Monday, October 31, 2011

Month in Review: October, 2011

This is the month where everything went very, very strange.  And, that was apparently a good thing.  This is officially the month with the most page views ever. Who knew?

I started out with something that pissed me off: DC Comics turning Starfire and Catwoman, two of their stronger female protagonists, into sluts, to put it charitably.  They were so totally reduced to sex objects, I wanted to throw rocks.

So I threw angry language at them instead.

Ironically, in one month, it has become the most read post on this entire blog, beating out Disasters to Marvel at, which is a year old.

Also, I decided to get back to creative writing, creating more surveys that my characters have filled out.  You know, the older online essays that used to be sort of fun.  I had one for the German spy Manana Shushurin, and another for the Secret Service agent and nerd, Wilhelmina Goldberg, as well as the lethal weapon, Irish Interpol Agent Maureen McGrail.

I didn't have all that many music blogs this month.  I threw up some John Williams marches, and Tom Smith taking his revenge on technology and Rob Granito

A false report on gay marriage in the military made me start an irate blog .... then I wanted a better footnote, discovered that the story I based my indignation on was bogus, and I was stuck with a blog I had to rewrite, very, very fast.

I put in another blog on writing. This time it was a matter of "how to exposition like crazy" -- when you have to dump a graduate paper's worth of information into one novel.

Also, I had a little conversation on how to write for disaster.  It's mostly how to write characters who are supposed to be terrified, when you yourself have never been quite that scared -- and, making certain that your character's fear is appropriate both to the situation, and the person.

And, there was my self-defense review for the month -- with my  my self defense columns for October. It had to do a lot with Occupy Wall Street, self defense for women, and self defense against the zombie apocalypse .... I'm serious about the zombie apocalypse part.

Catholic conspiracies 3.  This was almost a replacement for It was inspired after I saw a lot of idiots try to pin Occupy Wall Street on "crypto-Jewish Jesuit fascists founded by the Illuminati."

I want my Vatican ninjas.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Self defense review: Zombies, Women's self defense, Barbara Sheehan

This has been a really weird month for me, truly. And how is that difference from any other month, you ask?

 To start with, most of my self defense review materials turned out to be comedies.

Taking this month in chronological order will probably make the most sense.

To start with, I discovered a new Women's self defense, every Manhattan.  It's Krav Maga for women -- which is actually more advanced than going for straight, plain-old Krav Maga, believe it or not. It has to be for some of the techniques to be effective.

And then, of course, there was the little incident of Barbara Sheehan, battered women: which is always a problem.  In New York, you can't kill anyone and get away with it. That includes if you kill someone in self defense. Even if a jury let's you go, the New York District Attorney's office will find some way to throw you in jail, without remorse.

But, then again, the odds of that happening are more likely when you consider that Barbara Sheehan shot her husband with his own gun while he was shaving, after she just came back from her next door neighbors. Click the link to read more.

After that, things got a little weird. Yesterday, I covered the latest in Catholic Conspiracies, with Occupy Wall Street.  I also did several articles about them kicking around.  I not only did articles about protection from them, and how dangerous they may or may not be (answer: mostly harmless) but how they can protect themselves -- both from each other (ie: how NOT to have your $5K laptop stolen), and their own stupidity (eg: DON'T ATTACK THE POLICE!!!!!).

I also discovered that the same people who brought you last month's self defense seminar has a new one: knife and stick defenses.

And last, but not least .....

Okay, I have to deal with a lot of strange stuff in New York. That's because it's New York.  Nothing here is really "normal" here.

And then there's the CDC creating the Zombie Preparedness kit ... and the comic book for it.

I can't make this stuff up.

See you all  next week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Catholic Conspiracies 3: Jesuits, OWS, and the Vandals Are Here.

Once upon a time, very long ago, I discussed how the Catholic Church seems to be the favorite of multi-generational bands of abject nutcases.  I then expanded the topic, discussing how many fruit loops were involved, and that was titled The Revenge of the Vatican Ninjas.

In this case, we're going to add a bit of local politics.  And by local, I mean New York.

Has anyone heard of Occupy Wall Street?

If you haven't, that's okay, they're rather annoying -- essentially a fun bunch of anarchists hanging out in Zuccotti park who were told that 1968 was a really fun time, that bathing is bad for you, and it's quite okay to defecate wherever you deem fit.  It's not so much a political movement as an unruly mob. They're mad as hell, they're not going to take it anymore, and they are rebels without a clue -- when someone says they hate Wall Street, and the bailouts of Wall Street, yet they don't protest anyone who was bailed out, this spells stupid to me.

They've attacked police officers, and they want the redistribution of wealth, but they whine when their stuff is stolen.  At the end of the day, while they may appear threatening, they are mostly harmless.  And if you read any of the links, you'll notice that I spend most of my time making fun of them.  Just don't tell my editors, they may think I'm having too much fun.

