Tag Archives: the x-files

Reading With Shortcake: The Pop Culture Edition

As an avid reader, I wanted to share my love of reading with Shortcake as soon as possible.   Not only are there benefits for her brain development but it’s a special time to bond.

Some of my fondest memories growing up involve read with my parents.  My dad and I used to have a tradition of reading the Sunday comics together (the weekly Spider-Man comic strip was a favorite and the smell of coffee often brings back memories of those Sunday mornings) and my mom read several books onto cassette for me so I could listen to them over and over and over again.

goodnightmoonEarly childhood educators and experts recommend reading 1,000 books to your child before he or she starts kindergarten.  And while that can seem like a LOT of books, our local librarian reminded us that most kids have close to 2,000 days from the time they are born before they enter kindergarten (so you if you miss a day, you don’t have to get too stressed out about it).

She also said that you don’t have to read your child a 1,000 different books before kindergarten, just a thousand total books.  So when your young toddler demands that you read Goodnight Moon every night before he or she goes to sleep, each time you read it counts toward the total.

As a good father, I want to ensure not only that Shortcake reads 1,000 books before kindergarten but that she’s also exposed to some of the classics, including some of my favorite characters and universes from pop culture.  (In other words, I want to sow the seeds of geek-dom early and often).

Thankfully we live in a time when books that celebrate and expose little readers to some of their parents’ pop culture favorites are plentiful.  A few of my favorites include:

startrekoppostiesThe Star Trek Book of Opposites:   Taking images from the original (and still the best) Star Trek, this board book covers things like calm (with an image of Spock) and surprised (with an image of Captain Kirk holding up his hands with a surprised look on his face).  Clever and colorful, this book is designed not only to amuse young reader s but also to the people reading it to them.

Doctor Who Meets Mr. Men and Little Miss series:  This mash-up of Doctor Who and the Mr. Men books is delightful for young and old readers.  Currently there are books with the first, second, fourth and seventh through twelfth Doctor either on shelves or on the horizon.  And since Shortcake will sit up and turn her head toward any television set playing the Doctor Who theme, I imagine these will  be read a LOT in our house.

xfilesThe X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird:  While you may not want your kids to watch The X-Files just yet (it’s kind of dark and scary), you can introduce them to Fox Mulder and Dana Scully with this delightful book.  Young Fox and Dana are camping out in the backyard when they discover weird, wild, possibly alien stuff going on around them and being to investigate.  (If you’re such a nitpicker that you point out that Mulder and Scully never met as children, remind yourself this is just a children’s book and enjoy it.)  Great illustrations and a clever story with lots of homages to the series have made this one of Daddy’s favorite books to read to Shortcake.

DC Superhero Series:  Share your love of superheroes with your young one with these delightful board books, including the heroes and villains of the DC universe.  So far, we’ve only read My First Wonder Woman (which also provides the opportunity to feel things like Wonder Woman’s magic lasso!) but I have a feeling there will be more of these in our future.

Those are just a few of the books/series that I’ve discovered during the first year or so with Shortcake. I’m sure there are others that I’ve either forgotten or overlooked. But I’d love to hear what you recommend we read together on our journey to a thousand books.

 

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The X-Files: My Struggle II

mystruggle2.jpg

After last week’s installment of The X-Files, I was concerned that Chris Carter wouldn’t be able to stick the landing for this six-episode event series.

And that concern, unfortunately, was realized with the muddled mess that was “My Struggle II.”

Beginning things with a voice-over monologue by Scully of things we learned just five weeks ago is not a good sign.   Pile on the typical mythology trope of separating our two heroes for much of the episode and then wrapping it all up with little or no closure and a cliffhanger ending and you’ve got — well, you’ve got a mess that was the final few seasons of this show.

Watching the episode on my DVR, I kept pausing things, thinking — oh great, it’s going to run over and I didn’t pad the recording time enough so that I’ll see how this all winds up.  Except that Carter wasn’t really interested in giving us resolution so much as he was about trying to keep us on the edge of our seats, not give us any answers and then leave us wanting more.    Continue reading

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The X-Files: Babylon

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Nobody but the FBI’s most unwanted. I’ve been waiting 23 years to say that!

