Thursday, March 29, 2007
Alrighy then, let’s get on with the important stuff shall we? I promised to answer your questions and so I shall. I am, after all, a Deity of My Word! (If I wasn’t, I’d drown you all out again, heh heh! But I promised Noah, so you’re all safe.) Our first brave contestant on todays episode of “Arrogantly Questioning the Omniscience of You Creator” is: Lynn from over at Spilling Ink.
LYNN: What the hell were You thinking when you were designing the female urinary tract? Do you really think the urethra is well placed? I think not. It's very placement is a standing invitation for infections of the urinary tract. I'm not sure where I would have put it instead -- but YOU'RE GOD!!! Couldn't you think of anything better than that?
Oy! Every woman who dies: the first thing they hit me up with is a prolonged bitch-fest about their internal plumbing. Look, the urethra is essentially in the same location for both sexes . . . sort of. Just imagine reaching down a man’s throat, grabbing his scrotum from the inside and pulling upward . . . Hard! Voila’ instant woman! (Quite frankly, that’s how I did it. The whole “rib” thing is just P.R.) Anyway, urinary tract infections come from bacteria entering through the urethra, most commonly during intercourse. It can also be caused by bacteria left over from bowel evacuation. (Ewww!) That would be the clinical causes of the problem, and here’s the Divine Answer to your problems ladies:
How about a wet wipe down there once in awhile, huh????
I mean, instead of getting pissed (no pun intended) at Me for flawed design, why not try a little bit of basic hygiene once in a while! Sanitary wipes fix all your own “leftovers” and there ain’t a thing wrong with makin’ your fella shower up a bit, or taking a quick swipe at old mister winkie with a towelette before you begin bumping uglies! Blaming me for this is like blaming the architect because someone crapped down the side of the toilet, ya know what I mean? As for moving the urethra to a different location . . . are you frikkin’ kidding Me? I had to put it at the “low-flow” point, ladies. You have any idea of the hydraulics nightmares I’d have had if I put it up any higher? You don’t even wanna know where I’d have had to put muscles! (You think you ladies got big butts now?) I’m not even gonna go into the social problem it would have presented if I set it . . . oh, I don’t know: in the center of your chest maybe? See how much snuggling your man’d wanna do then! I put the entire female “package” in the spot least likely to cause you grief. Trust me, ALL the alternatives were far worse.
Now, let’s move on to a question posted by Shoes, from over at Mister Pissed . . .
Shoes: As I look around at the world today, I can’t help but see war, disease, and famine...etc. Do you think this is any way for a well run universe to run and if not, whose neck is on the chopping block in your organization?
Well, Shoes, let me begin my answer by saying that for a man who doesn’t pick up his own dirty socks at home (remember: I’m always watching!), you’ve got quite the grasp on organizing a multiverse! Check out the big brain on Shoes!
I gotta tell you this question truly give Me a case of the red-ass. What is it with you humans anyway? Can’t you take responsibility for one damn screw up of your own? Noooooo . . . you’re all like: “Oh, God is cruel! God makes people die! God makes diseases and famines! God kills kittens!” Right. Let’s just ignore the fact that God made you all immortal, put you in a perfect paradise without any of those things AND YOU ALL FUCKED IT UP!!!! Seriously, you all need to stop yammering about “sins” and “morals” and start focusing a bit on personal responsibility!
Adam and Eve tanked Eden for you all (Oh, and it was NOT sex that got you kicked out, despite what the frigid-ass Catholics tell you, but that’s a subject for another Thursday!) They went way the hell over the top and ruined the perfect setup I’d put on for you. (Where’s the thanks, eh?) All this crap you guys deal with is your own doing, not Mine. War? C’mon people, where do I fit into that vile little invention of humanity? Just because some greedy little bastard tells a bunch of morons willing to listen that it’s My Holy Will or some shit, I’m responsible for him running a sword through his neighbors? I ain’t the one who followed along behind him, burning, pillaging, and raping folks who just happen to look a little different! Wars are all on you guys. They ain’t going away until you stop following power hungry religious leaders and insisting that your own way of life is the only correct one. (Oh . . . and when you stop electing morons like Dubbya to public office!)
