Twitter very helpfully reminds me that today is Batman Day 2021. Explains the site: "Fans pay tribute to the DC Comics superhero on Batman Day, which is celebrated each year on the third Saturday of September." The only problem with that description is that it is not true.

Maybe Batman Day is held on the third Saturday of September since 2018, but it wasn't always. As I have documented elsewhere, Batman Day has been all over the calendar since it was first recognized in July 2014. But that's not the part I'm really bothered by.

The word "fans" in that description is misleading, unless you'd describe the corporations who own the Batman intellectual property as fans. Unlike Star Wars Day, which began as a genuine celebration of its source material before being taken over as a marketing exercise by The Walt Disney Co., Batman Day has never been anything other than a marketing exercise by WarnerMedia.

I wonder if whoever crafted that description for Twitter wasn't having a little fun with the wording. The phrase "pay tribute," which has come to mean a figurative giving of praise, was originally meant quite literally. A tribute is a tax levied on conquered peoples. Give your thanks (and dollars!) to your corporate masters, Bat-fans!

Which is not to say that I don't like Batman or think it's uncool to say how great the Caped Crusader is. I'd just like a little honesty in why we chose today to do it, is all.

Sometimes he's a little too honest
Batman #119, October 1958

Honesty! It's what Batman would want.

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A poll earlier this week showed former UGA running back and current U.S. Senate candidate for the state of Georgia Herschel Walker leading all other Republican primary candidates with an estimated 75% support of voters surveyed. That's a lot, especially for a guy who has never held public office, hasn't made any public statements about what he plans to do if he held public office, and hasn't even lived in Georgia for the past decade.

Hershel is a legend in this state, and rightly so, for carrying the University of Georgia to its (most recent) national title in 1980. He was truly a great running back and deserves all possible accolades for his performance on the field. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I don't think that alone qualifies anyone for political office, at least not until Congress decides that the only way though its political gridlock is physical violence on the gridiron.

Seventy-five percent of one party is a lot, but I wonder if Hershel's support might not be even higher if he wasn't personal friends with Donald Trump. The two go way back to Hershel's time in the United States Football League. Hershel was the star player on the team that Trump bought then promptly ran out of business. What a way to earn a guy's eternal loyalty!

(Immediately after buying the team, Trump tried to hire coach Don Shula, the only coach with a perfect NFL season, away from the Miami Dolphins. As a negotiating tactic, Trump made the mistake of trying to pressure Shula via the press. A resentful Shula stayed with the Dolphins to become the winningest coach in NFL history; America elected the bad negotiator to the presidency.)

As a Bulldogs fan, it bothers me to say that I would vote against Hershel. I think, aside from his misguided allegiance to a disgraced former president, he's probably a decent enough fellow. But I don't think "decent enough" qualifies anyone for political office either, even if you couple it with great athleticism.

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Happy 60th Birthday to The Greatest Quarterback Ever to Play the Game of Football.

Marino then:

Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, but...

Marino now:

Guaranteed return on investment

Gold only ever goes up in value!

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We interrupt this football and Batman month to review the following movies brought to you by the letter "S":

105. (1964.) The Salzburg Connection (1972)
The big question for most if this slightly-better-than-pedestrian spy thriller is whether or not the protagonist is actually a spy. It's not a complete waste of time if you like the genre (and I guess I do), but it's not exactly destination viewing, either. Honestly, almost everything about it feels like a missed opportunity to do something better.

106. (1965.) I Found Stella Parish (1935)
A melodrama about a woman running away from her past and the reporter who feigns a romantic interest to get her story. I watched it in the wee hours of the morning on TCM, and I really can't explain why I enjoyed it (sleep deprivation?), but I did.

109. (1968.) The Suicide Squad (2021)
I do not like the DC Comics character Harley Quinn, and after finally seeing her on screen in this movie, I can say that I like her even less now. (Based on the advice of my friends, I have deliberately not watched any of the movies Harley has been in before this one. Based on her role here, let me say that I have good friends.) If Harley wasn't in this film, it would be an instant classic, but her incredibly violent, absolutely unnecessary subplot left such a bad taste in my mouth that I couldn't enjoy the movie's final act. Ugh.

Drink Coke! (The Suicide Squad)
Some things cannot be washed down with a Coke.

111. (1970.) Seven Keys to Baldpate (1947)
It's a murder mystery comedy of errors! I didn't know it while I was watching, but the play this movie is based on has apparently been filmed 6 other times! This is the only comedic interpretation, and I enjoyed it. (Did I enjoy it enough that I want to watch it 6 more times? Only time will tell.)

