Category Archives: Uncategorized

The End Of The World As I Know It

The first comic book shop I ever set foot in was probably the one in downtown Springfield, Missouri. It wasn’t really a comic book shop, it was an old, used bookstore, but in the window it had a sign: ‘Marvel Comics On Sale Here.’

I don’t remember how I got there — downtown was not a spot we ever visited in Springfield — but get there I did. It was old and musty with books stacked unevenly and all over. Classic old, used bookstore. But in one area were a couple of shelves with all new comics. Not the spinner-racks I was used to at Wood’s supermarket. Next to the shelves were stacks of old comics.

A store that specialized in selling comic books. What a wonderful idea. I wonder if it will catch on.

imagesSurprisingly, It did. The first comic book shop I was  frequent customer of was Rock Bottom Books and Comics in Columbia, Missouri. It was within walking distance of the dorm so I would trek there often to peruse the new comics. I still had a subscription to ‘Avengers’ and ‘X-Men’ back home so I didn’t need to actually buy any comics, but that didn’t stop me from walking up the long stairway to Rock Bottom and while away the hours looking through the spinner racks. I was young back then and didn’t see any problem with going into a store and reading their books and not buying anything. Eventually my subscriptions ran out and I did turn my business over to Rock Bottom.

There have been many other shops over the years, and even more locations (comic book shops tend to move around a lot). While living in Springfield I sometimes visited Duckburg Comics. Years later it would turn out the owners of that shop would be our frequent companions at LawyerCon.

When The Wife had a job interview in St. Charles I went along for the ride. While she was interviewing I went for a walk on Main Street and discovered the St. Charles Journal, where I would soon go to work, and FBN: The Fantasy Shop, a comic book shop just down the street. (FBN, I eventually learned, stood for “Fly By Night,” the Rush song) The Fantasy Shop went on to become the McDonald’s of comic book shops in St. Louis, with locations all over. They dropped the FBN moniker.

There are a surprising number of comic book shops in St. Louis. I admit I haven’t even been to all of them. For the most part I split my money between The Fantasy Shop, now in its third location since I moved here, and Comic Book Relief, which is next door to Beer, Bait & Bullets.

If you watch “The Big Bang Theory” you know that new comics arrive at the shop once a week. The day has changed over the years but for some time now New Comic Book Day is Wednesday. It makes for a nice break in the work week. Every Wednesday I pick up my son after work and we drive to FS or CBR, I rifle through the new books, check out any new merchandise, pick up a book or two along with the Comic Shop News (it’s free, as it should be because it’s not really worth paying for), pay the man at the cash register (it’s usually a  man) and be on my way.

It’s been part of my routine for almost 40 years.

The Internet, as we all know, has ruined everything. A few years back publishers started making comic books available in a digital format. Rather than buying a physical, paper comic book as God intended, you could download one off a website and read it on your computer.

What a stupid idea. Who wants to read a comic book on a computer? How inconvenient is that? Then tablets came along and suddenly it was maybe more convenient but still, why would you give up your comic book for a digital file on a computer?

marvel-digital-code-350x217Once digital comics took off, Marvel started offering free codes in its comics. Type the 10-digit code into your computer and you’d get a free digital copy of that comic. I still wasn’t sold. I continued buying my comics and ignoring the codes. Then one day Marvel had a special deal where you could download like 300 comics for free. Suddenly, digital comics didn’t seem so stupid.

I went through the various hoops and downloaded several books. I then proceeded to read them on my son’s Ipad. HOLY CRAP. This is awesome! The art is crisper. The colors are more vibrant. And best of all, you can zoom in on individual panels and blow up images as large as you like — making it significantly easier for old, cataracted, eyes to read the captions.

Digital comics, where have you been all my life?

I quickly began downloading every code in every comic I had that had not already expired. I now had a new weekly routine. Go to the comic book shop, buy a comic, bring it home and read it, download the digital copy, put the comic on the shelf, and hereafter re-read it in digital. It was the best of both worlds. So naturally it couldn’t last.

