Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Monday, June 30, 2008

MLB Headlines Week 13

So the Twins win 10 in a row, I go to a game, and they immediately lose. To make matters worse, it was a really crappy game. It was over by the bottom of the third inning. In fact, after the top of the third the Twins never even had the tying run at the plate. Makes for a boring game. And infuriating considering the Brewers pitcher was on boots~'s fantasy team who I was up against last week. At least I didn't pay for the game.

www.mlb.com Headline of the Week:
Streaking Twins try to sweep past Padres

I just saw that headline and couldn't help but think of the Twins playing naked. And if you think that's the gayest thought I've had in the past hour, you'd be wrong!

Teebore
June 29th, 2008 - Brewers 0 Twins 5
Slowey's shutout hangs Sheets out to dry

June 28th, 2008 - Brewers 5 Twins 1
Streak ends at ten as Brewers come in under Par-ra

June 29th, 2008 - Cubs 1 White Sox 5
Sweep Revenge: Ozzie elated, Pinella ejected as Sox take three on home turf.

Dr. Bitz:
June 29th, 2008 – Brewers 0 Twins 5
Slowey superb in a game that was anything but slow

June 29th, 2008 - Orioles 2 Nationals 3
Sh!t...Sherrill gives up a blast to Belliard.

June 29th, 2008 - Rockies 3 Tigers 4
Kenny Rogers has the winning hand against the Rockies

Voting to you left. I won last week, and if I don't win this week, I will find each and everyone you and make your lives miserable!

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1:00 PM: Well, I'm getting started a bit late. But as of Saturday night this was the line:
R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 32 8 28 8 .301 2 3 28 3.13 0.98
Him: 20 3 15 4 .244 5 4 46 3.64 1.36


Thanks to 3 steals by my team yesterday I'm pretty much dominating all the hitting stats...against boots~...bwa-ha-ha.
I have two starting pitchers going today and he has one. Well, technically Darell Rasner is pitching too but he's on my bench. Actually, I was going to bench all my starting pitchers but I didn't get there in time. So Dan Haren is definitely pitching for me, but I might bench Bedard, depending on how Haren does. I'm a bit disappointed in my Saves total this week, so we'll need to pick that up. It's especially maddening because two of my closers blew saves this week. Fuentes and Franklin. Franklin's off my team now in favor of Mike Gonzales. Anyway, looking at how things are now my batters are 0 for 4 and his are 0 for 2. Exciting. Dan Haren's pitching well though, so I have that going for me.

1:01 PM: boots~ is now 0 for 3.

1:05 PM: 2 outs, bases loaded, Carl Crawford up to bat. Let's see what happens...grounded out to pitcher. 0 for 5.

1:13 PM: Albert *Hehehehehe* Pujuols is up to bat. He came back from injury sooner than expected and went 4-4 with a run. Not bad. I'm still waiting for his first homer for me, though. Maybe it'll happen today?

1:16 PM: A double for Phat Albert. At this point in the week I'll take it.

1:17 PM: Dustin Pedroia singled and stole second. That annoys me but I have to remind myself that I'm not going against him this week. I have to replace annoying Red Sox A (Dustin Pedroia) with annoying Red Sox B (J.D. Drew)...who walked. Better than a hit, though.

1:20 PM: Brandon *I can't think of a good nickname* Phillips gets an RBI Single. Always appreciated.

1:28 PM: Alex *Expletive Deleted* Rodriguez and Hunter *You're about to be thrown through a sliding glass door and off my team* Pence both struck out.

1:44 PM: boots~ had McClouth and 'The anti-Minnesotan' McCann hitting with runners in scoring position. They both struck out. Kind of good for me, but at the same time I need the team those guys are playing for to take a lead for my closers.

1:47 PM: And now Tejada strikes out. Both our players are striking out left and right...to bad this ain't bowling.

1:49 PM: Crawford strikes out swinging.

1:51 PM: Man on third, one out, Albert *snicker* Pujols up to bat.

1:52 PM: And he's intentionally walked...bastards.

1:55 PM: I think Carlos Gomez should be spell his name Karlos for all the time he strikes out.

2:01 PM: Brandon Phillips singles again and then steals a base, making a bid for Savior of the Week.

2:05 PM: Adam Dunn homered for boots~. Can't say I'm happy about that. Phillips was on base so the runs negate each other, but boots~ does cut the home run deficit to 4 and the RBI deficit to a meager 11. My team better step it up! Because in the words of Coach Jack Reilly, "It's not worth winning if you can't win big!"

2:11 PM: Apparently Brandon Phillips stole another base...somewhere....show off.

2:15 PM: Stupid Detroit taking the lead. I'm sick of them winning and I'm sick of my closers not getting a save opportunity.

2:24 PM: Pujols...hehehehe...just struck out, just to be like everyone else.

2:29 PM: I should nickname Carl Crawford 'Gold or Garbage'. Because he either has a great game or a terrible game. And if you're scoring at home, today Carl Crawford would be garbage.

2:34 PM: Haren's out of the game, has a good ERA and WHIP, so I've taken Bedard out of my lineup. It's too risky to go for strike outs and risk ERA and WHIP.

2:36 PM: Delmon Young hit a home run off of Ben Sheets. Frankly, Ben Sheets should be cut right now.

3:17 PM: Back from my shower. Let's see what I missed. I missed a pinch hit RBI single by Ryan 'Jell-O For Brains' Doumit to break the 30 RBI mark for this week. First time I've done that in like 4 weeks. Bill Wagner and Todd Jones both havw saves for boots~ sealing the category for him...lame.

3:19 PM: Carl 'Garbage' Crawford struck out...again. 0 for 5 for him this game.

3:28 PM: Ask and ye shall receive...well for this week, apparently. Albert 'Don't call me Winnie the...CHRIS BERMAN!' Pujols...hehehehe...just hit a 2 run home run. I'm really likely my trade.

3:44 PM: George Sherrill is coming in for a save that will ultimately be meaningless for me. All saves do now is get my team close enough to my opponents save total to get me enraged that my closers blew two saves this week.

3:52 PM: And Sherrill gives up a two run home run to lose the game...awesome.

5:04 PM: Thanks to Sherrill's home run and Johnathan Sanchez pitching well, ERA is getting dangerously, close. 2.97 to 3.29. I think I'm safe...but I'm getting a little nervous.

5:18 PM: Sanchez is out of the game...*phew*. Chase Utley grounded out...but why is the Texas/Philadelphia game starting so late? Baseball's weird.

10:11 PM: Well Carlos Quentin hit a home run in the night game and Jermaine Dye added a run. So this is pretty much a butt whippin' by me. Here's how it looks:

R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 40 10 33 10 .305 2 3 36 2.97 1.02
Him: 22 4 18 20 .214 6 6 53 3.27 1.26


I had the same win total this week as last. But this time I lost...which I should have. Second week in a row my opponent only had 4 home runs for the week. And I won both times...which I should have. 10 Steals is great, 10 Home runs is great, 40 runs is great, and .305 is good. It was a good hitting week and the only thing I'm really disappointed in regarding my pitching is only 3 saves. I expect more from my platoon of closers.

Nemesis of The Week:
Not a lot of people pissed me off too much, considering I won 7-3. So this weeks honors (or should I say curses?) go to Brian Wilson and his 3 saves this week. I mean, he's the San Francisco Giants' closer. The Giants shouldn't win 3 game in a month let alone a week!

