The stadium game clock wasn't the only thing broken during today's season-ending game against Georgia Tech. So was our defense.

Georgia Tech 45, UGA 42

I arrived in time to applaud the graduating eligibility-expiring senior players. I joined in standing ovations for both Larry Munson and Vince Dooley. I celebrated our 28-12 lead at halftime. I listened to the seated band -- they weren't allowed on the field because of the cold, continuously drizzling rain -- rehash Led Zeppelin tunes. (Our marching band played pop music all season, making sitting through halftime shows seem like listening to Muzak in an elevator with 90,000 other occupants. Ugh.) Then, at the start of the third quarter, I went to the men's room. By the time I returned to my seat, Tech had scored a 60-yard touchdown, beginning a third quarter best forgotten. (Tech scored 26 points in the third. Georgia answered with what seemed like 26 penalties. Double ugh.)

Yes, it's true, the Dawgs were beaten by the option offense. The option, an offense that few in the SEC dare run because of the ease with which a speedy, disciplined defense can stop it. Unfortunately for UGA, it's been some time since we were very disciplined on defense. We lost by 3 points, not because our offense was lacking or Tech's defense achieved any significant gains, but because we simply could not prevent the Yellow Jackets from pitching the ball to the outside and running for 20 yard gains. Ye gods, what a miserable half of football we played.

So ends our 2008 regular season, in which the Georgia Bulldogs entered ranked number 1 in the country, and ended ranked number 3 in the SEC. Next year, let's work it in reverse: start low and end high. How 'bout it, Dawgs?

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Go ahead and give thanks for Superman.

"Some other time"? You do know what day it is today, don't you, Superman? A whole lot of pilgrims died to give Lois the right to say "thank you" today. But maybe I judge too hastily. Maybe you've got some other pressing business to get to, hmm?

You WILL believe that a man can fly!

Not so coincidentally, both images above are from the same year: 1940. Superman debuted in Action Comics in spring 1938, and by Thanksgiving 1939, he was floating above New York in the annual Macy's parade. Up, up, and away, indeed. (If your'e in the mood, find more historical Superman balloon pictures here and here.)

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And while I'm bitching about black football jerseys, I may as well complain about black uniforms in general. (Let's just chalk it up to Bitch Inertia. "A complaint in motion tends to stay in motion.") Though I could be talking about the home uniforms of the New Orleans Saints, in this case, I'm referring to Spider-Man's black costume. Hell, let's go ahead and include every black super-hero costume. (Villains are excluded. They're supposed to be evil, remember? So Black Manta, you're excused from this conversation. Go rob a sandbank or something.)

See, once upon a time in 1973, Marvel got it in their heads to give Namor, the Sub-Mariner a black costume. Sure, it seemed innocuous enough at the time, especially since Namor didn't have much of a costume other than a green Speedo and some little wings on his ankles. However, the new costume failed the first test of superheroic costume design; namely, a good superhero costume design should identify the hero and his powers at first sight. The new costume was terribly ugly and seemed to say little more than "I, Prince Namor, King of the Sea, am ready to disco!" Not surprisingly, Namor's comic was cancelled soon afterwards. Though this swift cancellation would seem to have serve something of a mandate that the black costume was unwelcome, the damage had been done: at least one fan thought, "hey, a costume in all black would be great!"

Namor: Wearing black? Go jump in a lake.

By 1984, that poor, misguided child had grown up into a poor, misguided man, and Spider-Man was given a new costume. Replacing the famously creepy red and blue costume with a black unitard may be the greatest error in comic book history. Between issues, Spider-Man went from friendly neighborhood wall-crawler to mopey, self-indulgent anti-hero. It turns out that the black costume was really a semi-sentient alien symbiote seeking to devour Spider-Man. (I told you that black costumes were no good, Spidey. But did you listen...?) Yet the fans seemed to enjoy seeing a classic design, perhaps the most clever costume in comics history, carelessly discarded for a shapeless, colorless travesty.

Spider-Man: Good and evil.

