Saturday, September 30, 2006

Library List

There's an "autism expo" at a local church today so I'm not sticking around my office hours the whole time (the doors at NKU aren't locked but no one has stopped by so far this semester). Looks like 32 hours at the deli this week. Up until 3:35 last night with a 9:00 class this morning.

I've got a lot in mind to post soon but until then, here's my library list (50 items):-

Devilboy’s Shark Books
Little Shark. Rockwell, Anne F.
Sharks : Voracious Hunters of the Sea. Sánchez Sánchez, Isidro.
Sharks and Rays : underwater predators. Sharth, Sharon.
Sharks. Evert, Laura
Great White Sharks. Markle, Sandra.
Great White Sharks. Levine, Marie.
Scary Sharks. Landau, Elaine.
Great White Shark / in danger of extinction! Spilsbury, Richard
Shark. MacQuitty, Miranda.
Giant Shark : megalodon, prehistoric super predator Arnold, Caroline.
Sharks. Resnick, Jane Parker.
All about Sharks. Arnosky, Jim.

Devilboy’s Other Books
Deadly Reptiles. Solway, Andrew.
Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises. Carwardine, Mark.
Owls. Gibbons, Gail.
Octopuses. Hirschi, Ron.

Devilgirl’s Scooby Doo Books
Valentine's Day Dognapping. Herman, Gail
The Christmas Cookie Case. Barbo, Maria S.
The Catnapped Caper. Barbo, Maria S.

Devilgirl’s Other Books
I Can Read with My Eyes Shut. Dr. Seuss
Barbie: Star for a Day : a picture scrapbook. Miller, Mona.
Halloween. Rosinsky, Natalie M.
Dinosaur roar! Stickland, Paul
Boo! to You, Too!
Mouse Paint. Walsh, Ellen Stoll.
Hello Kitty, hello Halloween!
PhD phantasy degree. Son, Hee-Joon.

Kids’ Videos
Pokémon. 3, Charizard [videorecording]
InuYasha [videorecording]
InuYasha [videorecording]
Pokémon advanced battle. Volume 1, Gaining Groudon [videorecording]
InuYasha [videorecording]
Miracle of Mozart [videorecording] : teaching your child—ABCs

Kids’ CDs
Here come the ABCs [sound recording] They Might Be Giants (Musical group)
Cold spaghetti western [sound recording]
Wiggles Playhouse Disney [sound recording]

My Books
Right, Wrong, and Risky : a Dictionary of Today's American English Usage. Davidson, Mark
Life as We Do Not Know It : the NASA search for (and synthesis of) alien life. Ward, Peter Douglas
Shakespeare in the Movies: from the silent era to Shakespeare in love. Brode, Douglas,
Writing Metrical Poetry : contemporary lessons for mastering traditional forms. Baer, William
Faust, a tragedy : backgrounds and sources : the author on the drama, contemporary reactions, modern criticism. Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
Questions of Possibility : contemporary poetry and poetic form. Caplan, David
Shakespeare. Wood, Michael
Reel v. real : how Hollywood turns fact into fiction Sanello, Frank.
The Doomsday book of animals. Day, David
Encyclopedia of Artists
Myths & Legends of the Polynesians. Andersen, Johannes Carl
The Poetry Dictionary. Drury, John.
A History of the Devil : from the middle ages to the present. Muchembled, Robert
The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life. Haines, Tim.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Looks Like I'm on Hold

I didn't bring my passcard to get into the offices tonight and my wife needs the car to go out to her parents anyway.

My home computer is cut off and nothing else is working well. D-boy has had nightmares for the last two nights.

I was looking forward to just sitting here after class. I'll have to settle for Saturday.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Why Am I Here?

I have no problem staying after class for "office hours," even if students virtually never come to them.

I didn't have a huge problem last week when I found that my office (shared with 40 other people during the day) was locked and I wasn't issued a passcard.

I didn't mind that I nearly had to miss my first class tonight because I had to wait for security to give me a card.

But it just occurred to me (and it probably should have much earlier) that if the university locks the main doors to the office area, how are students supposed to get in? I'm currently in a room four cubicles deep in both directions, in the closest one to the door but, the way this place is designed, I don't think I'd hear anyone knocking.

I guess I won't feel guilty if I leave early.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Superhero Recognition

A while back I read about superheroes as icons. Comic book fans, like all fanatics, usually over-estimate how well known the objects of their devotion actually are.

