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Tim Lieder

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On stupid conspiracy theories and Amy Petty and what the fuck is it with Montana. [10 Apr 2014|11:52pm]
[note - apparently there is an Amy Petty who is a musician in Detroit. this is not about her. I'm sure she's lovely.]

I actually don't know when Amy Petty friended me on FB. I think it was one of those similar political deals, but at a certain point she went on one of those "religions cause all the world problems" rants on my page. Recently she posted an article stating that the bishops in the Vatican were passing recommendations not to go to the authorities in the cases of child molestation. The only problem was the fact that it was a news story in The Independent and nowhere else - at least nowhere else that reported the same story or even talked about the supposed bylaws or recommendations in any way differently. In fact, there were just a lot of conspiracy theory websites repeating the story verbatim.

Today, she posted an update stating that she couldn't believe that people would CHALLENGE her Vatican story based on the fact that David Icke endorsed it. I responded - and she sent me this email and blocked me.

Seriously, what the fuck is it with people in Montana. Even though her politics seem to be the opposite of my cousin Dawn it's that same "how DARE you challenge me when I post articles that could be total bullshit" tone.

Seriously, I doubt I will ever go to Montana based on this sampling.

Take the hint. Get the fuck off my facebook feed. You are not welcome here.

------------------------------ The comment: Tim Lieder (April 10, 2014): If David Icke is endorsing a news story, I want more facts - such as the actual documents instead of a biased news story - otherwise, I'm putting it in the same category as "Zionists are lizard people and chemtrails are being sprayed from airplanes in order to experiment on you" meshuggas. I'm sure there are plenty of negative news stories coming out of the Vatican that aren't conspiracy theory bullshit, but that doesn't look like one. Don't worry, you can still hate organized religion and Catholicism all you want, but if you are going to just post anything without checking the source, expect to have it challenged.

Content URL:
It's amazing. I'm still getting blocked on FB. I thought I was being nice.
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The fun and the profit of telling people to fuck off [09 Apr 2014|09:55pm]
So I wrote a paper for a YU student. It was one of those ten page Sociology papers that is so fucking tedious that I find myself thinking very bitter by the end of it. Of course, I was pulling every pop culture reference I could find to keep me entertained.

When I met with the guy to get my money, he was a total douchebag. Not only did he do that whole "let's go outside so we can be clandestine" move that I've come to expect in certain clients, but he also acted all gangster by stating that if he saw the paper online, he would be very upset and since he and his friends gamble, they know how to protect themselves and their money. It was a total bullshit gangster threat and I found it insulting since I do tend to be ethical in my own fashion. I don't fuck over my clients if they pay me. I like to keep clients on a long term basis. I was telling him that but he kept repeating the same stupid bullshit about how his friends gambled and everyone was straight and all the Goodfellas cliches. He was also demanding that I erase the paper which was not happening.

Now I tend to like my clients for the most part. They are giving me money and for the most part I think that they are people who are just getting bullshit degrees because their jobs require it. Or they just ran out of time and had personal issues. This guy just irritated the shit out of me. He also talked about possibly getting me to write his law school personal statement. And oh yeah, his friend used to write all the papers for him for free. Because this is the kind of dude that can get friends to write papers for him - for free (if I feel sorry for the dumb shit that wrote papers for nothing - and then I think "maybe he was thinking about blowing this dude" and then I am even sadder because this dude is a total shithead. Anyhow, this guy hasn't written a paper in his college career. He's relied on other people to do his work for him. ANd yet he thinks that he is going to law school.

Today I got this in my email -
Hey i am sorry to say i paid you so much money and you spit me out a c paper. you lucky i didnt get a c and got a b. this is not fair i promise you wont be getting anybody from this school. I was streight with you and you werent streight with me. what the fuck was that, how do you add south park to an academic paper?
Now if he was anyone else, I might have apologized and offered a discount. But he's this guy and he did that cover threat of "you're lucky I didn't get a C" which annoyed me once.

So I replied. Please note that I just spent the last 8 hours writing another paper. I'm pretty damn cranky and tired right now.
You could have looked at the paper in advance and edited it if you thought that the South Park line was going to bring the grade down. And I am not "lucky" in anything. Your stupid fucking threats were bullshit when you gave me the money and they aren't any less bullshit now. Just because you gamble and spout cliches from gangster movies doesn't make you a gangster.

If you got a B then it's a B paper, dumb fuck.

You would have gotten an F on your own. I've met third graders who can write better than you.

Considering that you have coasted all of your life getting other people to do your work, you might as well give up now and settle in for a life as an alcoholic loser. You think you're going to go to law school? You think you can be a lawyer? You aren't going to be a fucking lawyer. Even if you can get into law school, you don't know how to write for shit and you coast by on everything. Do you think that you can pay someone to take the bar exam for you? Is someone going to do your work when you are a lawyer?

You lazy entitled piece of shit, there is no way that you can stop me from working for your loser friends. I will get jobs from Yeshiva University and there's not a damn thing you can do to stop me. Unless you want to admit that you buy papers. What are you going to do? Announce "Hey, my name is P.C. [well I don't want to bust him for annoying me] and I bought a paper from Tim Lieder and the teacher gave me a B but said that he should have only given me a C so you shouldn't hire Tim Lieder to write your papers like I did."? Let's see how long it takes you to get called before an academic probation board.


P.S. I still have the paper. I don't erase the papers that I write for people. You paid me for it, so I got no reason to post it anywhere. As long as you kindly fuck off and pretend to be Michael Corleone for your moron friends, I won't do anything with it.
So rare I get to do that.
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Purple Rain (we are in the prime season for not having a life) [08 Apr 2014|05:05pm]
It's my busy season which means that I don't really have enough time to update livejournal and I spend most of my time on Facebook. It also means that when I write about stuff, it's usually about the things that I'm watching while I am writing these papers.

