Monday, March 31, 2014

The Bechtloff Podcast: Episode I

So I decided it was time to throw my hat in the podcast ring. In this first episode I ramble on about Churchianity, Muslim super heroes, single moms, and why I can't stand Macklemore. Check it out here.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why Nazis make better super villains than communists.

A while back I did a list of my 10 favorite Nazi super villains, so I was thinking recently that maybe I should do a list of the best communist villains. And as I was thinking about it, it dawned on me, there really aren't all that many. Even some of the ones I thought of barely qualified. For example, being a child of the 90's, Omega Red came to mind. But Omega Red never struck me as a communist true believer, he was just a super soldier made by the Soviet government. He could have had ties to any other government that was an enemy of America for all it really mattered. Hell, one of the closest things to a villain who was a true communist believer was that neighbor from that one episode of American Dad.

But why are there so few communist super villains? Well, I think it's because on one level, communism is sort of opposed to the mere idea of being "super". I don't want to get too bogged down in all the various forms this basic philosophy as taken, the differences between communism and socialism for example, but what is communism really but an attempt to make us all equal? Not merely equal in the sense of we all have equal rights, but in the sense of us actually being equal. I remember in Red Son, that alternate universe story Mark Millar wrote where Superman's rocket landed in Soviet Russia and he became the communist Superman, even some of the leaders of the Soviet government in that story admitted that Superman's obvious superiority poked at the very communist ideal he fought for. Communism by it's nature just sort of promotes mediocrity. But the Nazi's were all about building a better world and indeed a "better" humanity. The Nazis wanted to be superior, communists want to be equal. Seems pretty obvious which one makes the more impressive villain.

As I was trying to find some villains to make a list out of, there was really only one that was truly threatening, truly imposing, and yet still the absolute embodiment of the communist ideal, the Borg from Star Trek.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review of the Week: Superior Spider-man #30

Goblin Nation rolls on. Last issue Ock-Spidey and Spider-man 2099 (who has been stranded in the present day for a while now) were fighting some of the Jameson's robots that the Green Goblin had taken over, this issue the Goblin tells Ock-Spidey through one of the robots that he has his midget girlfriend Anna Maria hostage and will only tell her where she is if he abandons the time displaced Spider-man to a fight he can't win, which Ock-Spidey promptly does.
 Also as we cut through various people dealing with Goblin uprising, we see Liz Allen, former daughter in law of Norman Osborn in possession of a Green Goblin mask. So is she truly behind the mask, as many on message boards have speculated, or is this just a red herring and she is only in league with them? Anyways when Ock-Spidey goes to where is girlfriend is supposed to be, he finds it's just one of the various children he has saved in recent months. She's suspended before a subway train and Ock-Spidey hesitates to save her, fearing he might die leaving no one to rescue Anna Maria. It's at that moment when Peter Parker, who has been hiding in the back of Ock-Spidey's brain, takes control and saves her, which exposes his presence to Ock. Ock and Peter then have a heart to heart where Ock admits he has failed, and for the good of the city and his love Anna Maria, he goes to Parker industries and uses the machine to erase himself from their brain, allowing Peter, who Ock now admits is the true Superior, to save the city and Anna where he can't.

This issue was fantastic. With comic books being what they are, for better or worse I realize Otto will eventually be back somehow. But if by some remote chance Marvel were to actually leave this death be, I could think of no greater ending for Otto Octavius' story than this issue. This was downright powerful stuff in this issue. It will be interesting to see just how Peter cleans up Otto's mess next issue. And before I wrap it up, there was a scene where the Avengers were fighting along side Cardiac near his underground clinic I just have to comment on.
You sir, Mr. Stark, are a fucking toolbag. First of all, now is not the time to even be thinking about that, second of all Cardiac was giving people shots at cures, no one was being forced to partake in these experiments. Sorry if he didn't fill out the proper Obamacare forms you big brother douche. I'm starting to think Ock-Spidey was right, the Avengers are a bunch of tools.

So with that said, this was one of the best Spider-man issues I've read in years. I give it five out of five erased super villain consciousnesses.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What hope is there for a kingdom, when even the jester can't be honest? (Or how the social justice crowd is killing comedy)

Sometimes the hardest part of writing a blog post is starting it. When you have a bunch of things to say where exactly do you begin. I think I'll start with a quote from Captain Capitalism.

