Friday, September 21, 2018

Film Friday: I Still Miss Tony Scott

The talented director Tony Scott killed himself via jumping off a bridge in 2012. It was later revealed by his family (such as older brother who also makes films, Ridley Scott) that he had been battling a cancer diagnosis that one must assume had become terminal. I was sad when Tony Scott passed and still miss him, because he made some damn good films. I mean, besides his classics like, "Top Gun," or, "True Romance," two of my favorite films by him were actually ones that got middling reviews or were outright hated by critics. Those are the moderate success, "Man on Fire," and the absolute flop-that-I-think-is-a-masterpiece, "Domino."

Tony Scott's filming-style was often one of quick-cuts, unique film-filters, and interesting little bits of music, imagery, and the like. When you were watching a movie by Tony Scott you knew you were watching a movie, because things would always happen that didn't so much pull you out of the experience as supplement it. When Denzel Washington tells someone in, "Man on Fire," they only have a certain amount of time before an explosion goes off that will kill them, we see the timer pop-up on the screen at certain moments, almost a briefly-lived character itself, jumping and dancing around the screen in a 4th-wall-breaking-style. The way, "Domino," seems to enjoy going off on tangents about different characters, show us scenes that it later turns out never happened, and otherwise make the flick itself as an unreliable narrator as main character Domino Harvey herself is astounding and disorienting--but in all the right ways. The only other director who I feel comes close to Scott might be Michael Mann, with his, "Collateral," or the film-version of, "Miami Vice," he did somewhat lining-up with the genius of Scott if not completely matching it. I'm also of course glad Mann is still alive too, but he's no Tony Scott.
Tony Scott was a master of set-pieces. He'd have little extreme moments occur all leading-up to astounding and over-the-top mayhem that almost could feel like too much, but those small bits of pushing-the-envelope would help you be prepared for something as insane as the non-stop gunfire and explosions in a Vegas Hotel that serve as the wild climax of, "Domino." "Man on Fire," is not quite as prone to random tangents or weirdness as, "Domino," which is probably why I enjoy it a great deal and love it, but absolutely adore, "Dominio," a bit more. "Domino," is sloppy, confusing, and just as soon as it scratches the surface of one idea (Domino and her team of bounty hunters agree to do a reality show with a producer played by Christopher Walken) it moves on to the next crazy bit.

There is an exuberance in so many of Scott's films, be they old classics like, "Top Gun," or the modern masterpiece, "Domino," that I feel many of today's filmmakers lack. For example, Christopher Nolan makes some of the best movies around, but when I watch, "Inception," I don't get much of a vibe that he's having fun, whereas with Scott's works I can practically hear him in my ear going, "Hey, isn't this cool?" Tony Scott's life sadly ended in 2012, but he left behind some damn good movies (and T.V.) work for us to remember him by. I still miss him though.

I Called Numerous Comic-Book Shops Today and Asked About Batman's Penis

I called many comic-book shops today and asked them about Batman's penis. No, I did not do this as part of a prank, or to get a raunchy thrill. I did this because the first issue of, "Batman: Damned," was released Wednesday and has, ever-so-slightly illustrated, the penis of Bruce Wayne (in a few of the comic's panels). "Batman: Damned," is part of a new line I've talked about before, DC's alternate-reality, "Black Label," books that are geared toward grown-up readers who can handle unedited swear words and apparently witnessing Batman's penis. It's kind of like Marvel Max and Elseworlds combined, I guess. Anyways, the book is out, seems to be pretty good, and in the print version lets us observe what kind of weaponry Batman is packing below his utility-belt, if just barely. The book also is really hot for a couple reasons.

Apparently the digital version of, "Batman: Damned," hides Bruce Wayne's member in further shadows than it already is drawn in, and all future printings in both single-issue form or trade paperback will have the genitals obscured this way. This is kind of silly considering how often comics have barely-clothed or completely-undressed female characters, but I guess it is up to DC to portray Batman as naked or dressed-up as they desire. Therefore, if you really want even a glimpse of Batman's penis you need to hurry to a comic-shop as the book is now selling-out and going for well above cover-price on eBay. I wanted to acquire a copy of the comic, so I had to call a variety of comic-shops and ask if they had, "The new Batman comic where we see his penis," because simply stating the title alone didn't help considering how many countless Batman series there are (but if I specified I was after that book, stores knew right away what I was talking about). Finally I found a shop that had some books left and look forward to picking up an issue in the near future when I'm able to run to the store--they were kind enough to hold onto a copy for me. 
To their credit, the shops were all very tickled about how popular the book has become and some would even joke about how, "We've seen Batman's dick for years," in reference to his longtime sidekick, Dick Grayson, which is kind of a funny joke the first time you hear it but gets old the 5th time you listen to it or read it. I'm just pleased I get to own this notable comic, the first time we see Batman's penis (outside of non-DC-authorized works such as fan-art and porn-parodies), and I'll proudly display it with my other special books. Yes, between my first-print copy of the death of Captain America and the first solo Moon Knight story in, "Marvel Spotlight," will be, "Batman: Damned," #1, the first (official) comic-appearance of the Bat-wang!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Disney Might Have Streamable Shows of Marvel-Movie Characters. I Know One Show We Absolutely Need...

If you follow pop-culture news much you probably are aware that Disney is planning some kind of streaming service they want to launch in the near future to compete with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and all the smaller-name ones. In one effort to draw subscribers they might make short mini-series featuring characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe doing in-continuity-to-the-film shows. Now, the, "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," show and the Netflix shows with the, "Defenders," characters kinda-sorta take place in the same Universe as the movies, but we all know fully well that even if those shows draw from the flicks, the opposite ain't true. Actual ingrained-in-the-MCU continuity shows might really appeal to folk, especially if the rumors of ones starring Tom Hiddleston's Loki or Elizabeth Olson's Scarlet Witch come true. The thing is, I know one MCU character who barely gets respect and has the perfect story to base his show on. Yes, I'm talking about Hawkeye!

Jeremy Renner is kind of like Hawkeye. He does a lot of thankless work, whether it is failing to start a spin-off of the, "Bourne," franchise, failing to match-up well with Tom Cruise's character in the, "Mission Impossible," series, or playing everyone's least-favorite Avenger, Hawkeye. Renner/Hawkeye had basically a weak cameo in, "Thor," was brainwashed for much of, "Avengers," and finally got an ounce of respect in, "Age of Ultron," but then mostly went back to being forgotten again. Not too long ago Matt Fraction had a stellar comic series about Hawkeye (that in many issues featured illustrations by the stellar David Aja). It had him living in a building complex threatened by gangsters, hanging out with a dog who loved pizza, and was quirky, action-packed, and highly enjoyable. A MCU-series starring Renner as Hakweye would be perfect for this. It wouldn't need too big of a budget, could have the trademark humor of the MCU, and would actually give Renner/Hawkeye something to do in the MCU.
Depending on how much of a role (if any) Hawkeye will play in, "Avengers 4/whatever it ends up being titled," I would love to see this classic comic story adapted to a a short streamable series. Tweaks from the source material could be made, like having Hawkeye's family move-out from the countryside to NYC (as opposed to how he lacks the same thing in the comics) and his protege Kate Bishop could be introduced or not utilized as warranted by the script. Still, just drawing even a little bit from Matt Fraction's masterful run on, "Hawkeye," would be better than how the character has basically been treated ever since the inception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Breaking The Story: Sex-Work Thrives on Letgo of All Places

Welcome to my new occasional segment I've titled, "Breaking the Story." It is where I make a post discussing a subject I have noticed/become aware of but found little-to-no coverage of in the news/in social media, etc. Today, we cover how sex-work seems to be thriving on the app, "Letgo."

