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Where Comic Books Make Us Uncomfortable

By now, you may have heard of DC’s mass reboot of most of their comic books, and some of the expected backlash.  A new spin, though, is the shall we say gratuitous sexyfication of females that occurred along with it.  You can read this response to what’s happened to Starfire from a 7 year-old comic fan, as told to her mom, an author.  Now none of the ‘boobs and skin’ focus in comics is particularly new, or specific to DC, although these recent changes kind of drive it all home.  As an occasional comic reader, I’ve always rolled my eyes at fact that you have to be a designated ‘kid sister’ type character in a comic to NOT have large projectiles jutting out in front of you, held perfectly in place by  – of course! – a skin tight costume.  Looking at them now as a parent, I’m even more uncomfortable.  I am actually much more likely to avoid the books with female characters, as I don’t want my kids to think this is normal.  Male superheroes can be tall, short, skinny, musclebound whatever.  Why are all females scantily clad and buxom?  It’s like the big companies got caught in a loop of declining sales – make it edgier/sexier – slight improvement – go further! – until they reached a point where it was too much.  The uncanny mountains are a bit too in your face.

I don’t know, now I’m rambling.  I know there are good independent artists doing fine work, and probably one or two of the ‘mainstream’ books that would be OK, but these are the characters I grew up with.  I’d like to share Spider-Man with my son {and later, my daughter} without wincing every time someone like the Black Cat slithers onto the page.


George Lucas is Murdering Star Wars

I have to get this out.  I gave Lucas the benefit of the doubt when the new trilogy came out.  I went and saw the first two in the theaters, thinking “they can’t be as bad as people say”.  They were, pretty much, especially Phantom Menace.  I shrugged when he added a CGI Jabba scene to Star Wars, groaned and rolled my eyes when he had Greedo shoot first, gritted my teeth when he changed the end of Return of the Jedi to have the Hayden Christensen version of Anakin appear in ghostly form, but the man must be stopped.  You’ve probably heard by now of some of the further changes that are supposedly going in on the new Star Wars blu-rays that are forthcoming.  If not, check here and here

I don’t understand why Lucas can’t just release the damn movies on Blu-Ray and sit back and rake in the cash.  Each individual change is minor, but the problem is few to none of them make the movies BETTER.  In 15 years, the original trilogy is going to be completely remade, inch by inch, as GL keeps mucking with it.  All the Ewoks will be played by Doug Jones and Andy Serkis in motion capture suits, and will fly around the forest like they’re in a Hong Kong wire-fu movie.  All the droids will be CGI, and there will be a certain floppy eared Gungan added to the shuttle that Han and Luke fly to Endor.  “Ooooh Han, meesa know da code to give da bad Empire man!”  YOU KNOW HE’S THOUGHT OF IT.  Doesn’t he have any NEW ideas he’d like to make into a movie?  Most filmmakers do that, you know, even if they try to revisit the well of the best success multiple times, they do move on and make something else.  Either that, or Lucas needs a hobby, like hang-gliding, or ending world hunger.


Second Class Citizen

I went home last night, and while I was putting Eva to sleep for the night, I turned on Fox so I could watch Eagles/Steelers.  HOWEVER, as my old CRT television hummed to life, I was presented with an annoyance.  I could only see how many points the Steelers had.  Of course, for most of the game that wasn’t a problem as the Eagles hadn’t scored, but that’s beside the point.  At some point the past year or two, TV networks have decided that those of us playing out the string on a large screen CRT don’t matter.  It’s not just Fox, I’ve seen it elsewhere also, I just don’t understand why you’d want to annoy a pretty significant portion of the TV watching population.  Late last year, Neilsen reported that while the majority of households now have at least one HDTV, there is still a ton of standard definition TV being watched.  I will be replacing the living room TV at some point in the near future, but I can’t afford to swap out my bedroom TV or the playroom TV all at once.  And why should I have to?

Look, I’m not asking for a lot.  I can handle the graphics being a bit smaller and sleeker to fit better on the wider format screens, but at least throw us SDTV watchers a bone and start the important information over far enough so we can SEE it.  The same goes for commercials with phone numbers and anything else where I need to read.


Dads get the shaft

 Father’s Day is coming up (June 19th if you’re scoring at home), and even if you decry the commercial aspects of the various parental celebration days, you have to admit that we Dads kind of get shafted with this one.  First, thanks to it’s placement on the calendar, we will never escape the lame ad copy ‘Gifts for Dads and Grads!’.  I don’t know about you, but the things I like nowadays (extra sleep, baby hugs) don’t really overlap with a future college student’s.

It gets even worse when you see displays for the Father’s Day themed items at stores.  Take a look at this display spotted at Wegman.  Sure, some of the options are solid, especially for the little kid set (books you can read with your kids are always fine), but beyond that it’s assumed you like golf, or at least Tiger Woods, are clueless when taking care of your children, and you really love sitting on your butt in the recliner.  If I told you the other side of the rack was filled with books about grilling, would you be surprised?  How pissed would moms be if a ‘Show Mom How’ book was prominently featured on Mother’s day?  (yes, I know that series is tongue-in-cheek) Even though they do have such a book, I don’t remember seeing it trotted out as a legitimate purchase on the Mommy day, you know?  Just another way culture feeds into the ‘haha, Dads are bumbling oafs LOL’ stereotype.  I’m far from perfect, but there’s never been a time where I felt I was somehow behind my wife to any significate degree in the how-tos of parenting.  We both have to figure it out as we go, with help from family, previous life experience, and common sense.

Still, I’m not one to lead a charge against anything, and it really is the thought that counts, so I would say only to enjoy whatever it is that you do for the day.  Smile broadly when you open the grill brush or lawnmower or power washer or drill/driver combo that ads tell your family is really what you want, hug your kids, then stay up all night reading, playing video games, or whatever it is you REALLY like to do.  One rough day at work is totally worth it.


Lifehacker: Open Clamshell Packaging With Your Can Opener

It’s that time of year again, the one where you will be screaming in frustration and pain as you struggle to get into that new mp3 player or flash memory for your camera, thanks to those horrible plastic clamshell packages. A Lifehacker reader decided to try out his manual can opener on it, and claims that it works like a charm. I am definitely giving that a try this Christmas.


Rant: Prefoamed Hand Soap

Prefoaming hand soap is the downfall of civilization. Seriously, when did people get so fracking lazy that they can’t make their own soap foam up? I don’t know about you, but I never stood in front of the sink in the bathroom thinking ‘You know, I’m having a hell of a time getting this soap to foam. I wish someone could do it for me’. What’s next, should we go all Ferengi and have someone prechew our food?