Monday, April 16, 2018

The History of the Avengers

My kids are looking forward to seeing Avengers: Infinity War and I am too! I've lost track of all the Avengers movies that have been released and I haven't seen them all, but I would like to better understand the history of the series.  Here's what I found at Desertnews.com:
In order to help get you started on your Avengers history, here is a brief introduction to the Avengers comics and some of the important changes that have taken place in the team over the past 50 years.
The Avengers were first assembled late in 1963. In the previous two decades, superhero comics had fallen out of favor with audiences, being replaced instead by Westerns, horror, sci-fi and World War II series (including one of particular significance to the Avengers titled “Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos”).

In 1960, though, rival publisher DC had found huge success with an all-star superhero group called “Justice League of America” — a book that featured the combined selling power of pre-World War II icons Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. The Fantastic Four and the Avengers were created as Marvel’s responses to DC’s superhero revival.
The original lineup of the Avengers, though, was a hodgepodge of recent characters co-created by the legendary duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (and in some cases, Lee’s brother, Larry Lieber).
Issue No. 1 might sound a little familiar to anyone who has seen the new movie. The disenfranchised Loki plots revenge on his brother Thor, but this time by tricking the hammer-wielding demigod into battling the Hulk. Thanks to the fortuitous appearances of Iron Man, Wasp and Ant-Man, Loki is defeated, and after the dust settles, the five heroes decide to band together and call themselves, at Wasp’s suggestion, “something colorful and dramatic, like … the Avengers!”

Notably absent in all of this, however, is the star-spangled super soldier himself. Although Captain America has become the heart and soul of the Avengers more than any other character, he didn’t actually make an appearance until issue No. 4, when the existing team (minus the Hulk, who had already left for PR reasons) found him trapped in a layer of ice.
Another Kirby creation (together with Joe Simon), Captain America’s origins date back to 1941 and the pre-Marvel days of Timely Comics. It’s hard to not see the symbolic significance of thawing out a relic of America’s more patriotic past (both Kirby and Lee were war veterans) so that he could lead Earth’s mightiest heroes at the height of the Cold War.
From the beginning, though, the Avengers team has been characterized by its rotating roster of heroes. In 1965, the original members were disbanded, leaving Captain America to start a new team with one particularly important new recruit: Clint Barton (aka “Hawkeye”).

In the years following, literally dozens of characters have cycled through the Avengers and its spinoff teams (including the West Coast Avengers and the Great Lakes Avengers). Everyone from Spider-Man and Spider-Woman to Wolverine and about seven different versions of the Hulk (including “Nerd Hulk”) have all at one time or another been major players in loosely related super groups.
Teams have been disbanded, killed off, sent to other dimensions and reassembled countless times.
One of the only heroes to ever turn down the offer of membership in the Avengers, in fact, is the man without fear himself, Daredevil.
If you’re looking for a decent place to hop onboard the speeding locomotive that is the Avengers, don’t worry. In the early 2000s, Marvel launched the Ultimate line of comics, which was intended to restart all of the major titles from scratch to attract new readership. The Utlimate comics also significantly alter many of the origin stories and characters to make them feel more modern.
One of the most successful updates has actually been to the character of Nick Fury. In an odd bit of life imitating art, the Ultimate version was actually modeled on Samuel L. Jackson before the actor was ever cast in any of the movies.
For those interested, many of the current movies, including “The Avengers,” are based to some extent on the Ultimate comics. Specifically, Joss Whedon’s film bears a noticeable resemblance to the first volume of the Ultimate version of the Avengers (simply called “The Ultimates”). Although its main story (in an homage to the original 1963 comic) involves a team brought together by Nick Fury to fight a rampaging Hulk, the heroes also encounter a race of shape-shifting aliens known as the Chitauri.
That's a lot of history and it's all new to me! Is any of it new to you? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork Chops

I was looking for something easy to make this week and found this over at Creme de la Crumb. Looks simple to throw together and sounds delicious! Enjoy.
Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork Chops
  • 2 pounds pork chops (see note)
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 15-ounce can pineapple slices (including the liquid), divided.
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup cold water + 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • cooked rice and chopped cilantro for serving


  1. Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, the liquid from the can of pineapple slices (save the pineapple, you'll use it in step 2), rice vinegar, and minced garlic. Whisk together the cold water and corn starch til dissolved. Stir into the sauce mixture.
  2. Lightly grease your slow cooker. Pour half of the sauce mixture into the slow cooker. Place pork chops in the slow cooker along with the pineapple slices. Pour the remaining sauce over the top. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low 6 hours.
  3. Serve pork chops over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.

