Tuesday, April 29, 2014

He's got the whole world in his hands...

This is creepy. *clap clap clapclapclap*

Man, whoever is writing the Bray Wyatt/John Cena feud deserves a raise, a bonus, and at least two prostitutes, because it.is.gold.

Craig Ferguson is leaving The Late Late Show

And there's another show that I should have watched, but never did. Bits and pieces, yes, but never an entire episode. What I did see was pretty funny, but I could never get myself into the late night talk show mood. I wonder if his leaving has anything to do with Stephen Colbert replacing David Letterman on The Late Show? Supposedly Ferguson had a thing in his contract that said he would succeed Letterman if the latter ever retired. Clearly, that was less than super effective.

Age was probably also a factor. There's an obvious trend in late night to replace the older hosts with younger ones in order to appeal to a younger demographic. Obviously, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyer, and Stephen Colbert have more appeal to twenty and thirty-somethings than guys pushing in their fifties and sixties. Still, it's a shame because he was really good as a talk show host. The fact that he's moving on to host a syndicated game show is just terrible. My two cents, he should do an internet talk show on YouTube. I'd watch it.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thoughts on last night's Arrow (spoilers)

Slade killing Moira Queen - in addition to coming completely out of nowhere - has, in my mind, catapulted Deathstroke into the upper echelons of great villainy. The fact that he did this and everything else as part of his revenge against Ollie just makes it greater, adds more depth and emotion to it. He's not taking a shit all over Oliver Queen's life because he's a supervillain, he's doing it for personal reasons. I think it goes beyond him blaming Ollie for Shado's death. I think he blames him for his own continued existence; that Ollie injected him with the Mirakuru instead of letting him die, because in his mind, at least he would have been with Shado after she was murdered. Or maybe it's self-loathing that he has these abilities granted by the Mirakuru and he couldn't use them to save the woman he loved.

But yeah, systematically destroying a man's life one piece at a time and not killing him? That's some next level villainy right there.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

She's a real Paige-Turner

(via NXT's Facebook)

Paige, WWE wrestler and dual NXT Women's Champion and WWE Divas Champion, winning the latter in her debut match on the main roster. She also has one wicked submission move, the Scorpion Crosslock.

(via The Wrestling Blog)
It's described as a reverse sharpshooter (also called the scorpion deathlock) and a double chickenwing. Basically, what this means is that she wraps her opponent's legs around her right leg, grabs their arms and pulls back while squatting.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This is how How I Met Your Mother should have ended

(via The Mocha Subtext)
Just change 2012 to 2014. It's a way better ending than having Ted manipulate his kids into giving him their permission to chase after Robin rather than just moving the hell on with his life.

A very Bond-iful harvest

The local library had a book sale last Saturday and I came away with a dozen or so James Bond novels. Most were John Gardner's, but three or so were Ian Fleming's and one was Christopher Woods' adaption of Moonraker, which I only picked up because I didn't know it was a novelization of the movie.

  • Licensed Renewed
  • For Special Services
  • Role of Honour
  • Nobody Lives for Ever
  • No Deals, Mr. Bond
  • License to Kill (novelization of the book)
  • Brokenclaw
I had the chance to get Scorpius, but didn't because I didn't know it was a Bond book. Add these with Icebreaker, and that means I have nine out of his sixteen books.

  • For Your Eyes Only
  • The Man with the Golden Gun
Now I just need to finish out the Gardners and Flemings, and get my hands on Kingsley Amis's Colonel Sun.

The new Ghost Rider certainly looks interesting

And his ride ain't bad either.

Art by Felipe Smith.
The new Ghost Rider is a high school senior named Robbie Reyes who lives in East Los Angeles and as you can see, he drives a Dodge Charger instead of a motorcycle. I approve. I like that they're not creating yet another grizzled biker dude and doing something different. I also dig that his skull is modeled after Reyes' helmet, judging by this picture:

Art by Tradd Smith.
And judging by this one, the new Ghost Rider uses knives instead of a chain whip like his predecessors.

Art by Felipe Smith.
Oh, comics, why must you cost money and not desires? D:

Art by Tradd Smith.
Art by Tradd Smith.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

The Iron Man nose!

