Friday, 12 February 2016

Superman or Not Superman?

Hey kids! It's time to play: Superman or Not Superman!

The Last Son of Krypton has been portrayed by a myriad of actors on the stage, on radio, on television, and in the movies. However, not all of these thespians has truly embodied the essence that is the Man of Steel. Let's take a look.

First up: 50s television star George Reeves. Superman or Not Superman?

Yes. To millions of children across North America, George Reeves was Superman. He may have been the 'thug' Superman, but his smile won the hearts of all. When Clark winked at the end of the episode, it was a delightful breaking of the fourth wall that made us all wink back.

Next up: 90s television star Dean Cain. Superman or Not Superman?

Yes. When I read Mr. Cain's disparaging remarks about George Reeves (that George wore a padded costume) I wasn't sure whether or not I would embrace Mr. Cain as Kal-El. (It should be noted here that George was a former boxer and didn't need to wear padding - unlike the Batmen of today's movies - it was the producers who made that decision.) Dean Cain went above and beyond in his dual roles of Superman and Clark Kent. That winning smile was hard to resist.

Now let's look at: 2006 movie actor Brandon Routh. Superman or Not Superman?

Oh, so close. Brandon is almost Superman. But no. Not Superman. A valiant effort. But his effort as Superman was bogged down by too many other issues to give an accurate judgement. Lois Lane. That's all I'm saying. Okay. WRONG. I'll say that, too.

It's time for the latest cape-wearer: Henry Cavill. Superman or Not Superman?

NO. No, no, no. Not Superman. A thousand times: Not Superman. It is possible that Henry may rise to the status of Superman if he were given a script that wasn't so full of angst, anger, and sadness. Superman is sure of himself. Superman is fun. Henry's Superman is neither of those.

And now, in case you thought I'd forgotten: 70s and 80s movie star Christopher Reeve. Superman or Not Superman?

Yes. Christopher Reeve was the truest embodiment of Superman that the screen has ever seen. Dean Cain came close on the small screen (he was excellent), but Mr. Reeve understood the character of Superman down to his molecules. A winning smile that won the world.

So, now you know. A winning smile, a light touch, and the ability to laugh, all make for a great Superman. A true Superman. Superman is a lighter character and should be treated that way. That's what garners the biggest receipts at the box office and the highest ratings on television.

Thanks for playing: Superman or Not Superman!


I have not mentioned Kirk Alyn because I do not have sufficient experience with his serials from the 1940s.

The animated versions have also not been looked at, but Tim Daly deserves mention for his voice work because his portrayal of Superman was marvellous.

Tom Welling in Smallville was not mentioned because 'no tights - no flights' does not a Superman make. Besides, we are talking about Super 'man' here, not wimpy, angst-ridden - uh, sorry - Super 'boy'.

Just once I'd like to see a movie where Jonathan and Martha Kent are alive at the end of the film. I'd like to see them in their hardware store, having sold the farm. Ideally, by the time this movie would be filmed, I'd like to see Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher playing the elder Kents.

Extra bonus points to Dean Cain for showing up on Supergirl. If you haven't seen Supergirl on CBS, I urge you to do so.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Easy Pancakes and Syrup

Easy Pancakes

1 cup milk
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 eggs
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
Sprinkling of salt

Heat milk, sugar, and butter slowly in a saucepan to melt butter. Remove from heat and let cool while beating the eggs. Add milk, sugar, butter mixture to eggs. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until smooth.

Don’t feel like slaving over a hot griddle? Try the lazy bake method:

Thoroughly grease a 9 x 13 brownie pan. Pour in pancake batter. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Easy Syrup

Brown sugar
Corn starch

Amounts used will vary depending on how much syrup you want to make. The following examples are good for use with the number of pancakes produced by the recipe above.

