How can it possibly be fifteen years ago for something that to many of feels like it happened yesterday?

Exactly fifteen years ago today, terrorists attacked the United States of America. They flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City and into the Pentagon near Washington, DC. They most likely would also have flown a plane into the Capitol building but were stopped by the passengers of United 93. Almost 3,000 people died that day.

Because I'm obsessed with exactness, I've made sure for a while now to know the exact times of certain events that took place on 9/11. The bare sequence of events at the World Trade Center was as follows:

8:46:26 AM: North Tower Hit
9:02:54 AM: South Tower Hit
9:59:04 AM: South Tower Collapsed
10:28:31 AM: North Tower Collapsed

I'm a New York City native, born and raised in Queens, and I grew up in a city in which the Towers always stood. On 9/11, I was a teacher at a private school in Newton, Massachusetts. The following comes from my journal, a hand-written one that I was keeping at the time.

"The second [staff] meeting ended early, and I went back to the Science lab to check my e-mail. I idly noted a message...which said that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center.

"I didn't really think much of it and I went back to the Information Center. Shortly after the meeting...began, [a colleague] walked in and asked if we had heard the news. He told us that two planes had hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and he set up the small TV to receive CNN. They showed pictures of two commercial jets crashing into the twin towers...

"I ran to the phone...to call [my younger brother Joshua] at work. At 9:35 AM I called and got him. He had just gotten in, and he said that he seen the smoke from the 7 train. I told him to stay in touch, but due to circuits being busy, I wasn't able to reach New York City again for a while.

"The rest of the day passed in a blur of rumors and news. I kept checking webpages; when I couldn't reach CNN, checked the New York Post webpage and the Newsday webpage. [I had called Nomi, and she had suggested the second-tier news sites.]

"At 10:15 AM, the...students returned from their physical education class...and...we told them the news...

"When the meeting with the students ended, I collapsed in tears..."

There's more, of course, but to summarize, I spent the day trying to get news of family and friends, making sure they were all safe. They were.

I was scheduled to help teach a kindergarten class that afternoon. They were doing a unit on bears and I had a very large Folkmanis brown bear puppet with me that day. The school had deliberately kept the kindergarten students unaware of the day's events, so when I walked into that classroom, they were all smiles and laughter as they played with the bear puppet I was holding.

The drive home was surreal, knowing that fighter planes and battleships were protecting New York City. Nomi was already home, as her office had sent everyone home early. The rest of my family was safe, but my older brother, an emergency medicine physician, had been called up to report to New York City. Nomi and I took a walk at 5:30 PM, which included browsing at Brookline Booksmith and getting ice cream at JP Licks. Everything on TV was the news; we watched C-SPAN, which was running a feed from the CBC, so we could get the Canadian perspective.

The next few days, the events were fresh in everyone's mind. On Wednesday, I flinched at hearing an airplane in the sky, then remembered that all commercial flights had been grounded, so it had to be one of our military aircraft, protecting us. I bought my regular comic books that day; Adventures of Superman #596 had an eerie panel of the twin towers of Metropolis being repaired. A friend came over that evening after attending a local religious service.

On Thursday, Nomi and I were sick of the news, and Animal Planet had gone back to regular programming. We watched a documentary about moose to help us get our minds off things.

And life went on. Today, I'm no longer teaching, but editing science curricular materials in Boston; my younger brother no longer lives in New York City, but in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and three children; and my older brother is still an emergency medicine physician in the Boston area, specializing in disaster management.

And as all my friends know, there have been other changes in my life. In 2007 I lost my mom. In 2008 I published a book collection of many of my short stories. And in 2009, Nomi and I welcomed two precious and adorable girls into our lives. Being a parent changes your perspective on a lot of things, and 9/11 is no exception. When the attacks happened, I was worried for my mom and my brothers; if something were to happen today, my first priority would be to make sure that my children were safe.

I probably don't need to tell anyone this, but today's a very good day to remind your loved ones, families, and friends how much they mean to you.

Last week, DC Comics published Superman #2. (I think this may be the fourth time they've published a Superman #2, but that's irrelevant for what I want to discuss.) In the current storyline, Superman and Lois Lane are married and have been in hiding in a new version of the universe for many years. The Superman intrinsic to that universe just died, so the Superman we've known about since the mid-1980s has decided to reveal himself to the world.

One issue he and Lois are dealing with, though, is that they have a son, Jonathan, who is starting to develop his powers. He wants to help his dad, but he's unsure of himself, and his parents want to keep him safe.
Anyway, in the panels presented, Superman explains to his son what it means to be Superman. I'll quote:



"I'm afraid someday soon -- too soon -- you will have to pick it up and embrace the 'S' for yourself. It's not about our powers, or strength, or heat vision. It's about character. It means doing the right thing when no one else will, even when you're scared…even when you think no one is looking."

