Welcome...

Welcome...

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Holy crap. You'd think Sully had some free time the past few days. :)

I guess I'll start at the top and work my way back.

I'm 23% idiot, 30% asshole/bitch. I have no idea what the other 47% is, but I suspect it's mostly lint.

I'm more than a little bit familiar with craig's list... I just bought a truck there. 1996 Ford Ranger XLT with 55,000 miles on it, and I only paid $2,725! The previous owner was in a hurry to get rid of it because he was moving home to Ireland, and I was the first one to look at it, the first to say "I want it", and the first to call back and say "I've got a fistfull of 100 dollar bills for you, when can I stop by?" In the meantime, eight other punters looked at it, so the price got bumped up from $2600.

I've still got a '94 Subaru Loyale AWD wagon with 160,000 miles on it if anyone wants a cheap beater. It would take about $2000 to do the work it needs to be truely reliable again (tires, exhaust, shocks, pan seal), but I was driving it right up until the day I swapped the plates onto my new truck last week. If you know anyone who might be interested, I'm only asking $500 OBO. Blue Book value is over $2700.

I haven't seen the clone wars 2 stuff yet, but I suspect it will be released as a special feature in the prequel trilogy (or complete series) box set that's almost certain to be released later this year.

I don't think I have any reviews on NetFlix. I rate 'em, but only so they won't recommend movies like "Tu Bal Bramhachari Main Hoon Kanya Kunwari", "Adventures in Oz with Cheryl", or "Baby Basketball". I already have too damn many hobbies to start in as an amateur cinema critic.

That said, Hidden Fortress bored me to tears. I didn't even finish watching it.
I liked Seven Samuari a lot though.

Congratulations again to Leah... hope to see you later on this year! In fact, we might even have a honeymoon layover in Auckland if 'plan A' falls through. I'm pretty sure we're either going to Kenya via Amsterdam, or Fiji via Auckland. (gotta love a free timeshare!)

Friggin' NESN. Poker ain't a sport chief, it's gambling. Gambling's something you do ON sports, but it isn't one itself. Neither's fishing. It's either a way to get food, or an excuse to get loaded. When a trip to the packie with a stop at Dunkin Donuts is a sport, then fishing can be too. Maybe fishing for mako sharks and other shit that fights you hard for three hours and then tries to eat you counts, but brook trout? Screw that. I'd rather watch golf.

Although... I guess the travel channel has a lot of poker too, and last time I checked, poker wasn't a vacation destination either.

Fin.
I am 16% Idiot.
http://www.fuali.com/test.aspx?id=741516d0-8635-449e-8e7b-914071fd3d36"> src="http://www.fuali.com/testimage.aspx?img=d8eacd49-c9a8-4af9-9081-8cbd55541209.gif" alt="Friggin Genius" border="0" style="margin-top:5px">
I am not annoying at all. In fact most people come to me for advice. Of course they annoy the hell out of me. But what can I do? I am smarter than most people.
Here are my results for the Idiot Test:

I am 69% Idiot.
Don't Think Right.
I am an idoit. Not as much as most. There are even people out there that annoy the hell out of me. What was I talking about?



And here are my results for the Bitch/Asshole Test:

I am 76% Asshole/Bitch.
Total Asshole or Bitch!
I am one of those people that love to hear the sound of their voice. That and my lousy attitude make for a mixture as toxic next-day-mexican-dinner-ass-drip.

Boy, I really am an Asshole! Nothing new there though, is there? Sully, remember the days when I actually used to introduce myself to people by saying, "I'm an asshole."???

"Why do you say that?"

"Because later on when I am really drunk and do something stupid, you will have had fair warning."

The sad thing about this, I too was brutally honest with my answers!!! The asshole part, yeah, I kind of figured that I would be an asshole. I KNOW I AM. But the Idiot Test really threw me for a curve!!! I am an idiot just because I didn't get The Matrix?!?!
So lately I've been reading a bit. And with a bit of influence from Sully ~ I've been reading comics.

Mainly, I've been reading Transmetro. A comic series which Sully has presented here on OCHO a number of times. I'm not so clever as him as to insert pictures after every statement so you have to bear with the boring text version.

I have completed the series and have been fascinated and disappointed all at once. Not only have a been presented with brilliant plots, scenarios and situations that that wacky Spider constantly finds himself in... but the illustrations. I mean WOW! There's so much to look at. The imagination of the Ellis, Robertson and Ramos combined have resulted in a truly fascinating series that I highly recommend. Unfortunately it is not one that is accessable to all. It is extremely offense, not only in the funny "it's funny 'cause I don't know him" (to quote Homer) way but also in the the appalling way that pervades our existence most days. Most of us perfer to ignore this side in our lives and in our communities in present society ~ dispite the fact that we are, in our subconscious selves blatantly aware. As a result I again recommend this series to any and all OCHO readers. Even if you just pick up the first one or two TPB's. Be offended, be appalled. That's why Spider was created. That's why he exists. To point and stick a salt covered thumb into our abcessed and fetid wounds. I may however wait a couple of years before I give it to my nephew to read. His mother would kill me.

In other news. I hereby would also like to recommend "Rising Stars". A publication proudly distributed by Top Cow. The is the opposing force to many traditional comics. The "what would it really be like in a world full of superheroes".

I will outline the premise: Smalltown USA. An anomaly strikes. All those children "in utero" at the time of said anamoly is possessed with a "power". This power has affected a total of 113 children~give or take. The powers, as would expect, vary widely, and are most prominent in some moreso than others. Some never truly come to realize their full power. That is until it is discovered that the power itself is finite. As one possessing the power dies the residual energy is spread amongst the others. Sides are taken. Chaos results. And the artwork is not too shabby... definately holds up to your typical superhero comic anyway.

