America Has Always Been Great

I believe that The United States of America is currently a great nation and has always been a great nation.

It’s great, not because of our wealth, our military might and prowess, geographic location, our resources or our political leaders, but because the government it is based in high ideals such as law, order, justice, freedom and human rights.
To be sure, we sometimes fall short of our goals and stray from our ideals. It is when we set our goals consistent to our ideals and work toward them.

Our founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, masterfully detail those ideals.

While many nations on Earth embrace many of the same ideals we do, we are one of the rare nations whose inception is built around a set of ideals. Having these ideals and striving toward them make us a strong, stable nation.

As long as we remember, revere and strive toward our ideals, we will continue to be great. When we don’t, we risk losing this great nation.

My name is Mike.

I’m a Democrat and a proud American.

Danger for America, But Hope Endures

I believe that the United States of America is in existential danger from several sources.

There is danger from a foreign power who has meddled in our last presidential election and seeks to undermine our very democracy by sowing doubt and distrust among us.

We have a President who seeks to divide us, one from another by pitting us against one another. He consistently violates long-held democratic norms, spreads disinformation and tries to make us believe that agents of the free press are the ones who lie rather than he. He seeks to profit from his position, rather than serve the people who have elected him and those others who share this great land with him. He also regularly thumbs his nose at the concept of the rule of law and seeks to break all of the institutions whose purpose is to serve as a check to would-be tyrants.

Many other threats exist. Among all of the threats that endanger our nation and way of life, I believe the worst one is our disappearing ability to communicate with each other. Many forces conspire to drive us into ever-shrinking tribes where we communicate only with other members of our groups. We are quickly losing the ability to come to action as a nation of people.

We’re all acquainted with the strategy, “divide and conquer”. We are currently being successfully divided. If this continues and does not reverse, can the inevitable outcome be far behind?

There is hope though. We can all make choices to thwart this threat. Here are the steps I plan on taking to do my part to solve this crisis:

  • I promise to be civil to all I deal with. This includes people with whom I fervently disagree on several issues. We don’t have to agree with everyone, but we MUST respect all people. When confronting people with whom my views differ, I will be respectful and state my views while providing information about why I feel as I do. In return, I ask my fellow humans to give me the same consideration. I will always try to remember that just because someone is opposed to something I support (or supports something I oppose), it doesn’t make them bad. I have my opinions just as they have theirs. I must respect them.
  • When sharing stories or information that can be controversial, I will try to check the facts as best as I can. I will not blindly just share information which my point of view. Before I do, I will do my due diligence and check to see if the article, story, picture, etc. are factual and not just someone made up to elicit a certain reaction. Just because it’s on the internet, certainly don’t assure the information’s veracity.
  •   I will try to uplift people instead of bring them down. We all see negative “news” every day. I’ll endeavor to share stories about how we can all cooperate and share our lives.
  • I’ll try to always keep in mind that we all have FAR MORE in common than we have differences. I’ll try to highlight those things in common and, at the same time, celebrate those differences we have. I believe that diversity is our great strength in this nation and among all humans in general. My perspectives on issues are by necessity, limited (as are those of all others). I can only know truth by comparing and combining my perspectives with those of others (see the poem of The Blind Man and the Elephant) .

These ideas are by no means complete or extensive, but it’s a start. Please let me know your thoughts and share your ideas and feelings as well.

Peace and love to all.

Another Year

Well, 2017 is over and I’m not sorry to see it go. For me, personally, the year had its ups and downs. It included new carpet, work successes, a three week bout with debilitating digestive issues (food poisoning or some nasty bug).

As a country, I feel that 2017 was an awful year. In that regard, it lived down to my expectations. In January, a person who is uniquely unqualified, assumed the office of President of the United States. His performance is as awful as I had feared. The only surprising thing, to me, is that we are not yet in a nuclear war as I feared we would be by this time. We have another 3 years for him to realize that fear, however, so I’m not comforted.

