Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Silent Knight

One of the "lost" characters from DC Comics is The Silent Knight. One of the three characters to kick of the "Brave and the Bold" comic back in 1955, he lasted until Issue #22. He reappeared in the 80's, brought back by Roy Thomas during a "Crisis On Infinite Earths" crossover in All-Star Squadron #54 & 55, along with his costars Golden Gladiator & Viking Prince. He has since by retconned to be an incarnation of Hawkman and an ancestor of Jonathan Kent, neither of which I'm thrilled with.

What I like about this character is that he works both with superhero and Arthurian tropes. Brian is the son of a Lord, Sir Edwin, who shares power with Sir Oswald. Oswald kills Edwin in the first story and Sir Grot, an aged knight, is charged with training Brian. Knowing that Brian will be killed if he's perceived as a threat, Grot makes sure to demean the lad in front of Sir Oswald.

One day, Brian finds a suit of armor in the Forest Perilous, a place known for being enchanted, and puts it on. He's soon fighting off bandits to save Lady Celia, who knows Brian. Fearing that he might be recognized by his voice, Brian doesn't speak and is thus dubbed The Silent Knight.

Brian hides the armor in the forest, where he goes to retrieve it when he needs to. He maintains his secret, even though Lady Celia drops hints that she knows, even going so far as to protect Brian's identity at least twice. Sir Oswald seems to suspect Brian every now and then, but is always thwarted in his attempts to find out the true identity of his nemesis. Later stories move away from Sir Oswald and focus more on the Knights of the Round Table, culminating in The Silent Knight being proclaimed the greatest knight in the land.

I've read all of the Brave and the Bold appearances, as well as his guest spot in All-Star Squadron, and I have to say, I really like this character. The stories are straight forward and well done, working well in the anthology title. If you can find them, I'd recommend picking up these issues.

If you want to hear me talk more about this character, I was on Ryan Daly's Secret Origins Podcast to talk about his appearance in Issue 49.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Jack Webb TV Shows

Thanks to streaming services, especially Hulu, we've been watching a good amount of old TV shows. Among those are the 2nd version of Dragnet and Adam-12, both produced by Jack Webb, who also starred as Sgt. Joe Friday on Dragnet.

One over-riding theme on these shows is the purity of the main characters. Friday and Gannon on Dragnet are by the book, incorruptible cops. They solve crimes, and dish out facts, in a straight forward way. The same can be said of Malloy and Reed, the patrolmen on Adam-12, although they tended to have a little more personality.

I completely understand that these are not nuanced shows. They present the law and order side of things and show why the other side is wrong thinking, almost to the point of propaganda. That appeals to me, though. If you went by D&D alignments, I'd be Lawful Good, so this is right up my alley.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Walt Disney World has Quality People

Those of you that know me (or just read this blog) know that I LOVE me some Disney, especially Walt Disney World. Well, this year WDW is turning 45 and I, like most people, won't be able to make it down there to celebrate on the actual birthday. So, being in a somewhat silly mood, I posted something to Twitter. What happened after that was something that I did not expect, but really made me smile. Here's the entire conversation:

As you can see, the Cast Members at Walt Disney World are some great people who obviously love what they're doing. I don't know who was running the WDW Today Twitter account on that day, but I want to thank them for being a great sport.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

I think that the image above says it all.

OK, it says a lot, but not "all". Yes, today is Star Trek's 50th Anniversary. The effect that this franchise has had on my life cannot be overstated. First of all, it's responsible for my geekiness, as I described on my first ever podcast episode. The main reason for that, beyond that I was young when I first saw The Motion Picture, was that it made me think. Star Wars is a great adventure, as is Flash Gordon & Buck Rogers, and that's fun, but Star Trek gave me stuff to mull over and think about after the episodes were over.

What I would consider even more of an influence, however, is that I became an engineer specifically because of Scotty. I've always been good at math & science, but Scotty, or Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise, gave me a direction to focus those skills in. From that I not only have my career, but I met my wife in an engineering class. No engineering, no Michelle, and no Kira.

So, yeah, my life would have been COMPLETELY different without Star Trek.

Want to hear me talk more about Star Trek? Well, I did some guest appearances on other people's podcasts recently. Here are the links for those:

Super Mates 59: Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration

Gimme That Star Trek Ep.1: What If the Cage Went to Series?

Listen to the Prophets #048 - The House of Quark

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Countdown. or is it up?

We've recently started watching "American Ninja Warrior" and something occurred to me. More accurately, re-occurred since I did think about it years ago. That involves the clock in various sports. There are several, Football, Hockey, etc, that have a set time limit, so the clock counts down to the end of the period/game. That makes sense.

In what we Americans call Soccer, but the rest of the world calls Football, the clock counts up. That's not because there isn't a time limit, but instead to account for "Stoppage Time", to time when the clock was running but there was a penalty or some other stop in the play. This time gets added to the end of the half, and you never know how long it's actually going to be. That adds a bit of urgency into the game, since the next second could be the whistle.

Now back to what started this all, Ninja Warrior. When Michelle and I first started watching the show, it was the original Japanese version on the G4 network (which I miss terribly). That and X-Play were "must see TV" for us. In that show, the timer counted down for the stages. If you ran out of time, no matter how good you were doing, you were out. Now, in the American version, the timer counts up and they take the top 30 people, whether they finished or not, to the next level.

I think this displays some of the mindset of the cultures. In Japan, it's set up so that you have to try your hardest and, even then, you could fail. Heck, there have been years when no one has made it all the way to the end of the competition, therefore no one wins. In America, that land of the participation trophy, the idea of having no winner doesn't make sense to us. If you compete in something, someone has to come out on top.

Two different takes on how to do it and, since I haven't seen more than a few episodes of the American version, I can't say which is better. The Japanese version does seem to reflect life a little more, though.

Regardless of all that, these people are amazing ... no, more like AMAZING athletes. The fact that they do this in their spare time is stunning. Heck, just check out this run by Kira's favorite ninja:

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