Good Mor– Afternoon

I was going to write a blog post on how discriminating against a minority paradoxically weaponizes it.

I was also going to finish a story. But then my husband needed to have a long talk with me. And it was an important talk. (No, nothing bad. On the contrary, but still a long talk.)

And here we are. And I haven’t done any writing….

So I thought I’d lay low for a while and pretend nothing was late, but then again, I realized that I might as well face the music and tell you what was going on.

Now that’s done, I’m going to try to submerge and finish work. And do real posts next week.

See you later! (I don’t have to finish that, right?)

164 thoughts on “Good Mor– Afternoon

    1. Posleen “passin”!

      Did you know the alternate title for Kratman’s “Tuloriad”?

      (Singing badly)

      “I’ll take you home again, Posleeeeeeeeeen!”

  1. pokes head out

    Reality still holding firm? No unexplained disruptions of the timeline/glitches in the realspace? Good enough for government work?

    returns to work

      1. Well see, y’know how quantum tunneling doesn’t involve teeny tiny men with pickaxes mining their way through subatomic quanta mines? It’s sort of the same way with reality paradoxes.

        Things like the teleporting keys bug, those are known issues, introduced in a previous version of the Reality engine that, when updates, created the bug. Those vague feelings of disconnection and unease? Minor issues. Also known. The whole universe is quite stable, and self corrects when things… wobble a bit like that.

        And stuff like the preconscious perception of time varying is also normal and expected. Natural phenomena that alter the spacetime are, again, well documented phenomena.

        It’s the fixing of those niggling little bugs that only seem to appear once and then are nigh unrepeatable that are maddening. I mean, say you had a system that worked perfectly 99.98% of the time. But that .02% held all the possibilities from spontaneous rain of cats to the laws of physics simply not working for an infinitesimal period of time in a very specific place to you suddenly knowing with absolute certainty that you were a tiny porcelain China cup in free fall from the top shelf to the hardwood floor.

        That’s where the engineers come in to fix the problem. And the engineers are underpaid. Understaffed. And overworked.

        So whatever it was, it probably won’t happen again. Probably.

        Unless you’re talking about, well, that.

        That’s not normal.

        1. Alright, the clock on the kitchen wall keeps time, so it must run, yes?
          And the second(s) hand advance once a second, as it must, yes?
          And yet there are times it seems stopped… until I look at it for more than a second.. and then it’s like “oops, supposed to advance a tick, each tick.”
          Logically, I must be simply impatient and start at the beginning of the second after the advance when I look… and yet…

    1. No, no, and that never works.

      Would you like to explain, or, failing that, put it back the way you found it?

      stern maternal look

      1. His “breakout” movie role was over 20 years ago, and that was after his career in wrestling. That’s further back in time than Elton was whingeing singing about.

            1. There are some who claim the first Rock & Roll tune (at least mainstream) was Rocket 88 (March 1951)… which is very much like, but not quite the same as Cadillac Boogie (released 1948).

              1. Lots of circa-1950 sounds a lot like early rock and roll. But where does influence stop and “new genre” begin?

                I love Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, and they inarguably were formative influences on rock, but I just can’t quite go so far as calling “Saturday Night Fish Fry” or “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” rock. Influential, sure, but not the new thing.

                Any demarcation is going to be somewhat arbitrary, but I’d say once an artist breaks away from the old thing and starts doing the new thing specifically, that’s a good marker. Not sure (I’d have to research) if it would be Bill Hailey & The Comets or Jerry Lee Lewis or whom, but once you’ve got someone doing not just a one-off, but working mostly in a new style, that’s probably the beginning of the new genre.

                (I’m from the film world, and the arguments over what counts as “the first film noir” are endless, because the genre evolved naturally, and didn’t even get identified as such until it had been around half a decade or more. Is it Stranger on the Third Floor because of its undeniable noir cinematography? Or The Maltese Falcon due to its themes and fairly amoral protagonist (but lacking the distinctive lighting scheme)? This Gun For Hire? Or earlier than Falcon, could it be High Sierra, another Bogie showcase? There are dozens of solid choices, and dozens of arguments for and against each. It’s all good, the main point is we have the movies, and in this case, the music, to argue over.)

                In any case, “Crocodile Rock” released in 1972, and rock and roll can’t really be put earlier than 1950, so call that 22 years. The Mummy Returns came out in 2001, the Rock’s first big film role, and it’s now 2023. If you really stretch a point, it’s the same span of time.

                  1. A bit over 50 years ago, [pauses and boggles at that number], I took The Required Liberal Arts Course, in this case, Music Appreciation. Taught by a musicologist (no relation to Peter Schickele 🙂 ), he did a little bit on Rock. (The tune he used for the structure was “Light My Fire”, FWIW. 4/4 timing, downbeat kick drum on 1 and 3, backbeat snare or tom or cymbal on 2 & 4.)

                    As I recall, proto-rock tunes were playing on urban, black-oriented stations, and were known as the genre “Race Records”. The color change, as it were, happened when the top 40 radio stations started picking up the RR examples. At which point, bands started to use that style, and Race Records steadily morphed into Rock ‘n Roll.

