Tag Archives: lent

Fresh Content Day 46: The Kevin Smith Post

Where do I start? Let’s see…I got a late start on Kevin Smith fandom. Clerks came out in 1994, but I didn’t see it until 2000 or 2001. Oddly enough, I heard of a little movie called Dogma before I heard of Clerks, Mallrats, or Chasing Amy, all of which were before Dogma.

Let’s start at the beginning.

I graduated high school in 2000 and stayed home and went to a community college. The plan was to knock out my general courses and get my Associate’s Degree on their dime (academic scholarship) and then go on to a university and finish my Bachelor’s Degree and become a teacher. Obviously, it didn’t work out that way and instead, after finishing my Associate’s, I went on to broadcast school. But the friendships I made at small Kaskaskia College in Centralia, IL were some of the most important of my life, and I’m still friends with many of those people today.

One kid I met in college (we’ll call him Billy, since that was his name) introduced me to a couple of characters named Jay and Silent Bob. Billy let me borrow Clerks, and from there I borrowed Mallrats, and Chasing Amy. I was hooked. I loved how all the movies were inter-connected (before there was the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there was the View Askew-niverse). I should clarify that I borrowed these movies originally, but later purchased them. I had the first four movies on video cassette.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was different. I recognized at that point that the industry was changing. Actually, it had changed, I was just behind the times. My last semester in college, I took a Film History course, and one of our assignments was a video report on a movie, actor, director, etc. I chose Kevin Smith. I pieced together bits of the videos from the five movies mentioned above, talking about how they were all connected, how he used actors in different roles (Brian O’Halloran being my main example), how there was a nerdy theme throughout all of the movies.


Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back was my first movie on DVD before I had a DVD player. I bought it on vacation in June of 2002 and didn’t get an XBox for probably six months. I would watch it on my mom’s old laptop that she wasn’t using anymore.

I’m going to make a HUGE step forward now and say that without Kevin Smith, Nerds United wouldn’t be a thing. I wouldn’t have a podcast. I wouldn’t have started my own podcast network. You wouldn’t be reading this at all…if not for Kevin Smith.

It was February 2012 and I had just upgraded to an iPhone 5. I had been watching Comic Book Men on AMC for a few weeks and assumed that when the guys (Kevin, Bryan, Walt, Mike, and Ming)  were sitting around the table talking, that it was an actual podcast recording. So I went to find it on my new iTunes podcast app. I didn’t find it, but I did find a little show called Fatman on Batman. I remember the first episode I listened to was Part One of the Grant Morrison two-parter. I did that on the way to and from Effingham, IL to broadcast some high school boys basketball.

I was instantly hooked to the show and would go back and listen to all of the previous episodes. Those early episodes with Mark Hamill, Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Tara Strong, Kevin Conroy, Adam West, Scott Snyder…I mean…people who have worked on or been a part of Batman lore – some of the best podastin’ I’ve ever heard. When he sat down with my favorite author, Brad Meltzer, I was quite simply in heaven.

But the reason I’m here (and the reason you’re here) is because, in his own inspirational way, Smith said (and I’m paraphrasing) “if you’ve got something you want to say or create, just do it.” I had something I wanted to say. So here we are. I later found his weekly podcast Hollywood Babble-On, and that’s a go-to every Monday morning, when I update my podcast downloads and hope to see it there for its regular laughs.

Smith gets a lot of heat online anytime his name is mentioned. Any time his name pops up on a headline, often the comments include “who cares what Kevin Smith says,” etc.

My problem with that is 1) Kevin Smith isn’t in charge of news sites writing about him and B) people are just some jealous bastards.

The guy has legitimate geek cred. He wrote for Marvel and DC (Daredevil, Batman, and Green Arrow runs come to mind), as well as Green Hornet. He has directed The Flash and Supergirl. But my takeaway from Smith is “find something you love doing and find a way to make a living from it.” Here’s a guy who wrote and directed a movie on a budget of about $27,000. And from those humble beginnings, is a household name and a global brand.

His more recent stuff, the “True North Trilogy,” is a little off beat and left of center. Tusk was a really messed up movie. Yoga Hosers was an oddball teen comedy. And I enjoyed them both. MooseJaws (like Jaws, but with a moose) is the third one in the lineup and should be a fun picture as well.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Smith is that he marches to the beat of his own drum and doesn’t care. He said (paraphrasing again) that by and large, the public wasn’t going out to see the movies he made that he thought they wanted, so he just started making movies that he wanted to see. Tusk originated from a conversation on one of his podcasts.

Regardless of your opinion of Smith, his “I’m going to do it my way, with or without you” attitude is to be commended. He sees your “that can’t be done” and responds with a “watch me do it.”

It was just announced on a recent episode of Fatman on Batman that Smith was tapped (he’d find that dirty…and hilarious) to write, direct, and produce a Sam and Twitch series for BBC America.

The guy travels the world with his friends doing live shows of his various podcasts. Despite his detractors, he has a loyal following of fans. He has enriched my comic book appreciation by recommending titles and arcs I may not have picked up otherwise.

Kevin Smith is my spirit animal if ever I had one.

When Nerds United was in its infancy, I reached out to Kevin to see if he’d be interested in being a guest on the show. That request was greeted with crickets. Maybe…MAYBE…Kevin will see this and open a dialogue. I’d love to have the type of chat with him that he had with the likes of Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, Neal Adams, and Denny O’Neil (two of the best storytellers of all damn time). I’ve read his comics and I have seen his movies. I know there’s a ton of dialogue. A four-part series with Kevin Smith?

So, Kevin Smith, if you read this and got all the way to the end, thank you for inspiring me to get out there with a microphone and my friends and create something. Now…would you like to be a guest on my podcast?



That’s it, folks. We made it through Lent with new content every day. WHEW! I’m tired. I’m still going to write for the site, but probably not every day. I’ve been sacrificing a lot of sleep to try to meet these self-imposed deadlines (and even then, I sometimes missed them). I’m excited to go to bed early tonight and prepare for Easter tomorrow with my family. I’m pretty pumped to eat Garrett’s candy, HA HA HA HA HA!

I thank you all for reading these posts, whether you read one, ten, or all 46. I try not to think that I’m just yelling into a big empty room and that someone is out there enjoying what I do here at Nerds United. Hope to have a new podcast up this week with the organizer of the Cape Comic Con. I’ll be there a week from now, seeing old friends and making new connections. If you’ve enjoyed these posts, tell your friends about it. This is a pure grassroots effort here with no budget. It’s a hobby, not a job.

Thank you all again, from the bottom of my nerdy heart!

Fresh Content Day 43: Life with a Toddler

I know it’s crazy, but I don’t bring up my son a lot on social media. I do here and there, of course. I don’t ignore the fact that he exists. But I have several friends who would love to have children of their own, but for one reason or another, the Good Lord hasn’t provided them with that blessing yet.

I was in their shoes once. My wife and I tried for years to start a family. While we had our struggles – including losing one pregnancy about twelve weeks in – our friends were having their first kids or their second kids. I’d be lying if I said we weren’t hurting. That behind the smiles and tears of happiness there was also anger and tears of sadness. So with those memories always in my mind, I never want to feel like I’m rubbing it in my friends’ faces that I have a child while they wait for their prayers to be answered.

So on Day 43, when I didn’t see any headlines today that brought with them some inspiration, no new trailer to break down, and nothing left to say about tornadoes (sorry Jay), I turned to my wife and said “what should I write about tonight?”

She said “write about living with a 15-month-old.”

So…let’s see. Our son is up and running and playing. He loves to be outside. We have a playset in the backyard that was here from the previous owners. We ordered a toddler swing for it so he can swing anytime he wants to.

I’d say overall, he’s pretty good with our two dogs. But he accidentally stepped on Lucky’s tail last week. She didn’t appreciate that. He made it up to her by dropping food from his high chair down to the floor. I’d say all was forgiven after that.

As I said, he’s more mobile now. We’ve had to make adjustments to how we store things, like our/my expansive movie collection. It used to be in alphabetical order. Now I’m just happy if he hasn’t chewed on any cases that day.

He likes to play ball, either rolling it back and forth or picking it up and bringing it back to us, so we would roll it and he’d go get it and bring it back. Yes, our son is good at playing fetch.

Some days he doesn’t feel so good. A couple weeks ago he had a temperature for a few days straight. It’s times like those that I’m happier than normal to be married to a nurse, because when I would have freaked out, she kept a level head, and “Lil Man” pulled through just fine.

It’s amazing what we have found that he enjoys. I mean, he’s a little kid, so Mickey and Elmo are right in his wheelhouse. But we also will watch The Muppet Christmas Carol every week. It’s a good show to capture his attention, and as such, I now have many of the songs set to memory.

Here he is watching The Muppet Christmas Carol during dinner.

Lately, he’s been practicing for Easter Sunday. We went to two Easter Egg Hunts (you read about one ten days ago) and will do Easter and Grandma and Grandpa’s on Sunday, complete with a little egg hunt there. So he’s been picking up things and putting them in his Mickey basket (he doesn’t know he has a Yoda basket for Easter).

Here’ what I know…we have a super little boy who likes apples almost as much as he likes saying “apple.” He says “appy” because he’s a happy kid (or because he’s going to be the next great app developer…I’m all right with either). He runs to meet me at the door when I get home from work. He doesn’t like it when mommy leaves for work in the evening.

Truth be told, we couldn’t ask for a better child. He makes us laugh every day.

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Fresh Content Day 42: The Podcast That Will Never Be

So I’ve dropped this topic on a few recent episodes of the podcast, I’ve hinted at an upcoming episode I’d like to have where I discuss some parts of some classic Disney movies that are overlooked in the grand scheme of the story. At the time, I told you to give me a classic Disney feature animation, and I’d find at least one thing to complain about.

Well, y’all forgot to submit your entries to be a part of the show, so I’m taking matters into my own hands.

There may be more to this down the road, but these are two big issues I have with two high-profile Disney cartoons from my childhood. But they are things I didn’t really consider until recently.

In 1989’s The Little Mermaid, Ariel escapes to her cave of wonders, where her collection of human trinkets is, well, it’s massive. She has more crap that she found on the bottom of the ocean than I packed up and put in the moving truck last year when we relocated. In her song Part of That World, she sings:

Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl, The girl who has everything?
Look at this trove, treasures untold. How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Lookin’ around here you’d think ‘Sure, she’s got everything,’

I’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty.
I’ve got whooz-its and whatz-its galore.
You want thingamabobs? I got twenty.
But who cares? No big deal. I want more.

