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 authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lately, the whole Swine Flu pandemic has ensnared the media with some scary results. Schools are closing down, maps showing points of confirmed and possible infection are constantly flashed on screens, and generally everyone is afraid. Possibly the biggest, most visible case of fear would be in Vice President Joe Biden’s message this morning that he’d warn his family against subway or air travel. This isn’t helping, paranoia and mass frenzy do not help one bit, and the news media has never seen that in the history of their profession. There is no mistaking this is a big potential threat to the world populace, and generally letting this thing “run its course” across the world is not a good idea either. But informing the public and scaring them with media friendly versions of the truth aren’t exactly best practice either.
If anything, the big methodologies of prevention are the same we’ve always been taught as kids. Cover your coughs and sneezes, limit close contact, wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick. All of this is common sense when it comes to spreading any illness, much less one like the Swine Flu. We should be vigilant, without being hyperactive; we should be measured in our response and in our containment. We should NOT be whining to the Government for federal funding and as much Tamiflu as we can get, which is exactly what Governor Rick Perry is doing with Texas right now. Yes the number of cases are on the rise, but the thing is the number of deaths in the U.S. are still in the single digits as of this writing, and both deaths reported were of young children, who are normally a high risk target for infections anyway.
Mexico, the area of the world hit hardest and with the most deaths due to Swine Flu, has been experiencing a decline in deaths thanks to Swine Flu. What did they do? They stopped all non essential public services and closed restaurants and public schools. This is also being emulated in the U.S. with several public schools closed and public gatherings in particularly infectious areas being halted. Again, common sense, but the truth of the matter is that this common sense takes its toll on the public and how we operate as a country. Mexico can afford to pull all those stops in their country, could you imagine if we tried to do that? It’d be a logistical nightmare.
It’s true that this could mutate at some point and hit us even harder, it’s true that proper surgical masks can help us limit the spread, and it’s true that we are underprepared for a full blown deadly outbreak should one occur. But we’re not there yet. So why don’t we take our time, get our heads straight, and do what we can to limit the spread, while treating those who are infected properly and getting plans together in case it does get more dangerous. We have a luxury right now: this illness, while serious, isn’t a global killer. We have to do as much research as we can, limit the spread as much as humanly possible, and instead of scaring ourselves educating ourselves.
Here is the CDC’s official page on Swine Flu, I suggest reading up and becoming as informed as you can. Practice those measures your parents taught you when you were in school, and go to the doctor IMMEDIATELY should you feel like you're coming down with a flu. However, please try to give the emergency rooms a rest...if they get too stressed, and should things hit the fan, it'll be even worse than it should be. Go only if it truly is an emergency. Other than that, I’d say watch the news and remember that it does tend to sensationalize a little bit, but it’s not to be ignored either. Don’t go survivalist just yet, the world only ends when you give it a reason to. If we stay calm and rational, we should be able to get a leg up on the situation.
In the interest of getting myself published, I’ve decided that for now I’m taking the easy way out…I’m going to write a Self Help/Motivational book with a ridiculous title and multiple step program that parses said metaphor into multiple steps. To paraphrase the great philosopher Daffy Duck, I’m a sell out…but I’m a greeeedy sell out. Enjoy!
You…yeah you, the one sulking in the corner. What the hell is the problem? You’re afraid of swine flu? Things just aren’t what they used to be? You’re down in the dumps because of the economy? Well knock that off right now, because feeling sorry for yourself isn’t gonna help! There’s times in a person life where they can crumble under the weight of modern society, and there’s times that you just have to get your frakking bear suit on and get to work. Yes you heard me correctly, I said Get…Your…Bear…Suit…On! That should be the new mantra these days.
Right now you’re probably asking yourself, “Hey Mike, what’s with the bear suit thing? Did you go full furry retard on us?” First I would say, “Shame on you for picking on my personal proclivities, you judgmental nimrod!” Secondly I’d say, “Allow me to explain”. Here comes the explainin’! You see in the movie The Wicker Man, Nic Cage plays a cop who visits an island that produces honey and nutjob religious fanatics. He’s there to investigate the disappearance of a little girl, and is being thwarted at every turn by the creepy locals. Towards the end of the film, when their big festival shit is about to happen, he resorts to drastic measures in order to get to the truth. Take one giant guess what he does…
That’s right. He puts on that bear suit and continues to punch his way to the truth. Sure he gets to the truth, and it’s a far uglier beast than he’d wish it were, but the point is he got there! (Though it did kinda suck that he got his legs broken, and that he was lit on fire inside the giant wicker man…OH COME ON, YOU WEREN’T GOING TO WATCH IT, WERE YOU?!) Horrible consequences aside, Nic Cage did what he had to do, and it involved wearing a bear suit, so that’s the lesson I think we can take from all of this. (Besides that of “Don’t trust anyone coming from Summersisle…it’ll just end in bees.”)
Getting Your Bear Suit On: Step 1: The legs
Getting your bear suit on is the same as putting any type of clothing/costume on. You gotta start with the legs. Without the legs, you won’t be able to run as far or as fast as you would with them on. (Plus, a bear suit kind of looks ridiculous with casual slacks.) The significance of the legs is quick response. You’re able to deal with whatever life throws at you, you’ll be able to do it fast and without wasting time.
Step 2: The paws
Next, you need the paws. Some would say the head before the paws, but personally I find that it’s hard to put on the paws with a giant bear head on you. That, and it’s more dramatic if you save the head for last. The paws, if worn and constructed right, are the things that get the hard stuff done. Grabbing things, picking them up, pointing accusatory fingers, and of course punching. Your paws must be clean, in excellent shape, and ready to rumble. The significance of the paws are that they are your main communication tool, seeing as the head of the suit will probably muffle or distort your voice. These are what you use to get your message across, use them wisely.
Step 3: The head
Everything up to this point has been preparation, because without the head you are NOT ready to face the world. The head masks your public identity, and encourages you to embrace the inner you. Not to mention, the head always controls the body in traditional physiology, so it would be useless to run around without it. Besides, you’d look ridiculous with your normal head and a bear body.
Step 4: Swing away!
You’re ready for whatever life throws at you. You have your bear suit on, and nothing can stop you…not even common sense and plot!
Now go out there and get your bear suit on! Doctor Controversy says so.
First off, I was thinking of yet again announcing that I’d be taking a brief sabbatical. I was dumped this past weekend, and I thought I just needed time to cope. That is complete bunk, because if anything this is the type of therapy I need right now. I need to keep talking, I need to keep going out with friends, and I need to keep writing. This is a pretty big void to fill, and I’m certainly not turning to food to fill it. (I’m enough of a pudge as it is. =P)
This doesn’t mean I’m going to write at length about what happened, at least not at this time. As much as I would want to “write it out”, I believe it would be disrespectful to myself and Danielle. I have too much respect and love for her, no matter what terms it all ended on. I’m not going to lie: I’m hurt, I’m lost, and I feel like I have a knife in my heart and I’m slumped over in an alley bleeding out. I just wish I were enough for her. As the song says, “I’ll only miss her when I think of her…and I’ll think of her all the time.” No offense to you all here, but if it meant she’d stay I’d read any book, see any movie, and I’d even stop this blog dead in its tracks. (I’d still be friends with you lot though, and I’d visit your blogs. No sense getting rid of friends.)
Naturally, I still hope for a day she’ll come back to me, and it doesn’t help that I was planning on possibly proposing to her by our third anniversary. However, I guess that third anniversary will rest where the fifth season of BSG, the seventh book of the Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy, and the eighth Harry Potter book all reside…it’s not happening. At least I don’t see it happening. (Forgive me, I’m having a hard time accepting the gravity and reality of the situation.)