Disease and famine are followers of war. They’re three of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, remember? Didn’t you guys ever read The Book of Revelations? (I read it all the time. Makes me laugh my ass off! I think old John was hittin’ the pipe a little hard when he scribbled down that shit!) Humans cause war. War causes famine. Famine causes disease. Disease kills humans. I come in at the tail end of that scenario when you all start boo-hoo-ing because you’ve got all kinds of nasty little viruses crawling about inside you. Here’s the simple, Divine, answer: tend to your own life. Leave your neighbor alone, worry about doing the right thing by your family and friends, and don’t hurt anyone else. If you all do that, the rest of this crap all fades away. You don’t need me for that!
As for whose “neck is on the chopping block”, Shoes. The answer is: nobody. The guys in my organization spend their time keeping the cosmos running and making sure the whole of existence doesn’t implode in a flash of dark matter. I really don’t hold them responsible for human stupidity. If and when a few humans can spare the time to build a few new solar systems and control a Supernova or two, I’ll see what I can do about freeing up a couple of angels to look into the whole “human condition” thing. Until then, you’re on your own.
Well, that’s it for this week, folks. Please leave Me some more questions in the comments. Tell your friends that The Almighty is here and taking requests! Spread the Good Word! (No, not that Word! Just let folks know I’m here, ok?)
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
What's that you ask? Well, I shall tell! I have two stories that have been in my head for years. They're both novel lenght (or more) pieces I just never feel that I can do justice to. They sit and gestate in my brain and they never quite go away. They're always there, just at the edge of my conscious mind, tickling at the edge of my awareness. I call them "leeches" because they periodically drain my attention away from my current WIP. I'm almost done with my changes to "Slayer" and I should be concentrating on that but for the last few days one of those stories has jumped to the forefront of my imagination and is sucking up all my creativity! (Damned unfair!) I have to push it aside to get "Slayer" back out to the interested agent but it's never easy setting either of these tales aside. Funny thing is, I've never bothered to pen a single thing on either of them but I know the entire outline for each without missing a beat. I enhance and change it occasionally, but I've never forgotten a single thing about either story, even though one of them's been in my brain for damn near ten years now!
I'm afraid to write either of them. They are both fantastic concepts and I don't want to fuck 'em up with inferior writing. I've been waiting to be sure that my skills are polished up enough to do them justice. I think they're both really original ideas but they could easily slip beyond original and into "hokey" if I'm not carefully with it. I'm wondering though if I'm not ready to start on one of them. I need to finish "Slayer" changes, complete the edits on "Fish" and the first draft on "First" before I move on of course, but I think I know where I'm going after that. The imagination doesn't seem to want to hear about the necessity of "finish what you start" though. It keeps trying to jump ahead to the place it wants to go. Nice in theory but I'll never make it as a pro that way! First, we finish the WIP's, then we consider the next tales.
Anybody else suffer from having too many stories to tell? I don't understand writers block really. I always have at least twenty or so ideas for stories in my head at any given time. I understand procrastination though (that sumbitch I got down pat!) and I certainly get fear. Fear of success in particular! I'm scared shitless right now that the agent will actually take me on and want to move ahead with "Slayer". I've been finding everything possible in life to distract me from getting it done and back out to her. What the fuck is up with that????? I've spent my life chasing this dream and the moment I catch even a scent of it, my brain wants to cut and run! I don't know which would be worse: to have the agent get my changes and decide not to take me on, or to have her love it and want to move forward. Stupid, eh? Part of me wants to be rejected . . . to be relegated back to the safe environs of the wannabe that I know so well. It's easy to dream about being a professional, it's quite daunting to face the prospect of having to actually be one!
