Showing posts with label news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news. Show all posts

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tragedy in Paris

Like all of you, I am furious to read about the terrorist attacks in Paris.  May all free nations unite to fight and end this barbarity.

We're with France.  May the U.S. always remember the great debt we owe France, and always be among the first to lend aid.

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

Saturday, June 27, 2015

This Moment In History: Supreme Court Rules for Equality for Same-Sex Marriage

Taking a break from pop-culture commentary and irrelevant minutia to reflect on the overall cultural thunderstrike that came across the internet this morning.  The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, has legalized same-sex marriage in the United States.  

No doubt the armies of lawyers and pundits are lining up to stoke the fires and make some money off good old fashioned rage.  It's to be expected.  But today I think we broke through another barrier.  We abandoned separate rules for a class of our citizenry for a common definition of the most important conscious relationship most people ever enter.

I am aware not all of my readership shares my belief that this ruling reflects part of America's steady progress in recognizing the rights of all its citizens.  Here I have to break with you, but I hope you know, it's with an olive branch extended.  Recognizing the equality of love between two people as they define that relationship, not hemmed in by concepts of gender or adherence to non-legal codes, whether the Supreme Court had stepped in or not, seems to me an act of human decency.  At the heart of that of all of this is the word "love", and it seems that a victory for love should only be amplified by an extension of some of the same with an open hand rather than a closed fist.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tragedy in South Carolina

What can you say in the face of this kind of horror?  

Today is a day to mourn.  Tomorrow and afterward, we need to be better and to never, ever take another excuse nor tolerate the terrorizing and murder of our fellow citizens by anyone.

Speak up.  Say something.  We're a better nation than this.  Humanity is better.

Remember Charleston.  Remember every injustice.  No more excuses.  No more silence.  We shouldn't have returned to the methods and hatred of the 1960's in our lifetime.  Make it a better tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2015

When Little Kids Wear the "S" and do it better than anything in the comics

Today this video made it across my path via social media.  It's a video about a kid in Detroit who has started a charity that provides food, clothing and necessary articles to the people of his city.  He's a kid who puts on a cape and the Superman "S" when he's at work.  The adults (and kids) who are helping him are similarly decked out in Superman gear, an easy and inexpensive get these days.

The video was part of a recent student film festival at the White House.  The video is short and it's worth a view.

Unrelated, these little girls were part of the Science Fair at the White House.

Here's what's on the White House website about why the girls are there.

Emily Bergenroth, Alicia Cutter, Karissa Cheng, Addy Oneal, and Emery Dodson, 6 (Tulsa, OK)After chatting with their school librarian, the “Supergirls” Junior FIRST Lego League Team from Daisy Girl Scouts’ troop 411 discovered that some people have disabilities that make it difficult to turn the pages of a book. They came up with the concept of a battery-powered page turner that could turn pages for people who are paralyzed or have arthritis. The Supergirls sketched out a design concept and culled through motorized Lego components and gears to figure out how to build a working prototype. They discovered that the friction from rubber Lego tires could be used to lift and turn the pages of a book. They honed the device with a second motorized component that forces pages to lay flat after being turned over. The Supergirls’ creation was selected by the statewide FIRST program director to be the only project exhibited at an educational conference for librarians and educators in the region.

These are some amazing kids, and I think it's not a mistake that their parents and families, no doubt a bit insulated from the fact that DC Comics has launched a "New 52" (that even now they're backing away from) wanted to put the capes and the shield on these kids.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Je suis Charlie

There's nothing much to add to the discussion.  Freedom of expression is a hard earned right, and on the long curve of human history - a new one from a species that tends to silence the ones asking questions.

I am sorry for the tragedy, and heartened by the collective response of the free world to such a cowardly, uncivilized affront to our principles.

Monday, May 20, 2013

No Post Today

Sadly, I've no pearls of wisdom to bestow upon you.

Just...  nothing really going on.  Did some reading.  Watched more of the North America documentary.  Exercised.  And, of course, watched the news.

Let's all wish the best for those in the Oklahoma City area, particularly Moore.  I'm heartbroken to hear of the deaths reported from the scene.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Taking a night - blast in West, Texas

Man, this week.

As you may have heard, there has been an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, a town Texans are familiar with as its on the I-35 corridor between Austin and Dallas, and home to the locally famous Czech Stop (we have a long history of Czech communities in Texas).

As of now, reports are coming in that there are over one-hundred injured and possibly dozens dead.

Red Cross and emergency crews are headed to West from all over.  Twitter-pal Ruiz mentioned he knows his workplace sent crews to the scene.

This was a terrible accident, and not the insanity of the Boston bombings, but it's damaged a huge part of a town here in Texas.  Obviously.

