Whenever he thought about it, he felt terrible. And so, at last, he came to a fateful decision. He decided not to think about it. ~John-Roger and Peter McWilliams
Question #47285 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear Azriel,

Though you contemplate retiring, and though we will have to endure your decision if you so choose to retire, we ask that you stay on, that you continue helping those hapless souls who have written in about their problems, that you continue battling the tunnel worms and giving forth your time to those in need. You are one of those who brings color to the board, and although you may desire not to answer our questions, we ask that it not be this day, but that you continue, and that we will sing your praises, and hope for your continued writing.

- The newly formed Azriel Reader's Alliance.

A: Dear Twoflower,

If you promise to sing in tune, I will consider your request to stay another day. I don't stand for that off-key nonsense.

Question #47284 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Re: Adjusting the temple garment

Here's some helpful information from the Church's guidebook, "True to the Faith":

"Once you are endowed, you have the blessing of wearing the temple garment throughout your life. You are obligated to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. . .The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants you have made in the temple. You should treat it with respect at all times. You should not expose it to the view of those who do not understand its significance, and you should not adjust it to accommodate different styles of clothing. When you wear it properly, it provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior."

dial guy

Question #47252 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Are there any marathons in Southern California that are not on a Sunday in the upcoming months of December, January, or February?

- Running after a boy in socal.

A: Dear Robin:

What you wanted:

Diamond Valley Lake Marathon; Sat., Jan. 24

Shorter than a marathon:

Southern California Half Marathon: Sat., Jan. 10

Longer than a marathon:

Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run; Sat., Jan. 17

Later than you wanted:

Catalina Marathon; Sat., Mar. 14
Palos Verde Marathon; May 2009--likely to be a Saturday

All the others I found were too early and full, or on Sundays. Hopefully something from here works out for you!

Question #47250 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Last night I went to a particularly stupid movie with my husband and my three month old son, and we noticed that it was annoyingly loud, to the point of causing pain. This forced me to wonder a few things:

-Can I ask a theater manager or someone else to "turn it down?"

-If it's loud enough to be causing discomfort, is it damaging my hearing?

-If it is damaging my hearing, is it doing the same amount of damage to my infant's hearing?

-Is there a preset volume by which movie theaters show their movies?

(By the way the movie we saw was "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" and we walked out on it because it was so painful, physically and mentally. Just thought I might be able to spare someone else the pain of spending money to see that movie.)

Thanks for the (hopefully not too) hard work!

- moviegoer

A: Dear moviegoer,

Can I ask a theater manager or someone else to "turn it down?"

Yes, but the problem is that many movies which have loud action sequences also have softer dialogue and music sequences which could be inaudible at a lower sound level. In fact, this article states some movie theater owners have tried to lobby the film industry to get them to record film volume at lower levels.

If it's loud enough to be causing discomfort, is it damaging my hearing?

Yes. That type of pain is the body's way of telling you that the nerve cells in the ear are overwhelmed by the input they're receiving. Another way to determine potential hearing loss is to estimate the decibel level of the sound. According to the article linked above, movie sound effects can be as loud as 110 dB (equivalent to a rock concert), and sustained exposure to such a level of sound can cause damage after as little as two minutes. (See also this site for more information on maximum safe exposure times at various decibel levels.

If it is damaging my hearing, is it doing the same amount of damage to my infant's hearing?

Children have more sensitive ears than adults, so it's doing the same amount of damage or more.

Is there a preset volume by which movie theaters show their movies?

From my own experience watching the same movie in multiple theaters, I'd have to say no. (As the article states, theater owners have to turn the sound up loud enough that people can hear soft dialogue, or patrons will complain about that, too!)

If you haven't experienced any sort of persistent ringing in your ears or noticeable hearing loss, I wouldn't worry too much about this particular incident, either for yourself or for your baby. However, you're right to think that you shouldn't habitually expose yourself to sounds which make your ears hurt. Maybe you should invest in a wide screen TV where you can control the volume.