I can't even clearly say why it scares me. I know I can write well. I read constantly and I think my stuff holds up pretty well against most of what I see. I've gotten feedback from several agents, all of whom say the writing is pro caliber and one is actually toying with the idea of taking me on as a client. I know I can write regularly and under tight schedules (hell, I've been doing that at work for years!) and like I said: writer's block has never been an issue. So what am I afraid of? Afraid that I'll reach my goal and find it wasn't all I'd hoped? (Life never is!) Afraid I'll make it as a pro writer and then not be able to keep that status? Afraid I'll get so close I can taste it and still not make it? Who knows. Maybe I'm just a very twisted individual.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Mondays particularly suck after a good weekend. The Boy and I went camping with the Scout Troop this weekend. We did a seven mile hike along the Appalachian Trail on Saturday. Man, what a great friggin' day! Weather was perfect: low 50's and sunny for most of the day. We took a trail that was almost all ridgeline (about 1400+/- ft.) and the view of Northern Jersey was stunning. We had 26 folks out there so we split into three groups that left at staggered times to keep it reasonable. As each group hit a rest point, they'd wait for the next group to show up before moving on. Worked pretty well, too! I just love being out in the woods on a nice day, chatting with the boys and other leaders. We got some rain later that night, but even that didn't taint a great weekend!
Today has been killer at work. Ton of problems to address and (best of all!) a three hour meeting to sit through. Those are always so much fun! It's amazing really. I left two hours early on Friday to make the trip and you'd have thought the world was coming to an end with all the e-mails and voice messages folks sent me.
I see some folks left messages for The Almighty; thanks for that. I'll fwd them over to him and he can take them on for his Thursday Post. If I can get them past His people. Friggin' Seraphim are the worst sort of bureaucrats imagineable! Want everything in triplicate and notarized by a lesser divinity! (Good luck getting one of those to do anything in a rush!)
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Well folks, I’ve decided to make a change here at A Novel Approach. I thought you all might be a little tired of my inane ramblings, so I figured it would be nice to have a guest blogger one day a week. With that it mind, I’m going to turn Thursdays over to someone who’s made a few appearances on this blog in the past. I felt I needed someone who was familiar with the general tone of this place and who had a mind vast enough to keep such wonderful folks as my readers happily entertained. Ladies and Gents, please allow me to introduce our new Thursday morning blogger here at A Novel Approach . . .
THE ALMIGHTY GOD!
Thank you, Jim, for that lovely introduction. I may reconsider my plans to condemn you to an eternity of fiery damnation after that!
Yes folks, I am your God. (No need to grovel or anything. A simple “Wow!” will suffice for now.) After a few appearances here I got to thinking that this was a pretty neat way to communicate with the people of this world. I approached Jim about it and he was a little hesitant at first but a few thunderbolts put his doubts to rest in a hurry. I will be here every Thursday to speak about . . . well, whatever I damn well please actually. I am Jehova after all. I talk, you listen. That’s the way this whole God thing works, you see? Anyway, I will happily answer any questions that you’d care to leave for me in the Comments area. Be warned though, your questions will be moved up to the front page and answered each Thursday. I won’t have time to respond in the comments . . . I do have this thing called “existence” to take care of, you know! That’s a tad time consuming. Oh, and I also have racquetball in the afternoons with Vishnu, so I’m pretty busy. (You trying playing someone with four arms and see how easy it is!) Anyway, please ask any existential, moral, or just plain old curious questions you’ve got. I’d love to have a meaningful dialog with you, my favorite creations. (Or at least my favorites capable of reading this bog, heh heh!)
I thought I’d start this week with a question I get asked quite a lot:
Why don’t you answer prayers anymore?
Just about everybody on the damn planet.”
Well, let me start by saying that I do answer prayers. Don’t think so? Look at Lance Armstrong, or J.K. Rowling. Hell, just look at Jim here! How else would a loser like him get such a great life and family without my help?
Anyway, the problem is actually one of scope. Back in the old days, when there were only a few thousand of you hairless monkeys scampering about down there; it was easy to respond to each prayer directly. Now that there are several billion of you (You’re a bunch of frisky little simians, ain’t ya?) it’s become impossible to respond to the large volume of prayers I receive on a daily basis. Doing so would entail my full-time attention and other things –like keeping the sun from going nova and turning your world into a burnt cinder- might be overlooked. As a result, I’ve been forced to use form responses to my prayer submittals. I know that seems impersonal and cold but I’m dealing with prayers on the order of twenty-plus billion a day, so cut me a little slack, eh? I’ve enlisted my Angels to read through the prayer “slush pile” and filter out the repeated, selfish, ridiculous, or just plain stupid prayers (No, Jim, you are NOT getting six Asian harem girls for your birthday!) Most of these receive one of our standard form replies. Since the Post Office doesn’t deliver to heaven (I am currently in discussions with UPS though. Those SOB’s will go anywhere!) we need to reply to such prayers via a more direct means which –sadly- often goes unnoticed by the recipient. Here’s an example:
Little Johnny: “God, please turn my sister into an ugly frog!”