Sorry, couldn't help myself. I did stumble across an interesting post that explains why Iron Man got a schnoz on his faceplate. According to Jim Shooter (emphasis mine):
That was before my time. You know, Stan had an incredible reputation. I think people were always in awe of him and if he would say anything, just some little remark in passing, you know it would become law. I remember one time there was a situation — this was before I was Editor in-Chief — where Stan looked at a picture of Iron Man and said, “Shouldn't he have a nose?” I know exactly what he meant. What he meant was the guy had drawn the mask so flat that it looked like there couldn't be a nose under there. All he wanted was a little room for the guy to have a nose, right? Immediately they went out and drew a triangular nose on Iron Man's costume and it was there for a year or so. Then later Stan saw this picture of Iron Man with this triangular nose on his face and he said, “What's this, why is this here?” And they said, “Oh, you don't want that?” “Well, it looks kind of strange, doesn't it?” They took that as an edict, too — “No nose on Iron Man.” Then, they all walked around saying, “Gee, he changes his mind a lot.”
So basically, Stan Lee was just pointing out something that I imagine a lot of people have pondered. I always thought the faceplate looked too flat and Tony's nose must be scrunched up something terrible in that thing. It doesn't seem to be a problem in the movies, where we can see Tony moving his face around a bit inside the helmet.

(via Vice)

Looks like WWE's trying to rebuild the prestige of the Intercontinental Championship

Credit: WWE.com.
And they're doing by way of a tournament.

A bit of background info for the non-wrestling fans: The Intercontinental Championship is a singles title that has been in the WWE since 1979. Hierarchy-wise, it's a second tier title, just behind the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but ahead (at least, in my opinion) of the United States Championship. The title has had a long history of being used as a stepping stone towards the world title and as a conciliation prize for guys who aren't getting a run with the big belt or a second run. For example, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Randy Savage, and CM Punk have all held the IC title before becoming world champions. On the flipside, The Miz, Christian, and Rey Mysterio have had runs with the belt after winning the world titles.

And the fact that the WWE had, until recently, two world titles (the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship) is what robbed the Intercontinental title of its prestige. Back in 2002, the WWE had a bloated roster after buying out WCW and ECW, and so they spun their two TV shows into autonomous entities, called Brand Extension. Each show had their own rosters and belts. Eventually this included a second world title and that's when the IC title went downhill. With two big belts, attention shifted away from the secondary belt and guys who normally would have been IC champs instead were pushed to the world titles. Another problem was that the guys who held the title had abysmal runs. Oftentimes, they would lose every match that wasn't a title defense.

Then, things got worse. The WWE Championship became the de facto world title, while the World Heavyweight Championship became more like a secondary title, which relegated the Intercontinental title to a third tier belt. Brand Extension ended in 2011 and the two world titles were unified in 2013, but the the company hasn't really put an effort into rebuilding the IC belt until now. Giving the belt to Big E Langston was a good start, but this tournament they started last night on Raw is a much bigger push towards that goal.

Monday, April 14, 2014

What I'm watching/not watching

Inspired by this post.

Mondays: Monday Night Raw. I can't stay away from wrestling, Daniel Bryan, The Shield, and Bray Wyatt are simply irresistible. Raw is three hours long, so that doesn't leave room for anything else.
Tuesdays: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., followed by Supernatural.
Wednesdays: Arrow. Pretty bare, I know, but I haven't found anything else to tempt me on that night.
Thursdays: Nothing. I used to watch The Big Bang Theory and TNA Wrestling, but I've lost interest in the former and the latter is crap. I've given Community and Parks & Rec tries and enjoyed them a lot, but for whatever reason, I just haven't gotten into them. I might shotgun some episodes over the weekend, though.
Fridays: You guessed it - nothing. Sometimes I watch Friday Night Smackdown, but not often. I tried to pick Continuum up again, but I just wasn't feeling it last week.
Saturdays: Nothing, unless Doctor Who is on. Orphan Black is on the schedule as soon as it returns.
Sunday:  Mad Men is back, so there's that. I need to get back into watching Bob's Burgers.