Oh yeah, Passover is in a week so cleaning my house is a priority - culminating in the big kitchen kashering on Sunday.

But until then, Purple Rain and things that I noticed this time.

- Appolonia claims that she came up to Minnesota in order to make her music career. Only she says that she came up from New Orleans. Not Sioux City. Not Fargo. New Orleans.

This guy (his name is Bobby Z. According to his Wikipedia page, Prince hired him because he wanted a white drummer in order to have a multicultural band. I'm not sure why he was also supposed to look like Prince unless Prince wanted to prove that only Prince can carry off the jerry curl + puffy shirt look.)

And I still love the fact that the happy ending involves Prince dropping his ego and singing the song that someone in his band wrote. Only because it's total bullshit since for better or worse, Prince is not letting go of his ego - or his control (which has brought us some of the best music and concerts, but some of the least professional business practices)
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Fine. I have to say something about How I Met Your Mother here too [02 Apr 2014|11:24pm]
There is a paper on feminism in India that isn't writing itself and I'm going to stay up all night writing it, but it's been two days and I'm still bothered by the ending of HIMYM. This was a show that could be so damn good and never egregiously awful. And many have said it better than me, but How I Met Your Mother had a predetermined ending that they should have burned 2-3 years ago - the time when the show was feeling like it was going on too long. The irony is that the ending WOULD have worked had the show gotten canceled by season 5. That would have been a fine time to end the show with that "Mom's dead. Now I can go fuck Robin!" ending because if we remember that season, it was the season where Robin met the newscaster who was being built up as the perfect guy for her - the one that pushed her out of the sitcom orbit of hanging out with her two ex-boyfriends and into a new phase in her life. The last few episodes would have Ted finding the mother with the yellow umbrella firmly in the mythology.

Hell, season 6 could have had the wedding be Punchy's wedding where Ted met Tracey. We could have even been spared fucking Zoey. It would have been pretty weak since there were way too many repetitions of the fact that Ted and Robin were fucking horrible together. It would have been a stupid way to end the series by that point.

But with seasons 7-9 - fuck you, no.

And here's where I admit that I actually liked the last three seasons - for the most part - they weren't nearly as muddled as the middle three seasons (4-6) that seemed to be screaming "Fuck! We only planned this out for three seasons. How are we going to drag this out?" There were some good bits but there was also signs of desperation. By contrast seasons 7-9 knew the end game.

There was a great character arc with Barney and Robin. They were both growing up and changing and becoming more complete people. The Barney and Robin that were moving to get together in seasons 7-9 were not the same as the "ok, they are together now and they make each other miserable so let's forget about it" couple from season 5. They weren't like fucking JD and Elliot on Scrubs who were the same narcissistic children throughout the series, so pushing them together after season 1 was just going back to the same well. Barney was dealing with his father leaving him. Robin was dealing with her issues. They weren't Whacky Characters. They were people who were capable of growth and change. There was even the season 7 where Barney goes "that's not me anymore" to the running joke about him picking up random women in bars.

And then the last season introduced Tracy (who got stuck as "the mother") and she was amazing. It was hard not to fall in love with that character. And even more important, she was the kind of smart and cool romantic that Ted should have been with - with many of his idiosyncrasies and some great call backs to the episodes where he was hearing about her. "How Your Mother Met Me" was pure wonder.

You would think that the writers would have watched their own damn show and realized that their "happy ending" of letting Ted get back with his original love was fucking horrible. Or they could have paid attention to the last few seasons to see just how painful it got whenever Ted declared his love for Robin and how fucking out of nowhere it went.

But really, the main issue is with Barney and Robin. Mostly Barney. When I watched the second to last show where they got married, I felt like I was watching the greatest sitcom in creation - surpassing even Community, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Party Down - and it proved just how much other writers fucked up their shows by locking their characters into the same damn characters. Sometimes it works but only in broad comedies like Arrested Development or It's Always Sunny. With shows where the characters are mostly realistic (no one is completely realistic in a sitcom - or any drama for that matter) there needs to be change and growth, else you get Scrubs or The Gilmore Girls (not a sitcom, I know) where there is an illusion of change but ultimately everyone is stuck in the same place.

And then Robin went back to being the career woman who easily left a relationship and Barney just went back to guy with Playbook. And hell, even the writers knew that it was pathetic when they had Lily and Marshall point out how sad it was that he was still the guy trying to pick up women with tricks. And we were supposed to be spared that Barney - the guy trying to relive past glory even though he should have grown out of it - by that marriage. Yes, that character can be funny like in The World's End but in real life, it's Harlan Ellison being a smartass teenager well into his senior years or old alcoholics living with their parents.

Granted, there were episodes where the writers went "ok, we are going to make Barney creepy again for laughs" (particularly in that pre-nup episode of the 8th season), but making him creepy again with a Playbook and then doing the "he is a father so now he's not creepy" act is just dumb. And sexist.

But yeah, the ending that they had in mind sucked. It didn't suck the first few seasons, but by season 9, it was terrible.

And what made it suck was there was so much better stuff going on. The scene where Ted and Tracy met was damn near perfect and then they just crapped on it.

So this helps a little (even if it doesn't address the way they destroyed two of the characters) but it still bothers.
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Mr Deeds engages in Bullshit Populism [29 Mar 2014|11:12pm]
The AV Club inspired me to watch Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Mostly it had an article about great scenes in movies and this is a great scene - - precisely because the actress didn't mean to drop the coin and Capra just lets the camera go as she recovers by digging for the coin. It works so much better than it would have worked if they just let her do the coin trick without screwing it up and digging for the coin.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie actually made me long for the superior Adam Sandler remake. That's overstating it. The Adam Sandler Mr. Deeds was pretty bad but at least it cast a comedian in the main role of the rube who inherited millions from his uncle. Frank Capra cast Gary Cooper.

