Friday, July 29, 2011

Week-In-Review 7-29-11

Oh Hell, this has been a crappy week. You'll notice in the paucity of articles that have been posted.  However, I've been doing some research, and I've got a good start on articles for the week to come.

Okay ... to start with, I did two Examiner.com articles this week.

One was on the trials of Dominique Simone-Khan, the Frenchman from the IMF, and Rape. It is a subject I am very touchy about.
Levi Aron, Leiby Kletzky, and "stranger danger".  It's a local event. If you don't know about it, you'll soon know ... well, enough.

Anyway ...

My first blog of the week was another list, the Writers blogs of A Pius Man ... thus far.
I did a little article on the terrorist attacks in Oslo, Norway.  An article that already has a follow-up.
And, the Worlds of Jim Butcher.... in which I explain some of the genius that is the creator of Harry Dresden.


Enjoy

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Books to Enjoy: The World of Jim Butcher.

Jim Butcher wrote the books which loosely inspired the short lived sci-fi channel series "The Dresden Files" ... let's just say that he was so thrilled with the way the tv series turned out, when the SciFi channel became the Syfy channel, he referred to it as "the syphylus channel."

And, when asked at the DragonCon Panel about when the rights revert back to him, he rattled off a number down to the days and the hours left.

Not that he's bitter or anything ... though he might have a countdown app.

The premise of the Dresden File novels: think of one parts Philip Marlow and one part Gandalf on meth; Wizard as Private Eye.
Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1)


The series starts with a serial killer in Chicago who kills people by magic ... and lightning.


So, of course, the title has to be Storm Front.

To be honest, I wasn't very thrilled.  It was fun, that was certain, but it seemed a little ... lacking.  It may have just been me.  However, I got a 3-in-1 volume, so I figured I would give it until the end of the volume and see exactly where Butcher thought he was going with the entire series.

It turns out that I chose wisely.

Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, Book 2)The next book in the series is Fool Moon.

If book one was the evil, magic-using serial killer that uses the lightning as a weapon, the sequel must have werewolves, right? Logical progression.

Anyway, this one was definitely more interesting, with a suspect pool that relies on knowing several varieties of werewolf, and ends with a three-way shootout.

And Butcher does a nice job of recreating parts of the Terminator in a police station, only with a werewolf.

Ghost Story (Dresden Files, No. 13)Now, if book two has werewolves, book three must have vampires ... okay, that is a logical progression.  This one develops an interesting little world war with vampires.  Over the books to come, Butcher slowly builds every single aspect of his little world, and he develops a good, solid story arc that fits together surprisingly well.  The character of Harry Dresden has developed from a magical Jim Rockford who gets beat up a lot, to a strong leader who can unify various and sundry hostile groups against a common enemy .... and Dresden still gets beaten up a lot.


Apparently, Dresden is building up to an “apocalyptic trilogy” for a finale that will probably involve wizards, vampires, the fae, skinwalkers, werewolves, demons, advanced assault weapons, aikido, and Excalibur-level swords.

And his most recent novel is called Ghost Story, out now.

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Book 1)Jim Butcher's second series is The Codex Alera—fantasy, Lord of the Rings style. The hero is the only person in the world who can't use magic, but he can use his mind to do more damage than any spellbook. It starts with political intrigue and espionage, and turns into a sweeping epic against, well, your standard end-of-the-world types. It's the second time I have seen a novel use magic as a well thought out tactical weapon. There is no “massive fireball inflicts +100 damage, kills everyone” versions of magic.

It's some nice, solid tactics and strategy, and good character too.  If you don't believe me, ask my friend Jason.

Who, by the way, will not shut up about Ghost Story.  :)

Anyway, that's all for the day.  Enjoy

Monday, July 25, 2011

Oslo ... Nazis, I hate these guys.

I'm sure that many of you thought the same thing that I did when I heard that someone bombed Oslo, and shot up a retreat in a little island off the coast of Norway.

Who would want to blow up Norway?

Okay, so maybe we all didn't have the same reaction.  My first thought was to write a column for Examiner.com.

Also, it was to analyse the whole situation. Seriously, who would want to blow up Norway? It had all the hallways of an Al-Qaeda operation: coordinated strikes, but still missing the target.

But, still, why Norway?  If AQ, then it would be because .... well, it was there ... or because Norway supported a Danish cartoonist several years ago during European-wide rioting.  But even those felt sort of weak.

All in all, it was just weird.

So, of course, the perp turns out to be ... a blonde-haired, blue-eyed fascist.

Do you remember when I mentioned the Europe has problems?  I said that Europe seems to have two settings, cower in a corner, or go fascist. Their idea of a Left and a Right are not America's.  Their Left is Socialist. Their Right is Fascist.  They don't really have a middle.  Well, not much of one.

Consider politics as non-linear.  Politics is not a straight line.  In France, they have their parliament set up in a horseshoe-like arrangement, for each of their two hundred political parties. Because it is a curved horseshoe, the extreme right and the extreme left are very, very close to each other.  The end result of the fascist and the socialist systems of the 1930s and the 1940s are the same -- they killed more of their own people than they ever did of the enemy.

