How To Fight Presidents And More Crushing

How To Fight Presidents

When I found out that Daniel O’Brien was writing a book about presidents I was really excited, and not just because I think that DOB might be my soulmate, but also because I knew that the book was going to make me laugh and that I’d probably learn something.

I did both. (I also, incidentally fell deeper in love with O’Brien, but that’s not relevant.)

Anyway, How To Fight Presidents had it’s inception when a college professor told O’Brien that neither he nor any of his classmates would ever be president, DOB’s response? “I never wanted to be president, but when that constantly angry profesor told me I couldn’t — even if I want to — something inside of me was triggered and I thought, “Oh yeah? I’ll show you. I’m going to president. I’m going to be president all over this country, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it!” (O’Brien, 2) and he went about learning everything he could about Presidents to become like them.

He concluded that he could never be president, because all of the presidents are insane in a very specific way, and he was not insane that way. Thus, he decided that if he couldn’t be president, he would learn how to beat them all up. How To Fight Presidents is a primer on presidential trivia and a very funny one. And again, cements my eternal nerd crush on this man.

I mean, how do you not fall in love with a guy who paraphrases Thomas Jefferson by saying, “blood is the poop of freedom,” (O’Brien, 20) and describing James K Polk as “The James Browniest President.” (69) and makes a detailed case that Ronald Reagan might have been Wolverine. But also, how do you not just love a book like that?

I come from a generation that likes our education with a healthy dose of humor and entertainment. We were raised on Bill Nye The Science Guy and Wishbone, and that’s why it makes sense that one of us would write a book that when describing JFK says, “Plenty of presidents have been as good as Kennedy, and many have been better, but he is the only president that made the American people, in unison, say, ‘What a cool dude. I’d let him have sex with my girlfriend if she was into it.'” (O’Brien, 215) or when advising you on how to beat James Madison says, “Grab that sucker, lift him up in the air, say, ‘By the away, I’m a big fan of the Constitution, I’m really glad you put that thing together.” (29)

Of course if you don’t have time to read the whole book just read three chapters, Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, absolutely worth it.

Advertisements

An MCU Revelation (For Me)

Assembling a Universe

Because ABC has apparently decided that killing any and all momentum Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might gain purely by accident is the best possible plan, last night rather than air a new episode, they aired an all new special about the building of the MCU. Watching the special, for me, gave me a butt load of insight into my older brother.

OK, here’s the thing, anytime anyone tries to start a conversation about sports on the collegiate or professional level with my older brother, he always sighs good naturedly and then takes apart their point with the astounding amount of knowledge that he has about collegiate and professional sports. I don’t often give him props for this, in fact I often find it obnoxious, because I am often the one on the receiving end of this dressing down. I mean, dude I’m just trying to engage you about something you’re very interested in and I am mildly interested in. (Since Lost went off the air, we haven’t had very many overlapping interests, so conversations are sometimes short.) He also very often starts off long rambling speeches with “I know most people aren’t as interested in sports as I am but,” and then basically calls some poor person who tried to talk sports with him an idiot. (Once he refused to believe that in Chicago Oprah could get a table faster than Michael Jordan. I had to remind him that like, Oprah probably owns Michael Jordan’s gambling debts, or something else crazy.) I found myself shaking my head and my sister and I watched this “special” with all its’ “insider insights” and “sneak peeks” and saying, “I mean, I know I know more about these movies than most people, but I literally had all of this information before tonight.”

Basically, I owe my brother a huge apology because it is frustrating as hell! While yeah, I generally am happy to listen to Robert Downey Jr. talk about playing Tony Stark, and hear Clark Gregg gush about how it was the love of the Marvel fan base that kept Phil Coulson alive (and him employed), and to look at Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, if you’re going to pre-empt my show, maybe give me a little bit more than some clips of Captain America: The Winter Soldier that just make it abundantly clear that Black Widow and Cap are going to bone, and an interview with  Chris Pratt where he reveals that Star-Lord is “a little bit selfish.”

