Barrelhaven (Bone #5) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Barrelhaven
Series: Bone #5
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

The rat creature surround the farmhouse and Gran’ma Ben tells Fone Bone and Thorn to run while she fights off the rat creatures. While running the two get surrounded by rat creatures and Fone Bone calls out for The Great Red Dragon’s help. The dragon appears and chases the army away. The dragon returns Fone Bone and Thorn to the farmhouse to find it destroyed. Phoney Bone arrives at the Barrelhaven Tavern and finds Smiley Bone who is working there as a bartender. He also meets Lucius Down, the owner of the tavern and gets on his bad side as well. Phoney learns that they don’t use money here, meaning that he has to work at the tavern to pay of his debt.

My Thoughts:

Man, Phoney Bone just can’t seem to keep his mouth shut or to stay out of trouble. 10 minutes in the tavern and he’s already a problem child. It makes me wonder how he got so rich in the first place! He’s not that clever, just more clever than either of his cousins. Which isn’t saying much, hahahahaa!

Gran’ma Ben reveals a side that while not unexpected (she does race cows and wins after all), isn’t what you’d expect. Busting through her own walls, throttling the rat creatures and saying how she’d be just fine because she fought in the “Big War”. There is history to this valley that none of the Bone’s are aware of nor does it seem like Thorn is either. The dragon reveals himself fully to Thorn in rescuing Fone and in the process reveals that there is some sort of agreement between him and Kingdok (the king of the rat creatures), probably going back to said “Big War”.

With just a few phrases, Smith has given the readers clues that this valley is not just an idyllic place that the Bones have stumbled into and brought trouble with them. Trouble has already been here and beaten back. What is amazing is the fact that he just used a few phrases. He isn’t spending the next 6 issues fleshing out the history and telling us every single detail and removing our chance to use our imagination. But he doesn’t leave the past alone either. It’s a fine line to walk (a line which Spawn failed miserably at) and I think he does an admirable job of balancing it all.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Muppet Treasure Island (1996 Movie)

This post is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. If you copy this link without at least asking, you are a jackass and I hope you choke to death.

Muppet Treasure Island is the fifth Muppet Movie (Muppets from Space wasn’t made until 1999) and I must say, I think it edges out even A Muppet Christmas Carol. So far, only the original Muppet Movie has been better. Which is to say, this is one fantastic movie..

Loosely based, and I mean LOOSELY, on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island, this version takes the story’s outline and completely makes it its own. Which works surprisingly well. Part of it is because it is so silly and everyone leans into that silliness. It also helps that Tim Curry as Long John Silver just throws himself into the role and drags you along with him. He makes you think “Well, if Tim Curry can act like this then the least I can do is enjoy the silliness”. It takes chops for that.

While not a huge hit financially, it helped revive interest in the Muppets and I suspect propelled the Muppets Tonight show onto the silver screen (which failed. Without Jim Henson or Frank Oz, the Muppets are missing their soul). What this movie did correctly was show that the current Muppet creators need a good, already existing story for the Muppets to hang their frame on. Could you imagine Muppets 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, or Muppets Don Quixote? Of course, I am well read. I’m not sure if the average American would have any interest or even know what the stories were based on. But come on, can’t you see Kermit as Don Quixote and Fozzie Bear as Sancho and Miss Piggy as Dulcinea? I tell you, it’s just money waiting to happen!

But that is getting off track.

I had a lot of fun watching this and even Mrs B enjoyed it because of the many musical interludes. Some were stupid and sappy, like soprano Jim Hawkins (ugh) singing about adventure but then you have Cabin Fever, probably the song I remember most from any Muppet adventure, movie or tv. Below is the youtube embed of the song and about a minute and a half of the movie after it. This is the tone of the movie and if you don’t find it hilarious, you probably won’t enjoy the movie as a whole either.

Since this movie was so good, I want to keep the good times rolling. I’m going to be starting in on the Fraggle Rock tv series for next month. I’ve heard good things about that and since it was done by Jim Henson in the early 80’s I’m pretty sure it WILL be good.

