Thursday Quote Day: Dayton Moore

For this week’s “Thursday Quote Day”, here is a quote from Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore:

“Those three things can apply to each of us in our daily lives: get your priorities right, forgive every day, and don’t quit.” (Dayton Moore More than A Season)

The 25th Anniversary Edition 1990 Version: Comic Books

It’s time once again for the Anniversary Edition. This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things. These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1990, the first year of the decade of the 90s. A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we will highlight some of those in this series.

We have previously looked at the year in music, video games, movies, and TV shows in 1990. We now turn to the year in comics in 1990. There were several storylines and characters that made their debut that year.

On the Marvel front, the big crossover event was a sequel to one of the most seminal events in Marvel history. The original event was “Days of Future Past”. The sequel was “Days of Future Present”. “Days of Future Present” would feature crossovers from X-Men, Fantastic Four, New Mutants and X-Factor. Another huge Marvel comic that released that year was in August 1990. That month Spider-Man #1 written by Todd MacFarlane was published. That issue would go onto 2.65 million copies, at the time the best selling comic book.

Days of Future PresentSpiderman1
On the DC front, it was quieter than the previous year. There was no big crossover event and no big series that debuted that year. It did see a one shot Batman comic in February called Batman: Digital Justice. This story was set in the late 21st century and it would be Jim Gordon’s grandson James who would take up the mantle of Batman & would essentially be fighting a computer virus made by the Joker.

Batman_Digital_Justice_cover

There were two prominent characters that made their debut in 1990, one in comic books and the other in comic strips. The one in comic books was Remy LeBeau aka Gambit. He made his debut (briefly) in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 before outright debuting in Uncanny X-Men #266 in August. Gambit would go onto become one of the most popular characters of the X-Men, due in large part to the cartoon series that would feature him as one of the team members. The one in comic strips was Peggy Jean. She made her debut in the Peanuts comic strip in newspapers on July 23rd. She would make appearances in the strip throughout the decade as well as some animated specials. She would be Charlie Brown’s girlfriend and was that way until her last appearance a few months before the end of the comic strip.

Gambit X-Men

Peggy Jean

There are many other comics and characters that were featured in 1990. Is there an issue or character not listed that you enjoy? Leave a comment and share them here. Thanks for joining us this month during our trip down memory lane. We’ll be back next year around this time to look at the 25th anniversary of things that happened during 1991. Until then, break out the comic books and enjoy some classic reading.

Sunday Devotional: Mark 12:28-34

“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”  Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.  And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

Love God, love others.  It all boils down to that.  We are to love God and love others.  Simple?  Yes.  Easy?  Not always.  There are times when it is hard to love those around us.  But we are called to love anyway.  Jesus himself says we are to love our enemies.  He was the perfect example of loving enemies when He came to die on the cross for our sins.

Let us love God and love others with all that we have this week.  Let us love God and others through our words and actions this week.  And let us pray that through our love, that others will come to love God and others as well.

The 25th Anniversary Edition 1990 Version: TV Shows

It’s time again for the Anniversary Edition. This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things. These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1990, the first year of the decade of the 90s. A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we will highlight some of those in this series.

We have previously looked at the year in music, video games and movies in 1990. We now turn to the TV shows of 1990. There were some pretty big TV shows that debuted in 1990. As I mentioned last year, this was still the era of Saturday morning cartoons as well as weekday afternoon cartoons. Along with that, there were some pretty significant prime time TV shows that debuted that are still adored to this day.

A special event that came in 1990 was the cartoon special Cartoon All Stars To The Rescue. It was a cartoon that featured numerous Saturday morning cartoon characters & was essentially a public service announcement against drugs. It aired on April 21st simultaneously on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, BET, USA and Nickelodeon.

Speaking of cartoons, there were some pretty big ones that debuted in 1990. Before getting into specific shows, two blocks of shows debuted in 1990. On September 8th, FOX Kids debuted on FOX. A few days later on September 10th, Disney Afternoon, a block of Disney cartoons debuted in syndication. Onto the shows, Talespin, a kind of remaking of the Jungle Book characters debuted on May 5th on the Disney Channel (it would go on to be a part of Disney Afternoon). When FOX Kids debuted, two big cartoons in that block were Bobby’s World and Tom & Jerry Kids. Two other big cartoons that debuted were Tiny Toons Adventures and Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Tiny Toon Adventures (September 14th) debuted in syndication and features some new characters in the Warner Bros animation world as well as some classic characters. Captain Planet and the Planeteers (September 15th) debuted on TBS and was a ecological slant as they fought against those that would pollute the Earth.

