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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also a film journalist/critic for Cocktails & Movies and CinemaBlend, as well as the author of several short stories such as "The Devil v. George W. Bush". Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: mikereyeswrites@gmail.com

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Recovering Republican’s Notes from the (Conservative) Underground, or “Sean Hannity, More Like Sean WAHnity”

Hey kids! Sorry about the delay, this was supposed to be posted on Friday, but with Internet concerns at the workplace, and the photo editing required, as well as Thanksgiving shite, this came late. Nevertheless, I present to you this.

As I walked down the dimly lit street, I noticed an old friend of mine…Sean Hannity. He was wearing a brown trenchcoat, I my black p-coat. It was slightly foggy.

“Mike”, he said with a smile, “Good to see you again. Did you vote?”

“Yes”, I said apprehensively. I didn’t want to be here, but I had no choice. “Who saw that coming?”

“We did, Mike”, he said gravely, “We did.” The look in his eyes was one of sadness, yet determined resolve. He had a mission now, and there was no way of talking him down.

Sean knocked the secret knock on a door next to him in the alleyway. An eye hole slid open, and a voice that sounded like a cranky old man creaked back, “Password?”

Sean looked at me expectantly, “I assume you still know the password? It hasn’t been that long.”

“Socialism”, I replied.

GAHHHHHH!”, the old man screamed as he heard the word, and threw open the door. It was Bob Grant, and sure enough he was looking mighty old.

“Bob, this is Mike. We used to be friends. He’s interested in coming back to listen to what we have to say.”

“You voted?”, he asked grouchily.

“Yes I did”, I replied.

“Did you vote for John McCain?”



Hannity vouched for me, “It’s all right. He’s with the cause.”

I almost felt bad about getting him to lie for me…but then I remembered that he did that for a living, so he was good for it. After quelling Mr. Grant’s rage with a bottle of “socialist” vodka, Sean then ushered me into the heart of headquarters. I was back in the Conservative Underground…only this time I was spying for the good guys.

I’ve made the case that I used to be a Conservative, only to then turn tail for the Liberal perspective. During my time as a Conservative and as a Liberal, I’ve always been a person who craved information. I wanted to read the books, see the shows, and form opinions based on what had been aired out for all to see. In short, I wanted figureheads to look up to, and base my own opinion partially from the intel given to me and the American public by these standard bearers. Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly just happened to be two such “standard bearers” I looked up to, thanks to the household “standard bearer”, my grandfather. Slowly though, I found myself drifting from their points of view and their methodology. I realized that maybe I’m not really a Conservative. Maybe I’ve been following what I thought I had to follow in order to live in this house. Maybe, I’m a Liberal…or a Centrist. For the record, I believe that I am a Centrist, but I probably lean towards the Liberal side.

Flash forward to this past election: I backed the Liberal candidate, Barack Obama. I felt he was the best way forward for the nation, and I genuinely liked him and Joe Biden. However, I picked up a little bit of a habit during the last election cycle…I started listening to Conservative Talk Radio again. Why would I do this, being a firm supporter of the Obama White House? Simple: I’m a firm subscriber to “know your enemy”. I like to know where my enemy is at all times, what they’re saying, what they’re doing, and how they’re going to come at me. I don’t ignore them…I covertly keep tabs on them, and mine information. That’s just how I roll…ask any of my ex’s from during my “immature asshole” years. I believe that the best, and most obvious defense against someone, or something, is just to know as much as you can know about it. That way, when the time comes, you make informed decisions based on intelligence that’s been confirmed and weathered under the most scrutinous standards. In other words…I’d have gotten thrown out with Colin Powell during the Bush Administration’s First Term.

Anyhow, as my source for Conservative talking heads, I selected WABC, because it was the most readily available source, and I knew that Sean Hannity was on there. Through Sean Hannity I also met Curtus Sliwa, Mark Levin, Bob Grant, and Laura Ingraham; fellow soldiers fighting for what would be known as “The Conservative Underground” or “Conservatism in Exile” after the November 4th election. Before such point though, these folks had a message. They had a tried and true message, something they trotted out back in ’04, but this time they added a little something to the recipe: America once again had a choice…either vote for a man who embodies Socialism and pals around with terrorists, or vote for a warrior who proved himself in the fires of battle and truly had the nation’s best interests in mind. And who was at the forefront to tell us such things? Why, WABC of course, the best source for Talk Radio in all the land. A beacon of truth, broadcasting from Midtown Manhattan for all of its constituents to hear. And who was leading the charge within this organization? None other than Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, the two most well known (read: publicized) radio hosts on this freedom loving frequency.

What a load of horseshit! Seriously, no matter who you listen to on WABC (at least out of those that I have mentioned by name, the concept is the same. Here are the requirements for a WABC Talk Radio show:

- Clever intro that consists of either one of your favorite songs (“Classic Rock” or “Country” only, please), or a mash up of favorite songs and political quotes cleverly arranged to either laud the host in praise or make the political figures saying the quotes look like idiots.

- Some sort of variation of the phrases “Conservative Underground” and/or “Conservatism in Exile”.

- A free trial of networking software that allows your listeners to access their work computers from their home computers. (Note: You must tell your listeners that YOU EXCLUSIVELY have this deal…even if Bob Grant kept plugging the same deal on his show before you, and even if he too has it “exclusively”.)

- Numerous plugs for The Heritage Foundation’s “What Would Regan Do?” initiative, complete with crappily synthesized drum and fife corps music that sounds like it belongs in a bad computer game from the 90’s that tried to teach children history.