Savior of The Week:
Well Crawford had 7 runs, 3 home runs, 6 RBI and a steal, which is definitely good. But his .267 batting average isn't blowing me away. And in a what have you done for me lately business, his 0 for 5 day today kind of annoys me. So the Savior of the Week is Jermaine Dye. 5 Runs, 2 Home Runs, 7 RBI, 2 Steals, and .409 batting average. Mmmmm...me likes.

The moral of this week's story is it's always more fun to win a week in which a person is paying attention. Eat it boots~!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

One Sentence Reviews

The Last Full Measure by Jeff Shaara (Historical Fiction novel): An entertaining novelization about the end of the Civil War in which neither Grant nor Lee are entirely the hero or the villain, the book really illustrated to me just how similar the Siege of Petersburg was to the WWI trench warfare it presaged.










April 1865 by Jay Winick (History book): A readable and enjoyable look at all the significant events that took place during that month (the fall of Richmond, the surrender of Lee and the assassination of Lincoln), I was particularly intrigued by just how close the government came to complete collapse in the wake of Lincoln’s death.






The March by E.L. Doctrow (Historical Fiction): Incredibly well-written and literary but difficult to finish due to a lack of compelling characters and plots.








Boston Celtics (Basketball team): I was really hoping the Lakers would pull a Giants and stick it to the obnoxious and spoiled Boston fans, but alas, ‘twas not meant to be…






MLB All-Star Game Voting (Baseball): Last I heard the Red Sox were leading the voting in something like six categories; memo to aforementioned Boston fans: it’s supposed to be the “All-Star” game, not the “Red Sox vs. the NL” game.





Top Chef (competition TV show): While this season was a bit dull (rage-inducing Lisa aside) and became “Top Caterer” more often than I would have liked, it was still a satisfying season.





Legacy of the Force: Revelations (Star Wars novel): Ha! Suck it Jacen: not everything always goes your way.








A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Guthrie Theater production): Awesome: the only Shakespearean adaptation I’ve ever seen with a Rambo impersonation, a drunk Practical, an Obama-esque Theseus, tearaway clothes, Faeries performing doowop, rock, soul, punk, rap and choral musical interludes, a cross-dressing Geisha, and a Riverdance-style finale to Pyramus and Thisbee, and it was funny, not just highbrow, literate, Shakespeare funny but laugh-out-loud, tears-rolling-down-my-face funny, all without changing the play itself.


Monday, June 23, 2008

MLB Headlines Week 12

More headlines. I don't have much to say this week. Teebore won last week, but I made a late surge. Probably because of the comment I made involving "WANG coming up LIMP while rounding the bases in an ATTEMPT TO SCORE." I'll be honest, after missing that pun only to think of it later...it's hard to keep this up. I mean., that was the pun I started doing this for...and I missed it. Now Wang's injured and the chance for such a pun is gone. This missed pun will haunt me for the rest of my life.

www.mlb.com Headline of the Week:
As Youk like it: Sox com back to down Cards

I personally would've preferred "As Youk wish", but that's just me.

Dr. Bitz:
June 22nd, 2008 - Diamondbacks 3 Twins 5
Webb snakebitten in fifth as Twins cut through his sticky, silky thread for the win.

June 22nd, 2008, 2008 - Royals 11 Giants 10
Down by 7, Royals make a king-sized comeback.

June 22nd, 2008, 2008 - Rangers 5 Nationals 3
Let the era of Teixeira begin. A reMARKable 3 home run day!

Teebore:
June 21st, 2008 – Cardinals 9 Red Sox 3
Dice-ERA: Return from the disabled list leaves Matsuzaka mauled.

June 22nd, 2008 - Diamondbacks 3 Twins 5
Five in Five: Run-scoring fifth inning enables Twins to escape Arizona's Webb.

June 22nd, 2008 - White Sox 1 Cubs 7
Sleepy southside Sox swept into dumpster by Dempster as Cubbies take three.

Voting's to your left!
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11:59 AM: I've found the secret to Fantasy Baseball, play a guy who never changes his lineup and has three of his hitters on the DL. It works out surprisingly well. I'm actually dominating, winning 9 categories to 1. And actually, for a little time yesterday I had all ten categories. Here's how it's looking now.

R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 29 7 27 4 .342 2 8 34 1.83 1.09
Him: 18 4 16 1 .352 0 2 24 6.27 1.29

When I had overtaken average yesterday I was considering taking all my batters out of my line up and hoping his batters don't do well enough to take average back. I doubt they could make up doubled digit leads in Runs and RBIs. But I'm down in average and my batters are in to see if they can't help out the cause...that and I'm afraid Valdimir Guererro might go off for like 4 home runs.
I have one starting pitcher going today but I benched him. Something about Johnny Cueto going against the Yankees gives me the heebee jeebees. So I'm going to hope his pitcher, Dustin McGowan doesn't have a 10 stike out perfect game or something. Also, hopefully my relievers can't make up for any damage D-Mac does do.
In other news, Mr. Glass is no longer on my team. "Jell-O for Brains" Ryan Doumit is now my full time catcher...when he comes back from his concussion...supposedly Tuesday. Anyway, I traded 'Mr. Glass' Joe Mauer and Milton 'Crocodile Dentist' Bradley to my sister for Albert Pujols...hopefully he's good when he comes off the DL! Anyway, it doesn't shape up to be an exciting Sunday, but we'll see what happens.

12:21 PM: First hitter of the day is Alex *Expletive Deleted* Rodriguez.

12:22 PM: And he struck out swinging. Stupid A-Rod...stupid Johnny Cueto striking him out...

12:33 PM: And Brandon Phillips grounds out...my average is getting hurt here.

1:08 PM: Cueto has 3 scoreless innings now. And my team is one for six so far...grrrrr....

1:28 PM: Carl Crawford and Connor Jackson both had singles, helping out the cause.

1:34 PM: Miguel 'Spicy' Tejada flies out, hurting the cause.

1:35 PM: Apparently Dustin Pedroia doesn't know how NOT to get a hit.

1:42 PM: In Texas there's a guy with the last name Duran...he should play into Toronto with Rios.

1:51 PM: Hunter Pence, who's always on the bubble, lofts a solo home run. I think that seals home runs for me. It's also helping out my average, which is always appreciated.

1:52 PM: Of course my opponent is 3 for 6, which makes winning average difficult.

1:56 PM: D-Mac has loaded the bases with no outs. A couple earned runs would really help me out.

1:57 PM: Teebore's going against boots~ this week and had 6 home runs in a day. He said if he doesn't win Home Runs he'll be pissed. Well, he's only had 1 home run since then and boots~ has managed to tie Teebore at 7. Teebore could fly into a Hulk-like rage if we're not careful.

1:58 PM: A couple of earned runs for Dustin McGowan. That's really big because now realistically the best Dustin can do is have a 2.00 ERA, which is higher than my team ERA. Combine that with the 4 hits against D-Mac this inning and I'm looking good in WHIP too.

2:00 PM: I'm kind of sick of commercials and other media looking for some long word that sounds confusing and complex. They'll always go back to the well with anitdisestablishmentarianism. Sure it's long, but not complicated. It's too cliche now. Find a new long, complicated word to make yourself sound smart.

