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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Professor Xavier Is A Jerk!

You tell ‘em, Kitty.

Here’s a look at a few of Professor Xavier’s more prominent dick moves, in a career surprisingly littered with them for someone who’s made achieving tolerance and peaceful coexistence the life mission of himself and dozens and dozens of young men and women. And I'm not even counting the approximately 1,526 times Professor Xavier has been possessed by an evil power or temporarily turned evil.

"Ha ha! Fooled You!"

Throughout most the X-Men’s original run back in the sixties, Xavier was, for the most part, a dick. He was stern and authoritarian, brooking no sass mouth from his students, unafraid to alter a memory here or a impose his will on someone there, and nursing a creepy crush on Jean Grey. The zenith of his Silver Age dickery (an era that was a Golden Age of superhero dickery) came when, after learning of an incoming alien invasion, Xavier must go underground to prepare a defense against these invaders. For some reason, this must be done secretly, so he asks recently reformed shapeshifting villain Changeling to take his place and imbues him with a portion of his mental powers (hopefully, Xavier won’t need his full strength to defeat the aliens) so better maintain the ruse. The switch is made, and no one, not even his X-Men (except for Jean Grey) is told the truth. Kind of a dick move, especially when the Changeling gets himself killed, and the X-Men not only mourn his loss, but break up and go their separate ways for awhile (Jean Grey, sworn to secrecy, keeps quiet, using, I assume, her friends and teammates very real grief as a template for a very reasonable facsimile thereof), all while the real Xavier stays hidden in his underground bunker. Of course, once Xavier does pop out, saying “surprise, I’m not really dead!” the X-Men are too relieved at not being alien love slaves that they don’t give him the bitch-slapping he deserves.

And with that third mention of Changeling in as many posts, this blog has devoted more space to the 60s X-Men since that lewd Marvel Girl/Bernard the Poet fanfic site was taken down.

“She’s not just any stewardess…she’s a ten.”

For a bald guy in a wheel chair, Xavier always managed to get around, if you catch my drift. But while many were the ladies that he loved, far fewer were the ladies who could tear him away from his students and his dream. But when badly injured and dying, Xavier entrusts the well being of his school and his mission to a trying-to-be-a-better-guy Magneto. Moments later, Xavier’s alien girlfriend, hanging with the Starjammers, pops up, citing the advanced medicine aboard her ship as being the only thing that can save his life. All well and good for the short term, but when it becomes less convenient for the Starjammers to get Xavier back to earth, he figures “eh, what the hell. I deserve some time off. I’m sure Magneto’ll handle everything fine.”Of course, this stuck in the craw of some of Xavier’s older students, many of whom Magneto had been trying to kill since before they had zits and whom still greeted Magneto’s recent reformation with a certain amount of skepticism. But rather than help smooth over these rough edges, Xavier decided he’d rather hangout in space getting alien tail. Way to pull a Rod Belding, Chuck.


“I’m not your Baby-Daddy!”

Remember all those ladies I mentioned? Well, one of them was a woman named Gabriel Haller, a patient at a hospital in Israel specializing in helping Holocaust victims. Xavier worked there alongside Magneto for a time before founding the X-Men (real ethical, Chuck, sleeping with one of your patients). Well, the two did what recovering mental patients and their bald quasi-doctors are prone to do, but before you can say “honey, I’m late” Gabriel was kidnapped by Hydra, led by Baron Von Strucker, and Xavier and Magneto had to rescue her. Magneto left with some Nazi gold to jumpstart his evil plans and Xavier returned to America, parting amicably with Gaby but still ignorant of his love child, who happened to be an autistic mutant with multiple personality disorder. Only later, after Haller took her son to Moira MacTaggert (another old flame of Xavier’s) and Moira realized she was in over her head and called in Xavier, did he learn that he had a son named David (aka Legion). At which point he promptly promised to always be there for his son, except…he wasn’t.

Instead he left Legion in the care of Moira on Muir Island, where he was subsequently possessed by an old nemesis of Xavier, the Shadow King, whose defeat led to Legion entering a catatonic state. Rather than using his awesome mental powers to help the boy, Xavier instead decided to ignore him until Legion recovered on his own, more powerful and insane than ever, and subsequently went back in time to kill Magneto so that Xavier would have more time to spend with his son. Of course, Legion missed, killing Xavier instead, wiping himself from existence and creating a timeline in which Apocalypse ruled North America instead. Nice parenting there. Xavier should write a book.


“O Brother Where Art Thou?”

So remember when the original X-Men were captured by the living mutant island (don’t ask) Krakoa, and Professor Xavier recruited a new team of older, more international X-Men, including Storm, Wolverine, Colossus and Nightcrawler, to rescue the originals? Of course you do. Well, it turns out that second team was actually the third team he sent to rescue his original charges. Before turning to the likes of Banshee and Sunfire, Xavier called upon a group of four young mutants receiving tutelage from Moira MacTaggert on Muir Island, including Cyclops and Havok’s long lost brother. Of course, Moira wasn’t training her students for combat like Xavier did with his X-Men, but desperate, Chuck used his mental powers to “download” the necessary fighting abilities into Moira’s charges and sent them on their merry way. Of course, they failed miserably and were all believed dead-though they did manage to free Cyclops from Krakoa’s island-y clutches, who returned to lead Xavier’s second group of replacement X-Men, this time a group of more experienced individuals, in successfully rescuing the surviving original X-Men. Moria’s students? Still dead.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Xavier decided that the X-Men were so traumatized by the deaths that he wiped all knowledge of the events from their memories, so that as far as they were concerned, there was only one, successful, rescue attempt. And I’m sure Xavier did it for their own good, not just to cover up the fact that he was a giant dick who sent poorly trained students on a rescue mission that led to their deaths. Needless to say, when Cyclops's not-as-dead-as-they-thought but now-criminally-insane brother showed up and spilled the beans, Cyclops kicked Xavier out of the mansion and off the team.

At the time, Xavier was powerless, so he couldn’t just make everyone forget again. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure he would have.

Monday, July 28, 2008

MLB Headlines Week 17

Well, you can all thank me for the Twins getting out of their slump. The Twins lose 5 in a row and can't hit a lick. They go up against a pitcher on my fantasy team and boom, they get 9 runs. So you're welcome.
Anyway, I suppose you want some headlines.

www.mlb.com Headline of the Week:
Men of steal are sitting in first in the AL East

Yes, it's referring to the Tampa Bay Rays. Yes, they do steal a lot of bases. And no, Clark Kent does not bat clean up.

Teebore:
July 27th, 2008 - Twins 4 Indians 2
Justin time: Morneau hits game winning RBI in ninth

July 26th, 2008 - Marlins 3 Cubs 2
Cantu Can Do with extra-innings go ahead hit

July 27th, 2008 - White Sox 4 Tigers 6
Tigers take a bite out of Sox

Dr. Bitz:
July 27th, 2008 - Twins 4 Indians 2
Sowers sour after Morneau's game winning RBI

July 27th, 2008 - Braves 10 Phillies 12
Phillies fill the box score with home runs and win a wild one

July 27th, 2008 - Rangers 5 Athletics 6
Blevins in Heaven after putting the Rangers through Hell

Teebore won last week. Which confirms my theory that people were feeling sorry for him. But the baby has had his bottle so you can feel free to vote for me once more. As always, the poll is to the left.

