Let's just eliminate all the bullshit, shall we?

Friday, July 28, 2017

REALITY TV Makeover Edition

If we must continue to suffer the existence of 'reality TV,'
can we not at least infuse the damning experience with
some substance or value?

What about a premise of implementing social reform,
or developing progressive policies that give back to our
communities, as the basis for the competition?

It's still a competition, it's still about winning that money,
it's still horrible people that America loves to obsess over.

Only now, the weekly challenges have not only a positive,
but a potentially lasting effect on the world.

One week, the wanna-be celebs have to create a viable
market plan for a halfway house that assists people being
released from prison transition back into the working world.
The next, working with battered women at a domestic
abuse shelter to determine solutions for their specific needs,
and so on.

Not only would the issues be given airtime, but the idea
of the importance of volunteerism and support for various
projects can be promoted, and actual work and monies are
being funneled into these programs by the contestants' ideas
and fund-raising efforts.

Would it really be so unheard of to better the world while
creating otherwise mindless entertainment?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"How an I supposed to live without you?!?"

A few years back, I began the slow and steady process of selling my 
comic book collection. Calling it a 'collection' seems a cold and unequal
means of labeling something so important to me--shades of being offended 
at one's best friend being referred to as merely a 'pet.'

Nonetheless, my lifetime collection of tens of thousands of comics, graphic
novels (yes, they are two separate things, posers!), paraphernalia (accurately
enough, a drug reference,) posters, fanzines, and so forth was departing. 

The reason for the sale was not that I was tired of my books or any less
emphatic about my love for the medium, despite having inconveniently
become an adult and being jaded with many parts of the industry's direction.
No, it was pure financial need that drove the 'decision' to part with my 
paper-babies. That pesky 'sacrifice' part of growing up.

Despite my monetary desperation, I chose to piece-meal sell my books over 
the period of a few years, rather than all at once. Those who know the  
market might assume that's because I would likely get a better deal through 
this method over selling bulk. That's not wrong, but it wasn't the true rationale
behind my inability to depart with my possessions. No, I was having trouble
saying 'goodbye.'

For a non-fan/non-collector, that's likely an absurd statement. To put
it in perspective, I don't understand getting up at 2 a.m. and standing 
in freezing weather to get a deal on retail, nor do I comprehend the 
indulgence in putting war paint on and sitting on lousy stadium seats
surrounded by screaming drunks to attend a ball game. We all have our

Comics always have been and always will be far more than fictional
characters and colorful paper. Growing up, I knew early on that I was
unlike other kids/people. I gravitated to comics--I'm not ashamed to
admit--because it was an outlet and a support for loneliness and not
fitting in anywhere. It was a welcoming landscape of unusual, wild,
creative, fun, and familiar, and they were a lifeline for me.

I became deeply interested in the recurring characters and their complex
histories, their exploits, their personalities. I was intrigued by the creators
who provided the tales. I took interest in other fans' opinions regarding 
our shared interest, whether similar or not. This was an entire universe
unto itself, a community made up of the real and the unreal, and it was 
a 'something' I was part of automatically.

I relished the connection the heroes had with one another. The beauty 
of Curt Swan art made me tingly. The intensity of Dick Dillin's work
took my breath away. Reading Steve Englehart scripts enlivened me.

I woke up when I saw Ernie Chau's or Rich Buckler's covers. My blood
raced as I saw new covers with familiar logos on the spinner rack. My
comics were excitement and catharsis for a thirty-five cent investment
each. They were far more than mere 'entertainment' or outlet; they were
an integral part of my childhood and young adulthood.

I could not merely load up these boxes and depart with them in one fell swoop.
Time was needed to pour over each cover, taking in the flood of memory
and feeling that was attached to each one, almost as if a diary entry. I could
recall the enjoyment of first reading the issue, my favorite moments on the 
page, who my friends were at the time, and later on whom I was dating, what
job I was at, and more.

Memories of the landscape of the comics universe and the industry at those
times were revived. All those years of being attached to something regular,
something real... it creates a bond. And yes, comics had been my medication 
for my depressive moods, my buoy during frightening times. They were my 
go-to assistance, substituting for friends. 

One of the reasons I don't understand the appeal of digital comics or reading
novels on a tablet is the loss of tactile and other sensory stimulation. Comic
books were the whole experience! The lively art and colors for your eyes, that
feel of the paper under your finger as you followed along--or the book held
firmly in hand as you gripped the entirety of it tight! That tell-tale, almost 
addictive scent of newsprint. It all helped to serve up a unique experience,
an experience that could be relived by placing that same comic in your hands
and having scent and sight trigger the imprinted memory.

