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art & entertainment

The bizarre moral code of super-villains

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I’ve been reading comic books since I was a wee sprite.

While my breadth of knowledge isn’t in the same stratosphere as WFTC’s resident comic guru Ricky Sprague, I’ve been following the medium long enough to spot weird patterns and trends.

Here’s one that continues to trouble me:

The barely believable moral code of super-villains.

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art & entertainmenton the law

Superman: The never-ending Copyfight Crisis rages on!

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Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were both about 19 years old when they created the character called “Superman,” in 1933. He was based upon the title character from a novel called Gladiator, by Philip Wylie, Hercules, and Samson. Also, interestingly enough, Siegel and Shuster seem to have swiped the name “Superman” from an ad for “The Man of Bronze,” Doc Savage:

(Image source)

He was not originally appreciated by editors:

But the two did still try to sell Superman and got back nasty replies from some editors. Bell Syndicate told them, “We are in the market only for strips likely to have the most extra-ordinary appeal, and we do not feel Superman gets into this category.” United Features said that Superman was “a rather immature piece of work.”

Finally, in 1938, the pair of impractical dreamers managed to sell the character and an initial 13 page story to Detective Comics, which is now known as just DC. The total value of their first check was $412 and, as it turns out, that supercheck is now up for auction by a company called ComicConnect, which features a suitably purple description:

On March 1, 1938, DC Comics gave two young men from Cleveland $130 for the rights to a comic character named Superman. That $130 check essentially created a billion dollar industry and set in motion nearly 70 years of legal battles that continue to this day. [Read more →]

moneypolitics & government

The iSpend 2: Adds debt twice as fast as the original

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books & writing

Lisa reads In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault

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There are a number of things about In Search of the Rose Notes that I really liked. For one, I love the way that author Emily Arsenault portrays the friendship between Nora and Charlotte, both as children and later as adults. I love the mystery storyline, the way the children pursue their “investigation,” the difficulty that Nora has dealing with it as an adult. I thought the portrayal of Nora was especially good, the way she has grown away from her childhood home and the difficulties she has going back to it and seeing her classmates as adults. And most of all, I enjoyed the skillful way that Arsenault leads you from one suspect to another, the way that she subtly points the finger at different players in this game, so that it is easy to believe any one of them could have murdered Rose.

When Nora and Charlotte were eleven years old, they were best friends. They made plans for their around-the-world trip when they got out of high school. They did their schoolwork together. They played the elaborate games that kids dream up together. And they spent their afternoons with Rose, Charlotte’s babysitter, until one day, Rose walked out of their lives and out of the world. [Read more →]

Michael Cade's audio files

Audio files: At the bleeding edges of reality sits the rough-and-tumble pop music hits of William Martin Joel

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So, a friend posted the following Billy Joel video on Facebook the other night.


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that's what he said, by Frank Wilson

Being alone can never be enough

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“All men’s miseries,” Pascal says, “derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”

Now as it happens, I have spent quite a lot of time alone during my life, usually by choice. I like being alone, always have.

But being alone and sitting alone in a quiet room are not the same thing. I certainly spend enough time on my posterior in front of a computer, and before that in front of a typewriter, and before that with pen and paper. [Read more →]

technologyvirtual children by Scott Warnock


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On her birthday, the daughter of a friend of mine came to him in a tizzy. You see, she explained, so-and-so was disrespecting her on Facebook. My friend geared up for the worst as he went with her to view the offending post. And there he saw it. Someone had posted this on her homepage: “happy birthday.” [Read more →]

travel & foreign lands

Day 6 at Sea: A Variety of Experiences and Beers

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Our sixth day at sea aboard Carnival Glory began with a wonderful dose of the unexpected, brought us to the Island of Grand Turk for a day full of EXACTLY what each and every one of us wanted to do, and ended with an appreciation for the many different interests of many different passengers, for how our ship and shore-based businesses cater to those interests … and for the variety of Caribbean beers and rums.