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11:51 AM: My team started out good but my opponent did well enough to stay within striking distance of me. She kept pecking away throughout the week and then, during the day yesterday, Josh Hamilton hit a 3 run home run to tie home runs at 9 and take the lead in RBI. Needless to say, I was bitter. Then, I went to a social gathering. I got back after all the games were done to find out that my team awesomely hit 5 home runs along with 11 Runs, 16 RBI and a steal. This is how the week looks after that:
R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 41 14 44 4 .312 3 1 53 5.86 1.54
Him: 32 9 32 3 .292 3 6 43 2.83 1.20


My pitching has been...disappointing. Ryan Franklin blew two saves prompting me to drop him from my team for like the 8th time. I picked up Pittsburgh's closer, Marte, who was then promptly traded to the Yankees the next day and no longer closing. Since my opponent's pitching was pretty much lights out I've resorted to streaming pitchers. Today I have Randy Johnson and Paul Maholm pitching for me. Let's see if I keep the lead in strike outs and take Wins.

12:19 PM: First batter of the day is Carlos Quentin. He lines out. But Jermaine Dye gets a double. That's good.

1:05 PM: And now Jermaine Dye hit a home run. He's the only guy on my team getting hits so far.

1:24 PM: Watching another pitcher that isn't on my fantasy team dominate the Twins. 5 perfect innings. Apparently the Twins can only score runs if they're playing against my fantasy pitchers.

1:38 PM: I just realized that Maholm is going against Peavy, who my opponent has. It's a grudge match. Only one of the pitchers can get a win, and considering San Diego is winning 1-0, it's looking like that pitcher won't be mine...unless Pittsburgh steps up their hitting.

1:40 PM: Pittsburgh just stepped it up by tying up the game. Coincidentally, so did the Twins. Although, that has no fantasy relevance.

1:44 PM: My opponent's pitcher, Kyle Lohse, is getting rocked. Serves her right for having Kyle Lohse on her team. But I think ERA and WHIP are out of reach anyway. So it doesn't really matter, aside from keeping my opponent from getting a win.

1:47 PM: My team's batting average is .299 now, only 11 points ahead of my opponent. I could use a few more hits.

1:49 PM: And now Jhohnhnhy Peralta grounded out. But I can accept that since it's against the Twins.

1:52 PM: Carl 'Garbage' Crawford grounds into a double play for added emphasis on the non-hit.
1:57 PM: Hey, Carlos Delgado steps it up with a single, bringing up my average for the week to .300.

1:58 PM: Second day in a row Albert "Stick up their" Pujols homered. I almost wish he just singled so that he could get a steal, but beggars can't be choosers. I've had four hits today so far, and half of them are homers. I hope my team is saving some up for next week.

6:54 PM: Just got back from the Dark Knight. It's a good movie, I'd recommend it. It's not the perfect masterpiece that everyone claims it to be though, in my opinion. Not a whole lot changed when I got back. Randy Johnson got a win for me. But Peavy got a win for my opponent. So we'll end up tied in wins.

6:56 PM: Mark this day on the calendar, I'm benching A-Rod. I've won all the hitting categories already and all his players are done. Of course, it's tempting to start him in order to reach the 50 RBI benchmark, but that would be pure vanity. It's not worth risking some odd 0 for 10 night that costs me average.

11:08 PM: Games are over. Pretty boring Sunday, but here's how it looks:
R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 44 16 48 4 .304 4 2 64 4.62 1.43
Him: 38 9 35 3 .273 4 6 56 3.29 1.24


One of the few times that my opponent does well but I did better. It feels good. I can't believe I broke 40 for both Runs and RBI. 16 home runs will do that.
2 saves is and embarrassing number. I mean, I've got like 5 closers, and they could only muster up 2 saves. I'd be pissed about the two saves Ryan Franklin blew, but it wouldn't have made a difference.

Nemesis of The Week:
Hmmm...it's tough to pick out anybody. Well, Mike Mussina pitched 8 innings with no earned runs, 7 strikeouts, and a .75 WHIP...all against my beloved Twins! That's annoying.

Savior of The Week:
There's a few candidates this week (obviously none of them being pitchers). A-Rod contributed 6 Runs, 1 Home Run, 6 RBI, a Steal, and a .500 batting average. But that's good enough for just third. Carlos Delgado had 4 Runs, 4 Home Runs, 10 RBI, and a .280 average. And he isn't even my Fantasy Savior! That honors go to Carlos Quentin. 9 Runs, 4 Home Runs, 7 RBI, and a .273 Batting Average. Those are savior numbers. And just for completion's sake, I should add that Jermaine Dye had 6 Runs, 3 Home Runs, 7 RBI, and a .450 batting average. Man, maybe he should've been the Fantasy Savior. Anyway, the bottom line is my team did very well in hitting this week.

The moral of this week's story is that the Home Run Derby means nothing. I went up against a team that had the Home Run Derby Champion, Justin Morneau and the Home Run Derby Hero Josh Hamilton, yet my team was the one that ended up with 16 Home Runs.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Walking Out of the Shadows

A look at five villains-turned-X-Men.

Changeling: As mentioned before, Changeling was a minor 60s villain before having a change of heart and taking Professor X's place, before ultimately dying in the line of duty. Despite being the first X-Man to die in the line of duty, Changeling's transformation from villain to hero is still fairly minor, considering it was all done behind the scenes in a retcon.




Banshee: Debuting around the same time as Changeling, Banshee was forced into a short-lived career as a villain by an exploding headband (don't ask) before joining the All New, All Different X-Men when the original team was captured by a living island (don't ask). Banshee stayed on with the team for quite a while, before he temporarily lost his powers and shacked up with Moira MacTaggert. He eventually got his powers back, and lead Generation X as co-headmaster of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters alongside Emma Frost. Banshee recently died unceremoniously in Ed Brubaker's Deadly Genesis series.



Rogue: Often overlooked is the fact that Rogue's super-strength, invulnerability and flight powers were forcibly acquired from Ms. Marvel back when Rogue was rolling with her step-mom Mystique's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Rogue also single-handedly took down the Avengers before going to Xavier for help in controlling her absorption power. Reluctantly accepted by an X-Men team she had battled in the past, Rogue proved herself to be a stalwart hero and mainstay of the team (even though Xavier proved to be less than successful in his meager attempts to help her control her power).





Magneto: The gradual reformation of Magneto from villain to hero was one of Chris Claremont's greatest accomplishments in his fifteen year tenure as X-Men writer. Beginning in Uncanny X-Men 150 when, following one his greater atrocities (the sinking of an attacking Russian submarine) Magneto almost killed the youngest X-Man, Kitty Pryde. Horrified by what he had almost done, Magneto began to slowly move away from his outright villainous ways. By Uncanny X-Men 200, Magneto had turned himself over to the World Court for trial (he was acquited on a technicality) and was asked by Xavier (who was leaving Earth with his alien girlfriend to receive needed medical attention) to become Headmaster of the school in his place. Taking the name Michael Xavier to pose as Professor X's cousin, he fought alongside the X-Men and mentored the New Mutants before his frustration with the continued degeneration of mutant/human relations caused him to seclude himself in Asteroid M. Seclusion was denied him, however, and he ultimately died saving the X-Men. Magneto got better, of course, but when he returned he was back to his more villainous ways. Of course, he now has a leg up on Xavier, citing the fact that while Magneto has walked Xavier's path of peaceful coexistence, Xavier has never tried Magneto's way.

Juggernaut: Probably the villain least likely to ever become an X-Man, Juggernaut's redemption was the sole bright spot in Chuck Austen's otherwise dismal run. Tired of constantly being chased by the authorities and the seemingly never ending back forth between him and the X-Men, Juggernaut finally took up Xavier's long standing offer of sanctuary. As an X-Man he struck up a strong and ultimately tragic friendship with a young student and infiltrated a new incarnation of the Brotherhood before being carted off to the pages of New Excalibur and whatever Modern Claremont wackiness ensued therein.