I've never been to Hawaii. If you have, does this sound authentic? Just wondering. Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Jane Russell: More Than Just a Sex Symbol

I saw a fascinating biography the other day entitled Jane Russell: Body and Soul. If I weren't an old movie buff, the only thing I'd know about Jane Russell was that she was the spokeswoman for the Playtex 18 hour bra back in the 1970s. Since I do know a thing or two about old movies, I knew that Jane was known as a sex symbol,discovered by Howard Hughes and featured in  a starring role in his movie The Outlaw, her bust line being the main attraction.  

However, the documentary I watched told me so much more about Jane Russell and what an amazing woman she really was! Below I have excerpts from an article featured in Lifesupernatural.com.  Be sure to click on the link for the entire article! 


“I love the Lord”  is a beautiful statement that summed up Jane Russell’s philosophy.  While she was  best known for musicals, Westerns, and adventure films, too little has been said about her strong belief in God and how she has practiced her faith.


Jane Russell was raised by a devoted Christian Bible teaching mother who had been a stage actress before she was married (so she wasn’t worried when her daughter later became an actress).  Her husband died at 47 years of age, leaving her with Jane and four younger brothers, an eight-acre ranch, four horses and a cow.

Jane gave her heart to the Lord at age 6, received her baptism at the age of 12, and in her late teens discovered the wiles of what she calls “the world, the flesh, and the devil”.  But the Lord was faithful, never left her side through thick and thin and opened many controversial doors that led to things He wanted her ultimately to accomplish, through the motion picture business, the stage, recordings, and night clubs.  (“All things work together for good…”)
Though Jane  was known for her tall beauty, she would never compromise her Christian moral standards to please  a  studio.   She  says,“   In  those  days  there was a decency code that kept us safe.”  She speaks fondly of her mother who was a “fabulous” bible teacher.  “Mom made the Word come alive,” remembers Jane.  “That stayed with me forever.”
It was when Jane was modeling, that an agent came by the photo studio and “swiped” a head shot of her.  It was shown to movie studios and Jane was called to test for an upcoming movie that needed a half Irish/half Mexican actress.  Soon she was contacted to be awarded the leading role in The Outlaw.  There was a three year publicity campaign that touted Jane Russell in particular and it was a  “smash in the box-office.”

Jane went  on to star in a string of popular movies working with Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Robert Mitchum, and others.  Two of her most famous films were Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn Monroe and Paleface with Bob Hope.
Jane Russell was  a strong believer in prayer and knew that more than once it saved her life including one night when she was attacked in her own home. One thing she especially prayed for was children.  She had no idea that God would answer that prayer thousands and thousands of times.
During the war years Jane married football star Robert Waterfield  and during that twenty three years she and her husband adopted three children. Her second husband, Roger Barrett, died three months after her marriage, and finally she married John Peoples, to whom she stayed married for twenty-five years until his death in 1999.  Between the two of them, Jane remarks with amazement, they had eight children, fifteen grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.
Jane created her own special organization called WAIF in 1955.  The name referred to children without homes.  This organization placed about 51,000 children with adoptive families.  She went all over the nation and overseas as a fundraiser and spokesperson putting her faith to work.   The chapters for the original program have closed with the exception of the one in Los Angeles now known as “Operation Children”.  This group holds four parties a year for four different groups of children and prospective children.  Adults and children intermingle, eat, play games, and get to know each other in a park.  This approach has helped new families to be formed.
Jane also championed the passage of the Federal Orphan Adoption Amendment of 1953, which allowed children of American  servicemen born overseas to be placed for adoption in the United States.
According to some critics, Jane devoted more energy to WAIF than to maintaining her movie stardom.   At various points of her career, she took years off of movies to attend to family and ministry matters.  Her priorities were clear and often very public.

There's much more to the article. I've only scratched the surface here. Had you ever heard of Jane Russell? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!