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bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Peyton who? It’s all about Tebow.

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Railing against media-created drama is a self-defeating proposition when you are contributing to the problem in the process. All I can do is plow ahead, I guess, and discuss the carnival atmosphere surrounding the National Football League this week. The draft is in a few weeks, free agency is well underway, one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history, Peyton Manning, signed with a new team this week, and a franchise’s head coach was just suspended for an entire season. What, then, was the talk of the sports world this week? Tim Tebow, of course. [Read more →]

books & writingtrusted media & news

“Avengers Assemble” #1: Mainstream comics creators really have no idea what’s going on anymore.

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Have you heard about the new “Avengers Assemble” #1? On March 13, USA Today had a big preview that is sure to whet your appetite for… well, um, more of the same. At least, if the cover is to be believed:

Obviously the first question when looking at this stupid image is, Why is Captain America leaping off from Hulk’s crotch? Hulk has a super crotch, I’m sure, so it would take a lot to injure him, but Captain America has super feet, so there’s still a chance for injury.

The second question is, Haven’t I already seen this image before, about a million times already, including within the last year, on a comic book that made national headlines? [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten signs you had a bad Spring Break

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10. The only thing on the resort’s TV was health class videos about STDs

9. Your beach was still covered with oil slicks and tar balls

8. To get into your room, you had to break through some yellow police tape

7. So you could eat, the staff lent you a video of Hillbilly Handfishin’

6. The only alcohol you had was in the Nyquil the resort doctor gave you

5. The package was seven days, three nights

4. What you thought was a mint left on your pillow suddenly crawled away

3. Instead of Puerto Vallarta, you spent the week at the Port Authority

2. The only ‘action’ you got was the speed bumps your taxi ran over

1. Rick Santorum recommended your resort as “a good Christian alternative”

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

on the lawrace & culture

Justice for Trayvon Martin

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There has been a spark in Florida. Whether it proves igniting depends on the condition and volume of the available fuel. It has been hot and dry across the nation for some time so we should be cautious with cigarette butts and any other sort of burning. In that case, maybe Al Sharpton should have stayed home. Too late for that now. He has broken out the tropical suits and the high-humidity hair treaments. Rev Sharpton has been one of the leading voices championing Justice for Tayvon as this movement is aptly known, calling for patience and support for the Martin family as they brace for the possibly imminent arrest of their son.  [Read more →]

politics & governmentreligion & philosophy

Worse than an Etch A Sketch

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art & entertainmenttravel & foreign lands

Requiem For A Hitler

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The first time I saw Alexander Shishkin, the greatest Adolf Hitler lookalike in the history of the planet, I was in awe. This tall, cadaverous man didn’t just look like Hitler, he looked like a Hitler that had died and been dug up again. It was eerie: the sunken cheekbones, the severe parting and of course the black moustache were almost enough to persuade you that Hitler was indeed back from the dead. [Read more →]

politics & governmentreligion & philosophy


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Where have you gone, Carlos Estevez?

A nation turns its lowly eyes to you.

Woo woo woo.

What’s that you say, Carlos Estevez?

Tigerblood will burn away your soul,

lol lol lol!

lol lol lol!

This is an area of Charlie’s expertise. Winning. What does a vulgarian like Sheen mean when he talks about Winning? Only the most crass satisfaction of his most immediate and unexamined desires, as we know. Winning has nearly killed him but only nearly so. Mr Sheen, carry on, as the stubborn reprobate whoremonger has nothing on the nation at large nor the holders and seekers of our highest offices. Recall that Nancy Pelosi spoke for every Democrat in the country and many non-Democrats when she suggested that those irksome Constitutional requirements of this or that were to be overcome with polevaults or HALO drops; whatever it takes. The only important thing? Winning. And win they did. The contest was also the prize. Obamacare we call it though Obama and his hordes do not care for that name. Whether it is the man or the act that is slandered never is explained but they won. Through the most delicate acts of chicanery and treachery, they won. Despite the single voice of objection, they won. And we won. We Americans won an advance into the modern world, as it was said. Did you not know how America lagged behind the balance of humanity? It is true. Until this usurpation and corruption America was a global and historical disgrace; a moral slug-a-bed compared to prodigies in fairness and prosperity like Cuba. Like China. If the goal of the American Care Act, the true legal name of Obamacare, was to bring us closer to these states in our medicine and finances then truly it is a stunning victory.  [Read more →]