Gary fucking Cooper in a comedy. I don't know too much about the history of the movie - particularly where it was in the Capra canon - but I would bet that Jimmy Stewart had not met Capra at the time, because no way would Capra have cast boring Cooper in a role that pretty much only Stewart could do well. The fact of the matter is that Jimmy Stewart managed to make Capra's sonorous sermons about the COMMON MAN (G-d save us from the Common Man) and the Just Plain Folks sound natural and even sweet. Stewart could convey both intelligence and true emotion even as he was naive enough to believe the best in people. Unfortunately for this movie, Stewart was doing bit parts in sequels to The Thin Man. Fortunately for Capra, two years later he would cast Stewart in his movies and never look back.

By contrast, Gary Cooper was a fucking stiff. From beginning to end, he was a painfully deadly serious scold. Not surprisingly, Capra chose to keep the "Mr. Deeds gets drunk and goes crazy" scene off camera, because that kind of scene would require an actor who can convey a sense of whimsy, fun and manic energy. This is something that Adam Sandler can carry off (mostly - until you want someone to hit him - which is why we still love the Bob Barker scene from Happy Gilmore) but Gary Cooper was not fun.

The first third of the movie is Gary Cooper as the newly rich guy showing up these big city slickers that a rube is worth listening to. Only he is the fount of pompous talking points. When the opera company wants him to be on the board of directors and keep the money coming, he tells them that they are putting on the wrong shows and losing money and he's not going to run a business that doesn't make money (boo theater and opera people with your pretensions to art - we're movie people here). When he sees poets at a restaurant, they pull the Alonquin Round Table and mock him as effete jackals and he tells them off.

The second third is Jean Arthur falling in love with him. It's one of those "just shut up and go with it" romances that Hollywood movies like to do - most recently in the films of Katherine Heigl, where the two leads have no business hanging out much less falling in love but the script calls for it. And unlike Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday, Arthur is more than willing to just take off to the suburbs. But then Gary Cooper finds out that she has been writing all of those news stories - PLOT CONTRIVANCE - and they have to break up.

And then the last third is when the populist crap really kicks in with the poor dirt farmer coming to the mansion with a gun and initially Mr. Deeds tells him that he's a freeloader, but then decides "what the hell, the guy has a gun on me but he didn't shoot me, so I'm going to bail him out." And then there is a long trial scene where everyone is calling him crazy until he gets up to speak and it's the most tedious courtroom scene ever set to film. Almost everything he says is met with loud laughter from everyone in the court. Even if he points out that the judge is doodling, it's the most hilarious thing in the world.

I think by this point in the editing process, even Capra realized just how fucking dull Gary Cooper was and basically invented the laugh track.

The main fascinating part of the movie was the way that it echoes in today's populism. There's this rah rah poor people, but then there's a "let the little woman marry the nice rich man and move to the suburbs and stop making trouble" scene. There's the Snobs vs. Slobs trope but it's basically in the service of "fuck those opera people with their money-losing fancy shmancy art" (and seriously, I love the Met especially the rush tickets so this part may be bothering me more than others).

There are classic movies and old movies that suck. This is the latter.
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Procrastination [21 Mar 2014|09:23am]
Usually I enjoy Spring Break. I know I have work. I just don't have to do it all at once. The problem with this week is that I am working on a large writing project and I didn't get to it.

Instead I played a lot of Dominion. I somehow managed to play it enough times to get the Black Market card which means that I can now use it. And if you use it with the Golem card, it's even more intense. Black Market gives you a choice of 25 cards that you will be the only person that has it. The golem means you play action cards.

This is not getting the huge writing project done. I need that anti-social media app because I am staying up until three in the morning and only getting a little done. Or at least that's what it feels like. Doesn't help matters that I keep thinking "Big project. Really needs to get done. What can I do instead?"
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Of Steve Rosenfeld, Yeshiva University and photography exhibits that are pretty pathetic [20 Mar 2014|05:31pm]
I didn't want to write about the photography exhibit because I had friends in the thing. They had their pictures up on the walls and they were the ones who were driving it. Hell, I was even trying to find bands for the venue because I know these people and like them. The main selling point was that Yeshiva University decided that it wasn't going to fund or support the exhibit - - but just because Yeshiva University doesn't like something, that doesn't exactly make it art.

And I've been trying to get Yeshiva University to ban King David and the Spiders from Mars for months. Those fuckers don't even notice it. It would help if the current editor of The Beacon (for people following YU politics, that's the art magazine that published an anonymous short story about a girl that has sex and then feels bad about it. This led to a total shit fit on the part of the staff) didn't fucking lose the book that I gave him. I gave him the book. He said that he gave it to someone to review. That person disappeared and he can't even fucking follow up on it. That's not to say that I want to even get reviewed in The Beacon (it's a small college paper that doesn't even have University funding these days) but those review copies aren't cheap. Every time I give them to people to review and there are no reviews, I'm wasting my money (fuck you Charles Lasher who told me you were going to review all my books - then again, I was the dumb fuck that believed him).

