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Another Reason Facebook Must Be Nationalized

So they tell me in writing that I did not violate community standards, but they suspended me for 30 days anyway:

Do the Honkey Kong

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After I saw this I had to write parody lyrics for Buckner & Garcia’s “Do the Donkey Kong,” but unable to find karaoke tracks to record it, and not having access to good editing software to make a video for it.  I’m just putting up the lyrics.  If I could have made a video, it would probably have gone viral.

Do the Honkey Kong lyrics
music and original lyrics by Gerald Martin Buckner and Gary Lee Garcia ©1981 Bgo Music Inc
parody lyrics by Scott Andrew Hutchins ©2021

Mike Nearman:

Sieg your heil in the air, stomp your feet on the ground,
Climb up the building quickly, and then smear your feces ’round.
Open your umbrella; they can’t see you from above;
We owe it to dear leader, he has our undying love.
Scale up the wall, just how high can you go?
They’ll surely leave the chamber if you get up there too slow.
Bare your tattooed chest, and wear a bison horn and hide;
Sit down at Pelosi’s desk, and smash stuff up outside.

Come on, come on.
Come on, come on.
Do the Honkey Kong.
Do the Honkey Kong!

Come on, come on.
Come on, Come on.
Do the Honkey Kong.
Do the Honkey Kong.

Climb in through the window, and take selfies with police;
We’re not Black Lives Matter; we loot lecterns as we please.
Bludgeon traitor pig, better give him all you got.
You’re in trouble now: one of ours has just been shot.
Capture the vice president, then hang him from the tree:
Donald Trump’s our savior, and without him we’re not free.
You pick the hammer up and then smash the door panes out;
Now we think you know what Honkey Kong is all about.

Come on, come on.
Come on, come on.
Do the Honkey Kong.
Do the Honkey Kong!

Come on, come on.
Come on, Come on.
Do the Honkey Kong.
Do the Honkey Kong.

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Some Women Are Sexually Harassing Each Other Over the Homeless Issue

If it weren’t for there being a small child in the house I might say that NoNimby has the right idea in going after the Upper West Side SS the way they are…

Home Dreams

Last night I dreamed I was living in an apartment building that was formerly a multi-story house in the Bronx. I went to take a shower, but the showers were in rooms off the brightly-lit walled off basement full of women doing laundry. Each of them was up very large steps like the rises of many auditoria if their seals were absent, and these were covered in square-inch jade covered title that the washerwomen were using to dry clothes. Similar to when I was at CAMBA Opportunity House, the rooms were large enough that only part of it would get wet, so there was space to put a full change of clothes without them getting wet, which is far preferable to going around in a bathrobe. Interestingly, the shirt I was carrying to change into is the same one in which I fell asleep wearing (and am actually still wearing). In the dream, in addition to the steps being really awkward, there was no way to go to the shower rooms at that tie without creating a problem for others already there.

Then I dreamed that I was holed up in my parents’ house, looking just as it did as I last remembered it, with new owners encroaching on the space. First, in the backyard, someone was doing something to one of the trees, and another person was walling in the patio with red brick much more evenly colored than that of the brick (there are views of what the house actually looks like on my mom’s memorialized Facebook page) and a bit darker, too. I think she would have hated that. I was having weird feelings both that I didn’t belong in there and that my personal space was being invaded.

My bedroom looked as it was when I lived there (the bed and many of the same bookcases are in my apartment currently–they have held up better than some of those I bought and assembled on my own), but there was stuff going on in the front yard. There was a freestanding folding ladder in front of my window looking like it was close enough to be in the flower beds, which my mom would have hated. She was very proud of her yard and garden work until the end. She insisted on putting down fifty bags of mulch before she started chemotherapy for her pancreatic cancer. She was able to finish that task, then passed away before she could start chemotherapy, if she was going to have it at all (her prognosis the week before she passed was two months).

The person on the ladder was a woman in a red dress of a sort we might associate with Carmen. I also saw two guys who looked rather gothic (one wearing shades in daylight) putting up a sign holder as though they wanted to turn the house into a club, which would be illegal under zoning laws. My dad used to say that if our attic were finished, you could hold a dance in there. A lot of what was in the attic was mine, stuff that’s now in storage about a mile away from the house. One of the things in there I most want with me is my Monster in My Pocket collection, which is the last toy I ever collected. When I was writing my screenplay version, i was acquiring imported figures from England even though the series had long since jumped the shark thanks to fundamentalists Christians and Hindus.

