Tag Archives: nerds united

Nerds United Episode 150: EPISODE 150, Y’ALL!

This week on the show, Greg and Mike wax nostalgia and talk about olden times, bring back a long-lost segment of the show, and talk about some of the various news and notes making the rounds this week.

And if you make it to the end, the guys run down some of the offerings on the Disney+ streaming app.

Positive Cynicism EP. 96: Bingeing and Purging Television

In the age of easily watching episode after episode of a TV show, binge watching has become an almost preferable method of viewing. On this episode of Positive Cynicism, @chadsmart and Eric Bennett discuss their habits with binge watching as well as the effects watching so much TV at once has on their viewing.



Nerds United Episode 119: IMDb and the Silver Foxes

This episode is all over the place. But before we get to that, you need to know that this weekend, you can save 20% on your t-shirts at the Jittery Monkey Shop. Get those Nerds United shirts, take a picture, and share them with us.

This week, Mike and Greg talk about Brightburn, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Elizabeth Banks, IMDb, and Mike’s incredibly old sister.

If you need more info than that, you should probably just listen to the show. In fact, you should just listen to the show, period.

Nerds United Episode 117: Podception – Jamie Farr in a Hat

So – new editor here on WordPress. I’m nothing if not stuck in my ways, so obviously I hate it. Much like every new layout of Facebook that gets rolled out, it will just take some getting used to. Hopefully it doesn’t take long to figure it out.

In this episode, I do a run-in on the ABCD-Bags Podcast.


This conversation starts with comic books like Y: The Last Man and its upcoming TV adaptation as well as various titles from Valiant Comics. Then we talk about the Mandela Effect, Curious George, and Berenstain Bears.

We talk about popcorn and peanut butter, Nebraska athletics, beer, and Jamie Farr. It’s a gem of a podcast, with special shout outs to Mike’s mom (because she won’t listen). Don’t forget to do some shopping at jitterymonkey.com/shop because this podcast doesn’t pay for itself…and it’d be really nice if it did.

Nerds United Episode 116: Very Special Christmas Special 2018

Well, we’re finally here. The weekend before Christmas. And if you’re like me, you are nowhere near ready for the holiday. From decorating to wrapping, yeah – it’s another year of being behind the Eight Ball.

In this episode, Mike and I are joined by our very special guest, Mike’s son Nolan. Nolan brings a youthful perspective that we have long outgrown. But this kid is sharp and quick-witted and not afraid to lay in a few zingers from time to time. And what he did after we finished recording – well, I can’t even explain it.

So enjoy the show. Enjoy your holiday season. and Merry Christmas!

Nerds United Episode 115: Friday Night Thoughts on Aquaman and Marvel

Hey there! Happy Friday night/Saturday morning. Greg and Mike got together and spent a little time on Facebook as well as some audio-only content. We cover Aquaman and the DC Cinematic Universe, as well as the DC CW crossover event this past week titled Elseworlds.

Also, since we last got together, Marvel released trailers for Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.

Plus we have a special treat from Greg’s early terrestrial radio days, and lots of love for Tom and Jim’s Top 5.

Don’t forget to get your shirts and merch from the shop! Your support is greatly appreciated, and if you did order a shirt, share your merch on social media so we can give you props!

Nerds United Episode 114: Post-Thanksgiving

Hello and welcome to a brand new Nerds United. We sure are happy you’re here.

In this week’s episode, Mike and Greg talk about their Thanksgiving weekends and their awesome families. Another of your favorite Marvel shows is leaving Netflix, which we all anticipated. Fuller House is still on the streaming service. But that Disney App is starting to look pretty inviting. However, we’re still pretty sure there’s one 1946 movie that will remain buried in the vault.

Hear Nickelback cover a Metallica song, and hear the guys talk about the Joker movie, and how Mike says the DC Cinematic Standalone Universe is still unproven.

“You’re a wizard, Harry.” Famous words from a famous giant (or giant-like man). But what are some ridiculous things that Hagrid could have told Harry Potter that would have been just as believable (if not just as odd) as telling a ten-year-old boy that he’s a wizard?

Thanks to everyone who has picked up a shirt. Want to be one of the cool kids? Get your shirt here.

Nerds United: Episode 113: Turkey Before Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! Surprisingly this is not Greg typing this. It is I, your co-host of the year. You are welcome everyone. Greg said I had to type something out and make it at least 150 words. I said, “No problem my main man Gregorino,” or something to that effect. I guess I should actually talk about the podcast now since Greg is watching what I type…well we talked about Thanksgiving episodes, Stan Lee’s unfortunate passing, high school stuff, Secret Wars, Super Secret Wars (I don’t think that is the actual name of the comic but it works.) Oooh, I should make a comic called Super Duper Secret Wars. How many words is this? This is harder than I thought. Pretty sure Greg will not let me do this again. Ok, 129 words so far. I need 150. By the way, does anyone read this really? And if so, are you single and female? Just throwing it out there.

And buy a shirt.

Nerds United Episode 112: HE’S A SKRULL!!!

It is time for a brand new episode, back home in the kitchen of the Nerds United Lair!

But fear not, we’re bringing the spirit of 4204 Main Street Brewing Company (or should we say spirits…we’re drinking) with us.

In this episode, we’re talking about Wolverine: The Long Night, which completed its ten-episode run of season one this past weekend on Apple Podcasts. We also talk about Secret Invasion, Heroes in Crisis, Brad Meltzer’s Justice League run, Superman Red Son, and a lot more.

At the end of the episode, we also give away a copy of The Comic Book Story of BEER!

If you like beer and you like comic books, you will love this book! It’s chock full of great information!

Enjoy the podcast on your favorite podcast app or check out the live stream on the Facebook page!

Nerds United Episode 111: Hanging Out at the 4204 Brewery

You read that right, true believers! In this very special “Field Trip Edition” of the podcast, Greg and Mike are hanging out and recording from the 4204 Main Street Brewing Company Taphouse/Production Brewery. In other words, if you’re in Illinois, Missouri, or Kansas and you see a six-pack of a delicious 4204 brew, it was brewed right behind where we were sitting.

We were very fortunate that the good people at the brewery, from the owners to the Head Brewer Keith to Deja the Taphouse Manager and provider of fine ales and lagers, opened their doors to us. Because we like beer. And they have beer. It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship.

So the first thirty or so minutes of the podcast, we were actually streaming and recording live on Facebook. Three people. Two microphones. We’re podcasters, not math geniuses. Anyway, that first half hour was spent with Keith learning all about the beer making process and also trying different beers. You’ll notice in the featured photo that Greg finished his beers. He ended up bringing two growlers home, including the Tickle for his wife.

After we let Keith get back to work, Mike and Greg talk about some comic book topics, including Return of Wolverine, Heroes in Crisis, and Cry Havoc.

There’s a giveaway we’re working on. It is for The Comic Book Story of Beer. Fitting, right? Let’s do this. If you read this, share the post on Facebook. I’ll enter all who do into a random drawing and the winner will get the graphic novel delivered to their front door!

That’s pretty much it. Enjoy the show, and thank you again to Keith, Deja, and everyone who helped make our trip to 4204 Brewery possible!

Nerds United Episode 110: Drinking, Halloween, and Comics

In this BRAND NEW EPISODE of Nerds United, Greg and Co-Host of the YEEEAAARRR Mike regale each other with tales of alcohol foolishness from days gone by. We also talk about our favorite Halloween candy, haunted houses and a slew of nerdy topics. Let’s run down the list.

  • Marvel Civil War vs MCU’s Civil War
  • Mark Millar’s Huck
  • Marvel and Netflix
  • The Immortal Iron Fist
  • Luke Cage
  • Heroes for Hire…?
  • The Flash (aka the Scarlet Speedster aka the Fastest Man Alive)
  • Rejection from Pro Wrestling Tees (insert sad face here)
  • Support Kevin from My 1-2-3 Cents the Podcast and HIS PWT’s store HERE!
  • Wolverine: The Long Night – the serial podcast for ANYONE who enjoys a good murder mystery
  • ABCD-bagz
  • Tom and Jim’s Top 5

As always, friends, we appreciate your support and love those who give it. We hope you enjoy this episode and all of our episodes. And while you support us for FREE, we encourage you to support others carving their own path in independent content creation. With that in mind, PLEASE consider supporting West of Oz on Kickstarter. You have only seven more days to lend your support. This is a great project. I (Greg) have personally supported it twice in the past and have done so again. If you need a refresher of what you get with the West of Oz story, please go back and listen to Episode 109 in the archives. Here’s the link to the Kickstarter. It’s a great way to help others realize their dreams.

And since you’re such great people, please enjoy this picture we discussed in the episode about me as the illegitimate fifth member of MuDvAyNe back in 2003 when I was a wee lad of 21.

Nerds United Episode 109: West of Oz Strikes Back

Two episodes in one calendar week. You know what that means…time is of the essence!

You have just a couple more weeks to once again lend support to West of Oz! Sean Benner and Nick Winand have been on the show before and we have used the Nerds United Bump to aid in getting two Kickstarter campaigns successfully funded.

The Kickstarter is for the Volume 2, issues 4-5-6, of the 9-part series of this original interpretation of Frank L Baum’s Wizard of Oz story. In this episode, Greg talks with Sean and Nick about this section of the overall narrative, creating on a schedule, travelling to various cities for comic cons (it’s coming, Scottsbluff, Nebraska), and more.

Hey, it’s me. Greg. I’m a big believer in this project. I’ve been on board since Day One, Campaign One. I have supported this venture both in promotion and financially. I’m one of those that wants to see this story’s end. So help me get this project funded. Your $10, $20, or $30 can go a long way.

I thank you. Sean, Nick, Amanda, and Danielle thank you. Now enjoy some artwork they shared with me during our chat.


Nerds United Episode 108: To and From Babble-On

It’s a truck show as Greg and Mike are on the road to see Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman in St Louis, MO. We talk about our excitement for the show as well as Batwoman, Venom, and traffic.

I’d type more, but it’s 2-damn-24.

Nerds United Episode 107: Top Five TV/Sitcom Couples

For this episode, I took my recording equipment down to southeast Missouri to see my friends Jared and Nia Smith. We watched some TV, talked about food, and then recorded an epic episode of Nerds United!

Hey, Tom and Jim’s Top 5, we’re blatantly (with your permission) borrowing your gimmick in a way that I don’t believe you have utilized in the past. We’re talking about our top five TV/sitcom couples. And in typical fashion, right out of the gates, curveballs. Man, I didn’t see some of Jared and Nia’s responses coming. Also, I was admonished greatly for watching the right shows. So…there’s that.

What can I say – I like what I like and a rarely venture out of my comfort zone. But now I have homework.

Well, I should give THEM homework. Did you know that the good Smith duo hasn’t seen most of the Marvel movies? And they want to bust my chops for not watching 30 Rock? Whaaaaaat?

So anyway, enjoy the show. It’s a good one. But of course, they all are.

