Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Some Changes Never Thing

Put me in a classroom, give me something to write with and to write on, and this will be the inevitable result. There was a time when I wanted to make amazing surreal graphic novels, something along the line of the Hellraiser series, or Heavy Metal. Now, in the digital age when it could be done easily, I keep finding excuses. I had a few webcomics over the years, but I just couldn't keep my own interest up. I guess all my creative juices are focused on writing and editing prose at the moment, not to mention keeping my brain from melting into goo in this insane heat. Remember years ago, when being an electrician meant slinging bx in a nice Manhattan office renovation, with AC in the summer and heat in the winter? Pepperidge Farm remembers!

Peace, love and soul, my friends.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Amazing how that day job got in the way...

The first draft of Debris of Shadows Book II has finally crossed the finish line, at 95k words (380 pages using 250 words per page.) So now begins the editorial scouring.

I've eliminated the "B plot" and focused the novel on Matthew's adventures in WesMec. To include what was happening back in the Sage in NorMec would have stretched things out to about 500 pages. Don't worry, it's not gone forever, all that stuff will be in Book III.

Thanks to everyone for being so supportive. Coffee awaits!


Saturday, July 09, 2016

A Reading from the Book of Hillary

And so it was, that the people of the United States were divided into two groups, those on the left, and those on the right. And yea, did Hillary turn to those on Her left, and said, "Blessed are you. When minorities were persecuted, you saved them. When our children were uneducated and starving, you saved them. When our daughters were to be sold into virtual prostitution, you saved them. When the Earth was on the verge of sinking into bigotry, misogyny, racism, and warfare, you fought to save them."

And the people on the left said, "When did we do this, oh Hillary?"

And She spoke, saying, "Whenever you said that My gross negligence and corruption should be ignored, because I'm just a victim of a GOP witch-hunt, whenever you shouted down Bernie Sanders supporters as 'Bernie-Bro' misogynists, or foolish, uneducated girls who were taken in by the nefarious lies of FOX News, whenever you said that a single-payer system was impossible in America, even though you elected President Obama on the promise to do so, whenever you 'Corrected the Record' on social media, whenever you said that a secretary of state's playing fast and loose with national security for Her own gain should be completely ignored, just because other people in the past might have gotten away with something kinda sorta not really similar, whenever you championed My affuluenza-victimhood and said it was 'not fair' to inform the people of the underhanded dealings of someone who wanted to govern them--that you did unto Me."

And then She turned to those on Her right, and said, "You! You wanted the world to be full of bigotry and hatred. You wanted African-American children shot down in the street by machine-gun wielding NRA/KKK members. You wanted all Muslims and Mexicans to be rounded up and put in concentration camps. You wanted the LGTB community flayed alive for using public restrooms. You wanted your daughters to be barefoot, pregnant slaves, who only worked for seventy cents on the man's dollar."

And those on the right said "Oh Hillary, when did we do this?"

And yea, She spoke, saying, "Whenever you pointed out that Bernie Sanders always fought for the things I was against before he made them popular, whenever you reminded everyone that Trump was My friend for decades, donated to My foundation, and once said I would make a great president, and questioned if he might be a cartoonish super-villain who magically appeared on the political scene just when I needed a scapegoat-boogeyman most, whenever you said it was logistically impossible to allow millions of illegal aliens enter the American workforce and expect the minimum wage to ever rise, whenever you suggested that My insanely high fees for secret speeches to the very institutions I promised to cull were obviously bribes, whenever you asked why the fact that I once fought to get someone I knew was a child rapist off the hook on a technicality is whitewashed by those who decry 'rape culture' at every turn, whenever you pointed out that I am the apex of the rich and powerful one-percent that is sucking the livelihood out of the middle and lower classes, whenever you highlighted the obvious bias of mainstream news outlets towards me, whenever you questioned if I ever actually did anything for Labor that deserves the adulation its unions give me, whenever you said that My husband, the former president, arraigning a covert meeting with the attorney general while I'm under criminal investigation by the FBI is a fornicating red flag of elitist corruption that even a five year old could see--that you did unto Me."

