OMG! THEY STOLE LA LA LAND'S OSCAR!

I don't usually watch the Oscars because I don't care to sit through the pomp and circumstance when I can just read a list of winners the next day. But I tuned in this year because, well, La La Land. So, yes, I saw the Academy Awards' worst screw-up in 89 years as it aired live. Fittingly, it felt like a moment from the least represented genre at the Oscars: a horror movie.

Seriously, I'm not particularly surprised that the award went to Moonlight. I haven't seen it, but it gets great reviews. I'm sure that after years of functionally, ahem, segregating movies made by and featuring minorities, the Academy voters understandably jumped at the chance to reward a great movie about a young, gay, black man. Good for them. I also champion giving Oscars to films that didn't have great box office success. (La La Land's $140,000,000 gross to date may not be in Rogue One's orbit, but it's light years from Moonlight's $22,000,000.)

I'm not even disappointed that La La Land didn't win. It is a great movie, and I do love it. (Have I mentioned that?) I've seen it twice and counting. I will probably see it again before it leaves theaters. That said, I'll be the first to admit that it's a bit lightweight with an underbelly of unseemly sycophantic emphasis on the mythical "magic" of Hollywood and a distinctly whitewashed cast. I can understand how it's not everyone's cup of tea.

But to get the Best Picture declaration wrong? To fail to correct the error before the La La Land cast and producers took the stage? To deny Moonlight its moment in the sun by casting doubt on its win? To give Warren Beatty the wrong envelope and embarrass him in front of an audience of millions? (In the post-awards press conference, Best Actress award-winner and national treasure Emma Stone said she was still holding her card when Warren Beatty read it again. That means there were two Best Actress cards and no Best Picture cards? WTF, Academy!) Frankly, I feel bad for everyone involved.

So congratulations to Moonlight. I will see you one day. Until that day, even though the Academy didn't choose to recognize it, La La Land remains Best Picture in my heart.

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Mom went out of town for the week and left me in care of her two-and-a-half-months-old puppy, Audrey, who has been conditioned to Mom's 9 to 5 schedule. I also work 9 to 5. However, my 9-5 is on the other side of the clock. As you can guess, I haven't been getting a lot of sleep.

As much as I love dogs, I'm not big on puppies. Audrey is no exception. She's cute and all, but I'm not sure it's worth the trade off in trouble. For example, the first thing she did on the first day Mom was out of town was start digging into a fire ant pile. I grabbed her and tried to brush off the ants. So far as I can tell, puppy went unscathed. I got bit. A lot.

While I was treating my wounds, puppy turned her demonic path of destruction on my geriatric poodle. July's no fan of puppy, but that never detours Audrey. She nips and nips and nips until July finds a safe hiding place. That day, there were no places safe from puppy. Through the use of either her needle sharp teeth or razor sharp claws, Audrey cut open the sebaceous cyst under July's right eye. I left the bathroom to find blood everywhere. The house looked like a war zone.

Since then, Audrey has spent a lot of time in her kennel.

Even when she's sleeping, she's stalking

Mom came back yesterday, which is good. If she'd waited much longer, there wouldn't have been much of a home to come back to. The little devil is her problem now.

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From the Nail in the Coffin Department:

February 23, 1942. The day the Bee died. A story so powerful, it wasn't told until 1984!

Having followed Uncle Sam and other heroes to Earth-X, the Red Bee immediately found himself in battle versus the Japanese military . . . in sunny Santa Barbara, California. Because Japs are bastards.

Each of the heroes had something to contribute to the fight: Uncle Sam's strength, the Ray's speed, Human Bomb's explosions, Black Condor's racism, Phantom Lady's tits, Dollman's, er, dolls? And, of course, Red Bee's bees.

Obviously, we'd have won the war faster if our guns shot bees instead of bullets
All-Star Squadron #33, May 1984

The team decided to take the fight to the Japanese fleet offshore. Things went sideways pretty fast once the enemy rolled out their secret weapon: the armored super-soldier Baron Blitzkrieg. To no one's great surprise, the super-strong Nazi was more than a match for an entire swarm of bees.

Oh, sorry. Phantom Lady's got headlight.
All-Star Squadron #34, June 1984

After being tossed overboard by an errant explosion (thanks for nothing, Human Bomb), the Red Bee died at sea.

I did tell you this was his last appearance, right?

Ok, fine. He didn't drown. He was just biding his time for the perfect moment to make his triumphant return.

Meet my new sidekick, Mr. Two-by-Four!
All-Star Squadron #35, July 1984

Maybe "triumphant" is too strong a word.

That's going to leave a mark

Actually, his response was 'unnh'

Inspired by the Red Bee's noble death, Darth Vader Hourman freed his fellow captives and won the day. So in his own way, the Red Bee won World War II. Except that on this alternate Earth, World War II never ended, and the Allies and Axis are still fighting well into the 21st century. Way to make it count, Uncle Sam.

No one left behind. Except him.

And thus ends the tale of the Red Bee. If there's any lesson here, it's that training a bee to sting people doesn't make you a super hero. Being beaten to death by Nazis does.

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From the One Foot in the Grave Department:

Today is a sorrowful occasion. It marks the anniversary of the next-to-last day in the life of the Red Bee.

When we last saw our hero, he was fighting drug thieves. As a reward for his efforts, he was invited to the inaugural meeting of the All-Star Squadron!

This was before Batman switched to decaf
All-Star Squadron #31, March 1984

That's him there, drinking coffee between the Human Bomb and Smilin' Batman™! They were just some of the many, many heroes who attended, including Sandman and his sidekick Sandy, Sargon the Sorcerer, Spectre, Speedy, Star-Spangled Kid, Starman, Stripesy, and Superman, just to name the "S"s. (Shining Knight was invited but couldn't make it. I'm not kidding.)

Seating for the event wasn't alphabetical; it was arranged by gimmick. Red Bee was given a seat beside Black Condor, because they are both color/animals. Or maybe because no one else wanted to sit beside the guy in the see-through blouse or the guy in the blue dickie. (Something tells me those guys wore a lot of perfume.)

Is he pointing at what I think he's pointing at?

The agenda for the meeting — set by none other than Franklin Delano Roosevelt himself! — was to discuss how the heroes could help the War Effort. That topic was sidetracked pretty fast when the living embodiment of the American spirit, Uncle Sam, crashed the party and asked for help on an alternate Earth where the Nazis were doing even better than they were here. Which, frankly, was pretty good.

This being a comic book, several of the heroes felt it was their duty to go save an alternate Earth. That seems like a pretty strange decision to make just two months after Pearl Harbor, but sometimes you've just got to drop everything to go punch Nazis.

'Earth-X' is something writers write two minutes before their deadline
All-Star Squadron #32, April 1984

Obviously, Red Bee, champion of the poor and trainer of bees, chose to follow his Uncle Sam to war. He always was braver than he was smart. Given that I already told you that today was his next-to-last day alive, you can probably guess what's coming next.

Tune in tomorrow for the Red Bee's last stand!

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I'm sure they'll end up the best of friends

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July and Audrey went for their first walk together today.

It did not go well.

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