I am surprised I have not seen more news about something, so I wanted to discuss it. Namely, there is a ton of sex-work going on via, "Letgo." I first noticed this when I was traveling with my wife to my cousin's wedding some weeks ago because whenever we stopped in cities I would check, "Letgo," for fun to see if anybody was selling comics, Funko Pops, etc. nearby. I didn't plan to buy any, but I enjoy seeing what's popular in various places. It was at this time I noticed on Letgo how with its recent-ish addition of, "Services," that I saw a listing for, "Cleaning," that pictured a woman posing somewhat suggestively--e.g. fully clothed but making a duck-face and with a low-cut top that prominently featured her, "Mammary glands," as they are medically known. I thought it kind of funny. Then it made me think, "There might be a story here."
Let's rewind to earlier this year when Craigslist got rid of its longtime, "Personals" feature that had allowed many adults to meet each other for adult encounters (AKA genital-stuff). It also was often used to facilitate sex-work. This led to how a lot of sex-trafficking was happening through the website, which is of course terrible. However, there were people who were breaking the law engaging in sex-work, but of their own volition--e.g. a person selling their company on their own. Now, the idea of sex-work is rife with lots of moral, political, and religious objections, with it only legalized in a very few areas of the United States (like a chunk of Nevada). Still, despite it being illegal many people worked to make a living through being an escort/doing sex-work. Once Craigslist shut that down, it affected a good deal of these people. Where would they go? Various websites and apps, with Letgo apparently being one.

Upon my realizing something interesting was happening here, I made new account with Letgo besides my actual one to do some research and started changing my location to cities and areas all over the United States where I found plenty of women (I only ever found women, no men advertising the same with suggestive poses) offering services ranging from, "Cleaning," to, "Data Entry," to other random tasks, but instead of the pictures featuring them actually doing these things, it was just images of them in makeup and slightly-revealing clothing. Nothing raunchy enough to immediately make you think anything was up...but something clearly was up. "Perhaps this is all a big misunderstanding," I thought, "It's possible they just posted a random selfie and truly want to clean stuff." Then I put-on my techie-hat and proceeded to look various people up through other social media and websites who were on Letgo.
Plenty of, "Cleaning services," sported a logo like this one,
but some had interesting pictures...
Some were indeed cleaners and maybe just wanted to look nice for their pic, some even had a website. One woman who advertised how she could do, "Roof Maintenance" of all things actually did have a lot of pics besides her, "Selfie," featuring her in full safety-gear swinging a sledgehammer in assorted attics. However, then I found people who advertised cleaning but also had Facebook profiles or websites that showed they engaged in adult modeling, stripping, or massage-services that didn't seem like the officially licensed kind. Now, I imagine someone who strips during the night might very well have a cleaning service during the day, but if that's the case it is interesting they use an image that shows off their bodily, "Assets."

I have not shown any pictures of these listings or said names of the women in various locations as I don't want to draw unwanted attention or harassment to towards them. I have not moral objection to if consenting adults want to have sex, are safe, and it is their own business if they want provide funds for it. I do just worry about the safety of these people forced to operate under synonyms and using coded-language on apps so as to avoid getting arrested. These women have no clue what they are in store for when they go to, "Clean," someone's house and that can put them in great danger. It's no coincidence that the way the U.S. criminalizes sex-work makes any attacked sex-workers afraid to report their assault. In countries that have legalized individuals performing sex-work (but still of course work to prevent trafficking or abuse) the statistics of sex-workers being assaulted or killed have dropped dramatically. Meanwhile, outside of some select regions in the United States people have to sell, "Cleaning services," if they want to engage in sex-work.
A protest sign in favor of sex-work that differentiates it from trafficking.
Considering how much the media loves saucy stories about sex and sex-work I am genuinely shocked to find basically nobody has written about this. I mean, "App created to unload junk also used for selling sex," is an attention-grabbing headline for sure. Now, Letgo obviously wouldn't allow anyone to engage in sex-work on the app, and all of these women can claim they truly were just offering cleaning-services, light yard-work, and so forth if ever confronted by Letgo about it. Still, for those who are engaging in sex-work willingly with nobody forcing them to do so I offer no judgement, just concern for safety. To summarize all this though, who would've thought an app we use to try and find or sell used televisions or such for cheap would also be full of sex-workers?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Rant-Reviews: #1 Issue Fun!

More First Issues!
I enjoy when I discuss comics that have been running for awhile, but I know readers like my discussion of #1 issues as it helps them know if a book is worth jumping-on at the start. We of course know you can't always judge a book by its first issue (or a show by its pilot, etc.), but it gives us a solid foundation to at least know what we're getting into. With that in mind, let's review some debut issues of comics!

Starting at the Beginning (Obviously)
Cemetery Beach #1
A new series from writer Warren Ellis and artist Jason Howard, who have worked together on, "Trees," for publisher Image as well (they claim more issues of that will eventually come-out) and if that is a mostly slow-moving and plot-filled series, this is like the polar opposite of that. We open with some exposition via a man captured in a strange prison we are told is on a planet discovered in the 1920's when rich folk discovered a way to colonize other worlds. We get that sprinkling of story that he's here to report on it for the original Earth and then he escapes--the rest of the issue is basically balls-to-the-wall action full of gunfire, explosions, and the like. It's a solid first issue but I actually wouldn't have minded more story-content before everything turned to blood-and-bullets. Ellis and Howard make a solid team however and I imagine as future issues are released more will be explained. As it is now, not a bad start.
3 out of 5 stars.

Border Town #1
One of the first books to come out from the reborn/rebooted Vertigo line at DC, "Border Town," has some amazing art by Ramon Villalobos and some solid--if at times slightly clunky--writing from Eric Squivel. It is about a young teen forced to move to Arizona and has to deal with ignorance and the emergence of supernatural forces in the area. Squivel sets-up a fascinating story but sometimes the characters seem to talk in ways that just don't sound natural. Someone will start-up with a weird monologue that sounds more like an essay than speech (making a good point, but still just sounding weird), or just odd little things like that. Still, Villalobos' art always is just stupendous and the majority of the comic is highly enjoyable. It's well worth a read and hopefully a good sign of what's to come from the newly-revitalized Vertigo line.
4 out of 5 stars.

