Who Will Be The Third Army?

ENTRY #65
1204.25


I've been giving some more thought to the sanity (or lack thereof) of the Guardians Of The Universe. I've looked over my previous entries on the subject, and I think it all boils down to three little things:

1. The Guardians' prime motivation is guilt.

They see themselves as being responsible for the cosmic catastrophe that Krona unleashed billions of years ago, and everything they have done since then has been in one way or another an effort to atone for Krona's actions.

2. The Guardians are control freaks.

I mentioned this in my last entry. They assert a firm control over the Green portion of the Emotional Spectrum. (I suspect that the Guardians would more than likely do whatever they felt necessary to prevent anyone else from tapping into the energy of Will as a power source.) Even though they disdain the other colors of the Emotional Spectrum, they also don't want anyone else utilizing them, either. They see the various other-colored Lantern Corps as nuisances at best, and enemies to be obliterated at worst. And they are intent on imposing order on the rest of the universe -- or at least order as they see it.

3. The Guardians are perfectionists.

They don't like being reminded of their mistakes. Of course, this is something of a paradox, as the very existence of the Green Lantern Corps (and before them, the Manhunters) is a constant reminder of what they would have to consider their greatest mistake. Which means that they have been constantly reminded of their greatest mistake for billions of years. (Or as the late Carl Sagan would say, "BILL-yuns and BILL-yuns of years.")

I think all three of this factors are going to play into an upcoming storyline in the various Green Lantern titles. A storyline which will deal with their attempting to create what they have so far cryptically referred to as "The Third Army."

Their First Army, of course, was the Manhunters. An army of androids which served the Guardians well for millions of years, until a glitch in their programming caused things (to borrow a tagline from the movie Westworld), to go worng . . .

The Second Army is the Green Lantern Corps. An army of living beings recruited from every corner of the universe. But the Guardians now seem to be thinking that this group of agents has too much independent thought. Members of the Green Lantern Corps are carrying out their duties, but the Guardians appear to be easily annoyed if the Green Lanterns are not carrying those duties out the way that they feel those duties should be carried out.

My feeling is that the Guardians want an army that they can control to their liking. But if artificial lifeforms are subject to breakdowns in programming, living beings are too prone to doing things in a way that annoy the Guardians, and the Guardians themselves have neither the numbers to carry out this task themselves nor the inclination to increase those numbers, what option or options remain to them? And while we're at it, how do they deal with (to them) the pesky little problem of all those other multi-colored Lantern Corps zipping around the universe?

My theory is that the Guardians are going to deal with all of these problems in creating their Third Army -- or so they think. First, I think the Guardians are going to decide that the only proper way for them to deal with the other six Corps is to take control of the entire Emotional Spectrum. And to some extent, they are already doing this.

The first storyline of "The New 52" Green Lantern had Thaal Sinestro (former renegade GL, now returned to the fold) shutting down the Yellow-based corps he created, and bringing its Central Power Battery to Oa (where the Guardians are no doubt keeping a watchful eye on it). My guess is that this is just the first step, and that the Guardians are going to bring the other five Central Power Batteries to Oa, by whatever means possible. (One could almost imagine the late Patrick McGoohan defiantly telling the Guardians, "You won't get them!" To which one of the Guardians would reply, "By hook or by crook, we will.")

And the Orange battery of Avarice will be the key to their Third Army. You see, the Orange energy of Avarice is a bit different from the other colors of the Emotional Spectrum. There is no "Orange Lantern Corps" per se; only a single wielder of the energy -- an individual named Larfleeze. And the nature of the Orange energy he wields means that Larfleeze, for lack of a better term, doesn't play well with others. He doesn't want anyone else using his power. Millions of years ago, Larfleeze and the Guardians came to an uneasy arrangement -- Larfleeze would have free reign over a small area of space, and that area would be off-limits to the Green Lantern Corps. The breach of that arrangement was one of the precursors to the Blackest Night storyline.

While there are no Orange Lanterns, Larfleeze does have an army of sorts at his command. Whenever Larfleeze kills someone using the Orange energy of Avarice, the power scans the fallen adversary, and creates a duplicate of him (or her, or it). Think of it as the ultimate form of identity theft. Larfleeze can bring up these orange avatars at will, he has complete control over them, and there doesn't seem to be any limit on how many he can create.

So here in a nutshell is my theory on the Third Army. The Guardians are going to acquire the remaining five Central Power Batteries (Red, Orange, Blue, Indigo, and Violet). Using the Orange Battery's "identity theft" ability, they are going to create an army of energy avatars which will take the place of the current Green Lantern Corps. My guess is that the Guardians will need the power of all seven Batteries to properly create and maintain the Third Army. (I am also assuming that the identity theft ability is something that is unavailable to the Green energy of Will.)