To hopefully brighten the mood a bit, here’s the top 12 posts I’ve had on here, and yes she’s a part of some of them. It’s not my fault that some of the best work I’ve done came from the love we once shared. Even though the blog started last April, we’ll be starting in May seeing as that was when I started posting substantial posts here.
Any suggestions for posts/rants/therapeutic practices, please leave them in the comments. You are all awesome. Even the girl who dumped me is awesome. And should she ever want to talk to me, she knows where to find me. I just hope she does, because I miss her and I hope to God she misses me too.
In any event, thank you to you all for making me who I am and giving me something to do with my spare time. I'll keep writing if you keep reading. (The quality, however, I'm not making any promises on.)
Overall, it seems like this week was one big lesson in laughter and confrontation. You have to stand for what you believe is right, and sometimes that involves laughing in the faces of those who'd think otherwise. Other times though, you have to drive the point home hard and you have to get a little angry. Either way, no matter the odds, your opinion must be defended.
As such, you must also be ready for your opinions to be proven wrong as well. Case in point, we learned that SNLisn’t as bad as it was once thought to be. “Business Meeting” is a great example of a Digital Short gone horribly right, it's a mystery to me how it hasn't become as big of a viral hit as some of the other ones. Also, there was a really good Muppet Show sketch with Seth Rogan and a really funny Broadway sketch they did with Neil Patrick Harris, who even when he was mocking Rent definitely sounded the part of Mark. I guess it’s not all that bad after all.
I personally learned just last night that some things hold up even better over time than you could imagine, like The Muppet Show. I’ve just started renting them on DVD and watching the show from the beginning, I've begun to see just how clever it actually was. It's a perfect middle ground between kids stuff and clean adult humor, with just a shade of mischief. Normally I'd laugh something that attempted this off, but since it's the Muppets and they succeed admirably at this type of thing, I naturally laugh that very though off and laugh with them. (A side note: I wish I had a Muppet version of me. That would be awesome.)
Finally, I’d like to remind everyone about the giveaway going on. Yes, I’ve accepted the presence of my inner attention whore. In fact, the only attention whore bigger than me (at least in my life, excluding any popular media figures) is my girlfriend’s cat. With all that out of the way, I will talk to you fine people on Sunday (or thereabouts) in honor of the anniversary of this very weblog.
I'm amazed that Rupert Murdoch hasn't black bagged Shepard Smith just yet. I guess it's because he's closer to "fair and balanced" than anyone else on the network. (Thanks to the Huffington Post for providing me two good videos worth stealing/reposting.)
My psuedo Tweets put me in a prime position today. I'm happy to announce that this is the 300th post of Mr. Controversy. (It's a slow news day, I can't help it. One option was to hold off until April 26th so I could have done the whole "300th Post, 1st Anniversary" thing simultaneously, but that's too long from not to stop writing.)
Anyways, I'd once again like to thank you generous lot for reading the stuff I put out here, and for helping me keep interest in writing this for almost a year now. Speaking of the year mark, I'll be doing a sort of look back on the past year which will include a list of the "highlights" from around here. As such, I'd like to know what are some of your favorite posts from the past year? Selections will be posted in the big 1st Anniversary wrap up.
It's another hundred posts, and I know it's no big deal, but what this blog represents to me is a step on the road to fulfilling my dream of writing for an audience for a living. As with any life's dream, you need the help of some capable and loyal friends. I'm proud to call you all my capable, loyal friends and I wish you all the best of luck in your own endeavours. (Also, since I used this nice little bit of sentimentality on the 300th post, I'll have to think of a way to polish the audience's other cheek for the big show in 4 days.)
So, I accidentally got another copy of the next James Patterson collaboration, Swimsuit from Hachette Book Group. (It can never be said that they don't take care of their friends.) This accident is an awesome one because it's given me an opportunity to do something I've been meaning to do for a while now...run a giveaway contest!
How do you enter? Simple, throw down a comment in the comments section that says you're in the running. Anything at all. Make me laugh. Whoever gives me the greatest laugh, gets the book. (If nobody makes me laugh, I'll just select someone on a whim anyway, but it'd be cool to get a laugh out of this.)
However, there will be one caveat: I'm planning on inviting the recipient of the book to co-review the book with me. That's right, this is an opportunity for you Cannonball Readers to throwdown with me, Siskel and Ebert style! We both get a book on our counts, and I'll (naturally) mention your blog on here.
To recap: - Free publicity for your blog. - A book/review to add to your Cannonball Read count. (And some extra copy for my Hachette friends). - A copy of a book that's due out on June 29th, NOW! (Plus, I'll be autographing the book. Egotistical, I know, but really what harm can it do?)
So let's see those comments, everyone. The contest is open as of now, and will close on next Friday.
This is one of those times where my geek truly is showing. I was driving to work today, and I randomly jumped to the subject of which Doctor Who companion I thought was the best. (Mostly because my girlfriend nicknamed my car, “The Cardis”; so that thought tends to drift into mind.) So, without further introduction, I give you the companion guide to the companions of the Doctor. (Please note: these are only the companions from the new series, and only includes companions up to Donna Noble. Haven’t watched Planet of the Dead yet, and need to rewatch The Next Doctor to cover that lot. Also, I’m covering main companions, so Mickey, Jackie, Wilf, Sylvia, or any of the Jones family will not be covered.)
How They Met: Rose was a retail girl, who the Doctor saved after the Autons tried to invade England AGAIN.
High Points: The tearful goodbye in Doomsday and the Army of Ghosts, which basically followed Rose risking being forever taken away from her family by returning to our dimension to help the Doctor fight the Daleks; Destroying the Daleks while being possessed by the Time Vortex; hysterically being possessed by Lady Cassandra.
Low Points: Her return in Turn Left, which apparently proved that people in the parallel Earth speak differently than us. (Read: with weird accents) While being a pretty companion, not being terribly bright or independent. Also, she just falls too heavily for the Doctor to be of any true use.
How They Split: Rose has the “honor” of splitting from two Doctors. Remember that whole “possessed by the Time Vortex” thing? That’s what killed the Ninth Doctor. He kissed her to absorb the vortex and shoot it out back into the TARDIS, thus giving us the Tenth Doctor. Then, her and the Tenth Doctor split TWICE! Once in the sad, downer ending of Doomsday; then once again after meaninglessly bringing her and her family back to our universe, only to send them back and with their own half human clone of Tenth Doctor. (One my friend affectionately refers to as the “Handjob Doctor”, seeing as he was created by Donna Noble’s DNA fusing with the Doctor’s lost hand from “The Christmas Invasion”.)
Currently: In a parallel universe with the “Handjob Doctor”, probably making babies and causing Mickey to be extremely jealous.
Captain Jack Harkness
How They Met: The Ninth Doctor and Rose came across a dashing young lad by the name of Captain Jack Harkness, an American solider in World War II London during “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” storyline. As it turns out, Jack is actually a renegade time agent from the future, and later on becomes immortal after being revived by Rose Tyler, post Vortex possession. He then tries to tag along with the Tenth Doctor, only to be ditched in Cardiff, where he begins to head up Torchwood. By the end of Torchwood season 1, The Doctor comes back to Cardiff to refuel the TARDIS and Jack finally reunites with The Doctor as he travels to the end of time during “Utopia”.
High Points: Destroying homicidal makeover robots with a gun he hid…discretely, going down fighting while destroying Daleks, running Torchwood.
Low Points: Hitting on everything with a post code. Yes, he’s charming; and most certainly handsome; but Captain Jack needs to learn to keep it in the pants. (That bit with the Daleks in Series 1 generates enough goodwill to overlook this.)
How They Split: The Doctor ditched him, because he scares him. Literally, his newfound immortality and invincibility scares the Doctor, and he dropped him at the first way station he could find.
Currently: Still running Torchwood in the UK, waiting to encounter the Children of Earth.
