OK, before we get into discussing why you should see Thor: Ragnarok, we’re going to ignore for a moment that the title of this post misspells “ragnarök” as “ragnarok.” I’m sure if it were a section of Taika Watiti’s Thor movie, there would be a “devil’s anus” joke to riff on here. And I’m a bit disappointed that a movie willing to use Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” not once, but twice, didn’t get an umlaut in its title.
But such petty concerns are beside the point. I loved this movie. It was exactly as fun as I hoped it would be.
And, in its many departures from Norse mythology, it actually uses them to make a point. Unlike the first two Thor movies (which I enjoyed in their own right), Taika Watiti’s Thor: Ragnarok finds a way to make the Marvel superhero Thor both epic and funny. (In Thor, he was funny, but not epic. In Thor: The Dark World, he was epic, but not exactly funny.)
I first became aware of the First World War Battle of Hill 70 when researching the 107th “Timber Wolf” Battalion for a couple of short stories I was working on a number of years ago, which were “A Deeper Echo” and “The Wolves of Vimy.” Compared to the treatment of other battles Canada fought in during the First World War — such as the Somme, Vimy, and Passchendaele — it’s almost unheard of today, and I only stumbled across mention of it because the 107th played a part in it. However, as the contributors to the new volume Capturing Hill 70: Canada’s Forgotten Battle of the First World War, edited by Douglas E. Delaney and Serge Marc Durflinger, show, at the time it was seen as equally important as those other battles. I had the opportunity to review the book for the Winnipeg Free Press (presented below in slightly longer form).
Etched in stone on the war monument on Winnipeg’s Memorial Boulevard, along with SOMME, VIMY and PASSCHENDAELE, are the words HILL 70. Yet while Vimy and Paschendaele loom large in Canadian awareness of the First World War, Hill 70 has been forgotten.
I’m going to tell you whether to use the word incredulous or incredible — but first, an explanation.
A few years ago, as a member of the style committee at the Winnipeg Free Press, I worked on a series of posts on misused words, grammar mixup and other style problems. Editor Julie Carl, reporter Mary-Agnes Welch, and I sent out what we hoped were helpful reminders and also took suggestions from other editors and reporters about stylistic errors they wished people would avoid. We called ourselves the “Word Nerds.”
We kicked around the idea of putting the pieces together in a collection of some kind, but our audience — the newspaper staff — had already seen all of them. Mary-Agnes and Julie have since moved on. I still think these are worth posting beyond the newspaper’s halls — because, let’s face it, there are word-nerds everywhere — so over the next while I’ll be updating this blog with some of the best ones. Hope you enjoy them.
Here’s my links roundup for this week. (Previous links posts here and here) Hop on for a neural network creating ridiculous musical genres, a reframing of a rejection letter, an unusual Turkish library, and a look at medieval warfare.
If you’re a metal fan and you haven’t heard Black Market Tragedy — you really should.
Based in Houston, Texas, their bio on Reverb Nation says they’re “Female fronted metal, sweet yet sinister power vocals with a heavy groove that will make you bang your head.” Based on the songs they’ve released so far, including their latest, “Soul Decay,” this is truth in advertising.
According to lead vocalist Vali Reinhardt, the band is set to release its full-length debut album by the end of this year. In the meantime, you can listen to their music at Reverb Nation and buy individual tracks at CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon.
Since I stumble across a number of interesting links and articles, I figure I’ll keep sharing them in little round-up posts like this.
Controversial Star Wars opinion: Jar Jar Binks is good
I realize if I’m going to keep doing links posts, I may have to just admit many (most? all?) of them are going to feature some discussion of Star Wars. Here’s an article by Bryan Young, who’s had some very smart things to say about the movies on Twitter, about why Jar Jar Binks is not only important, but a crucial character. Not just to The Phantom Menace (and I’ll admit, my dislike for Jar Jar is why I rarely re-watch that movie), but to the entire original trilogy as well. Yes, it’s a stretch. And I’m not entirely convinced by his argument! But it does show that Lucas may have been going for more than a mere gimmick with Jar Jar. Read why Jar Jar Binks is secretly one of Star Wars’ most important characters.