Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baltimore 2015

This is a political post. 

Apparently we've learned nothing. And are learning nothing.

First let me state that I don't agree with the rioting and the property destruction. It's pointless and senseless, self inflicted wounds if you will. But the rioting and looting isn't the most heinous of acts happening, for that's like saying the injuries are worse than the crash. No one seems to be asking how could we have avoided the crash, and then how can avoid the next one.

The news media doesn't surprise me.

Images of riots draw eyeballs. And news outlets need eyeballs.

The news media has a vested interest in excitement. And answers don't come in sound bites, 3D graphics and talking head discussions in two minute segments that lead to commercial. It comes from hard serious and sober conversations about the underlying root issues that got us here and what can be done to address them that exhaust the participants. But if you'll notice, the seeds of those conversations are being reduced to blurbs the announcers can breeze through while they show this video of something on fire. High unemployment and this burning building. Horrible education and these images of police in riot gear. Injustice and look at the smoke in this panoramic shot. These potshots of news and information allow the guilty souls of vampire news to sleep at night. 

That the people of Baltimore are experiencing the pains that come from shrugging your shoulders in the face of injustice is...tragic. People marched fifty years ago for these same ideas. And yet here we still are, wondering why? But there is no need to wonder.

It's been 60 years and ain't a damned thing changed.

Image from Tumblr ( and I know they don't know where they got it)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Odd Quotes

"I find the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead, to help them reveal the greatest version of themselves."
~ Steve Maraboli (tweaked just a hair)  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

About this Superhero thing...

Ramblings Post #289
Peter Parker is Spiderman. Period. I know the kids really like Miles Morales, but let’s just keep our heads here people. For a less iconic superhero I might be okay with a change – see all them damn Green Lanterns – but Spiderman is more than a suit and powers. He’s the original hard luck hero.  The hero with bills. With great power comes great responsibility. And there are just some stories that should not change. Omigod, I cannot believe I just wrote that.

I love comic books.

I started reading comic books back when they cost fifty cents and every plot didn’t involve tearing the universe asunder or a galaxy spanning conspiracy. Back when Spiderman was referred to as “your friendly neighborhood Spiderman” and good and evil were a bit more cut and dried. And I was more of a Marvel guy than a DC guy as well, as I thought them more grounded. Even so, I moved on from the big titles to smaller ones as I grew older, the smaller titles usually less grandiose in their ideas of what villainy might be, where every scheme didn’t involve global domination. I’d still pick the stalwarts though from time to time to stay current – Spiderman, Batman, Wolverine, the occasional mini-series or trade paperback. I dabbled more than anything.
But as of today I think a little movie success has caused them folks at Marvel to lose their minds.

In setting up their new Once a year super crossover “hey, let’s get you interested in a another character so you’ll buy that book too!” you got to be kidding me jeez not again with this crap again Spectacular, they’re going to so far as to stop printing thirty three regular titles. Sigh. I’ve never really been one for the retcon – the comic book writer habit of rewriting years of established history to fit the story they came up with last week – but this is one for the books. (that pun was not on purpose.) Reading through the promo I’m not even sure how it all fits together, and I'm not even sure I want to find out.

I bought the first Secret Wars series, which made sense to some degree, taking all the top end superheroes and facing them off against the high end super villains away from the billions in destruction they would have surely cause on Earth. Okay, it made comic book sense. It gave us Venom and Carnage and new character arcs. The second Secret Wars kinda made sense as well, the impetus behind the first Secret Wars coming to Earth, although it might be better executed with the broader scope writers of today are afforded. But this monstrosity of crossover, I'm like really? This is a complete and total exodus of the idea of subtle and nuanced for the grandiose demonstration... which if you're paying attention will be undone three years from now in another grandiose demonstration. I understand crossover pollination, but damn. I'm scared to go the Comic Book store and get caught up in this mess.

It's like the Hollywood mentality is taking over comic books and not the other way around. Comics are a hard medium to write for, as the characters are so firmly established. And the nature of the medium means the world can't be at stake every month, you have to build up to things. Film by comparison is short, picks and chooses from the canon what it wants to use and seemingly necessitates the spectacular with every outing. This is both tiring and messy for the fan to watch even as we're excited to see our favorites come to life. And now it seems like those film directors who didn't understand the characters they've been handed are infecting the writers and editors who were passed down the characters they were supposed to care for that we've come to love.

I want comics to get back to stories that developed character and involved small things, or at least didn't involve extra dimensions and six different clones every issue. A little skirmish. Every battle need not be World War Three in fifteen pages to be interesting. Maybe I got spoiled. Or maybe I just need to stick with the independents and the small stories.

Just one more Spidey though. I can quit anytime.

Barkeep. A mixing bowl, a spoon, a big box of Rice Krispies, some sugar and milk. Seriously.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I think we all need a long warm soak

Ramblings Post #288
Sometimes the stars line up just right and everything just clicks into place. And then there is today, in which some of that happened, but not quite enough. But you take what you can get and feel blessed for it. 

I still have the old idea machine running, articles and story bits flying out all willy-nilly, stacked up like cord wood or fresh fried chicken, waiting to be made into something useful, like a house, bonfire or six piece with cole slaw. But the world doesn't stop spinning. Too much less than good news.

There is so much I could talk about. So much. But right now, I think we all, everybody in the world, should find somewhere to take a long hot soak. A shower if you can't figure out a warm tub, but there is entirely too much tension. From the bottom to the top. Long hot baths get out that tension.

Everybody. Hot bath. Then off to bed. 

I know it's a long shot, but it's just crazy enough to work.

Barkeep, that means you too.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Then Garissa

I had something trite and light prepared. 

Then Garissa.

I've been mulling this over in my mind for a minute, a few days really, trying to find the right tone, the proper words. But my pen keeps coming up empty. I know people from Kenya. I cannot imagine how they are feeling.

That this isn't the front page everywhere story tells me a lot about the world. I realize that the world does not stop for tragedy, but 147 lives lost deserves more than a nod of sympathy. That this will have to be the product of a documentary, as with Westgate Mall, to tell the whole story is just... very frustrating.

My prayers go out to those families that lost a loved one, to those friends whose friend was taken, to the country whose future was dimmed just a bit.