Hot Apollo

Toronto's Shiniest Rock-and-Roll Band

Fairy Fantasy Featuring Finn

At the moment, I'm alternating between two modern fantasy trilogies that focus on changeling lore with supporting characters named "Finn". This is in part because reading the books in a series contiguously feels slightly excessive. But in this case, there's still a brief moment in th first few minutes of the new book in one series that makes me miss the feel of the previous series. It's because of those similarities that highlight the differences. But nah. Both are great.

Also! I just saw "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald", and I have to assume that the first part of the title is in reference to Eddie Redmayne and Ezra Miller. Incidentally, Jamie Campbell-Bower plays a younger version of Johnny Depp's character, which is what I erroneously assumed that he was doing when I walked in late to the cinema for a showing of "Sweeney Todd".

Bonus Question!

Best fin?



I hadn't been to the dentist for a while, and some recent changes in my schedule prompted me to remedy that. It felt like the responsible thing to do.

Then I went in.

I don't think that any other kind of appointment so consistently makes you feel less responsible.

Like . . . You can go into the doctor's office with 15 years' worth of clogged arteries and a black lung, and they'll calmly tell you that everything will be alright with a bit of diet and exercise. "And maybe lay off the brewskies a little."

But with the dentist, it's full doom and gloom. Dentists have a reputation for sadism, but I've never seen them indulge in the physical kind. Emotional sadism, though? Maybe that's why they seem so motivated to make you feel like damned trash for the occasional skipped flossing.

Bonus Question!

Best song about dental care?

Monty Python probably had one, but I'm going to give it to "Shiny Teeth" from "Fairly Oddparents", sung by the most attractive dude from NSync who isn't Justin Timberlake.

Actually, I don't care if the Tim's more famous. He's fine, but Chris still seems to naturally be the prettiest. Maybe it's because I could never look past Justin's hair.

From Bye to Bae with Bendis

I've spoken on the mixture of excitement I had to see Bendis write at DC and the longing for all the potential Marvel stuff he'd never write because of his new exclusive contract. I've been enjoying his Superman work, but that character still doesn't land in the tenderest spot of my heart. But now . . .

Now he's getting his own imprint at DC, and he's headlining it with a the first big use of the Young Justice team since the New 52 started. And that's just . . . Alright. I love Miles Morales and Jessie Jones, but if you're offering me Bendis on Bart Allen and buddies to replace that, my soul's scales feel balanced in a way that just wasn't the case when Superman was his main output.

In the immortal words of Madonna, I say "Forever Justice".


Bonus Question! 

Last Marvel project I'd want from Bendis? 

In an age without Jason Aaron's wild and sprawling saga of cosmic Norse myth, seeing Bendis on  Thor's world would be a treat.

Princess Power

Are people actually down on the new She-Ra show? That's tricky to fathom. Because everyone seemed quite united in praise for the Netflix Voltron thing, and this is basically that. But not in space! With perhaps a soupcon of "Steven Universe". Which again. Almost universally beloved. Even if it did need a second look from me.

But yeah. I never watched any other incarnation of She-Ra, but this was delightful. Of the secondary characters, my favourites were probably Seahawk, who was basically pirate Han Solo, and Mermista, who was basically the same character her voice actor played on "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" with additional mermaid powers.

I know that the show had a lot to say about friendship, loyalty, honour, and all of that stuf, but I also appreciated Adora's struggle to accept herself when she felt that people only wanted to be around her alter ego. She-Ra's a part of her, but it's not all of her identity, and she had to learn how to feel like enough outside of that. It felt like a good look at that wavery line between role and performer.

And also the whole thing was just really cute.

Bonus Question!

She-Ra versus Mumm-Ra! On "WWE Raw"! Ra! Ra! Raw!

She-Ra's riding high right now, but there's also the fact that she's a total face to Mumm's heel. She's got to take the bout.

Meat Guilt

That latest issue of "Tony Stark: Iron Man". The one without Tony Stark. Instead, it had his recently discovered brother Arno, who's been travelling the world and solving corporate problems. Or dispensing Twilight Zone justice. It depends on the situation. In this situation, he let some farmers get eaten by the brainless cows they'd raised to alleviate meat guilt.



But the most amusing thing about this might be the idea that scientists in the Marvel universe, known for a fairly noticeable pervasion of advanced technology, thought that brainless cows were the best way to get around the guilt of killing sentient beings for food. The real world's already focusing on growing meat without animals! But nah. Arno's clients still wanted to have things to farm. Maybe that was their real goal. It wasn't to feel better about eating animals. It was to feel better about living that old rancher life without the idea of imprisoning thinking beings.