And one from the right spoke up, saying, "But, you wish to govern us. Why must we perpetuate the Good-Cop-Bad-Cop farce that is screwing over us all? It is our right to know about the underhanded dealings of all our candidates, no matter who they are. What does it matter what others might or might not have done in the past? This is about the present election, and our future. Go ahead and investigate them all too. Lock them all up, what do we care? We are all supposedly The People of the United States, why are you treated as royalty? Why should we defend you, instead of demanding the truth about those who wish to rule? If another rich kid with 'affluenza' kills more people, or if another judge lets a connected college-athlete rapist off the hook, should we say 'Prosecuting them is wrong, because others in the past might have gotten away with it too'? Why should any candidate, including you, be treated as if they are above the law?"

And yea, did Hillary point at him, turn to those on the left, and cry, "See? SEE??? He wants Trump to take your children's futures! He wants Trump to rip the STEM jobs from your daughters' hands! He wants to see Trump reign, and for all non-whites to be persecuted and murdered!"

She bowed Her head, and began to cry. Tears ran down Her face and onto Her $12,495 Armani jacket, and Her voice became a fragile whisper. "Witness the microagressions of white, male, misogynist privilege against us all."

And yea, did those on the left hiss, and boo, and take up the chants of "Covert misogynist," "Unfriend him," and "Microagressions become macrotransgressions!"

And then did Hillary cast those on the right into the Lake of Fire, otherwise known as Walmart (where Hillary had once been a member of its union-busting board of directors,) where they had to work as door greeters with no benefits as one of their many part time jobs, just to keep their heads above water, and support their families. And there was much wailing, and gnashing of the teeth.

And not soon after, did the left also follow into the part-time jobs of Walmart and its ilk, or did they also stay on their current jobs for more hours, less pay, and less benefits, while the cost of living and taxes rose. And yea, did they, CNN, MSNBC, and all of Hollywood cry that it was all the fault of those on the right, who--even though She had been coronated--had questioned the Will of Hillary, and damned them all.

The Word of the Hilldawg


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Just in case you were wondering

The first draft of Debris of Shadows Book II just crossed the 300 page (75k words) mark... and, according to my outline, still has at least another 100 to go. Coffee is my friend.

The difficulty is fourfold: First, it's a sequel, and it's honestly going to be one of those where you have to read the first book to really know what is going on. Serialized novels have become more popular these days (Thank you, George R.R. Martin) but I'm sure I'll receive some flack for that. Oh well.

The second is that the story goes back and forth between The Sage in NorMec, and Matthew's adventures in WesMec, and then ties the two up at the end, which will lead us into the final book. (Yes, there will only be three.) Multiple plotlines have to be equally interesting. I've read books where the A plot was all I cared about, and I just wound up skipping through the B filler in annoyance. All the characters involved have to move the story along, the lazy bastards.

The third is re-purposing. Matthew's continuing story springs from another novel I had gotten about 200 pages into over a period of about fifteen years, which had many of the same themes. I was able to use about 3/4 of the plot, but it had to be completely rewritten. The art is in disguising the art, or something like that, which means part of the job is making sure no one sees the seams.

And fourth, as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Last Brexit to Jersey

I can't pretend I fully understand what's going on with the UK leaving the EU. I grok that some understand the issue better than I, so please, tell me if I've got the situation or not.

Let's pretend the United States gives amnesty to all illegal aliens and refugees, and opens its borders.

This creates plethora of issues, among them criminal activity, over population, a refusal to integrate, and last but not least, unemployment.

New Jersey, which already has a huge unemployment problem of its own, says, "Fornicate this noise, we're leaving," and secedes from the Nation. So, if you weren't a natural born NJ citizen, you now need a visa/green card/citizenship to work and live in NJ. The flip side is, NJ natural born citizens now need these things to work elsewhere in the US. This includes me and my wife, who live in NY. Our daughter was born in NY, so if we move back, she'll have to apply for citizenship. So will our son, because he was born in SC. This situation has ramifications all over the country, especially because NJ is basically a suburb for NYC. And don't forget the elderly who moved to FL or AZ years ago to retire.