I loved this. For me, it encapsulates exactly what being Superman is all about, and why I've loved the character since childhood and still buy Superman comics today.

(Thanks to Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and Mick Gray, who created this issue.)

DC Challenge is my favorite comic-book series of all time. The premise of the story was that 12 writer/artist teams did a round robin, where a new team took over for each issue and had to resolve the cliffhanger from the previous issue. Thanks to the editorial hand of Robert Greenberger, the story managed to end up with an almost perfectly satisfying resolution after a year's worth of incredibly bizarre story lines. This series was my first introduction to some of the more obscure characters of the DC universe, such as Dr. Thirteen and Space Cabby.

Somewhere in storage I have my original set, and over the years I bought two more sets, just in case.

They are also in storage.

But recently, I found myself wanting to re-read the series yet again.

Fortunately, full sets are not hard to find these days, thanks to the Internet and eBay...

Superman

Mar. 25th, 2016 11:39 am
Many years ago, there was a teacher named Tim Lynch who was a big Star Trek fan. I got to know him through the Star Trek newsgroups on Usenet, where he would review every episode of each new Star Trek series with respectful and insightful criticism.


I remember the day when he announced in the middle of the show's run that he would not be watching Star Trek: Voyager anymore. He cited a lot of issues with the show, such as how they were supposedly low on resources and yet kept running through shuttlecraft, that made no sense. (From what I understand, one of the show's own writers had his own, similar, objections to the show as they were making it, and so went on to create other shows that acknowledged reality better.)


Now, personally, in retrospect, I think Voyager was a good show, but what you need to understand was that Tim Lynch's words sent shockwaves through the Usenet Star Trek community. The idea that such a dedicated and intelligent fan would make the decision to stop watching Star Trek was unthinkable to many of us. It pointed out to a lot of us how deeply flawed aspects of the franchise had seemed to become by that time.


[Pause]


I have been a fan of Superman since before I can remember. Yes, I'm a fan of many characters and stories from popular culture, but Superman is the first one I remember and the one that has stayed with me for my whole life. Except for a short period of about six years, my whole life I have been an avid collector and reader of Superman comics. I went to the three Christopher Reeve movies when they came out (yes, I said three), and I've always been eager for any new Superman TV show or movie.


Today, the new "Supeman" movie comes out, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It's exactly the sort of movie that should make me want to drop everything and see it the first chance I have. I should be moving heaven and earth to try to see a new Superman movie, in the way I did to see the new Star Wars movie last year.


But I find I have no enthusiasm for it. I was on the edge of my set for the release of Man of Steel, and the film disappointed me. For this new film, I have heard mixed reviews from all quarters. Perhaps I would find it entertaining. At the very least, I'd be delighted to see Wonder Woman up on the big screen. But this Superman, whoever he is, is not *my* Superman, and so I shrug off this opening weekend and wonder if I'll even bother to seek out the movie when it is finally released to DVD and streaming.

Perhaps this is not as significant to the rest of the world as I think it might be; I'm not someone who has been writing about Superman for years for websites, nor am I someone who has even written the character for DC Comics and then pointed out the flaws in the first new film. I'm just a fan, someone who has loved Superman and what he has stood for my entire life. But I'm sad to say that *my* Superman is not the one on the big screen today.


Maybe one day, he will be again. For now, I will let the movie pass me by, and instead continue to enjoy and share the character in the other media in which he is still who he should be.

Exactly fourteen years ago today, terrorists attacked the United States of America. They flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City and into the Pentagon near Washington, DC. They most likely would also have flown a plane into the Capitol building but were stopped by the passengers of United 93. Almost 3,000 people died that day.

Because I'm obsessed with exactness, I've made sure for a while now to know the exact times of certain events that took place on 9/11. The bare sequence of events at the World Trade Center was as follows:

8:46:26 AM: North Tower Hit
9:02:54 AM: South Tower Hit
9:59:04 AM: South Tower Collapsed
10:28:31 AM: North Tower Collapsed

I'm a New York City native, born and raised in Queens, and I grew up in a city in which the Towers always stood. On 9/11, I was a teacher at a private school in Newton, Massachusetts. The following comes from my journal, a hand-written one that I was keeping at the time.

"The second [staff] meeting ended early, and I went back to the Science lab to check my e-mail. I idly noted a message...which said that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center.