                    Alas, there wasn’t more detail on that. I have a 30 year old (sigh) copy of The Harvard Dictionary of Music in the barn. I’ll see what it has to say about R & R, if anything.

                    Oh, and please get off my lawn.

                    1. Found the book, and curiously enough, I seem to have it mostly right. “Race Records” got renamed to Rhythm and Blues in the late ’40s, and according to the article, Rock and Roll was established as the dominant pop music genre (among the yutes, anyway) in 1955 with Bill Halley and the Comets Rock around the Clock album.

                      This book (1986 edition) just got promoted to the in-house book case.

        1. My sister had his famous “raised eyebrow” poster on her wall. ^.^

          Mostly I laugh because the ever-increasing age of “young people” is still going up, I’m quite sure that he IS still called “young” by folks who haven’t accepted that not only are they grandparents, they’re old enough to be great-grandparents….

  2. Passing’ time’s a villain,
    feelin’ Crocodilian.
    We’ll be chillin’,
    you go write tales thrilling’.

  3. The writing has been weird because I’m getting ready to go back to a 9-5 job in about a week.


    I hope to get the first draft of a Sister Justina story and the blog post idea for how to fix Marvel comics (go full-in on the manga concept, fully sequester the 616 writing staff and don’t let any of the Tumblr-stans anywhere near the product) done before the end of the month.

    Fingers and toes crossed.

      1. What I have right now is a job offer and a somewhat chaotic onboarding process (“we’ll get back to you!” Wait for paperwork, send an email asking for next bit of paperwork. Get paperwork, file. “We’ll get back to you!” Wait for paperwork…).

        As soon as the first paycheck clears, I’ll have a job.

        1. That… “process”… seems to be the norm these days. At least going by you and by my son and one daughter who changed jobs in the last year. Foolish me, I thought that HR departments couldn’t get ANY more incompetent than in my day.

          Anyway, various parts crossed here, too – may no fumble-fingered idiot make your file go “POOF!”

        2. Congratulations on your new job!
          FYI, all new hire onboarding processes are chaotic. That’s the nature of the beast.

    1. Fixing American comics is going to take more than fixing one company. The entire distribution model is so utterly borked that “burn it all down and start over again” is possibly the easiest route.

        1. Alas, yes. Honestly, it all began when Marvel fired Jim Shooter. Shooter grew the entire comics market from “there will be no more comic books after 1979” to “creators are getting six figure checks regularly, and any title selling less than 150k copies a month gets cancelled due to low sales”, and things have been sliding back toward “end of the industry” pretty much ever since.

          1. I met Jim Shooter one time at Toronto Comic Con. The impression I got was drill instructor. Not the type of guy you’d expect to cave to political BS over the company bottom line. Obviously why they fired him.

            I saw a presentation by Chris Claremont too. He was -extremely- unimpressed by Hollywood after being part of the X-Men movies. Verging on bitter, from what I saw.

            1. Shooter’s firing was a confluence of several things, in fact. The main reason, it turned out later, was that the board of directors of Marvel’s parent company were preparing to sell the company, and doing lots of unethical things to sweeten their payout. Shooter was opposing them in private, strenuously, but being a good company man everywhere else. So just before the sale, they fired him so he could be the scapegoat for everyone disgruntled by things falling apart after the sale. The fact that certain creators, and “objective” reporters (coughcoughGary Grothcough) on the industry had major rage-boners for Shooter simply cemented his status as The Devil at Marvel when it happened.

              He had a blog recounting stories of his career for several years, and it was/is a great read. One measure of his character: any time there was a dispute over even the most niggling detail (the comments were active for a while), Shooter would, unless it was one of his noted disadmirers, say “ask NAME; if he says it’s different, believe him”. Even for people he hadn’t had contact with in thirty years. There was a story about the cover for Rom #1 that he told in a sort of a softball way. Assigned it to an artist, with a basic idea of what it should be, the artist turned in something that wasn’t what he was asked for, and it had to be farmed out to Frank Miller at the last minute. Shooter was very gentle about the artist’s reasons for what he turned in, said it was a very good piece, just not what was needed. Then the artist turned up, explained what had happened in very great detail (most of it not super-flattering to the artist, none of it unflattering to Shooter), and publicly apologized to Shooter for the whole thing.

              Shooter is not perfect (and is quick to say that himself), but I would trust him over virtually anyone else in the industry on just about anything.

        2. Marvel Comics is doing a test-run on rebooting/restarting the Ultimate universe. Which they had initially planned to become the primary worldline because the continuity of the 616 Universe had gotten so…intricate that they couldn’t really do anything there.

          Then, they started to use the Ultimate universe as a place to test things out, then Marvel folded it into the “main” continuity with the Secret Wars event.

          Let’s be fair-DC and Marvel won’t go anywhere and won’t get rid of the Tumblr-stan/cheap yaoi fanficition fangirls until the cost of keeping them around for Warner Brothers and Disney to maintain control of the IPs is greater than whatever “benefit” they get from it.

          1. Last I heard, Warner was looking to either license all their characters to other comic publishers, or shutter the comic business all together, and Marvel’s comics arm has been bleeding money for years, too. WB counted DC as profitable simply from licensing fees, and licensing the Big Three characters has been DC’s main profit center since the 1970s, if not going back further. I doubt there will be innovation from either house, and won’t be shocked if one or both just closes up shop.

