December 16, 2016

The New McCarthyism Smoke Screen Continues


The New McCarthyism smoke screen continues. The unDemocratic Party wants you to forget all the facts of their own malfeasance and instead focus on some unproven narrative that Russia hacked the DNC, then provided the info to WikiLeaks to swing the election in favor of Trump even in the face of a WikiLeaks operative insisting someone inside the DNC provided them the documents out of disgust. 

Honestly, it's not that I'm surprised the DNC would pull this nonsense, I'm mostly surprised how many people have bought it into it and embrace it with both arms. I mean, I know I shouldn't be. You know, confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance and all that stuff that gets thrown around in online arguments. And this whole thing does allows a continuation of the infantile good/evil narrative that the duopoly always has in play during elections, but it's the hypocrisy that is so shocking to me. It's like:


You're not mad that the Democrats rigged the results of the primary but you are mad that revealing that the Democrats rigged the primary may have influenced the election.


You're not mad the Democrats collaborated secretly with traditional media sources to construct and control "news" narratives so they were favorable to the party's chosen candidate or that they rewarded those journalist collaborators with positions but you are mad that "fake news" may have led people to vote against the candidate.


You're worried that an oppressive foreign regime which controls news sources used fake news to influence our election and you think the best way to counter that is to let corporations like Facebook and Google decide what news you see and to trust only the same news sources that collaborated with the Democrats.


You're not mad the Democrats voted to keep the super-delegates who helped ensure their pre-chosen candidate won the primary, but you totally think they should get rid of the electoral college to stop their opponent--the guy you don't like.


You're not mad that one of the chief strategies of the Democratic Party to get their chosen candidate elected was to ensure Trump was their pre-selected candidate's opponent but don't blame them at all that he got the nomination and won.


You're totally worried about what's going to happen to immigrants under Trump but didn't seem to notice Obama's record-breaking mass deportation efforts.


You're really upset about the influence of big business on Trump's cabinet and policies but weren't bothered that Citibank pre-selected Obama's cabinet.


You're worried about the coming of tyranny under Trump and the right but don't mind that the majority of Democrats voted and still regularly voted to allow mass surveillance and that Obama's cabinet has been the most secretive in history while persecuting more whistleblowers than any other.



December 2, 2016

The Girl and the Rice Pudding


The last couple of days, I've been thinking a lot about Sujata, the girl who gave the Buddha food. I don't know if you know the story but the last thing Siddhartha tried before just going and sitting under the Bodhi tree where he found enlightenment was to live as an ascetic.

Now, the stories talk about how Siddhartha threw himself into everything he tried, so of course he was the most rigorous in his discipline and the most severe in his denial of the body, the mortification of his flesh—think existing on a single sip of water and a single grain of rice while engaged in meditation or chanting or whatever difficult practice.


Eventually, Siddhartha realized asceticism wasn’t helpful and wasn’t getting him anywhere. Unfortunately, by then, he’s near death. Weak and in pain. Exhausted. Can barely move. And a girl—Sujata—she sees him and she gives him her payasam—which is like this sugary, milk, rice pudding dish—and that’s what keeps him from dying and what gives him the strength to go on to the Bodhi tree.

I’ve seen that story presented a lot of ways. Sometimes she’s not named. Sometimes she’s very young. Sometimes she rich and beautiful. Sometimes she’s just walking by. Sometimes someone goes and tells her about the sickly looking man on the roadside by the edge of the wood. And sometimes she gives Siddhartha that rice pudding because she thought he was a tree god.

But none of that matters, right? Do you get that?

The trappings, I mean. Because at its heart, it’s just about a girl who gives a starving man food and without her, just that moment of thoughtless kindness--she just did it without planning or thinking about it, there would be no Buddha, no dharma, no sangha. Something about that really strikes me deeply. There’s no magic or miracles or prophecies or holy wars or supernatural forces crackling across the heavens, it’s just this immediate and genuine act of kindness when a girl gave some sick, gross-looking guy a bit of food.

In my head, I tend to picture that as one of the things Siddhartha rolls around in his mind when he’s sitting under the Bodhi tree, that knowledge that it really…just comes down to that…a girl and a bowl of rice pudding…

I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been in a weird mental place lately and dealing with a lot of stress. And with everything that’s going on in the world and the things you see on social media, it’s easy to feel…beset. Beset by a legion of assholes and the very forces of the universe.

