Dogs

Rover spots Pinky. 

Tail wags. Treat. Need a treat.

Princess moves feet faster to move to the opposite side of the street. 

Skateboards spook her. 

But she makes it home alive. 

She gets a swizz and curls up for another nap.

A Voice In The Wilderness

In the Abysmal City, there once was a Top Hat Gentleman who could never find a girl to call his own.  Long and hard he looked but the girls he found wanted to be with the girls*. This irked him and so he set forth into the wilderness. What he found there can best be described by turning to page 345 and singing the first and third verses. Stick, though, to the Norwegian translation.

“It’s so much easier to do this when you have characters talk and dialogue and such,” Cathy said. “You have the authority of progress on your side but lack the tasteful nod to tradition that the great writers always find a way to include.”

With that, she snapped her fingers and disappeared in a puff of steam.

“If… ” said Largo. “If… we just stopped for a moment to consider that this man is weighed down by circumstances…”

“Circumstantial circumstances… circumcision… circumference of the cranium… excuses, excuses, excuses. This man is troubled by a tickle in his pickle like Giorgio Smith was before him and any other name you want to make up.”

“Who talks like that?” Amber Mohanton said, looking up from her phone. She reached into her purse to pull out eyeliner, but then realized…

“The reaction. Action. Stasis. Flux. Point. Counterpoint. Plot. Subplot. Character development. Realization. Serendipity. Ironic juxtaposition. Poise. Grit. Anxiety within tranquility. Justification. Denouement. Epilogue. Voila.” John was saying.

“Then you have this – this last strand of mystery that hints at the sequel… you know, if we can get the investors on board. 

“As long as there is plenty of buzz,” John finished.

“What? I’m sorry.”

“You’re lost today. What’s got you so distracted?”

*https://youtu.be/fnl5X6aE0v8

Aardvark in the Pistachio

An ethanol tanker rolled by and did not stop.

“Of course you know, this means war,” Reginald said as if he had just disembarked from a boat-full of tourists in the French Riviera.  He was, in fact, stranded in the middle of Iowa.  He thought about raising his middle finger to the small speck of truck that was now long gone, but – the tanker was now long gone.

 “Where are we even going?” Linda said. She lit another cigarette and burst into flames.  Or so Reginald hoped.  He fiddled with his watch yet again for the millionth time.  It was now two seconds behind.  What next – three?  So aggravating.  The boys in the physics club would really make fun of him this time.  But he wasn’t telling.  That’s the problem with the honor system, he thought.  He invented a new type of watch and it wasn’t telling time correctly.  Not to mention the engine he invented that had just failed.  Did he really care?  Really?    

“Are you coming or not?” he asked and kept two paces ahead of Linda as they walked down Interstate 35.  Every few paces, he turned around to face the flow of traffic and put out his thumb.

—-

 “Where is Vandamay?” Daisy asked.  She said this in an overly concerned, over-worried voice bordering on, yet not quite entering, the realm of sarcasm.

 “Just a reminder – I do not eat chocolate,” Todd said to the room at large.

 “I thought you were talking to him,” Yooleelee thought she was replying to Daisy, but then kept straining her small portion of pasta.  Daisy ignored her.  The water was loud.  And then she was distracted from trying to avoid crashing into Parkay who was finishing up some kind of jumbled baked thing – a soufflé? Was it a meat loaf?  Goulash?  Casserole?  She didn’t see her put it in the oven.  Now Parkay was reaching for some flour.  Her elbow barely missed Yooleelee’s chin.  She dared not say a thing about it.  She would be happy that she had two seconds in the kitchen and there it all went – her elbow nudged, the pasta fell into the garbage disposal.

 “If you drop a feather from a tower and then drop a boulder from a mountain and then drop a piece of tree bark from a Ranger station, does anyone hear a pin drop in a bowling alley?”  Nathan was asking.

 “Is this another one of your nonsense ‘prose poems’?”  Todd asked.  “Are you calling it ‘Aardvark in Pistachio’ or something fanciful?”

 Nathan shook his head.  “Seriously, has anyone heard from Reggie – anyone?  They were supposed to be back by now.”