Rags #1
A new book from Antarctic Press, I was sadly really underwhelmed by it. Solicitations made it sound as if the book would be a mixture of saucy artwork and zombies, but while there is some of that, the book is just sunk by how horribly unlikable all the characters are and the lack of much of any plot. Our protagonist, Rags (a nickname) is mean, cruel, and unpleasant. Some survivors she runs into are almost all awful, a flashback of how Rags lost a fiance who also was a jerk feels like it  could've kicked-off the book instead of for some reason being at the end of the issue. Also, the general story is just a bland, "Zombies have ruined everything and we need to fight to survive," that has been done countless times over and either needs some really good scripting to work or else it'll seem dull and fall flat--this ain't no, "The Walking Dead." It's a shame as the art is solid and the colorist uses an interesting mixture of black-and-white with hints of color to give everything a neat appearance. Besides looking decent however this was a pretty unpleasant experience of a book to read.
2 out of 5 stars.

Plush #1
Another book from Antarctic Press, but this one I liked a lot more. Written and illustrated by Holly Daughtrey, it is a sweet little comic about a crafter of plush dolls named Carrie who makes a living creating cute plush figures but is pretty depressed a lonely. Through an undetermined magic one of her plush dolls comes to life and it makes her happy--after she is naturally suspicious at first. The comic is drawn in a cute manga-style and has a pleasant feel-good story to it that I enjoyed reading. I'm curious to see how Carrie will handle keeping her unique new, "Pet," a secret and will eagerly pick-up the next issue!
4 out of 5 stars.

Poser #1
Waxwork Records is a company dedicated usually more-so to records (hence the name) and music-related items, but they've been putting-out some comics now that generally (understandably) have music as a a big element to the stories. That trend continues with, "Poser," a horror yarn about a brutal murderer from the 1980's known as, "Poser," who has become an urban legend of sorts. After a prologue set in the past introducing us to the story, we jump to the present to see some 20-somethings dealing with the usual drama of life before it becomes apparent that the, "Poser," may very well have returned to kill and terrify everyone. It's a sufficiently brutal and scary horror comic that more than accomplishes its goal of being both reminiscent of 1980's horror movies (the Poser has a look straight-out of that era of monster-flicks) while adding-on a modern element with the politics and technology of today. It was some great stuff and any fans of horror as well as the musical arts are sure to enjoy it.
4 out of 5 stars.

Crowded #1
Another Image title, this is a comic with a killer concept but which seems a little unsure what exactly to do with it. Its the near-future and basically everything is crowdsourced or sold as a service now--not too far from the kind of world we are living today. People use apps to hitch rides, rent their car out, walk dogs, buy an hour of someone's time just to hang-out (not for anything raunchy), get a tutor, be a bodyguard, and take out a hit on someone--yes, you read that last one right. That is what brings us to the point of our story, as a young woman named Carried suddenly finds a lot of people have contributed to fund to have her assassinated. This results in her seeking-out a bodyguard  named Viv who needs to protect her for a month before the app has the contract on her life expire. It's a dark concept presented in a humorous manner but a twist at the end of the issue was a little predictable for me--Carrie put out the hit on herself in the app to see who would pledge funds they'd contribute if she got killed, that way she knows who she can't trust anymore in life.

The thing that makes this twist just barely work for me is that Carrie seems surprised just how many people hate her. The entire apartment complex she lives in, every single so-called friend, random folk she's aggravated. The extra twist-to-the-twist is kind of fun though, and the bodyguard character Viv seems to have a lot of interesting aspects to her even if Carrie just seems kind of evil. It's a decent plot to accompany a very clever idea for a world like ours but a little bit more, "Wrong." I'm intrigued enough to at least give the second issue a look-over.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Last in Firsts
There you go, an assortment of new first issues that ranged in quality from impressive to underwhelming. I hope I inspired you to try a new comic-series or two out because after all, if only the first issue of a book is out you can easily start reading it!

Monday, September 17, 2018

The First Teaser Image for the Standalone "Joker," Movie with Joaquin Phoenix is Out. I Have Opinions

Alright, so DC's cinematic Universe is currently a mess right now--"Wonder Woman" aside. DC had previously said they would have movies starring characters that didn't necessarily relate to the main movie-verse, but were instead standalone flicks. One of those was a supposed origin story for the Joker. The main gimmick of the Joker of course is that he doesn't necessarily have an origin story. He has many origins. Maybe he was a struggling stand-up comedian who just had one really bad day that drove him insane. Perhaps he was a gangster who used a, "Red Hood," identity until he was disfigured and became the Joker. He could be a man whose wife was murdered by mobsters. Heck, maybe his name was even, "Jack Napier." We don't know because he is as unreliable a narrator as any, with whatever yarn he turns to explain his background being just as likely a falsehood as true--something Heath Ledger used to clever effect with his, "Do you want to know how I got these scars?" monologues in, "The Dark Knight." This all makes me hesitant to see a, "Joker," film or whatever title it gets. Then this picture of Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck AKA a pre-Joker version of the Joker comes out on the Instagram of the film's director , Todd Phillips, and I have both reservations and maybe this weird feeling that I believe is a glimmer of hope?

Just look at that picture up there. Phoenix is giving us the look of someone who seems relatively calm, but clearly has some rage bubbling away deep inside. With a quick glance the image is mostly unassuming, but look at the eyes and mouth. There is something in there, something dark and twisted just waiting to get out, and Phoenix is a gifted enough actor he just may be able to pull this off. Still, there is the problem of how the Joker isn't supposed to have just one origin. Perhaps the movie can make this work and we'll see a story that is purposely littered with contradictions, logical missteps, and the like, hinting that whatever tale we're seeing maybe is being told by someone who can't be trusted--the movie could even open with Phoenix-as-Joker saying he's going to tell us his story, and then be almost like an anthology with a few short vignettes all differing in how Arthur Fleck becomes the Joker, but that seems almost too easy a way to do the movie.
Many people consider, "The Killing Joke," a definitive origin story,
but even DC has said it isn't necessarily the cannon background of the Joker. 

