Free Comic Book Day

The first Saturday of May is nearly upon us which can only mean Free Comic Book Day.

Yes, it is a marketing scheme to get you into your local comic book store, but it is one of the better marketing schemes I know.

The day usually has a few extras. Our local comic book store has a few cosplayers and a few extra people. There is also a ton of people and a line to get in.

If you haven’t been before, give it a try.


Holy Thursday (William Blake)

It is Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday. The former happens to also be the title of two poems by William Blake in his Songs of Innocence and Experience collection.

Both the poems draw from the tradition of holding a religious service in London to give attention to the orphan children of the city. What more could a orphan child of the eighteenth and nineteenth century want but a religious service?

Blake’s poetry spends a good deals of time struggling with issues to do with the treatment of children. He presents children as the epitome of innocence, but also acknowledged that they were often poorly treated.

In the first Holy Thursday poem, the children are compared to forces of natural power. If children are the epitome of innocence in Blake’s poetry, nature is the epitome of the force of good. The combined voices of the children provide “harmonious thunderings” and Blake uses the motif of sound to provide a sense of the power and importance of children. In the final lines of the poem, Blake issues a warning and suggests that children should be cherished or religious enlightenment, in the form of the angel, will be lost.

Holy Thursday (Innocence)

Twas on a Holy Thursday their innocent faces clean 
The children walking two & two in red & blue & green 
Grey-headed beadles walkd before with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Pauls they like Thames waters flow 
O what a multitude they seemd these flowers of London town 
Seated in companies they sit with radiance all their own 
The hum of multitudes was there but multitudes of lambs 
Thousands of little boys & girls raising their innocent hands 
Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song 
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of Heaven among 
Beneath them sit the aged men wise guardians of the poor 
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door 

Blake’s Holy Thursday Experience poem, focuses on similar issues of religious and children. However, the focus is less on the power of children and more on the suffering of children.

The use of questions in the first two stanzas provide a persuasive sense of the mistreatment of children. The first stanza is one rhetorical questioning leaving the audience on alternative but to bemoan the suffering inflicted on children.

In contrast to the use of colour in the Innocence poem, Experience provides a metaphor present of “a land of poverty” inhabited by the suffering children. The use of repetition in the final two stanzas provide a sense of the monotonous suffering of children.

Once again, nature is being used to provide the audience with as specific effect. In this case, Blake wants the audience to feel the unrelentingly bleak life of the children.

Holy Thursday (Experience)

Is this a holy thing to see, 
In a rich and fruitful land,
Babes reducd to misery,
Fed with cold and usurous hand?
Is that trembling cry a song?
Can it be a song of joy?
And so many children poor?
It is a land of poverty!
And their sun does never shine. 
And their fields are bleak & bare. 
And their ways are fill’d with thorns. 
It is eternal winter there.
For where-e’er the sun does shine, 
And where-e’er the rain does fall: 
Babe can never hunger there,
Nor poverty the mind appal.

The Politeness of Spam Comments

I was trying to take in all the various aspects of the wordpress admin tool beyond, you know, just typing and hitting publish and I found a section on the comments that wordpress has saved me from. I was surprised just how polite some spam comments were.

I get a few comments. More often than not, the comments fall into the Spam folder. Maybe I have a little too much time on my hands or I get distracted. It’s the later. However, the Spam comments are really nice.

Let me show you a few:

I think this is among the most significant information for me.
And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on some general things, The
web site style is ideal, the articles is really nice : D.
Good job, cheers

How nice is that? It sounds personal and sincere. It’s got the informal lack of capital letters. Really nice work.

Here is another:

I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my
own blog and was curious what all is needed to get set
up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Appreciate it

It’s got a really genuine sound. It’s complementary. It is clearly asking for a response. Good work.

The last one I’d like to share is:

Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article!

It is the little changes that produce the most important changes.
Thanks a lot for sharing!

If it wasn’t for the obviously terrible links attached to all of these, I would totally post them. You know they say never read the comments (and I completely agree), I might add “Always read the spam comments.” They super nice. Just don’t follow those links.

Heads Up: Dark Dossier

With ghosts, aliens, monsters and killers, the people over at Dark Dossier are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to providing you with fiction that is keep you guessing and probably keep you up at night.

Every month they have a new dose of terror, the supernatural, horror, a little humour and a good deal of out of this world fiction. Print copies are available, but you can send it straight to your ereader of choice.

They even have a video.

The Motif of the Green Light in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

Read about The Great Gatsby and you are going to encounter references to the green light. The simple sophistication of Fitzgerald’s writing and the enduring nature of the novel is effectively summed up in the motif of the green light.

First of all, what is a motif? The quick answer is a symbol that reoccurs with changing significance. The Great Gatsby contains a number of motifs (see the page on Gatsby’s car for a description of the symbol of the car, add the changing significance of the car elsewhere in the novel and you have a motif). The green light appears only three times in the novel (chapter one, five and nine), paced out evenly over the course of the nine chapters. A fitting reflection of Fitzgerald’s structure.

