Sunday, October 31, 2010

ZomBcon I Seattle Halloween Weekend - Going next year too!

I'm now calling this, "ZomBcon I".
Because, I know there will be a ZomBcon II next year.

Things went very well. Here are a couple of shots from a less crowded moment but there were times when it was pleasantly, pretty crowded.
Viewer Army on G4 at ZomBcon
We went to ZomBcon this weekend. First ever in Seattle. I can't speak to the numbers of attendees as I don't have those numbers. But those in the know said, they are now expecting another ZomBcon, next year. We didn't get to any of the seminars, lectures and such that were going on around the various convention halls, and other locations (see, ZomBcon web site). We just stayed in the main arena.

We parked in the parking garage across the street from the Opera House, which the con was next to and below. We ate at Thai Heaven, directly on the north side of the garage, incredible food.

We first parked on the street on the west side of the Seattle Center, thinking we'd get our bearings, come bac and move the car, which is what happened. We wondered through the convention halls (outside through them, not inside) and ended at the Key Arena, where SOME thing was going on, but there were NO signs indicating what. Like it was a secret. Once we found it was the "Women of Faith Conference", well, I realized there were only women there, and most of them were looking at us.

I start to feel very out of place. We weren't all zombie'd out but, I suspect we cut a look rather less than desired at this event. Actually, it was more because of our having mentioned we were looking for ZomBcon. On the other hand, these were such ambiguous looks that we were getting, that it could have been more of a "want to get a drink with me after the 'come to Fath' meeting, later?". Either way we beat a quick retreat, found the con, asked about where to park, went back, moved the car, took the skybridge over the traffic and directly down into the bowels of ZomBcon.

I think had my satchel checked. We went in, got wristbanded and hit the freebie table. One of us grabbed up magic cards by the box, that they were giving out and checked out the other free flyers and such. A few handouts were there for many writers' works and other odds and ends as I'll talk about later.

First I'll mention my friends and the anthology I am in with Cal, Alan, paranormal romance author TL Mitchell and others in The Undead Nation Anthology:

Then there was Cal's (a hugely fun book) The Zombie's Survival Guide:

Cal with his "Het Maddem" book and George Romero (pretty sweet, right?):

And Alan's (I bought one) "Voyeur Dead":

I've never been much of one for wanting to sign my work, but I do love getting signed editions myself from other authors, so after a while, I was feeling how fun it might be to have my own book out there and ready to go. But I'll have to wait till the publisher gets done doing whatever voodoo they do, so we can get out there with it.

Once we got through the door, everyone was very friendly and having a very good time. This was about 11AM Saturday. The trip over required a ferry which we got to just in time and nearly drove right on. The trip back was the same, where we timed it (accidentally) nearly perfectly. The good time and the great service and excellent food at the Thai Heaven restaurant (352 Roy St). I had the Larb salad (Thai Salad) which I couldn't get enough of. It was messy to eat, wrapping the chicken and veggies in a leaf off the quarter cut of cabbage, but it was worth it. We ended the day not only feeling it was almost perfect, but exhausted, with happy smiles all around.
Taj Jackson, the Brazilian Sco triplets and the CodeZ table
As we entered the main floor, the first thing we couldn't miss was the CodeZ table with the Brazilian Sco triplets from Brazil. You make up your mind, but they were just so... pleasant. Beautiful, goes without saying (seem below). And they were being interviewed on camera. I wasn't surprised. There was an HDTV running a disc showing a looped promo of their show, CodeZ. With them, was Taj  Jackson, their director and producer who is Michael Jackson's nephew. Taj, is son of Tito Jackson (member of the highly acclaimed "Jackson 5") and  Dee Dee Jackson. More about CodeZ later. Taj was very cool. I hope he makes it, I don't see how he cannot.

Inside were plenty of Zombie types in makeup (hopefully) and many sellers at tables of all things Zombie. Books, both comic and prose, gadgets, swords, graphics, prosthetics, food (Zombie Flesh), drink (Zombie Blast, at a store near you soon....). Right of stage, was George Romero, signing and talking. Here's a shot of him with an anonymous attendee:
Left of stage was Ted Raimi, actor brother of the famous director, Sam Raimi (Evil Dead series, Spiderman, need I go on?).
As a young boy, Ted Raimi had Bruce Campbell as a babysitter. Thus, his life was meant to be entangled with Zombies. Raimi started out acting as an extra in his brother Sam’s films, including The Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, Darkman, and the Spider-Man series.

Further around on the left, the Legendary and notorious Malcolm McDowell.
Behind Malcolm McDowell, you can almost see the Zombie Tools table with some very cool and extremely functional swords, machetes and knives, ranging not inexpensively from $150-$450, but built for the zombie kill environment and made to last.
Zombie Tools table:

Between them, the notorious and legendary, sub-culture favorite, Bruce Campbell (most recently of USA channel's "Burn Notice" fame as Sam, the all the time womanizer and hip, and sometimes Savvy, Saturated ex-Navy SEAL). Each took the stage for interview or general mayhem among other speakers. Here's a bad shot (more better coming soon):

Another shot:

A better shot, Bruce holding a Zombie Tools machete:

Malcolm McDowell got on stage for a little while and talked. I didn't feel he needed to say much though, as simply being in the room with him was a great pleasure. Then George Romero (photos coming soon) sat on stage to be interviewed for a while which was again like having Malcolm on stage, another icon of cinema.
Finally, and most entertaining of the "big three", was Bruce (more photos coming soon) Campbell. Bruce entertained for about an hour, remaining in true "Ash" (from Evil Dead franchise) form, brash and slightly rude, but funny as hell. He came on stage as the guy from Zombie Tools was about to come of stage, sharing about his company's products, Zombie killing devices. Bruce was pulling people out of the audience and making them work for his comedy. It was really too funny at times and people both on stage and off were having a great time.
He explained how to make good and professional stage blood (Karo syrup, red food coloring, a touch of blue food coloring and most importantly and typically forgotten, a whitener such as Coffee-mate for opacity). Bruce pointed out how zombies are actually dead and one cannot kill them, as they are, well, dead.
When asked which movie he regretted making or disliked the most, he answered that he liked all the movies he was in as he got paid for them and since we pay to see the movies, that complaint is for us to make.

One kid, sent up by his parent's and wearing a Boba Fett set of pajamas, asked, "When are you going to do "Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash" which broke everyone up. Bruce said that was a bad idea and a loosing concept. Then (jokingly) he said they actually got a call from the studios about just that topic and when his people said:

"That's a GREAT idea. How will we go about having Ash kill both Jason and Freddy? Hello? Hello?" which pretty much summed it up. You can't have a franchise hero be killed by another franchise hero (Aliens and Predators, notwithstanding). Then someone showed him a comic book of just that topic "Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash". Bruce said, that indeed he did know about that comic, but it was never going to happen on the big screen.

Bruce was very happy someone asked about his work on "Burn Notice", as he put it "I'm so glad someone mentioned Burn Notice, the number one show on cable television!"

Later, we got to see a very informative and entertaining talk by Sean “The Butcher” Smithson – Fangoria Writer, Horror Film Historian and Thom Carnell – Writer, Fangoria Magazine who read the first chapter from his book. Check out his Halloween Top 10 Third World Cannibal Films over at Dread Central. Here s Thom reading from his book.

