Eulogy for a Friend

I never used to be a dog person, or an animal person altogether. I grew up on a farm, but I never really had any “pets”. I had a few dogs here and there, but nothing long term. I used to be the person that would think people were crazy that treated their pets like their own children. I used to think “It’s just a dog” or “It’s not like it was a kid or something”. That is, until I met my wife. She is a bonafide animal lover. She has inhuman amounts of patience for our four legged friends, load more than I ever had.

When I met my wife, she had just moved to town and gotten a job at the local animal shelter. She had a dog already, a boxer named “Paige”. We started dating in early 2010, and a few months later we moved in together. Her dog became my dog as well. I warmed to Paige immediately, she was quiet, sweet, and listened well. She never made any messes and only occasionally needed to be taken outside to do her “business”. A few months later, another boxer that my wife named “Bettye” (Bettye-Paige, get it?) came on to the scene.

Bettye was a hard luck case from the start. She was severely underweight, had heart worms, a urinary tract infection, and was riddled with shotgun pellets because some a–hole tried to shoot her. She was a hot mess. At the time, I was not too keen on Bettye moving into our new family. As a person who was not necessarily an animal lover, she needed lots of attention and patience that I just did not have. There was one night when Bettye, in the midst of her urinary tract infection, had urinated on the floor in the hallway of our tiny apartment. I stepped in the offending puddle and voiced my anger and dismay. My future wife took me to the side and said, “This is how life is going to be with me, if you can’t handle it then maybe we should go our separate ways.” I knew right then that I needed to put who I was behind me and get on board with this amazing woman and be the kind of person I like to think that I am. I stayed.

It took me a long time to warm up to Bettye, but she had no problems warming up to me. She was a licker, and I became her designated lickee, much to my consternation. I didn’t like to be licked by dogs, I still don’t, but I don’t mind it as much now.  I didn’t like having to constantly take her outside, or bathe her, or feed her special food, or give her meds. I treated her like she was a burden but she didn’t care. For some reason I was her favorite person in the world. It used to make my wife jealous because she was the one who rescued her, bought her things, gave her expensive food, but for some reason Bettye took a shine to me. Her constant attention aggravated me at first, but the aggravating furry ball of unconditional love and joy wore down my wall and worked her way into my heart. It took a couple of years, but she did it.  Little by little.

Bettye&Jay

Over the next few years she became my silent companion. A silent partner if you will. As my wife brought me out of my self loathing depression by pushing me to pick up my art again, Bettye was always there at my feet as I sat at my drawing table, or at my computer. She followed me everywhere I went, she became my shadow. She was always there when I was happy or sad, always ready to cheer me up, even when I scolded her for being naughty (there were a few trash can incidents). She had nothing to give but unconditional love and all she asked for in return was a chest scratch, a french fry, or a pizza crust. I took her for granted because I thought that she would be around forever. Bettye passed away on Thursday April 23, 2015. She passed away suddenly of an undiagnosed heart condition. It was unexpected and a total shock. She was taken from us without warning and now my wife and I are faced with an unfillable void in our lives. Even though Paige is still alive, there is a silence in our house that is deafening. No more snoring next to me on the floor, no more “tick-tack” of her nails on the kitchen tile, no one  snorting loudly to get my attention to take her outside, no one staring at me until I relent and give her a chest scratch in just the right spot. My friend is gone.

Like I said, I was never a dog person. You might think I’m crazy for writing this because after all “It was just a dog”. You just don’t get it. There are a lot of people who just don’t get it. I, for one, am glad I was given the opportunity to “get it”. Although we only had 5 years together, it felt like a lifetime. To Bettye it WAS a lifetime. I just hope that wherever she is, she knows that we miss her terribly and that we love her so very much. I will think about her every day for the rest of my life. I’m a better person now because of her, I only wish I’d gotten the chance to say goodbye. I guess the only way is to say it here, Goodbye Bettye. We love you. Rest in Peace sweet girl.

.Bettye

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Three Things You Missed About Jared Leto’s Joker

Joker

David Ayer, the director of the upcoming Suicide Squad movie released the first picture of what the new Joker look is going to be and it is…well…

Joker

Damaged.

I mean, it says so right there on his forehead.

