Thursday, December 19, 2013

Just for the record...

video

Al Gore said this in 2008. The very snowy and cold winter we've been having here in Canada aside, have you been paying attention to the north and south poles this year, Mr Gore?

Look, I get that the issue is complex, but whether anthropogenic global warming is real or not, I just want to make sure this one doesn't disappear down the memory hole...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Patrick Stewart SHREDS



This stuff is why Star Trek will never die :) My kudos to Neil Yates, great work!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

"Person of Interest" - The show "Agents of Sheild" wishes it was.

I've been catching "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." since the beginning. With my being a comic fan, that should come as no surprise, and it also shouldn't shock you that we comic fans like to make comparisons between things we watch, read and listen to.

With respect to Agents, I notice myself becoming more disinterested as the show goes on. I start watching the episode and find myself drifting off to the computer or kitchen. I can't help but compare that to the way I feel watching Person of Interest. I wait anxiously for it to come on and I watch intently. I rush back hurriedly to the TV (with snack in hand) when the commerical break ends.

Why don't I feel like this when Agents is on? Well for me at least, I think I can answer that.


In Agents, it's this constant attempt to show you how witty, sexy and flashy it is. The one-liners come fast and furious, the action is big and bold, and the characters are all, like, super-awesome.

Don't get me wrong, there's certainly nothing wrong with one-liners, big action, or awesome characters, but they shouldn't be the point...

Person tells stories about people; It's about ordinary people and yes, extraordinary people as well. It has a plausible yet unmistakably "science fiction" bent to it via "the Machine", but that aspect never overshadows the characters and their interactions. The witty banter and one-liners are used much more sparingly than in Agents, thus have more impact and "punch".

Now I know that the shows each have different purposes in a number of respects, with Agents being in the same universe as the Avengers, it aims to be more fantastical and more bombastic. Unlike Person though, the characters are frankly not that interesting to me. They're each great at their particular thing, but seem to come off as "know-it-all's" and unlikable jerks.

All TV shows, regardless of premise, need interesting characters - first and foremost.

In Person, Reese will beat up a bunch of guys and be on his way. In Agents, Ming Na's character (don't remember her name) will beat up a bunch of guys, default back to her "action stance", and then deliver a snappy come-back.

I will acknowledge at this point that I may have a bias however, as Person of Interest has been described as a show about Batman, only he is split into two people and there are no costumes. While that seems a bit trite, It's not completely off-base, and the fact that it's creator is Jonathan Nolan, brother to Christopher Nolan, has not gone unnoticed by me...
 
Person concerns itself with engaging you in it's characters. Agents too often gets lost within it's own "awesomeness". To put it simply, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. desperately wants you to know it's cool. Person of Interest just is.

In all fairness though, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is young and just getting it's footing, who knows where it could go?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

YouTube Comment of the Week

I can't retrieve the name of the commenter, but my favorite YouTube Comment of the Week is;

"This is the most metal thing I have ever seen"

with regards to this video 0:36 seconds in...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Dad Said It #2

"Hey, with that woman on that "The Middle" show, they should make a show called "Everyone Loves The Middle" haha"



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Like Comics? A Podcast Recommendation...

Ok, it should come as no surprise that I'm a comic book fan, but along with reading comics, I often like to throw the headphones on and listen to some podcasts about comics. There are a bunch of them out there, but not all are that great...

There's one that I keep going back to as my favorite though, it's called the Major Spoilers Podcast - "the podcast for comic book and pop culture fans". I look forward to this podcast more than any other comics podcast - and don't worry, they don't actually "spoil" much -


What makes it great is the interesting make-up of the group; An in-his-early-40s film/media teacher & dad, another in-his-early-40s dad who works at a comic store with an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre (and a big fan of Japanese Power Rangers aka "Super Sentai"), a guy who grew up in Mexico with an off-beat taste in comics and pop-culture, & an early 20s film student who has only been reading comics for a couple of years.

Go give it a listen and see what you think!

(And hey, if comics aren't exactly your thing, they also produce other podcasts about movies, tabletop games and more!)