2:02 PM: Anyway, I've got to shower. I'll be back later.

2:32 PM: I love it when my players help out the Twins. Connor Jackson 'lost the ball in the roof' and gave Delmon Young a gift double. He knows where his loyalties lie..to me!

2:55 PM: Alright, Crawford is up for me, Posada and Pedroia are up for my opponent...

2:56 PM: Pedroia doubles...

2:57 PM: And Posada RBI doubles...

2:59 PM: And Crawford strikes out swinging...sounds about right.

3:00 PM: It's kind of sad when I'm pissed my team is batting .400 for the day and .347 for the week.

3:11 PM: So there's this commercial about these fuel efficient cars where a person will park at a pump and run into the gas station and while they are gone the gas pump will do something like lock the person's door or something. You know, because the gas pump is upset that the car doesn't need gas or something. My thought is, who are these dousch bags that are parking in front of the pump to run into the station but not getting any gas? Every gas station I have seen has parking spots in front of the building for people who don't need gas. Don't hog a spot in front of a gas pump unless you intend to use it. Idiots.

3:27 PM: Brandon Phillips singled, trying to help me out. I just don't think I can keep pace with my opponent...we'll see.

3:29 PM: Well, I must got an open house. I'll be back later.

6:15 PM: The day games are over. I have Dye and Quentin in the night game and I need them to both go like 4 for 4 to win or something.

7:26 PM: Quentin singled...but Dye grounded into double play.

10:11 PM: Well, Dye and Quentin tried but the 3 for 8 they combined for wasn't enough for me to take over average. I suppose I'll have to settle for a 9-1 victory. At least my decision to play my batters today wasn't a bad one. They went .393 for the day which certainly raised my average...just not enough.

R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 33 8 28 4 .349 2 8 34 1.83 1.09
Him: 21 4 18 2 .365 1 3 28 5.54 1.50

For like 4 weeks in a row I've been trying to break 30 in the RBI department and failed. But this week 28 was more than enough. 2 is another pathetic Win total and 34 Strike Outs ain't nothing to write home about. But that's expected with my 'less is more' pitching philosophy with max relievers and minimal starting pitching. That's why my saves, ERA, and WHIP are so good. But, this week I managed to sweep the pitching categories despite those low numbers...thanks to an inatentive opponent.

Nemesis of The Week: Well, Dustin Pedroia managed to hit .500 on the week. Not happy about that. And Vladimir Guerrero hit .440 with 3 home runs. Both are contenders. But my Fantasy Nemesis of this week is Back Spasms. Erik Bedard started on Friday and was taken out of the game in the third inning due to Back Spasms. Who knows when he'll pitch again. Seattle's closer Brandon Morrow didn't play at all this weekend because of, you guessed it, Back Spasms. Must be something in the Seattle water...but I need it to stop...NOW! Stupid Back Spasms...

Savior of The Week: You know what? I think it's gonna be a three-pete. Alex Rodriguez started the week great with two home runs in two games. But he's since tailed off and only hit .375 for the week. But what sets A-Rod apart this week is his 3 steals. He nearly won that category for me single-handedly. And for that he's my Savior of the Week.

The moral of this week's story is that it's easy to win when your opponent has given up and is not paying attention. But it really isn't all that fun or satisfying. winning 9-1 doesn't have the same appeal when it's against someone who doesn't care.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Green With Envy

Look at that picture to the left. That's a sight I always knew was possible. That's a sight I always hoped to see. And finally, last Tuesday, I got to see that sight There was one problem with it. I did want see Kevin Garnett win a championship, I just wanted to see him do it wearing a Timberwolves jersey...not a Celtics jersey. So now I can't stand that picture to the left, and I'll you tell three reasons why.

1. The man responsible for trading Kevin Garnett has yet to be held accountable: Most people say the Timberwolves HAD to trade Kevin Garnett. The Timberwolves had so much money wrapped up in Garnett that they couldn't sign any top free agents. Couple that with the fact that Kevin Garnett by himself isn't good enough to carry a team to the playoffs and the Timberwolves were officially stuck in mediocrity. The only solution was for the team to bottom out, get some high draft picks, and rebuild. Part of me understands that. But the fact remains, the Timberwolves should have never put themselves in that position to begin with.
The Timberwolves had a superstar capable of bringing the team a championship. However, Garnett has his flaws and needs the right kind of players around him. The Timberwolves should have provided Garnett with those right players. But they didn't. They got to the playoffs a lot but could only get out of the first round once. The Timberwolves had one of the best players in the league and could do nothing with him.
The Timberwolves' inability to win consistently with a top 5 NBA player is a failure by the General Manager. I hate demanding someone be fired but Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale failed to build a winning team. His team was so bad that he had to trade away a well respected, hall of fame player and resort to rebuilding. Kevin McHale failed as a GM and should be fired. But for some reason he hasn't. And that pisses me off. If the Timberwolves are so messed up they need to start over completely then Kevin McHale needs to be held accountable. If I was as bad at my job as Kevin McHale is at his, I'd be writing for this blog full time.

2. Rumor is, the Kevin Garnett trade wasn't even a good one: Let's get one thing straight, as far as value for value, this trade was terrible. Kevin Garnett was traded for a good-maybe-great-someday Al Jefferson and a bunch of guys whose contracts are going to expire. But you're never going to get value when you pretty much say to the other teams 'we need trade Kevin Garnett before the season starts'.
But even accepting the fact that the Timberwolves aren't going to receive full value for Kevin Garnett, this trade was still bad. I've heard there were better offers from other teams, but those teams were all in the Western Conference. The idea of not wanting to trade your superstar within your own conference is stupid. You've already admitted you're rebuilding, so why are you worried about facing Kevin Garnett a few more times than if he was in the Eastern Conference.
Beyond that there's another rumor out there. This one has less validity, but I like it anyway. Rumor has it that the Lakers offered a much better deal for Kevin Garnett than the Celtics. However, the General Manager of the Timberwolves, and ex-Celtic great, Kevin McHale didn't want to trade KG to the Lakers because, being an ex-Celtic and all, he hates the Lakers. Basically, McHale was willing to take less for Garnett but help out his beloved Celtics rather than getting better players but helping out the Lakers he hates so much. Normally I would dismiss a rumor like this outright. But, for some reason, with Kevin McHale's track record, I almost believe it.

3. Minnesota has given Boston another championship: That's right, MINNESOTA has given BOSTON another CHAMPIONSHIP! In the major sports the past 8 years before the Kevin Garnett trade, you know how many championships the city of Boston had? 4. And during the past basketball season Boston picked up yet another championship with the Red Sox. That's 5 Boston championships compared to Minnesota's 0. Yet, Minnesota still handed Boston Kevin Garnett and GAVE them another championship. That would be like Bill Gates' cleaning lady saying that $10 and hour is just too expensive for Bill and deciding to take a dollar an hour pay cut. It's just the rich getting richer...it's absurd.

But, that just seems to be the Minnesota sports way. It's almost the minor leagues here. We cultivate great sports athletes and then ship them off so they can have success elsewhere.
But really, the one thing that I can't get over is that Kevin Garnett was the greatest Timberwolf ever. But that's just an afterthought now. In most people's minds now Kevin Garnett is just another Celtic great. Timberwolves? What does Kevin Garnett have to do with the Timberwolves? I won't be able to get over that. Or perhaps you could say I'm just green with envy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

3 Questions About Comics and Me


What was the first comic you remember reading?