Monday, July 21, 2008

MLB Headlines Week 16

Usually I have some preamble to this post where I bore people with one of my diatribes, but honestly, I got nothing week. I did watch some of the British Open this weekend and there was this one golfer wearing a white, heavy shirt and pink pants. He looked like a grandma. And it's impossible to look tough or cool when your pumping your fist after a birdy while wearing pink pants. I'm sorry, you just can't pull it off.
Anyway...

www.mlb.com Headline of the Week:
See-saw game swing Cards' way on Miles' slam

I just like it because it seems overly complicated.

Dr. Bitz:
July 20th, 2008 - Rangers 1 Twins 0
Perkins perfect through five but Vicente's victorious

July 20th, 2008 - Mets 7 Reds 5
Reds met their match against New York

July 20th, 2008 - Dodgers 6 Diamondbacks 5
Lyon declawed in the ninth

Teebore:
July 20th, 2008 – Rangers 1 Twins 0
Texas Rangers lock up surging Twins offense to stymie sweep.

July 20th, 2008 - Indians 6 Mariners 2
Cleveland pushes Seattle over the Cliff as Lee pitches complete game.

July 19th, 2008 - Rangers 2 Twins 14
Titantic Twins Twosome use power to tower over Texas

Voting is to the left. I won last week so if I lose this week it's just because people feel sorry for Teebore. On to the Sunday Fantasy Domination.

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11:51 PM: It's a grudge match this week. Teebore and Dr. Bitz are going head to head. And Dr. Bitz is dominating! I guess my key to this week is the fact that there has only been 4 days worth of games this week due to the All Star break. Apparently my team can do well in half a weeks time without the other half evening things out. Anyway, keeping in mind this week had a limited number of games, the scores are a bit low:

R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 15 3 17 1 .373 3 6 27 2.83 1.15
Him: 7 0 5 0 .205 1 2 8 4.09 1.27


In the pitching department I was left with a choice. Either I keep with just relievers today and hope his 4 starting pitchers can't beat ERA and WHIP but probably lose Strikeouts and maybe Wins in the process or a I pick up a couple of pitchers to combat him. I picked up a couple of pitchers but we'll see what happens. I picked up Tim Wakefield and Vincente Padilla. Padilla was more of a hedge my bets pick up, since he's facing the Twins. If he sucks, it's good for the Twins. Anyway, all pitching categories are up for grabs right now except saves. Saves is mine. Hehehehe.
The hitting categories should mostly be mine too. Although Stolen Bases is up for grabs. Other than that I should be safe. Home runs could get a bit dicey though. My prediction? I win the week 5-4. (I lose Stolen Bases, Strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP and tie wins.) But let's see what happens.

12:24 PM: First batter of the day is Alex *Expletive Deleted* Rodriguez. He singles to left.

12:31 PM: Well, my lead in steals didn't last very long. Jose Reyes already stole once. Awesome.

12:35 PM: Carlos Delgado singled. He's been a nice pick up for me so far.

1:15 PM: Went out to get some lunch. I come back and Teebore has another steal. Not happy about that. A-Rod and Delgado combine for an RBI and Run. I am happy about that.

1:35 PM: Brandon Phillips has an RBI single and stole a base. Steals are tied. Me likes. Both Quentin and Dye singled and have scored. That's more or less a mixed blessing. It's good for me fantasy-wise, but it is the White Sox.

1:40 PM: Teebore's pitchers are struggling. Which makes me happy. Three of them have so far pitched a combined 11 innings, 7 strikeouts, 9.00 ERA, and 1.91 WHIP.

1:42 PM: Albert "Hehehehehe" Pujols is on the bench. 3 days after the all star break. Apparently his 4 RBI game last night wasn't good enough.

1:51 PM: So I'm watching Padilla, the pitcher I picked up, pitch against the Twins, and I think he has the greasiest hair I've ever seen. He must squeegee an entire deep dish pizza on top of his head every morning.

1:52 PM: Carl 'Garbage' Crawford got an RBI, but what I really need is a steal. That's why I drafted him in the first place.

2:10 PM: Perkins has a perfect game going for the Twins through 5 Innings. I probably jinxed it. But I am amazed how Dick and Bert NEVER shy away from talking about how the pitchers perfect so far. I wonder if they've been jinxing the Twins pitchers all along.

2:13 PM: Brandon "Awesome" Phillips just pulled a double whammy. He homered off of Teebore's pitcher Pelfrey to give the Reds the lead but after another Teebore Pitcher, Volquez, was out of the game and not in line for the Win. Awesome. Phillips now has a home run and a steal. That's what certain people in the biz call a combo meal.

2:15 PM: By the way, I apparently missed that Jason Giambi's mustache hit a home run. So Teebore had closed the gap before Phillips bailed me out.

2:16 PM: Ahhh...the Joys of fantasy baseball. Teebore was on vacation this week and gave me his user name and password to modify his line up for pitchers and trusting me not to trade Jose Reyes and Ryan Braun to me for Johnny Cueto. Anyway, Jim Thome was on his bench and Alex Rios was in the line up. I wasn't sure which way he wanted it so I just kept things like he had it and only messed with his pitchers. Thome was doing well the past few days but was on his bench.
Teebore got in last night and apparently decided to put Thome in the line up and bench Rios. Rios' line so far: 2 for 3, 1 Run, a home run, 2 RBI. If Teebore got in today instead of yesterday, those numbers would've been his. Of course, only time will tell if it even matters.

2:24 PM: Some no-name Ranger homers off of Baker. There's goes the perfect game, no hitter, and shut out...lame...

2:26 PM: Kevin Gregg, the Marlins closer, is on Teebore's team. He came in in the top of the 9th of a tied game and pitched a perfect inning. I'm scared of a vulture Win here.

2:28 PM: Carl 'Gold' Crawford doubled. I was hoping for a steal now but I see there are two outs so he won't attempt one.

2:31 PM: Besides hedging my bets, part of the reason I pick pitchers going against the Twins is because the Twins strike out a lot. Well, Padilla has pitched 5 innings and has no Ks.

2:32 PM: *phew* The Marlins didn't score in the bottom of the 9th and now Gregg is being relieved. No win for him.

2:37 PM: Jose Reyes just made an error. I think they should take a steal away from him for that.
2:41 PM: Alex Rios now has a stolen base as well. Ouch, that one might actually cost Teebore half a category.

2:43 PM: Pelfrey was pinch hit for. If the Mets don't score here Teebore can't get a win from him. Cross your fingers!

2:45 PM: "The Other" Reyes singled. Let's hope he doesn't score.

2:47 PM: All right! Mets fail to score. That means Teebore had Edison Volquez and Mike Pelfrey pitch against each other and neither came up with a win. I'm sure I'll be hearing about that next time I see Teebore.

2:49 PM: Apparently the Twins used up all their runs yesterday. I had a feeling something like this might happen. That's another reason I picked up Padilla. (How many reasons do I have now?) I'd like to see the Twins win though.

2:58 PM: OK, Padilla's out of the game. Time to start scoring some runs, Twins!

3:06 PM: In Cincinnati, it's a tie game going into the bottom of the 9th. Brandon Phillips is up to bat. I need a single or a walk from him. Because if he's on first base you know he's running.

3:10 PM: And Phillips lines out. Darn.

3:30 PM: Stupid mickey frickin' Royals can't keep the White Sox under 6 runs.

4:01 PM: Troy Glaus homered for Teebore and Ryan Braun stole a base. Teebore's making a late surge.