Unfortunately, I'm waiting, just waiting, for some utter and complete idiot to say that this fascist schmuck is the symbol of everything wrong with the right, therefore it must be destroyed. All of them.  Which is in itself its own kind of fascism.

I should probably rewrite that -- since there are people on the internet who are already doing just that. However, they don't count, because the Internet seems to be a gathering place for the loudest and the most ignorant. And the person who screams the loudest is the one who gets all of the attention.

So, a rewrite: I'm waiting, just waiting, for some utter and complete important idiot to say that the right must be destroyed.

However, right now, I'm going to make a bet. Someone is going to read the above, and they will dub me a right-wing extremist of some sort or another. No matter how many times I've noted my hatred for politics, politicians, and that my own politics depends on where the jury is sitting.

But, being a cynical SOB, right now, I want to see how the investigation goes. Because, as I noted above, this had all the earmarks of an AQ attack ... and there was talk some time ago about AQ having links to the Oklahoma City bombing.

I could just be paranoid, but I'll be interested to see where the trail ends. 

The Writers Blogs of A Pius Man ... so far.

Over the past year or so that the blog has been up, I've put together a lot of thoughts on writing in general.  This is, more or less, the summary of that work.

To start with, there was how the book came to be.  Including the inspiration, the writing, how to sell a bloody book, as well as the fact that there's a love story in there.

There's another blog on the Mind of the Maker .... better known as "characters are a bastard to control."

There is also, the dreaded question: "Oh, where do you get your ideas from?"  This is the answer.

And, I did a two part essay ... one on sex, the other on violence.

I also had one or two issues on other people's writing ... namely Marvel Comics, and their former Editor-in-Chief, Joe Quesada

And, I had one nice little discussion on blowing up public places. ... In novels, of course.

There's one on writing philosophy in a novel, and one on Conspiracy theories around Catholics.

Then I took a hammer on writing cliche's that just flat out annoy me.

And then there's how to be a cynical romantic. 

Be well all

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Week-In-Review 7-23-11

Well, this week has been interesting.

Monday
The week started with Killing Captain America ... again! Those bastards.  Let's just say that I expect a movie tie-in is at work.

The music blog was all about flying cars and Babylon 5.  You'll see.

I also did a nice little article over at Examiner.com about martial arts and childhood obesity.  I'm told it's quite good.

Tuesday


This was the day I learned the good Muslims can't be good Americans ... well, if you believe one army private. I don't, but what can you do?

It also came the same day that Hollywood once again has proven to me that if I ever do a film on A Pius Man, I'm going to take the money and run very, very far.


And music blog for the day was Harry Potter, Pirates, and Mass Effect. Long story.


Wednesday

The music of the day was taken from the soundtrack of Mass Effect.  Enjoy  It's really rather neat.


Thursday

The day that, once again, all my irritation of politics is justified, as someone at Salon.com tries to examine the Politics of Captain America.

A note o n this one: The author of the article tripped over my blog post, and insists that the whole "fiscal policy of Captain America was all tongue-in-cheek."  Read it yourself. See what you think.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Politics of ... Captain America?

I don't think words can really convey how much I hate politics.  Even though I've done at least two blogs on the topic, around the Ground Zero Mosque, and the politics of my novel, and I would like politicians to just shut up already.

But now, someone had to go putting their politics into my comic book movies.

Before I continue, this is nothing new. Every time a superhero movie comes out, it must be metaphor for modern politics. The Dark Knight was seen by some idiots at the NYTimes as a commentary on the War on Terror.  Which is odd, I thought it was merely "the Joker is evil, and if we're going to catch the bugger, we're going to have to break a few laws to do it."

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition)The Times were also instrumental in discussing the Lord of the Rings as metaphor as well, with the theatrical release of Return of the King's absence of Saruman being likened unto a missing Osama.  Instead, everyone who saw the Return of the King, special edition knows that Saruman was deleted from the film because of time issues.

Spoiler alert:

Saruman the White is dead.

So is Grima Wormtongue.

So is Osama bin Laden.

The end.

Now, somebody at Salon  has decided to make Captain America into something ... else.

After the July 22 release of the summer blockbuster "Captain America: the First Avenger," we'll probably see even more Captain Americas waving placards at protests for all parts of the political spectrum. The Red, White and Blue Avenger is and always has been a potent political image, but whose side would Captain America be on? Would he be a New Deal Democrat slinging his mighty shield for new public works programs or would he be rallying with the Tea Party to lower taxes on billionaires and gut Medicare? Whose Captain America is he anyway?

I can't make this up.

Captain America with an economic policy? Really? Doesn't he have enough problems with facing the forces of darkness every other day?  "Captain America, what's your stance on -- oops, this just in, Hydra's trying to take over the world again ... and Captain America just ran away from our reporters' questions!  How dare he!!!"

