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Thursday, April 28, 2011


A friend of mine tweeted one word. "Today..." She doesn't know it, but it's perfect.

Today, I have no funny.
Today, a friend lies in a bed.
Today, cancer has taken him to the end of his journey.
Today, the priest read his last rites.
Today, he likely will not make it to walk his daughter down the aisle.
Today, his bed is in the same hospital in which my son was born.
Today, he might cross over.

Today, I will not focus on work. I'll get some things done, but I'm not really "here".
Today, I will hold Wifefish and Little Danger a little longer, a little tighter.
Today, I will be grateful for every day my mother has cheated Death.
Today, I will hold on to thoughts of a good man, as if to preserve what I have of him perpetually.
Today, I know that every time I'm at the lake, I will have a shot of Jaeger in his name.
Today, all the things that normally cloud my mind seem unimportant.

Today, let's all look at someone and tell them how grateful we are that they share our lives.
Today, let's all think about doing something extaordinary.
Today, let's all be kind to one another.
Today, let's smile at the people on the street, and bid them a good day.

Tomorrow is another day, and let's all make it better than

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Les Miser-rants

Did I mention I’m a theatre nerd? No? Well, I’m a theatre nerd. I learned how to sing by exercising my pipes along to “Phantom of the Opera” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I proposed to Wifefish during a curtain call of “Into the Woods”. To date, I’ve been involved in just under 80 shows, either on stage or working tech. I loves me some theatre, and I loves me some musicals.

You can imagine my excitement when Wifefish DVR’d the 25th anniversary Les Miserables. I was stoked…I’ve always loved the show, and I hope one day to portray Javert. His songs are right in my sweet range, a nice baritone.

Watching the show, I was amazed at the quality of the vocalists they’d gathered. The man playing Jean Valjean (Alfie Boe) was simply astonishing, and his voice carries purity both when tender and when pounding out a power note that shakes the rafters.

The ensemble was just amazingly talented, all the way around the board. There were some cuts and omissions, but they were done with an eye to the extras at the end, which were truly phenomenal. This is a fantastic “concert style” production of the show, an absolute treat to hear and see.

And yet, this is a rant. So there must have been something about this masterpiece of musical magic that mauled my mental faculties, yes? Oh, yes.

OK, here’s my problem. Imagine you’re the producer of this event. You have a magical, wonderful cast singing some powerful music derived from a literary masterpiece. You’re celebrating 25 years of the show’s success. You have some of the best talent ever assembled. And for some inexplicable reason, you think it’s a good idea to give the role of Marius to Nick Jonas.

I have one rule of musical theatre. If I see a professional show, I want the players to be at least as good as I am, which believe me doesn’t set the bar very high. Our boy Jonas does not fit the bill. If you’re a Jonas fan, just click the red X now, because the Dangerboy rant train is comin’ on down the track.

Nick sucked. There was not a single person on the stage who could not have done a better job in the role, and I’m including the little girl who sang as young Cosette. Jonas has a thin, nasally pop voice. It stuck out like a sore dick. In duets he was completely overwhelmed, more over his head than if he’d been in the Trieste. He was perfectly suited for a community theatre production of the show, but no more than that.

The show has a history of bringing pop stars to the stage, including Debbie Gibson and Cyndi Lauper. They, however, had talent. Jonas spends his time gazing at the ceiling as if the lyrics were printed there, a look of perpetual constipation on his face.

I completely facepalmed, though, when the cameras caught him mouthing Valjean’s words along with him. I have taught high schoolers who knew better. It was appalling.

Riker and Picard reenacting the reaction of Wifefish and I.

Nick was unable to sustain any notes whatsoever, and strained to hit with any power at all, singing with little to no diaphragm. Empty Chairs was exceptionally poignant, given that his vocals on it emptied the chairs in my living room as we went for drinks.

Ordinarily, I cannot watch Eponine’s death without shedding tears. Unfortunately, with Jonas singing it, I was too distracted to have any kind of emotional attachment. I wanted to see it spiced up, perhaps with an emu death squad.

Eponine takes cover as the Emus rectify a hideous casting decision.

Still, I bash the performance, and not the singer. (To be fair, every time he hit a falsetto note, it was quite lovely.) I sincerely hope that Jonas understands how pitifully overwhelmed he was and honors the opportunity to stand in a cast with true greatness. We can be pulled up by those better than us, but only when we recognize that they are, and attempt to emulate, or at least honor, what it is that they exemplify.

I can recall a similar time in my life, when I was drumming with Micky Hart, Giovanni Hidalgo, Leon Mobley, and some other absolutely amazing drummers in the biggest drum circle I’ve ever participated in. I was a Lilliputian amongst a tribe of Gullivers. I may never drum as well as I did that day, letting those giants pull me along on their rhythms.

