Saturday, January 26, 2008

Remembering...Dickie Goodman

While on downloading some of my monthly allotment of music, I ran across a true blast from past. I was very excited to find these after so many years of having not heard them.

Those of us who grew up in the 70's and the 80's probably have some recollection of the novelty records put out by Dickie Goodman - songs like "Mr. Jaws" and "Mr. President" and the "Energy Crisis". These typically consisted an interviewer asking questions and the responses would be snippets from popular songs at the time to invoke a humorous response.

Interviewer: Mr. President, what really caused the energy crisis?
musical response: Smokin' in the boys room*
Interviewer: During the crisis, how much gas will motorists be allowed?
musical response: Just enough for the city*

*taken from the songs by Brownsville Station and Stevie Wonder, respectively

Anyway, you get the idea.

As I kid in the 70's, I found these to be very clever. So much so, I would often try to make my own version of these novelty songs. I'd take my old tape recorder (this was back in the day when I didn't have a stereo that combined both a turntable and a cassette record together - I think my first combined stereo had a turntable, radio and 8-track player - but that's a story for another time), speak questions into the microphone, pause the recording, then queue up a song on my record player. I'd hold the tape recorder up to the speaker, wait for just the right spot, release the pause button to record, then pause again. This could easily keep me busy for a Saturday afternoon. Sure it was hours of work to perhaps produce three or four minutes of stuff to play back, but it was a fun and creative exercise to do. Just something to keep me busy - especilly during those cold winter days when it was just too miserable to go outside in the weather.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Comics of the Week (1/23/08)

Countdown to Final Crisis #14 - Superman-Prime enters the fray on Earth-51, Donna Troy gets some followers and Jason Todd gets a new costume. The battle continues in the war between Monarch and the Monitors, and I am glad to see the writing team really focus on this big event which has been building since the start of the series. The villain origin pages in back are of Gorilla Grodd.

Countdown to Mystery #5 - the Eclipso tale takes the lead and more pages this issue again. I am glad of that as I am enjoying it much more than the Dr. Fate segment of the book. I'd love to see Eclipso back in his own title full-time if it is done with this much quality.

Teen Titans #55 - much more a soap-opera issue this time out. I guess we needed the "downtime" after the big epic we just finished, but I wasn't all that impressed. Too much "seen that before" to wow me. I'm considering dropping this title in the next six months if it doesn't pick up.

Book of the week - Teen Titans Go! #51. As the cover shows, we get some past history of Terra and the introduction of Geo-Force into the animated Titans universe. I think that's pretty cool and hope we see more of him in the future. The character design looks nice in this format. Once again, Todd Nauck does an outstanding job on the art chores. This book is what comics should be - fun.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Burn Out or Fade Away?

The song says it's better to burn out than to fade away. I'm not sure about that. This morning, very recent two celebrity deaths had me pondering that.

At the beginning of the week, it was reported that Suzanne Pleshette died at age 70. She had been dealing with lung cancer for a number of years and died due to respitory failure on Sunday. Yesterday, it was reported that Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York City apartment at age 28. While the autopsy is just beginning, there were sleeping pills on the nightstand which is suggesting a possible drug overdose.

Suzanne had a long career which began in the late 50's on Broadway. From there she moved to both television and film work. She is most likely remember, fondly, by many of us television fans for her role as Emily Hartley for six seasons on the Bob Newhart Show. She even reprised that role years later in the final episode of the Newhart show, where Bob wakes up after having the "most strangest of dreams". Her dark features, raspy voice and sarcastic wit gave her an enduring place in the halls of sitcom history. Her last acting role was a few years back, playing Karen Walker's estranged mother on Will & Grace.

Heath started his career on television but his breakthru came in the late 90's in movie roles. He went from 10 Things I Hate About You to the Patriot to Monster's Ball to A Knight's Tale. The role that got him probably the most attention, and some controversy, was in the film Brokeback Mountain. Of his work, the only film I've actually seen is that last one on. It was on that film that he met Michelle Williams and fathered a daughter with her. (The most tragic thing in my eyes is that he left behind a two year old girl who will never get to grow up to know her father. To me, as a father, that hits home and is very saddening indeed.) He just wrapped filming the role of the Joker in the upcoming Batman: the Dark Knight film (of which I've seen promotional images and, I must say, I'm not as impressed with how they have "re-imagined" the Clown Prince of Crime this go-round).