Anyway, the quote above is taken, as noted, from Salon.com. Someone sent me a National Review Online newsletter, with an interesting, non-political stance.

 Must he have a position on entitlement reform? Can't he spend most of his waking hours fighting the Red Skull, Crossbones, Hydra, and Avengers' management issues? (Picture him working out the schedule: "Can't leave Iron Man and Thor working the Friday night shift together; they'll take a Quinjet on a beer run and before the night is over, some building will get leveled, some villain will be pummeled and filing an excessive force suit, and some innocent bystander will touch some mystic artifact or advanced nanotechnology and 'have an origin.'" )
I may just be easily amused, but I find it funny that the National Review writers are nerds.

I'm a little embarrassed that someone has to write this down. And the sad thing is, the Salon writer seemed to be in deadly earnest. Argh.

But, seriously, someone has got to go on their meds.  Now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Music Blog: Video Game Music Mass Effect.

Mass EffectI decided to take a little break from Tom Smith's amusing filk songs, and figured I'd go for some nice, quick action music clips from the video game Mass Effect.

So, sit back, relax, and if you're at work, get the headphones. It's going to be fun.







Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Music blog: Tom Smith Does Harry Potter, Mass Effect 2

Apparently, JK Rowling made the birthday for one of her characters the same day as "Talk like a pirate day."

Guess which one it is.






And, as you've probably noticed, I have a great respect for Video Games lately, especially with voice acting, and particularly music. 

So, Mass Effect 2 makes it on today.

Jack Reacher, Lee Child, and Why I hate Hollywood.

A while ago, I mentioned how I thought that Hollywood was improving in the adaptations of novels to films.

I'm certain I've mentioned author Lee Child a few times on the blog.  His main hero is Jack Reacher, a former Military Policeman who specialized in arresting special forces operators who committed crimes, also a homicide detective.  And, considering that this is the army, Jack Reacher is built like  amiddle-weight wrestler ... if a middle weight could be 6'5" and 280.

Now retired from the army, after a live of rules, regulations, and fitting into a rigorous bureaucracy, Reacher has become a drifter. He lives off of his army pension and his savings, hitching rides, taking buses, wandering through middle America, with the occasional trip to New York. He's done the math, and figures that buying cheap and disposable clothes and living on the road is cheaper than living in a house with a washing machine, et al.

And Reacher thinks.  Good God, does he think. A fight scene that takes about ten seconds requires two pages to describe, because he thinks out every, last, move. His deductive abilities rely on heavy analysis, and quiet, thoughtful diligence.  If he were less conspicuous, he would be the quiet man in the corner who solves the crime by quietly moving around in the background, just listening.

One Shot: A Reacher Novel (Jack Reacher)Now, Hollywood is considering looking at making a Jack Reacher novel, One Shot, into a movie. Even though it's book number nine in the series. Probably because they have a Gulf War sniper veteran accused of being a killer.  Right now, I'll be happy if they keep the ending to the book, as opposed to going for the Hollywood's popular "crazy veteran" plot device.

So, who would you cast for the massive, silent, thinking man's detective?

I like Adam Baldwin .... he's tall, built like a brick wall, and has played military men for practically his entire career.  I can see Adam Baldwin playing a man who has put in his twenty years, and who just wants to be left alone.  I've seen him do more with a glare than some people who speak only in rants. He's not 6'5", but he'll do.

And Adam Baldwin is a thinker. At least in real life. He maintains his own political blog, and every argument is well reasoned, and thoroughly thought out.

So, he'll do.

And, Hollywood being Hollywood, they took Jack Reacher, and they cast ....

Wait for it ....

Muslims Can't Be Good Americans ..... Huh?

A long while ago, I discussed one Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter. He was, at the very least, one of the candidates most likely to be kicked out of the US Army, having given a June 2007 PowerPoint presentation that discussed “adverse events” that would occur if the Army did not accept the precepts of Islamic Shariah law and grant Muslims serving in the Army conscientious objector status.

I'm sure Maj. Hasan would be quite, quite happy to learn that the US Army has now taken his advise.

Enter Pfc. Naser Abdo, 21, a member of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. He refused to deploy to Afghanistan, claiming that Sharia law prevented him from killing other Muslims.....

Ahem ....

Let's start with the fact that Sharia is the sort of thing used in Sudan to justify hacking off limbs for theft, stoning for adultery, and crucifying members of other religions.  This is the sort of thing that makes you arch an eyebrow and wonder "What the....?"  

All in all, this is a generally Bad Idea.

 Not to mention that it is pure and utter garbage.[More below the break]

Monday, July 18, 2011

Music Blog: I want my flying car & Babylon 5


I think the title says it all on this one.




The main theme for the tv show Babylon 5 ... all five of them.  Believe it or not, I think it's the only tv show that deliberately changed its theme for every year it was on.

Oh no, they killed Captain America (again) ... those bastards!

It's almost time for the Captain America movie.

