31 August 2011

Dear "Star Wars" - We Need a Break.

I want to be clear about this:

It's not me.  It's you.

For years, I heard hyperbolic fans declare the original movies as "The Holy Trilogy" and I scoffed at their adoration becoming sacrilegious.  But I enjoyed them, and what did I care if some fans took it too far?  Then came the Special Editions in 1997.  I can't name a single change I felt actually improved any of the movies, but I was largely indifferent to them (except the song changes in Return of the Jedi; "Lapti Nek" > "Jedi Rocks" and I dig "Ewok Celebration").

When I saw The Phantom Menace at its midnight premiere, I knew going into it there was no way that audience was going to be satisfied.  They had spent 16 years developing what the movie should have been, and it was impossible that whatever we watched would have met those demands.  I didn't hate it like the others did.  I still feel fans made too much out of Jar Jar Binks, but I also feel they made too much out of Darth Maul, as well.  I liked some of the movie; Liam Neeson was great as Qui-Gon Jinn, and "Duel of the Fates" was the best thing John Williams composed since Jurassic Park (and would still be the best thing he's done since, were it not for his work on Harry Potter).

Since then, the prequels and DVD releases of the original trilogy have created two camps, each of which is relentless in taking to the Internet to wage its war.  There are the apologists and there are the haters.  At times, I've been both.  In recent years, the hyperbole of the haters has bothered me more than the blind loyalty of the apologists, so I've been quicker to challenge the haters.

I knew when the Blu-ray Disc box sets were announced that they would feature yet more revisions.  I told myself I had made my peace with that fact and, indeed, kind of looked forward to see what would make these versions unique.  I've spent six years waiting to see digital Yoda in The Phantom Menace, ever since it was previewed on the Revenge of the Sith DVD bonus disc.  Never did it occur to me that there would be something like the change to Return of the Jedi's climax.



Darth Vader now yells, "Noooo!" while watching the Emperor electrocute Luke Skywalker, breaking into action and yelling it a second time as he carries his dark master to the pit and throws him to his death.  The inner conflict of the character never needed to be verbalized.  Staring at his expressionless mask, listening to the swell of the music, we know what's going on inside the guy, who has spent the last two movies desperate to connect with his estranged son.  When Vader finally takes action on behalf of Luke, John Williams's Force theme erupts and we cheer--even if only to ourselves.  It's one of the most heroic moments in any movie I've ever seen, largely because it is noble.  Anakin Skywalker has had enough, and he overthrows not only his Emperor, but Darth Vader as well.  We all get that's what happened; we know he's really the Jedi who has returned.

I've spent months looking forward to the release of these Blu-rays.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to afford them initially, but I've been squirreling away Amazon gift credit and am currently just under $30.  But after this revelation, I just don't care to see the movies right now.  I'm fatigued from months of speculation and debate with the online community.  I don't begrudge those who do buy and enjoy these 4.0 incarnations.  One day, maybe I'll own them myself.  Right now, though, I just can't make myself even want to be around you, Star Wars.

So we're going to take a break.  I'm unsubscribing from forum threads that have anything to do with you.  I'm going to un-follow your Twitter feed.  I'm removing you from my Amazon Wish List.  I won't be buying any of your stuff for a while.  I won't be talking about you on this blog.  Maybe later, we'll try to get back together but you're going to have to take the first step.  Just leave me alone for a while, and then when you think you're ready to get back together, you let me know and we'll reevaluate our relationship then.  George Lucas isn't the devil, I don't wish him harm or any of that nonsense.  I just can't around you right now.

30 August 2011

DC Comics: The New 52 - The Edge Spotlight

Last roundup time!  This final assortment of The New 52 includes titles largely reflects the Wildstorm stable, or at least comics in the same vain.

Note: DC Comics is not currently offering subscriptions to any of these series, suggesting a severe lack of confidence and a willingness to cancel them early.  If you're even remotely interested in anything in this assortment, you'll want to buy early and generate some buzz.

$2.99 - 7 September 2011
Written by Paul Cornell
Art and Cover by Miguel Sepulveda
Directly following the ominous events of SUPERMAN #1, Adam One leads half the Stormwatch team to recover the [INFORMATION REDACTED] from deep in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the Stormwatch crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo! And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds…
Brilliant move, DC.  Stormwatch spins out of Superman, but precedes it to the shelves by three full weeks. Seriously, no one caught that?

Voodoo
$2.99 - 28 September 2011
Written by Ron Marz
Art and Cover by Sami Basri
Priscilla Kitaen has just found out she’s a monster. A half-alien hybrid, the woman known as Voodoo must confront the secrets of her past to make sense of the nightmare her life has suddenly become. VOODOO #1 will be written by Ron Marz with art by Sami Basri.
At first, I was gonna pass on this outright until I learned Ron Marz is writing it.  Then I peeked at the third issue solicitation and see it guest-stars Kyle Rayner.  The book still sounds like a variation of Witchblade to me, but I'm putting on my Maybe-to-Probably list.

Grifter
$2.99 - 14 September 2011
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art and Cover by Cafu
The DCU’s most wanted man starts in an all-new series! Ex-black ops agent Cole Cash is a charming grifter that few can resist. And yet he’s about to be branded a serial killer when he begins hunting and exterminating inhuman creatures hidden in human form – creatures only he can see!
Can the biggest sweet talker of all time talk his way out of this one when even his brother thinks he’s gone over the edge?
Because nothing says "dawn of a new era" like evoking the 1990s.

Deathstroke
$2.99 - 14 September 2011
Written by Kyle Higgins
Art by Joe Bennett and Art Thibert
Cover by Simon Bisley
“Friends disappoint, family dies, but a legacy… that’s forever.”
A metahuman mercenary who made a living taking out the toughest targets, Deathstroke was once a name that commanded fear and respect from opponents and clients alike. But as Slade Wilson slowly drifted away from the hunting and assassination missions that made him legendary, the name “Deathstroke” has lost some of its meaning.
Now, something happens that opens Slade Wilson’s one remaining eye, forcing him to reclaim his fearsome legacy – by any means necessary!
While other DCU characters are starting all over again, Deathstroke is coming out of retirement.  I'm not terribly interested, but you know what would change that?  If I found out this series was in the same vain as the movie The Matador with Pierce Brosnan.  I'd read the hell out of this if that was the case.


$2.99 - 14 September 2011
Written by Adam Glass
Art by Marco Rudy
Cover by Howard Chaykin
They’re a team of death-row super villains recruited by the government to take on missions so dangerous – they’re sheer suicide!
Harley Quinn! Deadshot! King Shark! Defeated and imprisoned, they’re being interrogated about their mission – and about who’s pulling the strings behind this illegal operation. Who will be the first to crack under the pressure?
I'd pass on this entirely, except I like Harley Quinn enough that I kind of like the idea of seeing her in this kind of situation.  I'm torn between this and Justice League Dark as my complete risk-taking indulgence selection.

