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Tim Lieder

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Books Read in 2015 # 7-9 - Always Look on the Bright Side of Death [26 Feb 2015|01:02pm]
7. Satan's Prep by Gabe Guarante - When you start a book by killing off the main character, you really can only go two places - make it a flashback story or accept life after death at least as a literary convention. The problem with the latter is the fact that you just did the worst thing you should be able to do to your character so everything else is possibly redundant. Since the conceit of this book is high school in hell, the tortures of the damned happened to the protagonist every three pages on average. He's ripped to pieces, eaten and shit out, but he's still dead. I'm reminded of the Terry Pratchett joke about how the tortures of the damned aren't that painful when you're dead and you don't have nerve endings and swimming in the Lake of Fire is more sport than anything. (actually it might have been Neil Gaiman since I think I read it in Good Omens - but 80% certain that even if it is from that book, Pratchett wrote the joke). The rest of the book is your standard high school comedy with mean jocks (all demons), nerdy schoolmates, one creep who sucks up to the mean jocks and the impossibly hot goth girl that falls in love with the main character (although by the end of this installment - I assume that there are more - he is pretty cool and playing guitar).

8. The Graveyard Book, Volume 1 - adaptation by P. Craig Russell - I am no longer beholden to Neil Gaiman. I don't know when it happened but I do know when I realized that I was not going to love everything he wrote. Fragile Things. There was one good novella at the end and one clever Sherlock Holmes Cthulu story at the beginning and everything else was sad writing exercises. After I read that collection, I started seeing the cliches in his work. So this book - it starts out boring - kid finds his way into the graveyard full of caretaking ghosts after his family is murdered - and it ends on a cliffhanger. Apparently the kid was always the target. In between we have some nice setpieces but it takes a while to get going and the only part that really rises above the material is the ghoul chapters, complete with the werewolf tutor.

9. Amor Y Cohetes: A Love & Rockets Book by Jaime and Gilberto Hernandez - This is one of those fascinating side books that don't quite fit into the rest of Love & Rockets. At very least it's not the comfortable multi-character story told over several years that I expect out of Love & Rockets. Most of the stories are extra stand alones without the main characters. In one case Speedy shows up in a cameo to drunkenly challenge day laborers to a fight - with the main point being that they don't want to get into a fight that would expose them - but also given what we know about Speedy deepens his character by showing him from the perspective of people who will never see him again. The other stories tend to be the science fiction/punk rock stories that the comic did well at the beginning.
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Watching The Cove and starting to hate dolphins [25 Feb 2015|04:05pm]
Ok. I don't hate dolphins but their advocates are annoying as fuck. The Cove was not meant to be an objective documentary about the dolphin killing and eating in Japan. If it had been objective it might have asked questions about cultural imperialism and the strange propensity of rich white people to impose their values on the rest of the world. This tends to come up more often in global feminism discourse where supporting human rights often comes down to saving brown women by completely destroying their cultures.

The Cove - which did not deserve its academy award for Best Documentary - is already problematic from that standpoint. However, once the "activist" is going on about how fucking beautiful it is to swim with the whales, the whole movie curdles into a bunch of white people patting themselves on the backs for how much they love those cute adorable rapist dolphins.

From that point on the movie veers between smug white people and evil Japanese fishermen. Hell, the moment the Smug White Assholes get to the cove they assume that the Yakuza is following them because Exotic Gangsters are so much more interesting than fisherman who are rather annoyed that their livelihood is being challenged.

The movie becomes even more egregious as it falls into conspiracy theories. Stating that there is mercury in the dolphins is not the same thing as proving that there is mercury in those dolphins, no matter how much you tell me about how mercury is dangerous. The lack of evidence COULD be due to a big conspiracy. But you should not assume. When the UN refuses to ban dolphin hunting (or make a statement about it), it isn't about how these countries see the need of Japanese people to fish dolphins and how Japanese people like to eat dolphins, but about how the big evil Yellow Peril bribed these countries into siding with them. Or convinced them through backroom deals and tit-for-tat voting promises but mainly the countries were not white and therefore did not give a fuck about dolphins as much as our heroes.

And yes, one of the "activists" has a fucking four inch goatee that's dyed halfway down - and no mustache. I'm guess that no one rips it out by the roots.

And the only thing the "let's sneak into the cove" scenes prove is that Japanese fishing professionals have shit security.

I went into this agitprop thinking that I wanted to see something about dolphins and that it's an important movie. I leave it thinking that I want to eat one of those dolphins just to make the rich white people cry.
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Books Read in 2015 # 6 - Psychopathic Superheroes! [16 Feb 2015|01:14pm]
6. Wolverine: The Best There Is by Charlie Huston and Juan Jose Ryp - One of the main problems with Wolverine is the element of danger that must be teased out but rarely developed. Wolverine is a "badass" whatever that means, but he should not be a complete psychopath. If he becomes a complete psychopath then it's pretty damn hard to keep him sympathetic. On the other hand, if those knife "claws" don't come out he's going to lose his Wolverine-essence. For the most part, he's a loner with a propensity of using the word "bub" a lot.