Now that we got the obvious out of the way, here are three things you may not have noticed if you weren’t over thinking the whole thing like I did all day yesterday and today.

(NOTE: Movie Pilot is reporting that the Joker’s final look will not have the tatoos; however, I think that is perposterous that we would be shown THIS version of the Joker and the tatoos not be a real design choice.)

1. Someone Tatoos Him  Looking closely at the picture, you’ll notice that the Joker has an ink affliction. I know, it’s hard to see them unless you REALLY pay attention.

Now the thing that I find interesting about this is that there is a guy out there that tatoos the Joker and from the condition of those tatoos, fairly recently. So not only would the artist know who the Joker is, but he would have no problem spending the hurs and multiple sessions inking up a known psychopath.

I want to see this guy’s movie. I mean, this isn’t some dude who shared a cell with Mr. J in Arkham, those are well rendered gorgeous pieces of skin art and I just want to know what kind of a bad ass of a man has the cahones to do this kind of work.

It is entirely possible that Joker threatened the artist(s), and this is why the work is so well made; however, it just seems like it could be the plot of an entire sub story.

2. His Poor Oral Hygiene Has Gotten the Best Of Him   One of the Joker’s main attributes in his best incarnation was his buttery yellow teeth.

Delicious
Delicious

Joker, being one who wants to rebel against everyone and everything including the American Dental Association. Eventually his evil ways caught up with him and he ended up in Arkham, seperated from his love, and needing extensive caps to repair his rotting and (presumably) stinking mouth.

No wonder he and Harley Quinn are reportedly estranged at the beginning of the film.

3. He Fronts A Band Made Popular In the 1990’s   Do you remember Prodigy? If not, I understand – thier big hit song “Smack My Bitch Up” was only allowed to play over night at the hieght of thier popularity. The reason I bring this up is because the Joker looks like he may have fronted a similar band in the late ’90s.

Now before you start commenting stating that the Jared Leto was already in a band and this is true; however, the Joker looks like the type of musician who would have been touring with the Family Values Tour with Mudvayne, Slipknot, and opening for Limp Bizkit. I could imagine seeing some JNCO wearing, wallet chain-wearing, clove smoking Emo-Goth kid buying this t-shirt so they could go put a gross of safety pins in it.

Now there isn’t anything inherently wrong with any of those things, but it just reeks of Warner Bros. trying too hard to make sure that every Hot Topic is filled with Leto’s smiling face. I just hope it really doesn’t happen because. Well…look at that thing.

Joker

48 – Dueling Jambos

This week: Steve finally gets to finish his thoughts about Netflix’s Daredevil. Then, the guys talk about the Star Wars Episode VII trailer, Rogue One, the Batman vs. Superman trailer and why the hell would they release it the same weekend as the Star Wars trailer, Jay’s misgivings about Fantastic Four and a naked Thing, Jurassic World, and finally the incompetence behind why they would show us the surprise villain in the Terminator:Genysis trailer…Spoilers!!!

Five Reasons Netflix’s Daredevil Works

DD

When Netflix unleashed Marvel’s Daredevil there were high hopes. Comic book fans were hoping to wash the bad taste of Ben Affleck and Coolio out of thier mouths from the 2003 film. This is not to say anyone else who has gotten Ben Affleck and/or Coolio in thier mouth wouldn’t want to wash it away regardless as to the delivery system. Non comic book fans were likely curious as to why they should care about the blind super hero from Hell’s Kitchen. I am here to give you at least five of the countless reasons I think you should give the show a shot. A word of warning; however, as spoilers will come up.

5. The Marvel Movies Directly Tie Into the Show From the first few episodes, the Battle of New York as witnessed in Marvel’s Avengers directly ties into the story of how Wilson Fisk and his co-conspiritors was able to raise to power in their little slice of the Big Apple. Aside from that obvious reference, there are a lot of things going on in the background too. There is an article referencing the fight between Hulk and Abomination that happened in Harlem, other heroes are mentioned by name as existing in this world, and there is even a name drop to “Crusher” Creel who would later go on to become the Absorbing Man in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Speculatively, a character says later in the series that she lives further away than anticipated, a line I took to mean that she was otherworldly – a concept we have grown to accept from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Again, this was just hinted at and not cannon, but I thought I’d throw that out there.

