Sunday, November 16, 2008

Top 10 Superhero Powers

Here we are in the calm before the holiday storm. Halloween is over and soon the frenetic frenzy that surrounds the holidays will be upon us. As we near the commemoration of Jesus' Birthday, Festival of Lights, A bountiful Harvest, or just the obligatory days off that our employers begrudgingly give us in order to avoid the 'Tightfisted hand to the Grindstone' award. Thanksgiving will start us off by frazzling our nerves and then each week will increase in intensity until we hit the end of the year. It's a nice way to pass a few weeks of the cold winter months I suppose. It seems that during the holidays we tend to get just a little less patient with our surroundings. Some of us deal with this frustration by swearing, some by turning up the radio a little louder, some by kicking the dog. I, personally, like to imagine what superhero power I would need to have in order to dispense with this @#$^ IDIOT that is driving down the road in front of me at 5 miles below the posted speed limit while talking on their cellphone...There are so many powers to have, which one would I choose....hmmmm...

Superhero powers come in all kinds of flavors and shapes. Some heros get ALL the powers (superman). This of course isn't fair and quite frankly, not profitable. If one person has ALL the powers, then you have to make everyone around them equally powerful in a different way just to make them interesting. For the sake of my list, it's one power per customer. You gotta pick one.

I dedicate this top 10 list to my Sister in law Shannon who gave me the idea to include it.

10. Flying - Last on the list and yet first on the list, Flying would be a cool power to have, but really only in a gee-whiz sort of way. You could get from point a to point b in a very novel way. Just because you can fly, doesn't mean you are going to do it fast, and then you really don't have a superhero power more than you have an alternate mode of transportation. Biggest problem with this power is you can be CERTAIN that if you use it in any populated area, you are going to get some gun toting moron shooting at you because you were the 'goofiest bird I er' seen'. Funny thing is, flying seems to be a sub-power for many high end heros. Almost a prerequisite. Wonderwoman, check, Superman, duh, Green Lantern, check sort-a, Spider-man (well he can swing around on webs so) 1/2 check. Iron Man, check, even the Hulk who can NOT fly approximates it by jumping so powerfully that he in effect 'flys' to his next destination, Seems like if he can jump that far in a single bound, that would give him enough time to calm down and kill himself on re-entry.

9. Invisibility - SWEET. I believe that this would be the most used power of any standard Hero powers. Unfortunately most of the applications of invisibility would be selfish in nature and have nothing to do with saving anything unless you worked for the military. If I could turn invisible, I would probably spend more time that way than opaque. This power would have been much more usable about 30 years ago when infrared/night vision was only in the hands of the military. Aside from all the insider trading you would do and the other more prurient interests. Invisibility can only be used to get YOURSELF out of trouble and not really anyone else. This is why most people that are given invisibility powers (invisigirl, Sue Richards, Wonder woman's plane). Aside from the Invisible Man, who is definitely NOT a hero, why is it that Invisibility seems to be given only to hot looking females? That just doesn't seem right. Invisibility should be given to ugly men, do us all a favor. ALSO get the ability to put up shields around themselves or others. Incidentally, Wonder Woman's invisible plane was such a pain in the butt for the FAA that she kept it on the island of Themyscira.

8. Super Vision - Not too many hero's had this model of power and for the most part nobody wants it. Superman (yawn) of course has all methods of vision at his disposal. Heat, Infrared, Xray, I'm sure he could dazzle the young teens of Metropolis with a laser light show if he had the time. But seriously, the only kind of vision I would want is Infrared. X-ray would have to look more like an X-ray in the airport and less like the X-ray on the novelty page of a comic book (spread fingers and SEE BONES!). Heat vision unless under tight supervision would only cause you to destroy multiple TV sets and eventually make you swear off of watching news, sporting events, or politics for fear of letting loose while you are watching in a 'heated' moment...sorry. Cyclops of the Xmen had this unfortunate ability and the only way he could control it was to wear glasses made of a particular rose-quartz to filter out the astounding power and allow him to see like a normal person. Infra-vision would at least allow you to see heat signatures and not be threatening in any other way. Not too many heros with this kind of power. Cyclops, Superman, and the rest are unnotables.