No one in the dream gave any indication that they had noticed that I was inside the house. I turned and looked at my Monster in My Pocket collection on display in its usual place, series 1 figures in a Monster Mountain wall display and the others on a top shelf of a short bookshelf. I knew I was dreaming when the figures did not look right. There was a creature in the standard neon orange color of Series 2 and 3 raising a spear over its head. It strongly resembled a character from a different toy line that I never owned called Oscar I-Rot, which was much larger and not solid colored (and doesn’t carry a spear), part of Mattel’s Mad Scientist collection. I remember Amy Astley, who now works in publicity at Disney, liked these (I don’t know if she actually owned any). I was absolutely repulsed by the Monster Lab commercial, in which one created monsters and then dissolved them in an acid bath that, unlike with Play-Doh, destroyed the materials (perfect epitome of a capitalism in toy development), but did eventually but some of the monster molds. I had to do some internet searching to even identify this particular character, which I did not own (it was a figure made of rubber that shot “Alien Blood” from its eyes when squeezed, not one to be built and destroyed by the user). A lot of the figures looked tacky like this with a knock-off feel, and knowing that these were not Monster in My Pocket, the dream soon ended.

After a dream like this, it’s not too surprising that I posted a rant on Facebook about how Courtney Solomon was able to get a license to make an appallingly bad film based on Dungeons & Dragons because his mom worked in the film industry, and then not have it kill his career despite being a critical and commercial failure whereas I could and did write a script based on Monster in My Pocket that the owners humored me about reading only to turn around and decline in response to an article talking about how almost all successful people got there through family connections. (And before you ask about Amy, all I’ve gotten from her are some “likes” on my Instagram comments about pictures of the lake trip they went on for her wife’s birthday celebration, and, when I was still on Twitter, mentioning that I noticed her name on the credits of Frozen–her Twitter photos verified without doubt that the Amy Astley who works for Disney is the one I knew at school. She didn’t respond when I asked her about job possibilities based on my credentials, but Disney is doing mass layoffs right now so maybe it wouldn’t have been that great.)

Taking Action To Gentrify Indianapolis Before It Becomes Full Blown Detroit

Racist pro-gentrification article…

Defender of IndyCar

Ghetto AnchorPity Indianapolis. It used to be the center of automobile manufacturing before Detroit (and its easier access to shipping) came along.  Indianapolis also led the way in creating a multi-lane highway belt around the city. Interstate 465 took most of the 1960s to take shape. Now most major cities have such loops either all or partially around each of them.

What is inside the Indianapolis loop has become vastly different than what is outside over time. This difference became readily apparent again over the weekend at Castleton Square Mall on the north side of the city. Once upon a time there existed four really nice malls in the heyday of malls roughly on four sides of Indianapolis. The Ghettowest side featured Lafayette Square. East side residents shopped at Washington Square. More affluent northsiders frequented Castleton Square. Southside shoppers have always had Greenwood Park Mall. Only that one is fairly distant…

View original post 806 more words

Optimum Fraud Exemplifies Why the Internet Should Be a Public Utility

Today

How can I help you today?

I need to cancel my appointment, but it’s telling me that 7836-968531- 1 is too short to be my account number.You – 5:54 PM

👋 Hey, I’m Allie, your Virtual Assistant. I can save you time by answering questions instantly, or transfer you to the right person to get things sorted out.

You can type ‘main menu’ at any point to go to the Main Menu.Sorry, I’m not quite sure what you meant. Try rephrasing, I work best with simple questions.How can I help?Ask me a question, or click an option below.Start or upgrade serviceNearby storesService or password helpBilling helpManage appointmentsReturn or install equipmentCancel or downgrade serviceEspañolAllie – 5:55 PM

Manage appointmentsYou – 5:55 PM

What type of appointment are you looking to set up?Service is not workingFix a down wireChange equipmentTechnician missed appointmentExisting appointmentCancel my appointmentMain MenuAllie – 5:55 PM

Cancel my appointmentYou – 5:55 PMLet me get one of our live experts to help you. I’ll just need to grab some quick info from you, then I can get you to an agent.Can I have your name?Allie – 5:55 PM

Cancel my appointmentYou – 5:55 PM

And can you confirm the phone number associated with your account?Allie – 5:55 PM

Scott HutchinsYou – 5:55 PM

That doesn’t seem quite right.