Do you feel that way too?

What I think would be cool for us--without mucking it up by turning it into a clickbait, meme thing--is to practice some gratitude because gratitude makes you feel better mentally and physically and it boosts your self-esteem and it puts good things into the world. But let’s practice it in a very specific way.

First, I want you to think about little moments of kindness that you’ve shown people. I don’t mean the big stuff, I mean, the little stuff like a man, a girl, and a bowl of rice pudding. Things like giving someone your parking spot. Giving someone the quarter they needed to make bus fare. I think we tend to ignore those things, to give them short shrift. Part of it is how our minds work. We tend to focus on the big stuff and ignore the little stuff unless we’re in a bad spot and then we notice every little thing that’s wrong.

Part of it too, though is we don’t know what comes of those moments. But those can be difference makers in someone’s life, just like the bowl of rice pudding. So, try to remember one of those times and think about the impact of your action on that person’s life. I mean, really think about it. Maybe it was the one good thing that day for them. What would that mean to you if you were in their place? Maybe it kept them going. Maybe it got them to that important job interview. Doesn’t matter if any of your imaginings are true, it’s about what it does to you mind and where your mind goes, your world follows.

Next, while you’re caught up in the feeling, I want you to think about your own life and when people have shown you those little moments of kindness and what that meant to you, what it did for you, what it meant for the rest of your day. Because we really do tend to ignore those. And when you’ve got at least one of those, if you can, I want you to go to that person and I want you to tell them thank you. For reals. I want you to tell them thank you. Even if it’s just the downstairs neighbor whose name you don’t know and you’ve never really talked to but they always go out of their way to hold the door for you when you’re coming back from the store. Go tell them thank you. Don't message them or email them, if you can help it, instead--look them in the eye and tell them thank you.

Then, lastly, pick a day, that same day ideally and keep your eyes open for something small and nice to do for someone as soon as the opportunity presents itself. I mean, right now, are you walking around with a bunch of change in your pocket that you're probably going to toss on top of your dresser when you get home? Are you near parking meters?

See what I'm saying. Doesn't have to be big and huge. Because, man, it's just about a bowl of rice pudding, you know?

December 1, 2016

Gun Mantra


I used to write a lot of fiction that appeared on the free online zines. Most of those have run their course. And, honestly, the few who are still around aren't doing me any good because no one is going to dig through those for a flash fiction story that appeared two or more years ago.

So, I'm moving a lot of those over to Wattpad. Not only does it give me a chance to teach myself photoshop, but, hopefully, I'll eventually get the attention of new readers.

First up is:





November 22, 2016

Seeing Hell


Jacob's Ladder had a huge effect on me. Huge effect. But in spite of all the disturbing images, the part that has stuck with me over all these years is the bit Louie tells Jacob near the end:

"Eckhart saw hell too. He said: The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you, he said. They're freeing your soul. So, if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth. It's just a matter of how you look at it, that's all. So don't worry, okay?"


November 17, 2016

The Biden & Obama Adventure Hour



The Biden-Obama memes win the internet. Such funny stuff. I really want someone to greenlight a TV show of their "fictional adventures." Maybe it starts right after the election--more free time and Joe begins to set his Home Alone traps--then first season ends with the change-over in power and that fist fight Joe challenged Trump to a while back:

CUT-TO:
EXTERIOR. WASHINGTON DC GYM. REAR PARKING LOT. A fleet of BLACK LIMOS and SUVs surround the parking lot. The brilliant glow of their headlights reveal a rowdy crowd of men in nice suits and women in expensive dresses.

STEADY-CAM through CROWD while the hottest RAP TRACK blasts. FISTS full of money pump the air. DRINKS Slosh. WOMEN Cheer. All interspersed with SECRET SERVICE AGENTS looking on anxiously.

PULL-IN TIGHT ON:
JOE BIDEN wearing boxing trunks and bouncing from foot to foot, BARACK OBAMA with his sleeves rolled up, a towel tossed casually over his shoulder, and a cigarette dangling out of his mouth. 

OBAMA: Can we turn that music down, Joe?

BIDEN: (SHAKES HEAD, ROLLS SHOULDERS) No, Barack. It gets me pumped.

OBAMA: (SIGHS) You sure about this, Joe?

BIDEN: (HITTING HIS FISTS TOGETHER) I’m gonna bust up that Orange turd like a high school kegger.