Do you know of any other really good comics podcasts? Comment below and let us know!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Newsboys - Restart Album Review

Yes, the Newsboys are indeed back with a new album! This one hits the streets tomorrow, September 10th. "Restart" marks the third studio album for Michael Tait, frontman of the band (replacing the iconic Peter Furler) as well as an exploration of some new sounds for the 'Boys.


 
Following the well-received "Born Again" and "God's Not Dead", fans have been anticipating another great batch of Newsboys songs - so how does this new album one stack up? Let's go though the songs one by one...

"That's How You Change the World" immediately hits you with a cool dance drop and a bouncy, throbbing electronic sound, signifying the flavor present in much of the album to come. Initially I felt like "That's How You Change The World" was an indeed an original song, but I was listening to the remix of it. I think this was my reaction to my having not heard the Newsboys really do this type of song before (not counting the 2 remix CDs they've released), but having listened to the song multiple times, I've really gotten into it! Perhaps even better than musical components are the inspiring, thoughtful lyrics - which I won't spoil here, but do carry an insightful message. I'm was more than happy on this song to have my expectations been given a "restart".

"Restart" is an infectiously catchy anthem, and one you could definitely dance to. The "You, You, You hit the Restart" chorus is certainly fun to sing. You can tell they had fun assembling this song with all it's beeps, drops, and echoes. A worthy title song. I hope to eventually get a video game themed music video for this one.

"Love Like I Mean It" has a unique sound and a bit of a new wave influence that helps it stand out a bit from the other songs. It's got a good musical groove to it, complimented nicely by Michael's smooth and silky vocals. The song serves well as a reminder for believers to do more than talk about love, but to live it out in tangible ways, even if it takes us out of our "safe zone". It encourages us to "love with abandon" if you will - which points us to the next song...

"Live With Abandon" is a more conventional song, one which would not feel out of place in the Peter Furler era of the Newsboys. I could see it being used in churches pretty easily. I do think Tait's vocals do elevate this song to a higher level, as do the musical and vocal contributions from Duncan, Jody, and Jeff - I'm sure I'm hearing Jeff's voice in there... It's a good song with a good message - one we should all think about - it's just not an exceptional stand-out song for my tastes.

"Go Glow" is a tune in the tradition of "Shine" and "When The Boys Light Up", exhorting believers to go out into the world and reflect the light of God. It's musically and lyrically reminiscent of Owl City, which I think is actually pretty cool. The chorus goes; "He wakes up the stars, lights the moon, knows who you are, he put light in you... Go Glow" This song, along with "Restart", probably share the title of "most fun song on the album".

"That Home" - Okay, I'll tell you right now, this song made me cry. This piano ballad is a welcome break in the middle of the album. It's a heartfelt song about a mother's love, sung softly and sincerely by Tait. You just have to hear it. Wow

"Disaster" is another good one. It's got a fast beat, but poignant message. It's a cry for God's restoration and mercy when we have inevitably messed up our lives."You're the cure".

"Fishers of Men" is a face paced yet fun song about, well, being Fishers of Men of course.

"One Word" is a more instrumentally driven song, featuring inspiring lyrics about God's power. Not a bad song at all.

"Enemy" could be my favorite of the album. I love the sound, and the message of this song. Each of the band members are allowed to shine - the piano, the guitars, the drums, the melody, the construction of the song - all wonderful! Michael sings the powerful lyrics with passion and honesty. I keep humming this song to myself, it's a real triumph if you ask me.

"We Believe" a fairly standard yet unapologetic praise song, a nice anthem for followers of Christ. Not one you're going to be tapping your toes to, but a great song to build your faith and draw strength from in times of distress. I wouldn't be surprised if this one makes it's way into churches everywhere. The female choir of background singers do border on cheesy - the Newsboys hit "He Reigns" pulled off the choir thing much more successfully, but I don't want strain on this gnat too much.


Final Thoughts - If I had to guess, I'd say the breakout songs from this album will be "Restart", "Live With Abandon", and "Enemy". As usual, each song points unmistakably to the Father, and true to form, they reject being merely "positive pop", and thankfully make no attempt shy away from the name of Jesus.

