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melty

It’s like the inside of an overcooked pizza pocket (liquid hot MAGMAH!) all over the place, notably in non-bedroom portion of my apartment which includes everything except, well, the bedroom since it has the only working a/c unit. Speaking of apartment, I renewed the lease, because I just wasn’t about to move in this crap. Also my Xmas tree is still up. It’s still a little bit of a thrill to wake up and see the lights on, even if it is frickin’ August.
I need some E-10. Or some E-15 even. I don’t care, I just want some of that cheap corn-gas. But it appears the state of NC only has one public ethanol station. One. And it’s in Fayetteville- which, if I did the math MIGHT work out to still saving a bit, BUT the drawback of driving to Fayetteville simply for gas is enough to nix it. It is Fayetteville after all- the armpit of the state. It would be nice if it was kinda on the way to Greenville or somewhere else I might plausibly drive to. I am not that lucky. But I’ll be keeping my ears peeled for some new availability. It’s really out of control these days.
Going to plug http://www.vicsage.com because it the snazzy new place of Faceless Fans to hang out and obsess over one of the coolest comic book heros out there – The Question. I babble about him some more, but the link holds much more information and coherence than I could possibly hope for. The message boards are slick and give me distracting ideas on top of the ideas I already have trouble dedicating appropriate time and effort to.
Running low on the Nero Wolfe, though I did pick up one orignal and two continuation- that is not by Rex Stout, books last week. Still not sure how I feel about the continuation thing, reminds me of fanfiction, but we’ll see when I crack the book. Elsewhiles I am reading a Poe collection, some Vonnegut essays Megan and Jeremy gave me and that Charles Dickens I took with me to the wedding but never really got through. Oh and Gertrude and Claudius by Updike, which I was doing pretty regular until I found some more Wolfe. Wolfe takes precidence over ALL. Which is as it should be. Pfui!

Gaiman on Superman

Picked up via Boing Boing , Neil Gaiman, brains behind the wonderful Sandman books has scribed on Superman to Wired Magazine. (Somehow also Adam Rogers was involved.) And it’s a nice brief examination of maybe how that particular character has fit into popular culture, but it’s a bit short. If there’s any comic book character with enough material for PhD level 500-page dissertation, Clark is it. Anyway, like I said, good read, a few tidbits about the upcoming film, Bryan Singer once again mentions he’s adopted and then all logic and reason goes out the window with this phrase:

For Superman, there’s pretty much only bitter, bald Lex Luthor, forever being reinvented by writers and artists in an effort to make him a worthy foe.

…?
Neil, (and Adam) how could you? To slight the criminal genius, the mold from which ALL criminal genius has been cast, it’s inconceivable! And hey, you know what, I’m feeling generous, I’ll even tell you why.

Lex Luthor first appeared in Action Comics #23 (1940) , in which he didn’t really have a first name, but did have bright red hair, patent-pending zeal and exceptional fashion sense. Emerging from the realm of the medieval Alchemists, the mad scientist archetype has always been sort of a parable for human machination- whether it’s fear-slandered technology, greed or playing God, basically if you’re trying to be smarter than everyone else, whether for the good of mankind or your own greed you’re still evil and damned to hell (see Drs. Jekyll & Frankenstein). These are Lex Luthor’s predecessors and the birthright of any good villain- to show us the error of our ways. But then something really weird happens because of the never ending nature of the Comics medium, Lex is granted a pardon from hell itself and given free reign to forever pursue his villainy.

And portray villainy he has; in subsequent appearances he’s evolved from a brute with brains, a whacked out scientist out for revenge, a total Mafioso Kingpin rip-off and oh yeah, there was that time he got elected President. The whole spectrum of villainy! He’s been everything from petty to Machiavellian, and every reinvention blends into the idea of Luthor, the perpetual schemes and plans, as if changing tactics for his ultimate goal of domination. Domination of what? Of everything- Earth, Superman, space, time, you name it, Lex thinks he’s better and that everyone should recognize! I mean, come on, everyone wants a little love!

One of the big reasons Gaiman’s throwaway crack on Luthor annoyed me is that if you can elevate Supes for any reason then you should at least give Luthor that same love. Not just because he’s supposedly the main foe, but because Luthor’s been around since 1940, been reinterpreted as often as Kal-El, and therefore been shaped by any number of mitigating factors. Any writer worth his salt has taken a shot at trying to capture a little bit of the matter that makes a Luthor- be it an abusive childhood, intense jealousy, some physiological impulse or an unspoken love for Lois Lane. He’s had kids. He’s had cancer. He may never be eternally doomed, but then again he’s pretty much guaranteed a spot next to the Chicago Cubs for all time. Even so, the various retcons don’t detract for Luthor any more than Superman’s do.