O.M.A.C.
$2.99 - 7 September 2011
Written by Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen
Art and Cover by Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish
The all-seeing Brother Eye satellite has unleashed a new beast upon the DC Universe in this smashing new series!
Kevin Kho has become an unwilling participant in a war between Checkmate and Brother Eye as he is transformed into the One Machine Army Corp known only as O.M.A.C.!
What the what?  I don't even pretend to know what the hell this is about.  The interesting thing is that Dan DiDio is actually working on a book personally.  Keith Giffen's sense of humor is always welcome in an industry that sometimes takes itself too seriously.  I won't be reading this, but I'm sure those who care about it will like it.

Blackhawks
$2.99 - 28 September 2011
Written by Mike Costa
Art and Cover by Ken Lashley
Welcome to a world waging a new kind of war that’s faster and more brutal than ever before. It’s fought by those who would make the innocent their targets, using computers, smart weapons and laser-guided missiles. The new enemy hard to find – and closer to home than we think.
Between us and them stand the Blackhawks, an elite force of military specialists equipped with the latest in cutting-edge hardware and vehicles. Their mission: Kill the bad guys before they kill us.
Apparently, DC is hoping to have a hit with the George W. Bush crowd.  And by that, I mean George W. Bush.

Men of War
$3.99 - 7 September 2011
Written by Ivan Brandon
Art by Tom Derenick
Cover by Viktor Kalvachev
On the ground and on the front lines, a young, headstrong soldier known as Joe Rock assumes the command of Easy Company – a grizzled team of ex-military men turned contractors. Will they survive the battle-scarred landscape carved by the DCU’s Super-Villains? Find out in this explosive new series from Ivan Brandon (Viking) and Tom Derenick (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!
Oh, so it's Sgt. Rock!  Why didn't you say so?  You know...this one actually sounds kind of good.

All-Star Western
$3.99 - 28 September 2011
Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art and Cover by Moritat
Even when Gotham City was just a one-horse town, crime was rampant – and things only get worse when bounty hunter Jonah Hex comes to town. Can Amadeus Arkham, a pioneer in criminal psychology, enlist Hex’s special brand of justice to help the Gotham Police Department track down a vicious serial killer? Found out in this new series from HEX writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, with lush artwork by Moritat (THE SPIRIT)!
This is honestly the title that has me most excited.  Its setting means it's unlikely to be co-opted into any of the sprawling crossovers I've come to dislike, and in recent years I've really gotten into the Western milieu.  I wish it wasn't a $3.99 book, though.

This final assortment is pretty polarizing for me.  The books that don't interest me really don't interest me.  Yet, the ones that do are high on my I'd Like to Check That Out list: All-Star Western is my #1 pick of the entire New 52; Suicide Squad, Voodoo and Men of War all sound good enough I might bite.


Other DC Comics: The New 52 spotlights
Overview
Batman
Superman
Green Lantern
Justice League
Superheroes (Captain Atom, Mister Terrific, Hawkman, Firestorm)
Young Justice
The Dark

28 August 2011

DC Comics: The New 52 - The Dark Spotlight

This assortment of comics gets away from traditional superheroes and more into the realm of the supernatural.  This selection reminds me of old school Vertigo.  This assortment doesn't really speak to me, though I'm kind of interested in Justice League Dark.  It could be fun.

$2.99 - 28 September 2011
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Mikel Janin
Cover by Ryan Sook
The witch known as The Enchantress has gone mad, unleashing forces that not even the combined powers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg can stop. And if those heroes can’t handle the job, who will stand against the mystical madness?
Shade the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna and John Constantine may be our only hope – but how can we put our trust in beings whose very presence makes ordinary people break out in a cold sweat?
Deadman's makin' the rounds early on in this new DC.  The first five-issue arc in DC Universe Presents features him, and he's also romantically involved with Dove (of Hawk and Dove), plus he's a charter member of Justice League Dark.  So you Deadman fans need to show some love.

Swamp Thing
$2.99 - 7 September 2011
Written by Scott Snyder
Art and Cover by Yanick Paquette
One of the world’s most iconic characters has returned to the heart of the DC Universe, and every step he takes will shake the foundations of the Earth!
Alec Holland has his life back…but the Green has plans for it. A monstrous evil is rising in the desert, and it’ll take a monster of another kind to defend life as we know it!
I've never gotten into Swamp Thing, but I know he's got his fans.  I suspect they'll be happy.

Animal Man
$2.99 - 7 September 2011
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Travel Foreman and Dan Green
Cover by Travel Foreman
Buddy Baker has gone from “super” man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? Find out in this dramatic new series from writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Travel Foreman (The Immortal Iron Fist).
I suspect readers from my generation will respond to the nature of this series, now that many of them have their own kids.  Otherwise, I know nothing about Animal Man other than I wish he was Animal Cracker Man.

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
$2.99 - 14 September 2011
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Alberto Ponticelli
Cover by J.G. Jones
It’s Frankenstein as you’ve never seen him before, in a dark new series from acclaimed writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Alberto Ponticelli (UNKNOWN SOLDIER)!
Frankenstein is part of a network of strange beings who work for an even stranger government organization: The Super Human Advanced Defense Executive! But can he protect the world from threats even more horrifying than himself? And since he’s vilified for who and what he is, will he even want to take on this mission?
 Note: DC Comics is not currently offering subscriptions to Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.


I'm interested in the Frankenstein mythology but this one doesn't call out to me.  I can say, though, that I've encountered a guy online who is adamant that this book, written by Jeff Lemire, will be one of the most awesome comics in the entire DC stable.  So there's that.

I, Vampire
$2.99 - 28 September 2011
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Cover by Jenny Frison
For hundreds of years, vampire Andrew Stanton kept mankind safe from the horrors of the supernatural world, thanks to a truce he made with his ex-lover Mary, the Queen of the Damned. But now the truce has reached a bloody end and Andrew must do everything in his power to stop Mary and her dark forces from going on a killing spree – and she plans to start with the heroes of the DCU!
Note: DC Comics is not currently offering subscriptions to I, Vampire.

I suspect I'm not alone in reacting to this series by yawning at what appears to be a cash grab at the Twilight audience.

Resurrection Man
$2.99 - 14 September 2011
Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Fernando Dagnino
Cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado
It’s the return of Mitch Shelly – and he’s still dead. Resurrection Man can’t stay dead for long, though – and with each rebirth comes new and unexpected powers. But his many returns have not gone unnoticed, and forces are gathering to learn what’s so special about him – and to see which of them will finally stop Resurrection Man dead.
Note: DC Comics is not currently offering subscriptions to Resurrection Man.