Bonus Question!

Brainless cow versus cowless brain!

It depends. Does the brain have the kinds of powers that are usually ascriped to independent clumps of cerebral matter? Like levitation and mind bolts? If it doesn't, the win goes to the cow.

Mos Dev

Man, when I started watching Daredevil's new season, I knew that I was in for good times with the gang. More Foggy! Karen's back! Incel Fisk!

And then that Bullseye flashback started in the fifth episode. And I just wanted to get back to the good stuff. But then it became good stuff. The classical version of Bullseye is similar to  Joker in a way. You're not really supposed to care for him. The investment comes from being drawn into what he's doing. But sometimes things can come along to humanize him.  I wasn't expecting that from this series, but there were some moments in the monochrome flashback where I really did feel for the guy.  As he was struggling to develop a sense of empathy, I saw myself empathizing with him.  That relationship with his doctor or whatever was quite poignant. Obviously, he's awful. No question about that. But they did a good job of displaying the humanity behind that, which is important. Monsters are people too. It doesn't mean that they're less monstrous. It doesn't always necessitate treating them as though they're not monsters,  but it can serve to give  a better understanding of what's going on behind all of that,  which can sometimes be helpful. Or just fun.


Bonus Question! 

If Bullseye played with marbles, which he'd obviously do well, I think that his favourite would be a cat's-eye. 

Space Suit

 "Venom" was a solid watch. Even when it felt somewhat like a gritty remake of an Adam Sandler film.

On another note, the symbiote's reaction to Stan Lee sounded like anyone's grandparent who got dragged to a Marvel movie.

Also, Anne made me think of a version of Pepper Potts who'd advanced further along the path of being justifably tired of her superhero boyfriend's  nonsense.

And it was good to see Hero Astronaut John Jameson onscreen again. Pretty sure that they're setting up Man-Wolf for the sequel.

Bonus Question!

Stargod versus Star-Lord! Hero Astronaut versus astronaut antihero!

Stargod Jameson's got that discipline to win.

One More Grayson

 I've been reading the new storyline in "Nightwing", which features the dude in a somewhat amnesiac state after he got shot in the head by an assassin. Now he's got no aspirations to exemplary heroism. He's just wandering about, hanging around in bars, and living a bit of that low life. His new attitude, combined with the fresh haircut, goes a way to reminding me of the first version of Dick Grayson that made a significant impression on me. That would be Chris O'Donnell's version from the 90s movies.

Later, I'd learn that that portrayal owed a fair bit to Jason Todd, who's probably my favourite of Batman's partners for various reasons, but amnesiac Dick, now called Ric, evokes that recollection well for me.

Especially after the Luddite Dick from that recent story about the dangers of technology. That felt odd.

Anyway. I'm here for it. Now they've just got to give him that earring.


Bonus Question!

Amnesiac Ric Grayson versus New Mutant Rictor! Battle of the young extreme Rics!

Grayson's still probably the better fighter. And now he's probably even less averse to dirty tricksiness.


Mutant Material

I've got to assume that mutants in the Marvel universe would have started up their own sperm banks and stuff at some point. Right? In the real world, blood banks still seem reluctant to accept gay blood. Oh. I'm sorry. That should be "blood that had had sex with a man in the last two years". Or whatever nonsense equivocation current regulations use.

But yeah. I'd think that mutant genetic material would be a harder sell. But I'm sure that there are many mutants who can see the value their genes would have for the overall health of their species despite their unwillingness to actually have kids. Especially because the more powerful ones have a higher tendency to get drawn into situations that would raise their life insurance premiums.

And that's not even mentioning the hordes of base humans who'd be lining up to carry genetically gifted babies. It'd be a brisk business. Doctor Nemesis probably runs it in his spare time. Maybe with Cecilia Reyes's eyes over his shoulder.

Find me a dude who makes surgical gloves look more epic.

 Bonus Question!  Best gloves worn by a doctor?  Doctor Strange's leopard style, boy!

Bonus Question!

Best gloves worn by a doctor?

Doctor Strange's leopard style, boy!


Psalm for a Solstice

Solstitial shakes and Samhain shivers

Ripple out on distant rivers.

Rumblings of the season's stride

Make quakes on Gaia's lumpen hide.