"I didn't really think much of it and I went back to the Information Center. Shortly after the meeting...began, [a colleague] walked in and asked if we had heard the news. He told us that two planes had hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and he set up the small TV to receive CNN. They showed pictures of two commercial jets crashing into the twin towers...

"I ran to the phone...to call [my younger brother] at work. At 9:35 AM I called and got him. He had just gotten in, and he said that he seen the smoke from the 7 train. I told him to stay in touch, but due to circuits being busy, I wasn't able to reach New York City again for a while.

"The rest of the day passed in a blur of rumors and news. I kept checking webpages; when I couldn't reach cnn.com, checked the New York Post webpage and the Newsday webpage. [I had called Nomi, and she had suggested the second-tier news sites.]

"At 10:15 AM, the...students returned from their physical education class...and...we told them the news...

"When the meeting with the students ended, I collapsed in tears..."

There's more, of course, but to summarize, I spent the day trying to get news of family and friends, making sure they were all safe. The drive home was surreal, knowing that fighter planes and battleships were protecting New York City. Nomi was already home, as her office had sent everyone home early. The rest of my family was safe, but my older brother, an emergency medicine physician, had been called up to report to New York City. Nomi and I took a walk at 5:30 PM, which included browsing at Brookline Booksmith and getting ice cream at JP Licks. Everything on TV was the news; we watched C-SPAN, which was running a feed from the CBC, so we could get the Canadian perspective.

The next few days, the events were fresh in everyone's mind. On Wednesday, I flinched at hearing an airplane in the sky, then remembered that all commercial flights had been grounded, so it had to be one of our military aircraft, protecting us. I bought my regular comic books that day; Adventures of Superman #596 had an eerie panel of the twin towers of Metropolis being repaired. A friend came over that evening after attending a local religious service.

On Thursday, Nomi and I were sick of the news, and Animal Planet had gone back to regular programming. We watched a documentary about moose to help us get our minds off things.

And life went on. Today, I'm no longer teaching, but editing science curricular materials in Boston; my younger brother no longer lives in New York City, but in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and three children; and my older brother is still an emergency medicine physician in the Boston area, specializing in disaster management.

And as all my friends know, there have been other changes in my life. In 2007 I lost my mom. In 2008 I published a book collection of many of my short stories. And in 2009, Nomi and I welcomed two precious and adorable girls into our lives. Being a parent changes your perspective on a lot of things, and 9/11 is no exception. When the attacks happened, I was worried for my mom and my brothers; if something were to happen today, my first priority would be to make sure that my children were safe.

I probably don't need to tell anyone this, but today's a very good day to remind your loved ones, families, and friends how much they mean to you.
Exactly thirteen years ago today, terrorists attacked the United States of America. They flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City and into the Pentagon near Washington, DC. They most likely would also have flown a plane into the Capitol building but were stopped by the passengers of United 93. Almost 3,000 people died that day.

Because I'm obsessed with exactness, I've made sure for a while now to know the exact times of certain events that took place on 9/11. The bare sequence of events at the World Trade Center was as follows:

8:46:26 AM: North Tower Hit
9:02:54 AM: South Tower Hit
9:59:04 AM: South Tower Collapsed
10:28:31 AM: North Tower Collapsed

I'm a New York City native, born and raised in Queens, and I grew up in a city in which the Towers always stood. On 9/11, I was a teacher at a private school in Newton, Massachusetts. The following comes from my journal, a hand-written one that I was keeping at the time.

"The second [staff] meeting ended early, and I went back to the Science lab to check my e-mail. I idly noted a message...which said that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center.

"I didn't really think much of it and I went back to the Information Center. Shortly after the meeting...began, [a colleague] walked in and asked if we had heard the news. He told us that two planes had hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and he set up the small TV to receive CNN. They showed pictures of two commercial jets crashing into the twin towers...

"I ran to the phone...to call [my younger brother] at work. At 9:35 AM I called and got him. He had just gotten in, and he said that he seen the smoke from the 7 train. I told him to stay in touch, but due to circuits being busy, I wasn't able to reach New York City again for a while.

"The rest of the day passed in a blur of rumors and news. I kept checking webpages; when I couldn't reach cnn.com, checked the New York Post webpage and the Newsday webpage. [I had called Nomi, and she had suggested the second-tier news sites.]

"At 10:15 AM, the...students returned from their physical education class...and...we told them the news...

"When the meeting with the students ended, I collapsed in tears..."

There's more, of course, but to summarize, I spent the day trying to get news of family and friends, making sure they were all safe. The drive home was surreal, knowing that fighter planes and battleships were protecting New York City. Nomi was already home, as her office had sent everyone home early. The rest of my family was safe, but my older brother, an emergency medicine physician, had been called up to report to New York City. Nomi and I took a walk at 5:30 PM, which included browsing at Brookline Booksmith and getting ice cream at JP Licks. Everything on TV was the news; we watched C-SPAN, which was running a feed from the CBC, so we could get the Canadian perspective.