Last month Marvel announced that it would no longer include a free digital copy of the comic you just bought. I feared this day would come. Nothing good lasts forever.

Here now my dilemma: Do I continue as before, going to the comic shop every week and picking up a book or two and taking them home and reading them and eventually sticking them on a shelf or in a box…or do I come home, fire up the computer, go to Marvel.com and purchase a digital copy? I’m not going to do both.

000_0368Think about this people. This is no minor thing. Since childhood I have collected comics.I never stopped. Some sissies quit around high school and go back around college. Not me. I have them (not bagged and boarded, what a stupid thing) in two tall bookshelves, two short bookshelves, eight boxes in the unfinished part of the basement, two boxes in the bedroom closet, two dresser drawers in the bedroom, several stacked on my nightstand near the bed, and a few stacked on the living room end table. That’s not counting my graphic novels. I have comics from England and Ireland and Scotland and probably half the states in the union.

If I go digital, that all stops. No more “Where’s my comic book?” and “Why did you draw on my comic book?” and “Who tore the cover off my comic book?” The poor soul who inherits my comic book collection will find unexpected stops in the current runs of “Black Widow,” “Occupy Avengers” and “All New X-Men.” My wife will be the happiest person alive.

But it’s not just the loss of the physical item. What about my routine? Going to the comic book shop wasn’t just going shopping. It was like going to church, but without the preaching and that horrible contemporary Christian music that has ruined church. It was a hump-day break from the unending depression of work. And the social aspect — “How’z it goin’?” says the man behind the counter. “OK,” says I. “That’ll be $4.23.” “Hold on, I think I have some change.” “Thanks for coming in!”

No, I don’t know the names of any of the clerks or shop owners that I have dealt with weekly for the past 25 years. I’m not my wife. And no, I don’t talk to the fellow customers. Have you been in a comic book shop? Nerds. All nerds.

But they’re my nerds. And while I won’t miss them, I will miss the experience. I mean, I’m not a college freshman anymore, I can’t just show up every week, rifle through the new books, and walk out.

And so I must face the future. The advantages of digital are too great to ignore. I can store hundreds of comics in the space that one would take up today. They’re easier to read and so much nicer to look at. I can read digital comics on my phone, which means I can read them anywhere — sitting in a waiting room, waiting for the movie to start, in the bathroom at work — the possibilities are endless. My only fear now is a power outage. Or the Internet explodes.

tumblr_m3z1y9cyis1rvm5qqo1_1280

(I told you you wouldn’t care about it, assuming you made it this far)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gone: Maggie Roche

Money is not the problem
you have enough of that
now you must close your office
put on your coat and hat
put on your coat and hat

Now is the hour of quitting
twilight paints the town
Old industrial skyline
how does the sun go down?
how does the sun go down

You can go south in winter
be what you are a goose
you can live near the ocean
your clothes can fit you loose

Even as you are leaning
into that glass of wine
you and beloved business
have come to the end of a line
come to the end of a line

All of the gates are open
all of the charges dropped
talks are terminated
payments have been stopped
payments have been stopped

You can move north in summer
you can be in the breeze
you don’t need to notify
any secretaries

Old industrial skyline
drawing away from you
you are the one that’s moving
you are the fool that flew
you are the fool that flew

You can go south in winter
be what you are a goose
honk all the moon out the ocean
your clothes can fit you loose

Do I wanna be a dog?mi0003516016
any diddlin’ male would do
if I was a damned old dog
I wouldn’t be fussy for you

Do I wanna be a housebroken dog
eat better than an Indian
I don’t wanna be a damned old dog
I just wanna lick your chin again

I thought that I could convince you
I thought that I could get through
chew out a hole in the fence you
barked up between me and you

Limpin’ around in the moonlight
coverin’ up what I did
words decompose all around me
nuisances I committed