- Katya the physics chick
A: Dear Ethel,

The person I talked to at a theater I visited said that most theaters use the same sound equipment and the sound is on a scale from 1-10. Movies come with a sound rating. Most movies run at 5.5 though he said Sweeney Todd recommended 7.5. They usually will run all movies at 5.5 regardless unless it sounds too loud or soft during their screening viewings. I don't have a decibel meter so I do not know how the 1-10 scale theaters use correlates to decibels.

-Polly Esther
Question #47249 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My brother has a bunch of rated R movies on DVDs that he wants to edit himself. Is there a place online where maybe all he has to do is pay a monthly fee and then edit all the movies he wants?

-Your Mom

A: Dear Your Mom,

I have done/sought to do a bit of video editing in my time and I've had a number of friends that have done it more than I have. I've never heard of anything that you are specifically describing (online editing software you can rent by time . . . Doesn't sound likely because of the varied requirements of both the software and the large variety of internet accessing computers out there).

If he wants to edit them himself, he would probably want a video/audio editing program such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro, neither of which are particularly user friendly (I realize this is a matter of opinion. I don't think they were easy to this user). And also, they are definitely not too cost friendly.

A service you probably already heard of but I would recommend is ClearPlay. The premise of the service is that you buy the rated R, PG-13, or even PG movies that are too violent or not kid friendly (Prince Caspian, I'm glowering in your direction). Then with your copy of the DVD, you play it in the ClearPlay DVD player. You download filters from the ClearPlay website and load them into the DVD player. As the movie plays, the naughty bits are edited out. Pretty nifty (and not unreasonably expensive).

Finally, even if your brother could edit those movies himself, would he really want to? Video editors, to get the cuts and the cues right have to review scenes and tracks over and over. To silence out an obscenity in the middle of a quickly spoken paragraph, you might have to listen to it over and over again. You're basically getting multiplied amounts of icky for your amount of viewing time. Definitely not something I would try doing myself.

- Rating Pending (who is also glowering toward Airplane 2, which has much more nudity than you'd expect in a PG rated movie and is not kidding)
A: Dear Not Mine,

I'll second Rating Pending's recommendation of ClearPlay. It works well, it's fairly cheap, and the subscription covers all movie filters in their collection—which is quite extensive. My family has been enjoying a much wider selection of videos, professionally filtered/edited, for the last few years now, thanks to them.

—Laser Jock
Question #47248 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My friend told me that Robin, Dr. Phil's wife, is his second wife and that he'd had a previous marriage. Is this true?

Your Mom

A: Dear Mom,

You know Wikipedia? It's awesome. Robin is indeed his second wife. It's actually a very interesting read, as Dr. Phil has quite the sordid history with women.

Question #47247 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is there anywhere on or very close to campus that I could buy about 5 feet of green butcher paper?

- Orenji Jusu

A: Dear <insert your="" name="" here="">,

The BYU Bookstore sells green butcher paper last time I checked. If you go down stairs to the school supplies area then you should be able to ask someone and they'd be able to help you.

Have fun with your green butch paper!
Question #47245 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm excited about the electric car hype, and my husband and I are saving up for when affordable electric cars (or "plug-in hybrids") become a reality. However, by the time we can get such a car, we will probably have enough kids to need a minivan! My question: is there any company that is currently working on an electric car/plug-in that will fit six or more passengers?

- Aardvark

A: Dear Ethel,

The Toyota Highlander is the only current hybrid that seats more than 6 people (it seats 7 with the optional third row). Coming soon are the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon which both fit 6+ as well. These start around $30,000-$50,000 according to the websites.

-Polly Esther
Question #47244 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How much do box seats cost at Lavell Edwards stadium. I know they vary from game to game, but give me an idea for a regular home game in a regular season

- rock taylor

A: Dear Rock,

What meanest thou by box seats? I'm not sure, so I'll give you the entire ticketing rundown.

FYI, there is no such thing as good seats you can buy for one game. Period. Individual game seats are the absolute last priority when it comes to selling tickets. They don't go on sale until after all of the season tickets have been bought, allocated, and distributed. You could say they're the crumbs left on the floor for the dogs.

Anyway, here's how it all works, from "worst" to "best" seats.

Individual game tickets: Prime End Zone: $24; End Zone $18; Sideline $35. For the UCLA game, prices are higher: Prime End Zone: $32; End Zone $25; Sideline $42.

Endzone season tickets (up high): $96
Prime end zone season tickets: $110
Student season tickets (All Sports Pass): $95
Faculty/Staff season tickets: $130 for the season
Sideline bench: $200

That's the best you can get without having a Cougar Club membership. You can join the Cougar Club at different levels. There are two main categories: Cougar Club and Legacy. There are levels within each category. With your membership, you are guaranteed a certain number of season tickets. You pay your membership, sign up for your desired tickets, and then wait. When the deadline for buying season tickets has passed, the tickets are allocated. People are given priority based on how much money they've given (from highest level to lowest level). There is a definite pecking order. After those seats are allocated, non-Club-member season seats are allocated.

Here are the Cougar Club and Legacy membership level names, minimum donations, annual donations, and # of tickets from lowest highest:

Regular Cougar: $0 minimum $100 annual donation, 2 tickets
Bronze Cougar: $0 minimum, $200 annual donation, 4 tickets
Silver Cougar: $0 minimum, $500 annual donation, 4 tickets
Golden Cougar: $0 minimum, $1000 annual donation, 6 tickets
Legacy I: $10,000 minimum, $1000 annual donation, 6 tickets
Legacy II: $25,000 minimum, $1000 annual donation, 6 tickets
Legacy III: $50,000 minimum, $1500 annual donation, 6 tickets
Legacy IV: $100,000 minimum, $2000 annual donation, 6 tickets (with a possibility for more)
Legacy V: $250,000 minimum, $2500 annual donation, 6 tickets (with a possibility for more)

Here are the seats Cougar Club and Legacy members can buy:

West low chair: $350 each
West Cougar Club chair: $450 each (non-Cougar Club CAN buy these seats if there are extra for $550 each)
East Cougar Club chair (Sections 33A and 33B): $650 each
East Legacy chair: $1250 each

There are some seats on the west side that are not allocated. When the stadium was built, there were people who donated truckloads of money, and they have the guaranteed rights to certain seats for life (more than life actually...three generations).

So if I were a Legacy III donor (I've donated at least $50K to Athletics and have paid my $1500 annual membership fee), I could buy six East Legacy chairs at $1250 each (or a lower priced seat if I'd like, but I probably wouldn't because I obviously have plenty of extra money).

Also, Cougar Club members have access to the Cougar Club room and tent (with hot dogs, popcorn, etc.) and Legacy members have access to the East Tent (with better food). Legacy members are also given first priority to purchase seats in The Blue Zone, an executive hosting room in the northwest corner. Seats there are $1000 each and can be bought only in quantities of 4. There is a gourmet pre-game meal, individualized snack bags and gourmet treats at half-time, and high-def flat screen TVs.

The Loges: The loges are the rooms up in the press box building at the top. Companies, organizations, etc. can purchase a loge and invite whoever they want to come (within room capacity of course). The smaller loges start at $25,000-$30,000 a season. The buyer enters into a contract and has rights to buy the loge for 5 years. So the only way you're getting up there is if you're a special guest of the University or you know someone in a company that bought one.

Now you know...

Question #47235 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What does Goodwill and DI do with the items that don't sell at their stores? And how long does these stores keep items for?


A: Dear Ethel,

Clothing that is not sold at DI goes to the Humanitarian Center and is sorted for shipment to third world, very needy countries. Some clothing goes there initially, rather than to DI. Some of the clothing that is unusable is bundled into rags for shipment to needy places; electronics go to an e-waste recycler; metal is recycled and sold to companies that buy metal; some small items (vases, etc.) are often shared with other thrift stores, such as Salvation Army; some unsold books are listed on eBay, with most others going to organizations that recycle paper.

-Polly Esther
Question #47225 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How do I set up a wireless router in my dorm so that it wont disturb the other's internet access and my router won't be cut off?

