My Struggle to Like Batman V. Superman

Look up in the sky! Is it a bird? No, it is spoilers!

Mr. BatmanI’ve always considered myself a DC guy.

While I appreciate Marvel and enjoy the movie empire of it (especially the Captain America films), my heart belongs with the 52 worlds of DC Comics. One of my dreams has always been to write a Captain Marvel film, for example. Granted, I know that will not happen (they are planning to make a film soon and, sadly, no one called me).

I remember the thrill of seeing Christopher Reeve fly. I saw Michael Keaton’s Batman three times in the theater. And I remember loving the Super Friends each Saturday morning. I still watch the DVDs with my kids!   

Yet, as I sat there watching the latest DC film, it felt just off for me. Something was off the rails. It was as if the heart and joy of what I loved about DC was gone, replaced with a brute and hopeless vision of our world. This is a film that begins with imagery that feels like 9/11 and there is little humor in a world still living in terror. Maybe for the writer and director there is a deeper meaning in doing this with beloved characters, but for me it just left me feeling… removed. Maybe a better explanation is stranded, left behind by a comic book universe I felt very at home in. 

Here are my four biggest gripes with this new film. I don’t know if it will change anything by me saying this in the big scheme of things, but I am certain I will feel better after. Much like a therapy session, I guess. So here we go… You, dear reader, are my psychologist. Sit back as I lay down my problems with the winged bat and the big boy scout’s latest film. Continue reading

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Five Things I Am Into Right Now, November 2014

BoredI am suffering the case of the blahs. Oh, this is not a bad thing related to my life or anything, this is related to books. I’ve done the book reviews for my local NPR station now for over a year and half. That is over 30 books. (You can listen and read my reviews via the links on this page of my site.)

See, I’m struggling through a book review by a very popular author. Some people will love the book, I am certain; others will hate it. Me, I’m just mildly disappointed and that is what gives me the blahs.

Let me start this over… I love writing a good book review. There is nothing more fun for me as a reviewer than breaking down a good book, introducing it to a listener/reader and discussing why the high points are the high points. Talking about good books is my soapbox and I like being on it, thank you very much!

I am not Dorothy Parker. She used to take a glee in writing a bad review. Me, I find it disappointing. I can do it certainly, and they are easy to do, but they do not give me pleasure. Also, I like to say more than simply “I don’t like it.” I go out of my way to explain why something doesn’t work. Okay, this could be argued as a second soapbox, but not as big or important as the other one.

But there are no soapboxes when the book is a blah, middle-of-the road, half-a-shoulder-shrug. In a way, I see this blah around me in the environment too, as all the days are gray and getting colder. Of course, the review will be written in a week or so and my life will go on. I can’t guarantee anything regarding the weather.

Let’s move on to happier thoughts! Here are the five things I think are awesome right now. Continue reading

Their Obsession With Cheetahs

The CubbiesEvery night my children go to bed with cheetah cubbies that may be leopards.

They are cheap stuffed toys, the kind you see at the front of lesser family restaurants. Nothing extravagant, but wherever they go in the house, they are usually in the same room, many times next to each other. And each evening, they are needed for nighttime or there might be tears.

The cheetahs started with my son when he realized how fast they were.

My son has always loved to run. Back when he used to go to daycare and I would pick him up, on every nice day he would be in the playground racing with his friends. The teacher would just shout “Go!” and watch the kids run around and around again, not considering it was the parents that had to deal with the kids with sweat-soaked hair that would always need a bath later.

Now my son wasn’t always the fastest, he did good, but there were always kids a little faster since they might be older or just plan bigger. But that didn’t matter to my son, he would always tell me on the way home how he won… even when we both knew he didn’t.

He was Dash from The Incredibles for Halloween when he was four then the year after that The Flash. Whenever either costume was put on he would get this look in his eye, scream “zoom” and take off running around our house hoping to find a bad guy some place.

A red blur of speed!

 Last Christmas, my daughter gave her brother a giant stuffed cheetah. (Well, actually the parents did but she happily took credit for it, she was one then.) My son immediately declared it was the mommy cheetah, and they both happily agreed. The cheetah cubbies were grabbed and quickly were reunited.