            1. Which (if I can ever get this blog post written…) is another echo of the 1970s. There’s some nasty comparisons between the American car industry and the American comic book industry-and how foreign (namely Japanese and South Korean) creators ate their lunch now. Just like how the car companies were beaten up by their foreign competitors in the ’70s.

              1. Hell, it’s an echo of comic books in the late 1970s, too. I mentioned Jim Shooter elsewhere in this thread. He was made Editor in Chief of Marvel on 1 January 1978, and told by the company that owned Marvel that his job was to preside over the end of the company. The Star Wars comics license had saved Marvel from bankruptcy for a time, but sales were cratering otherwise (and DC had its infamous implosion, canceling something like half their titles across the board, not long after). Even with the explosive growth in the market, several venerable publishers shut down in the early ’80s, including Charlton and Harvey.

                By 1983, the entire comic book market had grown astronomically, to the point where DC had a smaller percentage of the market overall, but in objective numbers was selling something like twice what it had been just before the implosion. That was, almost exclusively, due to Jim Shooter’s cleaning house and improving product and deadlines at Marvel. (He got a letter from Marvel’s printers a year or two after he took over effectively saying “congratulations: for the first time in its history, Marvel has not missed a deadline on a single title”.)

                1. Jim Shooter was probably one of the best editors that Marvel ever had. He could actually manage the talent and keep things running on an even keel. Rare enough in artistic endeavors.

                  1. And that’s on top of un-fucking a completely fucked editorial “process” he was handed — ONE editor (him), and one assistant, for the entire Marvel line.

                    It’s certainly possible to quibble with some of the decisions he made, particularly in his last year or two there, but they would be just that: quibbles. His accomplishments tower over his missteps, and I’m glad he’s gotten to see some of his fan appreciation in recent years, after all the shitstorms he was put through.

                    1. He had to deal with the editorial shambles, the fact that every book was months late, a dying industry, AND the sudden change in the copyright law (started the same day he did) that altered the terms of work-for-hire and assignability of copyright that nobody warned him about.

                      And that’s before the embezzlement scheme got revealed (sort of: Shooter swears the guy who did it, whose death was what brought it to light, could only have had noble intentions in trying to help out freelance artists who were living hand-to-mouth; maybe he’s right), and the Gerber and Kirby situations went nuclear. Dude took on all of that, and, oh by the way, saved the industry, and managed to get Marvel corporate to agree to a level of creators’ rights and royalties for original creations. Oh, and he had a policy that “founding fathers”, any creatives who worked at Marvel in the ’60s, would always get work if they asked for it, no questions asked. That policy did not remain in place after he left.

                      That he’s considered a pariah tells you everything you need to know about the industry he saved. (Or, as he described the Bullpen from his early days, “it was like Romper Room on crystal meth.”)

            1. I suspect that Disney is either going to have some serious changes, or a lot of “lightening the boat” by getting rid of IPs. Remember that Bob Iger thought the future was going to be female…er, streaming. That having control of a streaming service and all the content was going to make all the money.

              But even “evergreen” streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are looking at losses. Especially as the services no longer look like an easy way to get content without too much hassle.

              1. And especially not when they’re “curating” what IP they put up– that is, only offering edited versions. That costs money and subscribers.

                They’re also spending a bunch of money in order to, apparently, SERIOUSLY piss off the very demographic who invented “Shut up and take my money.”

                The whole Witcher thing is just– good heavens.

                And don’t get me started on the what they’ve done to anime where even mild competency would’ve been printing cash, or the rolling meme of “Netflix adaptation.”

                1. There are decisions that have been made that, if I had been making them, would have been much different.

                  Namely…most of them.

                  But there’s also the whole “live service” model that seems to be the big thing for companies. It’s not about making something; it’s about selling a “service.”

                    1. A lot of the companies were taken over by people with MBA degrees that have experience and history in the management of things that are not entertainment products.

                      Almost all of them were educated in the shibboleth of the current management cultist cant and right now it’s all about outsoucings and “live services” and everything else…

                    2. That can’t be all of it, exactly because it hits people who don’t have MBAs.

                      For example, look at the “shop local” folks. A lot of those businesses are going out of business because they think what they offer is the warm moral glow of We Are Local.
                      Rather than any kind of customer service, attempt to provide the item requested, or intimacy matching or surpassing a box store two hours away.

                    3. Mark Millar once remarked that “A lot of people got skills, but not a lot of people have talent,” and small business owners require a lot of talent.

                      Eh, a philosophy of “make it easy on the customer” would work wonders.

                      One place in my home valley stayed in business mostly from having an Amazon account and being willing to order stuff for folks to pick up next week. Folks were willing to pay 5-10% extra just to not bother with it.

                    4. They have been taught as an article of faith that a ‘Professional Manager’ has the mystical ability to manage any business without knowing a damn thing about it.

                      They can, too — for certain values of ‘manage’ which sensible people would consider gross mismanagement.

                2. Anime, somebody at Disney+ had the grey matter to get exclusive streaming rights to Bleach 2023.

                  Bleach 2023 as an anime is quite good. I watched the whole thing, and it is genuine Bleach. Like they got the rest they needed and are now back 100%. More of an adult experience than previously, but most people probably won’t mind that.