- LF

A: Dear LF,

There's no magical solution, but there are some things you can do that will help. First, make sure you require a password in order to use your router. Second, make sure you change the default administrator password, so that no random person can change the router's password on you. Third, find a program that lists what channels are being used in your area. In general, though there are 11 channels available on 802.11g, only 1, 6, and 11 are non-overlapping. You'll want to pick one of those. Fourth, don't use ridiculous amounts of bandwidth, and don't constantly try to access pornography. (Heck, don't look at pornography at all, though for reasons much greater than OIT.)

For information on how to implement the first three suggestions, see your router's documentation.


Dear Humble Master,

What are the ten greatest graphic novels ever? How would a poor college student be able to read them without having to spend a ton of cash?

-Closet Comic Obsessive

A: Dear Closet Comic Obsessive,

It has been a delight to ponder what I consider the ten greatest graphic novels of all time. I'll address both of your questions individually, but to help address your monetary concerns I'll post the list price for all the books in my top 10 (what you would pay at a bookstore), as well as Amazon.com's price, and the lowest price for which they can be purchased in a used condition from an Amazon.com marketplace seller. I'll also post the lowest current ebay price I can find.

What are the ten greatest graphic novels ever?

Wow. Your question opens up multiple cans of worms, not the least of which are the subjectivity of opinion and the problematic nature of the term "greatest" (best selling, highest quality narrative, best art, best writing, best delivery of thematic message, etc., etc.). Undoubtedly, many comic fans would take umbrage with what I include on the list, and be outraged that I did not include one of their favorite works. Such is the nature of these lists.

Also, the term "graphic novel" can be a bit problematic. Some people argue that graphic novels are only projects of sequential art that were produced to be book-length, and that collections of monthly comic books bound together into a single volume are "trade paperbacks," not graphic novels. However, I'm going to assume that anything that could be found in the bookstore under the "graphic novel" heading will be fair game for your question, and not quibble about whether the narrative started its life in monthly installments or was envisioned as a book-length whole from the get-go. Onward to the controversial list then, my friends.

10. Marvels, written by Kurt Busiek, drawn by Alex Ross
(Paperback: List price: $19.95; Amazon price: $17.95; used on Amazon: $2.94)
(Hardcover: List price: $24.99; Amazon price: $16.49; used on Amazon: $12.49)
(Original four issues on ebay: start at $1.00)

I was torn between putting Marvels or Kingdom Come on the list, both of which have stunning art by Alex Ross. I decided to go with Marvels because the story is more accessible. Marvels was a four-issue mini-series published by Marvel comics. It tells the story of what it's like to live in the Marvel universe, where super-powered spandex beings run around all over the city, from the perspective of an everyday normal person, in this case a reporter (the Marvel universe is home to characters such as Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four). It traces the history of the Marvel universe, which could certainly be intimidating for a new reader of comics, but does it in such a way that you don't need to know what issue of Fantastic Four Galactus first appeared in, because the protagonist is an outsider looking into those events. For the longtime comic book reader recognizing the events the reporter sees are like finding easter eggs, because all the superhero battles he sees occurred in comic books the comic book fans may be familiar with. While Busiek's writing is fantastic, one of the main selling point is Alex Ross's art. His realistic-painterly style was unlike anything else on the comic stands when he first started doing the art for comics, and it continues to influence the marketplace.

9. The Sandman: Endless Nights, written by Neil Gaiman, art by various artists
(List price: $19.99; Amazon price: $13.59; used on Amazon: $9.50; ebay starts at: $2.99)

The Sandman was a 75-issue series published by Vertigo Comics, an imprint of DC Comics used to tell non-superhero (usually) mature stories. The entire run is considered one of the greatest comics ever published, Endless Nights was a special book which features a short story about each of seven immortal siblings: Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium. The entire series is also available in ten trade paperback collections.

The series follows Morpheus, also called Dream, but it's hard to explain what the series is really about. Gaimain described the series thusly: "The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision." The stories in each issue were often stand-alone tales rather than telling a vast over-arching narrative.

The only trade paperback I own is Volume III: Dream Country, which includes an excellent story about William Shakespeare writing A Midsummer Night's Dream.

