Sunday, September 27, 2009

Does It Get Any Better in New York Sports?!

Sunday, September 27, 2009… WHAT A DAY!

The Yankees just clinched the American League Eastern Division – AND the Best Record in Major League Baseball for 2009 (…and all the post-season scheduling advantages associated with that!) by beating the Boston Red Sox 4-2! A three game series SWEEP, I might add!

In Football, the Amazing Jets defeated the Tennessee Titans 24-17 and the Giants shut out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-0!

Both NY Football teams are now 3-0!

Why, even the Mets triumphed over the Florida Marlins 4-0! Not that it helps them much!

And, dash it all, I was at work ALL DAY TODAY… and missed ALL OF IT!

Oh, well…

Saturday, September 26, 2009

In Praise of the Comic Book!

I write a lot about DVDs. Why shouldn’t I? The DVD, particularly the TV Series Set on DVD, may be the single invention of the last two decades that has given me the most pleasure and joy!
But, mirroring a plot that has been “done to death” in many a medium, sometimes you put too much stock in the “new innovation” until it (A) becomes unavailable, (B) breaks down or malfunctions, or (C) becomes evil, turning on the very persons that elevated it to its “lofty-come-lately” position – and, in melodramatic desperation, said persons turn to the old, tried-and-true, original method, device, or object of affection.
Now, DVDs could NEVER “turn evil”… No, they’re much too round, bright, and shiny to do THAT! Your DVD player COULD break down but, in this day and age, your household probably has a computer or other device that could take up the slack… but, as today proved, the DVD (or, more accurately, your ability to view a DVD) CAN “become unavailable”. …In the unexpected form of an extended power failure!

And, during this period, in true poetic fashion, I turned to the COMIC BOOK to get me through!
The Comic Book was not judgmental. It did not ask me what had happened to the DVD. Or if we’d gone through a “DV-Divorce”. It did not turn a “cold shoulder (…or would that be a “cold cover”?) to my advances.

Nor did it extract its deserved pound of flesh for all the attention and praise I’ve heaped upon the DVD of late, demanding that I produce several weeks of exclusive Blog postings devoted to Comic Book virtues – and banishing any and all commentary on the DVD from this Blog for a commensurate amount of time.

No, the Comic Book did exactly what it always did. What it always WILL DO! It provided imaginative entertainment, the exact likes of which is an experience unavailable in any other medium.

Back in 1994, in my VERY FIRST installment of my long running APA column The Issue At Hand, forerunner of this Blog, I wrote the following in praise of the Comic Book – and it bears repeating this day:

The Comic Book has always been a special form of entertainment to me. It does not require any costly or complex electronic receiving or playback equipment, nor is it subject to the vagaries of changing technology. All that’s required is your God-given eyesight and an open mind!”
…And the Comic Book is pretty darned useful during a power outage, too!So, I opened a few windows, taking full advantage of the sunlight and mild temperatures, and enjoyed the best of the new followed by the best of the old.

That is to say GREEN LANTERN (Current Series) # 25 (January, 2008) – the final chapter of the epic “Sinestro Corps War”,

And DELL FOUR COLOR # 238 – “Donald Duck in Voodoo Hoodoo” (1949). A classic by the great writer/artist Carl Barks.

Each perfectly representative of its own time and each taking its reader to its own individual worlds of wonder.

When the power came back, I resisted the lure of electronics (at least until composing this Blog post), and continued to read more Carl Barks duck material for a while longer.
I owed it to the Comic Book, for coming through for me!
…And hope it’ll understand when next I do a DVD post!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Johnny (and Scooby), We Hardly Knew Ye!

The Johnny Bravo / Scooby-Doo team –up cartoon that I embedded on September 07, 2009, little more than three weeks ago, has been removed from You Tube.

Just scroll two posts down, click on it, and you’ll get the following message:

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Cartoon Network”.

Okay, as I said in greater detail HERE, fair enough!

But, to Time Warner and ALL major studios and copyright holders, if you’re going to shut this sort of access down (…and it is certainly your right to do so), please release the item in question on DVD for all of us to enjoy!

…I think THAT’S “fair” too!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Welcome Warning!

While this Blog has been “dark” of late, due to an excessive workload, I HAVE managed to steal some time for DVD watching – mostly in the hour or so with my coffee before leaving for work.

