An Autumn Sonnet for Your Saturday.

Good morning everyone, happy first day of Fall. This time of year is my favorite and not just because I’m basic and Starbucks changes their menu. I love the cooling temperatures and the harvest moon. I love the colors and getting to wear a favorite hoodie.

Today is also a good day to get some Shakespeare in. As are most days. We can guess Shakespeare’s Birthday to April 1564. We know he was baptized on April 26th according to church records. There is lots we don’t know before we get to his acting and playwright days. However in some lost years of his youth, we know young William Shakespeare was a poet and produced a quantity of poems or Sonnets. Today I share one for the start of my favorite season.

Sonnet 73: That time of year thou mayst in me behold

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Have a great weekend and keep up to date with Mid-American-Culture!

Gaming with a Baby.

Hey everyone, I’m a father of 3 great kids, I’m also a Grandpa. I told my son when he had his daughter that those early months were great for getting some serious gaming going on. You’re up at odd hours, plus your partner is usually sleeping while you’re awake. The new baby is just gonna lay in a cradle so you can plop down beside him/ her and game on. Here’s a list of games I’ve really gotten into during my youngest daughter’s first 9 months.

1. Halo:Reach

I got back into Reach the week my youngest was home from the hospital. I didn’t have too many games and it was a classic that was good to jump back in. There were even people playing Multiplayer after nearly 10 years! I also really discovered the massive trend of YouTubers doing Halo videos. Halo Follower and Uber Nick are my faves.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

I was a huge Castlevania fan in my youth. I spent as much time on the seemingly impossible Castlevania II Simon’s Quest as I did any other game. SOTN was released when I turned 20 on a console I didn’t have so I didn’t get much experience with it. However, I made up for lost time this past winter when I bought the game from the X-box Live store. I’ve gotten to the end but haven’t beat Richter yet. Plus I don’t have those damn rings. My little Lily just slept away as I battled my way through Dracula’s Castle.

Halo 5: Guardians

Yeah I’m a huge Halo fan and yes the campaign for five did suck mostly, but the Multiplayer is fantastic and much supported years out from it’s release. Lily drifted a sleep to many a super fiesta battle. She even got a Master Chief quote onsie.

My first new game of my young daughter’s life was Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. They had a season 1 ending event in which Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell was crossing over and I had to get on board. Wildlands was a super fun game and I beat the campaign with a 100% however, I haven’t killed the Predator yet. Yeah the actual Predator is in this game. It’s wild. I had over 50 hours in this campaign. Lots of Friday nights when my wife would need some sleep and Lily would snooze out beside me on the couch.

After Wildlands I tried to stay in that gaming high and after this year’s E3 event I got the Devil May Cry games and The Division, as well as revisited the first Gears of War game, however my newest gaming buddy has become mobile so it’s harder to play, hell The Division won’t even let you pause in a firefight.

Hope you enjoyed this trip down my year in having a newborn and gaming and keep up with Mid-American-Culture for fresh content daily.

Currently Reading and Enjoying….Damage!

So DC Comcs launched a new set of comics following their last big crossover event called Dark Metal. Well it was Batman driven and I’m not a big fan of the Dark Knight, but a new initiative introducing new characters and their various series spun out of it. My favorite of these is Damage.

The story and gimmick of Damage is a super soldier turned monster. I know it’s borrowed heavy from Captain America and the Incredible Hulk. The series throws a gimmick that Ethan Avery, the soldier that became Damage, can only become him for one hour every 24 hours. As the action unfolds through the comic we get a counter in panel.

Avery and Damage are portrayed as two separate consciousnesses that can communicate with each other. The dynamic has unfolded since issue one and develops more each issue. The action in the series really sets it apart from everything else. The action and pacing is fantastic and a big drawl. In just 7 issues Damage has taken down the Suicide Squad, fought Wonder Woman and had a huge fight in New Orleans with Poison Ivy and Swamp Thing.

