Best idea, fallen flat as a pancake?


Back to getting non-serious and non-controversial for now. It'll be no surprise to a lot of you that I've spent quite some time lately on eBay, buying up some cool stuff I haven't seen anywhere else. One of those things is a series about a DC Comics badguy I didn't think was too terribly interesting: Kobra.

Y'see, I've heard about him and seen him in some issues of Mark Waid's Flash run circa #100, but he seemed like just a generic bad guy in charge of a generic bad guy organization. It was Marvel Comics' HYDRA organization done sideways. Blah. At least Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker had that cool Satan Claw and that death-spore virus to make him passably interesting beyond being Supreme Hydra.

Recently, I started hearing rumblings of what Kobra was like before the modern era. Something about twin brothers, one good and one evil. Sounded cheesy, but definitely in a good way. Turns out KOBRA, the series, ran seven issues between 1977 and 1978, and folded as result of the DC Implosion at the time (same one that halted books like STEEL, MAN-BAT, and my personal favorite, FIRESTORM). The first issue even has plot and art by Jack "King" Kirby. It's about this twentysomething named Jason Burr who discovers a brother he never knew he had--Kobra, who's head of an international crime cartel, and one of the most dangerous men alive, besides.

The trick of the characters was that as result of some sort of bizarre accident, Burr and Kobra shared some kind of physiological link which enabled them to share pain. Whatever befell Burr, Kobra would share in the agony. In other words, Kobra couldn't kill Burr without, most assuredly, killing himself. It was a truly unique setup back in the day, and it should have succeeded. I still haven't read the stories--I have them sitting in front of me since I'm missing three of the issues (well, two of the regular and a special edition that published what would have been the eighth issue). But I'm wondering how dismal the execution could have been so that not only was the title canceled, but the story that would have been the eighth issue featured the death of Jason Burr, while Kobra stayed alive! It's amazing to me that the trick of the series proper that should have given it its lifeblood was destroyed so quickly. Could Kobra himself really have been that intriguing? I'm doubting.

Anyone have some thoughts on this? Seeing things the same way I am? Please, respond, 'cause I'd love to hear some comments.



Time For Something Schiavo-versial

I'm going to be open and honest with my audience (what little audience I have, granted, but that'll change). The Terri Schiavo situation gets to me. Today I've listened to both sides--Michael Schiavo's lawyer and the family of Terri, and I stick by my conclusion that the Schindlers don't have a clue what's really happening and are refusing to accept what a lot of other people know in their hearts to be true: Terri is not going to get any better. She's a vegetable. The laughing, smiling, crying, pissing and whatever else Ms. Schiavo does on a regular or irregular basis are instinctual and are completely unrelated to any sign of actual, intelligent life. I'm sorry to break that to the conservatives and pro-lifers out there, but having been brought up Catholic (going to Easter mass in a little over an hour, in fact) and also being the son of a very well-educated Registered Nurse, I'm confident in saying that removing the feeding tube was absolutely the right thing to do in Mrs. Schiavo's situation.

In fact, the tube should probably never have been put in. Do you know how Mrs. Schiavo came to be in this condition? She was a bulimic who, instead of dying like Karen Carpenter, suffered cardiac arrest due to Potassium deficiency (from throwing up so much), and the resulting brain damage made her like this, and so she's remained since 1990. And now, ironically, we're making a fuss about feeding her (or rather, not feeding her). It's ironic, and you may call it tragedy, but I call it poetic justice.

There's no quality of life in Terri right now; hasn't been for well over a decade. As-is, can she lead a good, unassisted existence as productive member of society? Look at the file footage and dare to disagree with me. I've listened to enough people on radio call-in shows chastising the Bushies (Jeb and Dubya) for not doing nearly enough to help, that if they wanted to, they could override the judicial branch of government Like hell they should. Checks and balances exist in government for a reason! I also keep hearing that Michael Schiavo should be put on trial for bigamy--maybe so, maybe not. Fact is, Michael has tried to care for Terri as best he could these past several years; he should be admired for sticking by her as long as he has.

More and more, I'm convinced that the Schindlers' struggle is less and less about Mrs. Schiavo herself and more about their own (and, by extension, everyone else's) fear of death. And it's gone ludicrously far into government. Why? It's an open-and-shut matter between husband and wife, as far as I'm concerned. For having historically been hands-off with regard to government over the people, Bush and his fellow Republicans sure are pushing an awfully tough, broad agenda for giving us rules to live and die by.

What's more humane--a couple weeks' starvation, or fifteen years of a woman rotting away day by day while her relatives banter on and on, reduced themselves to little more than animals and carrying on an absurd "he said/she said" game?

And now, the parents say Mrs. Schiavo just tried to say "I want to live!"(nevermind the state of her mind) and give this as new reason that the tube should be reinserted. It reeks of desperation. I have to shake my head, over and over and over.

Huh, maybe that's why my neck hurt so much this week.

Let Terri die with what little dignity she now has left.