Nerds United Episode 106: Captain Marvel, Dark Phoenix, and Much More

It’s time for a brand new episode of your favorite comic book/movie/pop culture podcast that you can find on the Jittery Monkey Podcast Network. Mike and Greg talk about the Captain Marvel trailer, the Dark Phoenix trailer, Deadpool 2, what we’ve seen from the new Joker movie, and take a trip back in time to movies they appreciated as children. For Mike, it was the Savage brothers and Howie Mandel in Little Monsters. For Greg, it was being introduced to the F-Bomb in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Critters (seen here).

We also talk about beer, have our weekly review of Tom and Jim’s Top 5 (you’re welcome), talk about podcasts at the grassroots level and how they (okay, we) need your support. Not financial (not yet). But just help us get the word out about our podcasts here at Jittery Monkey. Share them with your friends. Subscribe if you haven’t already. Rate and review on your favorite podcast app. It helps. And we appreciate you.

Nerds United Episode 105: Discussing Various Cinematic Universes

In this episode, Greg and Mike discuss some of the cinematic universes, as well as what constitutes a cinematic universe instead of a linear story.

These two former classmates also share some high school stories, including both being in the National Honor Society and then kicked out of the illustrious organization.

The show gets interrupted by Greg’s son who decided that he didn’t need to stay in his bed.

And then we dive deep into the topic at hand: The Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the Worlds of DC, the Universal Monsters Universe and the Monster-verse featuring Godzilla and King Kong.

A brief chat about Captain Marvel at the end that it was go-home time. So give it a listen and follow the show on social media and subscribe on your own favorite podcast app.

Nerds United Episode 104: Old Man Logan, Kingdom Come, The Office and Parks & Rec

Hey kids! Greg and Mike here with a brand new episode of your favorite comic book/pop culture podcast! The numbers are in and we are definitely #1 for this genre in the Southern Illinois area, and will fight any other podcast that tries to claim otherwise (unless you’re bigger than us – ML).

This week, we’re talking about some books that Greg loaned to Mike for his reading pleasure. Then there’s a recap of Greg’s day trip to Chicagoland, which, if you’re wondering, is about the only way to go to Chicagoland. Lots of “windshield time.”

Get Mike’s scoop on Old Man Logan and Kingdom Come. Greg will be passing along some more books to Mike for future reading.

Now the coup de grace is the discussion at the end when the guys discuss The Office and Parks & Recreation. Make sure you stick around for that and share your ideas in the comments on Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter.

Nerds United Episode 103: Writer/Artist David Gorden

Back to basics! This type of episode was the very beginning of Nerds United, where I would sit down with a comic book creator and hear their tale, their “origin story,” where I learned how they became interested in comics and how the early interest turned into a lifelong passion and eventually them creating comics themselves.

This week I’m joined by David Gorden, a creator I had the good fortune to meet somewhat accidentally earlier this summer. Hear the story of our initial meeting and hear how David became interested in comic books. In this episode, you’ll learn as I did how personal loss shaped his career, and how sometimes we go back home to get back on track.

David put out a graphic novel earlier this year called “Kwame Hightower and the Man with No Name.” It tells the story of 12-year-old Kwame, a boy from North St. Louis, who pulls Excalibur from the Sacred Stone, thus becoming King of England, and opens Kwame’s life to new adventures and possibilities the likes of which he never even thought about. Pick up your copy of the book on Amazon using the handy link right below, or listen to the end of the episode to hear how you can win an autographed copy of the book yourself.

Find David on social media on all of these convenient locations:


While we’re at it, check out the show on social media:


Nerds United Episode 102: Ask the Nerds

Hey everybody! Greg and Mike (@MikeRLuther) here. This week on an all-new episode of the show, we take your questions. But we also did something fun on Facebook as we streamed the first ten or fifteen minutes of the recording before switching primarily to the audio format. So head over to Facebook.com/nerdsunitedshow and watch that before listening to the remainder of the episode.

Also, BIG shout out to Tom from Tom and Jim’s Top 5 for interacting with us on Facebook. They also have a new episode coming out today. So make sure you subscribe to and download their shows as well.

So some of the questions we answer pertain to DC Universe streaming app, comic book characters we’d like to see on the big screen (that we haven’t yet), the Marvel/James Gunn/Dave Bautista situation, and favorite fictional beverages.

Plus we discuss Power Rangers, the Batman movie, Baywatch, and a lot more.

At the end of the episode, we talk about high-dollar collectibles or memorabilia we’d own if money was no factor. So I leave it to you. Head over to Facebook and join the discussion by telling us what pop culture piece of memorabilia you’d own if you could.

And remember to be kind. Rewind.

Nerds United Episode 101: San Diego Comic Con and More

Hey everyone! It’s the weekend of the 2018 San Diego Comic Con, and what better way to spend it than with two guys who aren’t at Comic Con and have never been to Comic Con?

TWO GUYS! Mike, aka Co-Host Of The Year, is back talking about our enthusiasm about Comic Con, but also our hesitations. I mean, 100,000 people can’t be wrong. But that doesn’t mean we want to be asses and elbows with them. Oh, this is also the time where we should remind you to listen to this past week’s episode of Positive Cynicism with Chad Smart and Eric Bennett, as they have both been to SDCC (Eric a ridiculous 13 or 14 times), and much of our conversation is an offshoot of their chat.

We also work to get Anheuser Busch as an official sponsor of the podcast, but after we shit on Bud Light last time, that seems unlikely. WORK YOUR MAGIC, KYLE!

Guess who’s coming to St. Louis in October.

We are!

But…Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman will also be in town for a recording of their wildly entertaining podcast Hollywood Babble-On. And we’re going to the show!

We also talk about Greg’s radio days, because Mike’s mom thinks Greg sounds like he should be in radio. Spoiler alert…it ends on a down beat.

Follow Mike on Twitter. He has eleven followers currently and that makes me sad. You can find him here and all the other social media accounts of importance!

Nerds United Facebook
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Nerds United Episode 100: We March On

Hey everyone and thank you for taking the time to click the link, open the description in your podcast app, or however you came across reading these words.


As many of you know, for this episode, I was really wanting to have Kevin Smith as my guest. But that ended up not happening. I’ll try him again at a different time. I know he has plenty of irons in various fires.

So for this episode, I’m just getting you caught up on some of what I have been and will be reading. I’ve told my people at Twilight Comics (in Swansea, IL) that I’m going to convert from single issues to trade paperbacks, and to start ordering accordingly for me. The staff there is always thinking of new ways to get people in the doors, and Tuesday night’s “wedding celebration” of Batman and Catwoman was no different. I wasn’t there, but my son had some leftover cake on Wednesday.

So here’s a short list of some books I recommend: Superman/Batman: Finest Worlds, Kwame Hightower and the Man With No Name, and for kicks, anytime you see a Hellboy TPB on your store’s shelves, just buy it and read it.

That’s all for now. You’re great. I thank you for 5+ years of support and listenership and I promise that Episode 200 will be before 2023.

Nerds United Episode 99: Counting Down Our Favorite “Bad” Comic Book Movies

In the vein of Tom and Jim’s Top 5, Co-Host of the Year Mike and I do our own Top 5 Countdown, and it’s our favorite “guilty pleasure” comic book movies.

The only criteria are as follows: It has to be a movie based on a comic book, and it has to have a Rotten Tomatoes score of less than 50%.

What made our lists? What movies narrowly missed our lists and were relegated to “honorable mention” status? And what did you, the listener, contribute to the show? Plus we have seamlessly interwoven some movie clips into the episode. But if you want a Top 5 done right, go listen to Tom and Jim’s Top 5. Theirs don’t go nearly as long.

And since I included Revis’ “Caught in the Rain” on the episode, here’s a little bit about that other closing credits song we talked about.

If you love fantastic music, I really encourage you to check out the debut album of Revis, available a click away on Amazon!

Nerds United Episode 98: Jay Peteranetz Returns Again

It’s a brand new episode with the one and only Jay Peteranetz. Jay is fresh off a weekend at Denver Comic Con and is in the process of shipping out the rewards from the successful Kickstarter Campaign for the original comic book Broderick, for which he did the art (Ron “Booth Babe” Bryce providing the story).


The show begins with me singing a song, and Jay promptly asking me to stop. We talk about some of the keys to a successful Kickstarter, like reasonable goals, and turning down offers to sell Broderick to maintain control of the IP.

Jay had a good time at Denver Comic Con, so we talk about some of the high points from his weekend there.

And at the end we have a little fun talking about Susan Storm and other superheroes on the beach (see featured image).

Follow Jay on instagram (see above) and Twitter. Remember to rate and review the podcast on your favorite listening app. And don’t forget that I’m still trying to get Kevin Smith on the show for the first week of July. Go back and read this entry from last year as I hope it will better explain why Kevin has been such a huge part of my life, and why he’s responsible for you being here as well.

Nerds United Episode 97: Mike is BACK!


Mike is here and we’re talking comics! We each read a graphic novel and brought it back to discuss. I brought some 2003 Robert Kirkman to the table. Not The Walking Dead. But rather – Invincible!

Mike brought a Brian Michael Bendis creation, Miles Morales, to the show. Miles is away from the Ultimate Universe. Which crazy Marvel characters does he encounter? Hint – Golden Balls. But also, Jessica Jones.

WHAT?!? This comic isn’t new. Go get it!

There’s also a long interlude about the old high school days, and the “cool kids.” So if you ever wanted insight into my high school life, there you have it.

Shout out’s to Mike’s son Nolan, as well as Mike’s mom, a loyal listener of Episode 95, and probably 97.

Big shout out to Lion Forge Comics in St. Louis. My job took me into their office on Thursday. I got to see my friend Lorenzo and writer/artist David Gorden. They hooked me up with Gorden’s labor-of-love and three-year project Kwame Hightower: And the Man With No Name.

David will be joining me on an upcoming episode of the show. Lorenzo and I will get together in a couple months ahead of the release of his book Scarab!

Want to read David’s book? You can have it in-hand in just a couple days by using the link below!

Nerds United Episode 96: The Apple and the Last Jedi

Whew. There is a LOT to unload in this episode. I knew going in that @chadsmart was not a fan of Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi. But after I finally had a chance to watch the movie recently, I wanted to sit down with him and chat about the movie.

Ol Chad had just one condition, however. He wouldn’t talk to me about Star Wars until I saw The Apple. What is The Apple?

It’s a musical filmed in 1979, released in 1980, and set in “futuristic 1994!” I’m not making this up, folks. Watch the trailer. It’s insane! So we talk all about BIM.

And then the space opera talk takes over, as Chad and I talk about The Last Jedi. What did we like about it? What didn’t we like about it? And why does it make us even more eager for Episode 9, regardless of our feelings towards Ep. 8?

Hey friends, keep this in mind. Chad is training (I use that term loosely) for a half-marathon in Los Angeles in the Fall. In doing so, he’s also raising money for St. Jude’s Hospital. I encourage you to click the link and if you can, throw a few dollars towards St. Jude’s in support of Chad’s fund raising efforts.

Also, with this being Episode 96, I’m really going to ramp up my efforts to have a very special guest on Episode 100. So if you want Silent Bob himself, Kevin Smith as a guest on this show, please follow along on Twitter (@nerdsunitedshow) and help get the campaign noticed by a true inspiration to me.

As I said to Chad at the end of the recording, without Kevin Smith, he wouldn’t have a podcast on the Jittery Monkey Podcast Network. There would be no podcast network. There would be no Nerds United. So if you enjoy Nerds United, you can thank Kevin Smith. And I really hope to be able to do that!

Enjoy the new episode, friends. May the Force be with you.

Nerds United Episode 95: Spoiling Avengers Infinity War


If you have not seen Avengers – Infinity War, do NOT listen to this episode. Download it, save it, and listen to it ONLY AFTER YOU HAVE WATCHED THE MOVIE!!!

We seriously pull no punches when talking about the happenings of the movie.

Who is “we,” you ask? Well, that story gets told in the episode, but long story short, I’m joined by my high school classmate Mike Luther, a fellow nerd who a) has seen the movie (obviously) and 2) lives in the same town as me. It’s really convenient that way.

And we drink beer. Just a couple. We’re responsible.

So what happened in Avengers – Infinity War? I’m sure as hell NOT going to tell you here. You need to listen to the show. But if you are listening to the show, you should have seen the movie by now.

That makes sense, right Mike?

[Mike nods affirmation]

So listen to the show, and then head over to the Amazon link and buy something. Anything. They have it.

Don’t forget that this Saturday, May 5, Cinco de Mayo, is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! So go support your LOCAL comic book shops.

Nerds United 94: SPOILER FREE Avengers Infinity War Review

Let’s face it…you hate spoilers. I know this because I too hate spoilers, and I feel like we think alike on this subject.

Avengers – Infinity War has only been in theaters for about a week, and that’s not enough time for everyone to have seen the movie. But I moved Heaven and Earth to be able to watch the newest offering from Marvel Studios this past weekend, and I am sure glad I did.

What I have for you in this episode of Nerds United is a SPOILER FREE review. And truth be told, it’s not even much of a review. I hit a few high points. I don’t spoil anything. And I just say “this movie is amazing, you need to watch it!”

Is that something you feel you can get behind?


Because TOMORROW I will drop another brand new episode where I talk all about the movie and spoil it up the wazoo! So listen to this episode, go give Marvel/Disney your $10-$15, and then come back and listen to the episode all about Avengers – Infinity War!

Nerds United Episode 92: Angels of Hell Writer Chris Reichard

It’s another new episode of Nerds United this month. I know what you’re thinking. Three consecutive weeks of new episodes.

Hell has not frozen over.

In fact, it’s Hell on Earth as I am joined by Chris Reichard, writer of Angels of Hell #1: An Apocalyptic Tale feat. the Four Horsemen.

Chris is from the St. Louis, MO area, but spent eight years in the US Army. His creative writing, in fact the early ideas for this story, go back to his high school days. And his love of comics dates back even further.

In this episode, we’ll learn about Chris and his origin story, as it were. We talk about Chris’ take on the apocalypse and the Four Horsemen and the quest they find themselves on in an effort to save the world.

The book is available to order on Kickstarter. I definitely recommend looking it over and throwing a few dollars their way. Support Indy Comics! I really can’t stress that enough!


Nerds United Episode 90: Stache Publishing and Colossal Chaos

In this brand-new episode, I’m joined by Stache Publishing’s Anthony Mathenia and writer Alex Wills as we talk about comics, creating comics, publishing comics, shipping comics, and getting comics funded on Kickstarter.

Stache currently has a new anthology live on Kickstarter, and you have until the end of April to support this *gigantic* project…because they’re giant monsters and robots and such. Get it?

Alex contributes a story to the book, titled Attack on Bug City (see the featured photo), a unique twist on the whole kaiju genre. I talk with him about his life in comics both from the fan perspective and as a writer.

And then, point blank, I ask the guys how one would start to write a comic book. You see, I have a story in my head that I want to tell. So Alex and Anthony give me some pointers and a brief idea of what I – or anyone looking to become a writer – should do at the start of the process.

Remember to check out Colossal Chaos, the fourth anthology in the Out of the Blue series from Stache Publishing. As I said at the end of the episode, I gave them some of my money, and I encourage you to do the same!

Next week, I’m bringing in another guest in Tom Skull of Tom and Jim’s Top 5 Podcast and we’re reviewing the following movie…so be ready!

Five Heart Podcast Episode 55: Husker Women’s Hoops with Jill Heemstra

This is a conversation a little too long in the making. Corn Nation’s Jill Heemstra joins Greg to talk about the Nebraska Women’s Basketball team.

The two cover the transition from Connie Yori to Amy Williams, the departure of Nebraska’s own Jessica Shepard and how it was not only the right move for the young lady, but how it also may have been the best outcome for the Huskers.

How does this squad look heading into the final month of the regular season (16-6 as of this recording, before the Illinois game)? And how did whispers of a post-season appearance in the WNIT transform into talk of a Women’s National Tournament berth? (Spoiler: May have had something to do with three consecutive wins over ranked teams.)

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Nerds United Episode 89: Gunpowder Witch Creator Jordan Williams

Welcome to the first Nerds United episode of 2018. It’s been almost two months since the last episode. Hope you had some good holidays there.

My guest for episode 89 has been on the podcast before (it’s in the archives…somewhere between Numbers 1 and 88). Jordan Williams is a cornerstone of Stache Publishing, frequently discussed here on the show. Jordan has written, drawn, and released two issues of his book Gunpowder Witch already. But all during the month of February, you can support his Kickstarter campaign to fund his entirely finished four-issue graphic novel for Gunpowder Witch.

Gunpowder Witch, in its simplest form, takes the historical accounts of the Salem Witch Trials and fictionalizes them by making the “witches” super-powered individuals who are misunderstood by their Puritan peers.

The conversation also takes a tangential turn to talk briefly about religion, but not in any way that is condescending. In other words…there’s a little something for everyone.

But the main thing is to support the Kickstarter. And I’ll update this post with the link tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy the show!

Nerds United Episode 87: A New Premium Service?

This episode is born out of my friend Josh urging me to see Justice League. He saw it and, in his words, “dug it.” He said I need to see it right away so we could discuss it.

But there’s a little obstacle in the path to the movies, snack bar, and the silver screen.

My wife and I have a son and little free time. I’ve been to the theater just a handful of times since he was born, and my wife even fewer times. But the genre movies don’t stop being released. So I have an idea that would be great for consumers like me – but pretty horrible for movie theaters. Two words…digital streaming.

So give the show a listen and then utilize the comments section and tell me if you agree with my idea or not. I’m looking forward to your response.

Thanks for listening and sharing!

Nerds United Episode 86: A Collection of Musings

When you haven’t recorded a new episode in almost six weeks, some thoughts accumulate.

In the new episode, I talk a little bit about Stranger Things. I can only talk a little bit about it because I’ve only seen one episode. Hence, I’m “late to the party.”

I’m also late to the party because I didn’t realize that the new seasons of many comic book tv shows had started, those being The Flash, Arrow, Gotham, etc.


And I am really enjoying Seth MacFarlane’s ORVILLE on FOX. And I break down a recent episode and how it pertains to modern society. ORVILLE is a sneaky smart show that is more than 10% funnier than Star Trek.

Towards the end, I throw out some secondary and tertiary comic characters I’d like to see on the big screen. So in the comments, tell me if you agree or who you’d like to see get their big shot.

Nerds United Episode 84: Return to West of Oz

You remember Return to Oz, right? Well in Episode 84, I’m joined by two previous guests, Sean Benner and Nick Winand, we return to their project West of Oz.

I backed their Kickstarter in the Spring for Issue 1 and read it upon its delivery. It’s a fun read, and when I talked with the pair, they emphasized that they wanted to keep the book light-hearted and steer clear of any “gritty” filters commonly used.

We hear about the reception to West of Oz #1 both from fans and other creators. Hear tales about taking the book to various comic cons (and a great story from me about Cape Comic Con), including Portland this past weekend.

Now you have the opportunity to back the next two chapters of the story – Issues 2 & 3 – in trade paperback form.


This project is mostly funded and you can help push them over the edge. You have until Sunday September 24 to back this book. It’s right there. Help them see it through.

And stay tuned to the end for a brief tragedy and the recovery. All is well.

Nerds United Episode 83: Jason Copland…FINALLY!

It’s the podcast three or four months in the making. Hear the tale about why it took us so long to hook up for a recording and why the night we did record was so disadvantageous (but we made the best of it, because Jackie rocks).

We talk about Jason’s early years as a reader of comics, and how he went to art school and the advice he was given. Anthology work begat an opportunity to work with one of the best writers in the business on Daredevil (seen in the featured photo…DD #33, for you readers there).

We get more info on Kill All Monsters – available now pretty much everywhere – and what Jason has been doing since Kill All Monsters wrapped up.

Jason did a three-issue stint on IDW’s Judge Dredd:

Issues 3-5

And now he’s working on writing a story of his own for which he will also do the art, so there’s a great opportunity to have him on the show again in the future to talk about Full Tilt.

Enjoy the show. Like, Comment, Share, and rate/review on iTunes. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Nerds United Episode 82: #AskNerdsUnited

I put out the call for your questions and you came through. In this episode, I field questions about Image Comics’ Cowboy – Ninja – Viking (coming to a theater near you in 2019), Ready Player One (coming to a theater near you in March), and my overall thoughts on the DC Cinematic Universe. There’s also a question about books I would recommend that aren’t of the comic book variety, and I provide a dramatic reading of my son’s favorite book.

Be sure to check out Kickstarter for the “Project We Love,” West of Oz.


And as promised, here’s the trailer to Ready Player One.


Nerds United Episode 81: Michael May and Kill All Monsters

Episode 81 is here and I’m thrilled to sit down with writer Michael May. I get a bit of Michael’s own origin story as well as some good conversation about Kill All Monsters, available now wherever comics and most other books are sold, as well as the interwebs.

Kill All Monsters started as an idea May had with artist Jason Copland (my chat with him in the very near future). How’d the project begin? Where was it originally found? And how did a successful Kickstarter campaign help these two see their creation get picked up by Dark Horse comics?

Michael and I also talk about the current state of the comic book industry, and why it’s important to support stories you love and their creators. Like Captain Planet would say:

Image result for the power is yours gif

What’s next for Michael? Working on Kill All Monsters Vol. 2, naturally. You can check out Volume 1 using the link below.

Jason…you’re up next!

Nerds United Episode 80: Alberto Pessoa on Primas

Meet Alberto Pessoa: writer, artist, researcher, and creator of Primas. Primas is an original graphic novel based on true stories from research Alberto did over a three year period in a poor region of Paraiba, Brazil. While there, Pessoa talked with local women who earned their living in “the world’s oldest profession.”

In Primas, Pessoa takes the stories of three women and combines them into one tale of the fictional “Rosa.”

I ready the PDF version of Primas in about 40 minutes in one sitting, as I found it wholly engaging and riveting. It’s not a superhero tale. You’ll find no capes or cowls. Only real stories told with a vivid art style. I love the art on this book. It’s simply yet effective. It gets two thumbs up from me, in that regard. The honesty with which the story is told is both brutal yet refreshing. It makes the book all the more desirable to read.


I highly encourage you to check out the Kickstarter and throw them a few bones. Having read the book, I’m confident in saying you won’t be disappointed!

Positive Cynicism Ep 14: Feminism – Expert Opinions

On this week’s episode, host @chadsmart is joined by Nerds United host Greg Mehochko and My 1-2-3 Cents host Kevin Hunsperger to discuss the rise of feminism in society.

The first half of the show focuses on the DC cinematic universe and whether Wonder Woman is actually a good movie or if it is given more leeway due to being the first female driven superhero movie.

Second half discussion looks at the online outrage of WWE’s recent first ever women’s Money in the Bank match.

Nerds United Episode 79: Broderick Writer Ron Bryce

Broderick is already a success story. The Kickstarter launched and has met its initial goal.

Now I’m thrilled to sit down with Ron Bryce, the writer of Broderick. Fun fact: Ron has known longtime friend of the show (and current record holder of most guest appearances) Jay Peteranetz from the very beginning. So after Ron wrote and published his novel (Thirty Days from Sunday), he started working on a novella, and thus, Jack Broderick was born!


From comic cards to Kickstarter, come with us on the secret origin of Ron Bryce.

And if you’re going to Denver Comic Con this weekend, be sure to stop by Booth M20, see Ron and Jay, and give them a dollar. I want this project to be fully funded, but I need your help!!! Hardcover, t-shirt, all four issues…it can all be ours! And it could only cost you $1!

Nerds United Episode 78: Jay Peteranetz on Broderick

It’s new episode day! Jay Peteranetz returns to talk about his new project on Kickstarter, Broderick.

Broderick is an original comic drawn by Jay, written by Ron Bryce, and colored by Tony Zollo. It’s a noir story about a mob hitman who is “too violent” (Jay’s words) for the mafia. That’s saying something. I mean, the mafia was notoriously violent. YOU’VE SEEN THE MOVIES! YOU KNOW WHAT THEY WERE CAPABLE OF!

But I digress. I’ve read the Broderick preview, available now on the Kickstarter site. In it, Broderick wakes up in Trinity, New Mexico (the real site of the first ever atomic bomb test) – having been dropped there by the mafia overlords he used to serve. Getting a firsthand account of that first blast also comes with, as we come to find out, some damn radiation poisoning.

So – what does Broderick do with his remaining time? Revenge or redemption? And did I open up an existential can of worms with my interpretation? WHO KNOWS?!?

So – check out the Kickstarter. Throw a few dollars their way. Check out all the reward levels. Let’s SUPERFUND this book!

Follow Jay and Ron on twitter:

Jay Peteranetz
Ron Bryce

Also – why will this show never get a sponsorship deal with Taco Bell? It’s all inside!

Nerds United Episode 77: Game of Thrones, Castlevania, and Acting

All right kids, so here’s the new episode. It’s another road recording. And admittedly, it’s not nearly as thorough and complete as I’d like. But…it is what it is.

So earlier in the day, we received a trailer for Season 7 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. So I’m excited about that.

We also received a teaser trailer for a new project headed to Netflix later this year. And though I shared a different version on Facebook earlier in the day, well, I like this one more.

Last but certainly not least, is a response to this article from ComicBook.com, on what had to be a slow news day: The Fifteen Most DESPISED Comic Book Movie Performances.

I take great issue with this, based just on the first two actors listed. But the point is this:

More blame should be levied on the director/producer than the actor portraying the role. And who are you as the author of that article to speak for everyone when calling those performances the most despised? Maybe they were more disappointing to you than other performances. But that’s more your fault based on your expectations of A abd receiving B.

But I digress. There’s more for me to get into on that subject, but that is – I think – more of a blog post when I have the time to disagree with most of the author’s points.

Enjoy the show and we’ll catch you again soon.

What Did I Just Do?

Seriously – what did I just do?

I’m not opposed to shaving for good causes. Here’s when I shaved my head for the Bald Men Walking Relay for Life team five years ago.

Backstory: If you recall a recent post, you’re aware of my love of shaving. It’s not a chore anymore, it’s an event. And this is a great community of people who share the hobby.

I’ve not met anyone in the wet shave community that I didn’t know before I got into it. That will change in a few weeks when I attend the STL Wet Shavers Meet Up. That will be awesome.

But still, it’s a great community. We have good times and plenty of laughs. We have memorial shaves, we have congratulatory shaves for weddings, graduations, retirements, etc (I know I had a helluva shave when my son was born), and we have shaves just to show support. So when it was learned that one of our own was going through something major (learned his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer), one of our fearless leaders created a shave event in her honor. Predicated on her favorite scents, citrus based

Now I don’t know him and I certainly don’t know her, but “when in Rome,” right?

So the event is technically Sunday. But some of us are doing citrus shaves all week long. I began tonight.


Now a normal shave would be just fine. But dammit, I had an idea.

AHH! My boobs are on the Internet!

That’s right, kids. I did the unthinkable.



The band-aid? I had a mole right in the center. And it’s not perfect, but I’ve never shaved my chest before.

And I never will. And yeah, I left the hair around the nips. You saw the razor in the feature image.

As an unforeseen bonus, now my boy can’t pull my chest hair.

Melinda, our thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue your fight

But I hope to God that no one gets testicular cancer!!!

Nerds United Episode 76: Star Wars, Logan, FCBD, and More!

Heeeey I’m back, recording from the road. It’s safe, I’m fairly certain.

Plenty to talk about in the 76th episode of Nerds United. I’ve been reading comics (SHOCKING, I KNOW!), so there are a few titles I’m talking about, and a reminder to you that this Saturday is Free Comic Book Day (hit that hyperlink to see what books are available this year).

Today is May the Fourth…Star Wars Day. What’s your favorite Star Wars moment? I have a few myself.

Whose names get mentioned here? Let’s see…Logan, Taskmaster, Moon Knight, Crossbones, Captain America, Daredevil, Darth Bane, Darth Vader…I mean, it goes on and on.

I also recap my day at the Cape Comic Con a couple weeks ago!

Also starting a new feature on Facebook today, and every #ThorsDay. An image of the god of thunder from a talented artist on DeviantArt. Give it a look, and all credit to lukealderson1898 for the first Thor image used for this weekly feature.

Hey, if you like the show, if you like Nerds United, please share it with your friends and fellow nerds. I would really appreciate it!

DC’s Titans Headed to New Streaming Service

Earlier today, we learned that Warner Bros./DC is moving forward with a live-action version of the Teen Titans.

Honestly, it’s a brilliant idea. It hits home for the generation that grew up with the Titans on Cartoon Network (even if they didn’t pick up a comic book). But they will also capture the audience that has brought continued success to the CW shows in the “Arrow-verse.” It gets top billing because it was the first, followed by The Flash, Supergirl (an acquisition from NBC), and Legends of Tomorrow.

Greg Berlanti, the mastermind behind the success of these network programs, will once again be at the forefront of this DC property, working with Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns, and Sarah Schechter.

This will also mark DC’s first venture on their new, yet-to-be-launched streaming service. So it won’t be a full week of Berlanti shows on the CW. Just, you know…four. Or whatever it is now. I guess Legends is on after Flash. I don’t know…I DVR everything and zip through commercials.

In a press release from Warner Bros.:

“Titans” follows a group of young soon-to-be Super Heroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe. In this action-packed series, Dick Grayson emerges from the shadows to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes, including Starfire, Raven and many others.

One recruit that is already established that I’d like to see pulled over to Titans is a Titan himself, Kid Flash.

Keiynan Lonsdale portrays Kid Flash on the CW’s hit show The Flash.

Now, I’m a little behind on my Flash-watching, but it just seems like Wally West/Kid Flash is sort of just there. He doesn’t have too much to do since you still have the titular character on the show. So it would work. Plus, as I mentioned above, he’s an established character and would likely draw his fans, and fans of The Flash into this new project.

Titans as a live-action production seems like the next logical step in the process of bringing these characters to a new audience. The same press release that brought the news of the Titans live action show also held an announcement that Young Justice was making its return. And with the success of the DC Animated universe titles like Justice League vs Teen Titans and Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, live action was just the next evolution. And since Titans was brought back to the dance after being neglected by TNT, it looks like it will finally be done right.

I look for more Titans news in the future. I’m guessing they already have an actor in mind to play Dick Grayson, but who do you see in that role?

Tell me on Facebook or Twitter.

Nerds United Episode 75: Talking Smit and the Cape Comic Con

This weekend is the 12th Annual Cape Comic Con in Cape Girardeau, MO.

This year’s Cape Con preview episode features two of my favorite people and best friends, Jared and Nia Smith, of Talking Smit fame. We’re talking about some of our memories of recent Cape Con’s, the mistake that I made once and the good times had by all.

Learn about their favorite memories of their trips to Cape Con (spoiler, this pic place a part):

Cape Con 2017 will once again reunite me with my good friends, but we also talk about what is anticipated the most for them this year. Being that they’re both big wrestling fans, they’re eager to see two great nights of wrestling at the Arena. It’s Girl Fight and the Luna Vachon Memorial Tournament Friday night and the CCW Super Show Saturday night. Big names are brought to Southeast Missouri for a great weekend, and you can see them all (and the CCW talent) at the Con itself.

Enjoy the show. We get a silent cameo from my son who walked over to the broadcast area late in the show (he was a little more vocal about midway through).



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 44: Marvel’s Ultimatum

Now before you start wondering, let me clear the air here.

  1. I’m not giving Marvel an Ultimatum. I’m not saying “put Steve Rogers back in the red, white, and blue” or “for crying out loud, please cast Nathan Fillion in something more than voice work!”
  2. Marvel isn’t handing out ultimatums to Sony or 20th Century Fox or anything lile that regarding any of their properties.

This is about “Marvel Ultimatum,” a five-issue mini-series that was published in 2008-2009. Best I can tell, it takes place in Marvel’s Ultimate universe. Written by the incredible Jeph Loeb and penciled by David Finch, it is a Marvel comic event that, I think, caused everyone to look around and say “well, I think we’re all glad that didn’t happen in the main continuity.”


To put it mildly, it’s a damn bloodbath. The story opens with a swell of water that floods New York City. Meanwhile, Eastern Europe is covered in a deep winter that kills man, woman, and child. Earthquakes in Wakanda. Volcanoes in the Amazon. In the first issue, the death toll reaches the millions.

And no one is immune. Throughout the series, heroes are offed left and right. Some from the initial natural disasters, but most from the ensuing conflicts.

Now I fully admit that I only read the core Ultimatum story, without going into the Requiem tie-ins or any other titles. But it was a relatively easy book to digest, and I was able to finish it in one sitting. Truth be told, it wasn’t on my radar initially, and I only knew about it from a YouTube video (I don’t remember which one now). But it did give me a pretty sweet #BOOM! picture I was able to use after selling a car.

But here’s a list of Marvel characters who are killed in Ultimatum:

  • Beast
  • Nightcrawler
  • Dazzler
  • Franklin Storm
  • Emma Frost
  • Wasp
  • Blob
  • Hank Pym
  • Longshot
  • Forge
  • Doctor Strange
  • Cannonball
  • Professor X
  • Spider-Man (he would later be revealed to be alive)
  • Angel

There are more. But it’s almost as if George RR Martin wrote the story. And here’s the thing. There are A-list names above. But what I haven’t told you yet is Thor sacrificed himself and stayed behind in Hel to save Valkyrie and Captain America.

So let’s let the story unfold. It is realized that Magneto changed the magnetic fields at Earth’s north and south poles. That caused all the destruction and devastation. It’s learned that he’s essentially punishing mankind for the death of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. So all the heroes go to his floating fortress for the confrontation. That’s where Angel dies. It’s where Magneto kills Wolverine and where Cyclops returns the favor.

A few days later at a press conference, while Cyclops is addressing the crowd on the steps of Congress he’s assassinated. After that, Doctor Doom has his head crushed by the Thing.

Like I said, there is an unnerving amount of death in these five issues. But the most gruesome death is that of Janet van Dyne aka Wasp. Hawkeye turns the corner and sees Blob feasting on her torso. Blob meets his end when Hank Pym picks him up and bites his head off, then spitting it out and dropping Blob from a very high distance.

I mean…it’s gratuitous. It’s unnerving.

It’s Rated T for Teen.

Now Ultimatum is not the best comic book out there. It’s not one of Jeph Loeb’s best. That’s on the other side of the Marvel/DC aisle:

And that’s just my opinion. But that is a great story.

So where does that leave Ultimatum? Well, I read it out of morbid curiosity. I think we all do that from time to time. But this is a unique story that shows the demise of a good portion of the Marvel Earthly heroes. If you’re curious and didn’t see my [SPOILERS] as a bad thing, I encourage you to seek it out, borrow it from a friend. If you’re not curious, well the good news is that there are a lot of comics out there to scratch almost any itch you might have. Go to your local comic book store, tell them where your interests lie, and then listen and honestly consider their recommendations.

It’s a big beautiful world of comics out there, kids. Go get you some.

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 41? – Thor Ragnarok Trailer Breakdown

Well, let’s get the math out of the way right away, before I catch any grief.

In the Christian calendar, Lent is 40 days. This is Post 41. IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE!

But wait, the forty days is from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday. Now we’re in Holy Week. We are not yet to Easter, so you still get posts (if you want them…and based on the numbers, you do).

So today we had a little [teaser] trailer drop for Thor: Ragnarok. Now I just talked about Norse mythology on Saturday. I thought the first Thor movie was brilliant, and Thor: The Dark World had its uses, as it brought us another Infinity Stone. Plus, there was more from the fan-favorite Loki, and the Captain America cameo.


The trailer opens with Thor in chains taking a very painful looking, chain–like drop into Hel. Thor’s voiceover says “Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘How did this happen?’ Well, it’s a long story.”

While the voiceover is happening, the scene changes to Thor throwing Mjolnir at an unknown entity. And also, Led Zeppelin starts to play. (Click the link. I swear, it’s all I hear when I think of The Immigrant Song.) So Mjolnir is thrown. But here’s a swerve…Mjolnir is caught. Or maybe the better term “stopped.”

Look, I know that’s Cate Blanchett, but for a minute, minus the nose, it looks a lot like Eva Green.

And then the unthinkable happens (see the featured image). She breaks the damn thing.

Now here’s what you need to know about Mjolnir in the Marvel Universe. It’s not just a magical hammer that only Thor and Vision can hold. Paraphrasing Marvel.Wikia.com:

Odin defeats the God Tempest and traps it in a chunk of Uru, then gives the stone to dwarves who star-forge it into the hammer. The forging took seventeen weeks.

So anyway, Hela destroys Mjolnir, and next we see Hela in her full antler regalia about to bring destruction to Asgard. It takes nine seconds. And Thor is cast out of his home, and is found on a new world. He is quickly captured and shown in captivity.

Next we see the Grandmaster, Jeff Goldblum, asking what was brought before him, and the response given is “a contender.”

We see what appears to be Heimdall in the forest fighting for survival. Quick cuts about a second or so apart until the 1:06 mark when we finally get our first look at the prodigal son himself:

Wielding a duo of daggers and the most wicked helm in the realm.

I don’t know whose side Loki is on. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was on his own side in this mayhem. As you’ll remember, when last we saw him, he was impersonating the Allfather and sitting on the throne of Asgard.

Fast-forward a few seconds and we see Thor finally entering the gladiator arena.

Hey Thor, did you get a hair cut?”

“No, I got them all cut.”

His new helmet drops into place. The Grandmaster is introducing the opponent when “BAH GAWD, KING! IT’S HULK! IT’S THE INCREDIBLE HULK!”

Which brings about probably the only moments of levity in this trailer.

I mean it. Just look how happy he is. That is one jubilant God of Thunder. It’s almost like he forgot that time Hulk punched him in his head!

After a triumphant “YES” from Thor, the crowd and the Grandmaster are puzzled. Thor calmly, coolly explains “We know each other. He’s a friend from work.” Because…#Avengers.

Hulk straight up doesn’t care, and quickly engages Thor. Thor runs at Hulk. Our “teaser trailer” (that lasts almost two minutes…so I’m calling it a trailer) ends with an awesome, 1980’s Saturday Morning Cartoon style graphic.

It’s a little bit Masters of the Universe, a little bit Silverhawks.

So that’s the trailer. Or should I say “Here’s the trailer.”

I’m digging this trailer big time. I’m pumped for another Thor movie. I’m pumped for another MCU movie. And I’m excited to see the only two guys not invited to Captain America: Civil War to do battle with each other before restoring order in Asgard (speculation…they don’t tell me anything, obviously).

Thor: Ragnarok is in theaters in November!

What’d you think? Sound off in the comments on the Facebook page.

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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 25: Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em

“Listen, here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.”

Those are the first words in the 1998 movie Rounders. Now unless you play cards or really love young Matt Damon, my guess is you probably haven’t seen it. It’s actually a who’s who of late 90’s actors. Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich, John Turturro, Famke Janssen, and more.

Rounders is about a bright college guy who has earned a good amount of money by playing cards. See, he’s a gambler. And he knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. But when his friend (Norton’s Worm) is in deep with loan sharks, Mike McDermott comes out of retirement to go after the big payday that he hopes will save his buddy.

You get one of the all-time great lines from Malkovich, who is a Russian poker great and likely criminal known as Teddy KGB. Spoiler alert, at the end, Damon’s character wins, and they have only one choice.

It’s hilarious because it’s not a good Russian accent. But it will forever live in Hollywood lore.

That you don’t see in this clip is that the card on the river is the same card in 2006’s Casino Royale, the ace of spades. Now I admit that I watched some Bond movies before Daniel Craig took on the lead role, but Casino Royale was the first Bond movie I ever owned, and is probably my favorite. I think I can credit the Texas Hold ‘Em tie-in for that.

I love playing Texas Hold ‘Em. I don’t say that to mean you’ll see me on the World Series of Poker or anything. I mean, I’m not good. But I enjoy it. I enjoy the camaraderie of sitting at the table, usually with friends, and having laughs over some cards and usually beer.

I remember the first time I played Hold ‘Em. I was in Colorado Springs visiting my friends Joe and Danielle. We were hanging out at the bar they frequented with people they’d known for some time. We sat down and started a game, and in said game, I eventually was dealt pocket rockets. Talk about poker face – I’m sure I was damn-near sweating trying to contain my excitement. Turns out that of the five cards dealt on the table, the other two aces were up. BAM! Four of a kind. It was amazing.

A couple years later, the Jaycees organization of which I was a member had a little poker tournament. I eliminated my friends Dan and Kevin in a short amount of time by being, let me see if I remember it correctly…”a river-catching m@!#&% f@!#&%.”

I went to a casino once for a friend’s bachelor party and decided I was going to go sit in with the regulars in the Texas Hold ‘Em room. What I didn’t know until I got there was that it was a $60 buy-in and they weren’t as nice as the guys I played cards with regularly. I ended up losing all my money, but I won one hand, and did so with a full house.

The bulk of my card playing came from the guys in The Cellar on Friday nights. We’d get two games in each week, at $5 a game. Kick in a quarter each game for the straight flush fund (a couple guys would cash in big on that), and $5 all-you-can-drink from the keg, and you had a good, cheap night of entertainment with a good bunch of guys. I even managed to win a few times there.

So now I want to watch Rounders. But mostly, I want to play some cards. I’ll start with the boy. When he’s old enough, I’ll teach him War. That was a fun game. A lot better than that Go Fish nonsense.

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 22: Tornado Season

First, let me just say…RIP Bill Paxton. That guy was great.

He had a great career, and a life too short. But with roles in Weird Science, Terminator, Aliens, Navy Seals, True Lies and Apollo 13, Titanic, The Hatfields and McCoys, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, he left his mark on the nerd genre.

And then there was the little 1996 picture known as Twister. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the topic of today’s post.

Not the movie, but tornadoes.

You see, I live in a part of the world known as “Tornado Alley.” Tornadoes are unpredictable as hell. When they hit, they are devastating. They can even stop a Superman in his tracks, which was unfortunate since I was so hopeful that Kevin Costner would be a solid Pa Kent. But that wasn’t the case, or at least not in the way we thought.

“Stop! Collaborate and listen!”

A couple years ago, a couple tornadoes ripped through Illinois, both north and south of my location at the time. This is a picture of Washington, IL after the storm.

On February 29, 2012, an EF4 tornado woke up the small town of Harrisburg, IL. I’ve been to Harrisburg, years ago, back when I was in college. Southeastern Illinois College had a good basketball team. They were in our conference. So I had been there. This was the Catholic Church after the tornado.

Now, I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never been through one. But it got close in my radio days. So when that happened, I went into shelter mode and would broadcast from under the desk.

I remember having a backpack of tornado preparedness when I was in my teens. I had a walkman with headphones, a flashlight, and a granola bar I swapped out every couple months or so. It also had a novelty baseball helmet, you know…just in case.

Here’s what I’ve learned. Every region of the country has its unavoidable geographic anomalies. The Midwest has tornadoes. California has earthquakes. Florida has Hurricanes. The northeast has Patriots fans. It’s really summed up in this clip from Sports Illustrated’s Greatest Sports Follies (1989): 

So that’s my post about tornado season. Thanks to Jay for the topic. I think I’ve proven in the last 3+ weeks that I’ll write about damn near anything. Have a topic idea? 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 13: My Mom’s Birthday

So I’m going to preface all of the following with this statement, sure to be controversial:

My mom’s better than your mom.