- At least ONE book under your belt, about the Liberals that are ruining our society today. (Note: This standard has been updated after 9/11/01 to include that your book must be entitled something that is either patriotic or religious in spirit. Also, the requirement has been upped to 2 books.)

- Complain about the following issues once every fifteen minutes, for about ten minutes.
o Fairness Doctrine
o “Sharing The Wealth”
o “Bailout…more like FAILout” (that one I came up with myself)
o Socialism on the rise

- Clever and witty catchphrases that’ll engrain themselves into people’s minds, no matter how contrary to decency/conservative values they are.
o Suggested phrases
§ “You’re A Great American”
§ “Power To The People”
§ “Get Off My Phone You Creep”

- Plug Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse.

Now that the generalities have been dispensed, we can look at each person individually…and rip them each a new one. I’m going to save Hannity for last, because he’s a special one. Also, Rush Limbaugh will be spared because, everyone knows what he’s up to and he’s high profile to begin with. It’s “the others” that people aren’t so familiar with. Levin, Grant, and Ingraham…The Three Musketeers of Conservative Invective, the “unsung heroes” if you will. Rightfully, they’re unsung because the general nature of their shows is even too abrasive for the Republican party to draw attention to. This is where you get the really interesting stuff, the stuff that doesn’t stay on TV due to its course and sometimes insensitive nature.

We begin the night with Mark Levin, who is "broadcast from the underground command post, deep in the bowels of the hidden bunker, somewhere under the brick and steel of a nondescript building.” According to Wikipedia, Levin has acknowledged that location is his home. One could look at this as the political equivalent of some Lord of the Rings nerd podcasting, “from the depths of Mordor, past the Black Gate, transmitting through the Eye of Sauron.” Strangely enough, this could also be used if Dick Cheney ever started up his long delayed talk show, “Chattin’ with The Dick”. I’m afraid my experience with Mr. Levin is not that extensive, so I can't really say much about his show. I can only say that he does the Conservative thing well, but he really isn’t all that ire inspiring.

Bob Grant, on the other hand, is a nasty old son of a bitch. He is the embodiment of the old man whose sole pleasure in life is derived from sitting on his porch yelling, “GET OFF MY FUCKING LAWN YOU LITTLE SHITS!”, while complaining about how today’s youth just doesn’t get it. Listening to his show is the worst, simply because he doesn’t like to let people finish their thoughts. People have had some good points, or just generally tried to engage him in debate, and they’ve been met with “Get off my phone, you creep!”. Even people that aren’t being combative get the boot sometimes, again Wikipedia comes to the rescue with this little gem:

Grant: "Where are you from, Pal?"
Caller: "Brooklyn, Bob"
Grant: "No, I mean before you came to my country. Where were you born?"

Caller: "I was born here in Brooklyn, Bob."

Grant: "Yeah, right, get off my phone, you creep!"

Isn’t that precious? Someone tries to answer a question, and gets called a creep. This is the same guy who hates it when too many people open calls with the line “How are you?” This is the man who calls some women, “chickie-poo”. This is the man who continually referred to former mayor David Dinkins as, “the washroom attendant at the 21 club”. This was the man who thought that Obama wanted to be a dictator because, “he has that O flag”, which later turned out to be the flag of Ohio. By the way, good luck ever getting on his show. I tried twice, and was never even picked to be heard from. After fifteen minutes of waiting on the line, listening to endless ads. Even on a night when the call screener said, “Hold on, we’ll definitely get to you.” Mr. Grant, you sir are the creep. You don’t listen to people, you generally promote the stunting of free speech on your program, and you’re a racist. Don’t believe me? Wiki yourself and read some of those racist slurs you’ve been noted as spewing forth. Try to recall the “Bob Grant Mandatory Sterilization Program” or your continual mention of “savages”, which just happens to be your vernacular for African Americans you don’t like.

When Bob Grant’s bedtime hits, he gives way Curtis Sliwa, who is a refreshing change from the tone Bob Grant sets of the evening. Where Bob Grant has the “Cranky Old Man” tone, Curtis Sliwa has the “Tony Soprano” tone to his voice. What's funny is the only part of his show I can seem to remember was when he was talking about Joe Lieberman’s meeting with Harry Reid, i.e. “taking sides against the family”. Levin remarked that somewhere, in some massage parlor in Connecticut, Joe Lieberman was gonna get whacked like Moe Greene at the end of "The Godfather". While amusing, I found it was only parroting something I had read on “Deus Ex Malcontent”, only Levin wasn’t using the example of Fredo getting whacked at the end of "The Godfather Part II". (Which not only seems more appropriate, but is also from the superior film in the series.)

Again, we're dealing with garden variety Conservatism, nothing to get you boiled over. Fortunately, for those of you who LOVE to get angry, this gives way to the one hour late night wonder of Laura Ingraham. A fun fact about Ms. Ingraham: two distinctly noticeable persons from the other side of the aisle have had the cabinet position of “Boyfriend” in her life: Former New Jersey senator/criminal Robert “The Torch” Toricelli; and MSNBC news anchor/professional ass kicker Keith Olbermann. Both are liberals, and both are interesting choices when you actually listen to Ms. Ingraham’s show. Again, I do not remember much about Ms. Ingraham’s show, mostly because she’s on too late for me to care about rational thought. Which is exactly why I give her the benefit of the doubt…because she’s on too late for anyone to care, and her timeslot only furthers this impression because not only did WABC schedule her so late at night because she’s not a top draw per se, but they also only gave her an hour long slot. Let’s face it, after you’ve listened to The Laura Ingraham Show, you’ll be BEGGING for the Paid Programming to kick in. The only thing I do remember about her was that her show opening was the one that adhered to the standard of the “clever” opening with political quotes, musical clips, and her own shouts of “Power to the Peeeoplllleee!” Yeah…still not seeing why she’s not in a time slot before 7 PM.