The next few days, the events were fresh in everyone's mind. On Wednesday, I flinched at hearing an airplane in the sky, then remembered that all commercial flights had been grounded, so it had to be one of our military aircraft, protecting us. I bought my regular comic books that day; Adventures of Superman #596 had an eerie panel of the twin towers of Metropolis being repaired. A friend came over that evening after attending a local religious service.

On Thursday, Nomi and I were sick of the news, and Animal Planet had gone back to regular programming. We watched a documentary about moose to help us get our minds off things.

And life went on. Today, I'm no longer teaching, but editing science curricular materials in Boston; my younger brother no longer lives in New York City, but in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and three children; and my older brother is still an emergency medicine physician in the Boston area, specializing in disaster management.

And as all my friends know, there have been other changes in my life. In 2007 I lost my mom. In 2008 I published a book collection of many of my short stories. And in 2009, Nomi and I welcomed two precious and adorable girls into our lives. Being a parent changes your perspective on a lot of things, and 9/11 is no exception. When the attacks happened, I was worried for my mom and my brothers; if something were to happen today, my first priority would be to make sure that my children were safe.

I probably don't need to tell anyone this, but today's a very good day to remind your loved ones, families, and friends how much they mean to you.

Let's go through the week! Here are links.

On Sunday, the family attended the Boston Comic Con. We had a blast. I posted a photo album called Boston Comic Con 2014. It includes pictures of Squeaker posing with cosplayers, me and the kids emerging from a TARDIS, me meeting some of my favorite comic creators, and more. Go on and take a look.

We also got a TARDIS and Dalek salt and pepper shaker set.

On Monday night came the news of the death of Robin Williams, and I posted something I call Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society, and My Teaching on Facebook. I decided to post it on LiveJournal as well, and for what it's worth, I got a lot of response to it on Facebook and none (as of this writing) on LJ. Moving on...

Tuesday I linked to a post by David Mack on the need for diversity in science fiction. Here's his post on LJ, as [livejournal.com profile] infinitydog.

I also reminded people about the Kickstarter for Chronosphere. Come on, folks, I want to play this game!

And I took these pictures and posted them: Robin Williams Bench, Boston Public Garden, 2014-08-12.

Wednesday night we showed the kids the move Aladdin.

Thursday I ate lunch.

And today I posted a link to our new The Brookline Parent column, Adventuring Through Comic Con. But if you keep up with my LiveJournal, you already know that...




In this week's The Brookline Parent column, [livejournal.com profile] gnomi writes about us taking Muffin and Squeaker to Boston Comic Con, and all the fun we had. There are lots of pictures of Squeaker with cool cosplayers; check it out!

Adventuring Through Comic Con
So what was I up to this past week?

On Sunday we took the kids to the Boston Children's Museum, to play there with friends of ours who were visiting from Canada with their own twin daughters (and their baby son). Both of our kids said funny things later on that night.

On Monday I noted the 69th anniversary of the B-25 bomber crashing into the Empire State Building.

On Wednesday I linked to a Boston Globe column about a former professor of mine, Paul Horowitz, and his involvement in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). I also waxed enthusiastic about Sharknado 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy:

"Guardians of the Galaxy: You'll believe a raccoon can fly."

"Sharknado 2: I don't think a movie has made me this proud to have been born and raised in New York City since Ghostbusters."

And then today I posted a link to our new The Brookline Parent column, "Let It Go, Let It Be," but my guess is you already knew about that.

I guess it was sort of a quiet week on the home front, even if the news from the rest of the world was chaotic and sometimes bleak.

In an attempt to try to be more active on my blog, I will start attempting to summarize things I posted about during the past week on Facebook, and to a lesser extent, Twitter. Also, I'll update about life in general. Let's see if this works….

So what was my life like this past week? Well, Muffin and Squeaker were cute all week, but also often obstinate. I've been reading to them at bedtime from "The Patchwork Girl of Oz," and they always insist on another chapter even as they are fighting sleep. This results in them being overtired and then whiny. We're working on it.

On Monday I noted that a new book will be out in the fall, Legendary Locals of Brookline. I might be in it.

Also on Monday I asked people to share the title of one book they happened to be in the middle of, and boy did I get a lot of responses. Now I have a new list of books to track down and read.

On Wednesday, I wished for safety for my friends and family in Israel.

Also on Wednesday, I was excited to see that the superhero Firestorm is coming to the small screen as a character in the new TV show The Flash.

