Ragnarok, more MCU, Phase 3 films

save Asgard!

Thor.RagnarokI’ve now gotten to the part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe where the release dates and the chronology of the movies – or most of the films – diverge. And the various TV shows, none of which I ever saw save for a handful of SHIELD eps, fit in there as well. Fortunately, I’m going to mostly ignore those facts. The titles in italics I saw in July 2020.

Captain America: Civil War (2016). When I used to read comic books, the creative teams often developed fights among the superheroes. Sometimes it’d be a brief misunderstanding. Occasionally, it’d be a more elaborate brawl. Too often, though, the motivation seemed sketchy. Not here.

The Hero Registration Act, designed to limit the actions of superheroes, was embraced by Tony Stark/Iron Man, but Steve Rogers/Captain America balks. I found this film surprisingly emotional, especially with the big reveal. Why it’s a Captain America movie, I don’t know, since most of the combatants were Avengers, but whatever.

Doctor Strange (2016 ) -it was an origin that took too long to get going. And it felt formulaic. But I did like the weird dimensional stuff, walking on the sides of buildings.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017). Apparently, this takes place before Avengers: Age of Ultron, not that it particularly matters. Odd that despite the massive amount of comic book violence, the story was much more interesting to me than the first Guardians. Part of that is Kurt Russell as Ego, whose presence makes the Star-Lord character feel less of a Han Solo wannabe. I also like Sly Stallone’s appearance and the curious character of Mantis. And Baby Groot is cuter.

Heck, even when the music was too much on the nose – Fathers and Sons by Cat Stevens, really? – I found it touching. Speaking of music, it also featured my favorite Fleetwood Mac song ever, The Chain.

Dorky high school kid

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – There was a movie called The Birdman starring Michael Keaton as an actor pigeon-holed as someone who had played a superhero. I didn’t love it, though it reviewed well. Yet I projected that character onto his playing the Vulture in THIS movie, and it worked, especially his threat to Peter while the young man was on a date.

I’m starting to warm up to Tom Holland as this version of the web-slinger. His classmates are appealing, though incredibly patient with Peter. And while he’s hanging out with Tony Stark, he still feels like your friendly neighborhood dude.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – Despite the serious theme – save Asgard! – this turned out to be a very funny film, with great action to boot. Even Doctor Strange was fun in a cameo. Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) is as stubborn as the Thunder God. Hela (Cate Blanchette) appears invincible. The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) is very Goldblumesque. Did I mention the Hulk?

I take it that director Taika Waititi deserves some of the credit. Clearly, the best Thor film.

Black Panther (2018) – I saw it when it came out before I was aware of the events of Captain America: Civil War. This actually makes the accomplishments of this film more impressive. Because the real star of Black Panther is Wakanda itself.

Well, those last two Avengers films and a couple of others will have to wait until next time.

Civil War & great (X2) grandfather James Archer

“74% of all free blacks of military age (18-45) fought for their country, and from all reported casualties, about one-third lost their lives.”

When my sister Leslie and I visited our hometown of Binghamton, NY in October 2017, we went up to Spring Forest Cemetery and visited the graves of my grandma Gertrude Williams, her siblings Edward Jr. and Adenia, and their mother, Lillian (nee Archer) Yates Holland, who had been widowed and remarried. It is very near where they all grew up.

What we had never seen before, maybe a couple dozen meters away, was a headstone for Lillian’s parents, James Archer (1834-1912) and his wife Harriet (1839-1928). It was NOT the separate headstones I’d seen at FindAGrave.com – – James’ shown here from c 2009 – but something more ornamental.

In January 2017, during that cold snap, my second cousin Lisa, whose grandfather was Gertrude’s brother Ernie – though she never met him, as he died in 1954 – was doing some genealogical research.

She discovered James Archer in the 1890 civil war veterans’ census, showing that he volunteered and served from 29 December 1863 to the day he was mustered out on 29 August 1865.

“The 26th U.S. Colored Troops served under the Department of the South (Union Army) in South Carolina and was very active on Johns and James Island, Honey Hill, Beaufort, and a number of other locations.” On this page, you see a picture of the 1000-plus man strong 26th USCT on parade and their regimental banner.