"Humor, it is my humble belief, is proof of a high intellect.  Squirrels don't laugh.  Cows don't cut jokes.  But humans do.  It is humor that not only makes humans human, but is also the primary reason I believe there is a god and that humans are indeed special"

This was from a post in which he talked about how the leftists are deteriorating mentally, and one of the things he was pointing to was how more and more they lack any sort of sense of humor. I've been noticing this as well. These people, who I like to call the Left Wing Moral Majority, as they remind me of the joyless religious right jackasses who were prominent in the 80's, they have a complete inability to take any joke that doesn't attempt to reinforce their view or makes fun of any group that isn't Christian, white, and male.

A good example of this came from a video I watched months ago by Film Brain, I mentioned this a little bit in the one podcast I did with Aurini, so some of you might have heard this already, but Film Brain was reviewing I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James. The premise of the movie was that two straight guys get fake gay married so one can get on the others health insurance. Over and over Film Brain just whined and bitched that the movie was homophobic. Now mind you, I'm by no means saying this was a good movie. Like most Adam Sandler movies and all Kevin James movies, it's a coat hanger abortion, but the problem with it isn't that it made gay jokes, the problem is that those jokes just weren't funny. But had those jokes been hilarious, I get the feeling Film Brain and others like him would still be calling it hate speech or some crap.

Now I don't want to single Film Brain out, it's just an example that illustrates the point. Over and over again you see these social justice warriors attack and try to shackle comedy to their agenda. Internet Aristocrat did a some great videos on the subject. These people are every bit as joyless and humorless as the most dour religious right member, only they have a great deal more power than those guys ever did in my lifetime. I've said we need to defend geek culture from them, and we do, but humor is even more important. Humor is the last place you can truly speak your mind. The jester can say things to the King no one else would dare. So what hope is there for freedom of expression where even the jester fears to speak his mind? Humor is important, far far too important to let these moralizing leftist bullies kill it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Separating the Game Boys from the Men: Jurassic Park

Special thanks to Cameron at The Null Zone for giving me a copy of this game. The Sega Genesis version of Jurassic Park is one of the best games in the Genesis library. It had shades of survival horror before that was even a thing. The poorly named sequel, Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition is also pretty fun, although not quite as good. But could a Game Boy version of Jurassic Park really be any good?

Well it's actually not bad. It's certainly not as good as its Sega cousins, but it's a decent Game Boy game. You play as Grant, or at least I assume it's Grant as he has the same hat, and you have to collect or destroy all the eggs in a location before you can move on to the next. There are various types of dinos who come after you, the little compies being the most common. You can shoot them but bullets can be pretty scarce and the enemies re spawn infinitely, so it's best to just try and avoid them as they don't move fast anyways and only use your bullets when you're cornered.

There really isn't all that much more to say about this. If you have a Game Boy it's definitely worth getting, it's pretty amusing and is usually dirt cheap.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Separating the Game Boys from the Men: Pokemon: Yellow

I never really got onto the Pokemon band wagon when it first hit. I mean sure, I was aware of it, and I even watched the show a little bit, usually just because I was waiting for episodes of Batman or Batman: Beyond, but I never played the games until a couple years later, 2002 to be exact, when Pokemon mania had faded quite a bit. A friend of a girlfriend had left a Game Boy with Pokemon Red at her apartment and I found myself playing it to pass the time while I would wait for her to get ready for where ever we would be going for the evening. I never played all the way through it but did find it enjoyable. So while I have fond memories of Pokemon, it doesn't really have the same nostalgic charm to me that Mario, Sonic, Mega Man, or Zelda have. But if I'm going to be looking at Game Boy games I really can't pass this franchise over.

The reason I got Yellow to review is I wanted to do one of the original generation and Yellow was the first one I found under $25. These games are surprisingly expensive for Game Boy games. From what I understand however Red, Blue, and Yellow are all almost the exact same game, minus a few changes here and there. Although when I mentioned that to a friend who was a fan he swore up and down they were all very different. I realized that's how I must sound as a Mario fan when I try to explain that flying with the raccoon tail in Mario Bros 3 feels different than the bunny ears in Mario Land 2.

Alright, with that background out of the way, let's talk about the game itself. Well, you capture Pokemon, level them up with XP battling other Pokemon, battle gym leaders for badges, and on the side thwart the semi evil plans of the worst organized crime cartel in history, Team Rocket. This version stands out as it attempts to bring elements from the cartoon into the game. For instance you don't get to chose the first Pokemon you get from Professor Oak, you're stuck with a Pikachu. When you first get him, he doesn't want to stay in his pokeball, and instead just follows you around. When Professor Oak tells you he doesn't like pokeballs my reaction was "Who the hell cares? Get in the damn ball Sparky." What the hell kinda trainer lets the animal call the shots? But anyways he follows you around and you can actually talk to him too. He hates you at first, but warms up to you. Not that it really matters as it doesn't seem to affect gameplay, I never had him disobey me in a battle. In fact the only time he disobeyed me was when I bought the Thunderstone to evolve him and he refused, just like in the cartoon. And he even supposedly loved me at that point. That really pissed me off actually, I spent a lot of money on that thing. The other thing they bring in from the show is occasionally you fight the Team Rocket characters from the toon.