VOICE: (OS) You ready?

BIDEN: (YELLING) Michelle, hold my teeth!


November 14, 2016

Somebody's Got A Case Of The Mondays...



Mondays at the day job always remind me that I need to write faster, finish more, and submit more.


November 11, 2016

Things To Consider Post-Election...


Some things to consider post-election:


* Feel how you feel. There’s nothing wrong with feeling how you feel—being human means you should naturally experience a wide array of emotions, good and bad. But then allow it all to pass. When emotions, either good or bad, don’t pass or you won’t allow them to pass, that’s when they create trouble for you.

* We need to deal with what is. For better or for worse, Trump is our president. Short of a complete overthrow of the government, he’s not going anywhere for at least four years.

*Young people, I know this is disheartening for you. I’m 40 years old and have voted in every election since I was 18. Sometimes this shit is fucked up and sad and disappointing. But you’ll get through it.

* Have bad things happened because Trump won? Sure. But bad things happened before he won and bad things will continue to happen after he is long out of office. Dickheads will always find an excuse to be dickheads. Stop making this the source of all "evil."

* Begin to break your sports team/us versus them mentality. It’s not helpful. It generates dislike between people of different circumstances/beliefs. If something was reprehensible for the right to do to the left or the Republicans to do when we had a Democrat as president, it doesn’t suddenly become okay when the situation is reversed.

* Stop sharing info and stories from poorly-sourced, bunk websites that fit your own echo chamber. For fucking reals, people. I saw people from both sides of the divide doing it before the election, and I’m still seeing people from both sides of the divide doing it after. It’s not helpful to anyone, not even your cause. Don’t do it. Don’t share it. Don’t believe it.

* Voting is a right. Like free speech and every other right, that means people will exercise it in ways you don’t like. You can feel however you feel about how they vote, but throwing a fit afterward and trying to shame and bully them based on how they chose to vote (for the candidate you didn’t like, a third-party candidate, or, fuck, even not at all) means you don’t actually support that right and are really more concerned about getting your way.

* There are all sorts of reasons people voted for Trump, if you want to look around your country and believe it’s full of ignorant bigots, I think that says more about you, then anything else.

*I know you didn’t want to pay attention in government class (I didn’t either, I took it senior year, I was ready to get the fuck out of the high school I hated so much and out of Columbus, and so I spent most of my time in that class getting the teacher to fall for “Ben Dover? Is Ben Dover here?”), but you need to understand how your government works. I saw this before the election (things like write-in voting) and I’m seeing it after the election (the electoral college is not new).

* The president is not a king. He cannot do whatever the hell he wants. There are checks and balances.

* In two years, there will be midterm elections. You should vote in them. You will have representatives up for re-election. Find out who they are now, message them now that if they support any sort of racist, homophobic, anti-Muslim, or ant-immigrant policy, you will do everything in your power to see them voted out of office (regardless of their party affiliation)

* If Trump does manage to get something awful passed, organizations like the ACLU will instantly have that shit in court. And the ACLU always needs money, you can donate now if you want: https://www.aclu.org/

* There are Muslims, immigrants, LGBT people, and people of color who are afraid to go anywhere right now. Some are afraid because of things that have happened in their town and some are simply afraid because of a pervasive climate of fear. Do you know someone like that? Instead of sharing your 18th meme today, why don’t you call your friend and see if they want to go out to get coffee or food or maybe they just want friendly company? Or maybe even organize something else informally?

November 5, 2016

Have I mentioned?


Have I mentioned how ridiculously excited I am to see Doctor Strange on the big screen?


October 28, 2016

October 24, 2016

Politics: How Write-In Voting Works


Still seeing a lot of people talking about writing in Bernie as their choice for president. That's not how write-in candidates work. 34 states require the candidate to be registered as a write-in, 9 do not allow write in candidates at all, and the remaining 7 states (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Oregon) count the votes of anyone you write in.

However, Bernie is not a registered candidate in any of those 34 states. And even if he, by some miracle, managed to get enough votes to take all 7 of the open states, that would still not give him enough electoral votes to be president (see breakdown below).

