Saturday, July 11, 2015

Signal Watch Reads: Tarzan of the Apes (1912) - audiobook

I have no idea if kids today even know the name Tarzan, and I suspect that if they do, its as one of the lesser Disney animated features.  As a product of the 70's and 80's, I was exposed to televised reruns of Johnny Weismuller films, comics, cartoons, and a general presence of Tarzan as a still-kinda-relevant pop-culture figure.  Swinging from a rope meant you had to give the Weismuller yell, climbing a tree might lead to visions of swinging from branch to branch, and being a bit rambunctious could lead to your mother calling you "Tarzan".

I also had this comic magazine, Marvel Super Special #29.

It turns out, this was a pretty much direct adaptation of the original novel, including captions from the book, but only the first 1/2- 1/3rd of the book, choosing a solid ending point when Tarzan asserts himself as King of the Apes.  Mark Evanier is listed as the writer, but he mostly reframed the original novel into a graphic novel form, and that cover seemed absolutely amazing to me when I was a kid.  It also meant that, as the book went along, I had more or less already read the first 1/3rd.

I haven't read much in the way of Edgar Rice Burroughs, just the first three John Carter-Barsoom novels, but I certainly grew up knowing Burroughs' name.  I just...  I dunno, I never read the book or books (there are about 20 of them, I think).  But, we're in a reading pattern right now that's about making up for old sins and checking in on some of these old-school favorites, and I'd put off reading Tarzan for long enough.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Noir Watch: Key Largo (1948)

I didn't have a particular reason I'd missed Key Largo (1948), but somehow I'd never gotten around to watching it, which is crazy.  Just the three names above the title should have been enough to get me to seek it out, and had I noticed Claire Trevor and Lionel Barrymore are also in the movie AND its directed by John Huston...

Anyway, better late than never.

Still adrift three years after the war, Major Frank McCloud stops by the hotel where he knows the father and wife of one of his brothers-in-arms from the Italy campaign are residing, way down in Key Largo, Florida.  His comrade was killed in action, and its not clear McCloud is doing terribly well on this side of the war.

But when he arrives at the hotel, it's the summer off-season, he can't immediately find his buddy's father or wife, and there are a few toughs hanging around the hotel bar with a blonde who seems like maybe she lives at the bottom of a bottle.

During all this, the local authorities are out looking for a couple of Native Americans who ran off from jail.  And, of course, a hurricane is blowing in.

We learn too late that the men are part of Johnny Rocco's gang, an old school gangster who was deported years ago and who is trying to make his way back into the US.

Awesome Watch: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Back when I was in high school, when the Kevin Costner movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves came out, I believe it was TNT that counter-programmed by showing the 1938 The Adventures of Robin Hood that opening weekend.  In conjunction, they held a telephone call-in poll for which the audience liked better, and, holy @#$% did the 1938 version win by a landslide.

And, even when you're at that age when you're like "oh, new movies are inherently better", I was pretty darn aware that this movie was way, way better than the Costner version.  I certainly didn't think the 90's version was bad, if you ignored the cheesy Bryan Adams theme and Costner's accent, but The Adventures of Robin Hood felt like the mother of all fun action movies.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Giant Robot Challenge: US throws down the gauntlet, Japan accepts

I've mellowed as I've aged.  Now all I want is a quiet evening, reasonably priced cocktails, sleepy dogs and robot fights.

I am not talking about your little BattleBots or whatever...  If I wanted to see remote controlled cars running over each other, I'd hang out in a hobby shop on Saturdays.

People, we live in age of unparalleled wonders, and as I progress through my 40th year, I am now satisfied to know that, before I slip off the mortal coil, it is looking increasingly likely that I will see two multi-ton robots beat the scrap out of each other.

Cry havoc and let slip loose the bots of war!

Monday, July 6, 2015

TL;DR: Finally Reading Marvel's "Infinity", event comics and the DC-ification of the Marvel Universe

It took me a really long time to make it through Marvel's Infinity collection of Avengers stories.  There was no "Trade 2" of New Avengers, so in order to keep up, I had to buy a huge, expensive trade with a mix of Avengers comics that I wasn't reading.

Back in Arizona, I remember seeing the recipe for a "Kool-Aid Pie" and, more or less based on the name, I went ahead and decided I must try it out.

I hadn't ever done much baking, or made a pie, but I bought the ingredients, all of which looked like ingredients I should probably have for a pie.  A crust. Sugar.  Dehydrated milk, I think.  Then I got out the mixer and whatnot, and maybe 1/3rd of the way through the process of making the pie, I re-read the recipe and realized - "oh, I'm just whipping up sugar and Kool-Aid and putting it in a pie-crust".  It was literally an inedible pie.  It would have looked neat and cool sitting there all purple, but there was nothing really there.  No pie in my pie, just- purpleish whipped sugar.  Not even the basics of an actual pie, just something you would throw in a movie, I guess.

That's kind of Marvel's Infinity.  It seems like it should be a story.  It seems like it's going somewhere, but it was sort of a hand-waving illusion to get you to next, more expensive event, and all of this was some laborious and unnecessary Kool-Aid pie.

oh, yeeeeaahhhhhhh....!!!!

To be blunt -

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Taste Test: Taco Bell's "Cap'n Crunch Delights"

Well, Leaguers, it's been a long, long time. A lot of moronic food has come and gone over the years, but nothing has really piqued my curiosity. Yeah, even the waffle breakfast taco did nothing for me. It was incredibly stupid, but somehow it lacked that je nes sais quoi.

 But today I saw an ad for something worthy of my Taste Testing talents. And so, I felt the need to dust off the taste buds and go to work for you, The People.

Just when I think I'm out...

Yeah.  @#$%ing "Cap'n Crunch Delights".  No @#$%ing idea.  I was literally on the elliptical figuring out what we should do for dinner and said to Jamie "grab me some of those Cap'n Crunch things at the Bell."  She tried to stop me, but I wasn't thinking of me.  I was thinking of you, The People.

So, to review, Cap'n Crunch is a breakfast cereal famous for three things: