September 06, 2014

Superman Saturday: Treasure, that is what you are, honey, you're my golden star

Here we go again! We're on the home stretch of "Alonzo Craig, Arctic Explorer."

Clark Kent is on assignment in the Arctic, in search of the missing explorer, the aforementioned Captain Craig. He and his navigator, Captain Walters (whose first name, we now learn, is Ike) have rescued fellow searchers Ray Martin, also of the Daily Planet, and Professor Peters, from the museum, from the Kunalaka Indians. Martin died shortly after revealing the location of the Indians' treasure hoard, hidden in a sunken temple carved into the Arctic ice. Clark, Peters, and Walters explore the temple, where Clark (as Superman) confronts the Kunalakas' never-dying medicine man—none other than Alonzo Craig himself, apparently gone mad. . . .

September 04, 2014

The anniversary and the moratorium

Welcome to September 4. This is the official 11th anniversary of this blog—though it was actually created in July of 2003, the first post went up in September. This has traditionally also been the date on which I rolled out a new look for the Crusty Curmudgeon, though this is something I've done very little of in recent years. Ever since they rolled out Blogger 2.0 some years ago, re-skinning a Blogger blog has meant more than just writing up a new HTML template and style sheet. I already know what I want the next iteration of the CC to look like, and plan on learning the new language. Sometime.

September 4 is one of two times of the year that I tend to reflect on the state of the blog, the other being New Year's Day. Usually I don't have much to say in September, either than that my writing hasn't been as prolific as I hoped, but I expect to get better, and despite my decreased output, I'm not going anywhere just yet. So, by way of my twice-yearly status updates: Unfortunately, my blogging hasn't been as prolific as I would like (though it has increased recently), I expect to post more in coming weeks, and despite my decreased output, the Crusty Curmudgeon is not dead yet. So there.

September 01, 2014

Superman Long Weekend: We come from the land of ice and snow

Happy Labour Day! There's nothing like a long weekend for relaxing, resting, and taking in the simple pleasure of a pulp radio serial. So we return to the adventures of Superman and "Alonzo Craig, Arctic Explorer."

Clark Kent has been dispatched to Ellesmere Island in the Arctic to determine the whereabouts of vanished Arctic explorer Alonzo Craig, or of fellow Daily Planet reporter Ray Martin and Professor Peters, who also disappeared after going in search of Craig. Captain Walters, Craig's crusty navigator, thinks the explorer might have discovered the Luck of the North, a vast treasure hoard possessed by a tribe of white-skinned Indians who live in the Arctic and are ruled by a witch doctor who is rumoured to never die.

In spite of a seemingly supernatural warning to stay away, Clark and Walters travel by dogsled and find an igloo that is the last known location of Martin and Peters. There, they are ambushed by the Indians, and Walters is injured. Clark changes to Superman and fights their attackers off. Inside the igloo, they find a mysterious clue to the fate of the previous search party . . .

August 28, 2014

If you can't stop rape completely, you might as well not bother trying

Anyone remember back when feminism was about empowering women instead of perpetuating a state of victimhood?

This, from Newsweek:

Four students from North Carolina State University have invented a nail varnish that detects common date rape drugs by changing colour. . . .

The nail varnish indicates the presence of date rape drugs, such as Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB, by changing colour after being dipped in the drink.

[Full Story]

Huzzah! Another tool with the potential to stop a very serious crime even before it start. It never hurts to help!

Right?

August 26, 2014

And now . . . this - Aug. 26/14

Sum Ting Wong

The Philadelphia Public Record newspaper has apologized for using racial slurs in a photo caption depicting City Councilman Mark Squilla with a group of Asians in Chinatown, referring to some in the photo as "Chinky Winky," "Dinky Doo," and "Me Too."

[Full Story]

"That editor is a Britisher," Tayoun explained, puzzlingly. "He didn't mean anything by it. The Public Record is the most inclusive publication in Philadelphia."

[Full Story]

"Didn't mean anything by it"? Good Lord, man, do you know what this means? Tourette syndrome has jumped the tracks and evolved into a written tic in addition to a verbal one!

Moo goo gai pan!

[claps hands over mouth]

Well, there's your problem

Jessie Nizewitz is suing VH1 for $10 million, saying while she agreed to appear on the network's reality show "Dating Naked," she said the network promised to blur out her special lady parts.

They didn't. . . .

She told the New York Post she wants a "huge apology" from the companies, since the show cost her a "budding relationship" with someone she'd been seeing for a month. . . .

"He never called me again after the show aired. I would have hoped we could have had a long-term relationship. He was employed, Jewish, in his 30s and that's pretty much ideal," Nizewitz said.

[Full Story]

Ideal, except apparently for that whole thing about not dating women who go naked on TV on the first date with other men.

August 23, 2014

Superman Saturday: The Flying North Remix

Since the last installment of Superman Saturday, it has been one year and two months, exactly. I was planning on kicking off a fresh "season" with the continuatino of "Alonso Craig, Arctic Explorer," but decided that since a) it's been so long, b) I've still got one or two more things to say about the radio series The Adventures of Superman, and c) I spent the night watching Peter Capaldi's starring debut on Doctor Who, I decided the easiest, most expedient, and smartest thing to do would be to remix and repost the first two episodes, then start fresh next weekend instead.