Sadly, though, I can’t help but feel ripped off watching young Nick learn the lesson. He was cast for his name, I think, so the DVD could have a "big name" on the back. Hence the irk. I wanted to have a product I could enjoy and buy the Blu-ray, and instead I need to pop in the CD’s of the “Complete Symphonic” version of years ago to cleanse my mental palate.

Maybe one day I’ll attain that dream role, and get to play Javert. And on that day, maybe someone will rant about how much I stink up the joint. But I swear by all that is musical, if I don’t outperform Nick I will summon the emu death squad myself. At least the curtain call would be memorable!

Monday, April 25, 2011

5 Things I think, Apr 25

1) I think Easter was a mixed bag this year. Little Danger cut his first tooth, but Wifefish was down on the couch with some sort of stomach nasty, and missed Easter dinner. I saved her some ham, but the cheesy potatoes are MINE!!!

2) I think that having two friends in hospice sucks balls. One has led a long, full, remarkable life. The other was working on doing so, and won't be with us half as long.

3) Because of #2, I think that it is important for us to live while we can, because nobody gets out of this alive. Death is but a heartbeat away, and each moment borrowed from it is a blessing. I think that even though I know this and preach it, I've fallen short of embracing it for too many days. I think you should take a little time today, as I will, to just love.

4) I think it has rained for most of April. Legend speaks of a yellow ball of warmth in the sky, but I have no physical proof of this. At current, if I turn my face to the sky, it gets wet. I have watched small animals line up two by two, look at a calendar, and walk off forlorn as they realize they are several thousand years too late for that specific boat.

5) I think I like the lighting I added to the bar this weekend. I put some blue and green LED's on the back bar shelves, and now the bottles seem to glow. It's very Vegas in the Pyrate Pub.

Hope everyone had a good holiday!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Quickie

Well, Friday has arrived, in a week I thought might collapse from its own weight before it could manage the task. It's been a rough one for Dangerboy, as I caught Little Danger's cold and had a few unsavory surprises try to bite down on my wallet. This is never a smile-making combination.

Speaking of Little Danger, he continues to be a master at what I call Baby Cuddle Therapy, and also Baby Giggle Therapy. These things keep whatever crap the world is throwing at me from being too overwhelming. I am not looking forward to teething, which may in fact negate my Therapy sessions for a bit. Or if I'm existential, will afford him some Daddy Cuddle Therapy, or perhaps some duct tape and ceiling fan adventures.

Yesterday's Giggle Therapy session involved our cat. Little Danger was bouncing in his exersaucer as I was sitting on the couch, watching something unimportant on the television during Daddy day. The cat came up and sat in my lap, and Little Danger loved this. He started bouncing and giggling. I scratched the cat's head, as I am wont to do. More giggles.

I stopped petting the cat. Little Danger put on his best Stay Puft face and expressed his displeasure. "AAAHHHHBBBBAAAHHHH!!!", he said.

Little Danger's "Unhappy" face
(It should be noted that we have not ever, nor will we have ever, shot him with a proton pack.)

I pet the cat again. Instant giggles and dancing, and baby-frenzy hand flailing. Stopped petting; instant displeasure. Started petting again; instant giggles. This went on for 20 minutes, in which I called Wifefish on her cell so she could hear it. I guess he loves the cat.

In other news, I've got new fiction up at
This is likely the last Lum for a while, as I have some more Dark Heresy to catch up on.

Wifefish helped me put up a Facebook page for the blog, so you can like it if you want to! I'm still struggling with putting a "like button" here, my efforts thus far have resulted in empty gadget boxes. Perhaps if I wasn't a Neanderthal when it came to webcoding. (Seriously, watching me try to figure out layouts and gadgets is like an episode of Captain Caveman.)

And I suppose I would be remiss if I didn't wish all of you who celebrate it a Happy Easter! May your chocolate bunnies be tasty, and your eggs colorful!

Dangerboy out!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Burn It!

There are a few topics I don’t cover here. I don’t get into politics on this blog, mainly because I despise both sides of the aisle in equal measure. I haven’t gotten into religion, because faith is one of those items that are intensely personal, and tend to make people judgmental.

Today, we’re going to touch on item two.

It may surprise nobody to discover that I am somewhat eclectic on my own personal path of faith. I don’t really subscribe to one faith over any other, and I’ve stood in worship with a wide and diverse range of people. I’ve known followers of Buddhism, Catholicism, Baptism, Santeria, Ifa, Wicca, Asatru, Judaism, Kabbalism, Gnosticism, Hindu, Islam, Shamanism, and probably a lot more I just never asked about. Most of them have been pretty OK people. Reading about world religions is a bit of a hobby of mine.

That being said, I’ve never met a Satanist that wasn’t a shithead. I’ve met a small handful. Shitheads all. I think it’s that whole “me first, fuck the rest of you” attitude that I just don’t like. Maybe there’s a nice Satanist or two out there, but I’ve never met them.