And when I say that the Third Army will take the place of the Green Lantern Corps, I mean that quite literally. My guess is that the Guardians will use the Green Lanterns as the templates for the initial members of the Third Army.

Yes, I am suggesting that the Guardians Of The Universe are contemplating the murder of some 7200 sentient beings -- all of whom have served them quite valiantly. But the more I see the Third Army mentioned, the more I get the feeling that the Guardians are looking at their Third Army as an omelet.

And I don't think I have to remind you of that old saying about making an omelet.


-30-

Who Is REALLY In Control?

ENTRY #64
1202.29


I've been giving my last entry some additional thought since I posted it. And the more I think about it, the more I realize that there were at least a couple of points that I missed when I asserted that the Guardians Of The Universe are more insane than The Joker.

These points all focus on the Emotional Spectrum, the ultimate power source behind first the Manhunter androids, and later the Green Lantern Corps. It has been mentioned at least in passing that the Guardians chose the green energy of Will as their power source because, being in the center of the spectrum, it was the easiest to control and wield. The further you go from the center, the more likely it is that the power will control the individual wielding it as it the other way around. Indeed, the Red Lanterns are usually portrayed as being all but consumed by the Rage that fuels their power rings.

The first question I have is this: How did the Guardians know that the green energy of Will was the most stable of the Emotional Spectrum? How did they know that the other colors were less desirable for their purposes?

Here's a hint -- this wasn't a random lucky guess. Not by a long shot.

Before they got into the business of running an interstellar police force, the Guardians were known as scientists. A long time ago (and we're talking several billion years here), at least one of the Guardians discovered the Emotional Spectrum. (This part probably did happen by accident, like that probably apocryphal story about Sir Isaac Newton and the apple tree.) Once the Guardians realized what they had discovered, they decided that it might be suitable for their purposes, and they began investigating the phenomenon further.

I would have to guess that the Guardians were very thorough in their investigations, and that they took their time. And when I say "taking their time," I'm talking centuries or even millennia. After all, what is 10,000 years when you're immortal?

I would have to further guess that the Guardians learned that the green energy of Will best suited their needs the hard way -- through much trial and error. Emphasis on the error, more than likely. They would have thoroughly investigated each and every color of the Emotional Spectrum, evaluating the pros and cons of each one, before they finally concluded that the power of Will would be the power source that their agents would tap. If nothing else, the Guardians have usually been portrayed as being just a little on the OCD side. Maybe even more than "just a little." You might even go so far as call them control freaks. (More on that in a moment.)

If asked about it, though, the Guardians would be less than forthcoming about their knowledge of the other colors, or at least less than forthcoming about the extent of their knowledge. They would probably have you believe that the green energy of Will was the first part of the Emotional Spectrum that they discovered, and that it was the only power source they had ever considered for their agents. This explanation fits much better with the image of themselves that they like to present to the universe at large; that they are these incredibly wise, benevolent, and amazingly powerful beings.

If pressed, though, the Guardians would probably admit that they are aware of the other colors in the Emotional Spectrum, and have you believe that they know little more than that. Even though the Star Sapphires, the wielders of the violet energy of Love, were created by the Zamarons, a splinter group of the Guardians that left Oa millions of years ago as a result of some dispute with the main group of Guardians. And even though the Blue Lanterns, who wield the blue energy of Hope, were created by Ganthet and Sayd, two Guardians who were expelled from Oa because they would not conform to the "we think as one, we act as one" mentality that the Guardians seem to favor.

And especially even though Ganthet revealed during Blackest Night that the power rings of the other six corps were all based on the designs that the Guardians used for the Green Lantern Corps. The Guardians definitely have more than a passing familiarity with all of the colors of the Emotional Spectrum, and based on the abilities of Ganthet, Sayd, and the Zamarons to manipulate other colors, it is safe to assume that all of the other Guardians can also do so, but that they choose not to. But while the Guardians only want to utilize the green portion of the Emotional Spectrum, they don't want anyone else utilizing those other colors, either. (I did mention that I thought they were control freaks, didn't I?)

As I have mentioned, green is the color of Will. And in this instance, Will (or Willpower, as it is also called) is portrayed as control; being able to overcome the influence of other emotions. Indeed, when a green power ring selects a candidate to become a Green Lantern, it tells that candidate, "You have the ability to overcome great fear." And therein may lie another clue. The Guardians have stated that green was the easiest color to control and/or manipulate. But what if the opposite is also true? What if the green energy of Will has exerted just as much control over the Guardians? After all, they have been doing this for millions of centuries.

