Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reality: the crappier perspective

I seen the commercial for a reality show called "Doctors" the other day. I think, in the episode that I seen the ad for, someone was getting beauty surgery of some sort for their face. This came right after seeing the news reporter say that store chains such as Macy's, I think Bergdorf's, and some others were closing down due to weak returns in holiday spending. I mean, even as I sit here, there's a ticker under the running episode of CSI saying that on my cable service, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, MTV, VH1, Spike and some other channels will be cut from the air. There is a number they show that I can call to help put a stop to this. It doesn't say that it has something to do with the recession, but I'm pretty sure it does. But this is not that much here or there.

I'm now reading on Wikipedia that the premise for the reality talk show "The Doctors" was that there would be discussion of medical and health issues amongst professionals in various medical fields, and people would ask these pros questions that they were too embarassed to ask their own doctor. Yes, because if I have a humiliating problem, I'd much rather ask strangers on national television than my own familiar doctor in the privacy of his office. Makes perfect sense.

This show is at least one of the more wholesome ones in its intent, but I was wondering if some people really think that reality shows are some substantial way to disseminate information to the public? Do they, the fans and the networks, think that there is some sort of visual nutrition going on in the interaction between viewer and the reality show? Or perhaps, that since the people, inevitable arguments stemming from overblown temperaments, and wastes of footage showing people just sitting there talking about garbage is real, it's entertaining?

People are obviously interested in this eye trash, but I seriously don't hope they think there's something redeeming happening whilst watching it. Maybe some content would be adequately and most accurately shown in the reality show format, but for the most part it is just the product of lazy producers and cheap studios who have found a way to entertain the mass asses without the costs and anxiety of hiring creative writers. Some college student is trying to make it to the NBA? Slap a camera on him and follow him around. A housewife in the Hamptons has the I.Q. of astroturf? Let's let the world be amused by how insipid she is! A washed-up actor is fighting his addiction to bestiality and vicodin? Let us hungry studio execs cash in on his despair and suicidal tendencies!

When I was much younger, I was very much into MTV's "The Real World" and wanted to go on there to be in the house and be surrounded by the delectable women they always cast. I always said that I'd pretty much stay in the background and would avoid the constant bickering and arguing that erupted on there regardless of social context. And then I found out that they purposely cast people who fight with each other. So, not long afterwards I stopped watching it forever. But the background manipulation of the shows isn't a major rejection point for me, it's the lack of anything even remotely substantial in all of it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cold Coffee/War, Native Americans and Robert Ludlum

Parental Advisory: Written while drunk.
Holidays a-comin'. Gifts a-givin'. Egg nog a-drinkin'. Credit card companies a-owin'.

On a complete, and I mean starkly contrasted, subject, I found out an interesting tidbit about my manager the other day. As it turns out, when he was younger, he was held prisoner by communist Russians during the Cold War. How did this come up, you probably didn't ask? Simple. I was on the verge of finishing "Watchmen", which graphic novel I recommend everyone in two to three worlds to read because Alan Moore is one of the greatest writers of all time (it's the only graphic novel of Time Magazine's 100 greatest novels ever), and one of the primary plot elements in the story is the Cold War. America and Russia are on the verge of playing chicken sh** against each other with nuclear missiles and millions of people's lives while the story plays out. So, being the curious and information-hungry person that I am, I asked my co-worker and intellectual salon participant [Fred] a bit about the Cold War, and he told me to ask my manager because he has first hand experience.

I was told that my manager explained that, whilst he was in his prison cell, Communist guards gave him cold coffee. So, in order to warm it up, he cut open electrical wires and warmed his coffee with electricity. I never got a chance to ask him how this process was performed, but there you have it. Warming your coffee with electrical wiring. For some reason, everytime I think of this, I imagine the coffee tasting "pewter-y". Yes....pewter. The color that street lamps put out. The color of corrugated metal. Pewter. I don't know. I can taste pewter, or I remember a taste and imagine that that's what the color pewter would taste like. But I digress. In the future I must ask him about his early life. I'm sure he has stories upon stories.

In other news, apparently my co-worker [Ron], the carpet salesman who works upstairs, is a big-budget espionage novel fan. Big-budget like the works of Robert Ludlum, Ted Bell, probably Ian Fleming and the like. If you've read the post I wrote long ago, you'd see that I like the book and film franchise "The Bourne Identity" a lot, but I cannot get into the international, clean-cut, women-magnetic spy thingy. A super-stunning woman who is completely willing to do whatever the protagonist wants everytime out of sheer sexual throb for him, super intelligent bad guys that he outsmarts everytime, no wear or tear on his chiseled face and perfect abs even though they age and experience realistically traumatic events; I can't continue to read this stuff on a regular basis. Give me abstract, intelligent and possibly moral stories about underdogs or the cultured and bright dregs of society. Give me Chuck Palahniuk, Paul Auster, (now) Alan Moore, Agatha Christie and some other authors of the like.

But anyway, almost everytime I see this guy, he reminds me that I should pick up and read "The Matarese Circle", another novel by Ludlum. I'm, of course, completely willing to try it out, but I must first finish "Last of the Mohicans". I told him this, and he told me that I should dump that crap and head straight for Ludlum first thing. Now, everytime he comes around, I (jokingly) call him a racist for expecting me to throw away a narrative about a Native American tribe for some militaristic white writer who was quite well off financially from cashing in on the the adventurous, international, well-trained American modern warrior. Not happening. Of course, "Last of the Mohicans" itself was written by a white guy and is titled contrary to the fact that there are plenty of Mohicans living today, but, in the toss up of half-truth, I'd rather go where attention to the subject makes some sort of slight difference.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just babbling.

The people in the upper crust of the business I work for have their sniper rifles cocked and ready, loaded with pink slips and aiming at various people to fire. So, there's supposedly pressure on us lower employee folk to step our game up and somehow magically make tons of money pour into our registers from all the customer purchases, although there's no customers. People are hardly shopping anymore because they don't have jobs. And so the stores start letting go of people. I'm not up in the upper crust, so I don't know how money is being handled, but with the guy I work for, I'm pretty sure he cuts jobs to save his profit and not to pay bills. But, do many companies or the rich ever think to take the little bit of money they have and start re-opening jobs so that people would have money to shop? Nope. Of course, that question and answer gets a lot more complex than what I've typed.

Meanwhile, my co-worker [Laura] has now earned the full brunt of my dignified anger and will now be reported everytime she does something stupid. I've never had the energy or drive to pursue this campaign against her before; as she is always doing stupid stuff like talking to my customers fully knowing that they are my customers or telling me to pick up or clean stuff that she can do herself, although she's not my boss, and I ignore it. But I'm sure she honestly believes she's my boss, because she believes she knows everything. Her own experience is the only, and I literally mean the only thing she knows, and she believes that what she knows is absolute law. She has the inability to learn or think of anything else. So, with this said, a good, solid majority of the employees in all three stores of this company believe she is mentally disabled (yes, we've all had problems with her). To then ask whether her behavior is her own fault or not is quite another post.

Me and some managers and her had a meeting, with the manager [Howard] basically saying that he doesn't want us arguing on the selling floor anymore, and that if there's a problem, to report it to him. He says if there is problem, try to talk it out first with each other. And while this is quite the diplomatic notion, it shows that he is massively ignorant and unexperienced with attempting to talk things out with this idiot. Me and the other manager, [Daniella] have already attempted this multiple times, and multiple times the idiot just keeps talking over us or just works to shove her viewpoint down our throats. Furthermore, even though he says he knows this, he fails to seriously consider that she has been the center of arguments with many employees that have erupted ever since she started working here. In this meeting, I have two days off where she works alone and she has two days off where I work alone. The pair of days are back to back. I have off Monday and Tuesday. But in this meeting, she said that she would appreciate if I left the floor clean when I was done with it, so that when she came in on Monday and Tuesday, it'd be in sellable condition. She "has that respect for me. It's simple." Mon and Tues is after Sunday. On Sunday, we're both working. So how am I the only one that leaves the selling floor crappy? Sounds like she's just trying to get me in trouble, to put me in front of the sniper rifle. And I may go there, but not without letting Human Resources have a piece of my mind.

I say to The Disturbed One in text message:

Me: I'm GODDAMN REPORTING THIS BITCH! Sent: 12:39

I explain, and then say:
Me: She's gone or I am. Sent: 12:41
Me: I'm attacking full force. Sent: 12:41
Disturbed One, The: Dag samurai. Sent: 12:42

We converse about whether it is wiser to stay and deal with these unbearably oppressive conditions everyday in order to be able to pay bills and eat. Or to leave this and pursue bigger and better things, even in economic conditions such as these. I say, yes, you pay bills and eat, but your life also has the value of a small pile of cigarette ash. If not to strive for rational happiness, if not even to strive for something simple like a better job (which could just as easily mean working the same position somewhere else, or another job with the same pay), what is the point of living? I'm afraid the Disturbed One believes in shifting life around the main goal of sustaining yourself. I believe in shifting your sustenance in order to better pursue a better life. This is an age old battle that never has a solidified resolution. Ah well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Amsterdammit!