As for difficulty, this game really doesn't have any except for just the process of grinding for XP and occasionally figuring out where to go next when the path isn't all that linear. The grinding however can get extremely annoying, especially around the time of the 2nd gym. You see the 2nd gym has Brock, who uses rock type Pokemon. And guess what rock types are completely immune to, that's right, electricity. And you don't get any of the types that rock types are vulnerable to before this gym, so I found myself having to grind up XP like a mother fucker to get my Pikachu (and my couple of others who were no better against that type) up to a high enough level so that Pikachu's tackle could take them down.

As with all Pokemon games you can name yourself, your Pokemon, and your rival, Professor Oak's grandson. I don't know about you, but I just loving abusing the hell out of the naming feature. I named my rival FAGGOT just because it made me laugh to see his grandfather call him that. At one point I had a Grimer, then later Muk that I named MUDTHUMPER, and a ghost Pokemon I named RAPE DEMON. Truly, sometimes the simple pleasures in life are the best.

All in all I really liked this game and can see why it became the phenomenon it did. Mind you, it certainly had its major flaws. The grinding can be tedious, and it's the game's only source of a challenge. Also I'm no real fan of turn based combat. And for a franchise who's tag line is "Gotta catch 'em all" it seems pretty stupid that I can run out of room to store Pokemon I've caught before I have indeed caught them all. But it's still a lot of fun. Many of the designs on the first generation of Pokemon are really cool, as I said the naming feature can be pretty fun, and there's a certain satisfaction in being able to rip through battles like tissue paper once you get you're core group of Pokemon built up to a high level. If you've never played it, you should definitely give one of the original three versions a shot, but given the stupidly high prices I've seen Red, Blue, and Yellow going for I would shop around a bit before you do.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I guess the video game industry owes Jack Thompson an apology.

The Game Developer's Choice Awards has given Anita Sarkeesian an Ambassador Award. Let that sink in for a moment. An Ambassador Award is meant to be given to someone who isn't a developer but has still fought for the gaming industry and community's interest in the general world. Someone who helps video games "advance to a better place". So in other words, the exact opposite of what Anita has done. And on the off chance that anyone at the GDC who was involved in giving Anita that award happens to read this, shame on you. Just fucking shame on you.

But in this disgraceful mess I can't help but be reminded of Jack Thompson. Remember him? He was a right wing Churchian activist who went on a crusade against the gaming industry. Back then the gaming industry responded as one would expect, treating this guy like the hypocritical moralizing busybody he was. But then came Anita Sarkeesian, a lying moralizing leftist busybody, and many industry professionals just can't seem to kiss her ass and make excuses for her lies enough. Even Mr. "stand up for gamers, fight the power" Angry Joe went all white knight for her.

So we have two moralizing busybodies who tried to bully the video game industry into bowing down to their respective social agendas. One got stood up to, the other got an award. That hardly seems fair now does it? So I guess the video game industry owes Jack Thompson an Ambassador Award and an apology. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review of the Week: Daredevil Vol 4 #1

For those of you who don't know, in the recent issues of DD, Matt Murdock had to admit he was Daredevil under oath in order to expose a white supremacist group that had infiltrated all sorts of levels of the New York justice system. He ended up disbarred by the state of New York, and has relocated to San Fransisco. He has moved with his girlfriend and now law partner Kirsten McDuffie and is openly helping the Mayor and SFPD as both Daredevil. In this issue he hunts down the kidnapped daughter of the deputy mayor.

If you love super hero comics you need to read Daredevil right now. Mark Waid's run has been, and continues to be fantastic. This is easily one of the best books out there right now. In fact, my biggest complaint is the new number one. These multiple volumes are really getting out of hand and can confuse the hell out of new readers why try and hunt down back issues. I mean this is DD's fourth volume. I don't even want to think of how many Captain America is at. Knock it off with the new volumes Marvel.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My 10 favorite TV characters.