7. Speed - Better than flying in my opinion. The ability to go superfast really would be the best way to be of service to your fellow man. You could have single handedly saved DHL from financial destruction. Speed of course comes in several different flavors, and if that charleton Albert Einstein is to be believed, if you are going to even come close to approaching the speed of light, you've got a lot of problems, the least of which is the whole time freezing thing. Of course you would only need to be maybe sub-sonic in speed in order to be useful. Imagine running so fast that you could skirt on the tension of the water without sinking. So fast, you could deliver a severely injured person to the hospital in time to be helped. So fast that the amount of food you would need to consume on a daily basis would require you to use these powers for financial self enrichment as well as helping others. Imagine the calories you would burn up. On a personal note, I would really only need to have twice the speed I have now, and it would be incredible. I would have twice as much time to not get things done that I had fully intended to. LOADS of heros have the speed gene. lets see, superman (wow, it's a good thing he's an alien, or the other heros would be feeling super inadequate right about now), The Flash (only a hair faster than Superman), Quicksilver, Dash (that spunky kid of the Incredibles). Speedster on Heros.

6. - Extra Brain abilities - Of course. The ability to read other peoples minds! What a great ability. Think of the damage you could do at a casino! You'd be wealthy in no time and they wouldn't be able to stop you. You would not be allowed in any casino after about a week because you would always know the dealers hole card as long as the dealer knew. You would be able to know 'what was wrong' when your wife stopped talking to you. Of course there are different levels of telepathic ability.
- 1.The ability to read minds or empathicly feel other peoples emotions.
- 2. The ability to project your thoughts into another persons mind
- 3. The ability to alter the perception of what people think they are seeing/feeling etc
Then of course there is the whole telekinetic thing where you can actually move things with your mind. Any level of this ability has actually been claimed by your average run of the mill humans. From Yuri Geller to the guy at your local carnival. The difference between the comic book guys and them is that the comic book guys are real. The carnies are just very perceptive. I would point you in the direction of Psyche or perhaps the more serious version called The Mentallist and you'll see what I mean. There are a boat load of heros with this power, but the most obvious would be Professor X of the X men. (Superman does NOT have this ability)

5. - Magic - Magic as a Hero ability? Bah! Magic is just tricks. Yes, I agree. magic is just tricks. But in the realm of comic books and TV, magic can often be real. It's not a trick or slight of hand, it's calling on unseen powers to transmute objects, curse your enemies, and of course levitate stuff. The definition of Magic is: any technology sufficiently beyond our understanding. In the comic book world there are a few heros that deal with magic all the time. Zatanna of the Justice League is the local big wig of magic. She can make anything happen as long as she says what she want's backwards. take THAT Mr. Mxyzptlk. On the Marvel side of the universe the man in the big boy pants is called Dr. Strange. In both universes they are reguarded as among the most powerful heros there are. Here's the cool part. Magic is one of Superman's few weaknesses! That's right. The Boyscout in Blue just can't take his eyes off of David Coperfield even for a moment. He's MEZMERIZED!!!

4. - Elements, Animals etc - This is a broad category because there are so many powers that are simply derived from the earth around us. There are powers of being like a sandstorm. Powers of being like just about any animal with any kind of cool and even some that have no cool at all (sorry TOAD and Blue Beetle). Seems like without the atavistic vision of the average human there would be a severe shortage of hero's to look at. On the elemental side we've got Johnny Storm for the Fantastic 4 that turns into fire at the drop of a hat. he can then blast you with fire as well as fly. SWEET. There are ice guys, water guys, and the list goes on. You name the element and someone probably has invented a hero who's powers are derived from that element. Why just the other day I had to break out Cesium Man # 221 and give it a read again. Watch out for that water Cesium Man!!! Ok, just kidding, there is no Cesium Man...YET. I would love to have several animal powers, but If they were randomly distributed, I would likely gain the power to accurately hurl my feces at suprising distances...right now I can't chuck them much more than 20 feet. Seriously, the problem with any of these abilities is that you would become SUCH a distraction at work that nobody would hire you. You'd need to become a hero for hire or something just because there would be little else you could do. There's always government work I suppose

3. - Change your shape. - Shape Changers! SWEET! Now you're talkin! The ability to take on any form or shape varies from hero to hero in the comic books. Plastic man, Rubber man, Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic was his name for a while, but that was too whiz bang for a man of Mr. Richards intellect). On the bad guy side you have Mystique and the Chameleon. In some cases you can change to look like something or someone else. in other cases you can actually become what you change into. Who wouldn't want that ability?! Once again, this is an ability we would only use for our own benefit initially. Perhaps when we had grown tired of it, or alienated all of our friends by seeing what they really thought of us would we use our powers to help people out by fooling them. We have people that walk among us that display these sorts of abilities today, we call them Politicians.