 “Where is Vandamay? Doesn’t anyone care that Vandy is missing?”  Daisy said to no one.  

 Yooleelee had left and was eating a bag of chips on the balcony.  

 “I don’t know – you explain so much,” Todd was saying into the phone he just took from Daisy.  “I think you probably should show more.  Tell less.”  He handed it back.  Daisy grabbed it and shoved it in her purse, grimacing.  Then left the room.  “Tell Parkay I’m not eating,” she said.

 “Ha! You tell her,” Todd replied.

 Cheeny-Bo sat in front of a giant video screen and waved her arms.  A sensor triggered a series of channel changes.  She paused momentarily to observe and listen to the images and sounds that emerged from the video / sound system.  Then she waved her arms again in excited motions.  Todd sat next to the child and did his best to pretend she didn’t exist.  “What a terrible dirty diaper dungeon,” he thought to himself.  “Parenthood,” he mused.

 “Somebody clean-up Cheeny-Bo and get her in here so I can feed her!” Parkay barked from the kitchen, her hands covered in dough.  “These cookies won’t bake themselves,” she muttered under her breath.  Or maybe she thought these words.  It didn’t matter.  The chocolate chips were going in and there was nothing anybody could do about it.

—-

 Reginald decided he really did care.  “Linda, I love you,” he said.

“Please shut up,” she said and stuck out her thumb and then waved and waved and waved and waved.  Another car flew by at 90mph.

 “Ok – what have we found now?” He could make out a few shapes that looked like people and a few other shapes that looked like vehicles of some sort by the side of the highway.

 Linda saw these things as well.  “I’m going over there,” she said and picked up the pace, marching forward towards the activity ahead.

 When they arrived, they found six men in bright yellow vests surrounding two men in orange jump suits.


To Be Continued…

The Runners

It was the beginning of the last day of the last night.  In the forest were the trees.  You can try, but you can find the way it has always been.  Only through the jaded alleviation can you find true happiness.  

But what does that mean?  I argue that it means you have just landed a new job with gargantuan power torches.  That’s right.  Don’t pretend you don’t understand.  Because you do.  You have always known this.  You forgot.  It began on the night of the last whirlwind.  Chances are you remember at least that.  

Somehow, in the dark, fortune smiled upon the last glasses of righteous anger that he had for playtime.  Oh, that wasn’t play.  That was as serious as a heartbreak.  The kind you clean up with a sponge in the operating room at your local cardiac unit.  

If only he had righted those wrongs when he had a chance.  It was no longer starving.  The earnest monster deep inside him that panged for attention.  Now he had Edith.  She would be by his side until the next time he had the urge to run.  And run he would.  It only takes a spark to see that light in the midnight of her deep purple eyes.  It was inevitable, he thought.  Only now he could solve the riddle.  

“Pack it up,” the foreman said.  He woke up from a reverie only he had half-forgotten and images blinked out of his consciousness like the factory lights.  At home, later, he would remember the girl on the train who had only looked like she could be Melanie.  If he had only had the courage to talk to her like that one time in Berlin.  So many years had passed and now he could only see fragments of the memory.  It wasn’t anger anymore.  It was numbness.  It was apathy.  It was the eyelid of a dog who was sleeping, but keeping one eye peeled for danger.  He didn’t really care, but he couldn’t be sure it was over.

“Someone told me you had someplace to be,” she said.  I had told her that, but she had forgotten.  Meanwhile, all I could think of was swirls of color.  Purple.  Red.  Light blue. Yellow.  Big paint strokes coalescing into an image of a runner.  Where was she going? Right off the page.

