Feb 182015

I’m a history nerd, so it should come as no surprise that this SNL sketch – Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber, is my favorite:

I took two semesters of Medieval History in college and I remember talking to the professor about this sketch. He said he was surprised by how accurate the whole thing was but then later found out that this was because the show’s writers consulted with a Harvard history professor to get the details right. I’ve never been able to confirm whether this is fact or fiction, but, the Caladrius Bird is a real legend, so it sounds reasonable.  I’d ask former SNL writer Tom Davis about the truth behind this tale, but, alas, he died in 2012.  Still, good on him for having a hand in such a great sketch.

Jan 302015

Get back and here the Fab Four discuss where they should play their last hurrah:




Jan 022015

I happened to buy some comics for my nephew, my niece, and two of her friends. I did this during a recent family outing as a way to help them pass the time while we waited for our food. To my delighted surprise, they loved them. That, along with my sister informing me that one my niece’s friends keeps reading her comic over and over again while she’s riding in the car caused me to think (to hope, at least) that this is more than a passing fancy for these kids. All of this got me to searching for a site that could be a good resource for parents looking to find all age comics. Ms. Dallen’s YouTube vlog (video blog) fits the bill perfectly. I hope it’s both enjoyable and informative. Happy New Year!

Dec 142014

Today’s Daily Prompt wants us to post an Anti-Bucket List. As in, stuff we would never do, say, watch, make, etc.  Sure, I’m game.  So, here we go…

  • Vote for Sarah Palin – I doubt she’ll ever run for office again, the money’s too good to just comment on stuff, but if she did, I wouldn’t.  The Apocalypse is on its way without my help, thank you very much.
  • Watch a “Mama June” sex tape – Speaking of the Apocalypse, someone has offered “Mama June” of “Honey Boo Boo” fame to make a sex tape for $1 million.  Be afraid, be very afraid.
  • Be content – I will never be satisfied.  I will always be looking at the horizon and wondering if there’s something better or more exciting around the corner.  If I do explore, I will yearn for home.  I hope this changes, but as I get older, I find it harder to  lie to myself.  The odds are overwhelmingly in favor of my being restless.
  • Stop being a wiseass.  I know that it has held me back in my personal and professional life, but  I can’t help it.  Mockery is my way of coping; life can be shitty under the best of circumstances.  Making a joke is a good way to make things a little less shitty.  We all cope in our own way.  That, or I’m just a bit of a prick.
  • Stop obsessing over pop culture ephemera from my youth – I’m a Gen-Xer.  Fetishizing the trivial bits of entertainment from our youth is what we do.  With that in mind, here’s a clip from one of the greatest shows of the 90s – Mr. Show:

Aug 262014

Soooo, a principal in the central part of my Glorious Commonwealth of Pennsylvania but the kibosh on a production of Spamalot because of ‘homosexual themes’:



Well, at least no one will have to push the pram a lot.


Personally, I’m amused by the idea that a principal was afraid that a musical might expose students to ‘gay’ ideas. Because if there’s one place a kid wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to anything gay in a small-town high school, that would be the place.

Why do I even have to explain this?

Aug 072014

One of the many virtues of the Midtown Scholar is that you never quite know what you’re going to stumble across.  How could anyone not pick this up?  It’s the history of a pop culture icon who we all loved as kids, even if the gum was made out of some kind of rock-like substance.  It’s even got some trading cards in the back!  Rock!


Insert Wacky Punch Line Here

If this doesn’t scream “Impulse Buy” I don’t what does!

Jul 212014

I recorded a few minutes here and there from Matthew Sweet’s show last night at the Abbey Bar here in Harrisburg.  I did my best but one can only do so much with a camera phone, and the skill of its operator (*ahem*) didn’t help much either.  Still, I enjoyed the show and wanted to share it.  Mr. Sweet still has his voice and his backing band was pretty solid, so they sounded good.  More importantly, I got the feeling he was someone who seems to enjoy himself when he plays, and that kind of enthusiasm on the part of an artist makes a big difference.  Oh, and he didn’t seem to be half in the bag, which is more than I can say for some live acts I’ve seen lately.