This brings us to one of WABC’s “Top Draws” of the day…the guy that gets the “drive time” 3 to 6 PM slot. The guy that has his own TV show on Fox News. That’s right…Alan Colmes has left “Hannity and Colmes”, and Fox News is giving Sean Hannity his own prime time weeknight show. Television hasn’t been regaled with such an honor since the creations of “The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour”, and many of the crown jewels in the UPN galaxy like “Shasta McNasty” and “Homeboys in Outer Space”. Indeed, it could only get better if they were to announce the return of “Mercy Point”. All kidding aside, Sean Hannity on his own could be quite…well, dangerous.

A little bit on Hannity’s life, he grew up in New York, has lived in several states, and dropped out of not one, but two colleges, being cited as an “indifferent student”. What professions did this man engage in? Well, he worked in construction and bartended in the late 80’s, according to his Wikipedia page, and he only got into radio through a voluntary hosting gig at a Santa Barbara college radio station. Several years, and several shows later he would get his show “Hannity and LTBD” (Liberal to Be Determined), and would also receive his show on WABC’s drive time slot. Finally, things were looking up for him…so much in fact that he received an honorary Bachelor’s degree from Liberty University, a college founded by all around “moral compass” Jerry Falwell.

Hannity's radio show is a grabbag of interviews, callers, and corporate shilling. The only difference between Sean and any other radio host is that well, Sean has his own products to shill. He has two books (“Let Freedom Ring” and “Deliver Us From Evil”), an annual concert series (“Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concerts”, which feature American favorites like The Charlie Daniels Band, Lee Greenwood, Oliver North, and Billy Ray Cyrus.), a Book Club (which features Mike Huckabee’s latest book as its monthly selection), and Hannidate – a dating service which is “the place where people of like conservative minds can come together to meet”. If Oprah and Rush Limbaugh knocked boots, you could bet that their kid would be Sean Hannity, because not only does he pander to the Right…he also likes to make a profit and smear his name onto anything he gets his hands on. Also, Hannity is a cry baby.

One of the most ridiculous recent highlights of Hannity’s show was on his son’s most recent birthday when he talked about just how he knew his son was a Conservative. I can’t find the exact quote online, so I’m going to paraphrase here. Rest assured though, this man truly thinks his nine year old son is a Conservative. How? “When daddy cried during the election returns, you cried too. And that’s how I knew you were a Conservative like me.” I can only assume he meant the 2006 spanking that the Republicans got during the midterm elections, because there wasn’t much else for this walking Brillo pad to cry about. Instance number two: Sean Hannity was so infuriated on the night before the Election that he basically told America that if Obama won the next night, his new show opener would be played. It was a mash up of quotes and music, featuring quotes from Reverend Wright naturally, and including a new catchphrase for the Red States to digest…”Conservatism in Exile”, also known as “The Conservative Underground”.

I think such a name is an insult to any type of underground that has been institutionalized during times of fear and hatred. We had the Underground Railroad in America, the French Underground Resistance during World War II, even the railways in England are named the Underground and that’s kind of insulting because it’s a very efficient, friendly transit system. Perhaps the biggest irony though is the fact that one of the big campaign points for the Right Wing has been William Ayers, who was a member of…wait, what was that called again? Oh right, The Weather UNDERGROUND! So does this mean we’re to expect Sean Hannity lobbing bombs on Inauguration Day, while Bob Grant holds up banks for money, and Laura Ingraham claims she was brainwashed to join them and she didn’t really have anything to do with it? Are we to expect Red State voters to become insurgents?

Of course not, because whether hardcore factions of either side want to admit it or not…we all love this country the same. We just want it to go in different directions. There should be no “Conservative Underground” because there’s no palpable threat to Conservatives. If anything, the new administration would seem keen on working with them, simply because they understand better than anyone that that’s the way you have to go to get things done. Divisiveness and combativeness have had their day…it’s time to play nice and share the sandbox. Sure, we’ll all have our grudges, our misgivings, and our preconceptions…but if we don’t work through them for the better of the country, then the Terrorists truly have won.

Speaking of grudges, I’m going to end by posting this web link and recommend that you pump Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” out of your speakers really loudly as you read this and absorb it. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/25/ann-coulters-jaw-wired-sh_n_146248.htmlhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/25/ann-coulters-jaw-wired-sh_n_146248.html)

Don’t forget to sing along…since Ms. Coulter can’t.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rise of Dusk, Fall of Twilight

Dear Stephenie Meyer,

It’s on. Your little book’s shitty movie outgrossed Bolt and Quantum of Solace this weekend. You’ve inspired the little shits I can’t stand at the movie theater to go to the movie theater in droves. As a result, I’ll probably lose some enjoyment of movies I want to see and that I paid to see, all because mommy and daddy are contemplating giving their daughters to the vampires because they are tired of hearing about how Edward is so dreamy. That little joke I made on Friday, the one about the book series…it’s not a joke anymore. It’s on, and I’m going to show everyone just how stupid your books are. It’s going to take a while, but it’ll be done, and it will be glorious. Your books are nothing more than watered down Anne Rice fan fiction anyway...I intend to draw sales and water it down even more by satirizing it.