Now here’s where I’m really going to cannibalize my own argument, because I’ve just rambled about holding Lex to the same standards as Clark, but the fact of the matter is they are distinctly different on a few key points and I think these are where Luthor really start to shine as the penultimate Superman villain.

Superman has always, (for me being a child of 1978), represented of ‘the potential for good’ in humankind. Hope, heroism, justice and bravery. He wear the primary colors, he is likewise very elemental in what he represents. He is an ideal. Superman’s always there to keep Luthor from mucking things up too bad, as only Superman can be with his invulnerability, and flight and strength and whatever the hell else power he needs to save the day. Seems just a little unbalanced, yeah? But standing toe to toe with a guy that could make him a pretzel and then vaporize all evidence, Lex Luthor persists. With ambition, single-mindedness, and intelligence, Luthor becomes positive aspects of human nature taken a step too far, twisted, and harkening back to those moralistic warnings. And while he’s still got plenty of whacked-out schemes and may on occasion be a little more insane than your Postman, or the dude at the Deli, Luthor is the one thing that Superman is not- human.

That’s the brilliance behind Lex, that all that physical stuff is completely superfluous in their rivalry, because he’ll always think around the inherent advantages of the kid from Krypton. I was watching Donner’s movie this weekend, and it struck me, Lex has everything worked out, he steals the meteorite, removes Superman’s advantage, does his little rant thing (which doesn’t bother me, cause Gene Hackman is like brain cholesterol yummy!) but what gets him, what unravels the whole plot is Hackensack, NJ. Lex has decided to send one of his nukes into NJ while the other is headed toward the San Andreas Fault, and who could blame him, I mean, NJ, it goes without saying. But unfortunately for Lex, Hackensack NJ just happens to be where Ms. Teschmacher(!)’s mom lives. Had he nuked, say Newark, Ms. Teschmacher might have been fine leaving Superman at the bottom of the pool to drown wearing the Krypto-bling. There’s no real explanation why Luthor decides on Hackensack, but since he’s designed to lose, it doesn’t really matter much. It’s never just that Luthor’s come up with a stupid plan that Superman has no trouble dispatching, it’s always got to be some moment of Fate intervening so that good triumphs, because that’s the function. The Villain exists to plague the hero, to provide a conflict, and is therefore servant to him.

Luthor does that really well, but that he’s so smart he can challenge not only Superman, and pretty much the whole DCU, Luthor’s an ideal in and of himself- the infinite capacity of a human mind. Not just in the don’t-be-greedy, Romantic mad scientist way, but really to such an extent that he undermines Superman being so darned super. Removing the advantages, the implausibility, and the fantastic nature of Superman. Kryptonian or no, Lex Luthor makes Superman a lot more human.

But Superman is always going to be the alien, something we hope to be. An ideal. Lex is what we are, reality. What we’re going to have to constantly struggle against to achieve the ideal. It’s an interesting balancing scheme and one that has defined Luthor as THE Superman villain.

And yeah, I’m a little predisposed to cranky, egotistical and sometimes evil characters, but probably because they represent a lot of what I’ve mentioned. But hey if you don’t like Lex Luthor, all my talking bullshit probably isn’t going to convince you, so I want to just point at SUPERMAN #149 that emphasizes the radness that is Lex Luthor, to quote Scott Tipton of Comics101 fame:
The man had cured cancer, just to lull Superman into a false sense of security. That, my friends, is evil.

And just isn’t it?

Aunt May is evil

Now DC needs to stop messing with my head by putting the heat on Harvey Dent (formally Two-Face), in the Bat arc that’s going down right now. I’m excited about One Year Later, but I reeaally wanted to see Harv protecting Gotham as he promised when Batman went off on his cruise or whatever. 52 promises to be fun, and The Question is supposed to have a lot of action in Gotham, so I REALLY hope they just don’t ignore Harv when they do this arc. I mean you heal a supervillian like Two-Face, then you definitely have to follow up by showing us what he’s been UP to the whole time. Also very interested in Spectre now because of poor Crispus Allen of the GCPD. I have a soft spot for all GCPD. Meanwhile, I’m not really keeping up with Marvel, but I’ve been informed Aunt May will soon be dating another supervillian possibly. Aunt May is totally evil.