Once again, Tait's smooth vocals make it seem easy, and he's in fine form here. Duncan Phillips is as good as always, and I'm looking forward to discovering all the neat stuff Jeff Frankenstein got to program and synthesize, with his keys and BG vocals to boot. Jody Davis is also a total pro, though I'm still waiting for a song where they put Jody - a superb vocalist in his own right - front and center on lead vocals; maybe next time.

For years I have wished for a Newsboys album with more of an electronic dance feel to it, and this really scratches that itch. I hope they take some of this electronic flavor with them into the future, even if a more predominantly rock sound (in the vein of "Born Again") is what I think makes sense for the next album.

4 out of 5 stars

Note; "God's Not Dead" had a cool album cover, I wish they had been as creative this time.

Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts on Restart!

P.S. I've now heard the 5 Deluxe Version tracks as well! "Man on Fire" and Mike and the Mechanics cover "The Living Years" are real standouts, awesome stuff!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ok, it's Affleck... But don't forget about Cavill!

Ok, after reading some articles, and having some time to think about it, I'm feeling cautiously-but-curiously-optimistic on the casting of Affleck as Batman. When you think about it, Ben Affleck is likely to have a lot of input as far as the direction of this Batman/Superman film, and after The Town and Argo, he's proven himself to not be a slouch in that area.

Also, Affleck will add some star power to the movie. If the reports are true, he has signed up for "multiple" films, which almost certainly includes solo Batman installments and a Justice League flick or two, which will give Batman some stability for a while.

An added benefit to Affleck's big casting announcement is that his high profile and public awareness has signified a clean break from the Nolan version of Batman, clearing up a lot of confusion for the average non-geek movie-goer when they eventually do enter the theater on July 17, 2015


Now that Warner Brothers has decided this is the way they want to go for a Man of Steel follow-up (as well as a re-introduction for Batman) all I can say is that they'd better get it right! Oh, and WB, I want you to remember something...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ben Affleck; The New Batman!



So it was announced tonight, Ben Affleck will play Batman in the 2015 Batman/Superman movie.

Wow!

I even know what I think of it yet, it's just such a surprise! I certainly didn't see it coming, did you?

More on this casting later...


Friday, August 16, 2013

Free Ninja!

On my Springfield Punx blog, I've had a tutorial type thing featuring a cartoon alien and ninja;
 
 How To Draw Eye-Catching Cartoons (The Springfield Punx Way)


Well I've now made both the alien and ninja files available to download as free clip art on Clip Art Hoard. You can now download them and experiment, have a look!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

No, I actually *don't* watch "The Walking Dead"...

It's odd, I'm often approached by others who tell me about some show they are watching and they genuinely seem surprised that I'm not watching it. They reference some character on one of these shows and I have no idea what they are talking about. Sometimes it's in multiples too, I'm often amazed at the extensive list of shows people tell me they watch!

And this is all on top of the video games, role-playing card games, comics, and movies that people tell me they're into!

Some of these shows (maybe most of these shows?) just don't sound like something I would enjoy. I'm not turned on my zombies or vampires either....  But even if I was interested, there's too much to do and too few hours in a day as it is! Where do you people find the time to consume all this stuff?!


I didn't watch the Sopranos and I didn't watch 24. I don't watch Vampire Diaries, I don't watch Mad Men, I don't watch Boardwalk Empire, I don't watch Walking Dead, I don't watch Game of Thrones, I don't watch Breaking Bad, and I don't watch Sons of Anarchy. And I know next to nothing about them. And I'm fine with that.

I have a handful of shows I enjoy, and watch them when they come around. I can't imagine taking on much more though. America's Got Talent has been an adequate summer distraction for a few years, but for whatever reason I've grown pretty cold towards it this year. I've been giving "Under the Dome" a shot, but (for a number of reasons) it feels more like a chore to watch the further it goes. I've missed the last couple of episodes and don't expect I'll be going back.

Frankly, if I had to choose, I would prefer to drop shows rather than pick up new ones.

People tell me that this or that show is "superb" or "basically the best show ever". Well, I don't know whether it is or not, but that's the problem. There's always going to be a show come around (or game, or movie etc.) that is the new "best ever". How can I keep up with it all? Do I even want to? Blech.