In Chapter One, the narrator, Nick Carraway, returns from the dinner party at Tom and Daisy’s house to see Gatsby (at least he thinks it’s Gatsby because of the way his feet were placed on the lawn). Nick is about to call out to Gatsby except “he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone”. How Gatsby is able to do that is for another time because Gatsby is stretching “his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling”. What is Gatsby stretching towards? “nothing except a single green light, minute and far away”.

Here, the green light represents Gatsby’s aspiration for Daisy. The reader isn’t clear about the Gatsby/Daisy connection yet, but in terms of Gatsby’s character it is the aspiration to a distant objective.

In Chapter Five, after Gatsby and Daisy have been reunited after five years apart, the green light once again is referenced. Nick has facilitated the reunion of Gatsby and Daisy and Gatsby has shown Daisy his house. Did you see the film? It was the music filled montage with Daisy hitting golf balls into the water while Nick films (not in the novel).

Gatsby tells Daisy that they would be able to see her home from his bedroom except for the mist which is obscuring the green that “burns all night at the end of your dock.” Isn’t the point of the light at the end of the dock to be able to been seen in the mist? Now we are just getting pedantic. This is fiction. Rules only apply when they suit the author’s objective. Right now, Fitzgerald wants us to know that Gatsby’s reunion with Daisy is not necessarily the joyous occasion we might except it to be. Read the next section:


Daisy put her arm through his abruptly, but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.


Gatsby and Daisy are reunited, but Gatsby has lost an “enchanted object” in the action.

The sense of loss is developed when the green light is once again mentioned at the very end of the novel. In the closing paragraphs of Chapter Nine, Nick is brooding about Gatsby seeing the light at the end of Daisy’s dock and the joy is must have brought to see it. In Nick’s estimation, the green light represents Gatsby’s believe in an optimistic future. In Fitzgerald’s words, it is “the orgastic future”. The highly pleasurable future that we aspire towards. Except, from Nick’s perspective after he has experienced the events of the novel, the believe in a better future is diminished. Nick tells us:


Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning ——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.


What is it that happens “one fine morning”? Fitzgerald is testing you to find out whether you are a glass half full or a glass half empty person. If you have been following Nick’s progress your initial reaction is one of failure and tragedy. I happened to Gatsby and Nick is not feeling great about the whole story. However, until that day there is the sense that each provides the possibility of something better, even though each day it gets more and more difficult to believe as Gatsby did.

Think about when you were five, six or seven years old. What did you want to be? You could have been anything. When you were sixteen or seventeen, those possibilities diminished. The older you get, the less of a sense of limitless possibilities you have in front or you. Yet, ironically, especially from Fitzgerald’s perspective, the older you get the harder you work and the more you stretch towards the future.

Things are getting philosophical, so let’s wrap it up.

The green light. In chapter one, it is about Gatsby’s aspiration. In chapter five, it foreshadows the tragedy by suggesting Gatsby has lost more than he has gained. In chapter nine, the green light is about aspiration to better future despite the difficulties and the awareness of failure.

The Car and the American Dream in The Great Gatsby


Spoilers: frank and open discussion of the Liam Neeson film Non-Stop will follow including details that will spoil your enjoyment of the film. Alternatively, the spoilers may save you from being disappointed by the film. You decide.

There is some enjoyment to be found in the film, if you don’t think too hard about the actual details. I mean, a passenger lavatory behind the pilot’s cockpit is poor aviation planning, but using a blowpipe to shoot a poison dart into the pilot in a locked room is just crazy. And not the good type of crazy.

The film never attracted me when it was in theaters. There was little appeal in paying 10 bucks to watch version of Taken in the air which is part Passenger 57, not enough Airplane! and a smattering of Flightplan (when the eight year old girl was checked in I was afraid Jodi Foster would turn up and we’d have to head into the nosecone to see the kid again).

Instead we have Alcoholic Air Marshal Bill Marks aka Liam Nelson. He gets handy little text messages telling him someone will die every 20 minutes unless he follows the necessary instructions.

The worrying subtext about air marshals and revenger after the September 11 attacks (the film was released in 2014 so would have been impacted by the events) is definitely for another time. Instead, it was the bomb smuggled in cocaine from the US to England that attracted my attention and not for the reasons you may think.

My lingering question is about police training. I hadn’t thought too much about it before, but for some reason when Neeson cut into the drugs and had a taste I wondered whether there course in the police academy which involved tasting various white powered drugs on the tip of your tongue or whether it was a skill developed on the job. I mean, if we assume that our law enforcement officials are not habitual drug takers, how are they so able to judge by tasting? The other question, in the context of Non Stop is what he was expecting to find? Powered sugar?