Very entertaining read. Just got the #2 TPB. Just heading off to read it now.

"Y" appears to be coming to an end - which frustrates me because there is still a lot of material unaddressed.

I also picked up Batman ~ Hush. I'm not sure what to make of this yet. I did find it very cool seeing the Catwoman take the forefront again in 'Bats" evolution. I kind of felt a bit offended though that they chose to pull in some of the lesser spin-off characters. Frankly, it was just weird but in another way very humorous. I could imagine Sully laughing his arse off at that actually. Need to pick up TPB #2 on that next month.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
I just got a call that I can get tickets to the 12:01 session of Episode III on May 19th. I could get tickets to the premeire but hey, at $150 a pop... I'll stick with the $15 session. That money can go towards a drinking session with my friends.
Excellent!
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

That's all from me. You're resident 'idiot' - K1W1.
Yay! I win! I am 42% Asshole/Bitch...
Even more importantly I scored 50% on the Idiot test. Then again I was being VERY honest in both. YAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

16% IDIOT!!! ^_~
http://www.fuali.com/testimage.aspx?img=d8eacd49-c9a8-4af9-9081-8cbd55541209.gif>

16% Idiot!!!
I am 16% Idiot.
http://www.fuali.com/test.aspx?id=741516d0-8635-449e-8e7b-914071fd3d36"> src="http://www.fuali.com/testimage.aspx?img=d8eacd49-c9a8-4af9-9081-8cbd55541209.gif" alt="Friggin Genius" border="0" style="margin-top:5px">
I am not annoying at all. In fact most people come to me for advice. Of course they annoy the hell out of me. But what can I do? I am smarter than most people.
I may think I am an asshole or a bitch, but the truth is I am a good person at heart. Yeah sure, I can have a mean streak in me, but most of the people I meet like me.
Are you familiar with Craigslist?
Boston Craigslist

It's the "Grassroots" website for just about any service from personal ads to message boards, roommates, cars, want ad and JOBS! It's how I found Chris Ball, my last roommate in the South End.
And I may have got job through it too. Check it out...since the Dole Dosh is running out this week and I just moved (aka FLED FOR DEAR LIFE) from my South End Flat, earning a wage...ANY WAGE is now manditory. The Motive in my Motivation has been accessed. I've been applying for jobs everyday this week and Deedee mentioned looking at Craigslist. How could I forget about Craigslist! I tried dating, roommates...I forgot all about it until the Tiny Texan said something. So I looked at a few listings and saw that a restaurant in Cambridge was looking for a cook. I dropped by today to check it out. But the store was closed. :...(
Poor me, huh? No...fortune favors the Bald...I mean the Bold. I go around back and check the Service Entrance. Someone has got to be there to receive produce et al during the regular day. It's only open for dinner and weekend brunch. I talked with the Chef and at the end...I was told to show up Saturday at 10AM to see how it goes. NICE!!!
Sorry Sully - I don't have any way of getting you the Clone Wars, Vol 2.

But I can tell ya this... I set my Outlook program to give me a countdown. Today, March 30th, marks exactly 50 days until EIII: Revenge of the Sith comes out!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 1 now on DVD



Episode III is right around the corner. I can be a complete brat when it comes to potential spoiler knowledge. There is less than 2 months until Ep. 3's release and all I know is the title of the movie and that Anakin got a "mullet". That's IT! I look away from the Frito Lay and Pepsi products with Episode III pics on their products and "Celebrate the Saga".

But spoiler knowledge versus "Canon" material. I have seen the entire Clone Wars Vol. 1 when broadcast on Cartoon Network in its entirety. I taped it too and I'm about to watch it again. So I will be watching Clone Wars Vol. 2 as soon as I can. No Cable to view Cartoon Network and I can't subscribe to Star Wars Dot Com to view the new episodes without running into copious amounts of stills and spoilers from the upcoming movie.

So I do ask if you have a reliable link or even a crappy copy on DIVX to float it my way. The events of Clone Wars Vol. 2 lead directly up to the Episode III scroll. This I know and welcome it. I just don't want any aspect of the film itself to be ruined with too much info or even a glimpse. I hear it's rated "PG-13" to boot.

Clone Wars Vol. 1 was EXCELLENT. The Samurai Jack production team did the best job in chronicling this segment of Star Wars history. I won't read fan-zines, adaptations or Expanded Universe books but I will watch Clone Wars and can't wait to see the entire Clone Wars Vol. 2 before the movie (without any trailers or commercials for the movie ^_~ ). I especially loved Obi-Wan's ground assault. Anakin's dismissal of his Master's orders and Anakin's Second Slip into the Dark Side of the Force (the Tusken Massacre would be counted as first IMHO).

Again...PLEASE NO SPOILER INFO. Even about the Events of Clone Wars Vol. 2. I already "know" it'll kick booty. Lemme enjoy the booty itself. ^_~ I told ya...I'm such a brat over this but my Info Embargo for Episode II was such a success. I have not even looked at the Epidose III poster. I caught a glimpse of it on the cover of a magazine at a Funny Book Bodega and I shut my eyes & flipped it over so I could safely browse. ^_^ I'M A GEEK!!!

Gotta go and watch Clone Wars, Vol. 1 AGAIN! If you got a way for me to see Vol. 2, hook me up. Or do you know if Vol. 2 will be release BEFORE Episode III's release? I don't consider Star Wars: Clone Wars Vols. 1 & 2 to be spoiler info...I consider them Star Wars.

Thanks!

Rev. Sully

Monday, March 28, 2005

Preacher Matt!

