Author Archives: JT
Over the course of the past year, I have been writing daily devotionals for my other blog, ConcerningJesus.com. These daily writings have been collected into a paperback book that can now be purchased on Amazon under the title Monday through Friday with People of Faith.
This is the second “daily devotional” book I have published. The first was Monday through Friday in the New Testament.
Each book contains 260 entries that can be read in a calendar year with corresponding Bible passages. I believe either of these books would make excellent gifts for loved ones during the holiday season.
As I write this, it’s just after 4 AM in my dinky little apartment. My living room is dimly lit with the glow of the scrolling credits of my most highly-anticipated show of 2021, scratch that, of the last ten years, no, scratch that too. Masters of the Universe: Revelation is quite possibly my most highly-anticipated show ever. In the twenty-some-odd years I’ve been on this planet I don’t think there’s ever been this much build-up to any entertainment property that I’m a fan of.
Sure, as a Star Wars fan, the road to The Force Awakens was magical. Regardless of your opinion of the film itself, or the sequels as a whole, that moment in the first trailer where the Millennium Falcon‘s theme plays as it rises into the frame was pure hype. The year leading up to that film’s release was unlike anything I’d experienced. I grew up on Star Wars, so seeing Han and Chewie come home in that second trailer was beyond cool. And then the film came out, and I remember the feeling that washed over me as I sat in that theater on opening night as John Williams’ theme began to play, and those familiar golden lines began to crawl: pure, unadulterated bliss.
Fast forward a few years, and I find myself in a strikingly similar position. In the same way that I grew up with He-Man, I grew up with Spider-Man and, on occasion, some of his amazing friends. While I never saw the first Avengers in theaters, I found myself engrossed in the story that Kevin Feige and his team decided to tell, starting with 2008’s Iron Man. From the next release, Iron Man 3, onwards I found myself in those uncomfortable theater chairs opening week for every film Marvel Studios put out. Through the ups and downs of phases two and three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I was enthralled by the interconnected story and converging plotlines that ultimately led to Endgame, the culmination of what would later be called the Infinity Saga. It was both a love letter to the characters who originated the universe and carried the central throughline, as well as a genuine love letter to the fans who had supported the franchise for the first 10 years.
After those two monumental experiences, I thought I’d probably had my fill. Nothing could top the excitement and joy I experienced for those two franchises I grew up on reaching the pinnacle of Hollywood magic. And I was almost right. There are very few things in the world of entertainment that I love more than Star Wars and Superheroes. In fact, there’s only one: Masters of the Universe. The brief descriptions above of how excited I was for The Force Awakens and Endgame cannot begin to describe how I felt when I first heard about Masters of the Universe: Revelation during Power-Con. I’m not gifted with the ability to string words together in any meaningful way to properly convey my love for this franchise. From the very first poster revealed at Power-Con, to the stellar voice cast announced later on, and finally to the teaser dropped about a month ago and the full trailer that aired in early July, the anticipation only grew. And now that the series, Part 1 at least, is finally here… does it live up to the hype?
If you’re looking for a one-word answer: no. And it pains me to say that, it really does. I so wanted this series to be everything that it was marketed as, everything that I dreamed of seeing Masters of the Universe become since I was old enough to say “By the Power of Grayskull” myself. But there’s so much more to that “no” than just my initial disappointment. Don’t take this paragraph to mean that the show isn’t enjoyable, or worth a watch. It is, in fact, both of those things. If you’re reading this to find out whether or not you should watch this show, the answer is YES you should. If you grew up on Filmation, the 1987 Theatrical movie, or the 2002 series, then Revelation is worth a watch. While I would love to outline what ultimately didn’t live up to expectations in my eyes, I can’t do that without spoiling some of the magic.
So here’s my plan: I’m going to recommend you watch the series at some point this week. If you love it, great! If you hate it, great! If you’re somewhere in-between, great! No matter where you stand, don’t judge the show based on this, or any, review. Don’t assume you know what it’s about because of all the rumors and allegations that have been flying around since the first trailer dropped. Just watch the show. Part 1 is five easily digestible 25-minute episodes, so over the next week, sit down and watch them. If you want to binge them as I did, go for it. If you want to come home from work Monday through Friday and watch one episode at a time, Filmation-style, that’s cool too. But whatever you do, don’t skip the show because it wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Watch it for yourself and form your own opinions. Next weekend, after you’ve seen the series for yourself, check back here for my spoiler-heavy deep dive into what I did and didn’t like about the series.