Other astounding revelations? In Age of Ultron we’ll meet Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.  (Not new information.) And Ultron is a giant robot who has a history in comics of wanting to kill The Avengers a lot.

Which again, I mean, I get that not everyone is as into the MCU as I am, but…

In Praise of Chris Lowell

I saw Veronica Mars twice this weekend, and I’m completely obsessed with Enlisted right now, so I think that it’s time to talk about how truly adorable and talented Chris Lowell is. Even if Piz is the most ridiculously out of place character in the entire run of Veronica Mars, but I’ll get to that. It’s hard not to be charmed by Lowell’s smirk and floppy hair.

Whattacutie!

Whattacutie!

I first became really aware of Chris Lowell when he played Dell, the adorable single father assistant on Private Practice, who had a strident overpowering love for Audra MacDonald’s Naomi. What I always liked in general about Private Practice was the way it took the similar tropes of it’s parent series Grey’s Anatomy and made them a lot better by handing them off to more likable characters. This made Private Practice an easier show to swallow and good deal more shallow, but honestly? I’m not looking at a prime time soap about the love lives of impossibly good looking medical professionals for emotional complexity. Dell’s love for Naomi was similar to George’s love for Meredith, in that she was aware of it and it made her uncomfortable, but not like it, in that you rarely if ever wanted to smack either of them in the face. Of course, once Dell died in a fire, and Naomi half adopted his daughter, she got pretty insufferable for a while. (Remember when she tried to force her daughter to get an abortion? That episode was the worst. But Audra still killed it.)

Next (not in his career just in my level of awareness) came Piz. I actually like Piz, he gets a lot of Veronica Mars fan hate because he’s an obstacle to Logan and Veronica’s relationship, but I don’t mind that he’s that. Characters can be an obstacle to the main couple and still be great. (Let’s go back to Grey’s Anatomy, and talk about McVet. I mean right? Or Brooke Davis, or Jake on Scandal.) The problem is that Piz is really only an obstacle to Veronica and Logan’s relationship. He’s also there to give Wallace someone to pal around with, since season 3 focused more on Veronica and Mac’s friendship, but he’s probably the most blatant example of Veronica Mars changing itself to fit into The WB’s formula, when it was retooled for the new CW. Piz worked at the campus radio station and wanted to be a serious broadcaster, liked indie rock a whole lot, and this would have been fine, again, if this had been used at all for the plot. But Piz’s reporting chops never helped Veronica solve a case, in fact he might be the only character on the show who never had anything to do with the mysteries. Even Duncan Kane, for all of his milquetoast boring-ness was at least kind of crazy, related to the show’s initial murder victim and the father of another’s child. Duncan was dull, but he was dull functionally. Piz was fun to spend time with, but didn’t make sense to the plot. This leaves him the job that was once Wallace’s, (make everyone be normal for a night) and to be a punching bag for Logan.

But now there’s Enlisted, and OMG EVERYONE WATCH ENLISTED AND GET REALLY ANGRY IF FOX CANCELS IT BECAUSE IT IS GREAT! The show centers on 3 brothers who were raised as army brats and are all now stationed in Florida with The Rear Detachment Unit, who support the army families left behind. Oldest brother Pete is a returned hero from Afghanistan, youngest Randy is an incompetent but enthusiastic soldier and middle brother Derrick is sarcastic and disdainful but couldn’t cut it in college so it was the army or oblivion. Guess which one Lowell plays? If Piz had been more like Derrick, I doubt he’d be as villified. Derrick is currently dating the bartender at the place where the unit hangs out, and rooming with his little brother.

Anyway, I’m just sort of into the guy right now, and I wanted to write about his parts here. And also, just pimp Enlisted, because seriously, it’s really good.

Little Shop of Horrors And Some Help

Hi blog readers!

There’s a lot of stuff going on that I want to write about. Veronica Mars opens today, we got a full on plot summary for Gotham, I’ve been rewatching Pokemon. But instead I’m going to do this, because this is something that I need to write about. So, I’ve mentioned before that I run a small community theatre with some friends from high school. There are a lot of things about this group that are enriching for me and my friends, but the thing that’s most important to me about it, is that it’s all for charity.

