Superheroes have been near and dear to me for most of my life. Growing up, the hero I most loved was Spider-Man. I used to run around the house, pretending I could stick to walls or shoot webs from my wrists. So much fun. Well except for the time I threw the rope from my bathrobe around a metal coat rack and thought I could swing from it. It fell. Hit my head. I was a young little one…maybe five or so. The rack looked similar to this:
It wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t have the habit of removing the plastic coverings that fit over the ends of the hooks. So yeah, when it fell, I fell, and one of the hooks hit my head. I’m sure it’s just my brain filling in the details from my mother telling me about this, but I “remember” walking into the bathroom where my mom was doing something and she looked at me and freaked out. I had blood coming from my forehead. Parents out there can just imagine how they’d react if they saw blood dripping from the head of their child. Total [justified] freak-out mode. Turns out it wasn’t anything serious, thankfully, but boy did I scare my mom. As I got older, I branched out (though never away) from Spider-Man. I loved the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Alpha Flight, Justice League, Justice Society, Wonder Woman, the Authority, Flash, Thor, the Legion of Super-Heroes, every iteration of the Titans, Captain America, She-Hulk and so many more books. Even though I’m nearing 40, my love of superheroes has not changed. What has changed is the appreciation of superheroes in the world around me. No longer are comic books and superheroes treated solely as “kids’ things”. Today, superheroes are found all across the pop culture landscape, from movies to television to video games. They’ve even spread into non-conventional areas, and here are five examples:
Kris Anka is a wonderfully talented comic book artist (his blog is here).
Robot 6 reports that he is selling prints of this fantabulous (a portmanteau of ‘fabulous’ and ‘fantastic’ for those inquiring minds who want to know) piece:
Marvel’s X-Men titles have by far the highest number of iconic female characters in all of comics — whether it be the superhero genre or elsewhere. It’s thanks in no small part to the work of writer Chris Claremont and artists like John Byrne and Paul Smith, but man others followed, and added to the ensemble, including Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, who created Abigail Brand. And now artist Kris Anka is paying tribute to these X-Men in an expansive, limited-edition print called “Ladies of X 2.”
The title isn’t a nod to the second X-Men film, but rather a reference to a less-populated version of this piece created last summer. Both pieces were inspired by Adam Hughes’ “Women of DC” from 2008, but Anka takes the cake in this new illustration by featuring 19 women affiliated with the X-Men titles, all wearing haute-couture fashions reflecting their personalities.
Going beyond Anka’s illustration, it’s interesting to try to name all of the characters listed here without googling — but also to note the number of female X-Men not featured here, showing just how large Marvel’s mutant bench is.
Anka produced just 39 prints of “Ladies of X 2,” but says online that if he sells out, he’ll consider making more. See the full image blow, and visit his blog for ordering details.
Here are a few more examples of his wonderful art:
If you’re confused by the title of this post, congratulations! It’s not supposed to make sense. Or is it? Peter Norvig, the Director of Research at Google, and his team analyzed their monumental library of Google books. They found 97, 565 distinct words that were mentioned more than 743 billion times. They then compiled a list of the top 50 most frequent words. Guess which ones made up the top 10? Yup-the words comprising the title of this post.
Cecil the Lion (pictured above) was a huge tourist attraction in one of Zimbabwe’s national parks. I say ‘was’ because wildlife guides were paid approximately $55,000 by a guy who thinks killing animals for shits and giggles is a fun way to spend a weekend. Cecil was apparently baited out of Hwange National Park by three men who proceeded to shoot the creature with a crossbow. Unfortunately for Cecil, he did not die. Instead he suffered with his injuries for 40 hours before being found by the hunters who killed him with a rifle. After he was killed, the lion was skinned and beheaded, and his killers attempted to remove the tracking collar he was wearing as part of long-term research being conducted by Oxford. Cecil wasn’t shot because he was a danger to anyone. Hell, he wasn’t shot for food. He was shot for sport. The guides surely knew that killing Cecil was illegal, as they lured him out of the national park, where it is illegal to kill animals. Moreover, they broke the law by attempting to remove his collar. One of the wildlife guides and the landowner bordering the national park have been charged, but Mr. Hunt-4-Fun has not yet been charged. That guy, btw is ↓ this ↓ douchebag: Dr. Walter Palmer.