So they gave Wolverine to Charlie Huston to play with and let him kill a bunch of guys who are going to come back fairly easily. The only character I recognized was Madcap and that was because he was in a Deadpool comic. If you want to see Wolverine kill a bunch of guys, this is the comic for you. Also Cyclops is still with Emma Frost which is weird and Dazzler gets a scene with Wolverine.

Generally there are three parts to this book - The psycho violent crap, the magic virus story that makes no fucking sense and the part in the middle that's pretty cool where Wolverine is actually interacting with people and not just being tortured and given diseases. The villain Contagion is mostly fun but his kid with the huge brain on the head who keeps telling everyone how stupid they are is the welcome comic relief. There's also the bit where he's talking to Dazzler and he becomes an insightful John Wayne talking about how he can't deal with real women, which is sweet but it kind of craps on the whole Wolverine/Kitty Pryde relationship by positing it as a tale of an adult male who can only talk down to teenage girls.

The psycho violent crap is fun enough even if it goes on to the point of meh and the magic virus story would be much better if it didn't feel like an advanced virology lecture that needed several years of medical school to understand. But it's not a totally worthless book and it was fun for a few hours.
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[08 Feb 2015|05:08am]
Just got this from a CL ad. It's a scam
I need someone who can tutor my Daugther for 2hrs per day and she will come twice in a week, She is 16 yrds old, Best email to contact me is mathis.jennie001@gmail.com ..

Sent from my iPhone 6
I only post it in hopes of attracting the spam bots.
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Books Read in 2015 # 5 - Before I kill you, Mr. Bond... [07 Feb 2015|08:22pm]
5. Black Echo by Michael Connelly - This is the first Harry Bosch book. And for the first 350 pages, I was very impressed by how much it feels fully formed. In the detective genre, Michael Connelly is one of the best writers and while there are certain cliches that this genre traffics in (the driven detective who breaks the rules, etc.) Connelly manages to make them feel fresh. The other two books I've read in the series were Echo Park & The Overlook which I enjoyed but those were later books when he had already had a few books written.

So I was pleasantly surprised that this book felt like a Michael Connelly book. I compared it in my mind to Dennis Lehane's first book which was practically a Walter Mosley fan-fiction exercise.

Then the last 100 pages happened and that's when the villain did that thing that villains like to do which is to talk about the brilliant plan that the hero ruined - before just killing the hero. There is a surprise villain in there too, but that villain also tells the whole story. It's a nice way of wrapping up the book but it feels very artificial.
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Thank G-d for Livejournal since I do not want to speculate on this on Facebook [05 Feb 2015|09:47pm]
There was a Cracked article (still read it but it's definitely not the same) about Craigslist ads and there was one about a disgruntled ex-husband who pretended to be his wife seeking men to fulfill her rape fantasies. So basically he is trying to get his wife raped - which is awful in its own right.

But it makes me wonder if there is a protocol for fulfilling rape fantasy. I first thought of this after I read that scene in Choke where the protagonist is trying to engage in rape fantasy and she keeps stopping it to tell him that he's doing it wrong (which sort of reminds me of the one time I tried bondage, but I don't really have bed posts so it was the radiator in winter and really wasn't very good at making knots - so that ended with her just giving a disgruntled noise and getting out of the ropes easily) which was funny but then there was a news story about a guy whose defense was that he showed up to enact a rape fantasy and realized that he had gone to the wrong apartment.

That story might be bullshit but if it's true it sounds like one of the worst dating faux pas you could make. Way worse than talking too long about the ex-girlfriend. It's not like you can go "oh shit. Sorry about that. I thought that we were mutually having fun hardcore BDSM and now it looks like I'm committing felony sexual assault instead."

On the other hand, if you are really so stupid that you would believe emails and not insist on meeting beforehand to hash out the details of "could be kinky, could be felony sexual assault" including the actual identity of the person, safe words, explicit pre-game consent and maybe even something in writing then you probably deserve to go to jail.

The fact that I had to write that out to clarify it to myself is rather sad. But seriously, it's probably worse if these guys who claim that they thought they were engaging in rape fantasy are telling the truth. No one should be that stupid.
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Books read in 2015 # 3 & 4 - Comic Books are still for 12-year old boys [31 Jan 2015|09:28pm]
3. The Wedding of Deadpool by Gerry Duggan & Brian Posehn and others - I stopped reading Marvel comics before Deadpool was a major thing. I think he might have been around when I was reading Marvel, but he had yet to become the 2000s equivalent of Howard the Duck. I imagine that if he was around before I stopped caring about superhero comics, he would have been the coolest thing ever. By the standards of superhero comics, this has a nice celebratory character where Deadpool gets married to some demon woman and they go on honeymoon. In the middle are the other authors involved in Deadpool writing and drawing marriage-related stories including one where he marries a woman at Niagra Falls and immediately goes over the falls with her and thus killing her (she was already dying). There's also one where he is in love with a puppet and one where Mystique turns out to have married him in order to get inside a secret base, and he's pretty cool with that. There's also a story about Hitler getting a time machine (since every time traveler goes back in time to kill him) and chasing after Nick Fury in the 1950s. That one includes a homage to the Hitler meme - complete with the slow removal of glasses before getting very pissed. As usual almost all the women are drawn with impossible bodies (like Dolly Parton in zero-gravity as the rather dated Bloom County strip stated) and in very skimpy clothing.

