Random Thoughts! (August 10, 2010)

Random Thought! Your lack of love for The Great Gatsby saddens me. It's random thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! GraphiContent for comics. butterbeatleblog for popculture.

Random Thought! On Friday night, I was listening to the soundtrack to Team America: World Police and first mused: "I wonder how many hours it will take for the first teaser from the Captain America movie to be remixed with 'America, Fuck Yeah' as the S/T." As I continued to listen, though, I realised that most of the soundtrack could work as the soundtrack to the Captain America movie. Here's the track list with corresponding moment in the movie:

1. "Everyone Has AIDS" = Cap waking up now, because AIDS is still around or maybe, in the MU, everyone has AIDS?2. "Freedom Isn't Free" = pre-war arguments for fighting Nazis.3. "America, Fuck Yeah" = Cap kicking ass.4. "Derka Derk (Terrorist Theme)" = undercover in Nazi/Japanese bar.5. "Only a Woman" = sex scene.6. "I'm So Ronery" = some involving the leader of the Japanese that's kind of racist?7. "America, Fuck Yeah (Bummer Remix)" = Cap sad after things went bad.8. "The End of an Act" = how the Pearl Harbor attack totally sucked.9. "Montage" = Cap training and growing stronger/better after receiving the super-soldier serum.10. "North Korean Melody" = uh, rewritten to be "Japanese Melody" and is pretty racist as a result... okay, so every song doesn't work.11-16. "The Team America March, "Lisa & Gary," "F.*.G.," "Putting a Jihad on You," "Kim Jong Il," "Mount, Rush, More" = generic instrumentals that could be used anywhere that suits the mood/tone of the song.

Sounds like a pretty awesome bonus audio track for the DVD/Blu-Ray, don't you think?

Random Thought! I also demand that someone remix the Thor teaser with some Led Zeppelin. "The Immigrant Song" if possible.

Random Thought! Actually, I kind of want every Marvel Avengers flick to use a single band/singer as its soundtrack. The Iron Man flicks had AC/DC, Thor should have Zeppelin... what band/singer works for Captain America?

Random Thought! If you see it, give Morning Glories #1 a shot. 44 pages for $3.99 isn't bad at all, and the comic is pretty good. There's even an Almost Famous allusion involving Grant Morrison comics.

Random Thought! Last week had too many comics for me. I wound up buying 14... which is a lot, for me.

Random Thought! The Boys has become my 'I must have the next issue now!' comic. It was that to a degree before, but, now, it's very much up there.

Random Thought! I pulled out my original Casanova issues on Thursday last week to do some comparisons with the new issues and I love the colouring/lettering even more now. They really add a flavour and soul to the book that was lacking. It's also nice to have the original backmatter essays, which I plan to read after each new issue... just because.

Random Thought! My shop had no rack copies of Avengers: The Origin #5, so I had to reorder it and should get it tomorrow. Please, no one spoil how it ends...

Random Thought! Sparta, U.S.A. wound up disappointing me somewhat with the final issue. Too neat and tody for my taste. I wanted something crazier.

Random Thought! All you Captain Britain and MI:13 fans got the Spitfire one-shot last week, right?

Random Thought! Batman Odyssey is craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-zay. This book is going on my pull list.

Random Thought! The latest album that I've rediscovered in my collection: Cobblestone Runway by Ron Sexsmith. Fantastic, moving stuff.

Random Thought! Found on the CBR forums regarding Ultimate Comics Avengers 3: "Hopefully Millar's story will be enough to get me through Dillon's underwhelming pages." DON'T BE THIS PERSON.

Random Thought! Hey, I'm sorry, but if you don't dig Steve Dillon's art, there's something wrong.

Random Thought! Mmm... white hot chocolate. (It was free and isn't too bad. Tasty, actually. Though, not as tasty as regular hot chocolate.)

Random Thought! I wonder if Nick Fury lost the use of his left eye in the Zodiac Event...?

Random Thought! Seriously, why is it only wrestling stuff that pisses you people off? I can go off on any tangent that's not related to comics and you're fine. Except wrestling. Then it's "GET BACK TO COMICS, MOTHERFUCKER!" That's strange.

Random Thought! Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta is more brilliant than you think it is. Wonderful inversion of/parallel story to Planetary proper.

Random Thought! I didn't like the second Ultimate Comics Avengers arc as much as the first. Then again, I didn't have nearly as many problems with the Red Skull as others. Though, Gavok at 4thletter has some cool thoughts on how the character could have worked better without changing a lot.

Random Thought! Looking at tomorrow's books, I'm looking forward to Daytripper #9, of course (Augie has told us reviewers that there isn't a sixth star for that one, sadly...). Interested to see how the next Ultimate Comics Avengers arc goes, especially with Dillon on art. The second issue of the JMS Superman run will be fun, I'm sure.


Random Comments! Wherein I respond to some comments. I've avoided using any anti-Gatsby ones, because those people clearly don't know what they're talking about or are, perhaps, just trolling. I refuse to give them the satisfaction of direct contact.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy! said: Some of my "favorite" grading experiences from TA work in graduate school both involve the same class, and both involve T.S. Eliot.

-- A student who misspelled a word (or had it misspelled by a spellchecker), resulting in J. Alfred Prufrock musing about walking on the beach in white flannel trousers "in a self-defecating way."

-- A student who recycled a class lecture about the references to the Blitz in Four Quartets but described it over ten times as a trauma from the *first* World War.

