Monday, September 24, 2012

World Leaders Snubbed By Obama in Favor of an Appearance on THE VIEW

"The president won't hold separate meetings with any key world leaders, citing scheduling concerns. But Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have found time to sit down Monday with the ladies of "The View" to tape an interview."
                                                 -Yahoo! News

So, once again because of "scheduling concerns" the President of the United States, Barack Obama, can't hold any meetings at the UN General Assembly, but he can make time to visit the set of another talk show. Unbelievable. There has never been another U.S. President in the history of the United States how has shown so much dismay at the office that he holds.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review, Graphic Novel: BENNY AND PENNY IN LIGHTS OUT!

Benny and his sister, Penny, (two mice children) return for their latest Toon Book adventure. Penny wants to go to sleep, but Benny is all wound up. Finally Benny settles down, but he can’t fall asleep without his pirate hat. Unfortunately, his pirate hat is outside in the playhouse in the backyard. That means Benny has to sneak outside in the dark and grab his hat. Does Benny have the courage to get his hat? Will Penny let him leave the room and go outside alone?

As the other Benny and Penny Toon Books, the characters in the story react as real children react when placed in similar situations. Young children (PreK age) can really relate to these characters. The text is written in a very simple style that make it easy for beginning readers to follow along and the illustrations actually tell a story themselves.

Those who are already familiar with Benny and Penny will be eager to follow their latest adventures. BENNY AND PENNY IN LIGHTS OUT! , but the book is also a good selection to just read to younger children in general.

Has Hollywood Lost It?

Today (Wednesday, September 19, 2012) I came across this fact sheet from "Short of the" It illustrates in a visual format what many film friends and I have been saying for several years: Hollywood is becoming less and less creative and original. You can read the whole article here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I’ve always enjoyed Frankenstein’s monster. I’ve read Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN several times and have often wondered what happened to the creature that Dr. Frankenstein created. FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. follows the adventures of Frank in the modern world as he fights for the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive, or S.H.A.D.E. S.H.A.D.E. is led by Father Time, a transformed super villain who now lives in the body of a young girl with a bandit mask. In his assignments in VOL 1: WAR OF THE MONSTERS, Frank is joined by a group of special Creature Commandos: Velcoro, a giant winged vampire; Griffith, a soldier who happens to be a werewolf; Kharis, a usually silent, but extremely deadly and powerful mummy; Dr. Nina Mazursky, a female scientist who looks like a giant human-fish out of water; and Lady Frankenstein, Frank’s six-armed wife (but they are currently on the outs).

In WAR OF THE MONSTERS, Frank and his teammates travel to a planet of monsters that is trying to engulf Earth, they fight O.M.A.C. in Metropolis (where’s the Boy in Blue?), and overcome a powerful artificial intelligence known as “Brother.”

There are some obvious similarities between this series and the Hellboy stories from Dark Horse Comics. I think it’s fair to say that D.C. kind of stole much of S.H.A.D.E. from Dark Horse. However, that’s nothing new. Marvel and D.C. have been ripping each other off for over half a century. These similarities just provide a starting point, however, as FRANKENSTEIN AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. has already shown in this initial offering that it is a much different book and is composed of a mostly different team than Hellboy and his associates.

The only complaint I have about FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E., VOL. 1: WAR OF THE MONSTERS is that the art work is terrible. Most of the artwork I’ve seen for other volumes in the New 52 is average or above average. The artwork in this volume is subpar and doesn’t do justice to the stories it accompanies.

FRANKENSTIEN AGENT OF SHADE  is one of the most unusual comics in D.C.’s New 52 Universe. The stories are bizarre, far-fetched, and exciting. I’m looking forward to the further adventures of Frank and his Creature Commandos.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

President Obama, David Letterman, and Israel

Next week Tuesday, September 18, 2012 is the start of the United Nations General Assembly. On that same date, President Barack Obama will be appearing on the LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN. President Obama will be making another trip to New York a week later for the General Assembly meeting. President Obama is scheduled to arrive that week on Monday, September 24 and leave on Tuesday, September 25. A few days later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in New York for the UN General Assembly, too. Prime Minister Netanyahu has requested a meeting with President Obama while he is in the U.S., but President Obama has denied that request. Prime Minister Netanyahu offered to come to the U.S. earlier to meet with President Obama, but that request was denied.

So, the Prime Minister of Israel wants to meet with the President of the United States. Israel is one of only a handful of allies we have left in the Middle East (as illustrated by the storming of the U.S. embassy in Egypt and the murdering of the U.S. Libyan ambassador yesterday) and by far our strongest ally. Prime Minister Netanyahu will be in the United States (something that doesn't happen very often) and offered to visit earlier than planned in order to meet with President Obama, but those requests have been denied because of President Obama's "uncertain and hectic election-year schedule." Yet, President Obama can make a special trip to New York a week earlier so he can go on LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN.

Mr. President, I realize that you are in the midst of a re-election and are really worried that you might lose. However, currently you still are the President of the United States. That means that when there are matters of national importance, those matter take precedent over any campaigning you might have planned. A request by the Prime Minister of Israel to meet with you while he is in the United States is of national importance, especially since the "Arab Spring" that you so prominently backed, supported, and helped implement is falling apart. I understand the difference between right and wrong, but when it comes to leading a country, sometimes what's best and most right for the country you are leading is not best and most right for the rest of the world. However, that is what you have been elected to do. Instead of showboating around the country campaigning, you should be leading. Of course, that's something you've never really done. Just because you can make a good speech,  just because you can read a telepromter, just because you pretend you have great listening skills does not make you a leader. President Obama should entitle his first post-Presidential memoir THE AUDACITY OF ARROGANCE

Monday, September 10, 2012

Remember the Alamoron!