Resurrection Man is kind of an interesting guy in that each time he comes back, he's got new powers.  It's kind of like Quantum Leap, where each time Sam Beckett leaped through time, he became somebody else.  I've never read anything with the guy, but it could be an interesting book.

Demon Knights
$2.99 - 14 September 2011
Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert
Cover by Tony S. Daniels
In the dark ages of the DC Universe, a barbarian horde is massing to crush civilization. It’s fallen to Madame Xanadu and Jason Blood, the man with a monster inside him, to stand in their way – though the demon Etrigan has no interest in protecting anyone or anything other than himself! It’ll take more than their own power to stop an army fueled by bloodlust and dark sorcery, and some very surprising heroes – and villains – will have no choice but to join the fray!
Note: DC Comics is not currently offering subscriptions to Demon Knights.

Not a fan of the setting or concept, really, but I admit it's fun to watch Etrigan interact with Batman on occasion.

It's interesting that DC Comics is not offering subscriptions to four of these seven titles, which suggests that they're on a very short leash and that DC is prepared to kill them quickly if sales aren't up to snuff.  So if any of these interest you, know that they depend on your support to ensure continuation.


Other DC Comics: The New 52 spotlights
Overview
Batman
Superman
Green Lantern
Justice League
Superheroes (Captain Atom, Mister Terrific, Hawkman, Firestorm)
Young Justice
The Edge

25 August 2011

DC Comics: The New 52 - Young Justice Spotlight

I assume DC Comics is calling this assortment of titles "Young Justice" to connect with the current animated series (which, incidentally, is pretty good from what I've seen).  These are titles focusing on teenage heroes, so expect a certain amount of sass and romantic angst.  And, probably, a lot of slang.  'Cause that's how the teens talk, don'tcha know?












$2.99 - 28 September 2011
Written by Scott Lobdell
Art and Cover by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund
Tim Drake, Batman’s former sidekick, is back in action when an international organization seeks to capture, kill or co-opt super-powered teenagers.
As Red Robin, he’s going to have to team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and the hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash to stand any chance at all against a living, breathing weapon with roots in another world!
They – along with a few other tortured teen heroes – will be the Teen Titans in this new series from writer Scott Lobdell (WILDC.A.T.S, Uncanny X-Men) and artist Brett Booth (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!




















Blue Beetle
$2.99 - 21 September 2011
Written Tony Bedard
Art by Ig Guara and Ruy Jose
Cover by Tyler Kirkham and Sal Regla
It’s not easy being Jaime Reyes. He has to deal with high school, family and all the drama that comes with being a teenager. Also he’s symbiotically linked to a powerful scarab created by an alien race known as the Reach who seek to subjugate planets – or annihilate them. It’s up to one teen hero to turn this instrument of annihilation into a force for good.




















Hawk and Dove
$2.99 - 7 September 2011
Written by Sterling Gates
Art and Cover by Rob Liefeld
Hank Hall is not happy. He’s not happy to have Dawn Granger as a new partner in his war on crime. He’s not happy that she’s dating the ghostly Super Hero, Deadman. He’s not happy to learn that someone is trying to plunge the United States into a new civil war!
Now it’s up to Hawk and Dove to root out the forces behind this conflict and stop them before they turn the U.S. into a wasteland!
And who is the monster lurking in the shadows, watching Hawk and Dove from afar? Find out in this new series from Sterling Gates (FLASHPOINT: KID FLASH LOST) and artist Rob Liefled (X-Force, Youngblood)!




















Legion Lost
$2.99 - 14 September 2011
Written by Fabian Nicieza
Art and Cover by Pete Woods
Seven heroes from the 31st century have traveled back to the present day. Their mission: Save their future from total annihilation. But when the future tech they brought with them fails, they find themselves trapped in nightmarish world that, for them, is the ultimate struggle to survive!
Don’t miss the start of this all-new LEGION series illustrated by Pete Woods – fresh off his spectacular run on ACTION COMICS – who is joined by writer Fabian Nicieza (RED ROBIN)!





















Legion of Super-Heroes
$2.99 - 21 September 2011
Written by Paul Levitz
Art by Francis Portela
Cover by Karl Kerschl
The Legion of Super-Heroes has been decimated by the worst disaster in its history. Now, the students of the Legion Academy must rise to the challenge of helping the team rebuild – but a threat of almost unstoppable power is rising at the edge of Dominator space, and if the new recruits fail, the Legion Espionage Squad may be the first casualties in a war that could split worlds in half!




















Static Shock
$2.99 - 7 September 2011
Written by Scott McDaniel and John Rozum
Art and Cover by Scott McDaniel and Jonathan Glapion and LeBeau Underwood
The brilliant, slightly awkward high school student Virgil Hawkins transforms into the cocky electromagnetic hero Static!
A mysterious tragedy forces the Hawkins family to relocate from Dakota to New York City! Virgil embarks upon new adventures in a new high school and new internship at S.T.A.R. Labs!
As Static, he dons a new uniform and establishes a new secret headquarters! But is he ready to take on the new villains who lurk in New York City’s underworld?
I wish I could muster some enthusiasm for this lot, but I just don't have it in me.  I'd like to see Static Shock succeed because I like the character in general.  Hawk and Dove could be fun.  That first issue synopsis reads like the preview of a new USA Network original series, honestly...and I confess, I'd watch it if that's what it was.  Blue Beetle sounds like the comic for fans who don't want to have to buy both Static Shock and Mister Terrific.  And I've never had much interest in the Legion of Super-Heroes, so I'll pass on both Legion books.  Though, it's worth noting, I am looking forward to the forthcoming Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes crossover series.  Maybe that'll persuade me to explore these books.


Other DC Comics: The New 52 spotlights
Overview
Batman
Superman
Green Lantern
Justice League
Superheroes (Captain Atom, Mister Terrific, Hawkman, Firestorm)
The Dark
The Edge

24 August 2011

$150 SmartScoop Self-Scooping Litter Box Giveaway

As with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles DVD, this isn't a prize I'm giving away, but rather promoting.  This  time you stand to win a self-scooping litter box from SmartScoop valued at $150.00!  (I know!)  I'd like to try something like this for our heathens, since those bottomless holes that Bugs Bunny can create aren't yet available for such things.  Anyway, go here for the details.  Contest ends 1 September, so you'll want to get in on this soon!

Disney Movie Rewards: Tinker Bell Movies $5.00 Coupon

Not a new release, but for those who are looking to add some Tinker Bell to their Disney Blu-ray library, here's a $5.00 coupon good through the end of September.  You can use it for Tinker Bell, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure or Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue.  Click the banner below to visit Disney Movie Rewards and get your coupon.  (As always, you must have a Disney Movie Rewards account to access the coupon.)