I’ve seen on “Attack of the Show” today that Amsterdam, as of last Saturday, is officially starting a plan to close down some cafes and brothels over a 10 year period. In order to clean the image of Amsterdam up a little bit, they want to move the weed cafes and brothels to city centers. This is nice in a moral perspective, except tourism is a huge part of Amsterdam and the cafes and brothels were THE ONLY REASONS PEOPLE EVEN WANTED TO GO OVER THERE!

That and Japan were the two countries I’d have liked to visit. Yes, for the cafes and…..well, for the sake of prudence, I won’t speak on the other asset, although I’m sure you can draw somewhat accurate conclusions (I’m a terrible bastard, I know).

As I’ve said, the image that Amsterdam has now is what was bringing in the tourist money. The things that have city planner Lodewijk Asscher worried is that these places also attract many members of organized crime and are near schools. In 10 years time, they better develop something that will replace the cafes and brothels in terms of income. Perhaps they could somehow get their hands on top cars designers and start exporting. Or have a few programmers and developers start a software company over there, particularly in video games (that industry hasn’t been touched at all through the last 6-7 years. As a matter of fact, it’s flourishing now more than ever). Perhaps lower the taxes and build a few soundstage studios so that big budget film directors can pay to make their blockbusters there more often. I don’t know.

I didn’t even realize Organized Crime was really a problem like that in Amsterdam. You never really hear about it being so. As far as the marijuana goes, the guy on T.V. said that marijuana prohibition is quite the problem causer. It’s expensive and it victimizes responsible adults. I don’t know about the victimizing adults thing, but I can’t say I’ve heard or remember any terrible things happening as a result of smoking weed, aside from laziness and loss of purpose. Nothing a smack in the face and a boot out the house until you’ve come back hired somewhere can’t fix. He says introducing marijuana as a taxed, regulated and controlled substance commodity would be the way to go. I guess. I don’t see what’s wrong with this, although he’d have to bring up cold, hard scientific evidence against those who solely believe it’s a gateway drug.

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Hancock"

If you were to look on the listings for the credits; the names of the people who were the cast and crew for the film, you'd see Peter Berg (The Kingdom, The Rundown) listed as the director and particular names for the writers of the film. But I think the writers' names were put as a way to legitimize the film; it appears evident to me that it was really written by Peter Berg's 9-year-old-son as an English paper for his Junior High School class.


I had this conversation/argument with my mother and cannot repeat the content of it here for fear of spoiling the film for you, but it basically concerned the realism of the story, an element which was obviously never part of the plan, or was but was then taken out. This does not cater to those who don't take any superhero or fantasy story seriously because it concerns made-up fantastical elements (people flying, aliens, superhuman powers, etc.) Those people simply can't think outside of the box and miss the whole point of fiction. This concerned the point that if you are going to put forth said fantastical elements, you have to explain logically how these elements react to and are effected by the world as we know it.

Sometimes, all it takes is a simple explanation. Ex: Peter Parker was bit by a radioactive spider. We don't know what would really happen to someone who was bit by one (we don't know what's in the radiation), and it's safe to assume they won't get powers if they were bit, but that area of reality is vague and uncertain enough for writers to fill it with their own mythology. The point is, he was bit by a radioactive spider, and his biologics reacted through giving him the abilities of a spider and that explains why he has his powers. You'd be hard-pressed to find this simple explanation in "Hancock". You be hard-pressed to find an explanation period.

In spite of the film having CGI the quality of which me and The Disturbed One could've simply made with Adobe Photoshop and HTML, besides certain scenes being rushed and ruined in the process, besides having a temporary villain that was completely worthless to the film as a whole (the film really focused on the three main characters.....or tried to anyway), it was fun watching Will Smith's character Hancock. He had a certain charm in the constant scrunching up of his mouth, his complete sloppiness and alcoholism, and his interaction with Ray Embrey (played by Jason Bateman) and sometimes with Mary Embrey (Charlize Theron). But this is about all I can say for what good elements the film had.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Who is truly the freak?

I watched a CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode the other day where they investigated the murder of a young man who was extremely hairy. Hair on the face, knuckles, chest, legs, thighs, everywhere. When they autopsied him, they found he was shot with a silver bullet. You can guess what impression this was supposed to give. At any rate, they investigate and find that the victim has a twin sister. They visit the house he lived in, look around for clues and find a hidden room in the house, hidden behind a door that looks like one of the living room walls. Inside they find the sister, Allison Ludford, who was suffering from the same rare genetic disorder as her brother, hypertrichosis (extreme hair growth)(note below). In everyday living, she flees to this room when her brother brings over visitors or when unexpected ones come over, and basically stays in there and does not venture into the outside world for fear of the way society will treat her. But here's the part of the investigation that stayed in my mind.................

They start to look into where these youth's parents are. Allison said that her mother was dead. This is what her brother told her. The CSI officers begin tracking the parents down for themselves. The father does not turn up, I think he had ran away to be in another marriage after his newborn infants appeared hideous to him in birth. They do find the mother however, living just fine in another part of Las Vegas (where the show takes place). Wil Grissom (head CSI officer) and the mother talk, and the mother explains that, when Allison was young, the mother tried to keep Allison locked up inside the house so that she wouldn't be embarrassed by "having a freak for a daughter" in public. Allison wanted to go outside anyway, and the mother didn't like that. So, one day, the mother packed up her things and ran off, leaving the children in the house to fend for themselves. She later called the brother and told him to tell Allison that her mom died in a car accident, so that Allison wouldn't come looking for her. As the mother explained all this to Grissom, I judged her intensely.

Now, as you may already know, I'm not a fan of children, regardless whether they're hairy or model status, but my mind went back and forth on this as a moral issue. I thought, this woman threw her child away because she didn't look normal and therefore wouldn't have a "normal" life amongst her neighbors and the empty, decrepit criticisms of a society who has a standard for something that's out of people's control. Who is truly the freak here? But then again, to live under those circumstances, amongst such ignorance and sh**-mindedness would be pretty difficult. I tried to put myself in the mother's shoes. But this is your child that you chose to bring into the world and provide with unconditional love (well, in this mother's case, it was not unconditional at all, nor was it love), why should it matter if it will be difficult or not? Responsibilities like child-rearing cannot should not be simply ditched because they're "too hard". And ditched, furthermore, by telling your daughter, who is already suffering at the hands of superficial critics, that the one of the two people that she could truly say she's attached to, is dead? This (hypothetically: making pretend this was a real person) occurred to the mother to say because it was a reflection of her own heart: her own daughter was already dead to her, so she reversed the situation in reality.

I'd be more likely to attend to and take care of this child than most other children. It's this kind of child that requires more love than some polished brat who could float flawlessly amongst society's public fabric. Of course, things could get tough and confusing in this choice of path, and the real difficulties set in. Being a parent means passing down to your children those morals and core beliefs (you believe) are needed to get through in the world and enjoy life. And although I don't know everything, I'd try to teach Allison, as I raised her, to adhere to doing the right things as best I could.

I can't be there for her during the times when other kids would make fun of her in school and embarass and shun her. I won't know what to say when Allison kicks some other boy or girl in the teeth because she's angry from being called names and ostracized and I completely understand why she lost her temper. I won't be a good example for her when I throw someone else's parent or teacher or principle out of a 10-story window for disrespecting my child or allowing that disrespect to happen. I won't want to hurt her when I accidently scream at her in rage after she asks me for something or wants me to hold her because I'm confused and tired from having to defend her from the public constantly. When a bunch of hell-sent jackals beat her up, pull some cruel prank or attempt to kill her, how can I be a good parent after going to jail because I've turned into The Punisher? Our lives would be a bit tougher than most others, but I would stay by her side.

I was going to put who killed her brother and why here, but I don't think it's really that relevant and I don't want spoil anything, even for the small chance that you'll come across that episode and watch it even though you're not a fan of the show. My point was, being a parent to that child would be super tough, extremely tough, but after making the decision to bear the child, how relevant is the difficulty of being her parent anyway? Even in dealing with my child having a mental disorder, which I will fully admit would be especially hard for me to deal with, I realize that I would have to train myself to take care of them accordingly and try my best not to treat them condescendingly. The bottom line is, that child would need love just like any other would. More love actually. It's these children we should be running to, not running away from.

(note) Although I have to admit, I did ask myself as to why Allison simply didn't just shave on the regular basis. But I remembered that people with much smaller amounts of hair are usually too lazy to even shave that on a normal basis. How can I expect her to constantly shave her whole body?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mariposa's Meme

Ok, I was, like, totally, tagged in this meme by Mariposa, and I, like, totally, promised her I would do it on my own blog. So, like, totally, here it is and stuff and crap and stuff. Totally.

Here are the rules...
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Random thingy-things
1) I would like to know why the world has never seen Eminem's teeth.
2) I could spend hours at a time watching Pop-Up Video on VH1.
3) I spend weekend nights, sitting on a bamboo mat, cleaning and repolishing my sacred blade (have you forgotten that I am a samurai?).
4) My lifelong dream has been to travel to Japan. And Amsterdam. Then I'm finished with the world.
5) I'm fully aware that the CSI series is written by knucklehead, caveman conservatives who think the police should rule the world, but I watch it anyway.
6) When eating pizza, I take off the crust and sop it in the grease on the slice itself and eat that first, then eat the cheese-and-tomato sauce combination.

Who is tagged for this post: anyone who reads. All of you.....meme.....meme away to yonder bliss!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bah.

"Together we made it! We made it even though we had our backs up against the wall!" 10 pts. if you can tell me which song this is from.

Ah, fresh from crossing the finishing line in NaNoWriMo, I am much more rejuvenated to attend to my blog and your blogs. With that said, I must also confront the excuses as to why I had stopped tending to these respective blogs as much as I did before.

For one, when I want to post something on my blog I usually try to have it as structured as I can before approaching the keyboard. The blog is about the dynamics of life, and since this entails just writing about whatever occurs to me to write, I thought that it was important to have some structural order in the ideas I put forth, so that these dynamics in their individuals natures and relations could be comprehensible by whoever takes the time to read. The thing is, I'd come up with stuff but wouldn't post it because I didn't feel that it was expression ready. I'd put the thoughts down in my special Ernest Hemingway/Bruce Chatwin/caught-by-Barnes-and-Noble-marketing-to-wannabe-writers notebook and never get around to organizing them, whether it be from laziness or that tiresome/repulsive feeling you get from being too blog-involved for periods of time. However, I think NaNoWriMo has taught me that it'd be better if I were a bit more loose with writing. A bit more, not completely.

For two, NaNo started on November 1st. And after that point, everytime I came, with piping hot mug of coffee, to my keyboard, I'd consider writing these things I had planned for the blog but then say to myself "I could be using this time to add words to my novel", and I'd just go and do that instead. I'd kick myself for missing out on reading you guys' blogs, but could only rarely find time to do so in between writing the novel, going to work, then coming home and struggling to keep from slicing my wrists after remembering that I have to go back into that stupid job the next day.

But alas, NaNo is done and I'm back here with a new mug of caffeine, refreshed, renewed, still depressed, and still without having seen "Quantum of Solace" or read "Twilight". Although, I will get to that book after finishing "V For Vendetta" and "Watchmen" (only because he is one of the GREATEST writers of all time. Those who prefer Frank Miller should throw themselves off the edge of the Earth, which Miller probably still believes is flat). At any rate, I will write the things I had planned on writing, like, a month ago, and then normal blog service will resume.

Be well in your travels, and Thank You For Smoking.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Think opportunity

Driving in the car with my mother the other day to work, I was telling her about how I hate my job because I work with two dumb f--ks, one of which is a co-worker and the other is a manager. I was explaining that the co-worker has SpongeBob mentality and I'm constantly getting into arguments with her from having to attempt to disprove to her that she is no way, shape, fashion or form over me. She likes to think so because she goes around rearranging beds and shelves of merchandise (which is the visual manager's job, not hers) and she will stalk you if you're a prospective customer. Even after telling her to go away. The manager is retarded because she only understands things that happen before her own eyes. So, if I'm not in front of her face working for a long time, then I've "disappeared". If I'm using my phone to calculate a discounted price (because all the calculators have disappeared, as usual) and singing, then in her stupidly assuming, short-sighted brain, I'm "talking on the phone". They're retarded.

But I digress. I was telling my mother that I was fed up with my job to the point that I was ready to quit without having a backup job to fall on, and she started giving me the same glib that everyone gives: "times are hard out here. Thousands of people have lost their jobs. What are you going to do after you quit?"
I say look for another job. She continues on about how that wouldn't be a wise decision. So I'm forced to put up with idiots and their inconsideration just because I'd have a hard time finding another job?

I think this is a terrible mentality we give ourselves. Yes, the economy is bad. Yes, jobs are being cut. But, instead of dwelling on those, why don't we all start talking about the opportunities that are still available? If someone you know wants to quit, instead of saying "it's going to be hard finding jobs.", why don't you make suggestions? "Well, online, I've seen X post open, and X place was hiring for X job." Let's start circulating the little bit of opportunities that are still there, and perhaps we can still feel productive and pursue better (not necessarily ideal) labor for ourselves.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"Israel needs a voice"

This particular post will not be as orderly as I usually try to make them. I wrote it in the order I received the information, as there was no real rhyme or reason I could make of all this. I leave it to you, whom I'm sure will know more about the subject than me. And yes, the Jew to the right is indeed Al Pacino.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Coming from the bathroom near my store's office, I overheard the President of the Company talking with other people, next to all of whom were traditional religious JewsNote below and the one Honduran woman who is the President's secretary. As soon as they got settled at the 10-chair cherry wood table in his office, I overheard particular fragments of opinion from the President, including: "90% of the Jews voted for Obama. 90%!" I think there were some words that proceded, and then I heard "We're destroying our own..." I will not jump and say these two fragments are connected, but his tone of voice did not suggest that he was happy about this percentage of votes toward our new Commander-In-Chief (=D Yes we can!).

"5,000,000 Jewish-Americans in this country. 5,000,000, and we get blamed for everything. Everything!" Hmmm, don't really know what to say about this one. It made me think of Shylock The Jew for some reason. It's one of Shakespeares more memorable plays, and I think, proof that he had cultural messages in the undertone of his works. Also, see Othello.

"People think Israel's problem can be solved by sending them money [this coming from a hardcore businessman]. Money isn't the solution. Israel needs a voice." At this point, Israel is not something I've studied in-depth, although I'd love to start. For some reason, I was under the impression that, at this point in time, Palestine had either taken over Israel and was killing its people or had taken it siege. I remember something about a "two-state solution", and that's as far as my knowledge goes.

At any rate, my thing was, he sounded pretty bitter about Obama winning, but I think Obama is much more likely to give any country's people a voice than John McCain, who is about money but knows next to nothing about the economy (and has Phil Gramm as his economic advisor, who is so corrupt, Dante Alighieri would have to create a special level in Hell just for him). I am told that both McCain and Obama are allies of Israel, and with its democratic system and monarchy, it is starting to resemble a small piece of the United States (that explains McCain's interest in it).

I was working with a customer at my store (who will have another blog post of her own, as there was an argument between me and a retard co-worker and the customer had gotten involved) and, as she was trying to figure which matching ivory sofas to purchase and have delivered to her home, she mentioned that she was going back to Israel. Naturally, I asked her if it was ok to ask her some stuff about Israel and I told her what I overheard the President say.

She said she could see how some of them (the Jews) would vote for McCain (isn't there a stereotype that Jews are conniving hawks and all about their money? I think this is why I thought of Shylock the Jew), but McCain won't do any good for anyone. She then gave me the history of Israel and Palestine, how Israel defeated Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and some other states in war all by its itty bitty self, and how Arabs don't like the amount of land the Jews have, and she started explaining the argument over the Gaza Strip, which she told me is secular although it's over a piece of sacred land.

Bollocks, conflicts abound. Jews and Arabs. Arabs and Africans (Darfur). The Irish and The British (the Troubles). Iraqis and Iranians. Pakistanis and Indians. I've heard rumors of beef brewing between The Russians and The Americans.......again. Here in the United States, Puerto Ricans don't like Dominicans and vice versa. The Chinese don't like the Japanese and vice versa. In Compton and other parts of California, Mexicans don't like Blacks and vice versa. During 9/11, "Americans" didn't like "Middle Eastern" people. During the whole past, present and future, no one likes white people (Bush/McCain Americans). Or black people (the stereotyped versions of them). Or Mexicans (same). Or Jews (same). Why can't we all just get along????!??

Note I've never understood how people would say they're Jewish racially until someone finally answered my question.
I mean, one who is Japanese means they have the blood and makeup of a people who have biologically adapted to living in Japan.
One who is Kenyan means they have the blood and makeup of a people who have biologically adapted to living in Kenya.
One who is Jewish has the makeup of a people who have biologically adapted to living in __________??

[I am told the answer is Judea].

Also, another quick note: One who is American means they have the blood and makeup of a people who have biologically adapted to living in America. There can't be any more than a tiny fraction of the people who qualify through this definition left. None of the American Presidents qualify for it, yet you can only be "American" to run for president. Go figure.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jenny's Book Meme

Ok, I totally promised Jenny Bah that I'd do this book meme after she tagged me with it, but I've been lazy with it, as well as tired and tied up with nanowrimo and job hunting and crying because I'm worthless. So here it goes.

Here are the rules: Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 56. Find the fifth sentence. Post the text of the next two to five sentences in your journal/blog along with these instructions. Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST. Tag five other people to do the same.

Here's what I picked: " 'Go away, little girl,' shouted the D.H.C. angrily. 'Go away, little boy! Can't you see that his fordship's busy? Go and do your erotic play somewhere else.'
'Suffer little children,' said the Controller.

Slowly, majestically, with a faint humming of machinery, the Conveyors moved forward, thirty-three centimetres an hour. In the red darkness glinted innumerable rubies."

"Brave New World" by Alduous Huxley.

For this meme I would like to tag: everyone who reads it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!!!!!

BARACK WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Culture is the cure

In our little intellectual "salon" (French word) of semi-pundits that include [Fred] and the new guy, [Lawrence], we have at work, we were discussing the recent assassination attempt on Barack Obama by two young pieces of s**t.