One of the most influential dramas on television debuted on September 13th. That show was Law & Order. This procedural crime drama looked at both the cops and the lawyers as a crime and case developed. It would go on to be one of the longest running series in the history of television and would have multiple spinoffs (including one that is still running in Law & Order: SVU). Another extremely popular TV show that debuted in 1990 was Beverly Hills, 90210. Making its debut on October 4 on FOX, it would be one of the first hits for the network & be one of the defining shows for teens and young adults of that decade.

One show that lasted only one season but was ahead of its time was The Flash. This superhero show based on the DC character The Flash, debuted on CBS on September 20th. It would last only one season but elements (and some of the actors from that show) have made their way into the new version of The Flash that is airing on the CW now.

One of the most popular sitcoms that made it’s debut that year was The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  The show which starred Will Smith made it’s debut on September 10th.  It’s theme song was one of the most popular and recognizable of the decade and the show would later propel Smith onto success on the big screen.

Some other popular TV shows that debuted in 1990 included Twin Peaks (April 9th), In Living Color (April 14th), Wings (April 19th), Northern Exposure (July 12th) and Evening Shade (September 21st).

Which of these TV shows listed was your favorite? Is there a TV show not listed that premiered in 1990 that you enjoy? Leave a comment and share them here. Next time, we will look at the year in comics in 1990. Until then, crank up the old VCR and enjoy some classic TV shows.

Random Thoughts: Favorite Songs with Days of the Week in the Title

I was in the car morning and I had a random thought that popped in my head.  I was thinking about it being Monday and then random songs popped in my head that had Monday in them.  And then I thought about other songs that had days of the week in the titles and I thought about what my favorites were.  So I figured I would write down and share what my favorites are.  Some days are easier to find in songs than others so I had to do a little research.  But here they are.  I start with the first day of the week, Sunday.

Sunday:  “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2

I’m a huge U2 fan and this is one of my favorite songs of theirs.  The story behind the song is that it refers to the ‘Bloody Sunday’ incident in Northern Ireland where 14 people were killed at a protest march.  To this day, the song is one of the most popular U2 songs.

 

Monday:  “Rainy Days and Mondays” by The Carpenters

This was the song that prompted this thought trail.  It never fails if it’s a rainy day or a Monday (or especially both) that the chorus of this song gets stuck in my head.  It is a pretty iconic song and good easy listening.

 

Tuesday:  “Tuesday’s Gone” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Off of the top of my head, this was the only song I could think of with Tuesday in the title.  And considering I like Lynyrd Skynyrd, it’s not a bad way to go.

 

Wednesday:  “Wednesday” by Tori Amos

One of the hardest days to find a song was Wednesday.  The main reason being that there aren’t that many songs that have Wednesday in the title.  But I did find this one by Tori Amos and it’s pretty good.

 

Thursday:  “Thursday” by Jim Croce

You want to know another day that doesn’t have many songs named after it?  Thursday.  I had to go searching and came across this song by Jim Croce.

 

Friday:  “Friday I’m in Love” by The Cure

I’m really glad that I didn’t have to go with “Friday” by Rebecca Black.  This song by The Cure is much, much better.  It’s probably the one song that I know well from the band but it’s a good song to know.

 

Saturday:  “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” by Elton John

Saturday has a lot of songs with it in the title.  But I went with “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” by Elton John.  Especially during college football season, I think of this song for some reason.  I guess because it’s like the song kinda fits the game.

 

So that’s what I came up with.  A random thought leads to a random post.

Sunday Devotional: Revelation 1:4-8

“John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.  Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”” (Revelation 1:4-8)

This passage is the greeting to the seven churches for whom the book of Revelation was written.  John writes to these church at the prompting of God to encourage them and to tell the what was to come.  This greeting encompasses not only who God is but what he has done and also what’s in store.

The main points to remember?  God is everlasting.  Jesus loves us and died for our sins so we could be free from those burdens.  Those that love God and follow Him will be overjoyed the day of Jesus’ return.  Those that don’t, will weep and wail when He returns.  And it is certain that He will return.