Do you have any NetFlix reviews I may vote for? What's your "handle" on NetFlix? I'll check it out. Look up Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries for my #1 rated review on Dane's account. I also got a few on "What's Her Puss'" old account too. LOTS of anime, lots of DC Comics cartoons and LOTS of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel. A few movies and documentaries here and there so I ask and encourage you to vote on these reviews however you feel to. Just bring up one and click "Read My Other Reviews". ^_~ I gotta get my own NetFlix subscription when I move into the house in East Boston.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 :::

Continuing my appreciation of Akira Kurasawa's work, I've lined up the Hidden Fortress... which apparently was a major influence on George Lucas' Star Wars. I had to throw in a few other things first though, so I'll keep you posted.

posted by Preacher at 11:30 AM



Have you seen it yet? I’ve meant to follow up on this.
The Hidden Fortress is a lot like the Star Wars ’74 Screenplay by George Lucas that I presume Leah got via you and she gave to me on an MS Word Doc without the Starkiller family. Mifune’s character is Han Solo and Ben Kenobi at the same time. The “Mute” Princess is Leia and Luke. The two scoundrels….well you can figure those two out but know the pair were the Japanese equivalent of Abbot & Costello. The Labor Camp like the Jawa Sandcrawler? Notice the “Wipe Segues” leading into other scenes that Lucas also pilfered? Also you’ve checked out the “Seven Samurai” (Jan. 17, 05 post). I recently watched that one again and the ending is so much like the Original RotJ ending with the Ewok “Jub-Jub” song. Is there a fan-boy or official term to that original Ewok Ending song (deleted from Special Editions)? Like the “scream” is called the Willem? Any more Kurasawa? Try Yojimbo (the inspiration for Fistfull of Dollars a few years later and much later on Last Man Standing with Bruce Willis) and its sequel Sanjuro. Check out my review on Sanjuro on NetFlix under “DB from MA 11”.

“What a great comedy! I mean it is an action film. It is a samurai film. It is the sequel to Yojimbo (The Bodyguard). But this movie is very funny. Toshiro Mifune is a great dramatic but better comedic actor. His face says it all. Also not to be missed for Akira Kurosawa mixing action and good comedy is "The Hidden Fortress"; the real inspiration for Star Wars: A New Hope. Rev. Sully gives Sanjuro 5 well-earned stars. I laughed so hard during this movie. I am going out to purchase this movie for my collection now. Not to be missed for all samurai movie fans! Do not let the fact that this is a funny movie dissuade you from getting it. The final showdown is breathtaking in its patience. The fight sequences are marvelous. The music, the cinematography, the sets and costumes; all acme. Schwartzenegger tried and failed (popularly) with his "Last Action Hero" by mixing comedy and action (IMHO the movie is alright; 3 stars) but Sanjuro shows how it should be done. Treat the comedy and action with equal respect.”

Rashamon? That’s one excellent flick.

I have on my Phone’s desktop when I open it Toshiro Mifune’s samurai from Yojimbo. I got it by taking a picture from a Brattle Theater monthly newsletter. ^_^

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Congrats to Our Graduate!!!



Leah, we are all very proud of you.

All my Agape, Philia & Storge,
Sully

Friday, March 25, 2005

Sully, I guess they (NESN) believe that we are more interested in watching PartyPoker.net's Boston vs New York, than hockey. Then again, when it comes down to it, they really don't show a whole lot of "traditional sports" anyhow for a station called New England Sports Network. So much of their programming is outdoor/fishing, news (and even that why do I need to watch ESPN news on NESN?), and of course Info-mercials. I do have to admit, Sports Desk in the mornings is great...

But here is a typical day of programming:

NESN Programming for March 25
Time

Program Info
12:00 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
12:30 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
1:00 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
1:30 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
2:00 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
2:30 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
3:00 AM ESPNEWS cc
4:00 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
4:30 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
5:00 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
5:15 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
5:30 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
5:45 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
6:00 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
6:15 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
6:30 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
6:45 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
7:00 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
7:15 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
7:30 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
7:45 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
8:00 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
8:15 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
8:30 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
8:45 AM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
9:00 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
9:30 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
10:00 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
10:30 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
11:00 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
11:30 AM PAID COMMERCIAL PROGRAM
12:00 PM ESPNEWS cc
1:00 PM ESPNEWS cc
1:00 PM BOSTON RED SOX PRE-SEASON BASEBALL cc (L)
MINNESOTA TWINS VS. RED SOX
2:00 PM ESPNEWS cc
3:00 PM ESPNEWS cc
4:00 PM CAMO-COUNTRY TELEVISION (R)
4:00 PM REJOIN NESN FEED AT CONCLUSION OF TELECAST
4:30 PM 2005 NCAA ICE HOCKEY EAST REGIONALS (L)
SEMI-FINALS / BOSTON COLLEGE VS. MERCYHURST
7:00 PM INSIDE HOCKEY EAST (DB)
7:30 PM NESN OUTDOORS: CHARLIE MOORE OUTDOORS (R)
8:00 PM NESN OUTDOORS: BEST OF CHARLIE MOORE (R)
8:30 PM NESN OUTDOORS: NORTHEAST JOURNAL (R)
9:00 PM NESN OUTDOORS: THE RIDE (R)
9:30 PM FISHING NEW ENGLAND (R)
10:00 PM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
10:15 PM NESN SPORTSDESK cc
10:30 PM BOSTON GLOBE SPORTSPLUS (R)
11:00 PM PARTYPOKER.NET'S (R) BOSTON V. NY POKER CHALLENGE #1

Key: -->Events listed in Red will be shown only outside the Boston DMA.