The hero initiative began by DC Comics back in the early Spring of this year hasn’t fared particularly well sales numbers wise. The Immortal Men has already been marked for cancellation. I don’t feel DC has particularly advertised the line very well and has lacked overall support. Damage sold 17,000 plus copies in June, not setting the world on fire but the ax hasn’t swung yet. Hopefully positive word of mouth will get more people to give the series a try, I really like it. It’s the only series I’m up to date on at this point.

Well have a great weekend and stick with Mid American Culture for fresh content daily.

Like a Fenix

I really feel like this year’s E 3 convention was one of the best in recent memory. We got some long awaited news on Halo 6 and the next Tomb Raider. Fallout 76 and the Division 2 were also highlights. Another great looking game was Gears of War 5. I played the original back in 2006, I almost beat it but didn’t quite get there. I also never got around to playing the sequels. Halo 3 came out and I went to finish my bachelor’s degree and never came back for the continuing adventures of Delta Squad.

Well after seeing that trailer for Gears 5 I’ve bought the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. I got it super cheap with X-box Live Gold and it’s an absolute blast. What a terrific game this was and is. The Unreal Engine still holds up incredibly well.

I was surprised at how fast you get drawn into this game, even having played it before. The art design of the creepy post Grub world and the fantastic voice cast including Joe DiMaggio of Futurama and Adventure Time fame as main protagonist, Marcus Fenix.

I’m really enjoying this remaster and looking forward to the rest of the series. If you haven’t played Gears in a while or never at all I highly recommend picking up the Ultimate Edition of the first game and all the games are backwards compatible on the X-box One. Happy weekend and happy gaming and please keep checking out Mid-American Culture, your views and likes really power us through for fresh content daily.

Epic Barbecue at Lucius Q’s

Good morning everyone, I’m wrapping up Mid-American-Culture’s restaurant reviews with a great place I just got to try last Saturday. Lucius Q’s is a crazy good barbecue joint in Cincinnati. I was a huge fan of the local indie station WNKU and after it’s closing, station manager Aaron Sharp partnered up to create Lucius Q’s restaurant. Named like Cincinnati itself after Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus a Roman Senator.

You can view the menu at luciusq.com I had the Pendleton Porker Sandwich. Also the corn muffins are epic!

My wife had the baked beans and they were honestly the best I’ve ever had. You have plenty of options on sauces, the Pendleton came with Queen City Gold and I loved it. The staff was very nice and helpful for us first time patrons. The interior was old school with touches of modern industrial.

Most of the menu is locally sourced and they’ve just recently started a barbecue brunch. Which I would’ve for sure tried out this weekend if it wasn’t a 3 hour drive. Also, as a heads up it’s a little tricky with a baby, we regretted not bringing the stroller in with us. Oh and my eldest daughter is a super picky eater and she swears by the mac and cheese. I even got the t-shirt!

Lucius Q is a great little joint in city that was once known as Porkopolis for it’s massive pork production. Tasty tasty barbecue. Have a great weekend and hope you get to enjoy the list of restaurants we reviewed this week.

Farewell Steve Ditko

Hello everyone, it was discovered by the world at large yesterday that comic icon Steve Ditko has passed away. Ditko left his mark on the world as the co-creator of Marvel Comics Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. He designed both characters and came up with the rogues gallery for much of Spidey’s main villians including Green Goblin, the Lizard, and Doctor Strange’s Dormammu.

He drew the Amazing Spider-Man for 6 years and left over a falling out with Stan Lee.

He went to Carlton Comics where his main contribution was the Blue Beetle and the Question who would be a major influence on Alan Moore when he created Rorschach of the Watchman.

Ditko would work a bit for DC Comics in the 1980s before comic back to Marvel in the 90’s and creating Squirrel-Girl.

Ditko was a famous recluse compared to author JD Salinger. He continued working and self publishing up until his death. He was also an avid blogger. He will be greatly missed, but his creations will live on forever. Thanks for the work and effort Mr. Ditko

What You Took In

Trapped with no way out.
Think, plan, and figure.
Sometimes you awaken and the walls seem…closer.
Made it out before.
Always ending up back in the dark.
The dust floats through the air,
I wish I could telepathically send it for help.
Half a lifetime walled away.
I don’t wanna die here, like this.
All you have is what you took in.