A kinder, gentler Satanist

With that preamble, let me tell you a story involving two such individuals with an abundance of excrement replacing grey matter in their cranial cavities.


There’s a retreat of sorts that I attend regularly, in which all faiths are welcome. At times it’s a science forum, at times a hippie party; sometimes it is reverent and there is true holiness, sometimes it’s just a bunch of people hanging out in the woods of a nature sanctuary. One of my favorite shrines on this land is called “Thunderdome”, so named because it is a dome structure in which there are drum circles and dancing, hence the thunder.

The Thunder Shrine, back in the '90s

Imagine if you will a fire, surrounded by people dancing their spirits, surrounded again by 40 or so drummers with various rhythm instruments, all communicating through sound and dance. It’s a little slice of awesome.

There’s an etiquette there…a way that the people move and interact and speak, respecting the space, whatever each person holds holy, and each other. Sort of Primal Polite. There’s firetenders, an “O” zone where the dancers move around the fire in a circle, the drummers, then another zone of dancers that tend to dance in place, then finally the observers…those who chill out and watch and chat at the edges. It’s a sort of spontaneous ritual, a primal sort of event that takes the mind back to days before civilization. Fortunately, it’s only a temporary retreat, and I can drive home afterwards in an air conditioned car and take a hot shower.

Some years ago, before I was any good as a drummer, some of the “big dogs” of drum had seen something they liked in me and taken me under their wings. They taught me rhythms, and at times when the jam was laid back, they played just *this* much beyond my skill level, daring me to join them. I did. They smiled through my mistakes, and encouraged me to be more.

They were known by names they’d chosen: Raphael, Freedom, and others. They had skill and passion. And luckily for me, they had patience and a teaching spirit. I repay them now by playing as they did, and by teaching as they did. But one night long ago, I was able to repay them with laughter.


I don’t know what bad movie these two kids had watched before hand, but they entered the Dome looking like villain extras from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They appeared to be 18 or so. One had a goat-headed walking stick that he thumped on the ground in 4/4, keeping time with the jam. (Sculpture, not a real goat head.) They both wore dark robes and black hats, which maybe wouldn’t seem out of place, save that they wore their discomfort with just as much darkness. They looked like they would Smell Like Teen Spirit. I’ve seen a lot of people in that space in a lot of different clothes and costumes, but I’ve never seen two stand out like such sore thumbs.

Heads down, looking through their eyebrows like drunken Irishmen, they moved into the dancer’s circle in the opposite direction of the rest, plowing through happy dancers like a pair of icebreakers through frozen straits. The goatstick thumped. The boys glared. The dancers were disrupted, and the etiquettes thrown out the window.

Raphael and I traded looks. He rolled his eyes in an exaggerated fashion, his hands never missing the beat.

The boys were not finished with their “Look At Me” dance. In a place where even they could have been welcome to participate, they chose to metaphorically piss in the punch bowl. They began to chant.

“In the first generation we were Beelzebub, in the second generation we were Hasatan…”

On they went, people recoiling from them so suddenly that they left a visible wake. I looked again to Raphael and Dana, and saw their jaws clench. The two Satanists had gotten to their 6th generation, and I pitched my voice as years of theatre had taught me to do.

“In the 7th generation you were smoking crack.” A few titters of laughter answered me.

“In the 8th generation you needed a snack.” More smiles, more laughter. The dancers began to press back in, their wake filling in.

“In this generation, you don’t know Jack!” I was rewarded with laughter from the Big Dogs. The boys kind of lost their shit, and moved out of the center. We thought they were done for the evening, laughter defeating their attempt to do something eeeeevil.

Their rebellion, and thus our entertainment, was not over yet.

It bears mentioning that this particular retreat exercises a clothing optional policy for those who desire to more directly commune with nature. The devilboys came back into the Dome, having exercised the option, the one still holding his goatstick. (For the record, I don’t exercise the option.)

I swear, I have never seen two more pathetic visions of manhood. It wasn’t cold out, but these two looked like they should be yelling “I was in the pool!!” a la George Castanza.

Seriously, I’m not a “size matters” kind of guy, but I immediately formed a likely false opinion of what kind of inadequacy drives someone to embrace Satanism. In later life, these two would certainly want to drive red sports cars and wear comb-overs. But for now, they were just being silly little shits.

Wee Willy Winky and Mini Goatstick continued to parade around the fire, two jackasses flailing their disproportionate manberries about willy-nilly. Raphael began his own silly little chant, saying “burn it” every time the goatstick boy passed in front of us. A testament to the power of stupid, the young disciple of the dark one began to slow in his gyrations, staring deep into the fire.

“Burn it” Raphael said. A long, glass eyed look at the stick.

“Burn it.” A longer, glass eyed look at the fire.

“Burn it.” He raised the stick, looking at the goat head.