Today is her birthday. So I’m going to dedicate this post to her.

My folks, probably mom in particular, didn’t receive the recognition they deserved for all of the stuff they did, not until years later anyway.

I remember being young (4-5) when mom worked nights, and my older sister was in school. I remember the lunches with the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the “s’more” from the microwave. I remember sitting on the family room floor with her as we played He-Man.

As I got older, I remember being a more integral part of the Christmas cookie production process, and even getting to help ice the beloved cut-outs. I remember being in second grade and on a school field trip to St. Louis’s The Magic House and telling the entire bus, “Hey everybody, today is my mom’s _____ birthday!” In my defense, I was 7. I didn’t know that you aren’t supposed to announce women’s ages.

I know that now.

Over the years, I gave my mom her fair share of headaches. You know that line “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it?” I heard that a lot…that and “you want to live to see your next birthday?” And it wasn’t because I was some demonic kid…I just did a lot of little things (or didn’t do the little things I was told to do) that caused unnecessary tension in our relationship. I was a typical teenager. But even before that, I remember being 9 or 10 and mom asking me “what happened to my sweet little boy?” *GUT SHOT*

As I got older, I found new ways to irritate my mom. I got a tattoo up in Sturgis, SD and came home and showed the family. Mom was not amused. Then she found the one on my back that I sometimes forget about and was none-too-pleased. I was in my 20’s for those particular shenanigans.

I remember vividly mom finding my stash of beer in the trunk of my car and storming into the house with it. I was 19. She was pissed. My dad’s response was “of all the beers, why Natty Light?” (I was in college, dad. I was working two jobs and it was cheap.)

But through it all, mom has always been one of my biggest supporters, and always wanted what was best for me. I’m very fortunate in that regard. I know I’m blessed in ways many people are not, and for too long I took it for granted.

So happy birthday, Mom. Sorry for all the times I made you worry about me. I hope you have had a wonderful day and, even though you won’t read this, likely, unless someone emails you the link, just know that I love ya.

Disclaimer – the tattoo in the featured image is not mine. That’s a Google Image Search.

Fresh Content Day 12: Swiss Army Man

I owe much of this post to my buddy Kenny, who told me that Amazon Prime is worth the money for parents of young kids who don’t feel like battling crowds and stores.

And he was right!

So not only do I get to avoid crowds, but I get free shipping on most of my purchases (those eligible). And I have access to Amazon Prime Video. So I have that app on my PS4 and go between that and Netflix. It’s great.

Mix that with a podcast I heard awhile back. I think it was from last fall, an episode of The Nerdist podcast. It was a conversation with Daniel Radcliffe, and in that episode, he mentioned a movie called Swiss Army Man.

Well guess what movie is on Amazon Prime Video.

So I watched Swiss Army Man earlier. The premise is that a guy (Hank, as played by Paul Dano) is stranded on a small island and he’s trying to hang himself. Then a dead body (Manny, played by Radcliffe) washes up on shore and farts and trembles. Hank then rides Manny to the mainland and the two have an adventure trying to return to civilization. Manny seemingly is coming back to life. Hank discovers that Manny’s body can do special things, a variety of feats that make him useful to the duo’s joint survival. It’s hard to explain – and honestly, it’s better for your enjoyment when I don’t try to explain it.

There are twists and turns along the way, and eventually they do make it back to civilization (oops, spoiler), but Hank quickly changes his mind and wants to take Manny back to the wilderness.

It’s a fun, irreverent movie that won an award at Sundance and is worth a watch. It’s a little weird at times, but that just adds to the big finish.

Enjoy the trailer and then go seek out the movie.

Fresh Content Day 11: Unusual Conflicts

Today’s post came about because Josh sent me a message that he deemed was an “important question.”

Could Aquaman psychically control the creature from the black lagoon if their paths crossed?

I thought about it briefly and then told him I had to consult an expert. I messaged Tim from Twilight Comics and posed the question to him. He laughed and said he didn’t know. Then he came back and said “My high school buddy is with me. He says ‘yes.’ So I’m going with that. He’s a LONG time Justice League fan.”

Hey, that rationale works for me. It’s good enough for us.

But I opened up a thread on the Facebook Page asking what match-ups in comics or pop culture you’d like me to evaluate in tonight’s post. So here we go:

Batman versus Predator – Josh

Josh admits that his fist suggestion has already been done in comics. In fact, it has been done three times.

And wouldn’t you know, the Dark Knight has won each meeting he has had with the Predator(s).

Buffy versus a Lot of People – Sean Benner (Check out Episode 73 for more from Sean)

I never got into Buffy. It was never something that I made an earnest attempt to watch. In all honesty, I’ve seen the movie more times than I’ve seen any episodes. So I don’t understand the fawning that many in my generation have for this show. But I’ll do my best.

Buffy vs Cassie Hack – Cassie Hack (of Image Comics’ Hack/Slash) has fighting capability as well as healing powers and “berserker rage.” Depending on what part of her life you get Buffy, she could have invulnerability. But for the sake of this, I’ll say see just has the heightened strength, increased agility, etc. I’ll take healing powers over all of that, though. Buffy is 0-1.

Buffy vs Black Widow -I honestly think this is a tougher one to decide. I’m actually pick Black Widow in it because I think based on training alone, she’d be a little less discretionary.*

Buffy vs Blade – Sean’s last match-up pits a couple of vampire hunters against each other, so while it might be a cop out, I am actually going to say that after Blade learns that their mission is the same, there would be no conflict, and they’d work together to defeat the threat at that time. But I don’t see it being a long partnership, and I think their personalities would clash. They would part ways amicably, and know that if things ever got bad enough, they could call on the other for aid.

Buffy versus Morbius – Adam

Keeping with the Buffy theme for some unknown reason, it’s Buffy against an actual vampire. Those familiar with the character will remember that he was introduced in 1971 as a bit of a villain before he took on a more positive personality. Granted, I’d call it more of an anti-hero. So the question again goes back to “would Buffy kill a creature even if it has the capacity for good?” I think they’d work it out. But if they absolutely could not prevent conflict, I’d take Buffy.

Indiana Jones/Lara Croft versus Xenomorphs – Josh

The question was posed as “Indiana Jones or the Tomb Raider opens an ancient tomb and the xenomorphs come out. The fallacy in the question, in my opinion, is that either of those two would wander upon a tomb and just accidentally open it up. I don’t think that would happen. Two highly educated people such as them wouldn’t just go randomly opening every tomb “just because.” And you can bet your hind end that if they did, they’d have a plan. Therefore, I say Indy or Lara would win.

Charles Xavier versus Stephen Hawking – Adam

Xavier wins this and it’s not even close. No offense to Hawking, but Xavier has all of his knowledge, and if he wanted, he could obtain all of your knowledge as well. Plus, while Hawking has theorized about space, Xavier has been there.

Scooby Doo Gang versus Spider-Man – Hope

This wasn’t presented so much as a fight, but “could the Scooby-Doo Gang correctly identify Spider-Man’s alter-ego (obviously, before he’s unmasked)?” Here’s the thing about that – Spider-Man isn’t Old Man Tucker down at the amusement park or the lumber mill. It’s Spider-Man. And he’s been Peter Parker/Spider-Man for a very long time, meaning he’s good at living the double life. The Gang is good at picking up and reading clues, but Spidey is just too good. So no, Hope, the Scooby Doo Gang wouldn’t be able to deduce Spider-Man’s real identity.

Han Solo versus Star Lord – Adam

Here’s another case of “damn, I hope we’d never have to find out.” One’s a scavenger by trade. The other is a smuggler. I could actually see them working together more than on opposite sides. But that being said, I could also see a situation where they are both are after the same artifact or relic, but for different prospective buyers. So there could be some conflict. But I have to go with my heart, and my heart says Han Solo. Because Han shoots first!

Superman versus…

…. – Adam

This is one intriguing matchup. As you already know, Superman famously went toe-to-toe with The Greatest in what I believe ended up being a draw. That was done under a red sun, thus negating Superman’s powers. In this match, I mean, honestly, Superman should win. But it’s John Cena, the 16-time WWE World Champion. So my guess is Cena eliminates Superman from the Royal Rumble in a shocking heel turn. At the Elimination Chamber PPV, Supes gets his revenge by causing a distraction that results in Cena losing his championship opportunity at Wrestlemania. That pits these two former friends against one another at the biggest show of them all, where Superman gets a clean win in 17:39, using a flying piledriver. Wrestling Observer gave it 2 3/4 stars.

I actually did start this post on Saturday, but then I fell asleep. I fell asleep and slept through the rest of Saturday night. The * marks where I was when I fell asleep, thus delaying the delay. I’ve actually been trying to finish it for about five hours, to no success, until now. I hope you enjoyed it. I should have another post for you later tonight.

Fresh Content Day 10: Disney Tries to Out-Do Disney

Maleficent. Alice in Wonderland. Cinderella. The Jungle Book. Beauty and the Beast. The Little Mermaid. And on and on.

Walt Disney Studios is bringing some of your favorite animated characters back to life on the big screen in live-action versions of some of their cartoon classics. What began with a retelling of the sleeping beauty story has made possible seemingly every cartoon in the Disney “vault.”

I really enjoyed Maleficent as a being told from the “villain’s” point of view, casting a dark shadow on The noble King Stefan and painting of the traditional evil witch in a sympathetic, albeit victim/survivors light. Sleeping Beauty is a movie I remember fondly from my childhood. We didn’t have many movies on VHS, and the ones that we did have were always copied from one cassette to another or recorded from television. The Disney movies that we did have, like Sleeping Beauty, work copies my aunt had made for us from her official VHS tape’s. So I probably watch more Sleeping Beauty than I should have growing up, but it’s a simple tail with a happy ending. “Good triumphs over evil, the wicked get what they deserve.” The movie Maleficent took that notion and spend it on his head.

I admit that I have never seen the live action version of Cinderella. I haven’t seen the cartoon in over 25 years. I don’t even know who stars in the movie. I don’t know how close it is to the cartoon. So I can’t comment on that.

I have to say that I enjoyed Alice in Wonderland, as well as the sequel Through the Looking Glass. Good fun movies. I’d say there easy maybe more focus on the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) than there needed to be. But it’s Johnny Depp, and he’s the “name,” the star power. But they told a good tale, and one that was visually striking.

The Jungle Book was a critical and box office success, and just like its animated predecessor, showed you could do a lot with anthropomorphic mammals. Jon Favreau is a genius. We’ve said that before. My sister saw the movie before me and asked me if I liked the original. When I said I did, she said “you probably won’t like this one. It’s really dark.” I’ll tell you what I didn’t like about it…they took away the damn vultures!

Now…here’s where we may have jumped the land shark (good brew, by the way). When you have an animated movie with talking and singing animals, why would you make a movie that’s largely computer-animated with the same types of animals saying the same words and singing the same songs? Favreau has an upcoming project coming out which you may or may not have heard of. The Lion King. The Lion King has been hugely globally popular since it came out. They turned it into a Broadway show. The soundtrack is the best-selling soundtrack album to an animated feature in the United States.