Yes, I'm sure that's obvious for almost anyone with access to a television, or who has noted the movie posters plastered all over the place. For me, it's obvious for a different reason.

Marvel has started the movie tie-in.

As I noted many moons ago, Marvel liked doing special events so that they could pimp their films through the comic books. I'm not sure if anyone went to see Spider-Man 3 because the comic book Peter Parker was "Back in Black," but, mysteriously, that six-month story arc happened to overlap the three month period that the movie was in theaters. Funny that ....

And I don't know about you, but I will be quite happy to see Captain America: The First Avenger even though the main character, Steve Rodgers, was not Captain America in the comic books at the time.  The film looks fairly awesome.

Don't believe me, take a look.


However, true to form, Marvel took a good idea and smashed it against a rock.


When Joe Quesada, former Editor-in-Chief of Marvel, was "promoted" to creative consultant, I practically sang Hosannas.  No more Civil War / Siege / other massive events that do and change nothing.

My only worry was that, well, comic book companies tend to approve story lines months in advance.

In cases like a massive, mega event, they do it over the course of an entire year (except for Civil War, when they discovered that "darn, we don't have an ending. Hey, Ed Brubaker, we're going to take your idea for Captain America and stick it into Civil War, okay?")

Ironically, it was the aftermath of the Civil War decision that led up to the recent Marvel "event."

Captain America Omnibus, Vol. 1When Captain America Steve Rodgers "died" at the end of Civil War (long story), the shield of Captain America was taken up by his former sidekick, Bucky Barnes. Buckey had been kidnapped by the Soviet Union, brainwashed, and kept on ice ... when he wasn't being used as an assassin.  After a few issues of deprogramming, and making Bucky look like a sane human being, Steve Rodgers was shot, and presumed dead. Bucky took up the shield, and we were off to the races.

That was 2008. Even after Steve Rodgers came back, Bucky was allowed to keep the shield, and Steve Rodgers was off doing ... something to do with Siege.

In another Joe Q-approved stunt, in the last massive, multiplayer event, Fear Itself, Bucky Barnes is beaten to death with his own cybernetic arm.

Before the corpse is cold, Steve Rodgers takes the shield back ....

Just in time for the movie, coming out this Friday, where Steve Rodgers is Captain America ....

I'm shocked, shocked that there should be such convenient timing.

So, once again, Marvel has screwed something up for the sake of a movie tie-in. Bucky has had a good run as Captain America. And, in all likelihood, I can't imagine this stunt moving one more person to go see the Captain America movie. Now that I have cable again, I'm tempted to wait for a tv premiere.

The amusing thing is, in the current Captain America story line of the regular series run, Bucky was still in a Russian gulag, and still alive, even though he had been killed in the latest "event."  It's one of the same problems I noted in my first major blog on Marvel.

Someone get the plumber snake, there's some of Joe Q. still in the pipes....

Friday, July 15, 2011

Week-In-Review 7-14-11

Another week is shot to Hell. Welcome to the Week-in-Review.

Monday 
We started off the week with Holy Terror .... Batman?  It was a writing blog where I examine the possibilities behind the defunct Frank Miller project of Batman vs. al-Qaeda.

The music blog was not up that day.  However, I did post three self-defense columns over at Examiner.com


Meeting people from online in real life, part one A two-part series on how to make certain you don't go from okcupid.com to meeting an axe-murderer. 

Self defense in New York. Again. Or: Killing people isn't fun. Defending yourself?  Be careful with the aftermath.


Tuesday 
There was a review of mystery and thriller authors, everything from James Rollins to Matthew Reilly.  And more.

And the music blog: I decided that if people wouldn't like Tom Smith's "Talk like a Pirate Day" they would enjoy Dragonforce.  And vice versa

Wednesday
Some more Tom Smith, and some more Dragonforce lead the blog. 
And I found a Maureen Dowd post I didn't utterly despise.

Thursday
The music blog: whether or not you hate the Blue screen of death, or you prefer the Fury of the Storm, I had some of each.

And my friend Jason had posted a little something on Egypt. I blogged a bit about it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Axes and Allies: Wither Egypt?

My friend Jason has done an interesting blog on Egypt. Funny enough, it looks a little like my blog on Hashim Abasi from a while back.
Axes and Allies: Wither Egypt?:

Music blog: Fury of the Storm & Blue Screen of Death

Have issues with Bill Gates? You're not the only one.



Dragonforce ... more music to blow stuff up.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Maureen Dowd Column I like. World to end.

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Maureen Dowd, a "journalist" for the New York Times. If you've never heard of her, I'm not surprised. The Times has been hemorrhaging readers like a hemophiliac with Ebola.

Normally, I find Dowd to be a far, far, far Left wing nutjob whose hangups with George W. Bush ran into psychotic screeds every other day. And if they weren't every other day, they sure felt like it.

However, for once, I found an article of hers that was amusing, on the Catholic Confessional App.

Maybe someone has put her on her medication?