“Burn it.” Back to the fire. Glassy eyes. Maybe they’d smoked a bit of the ganja?

“Burn it.” He began to proffer the stick to the fire, brandishing it in front of him like a talisman of old.

And then some jackhole played a drum riff that sounded way too close to the signal to stop, and half the drummers dropped out suddenly, creating an auditory train wreck. The rhythm fell apart. Goatstick boy snatched his hand back from in front of him, and made a beeline for the exit, his partner in crime hot on his heels.

They didn’t come back.


I heard yesterday that Raphael is in declining health, the end of his journey nearing. He’s still hanging around, and I still honor the lessons he taught me. Like so many of those that touch our lives, I intend to hold his memory close to me after he exits this world. For me, it will be every time I drum.

But every now and then, I’ll catch somebody being an asshole, holding their own proverbial goatstick. And I’ll remember that night standing next to Raph, laughing at two who wanted so badly to embody selfishness. I’ll remember how we defeated that with laughter, and I’ll have two words for any purveyor of prickitude.

Burn it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So very nice...

It's so very nice to be loved.

The quite fantastic The Onion over at A Lot of Layers gifted me with this super sweet award. Go check her out, she's pretty damn cool.

According to the rules, as all of these awards have rules, I am supposed to share 3 things I like about myself.

1) My bout with depression notwithstanding, I have a positive outlook. When confronted with the unknown, I can typically land on my feet and, for the most part, stay optimistic. Home improvement also does not count here.

2) I am constantly learning. I refuse to stop and think "I already know all of that." There is more to know. More to do.

3) I have no idea who won whatever reality TV show you'd like to name. No clue. I like this. I do, however, know what happened at Wolf 359, what an Aqualish is, what frak, dren, and frell mean, and how good you can look in a very cunning hat. Just sayin'.

Now I'm supposed to give this award to X number of blogs, but as usual, I'm going to cheat. Go look at who I follow on my profile, they're all entertaining, and a big mix of subjects. Read their awesome blogs, then come hurry back...I miss you when you're gone.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Five Things I Think, Apr 18.

1) I think I'm elated that tax day is here. Granted, it means a walk to the post office to drop off my local return, but the crazy time is now over. Let us peasants rejoice.

2) I think I may be a bit rusty at poker...played a tourney this weekend and was knocked out way early. To be fair, I think the winner of said tourney was using the Force, or perhaps some sort of teleportation device that replaced whatever the River was going to be with the exact card she needed. Note to self: must browse Acme catalog for my own.

3) I think I'm 2 followers shy of my first goal...I have also joined Studio 30+, a blog gathering place for bloggers who are thirtysomethings like me. I'm hoping to learn a few tricks and tips.

4) I think I'm sore enough that there is a shadow me in an alternate universe that is composed entirely of the electrical signals my nerve endings are sending to my brain. Said "otherme" is called Ouch Man. After a full day of hardcore foam fighting (I will explain this soon, I promise), I then went home and broke ground on half the new garden plot by hand, because the lawn not-so-politely told the tiller we rented to fuck off. It didn't have nice things to say to the shovel, either, which is why only half is done. I can't stand a lippy lawn.

5) I think you can find something horribly disgusting and endearingly cute at the same time. Little Danger has either a head cold or allergies, but whatever it is he recently sneezed the entire contents out of his nasal passages to rest on his face, and then looked at me as if to say "What the fuck just happened, Daddy?", with a mucus goatee as if he were the evil version of himself, reimagined by Nickelodeon circa 1985. I may have broken a land speed record for tissue retrieval. I may have been laughing the whole time. I may also have felt sorry for him in equal measure.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I'ts true, I'm taking over. You'll find my post over at Jumble Mash today. I'm absolutely thrilled to do a guest blog, and while you're over there you should read up on her, she's a ton of fun.

Head on over there and read a story from my honeymoon with Wifefish...I promise you'll enjoy it.

Happy Friday Everybody!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Geek update: MORTAL WOMBAT!!!

Holy cow. It is not often that we get to see cool things happen and then happen bigger, but here comes another fine example of awesome-for-geeks everywhere.

A little while back, Kevin Tancharoen got some really cool people together and did a teaser trailer for his idea, a re-imagining of the Mortal Kombat universe. Jeri Ryan and Michael Jai White helped him out with it, and soon there was an awesome internet video that drew a ton of views. It was basically his audition piece to get Warner Bros to let him play with the intellectual property.

Fast forward: they let him play. They're doing a webseries on YouTube, which will add up to about a feature length's worth of time.

They debuted Tuesday. As of today, 2 days later, they have over 3.5 million vies. IN TWO DAYS.

They'll be releasing a new episode every Tuesday. If you have 12 1/2 minutes, do yourself a favor and watch looks good so far, (excellent for a direct-to-web project) and I'm very much looking forward to where they go with it. Is it high art? A magnum opus? Hell no. But it sure is a fun new look at a classic franchise.