Do I wanna be a dog
cut the heat out of me
if I was a damned old dog
I wouldn’t have to goddamn human be

She came on the stage
in a dress like the sky
she had painted a sunset
around her eyes
and all of the people
were charmed and surprised
at how pretty and high and shy she was
pretty and high and shy

She at the window
and the prince upon the bed
they were for an hour
before he said
if she had no place else
she was welcome to stay
but she’d better get back
and she thanked him the same
leavin’ him pretty and high and dry
pretty and high and dry

The prince was confused
so he asked the magician
the magician arrived
at the answer profound
if she takes off her dress
the sky will fall down
cause she’s pretty and high and a lie
pretty and high and a lie

I work at the circus
and I sleep with the clown
when I took off my dress
the sky fell down
if the sky falls down
then we play on the ground
cause I’m pretty and high and only partly a lie
pretty and high and only partly a lie
pretty and high and only partly a lie

One in Louisiana
one who travels around
one of ’em mainly stays in heart-throb town

I am not their main concern
they are lonely too
I am just an arrow passing through

When they look into my eyes
I know what to do
I make sure the words I say are true

When they send me off at dawn
pay the driver my fare
they know I am goin’ down somewhere

O the married men
the married men
never would have had a good time again
if it wasn’t for the married men

One says he’ll come after me
another one’ll drop me a line
one says all o’ my agony is in my mind

They know what is wrong with me
none of ’em wants my hand
soloin’ in my traveling wedding band

O the married men
the married men
makes me feel like a girl again
to run with the married men

One of ’ems got a little boy
other one he’s got two
one of ’ems wife is one week overdue

I know these girls they don’t like me
but I am just like them
pickin’ a crazy apple off a stem

Givin’ it to the married men
the married men
all o’ that time in hell to spend
for kissin’ the married men

If you go down to Hammond
you’ll never come back
In my opinion you’re
on the wrong track
We’ll always love you but
that’s not the point

If you go with that fella
forget about us
As far as I’m concerned
that would be just
throwing yourself away
not even trying
Come on you’re lying to me

Well I went down to Hammond
I did as I pleased
I ain’t the only one
who’s got this disease

Why don’t you face the fact
you old upstart
We fall apart

You’d be okay if you’d
just stay in school
Don’t be a fool

Do your eyes have an answer
to this song of mine
They say we meet again
on down the line
Where is on down the line
how far away?
Tell me I’m okay

If you go down to Hammond
you’ll never come back

The Real “Show-Me” Avenger

Yesterday we discussed Marvel’s questionable (this is me being polite) decision to declare The Whizzer — a 1940s superhero who’d spent maybe 10 minutes with The Avengers — as the official Avenger of Missouri.

Today I will make my case for the real Avenger of Missouri. I give you: Clinton Francis Barton, aka Hawkeye, aka Goliath, aka Ronin, aka Hawkguy.

u-s-avengers_vol_1_1_missouri_variant

Oh God, not another Hawkeye post. You really need to give your obsession with this fictional character a rest, Roy. 

Hear me out. One of the reasons for my longtime love for Clint Barton was the knowledge that he was from my home state and not some New York elitist like all the others.

OK. You say he’s from Missouri. State your Case.

hawkmo1Gladly, your honor.

EXHIBIT A: AVENGERS 51, 1968.

Goliath (Hank Pym) is being electrocuted by a machine called the vibrotron. Hawkeye tries to pull it off of him and is thrown back against the wall. His response:

“That thing’s… got the kick …of a Missouri Mule!”

Now granted, that’s not birth certificate solid evidence, but why would anyone not from Missouri use a term like “the kick of a Missouri mule?” The more common expression is “that thing kicks like a mule.” Only Harry Truman would’ve thrown the word Missouri in there. It’s certainly not something someone from Iowa would say.

hawkmo2But for solid proof, I give you EXHIBIT B: Avengers 63, 1969. 

