Search This Blog

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.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Blackest Friday 2016

     As in previous years, I started out with a plan

I had Planned purchases, and unplanned collateral damage

    So in chronological order: 

  • Unnamed Wednesday (but probably chartreuse)- I couldn't find a name for wedenesday but I found the movie "Minions" on an early sale for $6
  • Thursday(thanksgiving) Target yielded Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 ($10) Supergirl Season 1($10) and Flash Season 2($10) [Planned] plus Zoolander 2($4) [Collateral] for pickup on Saturday. Bestbuy got me Supernatural Season 11($10) Arrow season 4($10)[Planned] and Rango ($2) and Star Trek Beyond($10)[Collateral] Unfortunately Longmire was not on sale this year, so I did not add season 4 to my collection
  • Friday was all collateral at Walmart on a brief shopping trip- Sin City (a Dame to Kill for) ($2) The Man from U.N.C.L.E.($4) and the Lego movie ($4)
     I hope your holiday was fun, and if you shopped, you got what you planned and maybe a little extra without breaking the bank

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Gee, Thanks!

     I always do a Thanksgiving post, and this year I am doing one for

     Going to start Small and work my way up this time

     I'm thankful the election cycle, Long, drawn out, bitter and downright hateful as it has been is over, and hopefully we can get back to the business of being good folks again.

     I'm thankful for my employment, which allows me to live the way I wish, and pursue my passions

     I'm thankful for the new Hasbro/Takara toys, Titans return and Masterpiece; I'm thankful for the Third party companies who fill in gaps in my collection.

     I'm thankful for the Movie and TV Producers who continue to bring me entertaining content to fire my imagination.

     I'm thankful there are good, honest people in the world who treat each other with human decency and respect one another's basic human dignity. I think there are more of the quiet good ones than the loud bad ones, and I am thankful I think that.

     I am thankful for the skill of two bowyers, the one who made my two longbows and the one who made my recurve, 20 + years ago and still shooting. I am thankful I still have strength left to draw those bows. I am thankful for the invention of carbon arrows, which take almost everything can throw at them, (and everything I shoot them at) and keep surviving  to be shot again.

     I am thankful to live in a country I love.

     I am thankful for my family, the ones who laugh with me, and who supported me through good times and bad this past year. I'm thankful for my roommate, my neighbors, and my friends.

     I am thankful for the health I possess, and the ability to strive to make it a little better every day.

     I am thankful for Cappy, Sid, Apollo, Wallace, Ichabob, My birds and Sams. I am thankful for the two lovebirds collectively known as the Chibis, and individually known as Gingko and Ruby.

     I am Thankful for Tango, my best friend, my confidant, my source of joy and frustration. His 5th hatchday is this week,

     I am thankful for you, for taking a couple of minutes out of your day to read this. I'm thankful for my cohorts in the league and this opportunity to share traffic and readers

      Thanks, one and all! Go eat turkey (or tofurkey, or whatever it is you want)

and for your viewing pleasure and possible bafflement, a very red vs. blue thanksgiving...probably NSFW

And the league Spoke in thanks as well

Monday, November 14, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Future Collectibles

     What are the collectibles of the future? An interesting Question from

     What will we collect in the 2046? I think very much the same as we collect now. Since the great scale standardization of 2022, all action figures by Hasbro and it's subsidiary company Mattel are in a 4 inch scale. And since the Trade Agreement with China in 2023 made by President Perlman and Premier Chan, HasbroCorp's toys are both high quality and Affordable.

      The Transformers franchise is split into three main lines-

  • The Standard Line, for Kids and adult collectors, in legends, deluxe, voyager and leader sizes- the leader sized ones utilize micro-robotics to transform and interact. These lines include G.I. Joe and M.A.S.K. toys as well as the live action movie toys. 
  • The Masterpiece line, for adult collectors seeking high accuracy and quality. The Transformers Prime masterpiece Optimus, MP247 released this year and is considered definitive for the character 
  • the Artisan Line, producing pieces from independent third party designers, such as fansproject and mastermind creations. 
In addition to that, Hasbro's Marvel and Star Wars lines have gone back to the nostalgic 17 point articulation model that Collectors crave. The Addition of the Disney movie and TV lines in conjunction with the release of the live action Lilo and Stitch in 2032 was a huge hit, and these remain a much desired collectible to this day. 

     The initial rejection and successful re-release of Furby-AI (after it was redesigned to be a little less interactive) made the Furby-AI V.1 super-collectible, particularly in Japan. The V.2 is considered a safer , more kid friendly toy. 

     Merchandise for the current show, The Roaring Twenties, a series about the decade from 2020 to 2030 is very popular, as well as "retro" stuff from that time period, such as Shirts with President Perlman's caricature and the slogan, "Give 'em Hell, Boy!" or the bootleg video showing him arm-wrestling the Libyan Ambassador in the oval office in full Hellboy makeup.

Other League members Prognosticated:

And and I may have missed can be found on the league logo above!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trumped up America

     So the election results are in, and unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Donald Trump has been elected the 45th president of  the United States of America.

     The Popular vote was close, the Electoral one less so, but not a landslide. We don't know what Donald Trump's America looks like, but a lot of people are afraid of the worst. I fear it will not be as kind a nation as I want, or feel we deserve. A lot of people feel that we have given in to fearmongering and paranoia

     I was surprised to find that I line up with him on a lot of issues.

  • Second Amendment-Trump believes in support of the right to keep and bear arms. I also believe in this. I have my bows, my swords, and an understanding that guns are not the issue. Take away guns, and people will find something else to kill with. The problem is education, respect for your self defense and respect for the rights of others. 
  • Health Care- Trump believes that every American deserves quality health care, as do I. he is vague on the how, as he is on many of his "good plans"
  • Taxes- Trump doesn't believe he should pay taxes because he knows the system. I don't think I should pay taxes either. Mainly because I would like more money in pocket.
      The big one tho- Marriage, I had a discussion with Sam on. I told her that Trump believes that marriage should be between a man and a supermodel or beauty contestant. I told her I can get behind that, and where do I sign up?