As I said last year: "Alonso Craig" is another of the "lost explorers discover mysterious natives with ancient treasure" kind of story that we seem to see recurring with early Superman. Of course it's not a unique trope: as I recall, Hergé did it two or three times with Tintin, as well, amongst others. Recycling story lines for the pulps is nothing new.

Without further ado, then, I re-presennt . . .

August 20, 2014

The deaths of Superman

You bruise, but you don't kill, do you . . . Clark? - Batman, Justice League: War

Everybody knows Superman is the Big Blue Boy Scout. Sure, he and Brainiac might level half of Metropolis while duking it out. In the end, though, he'll find a way to banish the villain without destroying him. Superman doesn't kill his enemies, except when he absolutely must, and even then it's a shocking and traumatic experience. Witness, for example, his reaction to killing Zod in Man of Steel, or even accidentally causing Doctor Light's death in last year's "Trinity War" story arc.1

However, it wasn't always that way. Supes began his career as a bruiser, right from Superman #1 in 1939. In one story in that magazine, he kills a military torturer by flinging him over the horizon, then causes the death of an enemy pilot by wrecking his plane in midair.2 The body count just goes up from there.

August 18, 2014

Clark Kent, badass

It can't be easy being Clark Kent.

It's very easy being Superman. Everyone knows he is an alien, possesses the powers of flight, super-strength, and super-speed, laughs at bullets, and sees through walls. And he doesn't wear a mask, so everyone assumes he has nothing to hide. Superman can do whatever amazing things he wants, and no one is surprised.

However, when Superman arrived on Earth, he was not quite ready to reveal himself to the world. He assumed the alias of Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter, so he could walk among its citizens unnoticed. Meanwhile, as an employee of a major metropolitan newspaper, he can observe the citizens of his new planet, know when his aid is needed, and has an excuse to get close to the action.

This occasionally—well, pretty frequently, actually—leaves Superman on the horns of a dilemma, or even a trilemma. Danger strikes, and Clark is faced with three options. One, he can dive into a nearby storeroom or phone booth, transform into Superman, and do what he does so well. However, he risks exposure. In the early 1940s, Superman is still a mystery man by choice. Two, he can remain in the guise of Clark Kent, meek everyman, and do nothing. This preserves his secret, and no one really expects better of Clark. Unfortunately, it's also out of character for someone who has "sworn to devote his existence on Earth to helping those in need," if he ignores those in need because it's inconvenient.

Option three—the one we hear so very often in radio's Adventures of Superman—is to take action as Clark Kent.

August 15, 2014

Friday in the wild: August 15, 2014

It's that time of the week again! Friday, that is, when I give a little love to my parochial little slice of the Internet by sharing some of my favourite links for the week.

Last fall, KJV-onlyist and net.crank Steven Anderson sat down with James White for a two-and-a-half-hour interview about the translation and transmission of the Bible, for a documentary titled New World Order Bible Versions. He promptly abused the interview by using a snippet of it in the trailer, making White look ominious, with spooky music and everything.

However, he did promise to make the full interview available, and as White says, he kept his word. I've been holding off watching the documentary until this came along. It looks like Anderson is trying to position himself as the next Gail Riplinger or KJV-only darling. Frankly, I'll always fondly remember him as the perpetrator of the infamous "pisseth against the wall" sermon, or the crackpot who antagonized border guards and screamed like a little girl when he got detained and tazed. Fast forward to about 1:00, and enjoy:

August 08, 2014

Friday in the wild: August 8, 2014

In this week's edition of Friday in the Wild, our focus is on the ongoing ebola outbreak in Africa&mdash: particularly, the response to Ann Coulter's column this week, titled "Ebola Doc's Condition Downgraded to 'Idiotic'," in which she writes, in part:

Whatever good Dr. Kent Brantly did in Liberia has now been overwhelmed by the more than $2 million already paid by the Christian charities Samaritan's Purse and SIM USA just to fly him and his nurse home in separate Gulfstream jets, specially equipped with medical tents, and to care for them at one of America's premier hospitals. . . .

If Dr. Brantly had practiced at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and turned one single Hollywood power-broker to Christ, he would have done more good for the entire world than anything he could accomplish in a century spent in Liberia. Ebola kills only the body; the virus of spiritual bankruptcy and moral decadence spread by so many Hollywood movies infects the world.

Coulter's argument is a utilitarian one: the right thing to do is the one that maximizes the good done to the greatest number of people. Dr. Brantly's time and effort (and Samaritan's Purse's dollars) are, supposedly, better spent on home soil where they will bring a better return on investment. But Christian missions are not founded on a utilitarian worldview, but on a Christian one: the glory of God and his Son, Jesus Christ, through obedience to his great commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19)—not just movie moguls in the United States. Coulter's column is not only utilitarian and cynical, but it smacks of xenophobia as well.