Use twice the amount of brown sugar as the amount of water you use. So, if you use a 1/4 cup of water, use 1/2 a cup of brown sugar. Put them both in a saucepan. Break up brown sugar in the water. Stir thoroughly. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Sprinkle in about 2 tsp corn starch. Break up the lumps with the back of a spoon against the sides of the saucepan. Bring it back up to a boil. Let it boil up for a minute or so. Turn off heat. Add a tbsp of butter or so. Stir to melt butter. Add a tsp of vanilla. Stir it. Stick a lid on it.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Say It Ain't So, Noel

I found myself (not that I had actually lost myself, it's hard to lose one self unless you're really invested in whatever you are doing) seated on a hard, wooden chair. Before me (before me was the rest of my family, but let's leave them out of this for the moment) sat a grey metal desk, upon which stacks of paper rose like industrial chimneys, choking the air with their bureaucracy.
Behind the desk, diligently focused on one particular piece of parchment, sat a man with closely cropped black hair. The hair was on his head. It wasn't sitting beside him or anything of that sort. It wasn't draped across his lap while he stroked it idly. He had short, black hair. His suit of inoffensive blue (the latest colour from Farrow & Ball) screamed 'Conservative'. It was quite loud. I had to cover my ears. His beady brown eyes finished their final lap of the paper he had been scrutinizing and he smoothed it out on the desk in front of him. He fixed me with a stony glare. (At least it felt like he had neutered me, what with that icy stare and all.)
"Too great a risk," he stated. "We cannot insure you."
It was then that I happened to notice the name plate perched in front of the gleaming white blotter on his desk. I could scarcely believe my eyes. The plaque read (well, it didn't actually read, it was just a piece of wood and metal and therefore was incapable of reading) 'Noel Fielding - Actuary'.
"Just a three-horned minute," I stammered. "Is that name plate correct?"
"Yes," he answered without a hint of a smile.
"You're Noel Fielding?" I asked.
"Yes," he replied. "I am."
"But, I..."
"Don't call me butt eye," he said without a trace of humour in his voice. "Although I have been called worse. Just because we cannot insure you does not mean you should insult me."
"You're Noel Fielding," I repeated.
"Yes," he assured me again. "I am Noel Fielding. I am an actuary and staunch supporter of the Conservative party."
I managed to regain some of my composure. It wasn't easy. I had to use two paper bags to scoop it up. "You're having me on. Is this a hidden camera show?"
"It is not," he said, stone-faced.
"Noel Fielding? The Mighty Boosh? Luxury Comedy?"
"I recognize my name, but I haven't the foggiest about the other things you mentioned."
"Luxury Comedy! Fantasy Man," I blurted at him.
"It sounds like nonsense to me," he stated. "Fantasy and comedy have no place in my world. Complete and utter wastes of time."
In a tank in the corner of the room, a school of fish, resplendent in thick fur coats, some wearing bowler hats while others donned pill boxes (those were the ones with the bright red lipstick) issued forth mournful dirges of lamentation.
The man who claimed to be Noel Fielding got up from his seat, walked over to the fish tank, pulled a gun out of his suit jacket and proceeded to shoot each of the fish with tiny bullets.
He returned to his chair and said, "Now, if you have finished wasting my time, please leave."
"Wait," I said. "Your eyes. What happened to them?"
"Nothing," he responded. "My eyes have always been like this."
"No they haven't," I informed him. "Your eyes are brown now. They used to be blue."
"No they didn't."
"Yes, they did. Sparkly blue lit up like they could fire sapphire beams of imagination."
"Imagination is overrated," he stated. "What anyone needs is two feet firmly on the ground. Nose to the grindstone. Shoulder to the wheel."
"Ever tried working in that position?"
"A hard day's work and a regular routine with no frivolities. That's what makes this a great life."
It was then I realised to my dread that Noel Fielding had lost his imagination.
I woke up in a cold sweat. Okay, it wasn't really cold. It was more of a lukewarm sweat, but you get the idea.
My cat was walking by, smoking a cigarillo. Her red kerchief and Stetson glowed as she puffed. She stopped. "What?" She asked.
"Watching Cat Ballou again?"
"What of it?"
"Nothing," I said. "You enjoy. But stay out of the whiskey this time."
"Yeah, yeah," she said, over her shoulder as she sauntered away.
"Oh," I called after her.
"What now?"
"I had this terrible nightmare," I said.
"I've never heard of a wonderful nightmare," she replied. "What was so terrible about it?"
"I dreamt that Noel Fielding had lost his imagination. He was a conservative actuary and his brilliant blue, smiley eyes had faded into brown, lifeless orbs."
"Are you sure it wasn't Richard Ayoade having you on?"
I paused to consider that possibility and drifted back to a (thankfully) dreamless sleep.

It's a dream come true. Noel Fielding is coming to Toronto! (And other places in North America.)