A couple of white supremacists in Tennessee, Daniel Cowort, 21, and Paul Schlesselman, 18, drew out a plan to kill a total of 103 people: they would first kill 88 African-Americans, as "88" is the code for "Heil Hitler". They would then behead 14 more, 14 being the number of words in the slogan "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." The final kill would've then been Obama at a Democratic National Convention.

I'm sure, in court, they will run behind the First and Second Amendment, although they were arrested for illegal firearms possession and intent to steal guns from a dealer. The First Amendment being because they were not caught in attempt but just with drawn-out plans.

[Fred] suggested that the government just kill off their leaders and then begin to work on the members individually. And while an enraged, violent version of myself says this is a truly delightful and efficient thought, the morals in me say that this will not work. Besides not always being able to identify who does and does not hold terrible beliefs, killing them will only strength the divide between races. And there are worthless idiots out there who will sympathize with the supremacists' deaths and continue to carry the torch themselves. Perhaps with even sharper conviction.

I began to think that what would really be ideal is for these guys to change ("Yes We Can!" =D). I am fully aware that white supremacists groups have been around for ages, and that for every person that wises up and leaves, some other impetant cur who is angry that they got jumped by a group of black people when they were younger will join (because, of course, there are no Chinese or Japanese or Spanish or Dominican or Indian or Middle Eastern or Russian or British or Italian people who have done death-penalty worthy acts). But I personally feel better about seeing these people be enlightened, looking back on the things they did or/and said and, after months of deep depression and quite possibly suicidal tendencies from the megaton load of guilt (the necessary process through which they must proceed), begin to be understanding and sympathetic for other cultures and races. Begin to recognize people by their personality, adherence to morals and their human rights. Of course, keeping them alive after they've committed atrocious racist hate crimes runs the risk of them just rejoining the White Supremacist movement later on. And hoping Mr. Cowort and Mr. Schlesselman to redeem themselves in the light of rational society may just allow them to better carry out their plan another time. This all gets complex.

Intellect was high during the old days, around the 19th century and before. But in those times, people read or watched plays for entertainment. So, a much higher I.Q. average was more of a side effect then a goal. Then again, the words 'intellect' and 'culture' are very much linked. If European nations were truly cultured or the forefront of civilization (which we'd now have to argue the meaning of), slavery of Africans and the near genocide of Native Americans would not have been. But this is another tirade altogether.

My point is, W.E.B DuBois spoke of having a nation led by a team of elite intellectuals (today's American governments never embody this, and if you think McCain and Palin does, you should be putting your head in an open car door and slamming away), but I think we should all be much more rational on a basic level. I mean, I personally believe that there should be a national mob mentality against people like the two listed above. Against all white supremacists. But there isn't, and I think that's because people don't realize how truly destructive this kind of mentality is. I don't think that people realize it and are just indifferent; if one grasped all the kinds of harm white supremacy does in the short and long run, they would be affected.

I'm beginning to sound like a lousy Repub in telling you what you should and shouldn't feel, so I will stop. But a truly enlightened generation (like the one Obama is working to have =D), would not withstand these sorts of things, nor would there be even half the proliferation of such plans as there are now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Is a corrupt hero still a hero?

Larry Davis was an African American South Bronx resident and drug dealer who was made famous 1) for his shootout with and unharmed escape from New York City detectives and the Emergency Service Unit (like S.W.A.T. but with more much abilities), 2) for his acquittal of charges in court afterwards. Was he a hero?

The year 1986: He had been suspected of dealing drugs for years and the killing 7 people, 4 of which were other drug dealers. On the night of November 19th, the cops listed above had busted into some adjoining project apartments where Larry was present with two of his sisters, a sister's husband, two of his children and two others. At this point, the truth becomes fuzzy. Davis' daughter, his lawyer Williams Kunstler, and a few other accounts say that the police busted into Davis' sister's apartment without a warrant and started firing heavy artillery first after Davis had screamed out "Don't shoot! My babies are back there!". In defense and retaliation, he fired back at them. According to the cops who were there as well as some alternative accounts, Larry Davis peeked a sawed-off shotgun and a semi-automatic pistol around the corner he was hiding behind and opened up fire on the cops first, who were performing this raid with a signed warrant from the judge. In the midst of this firefight, he used a child as a shield against the oncoming hail of bullets.

Either way, he shot six cops: one in the mouth, another in the throat, another in the forehead. In the midst of the firefight, he proceeded into the adjoining apartment and made his way out of the window, where he landed into a backyard and escaped.

For a week or so, the police held a manhunt for Larry Davis, until a tip finally led them to his real location in some project apartment building in the Bronx where his sister lived. After taking a random family hostage and making sure that live reporters were there to witness the event so that the police wouldn't murder him in cold-blood, Davis' surrendered his firearm, let the family go and turned himself into the police. As cops handcuffed him and led him to the squad car, people leaned out of their windows and stood on nearby sidewalks chanting "Lar-ry! Lar-ry! Lar-ry!", proud of his rebellious acts.

Why would I question if he was a hero? Why would the police murder him in cold blood? Why were the onlookers proud?

You see, I had mentioned Larry Davis was selling drugs.........but at some point, he was recruited by the cops to sell for them. He admitted in the following trials that, at some point, he was going to go public with his connections to the cops. This puts a new spin on the context of the first raid: perhaps they were really in bursting in there to kill him and shut him up. So, perhaps they did fire first. Other cops say that these the alleged officers were not involved in any illegal activity. But it is a well-circulated belief that there is a tight-knit "brotherhood" amongst policemen. They will often clean up after each other's horrific and immoral acts. Especially in the atmosphere of 1980's New York City, South Bronx, a place known for it's poverty, gang activity, and sharp racial tension poor minorities and a majority-white police force. A restlessness had grown in the people who were oppressed by racial prejudices, and Larry Davis' acts seemed to symbolize rebellion.

In court, Davis' was defended by Williams Kunstler, a civil rights attorney and socialist who was known for defending controversial clients such as Qubilah Shabazz (Malcolm X's daughter), Assata Shakur (Tupac Shakur's aunt) and the Chicago Seven. The prosecution charged him with all kinds of accounts from weapons possession to attempted murder. They presented many witness testimonies and pieces of evidence, but this all failed to push conviction. Kunstler, without a single piece of evidence, proved that the cops were trying to kill Davis' because of his drug dealings with them, and during the raid, he fired back at them in self-defense. The jury believed it, and he was acquitted.

Later on, however, he was found guilty on the charges of the murder of one of the drug dealers and was sentenced 25 to life. In February of this year, Larry Davis was stabbed to death in prison by fellow inmate Luis Rosado. The two had no connection prior to the fight, and it is believed that policemen paid Rosado to kill him.

So, Larry Davis is held as a hero in his neighborhood because he defeated the policemen's criminal trickery with his own criminal trickery. The hero context is that policemen in those times (and still some today) have committed ferocious, racist, criminal atrocities while "law-abiding" officials higher up turned a blind eye to it. Larry Davis committed atrocities against the cops and, with the wit of his lawyer, got the same blind eye turned on him.

Some accounts say that Davis was a reckless figure who tried to destroy anything that got in the way of his pecuniary path. So, he also committed atrocities against his own neighborhood citizens. Others, like his family and friends, say that he was a kind, caring person who did what he had to do in a suffering urban jungle in order to survive. This particular case stuck out to me because I know other people who would say that I, as a black person, am supposed to jump behind and support Davis' acts because he assaulted policemen and got away with it. Because in the minds of people who have experienced terrible, unjustified things from policemen and some who just like to talk and act like they did: all cops are corrupt.

Obviously, this isn't true. But it does still stand that corrupt cops exist. But the question here is: is corruption against the corrupt ok? Am I suppose to support someone who tried to stop immorality by endorsing heavy immorality in his own acts?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Different beginnings, same endings

Interesting conversation a couple of days back with [Stacy], a waitress and cook at a Soul Food restaurant I go to for lunch sometimes. When I come there and choose between fish, macaroni and cheese and potato salad, or pancakes, eggs and the rest of what goes in a breakfast, we discuss things such as the ethics of drinking on the job, differences in Christian beliefs, ill-fated sexual adventures and other miscellaneous topics. Of course, recently the cloud of the current political climate has invaded the atmosphere and our discourse.

Somehow, we had gotten to talking about religious beliefs determining who can and can't be a country leader. [Stacy] could not vote for someone who was a Muslim or Atheist, her being a Christian herself. She couldn't really give me a reason why, other than telling me that it says "In God We Trust" on the dollar bill. The Muslims and Atheists aren't about what this country is about, the Muslims don't like us, and to quote her "I mean, where do Atheists think we come from anyway?" (when I told her the Big Bang theory, she sucked her teeth and walked away).

I don't think she's close-minded though. She was aware that this is her perspective and she was open to other kinds of reasoning. I think, when the word Muslim comes up, she thinks of the Hamas, Hezbollahs, Al-Qaedas and things of those sort. She can't help herself (as a result of fear and conservative media warp), and she acknowledges that there are also peaceful, conscious Muslims to be spoken for. I mean, there could be a million reasons why she has these beliefs.

