We're a geek couple living in PA with our two boys -- Milo and Otis -- who are short, orange, and furry. Oh, and they're the cats we're bookended by! We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for November 9, 2018

[Strength] -- In October of 1985, the Alarm released their second studio album, Strength. Where their first album, Declaration (1984), had been rough and rambunctious, Strength was more polished ... but still rambunctious. And music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic.com considers Strength to be the Alarm's single best album. It's probably my favorite of their releases. Doesn't matter if we're talking about the original album tracks, the remixes, or an incidental acoustic version, I love the songs on this album. Songwriter and lead singer Mike Peters was in rare form for this one, folks. 

Friday, November 2, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for November 2, 2018

[Peace, Love, and Understanding] -- Some of you might know that I am an interfaith minister as well as an 80s music aficionado. In my capacity as the former, I am attending the Parliament of the World's Religions 2018 in Toronto, Canada. It started yesterday, and runs through to next Wednesday. In honor of the Parliament's commitment to cultivating harmony and peaceful dialog, I have chosen Elvis Costello & the Attractions version of "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" as this week's one and only Flashback tune. Originally a b-side for Costello's "American Squirm," it became a hit and was added to the band's US release of Armed Forces (1979).   

As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?
And each time I feel like this inside
There's one thing I wanna know:
What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding?
And as I walked on
Through troubled times
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes
So where are the strong
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony
'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry
What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding?
So where are the strong?
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony
'Cause each time I feel it slippin' away, just makes me wanna cry
What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding? Ohhhh what's so fun about peace, love and understanding

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

If you are interested in the Peace Love & Understanding sign posted above, you can find it on Etsy.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for October 26, 2018

[TOTO-ly Platinum] -- The fourth studio album by session sidemen turned bandmates, Toto IV (1982) was a multiplatinum surprise. It might have even surprised Toto themselves, as their prior two records had a marked sales slump compared to their eponymous debut of 1978. Toto IV's lead single climbed to #2 and stayed there for several weeks while the third single became the bands first and only #1 Billboard hit. Even the fourth single, released almost a year after the first single, peaked in the top 10. Ultimately, four of the album's five singles were top 40 hits and the album itself secured the #11 position on the US Billboard 200. This is one of those records that successfully crosses -- or, perhaps, blurs -- the lines between AOR and jazz. So much so, that it's one of the few rock records that my father purchased in the 80s. We listened to it together quite a bit, and he delighted in pointing out just how meticulous the arrangements on this album really are. I still own his vinyl copy. Now, if you're wondering which tracks hit those #2, #10, and #1 slots respectively, you can read and hear more after the jump.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Dangrdafne review

Amazon Video has made a masterpiece. A clever, hilarious, crazy fun show about ... stand up
comedy at its heart. A story of real life in the 50’s but on a stage of stand up comedy and being a woman. It’s about strength, courage, despair, family and laughter.

The casting is impeccable and it deserved every award it won in this past year. I loved getting lost in their world. From the costuming to the perfect details of the homes. I feel like I could write forever about this show but I’ll just tell you to go watch it. You’ll understand.

4 paws and a tail!!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for October 12, 2018

[Introspective] -- 30 years ago this week, the synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys released their third studio album, Introspective (1988). It's an unusual record for a pop outfit because all six tracks are over six minutes in length. Not exactly prime radio material, at least not in the hits-hungry commercial radio of the late 80s. Still, the record was pretty successful: Two of the album's four singles charted in just about every country they were released, and a few countries embraced all four singles (the U.S. was not among those countries). And the lead-off single, a cover of "Always On My Mind," peaked at #1 on a few charts and even hit Gold status. Rather than do my usual curation of songs from the album,  I thought I'd leave you with the whole album. I find it to be a much more satisfying, albeit time-consuming, experience. 

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for October 5, 2018

[Honeymoon Suite] -- In June of 1984, Canadian glam metal band Honeymoon Suite released their eponymous debut album. At the time of this Warner Bros. Records release, the band was about three years old but only one original member remained. Their first single, "New Girl Now," was all over MTV and the radio in the mid-80s. And they might have been relegated to one-hit-wonder status in the States if it wasn't for a pair of hits on their sophomore release. They remain somewhat popular in their native Canada to this day, but they haven't had a hit single in the US since 1988. But, oh, what hits they had with this 1984 debut. To revisit them, just read and hear more after the jump.  

Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for September 28, 2018

[A Different Kind of Kansas] -- Drastic Measures (1983) was Kansas' ninth studio album ... and seemingly the last gasp for a once mighty prog rock outfit. Of course, by this time, they had dropped any semblance of prog elements and were pretty much a mainstream rock band. Gone was the violin as well as the stately arpeggios and shimmering organ runs that had adorned previous efforts. And that's funny considering that the record was criticized for being too repetitive of those prior efforts. Maybe the detractors noticed the slick production that was still a hallmark of the Kansas recording method. But even though Drastic Measures was the band's lowest-charting record since their 1974 debut, and Kansas officially disbanded after the conclusion of the 1983 tour (don't worry, a new lineup rose from these ashes three years later), I still love this record. I might even still have the cassette copy I received as a birthday gift 30+ years ago. So, which tracks do I still sing along with these days? Read and hear more after the jump to find out! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Host - movie

Dangrdafne review

Yes, I am very late to watching this movie... but for me, it was worth the wait.