4:32 PM: And now Chris B. Young stole a base. Steals are officially out of reach.

5:00 PM: Hey, the White Sox lost. Makes the Twins loss a bit easier to swallow.

6:16 PM: I'm back from playing Psychonauts. Teebore is certainly making a go of things. Now Ryan Braun has homered and has a whopping 5 RBIs. But it's not enough and his game just ended. Teebore has not more batters going and I'm going to win 4 of the 5 batting categories. Still, a 10 Run, 3 Home Run, 11 RBI, 4 Stolen Bases day for Teebore is huge. Although I guess it's too little too late...not that I'm complaining.

6:18 PM: By the way, I decided to take Wakefield out of my line up. Teebore still has Garland going but I was up by 3 Wins and 11 strikeouts. So if I played Wakefield it would be to solidify Strikeouts but risking ERA and WHIP. So far it's working out. It's the 5th inning, Wakefield has a 4.50 ERA and no Strikeouts and Garland has a 3.60 ERA and just four strike outs. I'm still up by 7 Strikeouts and it looks like I'm going to win the category. But we'll see.

9:13 PM: Alright, all the games are over. Here's how it all ended up:

R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 22 4 24 2 .393 4 6 27 2.27 1.07
Him: 17 3 16 4 .257 1 2 22 6.81 1.57


That's right, 9 and 1, baby. Too bad Teebore and I didn't wager this week. I'm also lucky that Teebore got home on Saturday and changed his line up. Because that Alex Rios Home Run would've tied home runs.

Nemesis of The Week:
Ryan Braun had 3 Runs, a Home Run, 5 RBI, and a Stolen Base with a .462 Average. That didn't make me happy. And the fact that Teebore got Braun for Chone Figgins upsets me even more.

Savior of The Week:
I picked him up at the start of the week because he's supposed to be a good second half player, and Carlos Delgado has so far delivered. 3 Runs, a Home Run, 5 RBI, and .615 Average. If he keeps on that pace for the rest of the second half, I'm a happy fantasy owner.

The Moral of this week's story is it's really hard to go 10-0. Especially when your opponent has 4 steals in a day. But in the end, if I did go 10-0 on this shortened week it would be a little like pitching an 8 Inning No-Hitter. It's just not the same.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

To Better Know a Hero: Batman

The highly anticipated movie The Dark Knight is coming out on Friday but Teebore's on vacation! I suppose that leaves the "To Better Know a Hero" entry on Batman up to me. Now, I'm not as knowledgeable about comic books as Teebore is, but I can use Wikipedia along with my vague memories of the Batman movies, the animated series, and the Adam West TV Series to cobble together a post. How bad could it turn out to be?

Real Name: Wayne Bruce

First Appearance: I assume Batman #1...wait! Let me check Wikipedia...apparently it's Detective Comics #27 May, 1939 (Yeah, because the first thing I think of when you say detective is a dude dressed in a giant bat costume.)

Nicknames and Aliases: The Dark Knight, Dynamic Duo (when coupled with Robin), Matches Malone, Gaff Morgan, Caped Crusader, World's Finest (when paired with Superman), Pointy-Headed Avenger, probably a hundred other names I'm forgetting.

Powers and Abilities: He's just a dude...but has a lot of money. Think Richie Rich but with ninja training. He has extraordinary intelligence and a utility belt filled with various bat-paraphernalia. Other than that, he's a great detective, a ventriloquist, an escape artist, a dick, and he can do the batusi. To put it another way, despite not having any actual super-human abilities, there's nothing Batman can't do.

Weaknesses and Achilles’ Heels: He's just a human, so I assume a bullet to the brain would be a weakness. Also he has a penchant for supple young boys in tights. I don't know what else to say...mentioning his dead parents probably makes him cry. Wuss.


Gadgets and Accessories: Didn't I just mention his utility belt? For God's sake the man can pull out a can of bat-shark repellent if need be. His utility belt can produce whatever he needs at any time, unless the plot dictates that Batman can't have a certain item. Then that item will be temporarily absent from his belt.
Also, Batman has a super computer, all sorts of aerial vehicles, a red phone that's directly connected to the commissioner's office (though nobody thinks to trace the phone wire to find out Batman's true identity), thermal tights that Robin forgot to wear once when facing Mr. Freeze, and, of course, a phallic shaped car.

Friends and Allies: Dick Grayson (Old Robin, New Nightwing), Tim Drake (New Robin), Jason Todd (Dead Robin), Stephanie Brown (Dead Female Robin/Spoiler), Teebore, Alfred E. Neuman (Butler), Commissioner Gordon, Catwoman (Only in bed), Batgirl (when she's not falling off a roof), Batwoman (mmmm...lesbians), Batman Beyond, Superman and Wonderwoman (to form the "We're Better Than the Rest of You" Trio), Harvey Dent (half of the time, anyway), and that one maid from the TV show. That's probably everyone.


Foes and Antagonists: How long do we got? Off the top of my head: Joker, Lex Luthor, Penguin, Catwoman (when the allure of sex wears off), that Rastafarian Ghoul character, Riddler, Zelda, Poison Ivy, Clayface, The Clock King, Scarecrow, Tinman, Killer Croc, Two Face, Cowardly Lion, Fredric Wertham, Rupert Thorn, Homophobia, nippled Batsuits, and pedophilia laws.


One-Sentence Origin: If I remember correctly...the Joker kills Batman's parents driving Batman to put on tight tights that emphasize his bulge and prompting him to learn the batusi so that he can dance with the devil in the pale moon light.

Memorable Moment: When Batman needed to get rid of a bomb he attempted to throw it out a window but there were people around. So Batman tries to clear out a restaurant but two fat chicks refused to leave. So Batman runs around a dock looking for a place to throw the bomb but he keeps encountering people he'd rather not blow up. Finally, Batman decides to dump the bomb into a river but there was a family of ducks swimming there. Batman then exclaimes, "Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb."


Fun Fact: This guy is, in fact, NOT the Riddler:



Dr. Bitz’s Take: Batman is the sacred cow of the comic book community. To say Batman is anything less than spectacular and the greatest superhero ever is blasphemy. So I have to be careful as to what I say or a horde of geeks will beat me with their life-sized batarang replicas.
Everyone loves Batman because he's dark and brooding...which pretty much makes him like 90% of all comic book superheroes. Although, he was the first, so I have to give him that.
Ironically enough, though, part of the reason Batman is such a mainstream name is because of the campy 1960's series, which was anything but dark and brooding. But comic book geeks hate the 1960's Batman because they have no sense of humor. However, I think we can all agree that Batman and Robin just plain sucked.

Seriously though, I think what sets Batman apart from other heroes is his giant heart. I mean, when Alfred led Vicki Vale into the batcave revealing Batman's true identity Batman wasn't mad. He was actually indifferent. Batman was comfortable with what Alfred had done because Batman knew that what was really important was not fighting crime but love. And Batman's love for Vicki Vale knows no bounds.
So, in the end, when I think of Batman I think of one simple statement: Love conquers all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Unnecessarily Long Lost Post

OK, since Teebore is on vacation I feel the need to pick up the slack. It seems about the time Teebore would post another unnecessarily long Lost post. (That's right, I went there.)
I don't have the eye for detail Teebore does, but I do have access to the Internet. I was looking for something to cover that Teebore hasn't. After seconds of thinking about it I've decided we'll examine the famous Lost numbers. I'll examine the numbers themselves as well as their relation to Season 4. Let's get started!

