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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's Not Just Spiced Ham!

A couple of quick housekeeping items.

First of all, fellow blogger, frequent GoL reader/commenter and all around good egg Falen recently hosted a writing contest in which entrants were tasked with crafting a 750 word fiction piece using one of six prompts she provided. And, if I may toot my own horn, yours truly placed second, and now a gaggle of writerly goodies is winging its way to my house! Check out my piece here, and read the other winning pieces on her blog.

Friday, March 26, 2010

X-amining X-Men #37

"We, The Jury..."
October 1967

In a nutshell: Factor Three puts the X-Men on trial for crimes against mutants.

Editor: Stan Lee
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Werner Roth
Inker: Don Heck
Letterer: Artie Simek

The X-Men are en route to Factor Three's base in Europe when Changeling sends a Magno-Disk to attack their plane. In order to spare the other passengers, the X-Men bail out, and they manage to destroy the Magno-Disk and land safely. On the ground, the X-Men are attacked by Factor Three androids and herded into a valley filled with sleeping gas.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lost 6x09: Ab Aeterno

“The cork... is this island. And it’s the only thing keeping the darkness where it belongs.”

Ab Aeterno, Latin for "from the beginning of time", implicitly promised to finally shed some light on the enigma that is Richard Alpert. It did so, magnificently, while at the same time unexpectedly clarifying the overall purpose of the island, Jacob's role thereon, and the struggle between he and his nemesis in black.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Boots' Best - Boy A

Andrew Garfield is 2 for two in my mind.

After his brilliant performance in one of my top ten movies of last year, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, I checked Netflix to see what else he has been in. I just finished watching Boy A.

This is a tougher one. You wont get too many answers. In short summary, Andrew Garfield plays a guy who's released from prison after being sentenced as a juvenile for a crime.

This film is LIFE. The characters are real and round, in the literary sense. The story is captivating. The journey of Boy A has its highs and lows and chill inducing coincidences.

Needless to say, the highlight for me was Andrew Garfield's performance. He takes a complicated role and completely owns it. Had the movie been American and a bigger "named"star had the role, he surely would have been nominated for an Oscar.

I'll be paying close attention to Mr. Garfield's career and you should too.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Fever...Twins Style

In honor of Joe Mauer signing with the Twins (for real this time) and me losing my Fantasy Baseball league before it started by drafting horribly, I'm going to do ANOTHER Twins post!

A while back I came across this article by ESPN columnist Bill Simmons regarding clichéd spring training stories. Not only did I find it funny but I was amazed at how tolerable pre-2004 Red Sox fans were. But it wasn't until I saw the final "generic angle" that I realized he was on to something.

So I decided to try my hand at putting in this years Twins into the various angles. I did take out a few I felt were slightly redundant, but here's what I came up with:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lost 6x08: Recon

Last week's "Dr. Linus" was a tough act to follow and, unfortunately, "Recon" seems to come up a bit short, more akin to the weaker "What Kate Does" than the finer episodes of the season. For perhaps the first time this season, the events of the flash sideways were more compelling than the story on the island. As with last season, when he was Dharma's sheriff, it's fun to see Sawyer use his prodigious talent for lies and deceptions for good. He and Miles, Lost's two greatest snarks, have always made a good team and it was enjoyable to see them as partners back in LA. The appearance by Charlotte was fun, albeit perfunctory, and she's never looked better.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Coming Soon: An Academy Award Winning Film!

This video's been making the rounds lately, but given our love of movies and the Oscars here at GoL, I figured it was worth posting again.

(Be sure to click away the annoying ad that pops up at the bottom). 

Monday, March 15, 2010

X-amining X-Men #36

"Mekano Lives!"
September 1967

In a nutshell: The X-Men try to raise money and fight Mekano.

Editor: Stan Lee
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Ross Andru
Inker: George Bell
Letterer: Sam Rosen

With the help of Banshee and Cerebro, the X-Men have located Professor X inside Factor Three's secret European base. Unfortunately, with the X-Jet low on fuel and Angel's wealthy parents on a cruise and unavailable, they have no way to get to Europe. So the team heads into New York City to try and raise the necessary funds. After Warren and Jean fail to acquire a welfare loan, the team splits up. Cyclops, Angel and Marvel Girl try to get work at a construction site but are unable to do so because they aren't members of the union.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sonshine Thoughts

Fellow Lost aficionado and retail book slave SonshineMusic is hosting a contest on her blog Sonshine Thoughts.

Come for the contest, stay for the hilarious Retail Wednesday posts (even if they do feature stories from Borders...).

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lost 6x07: Dr. Linus

Homer Simpson once said it takes two to lie: one to lie and one to listen. The last several seasons have found Ben struggling first to maintain his power on the island and then to reclaim it. Just like Napoleon on Elba, Ben returned to Craphole Island a major player in name only. In complete free fall since getting conned into killing Jacob, and with his last great lie exposed, Ben finds himself the most powerless he's ever been. No one will even listen to him, and without an ear in which to speak, his greatest power is rendered moot.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Twins Sign Joe Mauer

After much teeth gnashing and worrying by fans, Joe Mauer has finally been signed. Many people close to the situation expected this to happen. It was a matter of "when" not "if." What has surprised everybody is the relatively small size of the contract: $15.25 Million over four years. In fact, this contract even surprised the Twins' front office.

