Saturday, September 26, 2009


No, not my favorite issue of "Green Lantern" but my daughter's age as of yesterday. Tonight she celebrates with friends while I sneak onto the computer to feebly update my blog for the first time in three weeks. Couldn't be helped; been too busy living that life that bloggers all too often are accused of not having....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It went rather well

If I do say so myself, my member reflection -- the reminiscence in the post below this one -- went rather well when I delivered it at church this morning. The minister, Rev. Howard Dana, liked it, and thought it complemented the sermon well. Which is what it's all about.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reflections on Work and Its Rewards

Every Sunday, the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg has a lay person assist the minister as a lay liturgist. That person is expected to provide a three-to-four minute reflection, usually on the topic of the day. It's my turn this Sunday, and the topic, appropriately enough for Labor Day, is "Work and Its Rewards." In lieu of a proper blog entry, here is my reflection, which has been taking up most of my writing time the last several days:

Good morning! My name is Tom Hayes. I’m a pledging member of this church and the Lay Liturgist for this morning’s service. Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve had a lot of different jobs over the years. Some of them were taken simply to pay the bills, like when I was a dishwasher for a chain restaurant. I’ll never forget when I was the only one to show up to work one Mother’s Day, and I put in 24 hours straight scrubbing roasting pans. Talk about your dishpan hands. But most of the time I’ve been pretty lucky in my work, doing something that I either wanted, or loved, to do.
When Megan and I first came to Harrisburg, it was because she had been accepted into a Family Medicine residency program here. I left a job at the Medical College of Virginia as one of the hospital librarians and came here with her, without a clue as to what I was going to do. Within two weeks of arriving here, I saw an ad in the paper from the York County Library System, which was looking for someone to manage a new literacy program they were running in the York City Schools. I had a background in library work, and prior to that, in children’s theater, and the job seemed to be right up my alley. I went down to York and had one of the best interviews I’ve ever experienced. I was hired the next day.
The program had two goals: the first, to put books into the hands of children who otherwise would not have books of their own, and the second, to encourage a family member to read aloud to that child. My job was to visit every classroom in all seven elementary schools, read to the kids, hand out books, and get the kids to get someone at home to sign a little certificate promising to read aloud at bedtime. Obviously, there were a lot of nuts and bolts involved in getting books, and scheduling, and so forth, but the best part of my job was reading to the kids. I tried to find books that were a little unusual, and funny; books that I could not only read, but perform. I remember that the kids were often surprised, and I think a little impressed, that I memorized the books before I came so that I could show the pictures while telling the story.
I remember one little boy in particular. Malik. Malik was always one of the most delightful and enthusiastic kindergartners I read to, but he never brought back his signed certificate. His teacher told me that although he was a gifted child and an avid reader, he also never brought home his free book; it stayed in his cubby at the school. The next time I was scheduled to read in his classroom, I stayed and talked to Malik and tried to find out why he didn’t want to be in the program when he obviously loved books so much. His teacher and I finally convinced him to take his book and his certificate home to be signed.
Two days later I had a visit from Malik’s father at the library. He was very upset and angry, and made it very clear that he wanted no part of the program. After I got him calmed down, I realized that Malik’s father himself was practically illiterate, and that he thought that the reading program was a book club that he would not be able to afford. He was furious with me for putting him in a position where he was forced to say “no” to his son. Again.
I was finally able to explain the program to Malik’s father. We ultimately got him enrolled in the adult literacy program. He did sign up Malik to be in the Read-Aloud Program, but with one difference known only to Malik, his dad, and me: At bedtime, Malik would read aloud to his dad.
Ultimately, the money for the program dried up, and the library transferred me to a different department where the work was far less interesting. Not much later I decided that I would feel much more fulfilled by staying at home with my young daughter and becoming a full-time homemaker. I was right; I absolutely love what I am doing with my life now! But If I accomplished nothing else in my time at the York library, I’m proud of how things turned out for Malik and his father. It’s one of the few times I was consciously able to bring our Seven Principles to my work. And I’d like to think that there are a few more kids with parents who are reading to them than there might otherwise have been, and I’m glad to have had a part in that, too. I guess sometimes the work really is its own reward.

Monday, August 31, 2009

More surgical goodness....

Again, not blogging because of post-surgical pain. I don't know whether it's early fall allergies or what, but I seem to be having these daily sneezing fits -- sets of a dozen or more big, full sneezes. That feel like they are tearing my guts apart. And I so want to wax ecstatic here about "Blackest Night" and how it's putting Green Lantern at the forefront of the entire DC Comics Universe.

Oh, well. The books aren't going anywhere, and neither am I.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So Much For Promises....