Monday, July 22, 2013

5 Fascinating Questions Coming Off The Superman/Batman Movie Announcement

As you all must have heard by now, Warner Bros. has announced that Superman and Batman will finally be appearing in shared live-action film in 2015. This is obviously big news, I even saw them cover it here where I live during today's noon news hour.



I have to say, the announcement came as a total surprise to me , I did not see that coming at all - frankly it's still hard to believe. It is certainly an interesting development though, and it brings to my mind a few fascinating questions;

1. Who will be the new Batman? This is the first and most obvious question following this announcement. Audiences will have to adapt to a new Batman just 3 years after the end of The Dark Knight trilogy, as Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan have both stated that their vision of Batman is complete and WB will take Batman in a new direction, one in which he's more suited to a world where other superheroes exist. Will they be looking for an older actor for Batman or a younger one? Will this Batman have been "in costume" and active before the events of "Man of Steel", or do those events precede (or even motivate) Bruce Wayne's emergence as Batman? Are any of the fan-casting suggestions realistic, such as Jon Hamm, Josh Holloway, or Karl Urban? (and yes, I know my favorite of those three)

2. Will it be Superman & Batman, or Superman VS Batman? Is Batman going to be antagonistic towards Superman because of events in Man of Steel? Is the dynamic between the heroes going to be the main conflict in the film, or are they going to team-up against a common enemy? I would think the safe bet is on both. Bruce Wayne getting close to Lex Luthor through some business deal seems a very plausible scenario... could we even see a Batman villain involved?

3. When will Superman get his "The Dark Knight"?
The thought of seeing Batman and Superman together in live action makes the 5-year-old in me all giddy, but I'm curious how this affects the Superman franchise going forward. Does this movie effectively replace Man of Steel 2, or is it meant to fit in somewhere between a trilogy of Superman films? Or is Batman in reality going to play a smaller part than we're all thinking right now? Will we still get the chance to see a fully-formed, fully-realized Superman at his best, facing off (as Batman did) against his greatest arch-enemy Lex Luthor, in a spectacular, engaging film? Not a team-up, but a solo movie, one that is quintessentially 'Superman", and is as memorable and revered as "The Dark Knight" is for Batman?

4. What will the Batman franchise look like after Superman/Batman? What are WB's plans for Batman after this film? When might we see a new solo Batman flick? Will it come after the inevitable Justice League film? It will almost certainly be a more fanciful take, perhaps with more colorful versions of Batman's rogues gallery. Are we more likely to see Robin in this more fanciful world?

5. Why does WB feel this is the right time for a Superman/Batman Movie?
How long has the studio been planning to make this move? Was it a decision that Zack Snyder and David Goyer were involved in, or did the idea come down from WB higher-ups? Did they count on "Man of Steel" making more than it has (which has actually not been bad at all!) at the box office, and are looking to give the next film the "Batman Bump"? Are they just really eager to get the shared DC Universe moving on the silver screen the way Marvel has? Perhaps they just came up with a great story for these characters that they are anxious to show moviegoers. Frankly, I don't know whether it is or is not the right time, but like the rest of the world I'll be watching the developments closely!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Are You A Nitpicker?

Do you see yourself as a nitpicker? I think when it comes to nitpicking - especially when it comes to movies and tv - the Nostalgia Critic puts it well. Give his editorial a watch;

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Justin Bieber... Kids Love 'Im!

A piece of art from a children's arts and crafts fair I was invited to judge a while back.

Kids just love Justin Bieber... or "Justin Beaver" as the tag says.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The News About Smoking!

Something I think you'll want to hear today... I was surfing around this morning and saw the headline on a news page; 

"New Study Proves Quitting Smoking Extends Your Life"

Have you heard about this yet? Well needless to say, I'm quite happy about this news! Now that the proof is in, I intend to buy some cigarettes and start smoking right away, as I want to start quitting as soon as possible. 

Right now I'm drawing up plans for a healthy rotation schedule where I'll smoke for 3 weeks, then quit for 3 weeks before starting up again. I estimate I should probably be able to extend my life indefinitely this way. 

