Thursday, July 31, 2008

But Will She Do Windows?

As I've pointed out in previous posts, the sex-bot-for-sale is not that far off into the future. Well, as it may be closer than I thought.

WowWee, the company who brought us the Robotdog, the Roboraptor, and the Robosapien toy line has now introduced...

The Femisapien.

Their name, not mine.

This robot "toy" is, of course, interactive. As their video shows, you can teach the Femisapien to do all kinds of neat tricks. Now, what interested me the most about this video wasn't so much the fact that Jamie Sommers may have her nightmare come to life again (it's a Fembot joke, for the kiddies out there) - but the language in the instructional video. It's...disturbing, when taken out of context. As I'm about to.

As they demonstrate how to get Femisapien to operate, they narrate the following - and I'm taking down the text verbatim, word for word:

First, put her in learning mode by tilting her head downwards. Then show her what you want her to do by gently moving her limbs.

I've seen this video, I think it was called "Daddy Does The Babysitter", or somesuch.

Tapping her once on the head makes her go back to the default position. When you're done, simply tilt her head upwards out of learning mode to finish.

Okay baby, that's enough now, I don't want to blow my load too soon...

The hand gesture interface is a great, easily remembered shorthand to make Femisapien do her most commonly used functions.

*SLAP!* B*tch, didn't I tell you to have my dinner ready when I got home?!

Femisapien has a rich library of other movements and behaviors. The secret to accessing this library is a four-point joystick interface.

Oh yeah, you like this don't you! Don't you!

You wouldn't know it just to look at her, but inside of each of Femisapiens stylishly tipped hands is a small joystick that can move in four directions: forwards, backwards, inwards [!] and outwards.


I'll press her left hand inwards. Watch as the LED mounted over her wrist lights up when I do so. This means, she has felt The Touch.

Hahahahah I swear, I'm not making this stuff up!

There isn't time in this video to show you all of her cool behaviors and tricks, but there are some that are too much fun to leave out.

Coming Soon: Femispapiens Gone Wild II, Silicon Valley

You can watch the entire video in-context, here:

Hate The Game

Okay, so since I drunkenly brought the subject up, I should run with the ball anyway and address...playahood.

I've been at times (and I think very unfairly) called a playah. Usually by guys who think the simple act of being able to speak to a strange (i.e. previously unknown, not freaky) woman qualifies me for the position.

More importantly, very few women have slotted me into that category (to my knowledge). So...this brings up the issue of what, exactly, is a Playah?

Guys view it as a double-edged sword, don't we? No one really wants to be defined as one, but hey - if you're gonna call me one, well why should I be upset? It's a badge of honor, it raises your standing in the male hierarchy. It places you at the opposite end of the spectrum from The Loser, which in anyone's definition is something you do NOT want to be close to being.

But women...I don't know a single female who says the word playah with any degree of admiration or kindness. It's spat at you, with venom; at least the Loser is only looked on with disdain, if looked upon at all. The Playah is lower than The Loser, akin to The Scumbag, The Douchebag...

You get the point.

So what does the digital community have to say about it?

From Yahoo! Answers:

(Female): "being a player is not a good thing that is just someone who sleeps with alot of people and has no regard for that persons feelings and is looking for no commitments whatsoever so my advice if you come across a player run run as fast as you can."

(Male): "Playah implies creating physical intimacy and intensity that is contrary to the expected level of emotional, communicative, and other common supports."

(Female): "A playa is someone who has sex with multiple partners and is obviously a doofus. Makes me think of guys with chains. "

From (a male writer):

"If I had to define the term, I think I would define it as related to a male who is portraying himself as wanting an exclusive long term relationship. But in reality, he is only out for some sex and will be trying to do the same thing to multiple women at once without the others knowing about it. It seems that a player is undesirable from a woman's viewpoint."

From Suite 101, a dating guide (a female writer):

"Players hate making plans because they feel something better may come along. They may hesitate to give you an answer until they get closer to the date and can safely say they have nothing better going on. Or, they simply refuse to commit and leave you hanging until the last possible minute."

"Players leave a trail of people behind them. Sometimes these folks can’t get the hint and try and hook up with your partner again, or sometimes they’ve been burned so bad they immediately become angry upon seeing your partner. Your partner may fail to introduce these folks, but even if he or she does they may ignore you or treat you poorly. If your new love seems to know a lot of "friends," and they’re all of the opposite sex, take note."

From (a male writer):

"While chatting online to some friends (and yes they are just friends), as i was talking to more than one, my 13 year old son said to me, “dad, you are a player”. This was a bit of a shock to me. It is true that I do date a variety of ladies, and some non ladies, LOL. However when I want to date just one person I do so. Anyway, I have never considered myself a player."

Okay, so this was pretty inconclusive. The only bit of continuity is that being a playah involves dating a lot; the jury still seems to be out on whether you have to actually sleep with those women or not to earn the title.

So, lacking any kind of public definition - I figure hey, let's turn to the experts at, and see what they have to say how How To Become A Playah!

I gotta tell ya...I didn't even know where to begin with this website. It's like being 10 with a pocket full of cash, and being alone in a giant candy store. This thing has everything from advice to rules on playahood, to seduction's Cosmo for Men.

Of course, the best place to start: The Players Rulebook. Cuz if we're going to define a playah, we should get into the mindset, right? I won't repeat them all, but picked a few of note:
SMILE. Remember to smile constantly; while your talking, while your listening, while your doing just about anything. I can not stress this rule enough, smiling is the most powerful weapon in any player's arsenal. It let's the women know that your probably a fun guy to be around and someone they would like to know or be involved with. This single rule alone can improve your success with women by over 100%, use it wisely. Smiling builds comfort and rapport with women, which are both necessary aspects of seduction and will be your downfall if they are neglected. However, don't overdo your smiling and walk around like your face is stuck that way, it's creepy. Smile enough to be viewed as approachable and likeable, but only in appropriate amounts.

Okay, I'm guilty of this, sure. See someone cute, you smile - you don't have to approach, or say anything, but yeah it gives notice that I think you're cute, and if you return the smile and look back, I'll know you're interested.
While gaming a woman, constantly repeat her name, it will be like music to her ears. For example "Stop trying to seduce me, Jill... I know what you're up to!" instead of "Stop trying to seduce me... I know what you're up to!" To further amplify the potency of this technique, you can even pet name your target, which will create a stronger connection between the two of you and allow you to "stake your claim" on her indirectly.

Ouch. Guilty as charged. Yes, I have and still do this. I didn't realize it was a playah-technique. I'm ashamed.

Okay not really. But I feel like I should be, given the subject.
Always compliment women and they will always feel good about you, but don't overdue it or they will think your just trying to score points (which you are, but you don't want them to know that). Try to sound sincere and give her a unique compliment that most people will overlook. Once you've gotten comfortable with complimenting women in general, the next step is to begin giving them negative compliments (negs) in order to disqualify yourself as someone that is trying to pick them up. By doing this, you will have a non-threatening presence from then on and will be able to game her from a much more powerful position. The basic form of a neg is a positive followed by a negative, for example "I like the color of your shirt, but it fits a little funny on you... is it too small?"