You’re on notice,

Mike Reyes

P.S. I’m sending Jack Bauer after your vampires, because when he kills something it STAYS dead.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fall of Twilight, or “The Mary Sue Dilemma”

What are you a fan of? Go ahead name it? Chances are whatever you named as your pop culture poison, someone out there has written their own story about it. It’s called “Fan Fiction” or “FanFic” for short. Basically, you can create your own tale set in the fictional world of your preference, and there are websites that indulge exclusively in these fan based fantasies. Some can be good, some can be bad, and some have no right to even exist as purely a thought. There’s a term for that last type there…it’s called a “Mary Sue”.

“Mary Sue” stories basically involve the author creating a character based off of themselves in the universe of their liking. In some of the more extreme cases, these characters are romantically involved with major characters, partake in some adventurous situations, and in the end, they get to save the day. Basically, it’s an exercise in wish fulfillment for the author. This is what Twilight is.

Stephenie Meyer, a Mormon from Connecticut by way of Arizona, has written a story from out of her own dreams. A dream of, “a human girl, and a vampire who was in love with her but thirsted for her blood.” A dream that Little, Brown, and Company paid $750,000 for a three book deal from. A dream that would send teenage girls swooning over yet another nonthreatening ladyboy, because let’s face it Paulie Bleeker was wearing out and there’s only so many “Nick and Nora” books they can fucking write for these kids. (Sorry Michael Cera. Get angry with your agent, not me.)

From what I’ve read about the Twilight series, it is nothing more than Mormon Abstinence Only Porn that carries the message, “If you change for someone, and let them change you for their own liking, then you’ll be loved!”. Vampires don’t go out in the daytime because they sparkle, not because they’re allergic to the sun and it would kill them in an instant. Before anyone brings it up, yes I did try to read Twilight. I picked up a copy at Barnes and Noble before I even formed an opinion. I’d heard it was being made into a movie, and figured I’d give it a spin before I actually judged it. I couldn’t even get past page 5, it was seriously that boring. Bella didn’t interest me, and I’m glad I didn’t get to the part about Edward, because then I would have laughed my ass off. A 114 year old vampire who goes to High School and only transfers to a new school every four years? And he just happens to meet the awkward, clumsy girl no one really pays attention to, and just happens to fall in love with her?

Let’s get something straight…vampires have been known to be, are you sitting down Ms. Meyer…sexual, bloodthirsty beings. Vampires like sex, and in some cases they have quite a bit of it. Vampires love all those things that us mortal humans see as risks. They enjoy adrenaline, they enjoy action and danger, and they love all of this because it is the only way they feel alive. A vampire wouldn’t be abstinent, a vampire would probably sleep with anything that moved. Why? Because there are no repercussions when you’re undead, it’s not like you’re going to catch something and die. Also, as a vampire, you’d be able to hit anything or anyone for as long as you like, and you’d get a regular variety of partners through different eras of time.

So why are your vampires so different? Because you have Mary Sue’d them…BIG TIME. You imposed Mormon beliefs on them, particularly the Law of Chastity. Though, here’s the funny part, vampires for the most part have been considered monsters, no? Unhuman creatures with a lust for blood, they could be considered “beasts”. Well, if that were true, the Law of Chastity gets thrown out the window right there because it forbids bestiality. But you figured out a way around that, didn’t you? Massawyrm from Ain’t It Cool News figured your little scheme out in his review of the shitty movie, based on your shitty book. (http://www.aintitcool.com/node/39195)

“But when your VAMPIRES give a reflection in mirrors? When they don’t sleep in coffins? When they don’t have fangs? When they not only can walk around in sunlight…but glisten like they’re covered in diamonds when they do? Then they’re not vampires. They’re superheroes with special dietary concerns.”
You figured if you made vampires more human, they wouldn’t be considered beasts and we’d only be hung up with that whole “no premarital sex” clause, which would be resolved with two characters “willing to wait”. In which case, not only do you not have vampires in your books, you do not have teenagers in your books. So your teenage vampire romance fantasy is devoid of vampires and teenagers, which leaves us with just your romance fantasy, and frankly I don’t care what the Hell you fantasize about. We all know who Bella is supposed to be...she's supposed to be YOU! She's from Arizona, you're from Arizona. What a coinkie-dink! She subscribes to foolish Mormon beliefs, you do as well. All Twilight amounts to is you writing your own little romance for yourself, and getting paid for it. I have my own unfulfilled fantasies, thank you very much; I don’t need to be saddled with yours.

What’s the worst part about this though? Not only are teenagers buying into it wholesale, so are adults. It’s scary enough when parents get involved in trends, but with a trend like this, a trend that discourages teenagers from being teenagers and instead tells them to be nothing more than restrained, heavy breathing sheep, that’s scarier. These books are telling girls that they need to basically be clay in the hands of their boyfriends, and they’re telling boys that you don’t really need to have personality or any of those other qualifiers to get girls…you just need to be a “mysterious outsider” who promises women the world. That’s the way to raise your kids, Twilight Moms!