Ever since season three, it feels like Chris Carter has been trying to compete with Darin Morgan (and later to some extent Vince Gilligan) for the title of funniest X-Files writer.  And every time that Carter has tried to prove that he can be funny too, it feels like his episode goes over a bit like a lead balloon.

It’s not that Carter can’t find humor in things and that he hasn’t done some pretty interesting things to stretch himself a storyteller and film-maker, but I just have to think that going for the funny bone may not be exactly up his alley.

Watching “Babylon” I couldn’t help but think that this was an episode that was trying to on the one hand be funny, on other hand be an observation about our current world and political climate and on another hand, an attempt to set up a spin-off should the schedules of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson not coincide any time in the near future for an eleventh season of the show. Continue reading

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The X-Files: Home Again

homeagain

While a lot of the early success of The X-Files can be attributed to series creator Chris Carter, I’ve always felt that the real credit for fleshing out Scully as more than just the “skeptic” to Mulder’s believer came from the pen of Glen Morgan and James Wong.   Looking back on season one, it’s Morgan and Wong who really take the time to deepen Scully into something more than just the woman sent there to de-bunk Mulder’s work.

No where is that more evident in the first truly great Scully episode “Beyond the Sea.”

Interestingly, that’s one of the ten installments that Carter recommended fans visit again before the mini-series kicked off.

And while some fans may have been hoping that “Home Again” was a sequel to Morgan and Wong’s most infamous hour “Home,” I have to admit I was far more satisfied to see this one be a continuation of the character exploration of Scully that began all the way back in “Beyond the Sea” and served as the lynch-pin for the entire series run (even when it went completely bonkers in seasons eight and nine). Continue reading

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The X-Files: Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

weremonsterMulder, the Internet is not good for you.

When it was announced that Darin Morgan was part of the X-Files revival, my interest in the project was peaked.  All four of Morgan’s previous offerings for the show were among my favorites of the series with “Clyde Bruckeman’s Final Repose” ranking not only as my favorite hour of the show, but one of my favorite episodes of television ever.

But even as I was enthusiastic to see Morgan back on the show and had “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster” circled in my mind as the “must see” installment of the new season, I have to admit I felt a bit of apprehension.  I wondered if Morgan could return to the fold after a break of nearly twenty years and capture the magic again.

Thankfully, it only took the teaser on this week’s new installment to affirm that Morgan was back and that this episode could be something special. Continue reading

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The X-Files: My Struggle

mystruggle

When The X-Files finally closed thirteen years ago, I’ve got to admit part of me was a little relieved.  In the eighth and ninth season, the series had become a pale imitation of the series I loved and made appointment television for its first six to seven years.  The mythology had become so convoluted that I no longer looked forward to it and the stand-alones had become a bit weaker than we saw in the early days.

When news broke that Fox was going to revive the series, my first thought was — please, don’t let me it be as unmemorable as seasons eight and nine.   And the more I heard about who was being brought back for this six episode run, the more intrigued and, dare I say it, excited I became.  Maybe, just maybe this six-episode mini-series could channel the series at its best and find a way to send Mulder and Scully off with dignity and grace.

After watching the first installment of the mini-series, I have to admit the results are a bit mixed. Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Pusher, Teso Dos Bechos, Hell Money

xfiles pusher

Mulder: Modell psyched the guy out, he put the whammy on him!
Scully: Please explain to me the scientific nature of the Whammy.

Pusher

Vince Gilligan’s second episode of The X-Files is not only a superb monster-of-the-week story, but it can also be looked at as a rough draft for Breaking Bad.   There are elements of Walter White in Robert Patrick Modell — cancer, a “little” man who wants to be something more.   And both characters give us a quotable through line.  In Walter’s case it’s “I’m the one who knocks” and with Modell it’s “Cerulean blue.”

OK, so maybe I’m reading a bit too much into things and being overly analytical.  But I can’t help it because “Pusher” is one of my favorite “stand alone” episodes of the show.

Part of what makes the story work so well is the connection we see between Mulder and Modell. If Modell were just your average monster of the week, I’m not sure he’d be so memorable. The fact that he gets under Mulder’s skin so and takes such a personal interest in Mulder is what makes the episode work.  Modell is an ordinary guy who dreams of being something more — in this case, he wants to be a ninja warrior.   He wants respect, he wants power and he’s willing to put his own life on the line to do it.   Continue reading

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