So how do you improve on that?

But Disney is also casting for a live-action Aladdin movie. It was Universal Studios that was making a Little Mermaid re-imagining, but that project has been out of the headlines since Chloe Moretz dropped out last September.

And a Dumbo movie…that’s apparently a very real thing.

Now on to Beauty and the Beast, which hits theaters next week. It has enough of a blend of human and non-human entities that it can be a reasonable re-telling. Now don’t get me wrong…this movie will be able to print its own money. But you’ll be able to substitute the animated humans with actual humans, so it makes more sense than a cartoon animal to a better looking cartoon animal.

Since I don’t know when I’ll talk about it again I HAVE to bring up the issue of LeFou, Gaston’s hetero-lifemate that we found out last week is a little less hetero in this movie. And that’s fine. I don’t care. I doubt it will have any bearing on the actual plot of the movie. My biggest question is will we get an Olaf sighting?

Allow me to remind you…Josh Gad plays LeFou. Josh Gad also voiced Olaf in the movie Frozen. You may have heard of it. Well, in the 1991 version, LeFou is incognito, hiding outside Belle and Maurice’s home and he is…YOU GUESSED IT…A SNOWMAN!!!

It’s a simple Easter Egg they could slip in. I hope they do.

Fresh Content Day 9: Cartoons for Adults, or Adult Cartoons

I never watched a whole lot of MTV growing up. I think I’m in that weird age bracket where most of its programming didn’t appeal to me. I was never going to watch My So-Called Life. Daria was never a big interest to me. And I knew more of Beavis and Butthead from my friends at school than from watching the show itself. I did watch some Singled Out when my older sister had the remote for the TV. But it was never my go to channel on television.

I remember being a freshman in high school. Wait, sophomore. I remember being a sophomore in high school. I had Study Hall just before lunch, which was GREAT. Most days, the teacher would let us out a minute early or so so we could be among the first in line. The teacher for Study Hall was also the school’s librarian, and one day he said he had some work to do in the library, and essentially told us to govern ourselves as high schoolers should. He was probably out of the room for five minutes when [REDACTED] got up and turned on the television. Now I don’t know why, but the high school had HBO. So being a studious bunch that we were, we all put down own pencils and pens and watched Beavis and Butthead Do America. We couldn’t laugh much because we didn’t want to get caught. But I remember sitting there feeling like a rebel. Yeah, I COULD be doing homework, but we din’t have HBO at the house, so I obviously had to watch it there.

Fast-forward to the summer of 1999. It’s my 17th birthday and I’ve just started working at McDonald’s (a job that would last a mere three months). My friend Joe is in town visiting from Washington state. He and our friend Brandon had taken in a showing of South Park the Movie: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut a few days prior. I KNOW! The jerks didn’t even wait for me. But the three of us did go after I was of age. Here’s how that worked, and when I tell people, they don’t believe me. We went to the Wehrenberg 14 Cine in O’Fallon, IL. Because of the nature of the picture, we were carded (yes, carded) when we bought our tickets, when they tore the tickets and gave us our ticket stubs, and again just before we entered the assigned theater. If you’re keeping track at home, and I don’t see how you couldn’t be, our IDs were checked three times.

Now look, over the years, both of these movies have been in my collection, but I don’t watch them that much anymore. I’d like to think that it’s because I’ve matured in some way, but in reality, I have most of the songs from South Park memorized, and there have been more movies made since those two. I mean, even the Simpsons had their own feature film.

But there are others as well – like 2015’s Hell and Back, a stop-motion story about a group of friends who finds a book they shouldn’t open but they do, with pages in it that they shouldn’t read, but they do. You know, that whole tale.

Then in 2016, SONY put out an adult-humor, CGI animated feature Sausage Party, which is tonight’s entertainment. Now, I’ve already been warned that I probably won’t like it, based on its indictment of organized religion. But I’m going to try to look at it through the lens of “well this is just a ridiculous farce” and hope to enjoy it on some base level.

I’ll update this post at that time.

**UPDATE** I watched Sausage Party Thursday night. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. Knowing that it was about a wiener trying to get in the bun, I expected sophomoric humor. I knew to expect some religious, or more like anti-religious statements. And I knew there’s be a ton of profanity. But I didn’t enjoy it like I would have ten or fifteen years ago. But that’s just me. I know it was a big success.

Nerds United Episode 74: Iron Man Commentary

It’s been awhile since I did an audio commentary track…going all the way back to Episode 16 (October 2014, for what it’s worth) when I was joined by guests Joe Dodd and Justin Holman to provide a commentary track for Justice League War. By the way…you have asked and I have heard and I do hope to get some of these guys together for Throne of Atlantis and more DC Animated movies.

But we’re switching side and getting to the beginning of Marvel’s cinematic universe, the one that started it all, 2008’s Iron Man. And I’m joined by my friend and past guest RJ Gallucci for a commentary track.
Grab the movie, queue it up, and hit play when we tell you. It’s all the conversation you’d punch people for if they were in the theater with you. But it also has with it the knowledge of nine years of cinematic universe that we didn’t know about back in 2008.

Want more episodes like this? Leave a comment telling me what movie you want us to tackle. We plan on hitting the entire MCU and in the order they were released.

But what movies outside of the MCU are of interest to you? Let me know.

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.

Nerds United Episode 73: Take a Trip ‘West of Oz’

It’s a story you’re so familiar with…or maybe not. What if I told you that in the beloved 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, you were only getting 2/3 of the story? What if I told you that over the course of nine issues, you’d get three new creators’ take on the full story?

Cover for West of Oz #1

Meet Sean Benner, Nick Winand, and Cat Luong. They are the creative force behind West of Oz, a re-imagining of the beloved L Frank Baum story. In Episode 73, I talk with all three about their own personal origin stories, about the source material and how they all got attached to this project.

This show wouldn’t be possible without three-time guest and longtime friend of the show Jay Peteranetz. And in our discussion, we’ll learn how he played such a critical part in the creation of West of Oz.

So don’t click your heels. You don;t find any ruby slippers here. Just enjoy the show and SUPPORT THE KICKSTARTER!

The Future of Leia Organa

As I write this, I do so with the typical sadness we nerds get at the passing of one of our definable figures.

Let’s face it…2016 has been absolutely brutal for celebrity deaths.

We lost David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Glenn Frey (among others) in January. We should have known.


We are more aware of celebrity deaths as we get older because these are names we grew up with.

Prince, Merle Haggard, Doris Roberts, Muhammad Ali, Gordie Howe, Anton Yelchin, Pat Summitt, Kenny “R2-D2” Baker, Gene Wilder, Arnold Palmer, Florence Henderson and countless more. Hell, this month alone has seen the passing of Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Greg Lake, George Michael, and as we learned today, Carrie Fisher.

We could all use a hug from Han right about now.
We could all use a hug from Han right about now.

Fisher suffered a cardiac arrest on a flight from London to Los Angeles just days ago, but was reported as of this morning to be in stable condition. Sadly, she succumbed to the event earlier today. She was 60 years old.

Known largely for her role of Leia Organa, Fisher has appeared in four main saga movies, from the original trilogy to Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Variety has reported that all of Fisher’s scenes for Episode VIII had been filmed.

But the question remains, and though it may seem callous and uncaring, bare with me: what will come of the Princess Leia character after Episode VIII?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens L to R: C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Admiral Statura (Ken Leung), and General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Photo Credit: David James ©Lucasfilm 2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens L to R: C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Admiral Statura (Ken Leung), and General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Photo Credit: David James ©Lucasfilm 2015

I don’t know the plan for the Leia character. SPOILERS AHEAD!!! We know that in the third act of Episode VII The Force Awakens, Han Solo is killed by Kylo Ren. How does this affect Leia? How does she retaliate in the next chapter of the saga? So many questions.

I pose the following questions to you, and I encourage you to respond in the comments either here or on Facebook.

  1. Should the story be altered in any way (not that we know what the story is) to allow for a graceful departure of Leia’s character?
  2. Based on what we saw in Rogue One and the technological advancements in CGI and the ability to bring characters to life despite their actors being deceased, is that a direction you’d like to see them go with Leia?

I get it…I feel shitty even considering the notion of a Star Wars Universe without Carrie Fisher. But thanks to 2016, that’s the world we live in now.

So what I’m trying to say is:

SCREW YOU 2016!!!

Nerds United Episode 71 – The Rogue Two

Felicity Jones is Jyn Erso, the key component to the rebellion, before anyone named "Skywalker" comes along.
Felicity Jones is Jyn Erso, the key component to the rebellion, before anyone named “Skywalker” comes along.

Well, it finally happened. For the first time since Captain America: Civil War, I made it to the movie theater. Plans were set in motion a couple months ago for my friend RJ and I to take in an opening-weekend viewing of Rogue One. And despite less-than-ideal weather conditions, we made it happen at The Edge in Belleville, IL.

Leather seats that recline. They even bring the food and beverages out to you. It was amazing (the word of the day).

So here is a little chat we had from the cab of my truck. That’s right – it’s another truck episode! But that’s just because everyone was asleep at the house when we got back and I didn’t want to disturb anyone. BECAUSE I’M CONSIDERATE!!!

And as always, this is a spoiler-free podcast without any click-bait titles.

It’s a wonder anyone ever listens to these at all. But if you do, and if you enjoy it, please tell your friends.

Gracias, mi amigos!

Nerds United Episode 70 – Playing Catch Up

I put my son to bed and knocked out a home show before calling it a night. In Episode 70, I start off talking highly about Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.

In fact, I have a lot of positives about many movies that are otherwise crapped upon.

The unfinished product and the comparison everyone drew rather quickly. Admit it…you did it too.

And I bring back the debate of Batman v Superman and Captain America Civil War. Not saying one is better than the other, but rather how there is an overlooked similarity and how one gets a pass. (Hint: “He killed my mom.”)

It’s a good time to be a nerd with some great movies coming out and plenty to watch on TV (I didn’t even address The Walking Dead…dammit). My question to you is this: Are you currently reading any comics? If so, sound off in the comments here or on Facebook. I’d love to know what you’re reading and what you think about it. I’ll even read the comments on the next episode (if I remember).

Thanks for checking out the show and I’d really appreciate if you told your nerdy friends about it. Let’s get this thing growing again!


Now enjoy the show.

Nerds United Episode 69: Excuses, Excuses

Well, I’m still alive.

And in this episode, I have a litany of reasons why I’ve been slacking, from reading comics to watching comic book-related entertainment materials, to bringing you more award-ignored podcasts.

So here’s what I’ve missed:

Luke Cage


“Sweet Christmas!” Am I right?

X-Men Apocalypse

Or did I miss it? I don't know!
Or did I miss it? I don’t know!

Justice League: The New Frontier

You may remember me writing about this a few months back (back when I wrote blogs). Well, it’s topical again!

This is what I call a truck episode. Meaning I was in my truck on the way to work when I recorded it.