I don't see any particular sales listed this week that include these three titles, though that's not to say that there won't be a sale between now and 30 September when the coupon expires.  I would recommend downloading and printing the coupon and shopping around to see what the lowest price in your area is on the one you want.

Speaking for...Julianna Margulies

I thought it might be fun to peruse old magazines and answer the questions put to someone else.  I'm not sure how this is going to go, or whether it will become a recurring feature but it sounded fun enough.  In this post, I answer for Julianna Margulies, who was asked the following twenty questions in Playboy (June, 1997).

Playboy June, 1997
1. 
PLAYBOY: You have been dubbed Crash Cart--and apparent reference to your celebrated clumsiness.  Under what circumstances are you more graceful?
TRAVIS AS JULIANNA MARGULIES: The better question is, "How did cats ever acquire a reputation for gracefulness?"  'Cause none of ours display anything resembling agility.
2. 
PLAYBOY: What actual nursing skill would you like to have?
TRAVIS: The ability to tolerate doctors with a god complex.
3.
PLAYBOY: What's easier, putting a catheter in an attractive guy or in an unattractive guy?
TRAVIS: Either way, he's doing it himself.  I'm just another patient, yo.
4.
PLAYBOY: Is it hard to feel attractive in scrubs?  Do you keep your nurse's outfit at home for those special moments?
TRAVIS: For years, I actually kept some used scrubs around.  They were great for doing household chores or babysitting.  They're designed to resist all kinds of unpleasant stuff that would completely ruin other materials.  I never felt attractive in them, but to be fair to scrubs...they can only do so much.
5.
PLAYBOY: We heard that Steven Spielberg said you remind him of his ex-wife, Amy Irving.
TRAVIS: You know what I haven't heard?  A question.
6.
PLAYBOY: Among medical support people, which group is the hunkiest?
TRAVIS: Gotta be spokespeople, right?  I mean, there can't be very many ugly people hired to be the face of any organization, can there?
7.
PLAYBOY: Which characters on ER have not achieved their erotic potential?
TRAVIS: Whichever character that was that Maria Bello played.  I saw A History of Violence and there's no way her ER character got to be nearly that erotic.
8.
PLAYBOY: Rate your male co-stars' sexual heat.
TRAVIS: I think you have me confused with someone who has male co-stars.
9.
PLAYBOY: What discipline best describes courtship and love--dance, opera or hydraulics?
TRAVIS: Dance.  You've got to have good timing, and as the performance unfolds, you need be able to rely on one another to keep it going.
10.
PLAYBOY: You once said that you would go back to waitressing rather than do a role you hate.  Give us an example.
TRAVIS: You know what, Playboy?  "Waitressing" isn't a word.  I might have said I'd go back to waiting tables, though.  I actually enjoyed waiting tables.  I wound up working as a cook about half the time, too.  Each had its appeal.  To be honest, if it wasn't for Crohn's disease making that kind of physically demanding job impractical, I might consider looking into some kind of restaurant management position.
11.
PLAYBOY: You've lived, traveled and studied in Europe.  What can a young woman learn there that she can't learn in the United States?
TRAVIS: To begin with, I've never set foot in Europe.  But I suspect that a young woman would discover in Europe that despite what she's been told in the United States, you actually can have a free society that provides universal health care.  Also, a young woman is likely to get a better grip on the metric system in Europe.
12.
PLAYBOY: Have you received any letters from heartbroken men in Europe?
TRAVIS: No letters from anyone in Europe.  I'll take blog comments, though.
13.
PLAYBOY: What theme or homage show is ER ripe for?
TRAVIS: Easily the most poorly constructed question so far, Playboy.  I bet your English teachers are all very proud of you.  ER, of course, has been canceled for a while now so it's not really ripe for anything except maybe a Blu-ray release.  I'd like to see Psych do an ER themed episode, though.  I could totally see that working.
14.
PLAYBOY: Your father is a successful ad executive who has written many famous jingles.  Complete the couplet "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz..."
TRAVIS: Do I go around making up stuff about your dad?  Didn't think so.  Moving on.
15.
PLAYBOY: With all the Emmy nominations that ER has received, was it weird for you to be singled out the year that you won?
TRAVIS: It was the weirdest thing ever!  Especially since, you know, I didn't win a damn thing.
16.
PLAYBOY: Seinfeld is the king of cereal.  Is it true you're the queen of toast?
TRAVIS: No.  But you may have given me a cuh-razy Halloween costume idea.
17.
PLAYBOY: Are you an organ donor?
TRAVIS: Funny you ask.  I actually am!  I never was before, but when renewing my license earlier this year I decided it won't make any difference to my Viking funeral plans whether I've got my useless organs or someone else does.  I have AB- blood, so I'm sure someone will be desperate enough to overlook the fact I've had Crohn's disease and an obscene amount of steroids coursing through my blood.
18.
PLAYBOY: What would we find in your medicine cabinet?
TRAVIS: I actually don't have a medicine cabinet.  And why are you snooping to find out what kind of drugs I'm taking?  I can tell you you're not going to find anything to get you high, so go steal from someone else, you thieving junkie.
19.
PLAYBOY: Under what circumstances would you not revive a date?
TRAVIS: Well, I'm quite happily married and have been since 2006 so I'm not reviving any dates.
20.
PLAYBOY: Will you stay with the show?
TRAVIS: I'm not into channel surfing.  Once I pick a show, that's what I'm watching.  I hate people who begin foraging other channels during commercial breaks.  I'm a serious monogamist that way.
I hope you found that amusing on some level.  To read Julianna Margulies's actual answers, check out the June 1997 issue of Playboy.  There are none for sale on Playboy.com, but I'm sure eBay has 'em.

23 August 2011

Gadhafi and D.C. Shaken

This has been an active news day.  I don't often record these kinds of events in this blog, but today has been rather unique.  For starters, Libyan rebels successfully stormed Moummar Gadhafi's personal compound earlier today.  Gadhafi and his family were not found, but rebels have had a field day absconding with his personal belongings, including enough weapons to make Randy Weaver salivate.  One young man made off with a gold plated AK-47.  Kinda makes the armloads of DVDs that rioters in London considered a score seem pathetic, doesn't it?

Americans have become cynical and hostile toward our own political system in recent years.  President Barack Obama is often spoken of as a tyrant by conservative talking heads like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and Tea Party officials and candidates often invoke allusions to armed rebellion to characterize the nature of their movement.  To be fair, President George W. Bush was characterized as a totalitarian unleashing storm troopers in the name of security.  Anything less than this kind of hyperbole is considered an endorsement of the opposing party in modern American politics.