Oy vey. Do you hear that whistling sound? It's my cred dropping from the sky at 5,000mph. What's wrong with complimenting them? And yes, I DO give honest criticisms mixed with compliments when asked...isn't that just being a friend? Damn.
Never say "How about giving me your number?". Always use something like "I'd like to talk to you again, is there a number I can reach you at?". This always produces much better results because she must avoid saying "no" or she will sound stupid because that will mean there is not a number she can be reached at. It also makes you more original than every other idiot that asks for her number. Another great approach is to simply hand her your cell phone and tell her (don't ASK her, tell her) to put her number in it. The first example is an open-ended way to ask for her number, while the second is a forceful way to get her number. Both are equally effective so experiment around with them to find out which you prefer using
Hah! See, I'm NOT evil! I don't ask for numbers, I give mine instead! This way they're not put off, and if they're interested enough they'll return the favor, saving me the Of having to ask for it. Hmm. Can someone please, um, take this shovel out of my hands before I dig the hole any bigger?
Quit worrying about what to say next and focus your attention on listening. She will give you leads as to what she would like to talk about, in essence, telling you want to say next. For example: you say "How are you doing?" she says "I got a 50 cent raise today, but then I got a flat tire on my way home from work, so I guess I'm doing ok". She just gave you two leads that hint at what she is willing to talk about, all you've got to do is pick one. You can either choose to stroke her ego: "Cool, you probably deserved the raise" or tease her "Well, how did you earn the raise (while staring directly at her tits and smiling playfully)".

See now, this is just wrong. Listening and paying attention is wrong now?! Come on, dammit! This is unfair! I'm being mislabeled! Miscast! Mis-something, fuck!

Okay. So maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

These are not the droids you're looking for. We can go about our business. Move along, move along.

The Mega

I would like to thank Blockhead's for adding the mega to their margarita sizes. Saves me the effort of needing the waitress all the time, when I can just go for it in one big shot.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Not GAF

First, let me start by saying: if you are offended by anything I may say in this post, if you THINK you MIGHT be offended by anything I MIGHT be about to say...walk away.


Because IDGAF.

What is IDGAF? Well for one thing, it's an acronym I don't suggest trying to type while drunk. As I am. Currently. My backspace key has never seen so much work.

It's the I Don't Give A Fuck defense.

Case in point. Tonight, once again, I've been accused of playah-tendencies. Now, let's be clear: I do not consider myself a playah. I, perhaps, in comparison to several friends, may be considered for playah-hood - but to me, I do not qualify.

However, in a moment of drunken honesty, I will admit that I do have tendencies towards the playah-persuasion.

First: I have to say, bravo to Blockheads, a tex-mex dive here in NY. While I fully and wholeheartedly applaud their $3 plain margarita special, which is every night of the week all night...I give a standing fucking ovation to their new Grande and, very specifically, Mega versions of the drink. $9, and after the first I had quite the buzz.

After two, well...that's the subject of tonight's (this morning?) post.

What defines playahood? Is it simply the ability to transcend your natural fears and, with no intention of actuallly following through (unless it's THAT easy) talking up some random chick and getting play from it? I mean, if that's all it is, well...I guess I should get my membership card register, right?

Because after a drink (or two, or three), well...the good ol' IDGAF starts kicking in, and woe behold anyone nearby.

For example. A waterbug/beetle/flying cockroach decided to pay a visit to a couple sitting near our table. The girl - young 20s, blond, freckled - exactly NOT my type - decided she no longer wanted to sit near her date, until said bug disappeared. She got up, and stood near our table.

Well, being the intoxicated gentleman I am (and immersed fully in IDGAF mode), I invited her to sit.

It didn't take much effort at all to find out that she's here from Florida, where she works, and who her date was. As, I should mention, the poor schmuck sat there at their table waiting for her to come back. I don't apologize for it; she came to us, I invited her to sit, she sat. He's lucky she's not my type or I'd have made out with her out of spite, but whatever.

She eventually went back, and the poor fool got up and left to go use the restroom. Which was, in my eyes, a moment to find out what was really going on.

They were, indeed, on a date. He was a co-worker. She wasn't sure it was a good idea, but fuck-all if she wasn't on the date anyway. A friend in the group did seem interested, I encourage him, or ignore the chippie and move on?

Anyone who knows me, knows I couldn't resist.

Guy comes back. I had to get involved, find out what was going in - so I ask him, point blank - what's the deal, why hasn't he kissed her yet? He admitted (why the fuck he's even talkiing to me and not trying to kick my ass, I'm not sure yet, but that's what IDGAF attitude gets you) that they did kiss, lightly, TWO DAYS AGO, but he's not sure now.

Are you fucking kidding me?

The girl asks my friend if he could take a picture, and nice that he is he obliges. They take a nice generic photo of themselves.

Fuck that shit.

Of course I get up like I'm Martin Scorcese and it's "no, no, no...that's not acceptable!" I pose them, making them actually (gods forbid) TOUCH each other to take a photo. Lean in, hug her, put your arm around her you yutz!

Here's the amazing part. They listen, and do what I say. Click, click, photo done. A few minutes later, you can't pry their lips apart.

Why the fuck did they need my intervention? Geez, if you're that hot for her....they spent way too much time caressing faces, touching hair...

Look dickwad. If she's letting you put your grimy, sweaty hand on her face and lean in close to talk to need to shut the fuck up at this point and just go for yours.

If she pulls away, you misread the signs and well, sucks to be you - but at least now you know.

Here, she OBVIOUSLY wanted it (although I should mention, I did ask while dumbass was in the restroom -and she admitted she was annoyed he hadn't made a move yet). And yet...I still feel like anyone with an outie, rather than an innie, had a pretty good shot.

Too bad I'm not into blondes.

Our waitress on the other hand...yowza. Obviously had a man, obviously knew how to flirt just enough...loved it.

God I needed a night like tonight!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So Does She Get Comped For the Return Ticket?

This article came courtesy of the newly-iPoded Tammy:

Delta says body found in plane's restroom

ATLANTA - Delta flight attendants found the body of a 61-year-old woman in the restroom of a plane that landed in Atlanta early Wednesday morning, a spokeswoman for the company said.

The crew noticed the restroom was occupied on final approach, spokeswoman Keyra Johnson said. Flight 950 from Los Angeles landed at 5:51 a.m., and Delta officials have not said how long the woman may have been in the restroom.

Atlanta police were notified and met the plane at the gate, Johnson said.

The body was taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in suburban Atlanta for an autopsy later Wednesday, said GBI spokesman John Bankhead. Authorities were awaiting the results to determine the cause of death, Bankhead said.

Authorities have not released the woman’s name.

Atlanta police stationed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport respond to calls about dead bodies on airplanes a couple of times a year, police spokesman Officer Eric Schwartz said.

Quick question: does her family pick up the body at baggage claim?

I know that was wrong, but fuck you it was funny. I know you laughed.

This shit's happened before. In 2005, on an American Airlines plane from Toyko to Chicago, a 66yr old man was found locked (and deceased) inside the bathroom, 2 hrs after the plane landed.

Two hours.

I guess each time the cleaning crew passed by the locked (and supposedly empty) bathroom, they just saw the "occupied" slot, shrugged, and kept going?

Aren't they supposed to do a seat check? I mean, what exactly are those flight attendants doing when they walk past, pointing and mumbling to themselves, if they're NOT counting passengers? Figuring out whose luggage to lose? Picking people to randomly add to the homeland security watch list? Playing duck-duck-goose?

How the fuck does someone disappear from their seat on a flight, and no one notices until they find the body?

And oh-oh-oh, the fun doesn't stop there, folks! See, here in America we'll just lose the body and forget you exist. In Britain, of course, they have to be all proper and polite about it.

In March of this year, on a British Airways flight from Delhi to Heathrow, a woman in her seventies died in her seat in economy class. Note: she, unlike us savage Americans, had the DECENCY to pass in a proper way, not on the toilet like some aging pill-popping, white-sequined rock star.

Apparently this caused her frequent flyer miles to kick in, or the airline had a special going where dead passengers get all kinds of great perks, because the flight crew then carried her dead body from economy to first class, where they sat her in a nice, comfy, leather seat, propped her body up with pillows...and left her there next to her grieving daughter.

Which sucked for Mr. Paul Trinder, aka Dickwad, who "was catching up on sleep when he was woken by a commotion and opened his eyes to see staff manoeuvring the body into a seat."

“I didn’t have a clue what was going on. The stewards just plonked the body down without saying a thing. I remember looking at this frail, sparrow-like woman and thinking she was very ill,” said Trinder.