On Thursday, I posted a picture of a hawk from 2008, and Nomi met Chris Colfer.

Also, throughout the week, I posted interesting links, including these:
Writing tips from the CIA's ruthless style manual
Pictures from the Brookline library's Retro Technology Fair
An article about the retired Library Director (hey, I'm quoted!)

As for this upcoming weekend, I will sadly not make it to Readercon, as much as I would like to. But we will be having a birthday party on Sunday for the kids. I can't believe how many years it has been since they were born...

Hope your week went well, and that you're looking forward to the weekend.

I work in the Back Bay area of Boston, and as I left work yesterday, I could smell the smoke from the fire at 298 Beacon Street, even though it was a ten-minute walk away. The air was filled with a haze, and the odor stung my eyes, causing them to well up with tears.

Later on, my eyes welled up with tears again, as we heard that two firefighters, Michael R. Kennedy and Edward J. Walsh, Jr., had made the ultimate sacrifice as they tried to stop the fire and save other people's lives.

My friend Andrew Marc Greene ([livejournal.com profile] 530nm330hz) said the following on Facebook:


I will never understand what gives a person the courage to run into a burning building, to put his own life at risk in the hope of saving others. I can merely be humbled and grateful that others do. Baruch Dayan ha-Emet.


I had been thinking of similar words, from a powerful story. And I want to share them.

After 9/11, some of the major comic book artists and writers contributed to two tribute books, the proceeds of which were donated to charity. One of those writers was Kurt Busiek, who wrote an Astro City story called "Since the Fire." With his permission, I'm going to discuss it and quote it here. I still urge all of you to track it down, as it is much more powerful with Brent Anderson's art.

The story is about a boy named Farrell, who almost died when his family's apartment got set on fire during a fight among super-powered people. Farrell almost died, but a firefighter named Arnie Prentice rescued him and then went back inside the building to save other people. Because Prentice went back in, he lost a leg and now walks on crutches (and presumably can't work as a firefighter any more).

In the story, Farrell's father takes him to meet Prentice for the first time since the fire, so the boy can thank him. And then Farrell asks Prentice why he was willing to risk his life to save him, and why he was willing to go back inside and would do it again, even though it cost him a leg.

Prentice looks somber for a moment, and then says:



Because someone's got to do it. And better that it's someone trained, skilled, and equipped to have the best chance of getting kids like you out.

Take a look around. All these people, they're livin' their lives, and they do what they do, and sleep a little easier because of guys like me and the others back there. The superheroes flying' around, they're okay -- but they can't always be there. We gotta take care of ourselves.

And when you're in a jam, like you were --

-- you want to hear that siren, you want to know someone'll come help. That you're not on your own.

I'd want to know that at least.


And the story ends with Prentice visiting the graves of the two firefighters who got him out.

Anyway, that's what I was thinking about yesterday, and I hugged my kids a little tighter. Kurt, thank you for the words and the permission to quote them.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the murder of Kitty Genovese.

If you don't know the story, Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation here: Murder of Kitty Genovese. The murder took place in the neighborhood that was pretty much next door to the one I grew up in, and years before I was born. But a few years ago, as I was writing an article about Spider-Man for the book Webslinger, my half-brother took me over to the murder site. Genovese's murder looms large in history and the culture, and it seemed to me it would have loomed large for a the teenage Peter Parker as well.

We took a few pictures of the murder site, and I contemplated solemnly what it all meant.

May she rest in peace.
Exactly twelve years ago today, terrorists attacked the United States of America. They flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City and into the Pentagon near Washington, DC. They most likely would also have flown a plane into the Capitol building but were stopped by the passengers of United 93. Almost 3,000 people died that day.

Because I'm obsessed with exactness, I've made sure for a while now to know the exact times of certain events that took place on 9/11. The bare sequence of events at the World Trade Center was as follows:

8:46:26 AM: North Tower Hit
9:02:54 AM: South Tower Hit
9:59:04 AM: South Tower Collapsed
10:28:31 AM: North Tower Collapsed

I'm a New York City native, born and raised in Queens, and I grew up in a city in which the Towers always stood. On 9/11, I was a teacher at a private school in Newton, Massachusetts. The following comes from my journal, a hand-written one that I was keeping at the time.

"The second [staff] meeting ended early, and I went back to the Science lab to check my e-mail. I idly noted a message...which said that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center.

"I didn't really think much of it and I went back to the Information Center. Shortly after the meeting...began, [a colleague] walked in and asked if we had heard the news. He told us that two planes had hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and he set up the small TV to receive CNN. They showed pictures of two commercial jets crashing into the twin towers...

