Archive for August, 2009
Today’s big news was Disney’s $4 billion bid to purchase Marvel Comics. I have an interest in this story for the following reasons:
1) I love comics.
2) I’m a former stockholder of BOTH Marvel and Disney. For real. This was back in the day when Marvel went bankrupt. I lost everything!
The immediate reaction for fanboys very well may have been “Disney? Does this mean we’re gonna see an X-Men/Mickey and the Mousketeers crossover?” And my good buddy worried about the level of editorial control the Disney higher-ups would exert over Marvel, which emerged nicely from the Clone-Saga–Adamantiumless-Wolverine–Sue-Richards-With-Cleavage–Onslaught–Heroes-Reborn doldrums of the late 90s to produce some really top-notch content (enough so to get me back into the comics game: more on that to come!)
I understand those fears, but I also think they’re unfounded. Disney has its hands in all kinds of movies and television shows; Pirates of the Caribbean, Desperate Housewives, and Lost might not be the second coming of EC Comics, but I think those properties show enough in terms of humor, edge, and drama to convince any Marvel fan that their favorite franchises will be okay. After all, as that Times article tells us, Marvel is in pretty good shape; I don’t think Disney has much interest in mucking up what works.
I’m actually pretty excited about this. Having been on the front lines for one Marvel bankruptcy (I love 200 bones! That’s a lot for a 12-year-old!), it warms the cockles of my heart to see the company in a strong position going forward. It’s not like the print industry (which includes comic books) has a bright and certain future ahead of it; I think all comic book fans should be excited to have Disney cash behind Spider-Man, Captain America, and the rest.
Instead of going out tonight, I bought a six pack of this:
This, of course, is the Brooklyn Brown Ale, a delicious little number that’s got a nice bit of nuttiness, a nice bit of roastiness, and just the right amount of heft. I know it’s too early to discuss fall brews, but think of this one when you reach for your marzen/Oktoberfest beers when the autumn rolls around. You’ll thank me!
Also, this is as good a time as any to mention a book that reads like a straight narrative but acts like a thorough reference tome: The Brewmaster’s Table, by Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster of the aforementioned Brooklyn Brewery. Not only is it a tremendous resource for information about the various beer styles and their histories, but it also highlights the nearly infinite combinations of beer and food that can add that extra dimension of deliciousness to any meal. I’ll quote liberally from celebrity chef Mario Batali’s blurb for the book:
By way of my palate, I intuitively know that Garrett Oliver is one of America’s best brewmasters. By way of my carousing lifestyle, I know that he’s a well-spoken bon vivant and a joy to break bread with. But I did not know the ways in which he’s also a renaissance man, the poet laureate of beer, food and culture. He’s so graceful on the page as to whet my appetite for more than ale and beer, but also for the whole lusty experience of true satisfaction at the table.
High praise! Yay beer!
I don’t want to say that I’m a lazy blogger, but I don’t know how to finish this sentence.
# I don’t know the parameters of this contest, so maybe it makes a lot of sense that the lamest joke I’ve ever heard is the best joke in England. Is it bad that I groaned at all of the winners, but legitimately laughed out loud at the crackling gag?
# Here’s a rare interview with Jesse Lacey, lead singer of Brand New and crafter of lyrical miracles.
# My jaw almost hit the floor when I read this: the WWE is thinking of creating a channel to broadcast their classic matches and pay-per-views. I’m giddy with anticipation. Youtube is great, but this is the sort of thing that needs to be seen on my 57 inch TV. (h/t to the Sports Guy.)
My friend Michelle has started a new blog called 1/21. (That’s “One Out of 21,” not January 21.) The principle behind it is, we eat 21 meals (ostensibly) a week; we should put a little elbow grease into at least one of them. Or, as she describes it,
This is my challenge to you: Make one meal each week that you are proud of. Set yourself a weekly food goal (”I am going to make one meal that is completely sustainable.” “I am going to represent all five food groups.” “I am going to sit at the table and eat a meal with my family.”), and for one meal out of the 21 meals you eat in a week - achieve it!
Anyway, I made a contribution yesterday, which you can read all about here! You all should feel free to try it out and send your experiences to Michelle. It’s fun.