If you have a minute, try to answer four questions about ten supertypes:

1. Do you know the name/can you picture the character?
2. Know the superpowers (flight, super-strength, explosive flatulence)?
3. Know the secret identity (if any)?
4. Know how the character became super?

1. Superman

2. Batman

3. Wonder Woman

4. Spiderman

5. The Hulk

6. Captain America

7. Spawn

8. Aquaman

9. Wolverine

10. Plastic Man

If you're remotely interested, I'll put the answers in the following post.
Answers to Above

It should go without saying but read the other post first.

1. Are you kidding?
2. Super-strength; speed; invulnerability; heat, x-ray, microscopic, and telescopic vision; cold breath, super-ventriloquism

The old (1960s to 1986) Superman was more powerful than the God of the Old Testament. It took Jehovah six days to make a planet but Supes could whip one up in a matter of seconds (seriously). Nothing could hurt him but magic, other people or animals from his homeworld, or kryptonite (and, brother, was there a lot). Back in the day, he used super-ventriloquism to save his secret identity and, in at least one case that I know of, defeat a supervillian.

3. Clark Kent (Kal-El on Krypton)
4. Alien from planet that exploded. Absorbs energy from sunlight.

1. I'd be shocked.
2. Technically none. Master of martial arts, disguise, and detection; hundreds of bat-gadgets; loads of cash.
3. Bruce Wayne
4. After his parents were murdered, young Bruce dedicated his life to fighting crime. It helped that he inherited millions.

Wonder Woman
1. I've met a few who haven't.
2. Super-strength and fighting abilities; magic bracelets to deflect bullets; magic lasso that forces whomever she ties up to tell the truth (the writer who created her also HELPED invent the lie-dectector and was heavily into bondage...seriously).
3. DC Comics keeps switching this but last I heard, she had no secret identity but was called Diana in her homeland. At one point (and in the Linda Carter TV series) she had a secret identity by name of Diana Prince.
4. From Amazon tribe of Greek mythology. In various retellings of her origins, she was sculpted out of clay and magically came to life...lots of bondage makes this easier to swallow.

1. Do you live under a rock?
2. Annoying jingle--"Does whatever a spider can!"

Spiders are not really very strong and, as far as anyone can tell, don't have a sense that warns them of danger (if they did, they'd be a lot tougher to squish). Most spiders are not particularly fast and only certain species can jump impressively. Not all spin webs or can climb walls. All true spiders have some degree of venom...the one thing Spidey lacks.

3. Peter Parker
4. Bitten by radioactive spider (genetically engineered in movie and Ultimate Spiderman comic book).

The Hulk

1. Probably the easiest one to draw.
2. Super-strength, including ability to leap into orbit; invulnerability up to being able to withstand a direct hit from a nuclear weapon; ability to see into astral plane (extra-credit for knowing last one).
3. Robert Bruce Banner (David in tv show)

The first issues of the Hulk gave the puny scientist's name as Bruce Banner. Stan Lee used alliteration for most of his early creations--Peter Parker, Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Scott Summers, Matt Murdock, etc. As sole writer, this helped him remember them all but the trick backfired when he had the Hulk fight the Avengers. Greenskin changed back to human form who referred to himself as "Bob Banner." Lee explained the mistake by saying that "Robert Bruce Banner" usually went by his middle name but inexplicably started using his first for a short time.

Either because "Bruce sounds too gay" or to avoid "comic-booky" alliteration, the television show changed his name to David (see comments at the bottom of the last link).

4. Just before his creation, the gamma bomb, was detonated, Dr. Banner ran onto the test site to save Rick Jones, a stupid teenager who later became sidekicks to the Hulk, Captain America, and Captain Marvel. Initially he changed to the Hulk at night, but later whenever he became angry. "You won't like me when I'm angry."

Captain America
1. Just picture the flag. Soon the U.S. Constitution will forbid destroying the likeness of Captain America.
2. Super-strength (not as super as the Hulk's but still pretty super), speed, fighting ability, indestructible shield, wears chainmail under costume.
3. Steve Rogers

One often repeated claim about early comics was that the creators who were usually Jewish or Italian Catholics, tried to come up with the most white-bread names and characteristics for their characters. Joe and Jerry, a couple of Jewish kids from Cleveland, made Superman as average as they could in all non-super-characteristics (explaining why he's Episcopalian). Critics saw this as the result of an oppressive society crushing minority culture.