"I ran to the phone...to call [my younger brother] at work. At 9:35 AM I called and got him. He had just gotten in, and he said that he seen the smoke from the 7 train. I told him to stay in touch, but due to circuits being busy, I wasn't able to reach New York City again for a while.

"The rest of the day passed in a blur of rumors and news. I kept checking webpages; when I couldn't reach cnn.com, checked the New York Post webpage and the Newsday webpage. [I had called Nomi, and she had suggested the second-tier news sites.]

"At 10:15 AM, the...students returned from their physical education class...and...we told them the news...

"When the meeting with the students ended, I collapsed in tears..."

There's more, of course, but to summarize, I spent the day trying to get news of family and friends, making sure they were all safe. The drive home was surreal, knowing that fighter planes and battleships were protecting New York City. Nomi was already home, as her office had sent everyone home early. The rest of my family was safe, but my older brother, an emergency medicine physician, had been called up to report to New York City. Nomi and I took a walk at 5:30 PM, which included browsing at Brookline Booksmith and getting ice cream at JP Licks. Everything on TV was the news; we watched C-SPAN, which was running a feed from the CBC, so we could get the Canadian perspective.

The next few days, the events were fresh in everyone's mind. On Wednesday, I flinched at hearing an airplane in the sky, then remembered that all commercial flights had been grounded, so it had to be one of our military aircraft, protecting us. I bought my regular comic books that day; Adventures of Superman #596 had an eerie panel of the twin towers of Metropolis being repaired. A friend came over that evening after attending a local religious service.

On Thursday, Nomi and I were sick of the news, and Animal Planet had gone back to regular programming. We watched a documentary about moose to help us get our minds off things.

And life went on. Today, I'm no longer teaching, but editing textbooks in Boston; my younger brother no longer lives in New York City, but in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and three children; and my older brother is still an emergency medicine physician in the Boston area, specializing in disaster management.

And as all my friends know, there have been other changes in my life. In 2007 I lost my mom. In 2008 I published a book collection of many of my short stories. And in 2009, Nomi and I welcomed two precious and adorable girls into our lives. Being a parent changes your perspective on a lot of things, and 9/11 is no exception. When the attacks happened, I was worried for my mom and my brothers; if something were to happen today, my first priority would be to make sure that my children were safe.

I probably don't need to tell anyone this, but today's a very good day to remind your loved ones, families, and friends how much they mean to you.
As you all know (I presume), I've been a fan of Superman since I was four years old. Last month, I was very excited to see Man of Steel, and I've been thinking about it a lot ever since.

I think I've finally managed to arrange my thoughts about the concerns I have with the film in a coherent form.

See my latest post on the Apex Blog, linked to below.

Apex Blog: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Wayback Machine Archive: Apex Blog: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
Exactly eleven years ago today, terrorists attacked the United States of America. They flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City and into the Pentagon near Washington, DC. They most likely would also have flown a plane into the Capitol building but were stopped by the passengers of United 93. Almost 3,000 people died that day.

Because I'm obsessed with exactness, I've made sure for a while now to know the exact times of certain events that took place on 9/11. The bare sequence of events at the World Trade Center was as follows:

8:46:26 AM: North Tower Hit
9:02:54 AM: South Tower Hit
9:59:04 AM: South Tower Collapsed
10:28:31 AM: North Tower Collapsed

I'm a New York City native, born and raised in Queens, and I grew up in a city in which the Towers always stood. On 9/11, I was a teacher at a private school in Newton, Massachusetts. The following comes from my journal, a hand-written one that I was keeping at the time.

"The second [staff] meeting ended early, and I went back to the Science lab to check my e-mail. I idly noted a message...which said that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center.

"I didn't really think much of it and I went back to the Information Center. Shortly after the meeting...began, [a colleague] walked in and asked if we had heard the news. He told us that two planes had hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and he set up the small TV to receive CNN. They showed pictures of two commercial jets crashing into the twin towers...

"I ran to the phone...to call [my younger brother] at work. At 9:35 AM I called and got him. He had just gotten in, and he said that he seen the smoke from the 7 train. I told him to stay in touch, but due to circuits being busy, I wasn't able to reach New York City again for a while.

"The rest of the day passed in a blur of rumors and news. I kept checking webpages; when I couldn't reach cnn.com, checked the New York Post webpage and the Newsday webpage. [I had called Nomi, and she had suggested the second-tier news sites.]

"At 10:15 AM, the...students returned from their physical education class...and...we told them the news...

"When the meeting with the students ended, I collapsed in tears..."