"Joker," has a lot stacked against it, but also by being fee of the Cinematic Universe baggage that allows Todd Phillips to go in all kinds of zany and weird directions that are perfectly suited for an actor like Phoenix, who will readily admit to being zany and weird himself. This movie could be an absolute abomination or turn-out to be amazing. I'm ready for it to suck, but still have that tiny bit of hope in me that not even the greater number of crappy-than-good DC films can snuff-out. I am wondering who will be playing Batman if the character gets an appearance though.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

That Upcoming, "The Vision," Comic is Suddenly Cancelled and I'm Quite Perturbed

Chelsea Cain is a writer who was behind one of my favorite comics that was sadly cancelled back in 2016, "Mockingbird." It had been announced she would be writing a new comic with Marc Mohan focused on The Vision and his daughter, Viv. It was announced as a sequel of sorts to the stellar Tom King-written, "The Vision," with the exact same name as that series--e.g. just the titular character's name. It was to have some stellar-looking art by Aud Koch, and the original colorist for the first series, Jordie Bellaire, would be back too. I was very, very excited. Then, I saw on of all possible places, Bleedingcool, how Cain tweeted the book was suddenly axed. Four of the six issues were already done and turned-in to Marvel, and the company just decided it had other plans for The Vision as well as Viv and there went, "The Vision," comic. Other news outlets have reported on this now, expressing just as much confusion and sadness as everyone else.

I'm not pleased, in fact I'm quite perturbed. Marvel hired this talented bunch of people, let them get 2/3 done with the series, and then decided, "Nah, we have other plans for these characters," and shoved the completed issues in a metaphorical drawer to possibly never be seen again (its a metaphorical drawer as I imagine much of the stuff is digital, as a lot of comic-work is these days). I mean, everyone got paid so Marvel isn't necessarily screwing-over anyone besides us readers who were excited to read the series, but come on ya'all, maybe just let the team finish the series and release it as some kind of extended, "What-if," book should you really want to take the characters in a different direction? That way we can at least all read the damn thing! Oh well, at least I can look forward to Cain's upcoming Image series, "Man-Eaters," which actually has the art done by her, "Mockingbird," collaborator, Kate Niemczyk.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Film Friday: "The Predator"

First off, be warned I spoil much of the movie. That said, have you ever seen a film that has an assortment of cool little moments but the overall product just doesn't quite jell together? Yeah, that's the newest entry in Predator-related films, this one simply titled, "The Predator." It has lots of loud and dumb fun bits, but once it is done the more you try to sit-back and examine the overall plot the more it just doesn't make sense. We get cool scenes of fighting but the movie seems to rush around so much and introduce ideas that it never follows-up on that besides some good action and funny jokes we have a mess of a plot. To illustrate this I'll rattle off stuff that comes right to my mind without even much effort.

Here are some plot issues I can list without even considering it much: There is a Predator that came to Earth to help us fight the Predators, in theory, but it just kills a bunch of humans even though it brought us a gift we have revealed at the end. The U.S. Government's secret program recruits a doctor (played by Olivia Munn) to help with their program, reveals a lot to her, then wants to kill her once a captured Predator escapes for no clear reason she needs to die instead of helping track it down. Why is Sterling K. Brown's character so evil and what point does the secret, "Stargazer," program serve? How does a little kid solve the mystery of the Predator technology that no one else has--and why is his autism/being on the spectrum considered an, "Evolution," that makes a Predator want to kidnap him--is he a savant too or is his just being autistic appealing to Predators for some reason? What was the point of the whole sub-plot about Predators stealing DNA from around the galaxy to make themselves bigger and more dangerous as the movie mentions but then kinda skims right past that, saying it also is for adapting to a hot Earth once humanity wipes itself out with global warming--a point expressed with a metaphor about when Hostess went out of business and Twinkies could not be bought for a bit (yes, really)? The whole story is a mess, and hearing the last-third of the movie had to be reshot just makes me wonder how even worse it must have been.
As that big chunk of writing illustrates, this movie makes little sense. I still liked it though, because the parts with fighting, jokes, and explosions were fun. I just feel like for a movie that is almost 2 hours long it really rushes through a bunch and could have greatly expanded a bunch of scenes while also cutting a whole Hell of a lot of stuff to be a ton better. This review from Vox summarizes how the haphazard editing is probably the biggest thing to blame, also mentioning how the movie has a big cloud over it with the controversy of director Shane Black hiring a friend who is a convicted sex offender for a role, without telling anyone about his offender-status. That was a stupid move, and the press from all now threatens to overshadow anything positive or negative about, "The Predator," which despite my issues with the actual plot, has a chunk of stuff to recommend.

The chemistry of the cast (besides the emotionless lead character played by Boyd Holbrook) is stellar when they are all just hanging-out making quips or debating how, "The Predator," should really be called, "The Hunter." Lots of the jokes do land and gave me a chuckle here-and-there, plus some awesome special effects and big ol' explosions are always appreciated. Still though, the last third is a slog, the ending is an utter mess that wants to set-up a sequel with its, "Predator Killer," suit, and the editing is more messy than one can believe--and the whole, "Autistic people are the next step in evolution," is just a weird concept that if anything makes autism seem more, "Weird," than how it is simply something many people have and function perfectly fine with--not a gift or a curse.
"The Predator," is a huge mess, but an enjoyable one. It truly feels like a mixture of fun vignettes that someone tried to staple together into a cohesive movie--and horribly failed at attempting. There is enough in the movie to recommend to fans of Predator flicks or folk who enjoy big & dumb action movies, but I can't help feeling this could have a been a lot better. As it is though, I liked, "The Predator," even if it clearly could have been so much more than the flimsy sum of its parts. At least it is better than, "Predators," but that's not exactly a big challenge.
3 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Heroes Never Die...but Their Contract Can End AKA Shake-Up with DC Movies

I'm going to start this post with a digression--and yes, I know starting any article or story in that fashion is a great way to lose readers, but I'm feeling frisky today so let's do this. Anyways, in the video-game, "Overwatch," there is a healer character named, "Mercy." I haven't played the game in forever and understand they changed it, but she used to have an, "Ultimate," ability that would resurrect all recently-deceased teammates within a certain radius. This was an incredibly useful power to have and could turn the tide of a losing battle. Upon using this power, the character would automatically often exclaim, "Heroes never die!"

The statement, "Heroes never die," has a lot of truth to it. After all, so many of our comic-book superheroes have died but come back, or even if their books are cancelled they live-on forever in our memories. The problem with putting super-heroes to film however is that the human actors who can portray them are flesh-and-blood and things can go horribly wrong. Heroes never die, but their contract can end, in other words.
Cavill's been wearing a lip-warmer AKA moustache lately.
Now we are at the main point of my article, third paragraph in, and if you're still here with me I thank you. Anyways, Henry Cavill is (most likely) done being Superman in the DC-related movies and Ben Affleck seems to be 100% done as Batman if a variety of reports that emerged yesterday are to be believed. The Cavill news seems more confirmed and the Affleck news has less solid proof, but considering how much trouble has plagued that, "The Batman," movie Affleck was supposed to direct and star in, then just star in, and now is possibly not in at all...I expect an official press release from DC/Warner Brothers, "Wishing him well with other endeavors," pretty soon. Yeah, I'd bet good money, "Justice League," was the last we'll see of those two guys as these heroes.