​Zits Hit Hinges – 21st Century Post-Factual Fiction

Clarity meanderings in the first order of going at it all by yourself never really materialized into bouncing orbits.  Glyphs of hydrogen tinnitus found her digging the annals of violet butterfly nets.  The scene opens with sunlight streaming over a balcony in a dimly lit grotto.  A hive of bees can be seen nearby.  Lasers.
“I would never hurt you,” Matilda told him.  “I was on your side all along.”
He glanced at the sky and tried to sit up.  
“Oh, did you ever find out about Heather?”  he asked.
“What?”  she didn’t hear him.  His voice was so low.
“Heather?  How is she?”  He asked again, only this time she heard him fine over the chirping of the berries.
“Fine.  Not a big deal. “
“Sounded serious at first.”
“No – it was nothing.” 
This time it was not serious.  Next time we would find Nancy brushing her hair and muttering something about “Gloots.”  She may have meant posterior muscles, but there was also a cereal of that name, I thought to myself.  Or was there?  Maybe not.  
We fade to an interior where the entire room has been covered in shag carpeting.  The carpentry is less than ornate.  Swedish furniture era.  That sort of thing.  The sound of disco beats play, though someone has mistaken 33 1/3 rpms for 45 and so everything slows down at this point.  When we hear…
“Gillette!  The man’s best friend can get!”  This was the name of a dog and not product placement, we swear.
Of course, by that time we had seriously considered the idea that Bob was no longer on our side.  The next conference call would be telling.  
“How did you find out,” Harry asked.
“Looked it up.  It was pretty easy – these days.  Did you think…. ?”  His voice trailed off.
“No – it… yeah, that makes sense.  We just…. I thought it was some academic…  I don’t know… secret knowledge.”
He laughed.  “No, you can pretty much buy Brussel sprouts in most stores.”
This was the deal: there was no deal.  No one could agree and it ate away at his sensible sensibilities that no matter how many compromises they were willing to make, none seemed to achieve the goal of lettuce marks the spot, but be quick because it wilts pretty fast.
“Did you get the frost pack?”  She asked.
“No – different flavor.”  They didn’t have it.  As usual, their consumerist dreams were somewhat shattered or slightly disappointed, but they liked different flavors so hyperbole is not needed or not warranted or maybe we have crossed over into…
Yelping iguanas never understood algebra.  But he didn’t care.  This was the first time he had stood outside the club.  It was a giant club, with most of it buried under tons of sand.  It must have been something to look at.
“They found Gideon’s Bible!” Joseph shouted.   
“Outstanding!” Yosiah said.  “The problem, though, is that we already purchased a new one.”
“No matter,” Joseph said.  “We can present the old one and it will be a keepsake.”
“That sounds like a splendid plan,” Yosiah said.
Later, Gideon stood still for a moment and wiped his brow.  He held the two Bibles in his hand.
“I…. I’m sorry but…”  he paused and looked around at the gathered crowd of family and friends.  “Neither one of these is mine.”
An explosion rocked the mine.  Fifteen miners were trapped.  One had an out-of-body experience.  Another was now rocketing at warp speed into the abyss.
But the bus stopped and she got off.  
“Well,” the driver said.  “Have a nice day.”
She turned and looked over her shoulder.  “Wait, one minute.
“You too,” she told the driver.
Then she fell on her face.  But she was Ok.  There were no bruises.  And everyone had a chuckle.

E.O.W. 

When the world was finally destroyed it was not because mad war-mongers clashed, gritted their teeth and decided that this was it – do or die. And so they brought about that final apocalyptic cataclysm.

No.  When that final moment of humanity’s ultimate demise arrived it was also not due to a natural disaster– flood, fire, meteoroid, monster hurricane, stray comet.

Nope.  It was not even due to alien invasion.

It was none of that.

The world ended when Jarvis Villum, a software maintenance technician carelessly set off the ‘Destroy World’ function on the new Missile Defense 5300 system, which launched 6,574 nuclear-armed missiles that were so quick in their mission that few people, except the President of the United States, had time to say what the POTUS did say at that final moment, which was – ‘uh oh.’

Cliff Younce, the project manager of the Missile Defense 5300 system, had prided himself in his cost-conscious approach and was a great follower of market-based economies, taking pride in his hatred for every aspect of the government that paid his salary.

The information systems companies that Younce contracted to create the system were all small, relatively unknown upstarts that seemed to have grown out of thin air just to bid on the project.