Now, I’ve never been a sea princess. I haven’t been a land princess for that matter, either. But what does it tell the young, impressionable children watching this movie? “No matter how much you have, it’s not enough.” Now that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. You can work hard to achieve your goals.

But that’s not how the movie plays out. With the help of the sea witch Ursula, she trades her voice for some legs. And then with the help of her friends, she tries to get Prince Eric to fall in love with her. It is complicated when Ursula shows up, yadda yadda, you know the story.

It just seems to me that the “I have so much, but I need more to be happy” mentality is part of this wave of entitlement that has been around out society for much of this millennium. Now I’m not blaming Disney, but it could certainly be a factor. Also…that’s very old-man of me. And I get that. And it’s not a plot hole, unlike our next venture.

The second part is this post centers on Beauty and the Beast, and is all plot hole. Recall if you will that Belle leaves the castle to go check on her father. While there, Maurice is about to be taken to the asylum. Belle pleads on behalf of her father, who had already claimed to see a beastly, monstrous creature. No one believes him. So when Belle whips out the magic mirror to prove her father isn’t crazy. They see the Beast in the viewer, and of course, it’s the wild-eyed, evil Beast. Not the calm, more sophisticated Beast that Belle grew to love. What happens next?

Gaston whips the mob into a frenzy, saying the Beast needs to be killed before he wreaks havoc on the village.


That spell has been on the castle for a decade, and the villagers didn’t even know about it. They had no idea there was a Beast. They go from clueless to concerned in just a few seconds. Aside from a couple images of a creature on the magic mirror, there has been no proof that the Beast is dangerous. Furthermore, the Beast has no history of attacking the village.

Seriously…with absolutely no cause other than to puff his chest out and add a trophy to his wall, Gaston incites a riot and marches on the castle, and his undoing.

It’s just a problem I’ve encountered with Beauty and the Beast. It unnerves me more than the Stockholm Syndrome aspect.

So that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

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Fresh Content Day 40: The Ten Commandments [Movie]

It’s a classic. The Ten Commandments came out in 1956. I saw it decades later. It is still probably a top-twenty film for me.

The Cecil B. DeMille production had a budget of $13 million (adjusted to $116,619,639.62 in 2016) and took in $122.7 million ($1,100,709,983.17 adjusted) in its initial box office release.

Three hours and forty minutes. That’s the runtime. It beats Avatar by an hour. And let me say that it’s worth every minute.

That’s not coming from Greg the Catholic. That’s coming from Greg the Movie Fan. I will spend time looking at IMDb.com while watching a movie and look at the Trivia section to learn the ins and outs of the production. This movie was the work of thousands of people, extras, etc.

The sets were massive. And this was before green screens and CGI.

Thanks, Google!

The exceptions I know of are the Parting of the Red Sea and Raising the Obelisk of Seti’s Jubilee.


You can see in the beginning of this clip the variation of foreground and background image quality. Charlton Heston and Vincent Price (and later Yul Brynner and Cedric Hardwicke) are there in front of the camera, while the background of the laboring crews is clearly added in post-production.

The reason I’m writing about this today is today is Passion (Palm) Sunday, and tomorrow is the first day of Passover. I always thought that this was the night of the yearly telecast of The Ten Commandments, but in my research, I learned that they always played it on Easter. Since 1973, this film has been on ABC each year (with the exception of 1999). So before it was even a twenty-year-old movie, it was getting the same annual timeslot. That’s good exposure.

I try to watch this movie each year. I really love it. As far as biblical epics go, this is the golden standard. Maybe that was all a part of the plan – get this movie in front of the viewing public regularly. Get them to love it. Get the ratings each year and the advertising dollars.

I don’t know. All I know is that sometime between now and next week, I’m going to watch this movie and thoroughly enjoy it.

Fresh Content Day 39: Marking Out for Mythology

…I’ve had a vested interest in ancient mythologies.

I love their stories. I love their characters. And because of that lifelong appreciation, I tend to enjoy mythology-based enterprises more than some.

I talked about it in my post about video games, but PlayStation’s God of War was a game that really caught my interest when I saw it talked about on X-Play.

But before I could *see* these ancient worlds in a video game, I would read about them. There was a book in my school library with an old and tattered red cover. I don’t know its name (though I borrowed and read it twice), but I really think it was called “Norse Mythology.” And that’s what it was about. It was the Norse mythology, cover to cover. It talked of Asgard, Odin, Thor, Loki, the frost giants, and in the end, Ragnarok. But it was no Marvel-spun tale. Thor had a fiery red beard and wore animal hides.

I know that Neil Gaiman provided the world with his re-telling of the famed Norse Mythology.

Like Gaiman, I had knowledge of Jack Kirby’s Thor, and had that picture in my mind when I first delved deeper into the Norse gods.

I don’t know if we’ll ever see an epic movie (franchise) based on Norse Mythology. I’d pay to see it, though.

My initial exposure to Greek mythology came about thanks to cinema. It was from 1981’s Clash of the Titans. I don’t remember the exact year I saw the film, but I was still in single digits. There was something about the tale of Perseus, overcoming the Fates, vengeful goddesses, a swamp-dwelling monster, gigantic scorpions, Medusa, and of course, the recently released Kraken.

Because of my love for the source material, I’m also in the minority when it comes to the 2010 version, as I’m a bit more forgiving. It told the story. They even threw in a quick shot of Bubo (which does exist in Greek mythology, as it was a mechanical replica of Athena’s owl of the same name – take THAT, Bubo haters).

2010 also gave us another movie based on Greek mythology, and based on its own series of books, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. If you’re uninitiated, the series is like Harry Potter but with Greek mythology and not witches and wizards. The titular character, Percy Jackson, learns he is a demigod, a son of Poseidon. He goes to Camp Half-Blood, befriends other demigods and a satyr, and begins an adventure to prevent war between the gods.

I watched the movie, then bought the box set of all five books. I don’t remember how long it took me to read The Lightning Thief, but I read the second book, The Sea of Monsters, in an 8-hour span one night when we were without power and I couldn’t sleep.

Again, because of my appreciation for the origin material, I’m a little forgiving with the movies. But I did enjoy the books more. Here’s a fun fact if you have not read the books. In The Lightning Thief, Percy and his friends actually visit St. Louis and the Gateway Arch. While there, he encounters an old women with her dog, revealed to be Echidna and her “pet,” the Chimera.

Pictured are Echidna and Chimera from the Percy Jackson graphic novelization.

After his Percy Jackson series concluded, author Rick Riordan wrote two different series set in the same universe, The Kane Chronicles (which I have not read) and Heroes of Olympus (which I have). The Heroes series ties in very well with the Olympians series, and borrows more from Roman tradition. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is a series that first began in 2015 and, you guessed it, borrows from Norse mythology. I will have fond memories of the first book in the series, The Sword of Summer, as I read that on my tablet while at my son’s side in the hospital in the days and weeks immediately after he was born. I have not yet read the second book, The Hammer of Thor, but I’ll get it on my kindle eventually.

Readers of the site or listeners to the podcast know how far behind I am on my reading.

Admittedly, as you’ll notice, the mythologies that have held my attention are western mythologies. I couldn’t tell you anything about eastern civilizations and their ancient mythologies.

But these are just a few examples of my mythological nerdiness. Anyone out there share my appreciation for these ancient tales?

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Woo Woo Woo. You know it!

Fresh Content Day 38: Classic Game Shows

I’m not going to go into the details about how inspiration found me this day. Let’s just say that I was sitting there and the phrase “big bucks, big bucks, no whammies” popped in my head.

So that kicked off a trip down memory lane, sitting on the floor of the apartment on a summer day eating grapes by the mouthful and watching Press Your Luck. 

But the quick-moving squares weren’t the only game show gimmicks I remember. There was the tic-tac-toe board of Hollywood Squares and the big orange (I think it was orange) clock of Name That Tune. I always enjoyed that show because it was “put up or shut up,” and if you thought you were smarter than your opponent, you had better be able to prove it. It was, for a grade-schooler like I was at the time, a reminder that I needn’t rush into voluntarily raising my hand in class.

What’s that old saying? “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

Another I remember from my youth was Supermarket Sweep, and as a grocery-getter, I totally understand why contestants ran for the turkeys, the hams, and the large containers of laundry detergent. And who can forget “Win, Lose, or Draw?”

Many game shows have come and gone in the last thirty years. The only ones I know of that have stayed on the air in that time are Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and The Price is Right. If I’m forgetting some that have had that type of success, I apologize.

So here’s a little nugget I came across while “researching” this topic. In 1984, on what was supposed to be a 30-minute episode of Press Your Luck, a contestant by the name of Michael Larson ripped off over 40-straight whammy-free turns. In the end, he tallied over $110,000 in cash and prizes, and the 30-minute episode needed a “To Be Continued.”

In recent years, my wife and I have enjoyed Lingo. That’s a random tidbit for you.

You can catch a lot of reruns of classic game shows and new (maybe?) game shows on the Game Show Network.

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Fresh Content Day 37: Danger Zone

All right, I have a confession.

I’m a complete and total mark for the show Archer.

I can’t explain it. But I’ve been on board with this show since almost the very beginning. I’d say I became aware of it in Season Two and watch it on Netflix. I watch new episodes shortly after they air. I DVR…I have zero patience for commercials.

I know it’s crude. I know it’s immature. I know all of these things. But…

Damn it’s funny. I mean, I laugh my ass off (that’s a quarter for the Swear Box, I know).

If you’ve been living under a rock and are unaware, Archer is an animated series (brilliant art, in my opinion) about Sterling Mallory Archer, a secret agent, who works for the spy agency ran by his mother. The agency used to be called International Secret Intelligence Service, or ISIS. But with certain groups in operation in a certain part of the world, the writers of the show obviously and wisely wrote the show to explain a name change. In other words, we can’t have nice things.

ARCHER — “The Figgis Agency” — Pictured: (l-r) Cyril Figgis (voice of Chris Parnell), Malory Archer (voice of Jessica Walter), Pam Poovey (voice of Amber Nash), Agent Sterling Archer (voice of H. Jon Benjamin), Agent Lana Kane (voice of Aisha Tyler), Cheryl (voice of Judy Greer), Agent Ray Gillette (voice of Adam Reed). CR: FX

Archer is surrounded by other (former) employees of the spy agency, his on-again, off-again love interest and baby momma Lana Kane, her ex-boyfriend and company accountant Cyril Figgis, a good agent, Ray Gillette, Mallory archer’s secretary Cheryl (sometimes Charlene…or Carol), and HR’s Pam Poovey, who had a horrible cocaine addiction in Season 5. I’m leaving out Doctor Kreiger, because he’s batshit crazy (another quarter).

