Whoa! I’ve heard of companies going to high uncharacteristic extremes to help offset the effects of the ongoing economic downturn, but this is truly shocking. Taking a page out of competitor WestJet’s playbook, Air Canada, this country’s biggest airline and flag carrier, is adopting a more customer-friendly approach. In the words of one Air Canada official, the new company CEO “wants to reverse customer-unfriendly policies that have been instituted over the last few years” (Brent Jang – “Air Canada goes soft, woos travellers with pillows, pets” – Report on Business – May 8, 2009). Weird. Next thing you know, Iran will be abandoning its nuclear ambitions and Kim John Il will be hosting meet ‘n greet potlucks with his southern neighbors! According to the Report on Business article, there are plans in place to, among other things, “pare some extra fees and bring back pillows and blankets.” More importantly, so far as I and many pet owners are concerned, it’s looking to ease its restrictions on in-cabin pet travel, letting “dogs, cats, rabbits and birds back in the cabin, as long as the weight of the container and pet is less than 10 kilograms and fits under the seat in front of the pet owner”. Yeah, good – but they can do better. How? Well, how about dropping the restrictions on in-cabin pet travel entirely, losing the weight restrictions, but charging a premium? I know a lot of pet owners who would sooner skip a trip than submit their pets to the horrors of traveling cargo. So why not tap into this potentially lucrative market and offer seat sales to animals? What the hell difference would it make whether they’re on the seat or under it, so long as they’re firmly secured? It doesn’t take a brainiac to figure out that selling a couple of tickets to a Lhasa Apso and her live-in companion Dalmation is preferable to allowing those seats to fly empty. Just something for the gang at Air Canada to consider as it works to, in the words of another article that appeared on Reuters today, “avoid filing for bankruptcy protection, a move that analysts had speculated the country’s largest airline would need as it faces a raft of challenges.” (“Air Canada says aims to avoid bankruptcy filing” – May 8, 2009 – Reuters: Business and Finance). Honestly, nicer blankets and fluffier pillows are only gonna get you so far.
So, hey, I’ve almost made my way through the 100+ comic book titles I picked up at my local shop as I continue to drop the many that failed to hold my interest, and make mention of the ones that did…
Ghost Rider #31-32 – Writer: Jason Aaron, Artists: Tang Eng Huat and Roland Boschi
Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here. Something to do with devils who turn out to be angels and the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Ghost Rider was never among my favorite of comic book characters. In truth, he ranked among my least favorite. And while this book hasn’t exactly won me over, it’s proven entertaining enough to keep me around for now. A lot of it has to do with writer Jason Aaron who is looking like THE hot new up-and-comer.
Secret Six #6-8 – Writer: Gail Simone, Artists: Nicola Scott and Carlos Rodriguez
In much the same way that Aaron made the usually unpalatable Ghost Rider a bit of a treat, writer Gail Simone made Wonder Woman intriguing. Imagine what she does with characters I actually like! Well, no need to imagine. Just pick up Secret Six a book that, like Dark Avengers and Thunderbolts, focuses on a team of villainous mercenaries. What truly distinguishes this title, however, is fully on display in issue #8 which delves into the oddball personalities, quirky relationships, and team dynamics in an off-beat story involving an awkward double-date, affairs of the heart, and revenge. Love it.
Ultimatum #1-4 – Writer: Jeph Loeb, Artist: David Finch
Sorry. I’m not really up on the seemingly endless parallel realities that seem to typify most comic book universes but it’s fairly apparent that this limited series takes place in one of those alternate Earths, I believe fans refer to it as the Ultimate Universe? Anyway, great art and a terrific script make for an alternately gripping and horrifying ride in a story that sees New York inundated by a tidal wave, killing millions, including several A-list superheroes. The remaining scramble to help the survivors, then set their sights on the individual responsible for this disaster of biblical proportions: Magneto
Unknown Soldier #1-8 – Writer: Joshua Dysart, Artist: Alberto Ponticelli
Those who think comics are for kids should really check out this title, a shocking and sobering account of the ongoing upheavel in Uganda as seen through the eyes of the Unknown Soldier, a pacifist and doctor who is violently thrust into the heart of the conflict during its height in 2002. An impressive and well-researched series that does a better job of depicting the brutality and senselessness of war than anything that has come out of Hollywood in recent memory.
Today’s entry is dedicated to Shiningwit.
AussieSGFan writes: “I’m sorry to hear about Jelly. It’s not too bad, is it?”
Answer: Hey, thanks for asking. I got the call early this morning that a spot had opened up, so I rushed her to the vet today for her ultrasound. Apparently, she has mild endiocarditis (sic?), something not uncommon in older dogs. The vet suggested we keep an eye on her and continue testing over the next couple of weeks. “Poor girl!”said Fondy when I told her. “Now she’s going to have to take it easy.” I pointed out that it’s going to be tough for Jelly to take it anymore easy than she has been…
Morticae writes: “I like your Buddha statue. Does it bring you good luck?”
Answer: No doubt. Look at all the fantastic regulars who frequent this blog.