This week, let us live our lives with that reassurance.  God is the one who is and who was and who is to come.  Jesus is the one who died for our sins so we can have life.  The Holy Spirit is with us to comfort us and to remind us of Jesus’ return.  And let us love one another and share about Jesus so that there may be fewer and fewer who will weep and wail when Jesus returns.

Michael’s Rankings: Marvel Cinematic Universe Films

I love to do rankings every now and then.  So I figured since I recently saw Ant-Man, that I would look back and review to rank the list of Marvel Cinematic Universe films.  Let me preface this by saying that this is my ranking of the films based on my favorites.  I’m sure some films are higher on my list than in others and vice versa.  Also this is through Phase 2.  Once Phase 3 gets going next year, I’m sure I will revisit this list and adjust accordingly.  So here is the list (from least favorite to favorite):

12.) Thor:  The Dark World

The sequel to Thor resides at the bottom of the list.  Nothing against this film.  I enjoyed it but compared to the rest of the MCU and specifically to the first one, this one isn’t as good.  To me, the plot felt kinda disjointed and the Dark Elves could’ve been used better (or at least have potential to carry over into future films).  As you will probably notice in this list, Phase 2 films will occupy a lot of the lower ends of this list.  I’ll address that more here in a little bit.

11.)  Iron Man 3

While I do enjoy the reference to Tennessee in this film (though there is no location in Tennessee where Tony Stark visits), Iron Man 3 is the least enjoyable of the Iron Man trilogy.  I give it credit, it does reference The Avengers in trying to tie the story in the aftermath of those events on Stark.  However, it feels disjointed and the ending, while makes sense if you look at it as just an Iron Man trilogy, does not make sense when you look at the bigger MCU picture.  Hence, why it’s so far down on my list.

10.) Iron Man 2

The lowest film in Phase 1, Iron Man 2 is better than Iron Man 3 but compared to the rest of the MCU films, it’s not as enjoyable for me.  It does have the debut of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and she does a great job.  But when compared to the first Iron Man, this one misses the mark.

9.) Captain America:  The Winter Soldier

This will be the film that most will be higher on their lists.  Why is it so low on my list?  There are a couple of reasons.  One, I don’t like that they blew up S.H.I.E.L.D..  I get why they did it but I think there were a lot of miles they could’ve traveled with S.H.I.E.L.D. still working and on top of that I didn’t like that they said Hydra was pretty much around inside S.H.I.E.L.D. nearly the entire time of existence.  Two, compared to the first Captain America film, I didn’t necessarily like the tone.  Granted, I’m in the minority on that thought but that’s just me.  It’s a good film and probably out of all the Phase 2 films, it ties most into Avengers:  Age of Ultron the best.  But if I am going to choose between which Captain America film I’m going to watch, this one wouldn’t be my first choice.

8.) Thor

Out of the origin story films, Thor is the lowest.  I like Thor but again compared to other MCU films, it ranks lower.  I like the tone of this film better than The Dark World.  It helps that Loki is more prominent in this film as opposed to the sequel.  I will say the next several films are tough to rank because they are all kinda bunched up together.

7.) Avengers:  Age of Ultron

I’m sure that this film will be one that will be higher on other lists.  And I enjoyed it when I saw it in the theater.  However, the main problem that I had with the film is what made it less enjoyable than some other films.  That problem was continuity.  If you view the film on its own, it’s fine.  However, when you tie it in to the other MCU films, there are problems.  One of the main problems is the end of Iron Man 3 and zero explanation of how Stark went from the end of that film to Age of Ultron.  Hydra is barely around in the film and is a secondary villain at best.  The action scenes were great and I really like that they gave Hawkeye some quality screen time.  He was probably the best character in the film.  I’m going on record as saying this will probably be my least favorite Avengers film.

6.) The Incredible Hulk

This will be the film that is lower on a lot of lists.  But I really enjoyed this film.  And I thought Edward Norton did a great job as Bruce Banner/The Hulk and I loved Liv Tyler as Betty Ross (which is another complaint about Age of Ultron, they dismiss Ross and have Banner together with Romanov…but given that Barton is married in MCU, that option wasn’t available, anyway…).  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Mark Ruffalo fan and what he’s done with the role.  But this film tells a really good story.  I do hope at some point there is another Hulk standalone film.  But until then, this is the one.

5.) Ant-Man

Yes, the newest entrant in the MCU makes my top 5 list.  You can see my post on the film from yesterday to see some of the reasons why I enjoyed it.  I’ll say again that it has a lot of the same beats as the first Iron Man.  It is my 2nd favorite Phase 2 film and if you haven’t seen it, you need to see it.  You really need to see it in the theater.