The damage that he has been able to do has been substantial. Many aspects of the social safety net have been eroded and some  abolished. The protection of our environment has been greatly scaled back. Our standing of the world has been greatly diminished. This has all been achieved in less than a year. Even if he is somehow removed from office earlier than his term ends, the damage has been done. The people who might possibly replace him are just as bad in some regards. Our only hope is that a possibility exists that one or more of the houses of Congress may come back into Democratic hands. This would, at least, be a small check on his power.

I’m not very hopeful that this will happen, but the small possibility of it is all we have for now. If there is a God, now would be a good time for him/her to intervene.

 

Lost (and Found) in Space

I had the pleasure of receiving a copy of “Lost (and Found) in Space”. I’m loving the pictures and the notes that Bill Mumy and Angela Cartwright have shared. As I look at a photo of the great, intelligent, beautiful, wonderful June Lockhart, I remember that as a child of 4 or five, I didn’t know the names of many actresses, but I did know “June Lockhart”. In fact, I was proud to tell people that June Lockhart was my favorite actress!
 
What child of the 1960s wouldn’t want to have June Lockhart and Guy Williams as parents! Mart Kristen, Angela Cartwright and Bill Mumy were so privileged to have them both as (TV) parents!

Happy Holidays

To all people who who are proclaiming that they are grateful that they can again say “Merry Christmas” at this time of year, I ask, “Who ever told you that you can’t?”

The fact that many individuals, businesses and government institutions choose to greet people with “Happy Holidays” instead, doesn’t diminish the expression of your faith in the least.

“Happy Holidays” is meant to be an attempt to include all people in the festivities regardless of their religion or beliefs. Rather than unintentionally exclude people by assuming that they are Christian, we wish them “Happy Holidays” to wish them happiness regardless of their beliefs.

If you want to say “Merry Christmas”, then by all means, do so. Just remember that the person to whom you send this greeting, may not share your beliefs. They probably won’t be offended as they will just attribute it to just another person making assumptions.

If, on the other hand, you’d like to indicate to people that you care about them no matter what their beliefs are, then consider using “Happy Holidays” instead.

New Year’s Day 2017 – Mixed emotions

Today is the first day of a new year. I have mixed emotions about the move from 2016 to 2017.

On a personal level, 2016 was a pretty good year for me. My work is going well. I was able to complete some major projects. I really like and respect my manager and she holds me in high regards and has told me that numerous times.

My relationships with family, friends and others are going well. I still love my home and I’m continuing to make improvements to it. Financially, I doing fine.

2016 was good for me personally, but there were some really ugly things that happened nationally.

The presidential primaries and the election were extremely ugly. It seemed like every day, there was some new ugly, gut-wrenching turn. I’m glad that it’s over, but the outcome has left me worried, concerned, fearful and sad. After the “Great Disaster” on November 8, 2016, I’m actually on the verge feeling hopeless.

It’s for this reason that I hate to see 2016 go. The thought of what is going to happen only a little over 19 days from now makes me want to cry.

It’s like I’m trapped in a car with no brakes, no steering and no way to get out. The car is hurtling toward a solid brick wall at 70 mph and there is nothing I can do about it. The optimist in me tells me that we’ll all survivr, but this is nothing like we’ve ever experienced before. I can see how it coule ALL end very badly.

Yesterday, I order some “I Support President Obama” bumper stickers, which I will have on my car for at least the next four years.

No Dark Past for Superman

Yesterday (May 24, 2015), Charles Moss wrote this article claiming that Superman had a “dark past” and that “Man of Steel” and the upcoming “Superman v. Batman” were simply brining him back to his roots.

Here is my response to that premise:

Mr. Moss, you’re article is based on incomplete and incorrect information. As such, it is completely misleading to people who have only a casual acuaintance of the Caped Kryptonian. The purpose of this post is to rebut your assertion that Superman has a dark past and that a darker depiction of Superman would be a return to his roots. This is utterly wrong.