Weird Instagram videos from Cavill aside that raise more questions than answers, this all seems pretty clear-cut. DC and Warner Brothers need to basically reset or ignore this, "DC Cinematic Universe," and focus on either starting-over a lot of it while keeping the few elements that work (hey there, "Wonder Woman,") or just drop this whole, "Universe," idea and make individual movies about the characters that maybe kinda-sorta relate to each other but could also just be their own thing. Right now the only cinematic universes with any success are Marvel's and weirdly enough anything loosely related to, "The Conjuring," which I didn't even realize had a so-called universe till someone told me that new movie about an evil nun related to the other flicks with ghosts and murderous dolls--go figure, I guess?
The upcoming movie with Wonder Woman is the only one that seems to be, "Sure thing," right now.
Warner Brothers and DC don't need to save this extended universe, as some offered opinions about doing (although the idea of a Michael B. Jordan-portrayed Superman does get me all tingly). They just need to focus on making movies people actually want to see and which aren't plagued by tonal issues, poorly-hidden infighting among the production staff, or otherwise dull. In other words, just hire Patty Jenkins after she finishes, "Wonder Woman 1984," to at least have a hand-in all of your DC films as a producer or line-vision-organizer if you insist on having a cinematic universe of some sort. Right now everything seems to be in shambles besides some positive buzz for the upcoming, "Aquaman," flick and how, "Shazam," looks to at least be good fun. Anything after those and the newest Wonder Woman-starring film however seems to be one big question mark like the kind The Riddler is so fond of--and if Affleck is truly done as Batman we won't be seeing him solve that anytime soon...God, that was a weak way to end this article, I'm sorry. I start with a digression and end with a cheesy allusion to the comics, I really am lucky to have any readers.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Nicki Minaj and Cardi B Are Feuding and I'm Just Saddened by the Whole Thing

I have a question: Why can't we have two super-successful women in rap without some kind of feud or fight erupting? Male rappers of course will at times have, "Beef," and it can end very tragically or seem really, really stupid. Often male rappers will get along just fine however, being friends and collaborating a bunch. Yet, it seems like there can only ever be one big-time female rapper and if any others emerge people act like we need a fight to the death (of a career at least) to determine who is, "Better." I mean, for so long we had the reign of Lil' Kim as the big-name, "Bad Bitch," before Nicki Minaj came along and stole that crown. Then, Cardi B--who had been underground and struggling for a long time--was able to break-out onto the mainstream scene, and ever since then there has been an effort to construe her and Nicki as foes. Well, I guess folk got what they wanted.

Apparently at a big New York City Fashion Event there was allegedly a comment made by Nicki Minaj to Cardi B about how good or bad of a mother Cardi is. This resulted in a shoe apparently being thrown and Cardi rushing at Nicki in the hopes of--as the kids today say--"Fucking her up." Both women had their security intervene however and Cardi B was rushed-out by her team. Reading the whole sad saga about how we got here is whatever the opposite of, "Fun," would be, and I'm just depressed about all this. The whole thing seems to be a mixture of other folk trying to turn these women against each other, the ladies themselves feeling their success is threatened by another talent, and of course a good dose of everyone's ego making them eager to say, "Come at me," to anyone who questions their skill/success.
My thoughts on Nicki Minaj's music.
I'm not really a fan of either woman, I always say Lil' Kim did so much of this first and did it better. That said, I don't like any songs by Nicki and find when I've read articles about her or seen shows/interviews she's done she seems relatively unpleasant while meanwhile Cardi B has at least one song I enjoy and appears to be one of the most energetic, funny, and peppy people around. That said, it shouldn't matter if I like one of these women more than the other, they should both be able to have success and enjoy stardom without having to feud and fight. They are mad at each other though, so expect plenty of press about that and in the ultimate twist this will probably only help both of them to get more sales/streams, promotional deals, and the like.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Television Tuesday: It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is Back and Hilarious as Usual

The gang is all here...mostly.
Last Wednesday was the season 13 premiere of, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." I loved it, and have seen some positive reviews too. Since the seeming departure of Dennis at the end of last season the gang has found a new member, Cindy. Gamely played by Mindy Kaling, the gang remarks how she is a lot like Dennis, but not as much of a jerk--"She's just the right amount of asshole." Cindy also is much smarter and more capable than the gang normally is, having some legitimately clever plans to take-down those who stand in the way of the gangs never-ending desire to make money easily/"Get rich quick," and be liked. The episode has just the right mixture of awareness about how long the show has been going (but unlike some shows that get meta, maintains being funny whilst doing so) and seems to introduce a bunch of new elements (with Dennis still sort-of present in the form of a creepy sex doll Mac bought online that resembles the gang's departed member), before at the episode's end (spoiler) Dennis in fact returns, asking everyone not make a big deal of it.

At the moment Dennis wants back in, Nancy points out if they welcome Dennis' return they will continue to be stuck in their rut of misery...and the gang chooses that, because as 12 previous seasons have show us, these people are weirdly stuck with each other. It may be for the best, as those rare occasions the gang has separated itself out we have seen just how much trouble they are capable of causing without each other to hold themselves back (or that bittersweet episode when it seemed like Charlie and Dee could maybe be a couple if it weren't for how the gang is). The season 13 premiere is hilarious, insightful, and shows that even if a program has been going for a long time it still can manage to be the right mixture of fresh as well as clever in acknowledging the past. I'll be tuning in every Wednesday at 10PM Eastern/9PM Central on FXX for sure (or watching an episode on DVR when able, you know how life gets).
5 out of 5 stars (for the first episode of season 13).

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Super Museum in Metropolis Was Delightful!

Clarkson, Samii, and myself!
On our way back from my cousin's wedding in Huntsville, Alabama, we drove through Metropolis, Illinois. Home to, "The Super Museum," we knew we wanted to stop and check it out. There is a massive gift shop packed with Superman-related items and a museum that has the most Superman memorabilia of anywhere in the world. It was $5 per person with kids 5 years old and under free. We paid $10 and walked through the really cool exhibit.
Tracing the history of Superman from his earliest appearances in comic-books, to the television shows, movies, cartoons, and the countless tie-in merchandise, there was a ton on display. Everything from rare foreign toys, to a record player...
 to Funko Pops...
artwork as well as outfits...
and more! There was even rare props like the actual wigs Christopher Reeve wore for his shooting of, "Superman," and they looked neat...
Also, the life-size Doomsday on display was imposing and impressive...
We were also both amused and astonished by the display of the, "Unofficial/bootleg," Superman products that other companies had made and put-out without any kind of approval from DC. Those Superman items were as weird as they were interesting...
All-in-all it was a great pit-stop and incredibly fun to visit The Super Museum. We enjoyed walking-through and then purchasing some souvenirs from the gift-shop. I'd encourage anyone with the opportunity to stop in Metropolis to do so!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Saint Louis Micro Con is in a Week!