Blogfight at the O.C. Corral

Yes, I am an unabashed, unapologetic fan of Fox's The O.C. Oh, it wasn't my obsession straightaway. Rather it aged and became stronger, better like--no, that's a bad comparison. Does anyone know something that actually smells better when it gets rotten? Anyway, I watched the first few minutes of a couple of episodes when it aired after, I think, 24? My full addiction began when I purchased the first season on DVD, and it's been downhill ever since.

After watching three recent episodes in one go (all except this weeks, so don't spoil me!!!), I've witnessed the unshakable marital fidelity of the Cohens become suddenly, overdramatically shakable; I've seen Julie Cooper-Nichol go deliciously past camp into extreme camp as former teenage porno queen (complete with 80s-style faux footage); I've nearly averted my gaze when it took a whole episode's worth of orchestrations to get to an over-the-top, completely strained yet still enjoyable homage to the cheesy upside-down kiss from the first Spider-Man movie between two of the teen leads; and I went through an agonizing break-up right alongside ol' Ryan, knowing the relationship couldn't work in a "meta" sense simply because the girlfriend wasn't a regular cast member (I love you, Shannon Lucio!).

And on last week's show, I laughed out loud (and often) when two of the leads jibed back and forth about how things weren't as fresh as last year, and one tried his best to make things like the year previous by manipulating his friends back into a relationship! The funny thing is, this is just what the online fans have been kibitzing about since around the beginning of the season. I've decided that part of the fun of the show is the self-awareness it often displays, trying to straddle the line between keeping the show static (i.e. giving the fans what they want) and forging boldly onward, not resting on laurels. I like change, I like evolution, and I like seeing how loony the plots can get and still have a millionth of a degree of plausibility.

Now then, without further ado, the 5 things I like best about the show, in no particular order:

1. "California, here we come! Right back where we started from! Californiaaaaaaaa!!!!! Here we coooooooommmmmmmmeeee!!!!!" At the risk of sounding crazy myself, The O.C. has the most infectious title ditty this side of--oh, let's date myself here--Hardcastle and McCormick. No cheap hype. (Now look up H&C on imdb.com!)

2. Allan Heinberg isn't just a savvy TV writer; he's also one of the biggest comic book fans around, and he's just been crowned writer of the brand-spankin'-new Marvel Comics series Young Avengers. A series, I'll add, which is at least twice as cool as you think. In fact, the second issue, in stores now, features a growing, nearly-nekkid fourteen-year-old girl. In a pink thong. Get your mind out of the gutter! (Okay, mine's there too, sicko!)

3. Mr. Heinberg and his many comic references peppered throughout the series (including that delightful plot of Zack, Summer & Seth going to San Diego to pitch their comic to Wildstorm) are far from the only comic-related business. Q: Which cast member's father and grandfather worked on the short-lived 1990 TV adaptation of The Flash? (Doo dee do, de doo doo doo...) A: Rachel Bilson, who plays Summer. Her father Danny was co-developer of the show (as well as Sentinel, Viper, and the oft-forgotten Human Target series starring Rick Springfield...anyone got that last one on bootleg DVD?:-D). Her grandfather, Bruce Bilson, directed some Flash episodes and a lot of TV back through the 1970s. So she comes from good stock.

4. Something I ordinarily wouldn't admit unless I was really, really drunk: I like Ryan Atwood (played by Benjamin McKenzie). No, I don't just like; it's straining the barriers of platonic guy stuff. He's just beyond cool.

5. Forget Mischa, forget Rachel, forget Melinda, Samaire, Olivia, Amanda (oh, God, Amanda!), and even Shannon...Ms. Kelly Rowan has it all. She's blonde, she's gorgeous, she's smart, she's sassy. Girls, take some lessons.

On that note, I bid you adieu. (And that DVD quiz is still forthcoming, promise!)



TiVo Made Me a Bad, Bad Man

Hey, all.

Neck is at least feeling good enough for me to think tonight, which may or may not be the effect of the good drugs kicking in. (Well, not too good...Extra Strength Tylenol.) Got a haircut (yes, I got them all cut...dumb, dumb joke for those of you in the crowd thinking it), and when I came back, as per my "Season Pass," tonight's episode of The O.C. had been TiVo'ed for my perusal. (Any bets on when that verb will show up in Webster's? I hear "wedgie" made it in this year...)

Now, back when I had the outmoded tool called a VCR, I used to make a habit out of generally being around when my favorite shows were on, and recording them as I watched. Then, I could rewatch the shows as the quality degraded, to be saved just in time these last few years when TPTB released DVD season sets, those miracles of modern science. Sounds logical, right? (You're allowed to say I'm loony. No, really.)

Today, as a result of getting one of those Humax DVRs with TiVo and a DVD burner (which, when quality's adjusted, can burn sometimes 3, sometimes 4 hour-long episodes per disc), I've become a video slacker. Perhaps the problem wouldn't assert itself so much if the TiVo were in the same room where I regularly watched all the shows when I used the VCR. But since I don't have to be in that room where I feel comfortable watching my shows, and TiVo is programmed to automatically record said shows no matter what day or time they air, and since I have the option (nay, the necessity) to burn the programs to DVD for archiving (at least until those season sets with their superior quality and extras arrive)...well, 'nuff said?

