Beanball by Ron Carlson

12 10 2008

Last night I read Beanball by Ron Carlson. It was issue number 99/100 of One Story Magazine. The story struck me in several ways. It was beautifully written and full of characters with remorse about their pasts and guarded hope for the future. It was about the eternal hope that goes along with baseball. It was also about human greed.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I felt the story was going along fine until it got about 75% through. It seemed that the plot took a fantastical direction that wasn’t needed. A simple, straight forward ending would have been stronger, truer to the characters and world created in this story. I seem to remember from workshops in college that being simple and straight forward is the way to go. I just felt this story fell flat in it’s complicated and crisscrossing plot. In the end it was all to neat and tidy.

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A Little George Saunders

28 09 2008

So Shannon’s gotten around to reading some George Saunders and, for once, we actually agree on a book. She actually said that Civilwarland in Bad Decline was worth reading! If you’re interested, he also does a nice satirical piece titled Antiheroes that is quite funny and captures some of the flaws with the television show Heroes quite well.





Captain America #42

28 09 2008


Apparently issue #42 of Captain America marks the end of the current story arc. First off, I can’t believe that I’ve just finished a forty-two issue story arc in this day in age. It’s been absolutely wonderful. The art, writing, and consistency of this run has reminded me why I love reading comic books. If you haven’t read the issue, go to Marvel’s website and preview it here. I don’t want to give too much away considering that the Red Skull/Agent 13 story line ties up and we discover the fate of The Grand Director (also known as the Cap of the 1950s). The important things that come out of this include:

  • James continues to struggle with the idea of being Captain America, but he also starts to get it.
  • The Black Widow and the Falcon continue to be treated as quality characters.
  • James is going to be Captain America for the foreseeable future.
Do I miss Steve Rogers?  Yes I do.  Am I excited to see where this title is going to go now (especially since Thor met James in the Secret Invasion series)?  You bet.
If you want to read more about this issue check out reviews:




Long Time No Blog

21 09 2008

So it only seems like 100 years since I’ve posted a roundup here.  Work, baby, life are all enough to distract me greatly.  Where to begin this week:

Let’s start in literature & books

In comics, we continue to have Secret Invasion…
Off to the rest…
Ok, I’ll try to do better about posting.  Wish me luck…




Summer’s Almost Gone

24 08 2008

My birthday was this week, and for me that’s always meant that summer is almost gone.  When I was a kid it signalled about two weeks until school started.  Of course now it means that school is just around the corner.  No update last week because my Dad and I went to New York to see a few games at Yankee Stadium. While there I did stop at one of the best comic book stores in the world, Forbidden Planet.

It’s going to be comics heavy this week…

  • First, I just read Captain America #41 and while this series doesn’t seem to be closing up any loose ends, I love it. The Red Skull’s plan seems to be coming together and unravelling at the same time, the mental fake Cap is still running around, and James/Bucky is really figuring out how to be Captain America (as evidenced by events in this book). Check out LOTRKing’s review.
  • I also have to mention that Secret Invasion continues to be great. Is the tide turning? It’s starting to look like we might have some hope against the Skrull invasion. My only complaint with this crossover is that I wish the main Secret Invasion book had more and the crossover titles less. I miss the old days when limited series told the entire story (like Secret Wars). In the meantime, check out LOTRKing’s review here.
  • Also noteworthy of late are the Fantastic Four and a new Mark Millar book War Heroes.
  • The AVClub has two comics-related articles this week; one that ties comics to the Olympics, the other is its comics’ panel which also mentioned War Heroes.

In comics and movies, Sam from Electricity & Lust (on his Screenjabber blog) checks in on the Watchmen buzz.

In links, it looks like Electricity & Lust have been out of touch for a while too. They have a bunch of links this week.

I think that might be it for now. There are one or two music items I might write about over at ROCKIST. Off to watch some Battlestar Gallactica and tackle my ever-growing pile of comics.





Two Brilliant Stories

20 08 2008

I’ve read two fantastically brilliant short stories recently and wanted to share them with the world.  They are, however, about as different from each other as two stories could possibly be.  The first one is titled English Cousin and is by Patrick Sommerville.  The story focuses on a teenage boy who has his English cousin thrust upon him.  The uneasy relationship between the two and the main character’s inability to get out of his rut drive this story along.  It was as if the entire world ignored what he had to say every second of everyday – and he decides to take it out on his somewhat smarmy cousin.

It’s part of his debut collection of stories Trouble. So far the entire collection has been great. It’s funny and quirky, but the collection uncovers some real truths about the human condition and how ridiculous we are as animals. How our worries and insecurities make us crazy like a dog that won’t stop scratching itself.

The other story, I found in the May 5th New Yorker.  It’s by Annie Proulx and titled Them Old Cowboy Songs. Surprisingly it has not been released online. This means you’ll have to read the May 5th issue OR other people’s thoughts on the story. The other choice is to wait for her new collection to come out in September. This story was powerful and again showed how our choices and weird decisions can leave a permanent mark on our lives.

It involves a young couple who buy some land in Wyoming in the 1800s and the struggles they’ve escaped and still face in trying to scratch out a living and a family.

Both of these stories come at the human condition from different perspectives but still manage to point out the absurdity of everyday life.





My One Word Review of the Dark Knight…

10 08 2008

Wow.

Now on to the rest of the week’s crap. I’ve fallen behind in my blogging lately thanks to work and a five month old who likes to bounce. Now that he’s asleep I can share a few items and thoughts for the week. Let’s continue with where I started… comics:

  • Marvel’s Secret Invasion continues and LOTR King reviews the latest Avengers installment.
  • He also reviews Thor #10. This title has been slowly getting stronger and stronger and has become one of the more interesting Marvel titles.
  • The AVClub has published its comics panel.  Not a whole lot that I’d read, but it’s still worth browsing.

Moving on to television, a few interesting things…

  • The AVClub reviews one of the most underrated televisions shows of all time… TV Funhouse
  • Electricity & Lust reviews Generation Kill. I’ve been really enjoying this HBO mini-series. Also, check out his new movie blog here.

In technology/Web 2.0 stuff, I found a new website I want to try, Fluther. Apparently the collective will answer your questions. I just wonder how you know if they’re right or not?

In words and the such, more good stuff from One-Story.

Finally, I’m also starting a new project for myself. As I find myself in airports from time to time, I thought I’d start a blog that covers travel. You can find it here, but I haven’t really posted anything yet.