This, of course, started a trend of new heroes dressed in all black. Soon every movie with a superhero in it featured a black costume. Batman and the X-Men cashed in their leotards for black leather. And the sickness spread. When Superman briefly "died" in 1993, we mourned his resurrection in a suit notable for it's lack of color. Gone was the traditional blue, red, and yellow. In the garishly decorated world of the 4-color funny pages, "black costume" equals "death" or worse, "cancellation." Still the fans cried for more.

Superman: Black is the new terrible.

A decade later, we should have seen it coming. Poor Superboy, once a rebel wearing a *gasp* black leather jacket (what a clever nod at the time: a super-hero who wore his tights underneath the mandated black leather!), was suddenly wearing a black t-shirt and blue jeans by 2002. Not just black, but also not even a super costume! Horrors! Is this the logical conclusion for "realism" in superhero comics? If I were to suddenly gain super powers, would I be limited to what was already hanging in my closet? (Smallville, I'm looking at you!)

Superboy: Black is for funerals.

Fortunately, there may be a happy end in sight to this terrible trend. Shortly after Superboy turned his back on spandex, he was killed in a battle with an alternate-universe Superboy. And the murderous mirror universe twin still wore his classic red, blue, and yellow tights! It's pretty hard to cheer for the "hero" when the "villain" is meeting out the cosmic justice for blatant uniform violation. I guess when the good guys wear black, the bad guys have to change with the times. (Maybe you should still be paying attention after all, Black Manta.)

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Since I'm already on the subject of football, let me say something here: I hate black uniforms. I know I've mentioned this in regards to UGA before. But last week, Oregon wore all black uniforms for their game vs Arizona. (Oregon's uniforms had silver wings on the shoulders. I shit you not.) And FSU wore black jerseys in their game against Boston College. "Maybe this all-black thing is getting a little out if hand," I think to myself.

Then I read that FSU was wearing their all black jerseys as a favor to Nike. (Thank you for your honesty, Bobby Bowden.) It's not uncommon to hear athletic programs espouse such PR bullshit as, "we're doing it for the fans," or "black helps us recruit." Clearly, that's not true. They're doing it for Nike. (Nike has uniform contracts with all 3 colorblind schools mentioned above.) So that Nike can sell more jerseys.

While I'd like to call Nike the devil here, I'm not quite that naive. In a capitalist economy, the ultimate power is in the hands of the consumer: if you don't like something, don't buy it and they'll stop selling it. If Nike keeps making black jerseys, it's probably because many someones somewhere are buying them. So my gripe ultimately ends with those fools who would like to wear the jersey of their favorite player, but only if that player's team colors are black. That totally says just about everything about America's obsession of the individual over the team, doesn't it.

And if the people speak, the salesmen listen. I got the new NFL Holiday 2008 catalog in the mail today. Now, in addition to the abysmal pink jerseys ("with sugar glitter on front and back" -- I blame this sort of crap for my perpetual bachelorhood), you can now order "black & white jerseys." Sorry, Nike, but these jerseys are manufactured by Reebok. Which just goes to show you that for every bad idea, there's someone waiting to steal it.

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After watching waaay too much football this past weekend, I got to thinking about how football is under-represented in superhero comic books. That led me to thinking about who I'd recruit for my team if I I were to organize a football team from the DC Universe. (What do you mean you've never thought about super heroes playing football? Maybe you need to get a life.)

Of course, while introducing super powers to the game of football, I'd have to have a couple of ground rules in addition to standard American Football conventions. Rule 1: no flying. Flying with the ball would totally negate the passing game and eliminate the quarterback position. Rule 2: I'd also disallow any ranged tackling, either by sound waves, seismic assault, increased gravity, or whatnot. If you don't bring the ball carrier down with your body, it's just plain unsportsmanlike. Rule 3: all powers must be natural. No technological or biochemical enhancements, as that's an unfair advantage over the competition. Miraclo is the DCU equivalent to steroids, and Steel's power suit would be the equivalent of, well, a really nice set of pads with a lot of Stickum. (While organized football teams in the DC Universe do disqualify anyone with an active metagene, I'm not going to be that much of a stickler!) Unfortunately, Rule 3 means that Booster Gold, star quarterback of the 25th Century, is disqualified from my team.