Speaking of “Twilight Moms”, I bet some of them are also the types that read Harlequin Romance Novels. The women that basically look at their lives and think, “Oh, why did I marry the man I did? Why couldn’t I love this pirate/naval commander/spy/NASCAR driver from my fantasies and just run away with nary a care in the world? Instead I have a bland husband, three kids, and a minivan. *deep sigh* Thank God I have you, Edward Cullen. All you’ll do is scowl and look ‘deep’ whilst fantasizing over me. I am your Bella, I am your love. Hold me! I’d rather die than live without you.” I know not all of them are like that, in fact I know a “Twilight Mom” who is a well adjusted person that I happen to be good friends with. She doesn’t fit this mold, and she is part of the other demographic that reads these books…those who want an escape.Yes, the “Twilight” series isn’t my cup of tea and yes, I really wish it didn’t exist. I’m more of a “Harry Potter” man myself. Yes, I also sometimes wish I could be Harry Potter so I’d get to wave around a kick assed wand and fulfill my ginger crush on Ginny Weasley. But at the end of the day, I know it’s still a book. I’m not going to wear a shirt that says “Team Potter”, I won’t stare down a co-worker and shout ‘stupefy’, and I sure as Hell won’t go around screaming, “I AM THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE!”. The difference between Potter and Twilight is that at least Harry Potter has some moral value to it that doesn’t stifle people’s personalities. The Harry Potter books tell a story, and it has actual weight and depth to it that people of all walks have actually enjoyed it. Twilight really only has the demographic of teenage girls who swoon over anything generic looking that has a pulse, housewives who read Romance novels/Moms who want to be cool, and generally well adjusted individuals who still read for some reason or another.

Ms. Meyer, you can write your novels, but don’t disgrace teenagers and vampires by associating them with your Mormon wet dreams. Come up with a name for your creatures that are supposed to be vampires but aren’t, and don’t say that they’re teenagers. You wouldn’t know a teenager if they laughed at you. There’s still time for you to fix your mistakes! Cancel the Twilight Saga movies, and recall all the books. Edit them so they don’t talk about vampires and teenagers, and then re-release them. I’m sure everyone will still love the books if they’re a little more truthful…right?

In closing, while I hate your writing, it does give me hope. Hope that selling my latest creation, "Mike Reyes Saves The Universe and Bangs A Bunch of Celebrities", will be a breeze. Hmm...that's not a catchy title is it? How about if I change it to the name of a natural phenomenon, that would make it sound more significant. How about..."Dusk"? Much better...also, the character probably shouldn't have my name. It'll only isolate everyone who isn't me in the audience. How about "Mark Royce"? That sounds generic enough. One last thing though...can't copy the whole vampire thing, and there's werewolves in the Twilight saga as well...AH HA! I'll use Zombies, instead of Vampires. Zombies that don't eat people, and walk around like normal humans in daylight...except they don't because the Sun causes their skin to stink like shit! I think I've got the hang of this...in fact I could probably do Ms. Meyer one better and write a whole tetralogy of these. Here me out:
Book 1: "Dusk", in which the protagonist, Mark Royce, falls in love with Medusa, a zombie who doesn't eat flesh and moves like a human. I meet her family, they like me, and instead of eating humans they eat animals.

Book 2: "Slightly Used Lunar Object" ,where Mark's girlfriend acts like a total bitch and abandons me...I mean HIM, which causes me...damnit, him much anguish, but he still saves her from suicide anyway because, "I miss her breath". (How do you keep this shit up after two books, and still qualify as a sane and mature adult?)

Book 3: "Equinox", where Mark have to choose between his friendship with a human and his love of a zombie...only to ditch the human he became really good friends with for a love affair for the ages.

Book 4: "Chasing Nightfall", in which we reach the stunning conclusion where Mark's girlfriend saves him from death by turning him into a zombie, and they live happily ever after with our zombie child.

and finally, Book 5: "Do You See How Stupid This Sounds, Now That I've Done Exactly The Same Thing You've Done, Only In Jest, Stephenie Meyer?", in which I laugh at Stephenie Meyer...all the way to ze bank.

Expect Book 1 next Spring!

P.S. Robert Pattinson? You're a traitor! Harry Potter should have left you in the freakin maze!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Cannonball Read: Entry 1 – Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, by Joe Biden

For the uninitiated, here's all the background you need. http://www.pajiba.com/cannonball-read.htm Special thanks to Brian Prisco for allowing me, and all the others, to participate in this clusterfuck of literary wonderment. What? You want to sign up? Start here: http://gospelaccordingtoprisco.wordpress.com/choose-your-weapon-the-combatants/

For most of the younger voters out there, not many were familiar with Joe Biden, except for snippets about him running for the Presidency. That ignorance was broken when the news media descended upon him and his family yet again when he was announced as the Vice Presidential candidate for Barack Obama, which lead to news copters, “analysis”, and Neil Cavuto speculating how much his house was worth and whether they forgot Grandma at home or not. In the days and weeks to come, people would learn more about Biden, senator to his home state of Delaware since 1972 and former Presidential hopeful both in the 1988 and 2008 elections. If you were to ask him what the difference was between then and now, he would tell you that in ’88 he had no clue how he’d lead but he knew how to campaign. In 2007, at the end of his memoir “Promises to Keep”, he said as much, but also pointed out that at the time of his writing the book he felt he knew how he’d lead but had no clue how he’d run his campaign.

It is this type of insightful remembrance and candor that make this book a truly great read. The Vice President elect basically covers every square inch he can of his life. From his riches to rags childhood to his courtship of his first wife, Neilia, all the way up to the squabbles in the Bush Administration that defined where we are today in Iraq, the book covers 60+ years in 365 pages. Make no mistake about it, Joe Biden is a natural storyteller, and he’s a great speaker. So good in fact, that it was all the more disappointing to some when he accidentally plagiarized Neil Kinnock’s speech for the Labour Party during his bid for the Democratic Nomination for the 1988 election. Biden is quite apologetic for this in his book, and sets the record as straight as he can with his account of the situation.