4
Famous for: Being shouted aloud at a golf course
Age that: If your child is still not potty trained...you have to wonder.
Most prominent athlete to have this number on their jersey: Bobby Orr - Hockey Defense Man - Boston Bruins Great (EAT IT FAVRE!)
Did you know: That four is the number of dimensions we exist in? Most people think it's three, but they're wrong.
In pop culture: Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Sue Richards (Invisible Girl), Johnny Storm (Human Torch), and Ben Grimm (The Ever-lovin' Thing) are a group of superheroes named The Fantastic Four.
Is the perfect number for: An orgy. Three is a ménage à trois and five just plain gets confusing.
Odd or Even: Even
Squared: 16
Square Root: 2
Appearances in Season 4:
- This season was labeled as Season 4
- Penelope Widmore's home address is 423 Cheyne Walk. ("The Constant")
- Ben says he is going to see "Mr. and Mrs. Kendrick in 4E". ("The Shape of Things to Come")
- Jack resuscitates Desmond after compressing his chest 4 times, attempting to revive him after the helicopter crash. ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")
- There are 4 Dogs (we can see) in cages as Sayid walks to meet Ben in the veterinarian's office. ("The Economist")
Overall Significance: In this season, 4 is the number of times my mind was literally blown!
Letter Grade: C+ - 4 is a bit too basic for me. I need my numbers to have more pizazz. I've never been a big hockey fan either.

8
Famous for: Being told by zero that it's wearing a nice belt.
Age that: You can still think the impossible is possible.
Most prominent athlete to have this number on their jersey: Cal Ripken Jr. - Baseball Shortstop/Third Basemen - Balimore Oriole Great (AKA The Iron Bird, AKA Chef Tom Colicchio)
Did you know: That 8 is the number of bits in a byte?
In pop culture: The Beatles sang a song named "Eight Days a Week." Apparently they don't own calendars. Also, teen heart throb Luke Perry starred in the hit movie "8 Seconds."
Is the perfect number for: A posse.
Odd or Even: Even
Squared: 64
Square Root: 2.8284271247461900976033774484194
Appearences in Season 4:
- This season was labeled as Season 4 and appeared in two parts...4 multiplied by 2 is 8
- Jack watched Hurley's chase on Action8News. ("The Beginning of the End")
- The ladybug behind Matthew Abaddon has 8 dots. ("The Beginning of the End")
- The registration of the helicopter is N842M. ("Confirmed Dead")
- Jack says there are 8 survivors of the flight while on the stand at Kate's trial ("Eggtown")
- Desmond goes back in time 8 years to 1996 while experiencing side effects from his travel off the island to the freighter. ("The Constant")
- At the auction for the Black Rock painting, Charles Widmore holds up bidding number 755 which breaks down to 8 (7+5+5=17, 1+7=8) in Pythagorean numerology. ("The Constant")
- # of years between 1996 and 2004, the years Desmond's consciousness travels back and forth in The Constant.
- In ("The Shape of Things to Come") the number 8 appears twice on the number plate of the Taxi that Ben was in when he went to visit Charles Widmore in London. (Incidentally, the car behind the taxi when it stopped has the number 8 on it. In the same episode, Sayid mentions that he waited 8 years to find his wife.
-As Sayid knocks on the window and asks the man who is outside Hurley's Mental Institution , "Do you have the time?" The man is shot before he says the time "8:15." The same three digits as the numbers as the Oceanic Flight 815 that crashed on the Island. ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")
Overall Significance: 8 is the number of times Lost can bring up one of its many 'questions' without answering said question before you start getting pissed that they haven't answered it.
Letter Grade: F - Frankly, 8 just didn't live up to the hype. That belt joke is pretty lame too.

15
Famous for: Being the day in March of which Julius Caesar was wary.
Age that: Girls start to fear Roger Clemens
Most prominent athlete to have this number on their jersey: Bart Starr - Football Quarterback - Packers Great (Damn Packers...can't escape them.)
Did you know: That in Hispanic culture, 15 is the age females have a big party much like a 'Sweet Sixteen.' It is called a Quinceañera.
In pop culture: "Fifteen" was a old teenage soap opera (which starred Ryan Reynolds) in the 90's that nobody watched...unless you were in high school in the 90's...and had no life...and there was an all weekend long marathon of the show on Nickelodeon...and you cried yourself to sleep every night...let's move on, shall we?
Is the perfect number for: Dollars to bet in a friendly wager.
Odd or Even: Odd
Squared: 225
Square Root: 3.87298335
Appearances in Season 4:
- If you take the number of the season before Season 4 and multiply it by the number of the season after Season 4 you get 15!
- On the orientation video for Station 6 a rabbit is seen with 15 painted on its side. (Orchid orientation film)
- The docket number of Kate's trial was 42231615, the last four Numbers in reverse. ("Eggtown")
- Desmond awakes in Daniel Faraday's Oxford laboratory and says he was in the future for 5 minutes. Daniel says Desmond was catatonic 75 minutes. The ratio of 5 to 75 is 15.
- Ben tells Locke the safe combination: 36 15 28.
- Hurley rolls a 15 while playing Risk.
- Hurley eats 15-year-old DHARMA Initiative crackers. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 1")
- In the future, Sayid asks a man the time. He is about the say 8:15 when Sayid shoots him.
Overall Significance: 15 is the number of swear words my penis says whenever another hot female is offed on Lost....and yet Rose still remains...
Letter Grade: B+ - Striking fear in the heart of Caesar is always cool. But the whole Roger Clemens thing gives me the heeby jeebies.

16
Famous for:
Sweet Sixteens. That's when parents try to buy their daughter's love after years of neglect by constantly handing off their kid to the nanny while they jet set around the world and cheat on each other.
Age that: You dare to dream of road head.
Most prominent athlete to have this number on their jersey: Joe Montana - Football Quarterback - 49ers Great (The greatest quarterback ever...according to people who know more about football than I do.)
Did you know: That in chess there are a total of 16 pawns?
In pop culture: Sixteen Candles is a John Hughes movie starring Molly Ringwald that a guy can watch once in hopes to name drop it in order to impress a woman and hopefully get into her pants.
Is the perfect number for: Games in a regular season of football.
Odd or Even: Even
Squared: 256
Square Root: 4
Appearances in Season 4:
- Season 4 times Season 4 would be Season 16!
- The docket number of Kate's trial was 42231615, the last four Numbers in reverse. ("Eggtown")
- The timer on the bomb Micheal was given by the others to set off on the freighter had a countdown of 16 seconds.("Meet Kevin Johnson")
Overall Significance: 16 is the projected number of cast members to be busted for drunk driving and subsequently killed off on the show.
Letter Grade: B - 16 is a solid number, but I feel it's a bit overrated.