As for me, these discussions make me see how loose I am with these sort of things, if only to counteract this rampant sharp judgement of people's character instead of sharp judgement of their adherence to morals. I could care less if a talking bottle of orange juice was running for presidential nomination. If its priorities were:

-cleaner air and doing what we can about climate change
-putting a stop to corporations outsourcing jobs
-improving education (as well as making it more accessible. Education is a moral obligation, not a privilege.)
-paying leading infrastructural leaders more (teachers, construction, social services, scientists, police, etc.) [of course, within reason on each individual case]
-a foreign policy of less nuclear weapons and a more co-habitual world instead of a barberic, completely competitive one

then it will be alright with me. What I was trying to say to her is that people of different cultures and beliefs can very well share the same values. It comes from first realizing that there is a world outside of yourself. Then realizing that you must take care of this world and help it thrive if you want it to help you...........................

I think it was pancakes, sausages and eggs that day. I was also drinking orange juice, which would probably explain why I thought about not minding it running for president.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Look at this crap

Just take a gander at this quick 47 second clip. This is why many Repubs should be punched in the face.





Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Anxiety of your child's Death

I was watching an episode of Law and Order the other day where they investigated a corpse/murder victim and found that an angst-filled high school bully named John Telford slammed a sickle blade into this kid's neck.

In the high school, most of the students were separated into social groups: geeks, jocks, freaks, and some other generic terms. In order to investigate and frame this boy, they had to interview other kids John has bullied, one in particular who he's repeatedly called a "faggot" and threatened by putting a knife to his neck.

This kind of element in the next generation makes it very difficult for communications between youths. Between everybody. I was thinking that I'd be pretty pissed, to say the least, if that was my son murdered.

The bully had a bunch of weapons in his house, including knives (throwing and combat), nunchucks, a machete, and the sickle. Upon further investigation, it was found that John's father, Robert, bought him the sickle. The boy then used his father's credit card, acknowledged by Robert but not reprimanded, to buy a whole bunch of other weapons. Robert said that he thought John was using them to practice his martial arts, as he used to take classes.

The maliciousness and violence in John's heart also came from his father, as Robert claims to have been teaching and encouraging his son to be this violent so that John would be able to protect himself. He, instead, has turned his son into an up-and-coming serial killer. How any parent, even the chauvinist, thick-headed pig fathers can find this even remotely feasible is beyond me.

The evidence presented in court was not enough to prosecute John with: he cleaned up the crime scene pretty good, there was no blood on the sickle nor on John's clothes or John himself, other victims of John's were too terrified to testify against him. Cleaning up after himself threw the insanity defense out of the window, since he clearly knew he was wrong. Not to mention the fact that when the two detectives investigated his house garage, Robert was reluctant to show them the target dummy and throwing knives John used for practice. However, no dice on throwing John in jail. So, they prosecuted the father, saying that they will imprison him for murder in the first degree for turning his son into a walking killing machine.

Yes, the charge is tenuous, charging someone for their being a malicious and destructive parent (for their character), but I don't think the charge would have stood in (the fictional) court if the connection wasn't direct. I mean, Robert let his teenage son have all of these weapons and encouraged him to fight against people in school. If you were the parent of the dead boy, I'm sure you'd want justice by locking one of these two culprits up. With the fictional jury, the charge worked and the father was arrested. Yes, now parents have to be afraid of being arrested for being bad parents. Perhaps it set a loose and even illogical precedent. But examine the context. Put yourself in the victim's parents' shoes.

The deadly irony is, after an episode like this, one would be terrified of sending their child out into the world......unless they were teaching their child the same things John was being taught. How does anything get solved then? Let me answer that with this: how else is a parent and child to let go of their anxiety otherwise? There's a difference between defense and aggression. It's called wisdom.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Vice Presidential Debate [Amended]

Ok, so Sarah Palin was a bit more polished and 'with-intelligence', but she still made the case, for me, that she is in no way at all fit to run the country.

She tried the small businesses taxes crap, saying that tax cuts for the rich will hurt small businesses who have to be able to pay their employees. But Biden swept that right up, saying that 95% of small businesses make less than $250,000 which means that they will not be touched by the taxes.

Of course, she stumbled on the same-sex marriage question, her being a conservative Christian and all, saying that (I think) she'd be ok with civil law marriages, not "changing the definition of a marriage". Biden complied with this, although he spoke much more about not going against people's civil rights. I believe Obama is ok with same-sex marriages.

Biden made it clear that Bush has economically ruined this nation and that McCain will do the same, eliminating his title as a "Maverick". McCain put tons of votes against alternative energy and also voted, along with Obama, against the funding of the Iraq surge because he didn't like the timeline. Doesn't he want the war to go on for 100 years (what, he was being sarcastic?) Speaking of which, both candidates were asked "What do you think are the causes of climate change?" She made it obvious that she knew nothing about it, tiptoeing around blaming the public for this and bumbling about how she didn't want to debate the causes, but rather "clean up the planet". Biden killed that nonsense, explaining that he believed it was manmade and that you cannot solve problems without knowing their causes. He talked about the large amount of gases coal in the U.S. and China emitted, killing our atmosphere. He talked about investing in clean coal and renewable resources.

[When questioned about McCain's terrible health care plans, Biden addressed it, breaking the $12,000-for-you to $5,000-for-the-insurance-company difference. Gwen Ifyll then questioned Palin about it, and she chose to drone on about some taxes Obama proposed to raise, the same taxes McCain himself voted for. Ifyll questioned her about the health care plan again directly. Palin once again ignored it directly.]

On the question of "how will you lead the country differently if you were to become president", Biden said that agrees wholeheartedly with Obama's campaign and would continue it. Palin said that, of course, the party has conflicts with each other so she would do other things with the Commander-In-Chief position. And..........I can't really tell you if she actually said anything. To be honest, I don't remember. I think I was commenting on CNN's political ticker

I mean, Palin impressed me by not talking about war as "God's War", and being a little bit more prepared in her arguments. But they were still weak, and she still knows nothing about what's going on in this country. [Also, please note that Palin made sure that, at the end of the debate, she showed her baby and the rest of the family to the public, completing her little infomercial on trying to sell the American public a cheating, greedy president.]

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"All the things that make us, Laugh and Cry!"

And now, a break from our incendiary political assaults…………..

Of course, we all watch the shows that makes us “Laugh and Cry!”, but that strong artistic spirit in the artists who watch the shows always ask themselves, “Why is this funny?” They wish to ascend to and become their favorite artist, and so, digging into the structure and possibly the psychology behind their favorite shows (or other pieces of art) is a necessary process. And even for people who don’t wish to be artists, seeing many works by the artist enable them to see patterns and things not first noticeable.

The last two days, I’ve wasted time away by watching 6-hour marathons of “Married…With Children”. It’s an old show but retains the same structure as a lot of hit comedy shows today, like “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons”. Years ago, when it was a primetime show on T.V., I thought it was gut-wrenchingly hilarious, even when I didn’t understand some of the jokes (I was like 13 or 14 or something like that and it’s an adult show). I think all of these shows are gut-wrenchingly hilarious, and some of the best written comedy ever.

The shows I’ve listed in this paragraph all share that one obvious component: a dysfunctional family. On top of this, the subjective approach to these families usually includes content that is exaggerated and suggestive more than anything. And it’s from that content that the humor stems.

In Married...With Children, conflicts are all over. This is mainly because all of the characters hate each other, and still find time to center even more hate and disrespect on the central character, Al Bundy. Conflicts range between being within the family, to people outside of them, to their surrounding environment.

The show centers on a lower-class family in Chicago who must deal with the absence of necessities as well as each other’s depravities on the daily basis (but that lower-class status is sometimes suspended at the cost of the reality of the story, see way below).
-Al Bundy is a chauvinist pig whose family life is torture, next to constantly dealing with fat women who complain to and about him at his lowly and desolate shoe store.
-Bud, their son, is a mischievous coming-of-age kid who is always taking cash from family members to protect secrets from other family members whilst trying desperately to unvirginize himself with girls at school.
-Kelly, their older daughter, is a reckless and promiscuous teen who is always bringing men from jail and tough bikers home, not to mention ones she barely knows.
-Peggy, the wife and mother, watches Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue all day long and takes the little bit of money Al makes and spends it on herself instead of buying things like food for the family or paying bills.
Family Guy also has the character roles that conflict, but the show itself is more about turning those conventional societal roles inside out. It is about the life of the typical nuclear, suburban family in Providence, Rhode Island. But since everything and everyone has been flipped into their much, more perverse and unusual identities, there ends up being nothing typical about the town or people what-so-ever.