HA! I love it. The guy who misspelled the title of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" only substituted 'for' for 'of.' But, still. My favourite lecturing experience (well, favourite experience while delivering the one and only lecture I ever did) was in my final semester of grad school. I was assisting a class on later British literature and the prof asked if there was a work I would like to do a lecture on so I would have a chance to do that. This prof was one of my favourite profs of all time and was really good at telling students they were wrong. Not in a mean way, but in a way that you never see in an English class. Most profs will say something like "I see what you're saying, but..." or "That's a good point if you think about this way..." If you said something that just didn't work for the text, he'd say you were wrong. The best example was when he was teaching a poem by William Blake and was discussing the use of the word 'grove' and what that was meant to remind you of (the word 'grave,' by the way). Some smartass responds, "The Hobbit?" clearly looking for a laugh. The prof just pauses and goes "What are you talking about? There's no grove in The Hobbit. I've read that book and I have no idea what you're talking about. No. No, you're wrong." Just cut the asshole down. Anyway, I was lecturing on "Prufrock" since it's a poem I know well (it's my favourite poem, actually) and I said at the beginning of the lecture that, while some like to compare the fog imagery in the poem to the mustard gas used in the first World War, the poem was written years before the use of mustard gas and I think that interpretation is wrong. After the lecture, when I was asking if anyone had any questions, a guy in the back asked about the mustard gas thing, wondering why I hadn't addressed it... way to reveal that you came in late. So, I got a chance to restate my view and expose him somewhat... I can't blame him entirely since I've had profs that referenced the mustard gas despite everything I've ever read suggesting that the two were entirely unrelated in "Prufrock." (I was actually going to write an essay on fog imagery in the poems in Prufrock and Other Observations since it occurs a few different times. Reading the poems, I came to the conclusion that the fog imagery was used differently each time and was only there because Eliot had moved to London...)

stealthwise said: Worst marking story:

I used to stack up the worst essays (presumably, given that by the time the final essays came in, I knew the students and their writing capabilities) on the top to get through them first and mark the better (easier) essays later on when I ran out of steam. I was marking a 6-8 page academic paper for a first year English course I was teaching.

I hit not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR plagiarized essays in a row.

How did I catch these folks in the act? By GOOGLING THE EGREGIOUS PARTS of each essay. There were no citations, and in one particularly mind-blowing example, he didn't even change the font size or type, and each and every one had huge sections of their research papers cut and pasted from various websites. One, the same dumabass from before, was writing about golf.

Not an explorative exercise in determining the social and cultural significance of golf. Not an economic analysis of golf, or an historical analysis of the game, but just a basic overview of the rules.

Anyways, I had to quit in rage, then come back and calmly document everything and turn it in to the academic officer or whatever at the college. I spoke with one student and informed her that it wasn't appropriate (she was a good student who had issues with English as her third language). The rest I sent emails to, got no response a week later, so they all got Fs.

I never had to deal with plagarism, thankfully. They only got Fs, though? The penalty at the schools I attended was expulsion possibly with suspension/failing the entire class being the minimum penalty usually.

Travis Pelkie said: I think I tried for good titles in papers. Maybe that's why my grades were decent. It certainly wasn't due to spending a lot of time on them. In fact, later in college, when I started waiting til the last night and typing all night long, my grades actually went up a bit. I guess I do well under pressure. Although it's "fun" trying to run a mile down the road to catch the bus when your printer JUST finished your paper before you HAVE TO GO!

That's how I did essays, too. I'm a deadline worker. I sacrificed polish for energy and unique ideas that only come when you're under pressure to fill X number of pages in a limited amount of time. That's a reason why I never really sweated final exams -- I did better work under those circumstances.

I think I read a few things for college, but for the most part, I got by without reading much of anything, just going by the lectures and my notes and basically being able to regurgitate what the profs talked about in class. Which is how I learned that as long as you can BS well, you can get through life easily enough. (Ah, I need to do better than that, but it's just so much EASIER that way.)

I did that to a degree, but I didn't take notes really. I attended lectures, paid attention, tried to learn with the goal of actually learning, not just soaking in information to spew it back out later. I often spent lectures writing down notes for stories of my own inspired by something said in the class. I have no idea how that worked for me, though.

Neal K said: I really need to re-read Gatsby. I love it, but its been a while, and I am especially convinced by the fact that you must be of a certain age to appreciate its subtleties. Its funny that I refused to buy into that argument when I was younger - I'm old enough to understand it now, and if I don't understand it, its rubbish, my college self proclaimed - but now I completely buy it. A friend of mine recently convinced me to give the work of Virginia Woolf another shot, and after despising it in undergrad, I loved it when I re-read it.

Some works require a certain maturity/level of experience/whatever. That prof I mentioned above said something similar about The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky and how you shouldn't read it until you're 30 because it just doesn't work when you're younger. I definitely believe that -- in a general sense, not as a hard and fast rule for everyone, of course.

As for Fitzgerald generally, have you read anything else by him, Chad? If so, what, if anything, would you recommend? I ask only because I downloaded a few of his books for the low, low price of free for my Kindle, and I want to decide which one to read next.

I've also read "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz," short story/novella that was published as one of Penguin Book's Penguin 70 books. They were a series of 40-60-page small books that cost three or four bucks to celebrate Penguin's 70th anniversary. They featured short stories or selections from 70 authors. I got the Fitzgerald one along with ones by Nick Hornby, Borges, Camus, Chekhov, and a few others. I haven't read that in a few years, but I remember liking it. At some point, I plan on getting some more Fitzgerald, I think.

Also, I must tell you that despite initially having reservations about Kindle and e-readers in general, they are a great way to avoid the situation you described, where you either run out of reading material on a trip, or you end up loading your bag down with heavy books you never get around to opening. You can pack light and have a potentially bottomless well of literature to draw on.

I'm not sure. I've never had a good experience trying to read anything of a substantial length on the screen. The glow is problematic for me. I could be wrong, of course.

That it for this week. Thanks for reading. Later

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