Formerly sleepy, now hip Davis Square, is threatening to become the Burrito capital of the world, or at least Somerville, MA. When I moved up to Davis Square, confused as to my status as gentrifier (I certainly have the education, but sadly my graduate stipend does not give me the necessary dough…), I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to eat at any of the nice hipstery

[warning: WOTD digression follows. Feel free to skip to the next paragraph. ‘hipster’ enters the lexicon in 1941. 1941 J. SMILEY Hash House Lingo 31 Hipster, a know-it-all. The word most likely derives from “hepster” which is a variant of “hep-cat” dating from 1938. Though there would appear to be a manifest connection between “hip” and “hep,” the OED lists “hep” as having an unknown linguistic origin. Nonetheless, it first enters the English language in 1908, and means “wise or up-to-date.” There is also “hepped” ppl. a, which I’ve never seen, but then again I wasn’t born in the glory days of Jazz. Oh, and care of Urbandictionary, here is some great Dash Hammerskjold comeuppance. The third definition of hipster:

You, for reading ironic, pseudo-intellectual dictionary entries on the word “hipster”.

These dictionary entries on hipsters are so comical! I’m going to email this link to 800 of my closest acquaintances, head to Value Village, grab a chai and then play kickball in a headband and short-shorts. ]

cafes or the cheap Burrito place. I of course chose that latter. Anna’s Taqueria has served me decently, offering up splendid morsels of mexican food at reasonable prices. Still, it’s uninspiring. So I was excited to learn that a Boloco Burrito was opening up a little further down Elm–not because of the food, as it is the Yesterday’s Salad of Burrito places (pretentious, though not without its peculiar charms), but because competition is the basis of all successful economies. But I was really excited to read that Chipotle was coming to my neighborhood, literally across the square from my house. I doubt I’ll ever go to one of the other Burrito places after Chipotle opens.

The best part of this whole thing is the way I discovered that Chipotle was coming to Davis. Chipotle is so exotic in these parts that in reporting the story the Tufts Daily Newspaper wrote, “and a new Mexican restaurant called Chipotle will open in the place that previously housed Halloween Scream.” Not, “a new Chipotle,” but a declarative statement; after all, this will only be the second Chipotle in the Massachusetts Bay area.

I don’t know how any city can claim to be the hub of the universe when they don’t even have a Chipotle.

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I am an extremely biased game-blogger. I like strategy games, I like first-person shooters (when they’re made right), and even some role-playing games. But primarily, I like independently-made games. The production values of these games might never match those of the big studios (and they’re getting bigger by the minute), but they display a degree of attention to detail and innovation that far surpasses the efforts of their plutocratic competitors. And if that’s not enough, they’re often free or inexpensive, and if you buy them, you know that you’re helping a developer make ends meet, rather than padding Vivendi or Electronic Arts’ bottom line.

Another reason why I am enthralled by this community of software-bohemians is that they have singlehandedly revived a genre in gaming that many had thought to be defunct, namely, the adventure game. Some of the earliest computer games belonged to this genre, including the classic infocom games, although the adventure games by LucasArts, such as Sam and Max Hit the Road and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis may represent the classical period of these games, most known to computer users today. These games were great fun, telling a wide variety of stories, and appealed to a much broader audience than other games, as they eschewed twitch-reflexes for problem-solving and character development. Yet, the demographics for computer games did not mature (at least not quickly enough) in the late nineties, and market trends were not in favor of adventure games. They were abandoned by most of the major studios (leading to no small amount of public outcry against LucasArts), and the titles slowly disappeared from store shelves.
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superman1.jpgIn our allegedly regular series, the Saladeers will espouse the virtues of a chosen individual and make the case for why they should be writing a Superman comic. The rules are simple: pick any person–even if they are not currently an author–that would potentially do an exemplary job writing a non-continuity Superman story of indeterminate length. While it is likely that DC Comics would lose money on many of our picks, in the greater interests of forwarding civilization, we feel they should make these happen.

Today’s writer comes to us from the world of television: David Simon, creator and co-writer of HBO’s The Wire. (He’s also a demigod, if we’re to believe wikipedia, which I’m inclined to do)

I generally believe that Superman is at his finest when the story revels in silver age zaniness. Traveling to the 31st century? Awesome. Fighting the Dino-Czar? Sign me up. That being said, I think there is a take on Superman that has really been underutilized. Compared to other successful comics, Superman books have often featured far fewer characters in recent years. Batman has his whole surrogate bat-family, plus all the other supporting characters and extensive rogue’s gallery. Superman, by contrast, has been focused too exclusively on Kal-El, Lois, Lex Luthor, and whatever forgetable (and eminently beatable) villain du jour comes along. When you’re the one of the most powerful men in the universe, it’s understandable the story is going to completely revolve around you.

What Simon could bring to the series is to make it more of an ensemble piece. As he did with Baltimore, he could could really bring Metropolis to life. He should not, by any means, attempt to make Superman as dark as The Wire or turn Clark Kent into Jimmy McNulty, but complexity could be added without making it extremely grim. Simon has a talent for weaving complex epics featuring a wide range of characters and it would be interesting to see Metropolis get that sort of treatment.

Simon could also address one of the glaring weaknesses of the Superman mythology. If Superman is so powerful, why doesn’t he fix all the world’s problems? There is so much suffering in the world, surely he could do more to end world hunger, disease, etc? As seen on The Wire, Simon has a keen grasp on complex social issues and could present the immensity of Metropolis’s everyday problems. Sure, Superman can fight off of a giant interstellar starfish with relative ease, but how fight the problems at the root of modern urban life? In the end, he can make a difference, but some problems are too big, too insidious, and too pervasive for even Superman to cure.

On art? Ryan Sook. Alex Maleev would be good too, but he would really have to brighten his style up from his work on Daredevil.

Want more hypothetical Superman goodness? Check out the previous entries of Who Should Write Superman?.