makes that thing a LOT more interesting.

I mean, on Game of Thrones, you’d have to be Ned Stark a bit dim not to figure all the conspicuously blonde people were sibling-banging (I kid, Ned, I kid), but that’s a medieval fantasy show. You gotta prepare yourself for that sort of business.

And sure, once it became clear the ongoing arc of this season of Bored To Death was “Jonathan’s search for the sperm bank where he came from,” you could make the leap that SOMEWHERE there might be an incest joke.

But Boardwalk Empire? Dexter? It was a little more fun when we in the audience made incest jokes for fun to mock Jennifer Carpenter’s acting alleviate boredom or tension. When the thing we’re picking on tries to act like they’re in on the joke too, that’s just…weird. LET US BULLY YOU, TV SHOWS.

Now, I am not a TV EXPERT…though I AM a man who watches a lot of TV that does not involve surgically-waterproofed rich housewives. So I feel confident in saying that 2011 was probably the most incest-heavy season of television since…well, I guess since Arrested Development was on the air.

Though maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there was a really weird night at the Keaton household on a very special, very uncomfortable episode of Family Ties.

All I know is I don’t want to do a further Google search on any of this.

Another in our occasional series, detailing potential “first reads” for comic book newbies or lapsed readers whose interest in a certain character have been piqued by a movie or TV show or interesting ad campaign or what have you. The focus is on easily obtained paperback collections that can be purchased for a minimum of fuss through their local comics shop or Amazon, rather than have to dig around back-issue bins at random. And of course, keep in mind these are just opinions – though opinions based on a LOT of comic book reading, so pretty well-founded opinions. OK? Let’s get started!

The Character: Iron Man

Star of a popular movie, a less popular movie, a pretty good cartoon show (as well as a couple of not-so-good cartoon shows), a jazzy theme song, and the most fan-favorite part of a trailer for an upcoming movie that people are hoping like hell is at least okay, Iron Man has been all over pop culture in the last few years – indeed, you could even say SPANNING DECADES (if your thing is boldness, more than accuracy – and if so, hey, you must lead an exciting life, let’s get you some comics!).

Where to Start

There are actually some pretty great places to start reading Iron Man, and get the general idea of what makes the character interesting and fun, as well as flawed and occasionally troubling. It just depends on your ability to ignore some bellbottoms, wide collars and curly hair.  (more…)

More Scattered Thoughts on Swordplay

Posted: December 16, 2011 in Braak

So, I decided that I would add an empty-hand martial art to this sort of ad-hoc, Jian-based fencing that I’m trying to teach myself; a sort of — well, let’s call it an intersecting perspective of martial arts that I hope will provide some insight, or at least give me something to do until I’m ready to start learning my second form. To that end, I picked up a book on Wing Chun, which seems to me to be pretty neat; motivated in part by the fact that I unashamedly have a man-crush on Robert Downey, Jr., and partly by the fact that I like the notion of a martial art that focuses on having fast, coordinated hands, I figured this would be a good choice to explore.

The rest is at Ten Sword Style, where I have decided to only post when I actually have some thoughts, instead of just every time I do regular practice.

Me: So what do the kids want for Christmas, sis?

Sister: Power Rangers.

Me: Really, that’s still a thing?

Sister: Yeah, but they like the ninja one, the jungle one’s kinda stupid.

Go ahead and guess which one is the "cool" one.

As soon as I said, “Really, do kids still like Power Rangers?” I thought a little harder, and remembered it is a television show where a bunch of teenage ninjas given powers from an alien pilot animal-shaped vehicles and team up to be a karate-robot who beats up monsters.

Now I can’t believe that’s not EVERY SINGLE SHOW ON TELEVISION EVER.  (more…)

I realize that this opinion is going to put me in the minority of 1) Joss Whedon fans, 2) Science Fiction fans, 3) People Who Watch TV.  I know that, and I can accept it.  But the fact of the matter is, I can’t stand River Tam.  I hate basically everything about her and (as I have said before, ad nauseam) I think Firefly would have been immeasurably improved if she’d been played by the bomb from Dark Star.

I have reasons.

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So, Stephen Adly Guirgis wrote a play called The Motherfucker with the Hat (I can write the whole title out, because this is a blog and not a newspaper), and a company in Hartford called TheaterWorks recently did a production, and cast two twenty-something white actors in roles written for two thirty-something Latinos.

There was, as you can imagine, a bit of a fuss.

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