So, tonight I finally burned the last several weeks' worth of The O.C. to DVD so I can take them into my other room and watch at my leisure. Pitiful, innit? And you wanna know the real kicker?

Only 3 of the last 4 episodes fit on the @!^#* disc, meaning I probably won't see tonight's episode until...well, 3 weeks from now, give or take a few weeks of possible reruns.

And, to think, next week I'll be able to see the last four episodes of Alias, at long last...

More on my DVD fetish, and a poll for y'all to see who's all out there and reading, next time.



Second verse, subtly altered from the first

More good news/bad news:

For the Dead (and Bad News) travel fast - Neck pain in day 3...I woke up around 3 a.m. and, unable to get more sleep, I decided to watch a couple more episodes of Werewolf, and remembered even more reasons why I loved the show when it first aired. (I hadn't seen many of these episodes since the late 1980s.) If you're unfamiliar, think of the old Hulk TV show starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, but add a snout and a few tons of fur to the green guy, and take out one bumbling tabloid news reporter and insert one half-Indian, shades-wearing, blue-jean-clad bounty hunter who actually seems to know what he's doing most of the time. And our protagonist is tracking the big daddy werewolf of the pack (named after the vampire antagonist from The Night Stalker and played by ex-Rifleman Chuck Connors), whose death may cure him. I can't wait to see some of the later episodes, where Connors' character is killed and it's revealed that he wasn't the head of the pack, after all--thus the series, to borrow Buffy terminology, switched "Big Bads" midstream (to relative newcomer and nowadays genre TV pro, Brian Thompson). It was canceled shortly thereafter.

Also, called my LCS today about the New Avengers variant. Orders are going wonky and apparently he didn't get any, so that means I have to get it elsewhere. It just shows my resentment for the whole variant cover scheme, but I refuse to refrain from participation because there are some damn fine variants that have become available, and NA #4 currently heads the pack. And I love my Astonishing X-Men #1 group cover variant I bought in San Diego. Wouldn't trade for the world--more later. Let's face it--when my LCS is "on," they're really, really on the ball, and when they're not, they're not. I can't really complain overmuch because I do get a great discount on new books.

Come on, you can't tell me this isn't cool:

Good news--and me, the living--travel slow, slow, slow - I took the cash I got from some recent eBay auctions and bought the aforementioned New Avengers variant for about 6 times more than I would've at my LCS. Yes, I know there's some bad news in there at that cost, but at least I'll have the book.

I'm thinking about reviewing my regular TV shows after they air, so you may see capsule reviews & discussion of tonight's Alias at some point. No comic reviews today because I haven't made it to the shop (blame the neck pain).

Oh, and lest I forget, I'm thinking of going to the cinema this weekend. Does anyone have any recommendations for what to see?



Believe in me, I'm with the High Command

Howdy, cowpokes,

Welcome to Ye Olde Weblog, compliments of the fine folks at Blogger.com. If you're here, you probably have way too much time on your hands, and you know damn well that I'm not half as funny as I think I am. :-D Anyway, it's here that I'll be trying to write pretty regularly. I'll pick books apart, tear music to shreds, and stick your favorite DVDs in the microwave oven for in-depth analysis or just general crispefying (if that's even a word--I have my doubts). If you want to see me tackle a particular topic that I don't have on my mind usually, then post away and I'll try my best to dedicate a blog entry to your very own crusade.

So what's new with me? At the moment, I'm suffering through a second day of agony along the left side of my neck and part of my shoulder. So, shall my pain die by fire (heating pad) or ice (ice pack, actually)? You decide my fate.

Through my pain, which I came upon curiously after I'd left the unemployment office (did one of the workers there stick me under some cruel hex?), I've set up this blog, gone out to eat, and connected a name to the song that's been running through my head ever since I had the chance to re-watch the pilot episode of "Werewolf," a short-lived FOX TV series that aired in 1987. If you recognize the title to this entry, then chances are you know the song. (For the uninitiated: it's Mike and the Mechanics' "Silent Running," from 1985. Shame on you for making me tell!) It's a pretty good theme for what's happening in the world and in my life, but the story to that will have to wait until the neck pain goes away--can't really concentrate right now.

Oh, yeah, what else is happening? I'm saving a bunch of VHS tapes off to DVD compliments of my trusty TiVo and a stack of DVD-Rs a mile high, trying to banish the ghost called videocassette once and for all. And I'm hoping against hope that tomorrow, my Local Comic Shop (forevermore abbreviated LCS) retailer has ordered me a New Avengers #4 variant edition so I can pick it up tomorrow. Beyond that, well, still having trouble thinking.

More tomorrow, presuming this pesky pain goes away.

Tamam Shud!