I don't think I need any fancy introduction here, this is pretty self explanatory. As with all lists this isn't meant to be any sort of definitive "best" list, just my 10 favorites. And I have decided to limit myself to only one per show, otherwise half the list might be from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

10) Trevor Hale AKA Cupid (Cupid). Right about now I might have lost some of you. Very few remember this short lived show. I did a review of it a while back, the premise was that this guy claimed he was the Greek God Cupic who had been punished by Zeus had been banished to Earth and stripped of his powers until he can set up 100 couples in true love. He ended up in a nut house due to these claims and ended up released under the supervision of his doctor/potential love interest under the name Trevor Hale, a name he apparently made up to get out of the looney bin. The show only ran for a year back in 1998 before it's untimely cancellation but I still remember it very fondly. Maybe my opinion is colored by how I think this show never got a fair shake, but I loved Jeremy Piven's portrayal of this character. The show was never explicit as to whether this guy was who he said he was or just a lunatic, albeit a charming and brilliant one. This character was something of a Rorschach test, you could see him either way depending on what you wished to see and that really stuck with me as something kinda unique for a network show.
9) Jack McCoy (Law and Order). Good old Hang 'Em High McCoy. This character really made this show for me, he was a perfect balance of ruthless and fair. He never wanted to convict the wrong man, but if he felt you were guilty he was going to nail your balls to the wall. Jack McCoy's speeches and maneuvers are some of the best court room drama you'll ever find on TV.
8) Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory). There is something about a character who's genius borders on mental disorder I've always loved. The Big Bang Theory certainly has its flaws and its low moments. I think the show has really slipped this past year, and season one was terrible, in fact I find the pilot virtually unwatchable, but it's hard not to love Sheldon.
7) Dr. Perry Cox (Scrubs). Because sometimes the biggest asshole actually cares the most. Sure, Dr. Cox was hilarious when he went off on rants, particularly when he would tell that pussy J.D. things like "I'm gonna write you a prescription for two testicles, you go ahead and get that filled at your leisure.", but in many ways when it really counted, nobody cared more and was more reliable than Cox. Even with J.D. it seemed clear to me that, even though Cox would never admit it, he was only so hard on him for his own good.
6) Moria Queen (Arrow). What's that you say, you're not watching Arrow? Well tell me, how does it feel to be so wrong? I could probably put 3 or 4 characters from Arrow on here, but like I said, one per show, and Oliver Queen's mom Moria is the most complex, the most surprising character on that show. She has lied and manipulated everyone around her, but I never got an impression she was an evil woman, but rather her dealing with show villain Malcolm Merlyn seem to truly be something that just got out of hand with her. She never ceases to surprise me both with how loving and how ice cold she can be.
5) Batman (Batman: The Animated Series/Justice League/Justice League Unlimited). To me, this is the single most definitive version of the Caped Crusader to have ever seen the big screen, the small screen, or even the comics. This version was cold, capable, and dark, while still retaining some of his humanity and even a sense of humor. So many takes on Batman go too far into the darkness that Batman just becomes a douche bag. To this day when I read a Batman comic I hear voice actor Kevin Conroy's voice.
4) Al Bundy (Married with Children). Al Bundy was manosphere, reactionary, and red pill before it was cool. Go on Youtube sometime and check out some of the characters famous rants, especially against feminists and fat chicks and you'll see what I mean. There was something about this Willie Lowman type lower middle class loser that was always so endearing. They say that during Ed O'Neill's audition for the character he stopped right before he got to the front door of the house, hung his head, and sighed. That wasn't in the script, he added that and that's when the show's creators knew they had their man.
3) Dr. Gregory House (House). Speaking of genius that borders on insanity. There really isn't much to say about this character that hasn't already been said, this is one of the most critically acclaimed performances of the last 20 years. It's a shame the last season and a half or so of this show turned out to be such a train wreck. This character deserved a better send off.
2) Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek: The Next Generation). Like I said, if I didn't limit myself to one per show I could fill half the list with characters from this show. I could go on and on talking about Picard, but I'll put it simply. Why is Picard awesome? Because...THERE....ARE...FOUR...LIGHTS!
1) Robert Goren (Law and Order: Criminal Intent) Vincent Philip D'Onofrio is probably one of the single best character actors out there right now, and this was one of his finest roles. This character was imposing, awkward, unpredictable, and intense, but also absolutely brilliant. So often he came so close to going over the edge mentally, but his partner Alexandra Eames always kept him anchored. I chose to believe he eventually started tappin Eames. Seems like a fitting end for the character. They ought to use him in future Law and Order series as an internal affairs guy now and then. That would seem a good fit for him. If you haven't watched this show you really should. It's only shown in rerun on like 40 different channels.

So there you have it, my 10 favorite TV characters. Disagree? Well then, go make your own damn list.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Macklemore is the worst thing to happen to rap in decades.