                  As a business decision, it’s a good one because that is where the market is most certainly going. Nerds and Normie kids are reading Manga and watching anime.

                  Unfortunately it does not bode well for the future of anime generally, because the same people (I use the term loosely) who made Marvel and Star Wars suck are now going to apply their efforts to making anime suck.

            1. Ultimate MarveL was-at least to me-probably the best gateway into Marvel Comics and the core continuity I could think of. There were faults, but they were mostly of a certain lack of editorial control than issues with the idea itself. The early books, especially the Spider Man and X-Men books were very much spot-on in the classic character mold. And, “Fantastic Four” was a masterpiece up to and through the first Doom arc.

              And then, Ultimatum. Which should have never happened and someone at Marvel clearly failed to give Jeph Loeb his medications before he wrote the script and nobody stopped him from destroying all of the major villains and quite a few of the heroes without building up the next generation cast to take over.

              (Seriously, he took out Magneto, Doctor Doom, and quite a few other A-list villains. Throw in the hero casualty count as well…)

              Then, it just went downhill and kept going downhill even faster and faster, and then…crash.

                1. Ultimate Spider Man was, so was the Ultimate Fantastic Four and the Ultimates and the X-Men, for the most part. Not perfect, sometimes with huge feet of clay…but most of them did try very hard.

                  Ultimatum marked the line where they went down-hill very quickly. It’s where the Fantastic Four broke bad and Reed Richards became the Maker/Ultimate Kang, Peter Parker died at the end of the Sinister Six story, the stories got really dark without any redeeming qualities, the X-Men became mutant separatists and Jean Grey decided that “the only thing Magneto got wrong(1) was not going far enough fast enough,” and it’s also where they completely screwed up the Miles Morales introduction.

                  It was a great idea that started to show some serious cracks around “The Ultimates 3” and Ultimatum destroyed them.

                  (1-This is the same Ultimate Magneto who planned after the mutant takeover of the world to farm and harvest “normal” humans like cattle to feed the mutants. Yes, it started to get really dark early on…)

                    1. Proper comic book heroes do -not- have feet of clay. This is the thing that drove me away from Marvel and DC in the 1990s (not coincidentally when they fired Jim Shooter) and they’ve been doing it ever since.

                      If I want to see feet of clay I just turn on the TV. Wall to wall, fiction or news, all the same.

      1. One of my biggest ideas is to get out of the classic distribution model, as much as possible. The biggest thing, IMHO, is to steal from manga and do series in a single book, of good quality, and make it easy for people to buy in non-comic book stores.

          1. The biggest problem is getting male readers, because most of the people in charge have a massive raging hateboner for young males that aren’t gay and banging each other. I don’t think they understand the idea that young males might like women and not have it be “creepy” or “abusive” or my most hated weasel-word “problematic.”

            It’s scary to think about how crappy it is to be male these days. It’s never been easy, but it almost feels like it’s gratuitously hard now.

              1. Known what this has said for years. Especially in more liberal areas.

                I’m trying to remember the last President that I had a date, let alone a relationship, with a woman on (Obama, I think). It’s scary. Sad, but scary.

                And many people wonder why guys go for parasocial relationships these days…

            1. Eh. From a long view perspective, I’d have already outlived my usefulness were I born, say around the 3rd century. Less likely to die of a simple infection, or warfare, or disease than any other time in history.

              I may not have good prospects for creating progeny of my own (takes a willing partner, and finding one that’s sane and willing to put up with me has proved to be a challenge), but I’ve mentored more than one young ‘un into a decent enough adult. That’ll have to do for now.

              Sure, there’s a lot of hate for old school men these days. But the hate is coming from weak men and whiny women for the most part. It’s coming from green haired teachers and the like. The opposition is, frankly, pitiful. They suck at pretty much anything.

              That’s why giving young men a purpose is so bloody easy these days. Men need to be challenged. They thrive on it. It wouldn’t surprise me to see traditional masculinity come roaring back in the coming generations, to the likely joy and appreciation of traditionally feminine women.

              Young women are getting a crappy deal, too. It’s deliberate. I feel for them, the kids growing up in these times. But, if they somehow learn to take responsibility for themselves, they’ll be so far ahead of their peers its not even funny. The ones all het up in wokeness?

              They’re hamstringing themselves in life. The future belongs to those who work. Who procreate. Who study. Who build. In the end, the woke will have led sad, pitiful lives with blessed little to show for it. No kids to comfort and care for them in their old age. No accomplishments to look upon with pride.

              That’s a sad way to end a life. Better to have risked, striven, worked, loved, lost, and taken what chances life gives out by the dozens.

              1. “Oh, you burned it all down? Looks like we get to rebuild it, better. Kewl!”

                “No, you’re not supposed ot..”

                “Shush you! All you do is take it all apart, like a fungus. It’s time for Real people to get on this, fungus.”

        1. As with book trad-pub, the comic book publishing objective is to obscure totally the number of books sold while ensuring maximum payments for each copy.

      2. I’ve encountered a couple of apparently successful counterexamples of comics distribution, both based on a core of web comics that get turned into book form. Disclaimer, I haven’t bought from either, so take NaCl as necessary.