The only sad part is that this study was not conducted years ago!

Well, pass on the news, folks! Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Question for Jim Carrey...

So apparently Jim Carrey's latest movie role has troubled him. He has had a change of heart with respect to the level of violence portrayed in it.

As he says in his tweets on the subject, he just "cannot support" it;
I haven't seen the first one, and don't really care to see the 2nd, but in response, I do have to ask this question;

You surely didn't act in this movie for free, did you Mr. Carrey? If the level of violence in this film is something you "cannot support", tell me, is this film something you're going to let support you?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shredder... Is a White Guy?

So a few days ago we got the news that William Fichtner has been cast as The Shredder in the new Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie... and I'm confused.

Now, I've seen Fichtner in a bunch of different roles - most notably the angry, shotgun-wielding banker from the opening heist scene in The Dark Knight. I like him, he's a good actor. But his being cast as The Shredder raises some big questions for me.


If Shredder is not Japanese (or asian at all), what does that imply?

 Is he no longer Oroku Saki? Is this Shredder a white guy who went to Japan and recruited a clan of ninjas? Did he know Hamato Yoshi back in Japan? Has he even been to Japan? What will his motivations be? Will 'honor' be important in Shredder's mind? Is there a foot clan at all, or are Shredders' minions just mercenaries or something?

Will we see Shredder's face at all?

I mean, I really don't anticipate them using make-up to make Fichtner look asian, that would be weird - among other things. If Fichtner's casting is to be taken at face value (and we'll wait to see), then - whether for good or for bad - it seems like we're in for some pretty radical changes to the Turtles stories we know and love.


In Man of Steel, I found the traditionally white role of Perry White to be played wonderfully by Lawrence Fishbourne. In that case though, his ethnic background is not an integral part of the character or his character's history. I think the same applies to Samuel L. Jackson's casting as Nick Fury.

No, this is something else entirely.

So what is the motivation behind this casting? Are the producers just "trying something new"? Are they attempting to make a Shredder more "relevant to the times"? Are they softening him a little for the kids?

Or maybe they're afraid of a villainous Japanese Shredder offending a large cinema-going asian audience? I donno, if that's the case, you still have Hamato Yoshi (later Splinter, or in some iterations Splinter's old caretaker/master) to be a positive, heroic Japanese character. 

Or maybe I should just wash my hands of the whole thing and say "Well, Michael Bay's an idiot."

I just don't know

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Dad Said It...



"Oh yeah, that young Spock. Is he ever good... what's his name... Quintio Ferrignio or something."

Monday, June 17, 2013

"Man of Steel" Brings the Fight!

I saw Man of Steel on Friday! I'll simply offer my 5 word review - I really, REALLY liked it!


At first I was put off by many critics' frosty reception to the film - but having now seen it for myself, I don't know what I was worried about!

It appears Superman saw fit to bypass the professional critics as well. If the opening box office is any indication, average people like me are believing in the Man of Steel too.

Am I un-biased? No. Are you? I doubt it. We filter things differently. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for superheroes. I filter movies differently than many critics do, that's for sure. In that sense, they really didn't see the same film I did.

Anyway, I could attempt a point-by-point rebuttal to many of the criticisms pointed towards the film, but that really seems silly. You know what you like and what you don't like. Trying to talk someone into liking a film they didn't like to begin with? Where's the enjoyment in that? Trying to talk someone out of liking a film that they clearly do like? What's the point?

To the Man of Steel devotees and detractors on forums and messageboards - whether you loved it, hated it, or otherwise; the film is 2hrs & 23mins out of your life, please keep it in perspective.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DC vs Marvel at the Movies - Who Wins?

The movie Man of Steel is almost upon us, and I'm eagerly waiting with tickets in hand. I've been carefully navigating the comic book movie sites online, and while trying to avoid colliding with spoilers, I witness a lot of arguments about whether it's DC or Marvel that "wins" when it comes to the movies. Sometimes I have to roll my eyes...

Everything in pop culture is cyclical. A movie about Superman or Spider-man "wins" for the moment, and then, sooner or later, people get excited about something else. Then, Superman and Spider-man eventually come back.