G.I.JOE #97. It opened with a gun fight involving Cobra, the Joes, and the Canadian Mounted Police - all fictional characters in my mind. Scarlet was in the hospital in a coma and Snake Eyes was wrapped in bandages, ready to kick the snot out of some street thugs. An entire story in sequential art form sucked me in. The ads for other Marvel comics intrigued me and sparked my imagination. Who was the guy in the purple outfit with the bow and arrow and why did he seem so frickin' cool? Should I really order a bunch of comics through the mail and take part in the savings?

What was the first comic that made you realize that you might be in this for the long haul?

Either Captain America 376 or Uncanny X-Men 273.

Capt A 376 had all the characters I'd never seen before who obviously had a backstory I must discover ASAP. Daredevil got his ass kicked in. Crossbones, Red Skull, and the Kingpin were obviously the bad guys. Bullseye couldn't miss and the Capt was on drugs! But drugs are bad and Captain America stands for America and America is perfect so how could the perfect icon being doing something bad?!?!?
Uncanny X-Men 273 was my first taste of drama. It helped that the drama contained a shower scene with some very lovely ladies. It was also my first exposure to Gambit. The ragin' Cajun beat some hairy guy with claws and bad hair in the danger room and so my man crush on Remy began.

If you had to make a snap decision to take one comic or one comic run to a desert island, what would it be? Don’t think too hard!

Obviously I'm all about the Sandman. I go back every 12-18 months and re-read the entire series with as much enjoyment as the last time. But since I've already posted about the Sandman I'll talk about what I'm reading and enjoying right now.

HELLBLAZER - I'm through the first TPB - Original sins and a couple issues into the 2nd. The British bloke, John Constantine (Not played by Keanu or set in LA), tricks demons and bangs hippy chicks. What more do you need?

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (new series) - A Raccoon who's a military genius talking to a twig guy in a plant pot . . . Characters breaking the fourth wall to explain who they are . . . Adam Warlock and Gamora . . . I'm there.


IRON MAN - LEGACY OF DOOM, VIVA LAS VEGAS, and INVINCIBLE IRON MAN. The movie rocked and all the series coming out have been strongly written and beautifully rendered.

HOUSE OF MYSTERY - Vertigo has been consistent in letting writers do their thing and make incredible works of art. The Sandman, Preacher, Fables, and Y-the Last Man have all been unique stories with mature themes that ultimately have or will wrap up nicely to let the next series ascend. So far it looks like HOUSE OF MYSTERY may be the next great Vertigo series.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lost: Questions Answered

Just because the show is over for the year doesn't mean I don't still have a few more Lost posts up my sleeve. As promised, here's a look back at the various questions raised throughout the season, and what kinds of answers we received. Was the show, in fact, as terrible about answering questions as some believe? Let's just say that while I had a hard time coming up with a new ways of saying "I don't know," I was genuinely surprised at some of the questions from early in the season that actually got resolved. Most of the big unanswered ones, it seems, are tied in some ways to the bigger mysteries that have been around for much longer than this season.

4x01: The Beginning of the End

Why are there only six known survivors of the crash?

They were in the right place (helicopter) at the right time (when the island moved).

Was everyone else left behind, or dead?

A little from column A (Locke, Sawyer, Juliet, Claire), a little from column B (Michael, Jin, Claire)

Did others get off the island unknown to the public? If so, how and why?

Ben did by turning the frozen donkey wheel that moved the island. Desmond also made it off, and stayed hidden to avoid the wraith of Widmore.

WIDMORE!!

We can safely presume that Jack and Kate are part of the Oceanic 6 along with Hurley; who are the other three?

Sun, Sayid and Aaron.

If Claire and Aaron got rescued (as Desmond’s flash suggested) would Aaron count as one of the six, since he technically wasn’t on the Oceanic flight?

Stupidly, yes.

Who are the “they” referenced by both Creepy Maybe Lawyer and Ghost Charlie?

Jury is still out on this one officially, but presumably, "they" are the rest of the 815ers and the Others still on the island. After all, at this point, we only know for sure that Locke survived the moving of the island, and at the point that Hurley was visited by Abaddon, he may not have even known that.

What secret are the six keeping and why do Hurley and Beard-o Jack want to go back?

The secret they are keeping is the truth about what everything that happened in the wake of the crash. We know that Beard-o Jack wants to go back because he was somehow convinced by Bentham nee Locke, presumably by tales of the horrors inflicted on those left behind.
Insane-o Hurley, however, by the end of the season, seemed less eager to go back for some reason.

Did Naomi really cover for the Lostaways, as Kate believes, or did she transmit some kind of message to her people before she died, either through the phone or her dying words? Does she have a sister?

Yeah, she was sending a message to the freighter. No sister for Naomi.

Who was in Jacob’s cabin?

Still not sure.

Was that Locke’s eye (I think so)?

Still don’t know.

Who was in the chair?

Christian.

How did Charlie appear before Hurley in the hospital? Was it just crazy Hurley (remember, Dave smacked him on the island too, and Hurley ultimately decided he was a figment of his imagination)? Was it Smokey or Jacob or whatever causes dead people to be seen on the island? Can the island’s “power” to make the dead appear reach that far?

The appearance (both on and off the island) remains one of the show’s bigger unresolved mysteries, one that likely won’t be resolved for some time.

Was Creepy Maybe-Lawyer actually a lawyer that worked for Oceanic? If so, will we be seeing more of Oceanic in the flash forwards? Perhaps they’re going to be set up as yet another mysterious corporation with hidden agendas, like the various Widmore companies, the Hanso Foundation, and Mittelos Bio Science.

It seems that so far, Oceanic has managed to avoid being lumped in with or setup as a conspiracy-laden, darkly connected company. They did not, it turns out, have any hand in creating the Oceanic Six lie or in compelling the Six to lie about their experiences on the island.

Oh, and Abbadon’s deal remains an ever-growing mystery.

I missed it in the episode, but the internet lists Desmond as having gone with Jack’s group-why?

Desmond’s motivations for following along with Jack were never addressed (in fact, "The Constant" aside, Des kind of got the short shrift this season) but it all worked out well for him in the end, I suppose.

4x02 Confirmed Dead

Why do the Freighties want Ben?

They are acting on orders from Widmore, who presumably wants Ben captured in order to remove him from their game and leave the island open to Widmore.

Who’s his man on the boat?

Michael

Anyone we know?

Yes. Looking back, did anyone honestly think it would be anyone but Michael?

How’d that Dharma polar bear get in the desert?

No official answer yet, but I’m sure it’s no coincidence that when Ben pushed the frozen donkey wheel, he ended up in the relatively same place as the polar bear skeleton. Some theories abound that Dharma was training and using the bears to turn the wheel.

Is Ben sick of getting his face pounded yet? What’s that, three, four times in a day?

You’d think so, but he just keeps on picking fights…

Whose eye was that at the window of Jacob’s cabin last episode? I was pretty sure it was Locke’s, but now that seems unlikely, since this episode, Locke didn’t seem to know that Hurley had seen the cabin.

Still no answer, though Locke seems to be out of the running.