One, in particular, included a 17-year-old hacker named Gif Cobin, his older brother Troy, and their mascot, a dog named Mr. Chips.  (It was a sad day when the world ended since this story could have been about those three and would have been far more entertaining in an ‘everyone loves dogs and hackers’ way.

Unfortunately, when the specs for the Missile Defense 5300 system were laid out, the sheer quantity of contractors involved (321 to be exact) precluded an effective coordination of effort and so when the Beta version of the software when into production and was declared operative, there were the usual glitches and bugs.

Stray lines of code that performed no apparent function littered the programming. Work-arounds abounded to make up for the lack of functionality.

Meanwhile, nobody noticed that the ‘Destroy World’ function which was initially intended as a joke, was not only implemented but was painfully easy to access to the point that every ten minutes, in maintenance mode, an automated voice asked “would you like to destroy the world today?”

On the world’s final day, Jarvis Villum, without irony – or seriously thinking at all  – said, “Ok.”

Be An Ideal Consumer

What is an ideal consumer? A ideal consumer has the following characteristics:

-A sense of fundamental unease at a whole host of subjects never adequately learned in school. 

-Guilt at not being all one can be.  You can do it,  though,  in the Army. 

-A sense that one is not quite popular enough. 

-A thirst for something to fill that hole that used to be one’s ego,  one’s free will. 

– Sexual shame. 

– A clear sense that every aspect of your life is a competition. 

What are the actions taken by a good consumer?

– Watches major network TV and looks forward to the new Fall line-up.

– Watches commercials carefully because ads pay for programming.

-Buys the latest car model. 

-Buys a bigger house in a new development. 

-Gets subscriptions to popular magazines. 

– Eats at restaurants. Orders the special. 

-Buys clothes through retail establishments. 

-Drinks large quantities of alcohol. 

-Smokes tobacco (or these days,  Vapes chemical stews). 

-Takes drugs – pot,  cocaine, schrooms or one’s prescribed by a doctor. 

– Sees a therapist to get over their drug and alcohol problems. 

– Joins a large religious congregation. 

– Joins a gym. 

– Buys Apple technology products. 

– Surfs the web. 

– Uses social media. 

– Orders pay per view. 

– Goes to strip clubs. 

– Travels abroad. 

– Is jealous of neighbors, friends, family, celebrities, strangers.

– Shows no weakness to neighbors.

– Avoids intimacy at all costs. 

The main point of being an ideal consumer is to support the economy.  

On Edumacation

The government-run school systems across the country are no more than fascistic socialization engines that produce obedient consumers.  Learning happens as students find a way to learn on their own and figure out what is needed to survive.  Private schools are even more fascistic with their mandatory uniforms and authoritarian values. All of it is elaborate babysitting of young people who are infantalized by parents who can’t stand to think baby will ever grow up.

Phone GI itch Fl.ction

The following is a short piece of writing that I put together using my phone. I used the voice mechanisms and the handwriting feature. There was no editing.

The Lost Skylark

You found out that he could barely become almost Immortal by staring out the window. Once upon a time there was a lost Skylark you sat in his chair figure out the Annunciation of the universe. He drink coffee and eat some lunch and saw everybody that he could see. You found out that he could barely become almost Immortal by staring out the Once upon a time there was a lost Skylark you sat in his chair figure out the Annunciation of the universe. He drink coffee and eat some lunch and saw everybody that he could see.

Without warning he realized that there was several repetitions and memories seem to recur. He felt like there was possibly a dream that he once had that contain all this in his memory. Unfortunately it seemed that he could not unlock the Frozen rock hard memory that seem to acquire a pickaxe to open and unlocked. What is it that you want, he asked: He couldn’t actually make it with the equipme., htflyes year. Haad no difluence Shorehan it needed to contine continue he courtscowered.ndated another skylatigkulam Skylark!