Hank Pym has abandoned the Goliath identity for a new one, that of Yellowjacket. He’s trying to impress his teammates with his new powers but Hawkeye’s not having any of it.

“Mebbe so…but I’m still from Missouri, Insect-Man! Are you sure you didn’t switch identities just so’s you could sport a new suit?”

Now, c’mon. What more proof do you need? He comes out and says he’s from Missouri and even alludes to the state motto. Again, why would someone from Iowa claim to be from Missouri?

And finally, EXHIBIT C: Avengers 79, 1970.

hawkmo3By this time Clint has taken over Hank’s old gig as Goliath. In this panel he’s punching Power Man, who was just boasting about how he was going to clean Goliath’s clock. Clint’s response:

“Go ahead, tough guy! I’m from Missouri! Show Me!!”

Now not only is he bragging about his home state but he’s explicitly bringing up the state motto. How many people from Iowa would even know the Missouri state motto? Does Iowa even have a state motto?

I rest my case.

That’s a pretty solid case. Do any other Avengers talk about their home state as much as Hawkeye did in the Silver Age?

Nope. It’s pretty safe to say that Hawkeye is the only Avenger who spent that much time bragging about his home state. Thor talks about Asgard a lot, but that’s not a state.

I wonder why that is.

Well, I suspect the answer lies with the writer of The Avengers at the time. Roy Thomas grew up in Jackson, Missouri, and in the mid-60s moved to New York City to break into the comics business. He became Stan Lee’s number two, writing every book Stan couldn’t write anymore which eventually became almost all of them. He eventually became Stan’s successor as editor-in-chief at Marvel. During this time he did a long, memorable run on The Avengers and turned Hawkeye into a fellow Missourian.

So where did it all go wrong?

official_handbook_of_the_marvel_universe_vol_2_5I’m not 100 percent certain, but all signs and my exhaustive investigative journalism skills point to The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. First published in 1982, the handbook was a 15-issue series that tried to compile all the stats and origin stories and whatnot for every character and organization in the Marvel Universe. Since these stories and stats change frequently, the handbooks were usually out of date by the time they were published.

It was here that some writer who hadn’t bother to do his homework, backed up by an editor who hadn’t done his job, listed Hawkeye’s birthplace as Waverly, Iowa. Why? I have no idea.

Well, I suspect it’s because Iowa is known as “the Hawkeye state” and the University of Iowa calls its sports teams “the Hawkeyes.” I’m sure Mark Gruenwald or somebody thought they were being too clever by having Hawkeye come from the Hawkeye state.

Too bad they couldn’t be bothered to read the comics to get the facts straight.

 

 

 

 

Marvel Takes A Whiz On Missouri

In comic shops tomorrow is the first issue of USAvengers, Marvel’s latest attempt at milking dry their most popular franchise. The premise this go-round is a government-sanctioned Avengers team made up of second-and-third stringers like Red Hulk, Squirrel Girl and Pod. It should last about as long as its predecessor, New Avengers, which I believe ran 12 issues.

To build up excitement for the new book — and inflate sales figures — Marvel is releasing the first issue with a whopping 52 different covers, one for every state in the union as well as Puerto Rico and Canada. It’s a cute idea, I suppose, but the main problem is that 92 percent of all Marvel superheroes live in New York and hardly any live in any of the other 49 states, not to mention Puerto Rico and Canada.

Still, a gimmick is a gimmick, so some poor editor at Marvel got the job of divvying up 52 superheroes for this silly stunt. Some make sense — Thor actually works as the Avenger of Oklahoma because for a time he moved Asgard to Oklahoma. Everyone knows Cannonball is from Kentucky, and yes it makes sense for Luke Cage to be the Avenger of New York even though we all know it should really be Spider-Man. I have no idea how Russian spy Black Widow became the Avenger of Connecticut.