“She kept slipping under the seatbelt and moving about with the motion of the plane. When I asked what was going on I was shocked to hear she was dead.”

The woman’s daughter and son-in-law arrived soon after and began grieving. Trinder said: “It was terrifying. I put my earplugs in but couldn’t get away from the fact that there was a woman wailing at the top of her voice just yards away. It was a really intense, primal sound.

He put in his earplugs. What a guy; ladies, don't pass this one up!

It gets better.

He became particularly concerned about the state of the body. “When you have a decaying body on a plane at room temperature for more than five hours there are significant health and safety risks,” he said.

I don't know what he's talking about, personally; I mean, she's dead - what health risk is there for her? Don't worry Paul, she won't catch your cooties.

After the plane landed, those in first class remained on board for an hour before police and a coroner gave the all-clear.

“The police even started interviewing me as a potential witness, although I had no idea what had happened to the woman. I just kept thinking to myself: ‘I’ve paid more than £3,000 for this’,” Trinder said.

When contacted by BA about the complaint, Trinder says he was told he would not be compensated and should “get over” the incident.

I'd have loved to have been there for that. Or been the one to tell the fuckwit to get over it.

Paul's insensitivity aside, it does still beg a question: what DO the airlines do when a passenger decides he or she has had enough of the bad service and worse food, and decides to die in protest?

At least this woman got a seat. On an American Airlines flight from Haiti to New York, a woman died after complaining that she couldn't breathe, asking for oxygen, and being told no by the flight attendant. Her body was then moved (read: dragged) to first class, where it was laid (read: left) on the floor and covered with a blanket.

Out of sight, out of mind?

Singapore Airlines has introduced “corpse cupboards” on its Airbus 340-500 aircraft. The airline's new fleet of Airbus A340-500 aircraft boasts a discreet (discreet?) locker next to one of the plane's exit doors which is long enough to store an average-sized body, with special straps to prevent any movement during a bumpy landing. discreet mean...a coffin?

They put coffins by the EXIT doors? Because, I guess, if the plane's going down...

...why not let the people who're ALREADY dead go first?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Because Sharing is Caring

This generally goes against the grain for me, but I'm tired and in a sharing mood. Plus I've had people who've wanted to see something I've worked on, so I guess I can give up a hint or two. This is barely an excerpt, but it'll do - at least, as a tone-setter. And I think is a good intro to the character. It's about half of what I wrote tonight, which admittedly I need to finish retyping from my notes - did I mention that I was tired?

Title: none of your business. You won't need it to take in the tale. But for the sake of argument, let's call it The Hunter for now. A novel in progress.

Have fun.

I hate Chinatown.

It has nothing to do with the people; I like the people. The people are smart. They know how to keep their mouths shut when people come around asking questions; they know how to be blind to things happening directly in front of their faces. They can, when needed, so convince themselves that something so blatant, so obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes, actually didn’t happen that they feel no remorse telling anyone who’ll ask that nothing happened, because in their minds, it’s an unshakeable truth.

The people in Chinatown know how to survive. I can appreciate that. No, what I hate is this goddamned neighborhood they live in.

Forget that it smells like a fisherman’s outhouse in the summer heat; there are other parts of Manhattan that smell worse, and don’t need a day baking in the New York sun for the stench to make you lose last week’s lunch.

And let’s ignore the way the streets twist and turn into each other, angling sharply down one way and ending at a brick wall like some medieval hedge maze. These streets weren’t so much designed, as they were thrown together, with no regards for logic or common sense. There are streets down here that last all of one or two city blocks, and if you make a wrong turn down a wrong alley you’ll need a compass and flares to help find your way out.

Of course I exaggerate, but I’m making a fucking point here. Deal with it.

No, what I hate about Chinatown is that there’s just no place for a guy like me to blend in. Either the streets are too small or I’m just too big, I don’t give a fuck; all I know is that every time I come down to this part of the city I stand out like a goddamned hooker at a Catholic Christmas mass.

Yes, I’m a pretty big guy; three hundred pounds and just over six feet of well-earned muscle will get me that description, sure – but there are plenty of guys bigger than I am, and they’d love to prove it to you. And yeah, I’m about a hundred shades of black darker than the darkest person down here, but again – so fucking what, it’s New York. Bruthas work these streets like cockroaches on a kitchen counter, either selling or buying knockoffs at prices that’ll even make the Jews on 48th sit up and take notice.

So if I ain’t the biggest, and I ain’t the blackest, then why the fuck is it each and every goddamned time I have to come to this part of town, everybody’s staring at me from the side of their faces like Jesus Christ came down, landed on my forehead and said “boo!” to them?

Casper tried to explain it to me once. Some people, he said, are just naturally more in touch with all that supernatural shit than others. I can walk around on Riverside Drive like I own the whole fucking park, and people will pretend to ignore me because they see what they expect to see – a big, scary black man. And this works for them because I’m something they know how to deal with – by crossing the street, like if they so much as make eye contact with me I’ll end up molesting their daughter. That’s normal for this city.

Not in Chinatown, he says. No, these fuckers are old-school – they’re barely a boat ride removed from all that ancient shit, and they have this way of noticing crap that others won’t. Not just noticing; seeing. Seeing stuff that may or may not really be there, stuff that either scares the hell out of them or fascinates them so much they can’t take their eyes off it.

Like, apparently, me. Except when I ask that little shit Casper what any of that crap has to do with me, he smiles that shit-eating little “I know something you don’t” grin of his and clams the fuck up for the hundredth time.

Personally I think it’s his shit on me they’re smelling, and they don’t quite cotton to the scent of it. He’s the one whose got them spooked, except they can’t quite get past me to see it’s him.

Did I mention that Casper is my personal ghost?

Yeah, hah hah, big joke. Okay so he’s not a ghost; I’m still not sure what he is, exactly. He swears up and down a stack of Bibles that he’s my own personal guardian angel, and if I was stupid for that Jesus shit I might be inclined to believe him. No, I think he’s some deeply buried psychosis, an imaginary friend from my childhood who just doesn’t know when his time is up. He’s definitely been around long enough that it makes some sense, but if I try bring it up with him he starts in on this wailing and whining and I end up with a migraine and a nosebleed, so I don’t even bother anymore.

Real or figment, Casper’s saved my ass too many times for me to just ignore him completely; maybe he’s my sixth sense, maybe I’m really totally bonkers - but rubber-room material or not, he’s way too useful to me. So I make a point of not taking the pills the army docs prescribed, and I throw away the letters the shrinks send me reminding me how overdue I am for a session with them.

But forget all that. None of that does a thing about explaining what I’m doing walking this smelly, cobble-stoned maze of a neighborhood at damn near midnight on a Tuesday, when any sensible New Yorker is at home right now curled up in bed watching Seinfeld reruns.

It’s because I’m on a hunt. And the things I hunt don’t usually keep nine-to-five hours.

Yeah, I can hear it now, “oh god, here we go again.” Been there, done that, seen the movie and the tv series and the spinoff with her ex-boyfriend too. Do I carry a special sword, or have a crackpot team of professionals on my payroll standing by with all the latest gadgets and weapons?

Well fuck you, my name ain’t Van Helsing and if vampires exist, I’ve never seen one. I carry a shotgun, two handguns and a whole bunch of knives. Maybe a hand grenade or two. Or three, if it’s a good day.


Because in my experience, a shotgun blast to the head from about five or six feet away is more than enough to stop anything that comes at you. If Count Chocula came after me, it’s gonna be pretty damned hard to sink his fangs into my neck with his head blown the fuck off. And if by some lucky chance the sumbitch does manage to get up? Well, the ol’ boomstick’s got two rounds for a good reason.

Leave all the fancy moves to the cheerleaders on tv, that’s my theory.