I've also elected to eliminate aliens, gods (including Superman), New Gods, and time travelers from consideration for team membership, as aliens probably wouldn't know much about football, deities would never deign to play simple games, and I wouldn't trust time-travelers not to bet on the outcome of the game. (Sorry, Legion of Super-Heroes.) So I present to you my DCU football squad:

  • Quarterback: Nightwing. In addition to being an accomplished team leader, he's also an acrobat who throws batarangs all night. He's the younger, likeable Batman.
  • Running Back: Flash (Wally West). It'd be a mistake to have a running game without the World's Fastest Man on the field. And with his quick foot speed, he can double as kicker, if necessary.
  • Full Back: Mister Terrific. Though Terrific may lack the strength of a traditional fullback, he's won Olympic gold as a decathlete and should be a fine backfield receiver. Besides, it's simply impossible to build a football team without the man whose motto is "Fair Play."
  • Center: Beast Boy can change shape into powerful animals and still snap the ball with his tail.
  • Guards: Blue Devil is an ex-stuntman with demonically enhanced super strength. The Tasmanian Devil's strength coupled with his aggressive nature makes him a natural.
  • Tackles:Sandman's silicon-based shapeshifting powers grant size and strength and teammate Citizen Steel is covered in an organic metal skin which grants super strength and invulnerability. (Steel represents the slot vacated by another athlete who lost his original limbs to injury, Cyborg, who was kept off the team by Rule 3.)
  • Wide Receivers: Plastic Man (anywhere on the field, it's a catch) and Atom Smasher. Atom Smasher's natural height and strength give him an edge even when he's not using his power to grow to towering heights.
  • Tight End: Animal Man. Strong as an ox, agile as a fly, resilient as a roach: Animal Man is perfect for the jack-of-all trades position of blocker/receiver. (My original choice for this position was Captain Comet, but I fear that he's growing a bit long in the tooth.)

It's really a shame that I couldn't squeeze Aquaman on the team, but his inability to be out of water for more than 60 minutes really limits his usefulness as anything other than team water boy.

The natural opposition for the offensive team is a defense comprised of the vilest villains. While there are many more villains than heroes, I've selected the following for a scrimmage taking into account their powers and demonstrated willingness to work with other villains on teams (such as the Suicide Squad or Injustice Gang):

  • Defensive Ends: General Eiling (aka the Shaggy Man) and Clayface. Both are sufficiently strong, agile, and quick enough to present a real threat to a quarterback.
  • Defensive Tackles: Gorilla Grodd and Monsieur Mallah, two giant, genius apes that will take up most of the field with size alone.
  • Outside Linebackers: Ibac and Killer Croc. Two huge, quick, strong men who enjoy the chase.
  • Middle Linebacker: Bane. Once a steroid addict, even off the sauce Bane is as powerful and smart as the Batman. A great field captain.
  • Cornerbacks: Parasite and Sportsmaster. Sure, Parasite would steal powers and cheat, but what do you expect from a team of villains. And Sportsmaster is as necessary on this defense as Mr. Terrific is on the offense; he's a master of sports!
  • Free Safety: the new Captain Boomerang. (I'd've loved to have either Professor Zoom, but they're both time-travelers.) While Boomerang 2 isn't as villainous as his father, he still picks and chooses his sides too carelessly to be called a hero.
  • Strong Safety: Major Force. He really does love hitting people. And then squeezing them into refrigerators. He was created to play safety.

There, that's enough for a full 11-on-11 scrimmage. Play ball!

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Tonight was the final episode of MTV's TRL (aka Total Request Live), a show that, I must admit, I was already too old for when it debuted a decade ago. While I wasted a lot of time on shows like Ken Ober's Remote Control, Alex Winter's The Idiot Box, and Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head, for years whenever I thought of MTV, I thought of the personality-challenged Carson Daly-hosted TRL. Now it seems that I'll be thinking of The Real World and The Hills instead.

Funny, isn't it, that in a world where each cable channel has a shot at success if it can grab even a tiny sliver of a niche market, a channel named Music Television is abandoning it's once genre-defining successful music format (less than 20 hours of music per week on MTV these days -- and that's before the cancellation of TRL!) for the same sort of scripted "reality" programming found on E!, VH1, Spike, and dozens of others? Perhaps it's time to simply rechristen the network "More of the Same" Television.