The latest STL Micro Con put on by STL Comics is now just a week away! It is on September 16th at the Holiday Inn found at 3400 Rider Trail South. As with previous Micro Cons, it will have a variety of vendors and artists. It is also free to attend with parking having no fee as well so you'll be able to put all your funds towards buying cool stuff! I always enjoy spending some time at the Micro Cons done by STL Comics and am excited to attend. I would encourage anyone else thinking of going to do so for sure, and I'll see you there!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

I Had Great Fun at my Cousin's Wedding Today!

Brenna and Josh entering for the reception after the wedding!
I attended the wedding of my cousin, Brenna, to her now-husband, Josh, today. It took place in Huntsville, Alabama, where they met, and it was a great time. We were in a cool big event hall at the EarlyWorks Museum. When we arrived were entered through the children's museum area and our son, Clarkson, had fun playing with the stuffed dogs in an exhibit about various famous pooches. We then were seated  in the event-space and the wedding began.

It was a lovely ceremony that talked about the importance of a couple being there for each other, featured a poem on love by the writer Rumi, and featured them exchanging sweet vows as well. After the ceremony everyone was given bubbles to blow as the wedding party walked by, which looked really pretty. There was a cocktail hour with some tasty appetizers too. Dinner was delicious with an assortment of foods from chicken tenders, to shrimp & grits, and vegetarian options. The wedding cake was a tasty almond flavor with coconut too, and they cut the cake with a replica of Link's Master Sword from, "Legend of Zelda!"
A photo of our photos!
One other thing that really impressed me was the photo booth done by the company, "Sigh Photo Booth." Run by the company's President, Sean Sigh, who was there at the event too in order to assist with everything, it was rad. I've been to a number of wedding that usually have some kind of photo-booth and this was by far the most impressive one I'd ever seen. As opposed to your usual makeshift looking ones this was really cool. It was like a mini inflatable room, or as my wife put it, "This looks like an upside-down bounce-house!" It also would change colors, which was neat. Within it there was a cool big screen that told you where to look and took the pictures, that then printed. There was also a big-screen by the booth doing a slide-show of all the photos people had taken! I'd encourage anyone in the Huntsville region to use them and if Sigh would ever be willing to rent a booth out for us for at an event in Saint Louis I'd for sure get one!

Samii, Clarkson, and I had a wonderful time at the wedding of Brenna and Josh today! Between the heart-touching ceremony, tasty food, exciting music, and awesome photo booth it was a fun event and we were so happy to be there for my cousin's special day. We also found Huntsville really neat too and hope to maybe take a trip here again sometime to explore the sights. All-in-all a great day.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Fortnite's New, "The Getaway," Mode Reminds Me How Much I Suck at Teamwork

I've discussed, "Fortnite," and my affinity for the game before. I enjoy playing it on my PS4, running around trying to accomplish various fun, "Challenges," and seeing if I can survive against 99 other players to be the sole survivor. The way it is consistently updated with new map additions, weaponry, and other fun doo-dads keeps things fresh. At some points limited-time modes will occur. There was the, "Thanos," event that was moderately fun, and now, "The Getaway," has started. Not to be confused with the underrated Playstation 2 game of the same name, this mode involves teams of 4 players competing against one another to get a jewel in the shape of a llama (llamas are a running-joke in the game) and get it to a floating getaway van. This mode results in the need for lots of teamwork as teams of players try to expertly surround the jewel, extract it, and make their way to the van to float off. If you don't have a good squad you' will lose very quickly, and this mode has shown how much I suck at teamwork in "Fortnite."

Perhaps I should have seen this coming. I rarely play the regular, 'Squad," mode and when I do the epic 50 vs 50 game mode that allows you to also have a squad of 4 players to stick with in addition to the mega-team I choose to not do that, just kind-of working with the other 49 players around me as we wage war against the other team. I don't like using my headset much with, "Fortnite," because so often my teammates are either children who ask me a ton of random questions--"Do you stream on Youtube? You sound old, are you a Dad?"--or wannabe pro-players who scream at me for making the slightest error. Therefore, when you play a mode like, "The Getaway," which benefits from a team carefully working in unison to get the jewel and escape before anyone else stops them, I clearly am not a good choice for any squad.
A screenshot from a match played by someone much better than me, they have the jeweled llama!
It's a shame I'm so bad at, "The Getaway," mode that just started in, "Fortnite," as it is fun to watch people play who can work together well. Maybe if it sticks around for a couple weeks I can try it off-and-on when able and see if I can find a team of players I really get along with and find myself actually enjoying speaking with over a microphone. As it is now though, I'd say I'm better-off hiding-out in Solo mode where the only person I can trust is myself, and the closest you'll come to, "Teamwork," is someone picking-off a character running after you...right before they then snipe you out of the game.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

I"ll Be at a Wedding this Weekend and it Made Me Think About Superhero Marriages (Again)

I'll be at a wedding this weekend for my cousin. I am very excited and as I am a nerd this wedding of course has me also thinking about comic-book marriages. I actually have written about this before when it came to my mind during my attendance at another wedding, namely how super-heroes don't seem to have successful marriages often. Seriously though, I can think of one, count'em one super-hero marriage that seems to be going strong. That is Reed Richards and Sue Storm of, "The Fantastic Four." Every other super-hero marriage I can think of has either ended in divorce, death, or been erased by a change in continuity (in the case of Spider-Man, that idiotic deal with the devil story-line). Wait, I thought of another, I believe Northstar and his husband are still happily married, so that's two. Otherwise, um...yeah. Oh, and don't get me started on the, "Batman's Wedding," fiasco.

There are superheroes with relationships, Aquaman and Mera are maybe/maybe not married depending on who you ask at DC Comics. Spider-Man and Mary Jane had their marriage erased by the devil (as I said, it was dumb) but still have been a couple at times, Superman and Lois Lane depending on the continuity have been married and even had kids, or just dated. Black Panther and Storm were married for a bit, but that ended, they still seem to be friends though. I know plenty of reasons are always given for why more heroes aren't married to the person of their dreams--"It limits story-options, it doesn't fit the character, etc." That said, it can be kind of a downer to think there are all these super-heroes and so many of the guys and gals struggle to find love. I know in, "Fantastic Four," Ben Grim AKA The Thing has proposed to his longtime on-again-off-again girlfriend Alicia Masters, and I would hope things work out, but I won't expect them to. I guess if you've got superpowers and fight crime it makes it really hard to have a marriage. Thank goodness real-life people have marriages that succeed at at higher rate than super-heroes. Also, my cousin is a cool person so I'm sure here marriage will be great and not suffer from super-villains or continuity-changes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

God Damn it AKA I Learned Who the New Bachelor is

Hey there reader of my blog! Remember how I made a post not too long ago discussing, "Bachelor in Paradise," and how one person on it really bugged me? You may recall my talking about how they symbolize the series biggest flaws by being dull and epitomizing everything bland and unchallenging about the show? Yeah, that person was Colton and he has just been announced at the new Bachelor for this coming season. God damn it.