I had to buy his book, so of course, I got a signed copy of "No Flesh Shall Be Spared". I'm looking forward to reading it. Partially because Thom said he addresses such things as how you can't shove a stick through a zombie's head, but you can break the sinoid bone in the middle of his head and it sounded like it would be an accurate and lucid and therefore, more fun read (albeit in a kind of slightly sort of darker sense, if you will). I bought a copy, and I have high hopes for it being a great read.

Thom and Sean talked about the entire Horror genre, and Zombies in particular. I would sum up what the said as this, if you want more of this, support it. If you want to stop watching the horror movies that are geared toward thirteen year old girls, which is what the theater exit polls indicate who is paying for these films, then you have to go to the theaters.

Pay, go to see movies you like. Ask for your money back if its a bad film. The money the films make, speaks volumes and studio execs listen to those numbers. If you are going to illegally download a movie like Spiderman, or Iron Man, okay, well, you shouldn't do that; but certainly do NOT download, and therefore not pay for, the smaller movies you love, because movies like that, won't get made, if they don't see that they make money. Get it? Besides, James Cameron isn't going to go hungry at dinner, but some of these people making these low budget films, just may. Be careful whose hands you are taking money from.

They went on to say, if you are into this, then get a notebook, keep notes of what people say are good movies, because there is a lot of bad schlock out there, but there is also some very low budget but good films too.

We also talked with Zombie Research at their table for a while.
Fun people and interesting background.

ZomBcon International has teamed up with the Zombie Research Society to bring you some of the biggest names to discuss the culture from infection sources, survival to Zombie brain function by the nation’s greatest zombie experts minds discuss the culture at the ZRS panels this year.

I had to get this print from the artist for my daughter who had to work and couldn't make Seattle's ZomBcon I. Maybe next year.
It seems I didn't get a photo of the Zombie Flesh stand, brand or product, but here is one for Zombie Blast.
 

CodeZ

On the way out (we came in and left several times, one for some lunch), we stopped our last time and visited with the Brazilian Sco triplets and Taj. I can't sum him up better than this from - Siane Hollan on "Squidoo:

"Upon the untimely passing of his Uncle Michael, Taj proceeded to make good on his directing promise to his uncle and is currently directing the action-packed, zombie series entitled, "Code Z". Taj Jackson is a highly gifted, conscientious, humble, and multi-talented artist. The stratosphere isn't even the limit for this up and coming director. His compelling and dynamic artistry is conjuring up a whole new brand of Jackson magic on the world's stage, that's center stage, of course!"

That being said and now having met Taj, I believe what Siane says about him. We talked with him for quite a while. He has a vision and an energy. I believe he is going places and if this is what he's chosen, we will be seeing more of it. He is very pleasant and energetic to talk to, and just as likable as the triplets of CodeZ:  Thaísa, Thainá and Thayana Sco. They were born in the capital of Brazil, Brazilia.They are just a congenial as they are beautiful. Every time we walked passed them, they were either still being interviewed, or interviewed again by another camera team and interviewer.

These Brazilian triplets have been entertainers (acting, dancing and singing) since a very young age. The three of them are best known as T-Rio, an internationally renown, multi-platinum album selling music group. Hailing from Brasilia, Brazil, T-Rio began performing together at the age of three, and have also refined their craft in Paris. So cute....
I will certainly watch for their career rise to stardom (Think, Buffy the vampire Killer times three).

One of the cool things about what I was seeing, were all this grassroots efforts. People creating something from nothing, a freshness (ironic at Zombie Con, right?), an energy of new things happening. And perhaps, what with AMCs The Walking Dead, premiering tonight, maybe they are. There were many great artists (even a tattoo artist), authors, film makers, etc., that I cannot get to here, but they were there and they worth checking out.

Overall and in the end the one questions are (as always), was it worth the time and will you go again?

Absolutely! We had a great time! I will be going next year for sure as it will be bigger, and better and continue its rise on the full moon of Halloween and of the ever rising undead.

See also, Seattle Met Mag

Did Zach Galifianakis really smoke pot on Bill Maher's Real Time show?

Yes. He did.

See the Huffington Post article of Zach Galifianakis smoking pot on TV.
Do feel free to watch the video, its pretty hilarious, actually.

I noticed that I was only seeing pro pot people talking about it online. One guy said that another guest at the other end of the panel had asked for the smoking pot stick, but got ignored. Would there have been two smoking on TV?

Zach said he was merely trying to show people (who didn't know any better) that smoking the substance would not lead to errant (or dangerous) behavior and that he could indeed contain himself and act as a normal (comedienne normal?) Human being.Which, of course, he succeeded in doing.

Nothing has come of it. But since the airwaves and cable lines are governed by the FCC, that makes it a federal consideration and the Marijuana laws are federal prohibiting it; so, will there be repercussions on Monday or some time this week?

Time will tell. Best of luck to Zach though.

ZomBcon in Seattle this Halloween Weekend - Go

We went to ZomBcon yesterday, it is still on today. Go. We had a blast. Today is the last day, but run down there.

Don't believe the PI's article in Seattle surviving old newspaper. It says ZomBcon starts tomorrow, when it ends today!

I'm putting together a blog about what happened yesterday, but I wanted to mention it today if anyone local reads this. This is the first annual con for this. It did so well they expect another next year. If you go this weekend, you'll have been at the first ever of something that could potentially be the next big thing.

Tonight, AMC's 90 minute premiering show was said to be, by Thom Carnell of Fangoria (and his new book, "No Flesh Shall Be Spared" and others), that "The Walking Dead", not only changes Zombieness once it airs, but possibly even TV shows in general.

Bruce Campbell was too funny and entertaining (and educational too, kids). But Being in the room with Malcom McDowell, George Romero (The Godfather of Zombies), and others was kind of awesome, I have to say.

Anyway, more later....

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekend Wise Words

"Art arises from the interaction of the mind and the heart." - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi


"To shrink from challenges, is to shrink one's soul." - Murdock

[And yes, I quoted myself, just thought it was a good quote.]


Friday, October 29, 2010

The Founding Fathers

You know, it takes a strength of character to be in this universe on your own (sans deity). And a special intelligence to believe in reality.

Research has proved that to believe in an entity outside of yourself, can help you achieve things far beyond what you would have done without believing in that "outside force".

But this could also be your cat, your Father, or a rock, for that matter. It doesn't have to be God, not at all.

So, if you're into magical thinking, organized (or unorganized) religion, essentially, and I've met Wiccans more grounded in reality than most Christians, Muslims, even Buddhists, though Buddha's view of life mostly (not completely) makes more functional sense than the rest) etc.; well that's fine with me.

Understand what "magical thinking" means. People first and foremost always take it to be a negative connotation, as people tend to do with most words associated with a lot of baggage. But really it only refers to belief in something that is not considered "real" by the physical sciences.

Magical Thinking (in psychology) a belief that merely thinking about an event in the external world can cause it to occur. It is regarded as a form of regression to an early phase of development. It may be part of ideas of reference, considered normal in those instances, or may reach delusional proportions when the individual maintains a firm conviction about the belief, despite evidence to the contrary. It may be seen in schizophrenia. [and religion]
Dorland's Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers. © 2007

Psychology
Dereitic thinking, similar to a normal stage of childhood development, in which thoughts, words or actions assume a magical power, and are able to prevent or cause events to happen without a physical action occurring; a conviction that thinking equates with doing, accompanied by an unrealistic understanding of cause and effect. Examples: Dreams in children, in primitive peoples, and in Pts under various conditions.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002

dereism a mode of thinking directed away from reality and toward fantasy without cognizance of ordinary rules of logic.
Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008

But not really. I mean, it takes all kinds to make a world go around. But the world would be a better place if we had fewer people looking down on those, not of their religion. So, those who would eliminate the thoughts of a deity could actually get some work done, could help some people on our own, and allow us to view life as we need to. But those types are too few and far between.