So, what does this have to do with Catholic conspiracies?

Well, recently, I did a search on twitter for "Jesuits."

Big, big mistake. 

Apparently, now, the Jesuits are a crypto-Jews / Nazi / Zionist organization, bent on establishing the New World Order via Occupy Wall Street .... And, of course, founded by the Illuminati. 

As my friend Jason says,
"It's the internet. I'm not surprised about anything I find on it anymore. I think it was created by Cthullu, not Al Gore. It's a bottomless pit that WILL stare back at you if you look at it too hard. In the dark. On a cold winter night. With eerie music playing in the background (Cthullu has a MP3 player)."
I have to ask, now -- what are you people smoking?  Or is it that the internet goes to the loudest spammers, who happen to be nutjobs with unlimited time on their hands.

Either way, it's always good to see that nothing ever changes.

The amusing part of the Occupy Wall Street movement as "crypto-Jewish Jesuit conspiracy" is twofold, really.  One, they've got an emerging anti-Semitic group in there, with makes the whole "evil Jewish Conspiracy" part kinda stupid .... er.  

On the other hand, their fellow occupiers have issues with breaking other people's toys.

How so?

I'll give you one guess.

Their international branch at "Occupy Rome," in addition to firebombing cars, has taken upon itself to smash up religious icons.

All I can think is: if this happened to a synagogue, would the Mossad have already killed everyone in this photo by now?

But, no, it's just the Catholics.  So, who cares?

Ann Margaret Lewis, posted this to her facebook page and asked "Why?"

And isn't it obvious?  Because Catholics are "evil, baby-raping priests," and most of these people are too busy worshiping their iPads . And they like to talk about how they should "eat the Rich"-- and the Catholics are wonderfully rich and powerful, aren't they? They have so many shiny things, after all.... And, somehow, the sarcasm isn't burning a hole in my keyboard.

And, sure enough, someone said just that, responding with two recent stories.**   And by recent, I mean they happened the week before.  The words are "innocent until proven guilty ... unless he's Catholic," aren't they? But, it's nice to see anyone can justify a hate crime is the target is "right."

But, thus far, Occupy Wall Street has endorsements from the Nazi party of America, the Communist party, and David Duke.

Between this and the above "evil Jesuit plot," it seems that a faceless, aimless rabble makes for a great Rorschach test for ideologists of any stripe.  "Oh look, there's a group of angry protesters, they must hate who I hate," or "they embody everything I despise."

Vatican Ninja Chibi.
"Grr. Arrgh"
While it is quite entertaining to watch a group of people go slowly insane, it's time these guys ought to come up with a coherent message. Hell, the Tea Party's wants could be summed up as "We hate big government, we want fewer taxes, less spending and no Obamacare."

With the OWS, we have the Nazis, the Klan, the Communists, "we hate Jews / big business / brand names / we're wearing brand names/ we hate bailouts but won't protest those who got bailouts ...."  

Oh, yeah, and they're an evil Jesuit conspiracy.....

Can I have my Vatican Ninjas now?

**The footnotes are below the break.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Don't Panic: a writer's guide to disaster

I should start by mentioning that this is going to be less about writing disasters, and more about a character reacting to them.
My characters have all sorts of problems.

In my books, I've had people confronted with Being beaten to deathDestruction of public propertyheartbreaka small war, as well as vampires and the end of the world.

In most cases, this is easy for writers to put down. Fear is easy, everyone has experienced it in one way or another.

In my case, not so much.

There are two moments in my life that highlight the reasons my characters react the way they do.

One New Year's eve, I was over at a friend's house.  My sister decided to be helpful in the kitchen, and went to work cutting vegetables with a mandolin slicer.

Somehow, my sister managed to cut off the pad of her little finger.

The husband of the house couldn't look at the sight of blood. The wife felt immediately ill. My sister felt faint from blood loss almost instantly.

I rolled my eyes, sighed, made sure that the severed part clicked into place with the rest of the meat puzzle of my sister's finger, wrapped it, and drove her to the nearest ER.  We were seen immediately, since it was only 6pm on New Year's eve.  Midnight would have been a different kettle of fish, I'm sure.

I didn't freak out before, during, of after the incident. I was mostly annoyed that the evening might be shot to hell.  I went out into the parking lot with my cell phone and started calling people to wish them all a happy new year.  It took about 90 minutes for my sister's nine stitches to put her back together again. And a fun time was had by all.

And this isn't gloating. This isn't "I kept my head while others lost theirs!" moment. This was a moment of irritation, annoyance, and "Damnit, I have to play ambulance driver? Really?"

Now, you could say this happened to someone else. so why should I worry.

Then there was the time I was accused of being a terrorist....
[more below the break]

Monday, October 17, 2011

DADT, Gay Marriage: Who cares?

