The Complete Marvel Dubsmash Conflict

So this is a compilation video of all the Dubsmash videos of the friendly competition between the cast of Marvel’s Agent Carter and Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that began as innocent fun during the 2015 San Diego ComicCon and blossomed into a voting competition for charity with prominent guest stars, that ended up raising over $125,000. It’s the power of the Internet, when it’s doing good and providing time-wasting entertainment where actors act like your old high school buddies. Enjoy!


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Musings on Some of my T.V. Shows (May Contain Spoilers)

Having risen from my gasping sick-bed, I can now comment on all the t.v. I watched while recovering:

Grimm: Juliet may not be dead! That would be cool, if so. Because Juliet is a great character, but the writers only occasionally write anything interesting for her. Otherwise, she tends to be in a coma or possessed/going crazy or warning Nick to be careful. And the way she seemed to go out was poorly done. I still love you show, but bring her back from the refrigeration and I’ll be a lot happier. In any case, the new players in the overarch plots seem interesting.

Walking Dead: Sorry, folks, but the only way that Glenn is actually alive is if that fall off the dumpster was a dream/concussion sequence. Which is possible, but with these writers, I suspect unlikely. Walkers were biting him on the shoulders. My progression with this show has been 1) found myself not able to watch it much despite some quality acting because the characters were too clueless to live; 2) decided I could watch it if I rooted for the walkers to kill them; 3) came to like some of the characters, who also had gotten (and their writers had gotten) a bit smarter and hoped they didn’t die maybe. And Glenn was one of those last, and the only Asian they have of course. Everybody knew eventually he’d go out (because comic books,) but I agree that wasn’t the perfect way for him to go out. But it was very much a Walking Dead way to go out — killed by stupidity.

Z Nation: George R.R. Martin as a zombie is one of my new favorite things.

Supernatural: You know I love you, show, but I’m calling it for this season: The Darkness is boring. Still a lot of fun writing in the individual episodes, but the problem with the super-ancient, super powerful big bads is that the writers then have to stall the whole season to get into battle with them. Sometimes that works for Supernatural (angels, yellow-eyed demon,) or sort of works (leviathans,) but this one is not working for me. You’re in your old age, show, could you not come up with something better?

Arrow: Nice use of Constantine, folks! That show had a number of problems before it was cancelled, but Matt Ryan playing John Constantine was not one of them. And so the folks at Arrow brought him back to reprise the character into Arrow’s universe. And he stole the show of course. He almost made the undercover in the island poppy fields flashback plot bearable. (Let’s wrap that flashback up, pretty please, Arrow?)

Sleepy Hollow: A crossover two-parter with the cast of non-speculative, forensic mystery show Bones? A hot mess, though the actors clearly had fun. We used to watch Bones but gradually stop when they became obsessed with having different sorts of serial killers trying to constantly kill the main characters. Went back to see the wedding episode and it looked like they were winding down. But they’ve stayed on and more power to them. But having Bones puncture mysteries, as she does, and having her universe actually be full of magic she’s missing was painful to watch. And what would have been a decent Sleepy Hollow Halloween episode with British soldier zombies just got awkward. So please don’t do that again. Otherwise, SH’s new season seems to be going fairly well, though at this point, I think we could do with less Betsy Ross flashbacks. It doesn’t make sense with the Crane going over to the rebels in part because of Katrina thing they already had. Also, I’m kind of hoping Crane’s new flame turns out to be evil, as she otherwise seems too much like the costume maker who had a crush on Crane and got killed for it.

Doctor Who: Happy with the return of Osgoode, and actually enjoying punk rocker, sunglass wearing Doctor as opposed to the early cranky old doctor routine, but what is with the continual two-part episodes? It’s getting a bit laborious.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: I’m enjoying the season so far, but why are the writers obsessed with keeping FitzSimmons tortured and apart from each other? At this point, if they do any more of it, the two will just curl up into gibbering balls. We could use one romantic relationship that actually works on the show. (And no, Bobbi and Hunter don’t exactly work together.)

Also, the other television people: stop making more shows I want to watch. I have a life, you know. When I’m not coughing up a lung.


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When Publishers Don’t Have Enough Chocolate

I am ill, so this mock Twitter battle cheered me up. It’s between publicists at small Brooklyn press Melville House and giant Penguin Random House. Pretty sure these two people probably know each other — book publishing is a small industry. Click and enjoy:

Clash of the Twitters

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Spam Poetry — The Animals are Revolting!

My pal Nila commenting on a former spam poetry entry reminded me that it’s been awhile since I’ve done a new one. This is in part because most of the spam comments I have been getting lately have been long lists of links for buying “innocuous” and “sheltering” herbal remedies and Viagra. But there has been a small theme in a few — warnings about animals:

Guys in your wedding geese to assist you for area towards you to be able to carrier one is why goose decoys be available in a sense. They don’t advanced. People with lived near geese for years and years recent have observed these features. As coyotes in order to transfer to towns, cities there is mostly a relationship to your lowering of feral but also free level housecats. The dogs might be wiped out so just like food stuff or to be able to a device from your terrain. He perhaps may be an additional injury using the coyote urbanization for the similar functions.

Apparently, an evil mastermind is using coyotes as an urban weapon, first targeting the cats and dogs to take over properties, and now has turned his attention to geese, which are uniquely scary to coyotes, which is why if you don’t have geese in your wedding to protect you, you can use geese decoys. Or something. (Personally, having been chased by a gaggle of geese as a young child, this makes perfect sense to me.)