Even though I don't seem like the kinda guy who should, I've always loved rap. Rap had balls, rap had edge, rap said whatever it wanted and if you didn't like it there were zero fucks to be given by it. Rap had shit to say, and whether you agreed with it or not you had to respect the stones it took to say some of the things it said. And rappers were some hard ass mother fuckers. All ex crack heads and pimps, coming from broken homes in shitty neighborhoods. Rappers used to be in the news for getting shot and killed. Snoop Dog was on trial for murder at one point. Many of these gansta rappers might have been bad men, but there was no doubt they were real men. And now rap's biggest rising star is Macklemore.

Now I wanted to like this guy, his first hit Thrift Shop was a welcome counter balance to all the mindless "look how much money I got" rap. But then he had that boring preachy ass song Same Love in which he really pissed away the good will he earned with me with lyrics about how rap needs to be more sensitive. "Fuck the police" had degenerated into "Don't say faggot, that's mean.". And just the other day Macklemore went on Instagram to do a short rap about putting the toilet seat down. This was his message he captioned this video with:

ITS TIME THAT US MEN STARTED RESPECTING TO THE BASIN THAT OUR QUEENS SIT ON! LETS RAISE THE NEXT GENERATION TO HAVE BETTER AIM SO WOMEN DONT HAVE TO PEE & POOP ON OUR PEE!...and IM NOT TRYING TO POOP ON YOUR PEE EITHER! BASICALLY, TO ALL THE FRAT GUYS AND SHITTY DADS, QUIT FUCKING UP THE DEUCE SESH FOR THE REST OF US! BUMP THIS CUT IN ALL AIRPORT BATHROOMS AND FOOTBALL GAMES! FUCK A DRUNK DAD PISSING ON THE GROUND, AND A FRAT BRO TOO HAMMERED TO HANDLE HIS DANGLER! MAN UP AND LEARN DONG CONTROL!...IM OUT!!!

Can you imagine Dr. Dre putting this out back in the day? And "POOP & PEE"? What are you, five? And I just want to reiterate, he's rapping about cleaning the fucking toilet so his girlfriend doesn't get mad at him. That's a pretty long damn way from "Big Pimpin" isn't it? Rap went from smackin dem hoes around to the most degenerate form of beta whiteknighting. Someone needs to ask Shug Knight if he can dangle this punk off a balcony, because he desperately needs it. Macklemore is the worst rapper out there right now, and that's saying something because rap is in a sorry ass state these days. But still this pussy is the worst. Sure Lil Wayne is borderline retarded and he looks like he smells bad, but at least he's still got his nads. Sure, Pitbull is a soulless void of a human being who can rap for 3 minutes straight and say nothing of anymore substance than stating the fact that he's from Miami, but hey, a blank canvas is still better than one with shit smeared on it. Anything is better than this beta hipster pussy. I hope while he's scrubbing the toilet for his "QUEEN" and putting it on social media she's out getting porked by a real man. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm gonna listen to some NWA.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review of the Week: Superior Spider-man #29

Goblin Nation continues, this time with two Spider-men for the price of one. The Goblin army continues to terrorize New York, with the Avengers responding, meanwhile Ock-Spidey tries to undo the Goblin formula on Carlie with the help of his business partner Sajani, but of course he must bail on that when the Green Goblin contacts him on his com and calls him out by bombing several places near and dear to old Ock-Spidey like the house Otto grew up. The Goblin lures Ock-Spidey to Empire State University where he has Don Lamaze hostage. Goblin then takes control of the mechanical arms in Ock-Spidey's suit, and Lamaze actually saves Ock-Spidey from the flailing arms at the cost of his life. Then some of Mayor Jameson's Spider-Slayers show up and attack Ock-Spidey since Jameson is convinced he's in league with the Goblins. And wouldn't ya know it, that's when Spider-man 2099, who's been stuck in the present day for a while now, shows up to help. But before he's willing to help he demands to know what the hell is up with him and why he's so different. And then Norman Osborn hacks into the Spider-Slayers and takes them over.

Forgive the rather hectic plot synopsis but this was a rather hectic issue, with not so much a main plot to it as several little intertwined sub plots, but that's to be expected with the middle issue of a story arch intended to wrap up something as big as the Superior saga. And I didn't even cover everything here. The back and forth between Norman (assuming it is indeed Norman, that's still not 100% clear either way) and Ock was great, I really like how Norman admitted he was pissed that Ock had killed Spidey and not him. It was good to see Spider-man 2099 used as well, I mean what was the point of having him stuck in the present day if they weren't going to use him. The artwork is solid and enjoyable as well. I'm loving where Goblin Nation is going so far and I can't wait to see how Superior wraps up.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How should studios respond to actresses getting pregnant?