Last week wasn't very good as far as blog posts went. And I'm sorry for that. This week, I've got three posts already written.  This one is considered "timely," as my editors like to say.

A while ago, I wrote an article about gay marriage in New York.  It was entitled: Gay Marriage, so what?  I suspect you can guess what my general conclusions were.

I collect all sorts of weird articles, and magazines.  On the one hand, I could read Guns and Ammo, then the Spring catalog for a major publisher, then Time Magazine (until they went anti-Semite), the list goes on.

One such magazine is Salute, the magazine of the archdiocese for the military services, USA.

Yes, the military has their own archdiocese -- their Cardinal is the Cardinal of New York City.

In their Summer, 2011 issue, there was a statement from Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, the Archbishop for USA military services. (An Archbishop is more hands on.)

His statement was two pages long, and here's an excerpt ...
"The church is unwavering in her commitment to the pastoral care of all persons in need, regardless of sexual inclination or anything else.  All people in need are served by Catholc Chaplains with zeal and passion for bringing the reality of the Risen Lord to all.  Whether Don't ask don't tell persists or not is immaterial to that bedrock principle.  The faithful .... must never forget that those with a homosexual inclination must be treated with the respect worthy of their human dignity."  [Typed by hand, any typos are mine]

In short: that's nice, we don't care if they're outed, it doesn't matter to us.

The message then cited Federal law (1 USC subection 7)... which I believe is commonly known as the defense of marriage act (DOMA).

So, "yes, you have DADT repealed. Who cares? We don't like it, but we're not going to marry gays, and you're not going to make us. We can continue, business as usual."  Everyone can move on.

Which is pretty much what I said the first time about gay marriage.

It's so nice when the Catholic Church listens to me.
[More below the break]

Monday, October 10, 2011

Music blog: Tom Smith; Cheap Cyborg, Fake it better, Granito.

It's the columbus day weekend.  Most people don't show up on the blog on long weekends.

However, for those of you who have shown up, some music....

First, ever wonder what would happen in the future? Ever consider that technology would enable you to have laser beams and stuff?  Well, the future is here ... what happened?

One Mr. Rob Granito is a liar, a thief, and an art forger -- only what he does is steal other people's comic book artwork and claim it as his own.

This song is rated R for language -- the only language strong enough to adequately describe the little punk.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Music Blog: John Williams marches

I figured that this was going to be one of two items today: another character filling in another survey, or a music blog.

You're in luck: music.

First: the march of the Wedding Party at one of my friend's wedding last year .....

The theme to Superman....

Mainly because his wife forbade Star Wars. Otherwise, it would have been the Imperial March

And, speaking of Star Wars ...

The Imperial March.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sex, DC Comics, and ... wtf?

Long term readers know my opinion on sex in writing.  I'd say my opinion on sex in general is very Catholic, but since no one understand that, I'm not even going to bother.

However, I can sum up my thoughts on sex in fiction very easily: who needs it?

We all know the mechanics. What possible reason is there for a blow by blow description? Pardon the pun, but you know what I mean.

Since my first article on sex, I've written a few sex scenes .... by few I mean two, and they were in the same book.  However, the "sex scene" was in someone's dream, and the protagonist was having a conversation with his dead wife through most of it. The sex was incidental, and mostly has to do with the fact that she was killed on their honeymoon.  The second sex scene was so vague, any less detail would be as clear as a Salvatore Dali painting, only with words.

Yes, I brought in Dali to an article on sex. I'm weird. However, there is a point.

Even during these scenes, there's no blow by blow description. (I'm going to stop apologizing for that phrase, just roll with it.).  It's not necessary, unless someone's writing porn.  Even something as intimate as noticing a tattoo on someone during sex doesn't necessitate that much detail -- the audience does not need to know what specific act the individual was doing when s/he noticed the tattoo.  It's sex. Nudity happens.  Next chapter.

So, what prompted today's rant?

DC Comics seems to be going back to the 1990s, where the artistic style was summarized by my friend Jason as "Big boobs, big guns."

The current version seems to focus on women and sexuality, with an overemphasis on the sex.

I've no problem with sexuality, or with women -- look at my model for Manana Shushurin if you don't believe me --  it's that it's bad writing.

Starfire in costume
Take, for example, the character of Starfire.  She's an alien with red hair, green eyes (and I don't mean with two green irises, I mean the entire eye is green), orange skin, with measurements somewhere in the 36 DD battery range.

Normally, I would stop reading at green-eyed redhead (I grew up with a crush on the female lead in Riverdance, leave me alone).  The character has always been sexually relaxed, it was mostly a cultural thing.  And, for the most part, it was used properly -- as comedy.  For example, in the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths, Starfire walks in with Nightwing, meets an old friend, and introduces him as "This is Nightwing, my lover."

Nightwing's reaction is such that you suspect he's glad that he has to go and face the end of the world.

And that was it.  One panel. Move on.

[More below the break]