I really loved this movie. It probably is not the norm but what can I say, I’m an odd duck.

First I love Saoirse Ronan, so I was happy from the get go. Since she is the main character of the movie, I knew I would see her in almost every scene and I happily did. I loved her divided mind and felt she played the two roles very well.

Second at the heart of the movie it was all about family. I love stories about family: fighting for it, creating it, learning to live with others and all the love that comes from family.

I also liked the trope of a good alien and having to win people over. Humans are complex and crazy creatures and this movie showed that in all its glory. I loved watching Wanda learn that and figure out how that works for her. I also loved that it was the woman who were fighting for the human race. Not that it is surprising but I felt stronger for having watched them fight for us.

And of course there was a love story but not the one you think. In case, you haven’t seen it I will leave it for you to learn. It was good to see a bad guy learn to be good and learn to love and how different life can be if you open your mind and learn to trust and love.

I’m glad there is a happy ending because I really wasn’t sure what would happen but I can’t get over the fact that basically the movie boiled down to my mantra of “Because Nice Matters.” If we can all just get along... then we can all just get along.

4 paws

Monday, September 10, 2018

Tully - movie review

Dangrdafne review

On the plane to Poland, LOT Polish Airlines offers lots of free movies, TV and music. I was excited for the movies even though I knew I should have been sleeping.

I chose Tully as I had heard it was a very good movie and it helps that I like Charlize Theron.

Easily put is you have to go all the way through the movie to truly appreciate the movie. I really can’t say too much as I would hate to spoil it for those who want to watch the movie.

I will say I did not like the movie until I saw the ending of the movie, then I really liked the movie. Charlize gives an amazing performance and I am sure there are many mothers out there who feel like she does. I know I was exhausted just watching her at times.

The best part of the movie is that it is just a story. A well told story. And one that you don’t know what it is until you get to the end.

I recommend the movie but if you had to choose between this one and Atomic Blonde, also with Charlize, I would tell you to get Atomic Blonde.

3 paws

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Six Comics

In my comics group, someone shared this idea: Pick five comics (could be six series or graphic novels) that best describe your taste. As usual, I have trouble following instructions. I have chosen six comics that best reflect the themes I enjoy in comics, or fiction in general.

Those eight themes are:

  • Strangeness and outcasts
  • Capable protagonists who may or may not be damaged
  • Big science fiction and mystery
  • Adventure and exploration
  • Themes of family and friendship
  • Meta, mind-bending ideas about ideas 
  • Celebrating the past while bringing new light to old tropes
  • And the occasional simian star

The representative comics are, in clockwise order starting in the top left: Doom Patrol, Motor Girl, Drifter, Starman, The Unwritten, and Fantastic Four.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Citizen Wayne

So, before Marvel and Brian Michael Bendis went all exclusive, Bendis did a story for DC Comics. It was a short Batman Elseworlds story printed in THE BATMAN CHRONICLES #21 (June 2000). This must have come out during a lull in my collecting habits, because I don't recall the cover, and I certainly don't recall any of the contents.

 The Batman Chronicles Vol. 1 Issue 21

Now, the artist on that 2000 story was one Michael Gaydos. Yes! The very same person who co-created Jessica Jones with Bendis, also co-created Bendis' new character, Pearl. And he did the pencils on the first DC/Jinxworld issue of PEARL, a book that also includes that previously Batman story, "Citizen Wayne," as back material.

And "Citizen Wayne" is a solid bit of black and white storytelling. And, yes, it's a nod to the great Orson Welles' seminal film. I'm not sure I can adequately encourage you to go get your own copy of this, so I'll just share Bendis' intro to the story and its first page:

Intro to "Citizen Wayne" as reprinted in PEARL #1

Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for August 31, 2018

[Black N Blue] -- The 80s spawned a very strange creature: The Hair Metal genre (also called Glam Metal). I've previously written that this genre was possibly the result of controlled efforts to crossbreed Heavy Metal (for its energy and intensity) with Pop Rock (for its relative safety and accessibility). And it was responsible for a boat load of record sales in the 80s. In August 1986, one of those records was Nasty Nasty, the third studio release by Black N Blue. This record is spirited. It's aggressive. And ... it's not for everyone. I have to throw that "not for everyone" caveat out there just in case I'm the only one who still relies in an inner 13-year-old to rate hard rock from this period. Oh! And here's an interesting note: KISS bassist Gene Simmons produced this album. Anyway, Nasty Nasty didn't make a dent. And there was only one single, but it didn't really chart. In fact, I'm pretty sure it quickly ended up in the discount bin. And, yet, I still have mad love for this album. Then as well as now. So, what tracks have I chosen to share with you? Read and hear more after the break. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for August 24, 2018