There's more, of course, but to summarize, I spent the day trying to get news of family and friends, making sure they were all safe. The drive home was surreal, knowing that fighter planes and battleships were protecting New York City. Nomi was already home, as her office had sent everyone home early. The rest of my family was safe, but my older brother, an emergency medicine physician, had been called up to report to New York City. Nomi and I took a walk at 5:30 PM, which included browsing at Brookline Booksmith and getting ice cream at JP Licks. Everything on TV was the news; we watched C-SPAN, which was running a feed from the CBC, so we could get the Canadian perspective.

The next few days, the events were fresh in everyone's mind. On Wednesday, I flinched at hearing an airplane in the sky, then remembered that all commercial flights had been grounded, so it had to be one of our military aircraft, protecting us. I bought my regular comic books that day; Adventures of Superman #596 had an eerie panel of the twin towers of Metropolis being repaired. A friend came over that evening after attending a local religious service.

On Thursday, Nomi and I were sick of the news, and Animal Planet had gone back to regular programming. We watched a documentary about moose to help us get our minds off things.

And life went on. Today, I'm no longer teaching, but editing textbooks in Boston; my younger brother no longer lives in New York City, but in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and three children; and my older brother is still an emergency medicine physician in the Boston area, specializing in disaster management.

And as all my friends know, there have been other changes in my life. In 2007 I lost my mom. In 2008 I published a book collection of many of my short stories. And in 2009, Nomi and I welcomed two precious and adorable girls into our lives. Being a parent changes your perspective on a lot of things, and 9/11 is no exception. When the attacks happened, I was worried for my mom and my brothers; if something were to happen today, my first priority would be to make sure that my children were safe.

I probably don't need to tell anyone this, but today's probably a very good day to remind your loved ones, families, and friends how much they mean to you.
As folks know, I'm a big fan of comic books and superheroes (two separate things: one is a medium for storytelling, and the other is a genre). It's a fandom I'm hoping to pass along to Muffin and Squeaker, although I've not always been sure of the best way to do it.

Recently, our friend Shanna asked [livejournal.com profile] gnomi and me how we go about explaining the "bad guys" to Muffin and Squeaker when we talk about superheroes, and this prompted me to craft my current The Brookline Parent column on the topic of superheroes in general.

So in today's The Brookline Parent column for Brookline Patch, I talk a little bit about how my own love of superheroes developed and how I'm hoping to inculcate the same in the kids.

Go read Up in the Sky! Superheroes! If nothing else, you'll see a picture of Muffin holding her favorite book and in her superhero disguise.

Enjoy.
Exactly ten years ago today, terrorists attacked the United States of America. They flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City and into the Pentagon near Washington, DC. They most likely would also have flown a plane into the Capitol building but were stopped by the passengers of United 93. Almost 3,000 people died that day.

Because I'm obsessed with exactness, I've made sure for a while now to know the exact times of certain events that took place on 9/11. The bare sequence of events at the World Trade Center was as follows:

8:46:26 AM: North Tower Hit
9:02:54 AM: South Tower Hit
9:59:04 AM: South Tower Collapsed
10:28:31 AM: North Tower Collapsed

I'm a New York City native, born and raised in Queens, and I grew up in a city in which the Towers always stood. On 9/11, I was a teacher at a private school in Newton, Massachusetts. The following comes from my journal, a hand-written one that I was keeping at the time.

"The second [staff] meeting ended early, and I went back to the Science lab to check my e-mail. I idly noted a message...which said that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center.

"I didn't really think much of it and I went back to the Information Center. Shortly after the meeting...began, [a colleague] walked in and asked if we had heard the news. He told us that two planes had hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and he set up the small TV to receive CNN. They showed pictures of two commercial jets crashing into the twin towers...

"I ran to the phone...to call [my younger brother] at work. At 9:35 AM I called and got him. He had just gotten in, and he said that he seen the smoke from the 7 train. I told him to stay in touch, but due to circuits being busy, I wasn't able to reach New York City again for a while.

"The rest of the day passed in a blur of rumors and news. I kept checking webpages; when I couldn't reach cnn.com, checked the New York Post webpage and the Newsday webpage. [I had called Nomi, and she had suggested the second-tier news sites.]

"At 10:15 AM, the...students returned from their physical education class...and...we told them the news...

"When the meeting with the students ended, I collapsed in tears..."

There's more, of course, but to summarize, I spent the day trying to get news of family and friends, making sure they were all safe. The drive home was surreal, knowing that fighter planes and battleships were protecting New York City. Nomi was already home, as her office had sent everyone home early. The rest of my family was safe, but my older brother, an emergency medicine physician, had been called up to report to New York City. Nomi and I took a walk at 5:30 PM, which included browsing at Brookline Booksmith and getting ice cream at JP Licks. Everything on TV was the news; we watched C-SPAN, which was running a feed from the CBC, so we could get the Canadian perspective.

