Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Mad Science: Suddenly Everything Reminds Me of My Father

I've gotta admit that I'm pleased with the political tone in the nation since the election.  What I really wanted for Christmas was a more bipartisan approach between the White House and Congress, and what with Obama having the House Republicans over a barrel on the impact of the Fiscal Cliff, suddenly the Republicans are willing to talk.  That's probably more the Washington equivalent of gun barrel diplomacy than it's a real desire for cooperation and compromise, but compared to what we've had, it's real progress.

I took this picture of the Capital from the Museum of the American Indian.
My dad was 1/8th Cherokee Indian.
The irony, of course, is that if Republicans had taken their current more moderate, compromising approach before the election, they'd probably have won.  But with the election looming for the last two years, they decided to stand their ground and fight for every square inch of fiscal real estate, driving away moderates and making themselves look like obstructionist assholes in the process. 

Well, congratulations.  Sometimes you get what you pay for.

With that said, there's still a country to govern, and if, as it appears, these guys are finally ready to get down to the serious business of finding some solutions for the nation's problems...  Well, I can't complain about that.

This is the cover for the second edition
of Bronx Angel: Born Leader.  It was
done by Steve Downer.  But the story itself
was largely inspired by my dad.
This Petraeus thing is fascinating.  Watching it unfold is like watching a slow-motion five-car pile-up on the Interstate.  I feel bad for the people involved, I really do, but I can't make myself look away.

With that in mind, I've started to wonder if Special Operations Command in Tampa is the military equivalent of Swingertown, USA.  My father was stationed there back when I was in high school, and all I'm saying is, I personally caught him cheating about a decade before my mother did.  He was gone a lot, y'know?  And while we'll get into this more when the relevant pages come up in Bronx Angel: Politics By Another Method, I'll just go ahead and spoiler it a little by saying that most of his PTSD and general guilt stemmed from his time at SOCOM.  'Course, none of that changes the reality that he gave his whole life—his very sanity—to the service of the nation, and that that's a laudable sacrifice, but still.  The dichotomy between the man he was when he was a Marine and the man he was when he had to stop being a Marine was striking, and I can't help but think that part of the problem, for all of these guys, is that the mindset of Service is just so alien to the mindset of every day American life.  When you're all in for Service, sometimes it can be a little hard to maintain the relationships outside of Service that really ought to be central to your life.

What I'm saying is, the military is the only place I've ever been where the job comes first and family comes second, and it's because, bottom line, the job is ultimately about keeping home and family safe.  If you write for Slate, you may not understand that.  If you serve in uniform, it's the central facet of your existence.  That's the nature of the sacrifice.  Unfortunately, my experience of this is that keeping it all balanced is very difficult, but the price of failing to do so is profound. 

Take that for what it's worth.

My favorite two show on TV?  The CW's Arrow and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Green Arrow and the JLA fighting the
Royal Flush Gang back in the day.
Let me just say that I'm amazed at how good Arrow has been.  I've never really liked the character much in comics, but on TV he's been a compelling, consistently entertaining force.  Granted, they're sticking amazingly close to his roots as a straight knock-off of Batman, but those roots are at least legitimate.  I mean, that's what he is; by doing it that way, the CW is at least playing it straight.  I mean, it's working.  The show is a mix of soapy, guilt-ridden ridiculousness and over-the-top cartoon action, but come on.  That's why it's awesome.

I also like that they've worked in a healthy mix of established comic book villains, but they've done so in a way that keeps those villains relevant and real-seeming in a way that builds up the paradigm of the show.  So far we've seen DeadshotDeathstroke, and as of last night, the Royal Flush Gang.  I didn't care so much for Deadshot, but Deathstroke and the Royal Flush Gang were both done well, and with the Gang, I thought they handled the family angle perfectly.  At this point, I can't wait to see who they put out there next.

The awesome thing about this newest incarnation of the Turtles is definitely the writing.  I mean, the animation is cool, but it also looks like it was pretty cheap to put together using any basic video game engine.  No, this version of TMNT works because, first, the turtles come across as genuine teenagers, and second, they have distinct personalities.  Considering that they all look essentially identical, that's no mean feat.

 Speaking of the Turtles, doesn't that theme song sound like it was written by Nelly?  Remember when Nelly was cool?

I miss Nelly.
The Giants have a bye this week after an abysmal outing last weekend, and although the Titans played better--much better!--they're off, too.  Which means there ain't a lot of good football this weekend, and that sucks.

Colts vs. Pats?  Miami vs. Buffalo?  Ugh.

Eh.  Maybe we'll get the San Diego / Denver game at 4:25.  That's probably the weekend's best bet.  But who knows?  I haven't looked, and right now, I can't bring myself to care.

That's it.  I'm out of here.

Have a good weekend.

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