Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer Gore

It's been a short break here while we tried to enjoy a little bit of Summer. For the end of Summer, I wanted to take my kids to one of the few remaining drive-ins to see a movie. However, the ones in charge of the place thought “family fare” meant gory films depicting gruesome, violent deaths. So they will not be getting our money, but if there are carloads of 14-year olds dying to see people dying, the movies may do well.

One trend in films or fiction is the school of dismembering and torturing people for entertainment value. There seems to be a lot of it out there, and we get more of it in the Summer. There are slasher flicks, psychological cat-and-mouse game serial-torturer-killer flicks, lock-a-bunch-of-folks-up-and-torture/kill-them flicks, and many others. I don't understand the enjoyment out of random folks being hurt and munched for no reason. But then I also don't get hanging around the scene of bloody accidents. People's pain and suffering is not something that amuses me.

Okay, you've got your genre of monsters attacking people: werewolves, vampires, zombies and whatnot, but it's a different thing when the one doing the bad deed is a non-human. When the killer psychopath is a person and grabs another person, I don't need or want a clinical and inventive new way of ending the victim's life. Horror enthusiasts seem to try to outdo each other in the amount of pain and splatter they can depict.

My favorite directors are not Wes Craven and Rob Zombie. I haven't watched a movie featuring a maniac with a chainsaw/carving knife/hockey mask in quite some time. The sheer stupidity of the films is annoying as well. If there's a group of people splitting up when they know there's a lone homicidal maniac on the loose, then maybe they deserve their grisly end, as they're picked off one by one.

Even the ads for these films are depressing, as in what is hopefully the final Final Destination, where they show people screaming as they're slowly and inexorably being pulled toward a squishy end. Eh. No thanks.

Gratuitous screen gore may be a symptom of a societal sickness, one apart from the film producers who wish to capitalize on the desire of others to gush over simulated suffering. If all the nasty evisceration movies were to go away, maybe there'd be a little less violence all around. And that would be a good thing.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Comments at large and is Twitter useful?

There are new comments posted on my last piece. These ones got posted, while the past ones from others that were simply abusive hate mail didn't get published.
The difference is tone.
"Chuck" wrote a thoughful pair of postings that was a good conversation, with advice and his point of view. His communication mattered. His viewpoint has been considered.
Another posting was just in fun, and that's okay, too. Comments that don't run to abuse are always welcome. Abuse for its own sake is not.

I'm all for constructive criticism- if I wasn't, I wouldn't be a writer. Writers are constantly getting feedback on what they put out. Sometimes it isn't very complimentary, but you don't stop because of that. You keep plugging away in the hopes you'll write something that matters. It's a communication between a writer and the audience. We're always trying to improve that communication and make it a worthwhile experience. It's hard work to do it well.

Take Twitter for example. If you like it, that's fine, I'm not saying you shouldn't. To me, Twitter just doesn't seem like important communication. It appears to be snippets and snatches of feelings that might matter more if you were face-to-face with the person, but seem not worth the reading on the tiny screen of an electronic device. It seems hard to make meaning out of the limitations. Do people find real added value in it, or is it just a fad?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Nasty One

Well folks, this blog sure brings them out of the woodwork. Got another anonymous (of course) nasty commenter, one more bile spewer trying to make me feel bad. This one at least has the rudiments of spelling down, but certainly no manners. While posting no accomplishments of their own, they chide me for not having published my novel yet. Pretty easy to take potshots from the dark, and it must give them such a cheap thrill.

There are too many of these people causing a decline in the public discourse. We're seeing this in our country now, where crazy is running loose. They're tiresome, like gnats--they don't do any real damage, but they do whine about your ears and try to suck your blood.

So while the latest dimwit rails once more at me for not being a writer, the sane and decent among you can read my latest article, the third in a series (with more to come):

Friday, August 7, 2009


One of our basic American tenets is the freedom to speak our mind, and let others speak theirs. Public civility in debate and discourse is more than decency and manners, it is a cornerstone of our life, what makes a society livable.

At least it should be. But now we have a bunch of yahoos who don't believe in America and what it stands for. They are the groups going around disrupting public informational meetings that discuss the possibility of us getting healthcare. Public forums for discussion and information-- what a concept! Except that certain cave-dwelling thugs will go to any lengths to stifle any dissemination of ideas and information.

It's difficult to imagine how these fascist morons can call themselves Americans. Got a contrary opinion? Fine-- take your turn at the mike, state your case, and let others do the same. That's what it's all about. But these disgusting bullies don't like American values, they want a shoutdown of anything they don't agree with. So they show up en masse and in some cases illegally swarm a legitimate public forum and bring in intimidation and the possibility of violence. Way to make your case, bozos!

The ones who aren't misguided (the "No healthcare for me" party) are paid stooges and goons from the big companies that make obscene profits from keeping us from having decent affordable healthcare. Yeah, they're bussing in jackal packs so they can keep ripping us off. The big profiteers are spending billions to ensure they can keep stealing from us with "for profit" care.

