Thankful for November

From my childhood on into young adulthood, I did not much like November. I considered it a rather boring month. The political campaigning, which drew to a fever pitch in the first days of the month, did not impress me, and the weather, typically dreary and too often promising snow without delivering enough for skiing, depressed me. Veterans’ Day provided a little light break, typically involving me calling or giving a hug to the vets in my family. And then there was Thanksgiving- fun but a bit stressful at the same time, involving as it did a gathering of my large, loving, loud, and at times deafeningly dysfunctional family.

It seems strange to me that the Thanksgiving holidays from those years that I found most memorable were the ones in which something went wrong. The Thanksgiving we spent in Reno, Nevada, partaking of the buffet at Circus Circus is one example. Meaning no offense to any of the staff there, but that was the driest, most tasteless Thanksgiving dinner I ever had. Another was the year when I had Thanksgiving dinner with just my siblings and our pets. Since we were all broke, our church provided a turkey and a box full of trimmings. I baked up my first pumpkin pie, which turned out surprisingly well. My sister set it out to cool. Then my dog Blue discovered it, and by the time I caught her, she’d eaten half of it. That day, I learned courtesy of the veterinary emergency hotline how to pump a dog’s stomach.

The Thanksgiving dinner we had literally the night before my husband and I got married had all the ingredients for the worst Thanksgiving dinner ever. This time, we had my husband’s family contributing some decibels of dysfunction to our family gathering, and rather than cooking for the whole mob when we had a wedding the next day, we settled for another hotel buffet. Furthermore, both Barry and I had come down hard with colds. But the buffet at the Doubletree Inn by the Boise River was surprisingly good. Everyone got along great. We didn’t have any veterinary emergencies. And for the first time, Thanksgiving stood out in my mind not because of what went wrong, but simply because of what it was. For Barry and me, it was a celebration of what togetherness really means.

I love November now, and everything that comes with it.
I’m thankful for Election Day. I’ve stepped up my observances of Veterans’ Day. And I don’t even mind the weather any more.

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Spoilerific: A Review of Amazing X-Men 1

It’s all in the title of this post. If you want to avoid spoilers for the long-awaited inaugural issue of Amazing X-Men, read no further. And yes, you might want to continue avoiding the comic book forums. You likely already have been if you don’t already know the biggest spoiler.

Here goes.

Nightcrawler is back in action, and not just as a meager mutant superhero. He’s on to bigger and better things as a defender of Heaven itself.

Ever since April of 2010, when I decided I’d had it up to here with the Major Character Death used as a gimmick, I knew that- no matter what Tom Brevoort insisted- Nightcrawler would inevitably return. That’s just the way things are with licensed intellectual properties. I just was not sure if I should look forward to his return with eagerness or dread.

Would he come back full of religious angst over being yanked out of Heaven? Would he have been written as having experienced no afterlife, and return as a traumatized atheist? Would he go back to being fuzzy, blue, religiously themed wallpaper, or become just another one of a long, boring line of bitter antiheroes?

I almost hoped that he’d just show up, and someone, preferably Kitty Pryde, would say, “Kurt! You’re back!”

He’d reply, “Of course I’m back. I’m Catholic. I believe in that sort of thing. Furthermore, you’ve seen far too much of people returning from the dead to ever doubt I’d return.” He’d have words with Wolverine and Cyclops, go off and reform Excalibur or do something even more awesome, and nothing more would be said about it.

Jason Aaron so far has opted to do something completely different from- and probably better than- any of the aforementioned scenarios, making sure to at the very least deliver on the promise of keeping Kurt fun and adventurous.
This issue answered some questions, like about the bamfs- which, by the way, when drawn by Ed McGuinness are the cutest I’ve seen since Dave Cockrum pencilled the original alternate-dimension mini-crawlers. It also left me with more questions. How did the bamfs get to the Jean Grey School in the first place? How has Nightcrawler been able to enjoy a heavenly brewski if he’s done nothing but hang around the edge of Paradise pining for the life he left behind? And how did Firestar change clothes so quickly?

I’m sure we’ll get answers to all these questions except for the one about Firestar’s quick-change in the next four issues. And I’m happily looking forward to them all.

Maj. Gen. Frederick “Boots” Blesse, USAF

Maj. Gen. Blesse, drawn here by Clayton Murwin, talked about one of his most daring adventures for the Korean War project we’re Kickstarting. Sadly, he passed away before the book could go into print, but you can help make his legacy better known by contributing.