Whenever the history of the Guardians has been mentioned in various stories, they have been depicted as looking distinctly and uniquely different from one another originally. But in various flashbacks, they have been depicted as gradually changing -- some stories even describe it as a form of evolution -- until they all began to resemble one another. In fact, there was one story that played up on this peculiarity. The Guardians described themselves as resembling each other so closely that they had to call upon the assistance of Batman to ferret out a disguised Sinestro, who had disguised himself as one of the Guardians and infiltrated them. [SIDEBAR: Incidentally, the original model for the appearance of the Guardians was Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.] It would seem that the Guardians' predilection for thinking and acting as one developed alongside this physical transformation.

Whether this transformation was a form of evolution or not, something had to have caused this change. Doesn't it seem likely that constant exposure to the energies of the Emotional Spectrum in general, and the green energy of Will specifically, was the agent that caused the slow, subtle, gradual transformation? And I am referring to both the physiological as well as the psychological changes in the Guardians.

Whatever the variation of the Guardians' origin has been, their backstory has portrayed them as wanting to impose their own vision of order on the rest of the universe. But has the source of their power, the tool that has enabled them to attempt this possibly quixotic quest, also been the source for their (for lack of a better term) evolution? And is that evolution still taking place?

In other words, are the Guardians Of The Universe really the ones in control here?


-30-

A Crazy Shade Of Blue

ENTRY #63
1202.21


More than likely, you've heard the following statement: Insanity is repeating the same action over and over, and expecting different results.

Personally, I have a little bit of a problem with that, because it's also a fair description of the scientific process. For instance, say that during the course of an experiment, a scientist observes for the first time that Action A yields Reaction B. What is the scientist going to do? Well, more than likely, he (or she) is going to repeat the experiment, just to see if Action A yields Reaction B again. Probably many, many times. And then, our intrepid scientist is going to try to discover precisely why Reaction B is the result of Action A.

Eventually, the scientist will publish his findings, and then other scientists will conduct their own investigations, to satisfy for themselves that Action A produces Reaction B.

I suppose that sooner or later, it will be firmly established that Action A yields Reaction B. At that point, someone doing Action A and expecting Reaction LMNO will be looked upon as having a somewhat tenuous grip on reality. But I'm getting sidetracked here.

Assuming for the moment that the above description of insanity is at least somewhat accurate, who do you think gets the award for Most Insane in the DC Universe? If you’re thinking that it's a certain grinning, green-haired psychopath, you would be sadly mistaken. Think shorter. Think bluer. Think older -- much, much older. And think far, far less in the humor department.

The Most Insane Individuals In The DC Universe are The Guardians Of The Universe, the founders of the Green Lantern Corps. The Joker pales in comparison -- and not just because of his chalky-white skin. I might even go so far as to say that their insanity is on a cosmic scale.

Now, I don't know if any of these could be considered either a cause or a symptom of their insanity, but there are a few things that have remained constant in the portrayal of the Guardians over the years. First, their role as "Guardians Of The Universe" is a self-appointed one. Second, they don't appear to have anything resembling a sense of humor. Third, they have always used other agents to carry out this role. Fourth, they are control freaks.

Let's start with the first point. The origin of the Guardians has been modified, retconned, tweaked, and otherwise altered over the years, more often than not to fit the story requirements of whoever was writing the various Green Lantern titles. But one thing remains constant. The race that would become the Guardians (originally from the planet Maltus) was among the first intelligent life forms in the DC Universe.

Billions of years ago, a Maltusian scientist named Krona, in an attempt to discover That Which Man Was Not Meant To Know, was responsible for unleashing a universe-spanning catastrophe. (This is the part where the specifics have been altered the most in various retellings of the Guardians' origin.) Feeling in some way responsible for the disaster that had been unleashed, a group of Maltusians took it upon themselves to correct the damage that Krona had caused, eventually becoming known as The Guardians Of The Universe.

Here is where you have to start wondering about the Guardians' choices. I mean, you have an entire race (or a substantial number thereof) taking on responsibility for protecting the entire universe just because one of their members of did something monumentally foolish? Granted, this was a mistake of cosmic proportions (the earliest version had Krona unleashing evil on the entire universe as a result of his bungling), but come on, let's have a little sense of proportion here!

And this kind of leads into my second point. And I am willing to cut them a little slack on the whole lack of a sense of humor. After all, the Guardians are all billions of years old. In that span of time, they must have heard every possible joke in the universe thousands upon thousands of times over. I suspect that even the late Johnny Carson would have had a hard time being funny after that long. By this point, even that moment with Ed Ames and the tomahawk might fail to elicit even the smallest trace of a smile.

All of which, I suppose, is my way of saying that the Guardians take themselves much too seriously. The little blue guys are wound way too tight.