Pennsylvania 20
New Jersey 14
Vermont 3
Rhode Island 4
New Hampshire 4
Iowa 6
Oregon 7
Total: 68 electoral votes

October 21, 2016

October 19, 2016

Politics: Throwing Your Vote Away


Personally, I tend to follow Eugene Debs' logic, "I'd rather vote for something I want and not get it, than vote for something I don't want and get it." But seriously, the thing that absolutely drives me crazy about all the people who are just so rabid about lesser of evils voting or a vote for anyone other than Hillary is a vote for Trump or a third party vote is just throwing your vote away apparently don't understand how our election process actually functions or the importance of where they live when it comes to their vote.

Listen up: I know you've been told this is a democracy and every vote counts, but that doesn't mean what you think it means. Thanks to the electoral college it's not about who gets the most votes. It's about who takes what states and gets the right amount of electors. Hell, thanks to the electoral college, it's even possible to lose the popular vote and still win the damn presidency.

So, let's take my home state as an example. I lean so far to the left that I almost tip over, right? Well, Indiana almost always goes red. It's not a blue state. It's not a battleground state. I mean, I think Indiana is like at a +7 Republican on the partisan voter index. In only one of the last 10 presidential elections, has Indiana gone for a Democrat. Furthermore, a Democrat has only taken Indiana 5 times since 1900. Each of those times, that Democrat won the popular vote by big numbers (one of those times, the Democratic even had a Hoosier for a VP).

Trump will almost certainly take Indiana since Hillary isn't anywhere near popular enough to be number six and Trump did far better in primary numbers than Romney did last presidential election when he took the state. It's the same with my neighbor to the South. Trump will almost certainly take Kentucky. The only time Kentucky voters have been willing to go blue is when the candidate is a white, male, Anglo-Saxon, Southern Governor. Do you follow what I'm getting at here?

As a liberal, you know what would be throwing my vote away? Voting for Hillary. Seriously. Wasted vote in Indiana. Trump will take the state and it's electors, rendering a Hillary vote absolutely meaningless. You know what makes my vote useful? Voting third party (since I'm a leftie that means Jill Stein). Even if the Green Party doesn't take Indiana, my vote for Jill Stein still accomplishes something. Things like ballot access and federal election funds? All that stuff that's important to building viable alternatives? That's all tied to how well a party does in the election. So, if you really want to stop Trump and don't want to "throw your vote away" and you're sick of having two terrible options for president? Then vote smart. Not blindly.

October 18, 2016

Politics: How Did We Get Rid of Kings...?


The mental hoops I see people jump through to defend Sanders new job as Democratic lapdog are absolutely mind blowing. It's one step away from, "He has to work for the corporate-run establishment and the warhawk candidate that stole the election. He's been infected with a time release poison and the DNC won't give him the antidote until after the election."

It's really helped hammer home one of things that I've noticed this election: people on all sides really just want "heroes" who will save them for some "evil" and whom they can follow blindly.

Honestly, sometimes, I'm really amazed we ever got rid of kings.

October 17, 2016

Your Special Advocate



The Miskatonic Dreams anthology is currently available from Alban Lake in both print and digital. I hope you’ll check it out, either now or when it becomes available through Amazon in about a week. 

"Your Special Advocate" introduces Ezra Gaskell who chairs the Dunwich Committee on Student Safety. There are a couple of things I tried to do with this story. Other writers portray the weirdness of Miskatonic University as either overt or covert. I prefer covert and so tried to filter that through my own experiences at the day job working with student safety where parents tend to panic over everything. I also wanted my story to be thoroughly modern and not read like a Lovecraft pastiche—my main character’s best resource is his smart phone and he’s never met an antiquarian. And lastly, my worldview runs counter to Lovecraft’s in pretty much every way. I wanted to make sure my story reflected that (hence the Dunwich connection)—
“Listen,” he said. “Right now, you feel the entire universe is against you.”

“That’s exactly how it feels,” she said. “It really, really does. Like the universe wants to squish me.”

“Maybe the universe is against you.” He shrugged. “I mean, I don’t think that’s how the universe works—that idea always seemed both egocentric and narcissistic to me—but who knows? What I do know is that I’m not against you. I’ve got your back.”

October 15, 2016

Saturday Update


Details soon on the anthology appearance of my horror story called "Your Special Advocate." In the meantime, I'm working on some more Cyberpunk stories...


October 14, 2016

Today's Pug Pic



Politics: The New McCarthyism


Senator Joseph McCarthy
I think it’s very telling that following the DNC leak the mainstream media has worked overtime to reframe anything connected to Assange and WikiLeaks in terms of how it “benefits Russia.” Instead of addressing any of the information revealed in any meaningful way, they’ve simply fallen in lockstep with the Dem’s New McCarthyism where any critic/opponent becomes an agent of Russia.