What most people who don’t live in New York don’t know, or don’t want to know, is that in too many ways the city really is just a jungle with light posts and traffic signals for trees, and blacktopped streets in place of rivers. If you don’t know what to look for, the things you’d better be aware of that hide in the dark alleys and ride the potholed streets behind tinted windows; if you don’t learn how these things hunt, and respect them for the beasts they are, this city will swallow you whole. And if your family is really lucky, your bloated carcass might just come floating to the surface of the Hudson in a few weeks, with your face intact enough for them to identify your body at the morgue.

On the other hand, I could write an entire set of encyclopedia volumes on the things that hide even deeper in the shadows of those alleys and sewers, things that even the average New Yorker won’t admit is out there, watching. Waiting.

Waiting for what? What the fuck do you think, dipshit?

Do you really think that hundreds of people go missing in this city each year because they just moved out of state? Or that the police department has dozens of unsolved murders each month, because there’s some genius killer on the loose who they’ve yet to find enough evidence to arrest? Do you think the human vermin you see on the 11 o’clock news is responsible for all the things that happen when the lights go down?

This cesspool of a city, just like all of her sisters around the world, is crawling with monsters.

Don’t even think of laughing; just don’t. I learned a long time ago just how real these things are, and at the same time discovered two very important things about myself.

One is that I’m very, very good at finding and killing these things. I once tracked a really nasty goblin-like thing through about three hamlets outside of Frankfurt in Germany, finally trapping the little shit in a badger den it thought it could hide out in. I’ve gone down sewers, subways, caverns…hell; I even once climbed a radio broadcast tower chasing after this baboon-like thing running around just south of Texas.

Which that leads me to the other thing I found out about myself. Because when I finally got my hands on that monkey-chattering fucker, I didn’t even bother with the knife or gun; I just squeezed with my hands until I popped his windpipe, and watched the life wash right out of him.

And it felt good. I mean really good.

Let’s be clear about this: I enjoy hunting these things down. When I’m on a trail of a particular nasty, it’s like I really come alive – my skin tingles, my senses are sharper than you could possibly imagine. I feel stronger, faster than anything on the planet; I’m a true predator, a hunter.

THE hunter.

And you know what? If I didn’t have these things to hunt down, these things that lie in the darkness and plot ways to snatch your child from its crib because it wants to see how tender Little Timmy’s fingers will be in its nasty little mouth, if these boogeymen and trolls and nightmares didn’t exist…

I’d probably be hunting you instead.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More Than Words

I'd forgotten just how much I really enjoy words. Writing, specifically, but words in general.

When I was young - my sister had just been born, so I would have been seven years old - one of my favorite books was The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle, by Hugh Lofting. It's the second in a series by him of the good Doctor's adventures, but I never read the others. Still, this one volume was easily a good two inches thick, and provided me with more than enough reading material to saturate my young, fertile mind.

I don't know if you can imagine what it was like, for me as a child, to read these fantastical adventures of this pudgy, amicable old man who could remarkably talk to animals. His parrot, Polynesia; the monkey Chee-Chee, the pig stupidly childish as these names are, I didn't care - it was the stories that drew me in, the adventures they had together!

I wanted nothing more than to ride in the shell of the Giant Glass Sea Snail; I wanted to go to Spider Monkey Island, and I wanted to know what the jabizri beetle really looked like. I laughed at the confusion of the Pushmi-Pullyu and the antics of Bumpo the Prince, and yes by golly I wanted to know the mystery of what happened to the great naturalist Long Arrow!

I didn't just love this story, I craved the fantastical adventures it took me on. I must have read and re-read the book a hundred times, and the musical made from it was, and is, always a favorite of mine.

I knew the places it took me too weren't real, but I didn't care - in the pages of that book, I was a world traveller. Even the people in the book refused to believe in the places Doolittle described, but in the end they existed; he was right, they were wrong, and I was right there with him to share in the adventure. The stories, for me, were euphoric; I could, and did, literally find myself lost in each page, flipping them with heated anticipation of what would come next.

I bring this up because I remembered, tonight, how good words - writing, specifically - make me feel.

It's easy to forget things like that. In my case I could blame work, and life, for keeping me so preoccupied that I didn't stop to just enjoy the jumble of consonents and vowels, of verbs and nouns and conjunctions that swam around inside my brain looking for a way out.

And there were quite a few of them.

I tend to write, a lot, in my head; sometimes I'm not completely aware of it. But at times, I find myself sitting and picturing a scene in my head; one that connects to something I've jotted down on one of dozens of note pads, that has some bearing on a story idea that I just haven't felt is ready for paper. The scene comes together like a movie being played inside my skull; I can see each action, and when something doesn't feel right I become a director, yelling "cut!" and telling the actors to try again, only this time...

You get the idea. It's visualization, except I'm taking images and putting them to words. I don't know if other people write this way, but it's how my brain works - and since I'm comfortable doing it that way, I don't really care how others do it. So there.

Tonight, I felt an old itch. I needed to write. So instead of eating at home, I sat down at a local bistro, a blank notebook open on the table and a pen in hand. Nearly three hours later, I looked up from the table - food consumed, but not eaten; beer drank, but not tasted - and smiled, exhausted. I had to force myself up from the table and back home, some 12 handwritten pages of text clutched tightly to my chest. The words had just poured out of me, like a dam that had been full to overflowing; of course, they'd need some cleanup later, but damn! it felt good, just writing so freely again.

Sometimes I look at the world of technology today, and I wonder if tomorrow has a place for words. We spend our days communicating on keyboards that fit in the palm of our hands, we use a shorthand language that I worry, one day, our kids or their grandkids will come to believe is the norm of the English language.

Is the written word dead, as we know it? Does it take a Harry Potter for a child to read, or are the children only reading tales of Hogswarts because their parents are the ones secretly obsessed? Do their sons and daughters only glance at the books, preferring instead to wait for the collector's DVD edition?

I'd like to believe that there are still kids out there, six and seven and eight years of age, who each spring look with anticipation for the summer book clubs, much as I did. That they pour over each book offered for discounted sale, hoping to find something that will transport them over the summer to magical places, to lands never before touched by human foot.

I want to believe that somewhere, right now, there is a child wishing she, too, were riding in the shell of the Great Glass Sea Snail. That there's a boy without a Gameboy, without an iPod, sitting curled up on a bed with a nightlamp by his side, his hands clutching a storybook and his eyes wide with excitement as he reads each line, his mind already transporting him to the lands described in black and white.

And there's a very small, secret part of me that hopes that one day, it'll be my name on the cover of that book.

The Evolution of the Superhero Movie Into Cinema

I promise you, up front, that this won't be yet another fan-boi gushfest over the Batman: the Dark Knight movie. But it does play a large factor in the point I'm about to make.

Rehashing what I've said before, comic books in the 80s suddenly transformed - evolved, I think, is a better word. They were no longer targetted at the 12 and under crowd, but in fact suddenly they became the sole domain of the adult male. Certain lines dispensed with the old "comics code" seal of approval, decided that the world no longer needed its comic books censored. There are those who scoff at the term "graphic novel", and argue that you can dress a comic book up all you want, it's still ridiculous characters in spandex doing impossible things for your children't entertainment.

These are people who, I'd argue, haven't sat down and actually READ a true graphic novel.

Besides Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, there was another book - coincidently also put out by DC comics - that reshaped and redefined the world of superheroes as we've known it. Whereas the Dark Knight gave us a brutal, determined, darker version of Batman than we'd ever even imagined...Alan Moore's "The Watchmen" gave us a larger view of what life could have been like for superheroic beings, given more of a human personality. While in many ways they were no less far more ways, they were much more human that what we were used to.

Like the gods of Greek mythology, Moore's heroes were flawed beings; unstable, egotistical, lacking self confidence...damaged, in so many ways. They were cynical, dysfunctional people who, while well intentioned, were - like the rest of us - subject to their own humanity. Or, in the case of a few, a lack of humanity.