So, here we have two careers that both ended permanently this week. One long and one short. Which will endure the most across time? Which will have fans who fondly remember the body of work? Hard to say. Does quantity have any bearing against quality? I like to think if the quantity includes quality work then quantity will win out.

Another song says "only the good die young". I don't buy that completely either.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saturday Shuffles

In reading the latest Entertainment Weekly that hit my mailbox yesterday, they did a poll of 1000 folks by phone to find out what the average entertainment fan is doing to cope during the Writers' Strike. The numbers showed 44% are watching less TV, 40% are reading more, 39% are watching reruns, 36% are listening to more music, 34% are watching more news programs, 23% are going online more, 19% are watching more on-demand TV shows and movies, 18% are watching more reality TV, 16% are more bored than usual and 9% are having more sex.

I'm definitely one of those people listening to more music, thanks to my iPod. I'm hearing more stuff from CDs that had collected dusted for awhile now, and that's a good thing. I'm rediscovering forgotten gems. My favorite way to listen is in shuffle-mode. It's sort of like Radio Martin, you never know what will come up. Two shuffle examples from yesterday:

Morning workout at the YMCA (40 minutes on the cross-trainer):

The Rolling Stones - Wild Horses
Barry White - Can't Get Enough of Your Love
Chicago - Saturday In the Park
Carly Simon - You Belong To Me
Mark Lindsay - Silver Bird
Kiss - Hard Luck Woman
Sweet - Blockbuster
Yaz - Bad Connection
Earth, Wind & Fire - Kalimba Story
Fun Boy Three - Our Lips Are Sealed

The shuffle of songs before going to sleep (a nightly thing for me):

James Brown - Mother Popcorn, Pt 1
The Cure - Mint Car
Pet Shop Boys - What Have I Done to Deserve This?
Vangelis - Chariots of Fire
Sheila E. - Funky Attitude
Poison - Nothin' But A Good Time
Adam Ant - Strip

Care to share you latest shuffle?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dear Me... (part 1)

Dear Me-of-1975,

It's future you of 2008 that is. I know, I know. This seems like one of those freaky things you'd see on those classic 60's sci-fi television show reruns that channel 29 has on afterschool. This isn't an episode from Lost In Space, Star Trek or the Twilight Zone. It's not. Just go with it, okay?

Now, I know you've been out of sorts of late - especially with Grandpa passing away. That changed a lot of things. You stopped going around the corner from School 4 every day for lunch - something you did for nearly four years. No more lunch consisting of cereal, orange juice, toast with strawberry jelly and a soft-boiled egg (I know - it sounds more like breakfast, but you/me/we liked it). So now it's peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches in your lunch box shaped like Snoopy's dog house. Ah well. You are a creature of habit and prefer to keep things the same. I know. That hasn't changed much. Routine helps you keep everything in check and, you hope, blocks out the bad stuff from occasionally happening. It doesn't though. Bad things are going to happen occasionally and you just need to learn to adjust to them. And that's hard too. I understand that - I should - I am you, after all.

And I know that this was a hard thing - your first brush with the death of someone we knew. In the next thirty years, you'll lose uncles on both sides of the family and aunts on Dad's side of the family, the rest of your grandparents and even co-workers. I wish I could tell you it gets easier to handle, but it doesn't. It's just one of those things from life. You just have to learn to make the most of every moment you can with people.

Yeah, you'll spend a lot of time at Nanie's house over the next few years - and it certainly won't be the same with Grandpa gone, but you will cherish the memories of this different time just the same. Lots of television watching on weeknights and some on weekend nights when you have dinner over there. Those dinners will be a lot of fun, usually when Mom and Dad have something to do out at the country club. Nothing like a good Delmonico steak. Oh, and when Aunt Florence serves up ice-cream, be prepared to eat a huge slab. She likes to cut them in slices from the cartoon. Stick with the strawberry portion of the Neopolitan - it doesn't touch the chocolate.

After fifth grade ends in the Spring, it'll be time for more change. Time to leave School 4 and all the teachers you know. Sure, most of the kids you know now will be at the Middle School too. These are the kids you've grown up with - from the neighborhood on Green Street and the other streets nearby. But there will also be those from the other elementary schools in town. This'll be a good thing for the most part. Just stay alert and be smart about decisions. I know you'll do fine. You're not in the advanced reading class right now for nothing.