"I was really shocked," Twins General Manager Bill Smith said. "I actually made the offer as a joke to bring a bit of levity to the negotiations. Imagine my surprise when he jumped at the offer! Ron Gardenhire, the Pohlads and I had a big celebration after this contract was signed."

I caught up with catcher Joe Mauer at Twins spring training in Fort Meyers, Florida and asked him about the signing.

"What the heck are you talking about?" He asked.

Joe Mauer, known for his good sense of humor and biting wit, was obviously joking with me. But I played along and explained the terms of his new contract.

"What?" Joe Mauer still joked. "I can't believe that. I need to talk to my agent."

Joe Mauer then walked away in a faux huff. He obviously took magic lessons from amateur magician Michael Cuddyer because nearly seconds after he left the room he returned by coming through a different door. I was reasonably impressed with the trick and then told Joe Mauer that, along with his illusions, I was looking forward to his catching and hitting prowess for the next four years.

"I'm not Joe Mauer!" He yelled. "I'm Nick Blackburn. I don't catch. I pitch! I signed the contract! Not him! Stop confusing me with him! Why do you think I grew this beard? Imbeciles...all of you!"

After that Joe Mauer stormed out of the room. That Joe Mauer...always the kidder.

Boots' Best - Michael Jackson's This Is It

It's difficult to separate the art from the artist, truth from gossip, and public perception from personal lives.

Michael Jackson had a rough life. I know you're thinking that's not true. How could it be when the man was the KING OF POP, a millionaire who could have anything he wanted and, in some people's beliefs, did, even if those things weren't morally right.

I've recognized there's usually a reason for people to act the way they do. Michael's father constantly belittled him for his nose and his dark skin when he was younger. He was in the spotlight for practically his entire existence especially during the accusations of molestation and public trial. Put yourself in his shoes. How would you handle the pressure?

Despite the public perception of the man, I've always thought he was an incredible performer and true artist. In MICHAEL JACKSON'S THIS IS IT we are given a behind the scenes look at the King of Pop as he rehearses for his series of London Shows scheduled to begin in the summer of 2009 until his death.

I was mesmerized as he was green screened into an old Humphrey Bogart movie for Smooth Criminal, Thriller was re-imagined, and as he sang The Way You Make Me Feel to a beautiful dancer.

When the film finished with MAN IN THE MIRROR the tears came trickling down my cheeks.

The man's music has touched all of our lives. His dancing became a historic treasure. His legacy will be felt forever.

I'm never ashamed to admit that I am a Michael Jackson fan. I made the comment on facebook once that he was proven innocent of the charges flung against him. One of my facebook friends quickly pointed out that no one in the history of the United States has ever been "proven innocent" only ruled "NOT GUILTY". I'm no lawyer, but I still maintain he was innocent of the charges against him. He may have done some inappropriate things from the mindset of "modern society" however I truly believe the man wanted to share a non-sexual love with everyone he came in contact.

I'd highly recommend watching this film to get a glimpse at what could have been one of the most spectacular shows ever devised and to spread the LOVE.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Few Thoughts on the Oscars

That opening bit, with all the nominated actors coming out on stage to wave at the crowd? Weird and random.

Neil Patrick Harris' opening number was a pleasant surprise. If there was internet scuttlebutt suggesting he'd be there, I missed it. NPH is always welcome.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

And the Oscar Goes To...

I've won the Oscar pool two years running now. Can I make it three?

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:

Penélope Cruz in "Nine"
Vera Farmiga in "Up in the Air"
Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Crazy Heart"
Anna Kendrick in "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique in "Precious"

Mo'nique is such a lock for this category that I can't even think of a second choice. Probably one of the "Up in the Air" women. Maggie Gyllenhaal's nomination was a bit of a surprise, and "Nine" has been mostly spurned by critics, so if anyone is going to upset Mo'Nique, it'd be Anna Kendrick or Vera Farmiga. But they won't. Mo'Nique has won every Supporting Actress award possible; Oscar'll be just one more.

1st Pick: Mo'Nique
2nd Pick: Vera Farmiga.

Friday, March 5, 2010

X-amining X-Men #35

"Along Came a Spider..."
August 1967

In a nutshell:  The X-Men fight Spider-Man

Editor: Stan Lee
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Werner Roth
Inker: Dan Adkins
Letterer: Jerry Feldman

Plot: Banshee is in Europe, trying to locate Factor Three's hidden base. He discovers a hollow mountain that most likely serves as their headquarters, but is attacked by one of Factor Three's robotic spiders before he can relay the information to the X-Men. He does manage to send them a warning before passing out: beware the spider. Factor Three's goons retrieve Banshee, and Changeling sends a reconnaissance spider robot to the X-Mansion.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lost 6x06: Sundown

The palpable sense of dread and foreboding that hung over the season premiere returned with a gusto in this episode, as Smokey made his move, decimating the temple as Sayid fully turned to the Dark Side (also, Claire? Still crazy as hell).  "Sundown" doesn't just refer to the time of Smokey's attack: it would seem the sun has gone down on the Other's dominance of the island.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lost Runs in the Family

My brother, the witty and sardonic Soapfish, has started his own Lost blog, The Beard Station.

Being that he is an accomplished artist with all kinds of fancy illustration degrees, his site is as visually sharp as his writing. He even crafted a nifty pic of yours truly.

Check it out!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Retro Reviews: Three Men and a Comic Book

Or the One Where: Bart, Milhouse and Martin buy Radioactive Man #1

The Setup: After Comic Book Guy agrees to sell the comic for $100, the three boys pool their money to acquire it.