I mention this because I can't help but notice the parallels happening in the movie industry. I'm not putting down other superhero movies at all; I enjoyed Spiderman 2, the Hulk, and raved over Iron Man. They were comic books come to life, and I was pleased to see them brought onto the screen - and done well.

But. The Dark Knight, like it's namesake graphic novel, changed what it means to be a superhero movie. It's hard to argue that the very nature of the movie, its production, transcends the typical comic-book based film. It isn't cartoonish, it's grounded in a gritty, humanistic reality that forces you to accept it as a film, as cinema. It's art, and halfway through it you've accepted it as a very good, if not great, addition to the action film genre.

And now, along comes The Watchmen - and the comic book movie comes of age.

I'm personally thrilled that they have not chosen to water down this film for the sake of the uninformed public. The Dark Knight was PG-13; Watchmen is set for an "R" rating. It promises to keep certain scenes from the story which I anticipate will shock the first-time viewer, much as they shocked the reader of the graphic novel when it was first introduced. Watchmen is not a children's story; your son will not want to grow up to be the Comedian, or Rorscharch - and in fact, you will pray they don't. Dr. Manhattan will fascinate you with his lack of humanity, while simultaneously repulsing you with the same. And you will hope that your daughter's life does not emulate the Silk Spectre's.

You will lose sight of where the line is drawn between hero and villain...and that is exactly the point, that there are no absolutes when dealing with the human condition. Heroes are still human, and subject to the same flaws that both mark us, and define us.

I don't know if Watchmen will be a great movie; it certainly has the potential to be. The graphic novel - or, if you insist, the comic book - to this day remains the only one within its genre to find a home on Time Magazine's 100 Best English Speaking Novels (2005), and won the Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy novel.

A comic book.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Movie Review: The Dark Knight

In 1986, Frank Miller helped to redefine the comic book world with his opus, The Dark Knight Returns. It took the Batman character that we'd all grown up with and, well...evolved him. Or perhaps, devolved him into the true essence of what he was intended to be - a dark, brooding, avenger who walks in the shadows and strikes terror in the hearts of criminals. He took away the bright colors, the upstanding morality, and enhanced his core personality of a man whose goal is absolute justice, and the eradication of criminality. It was dark, twisted, brutal...and we loved it.

So, too, goes this second installment in the reimagined film adaptation of the Batman.

The Dark Knight lives up to it's title in every way imaginable. All vestiges of the Tim Burton version have been eradicated, leaving us with a Batman who lives in our world. Gone are the comic book images, the campy villains; whereas Batman Begins was a reintroduction to the character and explored the psychological mind of a man who is driven to avenge the streets, the Dark Knight gives us his mirror twin - his opposite, and yet in many ways his doppleganger. The Joker.

No one can deny that Jack Nicholson's Joker was a wild, uncontrollable nutjob that evoked a sense of giggling, manaical madman from the old television show - but with a certain ruthlessness that brought us more to the psychopath from the comic books. It was a great performance by Jack.

Heath Ledger absolutely blew him out of the water. This Joker will haunt your nightmares, his laugh will make you flinch in the dark. This is the Joker from the comic novel, the Killing Joke; the one who crippled and debased the crimefighting daughter of Commissioner Gordon, and who used the images of that debasement (and possible defilement) in an attempt to drive Gordon mad - simply for the sake of proving that good men CAN in fact, go bad. This is the Joker who, for no reason other than the twisted joy of the moment, beat a helpless teenaged Robin to a pulp with a crowbar, then proceeded to blow him up. Not out of a sense of revenge, or anger...but for the excitement of it.

Ledger has managed to capture the dangerous insanity of the character and transform himself, almost unrecognizably so, into the perfect foil for Christian Bale's dark knight. They have become the classic anti-hero and psychopath villain, the latter driven to his evil schemes for no other reason than to frustrate the former, the former driven to the brink of madness in an attempt to understand and defeat the mind of the latter. They are yin and yang, opposite and yet intertwined - just as they should be.

Cillian Murphy makes a surprise appearance here, reprising his role - however briefly - as the Scarecrow. Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman Gary Oldham return in their roles as Alfred, Lucius Fox and Gordon respectively, and Maggie Gyllenhall turns in a nice performace in replacing the elfish Katie Holmes (although her interrogation as ADA of a suspect bordered more on seductive than tough).

Aaron Eckhart, by contrast, turns in a powerful performace himself as District Attorney Harvey Dent. Throuout the movie, Dent is Elliot Ness - he's unfraid, determined, as obsessed with cleaning up Gotham City as Batman. He's the Daywalker to Batman's Nightmare, doing in front of the cameras and the people what Batman does from the shadows.

The following is a spoiler alert, so if you're completely unfamiliar with the Batman mythos and stable of villains, you should stop reading here.

When Dent is scarred, when he is betrayed (or believes so) by the very system of Justice he'd spent so much time upholding...his fall is hard, and absolute. His metamorphasis into the aptly named cannot imagine the sheer terror he evokes, simply by the scarring of his face. He is on the outside just as he is inside - a man divided, of two minds and two souls; he embraces the anthesis of everything he'd believed in, and becomes that which he'd fought against - a monster, bent on the destruction of everything moral and just.

They become an interesting combination - the Joker, a creature of whim and lacking any sense of morality or ethics, and Two-Face - a monster who bases each action on chance, no longer believing that humanity is capable of following a true and just path and using the flip of a coin to decide his next action, whether good or evil.

If there is a critcism to make, it is that Bale's voicing while in the costume comes dangerously close to annoying. His overly done rasping and growling works in short does, but when trying to speak more than a paragraph of words you realize how much of a strain it is for him to maintain it, and maintain it trying to keep in character. I would prefer they use, within the storyline, electronics to mask his voice rather than asking Bale to emote while trying not to cough.

Overall: this is not a movie for children, and I would highly recommend leaving any child under 10 at home. This is not a comic book, this is a graphic novel in movie form. You will sit capitvated, on the edge of your seat; you will jump at places as if you're watching a horror movie, you will laugh at the Joker's antics even as you're simultaneously horrified by them. Your heart will race at the fights, at the decisions our heroes are forced to make - or not make.

And at the end of the two and a half hours, you will lean back - exhale deeply - and smile, having seen what is quite possibly the best comic book movie to date.

Friday, July 18, 2008

He Said, She Said

Dave Barry is one of my favorite satirists, and some time ago he wrote a piece outlining the differences in the way women read a conversation, and the way men read it. It's been recycled hundreds upon hundreds of times on the web, but I felt like reposting it. Just because. So if you haven't before...enjoy.

Let's say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"
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And then there is silence in the car. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Roger is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Elaine is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward . . . I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Roger is thinking: . . . so that means it was . . . let's see . . February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means . . . lemme check the odometer . . . Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Elaine is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed -- even before I sensed it -- that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Roger is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Elaine is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Roger is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90- day warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say, the scumballs.

And Elaine is thinking: maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their ......

"Roger," Elaine says aloud.

"What?" says Roger, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have . . Oh, I feel so......"

(She breaks down, sobbing.)

"What?" says Roger.

"I'm such a fool," Elaine sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Roger.

"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Elaine says.

"No!" says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

"It's just that . . . It's that I . . . I need some time," Elaine says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

"Yes," he says.

(Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

"Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Roger.

"That way about time," says Elaine.

"Oh," says Roger. "Yes."

(Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

"Thank you, Roger," she says.

"Thank you," says Roger.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it.

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.

Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say:

"Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?"

Scooter Patrol

I remember the very first time I saw a police officer on a bicycle, and I gotta tell ya: I honestly didn't believe there could be anything more emasculating. Cops in biker shorts, wearing bicycle helmets. On bicycles.