Oh, and choir - even though your brother and your cousin were in it, it's probably not right for you. Oh, I know you're getting to be one of the soldiers in the Valley Forge dance number in the George Washington musical this year, but maybe there's a reason for that. I'm just saying. We can enjoy and appreciate music even if we're not very good at performing it ourselves. Sometimes the world needs people to make up the audience too, you know?

Let me end with something good. You know how you're switching over from "kiddie comics" (Archies, the Gold Key stuff, Harvey titles) to super-hero books? Well, some of those books you're buying now off the spinner-racks will be ones you'll have for decades. See, you won't have to lose touch with everything from your childhood. You can keep pieces of your past to go with the memories. Believe me, it's the memories that make them even more cherished treasures.

Last thing, do you know where our Wacky Package stickers are and the homemade ones we did on paper during the summer afternoons this year at the Gloff's picnic table? If so, can you try to keep track of them? You might not think that much of them right now, but believe me someday you'll be interested in them again. Just some fair warning. ... What? You're not sure if you've seen them recently? Just look, please. Thanks.


Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm Hopeless!

With the wife and son off visiting her relatives in Minnesota for the long weekend, what am I doing right now (besides blogging on the laptop from the kitchen counter)? I'm watching the beginning of High School Musical 2 for like the sixth or seventh time. I am so much a sucker for musicals with teen casts. Makes me with my high school days were a musical. Ah well. Maybe I'm just anticipating my 25th Reunion in July.

What team? Wildcats! What team? Wilcats. Get your head in the game!

Oh, wait a minute - my high school's mascot was the Marauders (a tiger). That's a wild-cat. Yeah, yeah, that's it. "Get your head in the game!"

Sigh. Yeah, I'm hopeless.

Two More From the Library

I picked up the final two trade paperback volumes of the Starman series at the library earlier this week, and I finished reading them last night. These two mark the last major arcs and the end of the series.

Now, I'm not a stranger to the title. I picked up the first three or so trades when the series was in mid-run and getting a lot of attention. I enjoyed them enough - mostly due to James Robinson's writing - to consider continuing. I wanted to do the trade route as that was easier than the monthly book. I got the fourth trade and then stopped for some reason. These two are numbers nine and ten. So, I missed a good chunk in the middle.

As I said, I enjoyed the writing on these. Clearly Robinson is going for a coming-of-age novel approach on this series, and it shows. While he uses continuity of the past decades of DC books in the title, he takes a few liberties here and there to make things "fit" better to his design. I'm okay with that. The book also has some Twin Peaks-like elements to it. Sort of an eclectic vibe and mood. Oh, and a dwarf.

I'm glad to have a chance to read these - especially without it costing anything (gotta love the library). I was hoping they'd have the others as well but I've watched for a few months but no sign of them. That's why I figured I'd get the two I did see.

This is one of those series comic fans all recommend. I'd say it is a good read so you might want to check it out. The art didn't wow me though. Again, a style thing. Ah well.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Comics of the Week (1/16/08)

Countdown to Final Crisis #15 - we're still on Earth-51 as the trio of world-searchers continue to aid Ray Palmer and the world he fled to. We get more details of who this Ray Palmer of Earth-51 was and why he was special. We also get more clues to what could be going on with Karate Kid, his mysterious illness and the upcoming "Great Disaster".

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #10 - a nice spotlight tale on Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad this time out. It helps lay the groundwork for their growing/expected relationship.

Justice League of America #17 - two stories again this time. The lead ties in nicely to Salvation Run while the later explores the mystery of Vixen's sudden change in powers. Both plots, no doubt, continue in the coming months.

Book of the week - Booster Gold #6! This is the final part of the first story arc as Booster and a trio of Blue Beetles (past, present and future) attempt to change history and save Ted Kord from being murdered by Maxwell Lord. The ramifications of this issue should be huge, and they set the stage nicely for the next arc. I'm loving this book. It delivers every month and I hope its track record continues for a long time to come.

Snow Day!

Now that's something we don't get to say often in North Carolina. Yup, Old Man Winter is smacking the south-east nicely with a storm. Atlanta got hit and now parts of North Carolina too.

With school out for the day, I'm working from home.

The snow we got was nice flakes early this morning (midnight to about 6am). Then it turned into sleet, which will make it wet. Yuck. Should switch over to rain by noon or so, and tomorrow's high of 50 will make it all go away. But, for the briefest of moments we get a winter wonderland.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Idols' Back!