I came across this post by Scott H. Payne on the League of Ordinary Gentlemen the other day. The content is pretty non-controversial: he likes How I Met Your Mother, and based on the few episodes I’ve seen, I’m apt to agree with his insights.
What bothered me was the intro.
I don’t watch much TV.
In fact, on the whole I tend not to like TV at all. I find the vast preponderance of shows to be dull and generally lacking in any real entertainment value.
My problem is, I don’t see how this statement has anything to do with anything. You can read what he has to say about How I Met Your Mother, and if you’re familiar with the show, the points will probably make sense. That Mr. Payne doesn’t watch a lot of TV seems immaterial to the greater discussion.
Of course, that intro isn’t just some non sequitur, so why is it there? From where I’m sitting, it’s an example of one of the lazier and unnecessary types of argument, and it goes like this: I don’t like General Thing X, but I do happen to like this specific Example Y, so that means it must be good. It’s a means of establishing that much more authority for your claim above and beyond the actual strength of your arguments, but really, who cares?
I can’t really pick on the author, for a number of reasons: firstly, we ALL make arguments like this. Secondly, he actually admits to watching garbage TV (which you know I approve of). Thirdly, the “I don’t watch TV, but…” declaration doesn’t really add to or subtract from the rest of the post, so it’s harmless. Our collective compulsion to do this sort of thing is what’s really pernicious.
How many times have you claimed something like “I don’t like chicken parm, but this chicken parm is awesome!” Think about it for a second. What you really mean is that the quality of this particular chicken parm is so transcendentally high that it manages to blast through the barriers of your general distaste for chicken parm. But what you’re actually saying is, this is a good chicken parm, but I wouldn’t know a good chicken parm from a hole in the ground, since I don’t eat a lot of chicken parm to begin with. I’ll read a smart critique of a TV show, and if it’s persuasive on the merits, then great: but the author not having a lot of experience with TV isn’t really going to sway me. Let’s stop doing this, people!
Another problem. In one’s travels, one comes across, from time to time, another human who proudly asserts that he or she doesn’t watch TV. Like they’re displaying some great fortitude that the TV-watching public doesn’t share. Do you ever encounter someone that says “I don’t read books” or “I don’t exercise” with the same pride as the non-TV-watcher? A lot of people don’t read or exercise, of course, but you have to think that they wouldn’t shout that type of thing from the rooftops. Whereas the non-TV-watcher speaks from a position of moral superiority. Probably because they spend all of their non-TV-watching time reading and exercising. (I’m excluding those who don’t own a TV for financial reasons; I’m including those who don’t own a TV for financial reasons but realize they don’t miss TV and then gloat about it.)
Why do these people get away with this type of smugness? If I’m being charitable, I’ll concede that not watching TV is morally neutral. If I’m being me, I’ll admit that when someone says “I don’t watch TV,” I hear “I’m intentionally cutting myself off from something that profoundly shapes the culture that I live in.” How is that acceptable? I guess if there’s just nothing on that you like, you can’t be held responsible for not watching TV. But I have a tough time wrapping my head around the idea that there’s not something on TV for everyone.
That being said, yours truly numbers Real World/Road Rules Challenge among his favorite shows. So, you know, grain of salt and all.
If you’re reading this, precious reader, I can assume you’re already a fan and more importantly, a friend, of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun. But your other, less intimate friends may not be even remotely aware of that important fact. Before today, you had precious few recourses for this truly regrettable dilemma. Before today!
Oh, day of days! Become a fan of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun on Facebook! Since nobody actually leaves comments to my profoundly thought-provoking posts on anything resembling a regular basis, this is my last chance to prove to the greater Intertube world that people actually like this crappy blog. Become a fan! You’ll get the added bonus of getting Facebook newsfeed notices of all my updates. Become a fan!
N.J. cockroach contest predicts Corzine will beat Christie in governor’s race
1:12 PM Aug 20th from twitterfeed
A few months ago, the Boston Phoenix ran a feature that named the all-time best band, all-time best solo artist, and best new band, for all 50 states. Naturally, I turned to Jersey first. Check it out. I’ll wait.
Regular readers of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun, of course, understand that I dismissed this poll out of hand. The plain and honest truth of the matter, precious reader, is that the discussion of music in New Jersey begins and ends with John Francis Bongiove, Jr., and his band. So that’s that.