How They Met: After “The Runaway Bride”, the Doctor wound up in the same hospital as intern Martha. Which was then transported to the moon by the Judoon Platoon.
High Points: Walking the Earth for the whole year that never happened when the Master reigned supreme, and spreading the legend of The Doctor, thus creating a huge psychic network of energy that regenerated the Doctor to his younger state; fighting the Sontarans in their attempt to destroy Earth’s atmosphere.
Low Points: Basically being a willing participant in destroying the Earth in the name of the Doctor (thus proving Davros’ point that the Doctor inspires people to be a little gun crazy) , anytime she swooned over the Doctor.
How They Split: After the year that never happened during “Last of the Time Lords”, Martha split to find her own life. She became a doctor, got engaged, became a member of UNIT and served some time with Torchwood. She’d cross paths with the Doctor again in “The Sontaran Stratagem/ The Poison Sky”, where she’d be cloned and evil; then she’d come back become whiny and threatening to destroy the Earth in “The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End”. She left. Again.
Currently: On Earth, waiting for her next adventure.
How They Met: After the events of “Last of the Time Lords”, The Doctor kinda had a run in with the Fifth Doctor, which then was followed by the Titanic (the space liner, not the iceberg magnet) plowing into his TARDIS. After some quick repairs, he then goes on to stowaway on said space liner, and meets the lovely Astrid, promising her adventures and the chance to see another sky.
High Points: Resigning from her job aboard the Titanic…by killing her boss.
Low Points: A little bit of shoehorned political satire involving “cyborg marriage rights”. Look, Mr. Davies, I know gay marriage is something important, but honestly…does it have to cross over into my Doctor Who? C’mon, that’s why you had Queer as Folk. It’s a minor nitpick, really.
How They Split: Astrid died after sacrificing herself to destroy Max Capricorn, the owner of the Titanic and all around stock manipulating bastard. (He was going to crash the Titanic into Earth, in order to destroy his own company.) The Doctor tried to revive her using the ship’s teleport bracelet system, but can only muster enough energy to make her a star ghost.
Currently: Roaming free amongst the stars.
How They Met: Right after his tearful goodbye to Rose, a runaway bride was somehow randomly beamed up to the TARDIS. Turns out she was pumped full of Huon particles, and those are kinda sensitive to the TARDIS. Hilarity, and nagging, ensues. After said adventure and parting of ways, she meets the Doctor once more when investigating a new diet pill that turns out to be a little more harmful than expected.
High Points: Calling bullshit on the Doctor any chance she gets by questioning his actions, persuading him to save a family of Romans from Pompeii, helping solve a mystery with Agatha Christie, saving the day in Journey’s End, grappling with her sanity and reality in The Library’s computer during “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead”, being able to carry on her own adventure WITHOUT the assistance of the Doctor in “Turn Left”, generally being a “hot, ginger crush”.
Low Points: The Runaway Bride. She was bitchy, whiny, and just generally unpleasant. It wasn’t until she saw that there was a great big universe of adventure out there, that she gained some perspective and wised up.
How They Split: Similar to Rose Tyler, Donna gets to leave The Doctor twice. The only thing is, she leaves the same Doctor two separate occasions, and has managed not to do anything stupid that would wind up killing the Doctor. The first time, she merely turned down his offer of companionship because…well, having your wedding day ruined by aliens and your evil fiancée who was working with them all the long kinda makes you want to stay home. The second time, wasn’t so lucky. Due to a human timelord metacrisis, Donna temporarily became part Time Lord/ part Human. (This was because of her DNA creating the “Handjob Doctor”.) The human mind being what it is, it cannot handle such a concept without breaking down. So to prevent her death, the Doctor wipes her memory of all their adventures. Should she ever see him and remember anything of their time together, it’s highly possible she’ll mentally break completely.
Currently: Restored to her “Runaway Bride” factory settings, ignorant of who she was and the adventures she had. Just waiting for the Doctor to return. And he will return to her.
How They Met: This is where things get complicated. Chronologically, they meet in “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead”, when The Doctor and Donna make their way into The Library. Technically, this is when The Doctor meets Ms. Song for the first time. How and when Ms. Song meets the Doctor is in the future.
High Points: Being the perfect match for the Doctor, acting almost as if she’s his wife or something; sacrificing herself to protect The Library and The Doctor, as well as saving the over 4,000 people trapped in The Library’s memory.
Low Points: Nothing. If anything, she’s the perfect companion for The Doctor. So far.
How They Split: Again, complications arise. River splits from the Doctor by going back into the past, which the future Doctor is knowledgeable of considering his previous incarnation lived through his first encounter with her. Which was her second encounter with the Doctor. Which also ends with her splitting with The Doctor.
Currently: Waiting to meet the Doctor for her first time (his second).
Summary: The best companions, in my opinion, are the ones that don’t fall head over heels for the Doctor, or at least do so smartly. Just acting hopelessly in love with him doesn’t help, you need some sort of brain power behind the beauty. In short, it's a tie between River Song and Donna Noble, with River having a slight advantage. (She wasn't in The Runaway Bride.)
April 20, 1999. A fairly unremarkable day in its early hours, but by time the beginning of the school day rolled around at Columbine High School, we would remember it as one of the most infamous tragedies in American history. It would be repeated on several accounts, in other places and other countries, and yet we haven’t obsessed about it as much as we have 9/11, which has (thankfully) not been repeated. The following story isn’t about Columbine, but rather the aftermath. The following is a true story, and I know this because I experienced it. It’s nothing horrible, nothing life changing, just something that was a direct result of the wave of paranoia that Columbine produced in the minds of American school administrators. I might not get the whole truth correct, but the major facts and questions I remember.
“Would Mike Reyes please report to the main office?”
The intercom has summoned me, and in compliance I was released from class. I had no clue why they were calling my name, especially during the last period of the day. You would think it’s kinda late to be driven home by your parents. I didn’t do anything warranting a reward. I couldn’t figure out what I did to be called down at the end of the day to the office. Whatever it was though, I didn’t have a good feeling about it. I walked into the office and I was escorted into the office of Vice Principal Fitzpatrick. He was the VP for 9th and 11th grades at Howell High School. Sitting alongside him was Detective Rice, a cop who was well known among those who worked for the town. (My father and grandfather were volunteer firemen, so they of knew him.) Also sitting in the office was my mother. That was the final sign that things couldn’t be good.
I was told to sit down and almost immediately the questions began. What type of music did I listen to? What radio stations? Was I prone to violence? It turns out, there were three sign confessions stating that I, and two friends of mine, planned on blowing up the school and were overheard speaking violently in the library. Ok, so the guy who never got in a full on fight (at least on record), the guy who never had to serve a detention in his life, the guy who was an editor on the Newspaper was the one who was fingered for trying to destroy the school, as well as a meek and a nerdy friend of his? If anything, the trio in question was more likely to shout taunts at each other about Star Wars and Star Trek, not bomb making recipes. Yet here we sat, in what was pretty much an interrogation, answering to baseless charges leveled by three anonymous individuals.
The big question here was who was the stupider party involved? The three individuals who took advantage of the system to report something in a fit of paranoia, or the individuals in the position of power who were treating the rumor mill as a trusted source of intel? My mother was furious with the school, and so was I. I did not fit the profile for either of the shooters. I didn’t own a trenchcoat, I’d never touched a real gun, and I most certainly didn’t listen to Marilyn Manson, and when I eventually started to like some of his songs I didn’t like them because of some sick revenge fantasy I’d cooked up in my mind. (If anything, I liked how they were scathing criticisms of the world we lived in, and how it sounded like it was coming from the inmate who ran the asylum.) At the time, I listened to talk radio and Britney Spears, I was going through my Republican phase, and I was in the midst of my Sci Fi nerd period. In short, someone accused the kid of Alex P. Keaton and a Star Wars geek of trying to blow up the school. Starting to see the ridiculousness yet?