[When Corey was a Young Man Running] -- You know Corey Hart as the guy who wears his "Sunglasses at Night." And you know he's a man who'll "Never Surrender." But do you know what he did after those seminal 80s songs? Did you know he released three more 80s albums (counting his 1990 release). Well, yes, there was life for Mr. Hart even after the U.S. record buying public dropped him like shiny new day on the day after Christmas. In fact, in his native Canada, he remained a top 40 artist more or less through the late 90s. His 1986 release, Fields of Fire, earned him several nods at the 1987 Juno Awards. And this week in 1988, Hart released his fourth studio album, Young Man Running. Although you might never have heard of it, this record featured some of Hart's most mature songwriting to date. The record did chart in the US, and it spawned a top 40 single, it quickly faded and is all but forgotten here, with no other singles charting. But in Canada, the first three singles hit the top 40, with the first one even peaking at #2. It's a pleasant album featuring a variety of genres. So, if you'd like a taste of it, and I recommend that you do, you can read and hear more after the jump.   

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Lilac Girls - book review

Dangrdafne review

Tomorrow I head to Poland for my adventure. My Mother had read this book and told me I should read it before going on the trip. Since I always listen to my Mother, I read the book... in 2 days and loved the book.

It is a very rough read at times as it is about the Holocaust... but it is about so much MORE than that.

It is three distinct narrators, Kasia a Polish teen, Herta a German doctor and Caroline an American. Each chapter is from one of their points of view. It is a very different way to write and out a novel together but after 20 or so chapters I feel into the groove and could almost tell who was speaking without seeing their name on the chapter title.

I want to tell you all about the book but you really need to read it yourself to capture the beauty of it all. Even the Holocaust horrors. It is a quite disturbing write up at times but it is required so that you can appreciate the strength, the heart and the magic of these women.

If you are Polish or if you care about the women of the Holocaust or if you are intrigued by a true story about history that is rarely known, then I recommend this book and even if you think you are none of these things... I recommend this book.

4 paws

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for August 10, 2018

[Goodbye Mom redux] -- I'm kind of dreading tomorrow, August 11. It will be the first time in my life that I'll observe my mother's birthday ... without her being physically present in this world. If you don't recall, or if you're new to this blog, my mother passed unexpectedly last October. As far as we can tell, she passed peacefully, and without pain, overnight. It was a little more than six months away from the fifth anniversary of my father's passing.

So, my one and only flashback song for this weekend is the one I posted the weekend she passed, nad it is for her memory. I'm cribbing both the tune and the write-up from a previous Flashback post, but so be it. It is probably no surprise that I could reliably turn to Disney for a song that honors the very heart of motherhood. Well, I sort of turned to Disney. I turned to Hal Willner, an American music producer with several tribute albums and live events listed among his many credits. In 1988, Willner released his fourth tribute album, Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney FilmsStay Awake featured new recordings of Disney tunes by a whole range of performing artists, from Sun Ra to Michael Stipe, and from Buster Poindexter to Ringo Starr. This is still one of my favorite CDs from the 80s. At the time, I loved it because it made a somewhat adult soundtrack out of songs originally created for kids. Almost 30 years later, I still love it for the milestone in my life that it represents. The second track on Stay Awake pairs Bonnie Raitt with Was (Not Was) on "Baby Mine" from the 1941 film Dumbo. And it never fails to make me think of my own mother. In fact, I'm tearing up as I type these words. So, I'll wrap things up with a lyric and then the video.

"You're so precious to me | Cute as can be | Baby, you're mine."

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Ready Player One movie

Dangrdafne review

Please note I have not read the book, I have only seen the movie.

When having to choose the rating of 1 to 5 stars on Vudu, where we watched this movie, I was going to leave it up to Brainwise but he told me to pick. So I slowly clicked each star, waiting for his response. When I ended up at the fifth star, Brainwise exclaimed “I’m so happy you liked it.”

And like it I did. It was different, it was clever, it was interesting, it was fun and it was really well put together and done.

I liked the casting for each role and while I don’t play many video games it wasn’t beyond me and I did recognize a lot of the characters in the movie. The only part missing for me was they did explain the title, Ready Player One. Now I did know it before the movie but for people who watch that don’t know it is a shame they didn’t include it.

I loved that the movie was a love letter to video games and their creators.

I also loved that it was all about depending on each other, creating a team and a family in the process and finding your true selves. Stories we can all use right now.

Since I didn’t read the book I can not comment on the complaints people had about this movie. I don’t have any overall. I recommend this movie. Since I only have 4 paws as the max on this blog, I give it 4 paws and a tail.