So now, NJ jobs are preserved for the New Jersians. This looks great on the surface. The only problem is, there really weren't that many jobs to begin with. Its only export is horrible reality shows about horrible people, the green flies and annoying pine needles that plague the Jersey Shore, and tourism-mainly people going to Headquarters 10 in Morristown to see if that guy who scans the movie tickets with his finger is still working there after all these years (is he?)

The other issue is that many NJ companies who did business throughout the US are now thrown into disarray. New tariffs and agreements have to be drawn up. NJ also received federal aid for many industries, especially for the perpetual roadwork on 287 that was planned to last for all eternity.

To complicate matters further, NJ is actually made up of two separate nations. The Pork Roll people voted to stay in the US, while the Taylor Ham nation was unanimously for leaving. There is now talk of the Pork Rollers seceding from NJ so they can try and rejoin the US.

Anything I missed?


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Why Someone Else Would Vote For That Person You Wouldn't Be Caught Dead Voting For

As 2016 is shaping up to be one of the most toxic and divisive election years of all time, I keep seeing the following posts:

"How could anyone vote for ______? Only a slimy, odoriferous pile of reptile droppings would ever vote for him/her/it! If you're going to vote for ______, just unfriend me now!"

There is a difference between having your own opinion and arguing for it, and being convinced that everyone else's opinion should be the same as yours. So, in the interest of being obnoxious and lording the fact that I'm above it all, I shall explain.

Other people were born with a different nature than you.
They were raised with different nurturing than you.
Some have had different experiences than you.
Some have had successes you never will.
Some have suffered hardships and pains you never will.
All these things have formed a perspective in those people.
They then found one or more ideologies (sets of ideas and ideals) which more or less coincided with their perspectives.

These ideologies shaped their lives. They may convince themselves that their decisions are based on impartial, objective logic, but deep down, they are shaped by these ideologies. They may say "yeah, you're right, you have a point," and KNOW that you are making pure, logical sense - but still, they will always find a way to justify following their particular ideology.

To them, some decisions you may think are wrong, are right.
To them, some decisions you may think are right, are wrong.

Remember, these rules apply to you as well.
Remember, friends and family are more important than the circus playing out in Washington.

Here endeth the obnoxiousness (for now.)


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rest in Peace, Uncle Joe.

My Uncle Joe passed on earlier this week, at the age of Eighty-two. As he was sick for a while, I was happy I got to visit him last Sunday to say goodbye.

Uncle Joe, myself, Lisa, Mary, and Aunt Diane. The 80s were a simpler time.

Me and Uncle Joe in the 90s. Such hair, such fashion. Hail Pottsylvania!

My uncle was laid to rest in the same cemetery as our grandparents, so a few of my cousins (Keith and Jeanette) and I went to visit them. We found that someone recently put flowers on their grave. Whoever the unknown person is, thank you for remembering them.

My father told me once that in the 20th century, this was pretty much the only cemetery where Catholics from NYC could be buried. That would explain why I have so many relatives from both sides of the family here.

I plan on going out like Slim Pickens did in Doctor Strangelove, but in the slim case I don't get to ride a nuke, I suppose I'd like to be cremated and dumped off the shelf of the Atlantic. That way, no one has to visit me. Chances are, when it rains, I'd visit you.

I would like, however, that if Amazing Grace is sung at my funeral, everyone sing it like Elvis. Dressing up is optional.

Live long and perspire, my friends.


Sunday, May 08, 2016

Sunday, April 17, 2016

If I wrote the next Star Wars film...

Max Rebo, Sithym and Blues

Some days you get the blues, and some days, the blues get you.
See that sexy, blue pachyderm, banging away on the keys, feeling the music flow through him like nothing else matters - because it doesn't? That's me. That's Max. Once, I was the hottest night club act in the Outer Rim. Now, I'm playing platform six in the Coruscant subway. No credits, no love, just a scar across my trunk where a hooker slashed me, and a parade of ex wives who would have paid her for the privilege.

