This piece is my eulogy for Grandma, delivered at her funeral on 8 August 2020. The pictures throughout are family photos and the featured image, as with many of the pictures within, came from one of our many Friday night dinners at Grandma’s.
Grandma first asked me to write her eulogy ten or fifteen years ago. Every year or two she’d circle back around to the request, double checking I remembered I said I’d do this and making sure I was still planning on it. I always assured her I did and I would. But even for me, someone who writes a lot for fun and is kinda paid to talk for a living, this is intimidating. How do I begin to pay tribute to Grandma? How do I begin to capture all she means to me? Continue reading
A few years ago, Rob – of My Side Of The Laundry Room – began a series called “F.N.V.,” taking its name and inspiration from NBC’s Friday Night Videos (1983-2002). Anyway, I liked it so I totally stole it from him. Kalie liked it and she stole it too, proving far more prolific with her sharing of music videos and stories than I ever am. Today I’m going to do something I haven’t done before – focus exclusively on one artist. Why John Mellencamp? Well, ever since I was a kid, John Mellencamp’s music has led me down surprisingly contemplative roads. So I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the musings he’s led me to over the years. Continue reading
The brilliant new podcast Pods & Ends – “the junk drawer of pop culture” – asked me to write a piece for them about Spider-Man movies. Hot dog! I excitedly agreed and I think you should excitedly read this. In the post, I reflect nostaligically on everything from this Spidey movie whose name I cannot find no matter how hard I try from the ’80s up to and including the MIND-BLOWINGLY AMAZING Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I was honored to write for this great show and would love you to check it out.
You can listen to Pods & Ends here and you should also follow them on Twitter @pne_pod because they are way awesome people. Continue reading
Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the Doctor was special for me. I’ve only recently come into the world of Doctor Who, watching all ten (modern) seasons of the show last year. I began in the fall of 2017 with Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor (well, technically I started with David Tennant but my friend Theresa kept making sad sighs when she heard I didn’t start at the beginning so I went back and did) and finished Peter Capaldi’s run in the spring of 2018. So Jodie Whittaker became the first Doctor I got to watch as the season aired. It was so exciting! As this eleventh season (or series if I’m being English about it) of Doctor Who unfolded, I kept thinking of a post I wrote awhile back about being exhausted by binging and streaming TV shows. Jodie Whittaker and company have consistently delivered everything I’ve come to love about a Doctor Who episode! But I think part of the magic of this season came from watching it on a weekly basis. Continue reading
Growing up as an adolescent of the ‘90s the discussion of whether you preferred Mission: Impossible or James Bond for your spy-faring feature films was a resurrected area of pop culture discourse. In 1995 Pierce Brosnan would debut as James Bond in GoldenEye, the first Bond film in six years, the longest gap ever between films in the franchise (at least as of this writing). In 1996, Tom Cruise would star as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible, the first film adaptation of the TV series that ran from 1966-1973. I’ve always gotten the sense that James Bond is the more beloved pop culture figure. He obviously has the wider reach, with a film series spanning fifty-three years and twenty-six films. But for my money (metaphorically speaking as well as literal money in the form of movie tickets and first VHS (!) then DVD purchases), 007 has nothing on the Impossible Missions Force. Continue reading
This is a post I’ve been thinking about writing for ages. I originally envisioned it shortly following the “First Impressions: The X-Men” post I wrote last year. But, for one reason or another, I always stopped short of finishing it. Now, on the eve of the Fantastic Four’s return, shepherded by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli, the time is right. So let’s take another trip down memory lane and revisit the very first Fantastic Four comic I ever read! It was 1993 and the cover leapt out at me from the spinning rack in a local grocery store (the now long-gone Loblaws on W 12th St, if I remember correctly). It was Fantastic Four #374 and, while I didn’t know it at the time, I was about to meet the characters who’d become my all-time favorite comic book team. To this day, they still hold this place in my heart! Continue reading
The unexpected emotional mix of finally sitting down to watch some of Nickelodeon’s 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series coupled with warm feelings of post-birthday nostalgia gave birth to this post. You see, there are a lot of characters I’ve loved through my whole life but few I’ve experienced in as many different iterations as I have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So I’m taking a walk down Memory Lane, looking at every incarnation of the Turtles I’ve met and exploring what they meant to me. To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list of every single version of the Turtles. There’s plenty of entries, sure, but the Turtles are prolific characters with parts of their mythology I’ve missed/yet to experience. Still, this is a fairly impressive list if I do say so myself :). With that being said, onward to an exploration of my life with the heroes in a half shell…TURTLE POWER. Continue reading
Last week I kicked off my summer DJing Rob’s Friday Night Video series as he does his YouTube thing over at My Side Of The Laundry Room. For my first outing, I looked at some summer/summer vacation songs. It was my last day of school and my mind was on vacation (all I ever wanted…)! This week I’m rocking out to some of my favorite guilty pleasure songs. However, the name “guilty pleasure” implies I feel some guilt over liking these songs and, honestly, for the most part I don’t. I should probably call these “Should Be Embarrassed By Them But I’m Not” songs. But that’s a mouthful and everyone knows what a “guilty pleasure” song is so I’ll stick with it. So let’s look at some of my awkward favorites shall we?? Continue reading
This story is not for the faint of heart. But enough time has passed that I feel I can talk about it. What follows is a true story, not embellished for either humor’s sake…or horror’s sake. It is a tale of primal fear. It is a tale of crushing fear. It is a tale of waking before work to find yourself wrapped in your worst possible nightmare come to life. But it’s also a story of survival (which, uh, is kinda obvious because I’m writing this). Are you ready? Then let’s go… Continue reading
Last week Kalie and I were in Indianapolis presenting at the PCA/ACA Conference on Popular Culture. It was so much fun! Both of our papers were well received (mine (as I’ve mentioned once or twice) explored Jason Aaron’s use of the Divine Feminine in The Mighty Thor) and the whole week was an enriching, stimulating experience. It was exciting to meet so many other people who teach through popular culture and there were papers on just about everything you could imagine. To see all these different scholars in all these different areas, utilizing pop culture and speaking to its value in an academic setting was incredible. While we were there, Indiana’s Comic Con was going on down the street. And THAT got me thinking about the one comic I covet… Continue reading