I mean, seriously, "The Bachelor," why did you have to pick/ask Colton? I guess I should have seen this coming. He and Tia looked like they were going to be a happy couple, but then he realized he just wasn't in love with her and they had to break-up, then leave, "Paradise." When I saw this on Monday's episode and watched his car pull away I jokingly said to my wife, "Just wait for a producer to jump in front of the car yelling how Colton can't go because he's too good for ratings." I didn't expect my joke to actually be something that essentially happened now that Colton will be the new Bachelor. I don't get why he's a fan favorite. The man can't even handle the drama of deciding if he wants to be with one woman or not (Tia) and now he's going to be on the show having all these ladies arguing and fighting for his affection. He's gonna be a mess.
Colton and Tia just weren't meant to be.
I have nothing against Colton as a person. He's perfectly nice, has a charity that helps people with cystic fibrosis, and I respect his decision to remain a virgin until he finds a woman he feels he truly cares about and wants to have sex with. I just don't find him to be that great as a person I'm watching on television hoping to be entertained by though. He's a blonde white guy who is good at sports and that is such a stereotype for this show it boggles my mind. There will be times the show seems to be pushing against norms, but at the end of the day there isn't really any place for folk who deviate from being straight and cisgendered (some folk have mentioned being bisexual or pansexual during or after filming, but they always are there to try to woo someone of the opposite sex).

I applauded the program when it really had hard discussions about race during Rachel's season (she was the first black person to ever be the star), but apparently the ratings took a bad hit for just that, so of course if viewers already get testy about too much interracial dating of all things the show is going to continue to foster as bland a view of romance as it can: A man and woman fall in love, that's it. I still like to watch the show because of the personalities, drama, and those brief times it does something really progressive or mold-breaking. That happens so rarely though, and with Colton as the newest Bachelor, we probably ain't gonna get much deviation from so-called Romantic norms this coming season of, "The Bachelor."

"Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons and Dragons" #1 is Suitably Entertaining

I'm a fan of the television show, "Rick and Morty," finding it quite humorous and clever. I get disgusted with the elements of the fan-base that idolize Rick and miss the point that he isn't someone to aspire to be, but a figure to scorn and sometimes pity. That said, I and other folk who like the show but aren't hateful morons always enjoy a good adventure featuring these two zany protagonists. There is a new comic featuring an official (AKA approved) cross-over of Rick and Morty with the Universe/game of, "Dungeons and Dragons," titled reasonably enough, "Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons and Dragons." It is suitably entertaining if not amazing. The basic idea is that Rick teaches Morty how to play, and due to these characters always making things extra-complicated and causing trouble things go off the rails quickly.

I was worried the fact this was a crossover that had to get commercial approval from Wizards of the Coast (they own the rights to D&D) it would as a result dilute the content/jokes, but thankfully that wasn't the case. There are plenty of jokes both affectionate towards and critical of, "Dungeons and Dragons," (Morty's declaration that the first edition, "Sucks," isn't argued with) and even if you aren't super well-versed in the game such as my mostly-ignorant self you'll still get the punch-lines. One thing I enjoyed was how excited Rick got at hearing Morty wanted to play the game (although Morty just wants to learn to possibly hook-up with a girl who runs a group). It just seemed weirdly fitting that Rick would be a big fan of, "Dungeons and Dragons," and love all the details and such that can go into playing it.
One issue I have with reading comic-book adventures of Rick and Morty is that I can't hear the characters talking. I can imagine it in my head, but there is something magical about the weird cadences in Rick and Morty's voices when they speak, alternatively stuttering, burping, yelling, etc. For that reason I only read the first two issues of the main comic when it started coming-out some years ago--and as an aside I sold that #1 issue for what I thought was a stellar price of $30, reasoning the show wouldn't get any bigger than it already was at the time. It of course became a cultural phenomenon and now that comic is worth a lot more cash. I still kick myself about that, but I digress. Even without being able to have Justin Roiland in the room doing the voices I've gotten a bit better at imagining the dialogue, so that's good, and the jokes come fast and furious even if they sometimes fall flat.

The first issue of "Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons and Dragons," has some decent humor, but didn't make me absolutely crack-up. It's a solid joint-venture between Oni Press (who publish, "Rick and Morty," comics) and IDW (who publish, "Dungeons and Dragons," comics) however and sets the groundwork for what I imagine will be other fun issues--I can't wait to hopefully witness Jerry attempting to play and failing miserably at the game, as he is wont to do. Overall I would rate this a good...3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Nike, Colin Kaepernick, Protests, and Money

Colin Kaepernick played football, he was a back-up Quarterback for the 49ers. He decided to protest police brutality during the National Anthem by taking a knee, after speaking with Veterans who said that was better than just sitting. He did not draw attention to this act, he just did it. Eventually someone noticed, asked him what he was doing, and he explained it. Then shit went crazy, he ended-up basically blacklisted from football for taking a stand, and our President turned the idea of protest in the NFL into a big thing for him to fire-up supporters about. Kaepernick repeatedly said it was not meant to disrespect troops, the country, or anything beyond his protesting police brutality towards African-Americans. He was using his freedom of speech to make a stand as many other famous athletes had done. Still, shit went crazy, and the NFL has been dealing with the ramifications since.

Nike has hired Colin Kaepernick to be a spokesman/face of an advertising campaign. This has enraged people who dislike that he had an opinion and expressed it. Now a bunch of conservatives are expressing their anger by ripping-up or burning the expensive Nike gear they own as a form of protest, I guess? I don't know how destroying something you already own really hurts Nike, but okay. Let's be honest here though, Nike knows full well what it is doing. It crunched the numbers and found hiring Kaepernick would get them more support/sales than it would anger/boycotts. A big corporation doesn't do anything solely for a moral/political reason. Nike realizes more people either support Kaepernick, or at least support his right to have done what he did, than people who are mad at him. By signing this man famous for his protest he wins because he gets money and to spread his message, and Nike wins because they get tons upon tons of press and will most likely get a ton of sales from people now eager to buy their stuff (which they undoubtedly figured to be a higher percentage than folk who will be mad).
Setting fire to shoes you already bought to spite the company you purchased them from.
Okay then.
Just as it is Kaepernick's right to protest against police brutality how he chooses, all these folk ripping-up and setting fire to their Nike apparel are fully allowed to do so as well. In the end though, for Nike this is all about money, and it cares a Hell of a lot more about the money it is set to make from this than the potential profits lost from angry folk. In the end money talks, and it's talking in a manner more in favor of protest and speaking-out for what's right than it is forcing athletes to be quiet in the face of ignorance.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Summarizing Social Media Websites

Meeting Folk on the Web
There are a lot of social media options these days. I decided I would summarize a chunk of them for fun. I probably missed many, but this by no means a complete list so much as a discussing some of the most popular (that support English, I know very little about other ones).