But wait, there’s more:

The entire services market seemed to be restricting, Absolutely we hesitantly restructure or downsize, Milliseconds. As an annoyance god’s gifts to earth manager I quite often get hold of needs traveling squirrels. 

Absolutely, not only do you need geese or geese decoys to deal with dangerous coyote henchanimals trying to seize your property, but traveling squirrels (not the ones that are resting — the travelling ones, like the Avengers — will save your business from downsizing. Possibly by selling your goods and services for you to birds by hanging around those feeders in different locations. (Personally, this also makes sense to me as my mother has a savage scurry of squirrels in her front yard because she feeds them walnuts.)

But there is one very important thing that you need to remember:

But also outright one firm is involved in authorising a parrots for many a security program.

That’s right — the geese need back-up in their security duties and the squirrels are too busy travelling to help. Plus neither group really has any computer skills. So you definitely need a pandemonium of parrots to handle the cameras, infrared sensors, and encryption programs. Parrots certainly have the alarm system thing down. (Personally, this also makes sense to me because my sister used to own a parrot, Friday, and you could not make a move in that house that Friday did not know about. He may have had night-vision goggles.)

So remember, protect your home and business with animal associates. Might want to get a race of roadrunners in there too, to help with those coyotes. (Personally, this also makes sense to me because I once had a coyote sneak up behind me while I was walking my dog and sit in a farm track looking at me, seeming to communicate, “I could eat you and your little dog too if I wanted to,” before gracefully bouncing back into the brush and woods.) I kid — I love coyotes. But please do not send a band of coyotes to my yard, which is full of a herd of wild bunnies. Which are probably good for something.




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Some Music Tunes to Groove On

First up, the remarkable Jesse L. Martin, backed beautifully by Rick Cosnett and Carlos Valdes, his castmates from The Flash (apparently everybody on that show can sing,) sing a gospel version of the cult show Firefly‘s theme song, “The Ballad of Serenity,” as a thank you to Joss Whedon for making a big donation to Martin’s up-coming folk musical short film, The Letter Carrier:

Next, the trippy nature video for Kate Pierson‘s single “Bring Your Arms” on her solo album Guitars and Microphones:

With similar bursts of color, the hit single “Rule the World” from Walk Off the Earth‘s new album, Sing It All Away:

And lastly, in my tradition of often liking groups that use numbers for their names, new rap/hip-hop group twenty one pilots‘ hit single “Fairly Local“:

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Daniel José Older — Bone Street Rumba series and Shadowshaper

Daniel José Older debuted earlier this year with the first full-out novel in his contemporary fantasy Bone Street Rumba series, Half-Resurrection Blues. (Although he’s been of course editing and publishing short fiction, including some novellas set in the universe of Bone Street Rumba.)

Half-Resurrection Blues is about Carlos Delacruz, an in-betweener — a man who has died and been partially resurrected — who can’t remember his past identity, and who has found himself working for the NYC Council of the Dead as an investigator and hunter of ghosts and supernatural beings who are causing trouble between the realms of the living and the dead. (Think kind of Men in Black with ghosts instead of aliens.)

The complication is when the Council mysteriously sends him after a sorcerer trying to open the portal to the deadlands, and that man turns out to be another in-betweener, who may hold a link to Delacruz’s living past. The ripples from that encounter lead to an invasion of supernatural creatures who threaten Delacruz’s friends and to rip the veil between realms. And while he’s dealing with that, Delacruz has got to figure out the puzzle of his violent first death.

Older has a grand time setting up an interesting, cross-cultural supernatural system in the rapidly changing neighborhood of Brooklyn. His characters are sharp and fun, his dialogue really good and he does action scenes well. A lot of urban fantasy series fall back on the snarky. But while there’s a strong thread of humor running through the novel, like a strain of sugar in something tart, Half-Resurrection Blues is more meditative and bluesy, with tragic notes and elements that are horrific even when they are a bit funny. (Carlos also gets beaten up a lot, leaving him less time for zingers.) Carlos is truly a lost soul who has been treading water since his half-resurrection, and his discovery that he’s not the only in-betweener around wakes him up and makes him start figuring out who he wants to be in the half-life he’s caught in. Plus, he has to save the world and as many as he can, of course.

The main quibble I have is a common one for first novels in mystery thriller fantasy series like this. Namely, that the book has to focus on Carlos dealing with personal stuff in the main crisis and building his team of helpers for future stories. That means a bit less time than I would like on the details of the ghost aspects/system and the Council, and on the Brooklyn neighborhoods. Older does spend some time on the latter, but I used to live in that area, long before its many changes today, so that was a factor I enjoyed.

But I suspect that this is a series that is going to do well as people discover it. Older also launched a separate YA novel this year, called Shadowshaper:

That looks really interesting too. I’m very behind on reading YA titles, but I may check it out. Older is beloved by the cover gods, as you can also see by the cover of the second novel in the Bone Street Rumba series, coming out in January, Midnight Taxi Tango:

That’s a book that’s going to feature young Kia, who is basically going to be one of the favorite characters in the series of everybody, so I’m probably going to be checking that one out too.

You can check out Older’s website here. He’s also the co-editor, with Rose Fox, of the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, which has been getting a lot of raves and features yet another wonderful cover:

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Happy Birthday, George R.R. Martin!

Have some lovely golden presents:


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