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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Chicago Trilogy

     Last year, Sam suggested I watch a couple of episodes of Chicago Med- for parrot-related reasons- basically, one of the doctors adopts a parrot(looks like a blue-crowned conure)which is diagnosed with PTSD by the psych attending of the hospital. The doctor who adopted him also has PTSD, which is why they get along so well.

     I found it to be a high quality show, and ended up watching most of season 1, whatever was available on Hulu. I have a personal theory that the parrot is actually bonded to the actor, based on body language.

     This year, in a TV dry week, I watched the available episodes of Chicago P.D. and Chicago Fire

     what they have done with these three shows is not unprecedented- I remember(and have backup) for the old TV Show "Emergency!" crossing over with "Adam 12" and "CHiPS" but these were quick jaunts, and what the Chicago Trilogy has is actually a shared universe, like the CW DC shows, where characters from one will show up on another show, or are related to characters on another show, and often plots spill over from one show to the other.

     I love this kind of Universe building in media, where characters exist in a larger world, where their story is not in a vacuum- what the Chicago universe does so well is to have it be an everyday thing. These characters all know each other, have real relationships, and affect each other. Where the Chicago shows excel and stand out, is the casual nature of these stop-ins. It's brilliant marketing, as one show directs you to the others, but it also gives you a sense of neighborhood.

Chicago Fire was the first one- exploring the lives and work of a single firehouse- a family pulled together by their responsibility to the people around them

Chicago P,D, was the second show, focusing on both beat cops and the elite intelligence unit that investigates and combats major offenses

Chicago Med is the third, and focuses on the emergency department at Gaffney Chicago Medical Center

Let me say at this point, there are no transformers on these shows at all. That we know of...

Here are some more of these TV crossovers, including ones I mentioned

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Space Marines

A futuristic vision from ...

     So I am(no surprise) going off book here- while I am aware of Space Marines, in various media, they don't quite hit for me, They don't really inspire me quite the way a couple of other things do.

     The first thing I thought of was Phule's Company by Robert Asprin- A series of books about the Space Legion- an organization that takes in the worst of the worst: criminals, the disgraced, the incompetent. The books chronicle the adventures of Willard J. Phule, a weapons and munitions manufacturing heir, and his unique ways of solving problems and getting the best out of the people around him. He is given command of an "omega company" which is where the worst of the worst of the worst end up- screw-ups who have burned their bridges everywhere else. He quickly makes this omega company the best the legion can offer and becomes the most sought after commander in the legion.

     Rather than being a regular military force, the Space legion is more like a private security contractor. They are characterized as perpetually strapped for cash and kind of a laughingstock until Phule and his Omega Mob.

The series consists of
  • Phule's Company (1990)
  • Phule's Paradise (1992)
  • A Phule and His Money (1999) with Peter J. Heck
  • Phule Me Twice (2000) with Peter J. Heck
  • No Phule Like an Old Phule (2004) with Peter J. Heck
  • Phule's Errand (2006) with Peter J. Heck

     The second item is a little more personal. Back when I was married, in both the good old days adn the bad old days, Sam and I lived, ate and breathed Stargate SG-1. We watched it, season by season, and then about three seasons of Atlantis, and then what of Universe there was. 

     At some point in there, we picked up this:
     What we created was another branch of the Stargate command, under General Branch, which used organic ships instead of the gate system. Together, we populated a couple of galaxies, but my two favorite characters to play were Charles Emory Landscomb, reformed eco-terrorist and certified genius-"Chalky" to his friends
And Colonel Walker Bruce, Soldier, sometime straight-man, and good guy. 
     Sadly, when Sam and I divorced, one of the things that got lost was that world-building. I still miss it sometimes, and I miss the friends I made there. I miss those adventures. 

From my fellow leaguers:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: “There’s a sale at Penneys!”

A meditation on my greatest deals and steals from

     I'm excluding Black Friday stuff, because that is supposed to be a good deal. Sorry, Jetwing Optimus.

     I have to go with my car, and one of my swords as the greatest deals.