So you may have heard the news that actress Scarlett Johansson is pregnant, the question everyone is asking is how this will effect the second Avengers movie with it filming as of now. My question though is why do studios tolerate this?

Think about it, how often have you heard about production on a movie delayed due to this sort of thing? And it's even more common in TV, many a show has had to work around an actress' pregnancy, fequently to the detriment to the show's quality. So why do studios not put their foot down? I can already hear some of you "Well it's her body...she can have kids when she wants...it's not the studio's business...blah blah blah." But it is the studio's business. As I said, it really throws a wrench in ongoing projects like a film series or TV show. These actors are required to stay in shape for these sorts of rolls, so why not have a clause in a contract telling an actress she may not get pregnant? I mean, regardless of what some irresponsible single moms out there like to say, pregnancy is one of the easiest things to avoid, we do live in a country which, despite the best efforts of the Churchianity crowd, has any and every form of birth control easily accessible. So why not make them sign it and penalize them should they breach the contract?

Well, that question is somewhat rhetorical, I know exactly why you won't see studios enforce such a standard, despite the fact that it would be beneficial both to the studios and the audience, there would be a nasty nasty uproar. Like the issue of pornography, this would see another alliance formed between the Churchians on the right and the feminists on the left. Churchianity has a deep disdain for even non abortive birth control of any kind, mostly because they have an absolute obsession with breeding. It's ironically very Darwinian from the crowd that embraces the likes of Ken Ham. Feminists simply oppose any accountability for women, so they would obviously oppose such a standard.

So yet again we have an area in life where the feminists and the Churchians walk hand in hand to make sure women are never held to account, even when their choices harm or outright derail multimillion dollar projects.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Churchianity's fear of medical science.

It seems scientists may be on the verge of being able to swap out a mother's mitochondrial DNA in a cell with that of another woman. You see, you inherit your chromosomal DNA from both parents, but your mitochondrial DNA from just your mother. As I understand it, mitochondrial DNA doesn't really have the same effect on your nature as chromosomal DNA, it more just has to do with being the power center of the cell, and can have a big effect on your aging. I'm by no means a doctor, so if I have that wrong any reader can feel free to correct me on that in the comment section.

Well, Eric Metaxas had something of a fit about it over on Breakpoint yesterday. Oh Metaxas, I really don't want to pick on you as much as I tend to, but you just constantly give such wonderful examples of what's wrong with Churchianity. He throws around the usually boogeymen, he calls it eugenics, says that it's going to make "Frankenkinder" and of course  makes the nebulous claim that it's "Playing God". I never understood that last one. Isn't all medical science playing God at some level? I mean maybe this proceedure is a bad idea, I'm not saying we shouldn't ask questions as medical science advances, but screaming "playing God!" at every step it takes is not the way to have that conversation. This is the same mentality that was against blood transfusions and organ transplants when those things were new. But most egregiously in this article Metaxas slanders the researchers of the human genome project as Godless mad scientists quoting author Roger Shattuck that they were "“often more interested in genomes … than in humans.” Many of them thought nothing of “editing our genetic text.”". Never mind that the director of that project was a Christian named Francis S. Collins, who considered the study of genetics to be an act of worship as he marveled at God's handiwork and hoped his research could cure, or at least better treat things like Cystic Fibrosis. It's also of note that Metaxas rather quickly brushes off claims that this mitochondrial DNA swap could be used to cure afflictions as mere "justification" for this clearly unjustifiable mad science. That's not a surprising attitude, remember these are the same types of people that actually argue that we should not attempt to cure Down Syndrome. Churchianity practically spiritually fetishizes suffering and weakness.

Now certainly there needs to be some basic ethical restraints on how research is conducted, but it isn't really the methods that Churchians really hate and fear, it's the discoveries. They don't want us to know how the world and universe around us functions. It's not just the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they don't want to eat from, but the Tree of the Knowledge of Any Kind they recoil from. Metaxas says in his article "some things are better left unknown", because "for every Prometheus, there is a Pandora’s box".