Please enter a 10-digit number only.

E.g. 888-888-8888Allie – 5:55 PM

[redacted] You – 5:55 PM

Great! I’ll pass that along to our Appointment team. Thank you for your patience while I connect you.Allie – 5:56 PM

You are now connected to Jessica M.Info – 5:57 PMThank you for contacting Optimum, my name is Jessica and I will be more than happy to assist you today! Please allow me 1-2 minutes while I review your previous interaction.Jessica M – 5:57 PM

Service was going in and out all weekend and Monday, but it’s currently working.You – 5:58 PM

Hello, Scott. It’s a pleasure to meet you! I really hope that you are feeling great.😊Jessica M – 5:58 PM

The form also says that my account number is too short.You – 5:58 PM

Okay, Scott. Do not worry I will help you with it.Before that, could you please confirm your service address?Jessica M – 6:01 PM

[redacted] You – 6:01 PM

Thank you so much, Scott!Please allow me a few minutes while I access your account.Alright, the last verification I need to do is for you to confirm your CMAC address (The CMAC is a combination of 12 digits and letters located on the white label underneath your modem). If you’re not home, you can provide me your access code instead (Which is digits and it’s the one you set up when we start the services).Jessica M – 6:08 PM

[redacted] You – 6:09 PM

You are now connected to Luis Gonzalez.

You are now connected to Jason E.Info – 6:22 PM

Hello, I’ll be happy to assist you with this. To ensure I have the correct account can you please confirm your service address?Jason E – 6:23 PM

[redacted] You – 6:24 PM

Thank you for this information,kindly allow me a moment to verify this information.Jason E – 6:25 PM

The technician just showed up, but I told him that I canceled.You – 6:28 PM

Did you cancel this appointment before you told the tech you cancelled?Jason E – 6:32 PM

I’ve been on here trying to do it since 5:54.And I’ve been messaging here because it keeps telling me that my pasted account number is too short.You – 6:33 PM

Okay one moment please.Jason E – 6:35 PM

Why would you like to have this appointment cancelled?Jason E – 6:45 PM

Issue seems to be resolved for now. It was an intermittent thing as it was.You – 6:46 PM

Okay.Jason E – 6:46 PM

Your appointment was just successfully cancelled.Jason E – 6:52 PM

Thank you. I won’t be charged, will I?You – 6:52 PM

Yes you will.Jason E – 6:53 PM

So you inconvenience me with lack of service, and I have to pay extra?You – 6:54 PM

No I did not you cancelled the appointment at the door so you will still be charged.Jason E – 6:56 PM

You fuckers took 45 minutes to cancel the appointment. You are thieves.You – 6:56 PM

Our company considers that content and language to be inappropriate. If you continue to send improper messages, I will have to end our conversation.Jason E – 6:57 PM

Stop stealing from me.You – 6:57 PM

I’m sorry that you feel that way but were not stealing anything from you.Jason E – 6:59 PM

Yes you are. I called about ten times this past weekend over loss of service that I paid for, and you took 45 minutes from me requesting a service cancellation to actually doing it. That’s fraud.You – 7:00 PM

Okay I’m truly sorry,However there is nothing I can do about that,because the appointment was cancelled at the door.Jason E – 7:02 PM

No no no no no. I contacted you about cancelling the appointment at 5:54. The technician came at 6:28. Your dillydallying is the reason.Loss of service every few hours is also something I would consider theft.You should be giving me discounts for all the outages.You – 7:05 PM

Okay I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused,However the appointment was cancelled after the tech showed up.Jason E – 7:06 PM

ONLY BECAUSE YOU FAILED TO DO YOUR JOB IN A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME.