I love "Pearls Before Swine," but I found this strip from today particularly humorous (and relatable).
"Pearls Before Swine" Monday, September 10, 2012

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Do You Belong to the Government?

Last night (Sept. 4, 2012) as part of the Democratic National Convention, this snippet of a video was part of the evening festivities. In the greater context of the entire video, the statement "The government is the only thing we all belong to," is clarified somewhat and I believe I understand why this statement was included. Yet, this is a statement that shouldn't be glossed over. It speaks to the core of the major differences between progressives and conservatives in the country; it illustrates a contrasting world view, one that I do not share. Though much of the political climate of the past few years has tried to force us to belong to the government, I do not belong to the government. I am not a slave to the behemoth of bureaucracy that has become the government. I am a free man with God-given individual rights, including but not limited to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I understand why some might ignore or try to gloss over this video. Yet, though I understand, I cannot forget it. A few weeks ago a Congressman from Missouri was pilloried (and rightly so) for making a major verbal faux pas. This video wasn't a verbal mistake made by one man. It was made by members of the Democratic National Convention (the DNC has to ok everything that happens on the main stage, make no mistake about that) for a national audience. It was carefully filmed and edited. Every syllable and image was given the utmost scrutiny and after all of that, this statement still remained. Why is that? Do you belong to the government? What is your number? As for me, I am not a number, I am a free man.

Book Review, Graphic Novel: THE SMURF OLYMPICS

The feature story in this 11th volume of Smurf graphic novels from Papercutz is the story “The Smurf Olympics.” Tired of racing and competing by himself, Hefty Smurf takes Papa Smurf’s advice and decides to hold a bunch of Smurf Games where the winner will receive medals. When the other Smurfs hear about this, they aren’t very excited because most of them still have their medals from the days of “The King Smurf.” So, another prize is offered to the overall winning Smurf: a kiss from Smurfette. All of the Smurfs want to compete after that. They are quickly divided into two teams with Brainy Smurf as the referee, but no one wants Weakling Smurf on their team, so he’s allowed to compete on his own individual team. Papa Smurf can tell that Weakling Smurf if feeling depressed and decides to do something about it. But does Papa’s help give Weakling an unfair advantage? “The Smurf Olympics” was the basis for the episode “The Smurfic Games” on tv as well as the story “A Little Smurf Confidence.”

Besides the main story, the rest of THE SMURF OLYMPICS contains several full page Smurf comics as well as some regular Smurf comic strips.

THE SMURF OLYMPICS is an enjoyable read. This book is a must have for a Smurf fan's collection. Also recommended for younger children who enjoy comic books.


JURASSIC PARK: DANGEROUS GAMES isn’t the usual Jurassic Park story. Sure, there are lots of dinosaurs (including appearances by a T-rex), but the overall tone and story structure is different. The book features a CIA agent named Espinoza. Espinoza is sent undercover to Isla Nublar. Yes, the island is still over run by dinosaurs. However, the world’s most wanted drug czar, Cazares, has also made the island his headquarters: what better place to place your headquarters and grow your crop than on an island filled with animals the whole world fears and that is under an international quarantine. Espinoza’s cover is broken and he is let go into the wild in a type of  “The Most Dangerous Game” stunt. He’s given twenty-four hours before the hunt begins. The tide turns when Espinoza meets Frances White, a former scientist who decided to stay on the island after the dinosaurs first ran loose. She “nursed” numerous raptors into the world and couldn’t bear to leave them behind. She is able to communicate with them and they view her as their matriarch. White hates Cazares and she is inclined to help Espinoza leave the island, but first she forces him to pass a test. It is a test that only the worthy can survive.

I liked the basic premise of JURASSIC PARK: DANGEROUS GAMES. It was refreshing to see a story that didn’t follow the typical Jurassic Park archetype. However, I was disappointed by the execution of the story. The hunt of Espinoza was much too short and convenient. Also, the climax of the story was dissatisfying; it ends too abruptly.

The typical Jurassic Park fan might be disappointed by JURASSIC PARK: DANGEROUS GAMES, but it’s different enough that the book has more appeal with those who might not be serious fans of the series.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Pranking the Cowardly Lion

Book Review, Graphic Novel (sort of): ZOMBIES

Contrary to popular perception, zombies weren’t invented by George Romero in 1967. The idea of a zombie is much older, though Romero is mostly responsible for institutionalizing the idea that zombies were mindless creatures that just want to eat flesh and brains. Before Romero, zombies usually weren’t considered mindless creatures, but instead, were often viewed as intelligent creatures raised from the dead for a particular purpose or to serve an evil master. Many times, these creatures could talk and think. This can clearly be seen in ZOMBIES: THE CHILLING ARCHIVES OF HORROR COMICS the latest collection of classic horror comics from IDW. The book brings together some of the better and a few of the not-so-good zombie comics from the 1950s.

Some of the art in this book is quite impressive and some of the artists went on to much bigger things, such as Wally Wood, Jack Cole, and Gene Colan. Many of the stories (though not all of them) contain some sort of moral, an idea later carried over into the hugely influential EC Comics. A few of the stories feature adventurers or detectives who run into an army of zombies.

The paper of ZOMBIES is of a higher quality than normal and though the images are reproduced in stellar detail, they retain the look and feel of the original and sometimes grittier comics.

Overall, this is a great collection of comics. Recommended for comic collectors and fans of the zombie genre.