By shipping off my paper-babies a little at a time, ceremonially departing 
with them on a smaller scale, it was more manageable for me to let go.
It wasn't the idea of them, the money invested, the market value, or the
heroes I had trouble letting go of in the venture. My difficulty was saying 
goodbye to friends, therapists, memories, a support system, a journal of
all my years--and connections to characters, fans, and creators.

As is all the rage now in cleansing one's surroundings, I had to pick up
my beloveds, remember and honor the service provided, thank them for 
their contribution, and then--now unburdened--let them go.


Friday, July 8, 2016

What we really need

 The United States has gone far afield of its
stated intentions: a country that celebrates 
diversity, welcomes others, appreciates and 
respects all its citizens, and maintains a solid
separation of church and state.

"All men (people) created equal..."
Let's keep working on making THAT
a reality--not elect a man who
wishes to return to all the worst parts 
of our history.

Follow the Trail

Flame-fanners and shit-slingers

Blood is on your Hands 2

Not Forgotten: The Misery Persists

Thursday, June 16, 2016

More of the same, more of the same

Dan Ponder--Fox News fan, Republican, mayor, and newest owner of The Donalsonville News--and spouse

I didn't even expect that Seminole County's "Donalsonville News' would have any comment
on the massacre at the gay Orlando club early Sunday morning.

Like the GOP representatives and 'leaders' in the aftermath of this shooting, pretending that gay people don't exist --or aren't worth acknowledging-- is par for the course for the sleepy town's rag. Promoting a false sense of invisibility is also the tactic that conservatives and right wing evangelicals around the nation use to try and keep us in the LGBTQ community marginalized, demonized, and great targets for speculation and dismissal. And violence.

The only place the shooting was even addressed was several pages into the publication, under the banner of editorial, which the local man didn't even write. The piece, which of course didn't condemn guns, nor investigate the actual facts of the shooter's motivations, also did not bother to mention that hate crimes against gay people are prolific and on the rise.

No mention of how a multitude of so-called Christian pastors, preachers, and talking heads have been vehemently calling for the murder of gay men and women these past few years. One, Swanson, even headlined an event featuring his "Kill the Gays" stance where Ted Cruz and other GOP Presidential wannabees attended.

No, the editorial depicted the real concerns of 'real Americans,' god-fearing (and inventing,) flag-waving, Fox-News watching, war loving folks; We need to bomb the life out of anyone we suspect is against us, anyone who might one day be against us, and anyone who has looked at us funny.

The hawkish call-to-arms was strident, and not at all concerned that the shooter's connection to ISL (ISIS) or any other terrorist group had not been made. Did the shooter express that he was doing what he did on behalf of ISIS? Yes, he did...among a multitude of other claims. I don't know for a fact, but I imagine if you're out of your mind enough to plan, prepare, and carry out a mass shooting of strangers, likely because 'you don't like what they do in their own lives,' you might be prone to talking out of your backside in the midst of an hours-long rampage.

So what we're really talking about here is an agenda (surprise!) that the paper has to promote attacking Muslim-based areas or countries...because that's what they want to do. NOT because the situation warrants it. NOT because we respond to all terrorist attacks equally (as the response here is VERY different than if white shooters are involved. We're talking about a driving desire for war that circumvents reason and fact. Gosh...that even sounds...extremist.

No, I am not worried about offending anyone. There are Muslim terrorists, and they need to be stopped. But caution and preventative measures and appropriate military response have to be handled with care--this isn't a cowboy movie. (By the way, the actual largest mass shooting in American history--albeit not by a single shooter--was Wounded Knee in 1890, where 300 Lakota Indians were massacred by U.S. forces.) No, I have no problem saying when ANY group of people is guilty of committing horrors, as the Right often accuses.

Ironically, Republicans are themselves loathe to call out terrorism when it comes from a group they choose to turn a blind eye to. How convenient.

No, the way to show respect for the men and women killed for no good reason four days hence is not to jump on a bandwagon of war-starters who are just looking for any excuse to get in a battle, never mind the repercussions. Never mind that our President is already involved in such actions (He's another one they like to either pretend doesn't exist, or make up stories about so as to suit their own pre-existing view.) We couldn't just have some empathy and respect? Some calls for reason and tolerance? Nope. Not even for one day.

You can be in absence of the facts if you so choose. You can falsely accuse people of doing things they aren't guilty of. You can even be in denial over why you do what you do. But at some point, please, just for the sake of human decency, lose the self-importance of it all. You aren't automatically correct just because you refuse to consider that you might be wrong. Others aren't stupid or soft because their reaction is not as extreme as yours. 

If you want to make war, just admit it. But be willing to admit that your 'reasoning' is not supported by the excuses you throw out there. You claim you're truth-tellers, but your actions don't reflect that.