We need too much emotional support to be functional. Why? Well, we could look at childhood, the damage done there by our parents, our authorities in our proximity and just life in general; which would also have to include, our genetics.

The Founding Fathers of the USofA, thought that religion was a sad way for people to act, and especially so regarding governing of a State. Its why so many of them were FreeMasons. FreeMasons are a group that try to better themselves, to function better in society, without overbearing considerations to a God. But even they cannot go so far, as you have to believe in some kind of deity , a "Great Archetect", as it were.

So, if you can see beyond deity worship, then ...cool.

And as for the Founding Fathers, please don't say, "but these were people who left England because of religious persecution".

No. They weren't.

Remember, these leaders, who we revere so much, who founded the US, were actually all born in America, for the most part, anyway. They didn't flee England to escape religious persecution. You're thinking of the Puritans, or the Quakers, or something. And, have you ever tried to deal with Puritans? Its little wonder they were pushed from their own homelands.

But, the Founding Fathers were able to see beyond religion, to a better way to live. They couldn't eliminate Church, so they did the next best thing. And, funny it is, how that has turned out to be the world's "Great Experiment".

Ironic now, how we have become a "Christian nation", which Obama recently has said, we no longer are, being also now, Islamic, Buddhist, and many others, both, reasonable and insane.

Catch up.

Is this a bad thing, to no longer be, a "Christian Nation"? Absolutely not. We may no longer be the "Melting Pot" of the World, and are more of a "Mixed Salad" now. But it will only take us back to our roots. It won't be long that Spanish will be more widely spoken in America than English. Still, then we will be right back to the religious issue, as most Latino's are Christian, if not Catholic.

So, how do you manage a situation like that? Separation, of Church and State.

Invictus - Springbokke

I just watched Invictus. A Great, inspiring film.

It did however, get me curious.

How perfect was it that South Africa won a World Cup, JUST when they needed to. And I agree, they really needed to win that year, it was necessary to help cleanse their national palate of Apartheid.

I met a lad from South Africa in about 1994. He was a groom for his horse trainer at the farm I as living at with my soon to be wife. We had him up for a barbeque. He accepted and hung out, had a beer, while he waited for a girl to show who he had just met somewhere locally after he arrived at Auburn Washington. When she arrived, she looked like a model, beautiful. He was not that different looking than Matt Damon in Invictus, strongly built, lightly colored hair and very good looking. He was quite pleasant, until I asked him about the troubles going on in South Africa. He got pretty heated about it.

I said, well, the news, I see all over the TV that there is civil unrest, people are having all kinds of problems it seems. He said that when he was in South Africa, he was a little afraid to come to the US because it was all about problems, murders, crime, etc. But once he got here, he saw none of that. Then he admitted that he too saw problems about back home and he called his mother. They owned a farm and were out of the city. He asked her what the heck was going on. Her response was there was nothing going on; what was he talking about. The media. I guess that's what it was all about. He left with his date and I never saw him again. But considering how South African whites have been portrayed (think Lethal Weapon II), I had a nice impression of South African whites, having never met any South African before.

But how does one do that? Assure that you will win what your nation needs to win? The following is a quote from Wikipedia that I think, may spell out what happened. Normally, I would say, if this was how they assured a victory, that this was horrible. But on this occasion, I think, it may have been necessary. And I think the world needed South Africa to get their act together on the world stage, so this may have been a good thing, no matter how they won. That being said, they are currently the holders of the World Cup, so, maybe the food poisoning, was a mere coincidence. And maybe, they would have won anyway. But, it was a close match regardless.

---

South Africa national rugby union team - Springboks

Paul Roos, Springbok captain, of the first South African touring rugby team to the British Isles in 1906 The 1906 Springboks team.

Paul Roos was the captain of the first South African team to tour the British Isles and France. The team was largely dominated by players from Western Province, and took place over 1906–07.

1990s

From 1990 to 1991 the legal apparatus of apartheid was abolished, and the Springboks were readmitted to international rugby in 1992. They struggled to return to their pre-isolation standards, and in their first games after readmission the Springboks were defeated 27–24 by New Zealand on 15 August 1992 and also suffered a 26–3 loss to Australia the following month. Ian McIntosh was sacked as national coach following a series defeat to the All Blacks in New Zealand in mid-1994. In October of that year, Kitch Christie accepted an offer to take over from McIntosh.

South Africa was selected to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and there was a remarkable surge of support for the Springboks among the white and black communities in the lead-up to the tournament. This was the first major event to be held in what Archbishop Desmond Tutu had dubbed "the Rainbow Nation." South Africans got behind the 'one team, one country' slogan.

By the time they hosted the 1995 World Cup, the Springboks were seeded ninth. They defeated Australia, Romania, Canada, Western Samoa and France to play in the final.

South Africa narrowly won the epic 1995 Rugby World Cup Final 15–12 against traditional rivals the All Blacks, who later claimed that players were suffering from severe food poisoning prior to the match. A drop goal by Joel Stransky secured victory in extra-time.

Wearing a Springbok shirt, Nelson Mandela presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, a white Afrikaner. The gesture was widely seen as a major step towards the reconciliation of white and black South Africans.

Mandela's enthusiasm and support for the Springboks is portrayed in the 2009 film Invictus. SARFU President Louis Luyt caused controversy at the post-match dinner by declaring that the Springboks would have won the previous two World Cups if they had been allowed to compete.

The day after the World Cup victory, the Xhosa word for Springbok, Amabokoboko! appeared as the headline of The Sowetan's sports page.

----

All that being said:

William Ernest Henley. 1849–1903
Invictus
OUT of the night that covers me,
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
  For my unconquerable soul.
  
In the fell clutch of circumstance         5
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.
  
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
  Looms but the Horror of the shade,  10
And yet the menace of the years
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
  
It matters not how strait the gate,
  How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:  15
  I am the captain of my soul.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Art - The Barnes Foundation

Now, I am not an artist. Though I like to think of myself as one, as a writer. I wish I could be a painter, but I don't have the patience. I'd like to think that at some point, I would be considered an artist in at least some of my writings, some day, before I die. But a true artist, or "Artiste" as I like to say, takes a genius amount of talent, effort, skill and something almost (or truly) spiritual in its creations.

If you consider yourself an artist, if you are an American, or not, but especially so, if you are, then you really should know about The Barnes Foundation collection of art, located in Merion, Pennsylvania.

From the home page of The Barnes Foundation:

"The Barnes Foundation houses one of the finest collections of nineteenth and twentieth-century French painting in the world. An extraordinary number of masterpieces by Renoir, Cézanne and Matisse provide a depth of work by these artists unavailable elsewhere. Established as an educational institution the Barnes carries out its mission teaching classes in its galleries and Arboretum. The Barnes welcomes visitors and students throughout the year."

Alfred Barnes was a Doctor who invented a replacement to the Silver nitrate eye drops for newborns they used to put in every baby's eyes to save them from venereal disease. He made a fortune with it. A friend then turned him on to art and the rest, dear friends, is history. And an incredible history it is.

From Dr. Barnes's Last Will and Testament (as distinct from the Barnes Foundation's Indenture of Trust) was limited to:
  • reiterating that the Collection was given to the Foundation prior to his death;
  • bequeathing the real property (i.e., land and buildings) in Merion, as well as Dr. Barnes's country property known as Ker-Feal to the Foundation (with express directions that Ker-Feal be used as a "living museum" in perpetuity by the Foundation); and
  • giving the residue of his estate to his wife Laura.