The thing about Archer is that the team is highly dysfunctional. Honestly, if not for Lana and Ray, they’d be screwed. Archer’s not the worst spy, but he is a prime example of “it’s better to be lucky than good.”

Season 8 began last night. I’ve watched the premiere episode three times. Archer: Dreamland is a throwback to 1947, with Archer serving as a private investigator. This season takes place entirely in Archer’s mind, as he is in a coma.

Maybe it’s just my affinity for the fine automobiles made by Dodge.

But seriously, if you take nothing else away from watching this show, I hope you take away a greater appreciation for the exotic ocelot, aka the fox-eared asshole (and another quarter into the box…this is what Archer does to me).

Check out new episodes of Archer Wednesday nights on FXX (check local listings). Check out old episodes of Archer on Netflix.

The man shaves with a brush and a straight razor. HE’S A REAL MAN!

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Fresh Content Day 36: The Defenders Don’t Need Defending

Yesterday, we received a little teaser for the Defenders series coming to Netflix, and in its simplicity, set the stage for what Marvel has been building since Daredevil debuted on the streaming video service in 2015.

It’s hard to believe it was only two years ago next week that the Man Without Fear came to life once again.

If the teaser for Defenders is to be believed, we are a mere four and a half months away from the series dropping.

Honestly, they look exhausted. And if you remember the second season of Daredevil, you’ll remember “Midland Circle” is the organization behind the giant hole (I’m going to call it a crater) in Hell’s Kitchen.

So here’s the thing. Daredevil (both seasons), Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage are pretty well loved across the board. But Iron Fist hasn’t reached that point, and likely never will. I initially wasn’t sure what to think of the Finn Jones casting. I think that of the four, he may have been the easiest to cast away from the traditional look of the character (ie the whitewashing everyone is claiming). I believe it was Kevin Smith or Marc Bernardin on the duo’s Fatman on Batman podcast that suggested an Asian-American actor be given the chance to be Danny Rand. I don’t mind the show staying more true to the origin of the character, but I do wish the actor chosen for the role had some martial arts background. Jones has a zen-like quality about him, and aside from the fighting scenes, I don’t have any complaints.

But those fighting scenes. Yeesh!

I truly think that Iron Fist was doomed from the beginning, but not from any shortcomings it has. Rather, the almost unattainable standard set by the three previous shows put the arrival of the final Defender behind a sizable 8-ball.

So when Defenders hits in a few months, I fully expect Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) or Luke Cage (Mike Colter) to steal the show. Jessica Jones‘ first season was about a victim overcoming her past of abuse and her former abuser. We’ll get a second season of that show as well. Luke Cage was a really enjoyable show with a unique setting in Harlem. It was different to see the villain [SPOILER ALERT] die midway through only to be replaced by a more conniving, manipulative villain. And we’ll get a second season of that in the future as well.

Daredevil will also get a third season, and I’m sure we’ll see a Punisher series based on the popularity of the character from his run in Daredevil S2.

The fact is – the Marvel Netflix shows are wildly popular. Defenders will be huge when it drops, despite the lackluster reception of Iron Fist.

Now, The Defenders in the comics has a long history dating back to the 1970s, and has seen many many incarnations through the years. However, a team consisting of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Power Man (Luke Cage), and Iron Fist has not appeared in comics, based on my limited research. Marvel and Netflix announced in 2013 that the Defenders were coming, and named four characters that would make up the team.

But if you want a solid Defenders title to read, I’m going to throw out at you the 2011 series written by Matt Fraction with art by Terry Dodson.

Otherwise, we’ll talk more about Defenders when the show arrives in August.

Fresh Content Day 35: Writer’s Block

Well, it finally happened.

I’ve talked about comics and movies, video games, music. I’ve talked about my family, my life, and shaving.

I’ve sought topics from my wife and friends.

So today I fixed our Playstation 4. It wasn’t connecting to the internet. I had to watch Wrestlemania on a mix of may laptop and the PS3 upstairs in the bedroom (first world problem, I know). But we were sans network connection since sometime Saturday. So I called Playstation and they talked me through a process, and that process worked.

So now I have Scrubs on Netflix. And I went with Scrubs instead of Iron Fist because I’ve seen Scrubs a few times through, and I am on episode 4 of Iron Fist. It’s a means to an end. I know Iron Fist has been universally panned by almost everyone. That being said, the other Netflix Marvel shows set the bar rather high.

Scrubs is a timeless comedy that follows a group of young doctors as they begin their professions in a hospital (Sacred Heart). It ran for nine seasons (182 episodes) and starred Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, and Donald Faison as the three new doctors. Honestly, while I enjoyed all three performances over the years, my favorite character on the show was the no-nonsense Dr. Cox, John C. McGinley. Actually, he and the Janitor (The Middle‘s Neil Flynn) were both great.

What I liked about Scrubs among its comedic chops and slight irreverence is that it was said to be the most medically accurate of all the tv medicine shows.

No, it’s not House, the tale of a misanthrope who happens to be a doctor. It’s not Grey’s Anatomy, a torrid romance novel disguised as a medical show. It’s not even the recently departed ER, which broke television ground with its realistic gore. It’s Scrubs.

Scrubs, or [scrubs], is a show that I could watch on endless loop. But after I finish this round of it, I’ll probably return to How I Met Your Mother, another sitcom that showed its longevity.

And I always keep Futurama in my back pocket…always.

In the meantime, I’ll just hold out hope that the Cardinals come back late tonight to beat the dreaded Cubs, and now I’m going to head to bed since I have to get up early tomorrow and have labs drawn before work.

That’s one old-man phrase right there.

Fresh Content Day 34: The Lost Art of the Finishing Move

This is going to a) sound old-manish, and 2) possibly infringing on the Kevin’s gimmick over at My 1-2-3 Cents.

I was watching Wrestlemania 33 last night and today over my lunch hour. What I learned – among other things – is that a finishing move isn’t much of a finisher anymore. This isn’t news. It’s just becoming more and more obvious as time goes on.

I remember a time where a big boot and running leg drop was all it took to fell an opponent.

And when the Undertaker gave you a Tombstone Piledriver, you stayed driven heaped in a pile (okay, that one didn’t make much sense).

Right now, I’m going to make the HOT TAG to Kevin Hunsperger for his 1-2-3 cents.

Finishing moves still have a place in wrestling, but it seems on big shows those finishers are often as effective as a screen door on a submarine. Now wrestlers kick out just before the referee’s hand hits the mat for the third time. This type of storytelling is very frustrating as a fan of the old school days of the business.

False finishes are okay from time to time, but at WrestleMania for example, I think a Superstar either kicked out of or broke the finishing maneuver of their opponent in every match. It’s come to be expected these days.

We all know professional wrestling is a show. But I think when you start watering down the moves the men and women have made their signatures it takes away from the realism of the contest at hand. When the Undertaker hits his opponent with a Tombstone, I want the referee to then count three. A kick out on a rare occasion is fine as long as it tells the story at hand. When Kane did it for the first time ever, it was special.

But then Batista, Edge, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, CM Punk, Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns have kicked out of the finisher at WrestleMania. Some of those mentioned Superstars have kicked out of more than one Tombstone in a match. I suppose this would be fine because there’s a year of separation between incidents, but Seth Rollins kicks out of Triple H’s Pedigree, Kevin Owens escapes the Wall of Jericho and Shane McMahon gets out of the Styles Clash all on the same show. It’s exhausting.

I realize I’m out of the WWE’s target demo. I also realize a lot of indy shows use this style of booking. But I’m from the school of thought when you’re hit with the finisher, you’re done. 1-2-3.

I’m in agreement with Kevin, here. I think the use of finishers has gone by the wayside because no talent wants to look weak in their match, so they all have to kick out at least once (unless it’s “enhancement talent”).

If these moves are no longer finishing off opponents (which is why they’re called finishing moves in the first place), just call them moves, or signature moves, and let’s be done with it. They should be special moves used once to finish the match, or in a crazy twist, as KH said, a false finish once in a while to build up a talent would be smart. But overuse has diminished these moves.

In other words…I’m old and set in my ways.

Fresh Content Day 33: A Great Sunday

Today was a good day. No, today was a great day.

Dear Diary…

I kid. But This will be as close to a diary post as you’re likely to find here.

But everything I did today was with a purpose and satisfied a particular aspect of my life.

I started the day with a hot shower and shave. Then I got our son ready for church while my wife prepared herself. He hasn’t been feeling well, so I put him in a shirt that says “Always By Mom’s Side,” because that’s where he likes to hang out when he’s under the weather.

We go to church, and as always, he’s a good boy, albeit a little talkative. Then as we’re heading home, and admittedly almost home, my wife reminds me that there’s an Easter Egg Hunt being held at Eckert’s Orchard. So we swing out there. I’ll say this – I’ve ran some Easter Egg Hunts in the past, but this was organized like a well-oiled machine. Granted, Eckert’s has the resources we didn’t have at that time. But it was a great time. The youngin’s 0-2 years old went first in their zone (it was roped off by age group), so we took our time and let Garrett explore.

But then we saw no one was going after the eggs waaaay out there. So I picked up the G-Man and we took off to the edge, and got our dozen eggs. Then we got a picture with Peter Cottentail, got a little treat, and boogied on outta there.

So Friday was my friend Jared’s birthday, and I had worked it out with his wife to run down to surprise him for nine holes of golf and dinner. So after I got home, I needed to change, make my coffee for the road, get my golf clubs together, etc. The problem was I’m unorganized as hell, and I couldn’t find my wallet (yeah – I left the house and drove without my license – oops). Also, I was looking for a particular shirt, and a golf hat. It threw me off my schedule, but since Jared didn’t know I was paying him a visit anyway, it was all good.

So I get on the road, I knock out some podcasts, and surprise my friend. His reaction was pretty good. He lives about an hour and a half away, so we don’t see each other all that often. So he wasn’t expecting me, and that made it awesome. We went to Perryville to get nine holes of golf in. We came to the conclusion that between the two of us, we’re a pretty good golfer. My strength is the tee shot and Jared’s good at everything else. I can occasionally putt halfway decent, but this was our first time golfing together, and we tied. We both shot a 49. Hell, I’m thrilled with a 49. First time out in almost a year, a tightened and sore back. I’ll take it.