There's just one problem with that head in the sand approach. Technological advancement and scientific discovery are all but inevitable. So long as civilized man walks the earth, he shall pursue these things.  I'm not saying that there shouldn't be rules applied to these pursuits, as I said we need ethical restraints about the methods of research, nobody wants a bunch of Dr. Joseph Mengeles torturing and murdering people on the alter of science, but these rules need to work like a damn in a river. A damn doesn't seek to stop all water from flowing in the river, otherwise it would eventually spill over or worse the damn would break, instead the damn channels the water into a controllable, and harnessable way. Metaxas is right that science can open a Pandora's Box every now and then, but what he fails to understand is that those boxes WILL be opened. So instead of trying in vain to keep them closed, maybe we would do better to prepare and brace for their opening. Perhaps one of the most iconic examples is the idea of artificial intelligence. If it is indeed possible for man to create machines with independent thought and wills of their own we eventually will, so maybe instead of trying to prevent that inevitability, we should be thinking about how we will live with this new creation of ours. The only sane way to deal with inevitability is to actually try to prepare for it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Separating the Game Boys from the Men: Castlevania Adventure

I played a ton of Castlevania on the old NES, so I was pretty curious when I saw this at a used game store as to how well it would translate onto the Game Boy. For the most part I would say if you liked the NES Castlevania games you will like this because in many respects it's the same thing, you whip monsters, sometimes getting power ups on your way to take out Dracula. The frustrating knock back is here of course, which will lead to many a trip down a bottomless death pit, but like I said, this is a good translation of the NES games, warts and all. It even has a similar ending to the first Castlevania game as you watch Dracula's castle crumble. The graphics are pretty solid for a Game Boy game, especially since this was a very early one, coming out the same year as it. And the music is just fantastic, but then that's to be expected from a Castlevania game.

The two biggest complaints I have are how the character moved and the inclusion of a timer. First of all your character moves so painfully slow. It feels like you're sloggi,ng through mud or something. His walk speed is just ridiculous. And then there's the level timer. Each section has a timer where you have to complete it in a certain amount of time. You do get plenty of time, I never ran out, but on my first play through it made me feel kinda rushed, and in a game where jumps need to be timed just right I really don't care for that.

Still though, those are relatively small complaints and never really ruined the experience for me. So I would say you should definitely check this out. I give it a solid four stakes to the heart out of five.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Review(s) of the Week: Forever Evil #6 and Mega Man #34

If you haven't already, check out my reviews for parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. So Batman and Catwoman along with Lex Luthor's crew of villains sneak onto the crashed Justice League satellite that is now the Crime Syndicate's headquarters. Batman and Luthor find Nightwing who's been tied to a nuclear bomb from Apokolips and the only way to disarm it is if Nightwing's heart stops beating. So despite Batman trying to stop him Luthor kills Nightwing. No real surprise there, Editor in Chief Dan Didio has long had it in for this character. So the Syndicate shows up and a big fight ensues in which Johnny Quick's leg gets blown off by Captain Cold. But then the identity of the mysterious hooded man from Earth 3 is revealed as he is set free. It's Alexander Luthor. OK, that makes sense, but then he says the magic word "MAZAHS!" and becomes some sort of Captain Marvel/Shazam analogue.

"Wait..what?" was pretty much my reaction to this little twist. Last issue I complained that while I was enjoying this event, it really felt like it had no moral theme. Now it really feels like it doesn't know what it's doing or where it's going at all. Let's put aside the whole killing Nightwing thing for a second. Sure I think it's a bad idea, but we all know it was Didio's doing and at this point Didio taking a piss on DC characters is so routine it's barely worth talking about. But why would the Luthor of that world be a Shazam analogue? Shazam is a good guy, so the Earth 3 version should be evil. That's the whole point of Earth 3, the dark symmetry kinda thing. Plus Shazam has nothing to do with Luthor. I mean he could have turned out to be like a good guy Earth 3 version of Doomsday or some other Superman villain. Sure this is an unexpected twist, but just because nobody saw it coming doesn't make it a good idea. If it would have been Elmer Fudd under that hood we all would have been surprised, doesn't mean it wouldn't have been stupid. This issue had some strong points, the fight scenes were fun and I really liked the banter between Batman and Luthor at the beginning of the issue, but still all and all this issue left a bad taste in my mouth.

Last issue Dr. Wily surrendered to the police and is apparently trying to claim that Ra Moon was behind all his crimes, and Mega Man, along with Dr. Light, Dr. Cossack, Dr. Astil, Roll, Rush, Plant Man and Pharaoh Man head down to South America the whole time. Right away we get a scene where an ancient trap almost takes out Mega Man.
I love the hard time Pharaoh Man is giving Mega Man. Our blue hero is clearly jumpy after his last time in these ruins. Meanwhile Break Man AKA Proto Man and Wily's Robot Master's are tracking down Shadow Man. When they finally take him down he tells them to go a head and destroy him, with Ra Moon gone he has no purpose anyways. But Wily's Robots ask him to join them. Desiring the camaraderie and purpose that would give him Shadow Man agrees. They all head back to one of Wily's headquarters but Break Man heads back to Light Labs and confronts Quake Woman asking her what it's like to be part of a family.