Dr. Barnes pretty much hated "Society", the rich and the politicians who see art as some commodity. To get a feel for how Dr. Barnes saw things, he had said:

  • "Philadelphia is a depressing intellectual slum."
  • "The main function of the museum has been to serve as a pedestal upon which a clique of socialites pose as patrons of the arts."
  • "The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a house of artistic and intellectual prostitution."

When he first opened his art up to viewing, the professional art critics slammed him into the ground. Almost viciously. After that, if he got a letter saying, "I'm an art critic for a NY newspaper, I'd like to come see the art." He would write back, "No", and have his dog, Fidele, sign it. But if someone wrote saying, "I'm a plumber and I would like to come see the art." He would say, "Yes."

When asked how much the collection is worth, a custodian of the collection couldn't even put a price on it. In looking at art (Cézanne's, Van Gogh, Matisse's) at Sotherby's, this custodian just dismissed most of the pieces as not worthy to be in the Foundation's collection.

Henri Matisse, said that, "The Barnes Foundation is the only sane place to see art in America."

If you ever feel like traveling to see art, go see the Barnes Collection. The number and quality of the pieces, even compared to the Louvre, or the NY Metropolitan Museum of the Arts, or any others, cannot in may ways, compare.

If you want to know more about The Barnes Foundation collection, see The Art of the Steal, a very interesting documentary. See also, Article

Who coined the word, "Robot"?

Karel Čapek, a Czech writer coined the term "robot", or rather made it popular. 

"He introduced and made popular the frequently used international word robot, which first appeared in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) in 1920. The true inventor of the term robot was Karel's brother Josef Čapek"

"The word robot comes from the word robota meaning "drudgery", "work of a villein" in literary Czech and "work", "labor" in literary Slovak. While Karel Čapek is frequently acknowledged as the originator of the word, he wrote a short letter in reference to the Oxford English Dictionary etymology in which he named his brother, painter and writer Josef Čapek as its true inventor."

"In an article in the Czech Lidové noviny in 1930, he also explains that he originally wanted to call the creature dělňas (a substantive derived from the Czech verb "dělat"- to work, to do). However, Jozef did not like this word and advised Karel, who was writing the play R.U.R. in Trenčianske Teplice in Slovakia, to inspire himself by the local language, in which "work" is expressed by the word robota, also known in the Czech language. The origin of both the Czech and the Slovak word is the Old Ch
urch Slavonic rabota "servitude", which in turn comes from the Indo-European root *orbh"

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=1006051228302

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Canada formally declares bisphenol A as toxic

OTTAWA — The government of Canada formally declared bisphenol A, a chemical widely used to create clear, hard plastics, as well as food can liners, to be a toxic substance on 10/20/2010.
 
The compound, commonly known as BPA, has been shown to disrupt the hormone systems of animals and is under review in the United States and Europe.
Canada’s move, which was strenuously fought by the chemical industry, followed an announcement by the government two years ago that it would eliminate the compound’s use in polycarbonate bottles used by infants and children.
The compound was formally listed as being toxic to both the environment and human health in an official notice published online by the government without fanfare, a noticeable contrast to the earlier baby bottle announcement, which was made by two cabinet ministers.

Ever create a universe?

Creating life.

My son has been trying to create life in our kitchen. Some metal rods, water, container, electricity, aluminum and saran wrap (hey, I don't know).

He ran it all together and came up with many bubbles. In a few hours, there was some kind of goop. It looked similar to the description given of what two scientists found in the 50s when they did something similar and created the basic building blocks of life on Earth, enzymes.

So we joked that maybe he had created life. or a Universe. But I had to pose the question, so if that makes you their "God", what does that make me? I mean, I pay the electricity here, you used things from my house to create this, "life".

Then it got us to thinking, how WAS our universe created? Was there a guy in a room in a house, and he created this universe? Sitting there partying with his friends, did he say, "Hey, check this out." And poof, our universe appeared?

And so if "God" created all things (in this universe, remember when life was less complicated and you just said, "God created all things, everywhere", but now "He" is limited?); what does that make his Dad? You could say, in the Catholic way, that "God" and His, Dad, are part of the Holy Trinity, the mysteries of God (etc., etc.,).

But what about "God's" "Dad's" "Dad", and His "Dad", and so on, and so on (and they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and....).

Anyway, it makes one a little crazy to consider all this.

But still and again...what if?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who was, Dalton Trumbo?

I first heard of Dalton Trumbo in my first Cinema class in college. He has since become one of my heroes as a writer. We had to see some very cool films. "Network" (1976 by Paddy Chayefsky). "Zardoz" (1974). "Breaker Morant" (1980). All great films. One, was especially, special: "Johnny Got His Gun" (I haven't seen this newer, 2008 version, I saw the 1971 version with Timothy Bottoms, see below). A staunch anti war film. Written many, many years before the movie was able to be made in 1938, published in 1939. Its a startling film. I can understand why it wasn't able to be produced until the 70s.

My teacher spoke of great reverence for Dalton Trumbo and my own only grew over the years.

Dalton Trumbo, was a great man. He was a great writer. He stood up to the mentally unbalanced social bastard, Senator Eugene McCarthy, during the Communist witch trials of the 1950s. Dalton wrote so many stories.

One of my favorite movies that he wrote, was "Johnny Got His Gun" (1971). It was a story that points out many things about war and about how we can forget, or even may want to forget, our disabled vets; and yet, so much more.

Dalton Trumbo's 1970 speech to the Screen Writers Guild for his Laurel Award

"The blacklist was a time of evil, and that no one on either side who survived it came through untouched by evil. Caught in a situation that had passed beyond the control of mere individuals, each person reacted as his nature, his needs, his convictions, and his particular circumstances compelled him to. There was bad faith and good, honesty and dishonesty, courage and cowardice, selflessness and opportunism, wisdom and stupidity, good and bad on both sides.

"When you who are in your forties or younger look back with curiosity on that dark time, as I think occasionally you should, it will do no good to search for villains or heroes or saints or devils because there were none; there were only victims. Some suffered less than others, some grew and some diminished, but in the final tally we were all victims because almost without exception each of us felt compelled to say things he did not want to say, to do things that he did not want to do, to deliver and receive wounds he truly did not want to exchange. That is why none of us - right, left, or center - emerged from that long nightmare without sin."

If you want to know more, check out the documentary on him, "Trumbo".

The "Star Wackers" have to be stopped! - Randy Quaid and wife in Canada

Sunday, Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi, were arrested in Canada on warrants in the US. But when they asked for asylum saying their lives were at risk, Canadian authorities released them until a hearing later in the week. Randy is brother actor to Dennis Quaid.

A statement was released, written by the Quaid's stating: "Yes, we are requesting asylum from Hollywood 'star whackers'." At Friday's immigration hearing, Evi Quaid alleged that a number of her husband's actor friends - among them Heath Ledger and David Carradine - had been killed in recent years.

"Randy has known eight close friends murdered in odd, strange manners," she said in what the Reuters news agency called a "rambling" presentation. "We feel that we're next."

Granted, I had thought it odd how Heath died, and David had questionable circumstance surrounding the situation of his demise in Thailand. In hearing this, I had to stop and think about it. Who, would want to kill Heath, David and Randy? Were there others? And why such a declining scope.