Star Hype: The Farce is Awake A Film Review by Jehosaphat Q. Blatte

For those of us who grew up with Star Hype, there is a child-like awe that takes over upon watching a new Star Hype movie.  The original Star Hype was the first movie I saw in the theaters.  I was eight years old and all I knew at the time was that flying in space with lasers was cool.  I was already a fan of Star Dreck but where Star Dreck was cerebral and came out as our distant future, Star Hype was pure escapism – wrought with emotionalism, happening somewhere else – nowhere near here – AND in a distant past that no one can possibly know.  Star Dreck was attainable.  Star Hype was mythic.  Star Dreck was for humanistic science geeks.  Star Hype was for everyone, especially everyone who loves sword and sorcery stories set in outer space.

So it was that I grew up with the Star Hype action figures, the “Tied Fighters” and “Xtra-Wing” toys.  More movies followed.  Soon it was clear that Star Hype was not just one movie, but a whole series of films and a vast universe of comic books, novels, and even cartoons.  Early on, we were told there would be nine movies – three prequels and a sequel trilogy.  And now here we are – Star Hype follows Star Dreck into reboot territory with fresh young actors carrying the torch for the old series.  So many years later – the beginning of the sequel trilogy and the possibilities for Star Hype are endless. 

You may ask, now that the child-like wonder has waned, is the movie really any good?

No.  But for Star Hype, this movie is fan-shmastic.  True fans may remember that after George Puke-On-Us, the original creator of Star Hype, dug a huge hole and shat out the three prequel movies in a mess of CGI defecation, expectations were low for this adventure.  So, within that context, this new installment in the franchise, called ‘The Farce Hastens’ manages to not stink – and in a hugely stylistic and entertaining way. 

It’s a home-coming of sorts for fans.  All the best Star Hype elements are there – there is a masked villain who could have used to be somewhat of a good guy.  There is an unlikely hero who is dirt poor – who literally lives on a dirt planet but has mysterious ‘farce’ powers that protect her throughout the film.  There is a giant clobber-planet-ship that is utterly evil and is ready to kill and must be destroyed at the end.  There are Strobe Troopers in white uniforms and “Tied Fighter” spaceships who have terrible aim.  Harston Fjord, as Handy Solo says some funny-ironic things in a comically cool way.  There is consequential stuff done with life sabres – which are very popular swords that glow in different colors.  Chewtobacca, who is a lovable but somewhat scary Wokie – a humanoid goat-creature that stands on its hind legs and shoots a laser bow-and-arrow – is back in a more crucial role.  Newcomers to the movies will be entertained by the extensive use of specialty effects which bring all kinds of fantastical creatures, space ships, laser blasts, and planetary landscapes to life.  There is also dialogue which is funny at times and sometimes dramatic and sometimes hard-to-follow.

As film-making – this movie is mediocre at best.  Plot-holes abound.  Narrow escapes make the space laser action seem ridiculous.  We are used to some of the back-story being off screen in Star Hype and perhaps explained later, but the entire back story in this film is untold or hinted at with the faintest of hints or through a hazy incoherent flashback.  When you can blink and miss key plot elements, it’s not a good thing.

In the first Star Hype movie (now known as ‘Avenged Scopes’ or Episode XLMII) there are some plot elements that we are left to assume or learn later but the important parts are shown to us.  Unfortunately, a host of questions haunt our understanding of this latest film and diminish its overall impact:

– I believe I’m not alone when I ask – why does Blend Solo decide to start calling himself Fylo Shen?  That name is NOT bad-ass.  Varth Dader – now THAT was bad-ass!
– How does Fey, the heroine of the film, get so good at using her farce powers so quickly when Fluke Skytracker (spoiler alert – he is her father!) takes a few films to get any good.  Is this just an example of ‘girl power’?
– Conversely, Fylo Shen gets his butt kicked handily by Fey yet he was trained by Fluke Skytracker.  Is this also just more girl-power?
– Unfortunately, for all of the girl-power action with Fey, General  Layla, formerly Princess Layla, still hasn’t used her Farce powers at all (beyond some spooky premonition moments).  What is up with that?  She is, after all, Fluke Skytracker’s twin sister!
– After all the years that Handy Solo and Chewtobacca have been together, it’s hard to believe that Handy only now is trying out Chewtobacca’s handy laser bow-and-arrow.  Seems like that would have happened a long time ago.
– Once Fey and renegade Strobe Trooper, Ken, leave the desert planet and escape the Worst Order fighters, they Star Hop directly into the hands of Handy Solo and Chewtobacca who are now operating a giant space barge (???) and claim to have been looking for the Millennial Falcon, Handy’s old ship, for years.  Is there a way to add that plot coincidence to the Official Film Dictionary as an example given for the term ‘contrived’?
– Also, when Handy Solo is boarded by not one, but two sets of space gang dudes, why has that not happened way, way sooner (i.e. how is he still alive when he seems to piss off everybody he meets who is not a human)?
– When R2Z2 gets depressed and goes into an extended sleep mode, isn’t there a switch or something they could have just been flipped to take care of that?
– Haven’t any of the engineers in this fictional universe thought to add railings to their narrow catwalks that traverse titanic gorges?  Is there OSHA in space?  Wherever you go in these movies, there seems to be a convenient place for someone to fall dramatically as their fate is sealed.  What is up with that?
– How is the farce now awake?  Was it asleep?  Does it dream?  What does it dream about?