Now before you get all huffy, it isn't just me - it's internal to various PDs as well. In Lubbox, Texas - now come on, it's Texas, you don't get more of a manly-man's image than a cowboy cop - here's how they rank the officers in the field, based on their transportation (go look on the website, it's true!):

Patrol Division
They get the cars, which is really convenient for picking up hookers off the street. And they have a really, really big back seat. Also convenient, once you've picked up the hooker and need to find a quiet alley to interrogate her.

They get SUVs, and dogs. Which again, add in the hooker element and we're selling tickets in Mexico.

Motor Unit
It's ChiPs, cops on motorcycles. The Hells Angels of the police force.

Mounted Patrol
Cops on horses. Akin to Canadian Mounties, and they get just about the same level of respect. Which isn't much.

and then...just a step above the LAST rung, which are Public Service Officers (aka 911 desk jockeys)...are Bike Patrol. The Pedal Police.

I didn't list them that way, folks, the Texas cops did.

So what's the point of all this? I saw an image today that would make the Pedal Police stand up proud, knowing that on the other side of the world are cops more laughable than themselves:

Cops on Segways.

The Chinese Government, in efforts to step up their Summer Olympics anti terrorist operations, are rolling out (pun intended) a series of strategems, including...police troops on Segways.

Now. I don't know about you...but I can totally see the effectiveness of this. Because, were I a notorious bad-ass criminal mastermind and saw a hoard of cops cruising down the streets of Beijing at me (at a top speed of 12.5 mph, roughly twice the speed at which i can walk. Or less than the speed at which I can run)...

...I'd fall down on my ass laughing hysterically, at which point they'd eventually catch up to me as I tried to crawl away and lock me up.

They should broadcast a little Steppenwolf during a scene like this photo, because it would be SO approbo!

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Born, to be wild...i-i-ild!

You know what's next, right?

Cops shredding the rails. Think I'm crazy?

Dude. A donut shop bro? Totally trippy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Holy walking corpses, Batman, I'm in hog heaven over this one (thanks, Tammy!)

This is a true article, folks. Straight from the BBC news herself:
Cambodian Troops Quarantine Quan'sul

There has been a small outbreak of “zombism” in a small town near the border of Laos in North-Eastern Cambodia.

The culprit was discovered to be mosquitoes native to that region carrying a new strain of Malaria which thus far has a 100 percent mortality rate and kills victims in fewer than 2 days.

After death, this parasite is able to restart the heart of its victim for up to two hours after the initial demise of the person where the individual behaves in extremely violent ways from what is believed to be a combination of brain damage and a chemical released into blood during “resurrection.”

Cambodian officials say that the outbreak has been contained and the public has no need to worry.

General Ary Serey had this to say, "We have obtained samples of this new parasite and plan to learn how it starts the heart and other major organs of the deceased. We intend to use this to increase the quality of life for all."

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice opposed the plan saying that the Cambodian government holds a great biological weapon and should destroy it immediately. Cambodian officials have yet to comment.

A United Nations team will be dispatched to Cambodia to confirm the safety of biological research in Cambodia.




I don't even know where to begin. I could start on the US wanting the Cambodians to "destroy it immediately", which to me is Condi sitting in a room shouting "Fuck this, we know how it goes down for black folk in zombie flicks! Kill them sumbitches, now!" I could go into the idea of the fucking Cambodians (who are world reknown for their scientific research labs) keeping a sample of this KILLING VIRUS, that has a 100% MORTALITY RATE (for the mathematically challenged, that's a #1 leader spot on the Halo Kill/Death ratio boards), to study.

But we all know what I really want to talk about.

It's a zombie virus, folks. It's Resident Evil 4: Cambodia. It's Night of the Living Loatians. You red-state bastards think we have immigrant problems NOW? Imagine boatloads of zombies from the Pacific Rim coming over, munching on sweetbreads that you USED to call your brain. Which would probably qualify them as sweetbiscuits, but I digress.

The point is: are YOU prepared for a zombie attack? How do you recognize a zombie, anyway?

1) Check their vitals.
If they start munching on your arm while you're checking their pulse, odds are pretty good that they're zombified. Also, you'll find that they have no pulse at all. Which, incidently, you won't either by this point.

2) See if you know them.
Or, more accurately, KNEW them. Because they used to be dead. And now, apparently, they're not. In which case, run. Fast.

3) Give them a food choice.
Hamburger...or brain matter. If they choose the hamburger, you should be reasonably safe. And please, don't substitute tofu for the hamburger meat, because frankly in that scenario I'd probably pick the brain matter too.

Now. You've identified your pursuer as a bonfied Zombie Creature. What do you do?

Personally, I'd go with the shotgun; you can't go wrong with a shotgun. I don't really care what you're fighting - zombie, vampire, werewolf, homunculus (that's a Frankenstein or golem, to you pleebs) - a solid hit with a .10 gauge will put a stop on anything, even if it's only temporary. And in the case with vampires, that additional 3-4 seconds you gain is the difference between you making it INSIDE the church, or leaving fingernail scratches and a bloody smear on the wooden door OUTSIDE for the police to find.

Plus it keeps the bastiches at a distance, and when I'm fighting things that want to eat my brain, I find it particularly helpful to keep them at as much of a distance from me as possible.

However, things happen, ammo runs out - in which case, the weapon of choice is the versatile machete.

Now sure, a survival knife is handier to carry, and an axe - well, you can't beat the heft of an axe. But an axe takes a pretty wide swing, and a survival knife won't pass through a skull. A machete has a nice long blade, good heft, and being able to follow through with the slice means you can keep on hacking until you make it to safety.

Fire. Now fire is your friend, and a zombie will make for some pretty good kindling. Plus, a zombie will still walk around while it's on fire and - GET THIS - burn OTHER zombies! Which, incidently, can also be a downside if you don't plan this ahead of time. Because you're pretty far up the fucking creek if you suddenly find yourself surrounded by a crowd of burning zombies who're insistent on getting one last snack before they turn into charcoal.

On a side note: if you're from Wisconsin. Please, do NOT try to have sex with it. I'm just sayin', cuz it's documented now. You sick fuckers.

But, you ask, what if I get bit?

Well, as history shows're fairly well fucked, ain't ya? But there are options for you:

1) Handgun, .38 or .45
Take a blast to your temple, and no more zombie. I don't recommend a .22, because it's a piece of shit. It'll hurt when the bullet bounces off your skull, and you'll still end up a zombie. And a rifle is too much work; by the time you get it set up, you'll already be craving someone's frontal lobe.

2) Jump
That's right. Jump. Just find a high building, and jump the fuck off. So what if it's scary, at least there's no second guessing. And there won't be enough of you to chase after me, later.

3) Drown yourself
No one thinks about this one much, but consider how many zombies may be walking around the sea bed right now. We've never seen one swim, but we also know they can't die - so waaaay deep down below, fishes are picking tiny little morsels off someone's great-great-great grandfather. The important part of this, of course, is that while you technically haven't destroyed're not up here, sipping out of my skull like it's a pina colada. So take a long walk off a short pier, why don't you.

So be prepared, folks; it's the end of the world as we know it. It'll start small; riots in Laos, the army moves in and martial law is declared. Then it'll spread; some infected puddlejumper will make his way to Africa, a couple of tourists on safari there will get bit, they'll take the bug back to's 28 Days all over again, so if you're smart you'll get out there on Amazon and grab that Zombie Survival gear

Cuz I'm warning you now, I'm already getting my hand fitted for a chainsaw prosthesis. Buzz buzz, baby.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Maybe He Wanted To Feed The Homeless With It

I try, very much, not to be critical of the Catholic Church. At least, not as critical as I could be. Which is considerably.

But then something comes along that absolutely boggles my mind at the base stupidity of it all, and I'm left scratching my head wondering - at least in this instance - why this was a big deal at all.
Orange County, FL -- One week after a University of Central Florida student snatched something sacred from church, armed UCF police officers stood guard during Sunday Mass to protect what Catholics call "The Body of Christ."

