Okay, so, not really “tips.” But since I’ve over-used words like “Randomity” and any variation thereof, I had to come up with something. Besides, there is one very strong recommendation in today’s blog, so the title is technically accurate. Somewhat.
Let’s jump in. Item number one:
It’s St. Paddy’s Day, NOT St. Patty’s Day.
We (and by “we” I mean “Americans”) just celebrated the storied, auld Hibernian Holiday celebrating the great Irish (probably Scottish, maybe English or Welsh) Saint Patrick. Yanks, as many of you know, enjoy a great deal of cultural stereotyping and drunken foolishness whilst celebrating the life and times of a Christian martyr. We dress up in plastic green Bowler hats (or are they Derbys?) and drink watery American light beer with food coloring in it because…fuck, I really have no idea. Prettier puke? None of that matters, however, as I was trying to make a point and got sidetracked. Probably because I was (am) drunk, being that at least a third of my lineage is Irish, as I am a good old-fashioned American Mutt.
Something that sort of irks me is the ongoing misuse of “St. PATTY’S Day.” I mean, it’s not the worst thing in the world (no, that’s the use of “DUCK Tape” in lieu of “DUCT tape”) but it just sort of grates. I mean, I get it: Patrick. Shortened and made more familiar. Patty. Sure. Makes sense. Only, that’s not the dude’s name. Not originally. It was/is Padraig. Irish. Padraig. Ever heard of a police van (or other vehicle) called a “Paddy Wagon?” That originated in an interestingly double-sided bit of stereotyping/profiling. See, they’d send out the cops to round up the drunken brawlers in places like New York, Boston, and Chicago, and as we all know, the only drunken brawlers of yesteryear were Irish. Hence, they sent out the “PADDY Wagon” to haul the lot to the drunk tank. Not a “PATTY Wagon” although if Mr. Krabs had his way, that’s exactly what it’d be. The fun counterpoint here is that most of the arresting officers and regular beat cops in those same cities were, you guessed it: Irish. Sean Connery in “The Untouchables?” Yeah. Lots and lots of Irish cops rounding up Irish drunks in their goddam Irish getups drinking their goddam delicious dark red, amber, and brown beers and anyway, it’s SAINT PADDY, YOU ENGLISH COCKSUCKERS!
Speaking of the Irish (the OTHER Irish) let me drop some cool Mexican futbol knowledge on ya…
The UNAM Pumas = University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
I love me some footy. Sure, hockey is always going to be number one in my book, but goddam…LOVE me some footy. Particularly the English variety. Italian, Spanish, French…they’re all a bunch of diving pussies. (Except for Messi. Messi never falls.) Maybe that’s because he’s from Argentina, and South American and Central American footy players seem to be made of sterner stuff. Anyway, my favorite Western Hemisphere club team is Club de Fútbol Universidad Nacional A. C, otherwise known as UNAM Pumas.
I’ll be honest, the main reason I began supporting this Mexican side was their logo. I liked the kitty-cat head and the way his nose sort of reminded me of the steps of a large ziggurat (that never looks like it’s spelled correctly) and the color scheme. I really dig the gold and blue colors. They look regal, clean…and, yes, somewhat familiar.
That’s because they are directly copied from the University of Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish. Seriously. The Pumas were almost a direct copy of ND’s American football team. See, the Pumas began life as a college club team. To this day, they play at a college stadium and the acronym UNAM stands for Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México or “The National Autonomous University of Mexico.” Back in the early decades of the 20th Century, American Football was more popular in parts of Mexico than good old-fashioned futbol. The UNAM kids asked the Notre Dame guys to come down and teach them Futbol Americano. The Notre Dame guys left a big impression, along with a ton of their warm-ups and training gear. It was a great cultural exchange, despite the fact that South Bend still doesn’t have very good Mexican restaurants to this day. Eventually the Mexican club embraced European football instead of American, went pro, and here they are. They still wear the Notre Dame colors and still rock their university affiliation and I think that’s awesome.
Okay, I know I tend to geek out here. My buddy Ray likes it when I go on my quantum-physics = Buddhism tangents and such, but goddam it, sometimes the best thing in the world to talk about is something geeky. My blog, my interests. Sorry, gang. And now and then I also try to enrich your life by giving you tips. Brothers and sisters, I have a big one for you.
No, not the guy from M*A*S*H who happened to be named after a James Fenimore Cooper character and Daniel Day Lewis dreamboat. No, I’m talking about the archer who wears purple. Marvel Comics’ blatant rip-off of Green Arrow. The pretty much useless dude in The Avengers movie. That guy. Hawkguy.
I have my friend, the brilliant and handsome Professor Tony DiSanto, to thank for recommending the most recent iteration of the Hawkeye character. Prior to the moment when he said “DO IT, ASSHOLE! PICK UP THIS BOOK!” (I may not remember Tony’s exact words with 100% accuracy, but it was something like that) I honestly didn’t give two shits. Hawkeye was always the “trick arrow” guy and stupid. His mask was designed to look like Wolverine’s, only it had a big “H” on the top. Seriously, Marvel? You took Captain American’s “A” and made it a consonant and…those stupid cuffed pirate boots…and…and a hover-scooter…and…just no. How about no? NO. I mean, sure, I enjoyed Jeremy Renner’s interpretation of the character, and in retrospect think they should have used him better in Joss Whedon’s blockbuster flick. But overall, there just wasn’t anything about the dude that drew my attention.
Then Matt Fraction stepped in. I can’t say this strongly enough: the Hawkeye book(s) are some of the most brilliant storytelling I’ve ever read, especially from a major publisher. Added to the writing (which is clever, smart, exciting, and sometimes a bit dark) is the amazing minimalist artwork. The color palette is perfect, and little touches like the obvious placement of a strategic old-school Hawkeye character’s head over the current Clint Barton’s privates during a naked fight remind you that yes, this is a comic book.
But when he tells an entire section of one story through the eyes of Clint’s rescued pooch (Pizza Dog!) you see just how clever Fraction really is. Wow. Seriously, wow. At times heartbreaking, other times hilarious, I can’t recommend it enough. Even if you hate comics (or if you’re a hipster that usually shuns the big labels) you owe it to yourself to pick up the trade paperback compilations (I got mine at the Allen County Public Library) and dig in. This series, more than any that I’ve read over the last few years, show why comics are their own art form. The nimble written prose of a great novel and the stylized visuals of an art-house movie; it’s neither fish nor fowl, and that’s what’s great about it. Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye. Check it out.