Posted in Freedom Friday

I Wish…

Everyone has a bucket list these days. Seems like the right thing to do. For Freedom Friday, I thought I’d share my own bucket list. And since it’s the New Year, I figure I could double up by also presenting this post as a 2014 wish list of sorts. I hope that makes sense. I’m sure you’ll muddle through it.

When you wish upon a star
When you wish upon a star

Let me preface every wish with the following intro: In 2014…

  • …I wish I didn’t have to wait in line anymore, such as when I’m shopping and the line comes to an abrupt halt by a thrifty shopper five places ahead because they want a price check on the cocktail olives they’re going to consume with their martini later that evening before passing out in a drunken stupor.
  • …I wish I’ll finally be able to find a parking spot closer to the mall entrance rather than two-hundred car lengths in the middle of nowhere forcing me to walk the distance of a mile to get to that precious birthday gift that in a year no one will remember.
  • …I wish drivers will leave the passing lane open to those of us who actually want to use it as a passing lane therefore allowing us to get to our destinations without feeling we owe them our firstborn.
  • …I wish I will never have to worry about brain freeze ever again.
  • …I wish the water fountains at the mall didn’t spurt torrential rain when I lean into them forcing me to walk outside soaked and drying my hair with a towel.
  • …I wish I’ll have the opportunity to say, “Two hundred channels and there’s so much on.”
  • …I wish my “please” will not mean “step lively” but instead those hearing it will understand it as my way of saying “haul ass” as in, “Can you haul ass and get that for me?”
  • …I wish food manufacturers will not fill half a bag of chips with air.
  • …I wish Spider-Man will make an appearance in the next Avengers movie.
  • …I wish when I’m looking for the salt shaker I discover it in the same place where I’d left it instead of finding the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ginger, coriander, cumin, black pepper, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, clove, savory, marjoram, sage, and all the other exotic spices we have in our culinary arsenal we call a kitchen cabinet.

These will do for now. I’m not interested in vast riches, wealth or anything like that. Although it would be cool to wish for a comfortable life, I don’t make it a priority. So many other things in life are way more important anyway. Nothing quite like a good chat or sharing a meal with friends. I suppose as long as everyone gets along, that’s all that matters.

Let’s make it official. In 2014 I wish everyone would get along.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Do you have any wishes for 2014 you’d like to see happen in your life?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Black Widow

Making her first appearance in the film Iron Man 2 as Natalia “Natasha” Alianovna Romanova, also known as Natasha Romanoff, and reappearing in The Avengers, Black Widow dominates the screen as the female superhero with a dark history.

Black Widow
Black Widow

Past Women Who Wow Wednesday posts have focused on female characters that could empower women into becoming better in whatever position life has given them. But after having thoroughly researched Black Widow’s record, this writer is at odds with placing this woman on a pedestal.

What can one say of Black Widow’s behavior that in some form or another wouldn’t cause someone to cringe? Definitely not the following:

  • In Ultimate Marvel, Romanova is a former KGB spy and assassin
  • Genetic or cybernetic implants make her a formidable combatant
  • The woman is known for killing her ex-husbands
  • Responsible for the death of Hawkeye’s wife and children
  • Publicly revealed Bruce Banner’s connection to the Hulk
  • Collaborated with the Liberators in their invasion of the U.S.

There’s more, yet that would involve divulging major plot points in Black Widow’s history. Suffice it to say she leaves much to be desired on the honor and trustworthiness scale.

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff

However, when she appears in Iron Man 2, she’s Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson), Stark Industries’ replacement for personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) who moves into the company’s CEO position. No one knows what to make of the redhead until S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury reveals Natalie Rushman is covert operative Natasha Romanoff, planted to monitor Iron Man, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). You see, Tony’s dying, and she needs to keep him from harm’s way. Natasha also injects Tony with a special serum to slow the palladium poisoning he’s been experiencing due to his use of the arc reactor that keeps him alive.

In the movie The Avengers, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind where Black Widow’s loyalty lies. From the very first frame, we see her in a quandary. A Russian general is about to interrogate Natasha as three soldiers stand in the wings. She dispatches them whole—tied up, no less. The information flows from the general’s mouth.

Yeah, but can anyone trust her? Nick Fury can. He trusts her with the most important assignment of all—bringing in Bruce Banner. No other Avenger can do what she can. Nick doesn’t trust anyone else to do what she can. One wrong move and Bruce turns into the big green guy. No doubt, she did it. She brought him in without a fight.

Once on the helicarrier, her next assignment gets more complex. Interrogate Loki. What’s your plan? Of course she didn’t ask the direct question. Through subterfuge and ploy, Natasha discovers Loki’s nefarious design to deploy Hulk to do his dirty work. One problem, though: When Bruce Banner does turn into the big green guy, Natasha is the only one to delay the inevitable—the absolute destruction of the ship.

When the final battle occurs in New York City, Black Widow’s the only one who understands someone has to close the portal spewing the Chitauri upon the earth. Iron Man’s pathetic attempt at brutal stoppage does not work. Thankfully, she follows through with her genius plan and saves the city from destruction.

No matter what her past, Black Widow has redeemed herself with The Avengers.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Have you seen The Avengers? What did you think of it? Do you know of Black Widow’s past?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Aliens, Aliens, Aliens!

Welcome back to Monday Mayhem where I talk about Armageddon at a grand scale—even though I might embellish as I go along. If you would like to view the rest of the Monday Mayhem posts in the series, you can click on the Monday Mayhem link at the top of this post.

Aliens, Aliens, Aliens!
Aliens, Aliens, Aliens!