Onward!

Kingdok (Bone #4) ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Kingdok
Series: Bone #4
Author: Jeff Smith
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

The day before the spring fair Fone Bone and Phoney Bone do chores around the farmhouse. After Fone Bone tells Phoney about the great cow race and how they bet on the races Phoney Bone thinks of a new scam and runs off to Barrelhaven. While traveling to Barrelhaven, Phoney Bone encounters the two rat creatures and Kingdok. He overhears that they are looking for a “small bald creature with a star on its chest”. The rat creatures are summoned to a high council by “The Hooded One” who sends every rat creature in the valley to attack the farmhouse.

My Thoughts:

Things take a turn for the serious here. Not only are the 2 rat creatures here, but we are introduced to their king, Kingdok, who is on a scale larger than them as they are to Fone Bone. And we meet the Hooded One, who appears to be leading Kingdok, and who knows the dragon that is guarding Fone.

Phoney Bone is still causing trouble on the farm but runs away to the town to do some betting. He overhears the 2 rats and Kingdok and I do wish he’d been caught and eaten. Oh well, can’t have everything I want in a comic I guess.

The issue ending with a horde of rat creatuers surrounding the farm of Gran’ma Ben really hits home the point that this comic is not going to be a bunch of panels of talking heads (like the Peanuts) or one issue gags (like Garfield). Smith has a big story to tell and I felt like we as readers fell down the rabbit hole in this issue. There’s no going back and no way out except forward.

If you’d like a review of the whole series at once (I’m going to be taking years at this pace), Jeroen recently reviewed the Complete Bone. Just remember, he’s a jaded european, not a bright, cheery, optimistic American like me. So take his review with a grain or three of salt 😉

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Thorn (Bone #2) ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Thorn
Series: Bone #2
Authors: Jeff Smith
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 28
Words: 1K



Synopsis:

From Boneville.fandom.com

Fone Bone is now living in the Valley and has befriended some of the woodland creatures. Near the end of winter, his friend Miz Possum has Fone Bone babysit her kids for a short time while she goes to visit Miz Hedgehog. While playing with him, the kids run out of the house and get caught by the Rat Creatures. Fone Bone snatches the kids from the Rat Creatures and tells them to run while he creatures a distraction. The Rat Creatures chase Fone Bone for awhile but they are again chased away by The Great Red Dragon. The dragon gives him a brief blast of fire (at this Fone Bone questions his choice to let the Rat Creatures go) and tells him to “never use an ace when a two will do.” Fone Bone finds the Possum Kids, who have managed to get to Miz Possum safely. They acknowledge he was chased by Rat Creatures but don’t know the part about the dragon (The kids claim that dragons don’t exist, and their mother (plus Miz Hedgehog) agree, saying that he was adding to his “dashing” story). Fuming, he goes to the hot springs to take a bath and finds a beautiful woman and almost immediately falls head over heels in love. She tells Fone Bone that her name is Thorn (who Ted told him to find). Unfortunately for Fone Bone, she has never heard of Boneville but offers to help by letting him stay at the farmhouse which Fone Bone accepts.

My Thoughts:

Once again, Smith has impressed the everliving daylights out of me with this single comic issue. Fone Bone has an adventure, learns about the valley, meets Thorn and falls in love. All in 28 pages.

He has another run in with the rat creatures and the dragon saves him but nobody seems to believe that the dragon is real and only Thorn believes the rat creatures are real. And Fone is disappointed to learn that Thorn has no idea where Boneville is, so she’ll not be able to help him return.

Smith’s humor is a bit skewed and I really like it. I’ve included a pix here to illustrate it:

While it’s not a Laugh Out Loud moment, it does showcase that sly humor mixed with slapstick that really appeals to me.

I like that so far, each of these comics has advanced the plot in a decided direction. Here Fone meets Thorn and begins his quest to find his cousins. It is a concrete goal with real steps being taken to follow through on it. No dream sequences or social commentary or other “messages”. Just Smith telling a fun story.

Bravo.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Doom Marines!

