Sunday, June 02, 2013

A Sunday Review

This week's movie was Fly Away Home (1996). Cute little movie. The beginning is a little too intense for me, lots of sadness. It's a bit too fluffy and light after, which almost makes up for that beginning. Good acting by the leads, some fun surprises throughout. Overall, nice little popcorn movie.

Here are reviews of the comic books that Eric got on Free Comic Book Day:
  • Ame-ComiGirls - Hubby-Eric bought Power Girl #4 and the first three issues of the "main" series. I'm not sure why. They aren't very good. They seem a bit like some sort of male nerd fantasy, seeing how Jimmy Olsen is a sophisticated world-traveler that has won the heart of Power Girl, and having super powers makes women remove most of their clothing. Ug. I think I'll pass on any more of these.
  • Grimm FCBD 2013 - I don't know anything about Grimm, which I think is a TV seres? but I enjoyed the comic. Neat set-up, nice intro to characters with a good little info-dumps along the way. Nicely done, almost, but not quite, enough to get me to check it out. Of more interest was the other preview in the book, Damsels, which actually has me slightly wanting to buy it. Hrm.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures FCBD 2013 - Decent little story. I haven't really paid much attention to the turtles for many years, but it's about what I remember of them.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog/Mega Man FCBD 2013 - I couldn't understand the Sonic side of the story very well even with all the careful backstory assistance. The Mega Man side was a cool little tale. I still think I'll skip it.
  • Molly Danger/Princeless FCBD 2013 - I could definitely see myself picking up both these books. Molly Danger is just pure fun and Princeless was delightful. Yeah, this free comic did its job.
  • Marble Season FCBD 2013 - Why did I even bother reading this. I just can't get into the work of Hernandez, no matter how hard I try. It makes me feel like a particularly boring day of elementary school. It's just not for me.
  • Capstone Presents Mr Puzzle FCBD 2013 - Not bad. A little strange, but I like strange. Definitely aimed at younger readers.
  • Rated Free For Everyone Presents the Crogan Adventures and Mermin FCBD 2013 - I liked Mermin more than I thought I would. There was a little bit of mystery, a little bit of humor and little bits of other stuff. Not bad. Crogan was excellent. A very nicely told story that was far better than just about anything else in the freebies so far. Very nice. I may just have to look for more of it.
  • Bleeding Cool Magazine FCBD 2013 - I suppose it's not bad for a comic book-related magazine. There's an acknowledgement of the collecting side that feels almost like an emphasis to me. I'll have to agree to disagree with this, and hope not too many new fans get sucked into the "slab 'em" attitude and follow the other advice offered in the articles: have fun and enjoy comics.
  • Scratch9 #1 FCBD 2013 - A cat able to summon his past lives to help him out! I love it! I think I need to hunt more of this one down.
  • Star Wars/Captain Midnight/Avatar FCBD 2013 - Brutal little Star Wars story. Not sure about Captain Midnight, although it seemed fairly straightforward. Avatar was a bit confusing. Lots of backstory there that isn't obvious, clearly.
  • Kizoic Presents Sesame Street/Strawberry Shortcake FCBD 2013 - I really don't like Elmo. Never have, never will. Strawberry Shortcake was fairly good, three short stories that worked and weren't too cute. Definitely aimed at little kids, though.
  • KaBOOM Summer Blast FCBD 2013 - Nothing in this one jumped out at me. We're already getting the Peanuts book. Everything else was just ok.
  • 2000 AD FCBD 2013 - The Judge Dredd stories weren't too bad. And the Future Shock was fairly intense. The rest didn't do much for me.

Fortean Times #298
Fortean Times #298 (April 2013). Well, that's a different look for the Yeti, I guess. The cover story is about how the Soviets ignored and discouraged research into the wild man rumors and myths, and now that the Soviets are out of power how Russia has taken a turn into the wild side with official sanctioning of both searching for yeti and turning it into a potential tourist draw. An aside article discusses Jeff Meldrum's run in with some Russian yeti faking in 2012. Meldrum is the one guy that isn't going to be fooled by fake footprints, unless they are really really good fakes. These weren't good.