Later on, in perhaps the most insightful portion of the book, Senator Biden recounts 9/11 and the days after, in which he and other senators pushed not only to get back to work, but to swiftly act on the threats that America was just waking up to. His portrait of the Bush Administration is that of an administration divided into old school (Colin Powell) and new school (Cheney/Rumsfeld) diplomacy, and the struggle between them. His take on Bush was that he wasn’t all that stupid, he just surrounded himself with the wrong people and let the right people take a backseat in policy decisions. The Conservative/Neo Conservative tug of war that would lead to Powell’s resignation is one that the American public only caught a glimpse of in the media, but in “Promises to Keep” the Senator is able to show us a little more than what we were previously privy to. It is this information that makes our current reality in Iraq all the more depressing.

Finally, one of the most interesting aspects of the book though is Biden’s mixture of personal and professional life. True, political memoirs are a dime a dozen, but the advantage this book has is that Joe Biden seems genuinely friendly, and as such it’s easier to get to know about his life. It isn’t a “mea culpa” like Robert McNamara’s books; it isn’t an 800 page tome that in the end doesn’t tell you much outside what you didn’t know, it’s just one man telling as many sides of the story to his life as he can. One final disclaimer, “Promises to Keep” isn’t a quick read. It’s denser than usual, and is best to take on a chapter by chapter basis. But it is well worth reading, simply because it shows just how human and how fit for the vice presidency Joe the Senator really is.

Next Time: "The Way You Wear Your Hat: Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin'"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shepard Smith: Professional Ass Kicker

Holy shit, I never knew Shepard Smith was indeed a professional ass kicker. Never would I think someone from Fox News would be a moderate, and a fairly effective one at that. Thanks to Chez over at Deus Ex Malcontent for pointing this out. Fox News should cancel Hannity and Colmes and create "Smith and Olbermann". Moderate vs. Liberal commentary, and no one roles over on the other. Pure, honest, commentary with no punches pulled. At least, that's how I'd see it.

Coming Soon to a Theater In Your Mind

Any chance we could get this on a fast track to being actually made?

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, Quantum of Solace opens today.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sarah Palin is a Stupid White Woman...

...and I hope America does not take her as a representative of women everywhere, of any color or variation. She's the exception to the rule, as Smart Woman Rachel Maddow explains. Ms. Maddow, I would invite you to dinner if I wasn't taken at this moment. I still would though, as a friend and admirer. You, ma'am, truly kick ass.

P.S. Governor Palin, one of those "bloggers in his mother's basement" happened to be your friend, and mine, Adam Brickley. The man who was credited with getting YOUR Wasilla Hillbilly ass into the VP slot that Pawlenty, Romney, and Huckabee were vying for. He got his yesterday, and now it's your turn. In the words of Shaun the Zombie Hunter, "GET FUCKED FOUR EYES!"

What the Monopoly movie SHOULD be...

So Ridley Scott is supposedly making a Monopoly movie, and it's going to have, the same futuristic sheen he gave Blade Runner." With that in mind, I submit to you, the viewing public, as originally submitted by myself on Pajiba, my synopsis for "Monopoly: The Movie".

2035...a Dystopian future like you've never seen. One man has an iron grip on the city. Its Banks. Its Utilities. Its Railroads. Its Hotels and its Apartments. All is owned and surveyed by one man...Rich "Uncle" Pennybags, or as the town calls him "Mr. Monopoly". (played by Anthony Hopkins)

Mr. Monopoly has had a grip on Monopoly City for a while now...but his embezzling accountant, Danny "the Wheelbarrel" Morgan (played by Ashton Kutcher) has just sold him out on an attempted murder of hot new singing sensation "Shoe" (played by Miley Cyrus) to D.A. Thimble (played by John C. McGinley). However, Thimble's hands are tied, thanks to sleazy defense attorney Jonathan "Top Hat" Banks (played by Colin Hanks) and his ability to get Mr. Monopoly off on a technicality.

Justice has long forsaken the streets of Monopoly...until two cops decided to beat the system at its own game. Lt. Barry "Battleship" Parker (Gary Busey) and Det. Scottie "Dog" Parker (Michael Chiklis) are two brothers who have their own sense of justice...street justice. With the help of The Wheelbarrel, DA Thimble, and the new rookie on the Force, Patrolman "Moneysack" (Haley Joel Osment); the Parker Brothers are going to take justice to the steps of Park Place, and make Mr. Monopoly pay for what he's done...WITH INTEREST!

With thrilling chases, sex and danger at every turn, and Free Parking sometimes doubling as a Stock Market, no one is getting out of jail for free! Coming in 2012, Monopoly...because in this game...there's no such thing as Sorry!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Drunk With Power

A Letter to President Elect Obama, Or "Thank Adam Brickley"

Before we get started today, I'd like to take some time out for the little guy. Remember this guy? That's Adam Brickley, the man who "drafted" Sarah Palin to the VP slot in the Republican Party. This is the man who single handedly, and inadvertently, caused the downward spiral of the Republican ticket for 2008. If I were a Republican, I'd want this guy's head right next to Randy Scheunemann's on my mantle. However, everyone else has him to thank for helping the Obama camp's glorious victory. He was not the deciding factor, in fact his choice of Caribou Barbie was only an icing on the cake of the Obama Campaign's 21st Century campaign. Mr. Brickley, on behave of the Obama camp, I'd like to say "Thank you"...thank you for drafting such an ineffective, inexperienced, and media unfriendly running mate. You really didn't have to help us out, but we appreciate it just the same. I also found your post, "Moving Forward" quite amusing. I'm glad to see your tenacity has not been dimmed by the fact that you're supporting a woman of no more depth than a Neiman Marcus mannequin to become leader of the free world in 2012. This will make reelection more than simple. Still, if you keep plugging away, maybe you'll be able to get her elected PTA mom by 2016...because there's no way in Hell that woman should EVER be run for President. Look at your watch...it's 14:59...time to say goodbye, and sink back into obscurity. Any last words of relevance?