Put your manager on.You – 7:07 PM

I understand you want to speak to a manager but I must assure I have all the necessary tools to assist you. I will double check on this for you one minute please.Jason E – 7:10 PM

This went from Allie to Jessica M to Luis Gonzalez to you with many large time gaps.It sounds like you’re running a scam operation to shut off people’s service temprarily and then charge them for service appointments.You – 7:13 PM

I really sorry for the inconvenience caused Scott, I am working my best on this for you I assure you if this issue can be resolve I will have this done to the best of my abilities.Jason E – 7:15 PM

okYou – 7:15 PM

Thank you for yore patience.Jason E – 7:16 PM

I am really sorry for the inconvenience caused Scott, but I have double checked and it was way passed the schedule time frame for the cancellation and since the cancellation was done at door the charges will be applied on your next billing statement. Again I really sorry.Jason E – 7:26 PM

That is theft.You should be reimbursing me for the service outages.You – 7:27 PM

I really Scott, that you feel that way but based on the procedure the fees would apply.Jason E – 7:28 PM

That is not right.This is a scam operation.You – 7:29 PM

I can look into the outage for you and let you know if a credit can apply.I am really sorry Scott.Jason E – 7:30 PM

The fact that four people couldn’t cancel the appointment in time is either incompetence or theft.You – 7:30 PM

How long did you experience the service outage for?Jason E – 7:31 PM

There were multiple service outages, most of which exceeded 20 minutes.Every time I called, it was a separate service outage.You – 7:31 PM

I am so sorry for that inconvenience Scott, but I worked my best to help you.Jason E – 7:32 PM

Well, you and your compatriots get a big fat F.You – 7:32 PM

When did the outage start?Jason E – 7:32 PM

It sure seems like a scam operation to me.The first occurred around 12:45 Saturday morning.You – 7:33 PM

I assure that is not the case Scott.Okay thank you for the informationJason E – 7:34 PM

That’s sure what it seems like considering how many times this texting session changed hands.If I contact you at 5:54 to cancel an appointment, and the technician comes at 6:28, the problem is on your end, and I should not be responsible for it.You – 7:35 PM

I am sorry about that Scott, I really sorry about the bad experience you had with us this afternoon but we do value you as a customer.I understand what you are saying Scott, but because the appointment was cancelled at the door the fee would apply.Jason E – 7:37 PM

It was canceled at the door only because of poor time management on your end. There was nothing on your end between 6:09 PM when I provided the CMAC address and 6:22 when you came on.You – 7:38 PM

I understand that Scott but the appointment was between the hours 8AM-11AM and you contacted way out of the appointment time frame to have the appointment cancelled but it was finally cancelled at the door so the charges would have apply.Jason E – 7:42 PM

OK, now you’re not even getting the facts straight.It was scheduled for between 5 and 8 PM.You – 7:43 PM

Based on the information in the system the time frame was 8am-11am. But the fee would still apply since the appointment was cancelled at the door.Jason E – 7:46 PM

That is a lie. The e-mail and the voice mail both say otherwise.The technician came to the door more than half an hour after I requested the cancellation.

[Pasted contents of confirmation e-mail from Optimum dated Sunday, Nov 1, 2020 at 1:43 PM]

Optimum

Review your appointment details.
Your appointment is scheduled.
blue line
Name: SCOTT Hutchins

Phone Number: [redacted]

Appointment Date: 11-04-2020

Technician Arrival Window: 5PM-8PM
(This does not indicate the length of your appointment)
Need to cancel or reschedule?
The fastest and easiest way is here. You can also call our automated phone system. If you no longer need the appointment, and do not cancel or reschedule before the technician arrives, a service charge will be applied. View rates.
Preparing For Your Appointment
Please make sure that:
An adult 18 years or older will be present for the duration of the appointment.
The technician will have clear access to the area where the equipment is being installed or serviced.
Any pets are secured while the technician is in your home.

“Technician Arrival Window: 5PM-8PM”

So you’re a liar, a cheat, and a thief.You – 7:48 PM

I understand what you are saying Scott, and thank you for the information but the fee would still apply since the appointment was cancelled at the door.Jason E – 7:49 PM

IT WAS NOT!!!!!You – 7:49 PM

I am just advising you based on the information in the system Scott.Jason E – 7:49 PM

Well someone is obviously scamming me if the information they are providing you and the information in the confirmation e-mail are different.

And I don’t mean to take this out on you personally, it’s whoever is making these fraudulent decisions.That’s why I asked to speak to a manager.