23
Famous for: The heavily quoted psalm: Psalm 23
Age that: You realize that all the exciting ages are done with. It's all downhill from there.
Most prominent athlete to have this number on their jersey: Michael Jordan - Basketball Shooting Guard - Bulls Great (Also stalked by the likes of Cuba Gooding Jr. and Charlie Sheen.)
Did you know: That 23 is the only prime number in the famous Lost Numbers?
In pop culture: "The Number 23" was a thriller starring Jim Carrey that nobody watched.
Is the perfect number for: Picking a number between 1 and 50 while not being obvious.
Odd or Even: Odd
Squared: 529
Square Root: 4.79583152
Appearances in Season 4:
- If take Season 4 and subtract Season 4 from that and then add the number Michael Jordan wears you get 23!
- The docket number of Kate's trial was 42231615, the last four Numbers in reverse. ("Eggtown")
- The appropriate setting for Daniel Faraday's consciousness time-transporting device at Oxford University's Queen's College Physics Department was 2.342. ("The Constant")
- The journal of the first mate of the Black Rock was sold at auction in lot #2342. ("The Constant")
- Penelope Widmore's home address is 423 Cheyne Walk. ("The Constant")
- There are written "X"s marking every day from October 1st to December 23rd on the 2004 calendar in the freighter's sickbay. In addition, only four of these "X"s are marked in yellow on the days of October 20th through October 23rd. ("The Constant")
- The code to the safe in Ben's house containing the tape about Charles Widmore is 36-15-28: 36+15-28 = 23. ("The Other Woman")
- The license plate number of the taxi Jin chases is 2369. ("Ji Yeon")
- The secret clues on yahoo's web site http://au.yahoo.com/lost/clue/clue407.html mentions that the last Year of the Dragon ("Ji Yeon") is from the 5th of February 2000 to the 23rd of January 2001
Overall Significance: 23 is the total number of questions that will be left unanswered by Lost.
Letter Grade: C+ - A lot of people have crazy man-love for the number 23. I just don't see it. I find it too...predictable.

42
Famous for:
Being the answer to the meaning of life.
Age that: You have start worrying about a mid-life crisis.
Most prominent athlete to have this number on their jersey: Jackie Robinson - Baseball Second Basemen - Dodgers Great (He also broke baseball's color barrier which was a huge step for civil rights.)
Did you know: 42 is the atomic number of molybdenum?
In pop culture: In Star Trek: The Next Generation the starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) has 42 decks.
Is the perfect number for: Minutes you should screw around before actually working after arriving at the office.
Odd or Even: Even
Squared: 529
Square Root: 6.4807407
Appearances in Season 4:
- If you combine Season 4 with Season 2 you get Season 42!
- The registration of the helicopter is N842M. ("Confirmed Dead")
- The docket number of Kate's trial was 42231615, the last four Numbers in reverse. ("Eggtown")
- The appropriate setting for Daniel Faraday's consciousness time-transporting device at Oxford University's Queen's College Physics Department was 2.342. ("The Constant")
- The journal of the first mate of the Black Rock was sold at auction in lot #2342. ("The Constant")
- A young boy at Hurley's surprise birthday party has an orange jersey with the number 42 on it. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 1")
Overall Significance: 42 is the number of times in Lost you wish to yourself Jack would get over his daddy issues.
Letter Grade: A+ - Listen, it just doesn't get better than 42. What more do you want from a number?

OTHER NUMBERS:
108
Why this number:
It's 4+8+15+16+23+42
Is Less Than: 109
Is Greater Than: 107
Coincidence?: It's the number of minutes between times you must enter the numbers into the Dharma computer in the Swan Station.
Significance to Dr. Bitz: This is also the number of items in this post directly ripped off from either LostPedia or Wikipedia.
Letter Grade: D+ - It's tough to get behind a number that taunts me by making me think I could actually live to that number but in reality knows I probably won't.

7,418,880
Why this number: It's 4*8*15*16*23*42
Is Less Than: The number of people McDonald's has served
Is Greater Than: The number of people who saw "You Got Served."
Is 7,418,880 Greater Than: The number of people who actually liked "You Got Served."
Significance to Dr. Bitz: This also happens to be the approximate number of times I've masturbated in my life
Letter Grade: C- - It's a surprising number, but ultimately, too large to wrap my head around. Also I couldn't find a good picture of it. That's always a negative.

Well, that's my Lost post. I still don't think it was long enough. Oh well. Now I just have to hope Teebore doesn't slit my throat in my sleep.

Monday, July 14, 2008

MLB Headlines Week 15

So I'm watching the Home Run Derby and Josh Hamilton sets a record by blasting 28 Home Runs in the first round. This annoys me for three reasons.
First, it reminds me of the downside to fantasy baseball. I'm watching this and can't enjoy it. He annoys me too much because he's not on my team and it sucks when I face him. He was like an 8th round pick this year too.
Secondly, Justin Morneau actually won the darn thing he's being completely outshone by Hamilton. Right now Morneau's an afterthought.
Thirdly, all I hear is how great a 'story' he is. He was a first round pick by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, blew all his money on booze and drugs and was out of the league for three years.
Hamilton apparently finds God, signs with the Reds, gets traded to the Rangers, and now he's awesome and has put on a 'show' at Yankee Stadium.
Sure it's a good story, but you know what's a better story? If he didn't get hopped on goof balls in the first place. Why are we so opposed to somebody simply staying on the straight and narrow, practicing hard, and succeeding? Why do we only care if the hero has fallen and is in search of redemption?
I mean, I guess having the hero fall makes for a more interesting movie or something, but as a roll model perhaps a Ryan Braun is more admirable than a Josh Hamilton.
I guess America just respects a person more if they voluntarily screw up their life and career and struggle to get back on top than if they are just smart to begin with.
Or maybe I'm just bitter that he's not on my fantasy team.

http://www.mlb.com/ Headline of the Week:
Streaking Mets set sights on sixth straight win

Some good alliteration there. And you know I love a good streaking headline. Now onto our headlines:

Teebore
July 11th, 2008 - Twins 3 tigers 2
Nick Puntos pair of RBIs down field for the win

July 11th, 2008 - Angels 2 Oakland 9
Angels go the way of watermelons as Gallagher leads A's to victory

July 11th, 2008 - Diamondbacks 5 Phillies 6
Werth every penny: RBI single wins it in 12th

Dr. Bitz:
July 13th, 2008 – Twins 2 Tigers 4
Joyce is joyful, Thomas is triumphant, and Verlander is victorious in Tigers win

July 13th, 2008 - White Sox 11 Rangers 12
No way Jose. Contreras crappy in losing effort

July 13th, 2008 - Rays 2 Indians 5
Sabathia blasts one and bathes in his victory

Voting your left. As I predicted, I dominated last week. Time to go for two in a row!
And as a warning, on Tuesday my fantasy hitters had no no RBI, no runs, no steals, and combined for a .049 batting average. I wasn't happy. And then when my closers blew like 4 saves in a row I was even less happy. So this will be an exceptionally bitter Sunday Fantasy Baseball Log.

----------------------------------------------------------

12:35 PM: Yeah yeah yeah, hitters not hitting, closers not closing, team is sucking. Whatever:
R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 20 7 21 2 .213 1 5 34 4.64 1.33
Him: 25 7 21 6 .282 2 2 52 4.27 1.23

1:01 PM: Xavier Nady has an RBI single giving me a lead in RBI. We'll see how long that lasts.

1:20 PM: Sacrafice fly for newly acquired Jhohnnhy Peralta means another RBI for me. But Lance Berkman just got an RBI. So I still only lead by one. Yay.

2:09 PM: Out of shower now, pants on, Jhohnnhy Peralta hit a home run. I'm up in RBI and Home runs. Maybe I can lose this week 7-3. Exciting.

2:10 PM: And now Carlos Quentin hit a home run. I should shower more often. The Mrs. would appreciate that.

3:40 PM: My 'star' First Basemen Albert Pujols has managed to go 0 for 4 with a run in an 11 run game. Whatever.

4:10 PM: Whatever.

5:30 PM: Whatever.

10:37 PM: No real change in categories since 3:40 PM. It's been a boring, bitter, Sunday. Whatever.


R HR RBI SB AVG W SV K ERA WHIP
Me: 27 10 31 2 .244 2 5 45 5.28 1.43
Him: 32 8 27 7 .270 4 2 68 3.84 1.18

The categories I did well in I won and the categories I didn't do well in I lost. Go figure. Too bad I didn't do well in more categories....whatever.

