Rivalry

Rivalries can be very compelling things to follow. 70’s football fans had Steelers vs Cowboys; 80’s basketball fans had Celtics vs Lakers; Mac vs PC was always big and it’s moved on to Apple vs Android; foreign vs domestic; McDonald’s vs Burger King; Coke vs Pepsi; heck, soda vs pop is big in some parts of the country.

Today’s entertainment industry showcases another big rivalry. With the soaring popularity of superhero movies it’s only natural that the rivalry of Marvel vs DC is becoming more prominent within the mainstream culture instead of just nerds. My own personal experience with comic books is more Marvel, with a little DC, but even that’s limited. I’m much more in tune with the modern films of their characters. So, let’s take a closer look at this rivalry, specifically the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Cinematic Universe.

Before we get started, I’d like to admit that Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is a favorite of mine even though it’s not part of the DCCU, thereby giving the MCU an advantage.

The Heroes: Well, superheroes don’t get much more iconic than Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. With the exception of Spiderman, Marvel’s later entry into the comic book world puts it at a disadvantage. Even though the MCU hit theaters first, you just have to factor in the history of the big three from DC. But, like I said, we’re focusing on the cinematic universes, and Marvel has more thanks to being in the game longer. They’re a bit more nuanced and cover everything from deeply dramatic to humorous better than their DCCU counterparts. Advantage: Marvel.

The Trailers: Let’s face it, when we’re talking about movies you just have to mention the trailers. Trailers get the audience hyped up for the movie. It’s the tool to help put butts in the seats on opening day. The strength of the story keeps them coming back for more, but it’s the trailer that gives it that first push. Man of Steel had one of the best trailers I’ve ever seen. But, after that it’s almost all Marvel – Wonder Woman being the exception. All of the Avengers, Captain America: Civil War and all Guardians of the Galaxy trailers were fantastic. Yes, with more Marvel trailers to pick from it’s kind of unfair. But so is life. Advantage: Marvel.

The Movies: Okay, I really don’t understand the bad rap Man of Steel got from critics and movie-goers I’ve read on the internet. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I loved that Clark Kent didn’t really become “Superman” until after Zod and his forces showed up. It took a great threat to really draw him out…I absolutely loved it. Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad were entertaining, but what bothered me was the pacing of the battle sequences. I haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, but I’ve heard nothing but good reviews from critics and friends alike. However, it’s very hard to beat the dialog, character development and interaction, and pacing of the MCU films. Whether you’re looking for gravitas or slapstick, you can find it in MCU. I didn’t care much for the Iron Man sequels, but the first was an amazing origin story; Captain America just keeps getting stronger; Thor and Guardians give us ample humor; and Dr. Strange was a visual feast and a very cool story. I’m looking forward to borrowing Spiderman: Homecoming from the library when I have the time (as are my teenage girls, who find Tom Holland hot). Advantage: Marvel.

The Studs: Henry Cavill, Will Smith, Ben Affleck vs Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Chris Evans. Well, I’m heterosexual, so I’ll have to defer to my teenage daughters. The younger of the two saw Man of Steel and agrees with the captain at the end of the movie that Superman is hot. But they both just drool over the trio of Chris’s in Marvel. Okay, yeah, I’m hetero, but I will admit that Hemsworth is pretty hot. Advantage: Marvel.

The Cameos: Okay, I really can’t think of any in the DCCU, but how can anything compare to Stan Lee! Advantage: Marvel.

The Ladies: Okay, this one is much tougher. On the one hand you have a former sexiest woman alive, Scarlett Johansson, a potential sexiest woman alive, Elizabeth Olsen, and the sexiest green woman alive, Zoe Saldana; that’s a formidable trio of ladies to compete against, not to mention the non-supers of Marissa Tomei and Rachel McAdams. But, on the DC side we have international beauty Gal Gadot, truly a WONDER woman; Margot Robbie as a perfect fit for Harley Quinn, fitting perfectly in that outfit; and my Hollywood crush, Amy Adams. Although Lois Lane is not a superhero, her character is so central to the story that she must be included…and NOBODY ignores Amy Adams. Got it!  Advantage: DC.