Debate is healthy and necessary, especially on such a life-and-death issue that affects us all. Forcing a shutdown of that debate is wrong, and shows that those who do it are in the wrong. They are desperate, because for the first time in years, people are actually expecting our representatives to do something for us. But the big "providers" are willing to let us die, as long as they keep making the big bucks.

Anyone who won't allow debate isn't part of the debate anymore. When they break the law, let's see how they like the crappy healthcare in jail. Bet they'll change their tune then!

The quickest way to get decent healthcare for all of us would be to strip the benefits from those politicians responsible for making the decisions. They get a cushy ride, paid for by us. Take that away, and you'd get the fastest bill ever to sail through the House and Senate.

But for now, let's keep the debate going. Keep these goons from hijacking the legitimate process. Contact your representatives and let them know this is the most important thing they'll ever do, and that you're watching to see how they vote!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Charlie Thinks You're Stupid

There's a tall rich guy with good hair and teeth running for governor of Massachusetts (I know, haven't we heard this one before). And yes, Charlie Baker represents the Republicans, the political party that is fighting tooth and nail to make sure Americans never get decent, affordable healthcare. These people don't like to discuss issues or what they'll offer, but they do like to push voter buttons, like the one on taxes.

Charlie Baker recently went on a radio show and made remarks that sure do sound like he thinks the voters are stupid. In telling how he opposes tax increases, he actually said the words:
"Read my lips. No new taxes."

For those voters with short memories, the elder George Bush made this one of his campaign lies (er, slogans) in his run for President of the US. He got votes from people who supported him because they didn't want to pay more money for all the social niceties, but the joke was on them. Bush got into office and merrily raised taxes. Screw you, suckers! Dumb for them to believe this lie the first time, but now Charlie is recycling that lie, thinking voters will be stupid enough to fall for it again. Wow. Throwing his contempt for voters right in our faces.

Mass is in crisis now, and the lack of state money is sinking our social contract. Our schools (and teachers) are grossly underfunded and it's getting worse, and bridges and roads are in desperate need of repair or rebuilding—our two closest major ones are temporary metal things that shake violently and let you see the water under your car as you drive over, praying you'll make it to the other side. There's so little money that police and fire departments aren't getting all they need, and communities are suffering as a result. Any program that helps people has been cut to the bone, and countless thousands are going without.

Sometimes raising taxes is a painful, but necessary way to keep a state from going all to Hell. Nobody wants to, it's bad politics. But what's better? Having our infrastructure collapse? If it was a choice, Charlie says we can let it fall. What if there's a natural disaster or two, and no money for relief? Better hope for good weather, folks, because you're not getting any help from the state. Guys like Charlie, with too much money, don't really care what the rest of us get. And mostly we get screwed, by guys like him who want to play at being a politician.

Charlie used the words from a George Bush playbook, and we know how all of that turned out. Our kids will be still fighting and paying for the wars that Bush and his son got going. So what else from George Bush are you going to recycle, Charlie? Going to pull out a "Willie Horton" racial scare ad? And like Bush, we know we won't be getting decent healthcare from you, when people in your own buildings, working for your company couldn't get it.

Charlie apparently has a very low opinion of the voters of Mass, if he thinks they'll buy this load of crap. He thinks they're so stupid he can say those words and still get his little prize, sitting behind the Governor's desk. I sure hope he's not right.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My First Abusive Poster

Good news! I've received a slew of hate mail comments on this blog from an abusive anonymous poster (as their kind always is). When someone spends a great deal of time, energy, and venom to convince you to stop something, you know you're having an effect. So thanks for the props.

They've been deleted to save the poor fool from embarrassment. The spelling is childish, as are the sentiments, and the bad feeling pours out. It's a sad little person trying to make others feel as small as he is. At first I thought it was someone playing a joke, because it's a caricature. Do people really get that worked up about a blog? Cool.

But the person is so incensed that I dare to publish a blog that they're trying to convince me I'm actually not a writer. Hey, good luck with that! After three good novels, articles, and a number of published short stories, I, and many others who can spell far better than the poster, say that yes, I am a writer. When people give you money for your writing, you're a professional.

The person is trying to make me feel bad because my novels haven't been published yet. Working on it, dude. It's not easy, and not quick, but it will happen. And then you can post on how bad my book is. And you can keep doing that for all the ones that get published and sold. Have fun. You're going to be very busy.

Oh, and the person is upset because I called out a comment by Frankie Valli, the guy who robbed people when he was younger. According to the poster, being a singer gives you a free pass to steal and still think you're better than people with honest jobs. To him, a guy who commits armed robbery is "inspirational." If your inspiration is to commit holdups, I guess it would be.

The cherry on the sundae is that the poster claims to be a writer. To professionals, writing is something more than tapping out anonymous hate emails from your Mom's basement. The "writer" didn't list any of his credits, while slamming me for not having enough. Hey guy, send me a copy of your book, and then we can talk about the relative quality of our writing.