And this issue also has a back up story featuring the origin of Mega Man X. The story goes that X was built by Dr Light towards the end of his life. Light gave X a far greater capacity for independent thought and choice than any of his previous robots and since thought he might be dangerous, and sealed him away until his moral reasoning programs could be tested to make sure he wouldn't go all Skynet on everybody. Flash forward 100 years and Dr. Cain finds X, activates him and constructs a whole series of robots based on X's designs called reploids. X wonders though if the world is really ready for all these independent robots and that's the end of part one.

This issue was fantastic. The first story was filled with so many great character moments for pretty much everyone involved. I've said for a while that this is the best all ages comic book out there right now, but more and more it's becoming my favorite comic book out there right now period. The Mega Man X story was pretty interesting, the little bit we saw so far, and the art for it is done the awesome Patrick Spaziante. I'm not all that familiar with Mega Man X, but I recently got the collection of the first six games for my PS2 in the series and have been playing though them. This back up story is set to lead into a Mega Man X Free Comic Book Day one shot and then a Mega Man/Mega Man X crossover story. I suspect X will be getting his own book announced by years end too.

So if you're not reading this book, you need to check it out.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Review of The Infidel featuring Pigman #1-2 by Bosch Fawstin

The Infidel featuring Pigman tells two stories, one within the other. On one level it tells the story of Frank and Mohammad, two Muslim brothers involved in the 9/11 attacks, one who regrets it and becomes Pigman, a terrorist hunting super hero who attopted the pig totem because of how unholy the animal is to Muslims,and the other who becomes the super powered SuperJihad to battle him. But the book also goes all meta on us and simultaneously tells us the story of Killian Duke, a former Muslim who turned his back on Islam after 9/11 and created the Pigman comic book and his still Muslim twin brother Salaam who is none to happy with his brother's work, even having him beat up in an attempt to get him to stop.

I suppose before I can even really begin to review something like this it's only fair I explain my views on Islam and the War on Terror, so cards on the table here; I think Islam is nothing but a bunch of barbaric nonsense. This is not to say that every Muslim is a violent savage, but the faith itself was founded by a barbaric savage and it very accurately reflects those values. That being said I am by no means some gung ho neocon, if it were up to me all of America's troops would be brought home yesterday. Bin Laden is dead and we have retaliated and made our point. Time to pack it up. I am also convinced that the actions of the American government in that region of the world over the last several decades, even well before 9/11, have done nothing but stir up hornet's nests and 9/11 was the inevitable stinging that resulted from our meddlesome and idiotic Woodrow Wilson style progressive police the world foreign policy.

So with all that said how are the first two issues of The Infidel featuring Pigman? Well in short, they're OK, but they're certainly not great. As with many controversial things this book simply can't live up to the storm surrounding it. On the plus side, the art is decent. It's a bit amateurish, but in that indie comic way that has a lot of heart and charm, like the original Ninja Turtles comics. Watching Pigman blow up terrorists in an over the top action movie way has a certain cathartic joy to it, especially with many mainstream comics trying to whitewash Muslim culture in painfully transparent ways. And during the Duke brother's parts there are two different Muslim characters, one in particular who are portrayed as very decent and kind hearted men, which tells me this book is more about attacking Islam than Muslims, going after the philosophy and theology rather than the people in general. But the meta style of story telling has a bit of a Mary Sue fan fic feel to it. Also there is a scene in which Killian Duke is on a panel at some comic con about 9/11 related comics and in the back and forth he has with the fat liberal douche next to him the topic of blowback came up.
This is a neocon miss characterization of the idea of blowback that has always irked me. Blowback isn't the idea of some sort of karma coming back to bite us, like we were mean to the Indians so the gods sent Muslims to punish us. Nor is it the idea that the individual people in the towers deserved it. It's the idea that years of various bombings, CIA sponsored unrest and government topplings, and sanctions will piss people off, and some of them might be pissed off enough to fly planes into your buildings. And let's remember, it wasn't some liberal douche who coined that term, it was the CIA itself.

So in short, should you check out Pigman? Well on one hand I think it's a pretty decent read and the issues I took with it were generally outweighed by the parts I found enjoyable. On the other hand as far as I know it's only available for digital download on Comixology. And the price is a ridiculous $2.99 an issue. For that kinda money you should be getting an actual physical comic book that you actually own. So at that price I couldn't recommend this book, hell at $2.99 for a digital only copy I have a hard time recommending any comic book. But if you have some money to burn you could certainly do worse. It was better than that Muslim Ms. Marvel that just came out that's for sure.