Heath was a big star. David was on the road to a reinvention of his career since the Kill Bill movies. Randy wasn't even that big a star, though he has had some interesting roles in such block buster movies as "Independence Day". Are there a group of "Star Wackers" running rampant in Hollywood? And would running off to Canada save the Quaids? If they need to hide, why the recent big noise in Santa Barbera that they made moving back into a house they sold years ago, as well as doing thousands of dollars of damage to it?

I had to pause on this. And then decided that no, what we likely have here is a couple that is in some kind of shared delusion. Besides, how could there be such a curious conspiracy as a "Star Wacker" group? It just tends not to happen.

Aside from their ramblings at the Canadian hearing we have the note they wrote, that indicates another kind of rambling. They denied having a drug or alcohol problem, but those with a drug or alcohol problem, seldom share the information or possibly even believe it to be the case.

Here is the BBC article.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why do people turn to Islamic terrorism?

People are searching for meaning in their lives. Why do they turn to terrorism? Suicide? Obviously, life is holding little meaning for them. They are searching for some Meaning in Life.

Albert Camus said, You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."

There is a song from the 80s on the soundtrack for the movie, "Repo Man". Its by the Punk Rock group, Suicidal Tendencies, the song is called: "Institutionalized" (1983). These lyrics have a good point and were never more relevant than now. Especially pay attention to the very last line in the song, because it is most relevant to these current kids, who are joiners, who want to be good, to do good, to seek adventure, stop feeling empty, but who are feeling empty (see also, emptiness and the avoidance of unbearable pain. See, Profound States of Despair: A Developmental and Systems Approach to Treating Emptiness):


"Institutionalized"

Sometimes I try to do things and it just doesn't work out the way I wanted to.
I get real frustrated and I try hard to do it and I take my time and it doesn't work out the way I wanted to.
It's like I concentrate real hard and it doesn't work out.
Everything I do and everything I try never turns out.
It's like I need time to figure these things out.
But there's always someone there going.

Hey Mike:
You know we've been noticing you've been having a lot of problems lately.
You know, maybe you should get away and maybe you should talk about it, maybe you'll feel a lot better

And I'm all like:
Oh nah it's ok you know I'll figure it out, just leave me alone I'll figure it out.
You know I'm just working on it by myself.

And they go:
Well you know if you want to talk about it I'll be here you know and you'll probably feel a lot better if you talk about it. So why don't you talk about it?

And I go:
No I don't want to I'm okay, I'll figure it out myself.
But they just keep bugging me and they just keep bugging me, and it builds up inside.

So you're gonna be institutionalized
You'll come out brainwashed with bloodshot eyes
You won't have anything to say
They'll brainwash you until you see their way.

I'm not crazy - Institutionalized
You're the one that's crazy - Institutionalized
You're driving me crazy - Institutionalized
They stuck me in an institution,
Said it was the only solution,
to give me the needed professional help,
to protect me from the enemy - Myself

I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall thinking about everything.
But then again I was thinking about nothing
And then my mom came in and I didn't even know she was there.
She called my name and I didn't hear her and then she started screaming: MIKE! MIKE!
And I go:
What, what's the matter?
She goes:
What's the matter with you?
I go:
There's nothing wrong mom.
She's all:
Don't tell me that, you're on drugs!
I go:
No mom I'm not on drugs I'm okay, I was just thinking you know, why don't you get me a Pepsi.
She goes:
NO you're on drugs!
I go:
Mom I'm okay, I'm just thinking.
She goes:
No you're not thinking, you're on drugs! Normal people don't be acting that way!
I go:
Mom just get me a Pepsi, please
All I want is a Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me
All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me.
Just a Pepsi.

They give you a white shirt with long sleeves
Tied around you're back, you're treated like thieves
Drug you up because they're lazy
It's too much work to help a crazy

I'm not crazy - Institutionalized
You're the one who's crazy - Institutionalized
You're driving me crazy - Institutionalized
They stuck me in an institution,
Said it was the only solution,
to give me the needed professional help,
to protect me from the enemy - Myself

I was sitting in my room when my mom and my dad came in and they pulled up a chair and they sat down.
They go:
Mike, we need to talk to you.
And I go:
Okay what's the matter?
They go:
Me and your mom have been noticing lately that you've been having a lot of problems,
And you've been going off for no reason and we're afraid you're going to hurt somebody,
And we're afraid you're going to hurt yourself.
So we decided that it would be in you're best interest if we put you somewhere
Where you could get the help that you need.
And I go:
Wait, what are you talking about, WE decided!?
MY best interests?! How do you know what MY best interest is?
How can you say what MY best interest is? What are you trying to say, I'M crazy?
When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches,
I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities?! So how can you say I'M crazy?

They say they're gonna fix my brain
Alleviate my suffering and my pain
But by the time they fix my head
Mentally I'll be dead

I'm not crazy - Institutionalized
You're the one who's crazy - Institutionalized
You're driving me crazy - Institutionalized
They stuck me in an institution,
Said it was the only solution,
to give me the needed professional help,
to protect me from the enemy - Myself

Doesn't matter, I'll probably get hit by a car anyways.

[end of lyrics]

People might argue that, "Well, many other kids do okay with this form of things", and they would be right, to a degree. But just because its sort of functional, doesn't mean it shouldn't be revamped. It doesn't mean, its not dysfunctional. And it doesn't mean, it won't create the disaffected. Those searching for meaning, even if it doesn't exist. Those two things, can make one crazy; especially, a youth searching for an answer and worse when no answer is forthcoming,

Perhaps, Walt Kelly in his Pogo comic strip, was right, when he first said
"We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us"
on a poster for Earth Day in 1970.

Perhaps, we HAVE met the enemy, and it really is US.

Bill Maher's Real Time closing monologue - ep.194 October 22nd 2010

... if I were you, I'd really want her [Christine O'Donnel] to stop saying, "she is you" [in her ad].

86% of Tea Partiers think climate change is a hoax. That's not you.

Tea Partiers want to repeal the healthcare law. But two-thirds of Americans either like it or want it to go further. 59% of Americans support Gay marriage and civil unions.

The Tea Partiers support traditional gender roles, where men are in charge, like Glen Beck.
[laughter]
And women are soft and emotionally fragile, with spooky mood swings, like Glen Beck.
[big laughter and applause]

Six in ten Americans think illegal Mexicans should have a path to citizenship and be allowed to stay here. And the other four in ten ARE illegal Mexicans.
[laughter]

Now, I know that you Tea Baggers at home are already blogging, "if Americans are like you Bill, then how come the Republicans are going to take over the Congress?"

Well, first of all, thank you for watching.
[laughter]
I know there's wrestling on another channel.
[big laughter]

And second, to answer your question, the Democrats will lose because, "A", they don't brag about their achievements.
[light applause]
And "B", they never get it, that these days you have to sum up your message in one succint phrase, like:

"We'll cut your taxes."
Or, "Here's a photo of my penis."
[laughter]

Which brings me to the one succint phrase that could keep the Democrats in power in 2012.

"We will legalize Pot."
[thunderous applause and cheering]

Wait, I'm not saying this just to get cheap applause. Although, I have achieved that goal. [laughter] I'm saying it because reliable surveys tell us that there's only one thing that will rouse our precious youth to the voting booth; the way "Jackass in 3D" got them out to the theaters.
[laughter]

And that's, Pot. It's the unwritten second half of Obama's slogan: "Yes we can... get high at the mall." [laughter]

Now, in the legalization of marijuana, the Democrats finally could have something they have always wanted. A "wedge issue".