We're going to take a pass on blogging further tonight.

Monday, April 15, 2013

With Boston, With Us All

My former co-worker and pal, Octavio, ran in the Boston Marathon today.  It was how I found out anything was happening.  His message on facebook basically read "Not sure what happened at the finish line, but Johanna and I are okay."

And I am grateful that the first thing I knew about what was happening in Boston was that despite the fact that something clearly very bad had happened (and I understood the scale within a minute or two), the one person I knew who could have been right there was all right.

Like all of you, I spent the afternoon trying to work, but really checking news sites and social media, wincing a bit at the folks who clearly came on line to post and had no idea what was happening in the world as they did so.  It's a forgivable faux pas in 2013, and I'm not sure that the fact that we've seen it before makes me feel better.

I scrolled through quotes from Mr. Rogers and the other messages shared on Facebook over and over, or retweeted on the twitters until it became an echo chamber.  In any other case, it might be one of those things that drives you nuts, but here, today, it's psychic armor.

We're learning, too.

Folks out there in the social media reminded each other not to let the media's early reports rush us like cattle into those narrow chutes of narrative.  And somehow we agreed it was all right to not have answers immediately.

We're getting good at this, and I'm not sure that's ideal, but it's better than the talking heads and the pointing fingers (pointing the finger of blame for our karmic retribution seems remote and archaic).  Since we saw the Federal building smoldering in Oklahoma City, us Gen Xers have known the feeling in the pit of our stomachs that our parents knew from the assassinations and disasters we saw in movies and read about in class.  These days, all of us know how to brace ourselves as cable news goes berserk, the internet lights up and, in the first 24 hours, stories pretending to be facts get passed in front of us like a shell game.

We know the score.  Maybe not exactly when it happens in our doorway, but we know it when it when the push alerts come though, the emails arrive and that casual look at a headline stops us in our tracks.  

Whether for political reasons or otherwise, the cowardice and cruelty of the bombing is infused with the self-absorbed fantasies of the men who've flown planes into buildings, shot up elementary schools and movie theaters, delivered by someone believing themselves a protagonist in a delusional narrative who honestly believes that somehow the murder of innocent people fulfills some story in their head in which they are a hero.

It doesn't matter what the perpetrator believed they were achieving - they failed.  What I saw were police literally running into action, paramedics and doctors who signed up for the marathon who thought they might get case of dehydration during the race finding themselves in an unthinkable situation, demonstrating what it means to have decency and courage.  Athletes who went from running 26 miles to donate blood.  Bystanders leaping into action to assist the wounded.  People opening their homes to take in those who were stranded.

Tonight, baseball was played.  People carried on.  We might have a few months of some folks who have second thoughts about joining crowds in public, bags taken into a stadium might get a second look, or we might have a few new procedures for security to follow, but whatever they thought they were doing, the attacker gained nothing and just managed to show us, one more time, what people can be when times when times turn dark, no matter how abruptly.

Tonight, tomorrow, for as long as it takes, we're all with Boston, and for the good in us that I truly believe will always shine in these moments of darkness.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

For Pope Benedict as he departs office

Apparently, in 2005, I welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to the job with this post...

So, so much has changed since 2005.

We lost Jackson, YouTube became a thing you could embed....

As Pope Ben leaves office, let's hear it one more time...

That's right, I've been blogging longer than a Pope's tenure in office.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Orson Scott Card Conundrum - Social Ideals and The Purchase of a Superman Comic

All right, here we go.

I don't really want to write this post, but it's about Superman, it's in the news, etc..

Famed Sci-Fi writer Orson Scott Card has some social views that are well known within the comics and sci-fi "communities".  Card has written some highly successful work such as the famed Ender's Game (which I haven't read), and started working in comics a bit with Ultimate Iron Man several years ago now (also - haven't read).

Specifically, Card takes issue with homosexuality and gay marriage.  He sits on the board of an organization that is more or less dedicated to opposing gay marriage in the US, the National Organization for Marriage.

Last week, when the new Adventures of Superman was announced, Card was listed among the writers, and (if you're keeping score), specifically, he was one of the creators associated with the project that made me blink a bit while reviewing the roster of talent.

Full disclosure:  I am fully in support of marriage rights for the LGBT community and believe that this is the civil rights issue of our generation.  Fundamentally, I believe in extending the same legal privileges to all consenting adults in a free society, and am against legal loopholes or half-measures that would place legal or social restrictions on someone based upon race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.  </ lefty boilerplate>

The questions then arise:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Siegel/ Superman Case Seems to Wrap It Up (For Now)

According to the articles I read Thursday, Warner Bros. is back to owning/ maintaining/ safeguarding with an army of lawyers - the rights to Superman, more or less as we've always known the character.  A judge somewhere far, far up the court system food chain (but not the Supreme Court) invalidated a 2008 decision to give the Siegel family many rights - essentially anything that had appeared in Action Comics #1 - and reverted the rights to Superman based upon a 2001 agreement that was more or less a "here's a pile of cash as a royalty" deal.