Music Blog: Rich Fantasy Lives, & My Spirit Will go On

I thought this would be the only thing I posted today. Then I got the Dowd column in the mail. Who knew?

Anyway, onto the music.

A Tom Smith song ... dedicated to all those people who live better lives in their heads than most people do in the real world.



Another Dragonforce song .... again, this is music to write fight scenes to.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Music Blog: Dragon Force, & Talk like a Pirate Day.

Tom Smith is a regular on these posts. I think he's going to be a good balance to the Dragonforce music clip below.

Let's just say that "Talk like a Pirate Day" is something for September ... but I have no idea if I'll still be doing these in September.





Starfire, by Dragonforce .... I like it. Again, this is music I write to. Though this is one of the few Dragonforce songs than I think I can understand without resorting to the lyrics. 




What I read: Thriller/ mystery authors

A few weeks ago, I did romance.....

Now, enough of the mushy stuff. Now we blow stuff up.... Thriller/ mystery authors.

Keith Thompson. Once a Spy .... if Jason Bourne had a son, and if Bourne had Alzheimers.... My review here.  There's a sequel called .... wait for it ... Twice a Spy.

The Spy Who Came for ChristmasDavid Morrell: Yes, he created John Rambo in his novel “First Blood.” However, I would suggest that it is not his best. In The Spy Who Came For Christmas, a spy tries to keep a baby from the mercenaries he'd been undercover with.  Wounded, he seeks refuge in a home while being chased; to keep the occupants calm as he prepares for war, he tells them a spy's version of the Christmas story.

 In Creepers, a group of urban explorers enter into an abandoned hotel, onto to discover that they're not alone. “Scavenger,” the sequel to Creepers, finds the survivors of the hotel incident trapped into a deadly game—a real life role playing game, set in a hostile wilderness filled with booby traps.

American Assassin: A ThrillerVince Flynn-- He writes about a CIA assassin named Mitch Rapp, and the first one was about terrorists taking over the white house. This was before terrorists became popular (1999), and he does a wonderful critique of what went wrong during the 1990s in the intelligence world.  In his first novel with Rapp, terrorists have taken over the Clinton White House, and he's sent in for recon. Now all he needs to do is not kill all of the terrorists himself.

One of the nice things about Vince Flynn is that he always has a domestic element to his novels. Domestic as in "do we have to kill the politicians before they get us all killed."  Again, Flynn has had politicians as antagonists since the 1990s, so he's not some sort of Tea Party individual.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Holy Terror ... Batman? A writing Blog.

Frank Miller is a name you might be familiar with.  He wrote the comic books that would spawn the movies 300Sin City, several Batman titles, including the annoyingly omnipresent Batman: Year One, and he had a very popular run on Daredevil, and even created the character of Elektra, the assassin with father issues.  Miller was also the director on The Spirit-- and has a small lynch mob after him for that, I'm sure.

So, Miller gets around.

Several years and a few lifetimes ago, Frank Miller said he wanted to write a graphic novel called "Holy Terror, Batman!" a play on a line from the 1960s Batman TV show with Adam West.

Miller has debuted his Holy Terror and ...

It doesn't have Batman.

Miller decided to work with a new hero, it wouldn't be a DC comics project, etc, etc.

On the one hand, I can understand that Frank Miller has had issues lately with DC.  His All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder was, as I understand it, universally panned by reviewers, except for those who seem to want Frank Miller's baby. They weren't pretty, either way.

Miller's version: it was more Dirty Harry than Batman. It just didn't work with Batman.....

Really?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Week-In-Review 7-8-11

Well, this week was a little tough. I've had a few projects kicking around that came down on me at the same time. I'm surprised I got as much done as I had. Despite that, the blog got well over a hundred and twenty views. I'll take what I can get.

Now, on with the week.

Monday. As I've mentioned, being an article writer for Examiner.com has gotten me into lists. Top ten lists for one. And, so, I compiled the top ten most read blog posts.

Tuesday: I spent some time looking at the works of author Jefferey Deaver, possibly the most manipulative s.o.b. in novel writing.

The music blog was the last of the epic music of Babylon 5 from last week, as well as Tom Smith doing all of B5 in five minutes.

Wednesday: I had discovered a movie trailer online, and decided that this was the perfect opportunity to explain what I mean whenever I reference

George Smiley and Scott Murphy..I thought it was fun.

I managed a music blog -- basically, the music version of Poe's Tell-Tale Heart. It's sick, you might like it.

And, I finally managed my posts for Examiner.com --
Pens as weapons. (EDC Tools) An EDC tool is something for Every Day Carry. I stole the acronym from a friend of mine. It was a variation on the "Scott Murphy notebook" posts from last year. You might find it amusing.
Top ten "improvised weapons." Ever wanted to know what sort of weapons you carry around in you pocket every day? I provide some answers here.
Are you a target? Situational awareness: Basically, there are some people who don't have a lot of survival instincts. This is for them. 