If you're laughing at DC for not getting many movies out for their characters, just take a step back and remember that there was a time when Marvel basically had nothing going on movie-wise, apart from some dreadful direct-to-video releases.

The Christopher Reeve Superman, and later the Micheal Keaton Batman were the kings of superhero cinema for quite some time. Who's the "winner"? The argument seems a little silly. These images from Marvel's old "What The--?!" parody series provide some context for the whole debate;




Whether it's Marvel's fun and fantasy, or DC's complexity and emotional engagement that push the right buttons for you, does it have to turn into a flame war? Marvel (Disney) or DC (Warner Bros.) could change their approach to their respective movie franchises anyway. If you know what you like, (or even if you like both) can't we just leave it at that?

Few of us have any financial interest in Marvel or DC, so we don't "win" in that way... But if the competition brings us even better movies about the characters we grew up reading, then we all win!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Back to Vulcan!

A while ago I recounted my trip to Vulcan, Alberta where I got to experience Leonard Nimoy's visit to the community and take in the sights of the day. Well I visited the Star Trek themed town again this weekend for their annual Spock Days! It was my first time for the town's summer celebration and I snapped a few pics to share with ya... (click images to enlarge)

Upon first arriving, I could see the town's parade sailing down main street - headed by a "USS Vulcan" float that was actually kind of awesome. 


Yeah, someone should have told Captain Kirk about getting his Tribbles neutered!


Also of great note in the parade - the guests of honor for Spock Days 2013 - Star Trek Voyager's "The Doctor", Robert Picardo, and "Neelix", Ethan Phillips!


 Later there were some photo ops with both actors, held at the new "Trekcetera Museum" - which unfortunately did not open to the public as scheduled because it "wasn't quite perfect yet". Bah, just open it!


 

Later there was a garage sale at this church, and on the outside of the building I saw a bewildering sign. "Star Trek service"?

 Ok, I have to say something about this. What the heck, people! Besides just being lame, don't you know that this kind of junk diminishes both Star Trek, and more importantly, the things of the spirit? Ugh... Anyway...



A beautiful print depicting the Vulcan Enterprise monument.


I was pretty amazed by this sight! You never see a spread of comics like this in a grocery store any more! But there it was, right in the Market Street grocery. Comic fans visiting Vulcan, go get your titles here! Wow.


It's been a hard day's trekkin'. (Your captions welcome!)

 Anyway, I hope you go visit Vulcan, Alberta some time. Oh, and don't forget to stop in at the bakery, mmmm!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mr. Bean Schools Us All On Free Speech.

Anyone who considers free speech to be an important issue owes it to themselves to watch Rowan Atkinson's speech at the Reform Section 5 Parliamentary reception.



Brilliant words. The way to combat speech you find offense is with more speech, not less.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Thoughts on the Upcoming "Man of Steel"

Back some time ago, I added a Man of Steel version of Superman to my Springfield Punx blog and on that post I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to this film and that this could be the right movie at the right time. 

We'll see how it actually turns out, but having seen more interviews and trailers for this movie, (while trying to avoid spoilers) my anticipation has certainly increased.

I said in that post that I thought people are ready for a symbol of hope - and since then we've all seen the trailer where Superman is explaining to Lois that it's not an "S" on his chest, it's his world's symbol for hope. That's exactly the kind of stuff I was *hoping* to see!

We need some hope right now. For the past several years, the real world has been especially disheartening for a lot of people. Some of us are even afraid to go outside. The paycheck can't pull the weight it once could. Politicians reassure us about things they know are not true, and they go back on what they said they would do - or they expose how wrongheaded their plans were in the first place.

Preachers become more decadent as their teaching becomes shallower. Ratings-driven, polarized name-calling has replaced the desire to hash out the truth in rigorous debate. We've given up the whole idea of truth.

We sit back impatiently waiting for the other guy to do what we should be doing. We let ourselves down. We buy into the fashion of the day without asking "why?" We don't stand on anything, or for anything.

I want this movie to show me what really is so great about Superman, why he's an important symbol for today.