Likewise the month of May seems to be perpetually evil. For the last few years running, May has had way too much crap going on, deadlines, weddings, etc. It needs to stop. This morning my car was rammed by someone backing out of a parking space as I was heading to work. I was too bleary-eyed to be coherent, but sufficied to say, this is not how I like to start my day. There isn’t too much damage though, and I haven’t burst into flames yet, so it could be worse.

I have started chanting the mantra- “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff.” and I can’t remember which fictional character I’ve stolen this from. I’m pretty damn sure it is from a movie or tv show somewhere, because there is no such thing as an original thought in this gord of mine, but I haven’t a clue where. So if you know, please remind me.

The Canes are rocking. Eric Staal man. The skating BBQ sandwich annoys me and yet makes me very hungry. And they don’t even SERVE BBQ at the RBC. Which they totally should, especially for the out of state folks who come in for the games. Otherwise the point of having that damn pig for a mascot is totally stupid.
I want to take a moment to say Betsy Kelly is the greatest hoor ever. I love that girl. I got a package out of nowhere with some keen swag including a Pirates of the Carribbean 2 one sheet. Very thoughtful, and she is the awesome.

HOUSE was very dashing and evil last night, but I still think things are playing a little tame as we lead up to season finale. Also according to Pooks I owe Stephen Fry an apology, as I slighted him in some alternate universe. I love you Stephen, and I am so terribly, horribly sorry. Your servant, Nicolle.

The Cubs fall to 5th in the Central with 8 LOSSES IN A ROW. *sigh* I have clearly done something more horrible than anger imaginary!Stephen Fry. I suspect nothing less than blood sacrifice will rectify things.

Also Don Bellasario is being evil again. NCIS promises someone ELSE won’t be coming back next season, and I’m gonna be totally pissed, as I was last year. I am dead serious. This cast is the ensemble of all time, I cannot see why you would dismantle it. Thought the same thing with when Kate bit the dust, but Ziva ended up being a fantastic addition. I’ve been watching a lot of the season 1 & 2 episodes lately and it just reminds me that I’m still not happy. I still totally love Kate. Which is, I guess a pretty damned brilliant stroke. But it’s a huge risk and that’s what ALWAYS gets me about NCIS- The show just continues to take these crazy chances, buck the formulas. It’s what I wish CSI had done. CSI was great through the first 3 or 4 seasons, but things settled down, they weren’t pushing the characters enough, they’d throw out some drama or crisis, and things would go back to normal after the arc had run it’s course. So when more character stuff came down the pipe it just ended up being flat. And just now CSI is killing off one of their own? I mean this is the show that LAUNCHED by killing one of the CSI- not many folks remember that, but axing Brass, not even a proper main character, isn’t enough. That’s the thing with CSI (Vegas) the only real deaths we get end up being cases. The NCIS crew wastes no time, they pull no punches, they do it and just never look back. It makes for really taut character lines, and the thing is, all the time isn’t being spent on character development (but you still get it), they have great episodes with very neat angles. It’s one of the best shows out there.
Also one of the best shows out there Doctor Who Totally rocks my sox. David Tennant is slowly winning me over. This weekend we get Cybermen!

Oh and to whoever commented about Avs-Canes in the final, I will so totally take some of that action. (I expect it was Will, but who knows)

stop screwing with me!

Arrrg! I’m not so much happy about this: The sequel to Batman Begins could become an Australian affair now that Hugo Weaving and Hugh Jackman are in the running to play villains. The two Aussie movie stars are the latest names linked to play The Joker and Harvey ‘Two Face’ Dent in the upcoming superhero adventure, according to moviehole.net. Producers are yet to nail down a firm list of candidates for Two-Face, but Firewall star Paul Bettany and another Aussie, Lachy Hulme, are reportedly being considered for the role of The Joker. Can we stay away from my favorite characters please? And isn’t it some sort of space time continuum impossibility to have the actor playing Marvel’s Wolverine also play DC’s Harvey Dent? Huh?! Isn’t it? Damn you! Just stop screwing with my childhood joys! Hugo wouldn’t be too bad, but age-wise he seems off. Harv should be closer to Bruce’s age, or midway between Bruce and Jim. Gah! No matter how much I demanded that the next Batman movie be The Long Halloween or Dark Victory, now that we’re even edging toward that I feel HORROR! Here’s hoping I over react.