The Verdict: DC wins!!! After all, I’m heterosexual and it’s all about the ladies.

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Settling the Debate

Penn State sits pretty much smack in the middle of Pennsylvania. And, with over 30,000 undergrads from all over the state attending its hallowed halls, you can witness many great cultural clashes between the eastern half of PA and the western.

One such clash happened to be about whether or not you call it soda (eastern) or pop (western). It was particularly amusing to listen to my brother argue with his western-PA associates about the absurdity in calling it pop. As easterners we were both firm in the moniker of soda, but my brother especially so. And don’t even try to get him started on the, “if it’s from a fountain it’s soda, if it’s from a bottle it’s pop,” crap, either. You can’t have the same substance be two different things just because of its container. Heck, pee is pee whether it’s in the toilet or a cup, same with soda/pop. It’s one or the other at all times. Period.

So, which is it, soda or pop? As you can clearly see, I concur with my brother and fellow eastern-PA citizens that it’s soda. But, you may ask, how to you KNOW? Okay, until recently I couldn’t answer that question, but I’ve been thinking. (Yeah, hard to believe, I know.) It all boils down to flavored carbonated beverages…

Who in their right mind would walk around saying, “I can’t wait to have my cherry pop!”

Why I Hate Valentine’s Day

That’s right, I really hate VD! (Yes, that joke was purely intentional.) It flat out sucks.

Not the traditional view of honoring consecrated love associated with Saint Valentine, just the modern way of viewing Feb 14th. Interestingly, Feb 14th isn’t technically the Feast of Saint Valentine in the Catholic Church – it’s really the Feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius (I may have to check my spellings on that). But the modern interpretation of Valentine’s Day is a bastardization of tradition, much like what commercialism brought to Christmas – a day no longer honoring Christ but instead it has become all about elves wrapping Santa’s packages to deliver to children nestled all snug in their beds. Okay, that sounded a lot creepier than I originally intended. Today, Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate covered strawberries and roses.

How do I know this? Because I’ve been a bakery manager for the past nine VDs and have been responsible for those (expletive) strawberries!! C’mon, people, show some originality. It’s like there’s some kind of law stating men have to buy their wives, fiancees, girlfriends, etc chocolate covered strawberries just because of VD (Yeah, that didn’t sound right either) unless said lady has some kind of intolerance to flowers and/or chocolate. (Just one of the MANY benefits of marrying my wife. Thanks, sweetie!)

Every year for the last eight years I’ve absolutely hated this holiday at work. And every year I tell myself I’m finding a new job before the next one. And every year that falls through. Well, not this year. I’m smart enough to realize that I’m stuck here until I – or the company – drop dead, especially given the increasing number of years since my last editorial job to which I’d much prefer to return. So, I have a new plan for next Valentine’s Day…

I’m petitioning all fellow fellows to help a brother out. It’s time for a new Valentine’s Day gift-giving tradition!!

Yes, brothers, chocolate covered strawberries have run their course. It’s time to think outside the box when trying to get into the box. It’s time to tap into our male creativity to come up with a new gift which will shock our better halves into completely forgetting about chocolate covered strawberries. I know men are up to the task. We, the gender which can casually add, “That’s what she said,” into any conversation has the imagination to come up with a new gift. We, the gender which can turn the most seemingly innocent statement, such as, “Hunting for Pokemon in the park,” into innuendo, has more than enough creativity to complete this assigned task! Heck, I’m giving you a whole year to do it! So, get out there and put your minds to it, especially now in this limbo between the Super Bowl and March Madness – guys, I repeat, YOU CAN DO IT!

Disclaimer: The Jason cannot be held liable for any shooting, stabbing or bludgeoning of any fools who think firearms, cutlery or lumber would make good substitutes.

The Spawn of Satan

This past Saturday was turning out to be a good day for me. Even though we are fast approaching our busiest time of year the corporate office issued the edict that no department heads are permitted any overtime. As I was busted up pretty good with big deliveries to prepare for the Christmas rush I was getting out almost two hours early. Yeah, enough time to finish shopping for stocking stuffers, go to confession and get a few quick items at the grocery store.

