I didn't really grow up playing a lot of video games, and I prefer reading in my spare time.

Also, playing video games has often struck me as a bit of a waste of time. I feel similarly about surfing the web, but at least there I'm still reading stuff, learning stuff, etc. Whereas the information acquired during hours of video-game play seems less useful or consequential to me.

Another factor: A lot of the games just go too dang fast for me. When I have played video games in the past -- and this was like 10 years ago or more -- I tended to play the ones that were a little slower-moving. There was a game I liked called "Dragon Warrior" (I think that was the title) which was like one of the current "Animal Crossing" type games, except that you would run into hostile creatures now & then and had to fight them off or try and run away. It seemed more leisurely paced, or I could play at my own pace. Whereas, I recall in the early 1990s, a friend of mine had a favorite game called "Strider" and I didn't last 10 seconds on that game, no exaggeration! Things were coming at you so fast and you had to hit the buttons a certain way, etc., it just didn't seem like my idea of fun.

This was before all the ultra-realistic violence in video games. I'm sure that if I was looking at today's video games, that would be yet another reason why I wasn't buying them.

I haven't had a video game system in my house since around 1994. That was the Nintendo system, where I would play "Dragon Warrior," "Dr. Mario," and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." I recall sitting on the floor of the living room playing "Dragon Warrior" with the sound low and listening to old-time radio shows at the same time. But after beating the game, I really didn't feel like starting up with a new one after that.
-- Dec. 18, 2005; 6:42pm

I thought this week's address -- which can be downloaded as an MP3 at -- was fairly dramatic. Bush sounded angry. I half-expected him to say something like, "As a result of this, I have decided to invoke martial law..." or "Because of this threat, I have ordered the dropping of bombs on..." etc.

(Yes, Reagan joked about dropping a bomb on Russia prior to one of this radio addresses. But Bush's delivery here made it sound like he was ready to do it. And all to protect you, you ungrateful...)

It made me wonder if Bush really is as frightened about America's security as he sounds, or whether he wants us to get frightened by his delivery style so that we'll give him a blank check to do whatever he wants to do. I guess it doesn't matter whether his fear is genuine or not, if the results are the same (i.e., Congress, the public and the media hesitant to oppose him because they might be accused of aiding the enemy).
-- Dec. 18, 2005; 10:18am

One of the things I think today's comics is often missing is when a particular creator is identified with a certain character or series -- even a certain company. For example, in the old days, the name "Curt Swan" or "Wayne Boring" or "Dick Sprang" would bring to mind certain associations. It was almost unexpected to see those artists draw anything other than the particular comic that they were associated with. It was once hard to imagine that an artist like Sal Buscema or John Romita would be found in the credits box of a DC comic, or that Jim Aparo or Joe Kubert would have work in a Marvel comic. I think of someone like Joe Sinnott as being the artistic heart of The Fantastic Four, given how long he has been associated with that comic (even if he hasn't drawn it in recent years).

However, I think there are some creators today who have had a similar effect. For example, if Tom DeFalco left Spider-Girl today, I wonder if Marvel would have a hard time finding a replacement, given that DeFalco has scripted the series for almost 100 issues and would seem to know the MC2 universe better than anybody else. Another example would be Chris Claremont. I don't think fans really appreciate Claremont's work and his longevity the way that they ought to. The fact that he's still writing Uncanny X-Men, and doing it well, is something to honor and appreciate, not denegrate.
-- Dec. 17, 2005; 7:19pm

Fellow radio-drama enthusiast Graeme Stevenson recently sent me a link to this article about tapes of the BBC radio serial "The Archers" turning up. Basically, a listener to the program taped off the air around 25 episodes in 1977 and this "will fill a lot of the gaps in the existing Archers collection." I find it hard to believe that there aren't more episodes existing of the series from so "recent" a time as the late 1970s. I would think that there would have been more collectors taping the series by that point. But I guess not.

To me, this shows the usefulness of ordinary listeners recording programs we enjoy because copies of them might not be saved by the creators or broadcast stations. Heck, I was recording stuff off the TV with my tape recorder back in 1982 (I have an audio recording of Dick Clark's show ringing in the new year of 1982 as well as a documentary about the Rocky Horror Picture Show phenomenon). And I first taped a radio show (holding my tape recorder up to the radio speaker) in 1984. But I was just a kid at the time.

I've sometimes wondered whether old episodes of TV soap operas were preserved, since they were usually aired once and never shown again, and their daily frequency would make it harder to save every episode. I know how it can be -- I've been deliberately taping every episode of "General Hospital" since July 2004 and even so, I've managed to miss an episode or two. (My list of GH shows can be found here.)
-- April 14, 2005; 8:45am

The second episode of the new Who was shown on CBC TV last night. I have to say that I enjoyed episode 2 even more than I liked episode 1!

Everything about it was top-notch: ideas and concepts, special effects, acting, use of music, dialogue, humor, seriousness (great moving ending), etc.

In fact, I think episode 2 would be a good stand-alone story to introduce newbies to what Doctor Who is all about. In fact, I'd have to say that I found this 2nd episode to be in my Top 10 of all-time favorite Who episodes. (And the previous episode would probably make the list, too!)

(For the record, my Top 6 are "Genesis of the Daleks," "Seeds of Doom, "Robot" (all three starring Tom Baker); "Spearhead from Space" and "Terror of the Autons" (both Jon Pertwee) and "Kinda" (Peter Davison).)
-- April 13, 2005; 11:30pm

Speaking of exclusive content, here are two paragraphs which I deleted from a post I wrote today at CBR in a thread about religious identification. I ultimately decided to delete the following about a minute after posting it, since I felt that other posters might think I was saying they chose their beliefs for willy-nilly reasons. I was just trying to shoot some ideas out into the air, which works better on a blog like this than in the midst of a larger discussion amongst other posters. I wrote:

"Reading over the responses, a thought occured to me. I wonder if perhaps sometimes we might choose our religious identification in the same kind of knee-jerk (superficial?) way that we choose other things in life. Like if we had a bad experience once at a certain restaurant, so we might avoid that chain of restaurants from then on. Or because we can't see ourselves as being other than how we've come to think of ourselves. When I first became a Christian, the hardest thing for me to get over at first was the idea of actually being one. I remember sitting in the break room at work thinking over and over to myself the phrase "I am a Christian," just trying to get used to it, and feeling it sounded odd coming from me, similar to if I'd adopted a new name other than the one I'd grown up with and identified with and liked.

"I only bring that up because I'm otherwise very stubborn and set in my ways, and I can see myself saying I believe this or that based on some old anecdote which I'd dredge up to justify my opinion, but which probably is just an excuse that allows me to make a quick judgement about something and then never have to consider it again."
-- April 13, 2005; 11:23pm

Yep, I'm gonna try and keep this blog/webpage more up-to-date. Check here for re-postings of good stuff I've written recently (taken from various message boards) as well as some stuff you'll only find here!
-- April 13, 2005; 11:15pm