2. Money - Hey that's not a super power. Oh yea? Go tell Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark that. Heck, even the Fantastic 4 really benefit as much from Reed Richards grant money as they do from their super powers. That's why many of their comic stories revolve around them nearly going bankrupt or some such nonsense. If you have money and a good heart, you can accomplish an AMAZING amount in the world. Of course, those without money would quip that the wealthy are simply salving their hurting guilt and should give even more because 'they can afford it' Gosh I love that line. So if you have money and you do something noble with it, you get no credit for it because you have the money, and if you don't have the money, you will get more credit for having good intentions but no ability for doing good with the money you don't have. It's a power that comes with it's own weakness. It's amazing. If this is a genuine super power, then Politicians would probably be chief among it's users and abusers for/against society. Super Congressman! Able to spend more money than you have in a single session of congress! Finally, something that Superman doesn't have. You don't get rich writing by-lines for the Daily planet. On the other hand, your 401k would mature nicely over the next several hundred years.

1. Strength - Really, you are hardly super if you don't have strength. After all, everything else is just parlor tricks. Strength will help you help people as well as impress the ladies or scare the men or both. Super strength usually comes with it's own set of problems. People always asking you to come help them move or do yard work. Sometimes strength comes with it's own set of caveat's. The most famous of which is of course the HULK. Hulk can only help you get that lid off of the pickle jar if he's GOOD and MAD. Otherwise, you're gherkins will remain in their vacuum sealed tomb. The other side is, if you are SO strong, how do you keep from just demolishing every day things? Well I guess the same way we humble humans do it. We make sure we are careful! Strength is so common amongst the hero set that I won't bother going into who has it. Just assume that if they are wearing tights and possibly a cape, they are probably strong enough to back up their fashion statement.

I guess I'll go back to daydreaming about the lottery, the only superpower I posses is the ability to pull up on the door handle just as you unlock the car door from the driver side, rendering the unlocking USELESS. Bwaahahahaha! I'll take over the WORLD!!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Top 10 Crappy Halloween Treats

Yes, I'm well aware that Halloween is past. I know that it's November. But since I went to the store on November 1st and saw all of the left over Halloween candy pushed into a lonely corner on one end cap next to Kitty Litter and Kitchen aids I realized that everything around it was glowing a red and green Bing Crosby Christmas. That's right, CHRISTMAS. I don't blame the stores being antsy to get the Holiday season going what with the bad economy and all but PLEASE can I have just one weekend of Turkey and Pumpkin Pie before we go full bore into the Xmas fanfare?

In a move that is directly opposite the stores, I am moving backwards into Halloween again to talk about the candy. Those of you that know me know I have a penchant for the sweet. One of my favorite pastimes was running a Candy store at a company I used to work for. After seeing my son come back from his All Hallows Eve door to door night o' beggin looking like a burgler that had just come back from the biggest heist since Oceans 11, I watched him sort through his candy with a seriousness that rivals young brides sifting through diamonds. He was putting them into piles according to his tastes. This is what has brought me to this list of notable crappy Halloween treats.

10. Coupons - Did I say candy? Well I meant candy, but this is even better kids! A coupon for 1/2 off of a BIG candy bar! Not some lame 'fun size' candy bar. You can use this baby when all of your other candy has been eaten and puked all ready. LAME. I got this one when I was about 10 years old and wondered who if anyone would actually use a coupon for halloween candy. This is very very much like trying to buy off a hit man with S&H Greenstamps to not kill you.

9. Tooth Brushes - Hey Mark Didn't you say Candy? Well, technically I said treats, which could be nearly anything. This one is a little worse than number 10 because you really are adding insult to injury. Not only are you not getting candy, but you are getting anti candy. The biggest problem is these tooth brushes are usually inferior quality brushes that you wouldn't scrub grout with in a Frat house bathroom much less your own pearly whites.

8. Red/white Mint Discs/Candy Canes - This is Halloween right? Just because you had to clear out your Christmas decorations in order to get to the Halloween ones doesn't mean you can try to foist last years yucky candy canes and mint discs on those unwitting kids this year. You should be ashamed of yourself. You cheapen the Spirit of Halloween.

7. Live Fruit - What are you? My Mother? An apple? REALLY?! Everyone knows you put a razorblade in there anyway. At least that's how the urban legend goes. How about a little tiny plastic bag with baby carrots in it? Wrong answer. If you don't make with the sweet and gooey pretty soon, you will have a hard time distinguishing your house from egg salad.

