Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Social Change on the Airwaves

Football season has started again.  Of course this means that every week for the next 19 weeks all sports networks will be doing nothing but talking about what happened on Sunday, and what may happen next Sunday.  Also, we should be talking about racism in athletics.
click me
The Oneida Nation has paid for a radio campaign aimed at the Washington football team with the goal of getting the mascot changed.  a full story can be read here on USA Today's site.  But a quick Google of Oneida Radio Ad will give many different links to similar stories.

click for article

Click the linky links below to hear the radio ads.  So far there are two spots.

click for first ad
click for second ad

Who is Bold Enough to Wear Green and Purple Spandex?

Bet you can't guess the next Batman villain to be featured on my stupid blog.  I'll give you some clues, it'll be a game like 20 questions.  Some may even call it a riddle...

Created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang (best name in comics history!) in 1948, The Riddler first appeared in Detective Comics #140.  Edward Nashton, sometimes named Edward Nigma (E. Nigma being a synonym for mystery), is unlike other villains, as he rarely kills anyone, however, his obsession with solving puzzles and proving his superior intellect puts him right in the same ballpark with all of the other obsessed Batman villains.  

Unlike some of the other campy Batman bad guys who were able to be rewritten by contemporary writers into scary villains, The Riddler has always been, and probably will continue to be, a joke.  There is something far too silly about a criminal who leaves clues that will lead to his arrest.  His modis operandi does not allow him to be taken too seriously.  A criminal that wants to be caught shouldn't expect any respect from anyone.  However, this character continues to be a mainstay villain, despite the camp and the stupid gimmick. 

Carey and Schumacher couldn't kill him
Recently, the Riddler's reputation was given an overhaul.  Jeph Loeb seems to like the character, as he uses him in his Long Halloween/When in Rome/Dark Victory storyline, and also in his Hush story arc.  In Hush, the Riddler is revealed to be the mastermind behind the entire plot, manipulating Ra's Al Ghul, Tommy Eliot, and the rest of the villainous cast.  

The people that brought us the Arkham video game series have also contributed to building the Riddler into a character worthy of more than just pathetic comedy.  In Arkham City, he is portrayed as psychotically obsessed with proving his superiority to Batman.  He takes hostages and sets up death traps that Batman is forced to solve in order to save innocent lives.  This is a departure from past versions of the character, in that he is willing to murder.  

In the current comic book continuity, the Riddler had been revealed to be "cured" and was moonlighting as a private eye in Gotham, often teaming up with Batman to solve crimes.  So, much like Catwoman and Mr. Freeze, it looked like the Riddler would end up a reformed villain.  However, in the See No Evil story arc, the Riddler's psychosis returns and he starts taking private eye type jobs from other villains.  This arc ends with the Riddler murdering his partner/sidekick, Enigma.  

After the reboot, the Riddler is found in Arkham Asylum where he is released by the Joker during the Death of the Family story arc.  This Riddler character is portrayed as a more sober genius, and is seen as intellectually dangerous by the Joker.  

I definitely approve.  I'm not a fan of classic villains going soft and turning into anti-heroes.  It appears that the Riddler is headed toward a more dangerous characterization as seen in Arkham City instead of the clownshoes of a villain we all grew to know and expect.   

Monday, September 16, 2013

Put this Sponge on Your Head, Please

Ride the Lightning
1984, MegaForce
produced by Flemming Rasmussen and Mark Whitaker

James Hetfield- rhythmn guitar, vocals
Kirk Hammet- lead guitar
Cliff Burton- bass
Lars Ulrich- drums

  • Creeping Death/Am I Evil/Blitzkrieg
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • Fade to Black
This is my favorite Metallica album. To this day, every time I hear bells on the radio, I wait, hoping. After three bells, I get dissapointed, because that means the song is Hells Bells by ACDC and not For Whom the Bell Tolls, which I'd so much rather hear.  

I listened to this album the other day for the first time in years, and marveled at how much Hetfield doesn't sound like Hetfield. Compared to contemporary Metallica, it sounds like they have a completely different singer.

This album has many of my all time favorite Metallica songs. Ride the Lightning, Fade to Black, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Creeping Death, and Call of the Ktulu (Cthulhu, idiots) are each pretty fantastic, Trapped Under Ice isn't a bad song either. In fact, that only leaves Fight Fire with Fire, and Escape on the list of songs that make me go "meh". If only two out of eight tracks are unremarkable, that's a pretty great album.  

Also, this album was pressed as vinyl records (1984 was still two early for CDs to dominate the business) and created some cool collectors items. 500 pressings were packaged in green sleeves instead of the blue cover shown above. Also, the Fade to Black promo single was pressed in glow in the dark green vinyl. These both go up for auction once in a while and bring in 200 to 400 dollars.  Not as much as the clear pressing of NoFX's The Decline... that's ridiculous.