Seisms seize the torn terrain

And crack it with ecstatic strain.

Signs of winter's coming pall

Stir to quicken gloaming's fall.

The timbre of a growing breeze

Lowers fore the waiting freeze.

The sounds it carries slow and glower.

What once was frantic now is dour.

A muddled message they convey

In nervous dirge and hazy lay.

The tidal rise of that refrain

Reaches peak as summer's slain.

Ape Metal

Last night's dream featured Tarzan's decision to leave the jungle and move to the city to sing rock-and-roll. The song he recorded when he got there was "Move to the City". Because he turned into Axl Rose when he got there. All of that was in the dream, but I'm only  now realising that it makes sense for Tarzan to be the one to write "Welcome to the Jungle" too. 

Bonus Question!

This reminds me that Brendan "George of the Jungle" Fraser could play a great David Lee Roth.  

Incel in a Cell

Is "Gotham" back yet?

It's weird. With his insecurity and stubborn, nonsensical feeling that he's deserving of love from the object of his desire, the show's version of Riddler seems like the type of guy who's right on the verge of trying to become a pickup artist, and the comic incarnation of the character already looks like one. It's far too easy to imagine him saying things like "Let me be the answer to the riddle that is you."



Bonus Question!

Thing that isn't quite a coincidence but should be?

In the 90s, Marlon Wayans was supposed to play Robin. In the following decade, Grant Morrison created a new Robin for the comics named Damian Wayne. Today I wondered if that was supposed to reference Damon Wayans because it feels like the sort of thing Grant would do if Damon had been the Wayans to play Robin. But then I realised that Marlon was the one. So whatever. At least I don't have to be curious about it now.


Crazy Rich Ellens

Did I tell you about that woman in the mall who came up to me a few months ago because she thought that I was Ellen Degeneres?

I just watched "Crazy Rich Asians", and there's a character who gets likened to an Asian Ellen near the beginning. Then at the end, she's wearing the exact jacket I was wearing in my Ellen anecdote.

That's it. It just struck me. That's all.

Also, I haven't been in such a crowded theatre since I saw "Infinity War" on the Saturday afternoon of its opening weekend. Despite the fact that this film's been out for weeks, it was still packed to a similar level.  


Bonus Question!

Prettiest thing in the movie that wasn't my jacket?

That emerald ring was pretty nice. It's not really my kind of cut, but I liked the depth of colour.


Some guy came up to me in an EB Games on the weekend and asked to take a picture with me because he recognised me from finding my music on Spotify. But I think that the only image of me on Spotify is the cover picture of my chest tattoo. So yeah. My chest is iconic.


Bonus Question!

Best thing I saw in EB Games?

A Boba Fett Nerf gun with a mask.

Duke of Show

Oh, my days. That show at The Duke. Our drummer was out of town, and the bassist and I looked for substitutes separately. I got some offers, but when bass man Shaheen said that he had a friend, I thought that that'd be the most elegant solution. He came over to practice with the two of us on the Thursday night before the show, and all seemed primed for a  smooth performance. On Friday around noon, I get a call from a private number in response to the Craigslist post I'd made for the drummer search. I tell the guy that the position's been filled and think nothing more on it until the following hour when Shaheen tells me that his friend has chagrined him by backing out. I can't call the last guy back because the number's private. I get in touch with the first guy who'd offered in the previous week, and he responds around 5:00. But he's excited, and he says that he can make it to our practice place by 6:45 from his base in Oakville. And he drives, which means that I won't have to pay for multiple 20-minute Uber van trips to transport all our drum stuff. However, I'm still dealing with the fact that my voice inexplicably started to get hoarse at Thursday's practice. It's  not generally a thing that happens to me. When we get to the venue, I can barely speak, and I'm  not supremely confident in my ability to get through the whole set. But whatever! We sit through two bands, which gives my throat some rest. When it's time to set up, we can't find my snare drum stand and assume that we've left it at my place. We borrow one from another band, who also lends a bass amplifier because the venue isn't equipped to allow direct input from the bass, which has historically been the norm. I make it through the set, and it's a good one. Though I announced my voice troubles, I'm told that it wasn't noticeable. We pack up and drop things off at my place, where we realise that the snare drum is still missing. We talk to the organiser and the other bands. We even drive back to the venue. No sign of it.