In conclusion, if I had to give Star Hype a ‘star’ rating it would have to be seven out of five since – you know – Star Hype.

Viscosity

Viscosity is generally the first leg of pubic development. After that, the class wars usually start. Typically, Mary throws the first punch, then Ed launches a paper satellite. Adam invariably starts trying to pound Truth into people whilst Yolanda flinches. Joey lunges, stopping himself mid-air like an Adobe Acrobat. Meanwhile, the primrose version of Self crumples as Ra, the god, just hangs there, suspended, stupefied. I used my dumb finder earlier then discovered I was still lost, much to my chagrin.

Viscosity also gives one impetus to simulate woodland creatures. For example, the nascent hyenas, lounging in a synthetic compound of jugular mishaps, cry with one united breath, “Look, Madge! We’re basking in it!” And then there’s that most unhappy occurrence of excrement in the jet stream that led to a meltdown in the nation’s mid-section. Blindsided, the elephant heralded a forthcoming age of Jell-O mongering. Outside the polling place, a zebra caught my eye. I took it home and felt bloated the next day. I did not eat for a fortnight thereafter. When the next election came ‘round, I encountered a giraffe outside of the polling place – a learned and gregarious giraffe. We talked of the missile crisis, chalupas, exercise fads, a Buster Keaton resurgence, the merits and otherwise of the Pissed-on Phonics craze, bling, a small section of the Louisiana Purchase (a vivisection to be precise), linguistic noodles, giant pandas, the zeitgeist and its relevance to hindsight, and the preponderance of penis-shaped objects. In fact, we bantered so long that we awoke the next morning much to our surprise outside the polling place – still. It’s a wonder we weren’t robbed, mutilated, or otherwise ostensibly violated.

To be sure, viscosity is curvy. Not all linemen are offensive, but trouble lurks within the closet. Ignatius roars, “BEHEMOTH!” Meanwhile, tenants cringe, hiding ‘neath counters and bookshelves, all the while clinging nervously to their slipshod monkey wrenches. Julia maintains a strong disbelief in viscosity whilst Cynthia channels in the corner, yelling, “SPIRITS, COME! DON’T EVADE ME, YOU ASSES! I AM CALLING OUT TO YOU. WHY DON’T YOU COME?”

Viscosity marks Time. Time marches on the front lawn. The protesters are all prosecuted, one by one. The prosecutors are then violated. Then remove the tray from the oven and set it afire. Now you’re ready to entertain with more than a dishrag!

When all else passes away, Earth included, Viscosity will remain. Viscosity is at the fore. Viscosity will see you through. Viscosity will.

The Morality of Chinese Handcuffs

The numbers are in.  Variety reports that ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has set new records for the highest-grossing Presidents Day holiday opener of all time bringing in $237.7 million globally, ranking among the biggest R-rated debuts in American history. The film is hot.  Red hot.

Of course, there are those keen film-goers who will point out that FSOG is hardly groundbreaking in its taboo subject-matter.  Vulture.com reports that there have been over 20 non-porn, major film releases, dating back to 1933, that have dealt with some kind of taboo sexual material (http://www.vulture.com/2015/02/history-of-cinematic-kinkiness-in-20-films.html.).