To further your premise, you state that “…in the very early stages of the character’s development, he wasn’t a hero at all, but a villain. And even after Superman became an enforcer of good in his earlier years, his brand of justice was as gray, morally speaking…”. Your assertion presents incomplete information. I feel that it’s my duty to explain what’s missing for reader to get a more clear picture.

Your premise is based on the fact that the very first conception, by teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, of a character called “Superman” was of a villain that is far removed from the character that would eventually been seen in print. This excerpt from the Superman article on Wikipedia explains it fairly well:

“Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, then students at Cleveland’s Glenville High School, first conceived Superman as a bald telepathic villain bent on world domination.[5][6] The character first appeared in “The Reign of the Superman”, a short story from Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization #3, a fanzine published by Siegel in 1933.[6] Siegel re-envisioned the character later that year as a hero bearing no resemblance to his villainous namesake, with Shuster visually modeling Superman on Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and his bespectacled alter ego, Clark Kent, on a combination of Harold Lloyd[13][14] and Shuster himself…”

It’s important to note that the original conception of Superman never was published! By the time Siegel and Schuster published the first Superman story, they had completely reworked the concept. The only elements to remain from the original concept was the name of the character. the “bald villain bent on word domination” was later realized by the creation of a character called the Ultra-Humanite and then later by Lex Luthor. So to insinuate that Superman was originally a villain, is a totally misleading statement.

You also state that Superman’s brand of justice was “gray, morally speaking” is based on examples from early stories where Superman was rougher with perpetrators than what we saw in later years.

In his first story, Superman…
saves an innocent woman about to be executed while delivering the real murderess, bound and gagged, and leaving her on the lawn of the state Governor’s mansion after breaking through the door into his house with a signed confession
comes to the aid of a woman being beaten up by her husband, who faints when his knife shatters on Superman’s skin
rescues Lois Lane from a gangster who abducted her after she rebuffed him at a nightclub
goes to Washington, D.C., instead of South America, to “stir up news” as his editor wants, to investigate a Senator that he suspects is corrupt, and prompting a confession by leaping around high buildings with the terrified man, which leads into the next issue.

Yes, Superman does take the law into his own hands in the early stories. These kinds of actions might be the reason you call his brand of justice “gray”. If his brand of justice is gray, his motivations are not! He saves an innocent woman from being executed, keeps a woman from being beaten by her louse of a spouse, rescues a reporter from a gangster and helps expose a corrupt politician.

So, your premise that Superman started as a dark character is a stretch at best and a total misrepresentation at worst. These are the facts as I know them. Superman does not deserve this kind of treatment from Zack Snyder or you.

Michael A. Moore

Incubation – Stage 2

As you know from my previous posts on this subject, by this time I was hooked on Action Comics. The comic book infection I was already experiencing was about to get much worse. On another trip to the grocery store, I notice a comic book called “Justice League of America” (#112). I didn’t know anything about it, other than I had seen some Justice League of America cartoons in the 60s, there were some recognizable characters (like Superman and Batman) on the cover and it had a tag line stating, “Here come TV’s Super Friends!”. I figured, I like Superman and Batman. I’ve seen the Super Friends and I enjoy the cartoon, so why not!

This issue was a bit different than the Action Comics that I had been purchasing. This one, was a THICK comic book! Instead of the 32 pages of the comic books I had been getting, this one boasted a full 100 pages! Being a much heftier magazine, the price was heftier too. It was 60 cents as opposed to the 20 cents I was spending on the previous ones.

Inside, I was treated to a story entitled “War with the One-Man Justice League!”, in which the heroes of the Justice League, reactivate an android who, in the past had fought them and had the ability to duplicate all of their powers! They had done this in an effort to restore the abilities of six in their rank (Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Flash and Elongated Man) half of whose powers had been stolen by another villain in the previous issue.

I was introduced to so many characters in this story! It was a thrill ride from start to finish. All the while there were a myriad of hints dropped that there was a history behind these characters and this team that I could scarcely imagine. I left the story with far more questions than I had going into it. Rather than discourage me from reading further issues, it induced in me a fever to know! I had to know who these people were. I needed to learn their histories. I was hungrier than ever for comic books.

