Friday, September 30, 2011

9/30/11 - Bangles, White Suits, Homemade Wine and Haunted Houses

"It's just another manic Monday..."Image by Joriel "Joz" Jimenez via FlickrIs it even legal for the local bland radio station to be playing Manic Monday on a Friday Morning? That just doesn't seem right.

Not that I listen to the radio anymore. And let's not go giving all of the credit to Steve Jobs, either. I abandoned the radio music format years before I even thought of owning an iPod. The constant repeating of the same group of station-designated popular favorites inspired my non-broadcast revolution, compounded by my early commuting years. Granted, relegating myself to cassette tapes and compact discs still left me with a finite amount of repeating songs, but at least they were the songs that I chose to be subjected to for hours on end.

I didn't abandon radio, though. I simply flipped to the AM side. Influenced by the background noise of choice for the local comic book store I would hang out at (Metropolis Comics) during my Bloomfield High School days, I quickly became addicted to conservative, right-wing radio. Ironically, as I grew older and started to actually disagree with the angry white men crowding the talk radio airwaves, I found myself listening even more. Not only was there variety, but listening to opposing viewpoints was always a pleasurable gateway to open thought.

I guess that's where I differ from most people when it comes to radio listening habits. It is possibly also the reason why I can't have anything playing in the background while I am writing, unlike other authors who feel more productive with music or television filling the dead air in their work space. My brain doesn't convert those unrelated sounds into a soothing white noise - instead, it desperately scans it for something to latch onto, anything that it can use to create a new train of thought. Which is seldom a good thing, especially when my coworkers insist on having radios playing softly in the background throughout the entire workday.

Oh good, another Billy Joel song. That should help the day go back quickly.


Last night's dream started out like a typical "I'm late for school and unprepared for class" mild nightmare, then somehow became a hostage situation that quickly degenerated into a Mexican standoff when the arrival of an old journal (delivered with the chunk of land, palm tree and decimated corpse with which it was found) that challenged the main bad guy's memory of his father's bravery in battle (turns out he died from a cold while eating soup, or something to that effect) and drives him into a homicidal rage. There was a touching moment in which one hostage proposed to another while rapping, so it wasn't all bad. Almost everybody was dressed in white suits, though, so that was weird.

Verdict: too much homemade Pinot Noir before bed.


Dream House opens this weekend. Great! I was so hoping that Hollywood would break ranks from the normal expectations of formulaic Halloween cinematic traditions and release a Haunted House film this October. It's also nice to see that they have chosen to buck the trend of previous horror films by incorporating creepy little girls into the movie.

Two creepy girls? That is so awesome. I don't even think I've ever seen that kind of imagery in a haunted house horror film before. Even the wallpaper seems completely original.

Talk about a breath of fresh air.


In his review of The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, Gore Vidal said "What other culture could have produced someone like Hemingway and not seen the joke?"


No politics today. Not in the mood.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

9/29/11 - Lee Camp Commute, Republican Authors, Pepper Spray, Bad Movie Day, and Reading in Bed

Political Activist Podcasts don't seem to be making my morning commute any easier. Listening to Lee Camp rage against the corporate power structure is entertaining and intellectually stimulating, but it isn't really the proper buildup to a day of invoicing behind a desk for a company that failed to see the irony in making Labor Day an unpaid holiday.


I know a number of fellow writers who are very vocal Republicans. Often, I find myself wondering how these intelligent and talented men, whom I hold in such high esteem, can be so smart and observant, yet hold such insane, illogical political viewpoints. My hope is that they feel the same way about me.


It is painfully obvious that the recent bouts of police brutality, including the random spraying of pepper spray into crowds by a senior NYPD officer, are nothing more than desperate attempts at sparking an outburst of reactionary violence in order to give authorities a reason to clear out the maddeningly peaceful Occupy Wall Street protesters. A virtual media blackout during an entire week of protesting (in a climate where a dozen Tea Party members in funny hats guarantees BREAKING NEWS coverage across the board) has done little to dissuade the them, and the crowds are too small and well-documented (despite attempts by police to arrest protesters carrying high-end camera equipment) to integrate masked pseudo-protesters to break some storefront windows and manufacture a false riot.

The real irony here is that it was the rash of violent incidents instigated by police that finally garnered coverage by the mainstream media through the "If it Bleeds, it Leads" loophole. It's nice to know that the truth eventually gets out, even if it is through miscalculated efforts to suppress it.


Superman IV: The Quest for PeaceImage via Wikipedia
Recording an episode of Moviesucktastic tonight with my stunningly handsome and barrel-chested co-host, Joseph Guida. The main subject of this week's episode will be the upcoming Bad Movie Day, and his recent challenge to me of Supergirl, the taste of which still lingers bitterly in the back of my throat. Joining us will be our special guest Don Everitt Smith Jr., who will be sharing his comic book expertise with us in between bouts of plugging his latest book, The Goffle Road Murders of Passaic County.