Ready Player One

Friday, August 3, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for August 3, 2018

[Lawyers Need Love Too] -- 35 years ago this week, Jackson Browne released his seventh studio album, the humorously titled Lawyers In Love (1983). Despite its trio of successful singles, Lawyers In Love did not fare all that well with critics, although the Rolling Stone review was a notable, positive exception. Looking back, I would have thought that Browne's non-album single, "Somebody's Baby," released one year prior, might have helped pave the way for this 1983 album. But, maybe I'm trying to impose my own misconceptions about the music industry. Anyway,  the first single off this album was the title track, and when I first heard it cut across the airwaves I could not believe it. Up to this point in his career, Browne wasn't necessarily known for humor in his songwriting. But his lyrical jabs here mark a subtle shift from the personal to more political context.

Lawyers in Love, the album, spawned four hit singles from its eight tracks. It was a short album, even by 1980s standards. So, which three tracks have I selected to share with you this weekend? If you'd like to know, then I invite you to read and hear more after the break.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Celebrating Cartoonist Jackie Ormes (8/1/1911 – 12/26/1985)

Jackie Ormes (8/1/1911 – 12/26/1985)
Today would have been Jackie Ormes' 107th birthday.

She was the first African-American woman cartoonist. She created the Torchy Brown comic strip and the Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger panel. She was posthumously inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2014. And earlier this year she was inducted into the Eisner Award Hall of Fame as a Judges' Choice.

Image Source: Comic Riffs on Instagram

Torchy Brown -- an independent Black woman in a nationally syndicated comic strip!

Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger

Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for July 27, 2018

[Post Comic-Con Blues] -- I have them. My wife has them. And over 150,000 other people probably have them, too. I'm talking about those blues that settle in after attending an epic event like the San Diego International Comic-Con (SDCC). Comic-Con ended this past Sunday, but it's hard to return to the mundane world after being embedded with so many fanpeeps at quite possibly the largest celebration of comic books and pop culture. (By the by, there was a specially curated Flashback post for Comic-Con last week).

My initial plan for today was to create a playlist of sad goodbye songs. But we don't need sad songs. We need to get pumped up! So, I chose more upbeat songs to help us chase those blues away. Now, each of the three songs this week has a fairly obvious connection to this week's theme, but there is a more subtle connection for one of them. Can you find it? I'll take the names of all the folks who provide a correct answer, and I'll select a random winner to receive a geeky prize. I hope that motivates you to post a comment ... when you read and hear more after the jump. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for July 20, 2018

[SDCC 2018 Playlist] -- I can in no way offer a definitive 80s playlist for the Valhalla of geekdom that is the San Diego Comic-Con International. Well, I could try, but I'm just one person. So I turned to the power of Twitter to ask my fellow comic con attendees (and folks who wish they could be attending this week) to help me curate a special playlist. I asked, "What is your favorite 80s song?" And my fellow nerds responded. So, this post is going to go beyond my standard three selections. And it's going to run the gamut of styles. But in the end, I think we end up with a nice 13-track set to kick off the weekend. If you'd like to know what tracks were selected, and who suggested them, you can read and hear more after the jump. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Game of Bloggers 2018

Last night we attended one of the highlights of SDCC in recent years: Game of Bloggers!

This shindig is thrown by Tony Kim (@crazy4comiccon), who is also celebrating the second year of his geek clothing business, Hero Within. Yeah, it's a party, but it is also an opportunity for geeky bloggers of all stripes to interact. Plus, like last year, there are wares from other geeky brands to check out.

Here are a few pics. For more, check out Traveling Mocha's Instagram.

Tony, CEO of Hero Within, bookended by the Bookended by Cats crew
@dangrdafne with @misstejota (of @wesonerdy)
@brainwise with Hot Nerd Girl (Twitter/Instagram) and Nerd Mom!
@brainwise with @amlehr

Monday, July 16, 2018

Nine Books

So, a recent social media thing has people sharing images of records, books, even movies that have impacted them. Usually, this is done in a string of daily posts, maybe 10 or so. Sometimes context is provided, or an anecdote shared, with the image. At least, that has been the Facebook variation on the theme.

I had to be different, of course. Instead of following the established convention, I instead made a single post with nine books. The only context I gave was that all the books were fiction. And I chose nine because a 3x3 arrangement was convenient.

The books shown in the above image:
  • A Wrinkle in Time (1962) by Madeleine L'Engle
  • American Gods (2001) by Neil Gaiman
  • Armor (1985) by John Steakley
  • The Dark Knight Returns (1986) by Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley
  • Neverwhere (1996) by Neil Gaiman
  • Screaming Hawk: Flying Eagle's Training of a Mystic Warrior (1994) by Patton L. Boyle
  • The Night Before Christmas -- A Whitman Giant Tell-A-Tale Book (1960) by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Catherine Barnes
  • The Walking Drum (1984) by Louis L'Amour
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (1974) by Robert M. Pirsig 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for July 13, 2018