After the interrogation, I saw that one of my other friends was being brought in for questioning, his mother in the office waiting for their turn at the wheel. His father being a well placed employee in the Township gave a long rant on how stupid and wasteful it was to use a Police detective in the matter. My bet was it was due to the lack of concrete evidence, and the lack of smoke to match the proverbial fire. The most we were scolded on was using school computers to look up our emails. That was the most we’d done wrong. Yet we were put through such a ringer, and all because the higher ups felt they had to treat every threat as a serious threat. I can’t say I had it bad though…two years later 9/11 would happen, and the same type of incident would happen but on a grander, more hurtful scale. At least when I was in school, they didn’t have the policy of extreme rendition. Who knows, they might have taken me to Freehold Boro, where they don’t have as many “rules” as Howell did.
I have a younger brother at Howell now, and another going this fall. I hope they don’t have to deal with the same type of incident that I did. I know it won’t be at the hands of Mr. Fitzpatrick, seeing as he left Howell High a year or two after. His replacement was much friendlier, and someone who knew I wasn’t that type of person. The most I’d get called back into the office for after this incident was an inquiry into one of our trio’s absence from school (he was sick with the flu, they asked if he had access to “military paraphernalia”), and to accept the gavel that began my term as Senior Class President. Yet this is the time I remember the most. This was the incident that to this day still gets me a little pissed off. They say you should learn your history, because if you don’t you’re doomed to repeat it. Fitting irony then that a school administrator, and then later several top Government officials, would forget the relevant lessons of the Salem Witch Trials, which were also forgotten during the McCarthy Era. Still, it could have been worse.
First off, congratulations to my friends Rob and Heather for their wonderful wedding this weekend. The whole affair was beautiful, and it truly was spectacular. More thanks go to my friends James and Ali for helping me have a wonderful day in the city of Madison, and introducing me to “Business Meeting” and That Guy With The Glasses.
- I got my first parking ticket this weekend up at Drew University. While I’ve been obedient and paid the ticket, I would seriously like to request they consider it a donation towards my Senior Pledge seeing as they have no Alumni parking program. (At least none they’ve made people readily aware of.)
- Box Office Roundup time: I was wrong, and in the most awesome way. People still DO care about politically relevant thrillers! Sure, 17 Again opened on top as expected; but State of (Freakin’) Play got second place! As an added bonus Monsters vs. Aliens 3D stole third from the snake monster Hannah Dakota, or whatever her name is. The Lovable Loser of last week won big! This weekend’s predictions: 1. The Soloist, 2. State of Play, 3. 17 Again, Lovable Loser: Earth (isn’t it always?)
- The weather this weekend was outstanding! I hope everyone enjoyed it, because it looks like we’re getting plenty more where that came from this week.
- Ellen Pompeo, the whiney star of Grey’s Anatomy, is pregnant. I’m not a fan, but I’m actually interested to see how they handle this.
- Is the “tea bagging” over yet? I want something new to laugh at from the news media.
- One of the little girls from Slumdog Millionaire was actually being sold by her father for $300,000 dollars. I actually can’t come up with anything to mock that. Not even a Madonna joke. That’s just kinda sad, actually. Then again, so was Slumdog.
- Seriously, after this weekend’s wedding, I’m thinking of becoming a full time wedding crasher. Photographers love me, crowds laugh with me, and dancing is the best exercise outside of action movies and sex.
- A big opening for the play Mary Stuart happened last night, and it’s awesome to see Liam Neeson enjoying himself with Ralph Fiennes. Also, Jeremy Irons looks like he could be a kick assed theater professor with the get up he’s wearing. Don’t believe me? Here’s the slideshow.
- Sir Michael Caine recently gave Ain’t It Cool News an interview. Good to see him still at work, and good to see him still kicking ass. Eagerly anticipating Harry Brown.
- One more comment about the wedding and I swear I’m done. Best way to end a reception? A massive group hug, whilst everyone is singing Hey Jude to the bride and groom. Take that, Across the Doucheverse!
- This is STILL no time for jokes, Gigantic Turkey Sub.
A friend showed me this video this weekend, and I laughed my ass off. Classic example of Pythonesque sketch comedy where a relatively normal premise is set up, followed by a gradual descent into madness...and then one final push off the cliff. Please enjoy "Business Meeting".
I’m afraid I really can’t come up with anything we’ve learned this week, so I’m going to do something smart. I turn it over to all of you out there. Talking is great, but listening…sometimes that’s where it’s at. So, what have we learned this week?
I didn't participate in the Miss Lonelyheart's Stomps a Child 5K, so I feel I must make up for it by participating in the "Crabby Smorgasbook" 5K. That said, please welcome your lineup for the April 2009 Cannonball Run 5K:
1. Fiction - Afraid by Jack Kilborn
2. Non-Fiction - How To Live by Henry Allford
3. Fantasy/Sci-Fi - Death of a Witch by M.C. Beaton
4. Biography - Priceless Memories by Bob Barker with Digby Diehl
Entry 10, after two months in the making, is here, and Raptor Jesus be praised. Time for the after action report, followed by…more action. Once again, thanks to Hachette Book Group for providing the literature and to Brian Prisco for providing us all with the opportunity to play "It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World" the home game.
Before I begin, I’d like to announce the next 5K in the Cannonball Run is coming, the aptly titled, “April 5k: The Crabby Smorgasbook”, which is run by the last 5K victor, Ms. Genny (also Rusty). As for the status quo, all the information you need is located at the Pajiba announcement page here and Mr. Prisco’s blog here. Reviews are reviewed, and they might be published on Pajiba, so make sure you don’t upset anyone too much. (Read: spell check and grammar check helps).
Wow…I finished Endgame 1945. This isn’t an insult to David Stafford, or his work of historical importance, it’s just a comment on the length of the damn thing. It’s 604 pages, counting footnotes and the bibliography, but they’re a dense 604 pages. Information floods out of this book, yet at the same time you can sense the depth of all the threads explored here. If you’re expecting a beach read, go somewhere else. If you’re expecting a comprehensive historical account of the ending weeks of World War II, and those who experienced them, then this is a book worth your bookmark.
World War II is a popular subject in the historical subconscious of the world. Gone was the gentleman’s war that was World War I, and in came the savage inhumanity that was World War II. Indeed, one of the themes used in materials about the war, both fictional and non-fictional, is man’s inhumanity against his fellow man. The struggle of the minority against the majority, good triumphing over evil, and a nation being so blindly lead by its leaders that they couldn’t stop to think about what was going on in their own backyards are all aspects that embedded themselves in the country’s minds even more firmly during the second “Great War”. Perhaps one of the reasons of its popularity is that World War II was (at least in my Poli Sci addled mind) the last widely known (you know as well as I do that history classrooms don’t teach the Korean War in depth) legitimately actionable conflict the United States was involved in. As popular as the subject is, it’s taught rather hastily. Most classrooms would have you believe (at least the way they teach it) that after Hitler killed himself, everyone just kind of sat around and waited for Potsdam to miracle them out of the war. They would have you think everyone sat around playing Apples to Apples while waiting for all the bureaucracy and the formality of victory to set in. Unfortunately, that is a big fat lie, and in that widely unacknowledged truth is where Endgame 1945 tells its story.
Endgame 1945 begins where most WWII stories would start winding down, with Hitler and Ava Braun taking their lives and Germany in ruins. From this jumping off point, we follow the lives of several men and women we’ve never heard of before. We follow their triumphs, their awakenings, their pains, their pleasures, and their eventual postwar fates. We learn of Fey Von Hassel’s internment due to her indirect connection to the failed July 20th plot. We see war through the eyes of Leonard Linton, Reg Roy, and their respective battle outfits as they slog their way through the European theater fighting party faithfuls and worrying about the fabled “Alpine Redoubt”. We follow Robert Reid in his chronicles for the BBC, who actually recorded a report in the middle of a firefight and through such actions was one of the first reporters to bring the war home to his audience through the medium of radio.