Why are the Red Sox and Bruins games on NESN blacked out outside of NESN's broadcast territory?
Outside of NESN's broadcast area (New England with the exception of Fairfield County, CT), game broadcasts are blacked out in order to protect other teams' territories, as well as the exclusivity of national television outlets.
How can I get Red Sox and Bruins broadcasts outside of NESN's broadcast territory?
DirecTV, DISH Network and digital cable providers offer special out-of-market packages: the Major League Baseball Extra Innings package or the NHL Center Ice package include most of the games that are broadcast on NESN. Please note, some games may still be subject to blackouts. For more information, contact DirecTV's Web at www.directv.com or call them at 1-800-DIRECTV, or the DISH Network at www.dishnetwork.com or 1-800-333-DISH.
What is the Boston DMA?
The Boston/Manchester (NH) DMA, or Designated Market Area, is the area considered to be part of the Boston television viewing market. The following map highlights the counties in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont that are part of the Boston DMA.

###
So after all that - I can't even watch the Red Sox on NESN today!!!!
###
That being said - Yeah, the Monarchs game was really cool. We ought to try checking out some of the minor league baseball too...Lowell Spinner, Manchester Fisher Cats...PawSox...maybe a side trip from Pawtucket over to some certain bars in RI... ^_~

Thursday, March 24, 2005

THE SMOKING PUCK Still Burns!

So the Manchester Monarchs versus the Philadelphia Phantoms entertained as expected. A fight, a shorthanded goal, a win for Philly. The sound of skates on ice. the siren as a goal scored, the announcer's voice on the PA. A nice night with Scotty and Mario. The tickets were $11 each. It was very family oriented; there were kids EVERYWHERE. It was everything an NHL just can't be; fun & affordable. There are Child and Senior ticket prices. The Verizon Wireless Arena seats just under 10,000 and a very nice, modern small city venue. I would definitely go again. ANY day.

So after my AHL experience I thought I'd check in on NESN again. I never got an answer in November 2004 regarding them showing the AHL and I'll share it with you, OCHO.

Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2005 15:27:08 -0800 (PST)
From: "Eric O'Sullivan"
Subject: AHL Hockey on NESN
To: sports@nesn.com


Dear NESN,

On November 24, 2004, I sent an email to you asking
why there was very little to no American Hockey League
professional ice hockey being shown on NESN this
Boston Bruins/NHL-less year. I've been a NESN
subscriber for what it feels going on 2 decades and
was a little dismayed that my question was ignored.

I recently wrote on my Blog, the Channel Ocho at
http://www.thechannelocho.blogspot.com/

"Nevertheless, very few AHL games are televised in the
Boston Area per year. An email inquiry to the New
England Sports Network (local pay television’s home of
Red Sox & Bruins) was ignored when asked why AHL
hockey and the Providence Bruins in particular were
not being offered instead of the locked out Boston NHL
franchise. Why was NESN not interested in purchasing
broadcast rights of AHL Hockey? I thought the games,
any game broadcast on NESN, was a platform to remind
me about Dunkin Donuts, Mobil gasoline, Foxwoods
casino and a local bank or two. At least I would be
tuning in. I am lucky enough to be able to choose to
go to these games given the effort...
Here: sports@nesn.com Email NESN yourself and ask them
where is the AHL Hockey this year? The "New England"
Sports provider does not show New England Professional
Hockey? Not offered in an NHL lock out year? As a
treat to Boston Bruins fans, NESN traditionally will
show a few AHL Providence Bruins games a year. College
Hockey is shown, as it is every year but is no
substitute for NHL games are given. NESN has very
little programming to offer in this past winter and
makes me leery to have been paying for it as part of
my Paid Television subscription. FOX Sports New
England could be offering AHL coverage too, you know."


end Blog excerpt

I've been a partial season ticket holder for the
Boston Bruins for several seasons. I watch home games
on NESN and now have an HDTV for Sox and Bruins games.
But there are several AHL Hockey teams just in New
England. The Providence (RI) Bruins. The Portland
(ME) Pirates. The Worcester (MA) IceCats. The
Hartford (CT) Wolfpack. The Bridgeport (CT) Sound
Tigers. The Springfield (MA) Falcons. The Lowell
(MA) Loch Monsters. The Manchester (NH) Monarchs.
That's eight teams, all with professional development
affiliations. All eight teams are in New England.
FOX Sports New England does not broadcast any AHL
either and they also include the words "New England"
in their moniker. But none of these New England teams
are shown regularly on the New England Sports Network.
Some Providence Bruins games are shown on the Cox
Sports Network. Other AHL games are shown on Comcast,
Time Warner and the Canadian Sports provider Rogers.
http://www.theahl.com/AHL/tv.html

Why is NESN unable to purchase rebroadcasting rights
to these AHL games? New England is a Hockey hot bed
and saying that US College Hockey and the Beanpot
being available is no substitute for professional
level hockey. I would tune in for AHL hockey
especially with no NHL Hockey this year and I know I
am not the only one. There seems to be nothing on
NESN but Charlie Moore and interviewing old Bruins.
There has to be a good reason why a viable alternative
to NHL is not available.

Thanks for your time and I hope to recieve an answer.
If there is no NHL next season I hope that NESN is
able to broadcast AHL hockey if only to remind me
what's new at Dunkin Donuts because I am not tuning in
until Sox season is in full swing.

Eric O'Sullivan
Boston, MA

http://www.ulchq.com/

He who knows best knows how little he knows. —Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

And when in an earlier Comics Gnome inspired rant, I did say...

"Bob Kane gave his Caped Crusader a Boy Sidekick in 1940"

I forgot to mention Bill Finger. This would be akin to science fiction veneration of the Beatles "Yesterday" with sole writing credit attributed to John Lennon as he is there first legally alphabetically.

Bill Finger
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Bill Finger (1914-1974) is the co-creator of Batman, along with Bob Kane. Kane provided an original sketch of the character, to which Finger offered such suggestions as giving Batman a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, giving him a cape instead of wings, giving him gloves, and removing bright red sections of the original costume. Finger wrote the first Batman story, while Kane provided art. Because Kane had already submitted the proposal for a Batman character to his editors at DC Comics, Kane was the only person given official credit for the creation of Batman.

Finger went on to write many of the early Batman stories, including making major contributions to the character of The Joker, as well as other major Batman villains. He is also credited with the invention of the Batmobile, and with providing a name for Gotham City. Among the things that made his stories particularly distinctive was a use of giant-sized props -- enlarged pennies, sewing machines, or typewriters.



Batman #608

But remember All-Star Batman & Robin regarding its scribe Frank Miller:
Writer Frank Miller grounded Batman firmly in his grim and gritty roots with the comic book miniseries The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and Batman: Year One. In both, Batman's story runs parallel to that of Jim Gordon. In Year One, Gordon has not yet become the police commissioner, and is instead a middle-aged cop with a shady past working to redeem himself amidst Gotham's corrupt police force, while Bruce Wayne learns the ropes as a costumed avenger. In The Dark Knight Returns, Gordon is seventy, and is forced into mandatory retirement from his post as police commissioner while Bruce returns from retirement as Batman. These stories gave Gordon's character a depth he had seldom achieved before. The Dark Knight Returns gave a shot in the arm to the entire mainstream comic book industry, as its popularity was nothing short of phenomenal. It allowed Batman to finally shed the image of a campy, clownish character for which he was still known; and it also helped to raise the image of comic books so that they were no longer known solely as a form of children's entertainment.

Miller's stories have set the tone for the franchise, including Tim Burton's Batman movies, Warner Bros' 1990s animated series (created by Bruce Timm), and the ongoing comic book series.

Source:


DK1 #1 cover art

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Say what you want Sully... deep down I know the NHL broke up because I've been a bad fan. Maybe, if I'd spent $500 bucks on a 10 game pass last season, bought a few more $150 shirts, and not grumbled about the $7.50 cups of beer, the players and owners would still love each other. If I had done those things, the players could get the money they so desperately deserve, the owners would be making profits hand over fist, and we'd all still be one big happy family.

It's all my fault. I deserve 5 minutes in the penalty box.
The Comics Gnome asks...what is Wrong with MARVEL?

I was searching over the stack of new releases on an average Wednesday with the Comics Gnome in tow. The Comics Gnome brings the Weekly Stack. So with that in mind, the Gnome watches earnestly as though he’s on the pay from the publishers thinking that my taste will dictate the market. What I do every Wednesday is this: I make my stack. Wednesday if you make a stack, prepare to get your heart broken. Or at least your order of what you wish to read next. It’s new release day so pout & complain on Thursday. I make my stack. I arrange it in the order I want to read them. I sort them my whatever mood fits me. Usually the top comic or top 5 comics got some “place at the table”, some honorific attached to it. VERTIGO’s “Y The Last Man” and Bendis’ indie powerhouse “Powers” have not failed to be bumped to the top of the stack on their release days. DC Comics “Green Lantern” and “The Flash”, VERTIGO’s “Hellblazer” and “100 Bullets” often get the Velvet Rope opened for them too. There are always a few issues left over late Wednesday night awaiting opening but sometimes it doesn’t happen. But more and more, and less and less...some things get read or not. Leading up to what happened next.

The Comics Gnome furrowed his brow and asked me a straight-up, honest, no holds barred, gotta know question.

“Sully...why aren’t you reading the Marvel books like you used to?”

MARVEL? The House of Ideas? Who gave my fertile imagination the X-Men, Daredevil, Spider-Man, et al.?

Sorry, but I got things to read...that’s what I said.

What...WHAT???

OK. I love funnybooks but MARVEL is making it really hard to be an honest comics fan and like superheroes at the same time.

Sigh. Marvel is for kids. The whole genre should be for kids but it’s not all together for kids. And MARVEL is all for kids these days. MARVEL NEXT, X-23, Arana, Runaways... And if I have a choice to be entertained it has to be DC Comics. MARVEL does deliver but with the frequency of a good Metallica CD. That’s harsh. Listen up because here are a few comics you should STILL be reading. And some that you can easily jump on board with the amount of Trade Paperbacks MARVEL releases immediately following a story arc.

There is no fun in reading MARVEL comics overall. No joie-de-vivre, it is missing something. The Marvel Universe is in need of a good “Crisis”. The Ultimate Universe is a great example of how that can be accomplished but the Continuity is coming up on 50 years in a few (about 44-45 years now). That’s when DC decided to clean house and it’s continuity problems. The X-Titles are horrible with very few X-Ceptions, the Spider-Man franchise is a bit disjointed and there is an abundance of Limited Series and Encyclopedic Handbooks to milk your dough. However, there still are good runs here and there. Let’s start with two of the best:


Wolverine:



This newest volume of MARVEL favorite son began a little over two years ago. Since then I’ve been hooked on great story telling and the occasional art by Darick Robertson (of TRANSMETROPOLITAN) but the latest arcs have been my glue to the MARVEL Universe. Mark Millar on story. John Romita, Jr. On Pencils and...this is the best...Klaus Jansen on inks. Jansen’s inks are reminiscent of his work with Frank Miller’s pencils on DK and the old Daredevil series. Electra moves like she used to. It’s that good. I can’t say anything else about it. A year’s worth of Millar, Romita and Jansen. Romita’s pencils are EXCELLENT (as in EXCELSIOR in the Stan Lee speak).


Daredevil:



Bendis and Maleev’s days are coming to and end on this fine series and rightfully so. Comics arcs are one of the few things that should have a shelf life. They’ve been at this for over 4 years now and they hit the climax an arc or two ago...or so I hope. INTEL from the POWERS mail bag pages let me know that Bendis’ days are numbered on DD so let’s enjoy this swan song.


Some runners up and there aren’t many.