However, I was feeling a little hungry and had a hankering for some delicious McDonald’s French fries. I pulled up to the drive-thru, placed the order…you know the rest of the drill. As I was pulling away I pressed the button on my power window only to have said window stay firmly in the open position. Hmmm, this isn’t good. I can’t leave the window all the way down to go shopping, I don’t have a garage in which to park the van to keep would be thieves and critters from entering, and our area was expecting rain later in the evening. And it was Saturday after 2:30…not an ideal time to find a mechanic. Needless to say, my initial reaction accomplished nothing other than to lengthen my time at confession should I be able to go.

So, I drove to Wal-Mart, with the window fully down in 48-degree weather. With no hat…and my jacket in the seat next to me. If you don’t already know, Wal-Mart’s auto center doesn’t fix power windows. I drove home, a little faster than normal as I was going to look up places to get the window fixed ASAP. As I mentioned, the weather at those faster speeds with no hat made for chilly driving; and there my confession would be further extended. (My apologies to the little old lady who I think heard me.)

So, I learned a few things after making some phone calls. Much like Wal-Mart, Sears Auto Center doesn’t fix power windows, either. And, on Saturdays, the national chain repair centers don’t answer their phones too readily. As a last resort, I tried the local Ford dealership. I was not expecting the repair shop to be open, but – SERENDIPITY BABY – I was patched through! Oh, I get to leave a voice mail? Well, a few more minutes in confession won’t hurt. Then, my wife tried to get through.

Meanwhile, I grabbed a pair of pliers and a paper towel. The window was all the way down and I couldn’t get even my fingernails onto it, but maybe, just maybe, I could get the pliers into the window enough to grasp the thing and pull it up. (The paper towel was in case I cut myself with broken glass…which would just result in a still longer confession.)

SUCCESS!!! You know that sometimes you shout out the same words when you’re ecstatic that you shout when you’re angry? Yup, that made for a longer confession. But at least now with a window in the full up position, I could make it to confession, and shopping, without worrying about someone or some thing getting in through an open window.

It was a stressful, and slightly sinful, hour. And all because of McDonald’s! Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that McDonald’s is the spawn of Satan.

But, man…they sure got yummy fries!

Epitome of Random – vol. 20

  • I’m thinking of starting a restaurant which caters to the white supremecists: I’ll call it Cracker Ass Cracker Barrel.
  • My seven-year-old was looking at the shadows cast on the wall next to our coats the other day. “Look, Daddy, this one looks like a bunny, and this one looks like, um, something else.” Good observation, sprout of my loins; good observation.
  • As I mentioned in a previous post we recently potty-trained the three-year-old. We had a near set-back as she was holding in her poops and getting constipated. The other day we told her she could only watch some YouTube clips if she pooped. While we were in the middle of praying our nightly Rosary she called from the bathroom, “It’s tricky to go poop!” Needless to say, it was impossible to maintain reverence for a few seconds after that.
  • I don’t like cleaning spider webs off the front porch because I want the little fellas to catch bugs and I find intricate webs to be beautiful. The other day I saw a leaf stuck in a web and immediately thought, “Hmmm, a vegetarian spider. Cool.”
  • From the keeping-it-in-context department: The other day I was trying to get my squirming son dressed. My wife told my seventeen-year-old, “Go help Daddy put his pants on.” My daughter and I just looked at each other and she began to shake her head. Yup, she’s inherited my sense of humor.
  • I’ve been losing a little weight. Add to that the fact that my canvas belt is old and no longer holds too well I’m often hiking up my britches throughout the day. So, regardless of the excessive cloud cover in my region, many of my co-workers had a great view of the Super Moon.
  • Another good potty-related story involving my three-year-old: She once again was holding in her poops. So my wife thought offering oatmeal for breakfast would help keep the pipes clear. She asked, “Would you like a bowl of poo? I mean, oatmeal?” Hey, I can’t blame her; we were only one week away from the election and poo was all over.