Naturally I was curious as to who Marvel would pick for the Avenger of Missouri. I, of course, know who the Avenger of Missouri should be —  but would Marvel get it right?

u-s-avengers_vol_1_1_missouri_variantOf course not. I give you — the Avenger of Missouri — Robert Frank, aka The Whizzer. That’s right, there’s a superhero called The Whizzer and he’s all ours. If you think the name is stupid, wait until you hear his origin story. Little Bob Frank was bitten by a cobra while in Africa with his father. Dad saves Bobby by injecting him with mongoose blood, which not only neutralizes the cobra venom but somehow gives him the power of super speed (and you thought it was the power of super urination). Since the name “The Flash” was already taken, Bob took on the second-best possible name for a super speedster — The Whizzer.

No, this is not a Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creation. The Whizzer actually pre-dates the Marvel Universe. He was created in 1941, back when Marvel was known as Timely Comics. So important and significant to the Golden Age of Comics was the Whizzer that no one knows who wrote his first adventure (it was drawn by Al Avison). He ran around for a bit in the ’40s then disappeared like many Golden Age heroes when the ’50s rolled in.

The Whizzer briefly resurfaced in 1974 in The Avengers, mistakenly believing he’s the father of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch (Imagine Pietro’s relief that he did not get stuck with the name Whizzer Junior). Bob teamed up with Earth’s Mightiest a few times but was never really a member in any meaningful sense. He eventually died of a heart attack and hasn’t been seen since. Which, given the resurrection rate of most superheroes, tells you all you need to know about how beloved is The Whiz.

Bob Frank supposedly is from St. Louis, hence the Missouri connection. I have never read any of the original Whizzer comics from the ’40s, so I don’t know if this was truly the case in the comics or if it’s something someone made up later.

Frankly it doesn’t matter. While The Whizzer might be an appropriate representative for St. Louis, the rest of the state deserves better. And we have better, but Marvel is withholding the truth from you.

But the truth shall be revealed. Tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

The Roy Family Kansas City Christmas Spectacular, Year 3

2016 has not been a kind year, so it was more important than ever that we leave the confines of Saint Louis for the glittering holiday lights of the Kansas City Plaza. Once again we invited the siblings and they all signed up except brother and sister-in-law.

This led to lots of pre-trip emails about ‘where are we going to eat?’ and ‘what are we going to do?’ It’s so much easier when you just let The Wife make all the decisions. We wound up at the same hotel, but despite having driven there two previous years without incident, this year we wound up in Kansas. Stupid Google Maps. We turned around and headed for downtown figuring we’d get to the right place eventually. We did.

kcxnas2

It was significantly colder this year than the 2 previous. It’s not a terrible walk from the hotel to the plaza provided it’s not significantly cold. We took the shuttle. The shuttle was warm and the driver was friendly. We had reservations for P.F. Chang’s, because, you know, Cindy is into reservations. She also had a couple of gift cards, so who am I to argue? Someone suggests we order a bunch of food and share. What? I hate sharing food. You always have to worry about eating too much and not getting enough and not letting other people get their fair share. Just let me order my own food and you order yours. But alas, compromise.

Supper was good and I ate stuff I wouldn’t usually eat and I had my fill and that’s what matters. I assume everyone else did as well. After eating we went for a walk to take in the lights and look for some weird doll for one of the nieces. Didn’t find it. Caught the shuttle back to the hotel. Andrew got a little stressed waiting for the shuttle, so we took him to the pool when we got back. That made it all better. Especially the hot tub.

The next morning I was enjoying a sound sleep — something I rarely get these days — when the PHONE RINGS. “We’re down having breakfast. Are you joining us?” What? What time is it? “It’s 8 o’clock. We’ll be here for a while.” Eight O’Clock in the freaking A.M. On a Saturday. On holiday. Laurie dutifully gets ready and goes downstairs. The son and I join them at 9:30, because breakfast closes at 10 a.m and there’s no reason on earth to get there before then.