Now we come to the third and possibly most important point. While the Guardians have taken upon themselves the responsibility of protecting the universe, they have never done so directly. Now, each Guardian has been described as possessing the power of the Central Power Battery of the Green Lantern Corps -- far more power than any single Green Lantern could ever control. If they had expanded their numbers to match the responsibilities they had taken upon themselves, they could easily carry out those duties. But instead of using that power directly, they have instead chosen to have others act as their agents.

[SIDEBAR: Instead of expanding their numbers as I suggested in the previous paragraph, the Guardians have taken the opposite route. They have cut themselves off from every emotion, more thoroughly than the Vulcans could ever hope to do. I suspect this might be at least part of the reason they are wound so tight.]

Their first choice of agents were androids they created, which they called the Manhunters, and which were deployed as an interstellar police force. But there turned out to be a fault in the Manhunters' programming, and they became more focused on hunting criminals (or even "criminals") than in administering justice. And in the most recent retcon of the Guardians' (and Krona's) origin, it was Krona who deliberately introduced the programming glitch into the Manhunters, which led to all sentient life in an entire sector of space being wiped out. (This particular sector, by the way, was designated Sector 666.)

When the Manhunters revolted against the Guardians, the Guardians responded by destroying most of the Manhunters. (But not all of them. A vast number still remain, and they have developed a grudge against both the Guardians and the Green Lantern Corps.) In the aftermath, the Guardians decided they had made a mistake in choosing artificial intelligences -- even the advanced ones they created for the Manhunters -- as their agents. They concluded that what they needed was living agents to act as their police force, and created what would become the Green Lantern Corps.

As has been recently revealed, the energies that the Guardians (and the Green Lanterns) wield is just part of a spectrum. Each color is tied to a different emotion. The Guardians chose the green energy because it is at the center of the spectrum, and is the easiest to control. But while the Guardians do not choose to use the other colors of the emotional spectrum, neither do they want any other entities wielding those forces. They are overtly hostile to the wielders of the other colors of the emotional spectrum, considering them aberrations which need to be wiped out. Even when it was learned that the Green Lanterns alone would not be able to stop the Blackest Night, and that those other wielders of the emotional spectrum would be needed to combat the power of Nekron and the Black Lanterns.

Most recently, it has been shown that the Guardians have become disenchanted (for lack of a better term) with the Green Lantern Corps. This comes following the "War Of The Green Lanterns" storyline, and the reboot of the entire DC line following Flashpoint. In various issues of the Green Lantern titles, the Guardians have mentioned that they feel that it is time to create what they call "The Third Army" -- the successors to the Green Lantern Corps.

During one discussion, the Guardians mention two Green Lanterns in particular as a source of their disenchantment, or perhaps disappointment. Hal Jordan is described as being "all drive and no forethought," while Thaal Sinestro is described as being "all drive and no altruism." They could also be describing Epimetheus and Prometheus, but they seem to be irked (if the Guardians can indeed be irked) that none of the Green Lanterns are perfectly round pegs that will fit nicely into round holes.

I think part of the Guardians' disenchantment may stem from the fact that there are some in the Green Lantern Corps -- possibly even an increasing number -- who are beginning to question the recent actions of the Guardians. Most of these actions were taken apparently without any regard they might have on the morale of the Corps.

The first action was their decision to welcome one-time renegade Sinestro back into the GLC after a green power ring chose him once again at the end of "War Of The Green Lanterns." Their decision may partially stem from a desire to follow the old adage, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." But I think it may stem more from the fact that at the moment, neither they, nor Sinestro, nor apparently anyone else can remove the ring short of killing him.

The second action was expelling Jordan from the GLC at the end of "War Of The Green Lanterns." Jordan brought the war to an end by stopping Krona once and for all -- by killing him. Killing a Guardian -- even one who had been expelled from their ranks, as Krona had been -- should have been something that no Green Lantern should have been able to accomplish, due to failsafes the Guardians had placed in the power rings. (I strongly suspect that for the first time in perhaps millions of years, the Guardians may be remembering what fear feels like.) The power ring has been described as the most powerful weapon in the DC universe, and it would appear that for the first time, the creators of that weapon are faced with a user who could possibly turn it against them, despite all precautions they may have taken.

The third action may not be widely known to most of the GLC just yet. The Guardians decided that Ganthet -- the one Guardian who has been portrayed as having a distinct personality, and who had been expelled from the Guardians for being too independent of thought -- needed to return to the fold. Bring him back to their way of thinking; assimilating him. Or as Kyle Rayner said, lobotomizing him. And from every indication, it is this lobotomized version of Ganthet that is the greatest proponent of creating this Third Army.

The Guardians decided that the Manhunters were less than what they wanted, and so the Manhunters were discarded without a second thought.

