• A 10-Year-Old Reviews 'Captain America: Civil War'

      I kind of love everything about this post. I agree more with the adult (aside from sweeping every superhero movie into the same category of non-relevance as a chain restaurant) than the child. I think the easiest way to describe it is that for as entertaining and pitch perfect as every second of Civil War was, it also didn’t create any emotional resonance. You can tell they hit every note that Marvel the production company wants out of its movies and to do so in such a manicured manner is deeply impressive. And unlike DC’s current crop of crap, Marvel films at least have a sense of humor.

      It fascinates me that whereas the comic books produced by Marvel and DC basically destroy the continuity of their brand every year, there is so much emphasis in the film and television universes on ensuring it. As someone who grew up consuming comic books, it’s almost an unfathomable switch. Even diverging occasionally to Age of Apocalypse and Heroes Reborn, it was understood that things at Marvel would eventually revert back. Until the day they didn’t. DC has been pulling this trick for decades.

      Adult: From my own, grown-up perspective, Captain America: Civil War was not unpleasant: it was sort of like getting a manicure.

      Kid: Everybody is going to love the big fight.


    • The whole album is really embracing. Glad they released it. This track particularly feels like smoldering fire. #NowPlaying Ablaze by School Of Seven Bells


    • Highly listenable but it feels like pop music for middle age. When I’m 70, Gwen Stefani will be making harajuku girls music for geriatrics. I literally started to describe it as “top-tapping.”


    • Holy Shit! Scientists Have Confirmed the Existence of Gravitational Waves

      My favorite line is “Keep an eye on social media today, it should be a ruckus.” I still have no idea what is actually being described.

      LIGO saw gravitational waves almost immediately. The team then spent the entire fall exhaustively investigating potential instrumental and environmental disturbances to confirm that the signal was real.

      According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, when a pair of black holes orbit on another, they lose energy slowly, causing them to creep gradually closer. In the final minutes of their merger, they speed up considerably, until finally, moving at about half the speed of light, they bash together, forming a larger black hole. A tremendous burst of energy is released, propagating through space as gravitational waves.


    • Concert Central » Muse, TD Garden Boston, MA January 25, 2016

      Really what I wanted to say is I had fun, but I didn’t get any sense from the band that they had fun. Now tell me, does that matter?

      I expected the theatricality and the crowd singalong goodness of Starlight. But I didn’t expect Psycho to shred through me like Enter Sandman or the lovesick take on Madness. Through all the layers of noise from the stage, Madness penetrated as a ballad in a way I never noticed before. The point is…this is ARENA rock.


    • (via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkFEyZL9f_M)

      It’s funny because it’s true.


    • Flashback: How Marvel's "House of M" Changed an Industry and a Universe

      House of M and New Avengers were the beginning of the end for me reading comic books. It feels a touch ironic looking back now since both were spectacularly written and the artistry was some of the best of the decade (initially David Finch on New Avengers who manages the line between gritty realism and super heroism better than most - and I’m hardly the only person who thinks so.)

      The main point of the article is the new model crossover that House of M popularized. And from a fan’s perspective, I was dying for it. My biggest beef with collecting comic books (nothing new if you have read any of my prior commentary on the topic) is that crossovers made it virtually impossible to collect the entire story. If you ordered your issues by subscription, you didn’t have the opportunity to examine art and storytelling the quality of which varied widely from book to book. You expected that and it was demanded sacrifice in the act of following a crossover plot. The other path was to collect your books and fill in the blanks of the plot as best you could.

      Interesting sidenote #1 how the internet and digital comics have changed the ability to “fill in the blanks” but maybe that’s a story for another time.

      I chose to subscribe to my core books only and browse the comic shops and maybe buy other issues in the crossover. I almost never did. I would read enough in the store to get the point. That was always my choice - sometimes guided by the lack of funds as much as the right to critique the work itself before buying.

      The idea that a story would be self-contained was highly appealing to me. House of M was thrilling. But it also gave rise to a weird disconnect between comic book collecting and storytelling. Unexpectedly worse than crossovers intertwining plot across three or four series, now we had entire world-altering stories that seemed virtually exclusive to the core titles themselves. The impact of change happened “off screen” if you will and it created a shocking dissonance.