I'm looking forward to spending a couple of solid hours discussing the film nominations for Bad Movie Day (Van Helsing, The Room, C.H.U.D., Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, and Garbage Pail Kids: The Movie), reminiscing about Matt "Max Headroom" Frewer's role in Supergirl as the A&W Root Beer loving truck driver rapist, and resisting the urge not to talk politics with Don.


My desire to read more is in constant conflict with my cluttered schedule and my body's unhealthy obsession with sleep. I decided to finally get around to cracking open The Soul's Code by James Hillman, and I managed a full two paragraphs in bed before blacking out completely.

I actually have a habit of falling asleep while reading, waking up a few minutes later, the determinedly restarting the paragraph I passed out during. I've actually gone weeks reading the same page over and over. Common sense loses out to stubborn determination in these situations, and I will usually continue my somnambulistic repeat reading of the same paragraph until I'm awoken by the thud of the book hitting the floor. Thank god I'm not a smoker, eh?

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

9/28/11 - Class Warfare, Facebook Evolution, Slumming Actors, and Canceled Prime Time Nightmares

Screen shot from the extended (12 minute) Colu...Image via WikipediaI've been watching the failed NBC Lost/Prisoner ripoff hybrid Persons Unknown on and off over the past week, and it finally seems to be catching up with me. Spent most of last night dreaming about some bizarre scenario in which I was trapped in a bizarre abandoned city with a group of people who kept disappearing and showing up later drugged and paralyzed.


I know things are getting bad when I actually find myself siding with the people whining about Facebook changes. Did the most popular waste of time in the world REALLY need a complete makeover? Imagine the hours of office productivity on a national level alone being lost to massive Friend Poke retraining. This is the biggest drain on the economy since the massive Myspace migration of '05.


Caught a few minutes of Morning Joe, never a good way to start the day. Scarborough holding up the latest news on soaring healthcare and lamenting on the blow to "small businesses." Never mind the millions of people now even further away from anything even remotely resembling affordable healthcare, what about the poor business owner saddled with insuring these deadbeat workers who keep demanding outrageous things like living wages and reasonable compensation for aiding their employers in increasing profit margins?

The big joke is that business owners already know how to handle the rising health insurance costs - they just do the same thing my last two employers did, stop offering healthcare to employees. See? Problem solved. What are they going to do, quit and get a job that offers health benefits? Good luck trying to find a job in this economy. No, the employees will take nothing and like it.

Bonus annoyance points to Scarborough to trying to lay the rising healthcare costs at Obama's feet for daring to try and overhaul a corrupt system hellbent on profiting at the cost of human lives. Health care costs have doubled in the past decade, while the average worker income has risen slower than the cost of food and fuel, and the wealth disparity between the rich and the poor in this country now rivals many third world dictatorships.


The hardest part of sitting through the two hour version of Supergirl is watching Peter O'Toole act his heart out, despite being trapped in a supporting role for such a crappy movie. You can almost imagine him interrupting every third take with "You do realize I was in Lawrence of Arabia, right?" It is painful to watch him emoting just as much as he did in Beckett or The Ruling Class while Helen Slater wanders around him trying to figure out what to do.


Speaking of wealth disparity, there's been a lot of complaining from certain circles about Obama's assertion that America's wealthiest citizens should be paying higher taxes. Suddenly there were cries of class warfare from the politicians that spend most of their time defending the rich and powerful, complaining that Obama and those devious Lefties keep demonizing the rich, implying that they don't deserve their vast wealth and are somehow lesser people because they have more.While I would argue that they are lesser people not because they have more, but because they are increasingly unwilling to use the stockpiled wealth they will never spend to help those in need (Gerry Spence explains his issues with this mentality by using the example of people stockpiling cans of beans during a famine), this isn't me complaint.

I take issue with the Republican politicians and talking heads who complain about their rich and uber-wealthy brethren being demonized, while at the same time they go out and claim that those forced to turn to the government for help due to the rise in unemployment and poverty levels are lesser people undeserving of charity. They have come out and accused the unemployment "safety net" of becoming a "safety hammock," have implied that old people on medicare are greedy moochers expecting others to take care of them, and observed that people on unemployment are simply to lazy to look for real work, and should just work sixty or seventy hour work weeks at multiple minimum-wage part-time jobs instead of holding out for a job that pays what they are worth, or at least what they need to survive.

These politicians "of the people" have even gone so far as to make up their own facts to support these claims, stating that 90% of welfare recipients are drug users, or that more than half of job applicants are being turned away from companies for failing drug tests. Both claims were proven to be overwhelmingly false, but the reality was only met with claims of receiving faulty data, and not apologies for pulling facts out of their asses to affirm their own self-aggrandizing world view.

My point? If the mouthpieces of the rich and powerful feel free calling poor people lazy, greedy drug addicts with no potential or real purpose in society, then I see no problem with calling the richest among us greedy, manipulative leeches that amass their exorbitant wealth by exploiting the lower classes and bleeding the very soul of America's working class, and won't be content until they have managed to pry the last of the gold fillings from this nation's rotting skull.

But that's me. I'm an optimist.

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