        The first is the Sluggy Freelance webcomic. Pete Abrams started SF in the late ’90s, and as content grew, printed it in book form and proceeded to sell the books (and related stuff) in his Sluggy Store. He’s semi-retired from the web comic (instead of 7 days/week at his peak, it’s down to 1 day/week), but the rest of the business seems to be going strong.

        I’ll refrain from mentioning the person behind it (Hint: The Blogger Who Shall Not Be Named), but the Arkhaven comic imprint seems to be following the same model, though with several comics for the web-comic side. Distribution seems to be from the publisher’s site. I don’t know whether or how it’s related to the small-press publishing house he runs, nor the reputation of either.

        I’ve seen some hints that other authors are following the same comic self-distribution model.

        Further disclaimer: while I’ve read Sluggy Freelance from the beginning, I’ve read almost none of the Arkhaven comics.

        1. Self-distribution and crowd-funding are great for individual creators, but I don’t see that scaling to nurture new talent and/or bringing in new, young readers.

          And webcomics is a whole ‘nother discussion. The economic model that evolved, quickly, also quickly lead to creators getting totally burned out and leaving comics for life.

          1. Arkhaven seems to be trying the crowdfunding and independent distribution as a small house, but I don’t know how it plays out.

            Agreed on the web comic. I can think of a few artists who burned out or started to phone it in. Those who started 20+ years ago and are active seem to have developed something else, de-emphasizing the comics in favor of related pursuits. (And then there are those with annual fund raisers. Chris Muir seems to do all right with his.)

            1. Knowing who is behind Arkhaven, and knowing authors that individual has “worked with” before, I’m going to just continue ignoring their existence and assuming that when it all falls apart, everybody but one person will be unhappy, and that one person will blithely blame the culture or the moon and the tides or weather balloon swamp gas reflecting off of Venus for everything falling apart, and him somehow having all the money still.

              1. Nods.

                I’ve had my suspicions, which have had bearings on any decision not to buy from them. (Besides, I’m a Boomer and no. Not with his attitude. Just no.)

                1. The guy in charge of Arkhaven…yea, I’m not a fan of giving anyone near him money. I recognize “any port in a storm.” Those are the ports you get out of at the first chance as quickly as possible.

                  1. I’m not his biggest fan either, but in fairness I’ll note that Razorfist seems happy to have him as a publisher. And I recall that ESR used him once and was also satisfied with the results. Neither of them strike me as suckers or fools.

            2. Plus there are issues like Sinfest being dropped by Patreon. (He also has effectively produced about four comics under that name with totally different worldviews over the years.)

      1. Biggest things are-
        *Good writing. Has to have that.
        *Art has to be designed for black-and-white, not “waiting for color at some later date.”
        *Has to be written by somebody that can actually write for young men.
        *Price needs to be relatively low and accessibility needs to be high.

        1. As someone who has a few ideas that are grumpily waiting for me to figure out comics, but never really had access to comics. (The ‘helpful’ friend who tried to get me into a whole series started me on DV8.) Have you recommendations on where to start reading and where to get them?

          1. There’s a lot of “best of” lists for people wanting to get into comic books, but this is what I consider to be my “best” list to get started-
            Batman-Year One-This is pretty much the Batman story, a lot of the character beats were what was used in Batman Begins and it’s one of the two best stories of Frank Miller in his prime.
            Daredevil-Born Again-If you want all of that perfect Catholic guilt in the Man Without Fear, Frank Miller hits it out of the park again with this series.
            Iron Man-Extremis-Probably the best “soft” reboot of the Iron Man character, written by one of the best comic book writers of the ’90s, Extremis is very much one of the best takes on the character you can think of.
            Planetary Omnibus-Another Warren Ellis book, it’s in many ways a condensation of the entire DC/Marvel/Image superhero genre, with two competing versions of the Fantastic Four fighting it out for the future that we’ve been promised.

            Debate everything you want about the moral character (or lack thereof) of Warren Ellis. As a writer, he knows his shit and when he’s allowed to write-he does great stuff. The only reason why I don’t own more of his comics is that I can’t find them except at obscene resale prices (that, and he was big into Avatar Press…who have gone…somewhere…). Seriously.
            Ultimate Spider Man-If there was something great about the Ultimates line from Marvel, it is taking one of Marvel’s most memorable characters and showing just how relevant he still is when written well. Pretty much ignore everything after the Ultimatum story in continuity, but there are very few misfires in the Ultimate Marvel universe.
            All Star Superman-When done right, the Man of Steel is a symbol of hope and that we are greater than what we think we are. This book tells that story so very well indeed.
            And, just for laughs…
            NEXTWAVE-Agents Of H.A.T.E.“It’s an absolute distillation of the superhero genre. No plot lines, characters, emotions, nothing whatsoever. It’s people posing in the street for no good reason. It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode.”
            Only Warren Ellis could take a bunch of C- and D-list characters (and one original one), gender-swap the usual power structure in team books like this (usually, it’s three boys and two girls-this time it’s two boys, two girls, and one insane boy toaster full of many useful devices), make an expy of the original Nick Fury (back in the days when he was inspired by Tony Bennett and ’60’s James Bond movies) and make him saner than then ’70s version of the same character as the villain, wrap it up in all of the trivia and history of Marvel comics…and finally get a result that even Hiroyuki Imaishi (who was the director of Tenga Toppa Gurren Lagann drew fan art for it…

            You’ve got to admit that there was some success there.