What was going on between when I provided the CMAC address at 6:09 and when you came on at 6:22?You – 7:52 PM

I really sorry for the confusion Scott, but based on the information here I am advising you and the fee would apply for the appointment cancellation at the door. I am really sorry for the bad experience and delay and all the inconvenience this has caused you.Jason E – 7:53 PM

So the attitude is, “We took our sweet time, so you have to pay.” That’s theft.Put your supervisor on.You – 7:54 PM

I do not know why you were disconnected Scott, but I am really sorry about the inconvenience caused.Jason E – 7:54 PM

It kept happening. I went through the automated steps at least ten times.I didn’t even want a service appointment, and I didn’t know there was a fee until I heard the voice mail.The appointment got set up automatically on the occasion the steps didn’t work.I should not have to pay for [poor time management on your end.You – 7:56 PM

I understand Scott, and I am really sorry about that I really can’t say what happened but I tried my best to assist you with the issue but at this point the charges would apply for the cancellation at the door.Jason E – 7:56 PM

Even though I contacted Optimum over half an hour before? How is that not theft?You – 7:57 PM

If the issue was relating to optimum the charges would have been waived and the technicians would have had to make that decision, but since the appointment was cancelled at the door that is why there would be a fee.Jason E – 7:58 PM

It took 51 minutes between making contact and the appointment being cancelled. That is totally unacceptable.You – 7:58 PM

I am really sorry for the bad experience and I really cannot say why this was not an easy process for you. I am really sorry.Jason E – 8:00 PM

This chat started at 5:54 PM, and I’ve gotten nothing but a runaraound.You – 8:00 PM

I am really sorry about that Scott.Jason E – 8:00 PM

You should know that I am going to make this conversation public.You – 8:01 PM

I am really sorry Scott, I understand how frustrating this can be and anyone in your position would feel the same way.Jason E – 8:03 PM

Looks like we may have been unable to connect with you at this time. Feel free to message us back at your convenience, and we will gladly help you! Thanks for choosing Optimum and have a wonderful rest of your day!Jason E – 8:14 PM

Conversation closed by the agent  – Now 

Old Plays on the Same Reel as The Woggle-Bug

In case anyone is interested in early 1900s plays, these were on the same Library of Congress or U.S. Copyright Office reel as The Woggle-Bug. (This is trying to read my handwriting squeezed onto a postcard twenty years ago (I had from June 21-July 19, 2001 to look at it), so I apologize for any misreadings). The reel is #31695014 dated November 3, 1972.

The Duke of Blitzkrieg (anonymous)
The Bride of Morocco by William Borcher, John H. Nevins
The Woggle-Bug, book and lyrics by L. Frank Baum, music by Frederic Chapin
The Ring of Unadilla, book and lyrics by Fred J. Grafton, music by Don F. Bradley based on Siam by Howard Jones
ISC3 by C. P. Lordes
When a Man Tells – Florida Pier
Some Doors of the Word by John Francis Mooney
The Son of the West by J. Grant Gordon
The Intruder by Harry L. Cohn
Jack Stanford’s Experiment by Will G. Williams
Doctor Dandy by E. Lawrence Dudley from Molière’s Le Medecin Malgre Lai
Across the Isthmus by Frederic DeMoulin
Of the Old School by Chester Henry Koegh
A Gypsy Wooing by John T. Prince and Herr Vetter-Arch
The Theory of Dr. Moreau by Campbell MacCullough
A Convention of Authors by Belle B. Clokey
The Shadow Behind the Throne (anonymous)
Neptune Jr., book and lyrics by Myrtle Reed and Bertha Reynolds McDonald, music by Helen M. Gilmore
The Yankee Doodle Girl by Barney Gerrard

Book Review: Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce

Birth of the Firebringer (Firebringer, #1)Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It looks like I might be the first male to be reviewing this book on Goodreads. I got this in one of the Scholastic order forms in fourth or fifth grade, and it’s been on my shelf ever since, but I only finished reading it today. Part of the problem was the paper and print quality, unless I just now, at 44, need reading glasses (although the fine print in Arden Shakespeare notes wasn’t a struggle for me apart from the 3s and the 5s), but I’m pretty sure that was a struggle for me when I was younger, too. I’ve looked over most of the reviews, and I agree with most of them, both good and bad. The book is pretty slow, and the subpar legibility of the print didn’t help matters. This made me feel like I was often relating too closely to Jan as he was being hypnotized by the Mistress of Mysteries in the cave, a section of the story that lasted for several chapters. One might call such a pacing “deliberate” because the author seems fully conscious of how much space is being devoted to a comparatively brief period of time. Indeed, the book is in third person so long that the transition back to first-person is rather jarring, but you’ll probably remember the introduction eventually as you read the last portion of the book.