The Guardians seem to have decided that the Green Lantern Corps are less than what they want, and it appears that they are getting ready to discard them without a second thought.

Instead of taking a long hard look at their actions, and thinking that the problem might not be in their agents, but in themselves, the Guardians Of The Universe are about to make the same mistakes all over again.

Oh, yeah. The Guardians are insane.

The Joker would be the first to agree with that assessment. Come to think of it, The Joker would probably say something like, "And I know insane."


-30-

Sweet Cream Scones

ENTRY #62
1111.25


I think there's only one way to describe this recipe's origin, and that's "Okay, how about this?"

It started while I was reading The Homesick Texan Cookbook, by Lisa Fain. First of all, I want to recommend this book. I'll be writing a review of it, but that will be another entry. As I was looking through the book, one recipe that caught my eye was a recipe for scones, which really doesn't come to mind when you think of Texas cuisine. Ms. Fain explains the recipe this way:

"When I was young, my mom went through an Anglophile phase, and one of the results was her replacing our usual biscuits with the English scone. People say that a scone is simply a biscuit with an egg added to the dough, though I find that scones do lend themselves more to embellishment."

Ms. Fain also has a recipe for biscuits in her book (you were thinking otherwise?), so I decided to compare the two. The scone recipe did indeed have quite a bit in the way of the aforementioned embellishments, but when you compare the basic, unembellished recipe to her biscuit recipe, the two are quite similar. Except, of course, that the scone recipe calls for an egg.

Once I saw that, one very simple question zipped through my mind at warp speed: Would this hold true for any biscuit recipe? Could it be that easy for me to turn a biscuit recipe into a scone recipe?

As it happens, I had at hand a very simple recipe for biscuits, which, believe it or not, I acquired at a World Science Fiction Convention. To be specific, it was Chicon 2000, the 2000 Worldcon. The Guest Of Honor book for Chicon 2000 was The Chicon Sampler, a two-sided book reminiscent of the old Ace Doubles. One side was featured sketches from Artist Guest Of Honor Bob Eggleton (and I'm surprised that there was only one Godzilla sketch in the batch). On the other side were contributions from all of the other GOHs -- an ad for Baen Books for Jim Baen (the Editor Guest Of Honor), short stories from Ben Bova (the Guest Of Honor) and Harry Turtledove (the Toastmaster), and a collection of recipes from Bob and Anne Passovoy, the Fan Guests Of Honor.

According to The Chicon Sampler, these recipes were excerpts from "Bob And Anne's Fannish All-Star Cookbook." If there is a full version of this cookbook, I would love to get my hands on a copy, because the recipes that appeared in The Chicon Sampler all looked great. But I digress . . .

The recipe that is of particular interest here is one called "Sweet Cream Biscuits." I've made them several times, and it is a very simple biscuit recipe. If I'm remembering correctly (I don't have the recipe with me at the moment), the recipe was described as being foolproof.

As I looked over both the scone and biscuit recipes, I decided that I wanted to see what the results would be if I Frankensteined the recipe for Sweet Cream Biscuits into one for Sweet Cream Scones. And after a trip to Kroger (I don't normally have cream in my refrigerator), I entered my laboratory.


SWEET CREAM SCONES


Ingredients:

2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Sugar
1 T. Baking Powder
3/4 cup Heavy Cream (or Whipping Cream)
1 Egg


Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 451 degrees Fahrenheit (or 233 degrees Celsius).

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder.

3. In a small bowl, beat the egg, then add the cream.*

4. Add the egg/cream mixture to the dry ingredients, mix well. If dough is too dry, add up to 1/4 cup additional cream.

5. With floured hands, pull off golf ball-size balls of dough. Flatten balls into rounds, and place on ungreased baking sheet.

6. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with butter (or whatever else you like).

YIELD: 12 scones


The scones had a fairly dense texture. I probably could have eaten the whole batch in one sitting, but I managed to exercise a modicum of self-control.

I'm guessing that these scones would lend themselves as well to embellishment as those in Ms. Fain's recipe. That, however, will be the subject for another venture into my laboratory.


-30-

Chosen For A Reason

ENTRY #61
1111.01


After reading the first two issues of Green Lantern: New Guardians, it left me with one very important question that has had me speculating. And writing the last entry more or less crystallized that question into a coherent thought:

Why did those other six power rings seek out Kyle Rayner?

Make no mistake, this was no random act of coincidence. Most of the other rings were shown abandoning their former wearers -- and in a couple of instances, with fatal consequences. And usually, a ring-bearer of one color is unsuitable for any of the other colors. There was a reason these rings suddenly arrived on Earth, all saying, "Kyle Rayner of Earth, you have been chosen." There was a conscious reason behind this action. But who is responsible, and why?