A Bat-Alternate to God Level Batman.

Hello friends! I’m back with more geeky goodness and today I want to make the case for Batgirl, the Barbara Gordon one being a more enjoyable character the Batman, the Bruce Wayne one. DC Comics, a subsidy of Warner Bros., which I guess is also a subsidy of AT&T now loves Batman. Loves him! Lives for him! He’s in like 113 fucking books a month. He’s getting married, he’s in space, he’s fighting the joker, I think he might also be the Joker. His comic activity is padded with some feature films and dozens of cartoons. Plus he sells lots of t-shirts and bookbags, and what about car stickers? Tons of car stickers because everyone with a black mustang assumes it’s the Batmobile.

However to me Batman is boring. People complain that Superman is overpowered. They aren’t even talking about Golden Age Superman who could move planets. They just mean the modern one that can catch a plane or stop a tank is overpowered. Everyone loves Batman because he’s “just a human” or “he’s like us.” How do you figure? He may have started out as a guy who was Sherlock Holmes with bat ears, but now he has the ability to take down gods. He has defeated Darkseid, Superman, and even the freaking Predator.

It’s ridiculous but DC has made Batman their icon. I mean he should be an icon and obviously is, but I’m in the minority when I tell you the character is boring and totally unrelatable. People complain about Superman? An all powerful alien? Well yeah raised by working stiffs Jon and Martha Kent. Plus Superman earns a living working for a major newspaper, which is kinda hard to believe in 2018, but you get the point. Batman is a know it all billionaire that has the most bad ass weapons of all time and can’t be stopped by anything. At least Supes had kryptonite.

You know a Bat character that rocks? It’s Barbara Gordon Batgirl.

She’s a icon in her own right. She was a mainstay of the DC Universe before a bullet shattered her backbone in the 1980’s. Barbara would for years work behind the scenes from her wheel chair as the Oracle guiding Gotham’s heroes. Best I can figure Barbara was confined to a wheelchair for 3 years in her time but in our world a generation grew up with the Oracle not Batgirl as their hero.

Batman famously had his back broken in the 1993 story Knightfall. Steroidal villian Bane just snapped his back over his knee.

Both Bruce Wayne and Barbara Gordon would eventually regain the use of their legs Bruce took about 4 months and was healed by a extra energy fallout from his kinda girlfriend/traveling doctor Shonda Kinsolving. Extra telekinetic energy. WTF ever.

As I already mentioned Barbara would be wheelchair bound for around 3 years and would have nanobot surgery in South Africa after volunteering for the risky procedure.

Barbara just seemed to earn hers more than Bruce, which is essentially my whole point. Batman can do anything, have anything, and take down anyone.

Batgirl is written like a Silver Age Marvel character mainly in the sense that they could exist in the real world.

While Batman is hanging in his giant underground layer or on the fucking moon, Barbara is attending college and actually shown to be learning things, at her apartment with a roommate, or maybe just a coffee shop like real folks do. She even has to deal with gentrification when her favorite coffee shop is bought out.

Im just saying Batman is probably the most popular comic book character on the planet and I think Batgirl is better. Maybe I’m wrong and feel free to let me know on the comments below or on Twitter @M_American_ or @mikeburns77.

I know Bruce.

Cherrylog Road

This post I wanted to share another of my favorite poems, Cherrylog Road by James L. Dickey.

Dickey was born in Buckhead, Georgia in 1923. He would attend Clemson University before joining the U.S. effort in WWII. He served as a Night Fighter in an air squadron in the Pacific Theater and flew over 100 combat missions. After the war he spent time continuing his education and taught and lectured for awhile. He eventually decided, in his words to “Chase the buck,” and he began to work as a writer in advertising. He would return to more personal writing and would publish his first collection of poetry in n 1960 called Into the Stone, and other writings. He would become a national poet Laurette in 1966 and publish his acclaimed novel Deliverance in 1970. He would even have a cameo in the Burt Reynolds starring film adaptation.