So back to Steve Rosenfeld and his photography exhibit. He came to YU, asked if he could do it as a series with the subheading "Jews of New York" and some people got excited by it. Ok, my friend Dasha was a big driver in this (and Dasha is really cool so if she ever sees this post - I sincerely apologize - because she is going to do great art on her own that is going to supersede any bullshit photography exhibit that basically comes down to Free to Be You and Me or Up With People)

So for the months leading up to the Rosenfeld exhibit, the pictures were up on Facebook. Some people I knew. And some were strangers. All the pictures were people's faces with writing on them. One guy wrote shvartze on his face and wrote an essay about racism in the Jewish community. He went viral. There was a lot of talk about YU students putting their insecurities out there, scaring their parents in regard to shidduch (marriage prospects) and being really BRAVE - that's the one that gets annoying. When artistic subjects are patting themselves on the back for being BRAVE, it always feels like a fucking copout. Sorry, I am not making compelling art and fuck you if you think I'm being superficial. I'm totally BRAVE.

Fuck, I remember when Jon High of Long Island University wasted three class sessions to make people talk about their spiritual journeys and after every single boring insipid speech, he praised them for how BRAVE they were. Too bad they were all shit writers who couldn't put words together to save their lives. Would have been helpful considering that it was a Fiction Writing class. And since I responded to the "spiritual journey" assignment by noting the Jewish section of the book as an illustration of G-d saying to Moses "Fuck you, pay me" well, fuck you Jon High of Long Island University and your shitty little hippie writing class, I was the bravest of them all. My C in your "everyone gets an A" class was one of my proudest achievements.

Anyhow, the exhibit itself was too crowded, music was too loud, I didn't know anyone, everyone was too young and oh yeah - the fucking photographs were boring. My friend Emilia suggested that everyone just photographs their butts - which is probably the only idea dumber than a bunch of pictures of people with writing on their faces and essays about how "I may be too arrogant" or "My parents were divorced and I'm a little wary of commitment" (this was a huge disappointment since the guy's writing said "Divorced before Married" making me think that he rushed into marriage when he was 18 and got divorced a year later) and the subjects themselves wrote the essays.

And college students can't write for shit. That's why I make a living off of writing (something that Adjunct Professor and shitty poet Jon High told me that I would never do).

But even better, the photographs were all titled "I am not my..." as in I am not my molestation. I am not my conversion to Judaism. I am not my butt pimple. I don't know if Steve Rosenfeld saw Fight Club and decided to plagiarize it or if it just seemed like something really cool to write as if the human potential movement really did suck his brain.

So I didn't want to say anything mean about it, because it involved a lot of people supporting each other and calling each other brave for supporting the exhibit. But thankfully, almost everyone else seemed disappointed as well. So yeah. I am not my total disregard for the insipid Up With People speechifying of a photography exhibit.
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Another Fred Phelps post - isn't that fucker dead yet? [20 Mar 2014|12:28pm]
You know there's nothing like the imminent demise of a horrible human being to make you think and reflect on the ironies of life and maybe feel a little sympathy for the fucker - what he could have accomplished, what he did accomplish, things that we can still be grateful for despite the intentions and an ultimate letting go of one's animosity because you know that it was that kind of animosity that made you hate that guy.

That was badly phrased. Sorry, that last one - Fred Phelps is a vulgar little troll and I recognize what led him to being a vulgar little troll (self-righteousness, martyr complex, the eagerness to piss people off) in myself and there's those moments of "how can I say I'm any better?"

Well I don't hold up God Hates Fags signs at funerals or train my entire family to do the same thing for one. I also don't cut my relatives off for their lack of adherence to my beliefs. Although I also don't eagerly check out my stupid cousin's FB page on a regular basis. Just every so often I look to see that yes, he still believes in chem trails and 911 Truther bullshit and any other conspiracy theory that comes his way. These conspiracy theories even contradict each other.

But now that Fred Phelps ain't dead yet, fuck that guy. Seriously, the nasty old motherfucker (almost called him a cocksucker but I caught the irony of using an implicitly homophobic insult in order to describe one of the most virulent and enthusiastic homophobes around) should fucking die already. We could argue over whether he was the kind of sonofabitch (damn poor Mrs. Phelps) who inspired the redneck assholes to take Matthew Shepard to a deserted location and beat him to death, but he definitely was the kind of fucker that inspired Matthew Shepard to hate himself so much that he would willingly leave a bar with two guys that were going to hurt him. Oh sure, I couldn't be in Shepard's head but I'm pretty sure that even if Shepard thought "cool, I'm going to get laid in a three way" that the majority of his thinking was "I'm probably going to get my ass kicked" and under that second assumption was the belief that he deserved it because of Phelps and a million fuckers like Phelps pushed that belief that homosexuality was so fucking wrong that homosexuals either had to therapy it away or die.

So fuck Fred Phelps. I was willing to be sympathetic because I'm trying not to be the kind of asshole that celebrates the death of people, but the civil rights movement was over. All he had left to offer were date rapes and AIDS jokes.

(Isn't Heathers an awesome movie?)
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Today's Asshole Market is A Public Space [19 Mar 2014|02:08pm]
Just revised a story that has been kicking around for a long time. It's called Dennis. It's a tough sell since it's mostly about a subset in a Minneapolis art scene and growing out of the time when basement poetry readings and Rocky Horror Picture Show seems cool. It's not genre but I put it in the genre category - I probably should change it over to literary.

Anyhow, A Public Space has been sitting on the story for over a year. Another literary magazine that is more about "THE ART, MAN" rather than respecting the writers enough to give them a rejection or acceptance within a reasonable time frame. I don't know this completely, but since Mixer Publishing actually has a submission guideline that says "don't query until we've sat on your story for a year because we don't believe that you give a shit about getting paid or selling your story and we prefer to waste your time" I wouldn't put it past them.
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Crimea [18 Mar 2014|09:11pm]
I rather hope that this ends the Crimea crisis. I know it probably won't. I know that we're probably in for a lot of crap from this, but right now there is the fact that the majority of Crimeans seem to be from the "Let's be Russian" contingent.