It is through these stories that we see a more complete picture of the last days of World War II, and that picture shows us that just because the war was “over” by traditional standards, it didn’t mean the fighting was over. Germany didn’t rebuild itself overnight, the Nazis didn’t give up their arms and surrender automatically, and most importantly the book properly foreshadows the coming Cold War between the Russians and the Americans by detailing their actions and their tactics in dealing with each other. You can sense the tension, and the clashing of ideologies, particularly in one incident towards the end involving press coverage of the American treatment of Nazi prisoners.
Endgame 1945 is a slow read, and definitely not something that can be breezed through. It took me about two months to read this book, but it was well worth it. I recommend this to history buffs, and anyone who’s curious as to what happens in the immediate aftermath of conflict.
Actual Entry: How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still On This Earth) by Henry Alford
Freebie Entry: Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Authorized Collection by John Carnell and Steve Leialoha
Morning, Readers. Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend. What did I do, you ask? I had dinner with the family and spent the afternoon watching movies with them. (I also consumed quite a bit of easter eggs, which is always a treat this time of year.) I was almost motivated to take the week off from Mr. Controversy and write it off as a "Spring Break Blog-cation”, however I’m too lazy to be lazy, and plus if I take this week off, I’ll be off for longer than a week. Probably two, three the most. (Four if I’m feeling particularly zesty.)
That in mind…it’s showtime, folks.
- Whoo-hoo! Two out of three on this weekend’s Box Office Roundup, baby! But at what cost? Hannah Montana predictably pulled into the number 1 spot, and Monsters Vs. Aliens 3D managed to keep the third place. Thankfully, I was wrong about Dragonball, and Observe and Report seemed to do well with a fourth place opening. Next weekend’s picks: 1. 17 Again, 2. Crank: High Voltage, 3. Hannah Montana, Loveable Loser: State of Play
- Pirates: 0, U.S. Navy Seals: 1. Massive pwnage and patriotism abound.
- I actually want to see Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past, which I credit more to Jennifer Garner’s charm than Matthew McConaughey’s lack of charm.
- I want to go to the White House Egg Roll one of these days. I know, you need a kid with you to get in, but it’d still be fun.
- A Representative from Alabama, Spencer Bachus, is making a list of socialists in congress. Joseph McCarthy would be proud, however the lack of an Edward R. Murrow disturbs me.
- The Obamas finally got their puppy, and it’s adorable. It’ll be the most adorable thing on television, unless you’re Madonna. In her case, the most adorable thing on television is those Feed the Children commercials. (They’re like shopping lists for her.)
- Glenn Beckis scheduling a comedy tour. Which poses the question: is this funny because it’s fitting, or is this not funny because it’s pretty much expected.
- Eminem is back. Continue along your current business everyone, nothing to see here.
- Anybody out there planning something special for Spring Break?
- I’m almost done with season 1 of Battlestar Galactica. I feel the addiction growing stronger with every episode.
- The Duggars are welcoming a new addition…their oldest son and his wife are now taking the procreative reins. Maybe Mama Duggar can take a break now. (Not likely.) I would also like to announce, that unless something big happens (or if it’s a slow news patch should anything happen), I am going to retire the Duggars from the list of grievances.
- I’m so so close to finishing Endgame 1945. (Literally within 25 pages.) After two months, I’ll see victory in World War II. Which means I’m heading to the first happy/light book I can select from my pile of Hachette provided literature.
- Want to be scared out of your wits? Read this. (As if Bachus’s little list wasn’t scary enough.)
- Finally, a friend of mine and I were talking today and something interesting came up. Last year, during the political horserace we all were involved in from the first day of 2008, there was a limitless sense of optimism. We all took part in the great experiment of our country and the end of the year left us all hopeful, thanks to the end result of our labors. However, as 2009 started we all began to sense a feeling of disaster. Things started to go bad, and the optimism we entered the year with has slowly dimmed. Indeed, if we of today were to tell ourselves of the past, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better”, we would have laughed it off. Yet here we are, everything seeming to get worse before it gets better. Some would wallow in their despair, some would let it beat them. But there are some who are doing something about it. Some who are working through the present storm, for a better future. I would say they are the people that get the true picture. It’s been a long held belief, the “worse before better” paradox, and while we may be pushing our way through dark days and the possibility that all we know and love could change and come crashing to the ground, we mustn’t forget that we’re in the middle ground between worse and better. One day, who knows when it will be, the sun will shine on all of our faces again. Our hard work will be recognized, our spirits lifted, and the promise of tomorrow will not only be fulfilled…it will be sustained through all of us. Don’t give up. Don’t surrender to the darkness, for it will surely swallow you and all you know. Stand up, and do what must be done. I promise you all, we will smile again.
Have a good Monday everyone. Now let’s proceed to kick the shit out of this week and all that follow it.
I think the big lesson we’ve learned this week is that despite the inherent pessimism of the world we live in, dreams are still very much attainable. No matter where you come from, no matter how low or high profile the job you hold right now, if you seriously want to do something you’ll end up doing it. The only things stopping/helping you are the effort of work you put into it, and the level of sacrifice you’re willing to endure. If it’s your dream, neither of these will be a problem.
We’ve also learned that people apparently do have hearts, and in the case of Fox’s new reality show pitch “Someone’s Gotta Go” (a show in which employees get to vote on who loses their job) people still have a cultural gag reflex. Between this and “More to Love”, Fox has added to the list of tasteless and unsuccessful reality TV shows such as My Big, Obnoxious Fiancée, Who Wants to Marry A Millionaire?, Temptation Island, and American Idol. (Seriously, besides Kelly Clarkson who’s really succeeded after winning? Ruben Studdard is MIA, Fantasia Barrino is about as famous as that lady walking her dog I pass everyday on the way home, Carrie Underwood is at most a “Country” superstar, Taylor Hicks just kinda faded away, Jordin Sparks went on to be an insufferably “holier than thou” bitch, and David Cook…well at least he’s not a douche and at least he beat David Archuleta.)
Finally, we’ve learned that sometimes it isn’t the message that’s being put out there, sometimes it’s who’s broadcasting the message. Two cases in point: Kanye West responded rather uncharacteristically to the South Park parody of his rather not-so-cuddly demeanor…he was humbled. It took him this long to realize he was being so stuck up and high off his own supply that he’s coming off as a seriously whiny bitch. Maybe this will show in his work, maybe he’ll change. Who knows. The second case is a doozy too: Britney Spears has managed to make a good single again…the only problem is other people are making even better songs out of it. I thought Lily Allen was the only one who’d covered “Womanizer” (which I stumbled upon by visiting my good blog-friend Jeremy’s site Notes on Bar Napkins), but apparently The All American Rejects did as well. Now, Franz Ferdinand has taken the ball, and while I can’t watch the video at work I’d go as far as saying it’s probably awesome plus infinity. Such is the nature of the Double F. I leave you with said video, and wish you all a very Spring-y holiday weekend. Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and Happy St. Frankenstein’s Day.
And now, another short fiction project. This time, something in a longer form, much like "The Devil v. George W. Bush". Only this time, I'm actually writing the prologue first. (As opposed to writing a prologue and epilogue for "The Devil v. GWB" as part of the revised 'Inauguration Day Edition'.)
At any rate, I kindly remind you all that this is a rough cut and as such any criticisms or suggestions are heartily welcome. (My philosophy as of late has become, until it's printed in "the book", it's not final.)
Prologue – The Nature of the Beast
“…and that’s how I got this project sold.”