What is different about FSOG, though, is just how popular it has become, how ‘out-in-the-open’ both the book and the film have been.  Most films of this type open in art house cinemas, to limited release, winding up as expensive Criterion collection DVD sets.  In contrast, Fortune magazine reports that the film is ‘bigger than Jesus’ blowing away Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ. Passion grossed $83.9 million on Ash Wednesday 2004.  It too had an R-rating for its intense (and some say gratuitous and sadistic) violence.

The attention has been brewing.  CNN reported on the book version of FSOG’s wild popularity way back in 2012.  CNN says that its success was: one part good timing, another part good marketing (the covers of the books were smartly discreet) and another part content with a focus on female desire, which has been largely untapped in the mainstream.

Not everyone sees it that way.  British Parliament Member, Joy Smith, proposes a boycott of the film on the grounds that it portrays violence against women.  She says, “True BDSM whipping is only ever done for the sake of pleasure, with the whip-wielder’s focus remaining entirely on whether or not the pain is pleasurable to the receiver. For some of us, it truly can be, but that comes out of a place of mutual trust and respect. In the movie, it was him acting in anger and her willingly taking abuse out of fear and a misplaced attempt to manipulate him.”

Interestingly, the focus here is that FSOG does not depict ‘true BDSM’.  Others push this anti-FSOG momentum, though with different reasoning.  Self-proclaimed virgin and World Champion hurdler Lolo Jones, also warns against the film. According to that bastion of quality journalism, TMZ, Lolo believes sexual pleasure should not be used to ‘medicate’ against emotional pain and therefore everyone should just ‘watch another movie’.  Lolo also believes FSOG glamorizes ‘unholy sex.’  Meanwhile, her boyfriend, Super Bowl runner-up Russel Wilson thinks the movie is just great.  He also likes ‘Scarface’.

There is good and bad art.  What makes the art good or bad falls to individual taste. Controversial art seems to divide populations into more or less predictable camps.  There are the libertines who express disdain for the Puritanical viewpoint.  Then there are the moral majority types who use the art as a helpful scapegoat for one or more of society’s ills.  Jeffrey Dahmer, the serial killer, was heavily into pornography, the reports say, and now we get the causation that people who watch porn are clearly going to wind up on a killing spree one of these days.

Yet Dahmer also liked Star Wars.  Nobody, though, hints that we need to be wary of people who enjoy space opera.  Nobody I know has made the slightest peep about Showtime’s Dexter, a show whose hero is… wait for it… an actual serial killer.  That show ran from 2006 until 2013.  Are fans of the show destined to become serial killers as well? Seems like there would be more of a direct correlation.  Yet few called for a boycott.

The fact that FSOG has garnered so much free publicity from those trying to avoid it suggests an interesting psychology phenomenon:  that which becomes taboo becomes irresistible. There is something about creating negative energy around something that forms a fascination.  The more that fascination festers in someone’s awareness, the more tempting it becomes.  The idea of ‘religious purity‘ from the Christian faith used to castigate bits of culture tends to amplify the very thing needing to be expunged.  I liken this to Chinese handcuffs.  When you put your fingers in, the more you struggle the more difficult it becomes to escape.  Yet, if you just slowly ease your fingers out of them, they simply fall off.

Oh, and if you want an actual review of the film by someone who has seen it – I recommend the New Yorker’s.

The 20-Yard Swing

While the Patriots bask in the glory of their squeaker victory over Seattle in Super Bowl 49, there are those who think that the ‘Deflategate’ scandal was not the real crime.

While the media harped on the idea that the Pats used underinflated footballs to gain an illegal advantage over the Colts in the cold, wet AFC Championship game, casual sports fans were distracted from events that transpired the game before, against the Baltimore Ravens.

Profootballtalk.com features an article (linked below) that greatly deflates the extent of the deflation.  An astute observer comments on the real story:

The Illegal 20-Yard Swing in the Pats-Ravens Game

Despite the attention heaped on deflategate, the bigger scandal of the playoffs will end up having been the refs mishandling of the Patriots eligibility-aided drive against the Ravens.