As I try to build myself back up from major surgery last June, I am astonished that I have so little time and energy to blog! I really wanted to make this a daily thing. I do try to write something every day, and have done so for years, but in a journal form rather than online. Old habits die hard, I guess. All I'll say for now is that I wish I could sleep, and that I wish I could turn everybody on to sequential art -- otherwise known as comics. "Blackest Night" is one of the most thought-provoking series of stories I have ever read, and I will be most interested in seeing what DC Comics continues to do with the idea of all of our dead coming back to, quite literally, haunt us. The thought of the corpse of my mother showing up to rip my heart out in order to further some unknown agenda is truly frightening, and DC's writers are capturing that fear beautifully. It's not too late to hit the local comics shop and get caught up, but if that doesn't suit you, start picking up the collected trade paperbacks when they come out. You will not be sorry.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Obviously, I've been away....

For those not in the know, this summer, for me, has been a summer from Hell. On June 15th I underwent surgery to repair an incisional hernia for the second time. I developed the hernia along the line of an incision from a surgery in the early '90's that became so badly infected that it caused damage to the abdominal wall. The repair for this surgery failed and I had to have it done again. The surgery took almost six hours. I expected a long and slow recovery, but nothing quite as slow as my experience this summer. Here it is the middle of August and I still feel like a bag of broken glass every time I sneeze. A CAT scan in July showed the development of a large seroma, a collection of fluid that was possibly putting pressure on the repair, and I went back to the hospital to have it drained. While I did experience some relief from this "tweaking" of the surgery, it was a lot less relief than I had hoped to get. I'm still pretty miserable a lot of the time, and I can't lift any more than a few pounds, nor can I expect to for quite some time yet. Sometimes, I have trouble even sitting at the keyboard without pain, all of which is why I haven't been checking in here for the past nine days. I hope to do better!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Not that anyone's reading....

Sorry to have been away for a few days. Not that anyone's reading. It's been a quiet week, what with little activity over at DC for "Blackest Night." I did come across a superb YouTube home-made trailer, though, over on my LCS website....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Just watched it again

I just watched "Green Lantern: First Flight" again, this time with my 16-year-old daughter. I actually got misty when at the end of the movie, she recited the Green Lantern oath along with all the Lanterns on Oa. "In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might beware my power -- Green Lantern's light."

Gets me every time.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Okay, why Green Lantern?

Why Green Lantern? I plan to go into this in more detail someday, but the short reason is, because to be Green Lantern, you just have to be the right guy. You don't have to come from another planet. Your parents don't have to be killed in front of you. You don't have to be born with genetic mutations, or irradiated, or be bitten by something that was irradiated. You just have to be the right guy. You have to have a strong will, and you have to be capable of overcoming great fear. If you have those qualities, and are honest, you too can be a Green Lantern.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Con exclusives

I'm just sick today over how much the San Diego Comic Con attendees are jacking up their prices on the convention exclusives. Jeez Louise. I know that you are entitled to a reward for making it to the con, but are those of us who are unable to travel supposed to pay for your entire con experience? Selling the Green Lantern "Blackest Night" exclusives for upwards of $70 apiece (or the set for $495) is unconscionable for something that cost you $20 in my humble opinion. Not to mention the fact that your scalper ass scored something only to resell it -- thus keeping it out of the hands of someone who really wanted it. Am I sorry that I will never own my hero, Hal Jordan, as a Red Lantern, or a Yellow or Blue or Orange Lantern? You bet I am. But I refuse to support the practice of scalping toys on eBay by throwing my money at these vampires. Just saying.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Green Lantern: First Flight -- a review

I really enjoyed this film! It's WB's first animated feature starring Green Lantern, and it did not disappoint. Yes, they changed the mythology somewhat from the original, but overall were quite true to the spirit. The origin story was just about perfect, apart from an unnecessary redesign of Abin Sur's look. Gil Kane's iconic costume design was left mostly intact, and the final battle was well done indeed! The voice acting was also right on, and pitch perfect under the direction of veteran DC character director Andrea Romano. (And since I bought it at Best Buy I also got a nifty little Green Lantern action figure!) A word of warning: it ain't for little kids. The PG-13 rating is pretty much right on, considering the level of violence and the occasional language lapse.

I hope that WB continues to produce these excellent animated adaptations of their classic stories and characters. Looks like the next one up is "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" and it also looks very, very good, with the classic characters voiced by the actors who originally did such a brilliant job as Superman, Batman and Luthor, namely Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, and Clancy Brown, respectively.

But that's in the future. "First Flight" is out there today -- go get it!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

First post

Seeing as tomorrow is the release day for "Green Lantern: First Flight," the first animated movie starring my favorite hero, I thought it might be the right time to start a blog. I expect few hits and less controversy, but you never know....

I consider myself a big fan of GL. This year I finally got a "proper" GL ring (Hal Jordan's) made of silver and sized to my giant hand. I was heartsick that surgery in June prevented me from going to this year's San Diego Comic Con so I could try to score a set of DC Direct's Hal Jordan as a Green / Red / Yellow / Blue / Orange Lantern. And a set of Mattel's "Origins of Green Lantern" animated-style figures of Hal Jordan, Sinestro and Abin Sur. And a ... well, you get the idea.

So if you stumble across this place, and have any comments, or suggestions, or a spare set of figures from SDCC, please share them with me!