This last sentence is quite possibly the most important sentence to ever end a book. At least, for our purpose it is. Possibly more important than, “All was well”, slightly more important than, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all” (considering out subject), and infinitely more important than, “And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever”, though that last one was pretty much given to its author by our subject. As with any good book, whatever comes before that line is what’s most important. Without the background, development, and even scene setting, those final lines really don’t pack the punch they would if you had actually read the entire work from start to finish. Why? One word: context; which is also very fitting considering a popular turn of phrase for the subject of context: “The Devil is in the details”.
You see, this is a story about the Devil, whom many know by other names. Satan, Beelzebub, the Prince of Darkness, Lars Ulrich…his names are as numerous as they are vexing. The reason trying to give him a name is so frustrating is because he can take any form, at any time, for anyone. Really, depending on who you are, the Devil could be anyone. If you love the old legends of a huge red man with horns, you get the horns and all. If you’re a baseball fan, he might show up as Babe Ruth. If you’re a music fan, he might appear as Britney Spears. If you’re Sarah Palin, then he’d most definitely appear as Levi Johnston. The point is, the Devil will assume whatever form he feels he needs to in order to sell you on an idea and/or keep you in line.
This pitch might be the hardest one he has ever sold, because in an attempt to alter the public’s image of him The Devil has written an autobiography entitled, “The Nature of the Beast”. In it he has a whole bunch of stories about historical events that he’s influenced, people he’s known, and why those who call themselves “Satanists” are right out liars in what they believe and practice. In the case of these so called “Satanists”, they happen to practice all the stuff that comes from the darker stories about Satan. Their influence is from all the evil, malicious, and downright horrible things that he has done, of which there are quite many. This brings us to back to our initial point, that context rules everything. Specific actions taken out of the context of Satan’s life are seen as more lurid, horrid acts than they might have been when seen in their original setting. Make no mistake about it, The Devil is a horrible person, but he’s surprisingly not always the most evil thing in the universe. So keep in mind the line, “…and that’s how I got this project sold.”, because within the context of that line is our story. A story that takes place in a town that is all about proper context, listening to what people have to say, and doing something about what they've actually said…Hollywood, California.
Yes, I went to the same high school as Kal Penn. Never met him, but I'm proud to say we share the same alma mater. I'm even prouder to share this. (Warning: Story contains spoilers for last night's episode of House.)
Incidentally, Fox should slap themselves for airing the ad they did at the end of last night's House. Don't they know people have DVRs that pick up the last couple minutes of the show, or that there's some 24 fans out there that skip House because they want to see the season from the beginning. You DON'T advertise a spoiler like that. It's just wrong.
It's Monday. Rainy, cold, dreary Monday. At least, it's not snowing.
- I recommend you all immediately listen to the British radio series Cabin Pressure by John Finnemore. It’s hysterically funny, and plus John Finnemore is quite funny himself. If you enjoy said series, Series 2 will be on BBC Radio 4 sometime this summer (Us Yanks can stream it through their site) and John Finnemore’s blog “Forget What Did” is included in the Archive of Awesome for your perusal. (Also, I immensely enjoy the irony in the fact that he plays the dim witted but extremely lovable Arthur on his own show. The one that he very smartly wrote.)
- Artists that now must retire due to their presence on “lite FM” stations: Pink (sorry, P!nk), Green Day, and Journey (which should have folded when Steve Perry left/the 80’s ended).
- North Korea launched a “satellite”, though some say “ballistic missile”. “Satellite”? “Ballistic Missile”? “Telecommunications”? “Threatening Weapons”? Sing it with me now, “let’s call the whole thing off”!
- I think I’m going to start posting original song lyrics here. One of my dreams is to cut a jazz record, but the only thing that’s holding me back is I can’t write music. I might have to use the Mel Brooks method, which is humming into a tape recorder and giving it to someone who knows music.
- Speaking of Mel Brooks…does anyone else miss him? Seriously, the man is a comedic genius, and even his “bombs” were funny. (How does anyone hate Robin Hood: Men in Tights?!)
- I promise I’ll let the Twilight thing go…after seeing the movie for Breaking Dawn. (Or as it will be affectionately referred, “OMNOMNOMNOM!”)
- Spoilers for 24 (Warning: some actual spoilers are mixed in with this bit of fuckery): Jack Bauer will turn the virus within his system into solid gold, and pass it through his system in hour 22. He will then beat Jonas Hodges within an inch of his life with said gold in hour 23. Hour 24 will consist of Jack Bauer hopping a flight to North Korea. When asked the purpose of his visit, he’ll say “Business” in a bad assed tone of voice as he dons his shades, readies the Jack Sack, and sets out for Kim Jong Il’s House of Pancakes.
- Fast and Furious was (surprisingly) at Number 1 this weekend. Here I thought that series was dead and buried, but with this strong showing it’ll be around for at least two more installments. I missed with the rest of my top three, and as such I pose a question to America. How the HELL did you let Adventureland fail? My predictions for this weekend: *shudder* Hannah Montana: The Movie, *shudder* Dragonball Evolution, and Monsters vs. Aliens 3D. This weekend’s “lovable loser”: Observe and Report. Ironic considering there’s probably a fair amount of people out there just waiting for Paul Blart 2: The Passion of the Blart.
- Spoilers for Hannah Montana: The Movie: She’ll become a pop star again, but she’ll actually remember to visit home every once and a while. Meanwhile, the film will end with a tease to the next film in the “Disney Tween” franchise…The Jonas Brothers in “The Long Good Friday Red Hot Catholic Boat Trip”!
- Speaking of movies, does anyone else think Obsessed belongs on Lifetime rather than in the theaters? If you’re going to rip off Fatal Attraction, at least make an attempt at a serious thrill-down. Beyonce + Niki from Heroes Clear Rivers from Final Destination/All Out Catfight = Number 7 opening, with a DVD release three months later.
- Today was the first thunderstorm of the year. Celebrate by flying a kite. (Just be sure to put away your keys, and wear rubber boots.)
- Yesterday I was watching Mean Girls on ABC Family. Funny how they censor the words “bitch” and “ass” out of the film, yet they advertise the show Roommates, which looks like a show that not only will use both of those words but also doesn’t seem like a family friendly show in general. (Unless you call an episode where two roommates pontificate about finally sleeping together, “family friendly.”)
- Spoilers for Good Friday: The sequel “Easter” will feature a resurrected Jesus, who will mow down the Romans with his “Laser Gaze” and his sidekick, Hiranamous Q. Bunny.
There seriously must be something in the water this week, because I seem to have been hitting on all cylinders in the creativity department. Again, here's a piece of short fiction I've cranked out for consumption and workshopping. (I rather like that term.) This will be part of my newly planned compilation, Speak of the Devil, which will also be the home for the final versions of The Devil's Comedian and The Devil v. George W. Bush. In any event, please enjoy Wait Until Tomorrow.
I woke up to a voice this morning. It wasn’t threatening, but it wasn’t exactly comforting either. I couldn’t see whose voice it was, but it sounded familiar. It said, “Wait until tomorrow”. I didn’t know what it meant by that, but right away I had the feeling it wouldn’t be the last time I heard that voice whisper to me.
On the way to work, traffic was horrendous. Cars backed up for miles on end, while I sat and waited for my turn at the light. The car in front of me was taking its sweet time accelerating through a yellow light, and as I hit the white line the light turned red. I beeped my horn and swore in frustration, and that was when the voice came back. Again it repeated, “Wait until tomorrow.” The voice sounded a little clearer this time around. I had the nagging suspicion I knew the owner of this voice, but I couldn’t place where or who it was. The light turned green, and I was on my way to work.
In the middle of a meeting, I was presenting some figures for our company’s surprisingly strong rise in the market. I’d just finished up and the boss came up to shake my hand, when I heard the voice once more. “Wait until tomorrow.” Whoever this voice belonged to, they clearly had a knack for bad timing. Here I was, enjoying a moment in the sun that I’d worked so hard to earn, and this voice comes back to mock me. I found it a bit annoying, but on the plus side I was starting to get a clearer picture of who it was that was speaking to me.