6. pennies -
pennies. I got pennies in my bag a few times as a youth. I don't blame them too much because it was usually on the last few houses on the route and they had run out of candy. When I was a kid, there was a point in time where I wasn't certain that there WAS any curfew on Halloween. So I would be ringing doorbells WELL into the night. So I very likely deserved the pennies. I had actually heard that there was someone that was giving out baked pennies that were red hot that would melt through those pumpkin head treat buckets. Probably not true, but I think Iwould like mythbusters to check it out.

5. Plastic Spiders - This is not a treat and it's not a Toy. It's a crappy Plastic spider that you can get from the oriental trading company for about 3 dollars for a gross of them. Nobody plays with these. In fact they are thrown away nearly as soon as they are found and shown to mom with the appropriate fake look of terror response. I would have had more enjoyment out of 1 peanut m&m.

4. Milk Dud(s) -
If you perchance to look inside a childs Halloween haul, you will find one or two of these little boxes of glory. Any one of these little 'butes could rip out a filling in 2 chews. It's a wonder that Dentists weren't giving these away by the gross. They are in a box that will contain anywhere between 1 and 4 milk duds. In candy biz these are called 'FUN' sizes. Fun my sweet mothers girdle. If a regular candybar is normal or 'business' size and these sorry excuses for candy are FUN size. I suppose those little candy sprinkles that you find on cupcakes could be packaged individually and sold as 'Riotous Living' Size.

3. Smartees -
The reason these make the list is sheer numbers. These little discs of compressed chalk are rolled up into tubes and called SMARTIES. They have an off brand kosher cousin called Fizzers. They Fizz about as much as smarties make you smart. I have nothing against these candies normally, but if you eat about 5 packages of them, you get really sore taste buds that take roughly 2 days to heal, and everyone knows that one of the essential pieces to Halloween is gorging ones self on candy to the point of nausea. This doesn't help that cause.

2. Peanut Butter Taffy -
In their Trademark Black and Orange wax paper wrapping this little treat was a staple of cheap handouts in the 70's and 80's and I have still seen them today. The taffy is ok, but there is just something wierd about a process candy that has no logo and no company information. If you would like to try the RETAIL version of these things, go and find yourself an ABBA-ZABA, they are the same. For all you know, that old lady handing them out made it herself with Exlax to get back at the neighborhood kids for spray painting rude words on her silhouetted cowboy leaning against her house.

1. Pixie Sticks -
Yuck. These little paper tubes filled with crushed smarties are horrible. they either broke in your bag and left a residue that contaminated all the other candies and made your hands sticky just from handling them. Or worse yet, they survived and you ate them with very unsatisfactory results. I suppose they ARE candy, but really, they aren't much of a candy. In fact, mostly they are just the promise of candy. One year my brother and I decided to try to pool our resources of pixie sticks and pour them into a glass of water in the hopes of discovering a new replacement for kool-aid and thus quenching a growing world thirst for that fat glass man's smiling pitcher of liquid delight. We failed miserably. We used too much water and not enough pixie sticks. But the truth is, there isn't enough pixie sticks in the world to make something good out of them. More bad, just equals more BAD.

As always thanks for reading! and Merry Xmas!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

top 10 reasons Ghosts don't exist


So here we are, first day after Halloween. I found out that the actual spooky day of haunting and stuff according to the local Wiccans is actually somewhere in early November. So I figure I'm only late for trick or treats and not for ghosts. I love ghosts and ghost stories, if for no other reason than to hear people tell the tale. After years of collecting ghost stories, I've come to the conclusion that there are simply no such things as ghosts. By ghosts, I mean the spirits of dead people that not only still walk the earth, but have decided to bother the living with their incessant moaning and carrying on.

top 10 reasons there are no such things as ghosts.

10. Because Hollywood is a bunch of liars. - Since when does Hollywood embrace any idea that's actually factual? The only thing I know about Hollywood is that they make money from telling good stories and good stories are always embellished and edited. The true story never comes out. So when I see a movie like the Changeling (still one of my favorite scary movies even though there is no blood or gore or anything) I know that ghosts do much cooler stuff on celuloid than in real life.