With that out of the way, let’s talk aliens. Strange topic considering most of my posts I’d written have been about zombies. But aliens come a close second when dealing with the end-of-days, post-apocalyptic nightmare. How many alien movies has Hollywood produced where the creatures have beamed to Earth with the intention of taking over the world? Every summer there’s another one of these movies stomping the theaters. The Avengers was the latest that’d come out this summer.

Let’s look at some of the best alien invasion movies to hit the box office—their creatures and their attitude toward the human race. I always enjoy a good alien romp, so this is a great refresher for me. This post also serves as a sounding board to express my love for the genre.

Independence Day
Independence Day

Who can deny the success of the movie Independence Day? Will Smith starred as a pilot who took it upon himself to defeat the alien invasion. How cool is that? As with the majority of all alien movies, the invasion took place with massive ships hovering over the cities of our beautiful, blue marble. As in the movie Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace stated:

“A communications disruption could mean only one thing: invasion.”

The eventual purpose of their visit became clear. They wanted to deal destruction to the main hubs thereby maximizing the death toll. Clever. We should have known. Although their ships were huge, these aliens were not very smart. The heart of their ships gave away their weakness and led to their eventual destruction.

War of the Worlds
War of the Worlds

The aliens in the movie War of the Worlds never showed their face. Their ships however trampled all over Earth, spraying a death beam across the land, devouring everything in their path. Shaped as tripods, the government had thought the ships as impregnable. No matter what the army did, the aliens won every battle, obliterating tanks in the wake of its destruction. Then, when all hope was lost and it seemed as if the aliens had won the war, a common virus took hold, annihilating them. Both the 1953 and 2005 versions are worth noting since they differ in story.

Signs
Signs

M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs had a unique feel for an alien invasion movie. Much of what transpired with the takeover came via news reports and eyewitness accounts. The audience didn’t see the aliens until the end of the movie. A sad strategy for some moviegoers, but for the rest of us, we enjoyed the unfolding. There’s something to say about a movie when the audience lacks the visuals only to rely on their imagination to get scared. Alfred Hitchock did it all the time. Remember Psycho?

On a lighter note, Mars Attacks! and Men in Black have to be the funniest movies in the alien invasion genre. Lumped together, they make for a great double feature on a lonely, autumn night.

Mars Attacks!
Mars Attacks!

Mars Attacks!, in particular, flips the genre upside down. Director Tim Burton takes what other movies have minimized, and exploits the absurd to ridiculous levels. For instance, when the aliens land, and we humans, being who we are, welcome them with open arms—they do nothing but pull ray guns at us, frying us where we stand. It’s fun watching the all-star cast take hit after hit in the most creative way. The audience wonders who will die next.

Men in Black
Men in Black

Barry Sonnenfeld’s Men in Black’s invasion aspect is different. The aliens had already arrived and live among us. A division of black-clad men within the government controls the flow of aliens on earth. With the unfortunate news that an invasion is imminent, or at least the destruction of Earth, the Men in Black race to thwart the impending doom. The comedic aspect of the movie comes in the form of goo-laden scenes where aliens explode at every turn.

Did I miss any? I know I have. Can you tell me what they are? Do you enjoy alien invasion movies? What are some of the things you like about them? I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Wonder Woman

Welcome back to Women Who Wow Wednesday. If you haven’t read my intro to the series, you can search for it on my site with the keywords Women Who Wow Wednesday or you can click on the Women Who Wow Wednesday link at the top of this post. Simple, huh?

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman

In my last WWW Wednesday post, I wrote about Wonder Woman in passing. Today, I would like to dedicate this post to her.

In the Seventies, Wonder Woman caused quite a stir among young men. Her most awesome costume and her raving beauty captured the imagination of male adolescents everywhere. I grew up in that era. I remember whenever an article about the stunner appeared in a magazine delivered to our home. I would hide it from my folks.

My father could never find the TV Guide that week.

When I look back, I stand by my words—the Wonder Woman of the Seventies stood as a symbol to eye candy. The series had great messages, mind you. To a growing boy, the message couldn’t be any clearer. But the show lacked a little something for women watching it. The message of empowerment. Women needed that message back then, yet TV did not conform to providing any impressionable example.

Fast forward to today. Warner Bros. tapped The Avengers writer Joss Whedon to work on the project sometime ago. He had some outstanding ideas. One of them:

“The whole idea of a woman who is basically more powerful than any man—and who will always be that, and comes from a society of women who are more powerful than men—is an interesting theme that I think can be very contemporary.”

The ideas weren’t enough to make the studio flip the green light.

In addition, Megan Fox, whose name floated around talks as the Amazonian goddess, had dissed the project:

“Wonder Woman is a lame superhero. She flies around in her invisible jet and her weaponry is a lasso that makes you tell the truth. I just don’t get it. Somebody has a big challenge on their hands whoever takes that role but I don’t want to do it.”

Megan Fox as Wonder Woman
Megan Fox as Wonder Woman

Thank goodness for that. I could never see Megan Fox as the statuesque crime fighter. What needs to happen is the studio has to attach a producer such as J.J. Abrams to the project. Then we might actually see a true, contemporary rendition of Wonder Woman. This superhero is much too important to candify again.

To me, Wonder Woman not only stands for truth but also inner strength. She’s the superhero most likened to Superman. She’s also an unblemished superhero. An incorruptible soul. Some call her naïve. I’d prefer to think of her as unpretentious. Her solutions to problems come in the form of truth.

I would love to see Wonder Woman on the big screen. Look how Captain America became such a success.

What about you? Any thoughts about a big screen debut for Wonder Woman? How about if she knew martial arts like Black Widow, would that seem like a good idea? Let me know below.