Nemesis of The Week:
I think this week it has to go to Carl Crawford. He sucked so bad this week his manager benched him on Sunday. He had a run and a steal and that's it...for the entire week. He had exactly one hit this week in 26 at bats. That's a .036 average for those of you scoring at home. That's sucktitude. That's a nemesis of the week. He's as responsible for this week's loss as my opponent's players are.

Savior of The Week:
Carlos Quentin gets it this week. 6 Runs, 3 Home Runs, 9 RBI, and a .310 average. That's actually better than any of my opponent's players. Too bad the rest of my batters couldn't step up.

The Moral of this week's story is that bitterness will get you nowhere. Whatever. I should go read 'The Secret' or something.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Airplane Gets a Nose Job

Alright, so apparently this airplane landed at an airport with a dented done. The thing is, nobody claims to know what caused the dent. And this is no minor dent, either, it's a dent that...well...looks a little something like this:



Hmmm...that's an awfully large dent for nobody to know what happened. But the FCC claims that it's a mystery.

So, what really happen to this airplane? What could have caused such a large dent in the nose? Nobody knows, but I have a few ideas:

1. A meteorite
2. A giant flying ostrich wearing an oxygen mask
3. A freak rip in the space-time continuum
4. A huge release of electro-magnetism originating from a mysterious, moving island's 'hatch'
5. Superman was flying while intoxicated...again...and wasn't watching where he was going
6. The Klingons just declared war on the human race
7. The pilots accidentally hit God's mailbox and won't admit it
8. Upon finding out the in-flight movie was "The Love Guru" the airplane nobly attempted to sacrifice itself for the good of all the passengers

All of those possibilities are plausible, but what's the truth? Who knows? But you can all vote on which one you think it is on your left. You can also vote 'Something Else' if you'd like and leave a comment on what else you think this could be.

Whatever it is, I'm sure we can all agree that a giant government conspiracy is somehow involved.

Friday, July 11, 2008

These Are The Mediocre X-Men Villains

Not all villains are created equal; for every Magneto, Juggernaut and Apocalypse there’s these guys. I will do my best to avoid populating this list with villains from the X-Men’s less-than-illustrious late 60s run (I could probably fill several such lists with the likes of Grotesk, the Colbalt Man and Factor Three).

Toad: First appearing as Magneto’s, well, toady in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Mortimer Toynbee jumped the around the 60s in a jester suit, lusting after the Scarlet Witch. He tried to make it big in the 90s, leading his own incarnation of the Brotherhood, but it wasn’t too long before he was back to his simpering ways. Also, he recently experienced a secondary mutation that made him look more like Ray Park.





Mojo: The aforementioned ruler of the Mojoverse, Mojo belongs to a race of beings that lack a spine and rules his world by dominating the ratings, which he receives by broadcasting the X-Men’s adventures. He’s a villain that in no way, shape or form is thematically relevant to anything the X-Men are about, but at the same time, I enjoy a good Mojo story from time to time. There’s just something about how completely ill-fitting he is that is endearing.


The Vanisher: Teleportation doesn’t seem like a lame power, though it really isn’t that offensive of a power, but it certainly isn’t equivalent to the godlike omnipotence the Vanisher seems to think it grants him. Also, check out that costume. It’s no wonder this guy never made it to A-List status.






Count Nefaria: A leading member of the Maggia (Marvel’s mafia), Count Nefaria used an assortment of henchman (like the Ani-Men) to carry out his schemes before receiving his own super-powers. But his greatest accomplishment against the X-Men came in his suit-and-monocle days, when he managed to kill Thunderbird. The fact that Thunderbird is one of the few X-Men to actually stay dead helps put Nefaria in a fairly exclusive club.



Blob: Fred J. Dukes possesses the one mutant power each and every one of us could one day possess: he’s really, really fat. Also, in his first appearance, before joining Mystique’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Blob was a side show attraction that led his co-workers in an attack on Xavier’s school. That’s right, Blob’s a carnie, a King among Men.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

These Are the Mediocre X-Men

This month Uncanny X-Men will see its 500th issue ship (shh…don’t tell anyone that a chunk of those issues were reprints!) which is a pretty big deal for me, as there is no title I have read longer or have more issues of than Uncanny X-Men. The X-Men were my gateway characters into the wide world of comics, and no matter where I go in that world, they have always remained favorites. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I thought I’d spend a few posts with various aspects of the X-Men and their history.

First up is a look at five lesser known X-Men, the characters you likely won’t see making it into any movies. They are the Zachary Taylor, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Rutherford B. Hayes and William Henry Harrison of the X-Men.

Xorn: A Chinese mutant introduced during Grant Morrison’s defining run, his mutant power was having a small star for a brain that granted him healing and energy manipulation powers (like many Morrisonian ideas, it’s best not to think about the whole “star for a brain” thing for too long, and just roll with how cool that sounds). Xorn wore a full metal helmet that contained the awesome power of his star and prevented the world from being sucked in by its gravity. It turned out that Xorn was actually Magneto in disguise (Xorn’s helmet shielded his thoughts from Professor X). And it’s best to leave Xorn’s tale there, before Chuck Austen showed up and muddled things with talk of twin brothers and Magneto clones.


Sunfire: An arrogant SOB who was officially a member of the X-Men for one issue (Giant Size X-Men 1) before quitting in a huff, Sunfire is a Japanese mutant with fire related abilities. He fought the original X-Men once before joining the team, and remained a reluctant ally before recently being brainwashed by Apocalypse into becoming one of his Horsemen and later joining the most recent incarnation of Mr. Sinister’s Marauders alongside Gentlemen of Leisure man-crush Gambit. Also, Sunfire is a cousin of one-time Wolverine fiancé Mariko Yashida, and received one of the worst 90s costume updates, ever:



From retro cool to shiny and Man-Pretty


Maggot: Introduced as part of a trio of new X-Men during Joe Kelly’s brief run in the mid-90s, alongside Marrow and Cecilia Reyes, Maggot is easily the weirdest of the bunch. His mutant power somehow involves his digestive system transforming into a pair of large metallic-for-some-reason slugs that eat for him, enabling him to continue living and also gain increased strength and the ability to project some kind of energy. Apparently, all the sensible powers were taken by this point. Being the 90s, Maggot was of course mysterious and brooding when introduced. At first he was a big, bounty hunter type character, but eventually was subtly changed to a South African teen. Magneto was involved in his origin at one point, too. It was all kind of pointless and bizarre. After realizing he was a teenager, Maggot shuffled off to Generation X for a few issues before being forgotten for awhile. Eventually he was dusted off to become cannon fodder.


Changeling: In the longstanding tradition of X-Men villains becoming heroes (that could be a post unto itself…) Changeling was one of the earliest characters to do so, though his conversion is certainly the most ignominious. Changeling, as the name suspects, was a shape changer, not unlike Mystique, who was a member of the short-lived 60s villain team Factor Three. Turns out he tired of his villainous ways, and approached Professor X, asking how he could make a positive difference. Xavier’s solution? He imbued Changeling with a portion of his psychic powers, somehow, and had the Changeling pose as Xavier while the real Xavier went underground to prepare for a forthcoming alien invasion. Of course, no one told the X-Men (or the readers) about this until well after Changeling, posing as Xavier, was killed in action and the X-Men mourned his loss. It was the first of many dick moves on ol’ Chucks part, and one of the first major X-Men retcons. “The Xavier that died? Yeah, that wasn’t me, that was Changeling, your old enemy, who wanted to be a hero and took my place, none of which anyone knew until just now, when I ‘miraculously’ returned from the dead.” At least the real Xavier stopped the invasion…


Longshot: Ah, Longshot, a favorite of many 80s comic readers. Longshot hails from an interdimensional realm ruled by a lump of fat called Mojo, named, appropriately enough, the Mojoverse, in which TV rules, and the events in “our” world are broadcast as entertainment to the spineless masses. Longshot was bred to fight in the broadcast arenas for ratings and escaped to Earth, where he joined the X-Men. Longshot possesses three fingers on each hand, for some reason, hollow bones, which help increase his agility, an ability to hurl small knives, a mutant luck power that helps things work out in his favor, a yellow star-ish thing that flashes when he uses it, and the greatest power of all, an awesome 80s mullet. Longshot hung with the X-Men for a while, where he knocked boots with Dazzler, then the pair went back to the Mojoverse to lead a rebellion.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lost: Episode Report Card

This'll be my last Lost post for awhile, I swear...