Heaven’s Response: Johnny’s sister suddenly “remembers” she needs something from his room and walks in just in time to hear his devout prayer. She smacks the little turd –hard- on the back of his skull.
See? Response delivered! Listen, if you’re unsure whether or not I’ve heard you, just print out the following and post it on a wall somewhere, will ya?
Thank you so much for offering up your prayers to us here in Heaven. Please don’t take the lack of personal, verbal, response as a sign that your prayer hasn’t been heard. Rest assured that we here in heaven do review every prayer that comes in. While your prayer sounds intriguing, I’m afraid I’m not the right God for it. You deserve an enthusiastic response to your prayer, so I recommend you pursue other Deities. After all, it takes only one Divine Power to say ‘yes’ and with so many other Divinities out there, you could easily find one willing to respond to your incessant whining! (****)
Good luck with all your praying endeavors,
Well, that’s all for this week, kiddies. Don’t forget to send me some questions and I’ll be back next Thursday to give you all a close up look at omniscience!
(****) shamelessly stolen from Kristin Nelson over at Pub Rants. One of the best blogs out there, BTW!
Monday, March 19, 2007
Hope your weekend went as well as mine did! We hit the city via train, in a sleet storm, and made our way up to the hotel. We caught an early dinner at Rosie O'Grady's (great food!) before heading to the theater. I actually ate meat at dinner (And paid for it later! Trust me, you don't want details!) they had an Irish Beef Stew that I couldn't resist. It was the best I've ever had but I was actually pretty good. I left half the beef in the bowl . . . not an easy task, mind you! We went to see "The Pirate Queen" and I was a little disappointed. Oh, it's a decent show, but it just wasn't what we expected. I was looking for lots of step dancing, Celtic music, and swords, ya know? Well, it had some of all that (and it was well done) but it was primarily a romance story. The music was more Andrew Lloyd Weber than Celtic. Still, it was a nice evening. After that, we caught a little after theter dessert and off to bed.
Saturday, we went to "Norma's" for breakfast. This is the top rated breakfast place in Manhattan. The food was amazing! The atmosphere and presentation were wonderful, and we really enjoyed it. I very much doubt we'll be going back though. In NYC parlance "Best" = "Most Expensive" and it sure as hell was! It was worth it for the experience, but tossing over $100 on eggs for three people is a little much for us. Still, I do recommend you do it at least once, just to have the experience. After that, we wandered down to 5th Ave, and got to watch the parade from just outside of St. Patrick's Cathedral (a beautiful church! We stop in just to see it whenever we're in the area, even though I'm a heathen! ) We had a great time. We even got to see Rudy Guilani up close. He came over to work the crowd where we were standing. His folks gave us some "RUDY" for president signs. We wandered up and down the Avenue all day, in and out of stores . . . watching a little more of the parade . . . get some Chai tea . . . a little more parade . . . etc. great day! We did dinner at "Planet Hollywood" as we usually do (The Wife LOVES their Cap'n Crunch breaded chicken breast!) and I was good about staying of the meat, much to my stomach's relief!
That night we went to see "Spamalot". Holy shit! How do I even describe this to you?
It was the funniest damn thing I have EVER seen. I am a huge Monty Python fan (So is The Boy!) and I adore "The Holy Grail". I knew there was no way they could do that level of funny on the stage but I figured it would still be worth a few chuckles. The Wife (Who hates Python on general principle!) was taking one for the team by going to see this show. She kept a good face about it but I know she was dreading it and was only doing it for The Boy and I. This show blew us all away. I didn't stop laughing for a moment. I was so wrong . . . not only did they match "The Holy Grail" the beat it! They took that basic story line, incorporated some of Python's best stuff from "The Flying Circus" and their other films, then overlayed it with new material lampooning Broadway, themselves and anything else you can imagine. It was brilliant! How brilliant? I will let an exact quote from The Wife sum it up:
"That was good! I'd pay to go see that again!"
And that from a woman who leaves the room when I put on "The Flying Circus"!