Socializing Via a Screen
It was cool once, now all the grown-ups use it and it gets blamed for altering the outcome of elections.

Find strangers online to scream at in little bursts of text about their ignorance!

It is like Facebook, but without advertisements and boobs are allowed. Also, nobody uses it.

Meet people online then join them in groups for events in real-life. Seriously, the real-world! Crazy, eh?

Yes, it still exists, weird, huh?

Complain about restaurants and find friends who hate the same places you do.

The slogan should be, “We’ve got weird memes and so much fetish porn.”

Wait, this has a social networking feature? Weird.

Twitter alternative that would be cool if it weren’t incredibly unfriendly to new users with its complicated way of functioning.

A moderately disorganized forum that varies between cesspool-content and pleasant groups.

Perfect for watching videos by your favorite minor celebrities/“Influencers,” and leaving insulting comments.

The social network for people into BDSM and fetishes. Either this site existing is a Godsend for you to find like-minded individuals or if you’re more vanilla in the bedroom (which is fine too!) and you want to stay far, far away.

The best choice if you like crafting, cooking, and attempting to be productive whilst ignoring you’ve killed 2 hours pinning stuff and not making anything.

No. Just, no.

The social network website for trying to find employment, and being harassed constantly to buy a, "Premium," option.

I miss Vine. RIP.

Look at pictures of your friends and famous people on vacations you can’t afford wearing clothes you also are lacking the funds to purchase.

Still the #1 choice for when they say, “Send nudes,” or you want to make your face look all funny with a filter.

All the things Google succeeded at and its Achilles' heel was a social network people care about. Too bad.

Post your photography, drawings, poetry, etc. Marvel at how amazing or terrible your stuff is in comparison to other people’s works.

Find random stuff that might interest you and leave comments about how much you love or hate what was recommended. Rinse and repeat.

Watch people play games, tell them how good they are at it/how much they suck.

Too Many Choices
There are so many social media options trying to be on too many of them is a ticket to driving yourself up the wall. My recommendation is to just the handful you especially enjoy and avoid the ones that stress you out as opposed to being fun.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

So, What Exactly is This DC Streaming Service?

I have a legitimate question, I am not being sarcastic: What is this DC streaming-service I've heard a tiny bit about? I mean seriously, I am someone who writes about popular-culture a ton, reads a variety of comics, and tries to at least be aware of the newest trends in everything form technology to entertainment (like, I'm not going to use Twitter-alternative Mastodon unless I'm really bored one day, but I at least know what it is). That said, I have heard so little about this new DC streaming-service it is kind of shocking. What is its official name even? Oh, "DC Universe." That's a bit bland, but okay. I recall hearing something about how it will have original television shows such as a live-action, "Teen Titans," that will apparently feature Robin saying, "Fuck Batman," to be edgy, but that's about it for my knowledge of the service.

Seriously, I just Googled, "DC Universe streaming," to see if I could get a clearer idea and found this new article about what it will cost, but exactly what are we getting? I see something about television, movies, and comics. Does this mean we get access to a bunch of older DC titles? Newer ones, and if so how recent? When it comes to movies will we be able to stream newer stuff like, "Justice League," or is it just going to be Batman flicks where Micheal Keaton was in the cape? Then there are the television shows and my wondering if it is just original content on this streaming-service or will folk be able to see anything related to DC characters that has been broadcast--e.g. all those CW shows and such? It is odd I have all these questions and am struggling to find much in the way of answers.
Harley Quinn will be getting a show dedicated to her, apparently.
I have no clue if it will be live-action or animated.
DC's new streaming-service launches September 15th, that is less than half a month away and I still am quite foggy on the whole thing. I mean, if anyone from DC wants to give me a free 1-month trial subscription for the purposes of figuring everything out and offering my review of I won't turn that down, but until then I'm befuddled. I also continue to worry we are reaching a peak saturation point for streaming-services. It used to be we had Netflix and Hulu. Then Amazon Prime had shows, followed by all these other services bigger and smaller, now its getting to the point if you want to watch one show you need this service, for another show you need that service, and basically it is all fragmented and messy, the whole thing having a cable or satellite subscription theoretically helps us avoid.

Now people quit paying for television and end-up dropping more cash on all the various streaming-services. It is messy and probably headed toward an eventually reckoning/downsizing. For now though more and services are either announced or start-up what feels like every day. I just hope this DC Universe has enough to set it apart from everything else that it make enough bank to sustain whatever its unclear-to-me goals are.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Neo-Nazis Have Potentially Ruined My Playstation Screen-Name

Innocent number, or hate symbol?
I was born in 1988. I also like to think, to ponder. Therefore, back when I first made a Playstation ID for my PS3 a number of years ago, I decided I would use the screen-name, "Ponder88." I thought it had a nice ring to it, and it wasn't taken like, "Ponder1," or, "Ponder2," etc. It has served me well over the years, so of course Neo-Nazis need to potentially ruin it, as they do all things.

I was reading an article today about a game known as, "SCUM," which is kind of like DayZ-meets-PUBG/Fortnite/Other Battle Royale Games. Apparently, it removed two tattoos that could be put one's characters, the number, "14," as well as, "88," or any combination of them. Why, you may ask? Neo-Nazis use those numbers. 14 stands for a 14-word statement, "“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children,” and the number eight is equivalent to the eighth letter of the alphabet, which is H. Two eights are, "HH," which can apparently mean, "Heil Hitler," in the weird group-speak of these people. Therefore, to certain people who know about these groups and their stupid code-words it looks like my screen-name could very well be, "Ponder Heil Hitler," as if I'm thinking about how much I want to Heil Hitler. Neo-Nazis therefore have now potentially ruined my screen-name.
One symbol the Nazis took that never recovered.
Considering I was raised Jewish and have older relatives who actually died in the Holocaust heiling Hitler or anyone, frankly, is the last thing I'd ever want to do. Now, the question is if this is such a small trend that it will die-out and my worrying about it is pointless, or if I have a brewing problem on my hands? After all, idiotic movements and their use of innocent numbers and imagery for bad purposes happens all the time. Will this terrible use of 88 burn-out or is it here to stay and grow in popularity? I mean, the Anti-Defamation League notes it is is often used in non-extremist settings, meaning, "Hugs and Kisses," among HAM radio operators, for example. I think as long as these numbers don't become a huge thing I won't worry, but it pisses me off to think even one person might think I'm down with their hateful cause upon seeing those numbers next to my name--and if anyone ever asked me, I'd tell them exactly what I think of Nazis. Worst comes to worst, I can most likely write Sony and explain my predicament, seeing if they'll allow a screen-name change-- although knowing my luck some other harmless combination of words and numbers will end-up meaning something different in another 10-20 years