Pop Culture Anomalies: The Twin Peaks Board Game

TP board gameDuring the initial success of the television show Twin Peaks, circa the spring/fall of 1990, some pretty interesting fringe marketing popped up. I was fortunate enough to see the pilot episode the night it aired on ABC and – as unlikely as it would seem for a freshman in high school at the time – become completely infatuated with it. At the time I’d fallen into a bit of a bonding experience with my father while watching another weekly drama, CBS’s Wiseguy, which featured Ken Wahl in the lead but more interestingly a young Jonathan Banks and an even younger Kevin Spacey. The show might or might not hold up in retrospect – it’s impossible to find in tact on DVD because of some music rights that hover around the Moody Blues – but by nature of the cast alone you can see it was influential. And at the time I guess it was what my household needed. My father is an amazing man and we’re close, however close in my house probably doesn’t mean exactly what it means in other people’s homes. We’ve always had very separate lives and interests – he’s into cars and all things mechanical while for myself it’s music, literature, movies and comics. Still, we seemed to connect with serialized fiction. Maybe because early on my Dad fostered my love of the visual medium by taking me to the movies as a kid – we shared amazing theatrical experiences with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters*. All this changed though, when I entered Junior High.

Thee Comic Column #3: Brian K. Vaughn’s latest Saga

I’ll tell you right off the bat that I’ve not read Y: The Last Man. I know, I know… I’m going to get to it. Around the time the first trade came out I bought it and dug it – I can’t say I was moved to run out and shake my ever-faithful comic book dealer Mike until he handed over the next monthly issue like I was when he forced me to read the first four trades of The Walking Dead – but I liked it nonetheless. However, at the time I was preparing to move 3000 miles away from home and a lot of sacrifices were made. Y was one of them. In fact, until very recently I’d not really read ANY Brian K. Vaughan other than what he did in the early oughts with Runaways. About six months ago however I remedied that by reading the entire run of Ex Machina trades in very short order and ABSOLUTELY LOVED THEM. West Wing meets modern super hero comics, and if that sounds like it most likely wouldn’t work you’re probably right – unless of course BKV is the guy writing it!!!

The Definition of Spoiler: Breaking Bad Season 5 mid-Season Finale

Shawn: Really? Ok, the fact that we have to wait a year for the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad isn’t a surprise – back before season four when AMC – brainiacs – almost dropped the show and finally settled with the creators on ordering a final sixteen episode season I knew – everyone KNEW – that AMC would pull a “Sopranos” and split it in two. But after witnessing the moment I have been waiting for since Walt walked into Tuco Salamanaca’s and had his distinctive, then not-yet named Heisenberg visage recorded on a security system I’ve known – again, we’ve all KNOWN – it was going to come down to Walt vs. Hank. And so now, here it is: Walt has a change of heart, or maybe better said comes back down to earth from Tony Montanaville* but now it’s too late. All along during Walter’s transformation we’ve seen that he has a serious problem with hubris and it makes a wonderful kind of sense that after everything, all the crazy close calls and chaotic madness, it would be such a simple, stupid mistake stemming from that hubris that would topple him in the end.

Start Seeing the Gifted

Photo courtesy of http://tvlistings.zap2it.com

Two new shows on evening television, “Touch” and “Perception”, explore the idea of what it means to be gifted in modern society. In “Touch”, a young boy named Jake never speaks and is diagnosed with autism. The state is trying to place him in a special home for children with his disability. The father, played by Keifer Sutherland, isn’t satisfied with this and in his quest to keep his son, stumbles across Danny Glover’s character who has studied children like Jake. Danny Glover describes Jake’s world and says he can see connections between people the same way that nature applies the Fibonacci rule. That is, he sees connections between people, places, and events in the same way we notice the diamond pattern on the husk of a pineapple. The father is later able to communicate with his son using numbers as codes which leads him on adventures affecting characters across the globe.

Thee Comic Column #2: The New 52 One Year In

I’ll admit that if you had told me  a year ago that I would be reading ANYTHING from DC’s New 52 Reboot/Relaunch except for the Grant Morrison helmed books I probably would have laughed in your face. Then you would have downed the rest of your pint in one long, arrogant gulp and smashed me in the face with the glass. Then I would have invoked the power of Garth Ennis and kicked your arse.

But color me surprised, none of that happened and I am indeed following several of the *ahem* New 52.

Thee Comic Column #1: The Walking Dead

When I was in fourth grade a bought a copy of Larry Hama’s GIJOE comic book – specifically #49, the birth of Serpentor – and ever since I have been an AVID comic book geek. Sure my interest has waxed and waned over the years – more due to the state of the industry and the quality of books coming out during the 90’s than any age issues – but I’ve always had constants. Sandman, Preacher, Lucifer, Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, The Walking Dead – there has always been at least one book that I HAVE to read the minute I get it every month. I feel fortunate for this – I’ve known a lot of folks whose enthusiasm for the medium has waned at various points and this has never happened to me. Part of the reason was discovering the non-superhero stuff and then ironically enough part of it has been, in recent years, re-discovering a lot of the superhero stuff now that those non-superhero writers are changing it from the spandex muscle fest they were in the 90’s into the (in some cases) intricate works of art and plot they have become in the last ten or so years. I’m telling you – there’s a veritable TON of great books out there right now and I’m going to make this an ongoing column to kind of clue people in to that. What people? Well, I guess I’m writing this for mainly two main groups: those who have never read a comic but are curious after being wooed by the simply awesome influx of  high profile movies in recent years and those who at some point turned away from ‘funny books’ thinking they’d outgrown them. Believe me, in the case of the nineties readers you DID outgrow them – but the industry has finally (for the most part) had a growth spurt and caught up to you. And what a spurt it’s been…

Tom Waits Refuses to Ever Become Irrelevant

I don’t know too many musicians that have been in the game for as long as Tom Waits and are able to remain so consistently relevant and great. What’s more Waits constantly tweaks his boneyard orchestra sound to get something new out of it. This may not always fire on every cylinder for me personally – I can’t say that I love everything the man has put out over the years since Rain Dogs (one of my ten favorite records of all time) – there have been some moments where I felt Mr. Waits might have been repeating himself (specifically on 2006’s Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards) HOWEVER, I’m still kind of convinced this is a shortcoming of perception on MY part, not Mr. Waits and crews’.

Translate