I had a pretty good gig on Tattoine, back in the old days. I played Jabba's palace. Our music was so good, that when we played, Jabba would even let his girlfriends get down and funky with the Rancor. If they'd run off with it, he'd just shrug, and get a new one. Can't be jealous when there's good music. That was Jabba. Then, some teenagers and their droids came in, and shot the place up. Why? Everyone in this galaxy gets so caught up in masks, who froze who, who's whose daddy... light side, dark side- who cares? There's always going to be someone swinging a light saber, always going to be guys in armor shooting... that's not what this story is about, because that's not what life's about. It's all about the music. There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy, there's just you and me, and Sy Snootles can kiss my blue trunk.

You want to tell me about love? I was in love, once. She was so fine, Wookies used her face to comb for lice. We just used to talk and talk, until the morning birds yelled at us to shut up. Every morning, when I hear birds, I think of her. I wish I could tell her that I think she is good, I'll alway hope her life is good, and that I'm all good. But I can't, because she found religion, and ran off to get sacrificed to a Mynock cult. That's the way it goes. One day you're in love, next day, she's Mynock kibbles. I even wrote a song about it, called, "One Day You're In Love, Next Day, She's Mynock Kibbles." But I was down on my luck, and I sold the rights. Then, Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes covered it, upped the tempo, and changed the name to "Mad About Me." No soul, man, no soul.

Because in the end, all you have is the music. You want to know what loneliness is? It's not being some green, big-eared Muppet, all alone on a swamp planet, waiting for some kid to show up and get his ass wupped into shape. Loneliness is being a drop of oil in an ocean, surrounded by water drops who all want to be together, all laughing and playing and being at home - because they're water. And here you are, in the middle of them, but you're a blue blob of oil, so you're never really a part of it. All you can do is watch through your impermeable surface tension, and pretend, because they're perfectly happy whether you're there or not. That's what the music is. It's a way to make me forget I'm pretending.

So there I was, just out of a job, because, like I said, some uppity kids burned Jabba's palace to the ground. Sy had left me to go solo, and I was feeling lower than a Nerf herder on Life Day, when who should come knocking on my door, but the glamorous Mon Mothma herself. Now, don't tell anyone I told you, but Mothma liked to slum around on Tattoine, whenever her wife would go away on business. Just another high-class girl who needed her regular, nasty fix of Big Blue. She gave me a long, deep kiss on the trunk, looked down at me with her big, elegant, arrogant eyes, and said "Max, how would you like to make a dishonest living?"

(To be continued...)

Saturday, March 05, 2016

New Tenants Have Moved Into 1B

The Wanderer poked his head from the silver portal. The magical rains had not fallen in quite some time. To be sure, there was still plenty of water deep within the catacombs; there were other portals, after all. But this tunnel had been home to him, his father, and his children for as long as he could remember. Why had the liquid manna ceased to flow?

He crawled out upon the Great White Valley. It was barren and dry. And bright, so bright. The brilliance made his heart pound, deep within his armor. This was the land of the Gods. One only dared to traverse here under the sweet cover of darkness. But darkness was for hiding, and hiding was for ignorance. He was not making this suicidal journey to be willfully blind; he was here to know.

The ground was cold and unforgiving beneath his feet as he scrabbled up the ivory wall. He tasted dryness and grit, and a chill set over him.

Where had They gone?

His brothers had made the pilgrimage before him. Only one had ever returned, cracked and broken, his limbs smashed and jagged. He had warned the Wanderer, with his last, gasping breath, that the Gods were cruel. They were Titans, walking mountains, who guarded their land of plenty with a petty jealousy, bringing down crushing death on all those who dared to cross it. The Wanderer had been content to lay within his cavern, to feed upon the delicious rains that fell from above. But the rains had stopped.

It was his fault, he knew. He had tried to be good, he had tried to be true. He had followed all the rituals, said all the prayers. He had shown his loyalty and his love. But somehow, he was unworthy. Somehow, he must have failed. They had judged him undeserving of the rain, and he would learn why.

The rustling patter of tiny feet echoed across the ground, and it froze him in his tracks. Were there others here? Children - perhaps even nephews and nieces of the brothers who had never returned? He would find them. He would find, embrace them, and bring them home. The thought ignited a sense of pride within him. They would not find their uncle cowering in fear. He scurried around the corner, calling out a greeting. Then he stopped, his heart sinking.