After golf, we went for a burger. Now, it wasn’t JUST a burger. Jared’s been talking to me for over a year about Mary Jane’s Burgers and Brew there in Perryville. The food did not disappoint, and the atmosphere was tremendous. Even for Sunday around 4:30 or so, no problem getting a table or anything. I had the Cowboy, a burger with cheddar cheese, bacon, an onion ring, and homemade bbq sauce. I got it with the onion petals. And as an appetizer, we got the poutine, complete with fried cheese curds.

Man, I tell you this, I probably waddled out of there.

So to recap the day, I had a great time at church, made memories with the family for our son’s first mobile Easter, got to golf and had great food with my friend. Now I’m watching Wrestlemania on my PS3 because the PS4 isn’t picking up the interwebs. So…confined to my bedroom to write to you.

And now – good night.

Fresh Content Day 32: No Fools Today

Today is April 1. It is often known as April Fools’ Day.

Now I admit that I do not know the history of April Fools’ Day. I don’t know it’s origin. I don’t know why this day was chosen as *THE* day.

What I do know is you can’t trust anyone on April Fools’ Day. Every questionable news headline should make you sit back and really use a discerning thought process to try to determine if it is real or satire.

When I worked in radio more than a decade ago in Chadron, Nebraska, we played a joke on our listeners with the help of a relatively innocuous new story we had on our website. Now you have to remember that this was 2004 or 2005. Cell phone usage was still a very minor thing. And most cell phone users probably still had landline telephones. We put a story out there that told our listeners that at a certain time of day, they needed to take their phone off the hook and hold the receiver up to an empty plastic bag, like a grocery sack. We told them that the telephone company was doing a one-time cleaning of the phone lines, blowing a high-strength burst of air. Your plastic bag in the end was meant to catch the dust that inevitably would be expelled. Without the bag, you’d have dust everywhere.

We got a lot of angry calls about that. I guess some people can’t take a joke.

Another popular April Fools Joke that I had nothing to do with came from my friends at Corn Nation when they claimed that Creighton University was finally adding football, thus relieving the dreaded Jayskers of their split fandom.

It’s still one of the more popular posts on that site.

I’m not very good at April fools jokes. I don’t say this to pat myself on the back or anything, but I’m not that good at trying to fool people. My wife can always tell if I’m up to something suspicious. I have a bit of a tell and then I can’t get the stupid grin off my face. It’s a wonder I was ever able to play poker at all.

I come from the Stone Cold Steve Austin school of thought-DTA. Don’t trust anybody.

You could say that on April Fools’ Day, I turn up my DTAdar to 11 and don’t believe anything anybody says.

Let me ask you this, on April 1, are you the jokester or are you the gullible one?

Fresh Content Day 31: Fish Fry Goodness

I love a good fish fry. Last night was the first one I’ve been to this year, as my work schedule my wife’s work schedule had not cooperate fully with the notion of going to a Friday fish fry. For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed a good fish fry. End it doesn’t have to be at at a church or school fundraiser or in organizations building. Some of my best memories are fish fries at home or at my grandparents house.

There’s one simple lesson that needs to be understood about family fish fries. You don’t eat as a family. When my dad would have a fish fry for us, he’s pretty well cooking the entire time. And then he’ll have a piece of fish here there a french fry here there. But he’ll cook up a plate put it on the table, and we will eat while he continues to cook. I’m sure it’s not exclusively or Mehochko or deal. But dad always made sure that everybody got theirs before he sat down to have his.

Grandpa after a successful day on the lake.

It was the same at my grandparents house. My grandpa usually caught all of the fish we were eating. Sometimes I helped, as I was his little fishing buddy. But they just knew how to fry fish up perfectly.

I think that’s why I like the idea of going to a fish fry a little bit more. It’s at those times where we get to sit down as a family and talk about the day talk about the week talk about sports, or whatever. But we were able to do so as a family, without one person continuing to do all the work while everyone sat and enjoyed the food. I will save it as it almost always is the home cooking the home fried fish was better. But sacrificing taste here and there is a small price to pay for being able to sit down and enjoy something together with everyone.

Last night fish fry saw a pound of fried cod for $10.50, side dishes of hush puppies, french fries, and mac & cheese all for $1.50, soda for a dollar, a can of beer for two dollars, and two desserts for the price of one ($1). But they also offered salmon, soups, cheese pizza, and even spaghetti.

Now I know that the love of a good fish fry and being Catholic are not mutually exclusive, as anyone can love fish. But there’s something about a fish fry this time of year as a readily available place to eat on a Friday that makes life as a Catholic a little more enjoyable.

Passing on the Fish Fry Fever to the next generation…as long as it’s covered in ketchup.

Since my laptop died last night, you get this post this morning. I’ll have another post for you later today but April fools. Be looking out for it. Feel free to comment on or share the posts that you have enjoyed.

Fresh Content Day 30: Choosy Bloggers Choose Gifs

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. What happens when it is a little moving picture that loops endlessly?

hoppip GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Regardless of if you pronounce it like Jif peanut butter or GIF like the G in “Greg,” these user created animations are running rampant on the Internet. Now I got to this post topic from a conversation I had with my good buddy Jared. We talked probably 20 minutes it was nothing but wrestling GIFs. It started with Ric Flair and ended with the Undertaker and saw three decades worth of some of wrestling’s lighter moments in between.

But there are GIFs for all occasions. For example:

Image result for hello gif

Image result for how are you gif

Image result for life is good gif

See? Anything.

Image result for butt gif

I love using GIFs in social media for reactions. Be it a well placed animal smirk, a baby’s laughter, or Shawn Michaels walking down the ramp, crotch-chopping as he goes. GIFs have permeated every avenue of pop culture. There’s nothing that hasn’t been turned into a GIF. Movies, television, animation, sports…really anything you could imagine.

So when you are having a conversation with someone and they respond with a GIF, just know that they probably took at least a little bit of time finding just the right reaction to send you.

By the way, if you want to know exactly how tonight’s post came to be, while discussing it with Jared, he sent the following GIF.

Image result for just do it gif
Thank you Shia and the Internet.

I’m 34 and still susceptible to peer pressure. Life is great!

Fresh Content Day 29: Candy Makes You Dandy

At my place of business, we often leave out a bowl of candy for customers for anybody who would want some candy. I think it started around Halloween with an assortment of candy and of course the ever popular candy corn. It rolled into a bowl of dum-dum’s, and became small candy canes around Christmas. The bowl disappeared for a couple of months until making a triumphant return earlier this week. The candy of choice this time around was none other than Charms Blow Pops.

I haven’t had a Charms Blow Pop in decades, to be very vague about it. And so when I saw this majestic bowl of candy and gum on paper sticks, I knew I had to have one.

I always preferred the Blow Pops to Tootsie Pops even though Tootsie Pop had the more memorable ad campaign.

I think there was something about the longer enjoyment of a Blow Pop that added to its initial value. With the Tootsie Pop, it’s three licks, a crunch, and you eat the Tootsie Roll inside. But with the Blow Pop, you could chew that gum until your jaw fell off. And if you chewed that gum long enough, your jaw probably would fall off. But at the end, its longevity was open ended.

Plus, I remember receiving a Blow Pops as a reward if I was good while I got a haircut. Candy’s Clip N Curl in Fairview Heights, Illinois was where I got my haircuts for the early part of my life. I remember sitting in the chair at a young age, and as most children probably do, I would not sit still. At that point, Candy said she had a box on the shelf of all the ears of little boys and girls who lost theirs because they couldn’t sit still.

I remember sitting still after that. And therefore, Blow Pop.

At one point, Charm’s Blow Pops were offered in blue raspberry, and that became my world. I still love blue raspberry flavors. And I have not yet matured past the point of enjoying when my tongue turns blue. A classic example is going to a Tropical Sno and just getting the blue raspberry flavor. My wife even enables this issue for me and recently picked up a pack of blue raspberry Peeps for me to enjoy this Easter season.

Tongue is blue!

There will come a day in the future where I will have my own barbershop and the next generation of children will be rewarded for their good behavior with a Blow Pop from their parents through my establishment.

Then the circle will be complete, and I will know I’m where I’m meant to be.

Fresh Content Day 28: The Genius of The Princess Bride

I love this movie. I don’t know many people who don’t. It’s so quotable. And it’s fun. It holds up after thirty years.

You’ve probably seen The Princess Bride. I’m sure it’s been on cable. I have the DVD and it’s on Netflix. In fact, I threw it on Netflix tonight while I tried to get my boy to go to sleep.

I didn’t know until well into adulthood that it was actually a book. William Goldman wrote The Princess Bride and it was published by the company later known as Random House in 1973. Later, Goldman would say of the book, “I got lucky with The Princess Bride the first time, and I’d love to get lucky again.”

Fourteen years pass before we get a movie based on the book. It almost doubled its production cost at the box office, raking in $30.8mil on a $16mil budget. I think it’s safe to say that in the years since, it has grown past cult following to a truly iconic piece of cinema history.

I remember this being one of those movies that my [older] sister and I could watch together. Just like Fred Savage’s character, I was a little bit of a butthead and didn’t necessarily want to hear or see the kissy stuff. But it had some great action and amazing dialogue.

But it must be a bit of a generational thing, as my wife had not seen the movie prior to our dating. I mean, she hadn’t seen any of the star Wars movies either. But I quickly fixed that. I just thought it odd that a girl born in the 1980s hadn’t seen The Princess Bride.

I thought the film was incredibly well done. Rob Reiner is a terrific film maker, and assembled a very fitting cast, most if not all of them would find success in movies or TV after this movie.

I would definitely put The Princess Bride on the list of movies that should never be remade.

What’s your favorite quote from this movie?

Fresh Content Day 27: The Evolution of Automobiles

Now I’m going to preface everything else I’ll say tonight by saying I am not an automobile historian. I’m just a salesman. I’m sorry, a “Sales Consultant.”

$35 for a year. The dealership I worked at when I first got into sales had a 190-crap I can’t remember but I think it was a 1902. Oldsmobile Curved Dash, 1-cylinder. Here’s an old picture of it (as in…from the 1980’s).

Sat two. And the sign next to the car, it said you could board your horse for a year for $165 OR get all the gas you need for your car for a year for $35.

So here I am, three and a quarter years into my sales life. I meet people from all walks of life. Farmers, military, doctors, lawyers, lots of teachers and coaches. All of these people all have different needs, different requests, and probably most importantly, different budgets.

When I show a customer a new vehicle, particularly a higher trim level, I have heard on more than one occasion, “they sure are proud of that thing.”

Say hello to car prices in 2017.

If you’ve been a regular car buyer for thirty years, twenty years…heck, even ten years, you’ll know that the price of vehicles has, well:

The things you paid for fifteen years ago, well, you’re still paying for them now. But you’re also paying for all the computer components. There are a ton of electronic features that didn’t exist back then, or if they did, were in the rudimentary form.