Not watching
Game of Thrones: Because I'm not a Lannister and can't afford HBO.
The Walking Dead: I'm just not into zombies.
The Big Bang Theory: I'm not part of the backlash the show is experiencing on the internet (specifically, Tumblr). I decided to start watching the show on CBS's website, but got behind, then just gave up.
Everything else on CBS: Their cop shows like NCIS and Criminal Minds are bland.
Almost Human: Schedule conflict with Raw. Plus, it's on Fox and we all know their track record with scifi shows.

Edit: Opps, forgot to link to the post that inspired this one.

Some more blog ideas

I've been thinking of adding a feature on this blog involving ladies. I've noticed that several blogs that I read do a thing every week where they post picture(s) of ladies. HeroPress does a Wonder Woman Wednesday, while Electronic Cerebrectomy does a Sunday Hottie and Kristen Bell Mondays. Cal does similar postings as well, so all around, it seems like a good idea.

But what to post? I'm leaning towards Power Girl on one day and random ladies on another day, and Christina Hendricks on another. Three babes a week sound good to you folks? I might even throw in some Tom Hiddleston for added flavor. Oh, and the pictures will be as work safe as possible, so no nudity or the like.

Deathstroke running some psy-ops on Arrow (spoilers)

Finally got around to watching the eighteenth ep of the second season of Arrow just now and I gotta say, I'm really digging how Slade Wilson is going after Oliver via mind games and manipulation, rather than just going directly at him. Case in point, in "Deathstroke", he kidnaps Thea, Oliver's sister and through this, tricks Ollie into making (albeit temporary) Isabel Rochev CEO of Queen Consolidated, who as it turns out, is working for Slade. She then seizes control by having the board of directors make her the permanent CEO. This lets them to focus the company's applied science division resources on replicating the Mirakuru serum running through his veins. It's also revealed at the end of the episode that the kidnapping was merely a distraction so that Slade could hijack a prison bus and recruit soldiers for his army.

Another bit of manipulation was when he released Thea and told her that Malcolm Merlyn was her biological father and that Ollie knew. I'm not sure if Roy leaving Starling City at the end of the ep was part of his plan too, but if I were him, I would say it was. Getting Quentin Lance arrested for aiding Arrow obviously was part of his plan and plays into his visit to Laurel, where he reveals Arrow's secret identity to her. My guess is that he wants her to use that bit of information as a bargaining chip to get her dad off the hook, or at least make Ollie think that she might.

My guess is that this is all part of a big distraction so that he can create an army of Mirakuru enhanced foot soldiers. He promised Sebastian Blood control of Starling City and such an army would be more than enough to do just that and more. His revenge against Oliver is just icing on the cake, a bonus.

Of course, it might not be about taking over the city. Maybe Slade is taking a page from Bane's playbook and trying to break Ollie down before moving in for the kill. He's already going after him psychologically and maybe he plans on using his army to wear Ollie down physically, like Bane did in Knightfall. Either way, I'm really digging where this is going.

We are living in strange times, my friends

Dwell on this for a moment: We're living in a world where Matthew McConaughey has an Oscar for Best Actor and Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't. We've got a superhero movie coming out this year starring a gun-toting alien raccoon, and another coming out next year starring Ant-Man. Disney owns Marvel, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones, while Ben Affleck is going to be Batman.

The world got weird, guys. It got real weird.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Well, that was as unexpected as the Spanish Inquistion: RIP The Ultimate Warrior

(via Comic Vine)

Well, it was quite a shock this morning to find out that WWF legend The Ultimate Warrior died yesterday at 54. What made it unexpected is that he was just inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame last Saturday and was on Monday Night Raw not even two days ago. The reports say that he collapsed yesterday while walking to his car, which is the opposite of how I first thought he died. I thought he had committed suicide because of the odd and now ominous speech he gave on Monday night:
No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man's heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them believe deeper in something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. I am Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans. And the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will run forever!