Is it too much to ask if Russia simply fosters Crimea breaking away from Ukraine and becoming part of Russia and then just keeps it like that? No more incursions into the rest of Ukraine, no more rhetoric about going against the West.

There have been amiable splits. Czech Republic and Slovakia prove that not all splits have to be India/Pakistan or Croatia/Serbia.

Just wish there weren't Russian troops involved.
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Seeking basic humanity - a painful exercise in dealing with people like Banks or Phelps [18 Mar 2014|01:51pm]
I was challenged on the Fred Phelps post in relation to other people whose deaths did not lead me to contemplation and calls for decency. Iain Banks and Gary Brandner being two notable deaths in the past year where my reaction was more "Fuck them and their stupid fucking diseased brains" than anything approaching sympathy. I also had a similar reaction to Amiri Baraka's death but I was less eager to stay with that one. His terrible "who told the zionists to stay home" poem soured me on a great deal of his creative output but apparently he was good for Newark and his daughter died trying to save another woman from her abusive husband.

And furthermore, why do I try to find redeeming values in Glenn Beck (who just spoke out on behalf of a 9 year old boy that was told not to bring My Little Pony backpack to school because he could get bullied) and Rush Limbaugh (tips big and loves his cat)?

Partially, it's what I was talking about in the previous post concerning Phelps. He was a fucking joke. He was the George Lincoln Rockwell of homophobia (Lenny Bruce said that Rockwell's audience is made up of fist-waving Jews). You might take your pastor with his polite homophobia seriously and you may spend a great deal of time making excuses for people who are nominally respected adults saying that they wouldn't go to a place with an openly gay leader without covering their butt (as if anyone is going to check them out), but unless you're related to Phelps, you don't take him seriously. This is also why I didn't hate the Supreme Court for ruling in their favor as an extension of Falwell v. Hustler since the father that was suing them didn't see them and you can't sue someone for causing emotional distress. At least not with words. Something to keep in mind as the cyber-bullying cases go through the pipe.

But Iain Banks was a respected science fiction writer and British leftist who used his impending death to double down on the anti-Israel rhetoric. I remember the weekly murders from 2000 way too clearly to find anything of value in the words of someone that repeats the same old anti-Semitic garbage about Israel - all the while ignoring Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc. Which is nice in some religious context - Israel is held up to higher standards, but also pretty fucking racist if you consider that he's echoing the Old Shitty Fuck contingent that you get at any shul who think that Arabs are naturally incapable of running a government that isn't a two bit dictatorship (as every single anti-war proponent wants to "prove" when stating the problems in Iraq with the death of Saddam Hussein). Leftwing and Rightwing Westerners just love the myth of the incapable Arab that needs rescuing. Not assistance like no-fly zones that would have been fucking useful in Syria three years ago - but outright white savior complex rescue - usually only slightly less awful on the left side because their white savior complexes tend to take the form of badly written socialist magazines.

And Gary Brandner was a fucking racist piece of shit. Just thoroughly useless. And The Howling was an example of the kind of douchebag horror writing that I try to get away from with Dybbuk Press anthologies like King David and the Spiders from Mars.

But yeah, the visceral anger that I feel towards shitbags like Banks and Brandner is from expectations. They were human beings capable of thinking and feeling and changing and they chose to lock themselves into these patterns of racism and anti-Semitic rhetoric. I want to like them as people or at least dislike them as if they weren't dangerous zealots, but I can't. Partly it's Emmanuel Levinas' formula about forgiving individual Nazis but never forgiving Heidigger. But mostly it's because I see their potential.

My lack of feeling towards Phelps is because he's just a fucking cartoon. You can hate him, but why bother. It's like hating Lex Luther or Popeye at this point.
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Nook [18 Mar 2014|01:22pm]
I got the email but I didn't even read it. I only knew its worth when I saw someone else posting about it. Apparently Nook is going international.


Years after Amazon went international.

No wonder I sell maybe 1-2 books a month on average on Nook.

Hell, at this rate might as well just take them all off and go exclusively with Amazon Prime.
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The dying of Fred Phelps [18 Mar 2014|01:43am]
The tzaaras part of the Torah is one of those things that feels metaphorical and becomes increasingly applicable the more it lingers in my mind. From a goyish perspective, it's a weird waste of time and confused translations, since it gets called leprosy and describes a condition that has nothing to do with body parts falling off. From a traditional rabbinical perspective, it is associated with lashon hara (gossip and slander and general shit-talking). Briefly, it is a skin condition where the parts of the skin get white. The person affected by it must remain outside the camp until it covers them completely. And then they come back into the camp.

It really doesn't make a lot of sense but then again, there's Fred Phelps, a man who was once a crusading civil rights attorney and somehow found Westboro Baptist Church. The only similarity in these two careers is that they made him the most unpopular man in his community and brought him a shitload of hatred. He was a troll that was trolling well before the internet made it cool.

And yet, that same extremism somehow rendered his horrible and shitty worldview somehow moot. WBC started in a time when mall preachers would talk about AIDS o' clock and those sexual orientation re-assignment treatments were popular. Hell, it took AIDS killing millions of homosexuals (and outing may of them) for straight people to accept even the possibility that homosexuality is no more abnormal than being left-handed. Movements that were traditionally homophobic were respected for their piety with preachers and rabbis making homophobic speeches from the pulpits - claiming that homosexuals just wanted to be treated special or claiming that gay marriage would destroy marriage - never being challenged for saying such horseshit.

Phelps was the ugliest of the ugly homophobes and yet his disgusting God Hates Fags signage forced the issue in many new ways. It became increasingly difficult for homophobes to sound rational when they were being represented by Phelps, a man who refused to shut the fuck or let the "homosexual agenda" shitheads speak in a way that made homophobia seem quaint and normal.