Heated seats, remote start, navigation, ventilated seats, memory driver’s seat, back up camera, park assist. And that just names a few. Even smaller features you don’t even think about – like tire pressure sensors.

Now vehicles will park themselves.

That’s a thing. I’ve done it. It’s insane.

Other vehicles will drive themselves, but they are in early stages and I don’t recommend it for anyone.

Technology has changed the landscape of how vehicles are made, how they are marketed, how they are found by the consumer, and ultimately, how they are sold. It has made my job both easier and much more difficult. There is a ton of information out there. Make sure it’s reliable. Use services like Edmunds, www.fueleconomy.gov, IIHS, and me.

Here’s the thing. Sales isn’t easy. It’s not for everyone. Some days I wonder if it’s even for me. But we do what we have to do. And until I win the lottery (which I don’t play), looks like I’ll be trying to move that metal.

So…who’s in the market for a vehicle?

Fresh Content Day 26: The Forgotten Sunday

Plain and simple…I forgot to write last night. Part of that was I had been awake until the wee hours Sunday morning doing laundry. So I was tired.

After my wife, our son, and I headed north to visit family, the little guy fell asleep on the way home. It was necessary. He was tired. But it was a little later than his normal nap, so we knew he would be up a little later than normal.

Here’s the thing. My wife works nights, and when she works, I can usually have our son asleep by 7 or 7:30. There are occasional anomalies where he’ll stretch that out a little longer, but for the most part, certainly by 8pm, he can be out. When mama’s home, he likes to stay awake a little longer. I am convinced he just loves her more than me. But I digress.

So as Little Man is fighting sleep, I finally just scoop him up and hold him until he finally gives in. But at that point, I was tired, and I went to bed myself. Hence why I didn’t post last night.

A nice thing happened to me at church yesterday. My wife worked Saturday night and since we had planned on the trip up to see family, she stayed home and got 90 or so minutes of sleep after her 12.5-hour shift. So it was just me and the boy. And he does pretty well in church. It’s rare for him to scream, but he does make noises. I try to keep him relatively calm. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes, not so much. Yesterday was a day where he was trying to talk over our priest while the priest was reading the gospel. So knowing that my son probably wasn’t going to just clam up for the homily, I stepped out to the back of church with him. I was right. He didn’t shut up. But my hope was that at least the sound would be muffled somewhat. So we go back to our seat when it’s time for the collection and when there’s also some music to help cover up the boy’s enthusiasm for Jesus (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). Having never attempted this before, I gave my son the check for the offering and without hesitation, he tried to chew on it. I’M KIDDING!  He placed it in the collection basket right on time, and got a nice smile from the usher.

Okay, so the TL; DR version is this. My son is talkative during Mass. I do my best to keep him from being a distraction. And after Mass, an older woman sitting a little bit in front of us walking passed and said I was a good dad. I said thank you, and that I’m trying.

Both are true. I am appreciative of kind words I receive, regardless of what they are about. When a superior at work tells a customer that I’m the go-to guy to answer their questions because of my product knowledge, it means a lot. And I try to reward their confidence by being *that guy* when it comes to questions. Even my co-worker across the showroom asks me questions.

When someone says I’m a good dad, it’s obviously rewarding. I was also thrown off a bit because I don’t know if I’m ready yet to be called a good dad. My dad is a great dad. I have no problem seeing the qualities in my friends that make them good fathers, and acknowledging those and telling my friends they are good dads. I just don’t know if I’m doing all required of me to be classified as a good dad.

I don’t say that looking for a pat on the back or an “atta boy” or anything like that. I’m just sure that I can do better and look forward to being a good dad for his entire life, not just seen an hour at a time on Sunday mornings. If he makes it through his life being kind, showing respect, and treating others right, I’ll then look back and say I did enough to be considered a good dad. In other words, the Golden Rule. Or the new Commandment – “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Until then, I’ll just keep telling people that I’m trying.

Fresh Content Day 24: With Anticipation

Hype! Hype! Hype! If media was a professional wrestler, it’d be one half of the Hype Bros.

The crazy one.

But dammit, I’m so excited to get home tonight and watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. 

I saw it opening weekend (the Saturday showing) with my buddy RJ, and then we had a little conversation about it for the podcast. But if you recall at the time, I stated that I dozed slightly in the theater. It’s not the first time it has happened, but it did occur during a movie that I was very eager to see, and got out of the house to do so.

And I waited until after I saw the movie to listen to podcast reviews or read anything about it, so I know I missed some good, integral parts of the story.

But tonight…all that changes.

I can’t tell you the last time I went into a store and bought a physical movie. I started going the digital route, and am enjoying that immensely. It’s weird. When I lived in a smaller town, I could easily zip over to Wal-Mart and get groceries and browse the movie selection. But now, even though I live in a more populated area and there are clearly more shopping options……none of them are on my way home. And they’re all over-crowded.

So digital it is.

Anticipation is a funny thing. If no one told us to be excited for the newest movie, video game, comic book series (or writer/artist duo), or new album, would we care? But in this era of the 24-hour news cycle, where they have to talk about something all the time, you get more information that you ever probably thought you’d want or need.

Anticipation builds.

We’re on the “Road to Wrestlemania” and we have been since the Royal Rumble. Or more accurately, we have been since the Monday after Wrestlemania last year.

We’re in the middle of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and brackets and boards are filled with anticipation. And unless you had that perfect bracket (and you don’t, thank you Rhode Island), or are a fan of the remaining teams vying for the championship, your interest has probably waned somewhat. The caveat there is if you’re just a basketball fan and love this time of year.

Major League Baseball is getting closer to its opening day.

And there’s already buzz generated for movies that are still a year or more away. And much more hype (or anticipation) will be cultivated at Comic Con.

Since I pre-ordered Rogue One, I technically could have watched it last night after 11pm, but knew I wouldn’t stay awake through the entire thing…again. So I erred on the side of caution. So tonight when I go home, I’m going to hug my son, kiss my wife, have a little dinner, put the boy to bed, record an episode of Corn Nation’s Five Heart Podcast, and watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

It’s also why you’re getting this post now – because after I get that recording ready to go, I’m going dark…and hoping to stay awake.

May the Force be with you.

Fresh Content Day 23: Dream with Me

I have weird dreams.


I should write them down first thing in the morning so that I can share them with you here.

Now, they aren’t all winners. They aren’t all memorable. And many are mundane. When I was a youngster, I had dreams that I was sitting in class and the teacher was coming around collecting homework and I didn’t have mine completed. I DIDN’T HAVE MY HOMEWORK COMPLETED!!!

Probably not the best gif, but…no, you’re right. There’s no excuse for it.

Now I have mundane dreams of answering phone calls and responding to e-mails. But every once in awhile, a dream will occur that raises eyebrows about what the hell is going on in my brain.

When I was in college, I had a dream that I was in a downtown office building, skyscraper style. The building was under attack. I’m running around the halls grabbing guns. I shotgun a dude through his chest. Then I grab a sniper rifle and get to the window. With the zoom feature, I look at the roof of the building over, and as I squeeze the trigger to take out an enemy, I see the RPG that they fired a second earlier. Explosion. Vision goes red. When my vision clears, I am a few floors down, running through the hallways again upping my arsenal. My thought at the time was “what the – I’ve already been here before!” That’s right, my dream was a first-person shooter video game.

I have three “nightmares” from my childhood that I remember vividly. One was me hanging on the ledge of a skyscraper (I must like city architecture) while Slimer was just inside the glass laughing at me. I was in my single-digits. I had another where Jason fired up a chainsaw (oddly not his weapon of choice) at the foot of my bed. The third was when I opened the door to the garage and saw my dad, which alone isn’t bad. But there was a two-car garage full of my dad. There had to be a hundred of him. I don’t know why, but it caused some sort of dad-overload. I was young for all of these dreams.

Take this morning for instance. Now granted, I don’t remember every detail. But I can recall the high points.

It’s the end of the world…in a Marvel movie. I know this because at one point I’m on a roof with my wife, a few other family members, and some random people. There’s an atmospheric…event, I suppose. It’s storming. There’s debris in the air. At one point, I remark that all will eventually be well, as Thor will likely save the day. What, you don’t dream of Thor? Actually, he didn’t make an appearance. As I said, it’s the end of the world. And no one brought any damn food! No one but me…because I’m a fatty, and I had my lunch with me from that day. Two turkey sandwiches. The problem? It was a Friday – in Lent – so I couldn’t have the turkey sandwiches.

And then I woke up.

Dreams are weird. I don’t know what inspires them and I don’t know how to interpret them. For me, they’re just sleepy-time entertainment. And honestly, that’s all I really need them to be. Maybe I’m swimming in the shallow end of the pool, but I am not looking for the deeper meaning in any of these. They are what they are. I occasionally dream, and sometimes I remember bits and pieces of said dreams. And for me, that’s good enough.

Have any weird dream or moment in a dream that has stuck with you through the years? Leave it in the comments.

Fresh Content Day 21: Life is a Musical

I admit it’s not the most catchy title.

I was actually inspired to write this topic while listening to What Happened When…Monday, a podcast that talks about WCW, Jim Crockett Promotions, and more old, defeated wrestling companies. It is hosted by Conrad Thompson and legendary Voice of Professional Wrestling South of the Mason-Dixon Line, Tony Schiavone. This week’s episode is about WCW’s October 1990 pay-per-view Halloween Havoc. In it, announcers Paul Heyman and Jim Ross were dressed as Count Dracula and a Prohibition-era mobster, respectively. Schiavone went “under a hood” (a mask, for you non-wrestlers) as the Phantom of the Opera. When asked by Thompson why he made that decision, Schiavone responded that he loved musicals.

He and I have that in common.

I grew up around musicals. And though I stated yesterday that I don’t listen to much music anymore, it’s still a big part of my life. I think I stated in an earlier post that of the couple movies we did have as a kid, they were usually ripped from another cassette (1980’s pirating, everybody). But we also had The Sound of Music that had been taped from the television. You know it was the 80’s with this vintage McDonald’s commercial:

Yes – even the damn Für Elise commercial was stuck in my brain.

But it wasn’t just The Sound of Music. I was and still am a big fan of The Music Man. That was a fun movie…Robert Preston, a young Ron Howard, the mom from the Partridge Family, and Buddy Hackett. SHIPOOPI!