Remember "wedge issues"? Things like Gay marriage, and Prayer in school, and other bullshit that Republicans used for years to get hillbillies to the poll.
[light applause]

That's how Bush got elected in 2004.
[applause]

You know this. Its the facts.
[applause]

Carl Rove put Gay marriage on the ballot in eleven key states knowing that all the Christian shit kickers would come out against boys kissing and stick around to pull the level for "Buggles the clown" [Bush].
[laughter]

Now Nationwide, young people eighteen to twenty-nine, are expected to make up just 6% of those voting in the mid-terms. Six percent? I've seen more young people than that at Larry King's Canasta parties.
[laughter]
I actually have.
[laughter]

But here in California, where the "weed" legalizing proposition 19 is on the ballot, the kids are expected to make up 12% of the voters. Still pathetic, but to go from 6% to 12%? That's...well, I'm a little stoned right now but a lot.
[laughter]

All right, that's our show....
[big applause and laughter]

From Real Time with Bill Maher (episode 194)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend Wise Words

To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.
Buddha

There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable, and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.
Mark Twain

The wise ones fashioned speech with their thought, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve.
Buddha

Don't wait for the Last Judgment. It happens every day.
Albert Camus

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gays in the military

Before I go on, I just wrote a really great blog on this topic. It was one of those articles that you write, then sit back and go, "Damn, I just wrote a really good blog." Then I clicked, "save", and it blew up on me. Its gone, except for the first few lines. Well, with that said, I'm going to try to rewrite it now, but please forgive this rehash. I'll try to make it readable:

I just heard a US General stating that "I can tell you that an overwhelming majority, would like not to be, in a room with a person who is openly homosexual."

Really? Seriously.

What a baby. I mean really. This, is our American Fighting Force? Afraid of a Gay guy? You've got to be joking. What a pussy! Good god. Who really cares? IF that is a true and accurate statement, then we must need laws to put these guys in their place and force them to grow up in a modern society.

That's in part what laws are about. How do you think Blacks were dealt with in the days of the old Jim Crow Laws? They made white folks skin crawl just standing next to them, or drinking from the same fountain of water (ewwww, drink from the same fountain as a darky? No way). Or a Jewish person, how much have they been persecuted over the years? How about Japanese during WWII? Their sons were fighting along side white boys and Black, and in some cases were a great benefit, especially if they could speak Japanese; yet, their families were in Internment camps.

I can't believe the American Fighting man is worried about a Gay guy in the room with them. Sounds more like your lower class, uneducated soldier who needs, what? They need guidance from their superiors on how to act. Laws correct these discrepancies in society.

A Guy person needs to not degrade their uniform. They need not to boast about their sexuality, perhaps, like they do in civilian life. But as a Gay friend of mine for many years has pointed out, I've done the same, and he's had to suffer through my list of romantic situations for decades; yet I've heard very few of his. Something he held back from me out of respect and understanding. I had never realized how blind I was to the things I was saying, how my meeting a hot girl somewhere, kind of grossed him out. When he told me the exact same thing I had told him (and I wasn't giving any explicit details either), what he then said to me, did make me uncomfortable and I didn't really want to hear about it, but I was happy he had fun and found someone interesting. We just had to learn to pull back on what we shared with one another. When we hit that point, one of us would just go, "Okay, I get the drift" and the other would drop it or lighten up.

When I was in the service, I worked along side many Lesbians. I don't remember a single Gay guy. But some preferred working along side Lesbians for a variety of reasons. Our society has raised Lesbians in many cases, just look around at the mainstream ads with two women fondling one another, or alluding to it. Equal treatment for citizens. How did we know they were Lesbians? They didn't date guys, they were macho or masculine, even if they looked feminine. The females that were hetero, well, you could just tell, they flirted typically.

Did we assume some were Lesbian when they were not? Probably, but no one treated them bad, not that I saw anyway. And all the women, except for the ones getting out quickly through pregnancy, worked as hard or harder than the guys around them. And yes there were actually women running around looking for guys to have sex with, to get pregnant, to get out. Some of us, if we could have gotten pregnant, would have just to get out, too.

I think we need to make it clear that as long as any Gay or Lesbian in the military, will lay down their life, or kill to support the mission, we need to let them get to it.

But that has been problematic with heterosexuals throughout the history of the military too. Hasn't it?

One last thing. How is it that Gays get a free ride on this military thing?

All you homophobes, think about this for a moment. If citizens have to go and fight and die for our country, how come we seem to want to let Gays out of that sacrifice. And if they are citizens and you can't argue that they aren't, then they should be out there working too.

Aren't we thinking of this all wrong? What does that say about us? That we're only concerned for how people feel, in the military? Who CARES how the people in the military feel? When I was in the service, I don't remember ANY body caring how I felt about just about anything. "DO this, shut up. If we wanted you to have a smile, or feelings, we would have assigned them to you." THAT's what I remember about it.

So, how come we think Gays should get a free ride? Shouldn't they be out there, fighting and dying along with all the other people, who are straight, or A sexual, or non sexual, or what the hell ever?! Consider, if you think Gays shouldn't be in the military, then you are advocating they get treated special, more special, that the people IN the military. Kind of twisted, don't you think? Almost sounds like you really like them and want to protect them; maybe this has NOTHING to do with what the people IN the service want or think. Maybe its just your subconscious desires to have them stay here, at home, with you?

Think about it.

Teas - Hurdy Gurdy Man - Donovan

Teas - Hurdy Gurdy Man - Donovan

I
strolled into a deserted seaside café
All on a winter's day.
I
ordered up a cup of rich brown steaming tea
From an old lady.

What happened to you, man, you used to be so free,
Now all you do is sit and dream
Of a fay girl green
By a mountain stream.

I
strolled into a deserted seaside café
All on a winter's day.

I
ordered up a cup of rich brown memories,
Sat and I watched the sea.

What happened to you, man, you used to be so free.
When you were as a mountain stream

Following a dream,
Following a dream.

What happened to you ?
What happened to you

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More on Sheriff Joe Arpaio and what is right

I am on a topic about Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. There is more on this in my previous blogs if you are interested, including video of his blatant abuses of power and the nasty situation his rule has caused down south because people are scared and angry and are allowing him and re-electing him in office to continue his abuse. A guy complained that, who cares about how prisoners are being abused in their county, they deserve what they got; people are after all, suffering with losing their homes, etc.

Here are his comments:

" Cry me a river. Good people are losing their houses because of the policies of corrupt politicians and youre worried about convicts living in a tent? They get food and medical, what about the family thats on the street. And if Im the one locked up, its my own damn fault for being stupid enough to not abide by societys rules. AKA due unto others..........." [Ellipses, people only three periods, four at the end of a sentence, okay?]

Here was my response, to be fair, I'm not going to edit my words below, this is straight from the posting I had made, so please excuse:

Well, that's the point isn't it? You too could end up in jail for having not broken any rules, that's half of what all this is about. And IF you are suddenly the one sitting in jail, wondering how the hell did I get here, and why am I being treated so miserably and people are looking in at you in their nice safe area outside the fences, they are thinking, shut up punk, you deserve to be in there, there are people like us, out here worrying about our jobs and mortgages, you suck, you shouldn't be IN jail! And you could only sit in jail wondering what the hell they are talking about and how you got in jail, wishing someone would take on your cause because, maybe you only pissed off some loser cop and you are now going to lose your job, your house, your family and maybe your life.