That's not to say that he did that on purpose or that it was some great benefit. Hitler also took an extreme view against Jews and it didn't make Europe love Jews anymore.

But his death is not going to end homophobia. Nor is celebrating his death going to do anything but make us all ugly and nasty. The funny thing though is that he was such an extreme homophobe that it is hard to hold it against him. He's not like the gay bashing cousin or the rabbi making homophobic speeches from the pulpit (fuck you Goldberger of Saint Louis Park) that you want to think better of. He didn't disappoint because he was as vile as he wanted to be.

The only people disappointed were the people that knew him in the civil rights era when he was a hero worthy of respect - motivations might have been the same, but the perspective was different.
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The perils of Small Press/Independent Publishing [16 Mar 2014|02:58pm]
Way back before I said "Hey, I'm going to edit a multi-author anthology" and before I went "fuck it, I'm going to start a publishing company" there were other small press publishers around and I took a great deal of inspiration from them. I never fully believed in that myth of the independent publisher being somehow more pure or better than the corporate guys (I think there was a Neil Gaiman article where he noted that sure, DC is a big corporate comic company but at least they always paid out royaltie s as opposed to the company that published Miracleman and suddenly disappeared) but I respected and admired guys like Steve Berman, Vera Nazarian and Jeremy Lassen for putting out books that were more-or-less labors of love. They also found niche markets.

I would later find all these micro-presses that didn't pay anything and pulled shit like crowing about how they don't charge the authors. The fact that with POD means that anyone can start up a small press means that ANYONE starts up small presses. Mostly this means that you get to meet a lot of people at conventions who will trade their books for yours and everyone gives everyone else a good review on Amazon (if you want to know why Tony G's books tend to get all the great reviews even though they are utter shit - there you go)

But there is admiration for the people who can make profits at it. And some are great. Steve is a professional and one of the most respected small press publishers around. Apparently Lassen screwed up royalties for authors and it was a scandal. With Vera it has been a steadily increasing exhaustion to

Basically, she's asking for Indiegogo moneys to pay the royalties that are owed the authors. She was successful for a time but then things went sound and now owes thousands in back pay. There are a lot of angry people on that discussion group and she is trying to defend herself which makes them even angrier.

The thing is that I am still giving her the benefit of the doubt as a human being. I don't think that she intended to let things go so badly. There was cancer and house foreclosures and business partners dying. These are not easy things to deal with. There have been hundreds of publishing companies that suddenly died off with the authors going "where's the money?" and she is definitely not like Leisure Books that never even pretended to apologize. I believe that she believed that she could make it all up to the authors and that after some temporary setbacks, she would right herself and stop using the money that was supposed to go to royalties on the necessities like cancer treatments, house payments, etc. So I am not going to pile on and call her names and get angry on behalf of the authors like Eugie who haven't received payments for the last three years.

However, as a business person, I think it would have probably been better if she did anything else. Getting into business is very similar to trying to make a living from creative endeavors. It always SOUNDS better than it actually is. When I first moved to Washington Heights, there was a very large contingent of people who were starting a business. Their businesses never seemed to take off and at one point I tried to introduce one to a friend who is a venture capitalist. He kind of made noises to the effect of being interested but never followed up. I realized then that for some people "I am starting a business" is the same thing as "I am writing a novel." There's an element of fantasy involved. Dreaming about better times when your own boss and not having to work for someone else, your name in print, etc.

Seems like that was Vera's problem. In almost all of her pleas for money she is talking about how she started it and things were great, but in this latest one she notes that her profits were cut to a third of their former selves by e-books. Since she wasn't publishing exclusively public domain books, the fact that she LOST money off of e-books seems ridiculous. The only reason why I pay out royalties (ie. the only reason why I owe royalties) is because of e-books. Oh sure, maybe BADASS HORROR might have made royalties by now, but I doubt anything else would have. I am a small press publisher and I publish books with titles like King David & The Spiders from Mars and Teddy Bear Cannibal Massacre. These are the kinds of books that you look at, laugh at, maybe consider buying but then check the price. They are not the kinds of books that are eagerly anticipated. I gotta push these books at people. If I arrange for a reading from a book and the writer reads poorly (or reads the most boring part of her story) then I just wasted an evening because only my friends are going to buy the books.

But the difference with e-books is that I don't have to pay for printing and at least Amazon has better shares - 70% if you are in their price range. That means that I make three dollars if I charge 14 for a print book, but I make the same amount if I charge 4.50 for the e-book. And if you are someone who is just browsing through Amazon looking for things to read, what are you more likely to buy? The print book that is the same price as the trade paperback by Sanderson or Martin or the e-book that is the cost of a bagel and coffee?

The one exception is public domain. Amazon gives those away for free. So there goes those profits.

So she actually loses money on e-books. And she takes in a lot of money in investments. And it all got away from her. To the point where she keeps asking for money and getting slammed on for asking the money just because there are only so many times that you can help out a person before you start thinking "you really need to get this together yourself." And while it is hard to get out of a financial hole when you are in it (I've been in it all my life) and poor finances lead to more poor choices to the point where you can't really blame the credit card companies that gave you 700 in credit when you were too dumb to know how to manage money.