[The Other Dead Pool] -- The Dead Pool was the fifth, last, and least profitable Dirty Harry film. It was released on July 13, 1988: 30 years ago this weekend! Not to be confused with the 2016 film named for a wisecracking and fast-healing mutant mercenary, this Dead Pool followed Clint Eastwood's Detective Harry Callahan as he tried to unravel a dead pool, a game in which high rollers are betting on deaths of celebrities (and a serial killer tries to rig the game). Liam Neeson, Patricia Clarkson, and Jim Carrey (in his first action/dramatic role) are also featured. On top of that, there's also a cameo with Slash of Guns N Roses fame shooting a harpoonLalo Schifrin composed the film's score, making him the main composer for four out of the five Dirty Harry films. However, there was initially no soundtrack album released to accompany this film. Fortunately for soundtrack fans, Schifrin released the music he recorded in 1988 on his own label in January of 2009. The "Main Title" is sufficiently 80s-themed, with keyboards and electronic percussion blended with orchestral instruments. The rest of the album is a coherent set of themes, but the compositions are played with serviceable jazz and pop arrangements. There's really nothing to distinguish the tracks from any other suspense or detective story of the time period. In fact, they would be right at home on films from a few decades earlier. But while the soundtrack breaks no new ground, it is a solid listen from a fine composer. You can check out a few tracks after the jump. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Dangrdafne review:

This new show on AMC is absolutely incredible. I originally watched to see Julianna Marguiles and while she is incredible on the show I am now obsessed with Joy Nash as Plum.

The show is timely, harsh, awful, amazing, hilarious, depressing, empowering, and Joy Nash is spectacular.

I honestly have been wanting to write a review of this show since the first episode but I can’t form coherent thoughts when I try to think of what I want to say. I want to say it all and I want to say nothing and just let people watch and let it unfold for them. The episodes have left me speechless and in tears. In one of the episodes, there is a roar by Plum and I all I could think was how awesome some scream therapy could be.

I am sure there are many readers here who would not like this show or need this show but there are definitely people out there who would benefit from watching this show. Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

4 paws and a tail

Friday, July 6, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for July 6, 2018

[Back to Dreamland] -- I love Pat Benatar. In my opinion, she is one of the all-time great rock and roll singers. You won't get me to budge on that. This week, the Flashback revisits not her greatest record, but one that is a significant milestone in her career. In July 1988, Benatar released her seventh studio album, Wide Awake in Dreamland. Dreamland was not only Benatar's last album of the 80s, but her last guitar-driven rock record for a while. And, unfortunately, it marked the beginning of a decline in Benatar's popularity (outside of the faithful, like myself). The songs on this album seem more realized than those of previous efforts, relying less on fire and anger, more on message and mood. Is this growth? Sometimes an artist grows before her audience is ready. Now, as a total package, Dreamland does not match the chart-topping prowess of Benatar's earlier records. It does, however, boast memorable tracks like "Too Long a Soldier" and "Suffer the Little Children" as well as the hit single, "All Fired Up" ... which you can revisit along with two other key tracks after the jump.   

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Gatehouse (Shadowman #3)

Shadowman holds the occult/horror niche in the Valiant universe. Issue #3 of the current run (Volume 5, launched March 2018) features the first appearance of The Gatehouse, a dimensional crossroads. This kind of concept, strikingly realized by artists Adam Pollina and Stephen Segovia, is another example of how this series' approach to the occult just gets better and better. Kudos to writer, @andydiggle, as well!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for June 29, 2018

[Telephone Calls] -- I heard Tommy Tutone's 1981 hit, “867-5309/Jenny,” in the cafeteria yesterday. Every time I hear a song about using the phone, I think about the fact that kids these days don't share an anxiety that was familiar to me and my classmates: The fear of calling someone, but accidentally reaching their parent or guardian instead. Of course, these days, kids use their phones -- cell phones -- to text, Tweet, email, and do just about anything other than making phone calls. Still, I got to thinking of all the great 70s and 80s songs about calling, or trying to call, someone on the phone. The aforementioned “867-5309/Jenny" and Blondie's "Call Me" are too obvious to make this week's playlist. But I did find three fine examples for you. So, if you want to know what three 80s tracks are worth calling home about this week, you can read and hear more after the jump. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

BARRIER by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente

Well, damn. I just read BARRIER by Brian K. Vaughan (script), Marcos Martin (art), and Muntsa Vicente (colors). All five issues.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it damn sure wasn't this.

That's not a complaint, mind you. I'm actually quite impressed. But if you ask me to explain this story, I'd have to say it's a dash of the movie Arrival (2016) blended with several helpings of current politicos about the US southern border, and then celestially colored with hints of awe and irony (tip of the hat to Muntsa Vicente).

This series gets an enthusiastic recommendation from me, especially if you're bilingual; the book is in English and Spanish (and alien, but I don't think you need to know that third language).

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Still Alice - the movie

Dangrdafne review

Where to start.

I think it holds up to the book. Of course, you are always going to miss the details and some of the nuances from the book in a movie but I think you could watch this movie and get all the horribleness there is in regards to Alzheimer’s and how it affects Alice and her whole family.