American Idol debuted another season last night, and I'm pleased to see my old friends Simon, Paul, Ryan and Randy. Sure, right now we're only in the auditions but this is a time of craziness, of stories, of investment potentially in singers we'll never see beyond the Hollywood rounds. Some folks skip this part of the show because they think it's a waste of time or isn't the real competition. Not me. I like to watch each season from start to finish. You never know what memorable bits will come up.

So, I'm Idol bound from now until the end of May. Two or three nights a week you'll find my DVR recording the high-def FOX affiliate so I don't miss a single note or a single snide comment from Simon or a single raised eyebrow from Ryan. It's all good.

Monday, January 14, 2008

When In Doubt...Sequel

Okay, so last night started the new "season" of Celebreality shows on VH-1. I call it my Sunday night of mindless entertainment. Yeah, they delivered.

Now, VH-1 is notorious for taking an idea that worked once and doing it again and again. There's all the I Love the... shows (which I love). There's countless seasons of Celebrity Fit-Club (man, there are a lot of overweight B and C list stars out there, huh?). And who doesn't enjoy the interaction of various bottom feeder celebs living together in the Surreal Life? And that's not even touching on the celebrity find-a-mate shows. Flava Flav has had two Flava Of Love shows with a third "season" coming in March, and one of his cast-off girls got not one but two "seasons" of her own show with I Love New York. So what did last night bring me?

1) Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant - yup, we continue from where the last season ended. Scott decided to commit to his girlfriend Renee and to get engaged. Then she dropped the bombshell - they were expecting a child. So, this "season" we get to watch Scott try to handle upcoming fatherhood. If last season didn't show us that he was selfish about giving up his single lifestyle, now he's got to give up a lot more to make room for his child. What amazes me is that with all the women he's been with over the years that he never, ever got a woman pregnant to begin with. But, hey, with him being such an ass, he makes the rest of us men look good. My wife can overlook my little collecting hobbies and such when compared to Scott and his foolishness. Thank you, Scott, for lowering the bar for us all just a little bit.

2) Rock of Love II - yup, after getting his butt dumped in the finale by Jess, the woman he chose, Bret Michaels is back again. And he's got another house of twenty women with absolutely no shame to pick and chose from. Now, some of these women I have to use the term very loosely (what's with that French woman?). And more than half of them look like they've just come from the plastic surgeon on the way to the strip club where they work. And that doesn't even include how sloppy drunk they got in the first episode. One woman was so plastered that she didn't even make it down to the elimination - yeah, she gets cut (duh). This show is like watching the Bachelor meets Jerry Springer - it's a trainwreck waiting to happen and you just can't turn away! Oh, and the previews for the season show that we get three cameos from contestants last season - wild-cowgirl Rodeo, psycho Lacey, and 2nd-place stripper Heather. Yeah, this should be interesting indeed.

See what I have succumbed to now that the Writers' Strike hasn't settled? Thanks a lot, Hollywood!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Astonishing X-Men: gifted

So, I was at the local library Wednesday night, just browsing, and I ran across Astonishing X-Men: gifted, the first collection from the same titled comic series that began in 2004. I figured why not pick it up for a cheap (free) read. After all, that is what the library is for, right?

Okay, second reason I picked it up was because it was written by Joss Whedon, famed writer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, of course, Firefly. I never watched the former show, but I am a huge fan of the later one - as short lived as that was. The collection includes the first six issues of the book, so it was a good starting point of a title I had not read.

Now, to be fair, I was an X-Men fan until about the mid-90's or so. I dropped off from getting the monthly books, but I still have some in my long boxes of comics plus I have the fully Uncanny X-Men title run on DVD-ROM too. So, I'm no stranger to the X-Men world. Still, some of this was new to me - some stuff I liked and some not so much.

Liked: Wolverine is still his usual self, he and Cyclops were still having it out over their shared love of Jean Grey, Emma Frost still dresses like a skank-hooker, Kitty Pryde is back in the book, Colossus turns up alive (I stopped reading the regular books just after he "died" - does anyone stay dead in comics any more?).

Disliked: the Beast's feline look (he should look like a furry blue ape, not a cat!), Jean Grey is dead (again) - that won't last though (see paragraph above), Cyclops is with the skank-hooker (I'm betting it wasn't his idea - she does have mind control abilities after all), we're still seeing folks trying to "cure" mutants (yawn).

If I see any of the other collections in the library, I'll pick them up. I can't see myself shelling out $14.99 apiece just to read these though. I wasn't thrilled enough to do that.