Thank Heaven For Little Girls

I sure love my girls, but this little shout out goes to a little girl who is not my own.

I had a different-than-usual work schedule this week, allowing me to accompany my wife and kids to the homeschool co-op they attend. During lunch break I took my three-year-old out to the swings. A lot of the other younger children were there, too. One little five-year-old girl was on the swing next to my daughter’s, being pushed by my thirteen-year-old.

This little girl asked me, “What’s your name?” So I said, “Jason.” As I continued to push my girl on her swing this other little girl would chat with us, asking my name every few minutes with a silly little smile on her adorable face.

After one such repeat of her favorite question, I answered, “You can call me the cookie man, because I give out cookies to good little kids like you at work.” She laughed, then asked my name again.

Thinking that adding a title of address may help, I answered, “Mister Jason!”

Bad idea, because she giggled out, “Mrs. Jason!!”

“No, not Mrs. Jason; Mr. Jason.”

“Mrs. Jason!” (giggle-giggle-giggle)

This went on for the remainder of the lunch break, between a few other random five-year-old appropriate conversational topics. It really cracked me up. Especially when she was getting ready to go to her next class and called me Mrs. Jason in front of her mother.

It was a great way to start off my week, because the next two days at work were a little rough. I showed up at 6 (usual starting time 7) to place the order which I couldn’t place being off the prior day; an order due by 8:30am. However, my baker had called out the night before (her shift was supposed to start at 5). So, I had to rush my order then start baking about 1:20 after the baking start time; plus I had to also perform my other duties which should start at 7 but had to be pushed back until the 3-plus hours of baking were done.

The next day our baker was back, but my 8am helper called out. That left me as the sole counter person until my 1:30 clerk showed up…all on the day my previous order was to be delivered and put away by yours truly. Fortunately the delivery was going to arrive at the same time as my clerk. But, when I heard it would be over an hour later, I was getting a  little hot under the collar.

Until I looked about fifteen feet away to see my new-found friend and her mother perusing our Sushi department. I got a cookie and walked it over to them. I asked mom if it was okay for her daughter to have the cookie. She said yes. And upon presenting said cookie to the little cutie she thanked me without any prompting from her mom.

“Thanks, Mrs. Jason.” (giggle)

Thank you, little one, for brightening up my day.

And, in case you were wondering, no I’m not changing this to themrsjasonsmind. I work retail…I can’t afford that kind of operation.

Potty Training

A short while back we began potty training our youngest daughter. Let me correct that, off and on over the past 8 months we’ve tried potty training our youngest daughter, a feat not made any easier by having a very active baby boy in the house. However, our most recent attempt was going to be our final, we had decided.

The first step was actually quite simple. I went to Wal-Mart and called home on the cell phone to tell her what kinds of panties were available. She picked the My Little Pony panties and we told her to keep them clean and dry. Well, that worked, because she didn’t want to give the ponies a shower, neither of the golden variety nor any other. However, we were still having trouble with her pooping. No, she didn’t go in her pants, she held it in like it were money. Yes, this was her stubborn streak shining through.

I’ve heard of lots of parents having the same struggle with their little ones; peeing in the potty works out just fine, but pooping becomes a challenge. Of course we didn’t want her to get backed up, so we had to come up with a reward for pooping in the potty. Okay, let’s be honest, the advice-givers call it a reward but all parents really know it’s just a bribe. Fortunately, we had one on tap. You see, when we would visit my parents she would always ask to play with a toy cat that looked like Marie from The Aristocats. She named it White (because Caucasian is too hard for a toddler to pronounce). So the deal was if she pooped thrice in the potty she could bring home White! And, no, we’re not racists – we don’t believe that three browns are equal to only one white, so don’t go there.

So, after less than a week, White came to live with us. Bribery works! (Just ask any career politician.) And we are certainly happy to close out this chapter in parenting with this child. Granted we’re not as happy as the McNeils (click here, you’ll love it), but I certainly have a new-found appreciation for their overall enthusiasm.

If you’ve ever read my earliest posts you’ll know my little blog has no theme. This entry just proves that I’ll write about all sorts of crap!