Totally separately, my sister Marcia was going through some old, and unfortunately unmarked, photos that our mother had gotten from her mother. And one of them was this:

Is James Archer one of these men? We have no idea, but we’d like to think so. Cousin Anne, Lisa’s sister, notes: “One clue from the census is he had hazel eyes. Can you tell from the original photo the color of their eyes?” Which guy on has the lightest eyes?

Lisa noted: “74% of all free blacks of military age (18-45) fought for their country, and from all reported casualties, about one-third lost their lives. I’m happy to say, my great-great-grandfather was one of the survivors; he died in 1912, and I’m proud to be able to tell this piece of his story.”

One other detail worth noting: Lillian Yates Holland, James and Harriet’s daughter, wasn’t born until 1866. Had James died in battle, there would have been no Lillian, which meant she and Edward Yates Sr. wouldn’t have had Gertrude and Ernie, which would have meant no Trudy (my mom) and Fran (Lisa’s mom)…

Well, you get the picture.

March rambling #1: Platypus Controlling Me

The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist


What Is Your Name? Where Are We? Who Is President? Oh God

Trump(Doesn’t)Care cartoon

Poor People Need BETTER Health Insurance than the Rest of Us, Not Worse

The lessons we fail to learn: Warren G. Harding

American ‘Christianity’ Has Failed and I don’t want to preach a faith that can be so easily adapted to self-hatred and self-harm

How the baby boomers destroyed everything

The 1862 Binghamton (NY) Race Riot – something I did not know about my hometown

After Slavery, Searching For Loved Ones In Wanted Ads

Coins of the Rebellion: The Civil War currency of Albany merchants

Jobs, Income, and the Future

A brief history of men getting credit for women’s accomplishments

The Weight of The Last Straw

7 Lies About Welfare That Many People Believe Are Fact

Albany, NY Plane Crashes Into Houses On Landing Attempt, March 1972

Contractor sues for $2 million in unpaid bills on Drumpf’s D.C. hotel

Kellyanne Conway’s interview tricks, explained, and her boss’s 10 steps for turning lies into half-truths

A college course on calling out scientific crap

The adult children of him will ditch Secret Service protection once he leaves office

Sen. Gillibrand Has Perfect Response To Regime Misspelling Her Name

‘Where I come from’ we claim universal generalities as our peculiar virtues

Some ‘snowflakes’ can take the heat

The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity, it’s loneliness

About Robert Osborne

Amy Biancolli: woman walks into a sandwich shop

The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist

You May Want to Marry My Husband

This 75-Year Harvard Study Found the 1 Secret to Leading a Fulfilling Life

David Kalish: I am my dog’s seeing-eye person

Coke: Global ad campaign celebrates inclusion and diversity

Alphabetizing Books

Ruben Bolling won the 2017 Herblock Prize

Now I Know: The Boy Who Captured the Wind and How to Claim Antarctica and The Park at the Bottom of the Lake

MEET APRIL THE GIRAFFE, formerly from Catskill Game Farm!

Sammy Davis Jr. Oscar blunder

Cush Jumbo

Lawyer’s Pants Catch Fire During Closing Argument

Garter snakes can be super deadly

Music

Divenire – Composer Ludovico Einaudi

There’s a Platypus Controlling Me (from Phineus and Ferb)

What are the songs that best capture our moment?

K-Chuck Radio: A dose of Northern Soul

Don’t Let Me Down – The Beatles

10 Beatles Covers You Really Need to Hear

Songs about the moon

Bigotry as pack mentality

The word miscegenation was coined in an anonymous propaganda pamphlet published in New York City in December 1863, during the American Civil War.

teens1When I linked to a couple articles about obvious signs of bigotry, my friend Chris wrote: “Holy 1952, Batman! What’s up with all the crazy racism stories? Are they more prevalent or are they being reported more?”

Well, yes. Both, I would assert.

At the same time, I’ve come up with a theory. There was a period that bigotry, at least in the public forum, was considered impolite, inappropriate, untoward. What changed is that people have been able to more easily find like-minded folks online. In other words, bigotry as pack mentality.

So, if Malia Obama is going to Harvard Continue reading “Bigotry as pack mentality”

P is for photography of the Civil War

Civil War photography changed war from something remote to something with visceral impact.

civil-war-005Photography of the Civil War has fascinated me for many years. The Wikipedia says: “The American Civil War was the fifth war in history to be photographed Continue reading “P is for photography of the Civil War”