Also because Warrior was two scoops of nuts. He was also homophobic, which no one can or should try to whitewash even after his death. It's not a time to gloat either. Warrior had a wife and two daughters who just lost someone very important in their lives, so gloating over his death is beyond callous. So how to remember The Ultimate Warrior? Remember him as a hyperactive, psychotic wrestler who bested Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI and was half of the Mega Maniacs with Randy Savage. Remember him as the wrestler and not as the homophobe.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mercenary Sea looks interesting

At least judging by the cover to the first issue:

(via Comical Musings)
Action and adventure set in 1938—The South Seas. Japan has invaded China. War in Europe is imminent. Ex-bootlegger Jack Harper captains The Venture, a refitted German U-Boat, with a crew of expats, mercenaries and treasure hunters. They do whatever it takes to stay afloat, often running up against pirates, headhunters, spies, and soldiers. They’re always one step away from the greatest score of their lives...or their certain demise.
Did I say interesting? Because I totally meant badass. The other covers look nice too. I really dig the retro-style of the cover and the pulpish plot. I mean, a group of fortune hunters in a German U-boat? Shit yes!

Man, oh man, if only I had a comic book store in town and you know, money.

Books bought: Icebreaker, Firefox, and Spy Story

I finally found some books worth buying from a local Goodwill; those places aren't the goldmines they used to be.

Icebreaker by John Gardner.

I've been meaning to buy some James Bond novels and while Icebreaker wasn't penned by Ian Fleming, I'm not picky.
007 never thought he'd see the day...
But James Bond is back and working together with the KGB, CIA and MOSSAD against a deadly neo-Nazi force whose awesome power has the world teetering on the brink of destruction.

Cover via Open Library.
Spy Story by Len Deighton.

Spy fiction is also on my buy list, specifically the older stuff from the 60s-80s.
A Russian admiral prefers defection to death . . . a beautiful blonde does custom-tailoring for cadavers ... a London computer center plays at macabre war games . . . a cocky colonel in the American Marines takes over a British intelligence caper ... and an insubordinate English spy is caught in a brutal, devious East-West conspiracy that comes to its chilling climax on the snow-swept Arctic ice.
Cover via Fantastic Fiction.
Firefox by Craig Thomas.

Love the movie, which stars Clint Eastwood as an American pilot and scarred Vietnam vet who is enlisted by American and British intelligence to steal an experimental fighter jet being tested out by the Soviets - the fictitious MiG-31 Firefox. Point of interest, there is an actual MiG-31, the Foxhound, currently in service with the air forces of Russia and Kazakhstan.

Cover via Amazon.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cop Hater by Ed McBain

Note: I was originally going to post this on my other blog, The Low Culture, but I've decided to post it here instead.
Clocking in at 150 pages, it was also a short start, but by no means was it lacking.

(via Tipping My Fedora)

It was a good book and hopefully a good start on reading that stack of detective/mystery/crime fiction. Some background info on the series and it's author before I start talking about the book itself: Ed McBain was the pen name of Evan Hunter, who famously wrote the novel Blackboard Jungle, which was later turned into an Academy Award-nominated movie starring Sidney Portier and Glenn Ford. McBain was one of the names he used when he wrote "serious" fiction and specifically this was the one he used for his vaunted 87th Precinct series.

The series itself is set in Isola, a district of a fictional city based on New York City. In the foreword of Cop Hater, McBain explains that he originally was going to have the series set in NYC, but went the fictitious route because he kept annoying the NYPD daily with questions about their procedures and such, and decided it would be easier to just create his own city. As far as I know, the city went unnamed, but Isola was a stand-in for Manhattan. The novels follow Steve Carella and the detectives of the 87th Precinct as they do their job of solving crimes and living life. The series was inspired by the Dragnet radio show, and I definitely got a Dragnet vibe from reading Cop Hater. Hell, there's even a reference made to Joe Friday!

That aside, let's get to Cop Hater and I should warn you right now: there will be spoilers, so proceed with caution.

Like I said at the beginning of the post, the book only clocks in at 150 pages, but man, oh man, is it ever packed full to the gills! The compact nature insures that there aren't any dead spots or filler and really heightened the suspense. This was especially true as I neared the end of the book with only twenty, then fifteen, then ten pages left to go, and I wondered how and when the story would be resolved.

I really enjoyed the plot, which involves three detectives being gunned down in cold blood and the efforts of the Carella and the 87th to bring justice to their fallen comrades (one of whom was Carella's partner). Cop Hater starts with the first detective, Mike Reardon taking two .45 caliber bullets in the back of the head as he walked to the 87th precinct's station house. Some time later, his partner, David Foster, is gunned down on his way home. The majority of the book then follows the investigation into their murders, which at first are thought to be grudge killings by a vengeful criminal that the two had arrested in the past. Nothing pans out and little progress is made, aside from having a heel print from the killer's shoe.

