Marvel Cinematic Universe movies ranked

18. The Incredible Hulk It’s better than the Eric Bana version, even if it doesn’t have Jennifer Connelly. It’s jarring that Edward Norton was replaced by Mark Ruffalo.

17. Thor: The Dark World A convoluted plot dragged down interesting characters.

16. Iron Man 2 The introduction of several interesting characters, namely Black Widow, makes it worth watching.

14. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 While it’s not nearly as good as the first, especially because of the predictability of Kirk Russell’s character, it has several important elements moving forward.

14. Avengers: Age of Ultron If you’ve rewatched “Game of Thrones” or “Breaking Bad” this is like one of those episodes that you don’t remember so fondly, but it has incredibly important stuff in it and is more enjoyable than you remember.

13. Thor A very good, well-paced origin story with a Shakespearean bent.

12. Captain America: The First Avenger In many ways, it doesn’t fit in, thematically and visually, with the other movies. The filmmakers were wise to do that and keep Captain America as a man out of time.

11. Doctor Strange This one is a darker character study about abilities/powers and responsibilities that pairs up well with Iron Man 3 and Ant-Man.

10. Marvel’s The Avengers The first team-up movie was a raging success and is still a wild, fun ride.

9. Ant-Man This one is a fun, smart and snappy ride that is very well told. One of the universe’s biggest problems though, shines through here: Cory Stoll is great as the villain, and they off him too quickly.

8. Thor: Ragnarok The title character finally gets a fantastic movie.

7. Iron Man The one that started it all is always worth a rewatch.

6.,Guardians of the Galaxy Blockbusters this grandiose often fail, but it has the fun and awe of a Star Wars movie. The title sequence is one of the best scenes in the entire universe.

5.,Iron Man 3 We know that Iron Man can save the day, but can Tony Stark be a hero without his suit.

4. Spider-Man Homecoming: The best Spider-Man performance in the best Spider-Man film

3. Captain America: Civil War It’s amazing they crammed this many heroes into one film and pulled off a coherent plot.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier The MCU shines when it turns a comic book movie on its head by fusing it with a different genre (See the heist movie that is Ant-Man). Taking Cap and making him disillusioned by putting him through a noirish 1970s spycaper was fantastic. This is the McU’s “Empire.”

1. Black Panther Star Wars likely never tops Empire. Marvel topped its Empire with a movie that was somehow drenched in timely and timeless social commentary. The story is fresh and fantastic.

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Marvel Cinematic Universe movies ranked

You could see this coming from a mile away

This was the moment Rand Paul’s fans were waiting for. Sadly, they got the Rand Paul everyone but his fans see.

See, Paul (R-Griftopia) never misses an opportunity to not stand by his professed principles when it matters.

Rand is the best of the Paul clan, which is like being the best looking Umpa Loompa. The family has long been running an ideological grift on well meaning conservatives who don’t give the Paul’s actual policy record a second glance. He’s somehow for criminal justice reform despite having misplacing his spine whenever he’s had an opportunity to stand tall. He’s pro-pot, except he isn’t for actually legalizing it.

Maybe he’s anti-interventionalist when it comes to war. It’s possible. But his votes against the use of force have basically always come when the outcome was already decided. What he did today, though, probably proves what you’d get if his vote actually mattered.

President Trump’s pick for Secretary of State – Mike Pompeo – has a track record that should make Paul cringe as much as he would at Nancy Pelosi. Pompeo, a shameless Benghazi conspiracy hawk, has major interventionist leanings. He also supports programs that infringe on people’s privacy. Paul voted against Pompeo in Committee when the nominee was set to lead the CIA. But there was no chance Paul’s vote would halt Pompeo’s nomination.

Now he had a legitimate chance at stopping the senate committee from recommending Pompeo for State.

This was it. Paul was going to stand up to Pompeo, and Trump’s autocratic leanings.

Well, folks, Paul didn’t miss this opportunity to not stand up for his publicly processed principles.

Instead, as usual, his private principles are what matter. Look for Paul’s next book to be a best seller among the libertarian set. In it, he’ll claim to not just be your average Republican, but the only congressman who stands by the Constitution.

You could see this coming from a mile away

I have a huge problem with this Associated Press Story

The Associated Press has a salacious and fascinated story up right now. It features President Donald Trump, payoffs, an affair. It’s basically straight out of the National Enquirer.

And there’s a huge problem with it.

Continue reading “I have a huge problem with this Associated Press Story”

I have a huge problem with this Associated Press Story

Can one of Major League Baseball’s superteams miss the playoffs?

