affiliate marketing American Idle: 06/14/2009 - 06/21/2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back in the early days of feminism, terms that denoted gender such as 'Congressman', 'policeman', 'spokesman', etc., which either specifically pertained to men or were used to cover the entire human race, including both genders (as in 'mankind'), were railed against as excluding women. Over time, we;ve seen that 'mail carrier' and 'police officer' have been feminist success stories, while some failures are evident when one notices that there are never male 'spokespersons', but that 'person' has often replaced 'woman', while 'man' still exists in most categories to refer to a male. In fact, females have a long history of having words that pertained to their gender denigrated or demoted or overly sexualized. 'Mistress' and 'madam' are not perceived as quivalent to 'master' and 'sir'. A governess takes care of children, while a Governor runs a state. There are no male governesses, while there are female Governors. Conversely, there are roles so attached to the female gender that if a male assumes them, the term 'male' is attached just to make the distinction as in 'male nurse' or 'male nanny'. So I almost see Barbar..I mean 'Senator' Boxer's point in her refusal to be called 'Ma'am' by a Brigadier General who referred to Boxer's male colleagues in the Senate as 'Sir'. She's simply perpetuating something that I see in the sci fi genre, where, in Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, female superior officers are addressed as 'Sir', ostensibly because 'Sir' denotes both genders.

Sadly, though, in seeking an equality of address, femnists stripped away any terms referencing the female of respectability. One has to, like Barbara Boxer or the woman of the sci fi universes, be stripped of gender in order to be seen as deserving respect or attention. A huge FAIL for feminism.
Speaking of 'Madame', DC's Vertigo imprint has been producing a solid series of books featuring seer and all-around magical character Madame Xanadu, written by Matt Wagner of "Mage" fame. The first set of issues were drawn very well by Amy Reeder Hadley, and featured historical situations that Xanadu had lived through and attempted to affect, with little success. Parallels were drawn between she and the Phantom Stranger, another long-lived DC character with supernatural roots. In the current series of issues, Wagner is joined by Michael Kaluta, who produced some of Madame Xanadu's best art back in the early days! Taking nothing away from Hadley, whose style is quite pleasant, Kaluta's work blows me away! It's intricate, moody, and perfectly suited to the character and genre.
Plus, this time around, Xanadu is dealing with malevolebt forces in a totally fictional setting, so we get a story whose end is not set in stone. Well worth picking up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

There's this small group of apartments right off the main street I run on, and I noticed the other day that the residents have apparently built a patio at the level above the high wall that blocks the view of the street. It's a little odd in that access seems to be by ladder, and the patio itself appears to be uneven, but I could totally see having done a similar thing when I lived in Florida. Wonder if the folks gather up there for 'Happy Hour' and watch the snail's pace traffic jam along Piedmont?

I picked up Captain America #600, and will no doubt read it later. I may be alone in that I'm not looking forward to the return of Steve Rogers to the role of "Cap". A couple of years ago, Ed Brubaker, writer for Captain America (and I'm sure TPTB at Marvel!) chose to kill off the red, white, and blue clad survivor of WWII, as the replacement and eventual return of a deceased superhero has been big bucks in the comics industry (Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, and others have been replaced only to later make triumphant returns. Batman is currently undergoing the process for the second (?) time in his currently-produced titles.), and Brubaker had recently resurrected a suitable replacement in Cap's WWII sidekick Bucky. Bucky had been seen on 1940s comic covers frequently wielding a machine gun as he mowed down Nazis and Japanese adversaries, an odd thing for a 'teen' sidekick.

Brubaker redefined Bucky as a trained assasin assigned by the military to aide Cap in his adventures, giving the public the more palatable story of the kid sidekick who just happened to tag along with Captain America. Brubaker kept the 'demise' of Bucky intact, so that, when Steve Rogers was discovered in an iceberg and thawed out by the Avengers, the story was that Bucky had been blown to bits in the same battle with the Red Skull that had left Cap for dead, frozen for decades until the Avengers found him.Bucky, it turned out, lost his arm and had it replaced by the Soviets, who proceeded to brainwash him and train him to be THEIR assasin, the Winter Soldier. He was
'stored' by the Soviets in between missions, so he aged only when out of storage and was physically about the same age as Steve Rogers when Cap rescued Bucky and used the Cosmic Cube to restore Bucky's memories.