They were not his family, merely a squad of Simples. Dwarves. They liked to travel in packs. They ran from here to there, careless of what danger they courted. He had met their types before.

"Hey, you," he said. They did not turn his way. He looked to the left and to the right, but saw no one. He moved to block their path. "Hey, I'm talking to you."

"Light," they said in unison, pointing to a spot of luminescence above. "Light, light, light, light, light."

"What happened here?" the Wanderer asked. "Where have the Gods gone? Why did they leave us?"

"Light, light, light," the Simples chanted. They rerouted their passage around him, and continued on their way. His jaw dropped in shock. How could they be here, in the home of the Gods, and yet worship something else?

"Don't you fools understand?" he shouted as they scampered off. "We're all alone now. I'm alone."

Their mantra echoed, fading in the distance. He sunk his head.

"I don't want to be alone."

He looked about him. This was no heaven. He could smell no food, only dust. He would return to his family, to the dank of his caverns. They would find a new tunnel, with new Gods to worship. They would have to fight, kill, and possibly die to overtake the supplicants already living there, but so what? It was the way things were, the way they had always been. It was life.

The dry wind brought a sound of thunder. The ground shook. In the blurry radiance, the faint echo of the Simples cadence turn to screams.

Joy and terror washed over him in waves. The rhythm of the earthquakes grew stronger, the thunder louder. He knew he should run, should scamper back to the safety of the portal. But he knew that if he did, he would hate himself until the day he died. He had come to see the Gods, and he would.

The Avatar loomed into view from above. She tilted her head back, opened her mouth, and screamed. The roar deafened him as he emptied his bowels, his refuse running down his legs. She was terrible, and beautiful, her head crowned by a flowing mane of gold. She swung out her massive leg, and colossal, inescapable darkness hammered down from the sky. As it ground his brain into mush, the last thought to cross it was one of elation. Perhaps the old Gods had deserted him, but here were new ones.

His children would have rain.


Friday, February 26, 2016

"I am The Lorax..."

I love looking at trees in winter, especially landscaped ones by the roadside. Over the decades, certain branches have been pruned and sealed. Perhaps an infestation here or there destroyed or mutated the form of a limb as it was branching out. But the trees' DNA still instructs them to grow in a way that can't be denied. The result is a skeleton that is gnarled and winding, every twist an elegant reminder of its fight to be alive and true to itself.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

When life gives you composition...

The other day at work, I was sent down into the subterranean levels to retrieve some galvanized pipe. I came across a few areas where shadows and contrast had created some awesome photo opportunities. Looks like a great place to shoot a noir movie.



Friday, February 12, 2016

A father's open letter to Hillary Rodham Clinton

Dear Mrs. Clinton:

OK, let's be honest. I've never liked you, and I'm not going to pretend I do. Let's just get that out of the way. I don't see you, Bernie, Trump, or even Sarah Palin being any better or worse than any other president; I just don't believe in our political system anymore.

Let's cut to the chase.

I have a daughter, and I've been told that you've done many things that will make her life better. I really don't know how true that is, but if it is... well, then thank you - and I honestly mean that. But there is one trend from your political history that is rearing its ugly head in this campaign, and it's something I definitely don't want her to learn. My problem with you is, after a fashion, the same one I had with your husband. It comes down to this:

No matter what your gender, being principled is hard.

No matter what your gender, being true to your word is hard.

No matter what your gender, practicing what you preach is HARD.

I know - because I've failed to do these things time and time again. I've tried. Sometimes I've won, but many, many times, I've failed. I'm not holding you to a standard I can't live up to, I'm not pretending I'm better than you. Anyone reading this who knows me knows I'm the last person who should throw stones. So let's make this clear: I'm not saying I'm principled and you're not. That's not my point. Who knows, maybe you're a better person than I am. Could be.

The point is, when you come face to face with someone who actually HAS done these things, who has actually fought for their principles no matter how hard it was, then you respect it.

You respect them for it.

You don't play the victim.

You don't say, "Well it was easy for that person to not play the game I did. Sure, they can walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. Sure, they can not be completely full of bull-feces. Sure, they can actually live up to what they say... because they had privilege!"