Back in January I wrote a post about how I’d gotten the Doom board game and some markers and other Tools of the Trade. This was my foray into the world of miniature painting, errr, markering? I think it is obvious that since this is my first follow up post that I am in no danger of turning into a hobby miniaturist. All pictures should be clickable for bigger pix.

Here are the 4 Space Marines facing off against a slightly obscured (unmarkered) Duke of Hell. The marines are supposed to be Blue, Green, Red and Yellow. The red was a bit darker than I expected and the “yellow” really turned more of a lime green. I suspect the tan of the mini’s themselves played a part in that.

These are the yellow and blue that I just finished yesterday. Unfortunately, my camera phone doesn’t like taking really close pictures. But you can see that I stuck with the “silver” scheme for the weapons, black for boots and hands and then one solid color for the base and body. You will never win any Aesthetic Awards using markers and I’m even worse. Just look at the feet. But all I need is a bit of color to liven up the game. No masterpieces here!

Thankfully, Mrs B’s phone has a “focus” function. You can really see here how the coverage isn’t that great. I’m sure I could go over it again with the ultra-fine marker and try to fill in the gaps, but that is not going to happen. My eyes aren’t good enough to see this unaided, so what do I care?

My next goal is to get a couple of the doom demons markered up. I will say that all the little details on these mini’s makes using markers a very sub-optimal option, IF making them look good is your goal. I think the markers would work much better on broad flat surfaces.

Considering my track record, if I can get in one more “Minis” post before New Years I’ll be doing well 😀

The Muppet Show Season Three (1978)

Man, things really had money poured on them for this season. The little hole in the wall theatre has had some upgrades so it’s a lot bigger and glitzier. The backstage now consists of a whole restaurant style thing plus the regular table and dressing rooms. In one episode they even took the show to a trainstation and had it there. Everything just screamed “more money, hurray!”.

I have not previously listed out who starred in each episode, but the star power really went up (money, money, money) and I think I’ll include it this time around.

  • Episode 301: Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge
  • Episode 302: Leo Sayer
  • Episode 303: Roy Clark
  • Episode 304: Gilda Radner
  • Episode 305: Pearl Bailey
  • Episode 306: Jean Stapleton
  • Episode 307: Alice Cooper
  • Episode 308: Loretta Lynn
  • Episode 309: Liberace
  • Episode 310: Marisa Berenson
  • Episode 311: Raquel Welch
  • Episode 312: James Coco
  • Episode 313: Helen Reddy
  • Episode 314: Harry Belafonte
  • Episode 315: Lesley Ann Warren
  • Episode 316: Danny Kaye
  • Episode 317: Spike Milligan
  • Episode 318: Leslie Uggams
  • Episode 319: Elke Sommer
  • Episode 320: Sylvester Stallone
  • Episode 321: Roger Miller
  • Episode 322: Roy Rogers & Dale Evans
  • Episode 323: Lynn Redgrave
  • Episode 324: Cheryl Ladd

The biggest thing I found out was that Dale Evans was a woman. I also enjoyed just how varied everything was. The stars didn’t overpower the show. and in some cases only showed up for 1 or 2 scenes. This really was the Muppet Show. Statler and Waldorf, the grumpy old critics even get into a fight with a guest but thankfully they lose. It was just so perfect though. Their bad jokes just make me laugh.

This came on 4 discs and I’d watch a whole disc at once. Pop in the dvd and let 6episodes just wash over me. Good times! I also watched the bonus content on the final disc. It was a rather long PBS’esque thing by Jim Henson about puppets. You could probably learn more about puppets than you ever wanted to know.

While it was all enjoyable, I did not like the increased glitz and glamor to the theatre or the addition of “more” to everything. This felt like the cusp of the Muppet Show making it big and I’m always leery of something filled with downhome charm and bluster becoming successful among the plebes.

The Muppet Show Season Two (TV 1977)

I really enjoyed this season two of the Muppet Show. Part of that was that they had a bunch of actors/entertainers who I actually had heard of (unlike season one where it was mostly C-list nobodies) and the variety was much greater in terms of skits and backstage goings ons. I’m guessing the budget was increased?