4. The Creative Team Behind Angel While the credits rolled, I couldn’t help but notice a few names I recognized and after doing my research things began to fall into place. This season reminded me of the first season of Angel, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff. The series begins as a “going into business” story between college buddies Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson. The end of the first episode adds the dynamic of their secretary/researcher Karen Page that feels similar to the Angel/Doyle/Cordelia chemistry that I enjoyed from the first season of Angel. Discovering that the creative team behind Daredevil were instrumental with Angel makes sense in this regard, but make no mistake – Daredevil veers more toward the dark and brooding world of Matt Murdock than it does Angel. Which was dark and brooding too, but you know what I mean.

Costume

3. The Fight Scenes Are Spectacular The problem I’ve always had with the other Marvel properties is that there isn’t as much of a feeling of mortality to the preceedings. We al know Captain America can take a lot of punishment, Thor is nearly invincible, and even Black Widow never seems to get so much as a hair out of place when performing flawless hurricanranas to foes. Daredevil doesn’t have this shiny veneer when fisticuffs breaks out. The fights are brutal and have a weight to them that make you feel every punch, every kick, and every knife to the side. The violence isn’t sexy at all and that is what seperates this from anything else Marvel has released. The consequenses feel real. The only down side to this is that the best fight scene (though they are all great) happens in the second episode of the season. Seven minutes of brutal savegry without any cuts in a clostrophobic hallway in an obvious nod to Oldboy or The Raid. Nothing like it has ever been on television.

Kingpin

2. The Acting Is Emmy Worthy We all knew that Wilson Fisk was going to be an exceptional character when we found out that Vincent D’Onofrio was going to play him in the series. He did not disappoint. Each time the Kingpin is on screen it was like watching a caged animal. Calm and calculating. He was waiting to strike. The most unnerving thing about him was how uncomfortable he seemed around everyone, almost like he had to rehearse everything he said to them before he actually said it so that it would have the desired effect. It was actually sort of creepy. Charlie Cox as Daredevil was a revelation to me since I had never seen Boardwalk Empire, but the choices he made were brilliant. Matt Murdoch can see a “world on fire,” but he played a man pretending to be more helpless than he really is fantastically and in costume he was imposing without any of the silliness that we put up with in the theatrical Batman movies. The secondary cast was perfect as well adding to the universe and mythos in a way that fit. There are so many that I won’t go into them all here, but everyone brings something real and unexpected to the table. There isn’t one weak link.

1. It Is A Better Batman Show Than Gotham I really don’t understand how anyone could go back to thinking Fox’s “Gotham” is still a well made TV show about Batman after Daredevil, honestly. I admit to have only watched one episode of that series, but it was off putting how much it felt like the show tries to use the good will of the Batman mythos to get people into the show. The only interesting thing that I saw on the show was the “B” story about the Penguin and with a show about Gotham, that seems like a strange direction to go into. With The Riddler, The Scarecrow, and the Penguin all being 20-30 years older than Bruce Wayne it sends a slightly unsettling message that Batman will be beating on men in their 50’s and 60’s (in the comics Bruce is around his early 30’s when he dons the mask). This makes him less of a hero to me since he would have the same affect on his rogues gallery as osteoporosis would if he just waits a few years. If you don’t agree with me, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Kevin Smith had an entire “Utility Belt” show (a name I came up with for a segment that was not about Batman)on his podcast Fatman on Batman where all he and Marc Bernard discuss Daredevil and only Daredevil. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. P.S. Kevin, if you read this I would love a shoutout for coming up with “Utility Belt.” Our little podcast could use the publicity!

47 – Chewie…We’re Home.

This week: The guys completely geek out over the Star Wars Episode 7 trailer, then completely geek out over Netflix’s Daredevil. Then, an unfortunate Skype incident boots Steve from finishing the show, but fear not, Jay & Wally soldier on to talk about the documentary “Atari:Game Over”. Jay also gives his thumbs up review of the sci-fi novel “Blaze” by Jason Woodham, which you can order at www.blazingknight.com.

46 – Gerk!

This week: Steve talks about his appearance at GenCon and how it is a convention that is still all about comics, artists, & writers. Then the guys talk all about the Flash, the Ballad of Porchdick, Indiana Jones, Deadpool being rated R, and an entire assortment of geeky nonsense.