New Avengers:



This is OK stuff. But it’s gonna get boring really fast. The Pulse, Secret War and this should be lumped into one big over-Bendis title and make that that. Bendis had written AMAZING Spider-Man copy on his tenure as Ultimate Spider-Man scribe so I like the mouth he puts on Peter Parker. Besides that...it’s just “Silver Age” kids at the helm again. Gimme something new alright?


Astonishing X-Men:



I was not impressed at first but Cassaday’s art is astounding to begin with but once the first arc in Joss Whedon’s writing was done, I was sold. The X-Men here are given a much needed platform to be accessed with. The X-Franchise has once again gone SUPERNOVA. Leaving Wolverine and this Astonishing X-Men title as the two legit sources of entertainment in the X-World. Chris Claremont can’t even save “Uncanny”. The BIG decision was the tights & over story again so painfully we have to abide...or not. Ewwww on the X-Land but Whedon will WOW you. Trust me. He’s good. Cassaday’s not bad either. Too bad you have to grok 4 years of Grant Morrison to get it though. Grokking Morrison is tough enough as is.


X-Men Unlimited and Spider-Man Unlimited are two of my favorites but they are gratuitous fan titles.

Marvel Knights Spider-Man:



Finally the year long arc is over! Spider-Man’s version of “Batman: HUSH”. Now let’s see if this really has a funnybook behind it. It’s OK. Written by Mark Millar (Ultimates, Vol. 1 & 2, Wolverine) so it’s not bad and the Dobsons do a great job on art.


Amazing Spider-Man and Spectacular Spider-Man: ASM is the Flagship of the Spidey Line and still acme writing but Romita, Jr’s pencils are sorely missed. Paul Jenkins work on SSM with the occasional help of Humberto Ramos has been stellar but now Jenkins is no longer writing SSM and its future is uncertain. The Spidey franchise is a little disjointed now that Spidey’s an Avenger, his organic webbing has yet to be factored into the Franchise after SSM “Disassembled”. No mention of the new webbing in ASM or MK-SM yet.


And then the Ultimate Universe...

The Ultimates Vol. 2: Mark Millar and the Avengers on Steroids. ‘Nuff said. Vol. 1 on 2 trade paperbacks or one handsome hardcover.

Ultimate Spider-Man:
Still quality Bendis but the art quality is way different now that Scott Hanna is inking Mark Bagley’s work, no longer Art Thiebert. If you read one Spider-Man title, make it USM and there is a treasure trove of TPS for this title. Fun, accessible and well-done over all magazine.


The days of Make Mine Marvel are gone for me. Look at my stack. I really don't care about the X-Men Fantastic Four crossover, I have better things to read and do with my time. All things wax & wane though. MARVEL will figure it out but only after it goes to heck.

'Namaste.
THE SMOKING PUCK: NHL Funeral Edition

Choosing Hockey Still
AKA How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Game


I really do have something to say about NHL Hockey, their Lockout and their self-destruction of the 2004-2005 season but I prefer to talk more about life, choice and ice hockey for a moment. When asked why am I a Hockey fan, my default answer is an old joke I heard a while back: "on the Eighth Day, God created the Ice for God was bored...". Things in life revolve around choice. Choosing Wisely, choosing Rightly are the "correct" ways to seek Enlightenment if that is one’s Way. Selfish choice revolving around simple survival should not incur Karma if done with Right Thought. Any truly "wrong choice" will be Karmic but always can be justified by simple selfishness and there is not a damned thing you can really do about that, innit? However, as a lifelong NHL fan I must initially describe this akin to watching one’s parents divorce as the way this 2004-05 "Un-Season" played out in my eyes. Two parties that have legitimate problems with the other and the fan; the "child" can only observe and await the resolution. Also the fans, the children have to live with the results, the choices of these "parents". Our "best interests" are figured out after "theirs".

Hockey is doggedly available to the Public, especially in New England where the Smoking Puck is scribed. New England has long been a home to Hockey, the Sport a cultural touchstone. Cold climes are hot beds for Hockey; Canada where it is was conceived, New England, Minnesota, Michigan, and cold points international. Hockey in New England is played in every form be it pro, minor, college, high school, adult "beer league", pee wee, mites & squirts; ice, roller or street depending on the conditions and season. The Boston Bruins of the NHL were established in 1924. The upstart World Hockey Association in the 1970s featured legend Gordie "Mr. Hockey" Howe, his sons & the New England Whalers who called Matthews Arena home at Northeastern University in the South End of Boston. The Whalers moved to Hartford, CT when the WHA folded and four teams were absorbed into the NHL (along with Edmonton, Quebec/Colorado, and Winnipeg/Phoenix) in 1979. However, the American Hockey League, established in 1936, supplies an abundance of teams in which to support & endorse with patronage and has entertained fans in the New England and the Atlantic North East area for quite some time. The old-time hockey of the New Haven Nighthawks, the Rhode Island Reds, the Providence Bruins, the Springfield Falcons, les Citadels de Quebec, the Adirondack Red Wings, the Syracuse Crunch, the Maine Mariners, the Cape Breton Oilers, the Rochester Americans, the Portland Pirates, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Capitol District Islanders, the Binghamton Rangers, the Utica Devils, the Prince Edward Island Senators, the Lowell Loch Monsters, the Manchester Monarchs, the Albany River Rats, the Springfield Indians, the Worcester IceCats, the Cornwall Aces, the Hershey Bears. Teams Past and Teams Present. Independent teams and clubs with vital affiliations with an NHL "Parent Club". However, these Developmental Farm teams in the AHL change around occasionally. Cities are added, franchises end up folding; change is an essential part of the AHL experience from locales to clever rulebook experiments. Many an entertaining game I have taken in Providence, RI, in Worcester, MA and even now in Lowell, MA. Manchester, NH lies a short drive away, also a great afternoon with old friends who have moved "up theah" when we finally get around to going. (PS: tomorrow night that's just what we're gonna do; Manchester Monarchs versus the Philadelphia Phantoms at 7:30PM!)