Minutes before the Mass began, Student Senator Webster Cook returned the Holy Eucharist he was holding hostage in a Ziploc bag ever since smuggling the blessed wafer of bread out of the Catholic Mass service Sunday June 29.

Carol Brinati with the Diocese of Orlando said the Catholic community was "concerned about the possible desecration of the Eucharist," and pleaded for its safe return.

Cook, who was raised Catholic, said he decided to bring the Eucharist home after a church leader tried to physically pry it from his hand. Cook broke Church rules by failing to consume it immediately during communion and then removing it from his mouth once seated.

Cook said he just wanted to show the Eucharist to a friend he brought with questions about Catholicism before consuming it. But outraged Catholics across the globe didn’t believe him and suspected he intended all along to steal the Eucharist and bloggers sent out e-mail messages damning him to Hell.

Cook said some threatened to break into his dorm room to rescue the Eucharist. Brinati said the Diocese of Orlando didn't condone those threats, but was happy Cook had a change of heart and returned it.

"We've been praying about that," she said.

Now...I understand, to some extent that Never mind. I don't understand, because we're not talking about some holy relic. The kid didn't walk out of the chuch with a golden crucifix under his shirt.

He walked out with a WAFER, that was in his MOUTH.

I can't even make fun of this by calling it a cookie, because calling it a cookie would give it more substance that it does. I've eaten saltine crackers that had more substance. If you took a rice cake, drilled a dollar coin-sized core out of the middle, then SHAVED that tiny cylinder into 10'd have something about the same size as the Eucharist. And just as robust.

When I was young, I went to visit my sister's godmother in Florida. I don't know where, the friggin' Everglades, who cares. All that matters for this tale is that I was dragged off to this woman's church, because all de chillun needs the Lawd's love on Sunday. Even if they get that love kicking and screaming, but I digress.

So here I am in this backwater church, with daddy longlegs squatting in toilet squalls wondering why in the name of Gods are you invading his territory, and suddenly people start getting up and walking to the front. I get shoved into line, so I just follow along not having a clue, but not about to make a scene with all these crazy, over emotional church folk around me giving me the evil (holy?) eye.

I end up at the front, and they kneel - so I kneel. The guy in the robes stands in front of everyone, and puts something on their tongue. I open wide, I let him put this styrofoam thing in my mouth, and done. Then they pass a cup with grape juice, I take the shot, and go back to my seat.

After a few seconds, feeling very uncomfortable and stupid, I turn to this woman and go: "What should I do with this?", peeling the styrofoam from my tongue and holding it up.

Admittedly she did freak a little, but I didn't know why; not like it came with instructions, and the thing was nasty as hell so how was I supposed to know I should eat it? Can't they put a little sugar on it, maybe some cinnamon, jazz it up a little? Sheesh.

So I can sympathize a bit, reading this article.

However. Are you fucking kidding me, with the priest trying to "pry it from his hand"? Seriously? Holy Crazy Psychopriests, Batman, what the hell was wrong with him? Was he possessed? Did the devil make him do it? "The power of Christ compel you!" How did the priest even KNOW what was going on, was he standing guard over the people to make sure they ate it? WTF?! This is some serious Rosemary's Baby shit, folks!

Really, I admit I'd have held out as well. Once it's in my mouth, it's my property bizzatch. If i want to take that damn wafer and turn it into art, I'll damn well do it. I'da beat the Jesus out of that man in his robe just for touching me, I swear to Mary I would have.

Come on, was all this necessary? Someone please explain it to me, because I must be stupid. It's not like the man was drinking from the fountain of holy water (although, to be fair, I'd have PAID to see someone do that!) He took the damn wafer out of his mouth - for whatever reason, let's assume he wasn't really showing his friend - and got jumped for it. For the entire community to start making death threats, for the church to file FUCKING POLICE REPORT...

What's the charge? Possession?

Driving Stupidly, Not Just The American Way

This just in from New Delhi,India:

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

Don't go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and lakes that
You're used to
I know that you're gonna have it your way
Or nothing at all
But I think you're moving too fast

Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water, crap like this happens.

New York City has just installed a series of fugart ("f-ugly art") displays in our waterways, a set of faux waterfalls that are supposed to enhance the look of the rivers around the island. Personally I think they look cheesy with all that scaffolding, and for $15million bucks you'd think they could have added some stone stucco so it looked better - but hey, what do I know?

Anyways. As with all things remotely dangerous, there will be some fool who will think he knows better than others, and will do something stupendously idiotic and endanger himself and possibly others.

Case in point: novice kayakers, who were determined to get an up-close and personal view of the falls.

As the story goes, an experienced kayaker and his two assistants were taking out a group of 24 newbs into the river, as part of a fund-raising event for their paddlehouse. They'd swing around the harbor, take a look at the waterfalls from a nice safe distance, then head back for home.

Thing were going swimmingly, until a pair of dipshits decided to venture out on their own.

Two of the kayakers, in one boat, capsized after straying too close to a waterfall erected by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson under the Brooklyn Bridge, the police said. The two, Bert Rosenblatt, 36, and Vladimir Spector, 37, were rescued by a police boat and taken to a hospital, and released shortly after with no injuries, the police said.

Their guide, Mr. Baard said the men had been “goofing around,” and got too close to the fall as they tried to take pictures.

Before the group had taken off, everyone had been given instructions repeatedly about what to do should their kayak flip over or drift into trouble.

Rule 1, clutch your paddles, they were told. The men let them go.
Rule 2, hold onto your kayak. Instead they let it drift away, and clung to the buoys and containment barriers that were meant to cordon off the waterfall.

If the men had followed their instructions, Mr. Baard said, they would have drifted to a calmer part of the river, where they easily could have gotten back into their kayak.

“I don’t know if they were afraid or what,” he said. “One issue was that they didn’t know us very well, so they didn’t have an immediate trust of our judgment, which would have helped. But they didn’t listen to what we asked them to do, and so at that point I tried to let the police take over.”

Now here's the visual I really love:

When the officers arrived at the scene, they found Mr. Baard pleading with one of the men, who were both wearing life vests, to let go of the barrier, but to no avail. Eventually, the police ordered him to let go, and the man complied.

You have to admit, that had to have been funny. Everyone yelling at this guy to let go, and him whimpering "nononononononononono...."

"I wanted to get a closer look at the waterfalls, and then it sucked us in," said Vladimer Spector, 37, one of the two men plucked from the East River by the NYPD Harbor Patrol.

Despite the scare, police said there was no risk of actually being pulled into the falls' suction system. Cops tested the system with dummies that were not sucked in.

As opposed, apparently, to the two dummies who nearly did.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Jesus: Messiah, Wizard, Vampire, or Zombie?

I'm absolutely, positively, going to Hell. First class, express line only. I'm fully comfortable with that fact, before you start calling down the fire and brimstone on me. So nyeh-nyeh.

With that now out of the way...I struggle with the concept of the last days of Christ. I respect that in this giant cult based on his name, he is revered as a Son of God, as the living embodiment of the creator here on Earth, as the Prince of Peace and the Shepherd. He died for our sins, which incidently to mean should mean we all get a free pass, but hey I didn't make up the rules so don't get angry this way.


Come on, really now; the man forced his followers to eat his flesh, drink his blood. He died, then crawled his way out of a grave to live again.

I don't know about you folks, and how strong-willed and resolute you are. But if i buried my friend, and while visiting his grave a few days later discovered it open, I'm going to consider a few options:
1) check the local medical schools for new cadaver arrivals, because some entrepenuring student is making a killing off graverobbing;
2) make sure my stock of garlic, blessed crosses and holy water is up to date;
3) keep the shotgun and axe handy, and start practicing head shots with the old .32

I am, however, very unlikely to bow down to my knees and cry tears of joy, because my friend was resurrected and has ascended to a higher being.