travel & foreign lands

Day 5 at Sea: Andrew Likes ‘em, and So Do I

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We’re heading out to sea after an all-too-brief visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico. A lot of us are clustered on the starboard side of the ship, enjoying some great shots of Castilio de San Moro, one of the iconic images of this city and of Puerto Rico. It’s an opportunity for some great photos with an offshore perspective of the old battlements.

But it’s also a reminder that I have to get back here again, someday … and when I do, to plan on staying longer. Today’s visit really WAS all-too-brief, and I had barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and do in this city, not to mention other parts of this island.
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books & writing

Lisa reads Defending Jacob by William Landay

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Every now and then, the hype surrounding a book does not lie. That is certainly the case with Defending Jacob by William Landay. I had been hearing a lot of buzz about this one, but I was a little late on the Request button and didn’t get my copy right away. Once I picked it up, I could hardly stand to put it down.

Defending Jacob begins in with a grand jury. It’s an excellent plot device because we don’t know what he grand jury trial is about; we don’t know who is on trial or what the charges may be. But we do know that it comes too late:

“In April 2008, Neal Logiudice finally subpoenaed me to appear before the grand jury. By then, it was too late. Too late for his case, certainly, but also too late for Logiudice. His reputation was already damaged beyond repair, and his career along with it.” [Read more →]

travel & foreign lands

Day 4 at Sea: Docking Near the 1%

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Our fourth day at sea aboard the Carnival Glory brought us to the U.S Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. John’s, a place where we enjoyed wonderful sailing across incredibly blue waters, some reasonably-priced bottles of some reasonably-good beer, and a chance to admire one of the largest private motor yachts in the world … talk about something for everyone!

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language & grammarmoney

“It pays for itself” (not as often as we’ve been told)

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We might think that people never have to pay for anything, with all the things we hear are paying for themselves. Most times, when someone says, “It pays for itself,” the proper response is, “No, it doesn’t.”

I know someone who buys annual memberships at several aquariums and zoos because doing so only costs a little more than the one-day pass. He once told me that if you go to the Baltimore Aquarium just twice in a year, the yearly pass “pays for itself,” which is why he has bought the yearly pass. Baltimore is a four-hour drive from where he lives, but no matter. He is determined to have his pass pay for itself, so he loads the kids into the car and takes a second trip to Baltimore within the year. Not to do so is to have paid for a yearly membership when only a one-day pass was needed. Driving to Baltimore costs money for gas and tolls, but if you add it all up, as I’m sure he has, it still costs less than paying for two separate day passes to the aquarium. This math convinces him that the yearly pass pays for itself. If he goes to the aquarium a third time in the year, it will pay for itself even more. If he goes ten times, the yearly pass pays for itself so much it’s practically free. [Read more →]

all workcreative writing

The Golden Plot

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All the best plots are stolen, and all the best snots are, too. I should know. I was the attendant of our town’s
stone nose. Night and day, I guarded the golden snot. It was honest work and lousy pay, easy work at a steady rate. I stood by the nose and protected the snot. From the left nostril, it hung, its golden green gleaming under warm sunny rays.

My job was simple. Only the lawful could essay a picking. The frauds were forbidden, you know, those without
papers—usurpers, outsiders, weaklings, and thieves. But the lawful had documents in order, and so by the thousands, they waited in line, and one by one, I allowed them a plucking. Easy, no? [Read more →]

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