I think because I read the book first, I felt that the movie was rushed but again that is because the details have to be reduced in order to not have a 4 hour movie and trust me I could not watch 4 hours of Julianne Moore descending into Alzheimer’s. NOT that she wasn’t incredible and that this movie didn’t do this horrible disease justice, it did. I just could not watch it, it was hard enough in less than 2 hours.

Julianne Moore was stupendous as Alice. She portrayed the losing of her mind with perfection. After seeing Alzheimer’s in real life, I could see how she understood it all and knew how to portray it. It was devastating and truly hard to watch, which is a good thing in this case. Watching her not recognize her daughter after a play was heart wrenching.

Kristen Stewart was perfect as the daughter Lydia. I always find it interesting to watch actresses play actresses in shows. She was the perfect amount of anger, sadness, fear, and love that Alice needed and the movie needed. Kate Bosworth was ok as oldest daughter Anna. I was distracted by her harsh edges but then that is what they needed from her but I thought it was too over the top.

Alec Baldwin was good as the husband. He was cold and detached when needed and loving and soft when things got bad. He was definitely believable as Alice’s husband and caretaker.

The movie was beautifully filmed. You get the chance to be Alice a few times and kind of see what she is seeing/feeling. It is disorienting and works well.

I give the movie 3 paws and I say if you have to choose about book or movie first, I say read the book first and then also watch the movie. Seeing the book in front of you and seeing Alzheimer’s in front of you is quite a different experience than just reading about it. And I think they support each other to get their point across.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for June 22, 2018

[STARLITE] -- A friend recently posted a link to The Story Behind Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out" (WSJ). Depending on the source, "Steppin' Out" was released in either June or August of 1982. It spent a total of 27 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #6 on December 11, 1982. It also peaked at #5 in Cash Box magazine, #4 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, and #7 on Billboard's Album Rock Tracks. In short, it was Jackson's biggest US hit. Now, I'm sure I heard "Steppin' Out" on the radio in 1982. However, my clearest memory of the song is as the lead track off STARLITE, a 1983 compilation record from K-Tel. If you watched TV in the 70s and 80s, you probably remember commercials for K-Tel's records and other products. A vinyl copy of STARLITE boasts a retail value of about $2.00 these days, and it features a track list of 14 songs:

1) Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson 2) Eye In The Sky – Alan Parsons Project 3) Personally – Karla Bonoff 4) Nobody – Sylvia 5) Goin’ Down – Greg Guidry 6) Love Or Let Me Be Lonely – Paul Davis 7) Blue Eyes – Elton John 8) Wasted On The Way – Crosby, Stills & Nash 9) Only The Lonely – The Motels 10) On The Wings of Love – Jeffrey Osborne 11) A Penny For Your Thoughts – Tavares 12) You Can Do Magic – America 13) Who’s Crying Now – Journey 14) Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me – Juice Newton

All the songs were top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and half of them reached top 10 status. Yeah, there are a few oddballs on there, like "On The Wings of Love" or "A Penny For your Thoughts," but it's a pretty solid lineup. And while STARLITE harbors no true, straight-ahead rockers, it is kind of a diverse collection of music (as far as 80s top 40 music goes). So, rather than choose my usual trinity of tracks, this week's Flashback is featuring the entire compilation. Enjoy!

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Let the games begin

So we received emails from SDCC yesterday that our badges were on their way!

We arrived home and it must have been a worm hole because our badges were already here!

What is everyone looking forward to?

Dangrdafne is looking forward to seeing her friends and getting away from work for a long break.

Brainwise is looking forward to the overall experience of SDCC even for our eighth visit.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for June 15, 2018

[Clutching at the 80s] -- This week in 1987, 80s prog rockers and cult darlings, Marillion, released their fourth studio album, Clutching at Straws. Marillion got their start in Aylesbury, England, in 1979, and took their name from J.R.R. Tolkien's novel, The Silmarillion. A favorite among the D&D playing teens in the early 80s, Marillion reached the peak of their success with Clutching at Straws' predecessor, the concept album Misplaced Childhood (1985). While not as commercially successful as ChildhoodStraws did reach #2 on the UK Albums Chart and it received many positive reviews. In fact, AllMusic.com considers this album to be their "most unheralded masterpiece." It was certainly a transitional record -- it was the last record with singer-songwriter, Fish, and it heralded guitarist Steve Rothery's ascension to being the band's new musical instigator later recordings.

Like ChildhoodStraws is a concept album. However, rather than delving into the vagaries of youth, this record looks the downward spiral of a young adult. In these songs, we see Torch, who is 29 years old and out-of-work. His life is a mess and he seeks solace mainly in alcohol. It is not a happy story, as Torch ends up a raging drunk beyond all hope of redemption.

CD Booklet for UK release of Clutching at Straws
The three singles released from Clutching at Straws were "Incommunicado," "Sugar Mice," and "Warm Wet Circles." However, since we're dealing with a concept album, I thought it might be best to provide a full playlist rather than just pick my usual three selections. Enjoy!

