Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Happy 75 Kal-El

This video is brilliant!

My very first nickname given to me by a non-family member was as a kid in Singapore. There was an Italian restaurant my parents loved (maybe my brothers remember the name...).

... the waitress always called me Superman because the hair on my widow's peak would always curl down over my forehead (it still does). Even though I only rarely collected Superman comics themselves, I - like everyone else that's part of western culture or the modern world - have always secretly loved the Big Blue Boy Scout.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Captain America and Dimension Z

For the TL/DR crowd - Thank you Marvel Comics for finally ending that atrocious "Dimension Z" storyline.

30-ish years ago, my father, knowing that I was interested in learning to read, bought me my first comic book. As a boy growing up overseas in Singapore with an ex-pat Dad from Texas... he picked Captain America. So when I say that the exploits of Cap mean quite a bit to me sentimentally ... that's what I mean. Captain America was my first comic book. Ever.

I can still see the cover in my minds eye, that's how big of an impression it made on a 5 year old boy (I also remember my first day of 1st Grade at Singapore American School so ... maybe my memory is freakishly good ... but whatever). Thanks to the Internet, I can share the image in my mind's eye with you as well.

Captain America Vol.1 #278 "Oh Thus Be It Ever" (yeah that's right, the title of the issue was a lyric from the freaking Star Spangled Banner!)

Imagine a 5 year old boy growing up overseas seeing that cover for the first time. I'd never heard of Captain America before, I had no idea who Zemo was, heck... I could barely read (I had cut my teeth on Ladybird Storybooks - fairy tales like Three Billy Goats Gruff, Rumpelstiltskin, etc.).

There he was, larger than life. Captain America! Leaping out of the cover thanks to Mike Zeck's pencils - red, white, blue and awesome. "You've pushed me too far!" ... wow, what had happened that made such a hero like Captain America angry?!?! I wanted to know, I had to know.

I'm pretty sure Dad read it too me for bedtime. 

Why do I tell the internet this? Well, so that when I say I could NOT stand the Dimension Z storyline and STOPPED collecting Captain America, you'll know what that means. Combine the DUMBEST storyline I've ever had the displeasure to read with John Romita Jr.'s pencilwork ... I ... I ... I just couldn't.

So... whoever finally got a clue, ended the Dimension Z story, and put Cap back to "normal" thank you. I'm not sure if I like the "Armored Costume" look you're going for (a nod to the movies) or the semi-reboot you're doing of all the things I've come to love about Cap recently but... you opened the comic with a flashback to Manhattan 1935 - Steve Rogers as a boy. You roped me in. Let's ride.

Thanks for giving me back Cap.

Oh thus be it ever.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Daddy Daughter Date - Red Lobster

Last Friday (9/20) the wife decided that Daddy and Daughter needed to have a date. This was to accomplish two goals... one, to allow V to pick a birthday present for her brother (birthday was the following day on Saturday) and two, so that daddy and daughter could spend some time together without the brother.

According to J the girl was super excited all day. When I finally got home from work, I got dressed and after a few last minute items, we headed out to find SHRIMP! ... that's what she wanted it seemed.

She informed me, as we drove, that although she liked playing with her brother, she really, really liked just being alone with her Daddy because "sometimes Morgan just always wants to be near me" ... I understood, but I also taught her that maybe Morgan likes to be near you all the time because he loves his awesome big sister so much. We'll see if she listened in the years to come I guess.

The first destination was Toys R' Us to get Morgan's birthday gifts out of the way. After a discussion about the merits of "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" versus "Mickey Mouse" we decided that V should get the Mickey Mouse items (as Daddy had already acquired a plush Jake and Captain Hook previously). V then made a beeline for the girls toys, pulled off track by Daddy to buy Morgan's gift... which resulted in her pointing at the first Mickey Mouse toy she saw with wheels (a firetruck). I suspected the Morgan might appreciate a plush Micky as well so I also get one of those. The girl then spends the next 10-15 minutes going up and down the girls toys telling me all about Lalaloopsy, My Little Pony, Barbie, Hello Kitty, and whatever else caught her eye.

Our second destination was Outback Steakhouse... in the rain, the waiting line seemed to fill the porch. So, I drove over to Red Lobster. The rain had stopped and the porch was larger so into line we went... 45 minute wait.

So I spent the next 45 minutes watching my overactive nearly five year old run around like a crazy monkey. I swear if they ever figure out how to bottle Essence of 4-Year Old they'll solve the world energy crisis. The only respite I got was an intense 15 minute game of "I Spy With My Little Eye" and she's pretty shrewd I can tell you.... best bring your A game.

Then... we went inside for a rest room break and she spent a few minutes prior just eyeballing the live lobsters. I informed her that they were pretty good eating and she licked her chops (not kidding). She informs me that she's never had lobster before (as if I wasn't aware, which was cute) and wonders what they tasted like. I informed her that they were fairly delicious and made a mental note to get something with Lobster on/in it.