Obviously, I have my theory as to the reason(s). And I shall do my best to present that theory here.

What needs to be kept in mind above all else is that Kyle Rayner is unique among the Green Lantern Corps. All of the other 7199 members were chosen by their rings -- usually after the death of the previous wearer. Kyle, on the other hand, was chosen by Ganthet, one of the Guardians Of The Universe. After Hal Jordan (possessed by the Fear entity Parallax) laid waste to the Green Lantern Corps (and much of Oa as well), Ganthet was the sole remaining Guardian, and he created one last green power ring, which he chose to give to Kyle.

Depending on who was writing the story, Kyle's selection as a Green Lantern has been explained in one of two ways. Either he was in the right place at the right time, or Ganthet chose him for a reason that has never been fully revealed. Whatever the reason, it was Ganthet who did the choosing, not the ring.

Which brings me to my next point -- Ganthet. Ganthet has always had a personality markedly different from the other Guardians. Actually, Ganthet has always been shown to have a personality; unlike the other Guardians, who have adhered thinking and acting as a single unit -- even to the point of eschewing names -- and generally displaying nothing resembling a personality whatsoever.

But in the early issues of the "New 52" Green Lantern titles, the other Guardians have decided that after having expelled Ganthet some time earlier, they want him to return to the fold -- whether he wants to return or not. And when Kyle travels to Oa in Green Lantern: New Guardians #2 to get answers from Ganthet, he finds that he is now acting like the other Guardians. They have done something to Ganthet -- something that Kyle condemns as the equivalent of a lobotomy. (This was just before the other rings forced themselves upon him.)

And now, the final piece of the puzzle -- the power rings. In Blackest Night #6, Ganthet revealed that the power rings of the other corps used the same basic technology as the Green Lantern rings. (As the Green Lantern Corps has been around for some three billion years, we may presume that the patents on this technology have expired long ago.) He mentioned this prior to demonstrating one factor of this common technology; the ability to create temporary duplicates of a power ring (something that Hal Jordan had done on occasion in some of his earlier stories).

So, what do all these disparate bits of information mean? Yes, they are pieces of a puzzle, but what does it mean when you put the pieces together?

My theory is that Ganthet is the person responsible for Kyle's being chosen by these other six rings.

After the events of Blackest Night, the other Guardians wanted Ganthet to return to being a Guardian. He declined, preferring to act as a Green Lantern. But even then, I suspect that he felt that the other Guardians would eventually not take no for an answer, and forcibly return him to being just like the rest of them.

This was Ganthet's failsafe plan; something that would be put into effect should the other Guardians ever impose their will upon him. He is familiar enough with the workings of the power rings of all colors that he commanded one ring of each color to seek out Kyle Rayner. And it would appear that each of the other rings were chosen entirely at random; perhaps the only random element of this plan.

As for why Kyle instead of any other Green Lantern, It was because of the circumstances surrounding his becoming a Green Lantern. It has been mentioned that his ring is different from other green power rings. One thing that has been mentioned specifically is that it is keyed to his DNA. Only Kyle, or someone sharing his DNA (such as a distant descendant, as was shown in one story) can use this ring. Ganthet simply gave the command to the other rings to home in on this particular ring.

As for Ganthet's plan itself, I suspect that the primary part of it is to undo whatever the Guardians did to him. Knocking some sense into them, or at least forcing them to develop personalities of their own, would definitely be a good secondary part of the plan -- although I am unsure of what could knock some sense into the Guardians.

Of course, I could just as easily be completely wrong with my theory. I'm guessing that I'll find out in the next two or three issues of Green Lantern: New Guardians.


-30-

My (Sort Of) Halloween Costume

ENTRY #60
1110.31


I hadn't really planned on dressing up for Halloween. For a little while, though, I did have something that could be classified as a sort-of costume.

My inspiration came from Green Lantern: New Guardians #2, which came out last week. In the first two issues of this series, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner suddenly found himself surrounded by power rings from the other six colors of the emotional spectrum, all telling him "You Have Been Chosen." Kyle quickly found himself in conflict with members of the corps wielding the red, yellow, indigo, and violet rings, who immediately suspected him of stealing the rings.

Matters did not improve when Kyle went to Oa, hoping to get help from the Guardians Of The Universe, and Ganthet in particular. The Guardians did not give Kyle a chance to tell what had happened, at which point the other rings -- which had been patiently hovering around him -- suddenly flew onto his fingers, turning him into, for lack of a better term, a Rainbow Lantern. (I suppose it may be a bit of irony that the uniform created by these additional rings is black and white.)