Because, Mrs. Clinton, it's never easy. If it were easy for everyone of every gender, race, or class to be true to the principles they preach, history would be completely different. If that were true, then we would be living in a Star Trek The Next Generation utopia right now, instead of the whole juju-flop situation that we're in.

Let's reiterate: I'm not saying Bernie Sanders would necessarily make a better president than you. I'm not saying people should not vote for you. Everyone should be able to vote for whoever they want (whomever? I'm too lazy to look it up) and I'm sure your supporters are intelligent, well-informed people who have their reasons.

What I'm saying is that when someone (as far as we know) has a long history of being true to their principles and you haven't, then you don't try and spin it that you are somehow a victim. It's not the fault of sexism or misogyny or "privilege" that Bernie Sanders has a truer political record than you do - it's THE CHOICES YOU HAVE MADE.

It's sort of the same way I didn't want my son to learn from your husband that although everyone does things that are wrong, and mistakes shouldn't be forever held over anyone's head - when you're unquestionably caught committing a crime, especially as a leader, you don't vilify the man prosecuting you, and you don't use popularity as an excuse to escape punishment. But I digress.

So, Mrs. Clinton, you really want to be a feminist role model for my daughter? Then stop spinning the fact that Bernie has been truer to his principles as your own victimhood. You want to show her that you're the candidate that's strong enough to take responsibility for the presidency? Fine - then instead of spinning bullshit about "privilege," start by taking responsibility for you own goddamn record.


Monday, February 01, 2016

Back in the 90s, I had a great idea for a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel, about Jabba the Hutt secretly being an amateur photographer. It probably would have been a best seller. Then again, I would have lost my product placement deal when Disney decided his camera was no longer Canon...


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Let me mansplain, honey...

Marvel has every right to go full-blown SJW if they really want to. But I would feel more hopeful for the future of the arts if they could hire a writer who can actually get their point across though well-crafted dialog - or at least someone who knows that ancient Norse gods wouldn't give two dritts about Israel.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Brotherly Love

I don't wish a ticket on anyone.
Except this human polyp parked on the sidewalk.
Fornicate him with a rusty cactus.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holly and jolly

It's all going to be okay.

We've all had our ups and downs this year, our joys and losses, loves, hates, fears, hopes, worries, and disappointments.

Just remember every day is new. Find joy when you can. You are wanted, needed, and loved. You matter. Be happy, because you deserve happiness.

Unless you ruin Star Wars before I get to see it. Then you can burn in Hell.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dem bones!

Daddy / daughter / dinosaur / planetarium / corned beef & matzoh ball soup day!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars The Force Awakens Spoiler Leak!

Apparently, The Force Awakens is really about Max Rebo. He steals Sy Snootles away from Lando Calrissian while working in one of his nightclubs, and Lando blacklists him. So Max goes to the Hutts, and Lando wakes up with the bloody head of Jar-Jar in his bed.

I would pay good money to see that.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Where did the time go?

My son turned eighteen today. Where did the time go? So much has happened in those years. I'd like to say I've grown wiser in that lifetime, that I've changed and been the best father I could to my children. I've been good and bad, smart and stupid.

He was so tiny when he was a baby, a bit of a preemie. Now he towers over me. I used to run around with him under my arm, like he was a tiny football. Or we'd fake WWF wrestle, with him always winning. Now, he could probably put me under his arm.

Good and bad things will happen to you. You will have friends who will leave their mark on your brain forever. Wish them happiness, but always wish it for yourself as well. Find something to want, something that will make your soul grow, and follow it. Learn things that will make you believe in yourself. Find people who make you want to be the best you you can be. Treat yourself with love, and never forget your own love has value. Be realistic about the present, but when it comes to the past, treasure the good. It will make your memories happier.

Remember that if you want self respect, that you have to earn it from yourself. If you want pride, you have to do things that will make you proud. Forgive the people who hurt you - but forgive yourself as well.

Life is beautiful, and I love you always.