This may be a nitpick, but why was Lawnmower Man so sure the other pilot’s wedding ring wouldn’t have fallen off in the course of the crash/decomposition on the ocean floor?

Never addressed; probably just me being nitpicky.

We know a little more about Naomi now, but we still don’t know how or why she got that picture of Penny and Desmond.

And we still don’t.

What was Faraday so upset about in the beginning?

No idea, but the notion of Faraday being a Desmond-esque time traveler has been suggested.

Did he know someone on the plane?

Unclear, but probably not.

Is he (being a physicist) why the Freighties were able to find the island?

Partially; he was certainly aware of the island’s “unique properties” and the correct approach/departure bearing.

What was the case of gas masks for?

We saw Charlotte and Daniel using them while they worked to neutralize the Tempest station in "The Other Woman"…

Were they going to gas Ben?

…but they’d probably have used them for that, too.

4x03: The Economist

This is an older, ongoing one, but this episode brought it up, and then, frustratingly, didn’t answer it: why DOES Kate want to leave the island so badly?

Still no clear answer; sure, once she got off the island things worked out pretty well for her (new son, fancy house, not in jail) but she didn’t know it would work out that well while still on the island.

Who is the titular Economist?

Both his identity and the level of his overall importance remain unknown.

What was the deal with the bracelets? Naomi’s seemed to be personally inscribed, but then Elsa had one: was her bracelet the exact same one as Naomi’s, and Sayid gave it to her? Why? If it was a similar but different (different engraving or something) bracelet what was the point of the emphasis the camera put on it? Simply to emphasize the thematic parallels, or something more?

The producers admitted the bracelets to be a narrative device, and not a clue or something with further plot meaning.

Why is Sayid working for Ben?

Ostensibly to avenge Nadia’s death, but I’d imagine that at the point of their collaboration that "The Economist" presents, there is more to it.

What is Ben’s goal?

Presumably it’s all part of the war he’s waging against Widmore.

What exactly happened the last time “Sayid thought with his heart?”

That line remains unexplained.

Why did they meet at an animal hospital?

Unknown, and probably not important.

Has Ben always been able to perform the “field surgery” he administers to Sayid?

See above.

Where does Sayid’s flash forward fit in the flash forward timeline? I’m guessing after Hurley’s but before Jack’s, but that’s just a guess.

The overall flash forward timeline is still a bit hazy, especially this episode’s.

Where’s Nadia in the future?

Dead.

Is she how Ben is controlling Sayid, or a casualty of the last time Sayid “thought with his heart?”

Probably not; she was killed by one of Widmore’s hired goons. But that was according to Ben, so it may not be entirely true.

4x04: Eggtown

Eggtown? Where’d that title come from? The eggs Locke made Ben at the beginning, and Miles’ egg shaped grenade breakfast at the end? Some kind of philosophical chicken/egg theme? Is that the name of the Dharma barracks/New Otherton?

Nowhere of any significance, according to the producers. Amongst all the varied theories I read, I forget their actual explanation, but it had no bearing on this episode or the show as a whole.

Is Kate really not pregnant, or was she lying to provoke Sawyer and give her a reason to leave again?

As far as we know, Kate was, in fact, not pregnant.

Where does Kate raising Aaron fit into the psychic’s predictions for Claire? In Raised By Another, back in season one, the psychic Claire visited in her flashback made it very clear that Aaron must be raised by Claire, going so far as to dupe Claire into meeting with potential adoptive parents in LA so that she’d be on Oceanic Flight 815. The implication was that the psychic knew the plane would crash, thus forcing Claire to raise Aaron as her own. With this episode, we have to wonder, was Kate’s adoption of Aaron something the psychic was trying to facilitate or prevent?

None of the psychic’s predictions have been addressed thus far, and I fear that it was forgotten. Aaron, on the whole, was setup to be someone of some significance in the first season. With Claire’s weirdness at the end of this season, I have hope that wasn’t entirely forgotten.

Why did Miles specifically ask for 3.2 million? Ben obviously recognizes there is some significance to that specific amount.

No idea; may have just been a number. The producers have said the Freighties back story was the biggest victim of the strike-shortened season, and that they hope to get some more of it worked into upcoming episodes.

What were Daniel and Charlotte doing with the cards? Testing his memory? Or testing some kind of clairvoyant power? Was it part of the “work” they stayed on the island to do?

Uncertain on all fronts, but it probably had something to do with Daniel’s work with radiation (that we saw in The Constant’s flashback) and/or his possible time travels.

Why doesn’t Future Jack want to see Aaron?

Hasn’t been made clear; all we have are theories.

Did he and/or Kate do something to Claire in order to get rescued, and Aaron reminds him of that…

Nope.

…or does Aaron just remind him that others (possibly including Claire) got left behind/killed in the course of their rescue?

Maybe. Then again, until Bentham shows up, the Oceanic Six have no idea what happened to the island or the people on it.

Does Future Jack know that Aaron is his nephew?

Yes, and he knew it during this episode’s flash forward.

Was Miles talking to ghosts before Kate walked in?

No idea. Probably not a big thing.

4x05: The Constant

Who wreaked the communications equipment, and why wasn’t Minkowski allowed to fix it?

Michael, on orders from Ben. It remains unknown why Minkowski wasn’t allowed to fix it, but I suppose it could be chalked up to general freighter-weirdness.

Who opened the sickbay door? Ben’s man on the boat? Michael?

Presumably Michael.

The producers have been specifically very adamant that none of their time travel stories will cause a paradox; so how do they explain the fact that Future Daniel had the correct specifications to give to Desmond, because Desmond gave them to Past Daniel? Does Daniel have memory problems (as has been suggested previously) so that when he’s on the island, he doesn’t remember Desmond visiting him and giving him those specifications?

I believe Dr. Bitz told me a way to explain this without creating a paradox, but I’m not about to try to write it all out here. Also, probably Daniel’s memory problems.

Why did 1996 Desmond’s consciousness come forward?

Don’t know.

Is there some significance to that time?

Don’t know.

Why was Penny calling the boat constantly?

Unclear

Why was Minkowski under strict orders to ignore the calls?

Widmore was most likely trying to keep Penny out of the loop; his knowledge of her actions, however, remain a mystery.

What caused Penny to go from “leave me the hell alone, Desmond” in 1996 to “a person with money can find anyone” before he went on the boat race, and then, subsequently, seemingly devoting her life to finding him?

Unanswered, but hopefully their story isn’t over quite yet.

Could the effects of traveling through whatever-it-is around the island that distorts time be the cause of the “sickness” that afflicted Rousseau’s crew?

I fear that with Rousseau’s untimely death, many of the lingering mysteries surrounding her and her crew, like this one, will go unanswered.

Does Desmond’s time jumping have anything to do with him getting kicked out of the army, as established in his first flashback?

Still unknown.

When did Daniel write that Desmond would be his constant in his journal? Right before we saw it, or in 1996, after Desmond visited him, or somewhere in between?

Don’t know.

When/where did Present Desmond’s consciousness go when 1996 Desmond’s mind was in his body (in the present, Desmond was either conscious with his 1996 mind or blacked out, when his mind was back in 1996). For that matter, last season in Flashes Before Your Eyes, when Present Desmond’s mind was in the past, reliving all those events and talking to creepy jewelry store lady, where/when was Past Desmond’s mind?