What makes the whole thing even more ironic to me (besides the fact that the DNC stole the primary for Hillary) is that Obama Administration has been the least transparent presidential administration in history and used the espionage act to prosecute whistleblowers and information leakers more than any other presidential administration ever.

But hey, you know, according to their marketing the Democrats are the liberal party, so ignore that the same way you ignore all the drone strikes and move along…

October 12, 2016

Alternative Clothing



Ever noticed how much "alternative clothing" amounts to just slapping a pentagram or a baphomet or the alchemical symbol for sulfur on something? Under capitalism even Satan gets commodified.



October 4, 2016

Six Bullets For John Carter



Years ago, "Six Bullets For John Carter" began as a very short story written for Beat To A Pulp. Now, the expanded, far more philosophical and far more violent, version is available for Amazon Kindle:
In the future, thieves don’t steal your identity, they steal you.

The man didn’t care who a client wanted or why, as long as they could pay. He buried his conscience under a mountain of wealth and there it stayed…until he agreed to grow the blonde from Alpha Centauri...

Burned by a powerful client, the man fled Mars for the free cities, the anarchist encampments along the Kuiper Belt, and the black market strongholds secreted in the Oort Cloud.

But now he’s tired of running. A slice-and-splice job has given him a new face and new body, but the rewrite will kill him in a matter of days. He’s got a powerful gun, but the weapon only came with six bullets. He’s sacrificing everything for revenge, but what will it get him?

September 14, 2016

Star Trek 50th Anniversary: Star Trek The Motion Picture



I loved Star Trek when I was a kid. Just loved it. I remember I made my mom take me to see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in the theatre and I bawled all the way home after Spock died.

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary, I'm going to rewatch all the films and post my thoughts and observations. When I make it all the way through, I'll sum everthing up. 


Star Trek: The Motion Picture


Almost as soon as the series was cancelled, Roddenberry began lobbying Paramount for a feature film. Paramount didn’t agree until 1975, after the series did extremely well in syndication. However, despite a multitude of scripts being turned in, the studio passed on all of them before finally cancelling the project in 1977 with a plan to reboot the franchise with a new TV show.

That changed again when Close Encounters of the Third Kind ended up a box office hit. Paramount decided a feature film was the way to go. So the pilot episode for Star Trek: Phase II (An Alan Dean Foster script based on an idea by Gene Roddenberry) was rewritten into a feature film and then everything started speeding off the rails...

The script apparently went through constant revisions (hourly script updates on shooting days), the budget ballooned from $15 million to $46 million, and the movie was literally finished just days before it’s release.

And all of that shows.

I haven’t watched this first Star Trek movie in years, once I did, I quickly remembered why…

Things I liked:

  • The scope is huge. Whether it’s space or the Enterprise itself, you can really tell they were invested fully in showing you the Star Trek Universe as the writers always imagined it.
  • The only thing that matches the scope is the sense of awe.
  • Spock sensing the V’Ger consciousness across the gulf of space is awesome.
  • Kirk as the “man,” the symbol of authority.


Things I didn’t like:

  • The knockoff Star Wars opening with the camera panning across the Klingon ship.
  • I'm with Nicholas Meyer. The uniforms here are godawful. The 70's space hippie look dates that film worse than the special effects. (Though I swear Kirk is wearing what looks like a Fitbit in one scene).
  • Basic things that should almost never ever malfunction, malfunction.
  • Kirk being the authority figure is a wasted opportunity for character.
  • The pacing is terrible. Just absolutely terrible. I imagine the number one rule in production meetings being “Why let a scene take only 2 minutes, when we could drag it out for 15?”
  • The movie is boring. Absolutely boring. Lots of cold, philosophical dialogue and people standing around and looking at viewscreens.

September 9, 2016

Karma on Death Row



This talk by Damien Echols of the West Memphis 3 is absolutely worth a read.


September 7, 2016

Favorite Vampire TV Shows


Tonight's viewing is season two of one of my favorite vampire tv shows.

"He was brought across in 1228. He preyed on humans for their blood. Now he wants to be mortal again. To repay society for his sins, to emerge from his world of darkness, from his endless forever...night."