Thursday, December 03, 2015

Agnostic Speaking: Prayer is Good, or Why the NY Daily News Can Stick It Where the Sun Don't Shine

A few days after the terrorist attack in Paris, my cute, little, sainted, Catholic, Sicilian mother called me. She was upset.  "I don't want to upset you, or pry," she began. I told her she could ask or talk to me about anything.

She told me that she and my father were worried, because my family and I live in New York City, and I'm currently doing transit work, which is a prime target for terrorism. But since I'm agnostic (simplified: I don't know if a higher power exists, though it might, but in the meantime, I'm not going to pretend that I do), she was also worried about my eternal soul. "Heaven is supposed to be paradise," she said, "but how can it be paradise for me without you?"

It doesn't matter that I'm agnostic, and that to me, the idea that an all powerful and supposedly all-loving god has nothing better to worry about than which stories people have made up about him/her/it is silly - although I am angry that anyone has convinced her she needs to be so upset about such a thing. The point is, this is still one of the most loving and touching things anyone has ever said to me.

As a child, it used to drive me up a tree when my father's response to every problem I had was to pray about it. But that's because I was a child, and I was looking for help, answers, and guidance. (Which he did give, by the way.) But what if he had phrased it a different way? Is there any real difference between "Don't sweat the small stuff" or "Don't make yourself sick about what you can't change" and "Give it up to God?" I don't believe twenty Hail Marys (a priest actually gave me that many once at confession, I'm not going to tell you why) are going to magically wipe my wrongs away... but is there any difference between them and any other meditation-centering mantra? The Our Father is bad, but chanting Ommmmm is good?

Now that I'm pretending to be an adult, I can't understand the anger that's directed these days at people who say "I'll pray for you." Maybe because I don't expect those people to fix my problems in the first place. If I tell a friend or family member that I am hurting, or have ninety-nine problems (you know the rest- and by the way, he was alluding to a drug-sniffing dog, not women), and they say "I'll pray for you," I don't think, "Well what good will THAT do? Get out there and fix anti-union problems, or my transmission, or my children's health, or get Oprah to spotlight my books!" I think, "Wow, that's really kind and loving of them to care."
OK, lets be honest. The New York Daily News's front page today is deliberate controversial spin to keep the conversation away from the religious affiliations of the San Bernardino shooters. (NO I am NOT saying all followers of that religion, or even that that religion itself is to blame, or should be spotlighted. I am saying the media is deliberately creating controversy as a distraction, especially since they spent the past week blaming a different religion for the Planned Parenthood shootings - which, for the record, was horrible and inexcusable, so don't even try it.) I'm also not going to get drawn into the gun control debate. (For the record, I believe in the second amendment, but I also believe we need sane gun control laws. Having a gun in your home to protect yourself or for sport doesn't mean you should be legally able to carry a gun into a movie theater where I've taken my kids, You also shouldn't be able to buy military-grade hardware at gun shows, and gun ownership should be federally at least as regulated as drivers' licenses. Sometimes a slippery slope is a slippery slope, and sometimes it's an excuse.)

I suppose I don't expect politicians to solve my problems either, especially if they're just candidates. Nor, considering their lives, do I consider their offering of prayers sincere. I'm sure its 75% pandering. But hey, if that other 25% is actually praying for peace, hope, and healing, then good for them. Thanks for caring.

No, I'm not saying prayer will help on its own. But it can't hurt. I've always believed that prayers are answered by people (Which is why, if you pray for healing, you should support scientific research to help doctors learn to heal, including the theory of evolution, but I digress.) We also need to answer our own prayers, sometimes. But it's hypocritical bs to pretend that prayer and action are mutually exclusive. I've volunteered with New York Cares during long stretches of unemployment, and most of the other volunteers are overtly religious. It's the same way most of the people I know who are against abortion for religious reasons donate their time and money to help the needy. One does not automatically exclude the other.

So many cans of worms, so little time... 

To sum up. Yes, action needs to happen for things to change. Yes, all politicians are full of excrement. No, scapegoating prayer and those on the (politically) right who pray to keep the conversation politically "safe" is not the answer, and up your ass with broken glass for doing so. I say my agnostic prayers for the people I care about all the time. Maybe I need to turn in my membership card and blazer badge back in to the League of Agnostics (Insert obscure reference thumbs up here, if you get it.)