The exact mechanics of Desmond’s time traveling are still unknown, and probably won’t ever be addressed in detail.

4x06: The Other Woman

Once again, who his Ben’s man on the boat blah blah it’s Michael…

Yup. No surprise there.

If their mission was benevolent, why didn’t Charlotte and Daniel just tell Jack and Co. what they were doing?

Plot hammering.

Was the scene between Locke and Claire setting up the events that will cause Aaron to be raised off the island by Kate?

Not really.

What does it mean that “Ben is exactly where he wants to be?”

This is still unclear, although one could assume he wants to be near Locke.

It has to be asked: was everything Ben told Locke about Widmore true?

More or less, though he did claim ignorance regarding information he did in fact know.

That's a lot of questions already; let's pick this up next week. In the meantime, feel free to answer any questions I may have missed or correct any answers I may have misunderstood.

Monday, June 16, 2008

MLB Headlines Week 11

Did I hear that you guys wanted more headlines? Well, you get what you ask for! Although, I think boots~ might have given up on the whole thing. His loss. Anyway, onto the headlines:

www.mlb.com Headline of the Week:
Snakes bite into Big Apple

That's a Diamondbacks/Mets reference. I'm actually surprised there isn't a New York team called 'The Apples.' Probably not threatening enough. They'd have to be called the New York 'Apples Thrown by Freaky Wizard of Oz Trees' to be threatening.


Teebore:
June 15th, 2008 – Rockies 5 White Sox 3
Rocky road for ChiSox as crappy Colorado crushes current Central champs

June 15th, 2008 - Twins 2 Brewers 4
A Scott Baker's Dozen: 4 strikeouts in one inning sets Twins record but isn't enough for the sweep.

June 14th, 2008 - Royals 12 Diamondbacks 3
Royal beatdown: crappy Kansas City creams venom-less Diamondbacks

Dr. Bitz:
June 15th, 2008 - Cubs 7 Blue Jays 4
Lilly gets win when Cubs pad lead in seventh

June 15th, 2008 - Pirates 5 Orioles 4
Closers can't cut it in Baltimore

June 14th, 2008 - Twins 9 Brewers 4
Nathan gets nicked but Twins still drop their TS and Win

As always, voting to your left.

Before I go any further, anybody watch the Twins game on Sunday? Brendan Harris was batting and during the at bat he called for a time out and assumed he'd get it. He didn't, the pitcher threw a strike, and Brendan was called out on strikes.
Apparently the umpire wanted to speed up the game and thus didn't want to grant the time out. Which is fine, I guess, except the problem is that like 99% of time outs asked for are granted. Which means batters are conditioned to expect it. And that 1%of the time the batter doesn't get it the batter is screwed. As soon as he lifts his hand for a time out if the time out is not granted then the batter has no shot of getting ready to actually hit a ball if the pitcher pitches fast enough. So to me something needs to change.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit I wasn't paying much attention to the at bat at the time. I have no idea if he already asked for a time out like five times before that or if the umpire warned him about taking time outs. But, if neither of those things happened, then I have to think the umpire should have granted the time out.
I feel like the whole time out system is screwed up. A batter asks for it and the umpire may or may not give it to him. Sounds OK, but like I said before, 99% of the time it's granted, thus batters will assume they'll get it and thus they're vulnerable. I'm not sure how to best go about fixing this problem, though.
One solution would be to give the batter only one time out per at bat. That sounds good, but after a batter takes a time out the pitcher would probably stand there for like 5 minutes waiting for the batter to get tired of holding their bat at the ready position.
With that problem, you end up instituting a pitch clock. Which I'm not opposed to on principle, but when you look at the logistics of it all it breaks down. You need to make sure the pitcher can see the clock and determine who starts and stops the clock, and figure out when they should start the clock, and figure out how pick off attempts affect the clock...the whole thing gets messy.
So what's the solution to the time out problem? Who knows?
I did get a bit upset that after the whole time out issue the umpire started calling nearly anything within three feet of the strike zone a strike to like...prove a point or something. It was fishy.

Onto the log.
--------------------------------------------------

1:40 AM: I've got anniversary/father's day stuff planned for Sunday so the log won't be as extensive. No big loss though, because I'm getting my ass kicked.
R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 24 7 22 3 .222 2 3 26 7.05 1.68
Him: 30 7 28 3 .302 1 2 30 4.15 1.51


Runs, RBI, Average, ERA, WHIP are all pretty much out of reach. Especially since I don't have a starter going tomorrow and my opponent does. So I have to hope to hold on to wins and hope my relievers have masterful strikeout performances while my opponent's pitcher doesn't strike out anybody. I was going with a less is more philosophy of having a limited number of starting pitchers go for me this week in hopes to keep the ERA down. It failed miserably. Not only did the majority of the starters I played this week crap the bed, but my relievers have been pissing all over themselves too! Only one of my relievers so far has not given up an earned run. This week sucked. Oh yeah, and I'm tied for home runs at 7. My opponent's home run total for all of last week was 3...my timing is impeccable.

1:16 PM: Back home from Father's Day Brunch. Checked out my fantasy team and it's about as expected. My team's 1 for 6 and nothing else to speak of. Also, Quentin and Nady are not in their respective games today, as well as Mauer and Crawford who I put on the bench. So I'm down two batters today. And thanks to Matt Holliday "Road" my opponent has another RBI. And as I'm typing this Tejada hit a spicy single. 2 for 7 now. Ain't no stopping me now!

1:23 PM: My opponent has Twins pitcher Scott Baker on the bench but I don't know if that's intentional. It makes the first inning run he just gave up all the more bitter. My opponent is down in Wins and has a fairly tentative lead in Strike Outs and a rather comfortable lead in ERA and Strikeouts, so I'm not sure why Baker would be on the bench. But it'll likely to work out for her.

1:28 PM: Baker struck out a batter with the bases loaded. At least I can enjoy that without worrying about what it means fantasy-wise.

1:29 PM: Brandon Phillips struck out. But he's not on my S List anymore. He performed relatively well this week.

1:51 PM: Alex *Expletive Deleted* Rodriguez walked and Milton Bradley struck out. Sounds about right.

1:59 PM: Carlos Beltran homered...that pretty much means I'm not winning home runs. God this week sucks.

2:21 PM: Jorge Cantu and A-Rod have managed to get me some meaningless runs. I need HOME runs.

2:38 PM: Hey hey! Milton Bradley has a solo home run that I'm pretending went a towering 600 feet. Home runs are tied.

2:47 PM: You know, if anybody on my team would like steal a base, it would be appreciated.

3:04 PM: This just in, Alex *Expletive Deleted* Rodriguez is a pretty good baseball player. He just hit a home run and I'm now up by one in homers. Apparently, rumors of my demise in the Home Run category were greatly exaggerated.

3:07 PM: Posada homered for the Yankees too. No fantasy relevance but it's a home run derby out in Houston!

3:10 PM: Well, Matt Capps is in the game and got me a strike out. There's two outs, so I wouldn't mind one more. That still leaves me two short though. Fuentes, I'm looking in your direction.

3:13 PM: And Matt Capps gives up a two run homer. Technically they're unearned, and I'm already safe in the save department...but that's two blown saves in as many days. I'm worried about Matt Capps' psyche...