Superman puts no stock in focus groups or fashion. He doesn't take polls. He doesn't care about a bleeding heart politician's approval rating, or a defense contractor's stock numbers. He knows that truth and justice are not "to each his own" and arbitrary - but real things. He acts with certainty and with conviction. He knows that right is right and wrong is wrong, not because he gets to decide it, not because majority opinion or a UN panel decides it, but because it's something higher. He knows the pain of loss, but keeps moving anyway. He's unchanging, unflinching, compassionate resolve. He can't be bought and he can't be bent. He's not just strong, he's solid. He's a Man of Steel.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Do you spell it "clipart" or "clip art"?

Well, either way you spell it (I've seen it both ways), I've put up a blog featuring free clip art that I've made. You can click here to visit my Clip Art Hoard now and have a look!


BTW - From what I can tell, both spellings seem to be acceptable, with "clip art" being the more formal version.

Catch you later!


Saturday, May 11, 2013

How did I not see that before?!

I love thematic echoes in movies.

Something was brought to my attention in The Dark Knight. I had to create this image to show it...


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

5 Greatest Songs of the 90's



What are the 5 top songs of the 90's? I recently had this question posed to me and I had to think about it for a while. The 90's was an interesting decade for music - in a good way.

If I were to answer this question, I know I would be leaving out some great great music, but off the top of my head - and with the important caveat that I'm listing songs that most people have heard of - here are at least 5 of my favorite songs from the 90's;

5. Fastball's "The Way" is a neat song with a neat story, and it just makes you feel good.

4. Also, a wonderfully singable yet reflective and cathartic song to watch the candle burn out by (surrounded by friends of course) "Closing Time" by Semisonic.

3. Another favorite is Jars of Clay's haunting, driving, also very singable "Flood"

2. How could Haddaway's "What is Love?" not be on the list? Quintessentially early 90's, and irresistible! Try turning this one on and not have your shoulders start to bounce, and your lungs begin to belt out the chorus!

1. Lastly, Smashing Pumpkins' haunting "1979" will always flood me with wonderful and not so wonderful memories. I hardly know any of the lyrics, but the sound of it is indescribable. 1979 sounds so different from any other song I know of.

So what are your 5 Top Songs of the 90's?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Crazy CGI Pizza Lady Will Haunt You At Night

I had caught a bit of Jupiter Broadcasting's online show The Faux Show the other day. The episode was about pizza, and it featured a video of indescribably bizarre creepiness. Sear this into your eyeballs...

Monday, March 18, 2013

"The Big Bang Theory" - 4 Reasons Why I Don't Get The Love



Am I the only one who doesn't get the popularity of The Big Bang Theory? I've tried watching it at various times, I even drew versions of the characters for my Springfield Punx blog - but I don't get the love for it. I just can't get into it. As a whole, it seems... mediocre at best. Yet it's basically the highest rated show on TV!! How can this be?

Here are 4 Reasons for my confusion:

1. Boring Stereotypes. It's one thing that the show has a weird moral ambiguity, but the show also bores me very quickly. Okay. You're nerds. You want buxom girls, but you're socially awkward. We get it! How can this premise have lasted for... what, 6 seasons and counting?!

2. It's Patronizing. I did catch the Wil Wheaton episode, which admittedly was kinda fun; And hey, I'm a comic book fan, I'm supposed to like this show, aren't I? I like seeing the characters wear superhero costumes and I enjoy being able to gaze into the background of the comic store scenes and recognize the comics on the shelf. Unfortunately you can only do that for so long before you start to hear the dialogue! Sure, the show throws a bone to people who want to hear about scientific concepts and sci-fi continuity, but from what I've seen of the show, it largely treats those things as just shorthand for "I am a weird awkward guy and hard to communicate with." Nanu Nanu.

3. That Laughtrack. Now, I certainly understand the sentimentality of holding on to things we've enjoyed in the past, but the laughtrack is one of those things I'm definitely ready to part with - like, yesterday. I've grown up to know what is funny to me and what is not, can we take the nagging, laughtrack-training-wheels off already?!