As others have said, Pierce’s presentation of the unicorn culture is one of the strongest aspects of the book. It definitely feels like a full picture of a proud people, often to the point of racism. The next-best established are the wyverns, but as they are the enemy, our picture is much less limited. The gryphons seem to be the principle enemy at first, and a large battle with them comes at an unusual place–comparatively near the beginning but certainly not the opening. We learn some about their culture, too. We also learn about pans (a bit disconcerting that she uses this term rather than “satyr” or “faun”–in the mythology Pan was one guy) and touch slightly upon the dragons and pards (which I initially took as an alternate name for gryphons, which are also called wingcats. Pierce’s description of the wyverns makes them very snake-like. Traditionally, wyverns are winged, bipedal dragons with spikes or diamond shapes in their tails. At no point does Pierce mention wings or flight. The wyverns’ legs are described as stubby and superficial and have poison stingers in their tails. They also develop a peculiarity later on in life is seem as freakish in real-life reptiles but does happen on occasion. They themselves treat it as old age but see lack of a sting as freakish and, at least at one time, a reason to eat their own young who possess that trait.

SPOILER SPACE
                  

END SPOILER SPACE

One of the reviews complains that you don’t learn who the Firebringer is until it’s almost over. I assumed that the main character would turn out to be the Firebringer before I even ordered the book. Pierce gives us many reasons to doubt that it would be him and drops many red herrings. Everything prophesied about the Firebringer is true, even those dismissed as being from false prophets, and the ways in which Jan does not resemble the Firebringer alter across the story so that he does match with the prophecies, after all.

The book is clearly an origin story, and it would have been surprising if the Firebringer had turned out to be a different character. It’s also clearly a coming of age story, as is typical in YA novels. Pretty much any YA novel that did not involve the main character maturing and stepping into an important role of responsibility and discovering previously unknown feelings for a friend of the opposite sex (mercifully limited to a couple of sentences here, which I mention because my own life experience with developing feelings for friends of the opposite sex is getting rebuffed or worse, but always seems effortless in YA books) was seriously looked down upon and derided by parents, teachers, and school librarians, although that seems to be less so today. In this they resemble the sort of “great man” motif in biographies, particularly of men (Dennis Bingham, one of my principle undergraduate professors, who has written extensively on biopics, argues that historically biographies of women have been a different genre that has emphasized masochism and victimization).

Pierce’s writing is strong, and probably more brutal than I would have appreciated at the time I bought this, when fantasy to me was Oz and Wonderland. This is certainly not My Little Pony. It would have benefited greatly from a glossary, particularly as the internet was basically BBSs at the time that only big-time computer nerds like my older brother used. She uses a a lot of equestrian jargon, certainly appropriate for the nature of the material, that can make it difficult for people not familiar with it. Wikipedia wasn’t always helpful (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossar…). “Wheel” (used as a verb) is one of the words she uses most commonly, and I could interpret it only with an educated guess, as it’s not in the article.”Shying” is defined on Wikipedia as “When a horse jumps in fright, usually at a sudden movement or an unfamiliar object.” The source given is Steven D Price and Jessie C. Shiers. The Lyons Press Horseman’s Dictionary: Full Explanations of More than 2,000 Terms and Phrases Used by Horsemen. (2007). At several points, unicorns are commanded to shy, which, with this definition, seems a strange thing to order of someone. She also refers to “foals and fillies” at numerous points, which sounds incorrect and continues to sound incorrect based on the Wikipedia glossary, in which “foal” is a gender-neutral term. The word “colt” appears occasionally in the book, but it doesn’t seem to have the most positive connotations. For reasons of usage alone, including a glossary would have been ideal. Overall, though, despite the slow parts and somewhat predictable course of the story (certainly not in terms of specifics, just in use of tropes outlined above), I am intrigued enough to want to read the other two books, even if they will not be my immediate next reads.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Armageddon: Inferno by John Ostrander

I wrote this review on July 8, 2016 and recently got a like on Goodreads, so I’ll share it here. My memory of this is pretty weak, which is a shame considering the author, but nobody writes memorable work every time.