For a little while today, I decided that I would be a Rainbow Lantern. I had the rings with me, and I wore them the way it showed Kyle wearing them at the end of Green Lantern: New Guardians #2:

RIGHT HAND:

Index Finger -- Yellow
Middle Finger -- Green
Ring Finger -- Blue
Pinky Finger -- Orange

LEFT HAND:

Index Finger -- Violet
Middle Finger -- Indigo
Ring Finger -- Red

As I said, it was a sort-of costume. I can always claim that this was just before the rings created the uniform.


-30-

Now More Rings Than Fingers

ENTRY #59
1110.26


As I mentioned a few times when writing about the various promotional rings that DC Comics produced in conjunction with Blackest Night and Brightest Day, I have been a little surprised that DC had not produced a promo ring for The Legion Of Super-Heroes. After all, the LSH has probably been one of DC's biggest favorites with the fans over the years. You would think that a replica of the Legion flight ring would be a no-brainer.

But for some reason, DC had not released a flight ring replica. At the time, maybe they were focusing their attention on the Blackest Night and Brightest Day rings. But last week, Comic Shop News ran an article on Legion: Secret Origin. According to the article, this particular series would fill in some of the details behind the Legion's formation. And the last paragraph or two mentioned that DC would be offering a promo -- a replica of the LSH flight ring.

My first thought -- Finally!, accompanied by the appropriate amount of fannish squee. My second thought -- Reserve a copy, which I did the very next day. I'm sure The Great Escape ordered plenty of copies, but I decided I wasn't going to take any chances.

Finally, Wednesday rolls around again. New comics day at The Great Escape, and just about any other comic store you can name. Among the new arrivals today was Legion: Secret Origin #1, and of course, I went there to pick up my copy. On the rack where the copies were placed, there was a note that reminded customers that buying Legion: Secret Origin #1 also got them a LSH flight ring. And right after that was another note that said that no, this ring would not enable the wearer to fly.

Oh, come on. Did you really have a customer think that any of the previous promotional rings were functional?

I picked up my copy of Legion: Secret Origin #1, and of course, the ring. It's primarily gold colored. The top of the ring has a circular face. The face is black, with the Legion's emblem -- an L and a comet/starburst -- in gold.

Of course, this ring now provides me with a slight dilemma. Since I only have 10 fingers, I can't wear all 11 rings at once. Which one do I leave off?


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Spicy Quesofrijole Dip

ENTRY #58
1104.02


I love using my kitchen as a mad scientist's laboratory. I enjoy getting the idea of a recipe, then seeing if I can bring that idea to life. Fortunately for me, those ideas have favorable results most of the time.

I think this recipe is one of my better creations. It has its origins in a taco dip recipe that someone gave my parents many years ago. It was a layered dip that was served spread out on a large platter, and I was wanting something that didn't take up as much space in the refrigerator. I started deconstructing the recipe in my head, and after much experimentation, the results are to follow.

I think I have at least one fan of the dip. If you want to scroll down a few entries, you will see the review I wrote of Jennifer Estep's first novel, Karma Girl. After visiting her website, I signed up for her monthly email newsletter.

Now, one thing that Estep includes in each newsletter is a recipe of some kind. This is not too surprising, considering that the heroine of her "Elemental Assassin" series, Gin Blanco, runs a barbecue joint when she isn't carrying out her current hit. (And Gin is more or less retired by the end of the first book.) I thought that Estep might enjoy getting a recipe in return, so I emailed her the recipe.

Much to my surprise, when I found the March newsletter in my inbox, I also found myself staring at my recipe (and receiving credit for it). I think she likes it.

When I sent her the recipe, I called it "Spicy Cheese/Bean Dip." It wasn't until after I saw the newsletter that I decided on the current name. So without further ado, I present:


SPICY QUESOFRIJOLE DIP

Ingredients:

2 packages (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 package Taco Seasoning Mix
1 can (16 oz.) Refried Beans

Optional: Sour Cream, additional spices (see below)

Procedure:

1. Place the cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. If it isn't already softened, zap it in the microwave for 20 to 30 second intervals, beating until smooth. If desired, add a few tablespoons of sour cream to bring the cheese to the right consistency.

2. Add the taco seasoning mix, and stir until blended. At this point, the cheese should be a light orange color, with no streaks of white remaining.

3. Add the refried beans, and stir until thoroughly blended. (Putting the bowl in the microwave for another 20 to 30 seconds may make it a little easier to blend everything.)

4. At this point, taste. If you feel that it isn't spicy enough for your taste, add whatever additional spices you like to suit your taste. (I usually add some chili powder, garlic powder, and maybe just a dash or two of Tabasco sauce.)

5. Once the dip is to your taste, refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes to let the flavors blend together.

Serve with crackers or chips.