Peace, love and soul, my friends.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Knows fifty ways to kill a man... with a fish

An extra in the indie film, "Good Day". "Because a man who doesn't wear a fish tie can never be a real man." ;-)


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chapter 3, In Which the Narrator Gets Pissed Off And Probably Pisses Off What Friends He Has Left In The Process

Dear you. No- not you - you. (And if you read this, and think, "Hey, I never meant THAT." - then don't worry, I'm not talking about you.)

Here is a Muppet News Flash: Being concerned that ISIS has infiltrated the Syrian refugees, especially when the past weekend has proven that it's highly likely, is not racist. It's being realistic.

It's not saying "All Muslims are terrorists."
It's not saying "The refugees are to blame for the attacks in Paris."
It's not saying "Round up all the Muslims and put them in internment camps."
It's not even saying America should refuse the refugees.

But it IS a valid concern. It is more than possible. And trying to shout down anyone who points it out as a racist is not going to change reality. If every single person who was concerned about ISIS infiltrating refugees was a card-carrying KKK member, it wouldn't change the reality of the situation.

Oh, and by the way, if you need to use false parallels to try and paint those with opposing views as bigots, then maybe your point is invalid. Just to correct a few false parallels:

Yes, Timothy McVeigh killed more people than the Paris attacks, and (gasp) was a white Christian. True, but no, Timothy McVeigh was not part of a global terrorist organization, which is the issue here. Try again.

Yes, some Americans were against Jewish refugees coming here back in World War II. Yes, those people were racist and wrong. No, there was no global Jewish extremist army at the time. No, there were no Jewish terrorists infiltrating the Holocaust survivors, and murdering random civilians within the countries that were taking them in. That's a pretty huge point to ignore, just because it doesn't fit your narrative.

Yes, Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian. Who gives a shit? Are you so elitist that you believe everyone who has concerns about ISIS infiltration doesn't know that they are individuals of varying qualities and accomplishments?
And by the way, Steve Jobs was a piece of shit, so I don't know why you're using him as an example anyway.

(I'm not going to get into how ridiculous it is to try bring Native Americans into this.)

To sum up:

"But I'm just against racism."
Good for you, so am I.

"I don't want people to think all Muslims are terrorists."
I don't either. I know some Muslims, and some are good, kind people. Some are dickheads. They're individuals.

"I feel horrible for the refugees."
So do I, it's monstrous, what they're going through.

"The refugees aren't to blame for what happened in Paris."
I 100% agree. But ISIS members who infiltrated them most likely had a hand in it. That's the concern.

"The refugees are not ISIS."
No, they're not. They're escaping from the terror that ISIS has caused. They should be helped. HOWEVER, there is a valid concern that infiltration by ISIS is extremely easy.

"I don't think hosting refugees in America would be a danger."
Well... I think there are some concerns, but if that's the way you feel, hey- good for you. Hopefully, you're right. You should feel fee to say that.

"Saying there is a chance of ISIS infiltrating the refugees makes you a bigoted, uncaring, unfeeling racist."
Fuck you.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Now is the Autumn of our... something.

It's Friday morning. The wind is blowing against the panes in the windows. I should be finishing writing a scene, but something is telling me to wait. I know it sounds like laziness, but those insights have worked for me before.

I did a cool "Mystery Room" thing in Manhattan with friends and family who lived in the city last weekend, on my birthday. Basically, it's a point-and-click "escape the room" flash game in real life, with an hour time limit. (One clue leads to another leads to another...) Good times with good people, I wish teleporters existed for the rest.

Sometimes, I wonder if I've become a cosmic resource hog.

My major accomplishment this week has been neatly destroying a large chunk of a cinder-block wall with poured cement inside. Oh, the dreams of my youth, they're all coming true...

I have dreams of crashing various vehicles, helicopters, cars, TIE fighters... this is mildly disturbing, as in previous dreams, I would careen about in race cars out of control, but never crash. Is this the crash, or is that yet to come? Let me consult some sheep entrails.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Though I'm still pissed I had to download a game I bought on disk...

Fallout 4 and a day off make Tony no productivity something something.