Letters to Holly

Monday, March 31

Another Updad

Dad called to say that, right after his Thursday check-up, he sprouted new growths. The chemo scheduled for yesterday was called off until they decide what action to take. The sudden change after two apparently successful chemo treatments suggest some other factor at work, maybe something outside the body. But he's been off work for a month now, and I can't figure out what new house item (the gas stove, a scented candle) could affect him like this. He has a check-up today.

The first post-show night was awfully comfy. I worked on my lawnmower, getting it ready for spring usage. I had planned to buy a new one with Dad, but he obviously has larger concerns. I might be able to milk another year's work out of this mower, or I might catch Your Sister in a shopping mood and buy us something she'd like to use too. As much as I like the human-powered cylindrical mowers, you can't adjust the blade height on them, and we have to mow slopes. I did see an advertisement for a Newton battery-powered mower, and I'm curious about that.

Picture of the Last Couple of Days

In the News
I'm going to quote Neil Gaiman from his blog about a Significant Event involving the creators of Superman and DC Comics (owned by Time Warner).

This New York Times article is very good news, and was, I think, inevitable. In brief, a share in the copyright to Superman that should have returned to the creators, under laws that helped creators of art and music who had been ripped off when younger to regain a portion of the rights to their song or creation, has been deemed by a judge to have been returned to the heirs of Jerry Siegel, with Time Warner and DC Comics kicking and screaming all the way. (On the one hand, I can hardly blame them. On the other, the law was obviously the law, the conclusion was pretty much inevitable -- although I'm sure it's been an enormous relief to the family -- and I suspect the main purpose of the court case has been to put off the moment of reckoning as long as possible; not the moment of financial reckoning, because that clock started ticking in 1999, but the moment that the heirs to Superman could license Superman to entities other than DC Comics, which, as co-copyright holders, they are entitled to do. Marvel Comics publishing their own Superman comic, anyone?)
The story of the creation of Superman is almost as mythic as the character: Two Jewish kids from Cleveland cooked him up during the Depression and sold him to DC for a song and the promise of a regular gig. There's still some question as to what rights the estate might enjoy from elements created after that first issue (Jimmy Olsen debuted on the radio shows and then appeared in comics; Kryptonite, Luthor, Lana Lang, and a host of other now-familiar properties came later). The big franchises -- Batman, Superman, X-men, Spidey -- are the product of decades of work by hundreds of people. There's no way the rights can be spread to them all, but Shuster and Siegel handed DC the first Superman story intact, created outside the company. Their work was the basis of the novel Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay, although Jack Kirby (the king of comics) is a major influence there too.

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"The Nature Boy" Ric Flair retired last night after 36 years of wrestling. His last match was at Sunday's WrestleMania, and he was pinned by Shawn Michaels. Flair turned pro the year I was born (1972), and I watched him literally all my life. Flair outlasted presidents, athletes, friends, and fashions. He was indefatigable and a consummate showman. He enjoyed the boom in wrestling popularity and profitability during his tenure, and his only competition for Most Significant Wrestler is Hulk Hogan. Unlike Hogan, however, Flair is universally perceived as a kind and loyal man. His send-off last night was emotional and genuine as the entire WWE locker room emptied to pay tribute along with 15,000+ fans in Orlando. He won a record 16 world titles and established the supergroup stable The Four Horsemen which lead to a plethora of imitators through the last 20 years. Fortunately, he's relatively healthy and able-minded, unlike the majority of guys who hang up the boots, and he can enjoy his retirement fully.

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