9. 1 billion Hindu's can't be wrong. - I don't feel like reincarnation and Ghosts are compatible philosophies. If you are going to a new state of existence, you don't have time to hang around lamenting the choices of your previous life. After all, you are moving on to bigger and better things. This is likely not reflected in the direct philosophy of Hinduism, but I'll still bet there are ghost believers in the religion that try to make it work. If I knew that I had a new swing at life ahead of me after death, I sure wouldn't hang around the mistakes of my past any longer than I had to, I'd definitely be in for making new ones in a new existence.

8. It's all in your head silly - When I first heard about waking dreams it all made sense. I was asleep in my bed and I woke up suddenly and saw a black shadow of a man in my room staring at me. It was freaky real, but I just kept staring at him and he literally evaporated. A waking dream is the subconscious of your dream mind intersecting with the more literal and business like conscious mind. It makes for hallucinations that seem very real. If you ever do have an experience like that, it might be time to trade out your furnace. Carbon Monoxide poisoning will give you dark visions as well as several other side effects that could make the most staunch non-believer think that they are plagued by poltergeists.

7. Patrick Swayze made more movies after Ghost - Everyone knows that ghosts don't move around a lot, in fact, they are pretty much seen in the same places all the time. It is also a well known fact that Patrick Swayze actually had many more movies AFTER ghost. Point Break, To Wong foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar, and who could forget Dirty Dancing Havana Nights. Clearly Patrick Sawyze survived beyond being a Ghost. We aren't sure the same could be said for Whoopi Goldberg. Maybe in Sister Act 2, she became pious enough to cast out demons though...something to think about.

6. The dead are overrated - The dead on earth have been hyped up so much that there is NO WAY they could live up to that kind of hype. Turning peoples hair white, moving furniture and not in a helpful way, whispering/yelling to Hamlet, and that whole Ouija board farce. After this kind of ability attribution, you gotta know that spirits are far too afraid to show up because the bar has been placed so high that there is no way they could measure up. Lets be serious, closing a door in an already stiff breeze is not really going to impress anyone above the age of 13.

5. MOM! - If there were such things as ghosts, don't you think that all the dead mothers in the world would return to nag their progeny? What mother wouldn't break the chains forged in life to come back for just one more 'I told you so' or 'Why can't you be more like your brother?'. This world would be silly with them. so much so that they wouldn't even be creepy, it would just be assumed that once you as a mother died your mother would be released to the great beyond and you would be left to haunt your kids until their untimely demise. As it is, not too much of that going around. Dad's obviously wouldn't bother with haunting their kids because they need to learn life for themselves like he did. No ghosts came down and told him the right turns to take and besides, there's a good game in heaven that he doesn't want to miss the Fallen Angels might really have a chance against those goody two shoes Heavnly Hosts this year..

4. It would have been on the news by now. - Surely someone would have caught the image of a dark spirit flipping the bird to those left behind. If for no other reason, to mess up those family pictures that they really didn't like posing for in life. The media instead bores us to tears with news of the living...YAWN. And no, the Discovery Channel/TLC doesn't count. Those aren't ghosts either, read #10 again.

3. Wouldn't there be ghosts haunting other holidays? - Sure Halloween would be the obvious choice for spirits of all stripes to strut their stuff, and there is a few notable ghosts that wander around during Christmas. Veterans day ghosts should be all over the place. What about the valentines day ghost? You're telling me the suicides of unrequited love don't produce a few shades to bother the objects of their affections? Not really. On the other hand, it could be that in committing suicide, they realized that their true love wasn't worth the trouble and suddenly moved on.

2. If ghosts were real, we wouldn't be scared of them - After all, we are afraid of them because they are created from our imagination and as such are something beyond our understanding and control. If ghosts were real, they would be provable by something beyond a crappy recording on an old cassette tape slowed down and sped up until it made a phrase that sounded something like 'pudding isn't good'. They would be able to not only be photographed, but posed in such a way to make family photos more meaningful. They could do helpful things like tell us where we left our car keys and if our credit card is being used without our authority. In fact, if ghosts were real, they would quickly not be because they would move on after realizing what a bunch of lazy self serving louts we really are in life.

1. The government would find some way to tax them - The phrase 'death and taxes' really says it all. Once you are dead, you don't pay taxes any more. That's because the Government can't collect it from you. Either because you have relocated out of their jurisdiction, or because you don't use money anymore. Either way, if you don't exist to the Government, there is a fairly high likelyhood that you don't exist at all on this plane of existence.

Sorry I took October off, but it was a hectic month. I will be back on my 2 a month schedule, or more if I get more motivated, or my own ghost prompts me with something wittier than I already put down here.