Armageddon: Inferno by John Ostrander

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This is the weakest John Ostrander story I’ve read so far, after his earning my admiration with Suicide Squad (which I initially read only because of the Black Orchid and Shade, the Changing Man appearances) and Hawkworld, more so than Captain Atom: The Quantum Quest , but clearly under strict editorial control. The story is forced and seems derivative of something I’ve read recently, like a bad merger of Starro the Conqueror, Jim Starlin‘s Cosmic Odyssey , and J.M. DeMatteis‘s Overmind saga from his run on The Defenders (by far the best of the above three). Like The Quantum Quest, the final issue is full of splash pages that just seem like a tiringly commercial series of pinups of battle scenes, only this time by a plethora of artists. The only connection to Armageddon 2001 or Armageddon: The Alien Agenda is the inclusion of Waverider and a reference to how he inadvertently ensured the creation of Monarch, who does not appear in this.

We are told that Waverider has received new powers just for this story to proceed as it needs to to bring back the Justice Society of America after the events in Roy Thomas‘s The Last Days of the Justice Society of America . We’re not shown how he got these powers, which involve plucking people out of the time stream, we’re just told of an incident that occurred off-panel that allowed him to get them. Then the author and illustrators got to choose characters they wanted to use whose involvements wouldn’t affect the course of time, even including characters from the past like Hans von Hammer (Enemy Ace), Sgt Rock’s Easy Company and the Losers. It struck me as odd that everyday soldiers would know that the Spear of Destiny is what kept metahumans and mystically powered people from ending World War II, especially with the World War II adventures of Superman and Wonder Woman no longer in continuity. The characterization of all these diverse characters is consistent from other stories, at least.

The villains’ self-introductions are incredibly cheesy. The dozen new villains, called Daemens, all give grandiose speeches on who they are and what they’ve become in quaint silver age fashion. They are trying to get a creature called Abraxis into Earth’s dimension so that he can destroy it, feeding on human souls like cattle as he does in his own dimension. To this end, they have four avatars in different time periods.

SPOILER SPACE









END SPOILER SPACE

They all fail, and Abraxis enters all four of the avatars. The Spectre tells Waverider that there are heroes he can get without interrupting the time stream, the Justice Society of America, who are fighting Ragnarok over and over again, and winning. With their godly powers that have kept them young, the are able to defeat Abraxis, but they lose the powers, revert to their normal ages, and pass the powers on to the simple people of Abraxis’s homeworld.

Much of the fourth issue that isn’t splash page battle scenes is the Spectre recapping for Waverider the events of the Last Days special. It seems odd, though, that a nearly omniscient character like the Spectre omits the part about it being a mere simulation created by Odin, as revealed in Neil Gaiman‘s The Sandman: Season of Mists , in which Odin notes his surprise about new heroes appearing in his Ragnarok simulator, that he offers to Dream as a gift. He tells Dream that one of them contains some of his essence, and we see Hawkman (Carter Hall, grandfather of Dream’s appointed successor, Daniel Hall) and The Sandman (Wesley Dodds), Dream’s de facto successor during the 1940s, battling Surtur. Again this implies editorial policy, because there was a taboo in referring to things that occurred in mature readers titles at the time (Vertigo came a bit later) in general audience titles.

It is a shame the return of the Justice Society could not have been done with better thought. they chose an excellent writer, but it is hard to imagine he would have written something like this without editorial mandate, as something as major as a miniseries showing how the Justice Society returned would have to be.

As for Waverider and Monarch, it would take several more years to learn what happened to them..



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Life in a Homeless Shelter

Me: A few hours before Robert Green attacked me, he repeatedly referred to me as “Jew,” so this is a hate crime.

NYPD: Are you Jewish?

Me: No.

NYPD: Then it’s not a hate crime.

NYPD asks me for a description of my assailant–light-skinned African-American, probably around 30, about five eight, thin, head shaven.

NYPD: And his date of birth?

Me: I don’t know.

NYPD: We can’t print up wanted posters unless you tell us his date of birth.

Me: How am I supposed to know that? I’ve known him for only five days. Look, I already gave you his address, and it’s a homeless shelter–they can tell you.

NYPD: There’s really not anything we can do unless you tell us his date of birth.

#FTP #FuckThePolice #ACAB