Bucky, born James Buchanan Barnes, took over the Captain America gig shortly after Steve Rogers' death. With a robotic arm supplied by the Soviets, Cap's shield, and a gun, he was far more interesting and vulnerable than Steve, whose Super Soldier Serum could be made as powerful as the writer wished. Bucky had the same 'man out of time' thing that made Steve's personal story
poignant, but on top of that he has his memories/guilt over assasinations that he carried out as the Winter Soldier. Bucky is negotiating his interactions with Steve's loyal allies the Avengers and Sam (Falcon) Wilson, while getting reacquainted with old WWII allies like Nick Fury, Namor, and Spitfire. Bucky also has a better romance than Steve did, IMO. Steve was consistently tied to SHIELD agent Sharon Carter (who was brainwashed to kill him), who reminded him of his WWII girlfriend Peggy Carter (Sharon's way-older-than-possible sister), who had been a government agent back when Cap was originally active. Poor Peggy had to watch her sister carry on with a boyfriend she was now too old for, since he hadn't aged a day since she was her sister's age. And neither Steve nor Sharon seemed to care one bit. Bucky, while he was being trained by the Soviets, met a woman who was being trained for espionage as well, Natalia Romanova, and they had a brief affair before the Soviets discovered it and split them up. When Bucky is being offered the role as Captain America, he meets again Ms. Romanova, but she's older and more
seasoned and is the costumed heroine/spy/adventuress the Black Widow.

They rekindle their passion and both their history and their present day interaction is far more intricate than Steve and Sharon's "You remind me of hour sister' creepiness.

Needless to day, I'm not really overjoyed about Steve's return, though it was bound to happen. Hope they do something interesting with Bucky.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

So, I run/jog nearly every day. Four miles, through a really nice terrain. I mapped it out a couple of years ago so that it went through woods, a quiet street of antique shops, a suburban community I could never afford to live in, and a well-traveled commercial street. Plus, no left turns or traffic stops! The final bit is a sprint along a paved road that was starts after the woods end, and would have become a real road had zoning gone that way, but rather wound up as a dead end behind my apartment building. I originally started because I had gotten fat. Size 40 waist fat. I've successfully lost several sizes (down to a 32!) and am in much better shape and happy about it, but recently sprained my right ankle. It's an everyday battle lately trying to do some semblance of a run/jog without inflaming the ankle, but I spent loooonng time in the hospitral a few years ago, and mobility is psychologically connected to health for me, so I tend to force myself.
North Korea's apparently ready to go nuclear! This is NOT good news. I tend to think of Kim Ill as the puppet in "Team America", but even a joke leader has to be taken seriously when nukes are involved. I thought we were all going to hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya' once President Obama was elected? Didn't Lil' Kim get the memo? Perhaps Hillary can arrange to have an airdrop of propaganda to let Kim know WHO he's messing with?
Sadly, last night was the final episode of "Pushing Daisies" on ABC. What a fantastic show that was! Excellent cast, smart writing, beautiful sets, costuming, and camera work. Absolutely perfect, and not a clunker in two seasons' worth of episodes! Sorry as I am to see it end, I'm okay with it going out on a high note, and not running out of steam or plots, nor having to go through cast changes. Just a neat little package of shows that stand the test of second and third viewings. Perhaps the worst part of the programming was the commercial break advertisements for such 'quality' ABC shows as "Wipeout", "I Survived a Japanese Game Show", and "Bachelorette". ABC execs should be proud.
I have to admit, though, that there ARE 'reality' TV shows that pique my interest, and that I am indeed coming out of the closet to say that I am a gay man who voted for Kris Allen to win "American Idol"! Pitchforks await, I am sure! I just like Kris' music. I've had his songs from his pre-Idol days on my mp3 player all through the winter, and it's easy to run to. Much as I enjoyed performances by Adam Lambert (the cloning of Ian Gillian and Jimmy Somerville, I am certain!) and Allison Iraheta, I can't listen to them as easily on repeat. Other winners who I backed this season were J.T. on "Survivor", an all-around great seeming guy who played the game perfectly, and Branden Rickman on "Make Me a Supermodel", who just has a great, quirky look!
Still catching up on movies, which might have occurred today, but the weather looks too terrific for that. I'll mention comics next time around, but have to say that the return of Northstar to 'active duty' in Marvel's Uncanny X-Men was a welcome surprise! , and that the return of Superboy to the land of the living at DC made my spring insofar as comics go!
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