     Sam: "So are we going to send away for a Russian bride for you? You can get them with MBAs now"
     Me: "Can I get her for a bowl of borscht?"
     Sam: "No, they cost more than that. now."
     Me: "Damn this Trump Economy! Our basic needs, like clean affordable immigrant brides are not being met now!"

     Bottom line- whoever you are, whoever you voted for, keep a steady and fearless eye on the future. I think both of the main partys have lost touch with the wants of the American people, and maybe this will help them get back in touch, or open the door for something new, something better. Political stuff over for the moment, and back to toys and birds soon. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Red State/Blue State

     Red State, Blue State; One State, Two State... A Thought provoking prompt from

     Election day draws nigh, and the conflicting sides spew hate at each other, and slander the two candidates. We have two sides, divided by hot-button issues, such as guns and right to choose. And each candidate hits those issues over and over, while the real problems, like health care for all Americans, are ignored

    The story we are told is that the reds are rash, ignorant, "deplorable" and love guns and red meat. They think people should be able to take care of themselves and if they can't... the hell with 'em.

     The story we are told is that the blues are effete, interfering intellectuals, and they will tax you to death, take your guns and kill babies. They want to be in your business 24/7 and tell you how you are living your life wrong.

     Don't believe it. Both of these stories are true, and both are false. People are always too complex to put into little caricature boxes like that.

     People need to stop letting demagogues push their hot buttons and acting as a herd. We need to choose based on who will be the best for all Americans, the ones who have been here forever, the ones here now, the ones who come to our shores tomorrow with the promise of freedom in their hearts.
After all...Freedom is the right of all sentient beings!

When all is said and all is done... our Red Vs, Blue is as silly as this one.

If you cut the strings, step outside of the play, you will see that red and blue are the same. We are all just people- afraid, courageous, overwhelmed, coping... our differences are tiny, and emphasizing those differences makes us tiny.
Be great.

And from my fellow leaguers
For any other league the league logo above

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Chance Encounter in a Random Walmart

     I was at my local Wal-Mart on the evening of Oct 31st and happened to get started talking to a guy at the Hot Wheels bin. We talked over tastes, what draws us to a car, and eventually he directed me to his channel on YouTube.

     I also picked up this Warthog from HALO, which I love the design of.

Well, they call it a Warthog, but I think it looks more like a Puma...

Anyway, a shout out to my new acquaintance Matt!

Sifting Through a Few Bugs

     Way back in January of 2015 I posted this

     At the time, I kind of despaired of ever getting a matching set of Insecticons from Hasbro. Because we had Shrapnel, Legends sized, and FOC Kickback, Deluxe sized

     Shrapnel(or Skrapnel) came out in May 2014, and that looked like it was going to be it

     And then Bombshell came out, in Dec 2014( I didn't find him in store for a month or so after that) and made me cautiously hopeful. He upped the muted colors of Shrapnel to a much more dynamic tone and was a really fun, but simple transform. his engineering was solid in both modes.

     And together on my shelf, these two legends class figures cried out for justice, and they cried out for their third partner.

     The insecticons called out for aid.

     And Hasbro answered

     Now the Insecticons are united in my collection, here to gobble up all the energon!

Thanks to our good friends at The Chosen Prime for getting this wave in- Wavemates Bumblebee and Gnaw will show up here at the appropriate time

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Cast your Ballot!

     A timely topic from

     In a year when...lets face it, the presidential race became election 2016: the reality TV show, an election for pop culture president seems a little on the nose. Some want to just vote them all off the island and start over fresh. Flip the board over and switch to checkers, or possibly backgammon.

     Robert Anson Heinlein considered the vote to be a sacred responsibility. In his novel Starship Troopers(the novel, not the schlock Sci-Fi splashfest movie) He envisioned the vote as a responsibility given only to those who had served in the country's military. Heinlein was one on my early literary influences, and continues to be a valid read to this day for me.

     Ordinarily I don't touch politics with an eleven foot pole. I keep it away from my blog, and try to keep my blog light and fun. I would be keeping the policy if so much of our culture weren't being twisted by the process this year. There are very few topics so divisive that they can tear a family in half, but Politics is in the top three, along with religion and dancing with the stars. And that's just an ordinary year. This year, people are desperate, and desperate decisions are dangerous ones. Those decisions can lead scared citizens to trust people who they ordinarily would never trust. Our main choices are a lady decried as corrupt or an orange-tinted malignant narcissist.

     That country would be served best by a strong veteran, who fought for peace. A man of vision, of intelligence, of great strategy, and incredible moral fiber. Someone Strong and Brave and Here to save the American Way

He is the Star Spangled Man with the Plan
And his nomination for VP
     We know his cabinet would be Mighty. We already know who is up for secretary of defense...

     To Homage Yakov Smirnoff, "In Steve Rogers administration, Cabinet protect secret service!"

     You are probably surprised I didn't default to Optimus Prime, but while his Alt-mode may be all-american, his birth is Cybertronian. And I think Clark Kent would make the birther movement go crazy.

     In these troubled times, we don't need media personalities manipulating the fears and doubts of good people and true. We need people who stand for all Americans. People we can trust all the way. We need real American heroes, people who got where they are without being dirty, who pulled themselves up and pulled up others along with them. People as enduring as Old Glory

     I wish we had them outside of our favorite fiction.

UPDATE: I may vote for the cat. 

Here are the thoughts of some of my fellows in the league