I founded TomFoolery Theatre Inc. with my best friend Katie after realizing that we missed be involved in musical theater the way that we were in high school. We missed hanging out with our friends during the rehearsal process, and also, we wanted to meet new people. The only way we knew how to do that was to be in a show. So we put on our own. A slapshod and heart filled production of Annie Get Your Gun is what followed.

The pretty girl in the pink dress on the bottom there? That's my sister Mary!

The pretty girl in the pink dress on the bottom there? That’s my sister Mary!

After the show we donated our proceeds to my church’s youth group. The next summer, all set to donate to another charity, while we were going through the planning process, Haiti was rocked by a horrific earthquake. We made the decision then to link up with The R.O.S.E. Foundation of Haiti, and donate our proceeds to them, while putting on the little known but totally awesome Once On This Island.

It takes place in Haiti.

It takes place in Haiti.(Also, Mary again, being pretty in a Pink Dress!)

Then came The Drowsy Chaperone, Zombie Prom, and last year, Godspell. 

This is the cast of Godspell. I am the one looking awkward in the brown shirt with the two buns on top of my head. (I was a Teddy Bear)

This is the cast of Godspell. I am the one looking awkward in the brown shirt with the two buns on top of my head. (I was a Teddy Bear)

Anyway, TomFoolery has been an incredible gift in my life. And we’ve begun our fundraising for this year’s show! We have an Indiegogo page and it would mean the world to me and to some amazing people if you helped out.

Agents of Sif

marvels-agents-of-shield

I don’t think anyone was surprised that Jaimie Alexander’s appearance of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week was awesome. Because Jaime Alexander is awesome, and Lady Sif is great.

The plot of the episode is simple, the sorceress Loelei escapes from Asgard, and uses her magic to ensnare Ward as her lackey/sex toy. Sif comes after her and goes right to S.H.I.E.L.D. to help her find it because Lady Sif knows what’s up. After hooking up with the team, Sif and Coulson talk about Thor. Which basically amounts to, “Thor! Love that guy!” “Me too, don’t tell him I’m alive though! It’s a secret, shhh!” Then Sif and May talk about well, lots of things, but mostly fighting. Sif also warns May that Ward is no longer the man she knows. Eventually, after some Vegas sex, Ward and Lorelei come back to the bus and everyone fights.

The fights are pretty great, with May and Ward beating the crap out of each other and May learning that Ward has feelings for Skye. (I hate this development, the May/Ward relationship was unexpected and awesome, Ward/Skye is every kind of predictable.) But when Lorelei takes on Sif, well, let’s just say things get personal. Trying to beat her rival, Lorelei taunts her with stories of a lover she once stole, and then with a line about Thor, “What does that feel like? To be more pet than woman to him?” Ugh, that’s just nasty and mean and low.

But I was just really psyched to see the women of Agents get their due, especially Melinda May. Yes, AOS belongs in many ways the Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tauchereon rather than Joss, but his name is still on the show, and that brings certain expectations, one of those is that the women on this show are going to be fantastic. I’ve mentioned before, that one of the reasons for this is that Whedon’s shows just have more female characters, and that’s certainly true of Agents, but there hasn’t been an episode given fully over to Skye, Simmons and May, and this one isn’t either, exactly, but bringing in the tough as nails, take no shit women of Asgard is a good way to shine the spotlight on them.

I feel like in any other Whedon show we would have known May a lot better by now. But then again, maybe I’m projecting because I really do love her as a character and maybe knowing her better would take away from her bad ass mystique. But I also just want Ming-Na to have more screen time. She’s so freaking awesome.

MING-NA WEN

So great

Also, I mean, it might be a little while before we see any of the Asgardians on the big screen again, so it was cool to establish a place for Sif with the team, which I feel like could also lead to seeing other supporting characters from other movies. (I mean, Gwyneth did Glee for God’s sake, you really think they couldn’t bring Pepper around?) Tethering Agents to The MCU at large isn’t a bad idea, in fact the strongest episodes have been the ones that are Asgard specific. But I’m guessing the season finale will tie in to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, because I mean, it will right?