            1. Thank you for these. I’ve actually been looking for the batman one since I was in Highschool. I could never remember the name of it. (One of the few I could get my hands on. Prior to aforementioned friend dropping basically all of DV8 on me I’d only had random issues here and there some old, some new, rarely two in the same series much less same universe.) The school library randomly had it. Snagging the others as well. Thank you so much!

          2. What sort of ideas? Genre? Level of idealism? We might as well steer you where the examples fit what you want to do.

            1. First, apologies for taking so long on this and thank you for the offer.

              Two related: One that is best summarized as a Boy and his (Alien, intelligent) Dog have adventures in Space, trying to become Star Knights. Up beat and aimed at a younger audience.

              The second is the same boy as an adult dealing with a disaster that has befallen the Star Knights, that, as far as he knows, he’s the only one left to fix. Both Science Fantasy. The second darker than the first but generally hopeful. (The question is HOW to fix the issues and rebuild in the second, less ‘will he’) This one is likely a close-ended story line with the first more open ended.

              Another is a conquered Earth scenario, darker than both of the above, focusing on the resistance. I don’t do full grim dark, and this is, again, probably a finite storyline. Along the lines of Zahn’s Blackcollar series in feel.

              There are some others that might go this way, but for now these three are the insistent ones.

              1. You might like Zita the Space Girl — three books series. For the younger reader ones.

                Astro City and Jim Krueger’s Justice may give you ideas for the others.

  4. Clearing the swamps is one of those jobs that takes longer and costs more than you ever expected. Some days, it seems to fill up faster than you can drain it, and meanwhile the gators breed faster than you can kill them. Situation normal, in other words.

    1. Not the gators I’m worried about now, it is those dang big snakes that do not belong. Not that we’re anywhere near a huge swamp with gators or large snakes. I would hope large pet snakes released locally wouldn’t survive past first cold snap. Dang nutria did.

      1. The Burmese Python can survive cold snaps, even mild winters with occasional hard freeze. They semi- hibernate, quivering muscles to generate enough heat to avoid freezing.

        The predicted northern range of the Python is all the way up to Pennsylvania.

        What we need is for shows like Yellowstone and big sports to popularize python boots and jackets, and maybe python gumbo That would certainly put a dent in the supply.

        Othewise we need lifelike animatronic raccoon and armadillo decoys loaded with pressure-activated grenades.

        Big gators eat small pythons. Big pythons eat small gators. Big pythons versus big gators are nature’s Kaiju.

              1. That assumption is almost universally true, unlike a similar assumption regarding plants (which is why “Eat hearty, vegan!” is not a wish for long life and health).

                And BTW, “Snake Eaters” wasn’t a term used for Marines, but for SF. Just sayin’… 🙂

        1. Wait. The Burmese Python can shiver to generate heat? Are you saying that it can fake being warm-blooded? Or, to put it in properly sciencey terms, the Burmese Python is pseudoendothermic?

          Man, the boundaries of taxonomy are way fuzzier than the neat, clear-cut picture I learned in high school (where the only animal to spoil the picture was the platypus)!

          1. There is considerable debate on exactly how well they can handle cold.

            Given their natural range tends into the foothills of the Himalayas, my bet is “Yankee, beware.”

        2. predicted northern range of the Python is all the way up to Pennsylvania.

          Did not need to know that We don’t get as cold as Pennsylvania, not in the valley.

          There is already a show that has the Gator hunters going after the invasive big snakes and eggs. But unlike gator season, the snakes are captured alive. Why? Seriously? Why?

          1. If it’s the show I’m thinking of, probably because there isn’t really a clearly defined hunting season. They may also want to avoid some of the shrieking about hunting. I’m surprised that gator hunting show has lasted as long as it has.

            1. Gators are not cute, they eat cute things on security cam video, and no one keeps gators in glass cases in their living rooms.

              1. no one keeps gators in glass cases in their living rooms.

                I dunno, in a population of over 320 million there’s room for some mighty strange folks. Just look at this place. 😀

                At least one has a pet gator in his house, not in a glass case. I’ve seen video.

            2. Maybe they are be repatriated back to where pythons and anacondas belong … Of coarse there are those that are hybrids of pythons and anacondas. Which makes them N. American snakes. (I’m sure the Amazon and Asian countries want a super snake, that is bigger and tougher than either python or anacondas, released in their part of the planet.)

              I’m surprised the gator show has lasted as long as it has too.

              1. Well, since pythons are Asian and anacondas are S. American, repatriating the hybrids to both places can only enhance diversity, so… 😉

                1. repatriating the hybrids to both places can only enhance diversity

                  A diversity that I can get behind.

                  Asian and S. American locals might not. I understand the hybrids are a lot tad more aggressive.

                  1. Not surprising; that happens with other species close enough to crossbreed, Tiger trout being an example. I don’t know about either tiglons or ligers. And mules seem to be smarter, if not more aggressive, than either horses or donkeys.