I won't get into the legal maneuvering too much, but it is a sordid, weird tale with attorneys with shady motivations, break-in's at law offices and all sorts of nonsense.  As this whole process has gone on and on, nobody in this has come out a hero, and it seems like the Siegels will get a bundle of money, but not the rights to Superman.*

I have stated before that the Superman comics have been a bit of a disaster in The New 52 because so much of the character was going to be affected if WB lost the case.  They had some part of Superman, just as the Siegels would have a very raw version of Superman.  They had an alien character with exciting powers and the highly licensable Superman shield.  But what else?

By virtue of owning Action Comics #1, the Siegels might have owned things like:

Friday, December 14, 2012

A moment of silence

My thoughts are with the families of Sandy Hook Elementary and Newtown, Connecticut.

There are no words, and so I'll not try to provide them.  Take a moment for the families, and one for your loved ones.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TX Panhandle, TX Secession and the Freakout in Comic Culture over CosPlay Girls

For some reason, I am in the Texas Panhandle.

It's work related.  In theory, I should be home in 48 hours.

It is safe to say I am about done with the schedule I've been on for the past 6 weeks or so and the Thanksgiving Holiday cannot really come fast enough.  I could really use some time just laying very still while someone else makes cornbread stuffing and lets me silently appreciate the Rockettes during their number at the Macy's Parade.

if loving the Rockettes is wrong, I don't want to be right

TX Secession

I know it made headlines, but the petition sent to the White House and chatter about Texas seceding is all that it is.  Chatter.  The petition doesn't have enough signatures to fill half of DKR Memorial Stadium, and a whole lot of those aren't from Texas.  I expect that in the years to come "secession" will be the pouty rallying cry of Texans wishing they could take their ball and go home when things don't go the way of insignificant politians from scrubby, backwater towns in The Lone Star State (seriously, press, stop giving these people a megaphone).

Monday, November 12, 2012

I am returned, briefly. Also, Jason's front page story.

I just got back from visiting family in Tallahassee, Florida where a good chunk of my relatives dwell.  Nice weekend, great town.  It's a blur at this point.

Tuesday I depart for the northwesterly regions of Texas, and will return Thursday.  And I sort of refuse to travel again until after Christmas.

By the way, Jason was on the front page of the Austin American-Statesman!  As some of you know, my brother is a prosecutor in Travis County, Texas.  As such, he does sometimes put away bad guys or deal with crooks, but the last few years he's been working in a Veterans' Court assisting former service men and women who are having issues, primarily associated with PTSD.

there's ol' Beard-Face himself on the left, making JUSTICE
You can read the story here, which doesn't really mention Jason or his role, but it's all about his office.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Barack Obama Wins Four More Years

I'm posting this to have a clear record.  This post will go up Thursday morning, but I stayed up far, far too late on Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning watching NBC and ABC news covering the election, beginning around 10:00.

Most of you will guess who I voted for, but this isn't a political blog, and we're not going to dwell on the particulars of who received which vote from me.

I will say I am pleased that Austin voted in geographic representation to the City Council, doing away with the At-Large system that had - as Austin has grown - meant that areas (like the 78745) were not necessarily feeling the love from a city council focused on growth in the urban corridor and leaving those of us in Lower Austin out of future development plans for things we can use, like mass transit.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Texas Voting Demographics

This is interesting.

click to enlarge

There's no point here except that I thought I'd share some actual representations of information. I just never really have a feel for Texas' voting patterns outside of Austin and that the majority of Texas is red.

We often say "Austin is a little blue dot in the middle of the state", and that's true.  What I didn't know was that Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso would be blue, and I really didn't know The Valley was that blue.

By this time, we should be having a bit of this...

My pre-loaded post for election night as I avoid the internet and television.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Obviously, I don't need to tell you about the horrible storm and its aftermath

Holy cats, y'all.  I confess that I thought the storm, Hurricane Sandy, was going to be the bajillionth false alarm the 24-hour news cycle mutants had thrown at us in the past few years.  Keep in mind, I'm the guy who refused to leave the house for most of a Saturday because I thought I was going to see a tsunami hit Hawaii and then it was just some mildly choppy waves.  That was a tremendous let down.

In retrospect, that probably doesn't make me sound like a good person, and I probably could have kept that to myself.

But Sandy was and is all too real.  I don't need to tell you that.