Immediately following the story, there was a two page feature that briefly gave more information about the history of the android they fought. It seems that he was originally created by a mad scientist to steal the powers of the Justice League’s member and destroy them all. Some of my questions were answered, but they were replaced now, with other still.

In the pages following the main story, I was introduced to the concept of a “reprint”. These were stories that had previously been published and were now being printed again in this book. I was later to learn that by some readers, these reprints were disdained in favor of new stories, but I loved them. Suddenly my comic book universe expanded to include not one hero, not a few heroes, but literally dozens of heroes and history that spanned decades, not merely months or years!

In the rest of the book I was introduced to Starman, Martian Manhunter, The Seven Soldiers of Victory (including Green Arrow, Speedy, Vigilante, Shining Knight, Crimson Avenger, the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy) and the villains Black Star and Dr. Destiny (among others).

Since, at the time, Justice League of America was published on a bi-monthly schedule, I had to wait for two whole months for the next issue. I didn’t know how I was going to survive until then, but I knew that Superman would come to my rescue at least once in that time.

In the meantime, I re-read that book at least a dozen times. I practically absorbed every word and every piece of art in it. I still have the book and cherish it. To call it dog-eared is giving it being charitable. Not knowing any better at the time, the cover is now held together by more than one piece of transparent tape.

Even now, just writing about my experience with this book, my eyes get moist just thinking about the beauty, wonder and enjoyment I experience with it.

My comic book infection was bad by this point, but it was about to get (thankfully) much worse!

Incubation – Stage 1

In my previous post, I told the tale of how I was infected by a love of comic books. Continuing the story of the progress of the disease, we come to approximately one month later.

Again, I was grocery shopping with my mother. As I passed the comic book rack, I spied the next issue of Action Comics (#434). On the cover, it showed Superman, sitting in a dentist’s chair. The dentist has some pliers in Superman’s mouth and was obviously pulling a tooth. Superman seemed to be in immense pain! How could this be? Superman was invulnerable to everything! How could he be in pain? How did he get in this condition? Well, there was no hesitating… I HAD to purchase this issue! I had to know!

On the way home, I started to read. The main story was called “The Krypton Connection!”. I won’t go into too many details but the situation was caused by two rogue Kryptonians who were plotting against the Man of Steel. At the end of the story, I encountered something surprising and frustrating. This was only the first part of a two-part story! I was going to have to wait another WHOLE MONTH before this story would be resolved! How could this happen? How was I going to survive? One thing I did know was that every trip I made to the supermarket, I was going to be checking the comic book rack thoroughly so I could satisfy my curiosity.

The second story in the book was a Green Arrow store entitled “Zatanna’s Double Identity!”. In it, I got to meet three characters that I didn’t know… Green Arrow, Black Canary and Zatanna. I enjoyed this story a lot too.

The Superman story was, again, written by Cary Bates and the Green Arrow story was written by Elliot S! Maggin.

After an excruciatingly long month, it was time for the conclusion of the tale I read weeks earlier. Action Comics #435 showed an obviously infuriated Superman crushing a globe of the Earth (or was it the Earth itself?). The cover exclaimed, “Look out Earth! It’s Doomsday when Superman screams… ‘I Want to Wreck the World!’”.

I had to buy the issue anyway, but if there had been any doubt in my mind, this cover would certainly remove it! Luckily for me, this was just a two-part story and the sweet resolution did come within those pages.

The “backup” story was, again, one starring The Atom and it was entitled, “The Unmasking of the Atom”. It was very enjoyable as I had begun to expect they always were.

The Superman tale was penned by Cary Bates and the one starring The Atom was done by Elliot S! Maggin.

Without even knowing what would be in store for me in the next issue, I did know that in another month, a copy of it would be coming home with me!

I was falling in love with comic books and didn’t realize it. I guess love works like that a lot of the time.