Things got started with Don Knotts, who I grew up with watching his disney movies and a few others. The Apple Dumpling Gang, the Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, the Shakiest Gun in the West, etc.

And the guests got bigger from there in many cases. Bob Hope, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Elton John. I don’t know if they were more talented or just because I knew them, but I liked most of the guests and their acts better than in season one. It felt like there was more interaction between the Muppets and the guests instead of the guests just doing their act with the Muppets involved.

I really enjoyed that there was a LOT more backstage stuff going on. One show was all about the Pigs taking over the show and the guest star helping Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo escape and take back the show. Ideas like that are right up my alley and I loved it. The terrible jokes are still front and center but don’t have quite as much attention paid to them as in season one. I was ok with that!

I mentioned the greater variety of skits and I think my favorite of them all is the Pigs in Space. The Swinetrek is a hilarious ship. John Cleese participates in one of the skits and he’s a pirate, with a muppet parrot, eye patch and sword. On a spaceship. He was trying to take over the ship but everything went wrong for him. I’m not a fan of Cleese and even I found the skit hilarious 😀

I am really looking forward to season three now.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 14 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 14
Series: Yotsuba&! #14
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 224
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Work

Yotsuba & Yoga

Yotsuba & Princess

Yotsuba & The Day Before

Yotsuba & Harajuku

Yotsuba & Yoyogi Park

Yotsuba & Lunch

From Wikipedia

After helping Koiwai move a new table upstairs, Jumbo presents Yotsuba with a set of beads; an intense necklace-making session ensues for the trio. Miss Stake invites Fuuka and Yotsuba to join her for a free trial session of yoga; as the older girls struggle, Yotsuba exhibits astonishing flexibility. Yotsuba reads the story of Cinderella; inspired, she ties ribbons to her hair and is infuriated when Koiwai fails to see her fancy long hair. Going next door, Asagi immediately recognizes her as a princess and makes a fancy dress for Yotsuba using plastic trash bags; after she returns home for her bead necklace, Koiwai makes up for his earlier faux pas by asking the self-proclaimed Princess Zapunzel for a dance. The day before their trip to Tokyo, Yotsuba asks her neighbors and friends for places to go; Mother Ayase suggests Ginza, Asagi suggests Shibuya and Shinjuku, Ena suggests Tokyo Tower, and Fuuka suggests Harajuku specifically to eat crepes, which she calls stylish. Torako suggests Daikanyama but then gloomily asserts there are no fun places for kids in Tokyo. To prepare for their trip, Koiwai buys a smartphone and Yotsuba accompanies him to buy a sushi dinner at the market. Jumbo and Yanda visit later that evening to help Koiwai with his new phone and ask Yotsuba where she would like to visit when they arrive in Tokyo. At the train station, Yotsuba helps Koiwai buy a ticket and they board a train to Ikebukuro Station, where they transfer to the JR East Yamanote Line. The pair stop in Harajuku for cotton candy and crepes, and then Koiwai gets a text message from his sister Koharuko suggesting they all meet in Yoyogi Park. At the park, Yotsuba spies on three women dressed as aliens, who she successfully convinces to not destroy the earth. Koharuko reminds Yotsuba they traveled to Tokyo to pick up Koiwai’s new car, a Mini convertible, and takes them to a buffet at a luxury hotel restaurant for lunch. After a filling meal, Yotsuba and Koiwai set off for the highway in their new car.

My Thoughts:

When I read this a year and a half ago, I went into it with the expectations of it being funny. With this re-read of the whole series, I think that “cute” is much more fitting than any humorous description.

The backstory of the following scene is that Yotsuba and her dad have gone to Tokyo to pick up a car from Yotsuba’s aunt and they meet in a park. Yotsuba sees some women dressed up as aliens and stares at them from behind a tree. One of the girls decides it would be fun to chase Yotsuba and she runs back to her dad and aunt, where her aunt tells her that she needs to ask the aliens to not destroy the earth.