Then Carella's partner, Hank Bush, is murdered. Here, the detectives catch a break, thanks to the quick reaction and thinking of Bush. Unlike the first two, Bush managed to draw his gun and put a bullet through the killer's shoulder. He also succeeded in scratching up the killer's face and ripping out some hair before dying. This allows the crime lab to gain some much needed information about the killer, such as race, height, weight, profession, etc. All of this is explain in the form of one of the book's several info dumps. Still, the progress this information provides still doesn't move them anywhere closer to bringing the cop killer to justice. The detectives do make some more headway after a doctor reports getting a patient with a gunshot wound to the shoulder. Unfortunately, by the time the police arrive, the man is long gone. The doctor provides a detailed description of what the suspect looked like and the police lift his fingerprints from some stirrups he had touched, but again, progress stalls - the prints come up blank in both the police and FBI databases, and despite circulating a police artist sketch of the suspect to the media, the 87th's detectives are left spinning their wheels waiting for a break in the case.

There are two small subplots in the book that introduce two characters that have a big impact in the story's climax. The first is Teddy Franklin, Steve Carella's girlfriend (and later, wife). While she only shows up like three times in the entire book, I found her interesting because of her disability: Teddy is deaf and mute. Considering that this book came out in 1956 and she's the main character's love interest, I thought this was very interesting.

The other character is a newspaper (tabloid) reporter named Cliff Savage and man, is this guy a bag of dicks. He's one of those stereotypical reporters out to get a story even if he has to make one up.I call this guy a bag of dicks because he almost succeeds unintentionally in getting three people killed during the course of his four brief appearances in Cop Hater. The first time is after he tries to interview the member of a teenage street gang because he's convinced, CONVINCED, that Reardon and Foster were murdered by teenagers. Well, this street gang, The Grovers, decided to jump this nosy reporter to scare him off. Unfortunately, they jump the wrong guy - in this case, a street cop who happened to be wearing a similar suit as the reporter and with the same hair color - and one of the teens ends up shooting the cop in the shoulder. The cop survives, but the precinct is forced to divert their attention from the main crime itself to rounding up the gang and finding that shooter.

The second time is near the end of the book when he interviews a reluctant Carella under the pretense that it was all off the record. Not surprisingly, Savage publishes a sensationalist version of the conversation and publishes the name and address of Teddy. This was one of the few times in my life that I've wanted to punch a fictional character right in the face. Well, not surprisingly, the killer goes to Teddy's apartment and holds her at gunpoint while waiting for Carella shows up. Here, Teddy saves the day as the killer only knows that she's mute, but not deaf. She uses this to her and Steve's advantage, when she sees the handle of her front door turning left and right (this was how Carella "knocked" and why Teddy opened to door for the killer) and throws a drink in the killer's face. This causes him to yell, which alerts Carella, who in turn, barges in and shoots the killer in the leg.

Apprehended, the killer reveals his name as Paul Mercer and explains that while he murdered the three detectives, only Bush was his true target - Reardon and Foster were killed simply to give the false impression that there was a cop killer on the loose. Mercer drops another bombshell: He was put up to it by a woman, namely Bush's wife, Alice! Now, that was a plot twist! Needless to say, she's arrested and when questioned by Carella, she claims she put Mercer up to it because she hated Bush and knew he would never give her a divorce. She also arrogantly claims that she'll never be convicted "as long as there is one man on the jury", banking on her good looks and bustline.

Heh, the jury has eight men and finds both her and Mercer guilty of murder, and the judge sends them to the electric chair. The book ends on a high note with Steve marrying Teddy, and the heatwave that permeated the story finally breaking.

My rating: 9/10. While I really liked the book and plan on reading the rest of the series, I wish there was a bit more meat on the bone.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Let's Play GTA V - Heist, or, curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

Watch this and you will laugh. Laugh and wonder why anybody in the Fake AH Crew trusts Ryan Haywood ever.

I can't say that the outcome of their carefully planned heist played out as it did. You knew that just by how well planned it was that disaster awaited them. Especially Gavin. Gavin and anybody in close proximity to him in the game.