I hope, however, that those who feel our system is broken and worthless took note of what has happened in Tripoli today.  Our elected officials yield power to their duly elected successors peaceably.  We may despise those officials, there may be doubts about the fairness of their elections, but we cannot deny that power is transient in the United States--as the framers of the Constitution intended.

There's a certain kind of person who fantasizes about armed rebellion.  They stockpile assault weapons and interpret every news article as a sign that "the war is coming" in which they will need to lead an insurrection.  Perhaps some day this may come to pass, but I see no rational justification for such fears today.  I'm pretty liberal and there were aspects of the Bush administration that unnerved me (the PATRIOTAct, for instance) but I never felt that I was in danger of being rounded up for criticizing those policies.  I learned to just keep quiet around certain people, just to avoid arguments, but that's a constant in life anyway.  There are always going to be inflammatory topics to be avoided around certain people.

I watched the footage on CNN today, led by correspondent Sara Sidner in what should win her an award of some kind.  At one point, she was visibly hit by shells from celebrants firing weapons, remarked on it...and kept reporting!

I fear that many will view this footage and find a sex appeal to today's raid and celebration.  I applaud the Libyan people for standing up to Colonel Gadhafi, but I do not envy them having to do so.  I'll take peaceful transitions of power following elections, thank you very much, even when my candidates don't win (which, as a liberal in Kentucky, happens often).  We should cheer from a distance, but we should not wish this for ourselves.

As the world digested the implications of Tripoli, though, came a 5.9 earthquake in Mineral, Virginia.  The shockwave was felt as far away as Toronto.  Washington, D.C. freaked out; the Pentagon was evacuated and every five minutes I've heard one reporter or interviewee talk about immediately fearing that this shock was a terrorist attack.  I'm sure part of this is only natural, given the deep trauma of September 11, 2001 but I also can't help wondering how much of this was the kind of overreaction one sees among the bored.

The Twitterverse wasted no time finding humor in the quake, though, and it's been a source of amusement almost from the instant the shock was first felt.  Communications were affected at CNN, and Wolf Blitzer used a landline phone to share his report.  My favorite tweet was from @joereid, which read:
Shit, y'all, Wolf Blitzer is on a PHONE WITH A CORD. That man will get you the information ANY WAY HE CAN.
After watching Sara Sidner take a shell while covering the celebration in Tripoli, that joke made my day.

Of course, the major reason Twitter took to cracking jokes is that there still haven't been any reports of casualties and only scattered reports of injuries.  I could craft an entire post of great joke tweets, but that's not why I'm discussing this incident.  Rather, I hope that we can maintain some perspective.  Today's earthquake was doubtlessly unnerving for many but it's really best described as a novelty given how little damage seems to have been reported.  One interviewee in D.C. visiting from Chicago shared how she saw the wine rack swaying "dramatically."

I just hope that Americans realize that not having to stage or live through armed insurrections and watching wine racks sway are not bad things.  Perspective, you know?

22 August 2011

Win "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Season 9 DVD!

Okay, I'm not giving this away--in fact, I'm also trying to win it!  This is a giveaway from Sweeps4Bloggers.  Visit here to enter and for directions to earn bonus entries.  You know your DVD library could use some Raphael.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - The Complete Season 9
Released: 16 August 2011 * MSRP: $14.98

21 August 2011

On Saturday Morning Cartoons


I was up early yesterday morning, not feeling particularly well, so I turned on the TV.  I caught the end of the [adult swim] loop: episodes of Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies and Stroker and Hoop.  After that, I switched to the other Cartoon Network feed and caught an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Then I popped in the Green Lantern: First Flight Blu-ray and watched three of the bonus Justice League episodes.  By then, my wife was up and we caught Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo on Cartoon Network and capped off my Saturday morning of animation with an episode of Transformers: Prime on Hub.
Ahsoka Tano is the coolest character added to Star Wars since Yoda.
It was a blast going through all that stuff, most of which I hadn't actually seen before.  Yet, one thing that really irked me was the realization that not one of my local stations shows a single cartoon on Saturday mornings anymore.  I get that now they have two different Cartoon Networks, Boomerang, Hub, two different Disney Channels, their own DVD/Blu-ray/digital libraries and access to streaming content on half a dozen devices.

Saturday morning cartoons were different from weekday after-school cartoons.

Sure, they ran Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all six days, and I can remember Transformers on Saturday mornings (the three fourth season episodes aired on Saturdays here) and later The Adventures of Batman & Robin aired on Saturdays, after Batman: The Animated Series had been a weekday show.

But for the most part, the stuff they showed on Saturdays was different.  Garfield and Friends, The Smurfs, The Tick, The Real Ghostbusters, The Snorkels, Pac-Man and perhaps the greatest of them all, Muppet Babies...you had to catch those on Saturday mornings.

The other part about this was that it was really the only time of the week that child my age was 1) generally allowed to pick what to watch on TV and 2) had to actually make a choice between channels.  The rest of the week, even the rest of Saturday, we rarely had more than one channel showing cartoons at the same time.  But on Saturday mornings, particularly after Fox really began showing cartoons, it was a frenzy!

Switching between as many as three channels isn't overwhelming today, of course, and I'm not so deep into "cranky old man" mode that I think kids today should only have a few hours a week to choose from three channels of content.  I think it's terrific that there are more options--and that those options include a lot of solid shows that have come along since I was a child.  Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Transformers: Prime are both great; I actually like both those shows more than the recent movies in either franchise and to be honest, Prime is superior in a lot of ways to the Transformers that I grew up watching (though, until they have Grimlock and the Dinobots, it's still a one-sided competition).  Yet, despite the obvious ways in which today's cartoon situation is superior to that of my childhood, I can't help but feel that today's kids are being cheated out of the kind of structure my generation enjoyed.  Cartoons were special for us.  I don't know that today's youth feel that way.

19 August 2011

Disney Movie Rewards: "Bambi II" $5 Coupon

Bambi II hits Blu-ray + DVD combo pack next Tuesday (23 August).  Disney Movie Rewards is offering the following $5.00 coupon good through next Sunday (28 August).

Click on banner to link directly to Disney Movie Rewards coupon page.
Where to Buy

Best Buy has it on sale for $24.99.  Also, you can save an additional $8.00 if you buy with Bambi (also priced at $24.99).  You may encounter Best Buy employees who resist applying the $5.00 coupon on top of the $8.00 savings, but you should get both savings.
$24.99 Bambi II - $5.00 Disney Movie Rewards coupon = $19.99
$24.99 Bambi II + $24.99 Bambi - $5.00 DMR coupon - $8.00 promotion = $31.98
Target has it on sale for $24.99 before coupon, so unless you intend to snag Bambi at the same time, there's no advantage to one retailer over the other.  Don't forget Walmart will match advertised prices.