Flashback(s): "I'm a citizen of Legoland travellin' incommunicado  |  And I don't give a damn for the Fleet Street aficionados." (lyrics from the first single, Incommunicado).

Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Dangrdafne review

Simply put, I should NOT like this show at all. It is uber violent, horrifying and dark, soooo dark.


I LOVE this show!

I mean I really love this show. Every episode blows me away with its creativity, acting, filming and crazy. It is the best over the top there can be. I love how everything ties together. You have to watch, though, there is no multi-tasking while Preacher is on.

I adore the family that is created between the three main characters and how they do anything for each other. It is the best kind of family there is, a chosen one.

And speaking of chosen one, Dominic Cooper is spectacular as Jesse aka Preacher. Watching him grapple with his role with Genesis is a thing of beauty. And that hair?? Woah, his hair is perfection.

Ruth Negga is spectacular as Tulip. She is strong, vulnerable, powerful, tough, in love and just a perfect match for Jesse. I want to be Tulip, minus all the violence around her.

Then there is Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy. I used to hate vampires when I was a child but in my adult years I have come to love so many. Cassidy is on that list. He is such a good human... who isn't human. His caring and his loyalty is better than most people.

One of my current fascinations is in season 2: how they wrote Hitler as a sympathetic character. We meet Hitler in Hell and we get to see the cause of his insanity. It is not what you think it is and it makes you question many things. Is he inherently a good person gone bad? Or is he just bad to the bone? These are the questions that come up in Preacher and they leave them for you to work through on your own.

We are two seasons in and the third starts on June 24th. I highly. highly recommend catching up before the 3rd season starts if you aren't watching. I will add that this is a highly violent and gory show. If you are easily queasy, I recommend watching with a friend who is not so they can tell you when to look away and when to watch again. The opening to season 2 is quite horrid but worth it, so worth it.

The search for God is one many of us feel and the way the show weaves everything together is some of the best storytelling there is on TV.

I easily give Preacher 4 paws and a tail !!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback for June 8, 2018

[Escalator of Life] -- Some songs are perfect time capsules of time and place. It doesn't matter when such a song hits your ear again, you are mentally transported back to that moment you first encountered it. A perfect example of this happened during my morning commute earlier this week. The opening keyboard strains of "Escalator of Life" came on the radio and I was no longer driving down 309 for my dayjob. No, in my mind, it was 1986 and I was sitting in a dorm room at University Park. RTP, who had just dropped my turntable's needle onto a new-to-me record, looked at me and said, "I think you're going to like this." That was my introduction to Robert Hazard and his 1982 eponymous debut EP. I would later acquire my own copy of this record, which is still in my collection. I would also later learn that Hazard's most famous song was "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," which he wrote and recorded in 1979 but never released. No, he was waiting for the right person to release it, and that person was Cyndi Lauper who made it a #2 song in 1983. Anyway, Hazard released a total of seven records between 1982 and 2007. His later records veered away from his initial new wave sound in favor of a more contemporary singer/songwriter, almost folky, vibe. I even got to see him perform at the Sellersville Theater during this latter stage of his career. We lost him shortly after that tour; he passed away in August, 2008, just shy of his 60th birthday. But this post is about Hazard's first EP in all its 80s glory. And you can revisit some tracks with me after the jump. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Dangrdafne review:

Personally I have no idea why people are not liking this movie. But then I am not a die hard Star Wars fan. I can watch the movie for what is it and not what some expectation of what it “should” be is.


I LOVED this movie. It was fun, funny, heart warming, exciting, clever, well written, great filming and a really great story.

I thought Alden Ehrenreich was perfect as a young Han. I loved his innocence and how you can watch him learn to get stronger, smarter and tougher. It was nice to see the happier side of Han Solo for awhile too.

I was definitely not on board with Woody Harrelson before the movie but I am definitely on board after. I worried that because he was so famous that he would overshadow everyone but that’s not giving Woody’s acting the credit is deserves. He did not overshadow anyone and in actuality his presence brought a much needed grounding to Han and the story. He was portraying the more knowledgeable character and having the “famous” person portraying that role worked perfectly.

Thandie Newton was incredible. Gone waaay too soon in the movie but she was an integral part of the story. I loved watching her learn to like Han and to trust him. Again it was fun watching the more seasoned performer helping out the newbie and the newbie growing and learning from them.

The origin story of Chewbacca and Han meeting was awesome. I don’t know the actual canon story but this was perfect. And talking in Wookie?? Awesome! I actually started to think I could understand it by the end of the movie.

L3 - the droid - was hilarious and her back story leads to a major plot point of the movie. I recently saw the actress who portrayed L3, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, on the Graham Norton show and not only do I now have a girl crush on her but she was just perfect for L3. My favorite part of her story was that when she went to audition for the role she had never seen any Star Wars at all and didn’t know what a droid was. Skip to seeing her in the movie... I would never had guessed she didn’t know what a droid was or that she didn’t know Star Wars. She fit in perfectly and she was hilarious!