We caught breakfast yesterday at a favorite spot of ours in the city, then hopped the train for home. Spent an hour taking care of some errands, then it was off to my brother's for a family gathering. I had a great time. I hung out with all my nieces and nephews (and The Boy!) in the dining room all day. They're all college age now and since I never really matured much beyond 18 or so myself, we had a great time. They seem to enjoy my twisted sense of humor for some reason and always save me a seat in their "area" when we have parties. Great bunch of kids! Of course, they lost me when trying to explaing the milion and one rules to the silly drinking games thay all play at school. We old folks just looked at each other and asked: "What the hell do you need games for? Pick up beer, place to lips, swallow vigorously . . . repeat!" Yup, we're good influences on those kids! :-)
Friday, March 16, 2007
The Guys' Rules
At last a guy has taken the time to write this all down. Finally, the guys' side of the story.(I must admit, it's pretty good.)We always hear "the rules"From the female side.Now here are the rules from the male side.These are our rules!Please note.. these are all numbered "1"ON PURPOSE!
1. Men are not mind readers.
1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moonor the changing of the tides. Let it be.
1. Shopping is NOT a sport and no, we are never going to think of it that way.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 Days.
1. If you won't dress like the Victoria 's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one
1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine...Really.
1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or golf.
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!
1. Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; but did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.
Pass this to as many men as you can -to give them a laugh. Pass this to as many women as you can to give them a bigger laugh
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Saturday: We were at a Boy Scout function ALL day long. Fundraiser: much cooking of pasta!
Sunday: Had my Mom over, went to a play (Camelot) and dinner. Good time.
Monday: Took The Boy to the dentist after an insane day at work. The Wife also did the dentist and got a lovely drill & fill for her troubles. (No, not from me you perverts!)
Tuesday: Boy Scout Court of Honor. Our Scoutmaster retired, so it was a big one and very long. Went well though. I did a presentation about the man and it was well received.
Tonight: The Boy sees the orthodontist and then has a swimming session. The Wife is off to a Pampered Chef party at my sister-in-law's house. (The salesman is a guy who sings and dances as he takes your money for useless crap. Big fun!)
Tomorrow: I don't know, but I'm sure there's something! (I'm getting senile!)
Friday: Off to NYC for the weekend! Takin' the train in with the family. Seeing "The Pirate Queen" on Broadway. (Yes, I AM a big fan of the theater! Wanna make something of it?)
Saturday: Watching the St. Paddy's parade, (I am a full-blooded Irishman after all!) then seeing "Spamalot" on Broadway! (Monty Python rocks!)
Sunday: Back home on the train, then off to my brother's, where we're doing a family gathering thing. (I'm pretty sure I'll be a zombie by that point!)
I'm still plugging away on the "Slayer" changes though! I'm nearly 70% done and I've cut out a few thousand words. The agent is definitely right: some of my "side bar" comments are slowing down the pace of the book. It's tough to cut them though. Some of it is some pretty damn funny observations but I have to keep asking: do I NEED it? Does it move the story forward? Sadly, some of it just has to go. It's a shame . . . I really do like my own humor! (big surprise, huh?)
Friday, March 09, 2007
I know, you’re all thinking: “Wooh, Jim’s really lost it on this one!” but bear with me . . .
Let’s start with Underdog’s alter ego: “Shoeshine Boy”. The position of a shoeshine boy in that time period was almost exclusively held by poor black men in the inner cities. They were always smiling and deferent to their (almost always) white customers. It was a requirement for getting the tips on which their families survived. This fake politeness is what the show refers to as the “Humble and loveable, Shoeshine Boy”. Of course, the term “Boy” shows just how pejorative the show truly was. Much like the blacks of the time, Shoeshine Boy was considered -by most- a simple minded, bumbling idiot with a contented smile plastered on his face. There was only one thing that would motivate Shoeshine Boy out of his lethargy and that was his dream girl: Sweet Polly Purebred. I am drawn immediately to the name’s similarity to “Whitebread” a common referent of the day towards the empowered white middle class. One also has to think of the word ‘purebred’ in reference to dogs, with a meaning of racial superiority to “lesser” breeds. The name “Polly” is also a traditional Anglo name, not often used in black culture. Polly Purebread was a beautiful, famous, and obviously wealthy, television reporter. The inference of the show is that pursuit of the obviously superior white woman is what forces Shoeshine Boy to rise above his own simple minded nature.