July 26, 2016

Miskatonic Dreams




I’ve been working on a lot of other stories outside of the crime genre and submitting them to markets that pay. Happy to announce my horror story “Your Special Advocate” will be in a Lovecraft anthology called Miskatonic Dreams.

More about all this soon.


July 25, 2016

Another Shane Stevens Chin Wag with Richard Godwin



Shane Stevens at Breadloaf 1970
Meant to post this here sooner...I'm back talking with Richard Godwin about Shane Stevens. Read the Quick Fire At The Slaughterhouse HERE.

June 30, 2016

Critters


Now that the most recent season is on Netflix, we've been rewatching American Dad

Hearing Scott Grimes voice Steve Smith really makes me want to watch Critters and Critters 2 again.



June 27, 2016

Trending on Facebook





The most interesting thing about the TRENDING ticker along the side of your Facebook feed? Clicking a topic, pretty much any topic, and seeing how many people share and comment on an article while clearly never having read it.

Pretty much sums up one of the biggest problems with how we process, share, and deal with information on the internet.

June 24, 2016

T.E.D. Klein's 13 Most Terrifying Stories


I came across this list by the extremely talented but woefully unprofilic T.E.D. Klein. I have not read a couple of these, so it looks like I have a lot of new stories to track down:

THE 13 MOST TERRIFYING HORROR STORIES

  1. Casting the Runes by M.R. James 
  2.  The Novel of the Black Seal by Arthur Machen
  3. The Willows by Algernon Blackwood
  4. The Dunwich Horror by HPL
  5. Bird of Prey by John Collier
  6. Who Goes There? by Don A. Stuart (John W. Campbell) Antarctic horror, the genesis of The Thing.
  7. They Bite by Anthony Boucher
  8. Stay off the Moon! by Raymond F. Jones
  9. Ottmar Balleau X 2 by George Bamber
  10. First Anniversary by Richard Matheson
  11. The Autopsy by Michael Shea
  12. The Trick by Ramsey Campbell
  13. To Build a Fire by Jack London

June 23, 2016

The Karen Problem





I was watching a show the other night and was just totally put off by one of the characters. Couldn't put my finger on it for the longest time. Then it hit me...the character reminds me of Karen from Californication who I absolutely positively hated.

The problem with disliking Karen (and I’m not alone in this) is that you were supposed to like her. Her relationship with Hank was the big arc of the show. As much as you wanted it to resolve and Karen to just go away, she’d always come right back (which is why I often ended up hate-watching the show more often than not). 

That's left me thinking a lot about characters in TV shows and books that you were supposed to love but don't. Wondering why that happens? What goes wrong? And why, more often than not, the writer doesn't adjuster their program or series accordingly.

June 21, 2016

Life




Think it's about time to rewatch Life. Alongside Terriers, it's probably one of my favorite recent shows that never got a fair shake thanks to the networks and some terrible marketing. 
"I want to be the unwobbling pivot at the centre of an ever-revolving universe. I want to be still." --Charlie Crews
Honestly, too, it's a same that both shows didn't come along just a little bit later. I think one of the streaming services would have taken them over in a heartbeat.

June 17, 2016

King of Strong Style


Shinsuke Nakamura's acquisition by the WWE is probably the smartest move they've made in years. Let's hope they don't waste him or completely blow the opportunity.




June 3, 2016

Submission


Showtime finally remembered they used to air The Red Shoe Diaries and greenlit a show called Submission written and directed by the talented Jacky St. James.

If you were intrigued by 50 Shades of Grey, Submission tackles similar material but is both far better written and far sexier.

If you were, rightly, put off by 50 Shades of Grey, Submission does NOT portray BDSM as something messed up and dark or attempt to pass off an abusive relationship as an “alternative lifestyle.”

Submission is also just fun and sexy smut.

June 2, 2016

Agent of Hydra Was A Business Decision



I have a lot of thoughts about the Captain America Agent of Hydra controversy (especially re: “fan entitlement” as an insult to blow off critique) that’ll I’ll get to later but for right now, there are a couple of things that are in the forefront of my mind.

First, I think some of the conniption fits like this would just die down if the media wouldn’t turn them into a big deal. But unfortunately, real journalism is dead so things like Captain American secretly being an agent of Hydra get reported widely. And a big part of the problem is we still haven’t worked out all the kinks in our relationship to the internet/social media so no one seems to understand: the internet/social media makes it easy for people to complain, the asshole and the jerk will always open their mouth, and not every complaint is valid or even worth acknowledging.