DC Comics: The New 52 - Superhero Spotlight

"Superhero Spotlight?" you ask.  "What makes this different from Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and the Justice League?"  Basically, these are superhero titles that aren't those guys.  These are basically second-stringers; superheroes who aren't as recognizable as the A-listers.  Most of these characters will also appear in team books from time to time.























$2.99 - 21 September 2011
Written by J.T. Krul
Art by Freddie Williams II
Cover by Stanley "Artgerm" Lau
Charged by nuclear energy, possessing vast molecular powers, Captain Atom has the potential to be a literal god among men – a hero without limits. But the question is: Will he lose himself in the process?
Don’t miss the start of a legend from writer J.T. Krul (GREEN ARROW, TEEN TITANS) and artist Freddie Williams II (JSA ALL-STARS).
To be honest, I've never really paid any attention to Captain Atom.  Can't say this is gonna change.  Still, I suspect younger readers who are impatient with their parents might respond to the theme of a character so powerful he can't keep up with himself.

Note: DC Comics is not currently offering subscriptions to Captain Atom.





















The Fury of Firestorm
$2.99 - 28 September 2011
Written by Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone
Art by Yildiray Cinar
Cover by Ethan Van Sciver
Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond. These two high school students are worlds apart – and now they’re drawn into a conspiracy of super-science that bonds them forever in a way they can’t explain or control.
The dark secrets of the murderous Dog Team and its Firestorm Protocol force them to put aside their differences to confront a threat so terrifying that it may lead to a new Cold War!
Welcome to a major new vision of nuclear terror from writers Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone with astonishing art by Yildiray Cinar!
I always thought Firestorm looked kinda cool, and I liked the occasional appearance in comics I was already reading, but I was never interested enough to seek out Firestorm comics myself.  Gail Simone has worked magic with Birds of Prey and Secret Six, though, so while Batgirl is the Simone-penned book everyone is looking at right now, The Fury of Firestorm might prove a solid read.





















Mister Terrific
$2.99 14 September 2011
Written by Eric Wallace
Art by Gianluca Gugliotta
Cover by J.G. Jones
The world’s third-smartest man – and one of its most eligible bachelors – uses his brains and fists against science gone mad in this new series from Eric Wallace (TITANS) and Roger Robinson!
Michael Holt is the head of a successful high-tech corporation and an institute that recruits and encourages the finest minds of the next generation to excel. As Mister Terrific he inhabits a world of amazement few others know exists, let alone can comprehend.
Third-smartest man, eh?  Great.  That means he's going to have to bounce back and forth from conflict with the first and second smartest men.  And, I assume, there are women smarter than him, too.  Without those smart adversaries, this should be a pretty dull book, no?  Yes, this is all code for, "I have no idea who the hell Mister Terrific is."

Note: DC Comics is not currently offering subscriptions to Mister Terrific.





















The Savage Hawkman
$2.99 28 September 2011
Written by Tony S. Daniel
Art and Cover by Philip Tan
Carter Hall’s skill at deciphering lost languages has led him to a job with an archaeologist who specializes in alien ruins – but will the doctor’s latest discovery spread an alien plague through New York City? No matter the personal cost, Carter Hall must don his wings and become the new, savage Hawkman to survive!
Witness the start of a new action series from writer Tony S. Daniel and artist Philip Tan that will take Hawkman where no hero has flown before.
At last!  Someone I kinda sorta recognize!  I recently tried to get caught up on Hawkman continuity, and I got lost.  The problem is that every time DC Comics has revised their continuity, they've done it at a time when Hawkman had weak sales and was therefore ripe for being overhauled.  It's no surprise, then, that Hawkman is up for a complete reboot as part of "The New 52."  DC is hoping that curious readers will take the chance to jump on board with Hawkman 8.0 or whatever incarnation this is.





















DC Universe Presents
$2.99 21 September 2011
Written by Paul Jenkins
Art by Bernard Chang
Cover by Ryan Sook
It’s the start of a new series spotlighting some of the DC Universe’s most exciting super heroes! First up is Deadman, straight from the pages of BRIGHTEST DAY, in a five-issue epic where the body-hopping hero meets his match in a new foe who wants to make sure the souls of the newly deceased go straight to Hell!
What to do with the characters DC doesn't trust to carry a solo book?  An anthology!  To be honest, this is the one book out of this whole assortment that has my attention.  It opens with a five-issue "Deadman" story.  I've always kinda liked Deadman--though I never quite understood why the publisher that also had The Spectre needed this guy, too.  Still, as the guy who has sung the praises of Legends of the Dark Knight for nearly 20 years, I'm interested in DC Universe Presents.  DC's solicitation text makes it unclear whether the same creative team will produce each story.


UPDATE
Since posting these remarks, it has come to my attention that DC Comics is not currently offering subscriptions to nineteen of the New 52.  Presumably, these are titles on a very short leash in which DC has little confidence and are probably on the chopping block from issue #1.  Captain Atom and Mister Terrific are among these titles.  I won't be surprised if those characters don't eventually find themselves reliant on appearances in DC Universe Presents to maintain visibility.


Other DC Comics: The New 52 spotlights
Overview
Batman
Superman
Green Lantern
Justice League
Young Justice
The Dark
The Edge

16 August 2011

Recording Artists Soon Eligible for Termination Rights

In a nutshell, recording artists are on the cusp of being able to enjoy the benefits of a change in U.S. copyright law that went into effect in the 1970s.  Recording artists can file for termination rights, thus claiming ownership of their recordings away from record labels.  To claim termination rights, the artist must file two years in advance.  The first day that rights can be granted will be 1 January 2013.  Since the law applies to recordings 35 years of age, the first round of recordings up for grabs will be those produced in 1978.  The labels have already begun circling the wagons, arguing that sound recordings fall outside the scope of the copyright law change.  We'll see what comes of it in the next few years.  You can read the New York Times article here.

In case you're curious what some of the music of 1978 includes, here's a partial list of highlights.  Note: some of these albums were released early in 1978 and were likely recorded in 1977, so they may not fall under the scope of all this.
  • Darkness on the Edge of Town, Bruce Springsteen
  • The Gambler, Kenny Rogers
  • London Town, Paul McCartney & Wings
  • Powerage, AC/DC
  • Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town, Emmylou Harris
  • Son of a Son of a Sailor, Jimmy Buffett
  • Songbird, Barbra Streisand
  • Stardust, Willie Nelson
  • Van Halen, Van Halen
  • Waylon & Willie, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson
  • 52nd Street, Billy Joel
Also released were solo albums by KISS members Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley.  I've seen enough Gene Simmons Family Jewels to know that The Demon has probably already filled out his paperwork and is ready to go all Michael Corleone to see he gets ownership of his recordings.  Provided the world doesn't end in 2012 and that we don't do something incredibly stupid in the elections (like elect someone batshit crazy), this has the potential to be one of the biggest stories of 2013.  I wouldn't be surprised to see the ghost of Waylon Jennings file paperwork, too.  After all, he's the man who broke Nashville's studio system to pave the way for stronger creative power for country artists.  It's a shame Waymore isn't here to take part of the inaugural class of termination rights seekers.