“When Polly's in trouble I am not slow, it's Hip, Hip, Hip and away I go”
I am also struck by the repeated use of the word “Hip” throughout the show and the way that Underdog always spoke in rhyme. “Hip” at the time referred to someone who was cool and “with it”. The word derived from the black culture’s extensive use of their hips while dancing. People of the time considered them to be much better dancers and hence, one who used “Hip” was better at a thing than others. It would later become the root word of Hip-Hop, a black musical culture that makes extensive use of spoken rhyme. Coincidence? I’m not so sure.
So, how does Shoeshine Boy enact his transformation to Underdog? How does he leave behind the sad, subservient, life which he leads, move into the limelight of fame, and gain the desire of the untouchable Polly Purebred? Why, through drugs, of course! Think back: how did Underdog get his power? He’d open a secret compartment in his ring and pop an “energy pill” that would keep him strong and make him “fly”.
“My energy gets its fill, when I take my energy pill..." (Thanks, SRH! I’d forgotten that line!)
Underdog would jump into the nearest phone booth, pop his “little helper” and voila: silly little Shoeshine Boy becomes an instant hero! Of course, his heroic powers only lasted as long as his drugs did, so it was necessary that he always carry some extra stashed on his person. Of course, even as a super-hero, white society could not give Underdog the respect they would a white man. The transformation sequence was a parody of Superman’s, wherein people would point to the sky saying: “Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's a frog... a frog?" to which Underdog would glibly reply: “Not bird, nor plane, nor even frog, it's just little 'ole me, Underdog!” Once again, you can see the reference to black culture in the phrase “just little ‘ole me”. Underdog might seem super, and even be hailed as such, but underneath he was still only a Shoeshine Boy.
Let’s look for a moment at Underdog’s enemies. He had two nemeses: Riff Raff and Simon Bar Sinister. Riff Raff was a wolf in a sharp suit, and his name an obvious reference to the low class criminals who populated the streets where Shoeshine Boy lived. How did Shoeshine Boy rise above Riff Raff? How did he become better than the thugs and Mafioso around him? The drugs of course! With his fix firmly on, he was no longer afraid of Riff Raff and his ilk. He could give them the solid thrashing they deserved and preserve his streets for people like himself. Simon Bar Sinister had a very interesting name. The “Bar Sinister” is a medieval reference to bastardy (it was a heraldic design on shields to denote someone of questionable parentage) Simon is a biblical name (the original name of Peter the Apostle) and as such denotes this man’s standing as a religious figure. Simon’s character was also a brilliant scientist (mad, of course!) and he stood only two feet or so tall and was hideously ugly. Simon is an obvious reference to the “establishment”. He represents both church and science, as a small and ugly creature out to destroy Underdog, and have absolute rule over the world. The addition of the “Bar Sinister” to his name serves to show Underdog that he is a true “bastard”. Once more, the only way that Underdog can stand against his enemies is through the use of his secret vitamin pill! Drugs make Shoeshine Boy rise high above the riff-raff and make him better than the bastards in the religious and scientific community who look down on him and try to control him. Once again though, white society couldn’t allow for Shoeshine Boy to be a true hero. In every episode he would forget to take his drugs and Polly Purebred would have to come feed them to him. The implication being that he was too stupid to keep his high going without the intercession of the smarter, white, Ms. Purebred.