My mom was in a singing group when I was younger, so a couple times a year I’d have to put on a tie and go to a nice theater and sit still while she and 20 or so other adults sang songs that I mostly didn’t recognize. But from time to time, mom would bring home a movie to study and better understand the source material.

Then there were the childhood staples that would appear on television…The Wizard of OzMary Poppins, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Then at one point, mom had the two-disc stage version of Phantom of the Opera. And I enjoyed listening to that well enough, but there’s one point in the production where Christine lets out a high-pitched note that is almost a scream. I swear, to this day it still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

I think times have changed and musicals are more widely accepted. With box office successes like Les Misérables and Into the Woods, there’s a likelihood that we’ll continue to see musicals make a strong resurgence. Just look at La La Land.

I could see Hamilton getting a big screen makeover, unless Lin-Manuel Miranda has it exclusively for stage. I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know how it would translate to film. I’m also curious about Wicked on the big screen. I doubt I’d get to see that in person, so a movie version would be appreciated. Am I missing any? I don’t know. I don’t get out much.

But here’s one you can watch on Netflix – a fan-favorite animated feature film that spawned a four-film franchise – Shrek: the Musical.

So what are some good musicals I left off the list?

Fresh Content Day 20: Mid-Life and All That Jazz

I’m trying to do this post before 11:35 at night so that you might actually see it on the day that it is meant to be posted. The problem with that is that I have no idea what to write about. So I’m currently driving home from work. It’s 7:30. Don’t worry, you safety monitors, I am using the talk to text function on my phone.

It has come to my attention and I am old. Not particularly as far as birthdays go. I’m only 34. But I feel old. And most of the audio that I listen to is sports talk radio for podcast. And when I am listening to music, it is rarely from this millennium. I like a lot of classic rock. I like a lot of older classic country. But I’m also down with some great classical symphonic or orchestral pieces.

My biggest problem is that I feel old. I have joint aches and pains, and my back or neck typically always hurt. I know that regular exercise and eating better would help “to hold back the hands of time,” as DDP would say. But I’m also very good at coming up with excuses for not exercising. I stay up too late, usually working on one of these posts, and I hit that snooze button in the morning so I never get out of bed and get even a quick workout in.

Troy is an underrated movie, in my opinion.

On the nutrition side, I know I still have a way to go. Portion control has always been my Achilles’ heel. But I also suck at making right food decisions. I like junk food. I like pizza. I like french fries. And don’t give me started on ice cream. But I’m taking it step-by-step, and I’m happy to report that since I gave up soda at the beginning of the year, I have lost 13 pounds. I doubt that eliminating soda was the only factor. I am eating more fruit, drinking more water, and have introduced more vegetables into my diet. I am working on eliminating the between meal snacking, but I have found that especially on the weekend it is very difficult to achieve. My friend Kevin over at My 1-2-3 Cents would consider this an accountability post, but I really just want to improve my overall health so that I can be with my family longer.

Kevin used to use that #FindMyAbs. I know my six-pack in in there, I’m just keeping it well-insulated. I have a goal weight in mind. I believe it is attainable. And I hope to reach it by the end of the year.

Until then, you probably won’t get many more posts like this. Let me know in the comments what type of blog posts you like to read, and let’s finish the next 20 days of Fresh Content with a good discussion on a wide range of topics here at Nerds United.

Fresh Content Day 19: Shaving Nerdom

A little over three years ago, I sat in my office at the dealership talking on Facebook with a longtime friend of mine. We were just talking about wrestling, tv, sports, video games. Now you’ll have to forgive me, but I don’t recall exactly how we got on the topic, but Jared asked me what I used to shave. At the time, I was using the Gillette Pro Fusion razor and blade cartridges with the matching shaving gel from a can.

He talked to me a little about wet shaving, and its many forms. I went out a few days (and more conversations) later and bought a wet shaving starter kit from Maggard Razors. For $25-$30, I was able to get a feel for the activity and see if I wanted to invest in it further.

One of the first soaps I bought came in a little orange tube, and it was called Spanish Leather, by Geo F Trumper. After I inhaled deeply of its scent, I was immediately whisked back to my pre-teens when I would stay at my grandparents’ house. That was the shaving soap my grandfather used. I hadn’t smelled it in almost 20 years from the time he passed in 1995. I was hit with a wave of nostalgia and I was hooked.

Forget Dollar Shave Club. Forget Harry’s Razors. If you want a truly great shave, get a double-edged razor. If you are tired of throwing money away on blade cartridges, let me tell you that about two and a half years ago, I ordered a pack of 100-razors (Gillette…for what it’s worth) from Amazon. That pack is now priced at $17.99. I was paying at least that much for a 4-pack of cartridges at Wal-Mart of all places.

But here’s what I truly love about wet shaving. There are so many skilled people who create some amazing products, from soaps and aftershaves to brushes and razors. That’s where I spend my money. I have a brush I love. I have a few different razors, just enough to keep it interesting. But when I hear about a new soap from a well-respected artisan, well, I get a little trigger-happy and I end up making a purchase. I mean…I have a lot. And yet, compared to others, my shave den is still in its infancy.

So if you’re thinking about a different way to shave, I really encourage wet shaving. And as a bonus, you’ll join a great community of people with whom you can share ideas and on occasion, even some hardware.

Here are some pictures of some of my favorite shaves. 

This new-found hobby has brought with it a new goal in life…to someday be a barber and have my own barbershop. That’s a few years down the road just yet. But it’s definitely in the front of my mind.

Fresh Content Day 18: A Bold and Brave Batman Statement

This is a DC Movie hot take years in the making. I will state here as I tend to do…these are just my thoughts. I’m fairly certain I’m in the minority on this issue. So take it with a grain of salt.

I like Batman Begins more than The Dark Knight. I’m not saying it’s better, but I am saying I like it more.

Two villains made their big screen debut in Batman Begins. We got Scarecrow and Ra’a al Ghul. Granted, Scarecrow worked for the “Head of the Demon,” so in a way, a Gotham villain was doing the bidding of the League of Shadows. But we got to see two rogues that we had not seen in any previous live action Batman setting.

The Dark Knight was great. I’m not saying it wasn’t. And while Heath Ledger’s Joker became the new benchmark of all Jokers before or after, it was the third live iteration of the Clown Prince of Crime.

In all other Batman versions, we see the finished product. Even in the 1989 Michael Keaton Batman, while the Caped Crusader was relatively unknown, he had all of the components together, the suit, the gadgets, the mystique. What I liked about Batman Begins is we got a chance to see the brief aftermath of the Wayne murders, the momentary encounter between a young Bruce and a young cop by the name of James Gordon. And that paid off at the end of the Nolan series when Batman said that “a hero can be anyone.”

We got to see Bruce travel the world and eventually end up in the League of Shadows, a key component of his training that had been left out of previous movies. It is his refusal to kill for the League that caused the rift between him and Ra’s. That he won’t “cleanse” Gotham City, but feels he can save it his way (and ultimately does), really sets the two apart from each other and makes it the ultimate stakes. While Ra’s would like his foe vanquished, you recall that as the train is speeding to certain doom, Bats says “I won’t kill you…but I don’t have to save you.”

To me, it shows that Batman as a vigilante or hero is still in his infancy. I think an older, more experienced Batman would not let al Ghul die in the wreck so he would have to face justice. Scarecrow we know evaded capture until the The Dark Knight.

Now in an uncharacteristic move, Batman does repeat a line that Rachel says to Bruce earlier in the movie, giving away his secret identity. But if you can’t trust someone you’ve known since childhood, who can you trust?

I love both movies. But it was really nice to see more of the Batman origin besides that one night in Crime Alley (which we’ve seen again in Batman v Superman). It was good to see how he got where he ended up.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours? As always, there’s that comment section here or on Facebook. Let me know.


Fresh Content Day 17: These are a Few of my Favorite Video Games

And if you didn’t sing that to the tune of the Rodgers & Hammerstein tune from the 1959 Broadway Musical (and 1965 feature film) Sound of Music

I essentially grew up with video games. I was among the first generations who have known them in some form almost my whole life.

And as it turns out, I erroneously credited the wrong family member with my introduction to them.

For years, I thought that my tech-savvy aunt and uncle gave my sister and me and Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It wasn’t until recently that, when the topic came up in conversation between me and my mom, she corrected me by stating that my dad waited in line at the store to get one for us.


That will make you feel like crap to hear that you’ve been falsely attributing something as epic as that (in the minds of a youngster) for roughly 25 years.

Among the games we had on that original console were the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt combo, a version of Jeopardy, a 7Up game with Spot, the 7Up Mascot. Spot was the red dot (or in the game, blue, green, or yellow) on the can, and the game had a very Othello/Reversi feel to it. You wanted your color to dominate the board. Of course, Spot was there before these shirts were popular:


I’m trying to think of other games I had on the NES, but the one that really stands out was Dragon Warrior, a single-player game where you roamed a massive kingdom on the ultimate quest to hunt a (or THE) dragon. I don’t know…I never beat the game, sadly…one of my many video game failures.


When I was 13 or 14, I finally saved up enough money to buy a Super Nintendo. I don’t remember how much it cost, but I do remember my dad saying to me “do you really want to spend your money on that?” And, obviously…I did.

It came with the full Super Mario Bros. All Stars collection as well as Super Mario World. Eventually I added a sports game or two, Super Mario Kart, and other games I don’t really remember. Because why would I remember games I had and played for an extended period of time? One of those stand-out games on that console was College Slam, exactly like NBA Jam, except college.

I eventually added an N64. Mom sold the NES and the ten or so games at a garage sale for $10 (that’s a steal, even in 199x). In 2002, I sold the Super Nintendo and the N64, and with that and some extra money I had, I bought an XBox. I eventually added and would later sell a PS2. But I got a couple years out of it.

I would have an XBox 360, but that was replaced by a PS3, and the 360 now has a home outside of Dallas, TX. The PS3 is in my bedroom (for dvd/bluray/Netflix) and a PS4 resides in my living room. In fact, I’m streaming Netflix on it right now…the new Disney’s Pete’s Dragon.

That’s my history with gaming consoles. But since this post is supposed to be about the games, I should probably name at least a few titles I enjoyed over the years. The problem is I’ve never been very good at video games. Most of my friends would agree, especially if they were stuck with me as a teammate for online gameplay. I was marginally decent at Halo. I was junk at Gears of War. God of War, however, was an enjoyable game/franchise. I remember seeing a little bit of the gameplay on G4 (or Tech TV, I don’t remember when they made the change), and seeing Ares terrorizing Athens, with his fiery beard. I’ve always had a soft spot for ancient mythologies, so that caught my attention.