More to come.

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UGA is playing their home opener today versus UAB. ESPN was late switching to the game, and by the time they did, UGA had already scored their first touchdown, essentially winning the game before any television audience was looking. Thus reinforcing why, if you really want to watch a football game, the best way to do it is be in the stadium.

Assuming it's not the middle of a pandemic.

This space intentionally left blank

Obviously, I'm not there. I told you why I wouldn't be going earlier this month. The statewide COVID-19 infection numbers haven't improved significantly in the past two weeks, and if you are wondering why, I suggest you take a look at the pregame pictures posted by the student newspaper, The Red And Black where the only people wearing masks*... are in the band. You know, the group of people who actually have to use their mouths.

*Ok, I admit it. I saw one person wearing a mask who was not in the band. So, yeah, technically I'm a liar, but I'm still not going to the game.

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Her nose always knows!

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Batman '66:

Bat-Shake!

Batman '21:

Bat-Bump!
via Tenor.com

What a difference half a century makes!

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In football, there's nothing like a good offense, and there was nothing like a good offense in yesterday's UGA opener vs Clemson. The only touchdown was an interception return. A win is a win, but it looks like another year for the Bulldogs without anyone who can catch a ball. I should be used to it by now.

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None of my teams are playing football just yet, so still some time for movies!

98. (1957.) Fat Albert (2004)
Hey, hey, hey! I enjoyed this in large part because I went in expecting it to be really terrible, and it was only slightly terrible. Keenan Thompson's affability and commitment to the bit shines even through the fat suit.

Drink Coke! (Fat Albert)
Maybe a nostalgic movie about a fat guy isn't the ideal place for sugar water product placement.

99. (1958.) Orchestra Wives (1942)
In this dour musical romance, Ann Rutherford loves that boogie woogie bugle boy so much that she runs away from home and marries him on a whim. Little did she know that all the titular Orchestra Wives are bitches. Drama ensues.

Drink Coke! (Orchestra Wives)
Hard to tell in this pic, but that's Officer Bill Gannon there playing soda jerk.

103. (1962.) The Devil's Disciple (1959)
Kirk Douglas goes waaaaay over the top as the titular Devil's Disciple, a Revolutionary War anti-hero who just seems to hate everyone... except the one person the script requires him to like. I guess he's just a contrarian. Burt Lancaster's best scene is a fist fight in a church in the middle of a war, but Laurence Olivier steals the show as murderous gentleman British General Burgoyne. It's a real mixed bag.

104. (1963.) The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
This movie is so badly cast that the film is sunk before the first frame, which is a real shame as the story comes straight out of the best of 1930s Capra and director Brian De Palma sure seems like he knows what he wanted to be doing with it. Bonfire, indeed.

More to come.

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Welcome to the 16th Annual Wriphe.com Batman and Football Month, now with 166% more disease!

A year ago, I looked upon the approaching college football season with trepidation and wrote

I get that the players want to play. As a fan, I want to watch. But just because we *want* football doesn't mean we're in a position to have it. If you're old enough and smart enough to go to college, you're old enough not to let your wants hurt you. If getting this pandemic under control, if ensuring that we break the chain of infections to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors means we have to stay in our homes (or dorms) and forego one football season, we should do that, even if we don't want to. Any other behavior is just irresponsible.

Oh, how naive I was in my youth. Let me show you how much things have changed in the state of Georgia in one year. This is August 2020:

On a roller coaster, we'd call this a bunny hill

And this is where we are in August 2021:

A pandemic so nice, we did it twice
source: worldometers.info

A year-to-year gain of +7,000 cases on a graph that is still climbing! To get numbers like that, you have to be actively trying!

Just like in 2020, I bought UGA football season tickets in the early spring under the assumption that this whole pandemic thing might be under control by fall. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Granted, some things have changed in a year. In theory, the players have all been vaccinated (right?), so they should be safe enough (from COVID if not brain damage). But can the same be said for the fans? There's a non-zero overlap between the group of people who love to watch live football and the group of people who would rather kill children than wear a strip of cloth over their faces.

I'm fully vaccinated and have been since May, but vaccination is no guarantee that I can't get the virus. (If you like to be depressed, Google "breakthrough cases" and "vaccine efficacy decline".) Since we have yet to see any sign that this latest pandemic surge is ready to turn any corners, it looks like I'll be missing out on another season.

I guess I should have spent that ticket money on a new, larger television. I may be in my bunker for a long time yet to come.

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To be continued...

 

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