Five Things I Am Into Right Now, October 2014

It's The Great PumpkinSo I have to accept the fact my kids are not going to be into the Peanuts. I truly see the generational gap there. While I can write a post dissecting the interworking genius of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (which I did do here), my kids would rather watch something else.

Actually, my son had a really good answer for not wanting to watch the show. He said they used bad language. Which is true, if you consider the word “stupid” a bad word, as we try to do in our house.

And while my son loves looking at my old comics (especially Calvin & Hobbes), he has no interest in looking at Peanuts. So while I’m busy each year collecting the complete works (thanks to the releases by Fantagraphics Books), my old paperback copies sit gathering dust on his shelves. Once I tried reading him the books and he was startled by them.

“Why are they so mean to Charlie Brown?”

“Well, it’s…”

Now how would you answer that? Is it funny to be mean to someone? Are we laughing at a child’s pain? In our age of fighting bullying, is Charlie Brown a victim? Granted, in the later years of Schulz’s writing, Charlie Brown took a back seat and much of his torture disappeared (usually everything seemed to be about Rerun), but it is there in the early years tenfold.

In the next year we’ll be getting a new Charlie Brown movie. The trailer looks beautiful, but I wonder how they will handle this stuff. It could either be a rebirth for the franchise or the final nail in the coffin. When Charles Schulz died he made it very clear he wanted everything to stop after his passing. His family seems to have done everything possible to keep it going though; yet, a part of me believes Schulz had it right. Especially now.

Now on to my October list!

Gotham

GothamI’m still not sure how I feel about this show, but I can’t look away. It’s an odd creation. For those that don’t know, the show follows the early years of James Gordon, who will be the police commissioner while Batman is fighting is crime in the streets. In this show Batman is about 12-years old and just lost his parents. So we won’t be seeing him putting on the cowl anytime soon.

So here is my conundrum, we want to see Gordon succeed and clean up the streets AND we don’t want him to, because we want the mess to be around for when Batman arrives (which we will probably never see on the show). The show frustrates me and interests me all at the same time.

Here is the thing though- there is a better show that could have been created. Consider, if they moved Gordon’s story up to the first year of Batman’s arrival? You could have had the corruption, the crime, the new villains, but you would also have the hints and murmurs of the Batman. Gordon doesn’t even have to see him, doesn’t even have to believe he exists (it would still be his story). It would have been a great mystery and exciting. Much better than a 12-year old which can’t help but remind viewers of the frustration that was Smallville.

Downton Abbey

Downton AbbeyDownton Abbey last season was a mess. There was so much filler in it.

Did I care who Daisy or the other cook would end up dating? No. Did I care who Mary was interested in? No. And don’t get me started on the boring creation and annoying character that was cousin Rose.

Maybe Julian Fellowes (the guru of the Abbey) heard us, because this season seems to have more plot points going and much more consequential to the characters. Is Bates a murderer? (I’m under the theory that he always was a killer, and got away with the murder of his wife a few seasons ago.) Is Barrow on drugs? What is up Branson’s new love interest? (She seems a little crazy.) And is Edith going to have the courage to admit she has a daughter?

The fact that after last season I would be excited to see what happens each Sunday is surprising. Now my only question is whether this is to be the last season of the show, or does Fellowes have more planned in the future.

Bing Sings the Great American Songbook

BingSingsAmericanSongbookI discovered this album thanks to Fresh Air on NPR a few years ago. One of the reviewers discussed this release and it was in the back of my mind for two years before I finally got around to purchasing it.

Bing Crosby is a complicated character. Some think of him as an abuser because of the stories his children told after his passing (which are probably not true at all), others just think of him as a corny pop singer from the past. And yes, there are some corniness in his past no one can escape. Oh, boy is it there. Huge fields of corn.

Yet, when Bing was at his height there were few more popular voices in America than his. He was an Oscar-winning actor, star of his own radio show and each album he released went gold. This album is something unique, and probably the closest we will ever get to a true Bing jazz album. Created by his house band on his radio show, this is Bing Crosby making a Nat King Cole trio album. This was never created for release and you can tell how much fun Bing and the band are having. They are just having fun performing for the sake of performing.

What can I say? This CD just makes me smile from start to finish.

OK Go’s Hungry Ghosts

Hungry GhostsI love this band.

Yeah, their videos are great too, but they are a rock band first for me. And their new CD has just been released. There is a lot to love on this CD.

“The Writing’s on the Wall,” which was their first amazing video from the CD, is a song about a breakup that seems to take place over the song and the singer is breaking up with us. I also really love “I won’t Let You Down” and “Turn Up the Radio.” There is a very 80s vibe to most of the CD, reminding me almost of the early years of INXS or what you were hearing coming out of England in that period.

My favorite of their CDs is still Of the Colour of the Sky, but this CD is definitely growing on me. Check it out.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

FrankensteinConsider this- Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was 18. 18! What were you doing when you were 18? Probably not creating a literary masterpiece, I am guessing.

I’m going to be reviewing this book on WKAR for Halloween. It was a joy to read it again. There is such a beauty in the prose of it (you can’t help but see the poetic influence of her husband Percy Shelley and Lord Byron on her).

I’ll be saying a lot more about this book during my review, but for the time being I feel haunted by it again since recently completing it.  Debating with myself a lot of the big philosophical questions Shelley asks in the book. Probably exactly what she wanted…

Seriously, 18!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Problem with Doors by Scott D. Southard

My Problem with Doors

by Scott D. Southard

Giveaway ends October 28, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 –

A Jane Austen DaydreamIf you liked reading this post, why not check out one of my books? I’ve just had a book published collecting some of my most popular posts. It is entitled Me Stuff.

If fiction is more your thing, I’ve had four novels published in the last few years, A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, My Problem With Doors and Megan.

You can find all of these books via my amazon.com author page here. Thanks for reading!

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2 responses

  1. My 10 year old daughter has been reading a Peanuts compilation someone gave her, so maybe she is “getting it.” I was a huge fan of Snoopy and had a wonderful collection of costumes for my stuffed Snoopy. One of my great resentments in life is that those got tossed or given away without my permission. When I tell my kids about the costumes Snoopy had–bullfighter, Beefeater, WWI Flying Ace, judge, etc.–they wish I had kept them, too.

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