Proper enforcement of the rules would have penalized the Patriots for 5 yards. Add that 5 to the 15 yard penalty that the Ravens took to call attention to the scheme and that’s a 20-yard swing on a scoring drive in a very close game.

No one, including PROFOOTBALLTALK.COM, appears to have held the refs to the standards laid out in the NFL’s 2012 POINTS OF EMPHASIS, which specifically address the situation that occurred in the Patriots-Ravens game. Everyone, including PROFOOTBALLTALK.COM, has taken the refs at their word without much scrutiny. The refs still seem confused about how to handle this situation. If they looked at the 2012 POINTS OF EMPHASIS, the answer is right there.

The cold logic here includes two points and one extrapolation.

1. FACT: It was widely reported that Shane Vereen on at least one play reported his ineligibility just before the snap on the drive.

2. FACT: Players wearing numbers that don’t qualify them for their position must report to the referee “BEFORE ENTERING THE HUDDLE.” And if a player fails to properly report his change in eligibility, “IT WILL RESULT IN A 5-YARD PENALTY FOR ILLEGAL SUBSTITUTION.”

3. EXTRAPOLATION: If the refs had thrown the flag, Harbaugh would not have gotten the unsportsmanlike conduct. That’s the 20-yard swing on a scoring drive.

Here is the portion of the 2012 points of emphasis:
The committee also reviewed the procedures for an offensive player who comes into the game wearing a number that does not qualify him for the position he takes. These players must report to the referee, before entering the huddle. The referee and umpire will then report the same to the defensive team.

This rule prevails whether a player is already in the game or is an entering substitute and whether it is a play from scrimmage, an attempted field goal, or a try after a touchdown. If a player fails to report his change in eligibility, it will result in a 5-yard penalty for illegal substitution.

Clearly no one wants to talk about this. Not the Patriots certainly, not the NFL refs (who are still confused about how to handle this issue) and not the Ravens (who in retrospect should have called a timeout.) But that doesn’t change the fact that if the refs had handled it properly, the outcome might have been different.

-nyerinbaltimore (wordpress)

Footballs Under By Less Than Thought

*It is still a mystery how anyone thinks underinflation helped the Pats. It appeared that New England would have beaten the hapless Colts if both teams were forced to use bean bags.

The Truth Is Out There

Recently, the Russians have reportedly threatened to tell the world the truth about the existence of intelligent extraterrestial life with or without U.S. support. After a previous mention similar to this, the western press reported that Russia was “only joking”. The comments to that story give an interesting perspective on our life here on Earth. Best quote:

Your idea of perspective is important.  Most of what we consider advanced technology has developed in the last fifty years, and most of our actual scientific knowledge has developed in the last hundred to hundred and fifty years. 

We still have no coherent explanation for magnetism, and our theories of gravity are full of holes.  Our idea of the extent of the “universe” stops at the speed of light, and cosmology is in a shambles that reminds me of the state of chemistry at the time of the Phlogiston Theory.  We think of ourselves as advanced but that is a pure fantasy.

Our “civilization” is a joke.  No society that has war, poverty, starvation, illiterate masses, “religions” based on unfounded belief in fairy tales, lousy health care, overpopulation, and a history of destructive abuse of its only planet can call itself civilized.

I am often reminded of a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, who when asked what he thought of Western Civilization, paused, and said, “I think it would be a good idea.”

Considering what our society and our technology may be like in just another thousand years is enough to give one a better perspective.  Of course that depends on us finding a way to control the major result of our existence and “civilization” thus far – climate change.  We may cook ourselves right out of a chance for that thousand years of development.

I wouldn’t worry one tiny bit about exploitation by an advanced civilization.  We are doing that to ourselves just fine, thanks.  If any advanced group decides to intervene in any way, it would be a great gift, pulling us out of our egotistical misapprehension of being civilized or advanced in any meaningful way at all.  -JamesL (Disqus)

Five Signs That The Internet Is Not Ready For World Leaders To Joke About Alien Contact