So, GET OVER HERE! and click the play button!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Scotchy Scotch, vol 7

Welcome again to the pub for another exploration of Scotch. This week, we’re taking a look at some expressions from Glenmorangie. As an added bonus, we have a guest this time sharing the tasting duties, my very good friend Ruffstuff. This, of course, means a bit longer post, so strap in and enjoy!

It struck me that I have developed a nuanced tongue with regards to Scotch, and that I really like the stuff. I can pretty authoritatively speak to what I sense in the nose and the taste of an expression. But, I thought, what about those who don’t really know Scotch…or worse, those who don’t really like it? How would someone who doesn't like Scotch experience it?

Well, enter Ruffstuff, and he didn’t disappoint. His tastes run more to root beer schnapps, rum, and cruise drinks. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'll drink that stuff 'til the drunk frat boys come home. But enough of that...let's talk Scotch!

Glenmorangie is a Highland style scotch; the distillery is based in Tain, Scotland. As I understand it, they’ve been producing scotch as an official distillery since 1843, though production unofficially started almost a century earlier when the place was just a farm. For those about to play the whisky edition of Trivial Pursuit, they also boast the tallest stills in all of Scotland.

The Original is a great taste, though I don’t have a bottle at current. It’s a 10 year old expression, aged in white oak. I recall it as having a fruity, sweet taste, with a hint of vanilla and peach in the nose. It’s a lightly colored scotch, and is not heavily peated at all. It is, however, more complex than trigonometry. It is the baseline for these next three expressions, aged with different techniques that breed new personalities.

Four very good things

The first of the Extra Matured expressions we tasted was the Nectar D’or. Aged an extra 2 years in Sauternes (sweet white wine) casks from France, the Nectar has a lovely sweet nose which I find adds a hint of rose to the fruitiness, while most tasters speak of a touch of lime and citrus. The wine casks infuse their personality into the malt like a good parent does a child...subtly, not overbearing at all. For me, the taste is very light on the peat, very savory, and very sweet. Tasters concur, citing honeycomb and lemon. Let’s ask Ruffstuff, eh?

“Oh…this is gonna be bad man. The nose? Sweet rubbing alchohol. Good Christ, it smells stronger than 46%. Seriously, do you have some rubbing alcohol? Because we’re gonna do a side by side with this shit.”

And then he tasted it.

“Wow. GAAAAAH. Oooooh. I don’t know if I’d call that a flavor, per se. I’d say it’s most like…gasoline. You sure you got the right bottle out?”

I begin to sense that Ruffstuff is not going to be swayed to the Scotch side of the Force.

The second expression we moved on to was the Quinta Ruban, which is aged its two years in ruby port pipes. Coming off the Nectar, I thought the nose a bit more buttery, perhaps even chocolate-ish. The taste is a magnificent blend of the scotch and the port, and you can truly taste the port in the finish. It is more robust and sharp than the Nectar, but that is no detriment, making this a dessert scotch like no other.

“Is this different? It smells the same…maybe less sugar in the rubbing alcohol. Wait…where the fuck do you get buttery? Were these aged in casks of butter?”

The taste:

“Oh God…it’s the exact same. Maybe a hint of buttery ass, but exactly the same horrid as the other one. Kroger brand vs Wal Mart brand rubbing alcohol. I mean, this is what they use to disinfect wounds, right? How do you pick up on nuance through this rubbing alcohol, man?”

The third expression in the extra-matured range is the LaSanta, which spends its final two years in sherry casks. I found this to have a bit of cherry in the nose, though more refined tasters choose raisin as the fruit they detect. The taste is very smooth, the sherry shining through the malt like sunlight through stained glass: changed by the experience, but still quite bright. Of the three, this is the one in which I tasted the most of the original oak, but I found it transformed by the spices it contained.

“It…it smells exactly the same! It’s Meijer brand rubbing alcohol, you tricked me. Good job. Nice late April Fool’s joke.”

As for his taste buds…

“EXACTLY the fucking same, I’m telling you. The sheer overwhelming taste of turpentine is fucking making my eyes water a little bit. I must be some sort of Philistine, I tell you. How do you drink this stuff?”

Well, I can certainly understand where he’s coming from. I’ve tried many bourbons, but I still find that their best use for me is in BBQ sauce. Can’t stand them. I decided to try a little experiment, though, so I gave Ruffstuff a bonus taste. Remember Scapa? Knowing my friend has a sweet tooth to rival a five year old with blood sugar issues, I poured him a bit of something sweet.

“If this tastes exactly the fucking same, I know it’s a prank.”

He took a sniff.

“I’m gonna go with 70% rubbing alcohol.”

“Well, this is only 40% vs the 46 of the Glenmorangie”, I said.