Thursday: this was a bit of a Hail Mary. A Jewish businessman decided to come to the defense of the Catholic Church.  However, while I liked his  points, he could have used an editor. I took it upon myself to undertake that role.

Yeah, I cheated a bit this week. Let's hope next week is better.

Have a good weekend, all.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Redemption Comes Through The Jews… Excerpts

This was interesting when I found it on the Facebook page of Ann Margaret Lewis (of Murder in the Vatican), so I figured I would post a few excerpts.
I especially found it interesting that the numbers presented here are similar to the ones I posted a while ago.

You can find the full text here:

 
 Jewish Businessman, Sam Miller, Whaps Anti-Catholic Bias in News Media (Full Text)


Sam Miller, prominent Cleveland businessman – Jewish, not Catholic – is fighting mad about & concentrated effort by the media to denigrate the Catholic Church in this country.



.... There is a concentrated effort by the media today to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country.... They have now blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage....

From the Sojourner’s Magazine dated August, 2002 ....“While much of the recent media hype has focused on the Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandal, relatively little attention has been given to the high rate of sexual misconduct in the rest of American Christendom. This is truly a crisis that crosses the borders of all religions.”
.... research by Richard Blackman at Fuller Theological Seminary shows that 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact. In a 1990 study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8% of clergywomen reported unwanted sexual behavior by a colleague; 17% of laywomen said that their own pastors had sexually harassed them. Phillip Jenkins concludes in his book “Pedophiles and Priests” that while 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia, 10% of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia.
This is not a Catholic problem. This is a problem of pure prejudice....

Obviously, this is not just a Catholic problem....

For Christians, the true scandal is not about priests. It’s about a manipulation of power to abuse the weak. When Jesus said, “Whoever receives the child, receives me”, he was rebuking his followers for putting stumbling blocks in front of the defenseless. Church is supposed to be a place where one can lay one’s defenses down; where one is welcomed, embraced, and blessed. This can only be authentically expressed in a culture that requires absolute respect for each individual’s freedom and self hood. Until all churches bow humbly under the requirement, the indictments by wounded women and children will stand.

Just what are these Kangaroo journalists trying to accomplish? Think about it. If you get the New York Times day’ ,after day; the Los Angeles Times day after day, our own paper day after day looking at the record, some of these writers are apostates, Catholics or ex-Catholics who have been denied something they wanted from the Church and are on a mission of vengeance.

Why would newspapers carry on this vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?
Do you know ... the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday, at cost to your Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. Needless to say, that Catholic education at this time stands head and shoulders above every other form of education that we have in this country. And the cost is approximately 30% less.
If you look at our own Cleveland school system, they can boast of an average graduation rate of 36%. Do you know what it costs you and me as far as the other 64% who didn’t make it?
Look at your own records. You (Catholic schools) graduate 89% of your students Your graduates in turn go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%, and all at a cost to you. To the rest of the Americans it’s free, but it costs you Catholics at least 30% less to educate students compared to the costs that the public education system pays out for education that cannot compare.
Why? Why would these enemies of the Church try to destroy an institution that has 230 colleges and universities in the United States with an enrollment of 700,000 students?
Why would anyone want to destroy an institution like the Catholic Church which has a non profit hospital system of 637 hospitals which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people not just Catholics in the . United States today?

Why would anyone want to destroy an institution like that? Why would anyone want to destroy an institution that clothes and feeds and houses the indigent 1 of 5 indigents in the United States, I’ve been to many of your shelters and no one asks them if you are a Catholic, a Protestant or a Jew; just “come, be fed, here’s a sweater for you and a place to sleep at night” at a cost to the Church of 2.3 billion dollars a year?
The Catholic Church today has 64 million members in the United States and is the largest non-governmental agency in the country. It has 20,000 churches in this country alone. Every year they raise approximately $10 billion to help support these agencies.
Why, after the “respected” publication, the New York Times, running their daily expose’ on the Church, finally came to the conclusion of their particular investigation, which was ongoing for a long time. And guess what: buried in the last paragraph, they came up with a mouse. In their article “Decades of Damage” the Times reported that 1.8% of American priests were found guilty of this crime whereas your own Cardinal Ratzinger in Rome reported 1.7% the figure I gave you earlier.
Then again they launched an attack on the Church and its celibate priests. However, the New York Times did not mention in their study of American priests that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in the face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.

Why wouldn’t the New York Times, the paper of record they call themselves, mention this? You had to read it in the Los Angeles Times. The New York Times refused to print it.
If you read only the New York Times, you would begin to believe that priests are cowards; craven; sexually frustrated; unhealthy criminals; that prey on the innocent. What a shame.
Sometimes freedom of the press should have some type of responsibility...
I believe that if Catholics had the figures that I enumerated here, you don’t have to be ashamed of anything. Not only are you as good as the rest, but you’re better, in every respect.