100_2760We decide to spend the morning at the World War One Museum, because as luck would have it they’re celebrating their 10th anniversary this year and admission this weekend is free. One of the striking parts of the museum is the tower, which as luck would have it we could go up in free. Everyone else had foolishly turned in their coats at the coat check so they didn’t appreciate the view.

It’s a pretty cool museum — tanks and guns and uniforms and bombs and whatnot. An informative 15-minute film offers a prelude to the war, then you walk through a large section, then there’s another short film that talks about how the U.S. joined the war, then you go in another large section, but strangely there’s no final film telling you how the war ends. I’m pretty sure we won, but I wasn’t about to stand there and read the timeline all the way to the end. Laurie tried to, but we eventually dragged her out.

kcxmas1Some idiot — I think it was me — suggested we walk from the museum down the hill to Union Station and from there into the habitrail that would take us through a hotel and on to Crown Center. What was I thinking? That’s way too long a walk for an old man, especially in this cold. Yet there we went, walking on icy steps (that had been blocked off with rope) down to the frozen trail to the train station. It was nicely decorated with a pretty tree that we took many photos next to — both of ourselves and various strangers. After trudging our way through the maze into Crown Center I knew I would die if I had to walk back to the car. After some looking around we settled in the food court where Andrew and I drank sodas while everyone else (except Teresa) walked back to the cars and brought them around for us. Sometimes family is worth it.

We returned to the hotel but the indefatigable Laurie, Cindy and Chuck quickly took off for the plaza to shop. The rest of us joined them a couple of hours later. The plan was an early supper at the Cheesecake Factory. Like last year, we were thwarted by the insane crowd. What is the deal with Kansas City and this Cheesecake Factory? The place was jam-packed at 4 p.m. The wait was going to be 90 minutes. There was nowhere to stand, let alone sit, so we had to go back into the cold. We decided, like last year, that it wasn’t worth it and went back to Chuy’s, the Mexican place with the clever T-shirts. A short wait and the food was as good as last year. Screw you, Cheesecake Factory.

Actually, we did go back to CF after dinner and got some cheesecake to take back to the hotel (It was still insanely crowded at CF). Happy Hour was still going on at the hotel so we got some drinks and ate cheesecake. Took Andrew back to the hot tub to finish off the day. We deserved it.

The next morning no one called me and yet we somehow made it down to breakfast before it closed down. After that was the annual cursing of the hotel for not having enough elevators as we tried to load up our belongings before heading home.

Merry Christmas and all that.

 

 

At The Movies: Rogue One – A Star Wars Story

I think maybe I’m losing interest in Star Wars.

Probably not what Disney wants to hear. After all, they paid a pretty penny to buy the franchise from George Lucas, with plans to pump out new movies on a regular basis.

And that’s fine, but they really need to come up with new stories to tell without cannabalizing the original trilogy or they’re going to lose me. Not that it matters, of course. Disney could make a movie with a farting robot, slap the word “Star Wars” on it, and people would still line up for blocks to see it.

Which brings us to “Rogue One,” the first in a series of movies set in the Star Wars universe but not as part of the nine-film (Is it still nine?) space saga that Lucas launched in 1977.

We know this isn’t one of the “real” Star Wars movies because it doesn’t start off with John William’s rousing score, or a chapter heading, or that famous narrative scroll rolling out into infinity. But everything else is pure Star Wars.

Unless you’ve been living in the swamps of Dagobah, you know that the original “Star Wars” film is about how a group of rebels destroyed a moon-sized, planet-killing spaceship thanks to another group of rebels who stole the blueprints for that spaceship and got them to another spaceship where the plans were downloaded into a droid who had to escape the spaceship and wound up on a desert planet where he was bought by a farmer who’s adopted son would turn out to be a great Jedi knight and…well… just go watch the movie.

rogueone_onesheeta_1000_309ed8f6“Rogue One” tells the story of how that first group of rebels stole the blueprints for the Death Star (that’s the name of the moon-sized, planet-killing spaceship).