I don't completely buy it. Ian Fleming named his secret agent "James Bond" because it was the dullest name he could think of, and Fleming sure as hell wasn't an oppressed minority. I see it much more as a marketing tool than oppression.

4. Shortly before WWII, scrawny Steve Rogers was turned down by the Army but was given the chance to take the "Super Soldier Serum." This transformed him into a walking, Nazi-smashing machine. Sadly a Kraut spy shot the Super Soldier Serum scientist before he could make a whole division of super soldiers.

After the war, demand for superhero comics dropped like a rock and Captain America faded away. In the 1960s, when they came back into style, Stan Lee brought back Cap, explaining that due to Nazi trickery, he had been frozen in a block of ice since the end of the war.

1. Hot during the 1990s. Losing steam for years.
2. Demonic armor, strength, teleportation, energy beams, fighting ability.
3. Al Simmons (I had to look this one up).
4. After Al, a professional mercenary, died, the devil gave him the choice: eternal damnation or come back to life to lead Hell's army against God. Al picked "B" but the devil tricked him. Instead returning immediately and in his old shape, he was brought back years in the future, after his wife married his best friend. To rub it in even worse, the devil didn't bother healing his body a la "The Monkey's Paw." Deciding that agents of Hell didn't have his best interests in mind, Al defected to the side of Good.

1. Even DC comics changes his appearance every so often.
2. Strength, telepathy with fish and other marine life, at one point had a hook for a hand which was replaced by a magical hand made of water. Pretty much anything to lose the "talks with fish" image.
3. It used to be Arthur Curry but in the newer versions he doesn't have a secret identity.
4. Originally the son of a sailor and a maid from Atlanta, er, Atlantis. This has been changed several times to make the character seem cooler.

1. Although the most popular character among comic fans, he's probably the least well known to the public.
2. Fights like a human-wolverine (strength, speed, and stamina); healing factor allows him to quickly heal from any non-fatal injury.

Marvel Comics has been unclear about Wolverine's strength. Although he has repeatedly done things that only super-strength would allow, for a long time the official word was that he was no stronger than a typical human.

3. James Howlett

Initially he was supposed to be a real wolverine that was "evolved" into humanoid shape. Later a leprechaun referred to him as "Logan" and he was only known by this name for decades. Eventually Marvel Comics hyped up the story of his true origins and sold a comic series based on his early life.
4. Born with them. As a mutant, Wolverine naturally has his healing, strength, etc. but military tests later gave him unbreakable bones and razor-sharp, metal claws.

Plastic Man
1. Children of the 1970s should remember his Hanna-Barbera show.
2. Can stretch into any shape or form with minor color changes. In other words he can transform into Godzilla, a bulldozer, a tree, a naked woman, the Empire State Building, a lamp, or conceivably a full-sized planet but only colored with red from his costume, black from his hair, or Caucasian flesh tones.
3. Patrick "Eel" O'Brien (with variants including Ed O'Brien).
4. Like the Joker, Eel was surprised in the middle of a robbery and was knocked into a vat of chemicals. Saved and treated by an order of monks, the career criminal decided to join the FBI and fight crime.
More in My Stupid Life

Devilboy was asleep when I got home around midnight but woke up about 5:30. He couldn't find the middle segment of his Thomas the Tank Engine model and raised hell over it. He has a few million Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars but can randomly fixate on any one of them.

On Wednesday, I was supposed to go to the new adjunct offices at Clermont College but the powers that be decided to lock them in the evening. Either I'm going to have to drop office hours or meet with students in the parking lot. Instead of Monday/Wednesday/Saturday updates, I might be restricted to weekly.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

D-boy had a rough night so I only got about three hours of sleep last night. I let class out an hour early but have to work a full shift at the deli, 3-11.

On a much more interesting note, Snopes says this is legit but I'm still wondering: microscopic art.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wicker Man

I haven't seen the remake of The Wicker Man and probably never will. A weird way to start a review but after this, I don't think I'll waste my time.

When I watched the first Wicker Man, I remember thinking, "This is one movie that they can't remake." The whole concept of pagans is so different now that it would lose any sort of sinister atmosphere and just seem silly. That must not have stopped the director.