On Saturday, I can't really speak at all, which I expected before the show even started, and I go out to buy a  new snare stand. But I'm still probably ahead of the game because I didn't have to pay for those long Uber van rides. And  that drummer's a solid dude. Perhaps we'll jam again.

So yeah. Good times. And I mean that.


Bonus Question!

Best duke?



I Love You, Naomi

What is with  Naomi Novik? I remember having a fondness for "Uprooted", her take on the Beauty-Beast motif, but I don't really recall the specifics of that attraction. I recently learned that she put out a follow-up, "Spinning Silver", which takes loose inspiration from the Rumpelstiltskin tale. I put it on hold on my library app, and when it came up, I thought "Well, am I really going to like this? Did I really like the previous novel that much? Will it not be too dour? Maybe I can just read a chapter or two to be sure that it's  not for me before I move on the next thing on my list." But I couldn't stop. I don't really understand. It's as though I like it for no reason. But I do like it. I don't want to stop. The prose just flows into me.

Listen. I'm a guy who can enjoy a good glass of water. For years, it was the only thing I drank for six days of the week. Very recently, that's changed slightly because my trainer prescribed protein shakes. But water's still the main. However, I'm aware that this enjoyment is not universal. But still. You might think that you don't like water, and that might generally be accurate, but you're still capable of finding yourself in a situation where the need for hydration turns the dullest potation into pleasure. Then you're standing at the faucet for minutes on end and gulping down dihydrogen monoxide with glee. You might not be able to place the cause of your delight, but you feel it nonetheless.

This seems to be my experience with Naomi Novik's "Spinning Silver".

Bonus Question!

Rumpelstiltskin versus Beast!

Beast if he lands the first hit.

Feeling Fantastic

I just read the first actual Fantastic Four comic that Marvel's put out in ages. Apparently, it was released with consideration for an anniversary of their first appearance? Which made me think about the story I heard about Stan Lee's impetus to create the group.

He had this uncle or something who knew that Stan's comic business wasn't doing too well. Stan didn't think that he could keep going much longer. Mr Uncle-or-whatever comes and says "Hey, Stanley. Those DC dudes . . . " I'm probably paraphrasing. But.

"Those DC dudes are killing it with their Justice League mag. Whole team of heroes. That's what sells, m'boy. Making all the dusty dollar bills. Why don't you make one of those super teams?"

And he did. In a way. But the Justice League's popularity owed something to the prominence of the heroes that composed the team. It starred DC's greatest hits, who were already firmly established. By that point, some had been around for decades. Stan Lee's response, the Fantastic Four, were completely new. They weren't building on anything. But they still exploded. They basically built the foundation for the modern Marvel universe.

Today, people criticise DC for making a Justice League movie that hasn't earned its existence as Marvel's Avengers film did with years of solo movies for the team's major figures. It's the reverse situation. And the creation of the Fantastic Four belies those criticisms. It doesn't matter how you put the thing out there if what you put out there is good.

And that's an argument I won't take further around Justice League because my ability to objectively judge the quality of entertainment is firmly dubious. That's avowed.

But hey. I did like that movie.

Bonus Question!

Which Beatle would provide the best company for Ben Grimm?

My first instinct was George Harrison, but I think that Ringo's tastes would be more compatible with Ben's.

Last Week's Weirdness

Do you ever have one of those days where one of your guitarists is in Ireland and the other sprained his wrist on the day of your show, forcing you to play guitar onstage for the first time in ages instead of just singing and prancing around like a caffeinated rabbit? That was last week's show. And it turned out to be a pretty good one.

Also, the venue reminded me of some imagining of Miami in the 80s. The summer's evening sun helped with that. 


Bonus Question!

Best song about Miami?


I don't know if it's the best, but the first one I remember was Will Smith's. It was on some compilation album I had in third grade. 

An Untried Triad

I fought off the words that rose to my lips

Whenever I felt your embrace.

It felt strange to contain, but it spared all the pain

That the phrase would have brought to your face.

It's a sentence all know, but I kept it below,

For such things aren't accepted in haste.

It's the truth I believe, but it's not one received

Without risk of creating a waste.

I disguised it in song where it wouldn't go wrong.

It belonged far away from your eyes.

But all that's in the rear, and now there's no fear

To be clear where it wouldn't be wise.

The feeling's too vast to forget when it's passed,

But it's not to be said when it's new.

As the last bell has tolled for the memory I hold,

I can finally say it to you.

Copyright © 2011, Jaymes Buckman and David Aaron Cohen. All rights reserved. In a good way.