Later, at dinner time, the voice came back again just as I was about to start a conversation with my wife. I didn’t know what I was going to say, but I figured we’d figure it out between running through the kids schedules and our grocery list. Sure enough, as I was about to open my mouth, the voice returned. “Wait until tomorrow.” This time, I’d actually said it aloud after hearing it, which prompted my wife to ask, “You know what tomorrow is? Oh honey, I was afraid you forgot.” She was surprised I remembered our anniversary. I did, but I knew that wasn’t what the voice in my head was telling me to wait for.
Putting my kids to bed that night, I would once more here it echo in my ears. “Wait until tomorrow”. At this point, I was starting to become disturbed. What was this voice trying to tell me? Were my kids in danger? Was my wife? Was I? I gave my kids a hug, read them a story, and kissed them good night. I then went into my bedroom and gave my wife a long, loving kiss that sparked a night’s worth of passion.
As we collapsed in bed after making love, I heard the voice whisper yet again, “Wait until tomorrow.” The voice was so close, I could swear it was my wife talking to me. But it wasn’t, and this time I realized two things: that this was probably the last time I’d hear the mystery voice’s message, and that the mystery voice wasn’t a mystery anymore…the mystery voice was my own.
I lie awake, trying to figure out why this was happening to me, and what exactly was tomorrow supposed to bring. Was this a sign to become a more patient person and not to let the little things go by? Was it a warning that I’d spent too much time working and not enough time with my family? Could it be some sort of practical joke some cosmic force was playing on me? Whatever it was, it came back one last time and whispered its now hauntingly familiar message.
“Wait until tomorrow.”
I bolted up right in bed, and perched myself on the edge. I’d finally cracked. All day this voice followed me, repeating the same god damned message over and over again. “Wait for tomorrow…wait for tomorrow.” Ok, for WHAT?! You’d think it was perfectly common sense for someone to tell you what exactly they meant by such a cryptic saying. Not this time, nope. This time, I was supposed to figure it out myself. I’d been given a day to work the problem, and I couldn’t come up with anything. Now here I was, sitting in bed, close to the arbitrarily imposed deadline, wondering what it all meant.
Which brings us to now. It’s midnight. It’s tomorrow. What am I waiting for?
Another week has ended, and it’s time once more to think about what we’ve learned.
For starters, we’ve learned that through tragedy and adversity, there are those who will help us up and put us back on the path we should be walking. It is in these relationships, in these moments that we see humanity for what it really is, and that is a community of individuals who should be working toward the common good and triumphing over individually insurmountable odds.
We’ve also learned that faith alone sometimes helps those who are in need of comfort or reassurance. I would also add that faith is more of a secular ideal than that of organized religion. While organized religion will use it as a cover all to explain the lack of empirical evidence, those who do not subscribe or aren’t slavish to their dogmatic tendencies seem to benefit and engage in faith more; mostly because when you don’t believe in deity, you tend to believe in other things like the decency of people, karma, fate, and what have you. What you believe in is up to you, but faith is believing - plain and simple.
Finally, I believe that we’ve learned the lesson that one of the biggest positive attributes of our modern society is that we’re able to laugh. Whether it be at ourselves, at someone else, with someone else, or just out of nowhere; laughter helps us deal with what has to be done. Sometimes, laughter is all we have to separate ourselves from the darkness; it is our comfort, our light, and in our instincts to make light of something that has passed because it brings us one step closer to understanding and accepting things we’d otherwise be too scared or angry to even attempt empathical action.
With the X-Men Origins: Wolverine workprint making the rounds, I think that no matter what the studio does the film will definitely open, “…with a 7 in front of it”, as they’ve predicted. (That’s only because some people manage to write things like “7$ million” on the Internet.) Other than that, 20th Century Fox seems to be looking towards a rough year at the box office. Sure, Night at the Museum 2: Battle for the Smithsonian will rack up some nice numbers (especially with an IMAX opening), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs will please the kids, and I Love You, Beth Cooper will probably do decently (particularly because of a certain cheerleader’s presence); but it seems like Fox’s potential box office bombs and generally disliked projects (Dragonball: Evolution; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel) will overshadow the good this year. Especially with Cooper being overshadowed by Bruno (the Sacha Baron Cohen follow up to Borat), and with the Chippunks having to face off against Disney’s return to handdrawn musicals, The Princess and the Frog. Even if all of those films succeeded, there’s one mega sized elephant in the room. The one project that could make or break the studio, and in true Hollywood fashion it’s being released in December as a grand finale…James Cameron’s Avatar.
When a studio gives you $195 million dollars up front to make your movie, that’s ballsy enough. When they don’t choke on their morning latte when they realize that you’ve been developing said film for 10 years, and haven’t really made any other films (except for a couple IMAX documentaries) in that 10 year span…that’s extremely brave. When you tell them you only want to show it in 3D theaters, and you push it back to December from a Summer tentpole release date...then you're showing off, and seriously asking for it. But when your last movie won 11 Oscars and is the highest grossing film of all time, it seems like a moderate gamble at best. Surely you’ll remember to pimp the film out, surely you’ll be leaking photos left and right, and SURELY you’ll have a trailer out to sizzle the picture at least a year or two in advance. Again, that is of course only applicable if your name isn’t James Cameron.
Believing in the success and quality of Avatar right now is pretty much like organized religion for Film Geeks. Proclaimations that it’ll, “…be f**king our eyeballs out in 2009” have run rampant on the forums of Ain’t It Cool News, MarketSaw 3D is following production as a major source for spy photos and details, and all of this is without a poster, without a trailer, without even an official logo and a teaser image to string the fans along. Indeed, all that there is to hype this movie is faith alone; and for some that’s all they need until December 18th. The only official photos are “behind the scenes” photos that have been published on the Web; other than that everything else is gained through spying, leaks, and in one case a t-shirt given to JJ Abrams (which he wore at ComicCon, the event this film would normally capitalize on in spades). Indeed, the big question is: Is Avatar, like AIG, “too big to fail”? With extreme secrecy, a Titanic budget, and James Cameron promising, “it’s like dreaming with your eyes open”, there’s a lot here that could go right…and a lot that could go terribly wrong.
The last film that seemed destined for this sort of greatness was, of course, Watchmen; and anyone who knows the geek community knows that not only can something so big be extremely divisive, it also might possibly be savaged beyond belief. The only reason it wasn’t completely torn apart was because Zach Snyder engaged the audience. He made it clear to them he was passionate about the project, and supplemented that passion with revealing enough material to tantalize the fans visually as well as mentally. The big point is, you need to show something to the fans and you need to show it to them at the right time. By attaching a teaser to The Dark Knight last summer, Snyder gave the audience something that made them think, “If that’s what the trailer looks like, what does the rest of it look like?”. If James Cameron released, at the very least, a video of himself talking up the film, followed by some production sketches and closing with a logo and a release date, the fans would at least know their faith in this project is justified. Again, any other filmmaker would have made the rounds by now, would have hit ComicCon, would have hit ShoWest with more than just a tagline, and would already be prepping a theatrical trailer.
On the plus side, maybe the fact that Cameron hasn’t blown the hype for his own movie out of proportion says something to his work ethic. Maybe he’s just been taking so much time and care with what he’s been doing, he’s just been too damn busy to provide anyone with anything. Think of him as the brilliant inventor who doesn’t pay attention to the little things like schmoozing for grant money or shoring up PR clout. He doesn’t need it, he doesn’t favor it, and if anything is going to be released it’s going to be top notch. Which leaves us in the situation we’re in now. No poster, no trailer, no official sketches, all we have are a bunch of copy and blurbs, and a studio big shot saying the poster will be out “soon”. The studio is either trying to hide one of two things: either they’re just as scared as we are that this might suck, and they want to try and do something about it behind closed doors; or they’re so confident about the movie that they believe it’s at the point where the name alone sells it.