-So Peter Griffin, the father of the family, is expected to be the working, brave leader but instead is a bumbling, childish idiot who is usually the reason the family gets into their episodic problems.
-Lois, the wife and mother who is expected to know only about the kitchen and bedroom while being sexually repressed, is actually a sagacious, vibrant woman who usually gets the family out of their problems and has quite the sexual zest.
-Meg, the daughter who is expected to be the beautiful growing teen that stays at the top of the popular crowd in high school, is actually afraid to be looked at by everyone on earth and is the butt of every joke and victim of every circumstance.
-Chris, their son, is supposed to be the mischievous deviant but is actually quite friendly and harmless, and as dumb as his father.
-The dog Brian is, instead of some furry, primitive beast kept around for entertainment, a very mature and cultured being who sips martinis, walks on two legs and smokes cigarettes.
-Last but not least, Stewie, who is, on the surface, an adorable, lively infant (and the most popular character on the show), is actually a super-intelligent, megalomaniacal arch villain who speaks with an encyclopedic, Oxford accent and lives for not much more than to kill Lois.


Both comedies exaggerate to get their point across, and it’s usually all for the sake of the joke. Trying to remain realistic is where it would become garbage, mundane crap, or another words, like the rest of the comedies on T.V. and in theaters today. There have been countless times on Family Guy where Peter has had limbs severed (a few of which he did himself), yet, in every new episode, he appears whole and fine. On Married…With Children, they cannot pull that kind of thing off since they aren’t animated, but Al continually talks about how inhumanly fat Peggy’s mother is (“Why is it that your three sisters take up one bed, but your mother alone takes up three?”). In reference to them being ultra-poor, there was one episode where, for breakfast, the family had to sip chicken soup out of M&M shells. But on a side note, Al’s reportedly super low salary (below $10,000) is questionable when there have been plenty of episodes where he’s given the family money when they asked, still lives in the house with running electricity and water, and can afford to go bowling and to strip bars although no one else in the family works.

The stark contrasts between everything in both shows is the driving point of the plotlines, which sometimes gets lost and ceases to matter due to the shows being so joke- and punchline-laden. There’s the contrast between Al the chauvinist and Marcy, their neighbor, who is a staunch, upper-class feminist. The contrast/conflict between Bud and Kelly, who are the ever feuding siblings. Between Al and Steve, Marcy’s husband, who brushes his teeth, works at a bank where he is a great and orderly employee and has a respectable wife and car, and still finds things in common with Al, who hardly ever has clean clothes on his back, rarely brushes his teeth, insults the customers at his job and has a wife who sucks the happiness clean out of his life.

Family Guy also talks about itself, being aware of its existence as a T.V. show. In the end of a particular episode, Peter talks about how networks should be ashamed of themselves for showing violence and sex on T.V. and the government should regulate what broadcasts. After being warned by Lois that he should quit while he’s ahead or the budget for their show will get cut, he continues to criticize Fox network (the channel they’re on in the U.S.), and then walks away in cheap, choppy animation (indicating the budget has been cut).

I think “That 70’s Show” also had the main conflicts within the family, but I didn’t follow that show as closely, so I can’t go into details. The Simpsons also had the conflicting roles and extreme wackiness. But, much like “Family Guy” and “Married…With Children”, love always held them together. The structure in all of the shows will probably remain to be same in the future, but this is irrelevant. It is all about the mastery of the details.

See also: The Graphic Novel series “Transmetropolitan”. It’s science fiction and political, but has the same humor.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Presidential Debate


I know, lately a large portion of this blog has been devoted to talking about Barack Obama and John McCain. And I don't wish to beat the one or two people who read this blog over the head with the same stuff again and again, but this is a very important subject at a very important time. And if I wish to do my part to draw attention to it, I must voice my thoughts and speak out somewhere.

Now, the two Presidential Candidates had their first debate last night on, about, 6 channels including CNN, MSNBC and some others. They had small graphs at the bottom of the screen measuring the audiences reaction as the Candidates spoke. I suppose they thought this would determine who the people favored.

For the most part, the audience favored McCain. Whenever he spoke, the red bar soared over the green line (Undecided/Independents) and the blue line (Obama). When Obama spoke, the blue line just barely peaked over the others. But does this really mean Americans want McCain? No. The debate took place in Mississippi, a red state. They were Democratic a long time ago, when Democrats had conservative values, but now they are strongly Republican. McCain could've came on T.V. wrapped in a confederate flag, shooting up crystal meth and farting as a response to all of Obama's statements and the crowd would've liked him anyway.

Within the actual debate itself, people are complaining about Obama saying "You're absolutely right, John.", or a variance of, about six times during their back-and-forths on certain issues. The Republican party is talking about this being some sort of edge or advantage over Obama because it shows that fundamentally Obama is supporting McCain. This goes to show how idiotic and dense the Repub party is.

Obama spoke on things that were agreeable with his beliefs. What, just for the sake of a controversy-hungry public, Obama was supposed to say "That makes no sense!" or "I don't agree with that at all!", only to turn around and repeat the facts that he actually agreed with? No, you asses. Obama was merely pointing out the few aspects of John's rambling that he agreed with. Yes, as McCain said, spending in Washington has gone way out of control (as he repeated numerous times, showing that his speech advisors gave him that to show that he was aware of a world outside of himself), but NO, this will not be solved by putting a freeze on earmarked money = national budget which is frozen now but will be handed to corporate conglomerates later on. That was an insipid solution on all kinds of levels. Obama suggested taking those millions, and using it to help the people like me and you, who have to work and pays bills, who are hit the hardest everytime the government misspends our taxes.

Besides the fact that McCain did not look at Obama at all even though Obama addressed him directly like a gentleman and a scholar is supposed to, besides the fact that McCain lied numerous times and worked to bully and take over the conversation with his narrow-minded rhetoric, this image of being an independent-minded President did not work.

He proposed that we continue trying to resolve this Sunni/Shiite thing and continue to send $10,000,000,000 a year to the military for this campaign in Baghdad and Iraq. But the military already has about $90,000,000,000.

$90,000,000,000!!!!!!

The $10,000,000,000 of next year alone could revive this economy, if placed in the correct parts. The thing being, if the budget has to be stretched, you support the infrastructure (education, jobs, transportation, environment) first. Also, cut the taxes for the middle and lower classes so that they are able to partake in the local economy and the thriving of the country altogether. This is not for a quick bit of money in everyone's pocket, but to ensure that they're in a cyclic, productive economy that keeps money incoming as well as it goes out. But McCain prefers to further the failings of Bush.

McCain's example of his kind of solution to the terrible economy created by his tyrannical presidential antecedent is to open up 45 new power plants, which will [read: AS A SIDE EFFECT] give about 400,000 more jobs by the year 2030. That's nice......except who the f*&% said everyone has to work in a fu***n' power plant??!????? Or: why is everyone being forced to work in a f*****' nuclear power plant?? How about we open up jobs all over the country? What, are you going to tell me that that's "clearly" what McCain meant? No, the f&%$ it's not. In making that statement, McCain has shown that he is not interested in working, taxpaying people of this country whatsoever. He's out to stuff lobbyist' pockets.

Obama showed me exactly what I expected from him: maturity, policies that are well thought out, effective and sensible theories based on facts (he even tackled the Iraq and Iran issues, which used to be McCain's strong points). McCain showed me that we should re-consider even letting him still be a citizen of this country.

What? He served for our country in the military? Guess what: so did Joe Biden. So did thousands of immigrants, teenagers and combinations of both. Can they be presidents too?

Please stay tuned, I have to speak on Palin and address the Lipstick Pig's supporters with a point we should all pay attention to.............................

P.S. According to polls after the debate, Obama won the debate and a small percentage of people had a better view of him, by the way.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Petcka the asinine

Please click to enlarge and take a few minutes to read, although not necessary.
I'm supposing the readers that came across this article dismissed it with a scoff or a laugh or whatever and went back to work or house chores or just turned to the next page in the newspaper. I don't read the paper as much as I should; I'm usually too busy with some piece of fiction or playing dominoes or anger at my insipid, incompetent bosses. When I do read the paper I come across the usual:

-A store clerk is shot in robbery gone wrong
-A wife drowned her infant while baptizing him
-More idiots have fallen for McCain's trickery
-Lindsay Lohan was seen with this new Fendi dress while kissing Ethan Hawke at a Starbucks somewhere.

The usual stuff which makes me, once again, believe I can go without reading the paper for some time, since all the new articles are just old ones remixed by P. Diddy. When I came across this one, however, my brain started to flare up with images.

Accordingly, 6 foot 2 inches tall footballer Joseph Petcka felt threatened by his ex-girlfriend's cat, Norman, after he woke up from napping (which was, in turn, after a drunken fight with said ex) and found the cat biting into his knuckles. At some point in an ensuing fight, the cat reportedly lunged, with claws out and teeth barednote below, at Mr. Petcka. So, in his own defense, he tossed the cat across the room and delivered hard steel-toed kicks to the "ravenous" creature's body. Norman was later found dead with injuries I may punch my comp monitor whilst mentioning but are listed in the newspaper clip above.

Others at my job simply said "That's terrible." or "I hope that guy gets jail time. That's just fu**** up." I, on the other hand, was thinking of summoning Mr. Alighieri back from the dead to help create in additional 15-20 extra torturous circles of Hell just for Joseph Petcka. We can also throw deer and animal hunters in there to be precise.