This is why I only publish a book when I got the money to do it. I am late with royalties, and I got a lot of dead writers (as well as a couple who disappeared - one is named Tim Johnson so fuck all if I am ever going to find that guy) and that messes things up but I do pay. Steadily. Because I am not going to be playing with tens of thousands of dollars that I can't handle on my own.
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Cults - Political [12 Mar 2014|09:33pm]
Growing up in the 70s made me cynical. It was almost a requirement. I don't know what parents freaked out about in the 80s or 90s, but in the 70s, the mind control cults were big news. My mom made me watch about three separate movies about people joining the Moonies and losing their way - with the inevitable deprogramming happy ending - because she was worried that I was the kind of idealistic kid who would join these things and never be heard from again. Granted, I did have an affection for existential religious journeys but I wonder if I would have converted to Judaism (with a minimal of internalized hatred inspired by a mussar-loving rabbi back in Minnesota) if I hadn't been given a good healthy dose of skepticism and critical thinking from doubting every bit of bullshit that came my way.

That preamble means nothing except that I just read Janja Lalich's article about Marlene Dixon and the Democratic Workers Party and the way that Marlene Dixon ran the group like her petty tyranny complete with purges and expulsions. She would get the members to agree to expulsions with prejudice (never talk to them again) and expulsions without prejudice (you can say hi). Lalich's main example about what this did to the members was an incident where she invited her roommate's mother to stay for a week (with the permission of the group) and then narked on the roommate for using her real name around her mother (despite the fact that they had been friends for years and her mother knew her real name). Marlene Dixon was accusing all of her people of petite bourgeois thinking and turning them against each other (kind of like how Lois Peltz at Infovest21 would talk shit about employees to other employees to turn all four of us against each other - only we were all just working for her so she seemed to be having fun with it).

The thing that struck me was how Dixon was a professor at McGill and the attempts by the administration to fire her resulted in protests. She was reinstated and if you google her name, you still get fond memories of the point where she stood up to The Man and showed the petty bureaucrats at McGill that they couldn't just push her around - as opposed to the point where she became the tyrant in her own little fiefdom and gathered petty bureaucrats around her in order to establish a system of fear.

The foundational mythology remains even after the whole endeavor turns to shit. It actually reminds me of the pictures of Rudi Dutschke at the funeral of the Baader-Meinhof assholes pledging to carry on the fight and living as the martyr of the German Left. He was shot in the head in protests. He survived but brain damaged and by the time the Red Army Faction leaders committed suicide in prison, he only had a few years left to live. It seemed like he was still caught in the idealism of the young Rudi who only fought against the government fascists and had no idea that his compatriots had become just as nasty and evil (albeit without the same power) as the government that he was fighting against. In fact, the only difference between the 70s RAF and the 20s Nazi was the side of the spectrum they purported to be on. Poor Rudi didn't realize that he was a shill for the same kinds of brown shirt fuckers that he thought he was fighting.
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Ironic Viewing Choices [12 Mar 2014|03:08am]
I have started checking out anime from the library. I think I've run out of movies but I also saw Boogiepop Phantom which is fucking awesome - weird, scary, complex and grounded in truths about adolescent identity and isolation. I usually avoid anime because I just don't have the time to wade through the crap to find the great stuff but one Boogiepop Phantom is worth dozens of Guin Sagas (that's the one where the guy has a head of a leopard and always kicks ass and after 26 episodes, nothing fucking happens even though everyone is talking about prophecy).

But I just watched an anime called Freedom - which is about a moon colony that wants to remain isolated by telling its citizen that everyone on earth is dead. A couple of rebels break away and find societies on earth and by the end, the earth people come back to the moon and confront the forces of conservatism who want everyone to be isolated. And there is a big rousing speech about how they can't remain isolated forever. People of the earth will continue to send up ships and we will get in and you can't hide from the world.

I was writing a paper on the Qing Dynasty and the Closed Door policy. Granted, Japan had a relatively easy transition from isolation to dealing with outsiders and Freedom is Japanese, but even they got forced into it by a big-ass ship with nasty guns.

So as I'm listening to the speech about how you can't stay isolated forever and how everyone will come and visit and bring everything with them, I mentally added "And we will sell you our opium and force you to buy it and when you try to keep drugs away from your culture, we will totally fuck you up and divide up your little moon colony."

In that context, it just doesn't seem like that happy of an ending.

No wonder I prefer anime like Boogiepop Phantom.
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This is the psychology paper that I wrote for Annie K - It was last semester plagiarism [08 Mar 2014|11:19pm]
I have all the emails as well. If you are the professor that teaches Annie, you can see that you graded this paper already. However, you probably had your doubts. Well it was plagiarized and she's plagiarizing in your current class as well. So MAYBE you can't kick her out of school, but you will probably think twice about letting her into your medical school...
Nov 25, 2013
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Drug Abuse Among the Elderly

The Problem
Drug addiction among elderly clients represents an issue for social workers, mental health professionals and caregivers. Even though substance abuse is a major problem in all demographic groups, less attention is paid to the preponderance of drug addiction in the elderly as a social disorder. There are several reasons why elderly drug abuse is less worrisome for mental health workers and officials. Read more...Collapse )
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Interview on Little Red Reviewer [07 Mar 2014|10:41am]
One of the best reviews I got for She Nailed a Stake Through His Head was with Little Red Reviewer. It was my favorite because I had actually been reading the review site because I was just getting into scott_lynch's Locke Lamora series (or finally getting around to reading an LJ friend's books) and her reviews were some of the most insightful. Also, it just came out of the blue. She found my book at the library and had to review it.

So of course I sent her the follow-up book. Wish that I hadn't taken four years to get it finished, but she loved it.

And she interviewed me -

So go read it. I sound cool. Mostly.

There weren’t that many egregiously awful stories, but many of the stories reminded me of adult dating – particularly that feeling where you want to like the person sitting across from you at the restaurant more than you do – in that many of the stories were likeable stories but they didn’t make me feel like I needed to buy them.
probably could have been said better. I think I already used the phrase "fall in love" with the stories. But still, sometimes you go out with someone and you like them, but you just don't want to buy them.