My name is Josh, a fan for eternity and forever a Knight of Grayskull. Until next time…
Fun Cards: Foo Fighters! 1995 Topps Dave Grohl, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel; 1997 Score Taylor Hawkins; 1999 Topps Chris Shiflett
Foo Fighters‘ 1995 debut album was groundbreaking. Not because it was radically sonically different; it was a rather straight-forward rock album. But the fact that Dave Grohl recorded the entire thing by himself for the most part, and so soon after the disbandment of Nirvana the year prior…honestly, Grohl is a musical genius. Nirvana didn’t deserve this man.
He is being inducted into the Rock Hall for the second time along with Foo-mates Pat Smear and Nate Mendel (who joined the band after the recording of the debut; both made their debut on 1997’s The Colour and the Shape), Taylor Hawkins (who sat down behind the skins in 1997, first appearing on 1999’s There Is Nothing Left to Lose), Chris Shiflett (additional guitarist since 1999, making his recording debut on 2002’s One By One), and Rami Jaffee (who came into the fold in 2017 on the Concrete and Gold album but won’t get a card because I’m not going to attempt a custom 2017 card).
I have no explanation for this one. I’m a horror movie fan and a baseball fan, and the fact that these two guys share the same name with only one letter difference (Max Schreck, Max Schrock), I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I had to do it. My sincerest apologies.
Do you like listening to podcasts? I listen to a bunch of religious podcasts, but there is one baseball program that has been in my regular podcast rotation for quite a while. I’m talking, of course, of the Baseball Beyond Batting Average Podcast. For the past two weeks, BBBA teamed up with another baseball podcast, Two Strike Noise, to cover the 1990 season. And yes, Two Strike Noise has now been added to my podcast subscriptions.
I say all that to present a “fun card” inspired by the American League segment (which aired on the TSN feed)…a 1990 Fleer “Super Star Special” featuring Junior Felix and Felix Jose. Of course, they are not Hall of Famers like Steve Carlton and Carlton Fisk, but it is a card that definitely should have been in the early 1990s.
If you’re not already a regular listener of Baseball Beyond Batting Average or Two Strike Noise, pull up your favorite podcatcher (I use Stitcher, but they are available on all the major podcast apps) and subscribe right now!
I discovered the show Pitch on Tubi TV over the weekend. In the fictional baseball show, Ginny Baker makes history by becoming the first female big leaguer, playing for the San Diego Padres. What surprised me most about the show is that I had never heard of it before (at least not to my memory). Ten episodes aired on Fox beginning in September 2016. Despite winning the Critics’ Choice TV Award for “Most Exciting New Series,” Pitch was canceled before it found its audience.
Yes, as a primetime television drama with a female lead, there was plenty of chick-flickish romance stuff, but it wasn’t overly schmaltzy. The baseball scenes were actually very well done, and the actors (well, most of them at least) looked like they could have actually been ballplayers. I haven’t finished watching the series yet, but based on the first five episodes, I recommend it with the standard caveats: too much language and too many sexual situations that could have been omitted or portrayed in a tell-don’t-show fashion. And even though I haven’t seen the final episode yet, I’m sure I will wish it lasted longer than a few short months.
The main character Ginny Baker is played by Kylie Bunbury (When They See Us, Big Sky). Supporting cast includes Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved By The Bell) as aging catcher Mike Lawson, Mo McRae (Sons of Anarchy) as center fielder Blip Sanders, and Christian Ochoa as Cuban defector Livan Duarte who is out for Lawson’s job. Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years) is manager Al Luongo. Off the field, Ali Larter (Heroes, Legally Blonde), plays Amelia Slater, Baker’s agent, Mark Consuelos (All My Children, Riverdale) plays general manager Oscar Arguella, and Meagan Holder plays Blip’s wife Evelyn.
Several broadcasters and ballplayers appear as themselves, including Colin Cowherd, C.J. Nitkowski, Matt Vasgersian, Joe Buck, John Smoltz, Eric Byrnes, Kristine Leahy, Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow, Ken Roesnthal, Chris Myers, Dontrelle Willis, Matt Carpenter, and Salvador Perez.