“YES!!! I can tell it’s less rubbing alcohol!” This statement was accompanied by an arms-up gesture most used in signifying a successful field goal.

I asked if he could taste the difference, maybe the heather honey.

“I do taste a difference…trying to place it…almost metallic, like somebody melted a nickel and poured rubbing alcohol on it.”

I told him that maybe that was the salt air of the Islay nature.

“That’s it! That’s why this tastes like currency!”

As you can see, it’s not for everybody. I poured him a shot of root beer schnapps, and he thanked me profusely. Perhaps you'll find a Scotch you like, perhaps you'll discover you'd rather lick a bicycle seat after the Tour de France, but either way: drink what you love.

Glenmorangie...remember it, and Slainte!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Five Things I Think, Apr 11

1) I think the human face is not meant to break your opponent's weapon when fighting in a foam weapons sport. I look like a Klingon today. QaPla.

2) I think an 8 hour game of Dark Heresy is a great way to spend a Saturday. This game has been going a long time, but is very infrequent in its getting together. Bad things happened this time, and some fictional foe or three are going to pay, bigtime. As Jack Burton once said, "Son of a Bitch must pay."

3) I think that I absolutely adore the first day in spring that the "green mist" shows up, the sprouting of all the leaves that adds a bright green highlight to once-bare branches. It's as if a massive fan brush dipped in a spring green dabbed each living thing lovingly, and it makes me breathe a little deeper and makes my smile a little easier to find.

4) I think that today, I will do something I can be proud of at the end of the day. No idea what it is yet, but I will seize the opportunity should it arise.

5) I think that moments when I am taking care of Little Danger, or just playing with him, make me tremendously happy. I laugh sometimes just looking at him, it's a giggle that starts somewhere in my heart and bursts out of my mouth before I'm aware of it. I think I should bank these moments, and hold them precious, because in only a double handful of years he will be a teenager, and that laugh will not be as easy to find.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Velveeta Vault: 80's Villains

I was inspired, as I so often am, by Wifefish today. One of her recent birthday presents was a DVD of the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon from the ‘80s. Oh, how the nostalgia rolled on. The eyes and minds of children are very forgiving, it seems.

Like many 80’s cartoons, there were cheesy plots and cheesier sound effects. What really stands out in those cartoons, though, are the villains. There’s a reason that we refer to silly villains as “cartoonish”, and I’d like to take a closer look at a few of them here in Dangerboy’s Hall of Silly Villains.

1) Trap Jaw


We’ll start with a villain from He-Man, Masters of the Universe. In a cast of exceedingly silly characters, Trap Jaw stood out as imminently ridiculous. Basically an overgrown smurf on steroids with a primitive bionic arm, he displayed the same propensity as all He-Man characters to run around doing battle in his Underoos.

Granted, having interchangeable attachments for a right arm can come in very handy, but other than his laser gun thing he really missed out on possibilities. Anybody remember the tiny hook attachment on the action figure? Useless for anything beyond towing Skeletor’s ATV out of a mudhole, or maybe opening a can of beer without a churchkey, or perhaps for Skull Mountain Peter Pan cosplay night.

Trap Jaw’s helmet featured a loop on the top, which for the life of me I cannot remember if that tiny circle of plastic served any purpose beyond cranial hood ornament. If you remember, please, say something in the comments!

But the thing that really stood out, and of course earned him the name, was the big iron jaw. Woe to the poor bastard on soup day at the Skull Mountain Kitchen, though surely he’d have an advantage tackling overdone roast beef. I always found it odd that he wasn’t voiced with a giant lisp.

Pro tip: Dude, start your own gig. Skeletor’s a damn loser.

2) Mumm-ra


The antagonist of the Thundercats, Mumm-ra has the honor of being the villain on this list that by all rights should have whipped the everloving shit out of the heroes. He is like unto an evil god, embodying the Ancient Spirits of Evil. His knowledge of magic rivals the worst D&D nerd you’ve ever met blended with Criss Angel and motherfuckin’ Merlin.

He can disguise himself perfectly, just happens to be immortal, and can even walk in your damn dreams. Luckily for Lion-O and the rest of the gang, he has two big ol’ Achilles’ Heels.

Mumm-ra is allergic to his own reflection, and just showing the big daddy of all evil on Third Earth a funhouse mirror will dump his ass right back in his Black Pyramid, there to drink the bitter wine of defeat. He also has very limited stamina, and the more cans of Whoopass Cola he opens up, the sooner he ends up right back in the arms of the Ancients, where they rub his nose in it, looking down their giant statue noses at his perpetual failure to a freaking teenager with a pet Snarf. It’s a wonder he’s not an alcoholic.

Pro tip: Stop with the subtle shit. Use the disguise to just stick a knife in Lion-O’s throat.