Don't I think I'm overreacting? Nope, not at all. People need to get off of their biological hierarchy and stop putting themselves before anything everything else. We have intelligence and a much deeper understanding about the world then animals do. This does not mean they're subject to our pleasures and sadistic wills. This, in relation to terrestial property, also does not mean they are beneath us. And if you are thinking of quoting from the Old Testament to support the contrary, please save it for your local conservative, racist, irrational bigot preacher. I would introduce debate for a theological perspective, but that's a blog post within itself.

We should be using our faculties to help conserve their health, habitat and kingdom. We're supposed to have a respect for all life, not just human's. Contrary to Mr. Petcka's extremely asinine analysis, animals do not sit, draw up plans on maps and plot out preemptive strikes on people. They only have the capacity to act in nature. So where is there room for a grudge or anger toward a creature who doesn't "know" what they're doing. We have the ability to understand their nature, so we should at least try to.

I say that we should respect all life, but to be honest, as time passes and I read things like this, I find it harder and harder to have sympathy for the bad turns in life humans take. And no, this is not the genesis of my history as a brand new eco-terrorist. But this is a prime example of ignorance=evil.

noteThe cat was declawed, hence the title of this post. Now, if Mr. Petcka was lying instead of actually imagining the cat had claws, I shall require Dante to throw in an extra 15 circles of Hell.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Gaming Attractions

So.........it's been a little while since I've spoken on what's going on in the gaming world. Mainly because I've been pissed that these waves of idiots are actually falling for and following this monstrous tumor of a potential vice president named Sarah Palin. Also because of idiocy at my job, researching and trying to finish a short story, and just being generally tired (as you can see from me not posting as regularly as I used to). However, there are two games whose releases I particularly have my eye on in the upcoming months.

This one is called Legendary, a first person shooter and potential "BioShock" killer based on a world being destroyed by a corporation who owns and unleashes the monsters in Pandora's Box. Destructible environments, vast array of enemies and smart, realistic A.I. Looks to be a new big-budget hit for Microsoft.







This next one is Bionic Commando, a sequel to the 8-bit version that came out on Nintendo years ago. This third-person sandbox title follows a government operative who, after being betrayed by the government, imprisoned, and put through a nuclear blast, takes his bionic arm (hence the title) and works to get to the bottom of what's going on. Looks like a pretty open and detailed world. But as I've said before on a previous blog, I hope the controls can convey the free-moving and acrobatics properly. For promotion, a game called "Bionic Commando Rearmed", which is the old side-scrolling game with a hefty face and gameplay-lift, was released a little while back. This trailer effectively shows the evolution in between all three.







Good stuff.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Memorial Ploy

Don't get angry with me. I don't look at it that way. I see it is a proper, honorable burial for the passed-away. Yesterday, aired on CNN for the anniversary of that historically pivotal day in 2001, A was memorial erected at the Pentagon where a group of benches were covered with blue canopy. Removal of the canopy showed the names of all the victims on special benches. Interspersed in between the benches is planted a tree, the symbolism of the victims lives continuing in our hearts, a symbol that we begin lives anew. This is all good and fine, but I can't help but to think that it's also a media event to reinvigorate siding with the Republicans.

Don't be angry, I'm not trying to reduce the memorial into simple, political ploy. To me, 9/11 showed that the cycle of violence, of political and cultural bigotry, of wars between self-inherent religious truths and which country is strong and weak, of fear, needs to stop. But watching McCain, Bush and Rumsfeld speak at the podiums in New York and Pennsylvania, it feels like they are trying to recreate that fear and cultural hatred prominent during the actual attack to insert their own meaning and direction into American citizens.

When talking about 9/11, words like heroes, victim, enemies, remember, American, honor, life, death, love, God, terrorism and freedom are continually recycled and used constantly. It's possible that they can't be escaped, but they, the Repubs, will always take the opportunity to attempt to use these words to stir negative, emotional but narrow minded feelings within the American public. I can only hope the people aren't fooled into letting McCain continue the destruction of our country that Bush administered.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Read.

So, you're a fresh reader. Your vocabulary is not as extensive as you'd like it to be yet, you struggle with terms and objects and places in other countries/planets/dimensions, and you're not familiar with terms like Bildungsroman, Grandfather Paradox, or foil character. Do you only go with the books you understand now, or do you pick something that looks interesting but will be difficult to get through? Of course, there are people who stay the way they are and only go where they see fit. Like a co-worker of mine. He'll struggle to spell the word "sci-fi", much less put himself through a whole book of it. So he instead sticks with books like these:

True to the Game
Shaqeesha's Baby: The Trilogy*
Straight From Da Hood, Yo*
Memoirs of a Crackhead, as written by the person he stole them from*
Get Off My Government Cheese!: The Prequel*
Rick James, Bitch!: The official biography of the Bitch Rick James was talking about.*

*not real books

These are Urban books, or "Hip-Hop Literature" as Wikipedia would call them. And to add to what I put above, there are plenty of people that read these things because they want to, and not because they can't read anything else. With that said, these novels often appear absolutely idiotic to me, but to each their own.

I remember seeing things like the Lord of the Rings books selling millions of copies (at the time of the film release) and wanting to read it before the film came out, so I borrowed the trilogy from a friend. I could not, for the life of me, make heads or tails of what the hell was going on in certain parts. I'm a person that envisions what I read, and so all the passages with environment and nature talks of this kind of tree and that ridge above this creek drew blanks for me. If I were my other co-worker, I would've given up and stuck with being entertained by stuff like Max Tucker. But this didn't make sense.

Contemplating putting the book down made me feel like I couldn't go on to anything else because I quit that one. "It's too hard to read, no one's going to like this./But millions of people have already read and enjoyed it, so what are you missing?/well, what did they understand? Did they understand?" And it's not about the book itself, but the feeling like my intelligence has limits.

This was when I first started taking literature seriously. I eventually finished the book(s) and went on to other stuff that looked like it would challenge me. I've never wanted to just stay with what works for me. you imprison yourself in ignorance that way. I wanted to be able to read anything from classics to sci-fi to espionage. From a Doctor who trades his soul for mastery of the Dark Arts, to a boy playing in his poor Venezuelan park, to a CIA agent getting permission from Quantico to dig up files about a secret Indo-Vietnamese War.

My point is that I think it's better to make the mind adapt to the literary world, not to just stay with what you know. That's no good. Books are supposed to teach you, not tell you what you already know.

This same thing goes with writing. If I imagine something, I want to be able to portray it as realistically and accurately as possible in words. Note: realistic does not mean imitate the surface of life (only what meets the naked eye). It means the components of your story must interact with each other as they logically would given the totality of whatever properties you create for them. Whatever disorders and powers you give to somebody or something, you must imagine, in detail, how life would be for them. So, do not, as so many people have stupidly done, have a character suddenly be able to cause earthquakes or read people's minds and just go straight to thinking about how to use these powers without first being shocked that such powers exist.

At any rate, the truism of reading or writing what you know holds true, but that doesn't mean to only stick with what you know. This is pride in ignorance at its finest. Anything that you want to write about, you get to know. Any word you don't know, you look up. Reading maybe difficult for you now, but it's only because your mind is being cultured and your interests are widening. Many people have said this and I don't remember which or who, but "intelligence is the refining or strengthening of the soul". In researching, you may find that whatever work you're approaching goes deeper than you thought.

(Dis)Honor?

I was flipping through the newspaper the other day and landed at the first page of the obituaries.

There, I found the story of Yuri Nosenko, 81, ex-KGB agent (a soldier that works for national defense in the Soviet Union during the Cold War).

During the height of the Cold War (nuclear arms threat battle between the U.S. and the Soviet Union), he went to Switzerland and defected to the U.S. in 1964. After years of being interrogated and held in various prisons lest he's a double agent (someone pretending to be a traitor but is actually a spy), he was finally admitted into a U.S. intelligence agency. He submitted crucial Russian dossiers and documents that helped the U.S. gain an edge against the Soviet Union.

He died last week, a month after CIA director Michael Hayden sent him a flag and a letter of thanks.

Yes, he helped this country, but he betrayed his previous one. Isn't that a bit immoral?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm not American, I guess

One day, standing in the furniture workshop at my job, I listened to ad on AM radio from McCain’s sponsors. It implied that Obama is not really “American” since, what was it?, he once (or couple of times, I don’t know) had the opportunity to visit the troops currently warring in Iraq and instead went to the spa or some high-class sauna or what-have-you. I was quite disappointed and pissed that McCain would resort to Identity Politics, to saying such idiotic things, but I then remembered that him saying such things, of course, makes sense since……you know……he’s an idiot. Another thing to consider is that, at this point, The Joker from The Dark Knight probably looks better in the public eye than the Republicans do, thanks to dear ole’ George W’s super sloppy administration in war and economy.

I think McCain is counting on it not meaning anything to “Americans” that Obama traveled to Russia, Azerbaijan and some other places in order to research a way to control the circulation and supply of the world’s conventional, nuclear and biological weapons as well as WMDs. This is so that life doesn’t instantly turn into those terrible dystopian landscapes you see in such fictional works as Mad Max, 1984 or Teletubbies because some countries decide they’d like to bomb the crap out of each other over oil and destroy us all in the process. McCain counts on it not meaning anything to “Americans” that Obama is working on the proper funding and housing for soldiers, disabled and abled, coming back from the war so that they’re not just tossed into the streets, like a real American like McCain is likely to do. It won't matter that Obama supports the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, and is working on making the government more publicly accountable in their federal spending, so that we can see our taxes is being spent on things like education, better hospitals, transportation and the like. Not being privately spent on a brand new Bugatti Racer for McCain’s son.