However, comma, since we’re dealing with Jersey here, the best damn state in the whole damn union, I still decided to engage the Phoenix’s decisions critically. Jersey deserves no less. I ignored the best new act, Nicole Atkins (at my peril; I later realized she’s teh awesome and will invariably be featured in a future MIMIF post); the Boss was declared the best solo artist, which is only just (what with Springsteen being the John the Baptist to Bon Jovi’s Jesus); and the best band was a tie between the Misfits and the Four Seasons. I’ll buy the Misfits, seeing as how the Phoenix IS Boston’s alt weekly. And the Four Seasons? I mean, I guess. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” was a big song. Sure. Whatever.
All of this is to say that I saw Jersey Boys, the bio-musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, last night, and it made me think about how, if you leave aside the egregious overlooking of Bon Jovi, the Phoenix’s judgment about the Four Seasons was positively absolutely right on the money.
Every now and again, you come across a band and you think you’ve got a good bead on their catalog. Then you’ll go to a show, or listen to a block on the radio, or come across a greatest hits album and you’ll say “Wait a minute, they sang this song too? Wow.” I’ve had that experience with the Kinks, the Bee Gees, Electric Light Orchestra, and the Steve Miller Band. And then I had it with the Four Seasons.
I knew “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like a Man,” and “Stay.” And honestly, I knew those were great songs, so I gave the Four Seasons their due. But I forgot about “Sherry.”
And “Bye Bye Baby.”
And “Working My Way Back to You.”
And “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”
And “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night).”
Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention, but all these guys ever did was record gold records! So, as the title of the post suggest, last night was a very pleasant surprise.
Listen to what, before yesterday, I didn’t even realize was my favorite Four Seasons song.
So there I am, riding eastbound on the Charles River bike path, and I stop at the North Harvard Street Bridge. There’s a lot going on here at this crossing: Storrow Drive traffic making lefts and rights to get over the river, plus traffic going both ways over the bridge, with incoming traffic trying to get onto Storrow. Thankfully, there’s a walk signal.
Precious reader, Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun is a lot of things, but a blog that doesn’t learn its lessons, it is not. I approach the crosswalk as traffic is moving over the bridge, the “Don’t Walk” signal clearly advising me to stay put. I dutifully press the walk button. Bridge traffic stops, and Storrow Drive traffic commences. Okay, I think to myself, this is perfectly acceptable, as I’m sure the walk signal is waiting for all of the lefts and rights over the bridge before telling me that it’s safe to cross. Patiently, I wait, as those lefts and rights go through the intersection.
So, treasured reader, you can imagine my dismay when the Storrow traffic stopped and the bridge traffic re-commenced. Odd, I thought. I pressed the button, and yet an entire traffic cycle went by without my safe crossing being facilitated. I repressed the button, and again watched as the bridge traffic stopped and the Storrow traffic started. Then stopped again. Without the walk signal turning on.
Now, darling reader, Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun is a lot of things, and a blog that will cut off its nose to spite its face, it is. (Hi, Mom.) I would have sat there all day waiting for this signal to turn, had I not had another cyclist behind me waiting for me to cross. So with a clearly audible “F&%$ this noise,” I hurled myself into harm’s way, braving an unsanctioned crossing, the potential for any of a number of vehicles to do unimaginable harm to my person. Thankfully, I survived. No thanks to the walk button.
I hope all of the people who commented on my original walk button travails, both on this blog and off, are reading. A lot of people have a lot of faith in this walk button thing: that faith is sadly misplaced. I’m trying to tell you people, this button is useless! It’s worse than useless; it’s purposely fooling us into thinking that we humans have any agency whatsoever over our own street-crossing agenda. We don’t! Pernicious stuff! I feel like Nietzsche’s madman, lighting a lantern in the bright morning hours:
“I have come too early,” he said then; “my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars—and yet they have done it themselves.
So let’s just keep pressing the walk button, each doing our own small part to usher in an apocalyptic nightmare future where the machines don’t serve us, but rather we serve the machines. I saw a movie about this one time. It was called Terminator 2. That one doesn’t work out too well for us humans.
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