And like I said in the show, I am excited for my upcoming guests. It’s all about scheduling and such now. But we’ll see how it goes.

Obligatory plugs:

The Nerds United Facebook Page
The Nerds United Twitter
The Jittery Monkey Facebook Page
The Jittery Monkey Twitter 
The My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook Page
The My 1-2-3 Cents Twitter
The Five Heart Podcast Facebook Page
The Corn Nation Twitter
The Corn Nation Facebook Page
The Craftbeericans Facebook Page
The Craftbeericans Twitter

Nerds United Episode 68: On The Move

Somewhere in this mess is the equipment I paid money to own to record into my laptop.
Somewhere in this mess is the equipment I paid money to own to record into my laptop.

You’ve seen the posts. You’ve read the blog. NOW listen to the show where I talk about moving. Because that’s important and nerd-related. But seriously, I hate moving. So this podcast is a little bit of me bitching and moaning and a little bit recapping some of the goodies we took away from the San Diego Comic Con.

Also, piece of advice – do with it what you want:

When it comes to moving…pay someone else to do it and sleep easy!

Which Comes First, Watching or Reading

I’m facing a great dilemma. I have two versions of Justice League: The New Frontier.

new frontiers

There’s the deluxe version of the trade paperback (it’s deluxe, so it’s the hard cover) and the bluray version. Both are still in their protective plastic. I purchased the book from Twilight Comics, my local brick and mortar in Swansea, IL. I got the bluray from Amazon (Prime…two day free shipping…BOO YAH!)

Anyway, the dilemma is this: Do I read the book first or so I watch the movie?

Here’s the reality of the situation…I love to read, but my schedule recently has not allowed the time to read as much as I’d like. BUT – I do realize that reading the story is usually better than watching it.

  • Watchmen the book > Watchmen the movie
  • The DaVinci Code book > The DaVinci Code book
  • The Green Mile book = The Green Mile movie

Now I say that and acknowledge that I haven’t read some of the most popular works that have been converted to the big or smaller screens, like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and even The Walking Dead.

I have, however, read every Percy Jackson book, and found that particularly The Lightning Thief was superior to the movie version. I’d say the same about Sea of Monsters, but I read that one over an 8-hour period non-stop during a power outage and I don’t remember as much about the book itself.

I have recently purchased the Kindle version of A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones with all the intention of reading that, but first I want to finish reading The Man in the High Castle, which I’m also currently watching on Amazon Streaming Video. But I’ve heard that Game of Thrones is awfully wordy, and I found that to be the case in the prologue. It took a long time to read the prologue whereas it was about three minutes or so of TV time (I’m watching GoT again because it was fun to watch Bran walk and climb stuff in the first episode and a half).

So while I want to take some time and read Justice League: The New Frontier, there’s a very good chance I’ll end up watching the animated feature first.

I have wanted to watch the movie for a long time, but never took the initiative to get after it. Ever since Darwyn Cooke’s recent passing, I’ve made it my personal goal to get out there and read his award-winning story. There it sat on the shelf behind the counter at Twilight. All by itself…no other copies. We met like this several times…me looking at the book from a small distance. Then recently I finally made the purchase and added this classic to my collection.

Now the question stands…read first or watch?

I’m leaning “read.” But again, time may not allow it. So now I’ll likely watch it sometime this weekend.

But anyway – pick it up yourself. Here’s the trailer for your viewing pleasure.

I love that classic look, and Cooke’s style works hand-in-hand with Bruce Timm’s.

Times, They are a-Morphin

So I’m about to share something with you that I’ve never told anyone ever.

I’m probably not alone in this. Many of you probably hid this secret away like a certain magazine under your matress…yes, Car & Driver.

I, Greg Mehochko, used to watch (*gulp*) Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. (I just felt 12-year-old me get a wedgie that rattled the time stream.)

I didn’t watch the following Power Rangers series:

  • Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers
  • Power Rangers Zeo
  • Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie
  • I didn’t watch the MMPR movie either, now that I think about it
  • Power Rangers Turbo
  • Power Rangers in Space (isn’t that Voltron, anyway?)
  • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy
  • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue

I’m already worn out…but let’s continue the list:

  • Power Rangers Time Force
  • Power Rangers Wild Force
  • Power Rangers Speed Force – The Flash Crossover (KIDDING!!!)
  • Power Rangers Ninja Storm
  • Power Rangers Dino Thunder (how am I only up to 2004???)
  • Power Rangers SPD
  • Power Rangers Mystic Force
  • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive
  • Power Rangers Jungle Fury
  • Power Rangers RPM
  • Power Rangers Samurai and Super Samurai
  • Power Rangers Megaforce
  • Power Rangers Dino Charge and Dino Super Charge
  • Power Rangers Ninja Steel (coming in 2017)

Like I said…I didn’t watch any of that. But as a youngster – I was 11 when the show debuted – I too fell victim to the colorful costumes, the horrible action, the cheap effects, and “five overbearing and over-emotional humans.” Seriously, that’s how Zordon described teenagers to Alpha 5.

But let’s talk about the hear and now. Now we’re on the cusps of a new Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie…a reboot or remake, depending on your perspective. I’m old and set in my ways, so I say that this doesn’t particularly need to happen, again, since there is an ongoing series already on TV. And unlike the DC bashers, I’ve heard no clamoring for the cinematic universe of the Power Rangers tying in to the television universe.

Look everybody, it’s the Iron Legion…plus Blue Beetle?

Now I don’t know what you think about “them” (the Hollywood them) bringing back an updated, edgier Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I like the fact that some legitimate Hollywood names have been added, like the recently-announced Bryan Cranston as Zordon and Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa.


This is not the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers I remember, and as I’m learning with many things in life, I – a 34-year-old male – am not in their target demographic.

I hope this movie is good. I hope Ivan Ooze makes an appearance and looks just like Apocalypse from the beloved 1990s X-Men cartoon (Shut up! That’s funny!). I hope this franchise goes on to make a billion dollars.

But unless they introduce a Green Ranger who has a mystical dagger flute that beckons a Dragonzord, I’m not interested.

Holy hell, I just thought how much money I’d pay if that actually were to occur.

Frozen in Line

If you are a huge Disney fan, or have children who love the wildly popular animated hit Frozen, you may be aware that a new ride/attraction opened up today at Epcot Center in Orlando.


Frozen Ever After opened in Epcot Center. Now it was a soft opening, and the ride did experience a few setbacks, which resulted in the ride being shut down briefly a couple of times (I’m getting all of this from the Internet just like most of you). So that might have been cause for the delay. But still, the wait time for Frozen Ever After was five hours.

Just for fun, here is a list of a few things I can do in five hours that don’t include standing in the hot Florida weather:

  • Drive to Chicago, Nashville, Indianapolis, Louisville, Kansas City (and have time left over)
  • Get caught up on the growing stack of Green Lantern comics
  • Three Hour Tour of the SS Minnow
  • An extra-innings Major League Baseball game
  • Eighteen holes of golf with my dad (found that out on Sunday)
  • Watch one and a half of the Hobbit movies
  • Almost make it through all of Avatar

I’m sure there are more. But to quote an all-too-overused Internet meme, when it comes to standing in line five hours to ride a single ride:


Now, perusing Facebook comments (which…I mean, comment sections in general are pretty horrible. Mine here is a relatively barren wasteland, save for a few), many people are very upset that a movie-themed ride was in Epcot Center to begin with – thinking the royal Arendelle sisters are better suited for the Magic Kingdom. After all, I remember going to Epcot as a kid. It was educational. WHAT WERE WE EVEN DOING THERE?!?

Others are mad that the new ride, set in the Norway Pavilion of the Epcot Center World Showcase, replaces the beloved (??) ride Maelstrom – A High Seas Norwegian Adventure. Maelstrom opened in 1988 and had some dated technology. Frozen Ever After, as you would guess, features the latest in Disney Imagineering.

Was Disney well within their rights to change the ride? Absolutely. Was a Frozen-themed ride a good choice? It was the logical one. And since I don’t fully understand the concept of a FastPass, would you ever see me waiting in line for five hours to ride this ride?

Let me tell you – I’ve cut dates before the five hour mark even when I thought there’d be a ride at the end. I have no problem skipping this one.

Besides, I’ve essentially been on the ride. And if you click to play this video, you can say you were in the same boat (that’s punny, because it’s a water ride).

It all boils down to this: Would you wait five hours (or 300 minutes, for the Disney Theme Park Goer who doesn’t like math) to ride this or any other ride? Sound off in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter.

Rest in Peace, Anton Yelchin

So I’m going to start this post by commenting on the curious circumstances of Anton Yelchin’s (Star Trek, Charlie Bartlett, Odd Thomas) tragic death yesterday.

The man died pinned between his vehicle and the brick mailbox post/security gate. It appears he went to put the vehicle in Park, only to miss the notch, getting out of the vehicle and going to the mailbox/gate area. The vehicle (a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee) rolled down the steep incline, pinning Yelchin, and ultimately killing him via blunt traumatic asphyxia.

Outside of drowning and being burned alive, I can’t imagine a death that could be much more suffering than that, anything where you’re in pain and gasping for breath.

I don’t put the circumstances of his death on the backburner to minimize them. This was a tragedy. A tragedy for his family and friends who feel his loss the most. A tragedy for his fans, who may not have known him personally, but had respect and admiration for the man’s work.

I am in that latter category. I am a fan of Anton Yelchin.

While he may best be known for his role as Pavel Andreievich Chekov (or just Chekov, for short) in the rebooted Star Trek franchise – the third film, Star Trek Beyond, of which will be released later this year – Yelchin had an impressive resume and worked alongside some of Hollywood’s best and brightest. In fact, dare I say, he was among the underrated elite.


I think I first ran across Yelchin when he played a too-smart-for-his-own-good high school student in 2009’s Charlie Bartlett. This was three years after Iron Man and, quite frankly, I was interested in seeing Robert Downey Jr. outside of the suit. If you haven’t watched it, I really can’t recommend it enough. This “kid” turned in a dynamite performance as a high schooler who has spent enough time in therapy that he starts holding therapy sessions for his classmates – and prescribing them medication. Like I said – he’s too smart for his own good. Plenty of laughs and plenty of heart that helps encompass that teenage zeitgeist of rebelling against authority.

With an IMDb list of credits that dates back to a 2000 appearance on ER, The Practice, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Criminal Minds, as well as big screen projects like Alpha DogTerminator Salvation, and The Smurfs, Yelchin was a versatile and capable talent.

STRONGLY (how’s that for emphasis) recommend you seek out Odd Thomas.

Based on the novel by Dean Koontz, the movie is available on Netflix. It’s absolutely worth a watch. And Anton is spectacular in the movie. A relatively light-hearted guy who can foresee the arrival of evil, violent death.

As it sits, we don’t know all of the exact details about the death of Anton Yelchin. Unless he has surveillance set up at his home, we possibly never will. But I do know that the future of Hollywood is a little less bright with his passing.

Anton Yelchin, dead at the young age of 27. Rest in Peace.