Nevertheless, very few AHL games are televised in the Boston Area per year. An email inquiry to the New England Sports Network (local pay television’s home of Red Sox & Bruins) was ignored when asked why AHL hockey and the Providence Bruins in particular were not being offered instead of the locked out Boston NHL franchise. Why was NESN not interested in purchasing broadcast rights of AHL Hockey? I thought the games, any game broadcast on NESN, was a platform to remind me about Dunkin Donuts, Mobil gasoline, Foxwoods casino and a local bank or two. At least I would be tuning in. I am lucky enough to be able to choose to go to these games given the effort. But think about it for yourself: if Coke and Pepsi stopped making beverages does that mean you still could not purchase a Virgil’s Rootbeer, an IBC Cream Soda or a Goya Pineapple pop?
Here: sports@nesn.com Email NESN yourself and ask them where is the AHL Hockey this year? The "New England" Sports provider does not show New England Professional Hockey? Not offered in an NHL lock out year? As a treat to Boston Bruins fans, NESN traditionally will show a few AHL Providence Bruins games a year. College Hockey is shown, as it is every year but is no substitute for NHL games are given. NESN has very little programming to offer in this past winter and makes me leery to have been paying for it as part of my Paid Television subscription. FOX Sports New England could be offering AHL coverage too, you know.

I have never been a fan of American College Hockey but it is a very viable alternative to No Hockey At All. If I could, I would prefer to watch the Canadian Major Junior Leagues instead if given the choice. Just paradigmatic differences I assure you. Not saying that US College hockey is unworthy; rather the game is played, not differently, but a little "erroneously" in my opinion. Check this out: Canadian Major Juniors mandatory helmet safety makes all players wear half-shields to protect their eyes. US College Hockey has compulsory full-shields and/or full cages. In addition, fisticuffs are allowed as a dispute resolution tool in the Canadian Major Junior game but a much maligned and suspendable infraction in US College. Those pieces of minutiae separate the two cultures, the two "schools", and the two styles of Hockey greatly and in ways often not taken into account; such as North American Hockey (smaller ice surface, more physical) versus European Style (larger Olympic ice surface, more passing & speed over brutal contact, et al.). US College players consistently raise their sticks above elbow level, especially in the corners and on the boards because of the security felt in knowing their jaws are unexposed and protected but I digress... All personal problems aside, there is plenty of US College hockey to view on the television in season for those interested in their Hockey "fix".

What is the use in finger pointing anyhow for the NHL’s troubles? Any complicated structure will have its problems. Look at Marriage, Government and the Big Dig for examples of the Buddha’s dying words; "subject to decay are all component things...". Moreover, in the Strike shortened 1994 NHL season (the harbinger to this current debacle) we all knew the next CBA, the next collective bargaining agreement that expired in ten years would be worse. Anyone who remembered the 1994 Season accurately will recall the consequences the players assumed upon agreeing to that CBA (as well in the 11th Hour to avoid Season cancellation). Anyone who fairly factored in the 1994 NHL CBA into account would have understood this as Dharma, as Inescapable and Undeniable Truth. This joke of the 04-05 NHL season has been coming and it did not surprise those with the practical understanding of the 1994 situation. Blame whom, indeed? Blame the players for wanting as much money as they can get? Blame the Players Union for not wanting to blink until the 11th Hour and 59th Second? Blame the owners for wanting to make as much money as they can, save as much as they can in the process and also not wanting to give any quarter? Blame the Board of Governors for not rolling with the times and not wanting to adjust the rulebook to suit fickle & popular tastes? Blame allowing fighting; is the game is too violent (and NASCAR is all about the race and not the occasional crashes?) for "key" demographics, what about the children you know? Blame network television for saying, ‘we can do without NHL hockey as it is’ as ABC Sports actually did? Blame the sports media for not making a big deal about the CBA/Lockout of 2004-05 until it was too late to do nothing but inventory the carnage and excuses? Blame the fans for not caring enough at the beginning of this Season and now at its cancellation? Lemme tell ya, chief, being an NHL Hockey fan this year felt like a student standing tall before a Chinese tank.

I would rather have NHL hockey than blame. I do know a few things though. I am aware and am a perceptive fan. I know that the NHL in the 1990s thought it was the NBA. Fill "key" demographics to support greater national television, expansion! The NHL grew naturally over a quarter century from 1967 until the early 1990’s. The League doubled in size in 1967 from the Original Six to twelve teams. Six more teams throughout the 1970s. Four teams from the failed WHA in 1979 to where I feel the NHL reached its Ideal size. This was the time of the New York Islanders dynasty. The Edmonton Oilers of Gretzky, Messier, Kurri and Fuhr. Ticket prices & concessions were fair making a night at the Old Barn not that bad on the Bucks. Premiere talent in Hockey had not yet demanding millions. First-round bratty draft picks had not yet demanding trades & refusing to put the jersey on at Draft Day (thanks Eric "Big Dummeh" Lindros). Local broadcast television stations were proud to show the seasonal Sports of their cities, once being the only way to watch televised games and pre-dating the homogenization of Sports broadcasting & exclusive pay Cable arrangements. The impact of Bobby Orr as a defenseman on the Game gave way to Paul Coffey, Brian Leetch, Larry Murphy, Al McGuinness and Ray Bourque. A revolution in Goaltending came with the Montreal Canadian’s Patrick Roy setting the modern standard with a style as relatively new as hip-hop. By 1992, Tampa Bay, Ottawa and San Jose were in the mix and the Florida Panthers in the Miami area and the Disney owned Mighty Ducks of Anaheim soon to follow. The Panthers and the Mighty Ducks were the result of the Expansionist mentality and the new era in the NHL.