Mr. Brickley has indeed inspired people, and I can be counted among their ranks. I have been inspired to counsel the Obama/Biden administration the same way he's been inspired to counsel the McCain campaign...in other words, I'm going to shoot my mouth off without anyone really asking for my opinion.

Dear President Elect Obama,

Hi. My name is Michael Reyes, and I’m one of the millions who voted for you in the Presidential Election of 2008. I was one of those blue specks that outshone the red specks that Jersey happens to have. (You’d be surprised how red some parts of New Jersey are.) Introduction out of the way, I’d first like to say congratulations, you’ve won the office of the Presidency fair and square. No hanging chads, no problems in Ohio, just a good old fashioned American shutdown. You ran a campaign that was made for the 21st century, you won the illusive “minority and youth vote”, and you just generally kicked ass and inspired the nation to hope for a change of fate.

Your work, as you know, is not over, and you’re going to need a lot of people to help with the great work ahead…and I would like to be one of those people. I’ve already submitted a request for an application into your administration, though I have no idea what position I would best fit. I would humbly submit that any position I would occupy would be one as an “idea man”. In fact, I have a couple ideas already:

1.) Fire all the top brass at AIG. Any management that was involved in, or allowed the abuse of the bailout money should be scrubbed. No severance, no advanced notice, just toss them into the street and let the market have at them. They’ve taken more than enough advantage of the economy, there’s no room for second chances in the economy of these times. Let them worry about finding a new job after they’ve been laid off, let them worry about where the next paycheck is, let them feel the sting of economic uncertainty. Also, have the Government buy out AIG. The Government can buy out AIG, and turn it into low cost insurance for those who need it and those who are disadvantaged. Maybe you can support more tax cuts if we knock down the tab of all those who are uninsured, but still go to the ER to get fixed up. This is a good way to lower that tab, and ease the burden on the tax payers. Keep the staff underneath upper management; we don’t want to hurt the little guy. In fact, promote those who prove themselves most capable to those upper management jobs. Who will we get to replace the people on the bottom rung? Those who truly need jobs, but are legal citizens of this country. (I don’t mean to sound xenophobic, but we can’t just give these jobs away when there are so many deserving of them. Plus, this falls in line with your campaign platform of keeping jobs in this country.) See, right there is a solution for the Economy and Unemployment. One last thing…since the Government will most likely have bought out AIG with taxpayer money in this scenario, there’s one more thing that should happen…the American people MUST be made stockholders in this corporation. If the Taxpayers are going to pay for it, we should be getting something in return for it. Either we should get stock options, or better yet, we get some sort of break on insurance through AIG. You know as well as I do you don’t get something for nothing in this world, President Elect Obama.

2.) Start working on your campaign for 2012 in drips and drabs. The Republican machine is wounded right now, and it’s fixing for a victory. You need to make sure that you’re White House is as tightly locked and sealed as your campaign was. One way to do it is to keep those promises you made in the beginning. My AIG suggestion, no matter how impractical, could probably be tailored into a practical solution if you get the right brain trust to figure it out. I believe in impractical scenarios that can be whittled down and transformed into practical solutions. I would also extend this piece of advice to all Democrats out there…your reelections aren’t guaranteed. You’ve got to earn it, and the best way to do that is to keep the public interest at hand. Compromise only if necessary, otherwise carry the day on anything that’ll help the American people. You’ve finally started to do what the Republicans criticized you of not being able to do in the past…become the champions of the common man. Be a strong majority for the people, elected by the people, and caring only for the people. You take care of us, we’ll take care of you. Oldest rule in American politics…the only problem is usually it’s applied between holders of office. I believe it should be applied between the electorate and the office holders, because ultimately we’re your bosses. Keep us satisfied, and we’ll keep you employed. One last condition to this suggestion…get rid of Joe Liebermann. He’s done enough damage, and pushing him out so he can finally be ousted as the Republican he is should be a good start towards taking care of the people. Oh, and Senator Liebermann, to paraphrase a friend of mine who paraphrased the Godfather when talking about your betrayal, “Don’t ever take sides against the family.” (Thanks for that little gem, Chez.)

3.) Don’t forget about Joe the Vice President. Sarah Palin overran the media this election cycle, and she didn’t even give that many interviews. Don’t let Vice President Elect Biden fall along the wayside…I know I don’t have to tell you all of this, but I just want to make sure that he gets his due. (By the way, Vice President Elect Biden, great memoir. I’m almost done reading it, and I find it particularly interesting to hear about your experiences in Yugoslavian diplomacy.)

4.) Make Steven Colbert your Press Secretary…trust me on this one. If there’s anything this nation needed now more than ever, it’s truthiness. (If this were to ever happen, I would also request to be made Undersecretary, so that I may learn at the altar of Colbert.) Seriously though, pay attention to the bloggers. I could give you a list of people you should check out, if you like. We’ve been pulling for you since day one, and we want nothing but your continued success. All we ask is you help make a better world for everyone, and now and again some attention would be nice. Just a little suggestion, after all if a College Sophomore can draft a Vice Presidential pick, can’t another come up with valid solutions towards the nation’s ails?The future is literally in your hands, President Elect Obama…and the eyes of the world are upon you. Make us proud for voting you in, and make us really really want to bring you back in 2012. This nation shouldn’t have to suffer under a President Palin.