      2. There’s a spot near an old mill pond in CG where the nutria come out at night.

        Gosh, I’d love to take my little Marlin out and do some pest control, but the folks whose front yard that is might complain, and I don’t have a silencer.

        The header pics bring back Arnold’s 1996 opus Eraser – “You’re luggage!”

        1. They are horribly damaging to the local flood canals (few that Eugene has) and meandering creeks. The creek/river otters OTOH love the nutria. It is interesting to be on a bike path cruising along, nutria in the grass, and up pops an otter, or two, snatch a nutria, and run off. Consequences of wildlife in the green belt as it winds through the city neighborhoods. Get bobcats along the river and W 11th creek that winds to Fernditchridge.

          1. I suspect that your local cougar population (4-footed) loves them too.

            I have seen a couple of recipes for cooking them.

            1. local cougar population

              As good of a reason why home cameras have been capturing the big cats in neighborhood bordering the Willamette and McKenzie green way bike paths, in the valley floor. Coyotes too (including intersection one corner house from us). No one has captured identifiable bobcats but their silhouette can be mistaken for large cat (would not surprise me at all). All 3 are common (in town) in the Eugene SW hills, and eastern hills of Springfield and Pleasant Hill, south in and around Creswell and Cottage Grove, west of and along Greenhill. Even north of us a bit. Duh, deer …

        2. Airguns, are not firearms.

          Thus, you can (in most jurisdictions) purchase high velocity air rifles with integral suppressors. Some of the .22s pellet rifles rival rimfire cartridge guns.

          Some local ordinances may interfere. YIMMV.

          Phuuuttt goes the weasel.

          1. “Airguns, are not firearms.”

            Which is why Crosman can sell them with a giggle switch and no issues.

      3. The microclimate here is rough on big snakes (yesterday morning, we were running 20 degrees colder than Flyover Falls, 25 miles away and 200′ lower elevation), but a few miles away and 500′ further up is the ominous and accurately named “Rattlesnake Meadow”. We get a couple of garter snakes and a blue one that’s about the size of a night crawler (and a hell of a lot faster), but “No step on snek” isn’t a factor on our land.

        Protip: if you live just above the bottom of a river valley, your mornings are going to get freaking cold.

          1. Different mechanism for us. As the air cools at the surrounding mountains, it sinks into the valley. Even a few feet of elevation change can be noticeable. We have a seasonal creek, and going through the creekbed in late aftenoon or early evening, it’s a few degrees cooler than the equally shaded slopes 10-20 feet higher.

            Rattlesnake Meadow has an outlet for airflow, so it sees evening slope wind from the mountains, but there’s nothing to form a cold pool. (These mountains aren’t all that high, maybe 1500-2500 feet higher than the river bottom, but it’s enough.)

        1. if you live just above the bottom of a river valley, your mornings are going to get freaking cold.

          We’ve not been high enough to actually get more than a dusting of snow. Everywhere else around us has been however. We were suppose to. Next week is looking wicked. Ground snow cover is predicted, again. It has been freaking cold. What is this chill factor they been talking about? Step outside and the wind hits … Holy ***** it is cold. (We aren’t anywhere near as cold as other locations. Still right around, to north of, 20F. Even the chill factor. So sympathies not required because I know other places have it worse.)

          1. Raises gloved hand. OTOH, the area NW of Lakeview gets all the wind advisories and warnings. Single digit weather and moderate wind is bad–they have the former with higher wind. Not going there if I can help it.

            1. Niece took that long to get home from her job at Nike. She lives in an apartment complex that is just east of hwy 405 (can see the hwy from nearest west side street parking). She tried taking side streets rather than take 405. Didn’t work out well (maps was very wrong). But then there was the problem with on and off ramps.

              1. Stick to major roads in snow. The pounding of pavement by tires helps clear snow.

                I remember one hideous ride where a procession of cars rode through the snow and the night by following the two black tire tracks. Every now and again a dotted line emerged long enough to make it clear we were riding between two lanes. No one heeded it.

                1. I guess the vehicles were having problems getting up/down on the on/off ramps; due the angle.

                  I ran into that my major route into work (when I was working). The bridge over which I normally went has just that steep approaching the street. Instead I went another route. Only had the two options.

                  1. Our first winter here, I tried going up (southward) on the hill north of downtown F-Falls. Always shaded, and we were in the 2WD Ranger with studless snowtires. Got about 50′ up one street, then slid back down. $SPOUSE was not amused.

                    Studded tires and AWD or 4WD, I’ve avoided that spot in the winter ever since. Try to avoid it summertime, too, but there’s less reason to take that route now. (One radio station used to have giveaways, and $SPOUSE had perfect timing. That promotion is long gone.)

                    Studless snow tires are OK for snow, but not for ice. I’m very, very careful when I drive the Honda on ice, and try to avoid it altogether.