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If you didn't come in through the front door, here's an FYI for you: there's a new wreath out. I figured what with the server migration and all, now was as good a time as any to change the default index page from the 2-year old movie (still viewable in its new home here) to a new video game based on comic book collecting. Yes, I'm sure you're very excited to try it out, though I recommend that you pace yourself, as it'll probably be another 2 years before I change it again.

I've also taken care of some lingering technical issues (such as the malfunctioning "secret Wriphe" button you told me about waaaay back in June, Mike). So if you thought something about the site sucked last time you visited, maybe I fixed it. Although we both doubt that, don't we?

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Warning: it appears that Wriphe.com will be migrating to a new server sometime this week, and as a result, there may be some unexpected downtime. Don't panic.

Even school children can stop Major Disaster.

While I'm sure that I must have read a Superman comic book before the one above, this is definitely the first one that I really remember. This book was a 1980 Radio Shack giveaway that advertised the Tandy TRS-80 computer. As part of the story, some school kids had to use the computing power of the TRS-80 (which had 16 KB of RAM and a 2 MHz processor) to think for Superman after Major Disaster has used small Kryptonite particles to dull Superman's super-intelligence. They really, really don't write them like this one anymore.

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Foiled! I had intended to make today's post a reference to the fact that when America has a black President in movies or on television, disaster is always imminent. However, The Colbert Report beat me to it.

So that's all the post that you'll bet getting today. Disappointed? Go take it up with Stephen Colbert and his Peabody Award-winning writing staff. Bah!

(On a related note, Colbert unexpectedly did NOT win the race for the Presidency in the Marvel Universe. Despite earlier teases to the contrary, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada decided otherwise. "We completely forgot," said Joe, "the Marvel Universe reflects what happens in the real world.... Ooops, our bad." So that means that Scarlet Witch can delete decades of mutant subplots, Mephisto can negate a lifetime of Spider-Man's continuity, and Skrulls can sabotage thirty years of character development for the entire Marvel Universe, but Stephen Colbert can't be elected the President of a fictional America? Proving, yet again, that Marvel is a pile of dogshit.)

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Paraphrased from the Georgia Secretary of State website:

Q: How do I cast a write-in vote?

A: Just as with older systems, the new electronic voting units allow voters to cast votes for write in candidates. Voters should note, however, that, under Georgia law, write in votes are only counted and compiled for those candidates who have filed an official notice of their write in candidacy. 

Up until a little over a half-century ago, it was considered bad form to campaign for yourself as a political candidate, especially for the Presidency. Funny how times change; even "write-in" candidates have to declare that they want to be candidates now.

If you're not voting Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian, your options are pretty limited. The complete list of approved write-in candidates in Georgia includes Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, former Constitution Party candidate-who-is-not-seeking-office-but-is-on-the-ballot-anyway Michael A. Peroutka, Socialist Workers candidate James Harris, Green Party candidate (and ex-Representative bitch) Cynthia McKinney, former Green Party candidate and former consumer activist-turned-perrenial also-ran independent candidate Ralph Nader, Independent "People's President" Jonathan Allen, performance artist Frank Moore, and two other guys who just wanted to be on the ballot (Brian Russell Brown and David C. Byrne). But no superheroes.

See, all nine of those people I just listed above have notified the Secretary of State in writing that they wanted to be a write-in candidate and published their intention in their local newspaper. Not really so hard, is it? However, it's certainly more than any superhero can be expected to do between catching purse-snatchers and exposing crooked cops.

I'm pretty sure that despite

Sure, despite the fact that Superman is technically ineligible for the office (he was born on foreign soil, you know), he's still way over-qualified for the position (fighting the "never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American Way" nonstop for 80 years!) but can't accept your protest write-in vote without publicly begging for it.

Way to go, America. Once you start to eliminate the candidates of value, you end up with a turd sandwich or a giant douche in the White House. Or worse.

Lex Luthor: tycoon, statesman, all-around bad guy.

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To be continued...

 

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