However, I think part of the problem is that we have a screwed up relationship to “art.” I think, we need to view the entire thing more broadly through the lens of labor and less through our emotional attachment to it. The artist gets paid by a company to work on a product, then the consumer (because that’s what you are if you buy comic books—you’re a consumer) pays money for the product. If that product does well, then more products get made that are like it, not to mention the artist gets more work.


Yes, the artist may have “deeper” things that they’re hoping to invest in the product, but really that’s all them, just like how you relate to the product is all you—no one can change that regardless of what gets released other than you—as a Superman fan, I grokked this a long time ago. So decisions like revealing Captain American as a longtime agent for a fascist organization are business decisions—it’s not a perverse desire to ruin your childhood, it’s a desire to sell product.

So your best recourse when something like this comes along is not to take it personal, don't send outrageous hate mail  threaten to burn down the Marvel Offices. Your best recourse is not to buy the product and go focus on the stuff you like.

May 25, 2016

In My Heart Of Hearts



"I was told when I grew up I could be anything I wanted: a fireman, a policeman, a doctor - even President, it seemed. And for the first time in the history of mankind, something new, called an astronaut. But like so many kids brought up on a steady diet of Westerns, I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. And in my heart of hearts I still track the remnants of that dream wherever I go, in my endless ride into the setting sun.” --Bill Hicks

May 18, 2016

Bruce Wayne's Net Worth



I love stuff like this. Bruce Wayne holds the #7 spot on Forbes List of The 15 Wealthiest Fictional Characters:
Police were ready to declare Gotham's most eligible bachelor dead after he disappeared from the social scene in 2009. But when the billionaire playboy suddenly reappeared last fall -literally crashing the gates of rapper Sean Combs's annual "White Party" in a Ferrari Enzo-- commissioner James Gordon admitted rumors of Wayne's death were "batty." Shares of Wayne Enterprises stock are up significantly year over year, thanks to the leadership of CEO Lucius Fox, and a new project to franchise security outfits around the globe. Wayne says he's planning to celebrate the company's success with an extensive remodeling of his "man cave" in stately Wayne Manor.

May 16, 2016

House of Cards Thoughts


Believe it or not, I only recently watched House of Cards. That’s got to be surprising for some because I do tend to speak about politics a lot and I’m a big Kevin Spacey fan. Here are some thoughts I had after finishing all four seasons:
  • It's well-written, superbly acted, and beautifully shot. First two seasons are the best. Season Three lost something big with the Frank versus Claire turn. The two of them working together is part of what makes the show work. In season Four, I think the show jumped the shark with the Underwood/Underwood ticket. I don’t think that would ever fly in real life.
  • I’ve seen people ask about why they made Frank Underwood a Democrat. Well, making him a Republican would be too obvious and you’d have a lot of people accusing the show of “liberal media bias.” Secondly, if you’ve paid any attention to the current election, you’ve hopefully woken up to the fact the DNC is crooked and shady as hell. So, yeah…
  • Not surprised the show  is popular with folks in Washington. Is politics that shady? If you have to ask, then, again, you haven’t been paying any attention to the presidential primaries. But what House of Cards does is make everyone hyper-competent at getting away with manipulation and dirty dealing so it’s a kind of political wish fulfillment for the assholes in office.
  • I think The Underwoods are the Clintons if the Clintons were more attractive and adept at hiding their underhanded dealings.
  • When Will Conway says, "And I'm a New York Republican, which is basically a Democrat,” I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life. Because marketing is the only thing that hides the lack of any real divide between parties.
  • The biggest problem I had with House of Cards is a problem that I’ve run into with a lot of shows. Everyone is so terrible that there’s no one to cheer for. No one you really want to see come out on top. Hammerschmidt, in Season Four, probably comes the closest. Unfortunately, he's a plot device character. And while I really do want him to bring the whole thing toppling down, my guess is that’ll probably never happened.
  • Watching House of Cards and thinking about the rise of hit shows starring completely terrible people like Frank Underwood, Don Draper, and Walter White and all those shows being populated with a cast who are generally unlikeable, made me understand Trump and really grok something about the dark undercurrent of the American psyche: Deep down in our heart of hearts, we like a bully. Specifically, a white male bully with an overblown sense of self who gets and does what he wants.


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