Felicity Jones stars as Jyn Erso, a spunky loner who gets caught up in the rebellion against the Evil Galactic Empire — not to be confused with Rey, the spunky loner from the most recent Star Wars film.

Jyn is the daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), one of the architects of the Death Star. Galen had second thoughts about building a planet-destroying spaceball, so he left the project. He gets dragged back to finish the job, and in return he makes sure the Death Star has a tiny design flaw.

Jyn is joined in her rebellious ways by a multi-diverse cast (because this ain’t your father’s “Star Wars”) that includes Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), of rebel intelligence;  Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), former Imperial pilot now working for the other side; Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) as the guy with big guns; and Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) as the blind warrior and closest thing to a Jedi this film has to offer.

And since you can’t have a Star Wars film without a droid, they’re joined by K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), a former Imperial enforcer droid who switched sides once his mind was wiped by Andor. K-2SO is a welcome addition to the franchise, as he’s a droid who speaks English that isn’t C-3PO. He’s more sarcastic than prissy; more Jarvis than 3PO.

And since it’s tied so closely to the first film, you can expect appearances by certain Star Wars alums. Creepiest of them all has to be the return of Grand Moff Tarkin, played by Peter Cushing, who died in 1994. I shouldn’t be surprised that in a world where movie technology can make the old look young again or the young look very old, that the dead should come back to life. But just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should. Tarkin sounds like Cushing, and looks like him, but there’s something off about him. And the effect is chilling.

The movie runs a little over two hours with the first half spent introducing characters and moving them around, with lots of talking. The story gets to the point in the second half, as the rebels decide to steal the Death Star blueprints. But don’t come in expecting some kind of cleverly thought out heist. This is Star Wars, after all. Instead, they rehash the last half of “Return of the Jedi” (without the Ewoks and the lightsaber battle) with bits from the Luke-and-Han-and-Chewie-Rescue-The-Princess scene from the first film.

I get that almost everybody hates the prequel trilogy, but at least Lucas was doing different things. The people in charge of these new Star Wars films seem to feel like they have to keep remaking the originals but with a hip, new cast.

If you don’t mind the repetition, “Rogue One” will probably fill your Star Wars needs until the next installment. The special effects are still first-rate and the cast is engaging — just don’t get to attached.

 

 

Gone: Greg Lake

You see, it’s all clear
You were meant to be here
From the beginning

C’est la vie

Have your leaves all turned to brown
Will you scatter them around you
C’est la vie
Do you love
And then how am I to know
If you don’t let your love show for me
C’est la vie

Oh c’est la vie
Oh c’est la vie
Who knows, who cares, for me?
C’est la vie

He had white horses and ladies by the score
All dressed in satin and waiting by the door
Ooh, what a lucky man he was

Do you wanna be the player
Do you wanna be the string
Let me tell you something
It just don’t mean a thing

You see it really doesn’t matter
When you’re buried in disguise
By the dark glass on your eyes
Though your flesh has crystallised

Still… you turn me on

greglakekingbiscuitinconcert51571Soon the Gypsy Queen in a glaze of Vaseline
Will perform on guillotine
What a scene! What a scene!

Next upon the stand will you please extend a hand
to Alexander’s Ragtime Band
Dixie land, Dixie land

Roll up! Roll up! Roll up!
See the show!

Performing on a stool we’ve a sight to make you drool
Seven virgins and a mule
Keep it cool. Keep it cool.

We would like it to be known the exhibits that were shown
were exclusively our own,
All our own. All our own.

Come and see the show! Come and see the show! Come and see the show!
See the show!

They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on Earth
But instead, it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the Virgin birth

I remember one Christmas morning
A winter’s light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell
And that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a Silent Night
And they told me a fairy story
Til I believed in the Israelite

And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes
Then I woke with a yawn
In the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave New Year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear

They said there’d be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on Earth
Hallelujah, Noel, be it Heaven or Hell
The Christmas we get, we deserve