Recent pop culture, like Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost treat Wiccans as Tolkien's elves, not just a religion but an entirely different and superior species. One character refers to herself as one-fourth Wiccan on her mother's side and it's not meant as a joke. It's hard to make a horror movie about of somebody who doesn't even scare Shaggy.

The original Wicker Man treated pagans and Christians as flawed but strong. Early in the first movie, a hippy-type, Christian cop is treated almost as the moral center: he upholds law and order to the extent of not letting people murder each other but wouldn't hassle that Detroit Lions coach who drives in the nude.

The pagans get the definite upper-hand but even the up-tight, virginal, Christian protagonist is presented fairly. He never loses his faith, never yields to the pagans' gods, and in general comes off as stiff and prissy but also intelligent and tough. I can't say for sure but according to the reviews, none of the characters in the remake are this developed.

Even the original wasn't much of a true horror movie or a mystery. You pretty much figured out what was going to happen by the first 25 minutes and the rest of the movie was just about creating a sinister mood. I guess Hollywood could make a deliberately understated movie like that but that's not exactly the industry's strength.

With so many other stories along these lines that could have been adapted for a modern audience, I don't know why they remade this one. It's not like the original was a blockbuster. God forbid having to come up with a completely new idea but I certainly wouldn't have spent millions to make this one.
Almost Knocked Off May

This day will eliminate May 24's post about Purpose of Envy with only one day more to finish May entirely, bumping the earliest post to July 10. Not much of an accomplishment but I guess it means I'm getting some free time.

Last night I slept one hour before 5:00 a.m. and two after. D-boy wouldn't take melatonin and apparently was in a really bad mood. Two different departments of Children's Hospital's Sleep Center are set to examine him by October 31. Maybe I'll sleep Halloween night.

Unless we have a very slow night, I'm set to break 40 hours at the deli (I'm scheduled two hours after office hours). Only one week until UC starts again. 253.5 hours. 15,210 minutes. 912,600 seconds. 912,599. 912,598. . .

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What to do with Them?

When I hear people say that Liz and David Carroll should be put to death, I can't help but think that it wouldn't be a bad idea.

Everyone who has spent time in prison tells me the two will be tortured beyond the scope of human imagination, even if they are given protective custody (most of my sources are now mothers themselves--one met her future ex-husband in a correctional facility--and this case is a hot topic). There's been much speculation how many times old Dave will be raped per night. I didn't break into the discussion but if even a fraction of what they're saying is true, Mr. Carroll won't walk out of prison HIV negative. . . and, once out, he doesn't seem like the type of guy to practice safe sex.

I'm trying to be as objective as possible but a Soviet-style bullet to the back of the head immediately following the trial might be the most humane option.

I know I'm a minority of one but I think about the other inmates who will spend time with either Carroll. I know it's corny but I remember an old illustration of Johnny Cash when he gave concerts in prisons. In the picture, among the cheering inmates, a voice balloon from one prisoner shouted out, "He's giving me hope!"

Maybe that's an overly sentimental depiction but I'd like to think that Cash made a difference in some of the convicts' lives. The Carrolls, even if they are sequestered in an isolated cell, would have just the opposite effect. The consensus is that David Carroll is going to spark intense sadistic sexual violence. Not that I truly feel sorry about him but, if it's as intense as everyone of my sources says it will be, we'll be looking at a new circle of hell.

I don't know if the legal system has an option for the Carrolls or other child molesters/killers. I remember when one of the Boston priests under Cardinal Law was killed in prison, I thought he got what he had coming. But isn't that just a de facto death sentence so the rest of us can feel virtuous about not condemning him directly?

I don't know what to do with people like this. What the hell can we do with them?
Slim Pickings

Wow, with this I've doubled the number of posts from August and just need one more to equal July. I'll still got stuff on the bottom of the page from May 25.

Just 18 days until UC starts and I'll have more office hours than I'll know what to do with.
Second Class

I would have loved to have canceled class today and slept another four hours but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

It's been over six and a half years since I've slept well, a full seven years in 152 days. I used to think my daughter was a problem sleeper (and she was) but she paled before the non-sleeping power of Devilboy. Earlier this week I talked to the Children's Hospital's Sleep Center about possible treatment but they haven't got back to me yet.

I'm scheduled for 39 hours at the deli this week plus the NKU class and office hours. I'll report how many fingers I've lost next Saturday.