But all these things mean nil. Because since Obama didn’t salute the American Flag here, because he didn’t sport some silly American Flag pin there, because his middle name is Hussein and in a retard’s mind this associates him with Muslims, because he didn't go over to Iraq to shake the soldiers' hands before indifferently letting them go to their deathbeds, he is not American.*

*Hell, next to no one in this country is American. If only Americans are to be Presidents, then all of them historically and up to now would have been Native American. And even they aren't American! They migrated through the Arctic and Canada all the way from China over 10,000 years ago before landing in the Americas.

[Note: One bad thing for Obama: Joe Biden seems like a good Vice President for Obama, due to his extensive foreign relations knowledge and military expertise. Unfortunately, his son is a lobbyist for the bank MBNA and Obama's campaign is all about getting campaign funds from the public only. Let us see how his publicist handles this.]

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Woman. Phone.

A scene from some hours ago:

With my notepad and iPod, I sit at a round, white oak table in the basement-level cafeteria at my store. This is where workers come to warm up their leftovers for lunch and eat, the lunchroom being perfectly positioned right next door to a sewer. Over on a black leather couch, leaned against a newly built wall with circles of dried up plaster lays [Elian], a short Honduran pastor and security guard. I can't hear but I'm sure he's listening to what he always listens to as he drifts to a noisy snore on the couch on his lunch hour, which is the latest in self-glorifying, self-righteous Gospel. The likes of Paul Baloche or Steven Curtis Chapman or some such mess. We are both Christians, and even though the artists I'm listening to sing religious lyrics as well, I highly doubt he'd approve of them. I highly doubt he'd approve of any of the Christian music I head-bobbingly listen to. That's ok, I highly doubt I'd approve of anything approved by him. I put my iPod on pause.

On top of his gospel, his snoring, and the hum of the refrigerator trying to keep someone's leftover curry and rice with beans cold, I write in this notepad. I feel the underground Parisian expatriate artistic genius in me flow whenever I do, because Barnes and Noble told me that Ernest Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin wrote in this very (kind of) notepad. I loved Hemingway's story on abortion debate over Spanish beer at train stations. So, B&N and moleskine.com have won my integrity and money over because they told me that by buying their product, I could take part of something that was once attached to a chauvinistic, drunk and possibly racist writer. So I begin to write an idea for a sci-fi novel about a cyborg.

A salesman and a carpet stockman come in and quietly play Gin Rummy at $2 a hand at a table next to mine. I write. Elian snores as Paul shouts to the Lord, the frig hums, and all is peaceful.......

Until [Scarlett] bursts in the lunchroom, screaming into her phone and talking faster than certain Ford Mustangs can drive. Lucky Elian, gospel saves him from the racket, but the salesperson lays down a Full House, turns and asks "what the hell is wrong witchu'?"
She waves him off and continues yelling at the phone. "Nah, nah, what da f*** you mean 'dat's just how she is? Dis is her second time wit dat s***, dat's money out my purse, ya understand? I can't afford to keep payin' fo da way she is." She says with rapid fire speed.

You see, Scarlett woke this morning out of her queen-sized bed in East New York, Brooklyn, got dressed, went down to her building lobby by way of a piss, trash and graffiti-covered elevator, crossed a children's park to the street curb and found her Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with the word "Bitch" on the front hood, and "stop f*****' wit him or I'm beat yo ass [exact wording]" on the doors. This congenial message was scratched into the car by way of a key. In script.

"Watchu mean sit and talk....if I see her, I'm straight smackin' da s*** outta her, dats' it. I on't wanna hear nothin', I don't wanna sit down s***."
The two employees laugh and return to their game, the salesman taking $2 out of a thin stack of singles the stockman has next to him.

Scarlett is throwing her arms around in forceful gesticulations, pacing back and forth with buggy eyes looking all about and an angry, pouting twitching mouth. She puts her hand on her hip to listen. "What...da what? Nig**, is you stupid, I don't know why she does it either. Why don't you ask her, cause I'm telling you if I see her, it's gon be problems, for real."

I mean, I don't know. Scarlett and the citizen on the phone say the woman who did it maybe insane, or perhaps she targeted the wrong car. Again. Logic condescendingly shows me that the woman was angry because Scarlett slept with the woman's fiancee of some years. Well, not angry that they slept together for the 10th or 20th time, but angry that she caught them for the second time. Yes, a second time with the very fiancee Scarlett is on the phone with now. None of us, "us" being me, the two card players, Elian, and the rat I just seen at the edge of the cut open ventilation shaft above Elian, are worried about Scarlett's consequences. Coveting thy neighbor's husband is more a lifestyle for her than a sinful indulgence, and she can take care of herself.

By the turn of the conversation, I'm sure she's learned her lesson, though: "Aiight, good, so you payin' for it then. Aiight........so you still wanna go to dat hotel next week?"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Grand Theft Auto 4: The Dynamic

I didn't realize how anarchic Grand Theft Auto 4 was. This especially came out as I read a blog post @ Versus Clu Clu Land, where a law student expressed her professional view of the game and listed the amount of laws your character breaks as the story of the game progresses. Playing it the other day, the viewpoint of completely disrupting social order for money had dawned on me as my missions ranged from stealing trucks filled with cocaine to robbing federal banks and killing SWAT Team members by the waves. I never really looked at GTA 4 in that context. It was just a game to me.

I've even taken jobs from an anonymous caller to assassinate targets ranging from groups of men in a construction site to some VIP whose about to take off in a helicopter from a pad on top of a highway. For the latter, I just walked up to the copter, carrying a rocket launcher in plain, clear view, and blew it up. I mean, the helipad is directly above the highway, not any miles away or anything. Here's the reason I point that out.

Niko Bellic (the main character) supports himself in New York City Liberty City by agreeing to be paid for the most reprehensible and immoral acts. In doing so, he meets a colorful range of characters who are just as immoral as he is. I mean, even the Liberty City Police Dept. and CIA catch him, only to pay him for his terrible services like everyone else. So where is the order in this game, really? Only on the programmed surface.

Niko causes this chaos and, while in real life his crimes would be deep gashes in the social fabric, in the game they're more like superficial cuts on the fabric's knee. After blowing up said helicopter and killing about 3 innocent people nearby, the police may show up and arrest if they're nearby and (remember, if), but the whole thing is either forgotten about through a couple of hours in jail and a bribe, or as soon as the mission ends, the police suffer the instant amnesia that the Men In Black used to administer when the public knew of their Roswell activity. The innocent people who've died in the blast literally disappear, and all the other citizens go back to walking up and down the sidewalks and attending their business like they're programmed to.

Of course, the reason why this can't be reality, or game developers can never imitate reality, is that they cannot take the spontaneous and random aspects of life and program it into made up people. When something like that happens to us, simultaneously law and society try to make sense of what happened, repair it, and in the process, dynamics take place and open up new pathways.

So after the helicopter is blown up:
A detective who has a son with Down Syndrome investigates the crime scene and debris, while some greedy, annoying journalist listens to his note taking and, moronically and selfishly, releases key leads to the public, which helps Niko escape.

The little girl who was sitting on the bench in an upscale park just yards from the explosion is hit with a speeding piece of helicopter door in her lung and now needs a blood transfusion. This has to be paid for by the family that made just enough money to supply her with a wheat and tuna sandwich every night........

........but her older brother takes this experience and finds a new religion that worships antique chandeliers made by a 16th century Sicilian genius hermit who lived in a hole under a stone bridge and believed that after Christ died, he was reincarnated in the form of the hermit's own right eyeball.

The highway underneath the helicopter pad closes and Bob finds a new way to drive to and from work, where he chance-meets a stripper who is also a Russian spy and finds through her wisdom that his real self is a Marxist transvestite.

The conspiracy theorists who read about the explosion in the newspaper believe the man in the helicopter was selling FreeMason secrets to the public, and he was the first target. The second is his publishers handling the non-fiction book.

A man in his shoddy one-bedroom apartment in the projects, who is an ex-glue sniffing necrophiliac, watches the explosion in slow-motion on T.V. and suddenly has the idea for a new American three-course dish involving Indian spices and mercury. In 7 years time, he single-handedly stops world hunger and rids any and all attention to 50 Cent.

The Black Agenda-ists who question the cops, find out the man in the helicopter was black, and question why the law and government does not enforce Martin Luther King Jr.'s ideal, and so react with incendiary Malcolm X policy.

And finally, poor, poor Steve, the Christian electronica D.J. who was on his way to aunt's house to pick up some old records, sits at home watching the news report and realizes that he's seen Niko, with his very own eyes, walk towards the heli-pad with a rocket launcher in his arm (though at the time he didn't know what it was). Filled with guilt at the fact that he could've saved a life, he sleepwalkingly drifts to some hole under a stone bridge, produces a knife and takes out his own right........
Got carried away. Sorry. But you get the point.