A warning to anyone who plans to read this series: it is meant for adult readers and it contains what has come to be called "adult content," including sexual content and strong language. If that bothers you, please don't take my recommendation to read The Sandman. If you own a graphic novel, it is easy enough to edit your own copy by keeping a permanent marker handy for crossing out profanity and scribbling out nudity, which I've done on my first reading of some graphic novels with content I don't care for. You see everything the first time, but any re-reads are PG-rated, and you can lend it to family and friends who don't care for that sort of content. But if you don't want to see it the first time move on to another graphic novel on my list.

8. It's a Bird..., written by Steven T. Seagle and drawn by Teddy Kristiansen
(List price: $17.99; Amazon price: $14.39; used on Amazon: $5.75; ebay starts at $.99)

This graphic novel was also published by Vertigo, but I don't think it has any adult content at all. It's a biographical piece about a comic book writer being offered the chance to write the Superman comic, but he can't get his head around what stories to write about an all-powerful almost-godlike being. It has fantastic sections where he ponders in-depth about various aspects of Superman (i.e., colors on his costume, the name Superman, his origins from a destroyed world). It also heavily features the difficult family interactions the author was experiencing at the time he was offered the chance to write Superman (illness and interpersonal conflicts). It's a very different graphic novel, and experiments with different art styles, but it is well worth the read.

7. Batman: The Long Halloween, written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Tim Sale
(List price: $19.99, Amazon price: $13.00; used on Amazon: $10.29; ebay starts at $5.99)

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale have teamed up for many of my favorite graphic novels. Some of those will be listed down in my "Other recommended reads" section.

Batman: The Long Halloween is a year-long mystery in which Batman and Commissioner Gordon attempt to catch a serial killer who only murders on holidays. The trade paperback collects the original 13-issue mini-series which was published from October to October, and had one issue come out each month.

The movie The Dark Knight drew lots of inspiration from this graphic novel, most particularly in the Two-Face storyline. The way the story goes, the graphic novel might more appropriately be called Two-Face: The Long Halloween, but that wouldn't have been nearly as marketable.

6. Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 1: Power and Responsibility, written by Brian Bendis and drawn by Mark Bagley
(List price: $14.97, Amazon price: $10.17; used on Amazon: $1.34; starts on ebay at $.99 (for the first four trade paperbacks!)

Ultimate Spider-Man is an amazing title, not least because the same writer and artist produced the first 114 issues (a near unheard of length of collaboration on a monthly title (the same writer is still writing it, but with a new artist)). Spider-Man was first created in 1962, and Ultimate Spider-Man updates the characters' origins for the modern day. The ultimate version of the Marvel universe was created to be new-reader friendly, so that the characters were being created fresh without 40 years of continuity which new readers would not be familiar with.

But besides updating the origin and being new-reader friendly, Ultimate Spider-Man is simply one of the very best titles out there. I eagerly await every new collection to add to my bookshelf. Ultimate Spider-Man is my favorite on-going superhero comic book. I chose the first volume simply because that's where the story begins, but there are very few dips in quality in the series so far.

5. Bone: The One Volume, written and drawn by Jeff Smith
(List price: $39.95; Amazon price: $31.32; used on Amazon: $16.25; ebay starts at $25)

First, let me sat that the $16 used price for this is a fantastic deal. Bone: The One Volume is 1300 pages long (no, that's not a typo, I meant to include the second zero). This collects all 55 issues of the comic book series into one volume, and does it for a shockingly low price considering how much material is in there.

Bone is a strange-looking cartoonish creature who gets sucked into an epic adventure which TIME magazine compared to The Lord of the Rings (but funnier). Scholastic has been colorizing the original black and white drawings and releasing them as trade paperbacks targeted at school children. This series is a delightful read for anyone of any age.

4. Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile written by Bill Willingham and drawn by Lan Medina
(List price: $9.99; Amazon price: $9.99; used on Amazon: $5.00; ebay starts at $1.99)

I love this series. However, I did not love the first trade paperback. Why, then, did I recommend the first paperback? Because you need that foundation to appreciate the rest of the series. But trust when I say that every volume collecting the issues from the monthly comic is better than the last (there are currently 10 collections out). So if you're not wowed with the first volume, stick it out a little longer into the next couple collections.