Do I lie? Take the holiest, kindest, sweetest person you know. And yes, I'll happily use Mother Theresa as an example. If she stepped out of her grave tomorrow morning, rubbing her eyes like she just woke up from a long nap...'d plug her full of ammo, grab a hatchet and start swinging for her neck. Because you know damn well she's a goddamn zombie, and its either kill the beast or stick a straw in your ear and let her suck away at your brains.

Now, let's talk about the WTF-moment we all know as the Last Supper.

Let's have a friend. You love this friend, he's the greatest dude, ever. You're so smitten with him, you're practically gay for him. But he's sick, and not long for this world, so he gathers up you and his other really tight bros, and holds a dinner party.

You're all drinking, laughing, having a good time, and in the middle of this dinner he gets up to start a speech. Let's gloss over the "one'a you bastiches is gonna rat me out" part of this, because then the follow up would involve him around a table with a baseball bat, and we've all seen how that movie ends up.

No, we'll stick to this part of the speech where he holds up the bread, breaks it apart, passes it out and says "Take, eat, this is my flesh."

Hold the fuck up. What?!

Seriously, would you eat the bread? Or would you be sitting there, open mouthed, staring at everyone else to see who's gonna stuff in down their gullets first? There ain't that much love in the whole goddamn world, that I'm gonna look down at my plate and be told it's someone's flesh, and I need to eat it.

But for the sake of argument, let's assume you laughed it off. "That Jesus, he's always cracking jokes." Ate the bread, chuckling.

Then he holds up the cup, pours you all a glass, and says "Drink it all, this is my blood."

Now. Really. Just a few weeks ago, I'd seen this fucker turn a whole well of tap water into Cabernet Sauvignon and loaves of bread into bouillabaisse, so now I'm looking at this cup of dark red, thick liquid and thinking: You Know, I'm Really Not That Thirsty, Thanks.

And yes, my stomach by this point would be doing flip-flops as I starting thinking harder about that bread-into-fishflesh, and wondering if the dinner roll I just ate just looked like a toe, or if it was my imagination.

So I don't know about you, but next Easter I won't be answering any doors at night. Cuz it could be Jesus knocking. And he might be hungry.

Garlic knot, anyone?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Maybe She Just Laid There Like A Corpse

Reversing lower court judges who said Wisconsin criminal law doesn't prohibit necrophilia, the state supreme court held today that rape law bans sex with dead bodies.

Because rape law prohibits sex with an unconsenting victim, "a reasonably well-informed person would understand the statute to prohibit sexual intercourse with a dead person," writes Justice Patience Drake Roggensack in the 5-2 majority opinion (PDF).

Two dissenting justices said the law was intended not to ban necrophilia but to permit rape charges when the victim was also murdered, according to the Associated Press.

The case arose from an alleged attempt by three young men carrying shovels, a crowbar and condoms to dig up a corpse in a Wisconsin cemetery in 2006 after one saw an obituary photo of an attractive 20-year-old woman who had been killed in a motorcycle accident a week earlier. Although they reportedly couldn't get into the concrete vault in which she was buried, they were charged with attempted sexual assault and theft after a police officer responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the Cassville cemetery.

...okay. Stop. Stop right there.

Originally I saw this article, and was going to write a whole thing about the oddities of local laws and their interpretations...then I got to the description of the crime.

These Wisconsin...saw the PHOTO of the girl who died. In a motorcycle accident. A week earlier.

And decided, "wow...I gotta get me some of that!"

I'm speechless. Dumbfounded, even. I mean, I have to see this picture - because on a scale of 1 to 10, i'm assuming this girl blows all others off the charts with her hotness factor. That's the only reasonable explanation for why three guys - and I'm going to assume they weren't sober, I mean this IS Wisconsin - why these three guys were suddenly SO taken with her beauty, they figured this:

That her dead, rotting corpse was still hotter than any chick in the town.

For the record, at least they were going to practice SAFE illegal sex.

iShake it Like A Polaroid Picture

I'm on record as being a member of the AntiApple Squad, wishing the blue screen of death on all infidels. Or is that iInfidels? Whatever. The point is, it should come as no surprise that I am completely baffled by the appeal of this shake ability with the iPhone.

What'choo talkin' about Willis? Well, assuming you haven't been living under the proverbial rock, some features within certain applications on the phone allow/require you to physically shake your phone. Yes, that's shaken, not stirred, Mr. Bond.

For example, there's an application that will locate your position via GPS, then find you the nearest restaurants. Nice, huh? Well, folks, there's more. With this baby, you can have the phone randomly select the restaurant from the list of local eateries.

By shaking your phone.

It's like a slot machine; you sit and watch the list whiz by, slowing crawling to a stop. Okay Vanna, let's show these good people what they've won!

There's another application that will allow you to roll dice on the screen. By shaking it back and forth, and then watching the 3D dice bounce around the 2D screen (which, really then, makes it 2D doesn't it?) and roll to a stop. iCraps, anyone?

And of course, there's the inevitable take on the "naughty pen" - an image of a woman in a bikini, and if you shake the phone hard enough she starts to lose her clothing. And apparently her sense of self-worth.

Maybe I'm just the retarded one, and if so I fully accept the responsibilities that title comes with - but do I really want to shake this $300 piece of technology to get it to work? I mean, sure I do that at work with my computer screen - "Goddamnit you piece of crap, load...!" (slap slap), but am I really expecting that to DO something?

No, it's anger management.

I'm picturing a whole new generation of phone users, iPeople strolling down the block, shaking their wrists like they're choking the iLife out of their iPhones, literally squeezing information out of it. Was Homer Simpon prescient? "Why you little...!"

I can see the lawsuits now. Will we get a new round of carpal tunnel syndrome, from people hurting their wrists trying to find their way home? How about the ones with sweaty palms, the same Wii-mote users who hurled those innocuous white controllers smack into the middle of their $4500 plasma television screens? Will the ground be littered with the parts of broken iPhones (iLitter?) because of all the slippery palms dropping the delicate devices to the unforgiving concrete?

Perhaps parents can now start disciplining their kids in public again; we can call it the iDefense. "Your honor, I was trying to find out where the little monster flushed my keys to...shaking works to get info out of my phone, I figured it would work on my kid too!"

iInsane, iI know. But anything is iPossible.

For a Shine That's Jiggaboo Bright!

I was cruising the cable channels recently, bored one late night but not wanting to fall asleep, when I stumbled across this film title in the index: The Confederate States of America.

Well...there's no way I could possibly ignore this, could I?

Apparently the film is a mockumentary, a history of events leading up from the early days of the civil war until modern times - today. So what's the catch? The documentary - done in a typical History Channel, Discover Network style - treats the history of the world as if the South had WON the American Civil War, and gone on to conquer the North.

Now I expected an interesting thesis on how life would be different, attitudes completely changed to reflect less of a Black American influence, certainly. What I did not expect was to find myself immersed in a world where the Klan and Aryan Nation would feel right at home, where slavery still exists and where America silently supported Hitler's reign.

That, all on it's own, would have been a bit of a culture shock, but one I could deal with seeing; I'm objective enough for that, certainly. What I was completely unprepared for was the language used in the film - fictionally historically accurate to do, certainly, but it was disturbing on a deep emotional level.

What am I talking about? During the course of watching this film, I found myself flinching at hearing: jiggaboo, buck, pick-a-ninny, coon, mammy, sambo, nigger, darky...I saw white men in blackface, cartoons showing blacks with big red lips and ape-like faces...

It was shocking, but shocking in a fantastically amusing way. I was torn between being offended and being amused, which I think was the producers particular point.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about it; just the opposite. I think every black youth today should watch this film, because I honestly don't believe they have any idea what life may have been like for our slave ancestors, and I do think it's important that they don't forget what their forebears went through in order that they can enjoy their Xbox, BET and Nike shoes.