Note: I have no idea whether soundtrack albums are part of this, or if those recordings are owned by the movie studios.  Theoretically, then, the soundtrack for Grease and John Williams's score for Superman might also be in the mix.

14 August 2011

The Not-So-Subtle Sexuality of Disney

Try Googling images of any given Disney movie or character and if your search results are not filtered, you won't go long before encountering fan made, sexual art.  The average person wonders, of course, what would lead someone to conflate the wholesome purity of Disney animated features with dirty sexual imagery.  I'm average enough I wondered it, too, but I'm not average enough that I kept wondering about it.  Then, this morning, apropos of nothing, it came to me.  Disney itself has imbued its films with all manner of sexual content over the years.  It may not seem obvious to younger viewers, but I posit that these things enter the subconsciousness and, apparently, later manifest in a predilection for sexual fetishes.  Here now is a primer.

Note: all images are screen captures from the actual films.

Interracial Foreplay
Pocahontas, 1995
A white man playing pat-a-cake with an Indian woman.  You know where this is headed.  Give him credit, though...Pocahontas is the one not maintaining eye contact.

Oral Pleasure
Alice in Wonderland, 1951
Make no mistake about it: Alice in Wonderland is all about oral pleasure.  The whole movie is one big love letter to food fetishes, from the tea party to the Butter-Flies.  What the hell was up with those "Eat Me" cookies, anyway?  Perhaps the clearest example that the food fetish is an allegory for oral sex is the fact that Alice eventually has to consume a mushroom.  A mushroom!

Group Sex...with Dwarfs
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937
A double whammy: Snow White not only enjoys the company of no less than seven(!) men, but elderly dwarfs at that!  I think we all know what's going on on the other side of the foot board.  I'm not saying that dwarfs and/or the elderly aren't entitled to some nookie, but when one woman takes on seven of them, we're in the realm of some serious kink.

Necrophilia
Sleeping Beauty, 1959
This story comes down to a guy who thinks it's okay to kiss a dead woman full on the lips.  Or, if you prefer, it's an allegory for date rape.  I'll let you decide which is less troubling.

Ephebophilia
The Little Mermaid, 1989
Ariel might be old enough to sign a legally binding contract, but she's still only sixteen.  If a prince married a mute sixteen year old girl, you know there'd be questions.  The first one would probably be, "Hey, should this guy be turned on by a girl that young?"

Bestiality
Beauty and the Beast, 1991
Oh, sure, if you're rooting for the beast and the young woman to hook up, it's a heartwarming story of overcoming prejudice.  But you and I both know if this went down in your neighborhood, you'd grab a torch and call Nancy Grace, er, Gaston.

Bondage with Young Boys
Pinocchio, 1940
Seriously, Disney.  What.  The.  Hell.

08 August 2011

DC Comics: The New 52 - Justice League Spotlight

This assortment of titles from the DC Comics: The New 52 relaunch spotlights the Justice League and roster members.  Note that Batman and Superman are roster members, as are Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner, whose titles have already been covered in previous spotlights.  Links for those are at the bottom of this post.















Justice League
$3.99 - 31 August 2011
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and Cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams
Comics legend Geoff Johns and Jim Lee make history!
In a universe where super heroes are strange and new, Batman has discovered a dark evil that requires him to unite the World’s Greatest Heroes!
Note: DC Comics is also selling Justice League in a "combo" pack that includes a code to download the digital issue.  The combo pack is priced at $4.99.

DC released a preview online of the first six pages of this issue.  The police are pursuing Batman and someone in a cloak across rooftops from a helicopter.  Hal Jordan appears in the middle of the chase and freaks out to find himself face to face with Batman, whom he did not believe was real.  The art was admittedly terrific, but this speaks to the biggest problem I and many other readers have with contemporary comics: there's a lot of style but very little substance.  Someone pointed out that Stan Lee managed to tell Peter Parker's entire origin story in six pages of Amazing Fantasy #15, and after six pages of Justice League #1 all we know is what I said in two verbose sentences.  It used to take me almost a minute to read each page of a comic, so a 32-page issue like this would take me half an hour.  Instead, the first fifth of this issue took me all of about a minute.  That's entirely too dissatisfying, no matter how pretty the pictures.













Justice League International
$2.99 - 7 September 2011
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan
Cover by Aaron Lopresti
With the growing presence of super beings around the world, United Nations resolves to create a new group called Justice League International.
Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen and Rocket Red are charged with promoting unity and trust – but can they reach that goal without killing each other first?
Where to begin?  The solicitation text names Hal Jordan, but that's clearly Guy Gardner on the cover.  If the Justice League operates globally and maybe even throughout space, then it really makes no sense to have a second Justice League.   This is a point raised every time there are dual Justice League books, and it seems just as valid this time as any other.  The real appeal of this series is that it features a roster pretty familiar to 80s and early 90s readers like myself.  What's up with Batman being on both rosters, though?  I mean, he's supposed to be an urban legend nobody believes is real but he's so high profile that he's in two Justice Leagues?















Aquaman
$2.99 - 28 September 2011
Written by Geoff Johns
Art and Cover by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado
Aquaman has renounced the throne of Atlantis – but the sea will not release Arthur Curry so easily.
Now, from a forgotten corner of the ocean emerges… The Trench! A broken race of creatures that should not exist, an unspeakable need driving them. The Trench will be the most talked-about new characters in the DC Universe!
So far, there have been three cool things to happen to Aquaman.  There's the ongoing subplot about making an Aquaman movie on Entourage.  Then there's the recurring advice sketch on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (which is even funnier when Tim Gunn substitutes for Aquaman).  The third was Peter David's run on Aquaman in the 90s, where he grew a beard and replaced a lost hand with a hook.  Notice that only three of these cool things happened in comic books.  Whether this run by Johns will make a fourth remains to be seen.















Wonder Woman
$2.99 - 21 September 2011
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art and Cover by Cliff Chiang
The Gods walk among us. To them, our lives are playthings. Only one woman could dare to protect humanity from the wrath of the strange and powerful forces. But is she one of us – or one of them?
To be honest, I've never really been into Wonder Woman.  I know it's strange coming from a history major, but Greek mythology has never really appealed to me.  For those who do enjoy Wonder Woman, now she wears pants.  Probably a more practical costume feature since I don't think she operates solely in warm climates.