Dickey’s writing is known for a sense of primitivism that he envokes even as modern man would like to escape from it. He often in his writing inhabits animals and gives us nature’s perspective. He liked to blur the lines of reality and the dream world and often base human desire.

In the poem Cherrylog Road a young man has parked his bike in a junkyard and is awaiting his girlfriend to come along for a make out session in an abandoned and decrepit auto. While he waits he gathers up some parts for girl to show her dad as an excuse to go in the first place. I love this poem, hope you enjoy it as well. Keep up to date with Mid-American-Culture and follow us on Twitter for fresh content daily and I leave you on Cherrylog Road.

Cherrylog Road

Off Highway 106
At Cherrylog Road I entered
The ’34 Ford without wheels,
Smothered in kudzu,
With a seat pulled out to run
Corn whiskey down from the hills,
And then from the other side
Crept into an Essex
With a rumble seat of red leather
And then out again, aboard
A blue Chevrolet, releasing
The rust from its other color,
Reared up on three building blocks.
None had the same body heat;
I changed with them inward, toward
The weedy heart of the junkyard,
For I knew that Doris Holbrook
Would escape from her father at noon
And would come from the farm
To seek parts owned by the sun
Among the abandoned chassis,
Sitting in each in turn
As I did, leaning forward
As in a wild stock-car race
In the parking lot of the dead.
Time after time, I climbed in
And out the other side, like
An envoy or movie star
Met at the station by crickets.
A radiator cap raised its head,
Become a real toad or a kingsnake
As I neared the hub of the yard,
Passing through many states,
Many lives, to reach
Some grandmother’s long Pierce-Arrow
Sending platters of blindness forth
From its nickel hubcaps
And spilling its tender upholstery
On sleepy roaches,
The glass panel in between
Lady and colored driver
Not all the way broken out,
The back-seat phone
Still on its hook.
I got in as though to exclaim,
“Let us go to the orphan asylum,
John; I have some old toys
For children who say their prayers.”
I popped with sweat as I thought
I heard Doris Holbrook scrape
Like a mouse in the southern-state sun
That was eating the paint in blisters
From a hundred car tops and hoods.
She was tapping like code,
Loosening the screws,
Carrying off headlights,
Sparkplugs, bumpers,
Cracked mirrors and gear-knobs,
Getting ready, already,
To go back with something to show
Other than her lips’ new trembling
I would hold to me soon, soon,
Where I sat in the ripped back seat
Talking over the interphone,
Praying for Doris Holbrook
To come from her father’s farm
And to get back there
With no trace of me on her face
To be seen by her red-haired father
Who would change, in the squalling barn,
Her back’s pale skin with a strop,
Then lay for me
In a bootlegger’s roasting car
With a string-triggered I2-gauge shotgun
To blast the breath from the air.
Not cut by the jagged windshields,
Through the acres of wrecks she came
With a wrench in her hand,
Through dust where the blacksnake dies
Of boredom, and the beetle knows
The compost has no more life.
Someone outside would have seen
The oldest car’s door inexplicably
Close from within:
I held her and held her and held her,
Convoyed at terrific speed
By the stalled, dreaming traffic around us,
So the blacksnake, stiff
With inaction, curved back
Into life, and hunted the mouse
With deadly overexcitement,
The beetles reclaimed their field
As we clung, glued together,
With the hooks of the seat springs
Working through to catch us red-handed
Amidst the gray breathless batting
That burst from the seat at our backs.
We left by separate doors
Into the changed, other bodies
Of cars, she down Cherrylog Road
And I to my motorcycle
Parked like the soul of the junkyard
Restored, a bicycle fleshed
With power, and tore off
Up Highway 106, continually
Drunk on the wind in my mouth,
Wringing the handlebar for speed,
Wild to be wreckage forever.