     To set the stage, the year is late 2006, it's cold a few days after a snowstorm. the streets are mostly dry, with a few icy patches left over. Sam and I are on our way to Colorado Mills mall. A light goes red, we stop, and the teen driver going the opposite way hits a patch of ice, takes out the traffic signal and set me on a search for a new car with a new flinch when cars come at me from certain angles and a small insurance settlement.

    Cue to a couple of months later- I find an ad on Craigslist for a '93 civic, 120k miles on it.

    This was a "some things not as advertised". It was a '94 civic, had been salvaged after a collision and rebuilt with the front end of a '97 civic. It was posted as $1800- the owner actually wanted $2800. I Paid $1800 cash and had money to register it and get plates. He doesn't look quite like that any more, there's a few more miles on him, some scuffs, and new tail lights, but he's still on the road and reliable. I call him "the Hybrid" due to his unusual mix of years.

     Scene 2- I'm a little bored, I'm at a pawn shop. I'm a connoisseur of Pawn Shop swords, particularly after scrimping and saving for an impressive looking Katana to find it was pot metal, covered with flaking chrome. Usually what you see is decorative junk, but upon occasion you find the rare gem. On this day I found a Cold Steel Katana- a model from 2002- in excellent condition- New, these retailed for about $300 at the time- $371 now through Cold Steel's web shop- this one was priced at $60, and I couldn't pass it by.

It has good weight, good balance and heft, and Cold Steel is the company that has videos of punching their knives through a car door and then cleanly slicing a tomato afterwards- serious steel, my friends, serious steel indeed

Here is the art of the deal from some fellow leaguers

Monday, November 28, 2016

Warriors of the Air

     Good Morning- I don't often do this, but I thought I would guest post on Daddy's Blog. You see, despite all my efforts to rearrange his keyboard into something usable, it remains the same flat, lifeless oblong it has always been.

     My name, for studious readers of the blog, is  High Councilor T'ahngolario Verdantwing of the Green Cheeked Clan, but for brevity's may refer to me as Tango.

     The subject that has brought me here, is one of great importance and I will address it with the gravity it deserves. A question was asked recently on the social platform Daddy uses, "facebeak" about Birds, and stretching.

     The truth of the matter is that most birds are supremely skilled in martial arts. And most of us begin with a stretching discipline known as Flai Chi, or Supreme Ultimate Flapping. It is a philosophy of balance and centeredness. it keeps us sharp, limber and viewing the world as the 5 dimensional landscape it is, rather than the flat map that the bipeds walk on.

     My own studies are primarily on the climbing and leaping art, Flockour, Flae-Kwon-Do and Beak-Jutsu, but Flai-Chi is where it all began for me.

     At this point you are probably curious, as humans often are, about other Bird martial arts, and there are many. I will touch upon the ones in common use around my neighborhood, and among my roommates. Together, we cover a large number of branches.

     Cappy, the interloper, He of the greedy clan of Gold-cap, is my rival for Daddy's affections.He favors a close wrestling style known as Wing-Chun, where he immobilizes the opponent with his claw while darting the beak in close for attacks.

     The Magpies, blackbirds and crows in the area all seem conversant with a style known as Krow Makaw which was developed by hooded crows in Israel- it is influenced by and derived from a number of other styles.

     Budgies tend to use Keet June Do, which uses minimal movements with maximum effects and extreme speed.

     Pigeons and Doves in the area have a certain skill in Pigeolism, or Bare-Beaked Boxing, but using Marquis of Darwin rules.

     Sidney, the Cockatoo, likes two forms- Too-Jistu, The art of using your opponents strength to get cuddles and Tooshu or "shredding-beak-art"

     I am only just beginning to learn of the mysterious traditional fighting styles of the lovebirds and the Jardines parrot, but they seem to involve an initial assault with the beak followed by taunting or laughter.

     I hope this brings a little more knowledge to your human brains. I despair of conveying the subtleties in your clumsy and inefficient tongue, but I can only try.