3) Starscream


Starscream makes the silly list on the merits of his being a robotic whiny bitch. Look, if you happen to be a freaking robot who turns into a fighter jet and shoots missiles and lasers, perhaps you can whine a little less about your lot in life than the poor robot who has to live as a freaking cassette tape.

Starscream always wanted Megatron’s job as supreme evil leader of the evil Decepticons, but he always seemed to fail quite spectacularly. In fact, some of Starscream’s plots may have been the first use of the phrase “Epic Fail.” It’s exceptionally difficult to run any villainous organization while running away at the first chest shot you take from an Autobot. Starscream was a coward, a liar, and a suck-up, and those are just his good qualities. In his ridiculousness, he served as the perfect foil for Megatron, who admitted that keeping Starscream around only proved he was an idiot.

Pro tip: Stop. Whining. Start. Shooting.

4) Venger


Venger is the biggest weenie on the list so far. Here’s a villain with fangs, wings, a modulated voice, the ability to toss beams of magic about like freaking Mardi Gras beads, and yet he can’t overcome a pack of kids from the ‘burbs.

Let’s face it, the kids should be a pushover. They each have one magical item, true, but they carry no other gear. (Cavalier, buy a damn sword, please. There’s just something ridiculous about rolling around with nothing but a shield.) Their movements are hampered by a tag-along baby unicorn. And yet, Venger just can’t hit them with the coup de grace. Hell, he can’t even tag any of them for significant damage.

And what the hell is up with Venger’s one big horn? That thing just hangs off the side of his head like he’s a damn Vegas showgirl, which is likely a better gig for him after all. He’s less evil overlord and more boogeyman under the bed, as he never really follows through against the kids, even when he has them on the ropes. He goes and waffles on about Tiamat instead, facing the five headed dragon in a replay of Napoleon’s war-on-two-fronts fiasco writ small.

Pro tip: No matter how obsessed you are with looting the bodies, always use your most destructive magics first. If you destroy their all powerful items, then you by default become all powerful.

5) Prince Lotor


Lotor was one leg of the trifecta of villains from Voltron. Like many 80’s cartoon villains, Prince Lotor had the benefit of a well-named home, in this case, a planet. Planet Doom. It’s hard not to sound evil when you’re running a planet with Doom in the name.

Lotor suffered from crippling hubris, though to be fair, it’s hard not to when you spend most of your time sucking down wine in the harem. And yet, in true villainous fashion, the man with a whole harem of chicks became obsessed with one of the heroes, princess Allura.

Beyond his obsession with Allura, he shared a trait with Starscream: naked ambition. He just couldn’t wait to have the throne for himself, and kept getting distracted trying to knock off his father. How can you rule the universe when you’re busy resolving your Oedipal conflicts?

Pro tip: When attempting to rule the universe and crush resistance with 80-foot tall Robeasts, spend less time trying to seduce one of the heroes and just wipe them all out as quick as you can. Then you can pine for what might have been, while being tended to by all the women in your harem. Idiot. Also, get over the daddy issues.

6) Dr. Mindbender


The Doc gets an honorable mention here, representing the villains of GI Joe. Possibly one of the most visibly ridiculous villains ever, Dr. Mindbender manages to be a one-man Pride Parade while still proving a thorn in the side of the Real American Heroes.

Shirtless? Check.

Bald but with a fabulous Freddie Mercury moustache? Check.

Purple pants? Check.

Fucking monocle? Check.

Cape, even with no shirt? Check, check, checkity check.

And yet, despite his mental powers and his ability to harness science like a deranged Bill Nye, Dr. Mindbender remains largely ineffective. In fact, his number one contribution to the list of villains is to create the cheesiest ‘80s villain ever.

Pro tip: Dude. If Cobra Commander won’t respect your uniqueness, don’t go jumping out of the closet and creating new villains. Just move to San Francisco, they will love you there.

Those of you familiar with both foreshadowing and the GI Joe cartoons already know what’s coming. Here it is, the reveal of the absolute cheesiest villain from any 80’s cartoon, the Sultan of Swiss, the Champion of Cheddar, the Vessel of Velveeta!

7) Serpentor


In a hideous plot, Dr. Mindbender creates Serpentor from the DNA of (deep breath), Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Attila the Hun, Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Vlad the Impaler, Hannibal, Genghis Khan, Rasputin, and Sgt. Slaughter. Wait, what? Um…one of these things is not like the others.

There is, in fan-fiction (and the term has been mainstreamed of late), a concept called the Mary Sue. This is a character that is nothing but wish-fulfillment of the author, a ridiculously powerful or popular character that strains credulity. Let’s just take a look at Serpentor Sue, shall we?

Serpentor was portrayed as a military genius with courage, charisma, political acumen, and all-around badassishness that was unsurpassed in all of the world. The troops of Cobra, much to Cobra Commander’s chagrin, all think he is the coolest and join hands around him singing Kumbaya. Metaphorically, of course. This guy is too cool to be believed, and even gets Destro to join in the love-fest at Cobra HQ.

Still, Serpentor is not perfect. Even though Serpentor is made of several DNA strands, none of them are actually a snake…so how in the Sam Hill is he scaled all over? Either something went wrong with the lab work, or Serpentor is not-so-secretly a “furry" dressing in a mascot suit. Either way, it means something hideous.

Of course, Serpentor also suffers from one fatal flaw, rendering him incapable of world conquest, unable to defeat the heroes that he has so obviously outclassed. That flaw is simply this: he’s a bad guy, and in the world of ‘80s cartoons, that means he just can’t win.

Pro tip: Convince the audience that in your spectacularness, you’re actually a good guy. It’s the only way to win.

So, who is your favorite cheesy 80's Villain?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Five things I think: an update

1) I think the human cornea heals incredibly quickly. The eye is fine now, despite Little Danger's best attempt to make me an authentic pirate. The pain of fatherhood is no longer metaphorical. I do not look forward to the days to come when his cranium is crotch-height. Along these lines: Dad, I'm very sorry.

2) I've got a few new things in the pipe. A scotch review is in the works, but I need time to drink, as I'm reviewing 4 expressions. A Les Mise-rant waits for some Wifefish art, and of course I have new fiction up over here.

3) I think I'm ready for this cold weather crap to give up. We had a brutal bait-and-switch here yesterday that had me smiling when I left for work, and pissed about leaving my coat at home when I left for home.

4) I think I am not shocked that Sheen's Torpedo of Truth bombed. The joke is truly on those who bought tickets's always more fun to watch a train wreck from afar...when you're up close and personal, you can't escape the sadness. So it was with the Detroit audience.

5) I think I'm happy that you're following me, and I think I'm jealous of your umpty-thousand followers. Those of you with umpty-ten followers, I'm still happy, just not as jealous. So thank you for following, I very much appreciate it!

I put up a "hall of fame" over there on the right -->, it's got some of the most powerful and popular of my posts. Holy alliteration, Batman! If you haven't seen those before, go ahead and click.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Friday, April 1, 2011

An April Fool.

I'm not known as a prankster, myself. My wit runs in different directions, tending toward the verbose. But today, I feel the fool.

To make a long story a little less long, Little Danger adorably attempted to grasp my nose yesterday. How he could miss such a prominent target befuddles me, yet he managed to firmly stick one of his little baby talons directly into my left eye.

It hurt, preciousssss.

I thought I was fine, until later in the afternoon when it felt like some asshole smoker was extinguishing his Lucky Strike in my ocular orbit. And whereas LeftEye and fire historically go together, I do not like the burning sensation, not one little bit.

Knowing that quite often an eye will heal itself of a minor scratch, I popped some Ibuprofen and spent most of the day keeping the eye closed, or staring at single spots to limit the movement. It bears mentioning that I don't do pain well, and so when more negative items stacked up, I ended up handing Little Danger to Ruffstuff to be entertained, and spending a portion of my evening begging Wifefish's forgiveness for suddenly becoming an asshole.

I think I may need to have a switch installed in my vocal chords, so that if I happen to be in pain and irritable, I can just go into "silent mode". It'd be better for everyone, I think. If we happen to hit the trifecta of sleepy, hungry, and hurt...well, that's when I resemble an angry hippo and begin thrashing and charging the nearest moving target. Wifefish has learned to stand very still sometimes. Ruffstuff throws small objects into other rooms, hoping to distract me.

My moment of fear came at 4 am, when I rose to tend to the whining Little Danger (recovering from a cold). Putting the pacifier in his mouth became an exercise in futility, as my scratched cornea rejected the concept of vision. I had a horrible vision in my head of having to change a diaper while blind, and how messy such an endeavour must prove. I staggered back to the bedroom, feeling my way with my eyes screwed shut.

I stopped in the bathroom for a moment, taking a deep gulp of water and washing my pride down with it. "Wifefish, I need you", I said. She woke instantly, and said "What do you need?"

"I need you to take care of Little Danger, I can't open my eyes right now."

She didn't answer, she just went to grab him. I try not to wake her, ever, for baby things. I just take care of it. But the burning was so intense that tears dripped freely from my chin, and like she always does, she picked up seamlessly where I left off. I wonder, very occasionally, if I actually complete her as well as she does me. There's no "I" in team, maybe, but there seems to be a "We fucking got this, whatever it is" in team.

I forced my eyes closed, and returned to sleep after a half hour or so of gritting through the pain.

Today, I had a visit to the eye doctor, my first in living memory. He dropped a numbing agent in, took a look, and declared that I should be fine on my own in a day or two. The screen's a bit blurred as I type this, but I get to keep my hawk-eyes. If only I had kept my cat-reflexes. As it is, I may still have them...but it's more a cat on quaaludes.
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