Finally, after coming out of the restroom our table is ready and we sit. After telling her about how her daddy and her Yaa (Thai word for Paternal Grandmother) and my Daddy Morgan used to come to Red Lobster, we ordered the Ultimate Feast. I've forgotten how many of those I've eaten in Red Lobster alongside my Mom & Dad... seemed appropriate.

The results? Popcorn shrimp (Well technically "Walt's Favorite Shrimp") was the winner, hands down followed by the Wild Rice Pilaf. Then I discovered that she didn't like heavy butter. Once the butter was removed from the equation... the snow crab and lobster were right up there. At the bottom of the list was the garlic shrimp scampi... which allowed me to enjoy them. She also adored the Cheddar Bay Biscuits... eating two. Since she and cow milk are still not friends, we finished up with a Warm Apple Crostada which was also a huge hit.

On the drive home, I informed her that since it was very, very late we were unlikely to do many bedtime stories. Smart girl that she is, she proposed that daddy just tell her stories as we drove. I then regaled her with some family stories about my father (her grandfather Morgan that she'd never have the opportunity to know).

J tells me that she was asleep within minutes after we finally got home. I'll call the first Daddy Daughter Date a success.

Friday, July 5, 2013

We The People vs Snowden

You know… I don’t know if Snowden made the Oath or some variant of it. He wasn’t actually military IIRC so it’s possible his oath was different or that he didn’t have to take it at all.

However, I keep hearing over and over about how he’s a traitor for failing to follow orders or the responsibilities of his post/position. I’d like to post something from Senator Inouye of Hawaii, Chairman of the Iran Contra hearings, July 14th, 1987. Senator Daniel Inouye, by the way is a Democrat, Congressional Medal of Honor winner, and served with the Nisei 442 RCT in WW2.

Anyway… food for thought.

“The uniform code makes it abundantly clear that it must be the lawful orders of a superior officer.

In fact, it says, “Members of the military have an obligation to disobey unlawful orders.”

This principle was considered so important that we, we the Government of the United States, proposed that it be internationally applied in the Nuremberg trials… “

… does he need to come to trial and prove that his orders were indeed unlawful? Maybe… not for me to decide… freedom is precious, I will never fault a man for wanting to preserve it. Especially since he’d probably sit in a jail cell for 3-5 years before he gets a trial. “Right to Speedy Trial” is apparently a relative term these days.

Did he have to “out” the government in such a public fashion… considering it’s OUR government? Yes. Without a 1st Amendment press/media shield nothing would have ever been done… or… to be blunt, he might have just lost his job/been discredited/crushed financially (if you’re of a conspiracy mind… killed).

Sometimes I wonder if we forget, in our crazy national gyrations about protecting our First Amendment rights to burn flags, watch porn, or pray (or not pray) in X/Y/Z location…. that the reason we have Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech in the same Amendment is exactly for things like what Snowden did.

"We the People" are the watchdogs on our government, and the Press is how we bark.

… or at least, once upon a time, that’s how it was supposed to work. Lord knows we often fail to live up to our National Potential. Snowden is an interesting case/flashpoint in the history of our country. I wonder what future events will bear out regarding the 4th & 1st Amendments, the NSA, and our government. We live in interesting times.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Singapore - Stay Club

Locally here in DFW a Malaysian coworker told me about a good Singaporean restaurant. That led me down memory lane and after a foray on Google I learned that The Satay Club was demolished back in the mid-90s.

A piece of my childhood has died today... or rather it died 15+ years ago and I didn't know it until today.

The Old Satay Club on the Queen Elizabeth Walk

Satay Club photo from the 60s?

For those of you that didn't get to visit or grow up in Singapore back before the current century... The Satay Club was awesome. My memories are fuzzy, but this is what I remember.

It was a collection of stalls where guys would cook Satay... skewers upon skewers of it. Every few stalls would be somebody making the peanut sauce. You would show up and eat... and eat... and eat... and at the end somebody would come by, count up how many sticks your table consumed, and you'd pay at that time.

It was carnivore heaven... savory... peanut sauce drenched heaven.

So if I ever get to go back to Singapore again after so many years away... where's a good replacement place?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Your Name

When I was a boy, I often would read a poem painted onto a wooden plaque "wall hanger" on the counter near our phone. I was a trinket sold through one of those mail-order catalogs.

I read it so often that I never, ever forgot it. When I think of the generations that will come after me I try to remember its words. It's an edited version of the original.

Your Name
Edgar Guest

You got it from your father,
t'was the best he had to give,
And right gladly he bestowed it
It's yours, the while you live.

You may lose the watch he gave you
and another you may claim,
But remember, when you're tempted,
to be careful of his name.

It was fair the day you got it,
and a worthy name to bear,
When he took it from his father
there was no dishonor there.

Through the years he proudly wore it,
to his father he was true,
And that name was clean and spotless
when he passed it on to you.

It is yours to wear forever,
yours to wear the while you live,
Yours, perhaps some distant morn,
another boy to give.

I did too, December 19, 2010 - in a chapel in Lewisville, Texas ... I passed it on to my own little boy (just like I did two years previous when I did the same for my daughter... but the poem mentions a boy).