Atlantic City And The Smokies

Gary Sassaman writes about the trips to Atlantic City in his youth. Even though he’s written about those trips before (even in the first issue of his comic, Innocent Bystander) they’re always entertaining to read, with a new detail or two that wasn’t told before.
It got me to thinking about my own annual trips in the past, to the Smoky Mountains. I used to go with my family when I was younger, and we would stay at the same hotel each year in Pigeon Forge. When Kathy and I took our first trip down there, we stayed at that same hotel. I don’t want to name it here because the years hadn’t been kind to that hotel, although the couple owning it are trying. But when I stayed there with my family, it was better. They had a heated pool that was just right. No trying to adjust to the colder temperature. I always prefered a heated pool to a regular one. And it was close to the grocery store, where we’d stock up on snacks and other things. One year I was pleasantly surprised to see the return of Comics Scene, the magazine from Starlog about comics. It was a trial balloon for another go-round (this one concentrating more on movie and TV options based on comics and animation that were hyped more on “this is gonna be a show!” in their articles) but in the pre-internet days, it was a great lifeline to one of my many interests. Speaking of those ancient days, I was wearing the Watchmen “smiley face” button on my denim jacket and it was recognized at a pizza place when I went to pick up a pizza. Back when Watchmen was just a comic book (and before there was a Before) I also found a comic shop in Pigeon Forge where I was introduced to Ninja High School. And over in Gatlinburg was a record shop that I’m glad to say was still there when I was last there last Summer. Although I had a wedding to attend and no time to look around like I used to, it was good to see that some things were there. Even though I’m at an age where I would buy records at that shop (I got the Superman II soundtrack there) I would eagerly await getting to listen to it at home and hoping that there wasn’t a skip in it that wouldn’t be fixed by putting a quarter on the turntable needle. CDs have certainly improved music in more ways than just the technology. Yes, nowadays whatever I want musically is just a download away, but there was something about getting music on a trip. Especially once cassettes entered the picture. I picked up the Best of Kansas from a K-Mart one year and enjoyed listening to it on my Walkman, taking in the scenery. And there was the Book Warehouse in Pigeon Forge, where they offered discount books, and I could find a few that I never heard of, or at a good deal to enjoy reading. And since I usually stayed up later than my family, I would set up a space to read off of the bathroom, so as not to disturb them too much. And I would write my letters each night to Kathy detailing what happened on my trip that day.
And yes, there was the Smoky Mountains, but while I enjoyed the scenery, I wasn’t much for making the long trek up to the top. Dealing with the pressure change and the long travelling, I preferred to view the mountains from afar.
Yes, even though I’m not much for travelling nowadays, like Gary, I wouldn’t mind taking another trip to the Smokies of my youth.

Super Best Friends Forever Experiment

Originally posted at The Bird And The Bat.

I’m going to try a little Super Best Friends Forever experiment here. Warner Bros. have put out some fantastic shorts during their DC Nation programming block on Cartoon Network. They are evolving one of those into a series – Teen Titans Go! It’s almost a continuation of the old Teen Titans animated series but either way, sounds like fun. I know a lot of folks were hoping SBFF would also move on to a half hour series as well but from what I’ve been hearing, it’s not likely and my question is – why?
Warner Bros. don’t believe a “girls” show has the same selling power as a “boys” show and I’d like to prove them wrong. I’d point them to the huge successes that were Lauren Faust’s Power Puff Girls (EDIT for clarity, I know Craig McCracken created PPG, Faust also worked on the franchise. Sorry if I confused anyone!) and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic were, I’d tell them women make almost all the purchasing decisions for their household (specifically entertainment), that they are seriously underestimating how much parents spend on their daughters, and that children aren’t the only consumers of animated TV shows and their related products. I could do that but what I’d like to see right now is all of YOU do that.
Reblog or like this post if you’d not only watch a Super Best Friends Forever television show but buy products based on it. (Money talks, remember?) Add your own commentary or not but let’s see what the numbers say.

At The Shop Tomorrow 8/15

This is something I’ve thought about doing for the blog for sometime, a feature that points out comics and books of interest that you may see at the comic shop when you go for your weekly Wednesday habit. Here’s some stuff that you might want to check out:
Jericho Season 4 #1: Much like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and other TV shows, Jericho is continuing the story beyond cancellation. While I didn’t catch the show while it was on the air, I did check into it after it was pointed out to me when Kathy and I did a guest stint on Podculture years ago. We enjoyed it, and wished there was more. Now thanks to comics, you can. Jericho the TV series is available on DVD and on Netflix streaming, and you can pick up the trade paperback collection of Jericho Season 3 to get caught up, if you don’t see it at the comic shop.
Walking Dad #101: The Walking Dead is another comic I came into late, picking up collection after collection to bring me up to around issue 36 or so. Reading them in single issues hasn’t been the same (much like other comics and TV show which are better in collection doses than the single issue at a time) Interesting premise: a zombie story that lasts longer than a movie, so you can see the big picture of a world where the dead come back to life (zombie isn’t mentioned in the comic) While that has resulted in some dry periods (something like this can’t be non-stop horror and attacks) issue 100 has kicked the story into high gear. After reading that issue, you definitely want to find out what happens next. And if you haven’t read the comic yet, there’s The Walking Dead: Compendium One and The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 2 TP is solicited this month if you want to order it from your comic shop, if not the Amazon link. Again, a purchase of anything linked in this post will send a small amount my way to keep the lights on here, and the blogging goodness to continue your way.
Bloodshot #2 and Harbinger #3: Valiant’s relaunch has been one of the good ones. Unlike a lot of comics lines relaunching, this one has not been slavishly devoted to regurgitating what was done before without abandoning the original premise (and interest in any revamp in the first place) If you haven’t picked up any of the new Valiant line (including X-O Manowar) it’s worth picking up.