      I stopped collecting for other reasons too. And some of this perspective is 10 years in the making. Which is really what I find fascinating about the evolution of the industry. As comic book heroes cross mediums and really become part of a collective consciousness, the art of collecting has become obsolete. Not just paying for comic books (the cost! It’s as bad as a cigarette habit) but loyalty to a series.

      Interesting sidenote #2 thinking back to Secret Wars - a model for the one series to rule them all crossover. The reason this didn’t create a similar disconnect with the core titles is because Secret Wars didn’t matter. It had almost no impact on anything going on in the Marvel U at the time. Eventually the series produced a black suit for Spider-Man

      What House of M and Civil War (both exemplary) really did (among others) is usher in an era that eliminated the notion of core titles being the focal point - at least among the big 2. They still published series but more as complementary to universe-shattering events happening elsewhere. The reverse-Secret Wars model if you will. The plots and events of regular series no longer matter which in turn undermined the hobby of comic book collecting and at least for me, turned me out of the industry altogether.


    • Kirk, Spock and Sulu Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before — Charon!

      I like the thought but this is not going to make Pluto more respectable. Might increase tourism…


      This image contains the initial, informal names being used by the New Horizons team for the features on Pluto’s largest moon, Charon. Names were selected based on the input the team received from the Our Pluto naming campaign. Names have not yet been approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). 
      Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute


    • Concert Central » Billy Joel, Fenway Park Boston, MA July 7, 2015

      Go see Billy Joel NOW! Before he’s too old to walk across the stage.

      It was all pretty straightforward and entirely fantastic. Dipping into every era of his catalog, from 1974’s The Entertainer to 1993’s River of Dreams, there was a stylish energy throughout the set.


    • Tilting at Windmills: Chaos in the Multiverse - Comic Book Resources

      This article - however unintentionally - perfectly sums up everything I have hated about comic books since Avengers Disassembled in 1998 (essentially the year I stopped collecting comic books). I read a fair bit into the Bendis reboot (formally known as New Avengers) because he’s a compelling writer as well as House of M and Civil War. On the face of it, those storylines were thrilling and the main titles were brilliant bits of comic chaos.

      Those were major story arcs built with respect to the continuity and history of the books that came before. Yes, I know House of M essentially unraveled the X-gene but it did so in a way that was a believable consequence of the chaos. (And frankly, Marvel had a long tradition of alternate reality-hopping and then returning the universe to its rightful state so there was every reason to expect this formula would be applied to House of M.) But those stories also presage a new constant that engulfed Marvel: the renumbering and constant push to release Title #1. (A strategy, for the record, that was already a DC staple.)

      The business of comic books made it harder to collect them and assuredly blunted the joy of reading them. It was bad enough when crossovers spread storylines across multiple books whose quality varied widely. Factor in the continuous rotation of new and expiring titles that has become the norm even before 2015′s Secret Wars, the break of continuity from the known universe, the convergence (to use a DC word) of various realities so they can interact with each other, and the retcon of major events that have already been retconned to hell and I’m not sure why anyone reads comic book anymore. Factor in a reader’s limited budget or limited interest and what you have is a specialty media without a mainstream audience. Which is where we are at now (and as I have noted in the past, this is absolutely undercut - not helped - by the popularity of the movies.)

      It makes me incredibly sad because I have such a joy for the comic books I read as a young man. I still read them through the eyes of my younger self and feel this intense pleasure of discovering the art and characters as I turn every page. I can channel those emotions over and over again but only up until 1998. Around then I start to see the art of storytelling unraveled by business decisions that, to my mind, haven’t benefited the industry, the fans or the rich history of the books themselves. Maybe the publishing companies benefit (well surely profit factors into the decision) so if I have any need to understand it, yes, I understand that. But I couldn’t even recommend comic books to a new generation. I would discourage them from getting invested, steer them to other interests (or at the very least, the independent publishers) because the proposition of value in the modern age of comic books has been utterly ruined for me. 



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