I probably could have said that better. But then I start talking about how it is ridiculously easy to put together a horror anthology with mostly women writers. It probably shouldn't be though.
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Best not to couch self-criticism in sarcasm. [06 Mar 2014|12:21am]
So I looked at my Google search and you can see the results in the last two entries. I was mostly sarcastic on FB when I mentioned that I googled myself and saw at least three entries devoted to hating my guts and that I should be nicer.

Unfortunately, friends told me that it was totally cool and that I shouldn't change.

Which is nice, but wrong.

That's not to say that I much care for the people that are hating on me. I try to be sympathetic. I might not like them, but I need to acknowledge that they are coming from a place of fear, anxiety, anger and all those negative emotions that I'm not immune to.

But more importantly, I don't like it when I'm acting like the sarcastic asshole. I don't want to be Harlan Ellison - constantly fighting with people and putting all of my creative energy into insults. I read old blog entries and instead of being happy with seeing what I wrote or remembering the nostalgia, I am calling people names or engaging in personal attacks. There's a writer that I don't personally like and while I might admire some of her stances, I find her way of engaging in a place of moral superiority with a quick dismissal of any disagreement to be rather repulsive. But that isn't why I talked shit about her. I talked shit about her because she blocked me when I defended Dan Savage, who was the bad guy of the social justice movement for a few years. He called upon bisexuals to come out of the closet if they didn't want to be marginalized by both the gay movement or the heteronormative society. He has not always been as enlightened on transgender issues as the tumblr brigade would want. I argued this, she said that he hurt people's feelings and blocked me. So I took umbrage at it.

But I didn't actually just say that my issue with her was personal (my feelings were hurt) and part of a larger pattern (I tend to be the kind of person who thinks that he's right about everything to the point of shutting down others - and I hate seeing that behavior reflected) I went after the fact that she was friends and with a fairly nasty and loathsome human being until horrible human being was exposed for a predator.

I can't behave like that. I do behave like that, but I shouldn't behave like that. I don't do myself any favors. I don't like myself when I act like that. I definitely don't like the way other people behave like that. I shouldn't hold grudges.

I also should get this damn paper done.
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Must admire the Chutzpah of calling yourself Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason [05 Mar 2014|08:29pm]
Remember the Black Bed Sheets meshuggas? Sure you do. Ok, you don't care. I don't care. Hell, I only took amusement out of Charles Day calling me an asshole for telling Black Bed Sheets that they made fugly ass books and that their "we don't charge you" is a bullshit thing to put in submission guidelines (If you hire me, I won't piss on your desk).

Anyhow I found my name in one of those Google searches that I do and found that there is a writer calling herself Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason who wrote about me. Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason stated that I was being an asshole, but never quite defended Black Bed Sheets books beyond saying that Stephen King once blurbed the owner (damn Stephen King puts his name on everything) and that you should NOT judge a book by its cover.

Of course, if you take that literally, you are in for some truly shitty reading experiences. Apparently Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason publishes with them. She also never won any awards worth mentioning and if she was best selling it was on a VERY short list. Most likely she sold two of her Black Bed Sheets books in one day back in 2009 and for Black Bed Sheets that was a HUGE sale.

But I doubt that she is really Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason - oh sure, she lives in Florida. She was pretty cool with Paula Deen being racist and Trayvon Martin's murder. But she's not best selling. Nor is she award winning, unless she has one of those mugs that says "World's Best Grandma".

Apparently when I found the blog and commented on a couple of things, she did a follow up entry. I believe it was the "I know you are, what am I" entry where she claims that my books are no better looking than Black Bed Sheets.

But hey, she's doing what she loves. Books with blurbs like
Marion Lewis Reinhart, an androgynous serial killer, has five days to live before he is put to death by lethal injection. Due to the severity and mysterious nature of his crimes, he has been given permission to tell the world his side of the story. Not the story told in court, the real story. Reinhart has his own agenda. He believes he was justified in his quest for terrible retribution and he wants to share his truth. His web of lies, twisted facts, and narcissistic story telling hides a truth more shocking than any of his murders.
Welcome to Your Nightmare is an anthology of things that go bump in the night. Written by an exciting diversity of talented writers, some not previously published and some published abroad. Welcome to Your Nightmare was compiled by award winning author Yvonne Mason, also a contributor with a thrilling story of her own. The stories and poems in Satan's Holiday are as unique as the authors who penned them and no two are alike...some are extremely dark and foreboding, others are quaint while yet others are scary and perhaps even shocking, guaranteed to entertain and delight any reader. To top it all off veteran horror writer Nicholas Grabowsky (Halloween IV, Red Wet Dirt, The Everborn) and the owner/founder of one of the most talked about horror presses of the decade, Black Bed Sheet Books has graciously added one of his own horror stories to this unique book.
The screams which have been silent for thirty four years are no longer silent. They now have a voice. July, 1972 Nancy Trotter and Pamela Sue Wells were taken to a remote area on South Hutchinson Island in Martin County tied, gagged and hung. They were left to die. But they managed to escape. This escape led to an investigation of a crime that before 1972 had no name. Law enforcement was in uncharted waters. The crime serial killings. The killer Gerard Schaefer. Nancy Trotter and Pamela Wells were just two of the nine known and possibly as high as 34 unknown victims. They ranged from Fort Lauderdale Florida to Europe and N. Africa. Silent Scream finally gives the victims a voice - Their screams are no longer silent and with that voice comes peace.
I mean a more cynical person than I might note that the first one is Hannibal Lector fan fiction, the second one boasts the guy who runs Black Bed Sheets (and wrote the shitty screenplay to Halloween IV) as the best writer and the last one is a shitty true crime book without any editorial oversight.

But what do I know, I'm not an Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author
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