Friday, March 08, 2019

Never-Ending Battles

Kicked off the morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. While I'd seen more than half the episodes elsewhere, there were enough that were unique to justify taking the DVD out. "Daniel's Love Day Surprise" includes a heart-shaped pizza for dinner and hiding valentines for his Grandpere. He's upset when his baby sister Margaret finds one first, but Grandpere assures him that he doesn't mind, and Margaret is just showing how much she loves him.

Dan visits O the Owl at his and his uncle X's home in the tree house. They read a dinosaur book from O's vast collection, only to discover that the last page is missing. "Daniel Helps O Tell a Story" in order to finish the book.

The Tiger parents want Margaret to experience her first "Chime Time" - that is, the time when all the clocks at the factory where Daniel Sr. works goes off at once. On the way, they encounter Katrina and Henrietta, who are spending their own family time having a tea party and dancing together.

Headed to work as the episode was ending. It wasn't that busy when I came in, but I did pick up during the noon rush hour and stayed relatively busy. I got stuck in the registers twice, once to go in for someone going on break, but I was mainly either doing a full cart of returns, or outside gathering carts and recycling.

Went straight into grocery shopping as soon as my shift ended. There's a lot of really good sales this week. Skippy Peanut Butter and McCormick Grill Seasoning were $1.50 each. I had a paper coupon for the former and an online coupon for the latter. Butter, frozen vegetables, and frozen pizza were cheap, too. Found bone-in chicken thighs and ground chicken for good prices. Found Smucker's Natural Concord Grape Jelly on the clearance racks. Restocked pears, oranges, bananas, an onion, skim milk, pancake mix, cereal, white flour, and canned mandarin oranges.

My schedule this week is not bad, and in fact is one of the best I've had in a while. Only one early day, on Wednesday (the head bagger's day off), Sunday, Thursday, and next Friday off. That means I'll be able to get some job research done and start my next story.

Finished out Daniel Tiger while I put everything away. It's "Tiger Family Fun" when the Tigers pick fruit and vegetables for dinner from the Enchanted Garden. They eventually join Lady Elaine, Miss Elania, and Music Man Stan for their own dinner.

Went into Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle while I baked the Five-Cheese Pizza I got for dinner. Had it with a basic green salad. The first episode covered the Golden Age of Superheroes from Superman's debut to the creation of the Comics Code in the mid-50's. As someone who was born 40 years after the first Superman comic was released, I don't really know much about this era. Along with the big names - Superman, Batman and Robin, Captain America and Bucky, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, Sub-Mariner, and Shazam (then known as Captain Marvel) - the late 30's and World War II produced an endless parade of lesser-known cosmic or god-like do-gooders who saved the day from Nazis and gangsters. The stability of the 50's not only ended the need for such heroes, but made them look quite suspect to many intellectuals of the day, with their violence and heroes running around in tights, with random young men by their sides.

Worked on a little writing after dinner. I was tired and didn't get much more done than setting the scene. Coruscant City in 1977 is a corrupt landscape made up of many districts. Most of the rich folk live in Naboo Heights, while the Corellia Wharfs are known for their crumbling warehouses and rampant crime and drugs. Bespin is the major entertainment and nightclub district; Mos Eisley in the outer borough town Tatoonie is basically the seedier, low-rent desert version. Hosnia Square is the home of the city government, including Mayor Steven Palpatine and his mysterious enforcer, Darren Velder - aka, the super villain Darth Vader.

Into this den of crime and corruption flies what to most citizens of Coruscant City appears to be little more than a streaking star...but is really Force Girl, aka Lelita Ortega, flame-powered superheroine, who is doing her best to escape Vader's goons and get a message to safety.

Broke for a shower at 8. Finished the Superheroes documentary after I got out. As the 60's dawned, superheroes were basically considered to be silly kid's stuff, the Comics Code and the conformity of the times having banished darker or scary elements. All that began to change with the revival of Marvel Comics and their new breed of slightly darker, more angsty heroes. The Fantastic Four, Spider Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D, and Silver Surfer were far more human (or human-like) than previous superheroes. DC rewrote their older characters like the Flash, The Green Arrow, and Green Lantern to bring them closer to the changing times. The rise of the Civil Rights Era and Women's Liberation movement returned Wonder Woman to her roots at DC and created the first black superhero, Black Panther, along with Ms.(now Captain) Marvel, Valkyre, Black Cat, and the amoral mercenary Luke Cage.

We open the last segment with the arrival of the first Superman movie on the big screen. Superman: The Movie was the blockbuster hit of 1979. The first three movies and Supergirl were part of the backbone of my early childhood, and Christopher Reeve was one of my first crushes. The success of Superman on the big screen and Wonder Woman, Hulk, and Spider Man on TV (along with small-screen originals The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman) proved that anyone, from psychopaths to children to mutated pet turtles, could be super.

I preferred those campier shows and Reeves' earnest performance to the darker and more violent comics of the 90's. The Tim Burton Batman may have been the smash hit of 1989, but it was too much for me (and still isn't a huge favorite of mine). I just couldn't get into 80's and 90's anti-heroes like Blade, The Punisher, Spawn, The Watchmen, Lobo, The Crow, and Hellboy. Though I would become a fan of Deadpool, Wolverine, and the X-Men later in life, as a teen, the only superheroes who even remotely interested me were The Rocketeer, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

As I've previously mentioned, what I'm most enjoying about the current superhero boom is learning more about characters I'd either never heard before the turn of the 21st Century (the female Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man) or had only vaguely heard of or known a little bit about (Captain America, Thor, Wolverine, Deadpool,and the X-Men, Aquaman, Cyborg, the Teen Titans). It's also interesting to note how the popularity of superheroes has tended to go up whenever there is a lot of unrest in the world, which would explain their creation in the depths of the Great Depression...and their huge popularity with everything going on now.

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