Donald Glover as Lando was perfect casting. Exactly what I would think a young Lando would be like and he played perfectly off Han. Emilia Clarke was also great but when the movie ended I had to ask my friend, a Star Wars aficionado, if Q’ira exists or not in the Star Wars world and she said no. But apparently Q’ira might be around in the newest world of Star Wars.

A major point to make about the movie, is that during a major action scene myself and my two friends were pushed back in our seats, holding onto our arm rests, hearts pounding... even though 1) one of us had already seen the movie and 2) we knew the outcome of the scene. It has to be a good movie if we react like that under these two circumstances for sure.

Overall, the movie was a heist movie in outer space and it was perfect. Please don’t listen to the naysayers. Go see the movie and make your own decision. Just enjoy the story and the fun.

4 paws

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Friday 80s Flashback (on a Saturday) for June 1, 2018

[Define My Life] -- So, you might have seen a tweet or an FB post that claims your life can be defined by the song that was #1 when you turned 14. Some time ago, I chased down the #1 song the day I was born, and there are plenty of sites that help you dig that up if you can't research record charts on your own. But back to the 14th birthday thing. I had the good fortune of turning 14 during the 80s, so I wondered what that song might be for me. This Washington Post article has a utility that finds your song and a few runners up. But I had already done my own sleuthing via the Weekly Top 40 blog. And the US Billboard #1 song on my 14th birthday was "I Love Rock 'N Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. In fact, it was #1 for the entire month of April, and it spent seven consecutive weeks in the top slot before being dethroned by "Chariots Of Fire - Titles" on May 8, 1982. Now, I do love rock 'n roll, and I have extraordinary affinity for the simple combination of guitar, bass, and drums. But does this song actually define my life? Well, let's look at some of the runners up:

All four of them are songs I love to this very day. And I still own at least two of them on 45rpm.

There are other songs that were in heavy radio rotation around my 14th birthday (researched here). They include XTC's "Senses Working Overtime," The Jam's "Town Called Malice," and Toto's "Rosanna." Any of those could be a serious contender as the song that explains my life.

However, I feel that "Space Age Love Song" by A Flock of Seagulls is an even more likely culprit (although it was released a full month after I hit the magical age of 14). That track appears as the 2nd entry in my Flashback post of February 9 this very year.

Still, Joan Jett and "I Love Rock 'N Roll" were all over the place as I turned 14. So, as that single was also the title track to Joan Jett's second studio album (and first with The Blackhearts), let's groove to the complete album.

That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven! While we're waiting till the next post, chime in with your own #1 songs.

Top Image source: Some other Brian's vinyl record birthday cake
Bottom image source: Screen shot of a Facebook post. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

Dangrdafne review


EVERYONE DIES!! I feel like I have typed that way too many times for the movies I have reviewed lately on this blog.

And it isn’t really true in my opinion. There are only 4 deaths that could be considered real and not coming back. The rest are probably all Superhero deaths and if there is a time stone... which already showed that it can bring back people... well... I didn’t shed any tears. And I really thought I would. I took a ton of tissues with me in preparation but in the end no crying. I am actually kind of bummed about it too.

NOT that I want people to be dead but I felt a little like I was told that people would die and I would be sad but alas I don’t believe it.

I did really enjoy the movie overall though. I thought it was put together very well and all characters got their chance on screen.

I adored Thor and Rocket/Rabbit together.

I loved Tom Holland as Spider-Man. I liked the Tony Stark and Peter Parker interactions. I did actually cheer a little when he got the new suit. Waaaay cool.

I liked the humor the Guardians brought overall.

Gamora was incredible

and under utilized Nebula was great in her small scenes. I am hopeful there is more Nebula in Avengers 4.

I thought the General’s reaction to Black Panther turning to dust was visceral and exactly how I wanted to feel.

Bucky reaching out and saying Steve as his last word was perfection.

Vision saying I love you as his last words was also perfection as it showed how far he has come in his search to be human.

Thanos was a very good villain and his smile as he watches the sun set was quite disturbing. Side note on Thanos, I watched the red carpet premiere and when Josh Brolin was standing with the other actors, he was the shortest of them all but in the movie he is the biggest. Ahhhh movie magic ;)

Thor proves that the human spirit, or in his case a God’s spirit can overcome anything. He has lost the most but he perseveres. He still sees the big picture and continues to fight. No more shall be lost if he can avoid it. Alas...

I thought I didn’t need/want to see the movie again in the theater but I am changing my mind. I am not sure why. Maybe I want to see if I see and hear other things. Was there a moment where “Hulka Hulka Burning Love” was said?? I hear that the story the others day and now I am wondering if it was and if I missed it or forgot about it with everything that happens in the movie.

Please don’t think that because I didn’t write about someone or post their poster means I didn’t appreciate their time in the movie because I really did but if I posted all my thoughts you would never stop reading this post :)

Hopefully you have all seen the movie by now and we can all start posting about it and talking about it. I would love to hear your thoughts on it and if you think everyone is really gone or not.

I give the movie 4 paws.