Michael Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Week Left...

Tell me this doesn't make the song sound better. (Note: Yeah, I know it's showing "No Longer Available. Bullshit. Embeds were disabled, I thought I could cheat the system, I thought wrong. Click on the video to get to the YouTube page for it.)

Another Boyhood Hero is Gone

For Michael Crichton…you influenced me to write, and you influenced my geekdom. You’ve taken all of our imaginations to places scary, but vital to our scientific thinking. For this, above all, you shall be remembered.

Michael Crichton, famous author of Science Fiction thrillers and creator of ER, has passed. His battle with Cancer was widely unknown to the American public, and even those who knew about it were surprised, labeling his death “unexpected”. My mother was on the computer last night when she saw the headline, and knowing how big of a fan I was alerted me to this unfortunate event.

I particularly enjoy Crichton’s work because as a kid, I really wanted to be a doctor; and when that went away, I wanted to become a writer. Throughout the course of whatever ambition I had, I’d always keep reading his work. I first picked up a Crichton book in third grade. It was 1993, and Jurassic Park was reissued in paperback as a movie tie in. For the first time in my life I was introduced to the concept of cloning, and this coupled with the concept of a dinosaur theme park was all I needed to beg my mother to purchase a paperback copy at K-Mart. I’ll admit, I never finished the book. Even for me, the high tech concepts in the book were a little too advanced. But I still loved the concept, and I still had a new boyhood hero to admire.

As a young man himself, Crichton wrote plays, wrote for newspapers, and eventually went on to be a medical resident in his college years. Eventually, under pseudonyms, he would begin to ply his trade in order to pay for medical school. Under various names, Jeffrey Hudson being one of them, he started writing medical thrillers and high tech heists, before switching to his actual name with his book “The Andromeda Strain”. Not satisfied to stay put, he’d go on to direct and write several films, pen several non fiction books, and eventually create television’s long running medical drama “ER”. His writing was popular with Hollywood, having several books already made into films, and others still under option with major studios. He enjoyed all the toys science would allow him to dream up and play with, he’d obsessively research the subject he would be writing on, and he’d eat nothing but one particular meal for lunch during the writing of each book.

The best part about his writing was that no matter what the subject, he could get you interested. He mixed action setpieces and thrilling events with scientific know how and technobabble. He took something as complex as genetics or nanotechnology, and he broke it down for the common reader. He didn't dumb it down terribly much, just enough so you'd have to pay attention or else you'd miss something. He bridged the gap between the common man and Einstein in terms of scientific understanding, which one could argue came from a work ethic that dictated science didn't have to be just for the PhD candidates.

He leaves behind a wife and child, and my sincerest condolences go out to them. His final book, still untitled, is scheduled to be released next Spring, after being prolonged due to his failing health. I will, as always, be picking up a copy as soon as it hits the shelves. Here’s to Michael Crichton…master of imagination and technogeekery. It’s a shame we had to say goodbye to you so soon.

Jurassic Park: Theme - Various Artists

(Note: This isn’t the original recording by John Williams, but it’s still pretty damn good.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This is what a President looks like...

Endgame: 11 PM, Est.

VOTE!, or "The Mr. Controversy 1600% Official Political Endorsement"

It's funny how most elementary and middle schools turn out to be polling stations. We are taught everything we need to know in these places, their walls filled with the knowledge and rules that'll carry us through our lives. And once every four years we return, almost as if to show our alma mater what knowledge and values we've taken with us through our journeys in life. This morning, I returned to my own elementary school of Ramtown, and I cast my vote for my candidate. It is with unwavering certainty, and the full weight of the public record, that I officially endorse Barack Obama and Joe Biden as the ticket for tomorrow. (Which, at this point, is as useful as when Clay Aiken admitted he was gay. Everyone knew it, this is just more official.)

My sincerest condolences go out to Senator Obama and Senator Biden, who have both lost family members near and dear to them on this campaign. I can relate to Senator Obama more though because like him I had a grandmother I was extremely close to pass away not too long ago. My grandmother was a wonderful, caring, and gentle woman. She immigrated to the United States in the 1950's, settling near Morristown, New Jersey. It was there she met my grandfather, and married him not too much longer after they had started dating. Years later, in the year 2004, she passed away due to complications of emphysema. She never got to see me graduate college, that would be two years later; but she held on as best as she could and I was able to say goodbye to her one last time when I came home from my semester abroad in England. She passed early the morning after I came home. I was, and will forever be greatful that she held on to see me, and I feel sadness and sympathy for Senator Obama, because his grandmother sadly could not make it to see election day. It wasn't because of lack of effort, it was because sadly it was her time.

Senator Obama, no matter the result, you are truly, to steal a catchphrase from Sean Hannity, "A great American". You stand for what we all believe in, for what we all wish this country was and want it to truly be. You are eloquent, personable, and you can crack a joke when you have to. You've shown a calm demeanor, and a stoic statesmanship in the face of an enemy who will do all he can to demoralize you and your base of support. A man who sees the Oval Office as a "reward" or a "retirement plan", and not a job. A man who picked a Barbie to be Vice President. I am sorry for your loss, Senator, and should you win the day...it will be in her honor. Her legacy will live in you.

Best of luck to the Obama/Biden camp. To the rest of you out there...


Monday, November 3, 2008

Carry the Day

He was still "Da Bomb" in Phantoms, yo.

Yes, I pretty much drink the Olbermann Kool Aid; but I can still appreciate this bit from SNL. (Mostly because it's good to see Ben Affleck not sucking. I guess family life has done wonders for him.)