In Times of Trouble: Great Books When You Are Down

Hello everyone, yesterday the terrible news came out that celebrity chef and tv host Anthony Bourdain had passed away. It was only a few weeks ago I was writing about Frightened Rabbit’s lead singer Scott Hutchinson who had also passed away under duress. I’m immensely saddened by the loss of these people who came into our lives and shared a bit of themselves with us. The world can be hard and hurtful at times. Politics are a mess and people seem to be at each other’s throats over the most basic things. When the world seems extra heavy, there are a few good reads I like to take a time out with that always seem to brighten my mood and I’ll share them with you now.

Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut is the tale of a 71year old painter, named Rabo Karabekian living in a 19 bedroom home he inherited from his late wife. He lets a writer move in named Circe, who actually writes under a pen name and is quit famous and successful. She eventually convinces Rabo to write an autobiography detailing his long and eventful life. The book is full of funny and heartbreaking stories from the streets of San Francisco as a young immigrant boy, to the European theater of World War II. It ends up as a lifting tale that I believe ranks with Vonnegut’s best work.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris is one of my all time favorite books. Sedaris is a humorist and essayist whom I was lucky enough to go to a reading in Dayton, Ohio when my wife bought me tickets for my 40th birthday. Sedaris signed a book for me and asked about my grandfather’s watch I was wearing. He added it into his signature in my book.

The book is chocked full of hilarious observations that start out pretty funny, but Sedaris can flip on a dime and it can be quite poignant as well. His stories often revolve around his middle class up bring in North Carolina or his hitchhiking across the country. His funniest stuff comes from a lot of the crap jobs he had while living in Chicago and New York, plus his endless, but charming quibbles with his boyfriend Hugh. However in this book the last 1/3 is dedicated to his battle to quit smoking and moving to Japan for 3months to accomplish it. I also have this book on audio, read by the author and I’ve listened to it numerous times. It’s a great companion on long drives by yourself.

If you’ve seen any of my other posts on Mid-American-Culture you may have read a couple of the Robert Frost posts I’ve done. He’s hands down my favorite poet and when the world has beaten me down, I’ll often settle down with a book of his poetry and be taken away to days on the farm around New England, or walking along the old stone wall. Here’s his poem After Apple Picking;

After Apple-Picking

BY ROBERT FROST

My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree

Toward heaven still,

And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill

Beside it, and there may be two or three

Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.

But I am done with apple-picking now.

Essence of winter sleep is on the night,

The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.

I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight

I got from looking through a pane of glass

I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough

And held against the world of hoary grass.

It melted, and I let it fall and break.

But I was well

Upon my way to sleep before it fell,

And I could tell

What form my dreaming was about to take.

Magnified apples appear and disappear,

Stem end and blossom end,

And every fleck of russet showing clear.

My instep arch not only keeps the ache,

It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.

I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin

The rumbling sound

Of load on load of apples coming in.

For I have had too much

Of apple-picking: I am overtired

Of the great harvest I myself desired.

There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,

Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.

For all

That struck the earth,

No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,

Went surely to the cider-apple heap

As of no worth.

One can see what will trouble

This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.

Were he not gone,

The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his

Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,

Or just some human sleep.

Lastly Matt Fraction and David Aja had a spectacular run on Marvel’s Hawkeye where the title character and his alter ego Clint Barton battled countless Russian mob members and his own brand of depression. He reconnects with his brother Barney and has some help with his side kick Kate Bishop, AKA the other Hawkeye. Fraction delivers a tour de force character arc here and David Aja’s minimalist art is brilliant. I recommend this comic series to everyone I meet and I’ll suggest it to you as well. It’s always a great place to return too.

So there you go. Some great reads to dive into and get away from it all. But also, call your mom. Talk to your dad. Check on your friends, it’s a cold world sometimes and we could all use a hand. Don’t be ashamed of needing that hand. Someone can help you today and you return the favor tomorrow. It may sound cheesy but it works. Of course if you can’t find anyone else and you’ve reached your breaking point please call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800- 273-8255. Take care everyone and keep up to date with more Mid-American-Culture.