Mishmee writes: “I’m confused, if you are on Hiatus, why are they filming in NM?”
Answer: The local crew and the production offices are on hiatus because the show is shooting in New Mexico for the week.
Mishmee also writes: “Scripts have some information regarding setting and props. How do you communicate the details?”
Answer: At the script stage, we try to offer a detailed description of what we envision, ie. “Scott puts on an auburn wig with long, flowing tresses, takes the stage, and starts singing I Will Survive.”. Then, during prep week, the producer will get together with the show’s prop master to discuss, look over, and decide on the auburn wigs with long, flowing tresses available.
Mishmee also writes: “Do you have a separate document with the information for set design and wardrobe and prop people? If so, who writes it and what would it look like? And what do you call it?”
Answer: The writers/producers don’t have a separate document, but the props department certainly keeps a list of the specific props required for each episode. I’m not exactly sure what they call it, but my guess is a Wozzledy-Goggleboo.
Paloosa writes: “Are Lulu’s & Brie’s ears naturally straight?”
Suziesbluefeather writes: “Hey Joe does it make you a bad person if you go on 2 dates in one day with different people?”
Answer: Only if you make them go to the same movie knowing the second time around that it was crap.
Fsmn36 writes: “Hey, Joe! Got to see Star Trek tonight and I totally let out a little fan squeal for Paul’s cameo. Will you be checking it out, or is it another wait-and-rent-it for you?”
Answer: I’ll wait for the Eberts at the office to weigh in with their opinions, then possibly pick up the DVD down the line.
Nadine writes: “Do you take more pics of the dogs, or of Stargate/food-related stuff?”
Answer: I definitely take more Stargate pics, but I post much more dog and food-related photos simply because the approval process is a lot less strict.
Mackenzie’s Momma writes: “Okay I have to pipe up on the Dogs and chocolate thing. I recently took a pet first aid class through my veterinarian’s office and was informed that while YES chocolate is deadly that it takes far more than people think to kill a dog.”
Answer: Sure, but tell that to Bubba who ate a bag of milk chocolate-covered almonds and suffered explosive diarrhea for the better part of two days.
Luis writes: “Have you heard from Gero in the Big Apple???? hows he doing ???”
Answer: I spoke to Martin the day after my chocolate party. He seems to be doing very well. And very busy apparently as he’s failed to respond to any of my emails. Well, busy or kidnapped without access to his iPhone.
PG15 writes: “Congratulations on a successful Comic Book pitch! Still, what does this mean with regards to Stargate? Are you guys going to leave it when this thing takes off?”
Answer: Even if the comic book series was a spectacular success, I highly doubt it would prove as lucrative as our positions with the Stargate franchise. Let’s just say we’re not giving up our day jobs.
JoanieC writes: “Hi Paul,
A SGA question please:- Right from the pilot Shep was the natural ATA gene carrier. If a 2nd movie is made is there any chance he might meet an “ancient” relative?”
Answer: Interesting you should ask that question because in the Atlantis movie Sheppard does…uh, wait a sec. Who’s Paul?
Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “Re: BOTM. Any chance of FF2 with Lou Anders?”
Answer: Not FF2 as I already read it, but certainly any of Lou’s forthcoming anthologies would be worthy candidates.
JimFromJersey writes: “So Joe, spill on Brie! Are you babysitting? Thinking about welcoming a new member to the family? Having um…doggie play-dates? What’s the scoop on that adorable little pooch?”
Answer: Let’s just say she visits a lot.
Robin writes: “Sounds like you’re going to be a busy boy this year, Joe. What’s the matter? Do you miss the non-stop excitement of being a showrunner and have to fill up your newly acquired free time with other projects? Or are you just having fun stretching your non-Stargate-related wings?”
Answer: The latter. Being less involved in the production’s day to day operations has allowed me the freedom to pursue some other projects – like the short story and the comic book series.
AVEddy writes: “ If you were going to be graphically represented as a dog, and your choices were a pug or a French bulldog, which one would you choose?”
Answer: I’d have to go with the far lazier, food-loving pug.
acting chick writes: “I have two friends who are not into scifi at all, but they read your blog for the dog pictures and stories. They started talking about Brie the other day, and I’m like, what are you talking about? I’ve been very busy lately (I’m going to acting school) and I haven’t been keeping up with your blog as much as I’d like, and they got on my case because I wasn’t reading your blog.”
Answer: They were right to do so. Thank them for me.
Major D. Davis writes: “Now that we have a entry with doggy pictures, can we get a entry with SGU pictures?”
Answer: Would love to, but thinks have reached a bit of an impasse with the High Council of Official Approvers.
Chevron7 writes: “1. Which character is the most resourceful, quick thinking?
2. Is there one particular threat, not necessarily an enemy, that hangs over their heads throughout the season?”
Answers: 1. I think they’re all fairly resourceful in their own ways – although certainly Rush is more likely to consider options the others might dismiss.
2. There’ll be plenty of threats hanging over their heads, from without and within.
Toby writes: “p.s. it’s my 21’st birthday today (Friday)”
Answer: Remind me next week and I’ll drop you a blog dedication.