The NBA Syndrome had hit the NHL. It was the Clinton 90’s. Dot-com IPOs, Free Trade, good times. The NHL wanted what they deserved from their market Share and looked to make their market bigger. Players finally were being paid as other Sports were. The owners were seeing Green and making the best of a Bull Economy. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim; Disney’s marketing idea and an excuse to sell Hockey jerseys with a moniker based on a child’s movie. The Florida Panthers, a team that in a few years after their arrival, clutched, grabbed and trapped their way to the Stanley Cup Finals. This Panthers Cup team enabled Rulebook changes in regards to Interference and Obstruction. Hockey was starting to get boring and I am not talking boring as in "Bruins Adams Division Dump n’ Chase". In the 22-25 Team Era of 1980-1993, NHL Hockey was a sport of excitement, grace & brutality. The Miracle Team USA and their Lake Placid Gold reminded the nation that winter sports were more than just skiing and the bobsled. It truly contained the Yin & Yang of Sports. However, something was lost with the 1994 strike, something in the 1990’s happened that changed. Little foundation things changed. A new flow and tempo of the game itself had to be created with the advent of TV Time-outs, made to actually get the NHL product televised through more opportunity for advertiser revenue. The TV Time-out disrupted the established feel to the individual games for both the players and the spectators at the arena. Upper echelon players felt the need to be paid as much as other Sports high-profile talent. Ticket prices reflected this. Further expansion into "markets". Columbus, Nashville and Minnesota and by 2000, the NHL was a turgid thirty teams large. Benches had to be filled and an exodus of talent arrived from Europe and the ex-Soviet Union. In years past, only the best of the Best, Brave & Toughest got to come over. Look up Peter Forsberg, the Statsny Brothers, Jarri Kurri, Teppo Numminen, Slava Festisov, Alexei Kasatonov to name a few. I am sure you should be able to suggest a few more. Now Euros are stock players and third & fourth liners.

If I have to take a side in the Hockey Talk of "What’s Going On" and "What’s Going To Happen" regarding professional hockey such as the NHL, I would have to say I am for Contraction. That means the opposite of Expansion. Cut several teams loose. Redistribute the talent so teams of the 1980’s such as the Calgary Flames, the Edmonton Oilers, the New York Islanders, the Montreal Canadians (such Major Market Cities ^_~ ) could once more be possible. Let the players play with other talented players again, all over the league and not just in Markets that can afford it such as the NY Rangers, Philadelphia and Dallas. That might solve a bit of the goal drought instead of adjusting the Goalie equipment size or where the Goalie can or cannot handle the puck. Someday I might be talked into getting rid of the two-line offsides and compulsory game misconduct of any fighting. One has to allow for concession in disputes. What lies in the future of the NHL? As the resounding Tragic Greek Chorus of We The Fans has been heard loud and clear: we do not care. There has been something fishy about the NHL for over a decade and it happened around the time Octopi at the Olympia were banned. Professional hockey will be around in some future fashion but where and when is anyone’s guess. The NHL as it is cannot be forecasted and there can be no assumption of NHL product for the 05-06 Season. Selfishly, I would hate to be a Hockey Fan and unable to be a Bruins or Flyers fan anymore.

I do want hockey and I can have it anytime I want respecting season and opportunity. Do you want hockey? Got a nephew or niece to watch play at a local MDC rink? Ever eat the food of the Rink Rat? How about lacing up the rollerblades and sweating for an hour. A street twig and a couple of Mylec Orange balls probably run you under $30 these days and you can play on "D" if you have not got skates. My street goalie equipment has not seen the light of day or the taste of asphalt in a dog’s age. Oh yeah, it is Patrick Roy appreciation day when Rev. Sully gets between the Pipes. My first time donning 40 pounds of Ice hockey goalie gear was as if I had been doing it all along. Good thing Roy ended his career in Colorado so I could actually like him. Respect was always there even in the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge of Les Habitants de Montreal. Ever play Shinny on a frozen pond using your snow boots as goal posts, playing 2-on-2 against a couple of kids? That is the Game. Not the selfish NHL team owners, not the selfish Player’s Union. Not the unrealistic salaries for Entertainers. Not the myriad Third Jerseys. Not the "Weak Market" teams versus "Strong Market" teams. Not an agreeable CBA. Not the ticket, parking and concessions prices that border on the obscene and that alienate the blue-collared "true" fan base. It is about throwing in $10 for an odd hour’s worth of ice time with a bunch of mates and guys you have never met, having a few beer in the parking lot before the "game" and hoping you still have legs. It is about the Rink Rats and the food they see fit to consume. It is about the Five Hole, the Deke and One-Timer. It is about the Goalie skating out of the safety between the Pipes to meet the shooter on the 1-on-1 Breakaway; robbing them of precious room to shoot and then dropping into a "Butterfly", flashing a glove hand and snagging the oncoming, rock-hard, high velocity vulcanized rubber puck midair. It is about tossing your stick into the Center Ice circle to pick a team. It is about waking up with the Roosters in order to drive the kids to practice before school. It is about Goals Against Average, Plus/Minus and Power Plays. It is about living with snow. Russians, Swedes, Germans, North Americans, Danes, Norwegians; if there is snow, there can be Ice Hockey played.

Remember: hockey is still your if you choose it.

Hockey Talk and the Smoking Puck on OCHO will return when there is something more to say about Hockey. Because the only thing about Hockey I could say right now is "go out there and play". There you will find happiness in Hockey again.

‘Namaste & Never Forget the Fourth Rule of Tankers,

Rev. Sully