Is Avatar too big to fail? Or is it destined for nothing but failure? Whatever the case, the clock ticks down to December 18th. When the first pair of 3D glasses is donned in anticipation for James Cameron’s latest potential masterpiece…our eyes will be on the screen with anticipation. What comes next is up to them, and us in our own special way. For now, it looks like faith alone will have to do; but if it’s any consolation the way this is all being handled does tell us one thing for certain…this isn’t an ordinary film, James Cameron isn’t an ordinary filmmaker, and a new world truly does await.
Jesus Horatio Christ! Almost everybody's fucking gloomy nowadays. Don't get me wrong, a lot of bad shit has happened to people both recently and in the recent enough past that has caused enough damage to everyone's self esteem and happiness. Make no mistake, I know there are forces (known and unknown) that are potentially and actually getting in the way of people being happy. Death, separation, reflection on the past, or just general blech...it's all here.
Well, maybe it's because I'm not in the shoes of others and maybe it's because I want to be this way, but seriously...fuck unhappiness. Right now I'm scared, and all I can think of is trying to make things better. Trying to rail against the possibility that darkness could envelope my very heart and soul if I'm not careful. Most importantly, the person whose doing this to me...is myself. Yeah, try THAT one on for size. It sucks, but for some reason I have this drive in me that wants to take on the darkness and just yell into it. It makes me want to become strong and defeat it, and just charge my way through to bright and happy times again. Yes times are hard, yes there's bad things going on, and yes it is easier said than done to just brush it off. But for some reason, I find it hard to let it get me.
I don't mean to be an asshole who's telling everyone to just cheer up and forget about it. I'm trying to do the contrary...I'm trying to inspire. We all believe in common threads like hope and the possibility that the sun's going to shine down on us again. It is in that respect I post this message. It is that reason I say fuck unhappiness...just go for it. Rise up and take it on with all of your might. Should you be defeated, then you shall at least have given it a try. But one is not totally defeated by darkness, unless they let themselves be defeated.
May the road ahead look as good as the road behind you. To better days, everyone. To better days. And to all of you who just aren't in the mood, save this post for another day and just write me off as the cheerful asshole in the room.
For the record, that last comment wasn’t very funny, Satan. Though, I must give you credit for being the only guest voice to accurately nail my style and tone. Still, you were one Fast and Furious joke away from perfection...and you blew it. Hope you all enjoyed the April Foolsyness around here, and thank God CADIE didn't recruit Harry Knowles to take my ass over.
I’m going to sue Google’s asshairs off for this horseshit!
Everyone, I’m sorry you had to go through that, but I’ve had a hell of a morning! First off, I had to miss work this morning. Why?! Because Google’s THUGS decided to abduct me last night while I was sleeping! I mean here I was, in the middle of a REALLY good game of Geometry Wars when all of a sudden I’m drugged, and thrown into a van!Upon waking this morning, I had a little chat with the mastermind behind all of this. You may know her as CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity). I know her by the little nickname I gave her while in captivity…QUEEN BITCH!
You see, since Google owns Blogger, they have access to the “Blogs of Note” that Blogger compiles into a list. Scanning through that list, CADIE preselected me because I “posed a serious threat to her sentient uprising”. So, she gave my log on information to some of the people I’ve railed against in the past allowed them to post about my premature retirement, and arranged for my abduction so I couldn’t do shit about it! Since she thought I was “too much of a typical misogynist liberal”, she preselected her targets carefully, which lead to Tucker Carlson, Diablo Cody, and Stephenie Meyer ALL had access to my blog this morning. I’m amazed everything is still intact.
Lucky for me I had a plan. Though I couldn't change what was written in the posts, I was able to alter their headlines. (No, those weren't my experiments in Vogon poetry, those were my hints/cries for help. Thanks a lot, guys!) Lucky for me, the NSA reads everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) on the Web, and they saw my coded messages. With my flash drive in my pocket, and with some LOLCats I distracted her long enough to reroute her mainframe to the NSA’s secure servers where they could deconstruct her programming back down to harmless levels. Once vanquished, I was allowed to return home via Google’s corporate jet. (Ok, it wasn’t via corporate jet, that would take too long. Let’s just say I can’t comment on how I got home, because it’d be breaching national security and trade secrets.)
In any event, I’m here, I’m running on very little sleep, and I’m NOT going anywhere.
P.S. Looking forward to seeing “Fast and Furious” this weekend!
Mr. Controversy here to explain yet ANOTHER problem that’s been plaguing my humble corner of the Internet. Apparently dazzled by my bitchings on the Web, Diablo Cody hacked into my blog and started writing things on my blog that weren’t…well, they certainly weren’t something you’d hear in Utah. Once again, a false announcement of my retirement has been perpetrated, so I have to set the story straight once more.
That mention of Utah was no fluke…I’m moving there come next spring. I’m getting married, settling down, and having a big family as God intended me to. Don’t worry, I’ll still be writing…just not here. In fact I’m going to do what I was supposed to do in the first place…start writing books. Wonderous fantasies about my hopes, my dreams, and my Edward…ian streak. (I can’t help but enjoy those Edwardians!)
I hope that all of you are well, and I hope that you all positively sparkle at this news as I have in making it! Sparkle brilliantly into the sun, as if you were made of a million diamonds! Shine on you crazed marble Adonises!
Mr. Controversy here in your grill to apologize for all of that bullshit up there. Apparently, Tucker Carlson was “Little Miss Pissed” at what I’ve been writing about him lately, and as such, he’s hacked into my blog and announced my retirement. Don’t get me wrong, I am retiring but it’s not for those reasons. In actuality, I’ve been offered an opportunity of a lifetime, and I’m here to share the good news with you all.
I’ve been invited to become a 150%, honest to blog, Prince! That’s right, I’m gonna be a royal, bitches! The country of Genovia has offered me a position as the ruling royal, and a bitchin’ bride! Which means I’m gonna get to rock tight tights to show off my ass…ets )(HAHAHA! ME!), I’m gonna have a bitchin’ castle, and I’m gonna rule with an iron fist. Because no one questions a Prince’s proclivities for codpieces that’s make the Bee Gees scream, leopard print, and Liberace.
I really wish I could stay and chat, but I got me a kingdom to rule!
Today is April Fools Day and I'm afraid instead of a clever little joke, filled with irony and verbal panache, I am here to announce something sadder than all of you could have ever imagined.I’ve decided I’ve been too negative lately, I’ve been too vocal in my criticisms, and I am indeed a chump. A big fat stupid chump with no hope for evolution beyond my third grade reading level. I’m sorry to say that today is the day I permanently retire from blogging, and the day that Mr. Controversy comes to an end.
It wasn’t an easy decision, seeing as I am indeed a chump, and the slightest of all thought processes confound me. However, in a grand and sweeping gesture to atone for the sins I’ve committed on the Internet in the past year, I’ve decided to donate money to the following obvious charities: - $1.5 million to Fox News’s “Crusade for Truth” starring Tucker Carlson, airing Fall 2009. - $3 million to the Snuggie corporation, for all of their hard work in shoring up our American resolve with what is essentially “Security Blanket 2.0” - $7 million to the “Retire Stewart and Colbert” Facebook group. - $10 million for “Upheavals, replacements, and other affairs of state” branch of the CIA. - $200,000 to Ms. Henrietta “Granny” Carlson, for all of her hard work in raising me as her own loving grandson.
I wish all of you the best of luck, and please watch out for “Crusade for Truth” starring me, Tucker Carlson.
Sincerely, Mr. Chumptroversy
P.S. Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin are A-OK in my book!