Another aside discusses the Ketchum DNA research. It seemed like a wonderful possibility, but although it allegedly passed peer review, the scientific journal it was to be published in reportedly got cold feet and backed out worried about the derision it would get for publishing a serious paper on bigfoot. But the FT article mentions the Russian connection, and how the data was leaked prematurely by a Russian who received the unpublished results. All-in-all, the DNA proof had potential, but it is now tainted by the usual nonsense. I would welcome good DNA proof of bigfoot, but everyone seems to be determined to shut it down before it can even be presented. That's not the way science is supposed to work. But it is how Charles Fort saw science and why he wrote his books. Science can be as dogmatic as religion. Skeptics say, "show me the proof!" but then deride anyone attempting to go through proper channels with potential proof, sabatoging their efforts and leading to a positively anti-science attitude. Now, I could easily rant for a long time about this subject and fill up a dozen blog posts. But even I'm getting bored with my ranting already, so I'll drop it. Let's just say science as a tool works wonderful, but unfortunately tools must be used by people and sometimes people are idiots even when they have the best intentions.

Blasts from the Past is also about Bigfoot, and how a 1955 article refers to him as an ancient Lemurian. Ohhh-kay. There's also a story of Bigfoot being an Indian from a local tribe who was mentally ill and broke his chains to escape and wander around making footprints all over. Hey, it was the 1950's, don't judge 'em too harshly (just like I hope the future won't judge us too harshly).

Moving on, another article talks about a tale of a wild dog from 1810 that suggests the beast was a Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine. The problem with the article is that it assumes the reader knows where "Ennerdale" and "Lake District National Park" are. Throughout the article I couldn't figure out if these places were in England or Australia, because the author didn't attempt to make it clear and sometimes seemed to refer to Australia and European settlers in such a way to make it sound like this was on the Australian mainland. That made it a fairly annoying article to read until I Googled to get the answer.

A final main article is about cemetery dogs other than Greyfriar's Bobby, as reported on in the last issue. Lots of good speculation on the animals and why they acted the way they did/do.

Strangedays is the usual mix-up. The medical bag talks about hyperthymestic syndrome, the ability to remember EVERYTHING that happened in one's life. It's a terrible burden for the people who have it, as a random sight or smell can trigger a playback of memories. Science tackles the vanishing hitchhiker urban legend with the idea of highway hypnosis. I'm not buying it, sorry, although it's a good explanation for other "lost time" events. Ghostwatch has more about ghosts in bars and pubs, and talks about what type of alcohol the spirits prefer. Archaeology has a piece on the Nazca Lines and another about ancient dentistry (yes, there was such a thing, ouch). Classical Corner talks about ancient royal families and the tendency for spare heirs to get dead by family hands. Some good stuff in the UFO Files, including a round up of recent UFO videos.

The Forum starts with an article that lays to rest an old mermaid sighting by researching newspapers around that time and finding one that tells how it's a hoax. Another article is about St. Catherine's College. Good reviews, with nothing jumping out that I wanted to get, but lots of stuff I would read or watch if I had time and someone handed it to me. Great letters, including one that talks about a giant pumice raft in the South Pacific that could easily be mistaken for an island, thus possibly explaining phantom islands. Again, excellent self-correcting in this magazine. I love the explanations people send in.

Fortean Traveller discusses Catalhoyuk... one of my favorite ancient cities because of a wonderful anthropology teacher who lightened up a killer test by asking, in a multiple choice question, what Catalhoyuk and Jericho were and having "Klingon terms of affection" as one of the answers, thus leading me to break down in a laughing fit in the middle of one of the most difficult tests I'd ever taken in college. Anyway, this article was a welcome revisit to the place for me. Illustrated Police News was about William Campbell, the Scottish Giant. More good stuff. I found this to be a particularly good issue from several angles, and I'll note again that my reviews barely scratch the surface of what's in each issue.