Divine Intervention sticks out in my mind as one of those songs that bubbled up during the fall of ’91, right when everything changed musically.  Plus, I just turned 21.  Ah, youth!

Sick of Myself is another well know number, and deservedly so.  Again, he seemed to be enjoying himself, which never a bad thing for someone on stage.

And of course, “Girlfriend” which is the one song we all came for, of course.

Jul 072014

So, I just finished watching Orange Is The New Black‘s second season.  I highly recommend it, but more to the point, it also started the wheels turning in my geeky little mind.  Lemme explain.  One of the best things to come out of this season is Poussey Washington‘s arc.  She was an entertaining minor character last season, but became a much deeper and more central character this season.  And she was arguably the best thing on the show.  And that was because Samira Wiley, the actress who portrays her, was arguably the best part of the show.  It was towards the end of my (binge) watching the series that the proverbial light bulb appeared above my head.  It was then that I realized that Samira Wiley should be the new Storm in any upcoming X-Men movies.

Two caveats for this post:

1.  This is a highly subjective view of what Storm represents.  It’s what she means to me as a character.  I may not remember specific instances that contradict some of my points.  And some may call me on my opinions by producing evidence that supports differing views on this character.  That’s fine.  But again, I’m coming from the POV of what she means to me at her best.


(Let us fill some spoiler space with this great photo.)

Here are my reasons:

  • Storm is energetic – Storm’s more than just a name, it defines in large part who she is.  She has a vitality to her.  Wiley’s presence in OITNB is always electric.  She just gives off the impression that’s she’s crackling with energy and always seems to possessed of a joie de vivre even in Poussey’s darkest moments.  She’s a talented actress, but that smile can’t be faked.  She’d bring that to Storm.
  • Storm has integrity – Ororo says what she means and says what she means.  Unlike, say, the Professor or Scott, she’s never had any sort of hidden agenda.  Not only does she make her intentions clear, but she also does her best to follow through on them.  Poussey’s conscience wouldn’t let her just look the other way when Vee started bringing in drugs to Litchfield.  She knew the risks that came with calling Vee out on this but did it anyways.
  • Storm is brave – After losing her powers for a brief time (although it felt like an eternity to a teenage fanboy), she stayed with the team.  She willing faced dangers that her super-powered peers found challenging and frightening, and she willingly stood by them even though she was deprived of her abilities.  Poussey openly defied Vee at a number of turns.  I’ll grant that it wasn’t a linear progression, but she was the first to voice her dissent and did so directly to Vee.  She played along for a while until dope peddling came into the picture, and then she confronted Vee about this.  Granted, she did so drunkenly and sloppily, but this was in part because she knew the risks involved.  But she faced those fears and went ahead and stood up to her anyway.  And it cost her a beating at the hands of Suzanne (“Crazy Eyes”).  And yet, she still refused to just look the other way.  This is what a hero does.
  • Storm is loyal – Paradoxically, one of the reasons Storm hasn’t stood out as much as, say, Wolverine in the comics is because she’s the consummate team player.  She is in many ways the linchpin of the X-Men teams she’s been with.  She stands out as a leader because others trust her to protect them at all times.  Poussey wasn’t only the first one to speak up and warn others about Vee, she was also the only one among her group to openly stand up to her.  It cost her dearly, but in the end, she never wavered in her loyalty to or love (platonic as well as unrequited) for Taystee.  Like Storm, Poussey would storm the gates of Hell for her friends.

In short, Storm has a presence about her that makes others stand up and take notice.  When the ‘Alpha Males’ of the X-Universe – Scott (Cyclops) and Logan (Wolverine) – start going at it, others either try to gently mock them (Beast) to calm them down or try to directly force them (Emma Frost) to stop fighting, Storm seems to be the one character to be able to look them both in the eye and tell them to get over themselves and back to the matter at hand.  And they listen because she has the moral authority to make her words county.  If Storm is to be anything more than a combination of The Weather Channel and Amazon (“The Weather You Want, When You Want It!”) in the movies, she won’t only need a strong script but an actor with the chops and charisma to make her stand out.  Samira Wiley is that actress.