As for people in prison who belong there, they need to be given proper care, regardless, as they are now in the government's charge; this isn't about revenge, or even punishment. Its about correcting things that are broken (the people, or their orientation) but when the government is broken too, how is that a good thing? Then when these people get out, the idea is for them to not offend again, yes? Isn't that really the goal? What the hell is the use of just punishment (which is documented as working about as well as torture does in another arena,) and yes, this has been something that has forever been at issue in penal theory, but people like our beloved, fat little, joe-boy, are just making things worse. If there is also corruption involved with him, regardless of all this we are talking about, THAT is an issue that needs to be dealt with and HE needs to go to jail and his department dismantled.

By your way of thinking, I might argue that these people losing their houses were idiots to begin with for not setting themselves up for success. They should have been saving to keep themselves off the public dole, they should have gotten jobs that would support them through the bad times; they should have lived under their income not at the edge or over it or on credit; they shouldn't have refinanced using up all the equity in their homes. But that's not the point at this point, is it? We're there, they need help.
Now, if that gets your ire up, then you are right there with us on this Joe topic. However, if you can't see that, well, you're just blowing steam and that is understandable too. We're all pissed off, about something during these hard times. People are pissed, but they need to direct their anger at the roots of issues, not the people trying to correct things.

We need people that take care of things that aren't important to us, just as much as we need people who are fighting what we see to be, "our just causes".

Being a "Space Cadet" is a bad thing? Not in music.

When I was younger I was frequently told, or it was alluded to, that I was stupid. Later, I was called a "space cadet" when that term first came into use; something I wore like a badge of honor at that time.

In listening just now to Bass Guitarist Victor Wooten, he talked about his drummer JD Blair, who is a genius at using space between the sounds he makes on the drums and who has therefore been touring with the likes of Shania Twain, Shelby Lynn, Lyle Lovett and many other. He had grown up listening to the likes of old funk like, Parliament (P-Funk (also spelled P Funk or P. Funk) is a shorthand term for the repertoire and performers associated with George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic collective and the distinctive style of funk music they performed.).

Victor said he just can't find anything out there, a book, a CD, to teach people better music theory than what is taught, which he sees as shallow, which is all about notes, scales, harmony, chords, melody, modes, but not the use of tone, dynamics, phrasing, articulation, using space and when not to play.

So just consider, space, it can be a good thing. Yes?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The American Taliban

"The American Taliban" refers to those American Fascists who are against free speech, who are typically afraid, who want no one to speak out against whatever "they" are into or believe in. Screw them.

What I'm FINALLY (THANK YOU!) starting to see, is a backlash of Americans against all this kind of thing. We have lost personal freedoms that were becoming compromised anyway and, certainly much of our personal privacy. We are sending people out of America because of being illegal aliens when they should be handled appropriately. When we are ejecting parents of legal American children, we are abusing Americans (the children). When we eject part of a family who are not legal Americans, we may be damaging Americans in the process.

People are starting to finally see what we have been and are, turning into. Frightened, childish, lower denominator type nationalists. But we are better than that. We have been, we can be. We are Americans. We need to make that a statement that is a proud thing to hear, to say, ANYwhere in the world. But now what? We are afraid to say that in many places around the world. Or if we are not, we should be.

How do we change that? Well, how about we start acting like good people, even at our detriment at times. We need to do what is right, take the high road, help people everywhere to have a better life, not governed by our greed. We need to get a collar on corporations. We need to force our government officials to do a good job (take your partisanship and stick it up your *ss), we need to force them to push good laws. We need to better our people, our nation, our world.

People come first. We've forgotten that.

Why have we forgotten that?

Ataraxia - a short neo-gothic film

Inspired loosely by The Blood Countess (by the brilliant, Andrei Codrescu), Erzebet Bathory (Hungary, 17 August 1560 – 21 August 1614), who was accused and convicted for murdering hundreds of young girls, comes Ataraxia, a short neo-gothic film about a young nurse who yearns to impress her new wealthy employer, will soon discover that her boss has a special liking for her nurses and the occult. Bringing a Victorian stylistic edge to a modern story, Ataraxia is destined for future film festivals and for becoming a great piece in its creator’s portfolio.
Currently Ataraxia is being produced by New York Film Academy graduate students George Sardis (writer/director) and Tatjana Bluchel (producer). See the web site for Atraxia

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Middle Eastern Man beaten to death for being immature near DC Club

"Around 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning of the 16th, a 27-year-old named Ali Ahmed Mohammed was allegedly beaten to death outside of the Washington, DC indie rock club DC9, according to The Washington Post. The venue's owner and four employees were arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Police say Mohammed threw a rock through a window of the club before he was chased and then beaten."
-- From The Pitchfork

FYI, there is a possibility that this was not the club's doing.
This will be decided in court as there are some possible misconstrued facts.

Local Pacific Northwest Children's shows

Most regional locations around the US have had their local, live kid's TV shows over the years. I started watching them when I was a kid in the 50s and 60s. They were the shows you waited to see after school, a kind of reward for sitting through boring classes all day. I couldn't find actual video from some of these shows but supplied what I could find on either the show or the actor.

I have heard about TV being a video wasteland and it certainly has been, but I think more so in the 1980s than the 1960s. Some, most, or all of these shows won awards and I have fond memories of them; while some of them, hae taught me a lot, too.

Here is a list of the kinds of shows we watched here in the Pacific Northwest. A few were national, most were not.

Romper Room. The Backstory
Mostly a show about kindergarten kids. This was an international show that used local talent for the locally aired shows.
Wunda Wunda
A clever show about young children with a witch as host that for some reason, I found mesmerizing back then.
Kookla, Fran, and Ollie
This show was so weird, I just watched it sometimes because it fascinated me so much.
Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop
This woman may have been my first crush. And Lamb Chop was just cool, innocent but with a vein of underlying rascalness.
The Brakeman Bill Show

I was on the Brakeman Bill show several times with a few hand picked students from my dojo, Steve Armstrong Sensei's Issuinryu Karate dojo in Tacoma, Washington. We went on the show to demonstrate Karate as Sensei was always into spreading the word. This was my first time on TV and I demonstrated some punching and blocking techniques with another student.

Later, Bill showed up with his son. He said that he had been having problems in school because of his dad being "Brakeman Bill" which is understandable. I got to be good friends with his son and he finally actually beat me at the Bremerton Tournament one year. We fought two overtimes after the fight tied. I should have won but the judges thought we were going to fight all night. People told us later it was a better fight than the main adult event that night. I threw a flying side kick, he put his hand up to keep me from hitting him and they counted it as a punch. He told them that wasn't the case but he won anyway to get it over with. We were pretty exhausted. So he got third place, I got fourth. He apologized later and all I could tell him was that he was my student and that I was very proud of him for beating me. And, really, I was. But I felt pretty badly at the time.

This was the same tournament I had to fight a guy that pretty much terrified all my fellow students. When they called his name indicating who would fight him, I said, "I pity the guy that has to fight him." Everyone agreed, then they called my name and the universe stopped and everyone walked away from me on the bleachers. I remember one of my dojo mates coming up to me before the fight and handing me a packet of honey saying, "Take it, you're gonna need it." I lost that fight, mostly out of fear. The other guy knew it, knew I was heavily outclassed and took it easy on me.

Another funny story. Years later, after the military, after college, I ran into a guy, actually he ran into us, he would come into Tower Video in Tacoma and bring us pizza. We thought he was a bit odd, but seemed nice enough. He said he ran the camera for channel 11 for the State Lotto. Saturday nights he drove to the station (Tacoma or Olympia, I wasn't sure) and he was tired of it. If I wanted the job, he said he would give me an "in". So I did what he said, I applied. I had to go to Channel 11 to interview.