The Catholic Church helps millions of people every day of the week, every week of the month, and every month of the year. People who are not Catholics, and I sit on your Catholic Foundation and I can tell you, and what I am telling you is so. Priests have their problems, they have their failings just as you and I in this room do, but they do not deserve to be calumniated as they have been.

In small measure let’s give the media its due. If it had not come out with this story of abusive priests, (but they just as well could have mentioned reverends, pastors and rabbis and whatever), probably little or nothing would have been. done. But what bothers me the most is this has given an excuse to every Catholic hater and Catholic basher to come out loudly for the denigration of your Church.

If some CEO’s are crooks it does not follow that every CEO is crooked; and if some priests are sexually ill it does not follow that all are sick. And your Church teaches that you’ve got to take in the sick and a priest who is this way has to be taken in and cannot be thrown out the 21st story of a building. He’s got to be looked upon and given the same type of health that you would give anybody who has a broken leg or cancer or whatever....

If some priest was caught with his hand in the collection plate it would be front page news. But the fact that you have thousands of students being education (sic) free, as far as the rest of the country is concerned, doesn’t make news. Why? Because it is not newsworthy, it’s not dirty.

I’m not here to deny freedom of the press, but I believe that with freedom comes responsibility, and with rights you have an obligation. You cannot have rights that are irresponsible.

Unfortunately, our society today is protected by all rights and ruled by some of their wickedness. Anybody who expects to reap the benefits of freedom must understand the total fatigue of supporting it. The most important element of political speech, as Aristotle taught, is the character of the speaker. In this respect, no matter what message a man brings in, it shouldn’t collide with his character.
The other day was shocked when I opened up America, a Catholic magazine, and my good friend Cardinal Keeler, who is a very dear friend of mine, was being fingerprinted by the Baltimore police not for a crime, but as part of the new law put in place that all members of the Church hierarchy must be fingerprinted....

One of the biggest Catholic bashers in the United States wrote “Only a minority, a tiny minority of priests, have abused the bodies of children.” He continues, “I am not advocating this course of action, but as much as I would like to see the Roman Catholic Church ruined. I hate opportunistically retrospective litigation even more.”

Now he’s talking about our tort monsters. “Lawyers who grow fat by digging up dirt on long forgotten wrongs and hounding their aged perpetrators are no friends of mine.”

I’m still quoting this man, “All I’m doing” he said, “is calling attention to an anomaly. By all means, let’s kick a nasty institution when it is down, but there are better ways than litigation.” These words are from a Catholic hater.

I never thought in my life I would ever see these things.

Walk with your shoulders high and your head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non governmental agency today in the United States. Then remember what Jeremiah said: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” And be proud, speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions. Be proud that you’re a Catholic.

NOTE: Even though of the Jewish faith, Miller has been a staunch supporter of the Cleveland Diocese and Bishop Anthony Pilla. It was published in the May-June issue of the Buckeye Bulletin.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Music Blog: A bit of Poe,



Ever read The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe?

Now, imagine it done in under two and a half minutes




Tinker, Tailor ... Mossad Murphy?

I'm a little behind this week, so, sorry that everything is slow.  This post will be a short one.

Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyNumerous times when writing about Scott Murphy, I've made reference to another fictional character, George Smiley.  Originally a character in a John Le Carre spy novel, Smiley was a plain little man, in a plain little suit, who tried to offend no one, only answered questions with questions, and was no one really important.

Except that he was a spy.  He taught them, he ran them, he designed plans for them.  In some of Le Carre's books, Smiley ran the entire plot from behind the scenes, and never once made an appearance.

Many, many moons ago, three of the novels that starred Smiley were put into film.  Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy was one, as well as the sequel, Smiley's People.  Both times, it starred Alec Guiness.  A third film was made, called simply A Murder of Quality, starring Denholm Elliott .... if you've ever seen the Indiana Jones films, you might know him better as Marcus Brody, one of the sidekicks.

Now, granted, Scott Murphy has a lot of differences.  He's got all sorts of tricks and tips for committing mayhem. Just don't ask him to punch anyone ... or shoot anyone farther than ten feet away ...

So, why am I explaining all of this?

Well, because they've remade Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, with a whole bunch of interesting actors. Since Guiness is dead, he's been replaced by Gary Oldman -- who I mentioned as this generation's Alec Guines not too long ago.  Smiley's sidekick is played by one Benedict Cumberbach, who BBC fans may recall from last year's Sherlock.

Now, it should be interesting to see how they play the movie, considering the original was six hours long, though my family has estimated that three hours could have been easily sliced out due to the speed of the film (eg: see Smiley walk. Walk, Smiley, walk), or due to the fact that much of the film was told in flashbacks, and stories, and interviews. The original film was interested in the methods and mechanisms of spycraft ... if one cut out a lot of that (which is repeated over, and over, and over again), then there's the plot and the character.

We'll see how it works.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Music blog: Babylon 5 & Tom Smith


This is the last cut of the music from the aborted Babylon 5 video game from last week. It was fun while it lasted.