The Flash
$2.99 - 28 September 2011
Written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato
Art and Cover by Francis Manapul
Variant Cover by Ivan Reis and Tim Townsend
The Fastest Man Alive returns to his own monthly series from the writer/artist team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato! The Flash knows he can’t be everywhere at once, but what happens he faces an all-new villain who really can! As if that’s not bad enough, this villain is a close friend!
The last time DC presented a reset of their continuity, Barry Allen sacrificed himself during Crisis on Infinite Earths.  For much of the last quarter century, The Flash has been Wally West.  Geoff Johns, however, has a thing for Barry so he's back.  Don't ask me what happened to Wally; I lost track.















Green Arrow
$2.99 - 7 September 2011
Written by J.T. Krul
Art by Dan Jurgens and George Perez
Cover by Brett Booth and Rob Hunter
Green Arrow is on the hunt. Driven by inner demons, Ollie Queen travels the world and brings outlaws to justice…by breaking every law.
Now, armed with cutting-edge weaponry and illegally gained intel (courtesy of his team at QCore), Green Arrow is shooting first and asking questions later.
Oliver Queen has had several incarnations.  He was a playboy comparable to Bruce Wayne with a friendly disposition once upon a time, then he was rebranded an outspoken leftist outlaw-type figure.  Then he was killed in an incident involving Superman and succeeded as Green Arrow by his estranged son Connor Hawke.  Then Kevin Smith came along and decided he wanted to write Ollie so Ollie came back.  What any of this has to do with the relaunch, I can't say.  It doesn't really matter.  What matters is that the art is by Dan Jurgens and George Perez.  Yeah, I like the sound of that.

Of the books featured here, I'd only likely look at Justice League, Justice League International and Green Arrow.  To be honest, that vapid preview of Justice League has turned me off that book.  I might take a look at International, though, partly because I like Dan Jurgens and partly because even though that roster is inferior to the Justice League proper, they've been used very effectively over the years for lighthearted, comedic storytelling. Also, despite my objections to frequent crossovers, I'm hopeful that Hal, Barry and Ollie will team up periodically.  I always enjoyed those stories.

Other DC Comics: The New 52 spotlights
Overview
Batman
Superman
Green Lantern
Superheroes (Captain Atom, Mister Terrific, Hawkman, Firestorm)
Young Justice
The Dark
The Edge

07 August 2011

Netflix DVD Renter, 2001-2011

In light of the new Netflix membership plan changes, we have elected to become streaming-only subscribers.  It was really the only prudent choice, given "My Abysmal Netflix Rental History."  In fact, we just finished watching The Blind Side on Blu-ray which has the distinction of being the last disc we'll have rented from Netflix.  It's shameful, really, to look at how infrequently I've made use of my account.  Below is the entirety of my DVD and Blu-ray Disc rental history.
  1. The Peacemaker
  2. Wild Things*
  3. Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You for the Last Time*
  4. The Insider
  5. The Sopranos: The Complete First Season - Disc 1*/**
  6. The Sopranos: The Complete First Season - Disc 2*/**
  7. The Sopranos: The Complete First Season - Disc 3*/**
  8. The Sopranos: The Complete First Season - Disc 4*/**
  9. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie***
  10. Swingers*
  11. Major League Baseball: All Century Team
  12. The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season - Disc 1*
  13. The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season - Disc 2*
  14. The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season - Disc 3*
  15. The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season - Disc 4*
  16. Dr. No*
  17. Bull Durham*
  18. Monty Python and the Holy Grail*
  19. National Geographic: Secrets of the Titanic
  20. Sex and the City: The Complete First Season - Disc 1
  21. Sex and the City: The Complete First Season - Disc 2
  22. Sex and the City: The Complete Second Season - Disc 1
  23. Sex and the City: The Complete Second Season - Disc 2
  24. Sex and the City: The Complete Third Season - Disc 1
  25. Sex and the City: The Complete Third Season - Disc 2
  26. Airheads
  27. Chicago
  28. The American Presidents - Disc 3
  29. The American Presidents - Disc 5
  30. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  31. The In-Laws 
  32. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season - Disc 1
  33. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season - Disc 2
  34. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season - Disc 3
  35. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season - Disc 4
  36. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season - Disc 5
  37. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season - Disc 6
  38. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season - Disc 1
  39. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season - Disc 2
  40. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season - Disc 3
  41. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season - Disc 4
  42. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season - Disc 5
  43. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season - Disc 6
  44. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Second Season - Disc 7
  45. Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns - Disc 1
  46. Monster-in-Law
  47. Surviving Christmas
  48. Shadow of the Vampire*
  49. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - The First Year - Discs 1
  50. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - The First Year - Disc 2
  51. Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete Third Season - Disc 6*
  52. Underground Railroad
  53. Sicko*
  54. Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete Fifth Season - Disc 2
  55. The True Story of The Bridge on the River Kwai
  56. Gods and Monsters
  57. Modern Marvels: Baseball Parks
  58. The Big One
  59. Tatooing
  60. Jeeves & Wooster: Season 1 - Disc 1
  61. Jeeves & Wooster: Season 1 - Disc 2
  62. Mother, Jugs and Speed*
  63. Roger & Me***
  64. King of California
  65. Blood Diamond
  66. Run, Fat Boy, Run
  67. Anne Frank Remembered
  68. Repo! The Genetic Opera
  69. Fanboys
  70. Just Buried
  71. Paris, Je T'aime
  72. Eddie Izzard: Dressed to Kill
  73. Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus
  74. Frost/Nixon
  75. The Wrestler
  76. Bob Saget: That Ain't Right
  77. The Blind Side
* indicates a title that we have since purchased and added to our library
** I actually rented The Sopranos: The Complete First Season twice so I could watch it with my friends
*** I don't actually think I watched these

Now, it's not as bad as it may seem because I actually suspended my account for several months at a time on a few occasions over the years because I knew with school and work I just wasn't likely to make much use of my account.  I would guess that I may have cumulatively gone as much as two years without being active.  Since last Spring, when we began streaming via the Wii, we've made far more extensive use of our Netflix account.  We streamed 68 movies last year and I've streamed 79 movies and two short films so far in 2011.  That's not counting TV content; we watched the entirety of My Name Is Earl last year, and we streamed all of The Office and 30 Rock that were available at the time (we got to the latest seasons of those as they were released earlier this year and are looking forward to the most recent seasons of those going live soon).  Those numbers also do not reflect several movies that my wife streamed without me.

With twelve months in a year and ten years of membership (120 months) and 81 discs received (remember I got The Sopranos: The Complete First Season twice), I averaged 1 disc received every 1.48 months.  Given that I stayed on a 1-disc-out-at-a-time plan for most of that time (including a few years where it was just 1 disc a month), it's not as awful as I feared.  Still, there's no denying that I got a lot less out of my membership than I should have.  Streaming is clearly the better format for us.