Besides their cop shows, laughtrack sitcoms are pretty much CBS's bread and butter - and I don't watch any of them. Come to think of it, I watch only one show on CBS, the addictive Person of Interest. Nothing else on the network appeals to me - but CBS sure gets the ratings, so from a business standpoint - more power to 'em, I guess.

4. It's a Mile Long and an Inch Deep. If you enjoy The Big Bang Theory and want to watch it, that's certainly up to you. You might say, "Hey dude, it's just TV. It's probably best not to overthink it." True perhaps, but that's what bugs me most about the show.

Maybe people like The Big Bang Theory because it's "comfortably mediocre". It's easy, MSG flavored fast food for the brain. It's quick, it's not very complex, and it asks little of the audience. As far as I can see, it thinks little of the audience as well.

Even if I were to grant that it was a decently amusing show, is it really so head-and-shoulders above the other prime-time sitcoms on TV? Enough to warrant ratings that leave shows like NBC's Community in the dust? I don't get it.

Friday, March 1, 2013

My Kind of Satire!

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Monday, February 18, 2013

The First Family is Terrible

Is it just me, or are there a lot of White House themed shows popping up these days?


I was up to an unholy hour last night working on a project and had neglected to pull myself away to get up and change the channel on the TV. A show appeared on my screen that I had never laid eyes on before. By the look of the set and the Fresh-Prince-knock-off music, I could immediately deduce that this was a sitcom, and not a good one.

The show takes place pretty much entirely in the White House, and follows the hi-larious family life of the U.S. President. Beside his being black, the character's movement and style of speech peg him as an obvious Obama analogue - but with a thin goatee to offer a degree of plausible deniability.

 
His family is full of  "colorful characters", including his relatively normal tween-ish children, his I'm-a-strong-woman-and-you're-sure-gonna-know-it wife, and incidentally, Gladys Knight as an overly "urban" live-in grandma or aunt or... something, I don't know.
 
As I hear the back-and-forth dialogue between family members as they pose and pout for the camera, I can't help but think of the classic "Full House". The laugh-track (of course there's a laugh track) is a smidge more obnoxious than it needs to be, and often broke in with a confusing chours of laughs in response to dialogue I could not even identify as an attempt at a joke. I mean literally, the construction of the speech did not contain any discernible allowance for there to be a joke there. Yet there was the laugh track!

Apart from the President of the United States thing, The plotlines seem to be the tried and true sitcom fare. In the one episode, the President is invited by his daughter to "Bring Your Parent to School" day, where a number of her classmates (in an admittedly cute exchange) forgo the typical "what is your favorite color?" inquiries and ask the President some sophisticated questions about the economy and foreign relations - To which he provides the conventional "government-is-the-solution" soundbyte answers (if the previous Obama comparisons weren't enough). In usual sitcom fashion though, the President clumsily reveals to his daughter's classmate that she likes him. The obligatory "I'm angry with you daddy!" and "how could my husband do something so stupid!" scenes ensue. Spoiler - At the end they make up and hug! Wow!

The next episode (yep, they subjected the viewers to 3 episodes of this in a row) presented a dubious moral lesson. There's a reoccurring character in this show, a "comedic" foil to the President character, I think he's a Senator or something? - Forgive me, but it really seems like this character is supposed to be their "Scheming Rich White Republican Guy™" (don't worry, I consider both parties little more than a bunch of schemers) who wants to wiggle his way into the Presidency any way possible.

Anyway, this Senator guy is supposedly a ping pong master and in an attempt to embarrass him, challenges the President to a match, wagering 5 million dollars to the President's choice of charity. The President declines this offer (for a reason I'm not clear on) and after the Senator basically calls him a "chicken", the First Lady gives the President some odd speech about how when they were first dating, he would get so jealous and protective and she missed that "fire in his eyes".

The President is apparently inspired by this speech and agrees to this goofy match which takes place in the Oval Office. You see a zoom-in on the center of the table, with balls zooming past the camera, and then a few quick cuts of each man feverishly waving their paddles. The President wins the match - I guess. The Senator hands over a 5 mil check and that's basically the end.

Overall The First Family comes off like "The Fresh Prince of D.C." It is hilariously awful 100% All-American 1991-dated cheese... and you should see it for yourself if you can.