YIELD: About 1 quart


Now, I call this a dip, but it's actually somewhere between a dip and a spread. Besides using it as a dip, I also spread it on crackers, and use it in sandwiches. Refrigerate any leftovers.

I usually store this in a 1-quart plastic container after making it, and it fills the container.


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Share The Recommendation Love

ENTRY #57
1104.01


The nomination period for this year's Hugo Awards ended last Saturday, and has been my habit the past few years, I submitted my nomination ballot just hours ahead of the deadline. Under seven hours, as a matter of fact.

Now the nominating deadline has passed, there is a good chance that the Hugo Recommendation community here on LiveJournal (hugo_recommend) is going to lapse into dormancy again. Which is a shame. The intent of the community is to make recommendations throughout the year -- not just that three- or four-month period from just after Thanksgiving through whenever the current Worldcon committee decides will be the deadline for nominations (usually sometime in March).

I will freely admit that I am guilty of overlooking hugo_recommend just as much as anyone else. It is far, far too easy to start thinking about nominations only after receiving the Progress Report with the nomination ballot. And it is usually a day or two after the deadline passes that I start remembering something that I read or watched during the previous year that I forgot to include in my nominations.

I suppose it was something along this line of thinking that led bovil, the owner and maintainer of hugo_recommend, to create this little (or perhaps not so little) button as a reminder:


Join the hugo_recommend Livejournal Community
Join hugo_recommend, the Hugo Awards recommendation Livejournal community
Get the button and help promote the community!




Given how long items will stay on the front page of my LJ, this should serve as a reminder for me for at least a little while. And if anyone reading this is interested in science fiction and/or fantasy, you might find the community of interest to you.


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The History Of Everything, Illustrated

ENTRY #56
1103.06


I like The Big Bang Theory, even if I don't watch it all that often. At times, it's like watching four different iterations of myself on the screen. (Of course, when I mentioned to my friend Angel that I could see bits and pieces of me in each of the show's four male leads, she said, "That's just disturbing.")

So, when billroper posted a link to what he described as "a hand-drawn version of the intro," I was curious enough to click on the link. I watched it -- multiple times -- and then decided that I needed to do a little more searching on YouTube.

First, I've discovered from a couple of different places that the correct title for the song is "The History Of Everything." The video that was in the link in billroper's entry was a promotional video that CBS did for The Big Bang Theory, although I am not certain whether this was broadcast or Internet only. It's the full-length version of the song, not just the truncated 30-second version you see at the beginning of each episode. It shows a hand illustrating (at a somewhat rapid speed) the various things mentioned in the song.

I was amused that when it came to the line, "Math, science, history," the creators of this video illustrated math with the equation 6 x 7 = 42. I have to think that they chose something with 42 as a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, but I wish they had used 6 x 9 = 42, with an indicator that the equation was in base-13, of course. You only see each element for just a second or two, but it would have been something that would have kept people viewing the video backtracking and pausing the video just to verify what they were seeing.

There are a number of amusing moments. One of the last lines is "Music and mythology, Einstein and astrology," and the artist chooses to draw a representation of that photo of Einstein sticking out his tongue.

While I was on YouTube, I saw several fan-made interpretations of the song. Most of them also posted the lyrics, but I wish they would get the lyrics right. One line is "Religion or astronomy, Decartes or Deuteronomy," and the CBS video clearly depicts a drawing of Rene Decartes with a thought balloon that says, "I am." But on most of the fan-made videos, the line is invariably given as "Religion or astronomy, Encarta, Deuteronomy," with illustrations appropriate to their misinterpretation.

You know, at this point, I should probably just give you the link to the video, and let you watch it for yourself. Here it is, and enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0p04CLd0gk

Please note that you will have to sit through a 30-second shampoo commercial (or at least a commercial of some kind) before you get to the actual video. This is something beyond my control.

One of the comments in billroper's entry mentioned that The Barenaked Ladies (the group that performs the song) made a surprise appearance at last year's San Diego Comic-Con, at a panel on (naturally) The Big Bang Theory, during which they performed "The History Of Everything." Here's the performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkiT7Vku5qM

As I said, their performance was a surprise at the beginning of the panel. Wil Wheaton was the moderator of the panel, and he introduced The Barenaked Ladies by first telling the audience that he thought it would be fun if they all started the panel by singing the theme song (lyric sheets had already been distributed). Wheaton then said that it would be even cooler if The Barenaked Ladies were to lead the sing-along; at which point, the group walked on the stage. Here's the longer version of the performance, with Wheaton's introduction, and the cast of The Big Bang Theory taking the stage at the end:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwYZGT4ZAf8

Hmmm . . . with two of the Borders stores in Louisville closing, maybe I should see if one of them still has any seasons of The Big Bang Theory.

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