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Showing posts from 2016

Skylab's Skyfall

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On this date, in 1979, The United States' first space station, Skylab, tumbled out of its orbit and disintegrated in the earth's atmosphere near Perth, Australia.
I remember watching occasional news reports of the four Skylab missions between launch in 1973 and its final mission and subsequent abandonment in 1974, and the video images of the station in orbit over the earth were exhilarating. While in orbit, US astronauts set the space endurance records. We had already demonstrated our space travel superiority over the Soviets by landing men on the moon and returning them safely to earth nearly eight times over a ten year period, and it seemed that there was nothing that could keep up us from setting up a permanent station in orbit around the earth, then one on the moon and from thence, beyond into the rest of the solar system. It was a heady time to be a NASA groupie, to be sure.
But then, after only six years in orbit and a cost of over $2 billion, on July 11, 1979, the once…

What I'm grooving on, Summer 2016 edition

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Every once in a while, I get sucked into something I hadn't expected, and find myself enjoying a property is just so perfect in its conception.
I'm speaking, of course, about Fox's Houdini & Doyle


The series is set not too long after author Arthur Conan Doyle has just published "The Final Problem," a short story in which the great Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarity have plunged over Reichenbach Falls to their deaths. It was a move to allow Doyle to move on to other pursuits.   In the television series, Doyle (played by Stephen Mangan) teams up with showman and escape artist extraordinaire Erich Weiss, better known to the world as Harry Houdini (played by Michael Weston) in order to investigate crimes that at first blush have a supernatural origin. This is based at least partly on the real-life friendship between the two, and their respective worldviews: Houdini as the skeptic, Bradly debunking most paranormal claims because as a magician and illusionist…

Captain Hydra?

Update: There have since been some further "big reveals" from issue 1 to issue 2 that have clarified my position somewhat. Read on, then see below.

So the first issue of Steve Rogers: Captain America, I think the heat from the firestorm raging on the Internet is contributing to the global warming crisis.

While I have not read the comic, there is a pretty big reveal at the end: Steve Rogers has been a Hydra sleeper agent almost his entire life.

I'll let that sink in a little.

Steve Rogers, the sickly. scrawny young man who volunteered for the top-secret Super Soldier program of the US Army, the kid who hates bullies and just wanted to help the war effort, and as Captain America, the only successful recipient of the Super Soldier Serum, he punches out Hitler a full year before the United States enters the war, was actually aiding and abetting the enemy the whole time.

There are plenty of blog Twitter and Facebook posts on this with most on the side of this being a heretica…

Captain America: Civil War and the Book of Romans

Now that a few weeks have passed, and I have had the opportunity to see Captain America: Civil War twice, there are some thoughts that I believe are present.
A number of bloggers and other critics have noted that neither Steve Rogers/Captain America nor Tony Stark/Iron Man are 100% correct in their views. Neither individuals nor institutions can be trusted to provide competent, reliable oversight for people with power.
Personal responsibility: I find it interesting that in discussing the Sokovia Accords, which would limit the Avengers to act only when they had clearance from a UN panel, Steve Rogers claims to accept that in order to act he must be willing to live with the consequences. In other words, he sys he is willing to take responsibility for the results, good and bad, of his actions.  
Speaking to Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, he says "This job... we try to save as many people as we can. Sometimes that doesn't mean everybody. But if we can't find a way to live with…

Supergirl v. (Batman v. Superman)

Now that season one of Supergirl is in the books, and the initial back and forth over the merits or crimes present in the film Batman v. Superman: the Dawn of Justice has died down, I have an observation I wish to share:
The best presentation of Superman on screen today is in Supergirl.


There.  I said it.


Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the near-mythical blur that pops up every so often to prove the Man of Steel exists in this universe, or exchanges text messages with his cousin is what many die-hard Superman fans have been clamoring for.


Nope.


The best Superman on screen is, in fact, Kara Zor-El, Supergirl herself.


Why do I say these things? Well, it's only slightly based on my own readings of comics from the seventies, a small but eclectic collection of DC and Marvel titles that my aunt had at her house for her grandkids to read when I was very young.  I've also done some reading on various histories of the comics and even one specifically on Superman. In part,…

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice - A Layman's View

I have mentioned here and elsewhere that I am not fully a comic book geek.  My younger self was entertained by the small reading collection maintained at my aunt's house for her grandchildren (who were themselves closer to my own age than my cousins), but I never really maintained anything other than small collections of limited run series (like Ambush Bug and Car Warriors).  Even today, I have more comic books than I have ever in my life owned, but will most likely be culling that down to a very small, non-negotiable pile of less than twenty or so in the next few months.  I have read my fair share of Superman, Batman and Justice League comics, and I faithfully watched the Superfriends cartoons on Saturday Mornings (I preferred the Wonder Twins to Wendy and her idiot brother). So it should come as no surprise that I consider myself "conversant, not fluent."

A couple of years ago, I saw Man of Steeland didn't hate it. It didn't cause me anger when a young, unsure …

A Giant Has Passed From This Earth

I usually write about topics that are geeky in nature, often connecting them to my faith. But today is a little different.  Later this morning, we will be celebrating the life of my father-in-law, who passed away a week ago today.The first part of Genesis 6:4 says "There were giants in the earth in those days...."  This verse has been rolling around in my thoughts for the past several days. My wife's father was never really very tall. I think at his best he was 5'8". But there is so much more to being a great man than stature.He was a giant in his integrity. Early on in his service as a Salvation Army officer, he was recognized as a leader and began a series of appointments in the administration that ultimately led to his final appointment at the International Headquarters in London. He inherited this send of responsibility and integrity in all he did from his parents and he passed it on to his three beautiful daughters (I happen to be partial to one in particul…