Comics of the Week (1/9/08)

Teen Titans Lost Annual #1 - this was a book that was worked on a couple years back. It was supposed to be an Elseworlds book (ie. a book that isn't in normal continuity). For some reason it never got published until now. It is written by the late Bob Haney, a writer who wrote the Teen Titans adventures during the 60's. The book sports a fine cover by Nick Cardy, an artist known for drawing the group in the 60's as well. So, that was a plus. The interior art though is by Jay Stephens and Mike Allred, and it is very much more cartoony (IMHO). As for the story - well - it's very off-beat (very very off-beat). It was okay but clearly out of continuity as it is very tied to the 1960's.

Countdown to Final Crisis #16 - the war between the Monitors and Monarch's forces takes center stage, leaving Earth-51 in its wake. A few of the other subplots begin to dove-tail together as well, setting the stages nicely for the final act of the year-long weekly mini-series.

Salvation Run #3 - we're only on the third issue of seven of this mini, and already the writer shifts. Where'd Wilmingham go? I'm hoping this Matthew Sturges (someone I've not heard of before) can pull the rest of the tale off. This was a good start. As the cover shows, it's now all about the Joker and Lex Luthor vying for power on the prison world. It'll be interesting to see it play out, and see who else survives. The last few pages have a shocking reveal as another unexpected player enters the mix.

Book of the week - JLA Classified #50. Roger Stern is writing this five-part arc, the final one for the title. John Byrne is in the artist's chair. The story really clicks on all the levels. I'm loving it already. These two creative powerhouses were enough to get me to add this to my pull-list for the next couple months. My only complaint: why isn't Byrne doing the cover chores as well. Joshua Middleton's work is nice enough, as shown to the side here, but I would think Byrne could have easily given us some wonderful masterpieces as well.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008 the 25th Begins!

Just got word from one of my good friends from back where I grew up - Dunkirk, NY - that our 25th High School reunion has a date. Saturday July 26th is going to be the day, a family event held on the grounds of a local winery. It should be a good time with lots of friends, foods and memories. I cannot wait.

It does look like my son's Boy Scout camp is the week before though, so likely what we will do is have a long weekend trip (drive up the day before the reunion, stay a few nights and head back home the beginning of the next week). Besides the reunion, I'll want to fit in time visiting with relatives there, showing the family around the town I grew up in, going to the county fair (which is in town that week of the reunion) and fitting in a trip up to show our son Niagra Falls and sample some Buffalo Wings at the home of the wing - the Anchor Bar restaurant. Whew. It's gonna be a full trip.

So, how do I countdown? Well, for starts, I want to drop another three pounds at least. If I can actually drop eight or even thirteen, even better. We'll see. I have six months of exercising before then so who knows.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Comics of the Week (1/4/08)

My favorite this week was, hands down, Justice League Unlimited #41. It features my two favorite villains from the Batman animated show - the Joker and Harley Quinn - running rampant through the Justice League Watchtower. And it was fun to see them deal with heroes they aren't used to fighting. Just a fun book all the way around.

Countdown to Final Crisis #17 - well, Ray Palmer's tranquil life gets shattered as the true nature of "Bob" the Monitor is revealed. Nice parallels too with what's happening to Ray's true wife - Jean Loring - back over on his home Earth. The walls come crumbling down, and the final pages show the war is about to begin!

Countdown to Mystery #4 - the Eclipso tale takes the lead this time in the issue, and it follows up immediately from this week's Countdown events. Nice to see Bruce Gordon, the original host of Eclipso, back into the picture. Again, definitely some serious throwdowns building in this story. The Dr. Fate tale this time was just so-so at best. I'm really buying this book now for the Eclipso story which I find much more engaging and pertinent to other events.

the All-New Atom #19 - Gail has turned over the writing of this book to Keith Champagne. While it was good, it didn't have that extra pop that Gail adds to whatever she writes. It is a nice, self-contained tale that keeps up with the oddity factors surrouding - or in this case, below - Ivy Town. Jerry Ordway delivers some nice pencils this time, and Champagne even does some of the inking.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Clean House

Over the holidays, my wife got me sucked into a show she discovered on the Style Network - Clean House. The show is about a team lead by the in-your-face Niecy who visit houses of truly messy people and help them get organized with a yard-sale/make-over. The team includes a yard-sale expert, a handyman and a designer as well.

Each hour long episode follows a formula: team shows up, we get a tour of the sty, they convince people to give up their stuff for the yard sale, they reveal then if the sale sells enough, and then the people get to see the results of the makeover.

What gets me is how truly messy these houses are! I mean, seriously, do these people actually live like this or do they know that the show is coming so they can add to the chaos already. Because, seriously, if there are grown adults who live this way there is something seriously wrong with them. The one we watched last night, for example, was just so bizarre. A husband and wife had been married for two years yet they still had unopened wedding gifts in the family room. Oh, and the 10 week old baby's room was so full of the wife's childhood toys that the baby was sleeping in their bedroom. They didn't even have a crib. Hello? If you people are seriously this much of slobs, you had no business having a baby.

Ah, well, it could be worse. I could succumb to watching another episode or two of the Girls Next Door on E!, the show about Hugh Hefner's trio of air-headed blonde chippies. That's enough to flush your braincells right down the toilet. ;)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Comics in December pt. 12

Here's the final installment for the December 2007 books. Clearly, 2007 was a year of "the green" - Green Lantern that is! With the awesome Sinestro Corps story arc which seems to have wowed everyone who read it, how could the year end even better? Two final GL books in the last week of 2007.

Green Lantern/Sinestro Coprs Secret Files and Origins special - this is the first SF&O in a long time that has been worth the cover price. Not so much in the story department - though we do get a short tale of the alien GL who serves as the keeper of the shrine to fallen Lanterns, but we do get page after page after page of awesome biographies of hundreds of GLs and villains. Sure, they're small paragraphs and small art, but you get a good sense of who each of these folks are and what kind of story potential there is with them. The GL creative teams are going to build off their 2007 momentum for even greater things in 2008.

Green Lantern #26 - the war is over, but the stories are just starting. Sinestro, now imprisoned, comes to realize all he has wrought - and it isn't pretty. The Guardians meanwhile prepare to unveil the new Second Law. And some GL enacts the First Law (being able to use leathal force on Sinestro Corps members) outside of the war! This should have some interesting ramifications. Oh, and Hal and Cowboy do some stunt flying(!). If you just got onto the book, stick around. I feel the best is still to come.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Comics in December pt. 11

Three more books from the end of last month - all the midway points of their story arcs. Let's see how they're doing:

Action Comics #860 - part three of the "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" storyline continues to deliver the goods. The stakes continue to rise as the Earth "heroes" continue to claim their glory by destroying the Legion. We get to see the return of more Legion members as well. This may be Superman's book, but Geoff Johns is sure using this title to update some silver age elements. I'm very satisfied.

Death of the New Gods #4 - the ominous cover featuring the skeletal Forever People and a clearly corrupted Mr. Miracle sets the tone for this issue. The New Gods of New Genesis and Apokolips are losing the battle. Superman believes he knows who is behind all these deathes, and Metron travels through time to come face to face with "someone" who has been expecting him. The second half of this story should be amazing.

the Brave and the Bold #9 - this issue marks the halfway point of the second six issues of the Waid/Perez run. In fact, this arc ties in ways to the first arc, so really this is the closing of act three of four acts. In any case, this issue has mini-tales featuring a variety of silver age favorites: the Blackhawks, the Boy Commandos, the Metal Men, Robby Reed and his mystical dial, plus Hawkman and the all-new Atom. Watching the story switch from group to group is fun as we see the creative team show their diversity and love of classic comics. There is still the mystery of who or what is Megistus. I'm looking forward to finding out the answer by issue 12.

Say You Want a Resolution...Well...

New Years mean resolutions for some people. I've never been big on them myself. Never felt a huge need - and often they end up getting broken in the first month anyway. But, if I had to do a couple for 2008, here's what I'm thinking for myself:

1) to lose a few more pounds. I didn't hit my 175lb weight goal by Christmas but I am close. I'd like to be at least 175 by my 25th high school reunion this summer, whenever it ends up being.

2) to add another 45 minutes of exercise each week. This will help with number 1 above. I already do two 45 minute sessions each week (Saturday mornings at the YMCA) and Wednesday night walking. We'll see what I can do to add a little here and there.

3) to catch up on some reading. I still have a back pile of novels and other things on the nightstand to read. With a cut back on TV viewing, maybe this will give me the time to get some of those books read.

4) to cut back on TV viewing. The ongoing Writers' Strike has showed me I don't miss the viewing so I need to seriously review what's on the DVR when the shows return to determine what gets my time and what goes.