I have also really enjoyed most of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and the Batman Arkham series.

Historically, I’m a Mario Kart kid at heart. Also, throw back to when EA Sports had NCAA Football, and sprinkle in some Madden.

Those are a few of my favorite games.

Fresh Content Day 16: It’s Not That Bad

Josh Brolin: Thanos – Marvel Cinematic Universe
Megan Fox: April O’Neil – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mikaela – Transformers
Michael Fassbender: Magneto – X-Men
Will Arnett: Batman – The Lego Movie, Lego Batman
Michael Shannon: Zod – Man of Steel
Wes Bentley: Bleackheart – Ghost Rider
John Malkovich: Marvin – Red
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Thomas Wayne – Batman v Superman, Negan – The Walking Dead

They’ve all “walked between worlds,” so to speak. In addition to their roles as stated above, they all met in one 2010 DC movie: Jonah Hex.

Now, this movie was critically panned, and relatively ignored by fans as well. With an estimated budget around $47mil, it only brought in just over $10.5mil, not ideal for a summer blockbuster in the middle of the comic book cinema age.

Let’s take a few minutes to discuss what I didn’t think worked for the picture. Let’s start with the weapons of mass destruction. Imagine it’s the late 19th century. While revolvers and “six shooters” are running rampant, there’s no company making those massive cannons.

Secondly, there’s nowhere in any Jonah Hex comic book before the time of this movie that said Hex had supernatural abilities. That makes the fact that Jonah can wake the dead and get information from then something that’s exclusive to the movie…and if there’s one thing comics nerds hate, it’s that Hollywood doesn’t stay true to the source material.

Here’s the thing – I enjoyed this movie. As we all know, I’m not a hard-hitting movie critic. But I am a fan. I enjoyed the tone of this movie, and how they tried telling a comic book story in a comic book way. I think had it not been a comic book character, it’s still a compelling story. “Man comes back from the brink of death to avenge the lives of his wife and son were killed by the man whose son was killed by the first man.”

I thought Brolin was a great Jonah Hex even though he has said since then that he hated his time working on it. Megan Fox was there and had her usual stints of showing skin and making wisecracks, but she showed she was also pretty fearless in fending off a male attacker in her bedroom. I liked Malkovich, as he is always a believable bad guy. And I’m such a fan of Fassbender’s work that I’ve sat through a lot of movies just to see him perform.

Look, the long of the short is that you’ve probably already make up your mind about this movie, and that’s fine. But dammit, give it a watch with some more realistic expectations. I think you’ll find “it’s not that bad.”

But at the same time, we look at the talent in this movie and know we can’t blame them. They all went to bigger and better things.

Fresh Content Day 15: The Importance of Reading

Books are good and reading is good.

As a fan of reading, and dare I say, a lifelong reader myself, I really hope that our son picks up the habit.

I call it a habit and not a hobby because if you’re dedicated, wow, it can get pricey. But what I love about books, novels in particular, is that they demand that you pay attention and immerse yourself in the story. It can build your imagination, more so than a comic book, and certainly more than a video game. A video game takes the nest step by allowing you to live out the character.

He’s not yet 15 months old and our son has a shelf full of books. It’s great. Yes, some of them are the obligatory big books with big letters mad out of some cardboard-type material, but it’s a start. I go to the store and I look for books for him as much as toys. I’ve been able to get some children’s Batman books and Star Wars books. I’ve even tried doing some live videos as I read him a book at bedtime, but holding him, holding a phone, and holding the book…it didn’t go well.

Some of my favorite books that he will have when he’s older are the “Ordinary People Change the World” series, written by one of my favorite writers and people, Brad Meltzer, with art by Chris Eliopoulos. It’s a great series written and drawn for kids, telling the true stories of tremendous people in easy-to-digest ways for kids.

Meltzer even signed this copy of I Am Abraham Lincoln.

I’d rather build a library for our boy than just about anything else. I want him to choose his own path and do what makes him happy, pursuing his dreams. I just hope he has a book in his hands while he does it.

Tim from Twilight Comics shared this picture a week or so ago and I shared it on the Nerds United Facebook page but I want to share it here as well.

Start ’em young and they;’ll love reading their whole life. That’s my goal.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this post or any of the Fresh Content series, please share them on your social media. And if you have an idea for a future post, drop it in the comments.

Fresh Content Day 14: Comic Cons Go BOOM!

Imagine it’s 1970 (I can’t, I’m not old enough) in San Diego. You’re at the U.S. Grant Hotel in the first days of August. Among the guests there is the King, Jack Kirby. And welcome to San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con.

It was a different era.

I honestly didn’t even hear about “comic con” until about ten-ish years ago. Maybe it was before that. I don’t know. I was a late bloomer. But the San Diego Comic Con has seen steady growth since its beginning, when it had 300 guests. It eclipsed the hundred-thousand visitor mark in 2005 with 103,000 visitors. That was a year after the “meager palace of Midgard,” Hall H opened. In 2015, 167,000 of you crazy bastards were there.

As far as information goes, we nerds anxiously, if not patiently, await the goodies that come from San Diego each summer.

Since San Diego’s International Comic Con became such a big hit, other cities have begun holding similar events. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Kansas City, and Seattle are just a few places to host their own. And there are promotion companies like Wizard World who bring their Cons to various cities. And it has branched out beyond that. Smaller markets have smaller Cons, but still provide a great atmosphere and bring good names to regions and areas that may not ever have the opportunity to meet these creators or actors again.

It’s why I think very highly of these Cons. I was asked to give my opinion on the rise of the numerous comic cons. There’s my answer. I love ’em.

Now, my social calendar for the year includes a comic con trip. For the last three years, I’ve made the short drive to Cape Girardeau, MO for the Cape Comic Con. I’ve been able to meet writers and artists, actors and cosplayers, wrestlers, and a promoter who truly cares about the product he puts out there for his guests. Everything about this is top-notch, and Ken’s a helluva guy who has been doing this in Cape for over a decade.

I get to go down there, get some audio, hopefully put together an episode or two of the podcast. But I also get to spend some time with some of my best friends. And I’m hoping my schedule allows for that again this year. Ken has Cape Girardeau ready for another amazing weekend at the end of April. I just hope to be there to be a part of it.

Fresh Content Day 7: Harry and the Gang

So it’s Tuesday evening and I wasn’t 100% what I was going to write about, but then I was scanning my junk email folder and I saw that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was available for digital purchase.

I have always had a hate/love history with Harry Potter. As in…I hated it for no reason initially.

See, I can be a bit of a contrarian when it comes to what’s popular. I KNOW! You wouldn’t think so coming from me.

But let’s go back to when the Sorcerer’s Stone first arrived on US store shelves…1998. I was 16, and it took a little time for it to gain traction. I remember my younger cousin having the first book, and then the second. It was my YOUNGER cousin, and I was already in high school and such, so I wrote off the idea of ever getting into this story.

So when the movie came out in 2001, it really wasn’t on my radar. But I was 19, and my radar was college and work. So I didn’t see the movie.

In fact, it probably was somewhere in 2003 when my folks had a special month or two free trial of the premium cable shows that I actually ever first watched the first two Harry Potter movies. After I watched it, I’d watch it again. If I was flipping through the channels and saw they were on, I watched them.

Fast-forward to about 2006 and some of my roommates are discussing when the final book is supposed to be out. I actually saw on the shelf books one through six. These were people my age, and they knew the story, read the books, and looked forward to the next one like I anticipated the next game in the Halo series.

This is where it gets hazy. I don’t remember if I watched the available movies with those friends or not. I do know that at one point I got caught up on all of the movies, and even took my wife to the theater to see Deathly Hallows Pars 1 and 2.

Now all movies are out, and I have the bluray set of all eight films. I know I have a favorite movie, being Deathly Hallows 2, as it’s the end of the story, and it was good to finally get some resolution. Second favorite may be The Sorcerer’s Stone, or possibly even Prisoner of Azkaban. I got burnt out on Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire from watching them too much. And I really want to have Order of the Phoenix higher on my list. I’m guessing that it’s because of my disdain for Dolores Umbridge, who was a truly horrible character. Half-Blood Prince is seriously good as well.

A while back, I was close to pulling the trigger and buying the Kindle version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. My biggest issue right now is that I already know how the story ends. So I’m not sure if I’m willing to invest the time and money to read the books.

So…convince me.

A new episode of the Nerds United Podcast will be a little later than usual in the day, since it’s almost midnight when this post was finished. So be looking for that.

Truth be told, I had hoped to have this post done by about 8pm. My son fell asleep early, and so I got the laptop out. But it was a long day and apparently I needed the sleep too, as I dozed off and on (while sitting relatively perfectly upright) for about three hours. So here I am, putting a bow on this post. Your Fresh Content tomorrow will be the podcast, and I’ll be back writing on Thursday.

Remember to have Iron Man handy tomorrow.

Oh yeah…I went ahead and bought Fantastic Beasts. Looking forward to watching that this weekend with my family.

Fresh Content Day 6: Not My Archie

I preface everything I’m about to say in this post by starting out with the fact that I have not seen a single episode of the CW’s Riverdale series.

I don’t have to.

In my honest opinion, it doesn’t look any different than any other teen-based hour-long drama on television, and the main elements of classic Archie are gone.

Here’s what I remember about Archie (before its recent comic-book makeover):

  • Kind, freckle-faced ginger caught in a bit of an awkward love triangle with Betty and Veronica
  • Goofy best friend who wears a funny hat and has a huge appetite
  • Girl-next-door type (reminds me of the Mary Ann archetype)
  • Your diva (Ginger, except not in the new-aged definition of ginger I used above)
  • Rival for ladies’ affections (Reggie Mantle)
  • MOOSE! He’s big and a little slow, but he’s the jock of the group, and gosh darn it, I never associated myself with him whatsoever.
  • And a lot more

I fully admit that I didn’t read a TON of Archie…maybe half a dozen issues over the years. But when I think of Archie, I think of classic cars and soda hops, lettermen’s jackets and a “simpler time.”

I don’t think of a hyper-sexualized tv show that bears little resemblance to its comic book origin. Now I know there’s always been a bit of sexual tension in Archie books because of the Betty-Veronica dilemma. 

But I always took that as a bit more innocent than I probably should have. So I still look at Archie through a kid’s perspective, relatively speaking. And maybe that’s my problem…I never evolved even as the characters evolved.

But in the end, my lone opinion doesn’t matter much. Riverdale has an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. One review states, “Riverdale offers an amusingly self-aware reimagining of its classic source material that proves eerie, odd, daring, and above all addictive.”