And now, the parody version




Influential Author: Jeffery "Devious" Deaver

Jeffery Deaver has a wonderful way of messing with one's mind.

In my household, “to Deaver” something means to put a backspin on a storyline so hard that the audience gets whiplash. When I mean thriller, I mean it doesn't slow down-- at least not for long.

In my house, the man is so well known for screwing with his readers in surprise twists that whenever we see a writer radically twist everything we thought we knew about the plot, and do it fifty pages away from the ending of the book, we say that he "Deavered" the plot, or "pulled a Deaver."

The man likes to play games. Then again, he's a Fordham law school graduate, so that may have something to do with it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top ten blog posts for "A Pius Man."

I must admit, working at Examiner.com has gotten me used to posting lists of things. One mass email told me that top ten lists were really rather popular.

So, since blog reads tend to be down for national holidays, I've decided to do my own top ten list for the blog.

The top five are, right now, always posted on the right hand side.
Disasters to Marvel At: A Comic Discussion. -- Discussing how Marvel Evented itself to death.
Mr Phelps, You Are Disavowed… Beating up on everyone's favorite loser.
Snarky theology 3: Evolution, Creationists, and other irritants. Part of my Snarky theology series. I'm not sure why this went anywhere. Seriously, I don't think the issue is half as interesting as some seem to think.
Snarky Theology 2: FAQs about Lent. -- this one started a nice little firestorm, mainly because someone decided to, well, slightly annoy me.
DragonCon 2010, Day 2, Part 1. I have no honest idea why this is so popular. I did several DragonCon reports from last year, and this one took the cake.

Now, for the rest of the top ten list, the you haven't seen posted anywhere ... because posting a top ten list isn't an option with this blog template. :)

Inspiring Authors: J. Michael Straczynski-- Exactly as the title says. I think this one was popular because I wrote it the week Thor came out in theaters, and he was credited with the story.
Snarky Theology 4: "Things that go boink in the night." I can credit my friend Jason for this title. I mentioned I wanted the Catholic position on sex. The title was the first thing that leapt to his mind. I guess it worked
Guest Blog: Murder in the Vatican Author Ann Margaret Lewis. When I was offered the option of allowing Madam Lewis on the blog, I was asked if I wanted a guest blog, an interview, or the option of reviewing her book, I went for all of the above.
The flame war is postponed .... While the little war of Lent was ongoing (see the comment section in the Lent link above), some idiot went online, and posted the most offensive post about Japan I have ever seen. I tore her a new one. Twice.
Snarky Theology 5: The Passion, Jews, and Good Friday... I posted this because, well, it was Good Friday, and I was tired of people who got their theology from Mel Gibson's The Passion.

Anyway, I don't think I'm going to waste anyone's time with a music blog today. I doubt many would want to read it. However, June had the record for most page views of any month. Almost for any three months.

I think July might be a time to break this record.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Week in Review:7-1-2011

This week was sort of busy for me. I'm not entirely certain what happened to encourage all sorts of strange things to happen at the same time, but it did mess with my schedule a little.

Monday

Monday was especially busy. So busy that I ended up missing the daily music blog. Something I hope w

My day started with a three-part examiner.com series on being mugged: how to survive a standard mugging, what to do if you need to defend yourself and the attacker has a gun, or if he has a knife.

And, just because I could, I mentioned the top ten points to pummel someone into a new and better incarnation.

I was having fun.  Which may explain a lot of how I got the job.

Anyway.

When it came time to work on the blog, I had the self defense discussion up and ready to post. I think I had been building it for the entire month. 

And then people started to do something stupid.

For one, New York decided to allow gay marriage.  I don't think that was stupid, though I think it may be ill-advised, because I suspect that there will be lawyers. No, not "there will be blood." There will be lawyers. Which are far, far worse. I hope I'm wrong.

The blog was so good, I got a shoutout on Axes and Allies, and compliments from resident artist/atheist, Matt. 

And, of course, Image comics decided to go all tinfoil hat brigade with "The Big Lie."  Conspiracy theories, meet comic books.  Now, this was seriously stupid.

Tuesday

Complete Krav Maga: The Ultimate Guide to Over 230 Self-Defense and Combative TechniquesMy fighting and writing blog. Basically, why I use Krav Maga in my fight scenes.  What is it, and where did it come from? Other various and sundry details.

Oh, by the way, if you live in and about Eastern Queens or Brooklyn, you might want to seriously look into trying out Protection Fitness Self Defense.

Trust me on this.

The music blog was E Nomine and Doctor Who ... mainly because they were both sort of awesome.

Wednesday

This was almost a last minute save. I had tripped over the music of the aborted Babylon 5 video game .... and, going by the music, if it had been made, would have been awesome ... and I tripped over it quite by accident.

And I discussed a bit more of Krav Maga, mostly where to find it in New York.

Thursday

Just the music blog.  A bit of a B5 video game, and a bit of Tom Smith.

I will most likely be taking this Fourth of July off. Enjoy everyone.