I am a little disappointed that somehow Disney buying Star Wars seems like bigger news than the potential weather-related damage to our economy, infrastructure and political system, but: priorities, I guess.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cap is a Write-In for President In a Comic Somewhere

As we head into election season, the online media looks for click-fodder, and Marvel and DC think up events that will get headlines rather than sell some damn comics...

Was I surprised to read on a mainstream news site that Captain America is going to become President of the United States in the "Ultimate" version of the Marvel Universe?  Well, yeah.  I mean, that's a pretty drastic idea.  Of course, I haven't followed the Ultimate universe in a while, and last I checked they'd also killed off Peter Parker, half the X-Men, and, I think, basically gone "dystopian" with their version of the world.  So, you know, whatever.

I mean, Cap over in the mainline Marvel U pondered a run circa 1980 (we got Reagan instead, who, while charming, couldn't have taken Batroc the Leaper).  And Superman was elected President in one of those "Imaginary Stories" back in the day, Lex won the election in 2000 as a third party candidate (with Superman's childhood pal, Pete Ross, as VP), and Morrison made a version of Superman President who appeared as recently as Action Comics #9 (Volume 2).  And, Superman has been the Prime Minister of Russia over in Red Son.  And that doesn't include the dozens of times Superman went crazy and declared himself either king of the gorillas, some locality or of all the Earth.

Back in the 1970's, Batgirl served in Congress for a number of years (it was insane).  And, of course, one must never forget DC oddball youth-culture-appeal character Prez Rickard.

and the President thought he'd really discovered something when he watched  his first Kubrick movie...
So, basically, comics are full of crazy-brained stunts and goofy ideas about our elected (and not-elected) leaders.  They always have been, and I guess they always will be.  I'm glad that superhero comics aren't above the sort of wacky story telling that leads to stuff like Batgirl running for office, but I'm an old reader and seeing Cap sworn in as President on a write-in vote doesn't exactly blow my mind.  I hope younger readers feel differently.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A few things. I'm going to bed.

Into the long weekend.  Here we go.

1.  The mother-in-law, Judy, has returned home!  This is big news.  She'll be receiving rehabilitation at home for a while, and then, I guess, maybe at a clinic.  But watching her progress over the last 20 days or so has been absolutely stunning.  And, if I can step back a pace, it's also been completely fascinating.

Judy had damage in her speech center, and so in the days immediately following her surgery, she couldn't say much.  And then more words came, and she could sometimes communicate what she wanted, but not very often.  It's this slow build up.  You can tell all the words are on the hard drive, and her thoughts are complete, but she's having trouble accessing a lot of her vocabulary.  So while she isn't slurring not is there any loss of that fashion, she might not remember a word like "California".  Even after you say "California".

The really interesting bit is what is there.  A lot of phrases are there completely intact, and if you want her to sing a song she knows, she can do it from beginning to end.  I sat with her last week and a commercial came on which used "Blue Skies", and when it ended, she sang the whole song.  She does this with great regularity.  Apparently, songs and phrases are in an easy-to-reach part of the memory bank.

Anyway, Jamie went down today and worked with her and hung out.  I think I'm going down Sunday.  But it's great to have Judy home and I am sure my father-in-law, Dick, is pretty pleased to not be sitting on the couch or chair in the hospital.  Kudos to him for all the hard work.

2.  The RNC is on but I haven't watched a minute, just as I haven't watched a convention since high school, so no news there.  I'm not really following the election except via, and, people... it's not pretty coming from either side. Let's just say I think we had a good run with this "democracy" idea, but we may need to move onto the Philosopher-King model.

I would also pitch the notion that we just let a council of scientists who would judge you via videoconference rule us.  The one flaw in this plan would be if they ignored crucial, planet-saving scientific evidence.  Which would never happen.

3.  The annual sale is on at Austin Books and Comics, so if you're in town and want half-off on back issues or to go raid the back-issue store, they're open all weekend.  

I had dinner with PalKevin who does not read comics, but he wanted to go with me to ABC afterward, and it was fun walking around with him.  I found out he's read all the John Carter books (we agreed to disagree on the movie), but I had a harder time actually selling him on any comics.

As a man who already owns a lot of comics, I do have a strategy.  I basically knew of a bunch of back issues I wanted that I didn't want to pay full-price for, and I just waited until this week, and then I bought them.  I didn't really look for anything new, and yet, somehow, I was able to spend money.  I was a bit more impulsive at the Sidekick Store, but not too much.  I realize I am getting picky about the conditions of my Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane issues, and I'm not ready to start with reader copies unless its a book I've just not seen out before.

Came home with a lot of Joe Kubert drawn comics, including Tor, Our Army at War and others.  And I picked up the DC Christmas Special with the John Byrne drawn Enemy Ace story which I've had in reprints, but, you know.  Enemy Ace.