The next few days, the events were fresh in everyone's mind. On Wednesday, I flinched at hearing an airplane in the sky, then remembered that all commercial flights had been grounded, so it had to be one of our military aircraft, protecting us. I bought my regular comic books that day; Adventures of Superman #596 had an eerie panel of the twin towers of Metropolis being repaired. A friend came over that evening after attending a local religious service.

On Thursday, Nomi and I were sick of the news, and Animal Planet had gone back to regular programming. We watched a documentary about moose to help us get our minds off things.

And life went on. Today, I'm no longer teaching, but editing textbooks in Boston; my younger brother no longer lives in New York City, but in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and three children; and my older brother is still an emergency medicine physician in the Boston area, specializing in disaster management.

And as all my friends know, there have been other changes in my life. In 2007 I lost my mom. In 2008 I published a book collection of many of my short stories. And in 2009, Nomi and I welcomed two precious and adorable girls into our lives. Being a parent changes your perspective on a lot of things, and 9/11 is no exception. When the attacks happened, I was worried for my mom and my brothers; if something were to happen today, my first priority would be to make sure that my children were safe.

I probably don't need to tell anyone this, but today's probably a very good day to remind your loved ones, families, and friends how much they mean to you.
I couldn't believe it. Today, I walked into my local comic book shop, and for the first time in my life, I was able to buy Action Comics #1. This wasn't one of the special reprint facsimile editions, but a real honest-to-goodness copy of Action Comics #1. Look below!


Buying Action Comics #1! Buying Action Comics #1! Michael A. Burstein purchases a copy of Action Comics #1 from Benn Robbins at the Brookline New England Comics. (Photo copyright © 2011 by R. Benton. All rights reserved.)



And can you believe it only cost me $3.99? The last time a copy of Action Comics #1 went up for auction, in February of last year, it sold for one million dollars. How did I manage to buy such a valuable comic so cheaply?

Well, for anyone following comic book news, the answer is obvious:


Buying the Real Action Comics #1 Buying the Real Action Comics #1 Michael A. Burstein buys the brand-new Action Comics #1, which does not cost nearly as much as the original version from 1938, from Benn Robbins at the Brookline New England Comics. (Photo copyright © 2011 by R. Benton. All rights reserved.)



Today DC Comics released Action Comics volume 2 #1, and that was the comic I bought. It's not worth one million dollars at the moment, but just in case it becomes just as valuable as the Action Comics #1 that was published in 1938, I bought two copies. (Don't tell [livejournal.com profile] gnomi, though.)
It's been a while since I had a review up at SF Scope, but what with the release today of Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1, I had a few thoughts I wanted to share. I've been reading comics for pretty much my entire life, and what happened today is just as significant as what happened when DC Comics rebooted their stories in 1985-1986, with Crisis on Infinite Earths. Given how different the world is today, though, a lot more is riding on this reboot than ever did on that one.

If you're so inclined, click the link to see my article Death and the Superman: A Look at the DC Comics New 52 Reboot. And if people are interested, I'll try to provide SF Scope with reviews of all 52 #1 issues as they come out.
At the start of a very, very busy long weekend for us, Nomi and I got a special treat.


Nomi Burstein, Bob Greenberger, Michael A. Burstein Nomi Burstein, Bob Greenberger, Michael A. Burstein
Photo copyright ©2011 A. Kaplan. All rights reserved.



Our good friend Bob Greenberger happened to be in town today, so Nomi and I arranged the time out of our work schedules to meet him for lunch at the Milk Street Café.

I've talked about Bob quite a bit on this blog before; he's a writer and editor who used to work for both DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and he's working on becoming a teacher. (He edited some of my favorite comics when I was a kid, long before I knew him.) He's also a local politician in his own town, so he and I sometimes compare notes on Town Meeting issues. Bob and I even collaborated on a story together once, "Things That Aren't," which appeared in Analog back in April 2007.

We literally have not seen Bob in person for a few years, as he lives in Connecticut. Often we would see him at the Malibu Diner in New York City when a group of editor types meet for lunch on a Wednesday (hence the title of this post), but we haven't been there for a while. We also haven't been to any conventions recently, which would have been another chance to spend time with him.

Today's lunch wasn't earth-shattering or anything like that; it was just a few good friends having a chance to catch up in person, as opposed to over the Internet. It was a chance to laugh, and smile, talk about our kids (I can say that now; last time I saw Bob I wasn't yet a father), and just reconnect.

Thanks, Bob.

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