And like I said, I don’t watch the show. I’m going pretty well on preconceived notions and the few commercials I catch when I’m fast-forwarding through commercials in The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow.

So, am I right? Am I wrong? Has anyone reading this actually watched Riverdale? If so, let me know in the comments.

New podcast heading your way this Wednesday. It’s an audio commentary to a movie, THE movie that started it all. Have Iron Man handy…you’ll need it.

Fresh Content Day 5: Your Brick and Mortar

Do you read comics? (Y/N – Circle One)

How do you obtain your comics? It’s 2017. You can get comics in lots of different ways. Maybe you go straight to the publisher and subscribe and have them delivered to your door. Maybe you have one of them there newfangled technology applications where you can read digital versions of comics on your mobile device or computer.

But I like to think that most of you still take the time to seek out your local comic book shop, browse the racks and shelves there. Talk with the people in the store, the workers and the other patrons. Pick out the titles you like, and then maybe grab something new.

I do this a lot.

I’ve made no secret that my go-to comic book store is Twilight Comics in Swansea, IL. I have been going there for almost ten years. I’ve had the owner Brian on the podcast a couple times. I even had him on terrestrial radio when I still worked there. Most of the staff knows me and starts getting my pull folder ready after I walk through the door.

But on many of my visits, I ask the question,”what do you recommend?” It has led to this acquisition:

I enjoyed the #1 issue so much that on a later visit I bought Volume 1. (Thanks Tim)

At my last visit, I grabbed this off the shelf and asked Brian what he could tell me about it (it’s the deluxe edition and was wrapped in plastic.

Brian said “it’s depressing.” Boy, he wasn’t kidding. But it’s one I’m enjoying as I go on. Plus, Alex Ross on art. So – it’s visually astounding.

And if there’s something you want that they don’t have in stock, most comic shops will order it for you. Here’s a fun little secret – THEY WANT YOUR BUSINESS!!!

I’ve found comic stores across the country as some of the friendliest and most welcoming places around. But when you find one that you can call “home,” it becomes more than a mere business transaction. You develop relationships with one another.

Now here’s what I want you to do. There have been lots of articles/columns/blogs/videos in the last few months about what’s really hurting local comic book stores. And it’s not the evolution of digital media. It’s people who have a pull list and never go in to claim it. It’s actually something I was guilty of for awhile. There were stretches where I could only get to Twilight Comics once every three or so months. They are paying for your books until you go in and get them. Please – go get ’em. You’ll help your comic book shop and as a bonus, you’ll get your comics.

Then do what I do – ask “what else ya got” and expand your horizons.

You’re welcome.

Fresh Content Day 4: What Happened to Saturdays?

So I think we can all agree that Saturdays as a kid rocked so much harder than Saturdays as an adult.

Or maybe it’s just me.

You see, I’ve never had a job where I routinely had Saturdays off. In fact, most of the jobs I’ve worked, I’ve worked Saturdays.

Granted, for ten and a half years, I sat behind a radio sound board. And for over three years, I have a desk and a relatively sedentary lifestyle. This is the epitome of a first world problem. I’m not out there every day breaking my back. I would if I had to. I have worked in a factory. It’s just that at this moment, it’s not that I’m currently doing.

What I’m talking about, however, is a bigger picture. I remember Saturday morning cartoons. To me, it was the best. It was the late 1980’s and early 90’s. I was anywhere from six to twelve years old. I was the first one out of bed. (Fast forward to now and sleep is a lot more appealing.) I was on the floor playing or laying on the couch or sitting in my dad’s recliner.


And I only had about four channels to choose from (this is where I seem to think we’re in the late-eighties territory).


I remember the Smurfs (and Kevin Hunsperger pops) and a plethora of Hanna Barbera. What I remember watching was a who’s who of cartoons:

Fat Albert
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Garfield and Friends
Fantastic Four
Wacky Races (in re-run)

And a lot more. Sometimes while I watched cartoons, I would read some of the old comics that were handed down to me by one of my uncles.

And after my parents got up, it wasn’t long before the house was filled with the smell of coffee brewing and bacon frying. Either pancakes or waffles, French toast or eggs would follow.

After breakfast, there were chores to be done. If you were lucky, it was a short list of chores that left a lot of time to play after.

I think the notion of “Saturday morning cartoons” have gone the way of the dodo because of the boom of cable programming. “Too many options.” You have Cartoon Network, Boomerang, the Disney channels, Nickelodeon, and more. It used to be just a few channels with cartoons. Now it is countless channels with even more viewing options, plus OnDemand and the streaming services.

These days, I’m out of the door sometimes before my son is even awake. Almost always before he has had his first diaper change of the day. And I’m at work before breakfast. I hope some day to be able to be home with my son for these little moments he will have as he grows older. Plus…I really want some damn waffles.

All right, that’s the end of the post. You know that that means. It’s time for:

Fresh Content Day 2: Doctor! Doctor! Gimme the News!

What is my obsession with doctors? If you go back about eighteen months, you’ll remember that I already wrote about Doctor Strange and the topic of today’s post, Doctor Fate.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been feeling “great” lately. But I finally made an appointment to see a doctor. Granted, I can’t get in to see him until April 4. And when I was calling to make the appointment, I was taking the approach of “well, I’m older. I need to be seeing a physician regularly.” The lady on the other end of the line was surprised when I said I hadn’t seen a doctor regularly since I was still seeing a pediatrician. So figure…half of my life I haven’t been going to a doctor with any regularity. But more like on an “as needed” basis.

Well, I’m 34, and that’s not going to fly anymore.

So I have doctors on the brain.

Yesterday (late), you got the Doctor Strange movie post. It was a brief overview of a truly enjoyable movie-watching experience.

Today, I want to talk a little bit more about Doctor Fate, and why he might be the most powerful character in the DC Universe.

Think about it. When you think of “powerful characters” on the DC side, you typically think of the Last Son of Krypton. And you know his weaknesses…the glowing green rock that doesn’t glow when not exposed to a Kryptonian, a red sun, and magic. Or as SupeFan98 wrote on ComicVine (HEY! It’s better than Wikipedia):

While not so much an actual weakness, Superman’s invulnerability offers no protection against magic. The explanation for this is simple; Superman’s powers, extraordinary as they are, are the result of natural phenomenon, not supernatural. As a result, spells cast on Superman affect him the same as they would anyone else.

That’s a sizable weakness, when there are Doctor Fate’s and John Constantine’s out there. The constant Marvel/DC battle line is drawn between Superman and the Hulk, because they both have ridiculous strength and they can both leap incredibly long distances.

And we’ll never know the outcome of *THAT* fight. Just like we will never see Superman and Doctor Fate do battle.

But since Doctor Fate also shares traits like super-strength, flight, and invulnerability, but also has telekinesis, telepathy, and of course, spellbinding. It’s an outlandish thing to say, but since Fate’s powers seem to align with Superman’s weaknesses, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility.

And this all came to mind from the announcement I saw that Doctor Fate was coming to Injustice 2…so you get a fun video of that, too.

So that’s that. Tomorrow – I’m hoping to talk about something that’s not Doctor-related. But as for tonight, I’m going to record a new Five Heart Podcast and probably watch Doctor Strange again.

And check out the on-going title Doctor Fate, which started in 2015. I’m currently reading it.

Fresh Content Day 1: Call the Doctor

Well, it’s March 1, 2017, and in the Christian faiths, it is Ash Wednesday, forty days before Easter. In the Roman Catholic faith, it is a day to fast and abstain from meat (as we will abstain from meat every Friday between now and Easter Sunday.

The common thread around Lent is for Catholics to “give something up,” to sacrifice something for the season. Now when you’re a kid, it could be something like giving up candy, or cookies, or ice cream. As an adult, I’ve given up McDonald’s, soda, beer (that was tough), and ice cream (because I love ice cream).

This isn’t a religious post or anything, but I’m just setting the stage for all of it to make sense.

This year, I’m working on curbing my swearing. I have a 14-month-old son who’s getting really good at mimicking our words and sounds. Naturally he is saying “mama,” “dada,” “yeah,” “hi,” “milk,” and once, I think I heard him say “boob.” So…I have to watch my mouth, because I don’t want to get THAT call from daycare. So I created this…

And it already has $2.25 in it, with another quarter due to it. And those are just the ones I caught as I police myself on this. After Easter, I’ll take the money I raised with my potty mouth and donate it to our church.

Okay, that’s part of it.

Another thing I’m trying to do this year is maintain some discipline on the content front. So I’m hoping/planning 40 days of new content, which will be written and spoken. So you’ll get the podcasts on the weekly (hoping to get a new episode recorded this weekend, actually).

So…back to this post, and the title. I finally saw Doctor Strange last week, and while I hope to sit down at length and talk about it in an upcoming episode, this will have to suffice for now.

First of all – Doctor Strange in the MCU first appeared on my radar in Captain America: Winter Soldier, when he was named among other more anonymous threats to Hydra. The placing of that makes it seem that the Doctor Strange movie would take place before the events of Winter Soldier, which would indicate that Strange was still largely unknown (albeit active) during Captain America: Civil War (and also Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.

Here’s what I really enjoyed about this movie – it took things to a mystical place, a place you can’t explain with science. In a universe of Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, and Falcon, it was a pleasant departure. I will say that Thor touched on some similar themes, including his famous line to Jane Porter:

But as beautiful as Asgard was in Thor and Thor 2, there was something visually stunning about Doctor Strange. The Inception-inspired cityscape bending was not only done with seamless SFX, but the story was told in a way that made sense. If you think about it, the sorcerers live in the world that has yet to realize they exist. Sleight of hand, misdirection, illusion. It’s what magic is. So it’s completely natural to think that most of the regular world wouldn’t be aware of its existence. So the mirror dimension helps the filmmakers tell the story, manipulate “the world” in a way that doesn’t actually affect the real world.

It was great to see the astral plane. It was amazing to see Doctor Strange in the Dark Dimension, and his use of the Eye of Agamotto (*cough*TIME GEM*cough*) had me rolling. Take THAT, Dormammu.

I thought the cast was brilliant, from Benedict Cumberbatch to Rachel McAdams, the sublime Tilda Swinton, the brilliant-in-everything Mads Mikkelsen, and the incomparable Chiwetel Ejiofor and everyone I didn’t mention…the talent they brought in for this movie just continues to show what Marvel is capable of.

Long story short (since it’s late), if you haven’t seen Doctor Strange, you shouldn’t wait any longer. It’s available in the digital format and as of yesterday, is available on bluray and dvd as well. Don’t wait any longer. After all, time is no longer on your side.