Even a cursory examination of the program shows that it was a carefully crafted propaganda campaign with the purpose of leading black culture down the path of drug use. The show took place in a typical American city and Underdog was noted for causing as much (or more!) damage to the city as the villains did when he fought them. His common reply when anyone pointed that out was: “I am a hero who never fails. I cannot be bothered with these details”. The show not only encouraged children to improve their lives through drug use, it assured them that the injuries to others that might occur from such actions were unimportant. Their need to be “heroic” far outweighed the consequences of their actions on anyone around them. The Underdog cartoon was one of the most detrimental programs ever run on television. It infected an entire generation of youth with a twisted view of chemical dependency and helped to create the violent drug culture so prevalent in our inner cities. It also damaged the basic family structure of black society in the late sixties, encouraging young black men to pursue white women (ala Polly Purebred) and ignore their own culture. They were also taught to forget personal responsibility in pursuit of their own desires and to ignore those on the streets below them as they “flew” on toward their dream of Polly Purebred. You can trace the growth of the whole “Gangsta” attitude and their disdain for the mores of society directly back to Underdog. I say this was an orchestrated program on the part of the establishment to quietly eliminate what they saw as a growing threat. Following the Civil Rights Movement, there was a growing acceptance and grudging respect for black society throughout the nation. The men and women who had fought so courageously for their legal equality had earned that respect. Respect would, in time, have led to true equality, a condition which threatened the very underpinnings of the white political and economic power base. This had to be staved off, but it couldn’t be done openly for fear of backlash against obvious bigotry. Instead, shows like Underdog were broadcast, to mislead the youth of this “dangerous” culture and to embroil them in attitudes and acts which would counteract the respect from white society that their parents had so laboriously earned. Underdog was part of a calculated plan of ethnic libel, designed to maintain the traditional racial gap within this country by glorifying the drug lifestyle in the eyes of minority youth. It was an evil show.
There you are folks: Sociology in the Technological Age 101.
(Oh, and if you honestly believe a single word spouted by someone as stupid as I am, then shame on you!)
Thursday, March 08, 2007
I just pushed out a new program at work that I've been getting in place for over a year. Got tons of user input . . . lots of "What do you need it to do?" meetings. Tested it, showed the end users beta versions, everything I could think of. So, yesterday I do the training and overnight we deployed the program office wide. The install was flawless, the training complete, no errors at all. Everyone should be thrilled, right?
At 8:03 a.m. (Yup, I checked the time!) One of the users calls me, bitching that they can't do something with the program they always did. I look into it, point out that the process they were using was not following company standard and was problematic at best. Does this matter? Hell, no! They couldn't do what they wanted in a bizarre-ass backwards way the program was never meant to work, so: "THIS PROGRAM SUCKS!" Forget that this individual was part of the test group, had every opportunity to add ideas into the mix and never once brought this up before. Ignore the fact that the new program does 100 things faster, better, and easier than the old program. Overlook that it does EVERYTHING they asked for it to do. All that matters is thet they found something it WON'T do. Ergo: it sucks.
I swear, there are days you just wanna bang your head on the desk and scream.
Seriously, what is with people who simply hate change of any kind? I don't get that mind set. Hell, if it wasn't for change we'd all be running about in loin cloths, beating each other on the head with clubs (and trust me here: you DO NOT wanna see me running about with the bare-ass!) Is it just me? If something is better, let's use it! I'm not a fan of change for the sake of change, but damn! If it makes life better, then change is good, right? Apparently, not to some folks.
Ah well, onto other things. Last night was a bust for me. I was just feeling totally punk when I got home. I crashed on the couch after dinner and dozed in front of the toob. I was certain I was coming down with something but I felt fine when I woke up today (knock wood!) Hopefully, I'll get some work done tonight. Have I mentioned I got a few more agent rejections? Good thing is, the last two had some very nice personal notes on them. One said "Writing is great, story sounds fun, and the sample chapter is reallyentertaining, but not right for me . . ." Well, if you're gonna get jilted, it's nice to be kissed first! Still no word on the full. I'm just plugging away on the revisions, hoping that it all works out.
Remember UnderDog? Great cartoon. I blew away a co-worker today when I pointed out that UnderDog was single-handedly responsible for the rampant drug use in this county in the 60's & 70's. He looked at me like I had nine heads, until I explained why that was so. He was so shocked that he burst out laughing, but finally had to agree with me.
Anybody out there know what I'm talking about?
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Anyway, still editing "Slayer". Did some new words on "First". Last two days at work were nuts. Last night was Scouts, from the minute I got home until 10:30. Too crazy! I need booze!
Tanqueray and Tonic. Twist of lime, please . . . better make it two.