Ryan As Romney’s VP Pick

I was feeling burned out and meh about politics. I felt like anything I said here wasn’t going to matter one microbe to anybody. If I had my way, I was just going to blog about comics, blu rays, and stuff like that. After all, when it comes down to it, this blog is ultimately about keeping me interested (BTW, thanks to Gordon Dymowski and Alan David Doane for the comments left. See, I don’t ask for much. Just a sign somebody’s reading this thing)  I was content to leave politics alone.
And then came the news that Romney selected Ryan as his running mate.  Goes to show how fast things move on these internet tubes. It’s only Saturday, and the announcement was made this morning, but it took some digging to find a link to the original story, before both sides dug in.
Where to begin? How about Ryan being such a believer of Ayn Rand. Yes, you got me. Most of what I know about Rand is that Spider-Man creator Steve Ditko is another devotee (which is reflected in a lot of his work) and that another devotee tried to keep Maggie Simpson away from her pacifier on The Simpsons. But I’ve read up on the philosophy, and I think there is a world of difference between giving hand outs to undeserving and ungrateful people, and a hand to those who need it. As the old PSAs said, they’re not asking for a hand out just a hand, and all they ever wanted was a chance. I don’t believe that people who need help want to sponge off of the able-bodied workers. Have you ever been to a welfare office? Okay, neither have I, but it’s hardly the Monty Hall giveaway some would lead you to believe. Anybody applying for welfare or food stamps realize how frustrating it is, jumping through all the hoops, and figure getting a job is easier. Problem is, those who need this help can’t get a job. And that’s before you factor in the deck being stacked against them. The other day I posted about the Civilian Conservation Corps over at Hey, Martha! which was a jobs program set up during the Great Depression. I read a lot about how there were so many abandoned houses due to the housing meltdown and so many homeless, and you factor in the unemployed and the fact that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to fix things in this country, I bet that if they launched a similar program today, how many people who are homeless, facing foreclosure, or unemployed would sign up? I’ll bet a lot more than those “on the dole” who would yawn and pass it up, wanting their free lunch, as those on the Right would claim would be the response. Maybe even add in the so-called undocumented workers who are supposedly getting all of this good stuff for free? I would also wager they would jump at the chance to earn citizenship in this great country, not just here for the free stuff (another right wing claim).
And then you factor in Ryan’s voting record on women’s rights. Last I checked, there were more women than men in this country. Could somebody point out why our representatives are mostly white guys?
But what spurred me to write this post was ComicMix pointing out a post they did last year pointing out the similarities between Ryan and “The Smiler”, a politician from the DC Comic Transmetropolitan. But they know there’s a difference: as they pointed out themselves, “One of these individuals has good looks and a certain amount of charisma, but has no empathy for the lower classes of society. He has designs on the presidency, and will cut odious political deals to make that happen, all while being fawned over by right wing pundits and a segment of the voters who are convinced that he will save us from ‘the Beast’.
“The other, of course, is a character out of the comic books.”
And the fix is in, brothers and sisters. How are the Repugnicans going to win the election? The same way they did last time. By cheating. You’ve no doubt read about the voter fraud laws that as Jon Stewart pointed out are like leash laws for unicorns, that what a coinkydink affect those that tend to vote Democrat. And Ohio is in their sites again, this time curtailing hours in the districts with high Democrat votes while expanding the hours in the Republican districts.
Getting back to political discourse not changing anybody’s opinion a microbe, if there’s only one thing you take away from all this, let it be this: ultimately the election will be decided by people like you going to vote. Yes, you will be bombarded with messages from groups that basically say “_______ is the greatest menace out there, and we’re fighting to stop it, and we need some money to do so”, but after all the campaigning and commericals, in the end, it will be you going into the voting booth and casting your vote. All the money spent won’t matter at bit. And no matter how you vote, make sure your vote is counted the way you voted. I don’t want my side’s votes counted, I want all the votes counted.

Hey, Third Place!

A while back Robert Chazz Chute had a contest to come up with something on a homeless man’s sweatshirt in the next book in his Hitman series. I had an idea, jotted off a response, and figured I’d sit back and wait.
Well, the winners were announced, and I came in 3rd! Pretty cool, huh? If you’re wondering what the Hitman series is about, you can get Bigger Than Jesus (Kindle) or Bigger Than Jesus (paperback), or any of Robert Chazz Chute’s other books. Now to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Spider-Men #4

I was looking over the comics I got this week. One of the ones I read today was Spider-Men #4, offering the first real crossover between the main Marvel Universe (or 616, if you’re picky) and the Ultimate Universe. I haven’t read any of the Ultimate line in quite some time, but this looked interesting. While the story has been slow building (they had to wait until the end of issue 1 for the two Spideys to meet) it has been good on bringing people up to speed. I would say that issue 4 is the best of the lot, with very interesting bits of dialogue and story development. The AV Club does a good job of capturing what I liked about the issue.

A Shoe-In For School

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Famous Footwear for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hard to believe that school has already started for some people. If it hasn't started for you or your kids yet, it should soon. The school I went to is scheduled to start on Monday. There's a lot to do to get ready. Not only are there school supplies to buy, but clothes to wear for school. It's a lot to deal with, getting ready.
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Fan Of A Fan Of Something

Remember the heady days of HBO, Showtime and others back in the early 80s? When it seemed like they would show certain movies over and over again. I’ve heard jokes about CHUD and Beastmaster being in heavy rotation, well worth the money you’d pay to get the channel.
Some people would watch certain movies more than they would otherwise because of their availability. Andrew Weiss first wrote about Grease 2, and his latest entry is about Tank.