                    1. Got about 50′ up one street, then slid back down. $SPOUSE was not amused.

                      House we had ’80 – ’89 (lived in ’80 – ’85), street it was on I’ve mentioned here, a time or multiple. Canyonview Drive, to E. and W. Canyonview Drives, split. If missed either split, then you were in the head of the canyon off the road. Well technically E Canyonview, was almost a straight shot. Canyonview came off Hillcrest. To make it up Canyonview in icy/snowy conditions, with 4×4 engaged, we backed out of the driveway and down to the intersection and slightly down E Canyonview, then gunned it and prayed we made it or that no one was trying the same behind us. To come back down, I parked at the top, and hubby brought the vehicle down. Bringing the vehicle down, for us (not anyone else) was very slowly let gravity take the vehicle straight into the driveway (Canyonview curves slightly right as it comes down the hill, as we learned by getting side swiped by the great *pumpkin incident), then either (truck) pull into the garage (to be hidden, “no we can’t pull you out of the top of the canyon ditch”), or pulled to the north side of the house onto gravel (car), keeping the driveway clear (in case someone lost control and slid into the driveway). We got used to the run/slide over the 5 years. Road never got sanded, let alone plowed.

                      (*) And, yes. We kept the vehicles either in the garage or on north side of the house around Halloween, after being there the first Halloween season. Rolling pumpkin from intersection at Hillcrest only happened once when we were there. I think the loud “bang” as it the car scared the teens appropriately. Had the cops out. Sounded like a gun going off. The across the street neighbor was a county prosecutor … He called it in.

  5. “Day not as planned” seems to be going around right now.

    I’d planned to take the business van up to the storage unit and get it loaded for our first convention of the new year (Hall of Heroes Comic Con in Elkhart, Indiana, for anyone who’s interested). I went out to move the car, and it wouldn’t start.

    Got out the jump pack, followed directions in trying to get it going. No dice — and I can’t get the van out of the driveway with the car in the way. End up calling AAA — and it’s now starting part of the time. Driver thinks it’s something ready to go, maybe battery, maybe starter, maybe alternator.

    Car is now at the shop, to be looked at on Monday. I was late getting to the storage unit, late getting the merchandise loaded, and late getting supper. Now I need to get dishes done and get the Saturday newsletter out. Still hoping to get a little fiction written.

    1. Have somebody put a voltmeter on the battery. Should be about 12.6V. If that looks good, turn the key. If the engine doesn’t turn AND the battery voltage doesn’t drop below 10V, suspect the starter or solenoid.

      Alternator problems show up the next time you try to start the engine, because it failed to charge the battery.

      1. Yep. And if it’s starting part of the time, and there’s no sound but (maybe) a click when it doesn’t, suspect a dead spot on the starter motor armature; that has happened to me exactly once, but I’ve seen it a couple of times.

      2. There’s a handy battery tester that uses LEDs for various levels of voltage. Doesn’t need a 9V battery, and it’s quick and easy to use. Mine is now riding with the roadgoing toolkit in the main vehicle. (Kit fits in a 30 caliber [small] ammo can. It handles minor problems and helps with problems as below.

        I swapped a battery in one of the vehicles, and it started getting funky a week later. Seems somebody (raises hand) didn’t tighten the battery terminal clamp tight enough. Redid the clamp, gave it a few minutes charge (not sure I needed to, but the charger was handy), and no problems since.

        I like easy problems, even if they’re caused by my mistakes. Especially when I have the bits to fix it on the road or in the garage. (More extensive tools are in the shop, but that’s a long way from the garage.)

    2. Did anyone else read “got out the jump pack” as an alternative mode of semi-flight transportarion, versus battery?

    3. Yeah I had that back on Monday. Wife and I were home elder daughter was off at a Air BnB she loves (February vacation) so we decided to get some take out. I went down to a BBQ place we like. Picked it up and went to turn left out of the place and WHAM car hit the front left of my CRV setting off air bags front and side curtain spinning my vehicle ~270 degrees clockwise. It was kind of an E ticket ride but overall do not recommend. Luckily (or more specifically because of modern automotive engineering) I and the other driver are fine. CRV not so much everything forward of the engine was ripped off, his Camry did less well, but as I said the vehicles did what they were supposed to dissipate energy. The real hell of it is I ended up wearing large parts of my ribs and collard greens and didn’t get a bite. Odd that that is what was annoying me the most when I climbed out of my car.

        1. 10-30 milliseconds more and I am far less sanguine about the outcome which would have been with a solid hit in the foot well/door. The good Lord seems to keep watch over children, the USA and idiots trying to get home with takeout…

          1. When I lived in Silicon Valley, I had three accidents on ice or snow when visiting snow/ice country. Seems I forgot what I learned as a youth…

            Now I’m back in the frozen north(ish) and am considerably more paranoid about going off the road (the multi-hundred foot dropoff at one point in the going-to-town route is a factor). So far, no crashes. Yet.

            1. multi-hundred foot dropoff at one point in the going-to-town route is a factor

              That would do it. With or without guard rails. One benefit with driving the west side is those great big trees off the side of the road give an illusion that the drop offs aren’t that bad. Unless you are like me and know enough to know that what you are seeing of those trees are somewhere between 1/3 to half way up, or more, of the tree trunk …

  6. Apropos of nothing, the caption reminded me of an ancient Dad joke:

    Q: What do you get if you cross a crocodile with a weiner dog?
    A: A crock o’ baloney.

    There. I’ve stood up and spoke up. Now I’ll shut up. Don’t forget to tip the author and buy her books.

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