Friday, March 02, 2007
I told y'all a while back that he was applying to a special High School, with some damn tough entrance criteria. Well, he got the word yesterday: he was accepted! We were all thrilled (Mom cried, but I'm not supposed to tell you that!) I have to say I was truly impressed that he got in. This is a school that gets a few thousand applications each year and they take about 80 kids. They check your grades throughout middle school, make the kids write an essay on why they want to attend, and give an entrance examination that's just slightly less difficult than presenting a doctoral thesis.
He heard about this school back when he was in 6th grade and told us he wanted to go. We told him that was fine . . . yadda, yadda,yadda. Basically figuring it was just a passing thing and he'd forget about it in a month or two. Well, he didn't. He's been working at this goal ever since. With the expception of a few scholastic bumps in the road (Habla Espanol?) his grades have been very good, he really did a great job on the essay and (I assume) he aced the exam. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to see him set a major goal like this and acheive it. It was really important to him to go to this school and I couldn't be prouder of him for making it happen.
He deserves this. I have to say he's a damn good kid (ya know: when he's not killing his father in video games!) who tries to always do the right thing. He's always polite, caring, and gentle toward everyone but understands that freedoms need to be defended and he intends to pursue a career in the military. This school will give him a definite leg up toward his dream of attending Annapolis one day. Gotta say: I really think he can make it. He's growing up quickly and learning that you can have whatever you want, as long as you do what it takes to earn it. If that's the only life lesson he pulls out of his (torturous) years of living with his parents, I'll be more than satisfied.
Today my son made the first steps on his own chosen path to adulthood. A path he's making with his own courage and will. Look around all you want, folks . . .
You're not gonna find a prouder father on the planet than me.
(Great job, Bud!!!)
Thursday, March 01, 2007
I nervously thumbed the controller in my hand, absently wondering what had happened to the good old days of joysticks. Seventeen buttons, two paddles, four combination buttons, and a dozen other things sticking off it, that I was fairly sure might demolish the space station if I hit the wrong one, silently mocked me with inanimate smugness. Shit, maybe if I just moved one paddle and hit "A" really fast I'd be okay . . .
"Yea, I guess. Let's . . . "
"What? How the hell did that happen?" I cried, looking from the controller to the screen. My character was awash in red and laying on the ground with no skull. "No fair, I wasn't ready! Let's try again."
"Okay." He hit a quick combination of buttons and levers on his controller and I began to wonder if my son was working a second career as a safe-cracker or something, his hands moved so quickly. In moments, my character was back on screen, armed, and ready to do some serious ass-kicking!
"Ready?" The Boy asked.
"Yea, I'm good," I said, biting the inside of my lip in concentration, fingers flexing on the controller as I prepped for battle.
"Yes, let's . . ."
"Dead again, Pops!"
"What? No! What the hell? This thing is broken!" I waved the uncooperative controller in the air, letting out a string of invectives The Wife would scream over if she heard me using them in front of The Boy.
"No, it's not, but I'll switch with you if you want." He handed over the magic controller he'd been using and I knew I had him this time. His fingers flew once more and I waited only long enough for my character to appear on screen before I started flicking controls and buttons wildly. No waiting for him this time, I'd get the jump on him! Let's see how he . . .
"Three for three! You suck at this, Dad!"
"You're cheating! Let's do it again . . ."
"Damn it! Once . . ."
"Arrrgh! Stop going so . . ."
"Wait, I wasn't . . ."
"No, I . . "
"Are we done yet?" he asked, flipping another page in his book as he absently worked the accursed controller with one free hand. He yawned as I wiped sweat from my eyes, trying to catch my breath from jumping all over the room, seeking some type of position or action that would let me survive more than seven seconds.
"What? No, we're not . . ."
I threw the controller on the couch and glared at him. "I can ground you, you know!" I said.
"Yea, but if you did you'd have to tell Mom why."
I grumbled something not repeatable in polite society under my breath and stormed up the stairs. The Wife sat on the couch, flipping through channels on the idiot box. "How'd the game go?" she asked.
"I had to teach the boy a lesson about working it old school, " I told her with a wink. "Showed him that he shouldn't try messing with the Old Man!"
"He died thirty-seven times!" The Boy's voice wafted soflty up the stairs and I growled. The Wife smiled, not taking her eyes off the TV.
"You suck," she said.
"I hate both of you, you know!" I yelled as I stomped into my office and played solitaire on my laptop.
I lost, of course.