3:16 PM: So I'm down by 3 RBI, if I get a big grand slam or something then there's an outside chance I take the category.

3:22 PM: Apparently my relievers need the Umpire the Twins have today. He's calling everything a strike. It's actually looking a bit shady. Not a conspiracy but...well, maybe I'll talk about it in the lead in.

3:26 PM: Because of Capps' screw up Sherrill is in the game, and has gotten a strikeout for me. A couple more would be nice.

3:31 PM: And Sherrill's out of the game. A nice 27 ERA and 9 WHIP for his third of an inning.

3:32 PM: Hey, Capps stayed in the game! First batter strikes out. I'm only down by one strike out!

3:39 PM: Capps has another strike out! The category's tied. Now one of my 3 remaining relievers need a strike out.

3:40 PM: Fuentes is in the game at Chicago. Time for a strike out!

3:44 PM: Fuentes gives up a hit...I said STRIKE OUT not HIT. They never pay attention to me.

3:45 PM: I said STRIKE OUT not bunt ground out. By the way, Orlando Cabrera, bunting in the bottom of the ninth with one man on and down by two runs...terrible, terrible idea.

3:46 PM: Another ground out. Well, one last chance at a strike out...

3:47 PM: Two strikes for Fuentes. How hard could it be to get one more strike?

3:49 PM: A walk...OK...do we think Jim Thome can strike out? Two on, two out, bottom of the ninth...we know he will be swinging.

3:51 PM: A 5 pitch walk...'unintentional intentional' walk? Maybe. But now 'The Twins Killer' Joe Crede needs to strike out.

3:52 PM: Fly out...shhhhhhhucks...

3:53 PM: Mauer is pinch hitting, but not in my lineup at all. What are the chances he hits a home run? The Twins are down by two which means he could hit a meaningless solo home run in a losing effort just to make sure the whole thing is completely negative for me.

3:56 PM: Ground out by Mauer. I guess I'm not THAT unlucky.

4:03 PM: Well, it looked like Franklin was coming into the game but then the Phillies got 2 runs in the 8th to tie the game so I don't know anymore. We'll see. I can also hope Seattle puts Morrow in their game at some point.

4:06 PM: Stat Tracker is going through the entire Yankee game again doubling all the stats. So A-Rod's going to be credited with two home runs for a while until it's fixed...and apparently Cano struck out swinging 4 times in a row. Who knows what kind of stats this will mess with as I'm trying to look at it. But whatever. I'll figure it out. Gotta love Yahoo Stat Tracker.

4:10 PM: Franklin's was put in for the tied game. That's good. I just need a strike out. You can give up as many runs as you want!

4:15 PM: Wow, according to Yahoo Stat Tracker A-Rod managed to hit ANOTHER 3-run homer...I'm rolling my eyes. Stupid Stat Tracker.

4:27 PM: Two strikes on Werth for Franklin...

4:28 PM: Ball...Foul...

4:29 PM: Foul...Hit by pitch...WTF? Way to bring in Utley to bat. Yeah, he's going to strike out.

4:30 PM: Called Strike on Utley...now a Foul...c'mon, one more strike...

4:31 PM: In play...outs...no strike out...I'm down to Morrow. Hopefully he comes into the game.

4:32 PM: Why isn't Milton Bradley in the second game of the Texas double-header? Is there any good reason?

4:35 PM: My batters are pretty much done. My opponent has Alex Gordon and Kelly Johnson still to play. I have to hope neither of them get a steal so I can keep a tie for that category. I also have to hope for no home runs.

7:51 PM: Back from anniversary dinner. Morrow never came in the game. Strike outs will be tied. Kind of lame. Luckily my opponent hasn't homered or stolen a base...yet. I still have to sweat through Kelly Johnson.

10:59 PM - No home run or steal from Kelly Johnson. Good for me. So I end up losing this week 3 to 5. Seems about par for the course. I was a steal and strikeout away from tying 5-5. Dang. The final score looks like this:

R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 30 9 27 3 .230 3 6 30 6.53 1.74
Him: 35 8 32 3 .296 1 2 30 4.15 1.51


Well, last week I said 29 RBIs just wasn't cutting it. So my team came back with 2 less. Awesome. 3 stolen bases and .230 average are both pathetic. I have the exact same number of wins this week as I did last, but oddly enough, not a single starter of mine got a Win this week. That tidbit is more of a reflection of how poorly my closers pitched, not how well. (Except for Fuentes, the only reliever on my team to not give up an Earned Run.)

Nemesis of The Week:
Yeah, I think it has to go to Carlos Beltran with Alex Gordon being a close second. Both had two home runs, but Beltran had one more run with 7 and four more RBIs at 8. Mix in a steal and a .400 average and you got yourself a nemesis.

Savior of The Week:
Should I have a savior if I only manage to win 3 measly categories? I suppose I should just to point out that Alex *Expletive Deleted* Rodriguez had another great week. 9 Runs, 3 Home Runs, 8 RBI, and .417 Batting Average. It's funny, because you hear about Chipper Jones, Chase Utley, Josh Hamilton, and Lance Berkman (and rightfully so) but nobody talks about how A-Rod's been on fire the past month. He's also posting up great numbers for the season despite being out for 3 weeks. I guess it's just a non-story. "A-Rod's good...tell me something I don't know."

The moral of this week is that I have to come up with a good nick name for Milton Bradley. I was thinking 'The Monopoly Man' but A) That doesn't make much sense and B) Monopoly is apparently a Parker Bros. game...who knew? Put your hands down.
So I've got a list of Milton Bradley board games here and I should choose one of them. Hmmmm...how does Milton "The Dark Crystal Game" Bradley sound? No? Well, maybe I can come up with something better next week.

Friday, June 13, 2008

THE HAPPENING

I loved this movie!!!

After reading my non-spoiler review you’ll see how weird and abnormal this is.

The Happening is the newest film from M. Night Shymanlan-a-ding-dong centered around a rash of apparent suicides people are suddenly compelled to commit because of the wind.

The main star, Marky Mark Wahlberg, is the worlds worst science teacher, as well as the worst actor in the role of the worst science teacher. Couple that with horrible dialogue, seemingly irrational anger by all of the characters, especially when they’re about to hold a child’s hand or after the two questions they asked and were subsequently answered by a railroad worker failed to promote the conversation they were hoping ensued.

Bad acting, bad dialogue, un-likable characters, and a M.Night “twist” all add up to a great movie, right?

Correct!

I laughed out loud and for long periods of time! The Happening was by far more entertaining than the latest Indiana Jones and Iron Man combined, but vastly shorter in length clocking in at 90 minutes. Another bonus since my morning McD’s Iced Lattes were ready to be released from my organs around the 60 minute mark.

Plus you get to see people off themselves using lions and lawnmowers!

BRILLIANT!

I’m serious – see this movie with a couple friends and enjoy! I sure did. Once you do, send me an email so we can discuss it in detail.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

To Better Know A Hero: Hulk

Hulk star in new movie. Last Hulk movie made Hulk sleepy. Hulk only got to smash stupid Hulk-Dogs and Crazy-Nolte Man. Hulk hope Artsy-Actor Man and Hot-Elf Lady do better job this time. Then Hulk’s movie will smash Funny-Last-Name Man’s movie.