There is another volume after this one, but it won’t be coming to american audiences until September of this year. That’s according to Yen Press, the publishers of the english version:

https://yenpress.com/9781975336097/yotsuba-and-vol-15/

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Muppet Show Season One (TV 1976)

I went into this never having seen full episodes before, just the various movies and then bits and pieces throughout my childhood.

I would sum up this season as psychedelic singing between rounds of horrible wordplays and bad jokes made on purpose. And I loved every minute of it.

I liked that the characters were “themselves” instead of trying to be something else like in the movies. Kermit is a great manager with just the right amount of gentleness and hardnose take no crap to keep everyone moving. Miss Piggy, well, she’s Miss Piggy and even in the movies she plays herself. It’s funny to watch her go after Kermit and him constantly rebuffing her. Why this is funny, I can’t say except that it is.

The human stars of the show, one per episode, were a bit of a disappointment. Most of them were singers and/or stage entertainers. I guess in the 70’s people watched tv to see people sing popular songs while either dancing with puppets or beating the stuffing out of them. I recognized 2-5 of the guests but that was it. I guess the muppets had a harder time at first getting some non-B list actors. Heck, I’d go so far as to say that several, if not many, of the guests were more at the C-list level. Of course, Candice Bergen pointing a shotgun at one of the characters and shooting a door off its hinges was totally worth it. You won’t see THAT today.

I really did binge this. While each episode was just under 25 minutes, once you ignore the opening and closing sequence you’re looking at 20minutes of “action”. One disc is quite easily watched on a sunday afternoon if you don’t mind plunking your backside down and just watching. With 4 discs for this season, that’s easy peasy.

I am really looking forward to Season 2 next month.

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! Vol. 13 ★★★★★

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Yotsuba&! Vol. 13
Series: Yotsuba&! #13
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 224
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Chapter List:

Yotsuba & Sticks & Stuff

Yotsuba & Sandbox

Yotsuba & Night

Yotsuba & Souvenirs

Yotsuba & Cleaning

Yotsuba & Grandma

Yotsuba & The Black Ghost

Yotsuba & All Day Long

From Wikipedia

Yotsuba heads over to the Ayase house early in the morning, where she shows off her souvenirs and demonstrates the sleeping bag for Asagi. Because her dad says he is too busy, Yotsuba bullies Fuuka into taking her to the park, where they meet her friend Mii and play in the sandbox, making taiyaki and pudding with sand molds. After her dad puts her to bed, Yotsuba wakes up and explores the dark house before finding her father working. The next morning, Ena helps Yotsuba decorate the house for her grandmother’s visit before Yotsuba and her father meet her grandmother at the train station, who Yotsuba attempts to greet with a headbutt. Once they are home, Yotsuba receives souvenirs from her grandma. In the morning, Yotsuba helps her grandmother clean the street in front of the house and later, they clean the house once her grandmother believes Yotsuba is taking cleaning seriously. Yotsuba and her grandmother practice origami with Ena and run errands together before her grandmother has to leave, which Yotsuba attempts to prevent by hiding her luggage. The next day, Yotsuba is sweeping the street in front of the house when Yanda arrives and helps himself to the grilled onigiri Yotsuba had made with her grandmother; at bedtime, Koiwai transforms into Sleepyman to put Yotsuba to sleep.

My Thoughts:

As I’ve written before (I think), I tend to read these on Saturdays. Twice a month I attend a men’s group from church Saturday mornings and it can get pretty weighty and serious. We’ve been working our way through Titus for the last 6 months and have just gotten halfway through chapter 2. We’re serious about our responsibilities as Christian men and while it is always a good and encouraging time, it can be solemn. This past Saturday was such a time.

So it was an extra delight to read this volume. Yotsuba’s grandmother comes to visit and it is everything you’d expect from a 5year old for their grandma. Delightful, fun, heartwarming and fluffy.

I’ve chosen this particular scene because I love seeing Yotsuba experiencing new things. And I completely understand that “shivery but wanting more” feeling myself. It’s not just restricted to 5year olds, hahahahaa.

Rating: 5 out of 5.