Yoshi!

In the latest excellence in Fangirling, this post by Nikkisee about Yoshi. Despite my abysmal lack of knowledge about all things gaming related, I do love Yoshi and I miss my N64 more than is at all reasonable.

nikkisee

250px-Yoshinewislandboxart3ds In just two short days, on March 14, Yoshi’s New Island for Nintendo 3DS comes out!  I’m definitely planning on picking up a copy.  I love Yoshi.  This adorable dragon totally appeals to my girly side that loves cute things.  Before I get a chance to play Yoshi’s New Island, I wanted to talk about my favorite Yoshi game: Yoshi’s Story !

It’s not secret that Nintendo 64 is my favorite of game consoles, and I first played Yoshi’s Story rented from Blockbuster.  Remember when that was a thing?  I (or, I guess, my mom?) actually rented this multiple times until I finally bought a copy.  Back then, I didn’t have much independent purchasing power.  I loved the colored-in drawing style, and the all the colored Yoshis!  The multi-colored Yoshis were a real selling point for me.  Pallet swaps can be so much fun.  My favorite was the light blue!  Most…

View original post 64 more words

DC Animated Movies: Justice League: Doom

Doom

Justice League: Doom might be my favorite animated Justice League story. This is true primarily for three reasons: Vandal Savage, Voice Cast and Victor Stone. (Alliteration. It’s a good thing.)

But first, plot! Vandal Savage creates the Legion of Doom, made up of Bane, Mirror Master, Ma’aleafa’ak, Cheetah, Star Sapphire and Metallo to take out the Justice League, using plans that he stole from Batman, meant to neutralize the league if any of them ever went rogue. Savage tweaks the plans to kill rather than neutralize and comes up with one for Batman.

Bane steals the bodies of the Waynes, thus luring Bruce to the graveyard and locking him in his father’s casket. (So creepy and so good!)

Mirror Master attaches a bomb to Flash’s wrist that will explode if he decelerates.

Ma’aleafa’ak sets J’onn on fire.

Cheetah poisons Wonder Woman so that she sees everyone as Cheetah, and she won’t back down from the fight because she’s Wonder Woman.

Star Sapphire stages an elaborate scenario using robots to undermine Hal’s confidence. (I never quite understood this plan, but it makes for an awesome scene.)

And Metallo poses as a reporter trying to kill himself who Superman has to talk down, and then shoots him with a kryptonite bullet.

Batman solves the problems, one by one. Breaks out of the coffin, sends Flash to an iceberg, neutralizes the chemicals in J’onn, sends Cyborg to reprogram Diana, shows Hal that they were just robots and he is a good Green Lantern, and gets the Kryptonite out of Clark.

This was all done so that Vandal Savage could release a plague that will destroy 2/3 of the population thus leading to him as supreme ruler. I really like Vandal Savage as a villain, because his goal is always to become supreme ruler. He’s a powerful immortal who spends all his time trying to figure out how to get The Justice League out of the way so that he can take over the world. It’s great.

The second reason I love this movie is the voice cast. Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg, Nathan Fillion, Carl Lumby and Michael Rosenbaum, all the greats. Seriously though, it’s pretty cool to have the best versions of these characters put forward. While yeah, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that all of a sudden Hal is on this team instead of John Stewart, and that Rosenbaum is all of a sudden Barry Allen instead of Wally West doesn’t quite track, but the subtle shift in Rosenbaum’s performance is one of the more brilliant elements. Barry is less goofy, more focused and sounds older (possibly because Rosenbaum is 10 years older).

The final cog in the brilliance of Doom is Victor Stone aka Cyborg, who’s been helping Batman out. Bumper Robinson plays him here and does it well. Cyborg is another character who I love to see just about anywhere, I like this concept, him working with the league if not yet a member. (He gets inducted at the end, to replace Batman.)

Anyway, I love Justice League: Doom, up next is Superman VS The Elite, I’m looking forward to it, because I like anything that takes the wind out of the anti-hero concept.