The Beginning of the End (aka The One Where the Losties Split into Two Camps): An exciting start to the season that picked up right where the last one left off, it set-up much of the season’s plotlines: the divide between Jack’s camp and Locke’s group in New Otherton, the notion of the Oceanic Six, and the presence of the freighter and its crew. A more than suitable beginning to an intense, dense season. B+

Confirmed Dead (aka The One that Introduces the Freighties): Probably the best introduction of new characters in the show’s history, this episode did for the main four Freighties what no episode did for Nikki and Paulo: made us either care about the newbies or be intrigued by them. By the end of the season, Charlotte, Miles, Frank and Daniel seem as much a part of the cast as many of the original Lostaways, and much of that groundwork was laid here. A-


The Economist (aka The One Where Sayid is a Suave Assassin): The flash forward story involving Sayid falling for a woman he’s been assigned to kill was enjoyable enough but the real significance of it was the ending, in which we discovered that Sayid was taking orders from an off-island Ben. The island story mainly served to get certain players into certain positions (Miles to Locke’s camp, Sayid and Desmond freighter-bound), though we did get the first concrete evidence of the time anomaly via Daniel’s missile experiment. B


Eggtown (aka The One with Kate’s Trial, Also, She’s Aaron’s Mom Now): Kate episodes are always a bit dull, and this one was no exception, though the surprise revelation at the end helped it rise above some previous mediocre Kate outings. The trial story itself was fairly routine, with a bit of intrigue thrown in (the first hints of the fake story the Oceanic Six concocted) but the business between Kate and her mother I couldn’t have cared less about. On the island, we had some fun interactions between Kate and Sawyer and more of Ben taunting Locke’s impotent leadership, but otherwise, a fairly average episode and one of the season’s weaker outings. C


The Constant (aka The One Where Desmond Time Travels): Easily the best episode of the season, and one of the show’s best overall. Not only is the character work compelling (Desmond and Penny’s tearful phone reunion is powerful, and far superior to their physical reunion at season’s end) but the overall plot is also advanced as Sayid and Desmond learn more about the creepy freighter, Daniel’s character is expanded on, and the narrative structure of the show is once again manipulated. This was Lost at its best. A+


The Other Woman (aka The One Where Ben Freaks Out About Juliet): There was no question that whatever episode followed The Constant would pale in comparison, but even given that, The Other Woman falls short. It’s saving grace was the flashback portion, which gave us another always appreciated look at life amongst the Others, as well showing us the depths of Ben’s obsession with and possessiveness of Juliet in particular and everything he believes he owns in general. The island story, involving Daniel and Charlotte’s attempt to neutralize the poison gas at a Dharma station, suffered from a lack of tension and plot-hammering; the entire story could have been resolved by a two minute conversation:

Jack: Where are you going?
Daniel and Charlotte:We’re going to neutralize a threat to the island?
Jack: Why?
Daniel and Charlottle: Sorry, can’t say.
Jack: Fine, whatever, we’ll still help, because you’re neutralizing a threat to everyone.

See how easy that was?

Plus, the whole thing was capped off with that perfunctory and utterly sparkless Jack and Juliet kiss that left us with the feeling that while Juliet may have escaped Ben’s possession, she was still being viewed as a possession by Jack, something he wanted because it meant Ben couldn’t have it. C-


Ji Yeon (aka The One Where the Producers Dicked Around and Made Us Think Jin Was One of the Oceanic Six): A lot of people seem to have loved this episode a lot more than I did. I didn’t dislike it, I just didn’t love it. And not just because they made us think the Jin flashback was actually a flashforward-I loved that idea. Playing with our expectations of the narrative structure is something a show like Lost can and should do more often than other shows. Sun’s tearful visit to Jin’s grave to introduce Jin to his daughter was certainly moving (especially in light of the events of the finale), but I honestly don’t recall much else about this episode. B-



Meet Kevin Johnson (aka The One about What Happened to Michael Since Last We Saw Him): Conversely, a lot people seemed down on this episode, but I kind of liked it. It certainly wasn’t the best lead-in to the strike-enforced hiatus and it would have been a horrible season finale had the strike not abated but every once in awhile it’s nice to have an infodump plot episode devoted to telling us “what happened when (fill-in-the-blank).” There are plenty of bothersome timing issues with the events presented herein (there simply isn’t enough time for Michael to realistically do everything he does in his flashback) but it was nice to see Tom again, and some interesting notions were introduced: Widmore faked the Oceanic 815 wreckage, maybe, and the island can exert some kind of protection over those who still have work to do. B+


The Shape of Things to Come (aka The One With All The Action): This was a straight up action-orientated episode, but there’s nothing wrong with that, from time to time. Alex’s death was a genuine surprise, and cryptic clues aplenty were dropped amongst all the fighting. The first episode back from a six week hiatus, there was a distinct energy to this episode that carried all the way through to the finale, as if to say “strap in; we’re heading towards the ending at ramming speed!” A-


Something Nice Back Home (aka The One Where Jack Has Appendix Surgery): Honestly, this episode’s biggest strength is that it didn’t suck more. Jack being foolishly stubborn, Future Jack having relationship and daddy issues, there’s nothing new here. And of course what little suspense Jack’s appendicitis would generate is nullified by the fact that in the same episode we see him in the future, hale and healthy. But things aren’t a total wash; the image of Christian Shepard wandering around Future Jack's life was intriguing, and the threat of his bursting appendix was really more about character development than suspenseJuliet really shines here, moreso than in her feature episode earlier in the season, taking charge and later quietly resolving the tedious Jack-Juliet-Kate triangle. B-


Cabin Fever (aka The One with Locke’s Secret Origin): A game-changing episode that developed characters, expanded the show’s mythology, and moved the plot forward. There’s no doubt that when all is said and done, this episode will be looked back on as one not only an essential Locke episode, but an essential episode of the show, period. A


There’s No Place Like Home part 1 (aka The One Setting Up the Finale): It’s tough to judge this, as it really was the first part of the finale, and thus did a lot of the setup work that the finale paid off. Still, it did that well, and the intensity of the previous episode carried over into this one, and from there into the finale. B



There’s No Place Like Home part 2 (aka The One Where Crazy Shit Happens All Over): Intense, exciting, action-packed, sad, questioning, this episode did everything a good finale should: it wrapped up the preceding season’s plot (Freighter: blown up, Mercenaries: Defeated, Oceanic Six: rescued, Locke: ascended to Other leadership) while laying groundwork for next season (why do the Six need to get back to the island? How did Locke die? Where’d the island go?). While the ending wasn’t as poignant as Charlie’s sacrifice last season, and the cliffhanger not as shocking as the flash forward reveal, it was still eminently satisfying and accomplished. A

What did YOU think?