Basically everyone expects seven teams to make the playoffs this year. There is little doubt that the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox will win their divisions (with the Yankees or Sox winning a wild card). That leaves 23 teams fighting for three spots, two in the National League, one in the American League.

If I were to rank the superteams in order of their likelihood to make the postseason, it would look like this:

Indians

Astros

Dodgers

Nationals

Cubs

Red Sox

Yankees

Continue reading “Can one of Major League Baseball’s superteams miss the playoffs?”

Can one of Major League Baseball’s superteams miss the playoffs?

The Southpaw’s Major League Baseball Preview Extravaganza 2018

Little known fact: Handel penned the “Hallelujah Chorus” after seeing Tris Speaker track down a Ty Cobb liner in the left center field gap and realized that was the highest moment of human existence.

If only he’d seen Ken Griffey Jr. swing a bat, or Andrelton Simmons turn a double play at second base.

With that in mind, let’s make some fearless predictions for the Major League Baseball regular season

10. Trade Winds a-blowin

With the greatest free agent class in history about to hit the market, teams are goin to make some major deals at the deadline this year. Don’t be surprised to see a former World Series MVP (Cole Hamels) hit the market.

9. Centers of attention

The Major Leagues are stuffed with incredible center fielders right now. They’re going to dominate the show like they have in no other era since Willie, Mickey and the Duke, not to mention Whitey and Larry Doby manned the position. Defensive dynamos with fantastic offensive skillsets are not the rarity. We all acknowledge Mike Trout is the best centerfielder in the game, but who’s second? Is it Byron Buxton? But what about World Series hero Russ Springer? Or Charlie Blackmon of the .331/.399/.601 mark with 37 homers and a league-leading 14 triples. The position is still deep with players like Tommy Pham, Odubel Herrera, Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain still playing at high levels.

8. Super team dominance

Five of the six divisions will be wrapped up by mid-September, but the Wild Cards will be wild. If either the Yankees or Red Sox struggle, it’s likely that all six divisions will be sewn up quickly.

7. Milestones will be reached

Albert Pujols will get his 3,000 hit sometime in May. Joe Mauer will become just the fifth catcher with 2,000 hits. Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler will get their 400th doubles. Adrien Beltre will score his 1,500th run. Justin Verland will get his 2,500th strikeout and 200th win.

6.  Clayton Kershaw will dominate

The Dodgers’ Ace is at the age where pitchers slow down. This will be his last dominant season. He hasn’t pitched 200 innings in three of the past four years. He will this year.

5. No one will hit 50 homers

Home run records will be shattered this year. Unlike last year, no one will get to 50, but several players will reach the 40s.

4. The National League will win the All Star Game

It won’t be a bad game, but it won’t be super close.

3. Youth is served

The game is riddled with young talent, especially considered it’s cheaper than paying established veterans. But the top of the crop is poised to blow you away this year. From Scott Kingery to Joan Moncada to Ronald Acuna, this should be fun to watch.

2. Labor strife will heat up and the MLBPA will change leadership

The sport is headed toward a work stoppage. The MLBPA will move toward a more lawyerly centered opperation in preparation for that.

1. No manager will be fired until September’s final week

Team’s won’t make any midseason firings because  the teams that will lose will have been expected to lose, the superteams will win and many of the mediocre teams have new managers.

Continue reading “The Southpaw’s Major League Baseball Preview Extravaganza 2018”

The Southpaw’s Major League Baseball Preview Extravaganza 2018

Lost in a good book

I’ve spent the past month reading the inimitable Garry Wills. His “Head and Heart: the History of Christianity in America” might be the most fascinating book I’ve ever read.

It’s riddled with fascinating facts and stories about the country’s history with regards to religion.

His main premise, that America alternates between an evangelical (heart) and enlightenment (head) look at religion, is fascinating. One of the secondary premises is how much James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and a few others really wanted a complete wall between religion and state.

I’m almost done, but I just got to the part where he talks about the rise of Catholicism in the United States politically. He points out that during World War I, the National Catholic War Council was a unifying force for the denomination. However, when the war ended, the group struck out politically.

“at the end of the war, the bishops felt they should continue the party as the National Catholic Welfare Council (NCWC), and father Ryan wrote their peacetime agenda in what became the Bishops Program of that year. It called for a minimum wage, the banning of child labor, government insurance for the elderly, and equal pay for women workers.

That last one stands out, doesn’t it?

Lost in a good book