DVD has become a true revelation for me, when it comes to certain current TV series… particularly those with heavy episode-to-episode continuity, like LOST, HEROES, and my latest discovery FRINGE. (Not to mention Esther’s latest discovery MAD MEN.)

Despite whatever level of curiosity I might develop in such a TV series, based on recommendations from persons who know my tastes, I could never become involved in anything that required a weekly commitment… and don’t suggest taping or any other modern equivalent, as the very activity becomes a “weekly commitment” of its own.

Enter DVD, through which I may experience the wonders of LOST, HEROES, and FRINGE at my own pace, subject to my own time restrictions. Actually, based on discussions with persons who have relied upon the more conventional “serial broadcast viewing” of these series, I seem to get MORE out of taking them in DVD style – noticing threads and nuances that might escape even the dedicated TV viewer.

Oddly, DVD has done for the “continuing TV series” what the Comic Book Direct Market and Back Issue Market has done for “continuing comic book series”. That is, give anyone the means and ability to “catch up” on anything at any time.

Wanna know what happened to THE FLASH in 1985’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths”? Go to the back issue bins! Wanna know how Peter Petrelli saves Claire Bennett from Sylar at Claire’s high school Homecoming in a 2006 episode of HEROES? Go to the DVD!
It’s ALL THERE for you to discover or relive!

And, having since made the transition from DVD to on-air television viewing of LOST and HEROES (as a direct result of enjoying them first on DVD), I find the experience to be more disjointed and less enjoyable than consuming them on DVD.

However, watching a never-before-seen TV series on DVD HAS its dangers and pitfalls.

Those lie in the “Special Features” that are included in most popular DVD sets. They can – and DO – give away plot spoilers! And, for shows like those I mention, where we most often end on an unexpected “kicker” that leaves you nearly begging for more, this can be disasterous!

If you listen to a commentary track for THE SIMPSONS, and one of the participants says: “In this episode, Homer falls off a cliff!”… If you haven’t seen the episode before, it probably won’t surprise you that Homer will fall off a cliff… and, even if it did, it would spoil nothing in future episodes.

But, I STILL regret the day I listened to a commentary track for LOST and inadvertently learned that castaway [ SPOILER OVERLAID ] would soon [ SPOILER OVERLAID ] to fellow castaways [ SPOILER OVERLAID ] and [ SPOILER OVERLAID ] in one of the most surprising turns of events in the series to that point in the Second Season!

…And, you can THANK ME (…and not the DVD producers) for those spoiler alerts, should you ever begin to watch LOST for the first time on DVD!

Yes, something REALLY BIG that I did not see coming was completely and utterly spoiled by a DVD “Special Feature” on LOST Season Two… and, from that point on, I will play none of them for a series I’m watching for the first time, until I am completely caught up with that particular series.

Ah… but finally, to the point of all this!

FRINGE (which, not surprisingly shares the same creator/producer with LOST), in its First Season DVD release, offers the following in reference to certain of its “Special Features”:

Warning: Spoiler Alert!”

This piece contains crucial elements. Be sure to watch all of this season’s episodes of Fringe before accessing the piece.”

And thank you, Warner Bros.! There are a number of features on the special effects and filming techniques used in certain episodes of FRINGE, which do not contain any plot spoilers – and those offer no warning and are completely safe to watch – but I’m glad to see the DVD producers have not only noticed the phenomenon of “Watching a Series for the First Time on DVD”, but are mindful of compromising the experience for those who do.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Johnny Bravo in “Bravo Dooby-Doo!”

More fun stuff to keep this Blog from going dark during an overly busy period.

Here’s one of my favorite animation moments from the nineties – and one of the last great things to come from Hanna-Barbera before it ultimately becomes part of the Great Time Warner Empire.

If a better parody of Scooby-Doo has ever been done (…at least one done in GOOD TASTE), I haven’t seen it!

If you’ve ever so much as smiled at “anything Scooby-Doo” in the forty years he’s been around, you’ll love this!

Oh, The Places Huck’s Been!

Someone actually strung together lots of OPENING NARRATIONS to Huckleberry Hound cartoons, indicating location and subject matter. Both of which was as varied in the Huckleberry Hound series, as it got in short animation!

It’s actually fun to watch and, since an overwhelming workload has prevented regular Blog posting of late, sit back and enjoy Don Messick, Daws Butler, Hal Smith, and Doug Young, as they take you on The Great Huck Hound Tour.

Besides, it just wouldn’t be TIAH Blog, without a visit from Huck, would it?