They are now a family of cheetahs. Continue reading

Nine Thoughts on Turning Five

My wife was in labor for 22 hours. 22!

It started the night before and I was deep in sleep when she broke the news we needed to leave for the hospital NOW. I was so deep into it that it took almost a minute of her waving at me, as I stood dumbfounded, that we needed to move.

I drove so slowly to the hospital, my wife was getting frustrated. I wanted everyone to be safe, I even avoided the highway, worried about drunk drivers.… Yes, it was a Sunday night, but someone could be drunk on a Sunday, right?

Once we were there my wife’s suffering began as future parents after future parents went in the delivery room before us. Finally, I had had enough. There are only a few times I can remember that I got all “extreme,” but this was one of them, as I confronted the doctor and nurse in the hallway. They said there were two ahead and I corrected them, without blinking, no, my wife is next… After five minutes of arguing, my wife was being prepped and ready to go.

One of my most vivid memories is of my son’s birth. When we first heard his cry, my wife turned to me, her mouth open in surprise, tears streaking her happy and tired face.  Then they showed him to us. His face was bright red from the screaming. I asked politely (and very overwhelmed) if I could see him; they of course said yes. I stood over him consoling him. At the sound of my voice he immediately stopped crying and then rolled on his side towards me.

You don’t forget things like that… Continue reading

Halloween, In Spirit

I don’t believe in magic.

I also don’t believe in witches, ghosts, wizards, dragons, unicorns, demons, devils, poltergeists, vampires, werewolves and anything else that might go bump in the night.

And, for those curious, I don’t believe in angels either.

None of these things exist (or could exist) in the world I see around me every day. And if any of these things really were real, there is no way it would be a secret to all of us. If there is one great truth about human beings, from the North Pole to the South, it is that we are all lousy at keeping a secret. Remember, even Deep Throat said who he was before he died, and that was a secret kept by only three people!

Frankly, we would all know about Hogwarts.

I wish I could see a ghost.

Why?

Because I would find the experience incredibly satisfying. Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, September 2012

Autumn is around the corner, and in my neck of the woods the leaves are just starting to change colors and my son is already talking about his Halloween costume.

He wants to be The Flash this year, but next year he wants to be Captain America with a shield which he threatens to throw around; so it’s good for everyone (especially the dog) he is The Flash this year. My daughter is Princess Leia, because I thought it would be cute and she is too young to argue; and I made sure to pick it up before the mom got a chance to say no. Yes, I am happy with this action on my part, and I will do it again in a heartbeat.

Okay, I must admit I skipped on my list last month. And that is okay, seriously, I had no time, focusing most of my attention on writing my book while listening to Fiona Apple. Yeah, Fiona’s new CD (The Idler Wheel…) is definitely becoming my mental soundtrack for this opus, but I already talked about the CD enough on this site. You don’t need to read me praising it again… Oh, what the heck– it is my favorite CD of the year so far and you should buy it.  Onto my list: Continue reading

Recommending Four of GraphicAudio’s DC Audiobooks

Since I wrote my initial review of GraphicAudio’s great DC audiobook series for Green Spot Blue (here), the article continues to receive visits and I occasionally get comments and e-mails asking which of theirs I would recommend for listening first.

With summer in full swing and road trips almost every weekend, I thought this might be a great opportunity to share my four top recommendations for helping pass those long hours staring out the window at the lines on the highway.

Also, we are in the midst of a superhero summer here in the US. With The Avengers breaking box office records and the last entry in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series as well, this is as good a time as any for imagining how much more fun (and crazy) the world would be if we had a few people in capes that could fly about.

Justice League of America: Exterminators

Supposedly (based on Facebook comments), GraphicAudio will be making some new DC entries in the Fall or Winter of this year.

When they do, I hope they make some new Justice League episodes. While there are things I liked (and loved) about each of their audiobooks, there is something a lot more “fun” about the Justice League series. They aren’t weighed down by all of the drama that comes with Batman and the Crisis series; what you get is a group of superheroes (with voices that perfectly capture their characters) getting along and getting things done. When I return to listening to these audiobooks from time to time, I usually will go to one of these additions first. Continue reading