Turned out, it was with "Brakeman" Bill. I wanted to tell him, I was the one that taught his son Karate down at the dojo. He won that trophy because of my instruction. But Bill was such a hard ass and so, kind of, mean, I was a bit stunned and it never came up. He acted like that guy that sent me was non existent. Where that guy told me I could be taught to run the camera, Bill said, "Let's face it, you don't know how to run a camera." And that was the end of that. Where he seems so nice in public, he was kind of an ass at work acting as an executive.

JP Patches
Even in High School I would put his show on while I was getting ready for school. I loved the opening. I started with JP the clown, and "mayor of the city dump" sleeping, with only his head and feet supported, then the grandfather clock went off and the face of the clock lifted up at the bottom and dropped some water on to him wherein he fell, and jumped up and the music picked up and it was a fun and reassuring beginning to my day.
Captain Puget
Sometimes he would have Ivar Haglund on playing guitar, who was famous for Iver's seafood restaurants in Seattle. I loved this show and it may have something to do with my love of the Puget Sound region and the ocean in general. I liked his show because I never felt that he talked down to us as kids.
Stan Boreson (1957)
I loved this guy and his show, he was always so funny.
Captain Kangeroo
The Captain was always entertaining, I loved Crazy Bunny and Mr Greenjeans and everyone really, was always so relaxed on that show.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It IS illegal to be Gay!

Comments on this topic have seen others say that "its NOT illegal to be Gay". Really? I think perhaps, this is quite a misunderstood thing.

You see, there are judicial crimes, and there are social crimes. To say it isn't a crime to be Gay, is to refer to judiciary constraints. These are mandated by the Government. But underlying that, as it was during the unrest of the 60s with Blacks becoming first class citizens, are the Social Crimes. Those crimes designated perhaps not universally throughout the country such as with Judicial Crimes, but sporadically, and at a grassroots level; typically enforced by drunks, the ignorant, the unenlightened, and the "Joe Bob", two-names-are-one, backwoods, hillbilly crowd.

Actually that gives Hillbillies and rednecks a bad rap as many of those types of bigots are city dwellers who would resent being called a "redneck", and vice-versa. And these people are those who don't see themselves as bigots, which is part of the problem to begin with. You see, first you have to realize you are a lowlife, before you can decide to stop being a lowlife.

Until we, as a society, stop being judgmental according to religious and social mores, being Gay will indeed continue to be a crime, a social crime. Where does this originate from? Obviously, religious precepts. Why is everyone's God such a bigot? Originally these prescripts were to keep people from degenerating into animals (again). To not have sex with another man, just women, later, only for procreation, because that was loftier than indiscriminate sex. To not have sex with animals. To not worship animals. Basically, to not think like animals. To try to be something separate and apart from the "lower" life forms. In the West, it was to be and to think, more lofty. In the East, it was to become, "Enlightened", which I'd argue is a higher pursuit. But sometimes I think, animals really aren't the lower lifeforms; actually, we still are.

But we no longer have need of many of those religious laws. Much like tonsils, when they become infected and having been something good, they can turn against us; so religion that doesn't evolve, at some point, probably during the pre-middle ages, becomes suspect, suppurating and infectious, killing both spirit and knowledge and sometimes actually, people. Some religions are further down the chain of insanity have eating constraints that were solely based upon a lack of refrigeration in a desert environment. Laws like that have become superfluous.

So, should religion evolve over time? If its a "True" religion given by God, no, but since there is NO true religion, then yes, as we learn new things, we need to update, evolve religions, otherwise, we will continue to abuse and kill our own and others.

Why should there be a State where "church" and State are separate? I think this pretty much, says it all. Reflect on the Islamic practice of stoning a daughter when she has been trashy, sleeping with a many out of wedlock, refusing a husband sex, showing some breast or showing some nose. There is a reason I agree with Christopher Hitchens on many concepts. And this is certainly one of them (regarding religion).

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

What is it, that people don't understand about this basic tenet of the United States of America? What the Hell does that have to do with "Don't ask, Don't Tell"? America, as preeminent in the world, needs to get its act together and if most, or many Americans are to be ignorant of what this country is, THEY need to be put down, put into their place, a place that substantiates the basic beliefs of the Founding Fathers. And with extreme prejudice, not gentle persuasions. We've treated these people gently for long enough. Its high time we, as a people, grow up, become enlightened and start supporting what this country was founded upon. Start kicking some ass and taking names if people refuse to be Americans. If YOU don't like it, YOU move to another country.

So tell me, what in the Hell does Jefferson's comments, what does the United States Declaration of Independence, have to do with "Don't ask, Don't Tell" for our Military? What has it to do with putting Cannabis users in jail? What does it have to do with keeping Gays from getting married?

Where did the America I grew up with, go?

Did I foresee Gays in the military? No.
Did I foresee people wanting to legalize another inebriant? No.
Did I foresee Gays wanting to get married? No.

Does that mean they all should be beaten to death, abused, or incarcerated, kept from being open and free, or to love who they want or to seal their feelings for another in a public and legal fashion?

Simply put, No.

Sam Raimi new Alien Invasion project, "EDF"

SAM RAIMI GETS IN ON THE ALIEN INVASION CRAZE WITH ‘EDF’

Sam Raimi is not one to sit idly by when all the cool kids are doing it, so the “Spider-Man” director is actively developing his very own big-budget sci-fi alien invasion movie called “EDF”, or “Earth Defense Force”. In EDF, we open on a U.S. military operation gone awry: Sent to rescue what they believe is a sub that’s accidentally bumped into a mine in Chinese waters, U.S. naval aviators quickly wind up engaged in a dogfight with a squadron of Chinese air force pilots. Soon, planes on both sides are being shot out of the sky, but not by the Chinese or U.S. pilots — by three alien attack fighters, which soon depart and destroy many of the world’s landmarks and military installations, then vanish.

It’s a test of Earth’s defensive capabilities, and we failed. Shortly after, NASA detects a radiation signature in a nearby galaxy, indicating a far more massive attack coming in about ten months, and world leaders set about trying to create super-aircraft and weapons that can fight off the coming invasion.Raimi is developing “EDF” with “District 9″ producer Bill Block, and is currently in negotiations with Warner Bros. to make the movie.

Also: SAM RAIMI TO DIRECT ‘WIZARD OF OZ’ PREQUEL

Sam Raimi news……he’s officially been given the reins to direct the prequel to 'The Wizard of Oz' (which up until now was a project that was still very much up in the air as Raimi continued to work on his World of Warcraft adaptation). You'll remember that this is the film called 'Oz: The Great and Powerful', and it tells the origins story of how the Wizard of Oz became, well, the Wizard of Oz. It'll track him from his days as a circus wrangler through to when a tornado brought him to the magical land of Oz. David Lindsay-Abaire, who wrote the play 'Rabbit Hole', is currently re-writing the script.

One of the big reasons Raimi wanted to do 'Oz 'is so that he could work with Robert Downey Jr., who's still in negotiations to take on the role of the Wizard (fingers crossed those negotiations end with Downey Jr. in the part). Raimi is better known nowadays for his work on the 'Spider-Man' movies, however the Raimi that sticks in my mind is the one responsible for the 'Evil Dead' franchise and the gory, gruesome images that resulted (he later turned the franchise into a parody of itself with 'Army of Darkness').

From: Rich Goellnitz' Sci Fi newsletter on Facebook