So what is Fables about? I could go on and on about the brilliance of this series, so I'll use the Wikipedia summary to keep things brief:
Fables is an ongoing Vertigo comic book series created and written by Bill Willingham, starting in 2002. The series deals with various characters from fairy tales and folklore – referring to themselves as "Fables" – who have been forced out of their Homelands by a mysterious enemy known as the Adversary. They have traveled to our world and formed a clandestine community in New York City known as Fabletown. Fables who are unable to blend in with human society (such as monsters and anthropomorphic animals) live at "the Farm" in upstate New York.

CONTENT WARNING Fables is published by Vertigo, the same imprint as Sandman, and the same warnings apply. However, an interesting thing happens in this series. The first few volumes have a fair amount of profanity (including the biggun'), sexuality and violence (the death of Goldilocks is quite shocking). But as the series goes on, these elements disappear. I don't think the most recent volume had any swearing, sexuality, or gratuitous violence. This is pure speculation, but I think at first the editors wanted to prove this wasn't a kid's story, that it was mature storytelling, so they requested that stuff be added in. But, as the series became popular the author was allowed to tell the stories how he wanted to tell them, and he didn't need vulgarity to make the stories mature. So, once again, read the volumes with a permanent marker in hand the first time through, and you won't have to see content you don't want to upon re-reads. Or avoid the series altogether if you have no desire for that sort of content.

3. Maus: A Survivor's Tale, written and drawn by Art Spiegelman
(List price: $35.00; Amazon price: $23.10; used on Amazon: $21.35; ebay starts at $19.99)

Maus is a memoir about the Holocaust, as told by the son of a Holocause survivor. Though the story is based on his true life experiences, Art Spiegleman, the writer and artist, anthropomorphizes all the characters in this graphic novel, which creates an odd response for the reader. Maus won a Pulitzer prize in 1992.

2. Watchmen, written by Alan Moore, drawn by Dave Gibbons
(List price: $19.99; Amazon price: $10.99; used on Amazon: $10.12; ebay starts at $5.99)

I already shared many of my opinions about Watchmen here, so feel free to read that lengthy post. I will offer again my warning about the content, so if you're concerned about strong language, violence, and sexual content be warned. But if you can get past that content and read for thematic content, be prepared to be blown away. This graphic novel is amazing. But, I think you should read some Batman, Superman, Spider-Man and other classic superheroes before reading Watchmen. It's important to understand the conventions of the superhero genre before reading an epic deconstruction of the genre.

1. Understanding Comics, written and drawn by Scott McCloud
(List price: $22.95; Amazon price: $15.61; used on Amazon: $9.00; ebay starts at $5.99)

The number one pick I have isn't a narrative graphic novel, it's a graphic novel about the artistic theory behind the comic book medium. It's the perfect marriage of message with method of delivery. If I was to recommend a single graphic novel for people who didn't know much about graphic novels, it would be Understanding Comics. It's used in universities across the country. There is no better graphic novel to demonstrate the strengths of the comic book medium than Understanding Comics, and that is why I put it at number 1. It is an academic text, but it is a very easy and informative read.

You requested only the top 10, but here are several other recommended reads, in no particular order:

Animal Man: Deus Ex Machina (crazy, crazy postmodern fun (the protagonist looks at the reader and says "I can see you" at one point, and leaves the comic book to go talk to the author at another))
Umbrella Academy (written by the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, if that means anything to you)
Agents of Atlas (features a wise-cracking gorilla on the same team as Venus, the goddess of love)
Kingdom Come (more beautiful Alex Ross art, this time set in the dystopic future of the DC Universe)
Superman: Red Son (what if Superman's rocket had landed in communist Russia instead of Smallville?)
Pride of Baghdad (a story told from a pride of lions that escaped the Baghdad zoo just after the U.S. invasion)
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Chris Ware, the writer and artist, does some fascinating experimental things with the comic book medium)
The American Way (a Black superhero sponsored by the government in the 1960s causes superpowered racial strife)
Hulk: Planet Hulk (my favorite Hulk story)
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills (explores religion, prejudice, acceptance, and love)
X-Men: E is for Extinction (all sorts of crazy stuff happens to the X-Men)
Astonishing X-Men: Gifted (Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, writes the X-Men and it's oh so good)
Owly (intended for younger audiences, these text free comic books follow the adventures of a cute little owl)
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (more from the mind of Alan Moore)
Batman: Year One (a mini-series about Batman's first year on the job)
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (from the same writer/artist of Batman: Year One, a tale about Batman coming out of retirement at the end of his life)
Daredevil: Yellow (a Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale collaboration, which curiously has no wikipedia page as of yet)
Spider-Man: Blue (a Loeb/Sale collaboration)
Batman: Dark Victory (Loeb and Sale's sequel to Batman: The Long Halloween)
Batman: Hush (Loeb teams with Jim Lee, one of my favorite artists, for a classic Batman mystery)
The Death of Superman (it's controversial, but I still think it's worth reading)
Superman for all Seasons (Loeb/Sale, yet again)
Marvel: Civil War (all the superheroes fight, with pretty pictures drawn by Steve McNiven)
Essential Spider-Man Vol. 1(the first 22 issues of Spider-Man comics, this is classic groundbreaking stuff, even if the dialogue feels dated now)
DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore (all of Alan Moore's superhero stories set in the DC Universe)
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (life from Mary Jane Watson's point-of-view...yeah, it's probably targeted at teenage girls, it's still a great read)

And now to address your other question:
How would a poor college student be able to read them without having to spend a ton of cash?

Comic books aren't cheap, so the price is a hindrance. A couple ideas to help lessen the blow to your wallet:

1) Always buy used. This can cut the cost in half.

2) Find a friend who loves comics. I do regular graphic novel swaps with a few friends, I read theirs and they read mine.

3) Use those big comfy chairs in bookstores like Barnes & Noble. I've read more than one entire graphic novel sitting in those chairs. They're there for a reason.

4) Buy what are sometimes called "phonebook" volumes, which are black and white reprints on low quality paper which give you the greatest amount of story bang for your buck. From Marvel they're called "Essential," from DC they're called "Showcase" (i.e., Essential Avengers or Showcase: Green Lantern). For instance, Essential X-Men Vol. I includes 26 issues of comic book stories for a list price of $15 (Amazon sells Essential volumes for about $12).

None of these solutions are perfect, but they can help.

-Humble Master
Question #46915 posted on 09/05/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My aunt Susan just gave me some homemade strawberry jam. She canned it and sealed it. I left it in my hot car all day and the seal broke (well, the button popped up...I never unscrewed the lid). Later in the evening, since it cooled down, the button pushed itself back in. It had resealed itself when it cooled down.
My question is this: Is there a possibility that my jar could have gotten botulism from being sealed/unsealed/sealed? Is there a way to tell for sure? I want to eat the jam, but I definitely do not want to die.

- Susan's niece

A: Dear Ethel,

An average of 110 cases of botulism are reported each year in the United States. Of these, approximately, 72% are infant botulism, and 3% are wound botulism. There is almost no chance you can get botulism in the first place--out of 300 million people only 110 get it every year and 72% of those are infants.

We know that foodborne botulism occrs more frequently from home-canned foods with low acid content such as carrot juice, asparagus, green beans, beets, and corn and is less likely in things like jams that need to be boiled for so long. Now, because the botulism toxin is destroyed by high temperatures (which should have been destroyed the first time your jam was boiled), home-canned foods are best boiled for 10 to 20 minutes before eating.

Still, botulism is caused by a bacterial toxin, not by sealing and resealing. Botulism would make the seal "pop up", but it wouldn't be able to "pop down". If it was canned in sanitary conditions and boiled at correct temperatures, you should be fine.

Granted, the really only safe option would follow the old adage "When in doubt, throw it out!" Which will be my official advice to you even though I'd probably still eat it.

-Polly Esther