Real Name: Robert “Bruce” Banner

First Appearance: Hulk #1 May 1962

Nicknames and Aliases: Green Goliath, Jade Giant, ol’ Jade Jaws, Joe Fix-It, Worldbreaker, Green Scar

Powers and Abilities: Anger triggers the transformation of Banner into the Hulk, which gives him tremendous strength, which grows greater in proportion to his anger (the madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets), invulnerability, super-human durability and resiliency; the Hulk can also leap several miles, visibly detect astral projections, and intuitively know the spot in the desert where he was born.

Weaknesses and Achilles’ Heels: Hulk is his own greatest weakness: he is constantly at war with himself, the meek Banner trying to exert control over the explosive Hulk; Gamma radiation has been known to trigger the change back to Banner, or limit his abilities; complex thoughts

Gadgets and Accessories: Hulk often rocks the shredded purple trou’

Friends and Allies: Rick Jones (his best friend and sidekick), Betty Ross Banner (his deceased wife) Leonard “Doc” Samson (his friend and psychiatrist), Amadeus Cho (his new sidekick), the Avengers (sometimes), the Defenders, the Pantheon, the Warbound, the Renegades

Foes and Antagonists: General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (his father-in-law), Colonel Glenn Talbot, the Leader, the Abomination, Maestro, the Bi-Beast (heh), the YMCA

One-Sentence Origin: Brilliant but mild-mannered scientist Bruce Banner is caught in the explosion of an experimental Gamma bomb which transforms him into the incredible Hulk whenever he gets angry.

Memorable Moment: Secret Wars #4, August 1985. Trapped on an alien world, Marvel’s greatest heroes are under attack by the combined forces of their greatest enemies when Molecule Man drops a mountain on them. The Hulk single-handedly holds up the entire mountain long enough for Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man to cobble together a way out for all the heroes.

Fun Fact: Early in the Hulk’s series, Stan Lee mistakenly referred to Banner as Robert rather than Bruce (ol’ Stan has always claimed he’s no good at remembering names, and he had a lot to keep track of back then, when he was basically writing most of Marvel’s books-hence all the alliteration). He later covered the error by saying that Banner preferred to go by his middle name, Bruce. Allegedly, when the 1970s Hulk TV show starring Bill Bixby and Lou Feringno was being developed, the producers felt that “Bruce” wasn’t a masculine enough name, so they changed it to “David” (which some people I know will argue is the most masculine name, ever) for the show.

Teebore’s Take: If sixties Marvel tales can be read as parables about the worries of the Atomic Age, then the Incredible Hulk is the strongest of those, updating two stories written (Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) as a reaction to Victorian-era fears of the Industrial Revolution to create a tale of a super-strong monster birthed by the science of man. The Hulk is also one of early Marvel’s most purely metaphoric characters.

Through the years the Hulk has gone through a number of mental and physical changes, settings, and status quos. The in-universe explanation for this has always been the volatile nature of the gamma radiation that made the Hulk; the real reason is the limitations of the Hulk’s original (and still default) storytelling engine, in which the Hulk was constantly hunted by the military while Bruce Banner did everything he could to stay out of trouble and find a cure. Of course, this was always a false status quo, because if Banner did find a cure, the story would be over, and if the military captured and exterminated the Hulk, the story would be over. So various writers had to come up with all kinds of ideas to keep the narrative going. This variety, along with the thematic resonance of the character, is a large part of the Hulk’s appeal to me, and I’d imagine, a lot of other people. After all, if you don’t like a particular take on the character, it’s only a matter of time before another one you do like comes along.

Over time, the Hulk’s intelligence has varied, from cunning to savage to child-like. He has gone through various periods where the Hulk possessed Banner’s intellect, and periods where the Hulk and Banner became two physically separate individuals. The Hulk has been everything from a wandering misanthrope, an unstoppable brute, a respected super-hero, and a force of nature. Gray in his first appearance, he was soon colored in the more familiar green hue (the apocryphal story goes that the printing process in the sixties was so poor the gray tones washed out, so they had to change to the more vibrant green).

In the eighties, the Hulk went back to gray for a time when a more surly personality emerged, and his transformations into a less powerful Hulk occurred every night rather than when enraged. Taking the name Joe Fix-It the Hulk worked for a time as a Vegas bouncer and mob bodyguard. Shortly thereafter, this personality was merged with Banner’s intellect and the raw power of the mindless Hulk to create a more balanced Hulk known as the “Professor Hulk.”Also, he used guns for some reason. But it was the 90s. Everyone was doing it.

More recently, the Hulk was launched into space by a group of well-meaning douchebags (Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Dr. Strange and Black Bolt) and mistakenly ended up on an alien world where he fought as a gladiator, overthrew the government, proclaimed himself king, and then, when the ship he arrived in exploded, killing his new wife and many of his subjects, journeyed back to Earth to take revenge on those well-meaning douches for kicking him off the planet in the first place. It was pretty sweet.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lost Poll: Your Favorite Walt

Which is your favorite Walt?

Season 1: Classic "Special" Walt



Season 2: Creepy Talking-Backwards Walt*



Season 3: Taller Ghost Walt**



Season 4: Taller Fro Walt


Voting to your left.

*Hey, remember that? Seriously, what the hell was up with that? I hope we get an answer at some point.

**AKA Divorced With Two Kids, A Mortgage, A Bad Back And An Enlarged Prostrate Walt

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"3 Questions About Comics and You" Meme

Here's another little meme that's been circulating around recently. I invite my fellow Gentlemen to answer as well, if they are so inclined.

What was the first comic you remember reading?

New Defenders 129, in which the New Defenders battle Professor X and the New Mutants (who were actually just mental illusions cast by the slightly whacky New Defender Moondragon.

I have no idea how this issue of a B-List (at best) comic that I had never heard of at the time came into my possession; it just showed up in the house one day. I remember reading it and having no clue who the New Defenders were (except for Iceman, due to his role as one of Spidey’s Amazing Friends) or who the New Mutants were (but I did know Professor X, thanks to the cartoons of the era).

I do recall that Moondragon made a pre-teen Teebore feel kinda funny, like when you slide down the rope in gym class…

What was the first comic that made you realize that you might be in this for the long haul?

X-Men #8 and Uncanny X-Men #289, the two issues on the stand when the baseball-cards-to –comic-book-cards transition inevitably led me to comic books themselves. I have no recollection why I picked up two X-Men books with which to test the waters, but I did, and had no freaking clue what was going. Rather than be turned off by the dense and seemingly impenetrable continuity contained therein (the effect that many critics believe the similarly continuity-obsessed super hero comics of today have on new readers) I was captivated by it, and realized the door had opened on a rich and new mythology that I could learn, study and devour. From that point forward, as I did just that, I was hooked.



Also, Jim Lee’s infamous Psylocke-slowly-emerges-from-the-water bit of cheesecake art in X-Men #8 probably helped ease my confusion.

If you had to make a snap decision to take one comic or one comic run to a desert island, what would it be? Don’t think too hard!

My first instinct is to take the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe series with me, because that would be like having a whole ton of stories on hand.

Otherwise, probably X-Men 194 -137 (the Claremont/Cockrum and Claremont/Byrne runs). It's not my favorite run, but the one with enough variety to keep me interested whilst exiled.