4.) Captain America:  The First Avenger

Captain America is one of my favorite superhero characters.  And I love the retro feel of this film.  In many ways those two characteristics are what make this film more enjoyable in my mind than The Winter Soldier.  I wish though that the Red Skull had survived (and maybe he did, who knows?) but the tone of this film makes the rewatchability more enjoyable.

3.) Guardians of the Galaxy

The best Phase 2 film to me, this film was a lot of fun.  Of course the cast of characters makes the film that much enjoyable.  The film was unlike any other Marvel film up to that point and it’s charm and quirkyness make it stand out to me.  If there is one Phase 2 film I could watch, this would be the one.

2.) Iron Man

The original classic.  The one that started the whole thing.  I love the first Iron Man.  The story it tells is great.  I will say that I rewatched it a couple of months ago and saw how dated it was.  There was talk of MySpace and there weren’t really any smart phones and a digital camera was used to take a picture.  But it still holds up really well.

1.) The Avengers

To me, the first Avengers film is my favorite.  I love the action.  I love the story.  I love the soundtrack.  It is an awesome film.  If I’m choosing Avengers films, this is the one I’m more likely to go with (that may change when Infinity War comes around but as of right now this is it).

So that’s my list.  Like I said, it’s a ranking of which ones I enjoy the most.  All of them are good films and can watch them again and again.  But given a choice, there’s some I’d watch first before others.  I’m looking forward to Phase 3 and seeing what’s next.

“I Know A Guy”: My Thoughts on Ant-Man

Ant-Man

So I went and saw Ant-Man today.  Granted, this was not an unexpected visit to the movie theater.  I have been looking forward to this film for a long time.  Now, I’m not the biggest fan of the comic.  Ant-Man was one of those Marvel characters that I knew about but wasn’t really into as a kid.  But given the track record of Marvel Studios, I expected this to be a fun, enjoyable film.  I expected this even with the turmoil of losing it’s original director and there were some changes to the script.

At the heart of the film is the main character Scott Lang.  Now when you think Ant-Man, you think Hank Pym.  And rightfully so, Pym was one of the original Avengers in the comics.  And Pym is in the film, but he is much older and retired.  In the comics the 2nd Ant-Man was Lang and his journey was different that Pym’s.  Lang was a thief (or he would describe a “burglar”).  But the reasons he stole in the comics was to get money to pay for medical treatments for his daughter Cassie.  He stumbled upon the suit and basically “cleaned up his act” and would become a hero.

I won’t spoil the film but I will share some of my thoughts.  The essential origin story for the 2nd Ant-Man is pretty much on par.  Lang is a burglar who is just getting out of prison for stealing from a crooked company and playing Robin Hood with the money.  He want to clean up his act and make a better way so he can be back in his daughter’s life again.  But his skills are needed when Hank Pym needs him to break into his old lab (since he no longer is a part of Pym Tech) to make sure his former protege Darren Cross doesn’t weaponize his work (which he does in the form of Yellowjacket).

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang is great.  He is that everyman that is looking for a second chance.  And at the heart of this movie is second chances.  Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas) is looking for a second chance with his daughter Hope (played by Evangeline Lilly).  Hank sees helping Scott out as a way to redeem himself from the loss of his wife Janet Van Dyne (aka The Wasp) and the separation that took place with him and Hope.

In a lot of ways, this film has a lot of the same beats as the first Iron Man.  It is an origin story of a Marvel character that isn’t essentially an A character but a huge component of The Avengers.  You have the scientist and the protege (Pym and Cross).  You have the strained relationship between parent and child (Hank & Hope).  And you have the hero looking for a second chance.

The style of the film is like a heist film (which essentially that’s the plot device for it) which is different from other Marvel films and that’s a good thing.  Some of the best Marvel films have been when it is its own thing.  And Ant-Man is it’s own thing.  Granted, it’s still connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and there are cameos (including the good old Stan Lee cameo) but it’s very much in the vein of other origin story movies.

As far as Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and technically it is under Phase 2), I would put Ant-Man right up there with Guardians of the Galaxy as my favorites.  It had action, it had suspense and it had a lot of good laughable moments.  And that’s a good time at the theater when you have that.  I hope the film does well because it is these type of movies that would hope Hollywood would make more of in the future.