Imagine you’re a father to a wonderful son. You’ve raised this son for 18 years. One day around his 18th birthday, your child succumbs to a mysterious illness. Your family is poor and you cannot afford proper medical care. As your son’s sickness worsens, he tells you that his sickness can be cured, but there’s a catch: the cure is human flesh. You refuse to entertain the thought as it sickens you, but as your son’s health continues to deteriorate, you decide there is no other option. Thus, you turn to a local shaman who advises you that the only way you can save your son is with a human sacrifice. With desperation setting in, you and several relatives lure a 10-year-old child with the promise of food and money. Once in your grasp, you kill the child. Sounds like the plot of a horror movie, no? Unfortunately this story of modern human sacrifice is all too real.
Growing up, I always believed there were things you were just supposed to do. When I was a teenager, I believed that the proper path in life was to finish high school, attend and graduate college, and find a career. Along the way, I thought that find a girlfriend, settle down, get married, and have kids was to occur concurrently with the pursuit of education and a career. For me though, that path in life had some significant speed bumps. For one thing, I wasn’t one of those high school kids who knew what he wanted to do with life. Even in my senior year of high school, I still had no clue what college major I wanted to declare. I had no clue what career field I wanted to enter, nor what job I wanted to have after college. Many would argue that such things aren’t necessary to know as a senior in high school, and looking back with hindsight, I agree. But as a teenager surrounded by others who had their lives planned out, and living in a society that pushes the message of the one true and proper path in life, I felt that it was important to plot the course of my life. That I couldn’t was a bit frustrating. Adding to that, and perhaps more significantly, was the inner turmoil I was going through as I tried to come to grips with my sexuality. I did not come out of the closet until roughly 20. But even when I was closeted and trying hard to be heterosexual, I didn’t have any urge to get married to a woman one day, even as I knew that the rules in our culture say that’s exactly what I was supposed to do. The thought of marrying a woman literally wasn’t anything I saw in my future. Nor was the thought of having children.
As I drifted through my 20’s, I took several jobs in the service industry, dropped out of college (because I still didn’t know what I wanted to major in, let alone do for the rest of my life), and began dealing with my sexuality. While I knew I was never going to marry a woman, I began to change my outlook on kids. I began to want children. I don’t really know the reasons why. I’m sure there was a cultural component to it. After all, I grew up in a society where it was expected for men and women to get married and have kids. That cultural narrative of the family was (and still is) reinforced throughout society. No matter the reason, the desire was there. Of course there’s a lot more to having children than saying “I want kids” and for all that the desire was there, I never reached a point where having them was a serious consideration.
For one thing, I wanted to be in a stable field before I became a parent. I didn’t want to rely on the highly erratic nature of the service industry as a parent looking to provide for his family. In addition, I wanted biological children and I had no idea how I’d go about it. Just as important-I didn’t want to raise a child by myself. I didn’t think for a second that a family consisting of one parent and one or more children was “lesser” or inadequate (and I still don’t). I felt (and still feel) that single parent families are every bit as legitimate as families with differing makeups. But for me, I felt (and continue to believe) that a two-parent household (regardless of the gender of the parents) made for the ideal scenario with which to raise a child. And since I’ve never had a relationship last longer than 3 months (and as of this writing, I’ve been single for 13 years), any thoughts of having kids were academic at best. Even now, as I approach 40 (hello there December 16, you’re creeping up fast) I still want kids, though the prospect becomes dimmer and dimmer as I get older. One thing has changed in the last decade: I think adoption is a better option. There are so many children around the country (and the world) without homes. Without caring families. Without the love that children desperately need. And I think I have that love to give. I think I could be a father and I hope to be one day.
Once again, I’m here to share unique, offbeat, bizarre, or occasionally disgusting foods I’ve discovered in my travels on the internet. Remember, these are foods I haven’t encountered much (or at all), so while they may be familiar to readers, I’ve yet to try them. As usual, I’ll add my thoughts on each entry and then I’ll give my verdict on whether or not I’d try the dish. First up: