A Non-Spoiler Spoiler

Admit it: there have been times you went searching for spoilers, and there have been times where you did everything you could to avoid spoilers (and got royally annoyed when somebody posted one and ruined a surprise for you).

Some spoilers are no big deal (the star on a top-rated television show isn’t going to die from that bullet) while others are major events (“Rosebud”  ‘Nuff Said).  In polite company it’s now expected that spoilers will be announced ahead of time so that people can avoid them…today we have a spoiler that’s major, but at the same time won’t spoil any specific comic (although you may start searching for it!)

This year both DC Comics and Marvel Comics have been turning their universes upside down, with mixed results.  Marvel has been hit with a diversity bat that keeps swinging at old characters and replacing them with new, modern versions.  This didn’t work too well with Civil War because the final issue (number 8) with the apparent death of Tony Stark didn’t come out until after readers had read five or more other comics over the past few months that dealt with the aftermath of his “death” and several replacements for the old man (specifically a teen-aged girl who somehow built her own suit).  On the other hand, the identity of the Jackal in the Clone Conspiracy was a great surprise, and wasn’t telegraphed elsewhere.

DC, meanwhile, simply threw away the misery that the New 52 had descended into and launched Rebirth, completely retconning their entire block of history again.  The biggest spoiler of the year was the reveal that Dr. Manhattan (from Watchmen) was to blame for launching the New 52.  Here’s a link to an article that discusses that:


In a nutshell, back in 2013 DC published a series of comics set in the Watchmen universe that was dubbed “Before Watchmen” even though some of the storylines progressed past Watchmen.  In particular, at the end of the Dr. Manhattan mini-series we see the Dr. using lightning bolts to play with a universe of his own making — a scene that looks a lot like the cover to DC Rebirth #1.  On the last page of the comic we see Batman in his cave handling a smiley button that looks like the one Comedian wore and musing that he feels like they’re all being watched.

So, is the Rebirth Universe somehow connected to the Watchmen Universe?  Fans have debated that, but not much evidence for it has appeared.  Until this week.  One of the comics ends with the heroes musing about the thoughts in a villain’s mind during their encounter.   The thought they overheard was just one word: Manhattan.  It would appear that we are now going to start tying the universes together.

Which comic?  Which heroes?  Which villain?  Come now, that would be a spoiler, and I promised I wouldn’t spoil it.

After a few days thinking about this post, I woke up in the middle of the night with the perfect song for today.  Sha Na Na is known for covering fifties music in late sixties and seventies, but they never got a hit single themselves in spite of making lots of appearances and even having their own television show.  They did release at least one single that was new music, and it contained a tie-in lyric:

only one word on my mind
all the words are the same
all the words speak your name

So here’s Sha Na Na singing Only One Song:

The Annual Great Escape

Weather in central Indiana is, at best, unpredictable.  Last week it hit about minus two degrees and there was snow on the ground, and Tuesday it was 60 degrees at 9 am.  We’re back in the thirties again, but while driving to the store this morning I was surprised to see a small flock of birds gathering on a clump of trees.  Shouldn’t they already have flown South for the Winter?

Imagine my surprise a few miles later to see another flock of birds gathering off trees and clumping together to head South.  Did they not get the memo either?  While I sat here munching on breakfast (a blueberry muffin and some cocoa with mini-marshmallows) I snooped around on the web looking for dets on bird migration.

My main conclusion?  We don’t understand it at all.

Birds seem to migrate when food gets scarce, or when the weather gets cold, or when evolutionary pressure tells them it’s time.  Or maybe when they get bored?

I hadn’t given much thought to hummingbirds migrating, but apparently they do, with an airspeed of about 27.5 miles per hour.

[insert your own joke about swallow air speeds here]

I can understand birds moving when food gets scarce, or when it gets too cold, but the evidence for evolutionary pressure is supported by indoor birds in cages that apparently try flying against their cages to head South or North at specific times during the year.

Birds gathering somewhere and moving in flocks I totally get – we have birds in the house, some of which even get to fly around the house at times.  When some show had a flock of birds flying together across the screen one of the birds flew towards the television and tried to fly in the direction the other birds were flying…fortunately for all involved the bird stopped before it smashed into the wall.

Nobody has much evidence for any theories about how birds navigate…built-in GPS seems to be a common assumption.  `Maybe we can eventually figure out how to genetically modify our DNA to have a built-in GPS ourselves -clearly some people who don’t get lost in the woods have at least some ability in that direction already … probably an affinity to magnetic fields.  A simple story would then propose an evil villain of some sort will generate a massive electro-magnetic field, leaving people lost and confused until they pay ransom to get it turned off…

Carrie Fisher died two days ago, and the next day her mother died.  While Carrie’s death was a shock to us all, Debbie Reynold’s death was far more disturbing to me: can people really die from a broken heart?  It’s probably difficult for most people to understand how Debbie was a major star at 23, and how her marriage and divorce from Eddie Fisher was big enough news to end up on the front page of nearly every newspaper (and don’t ask, “What’s a newspaper?”  They should be around for at least another ten years or so).

Here’s Debbie five years after she was in Singing In the Rain, singing Tammy’s In Love:

Rembert’s Blog Origin Story

An origin story!

Like most good ideas, setting up this blog started to seem like a good idea while I was taking a shower.  I wasn’t even thinking about setting up a blog, but clearly my sleepy mind was connecting to some part of my brain that works best when I’m sleeping, and a line of music crept into my mind:

  “What to leave in, what to leave out”

The line is from an old Bob Seger tune (“Against the Wind”) and probably had to do with a problem faced by truly successful artists: when planning a concert, which songs will you probably include and which songs will you will definitely not include.  When writing a daily blog (daily?  really?) there are usually things you really want to include, stuff you really don’t want anybody else to know about, and lots of topics that fall somewhere in between.

When I was in fourth grade we  were dropped into the library for an hour from time to time, and I used to spend some of my time with the encyclopedias – I would pick a random volume, open to a random page, and just start reading.  The web in some ways resembles a cross between that and a stack of old daily newspapers, but that suits me fine.  I love scanning news articles, catching a name or phrase that isn’t familiar to me and running after it.  Each website usually leads to more searches and more websites; sometimes I close the pages and get back to where I started, but sometimes I simply delve deeper and deeper until it’s time to go.  What I like most is finding something to read that is new to me, and that’s where I hope this blog will take readers – into an unstructured series of topics that may or may not be related to each other.

With any luck, each day will bring something new.  I’ve already started a list of topics for the next week or two, and I’ll see what I can do to keep that going.

For now, here’s Bob and the band singing  Against the Wind with the lyrics.