Overall, it's the post-ironic superhero line where everyone is a smartass and most of the material is for laughs. I quite enjoyed it even if I knew that there were points where I shouldn't.

4. The Witcher: House of Glass by Paul Tobin & Joe Querio - Why does it seem impossible to make good adaptations of video games? It would appear to be easy and certainly the games seem fun. Yet, this entire comic feels like there is not much going on besides Witcher getting involved with some guy who claims that his wife is a vampire or a bruxia and hanging out in a haunted house, spending most of his time with a succubus. It just doesn't seem like something that anyone would read without the video game tie-in. The plot twist towards the end is pretty cool, but the rest just feels like there should be a major puzzle to solve to keep my interest. The one exception to the video game bad adaptation rule (that I just made up at the beginning of the paragraph so it could be bullshit) is Higurashi where every permutation of the series is another episode that leads inextricably to everyone dying (well except for the last one where they finally figure out what is going on).
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Books Read in 2015 # 2 - Classic Hard Science Fiction is no place for Feminism [18 Jan 2015|03:48am]
2. Entry To Elsewhen by John Brunner - As I grow older, I embrace feminism in a way that my teenage self might not have quite gotten. When I was a teenager I could read Piers Anthony and Robert Heinlein (particularly Stranger in a Strange Land) without too much consternation. Actually I was mostly enjoying these books for the sex fantasies. Anthony in particular was writing for pre-teen and teenage boys (which is why when a character is lusting after a 14 year old girl it didn't seem that weird since I was 12 when I read that and 14-year old girls were older. Oh sure, sometimes something would break through like when a character realizes that he was totally in love with his girlfriend in Childhood's End and the weirdness of the scene came from the fact that we barely met this woman and would never get to know her throughout the book. But mostly I could read books about men doing manly things without a woman in sight.

All that comes to this book which is a book that I would have enjoyed in high school and actually liked enough to finish reading today (the style was decent) but in the three short stories (ok 2 short stories and one novella), the women are practically non-existent. Granted, all three stories are told from the perspective of one guy and all the other characters are incidental but at least the incidental male characters get more dialogue.

It also reminds me of the Kurt Vonnegut running joke about his author character writing stories extremely interesting and compelling plots and only selling them in porno magazines.

All of these stories were originally written in the 50s and then edited between then and the publication of the book in 1972. They have all the classic tropes of science fiction including the infodump and the 50s men in lab coats being experts.

In "Host Age" (I still don't know if the pun is intentional) the only woman who gets any screen time dies on page 2. The rest of the story is about doctors trying stop a plague from spreading throughout the globe. They also realize that there is someone who keeps pulling terrorist attacks to stop them. Finally they capture the miscreant and he spends the last 10 pages explaining that he comes from the future. Earth is in a war with another species. The plague was the bio-weapon and it wiped everyone out in the future - because humans were too accustomed to good health. So he went back in time to give everyone the plague because back in our time only 1% of the population would die from it. So it's like sending your kid to get chicken pox so he would be immunized. But there's a seriously dopy anti-vaxx idea running through the story. It's like saying that if we kill off all the diseases by immunizing ourselves then we one day won't be able to fight off more disease. But that's not how it works. Oh well, I shouldn't argue with 1950s science fiction stories when Bill Maher is making the same bullshit assertions.

I don't even know if there are women in "Lungfish" but it's about a spaceship that has taken so long to get to a new planet that an entire generation has grown up in the ship. And they want nothing to do with this whole "planet colonization" so after the whole "hypnotize them to get them off" plan fails, there's negotiation.

While "No Other Gods But Me" is my favorite book, it has some serious infodumping going on. Also the woman is pretty much there for the hero to run into. It also has that mysterious know-it-all man who is cryptic for the first half of the story and makes no damn sense the rest of it. Anyhow, man keeps running into the same woman in different parts of the world. They are being manipulated into getting together. It's all very mysterious until they get to New York and Kolack (the know-it-all) finally lets them know that they are being manipulated into getting together because there's an alternate earth where psychic telekinetic powers are a thing and the main leader wants to get into our earth via mind control cult. It's actually pretty fun, but while they are on the alternate earth and the main character is overseeing what happens when you have telekinetic powers (a few people are rulers, everyone else is a slave - I think this was the basis of Pattern Master) the writer is practically telling you the ending since alternate earth is a dismal place without technology and medieval material. Happily, that's a fun ending since it means that once the invading army comes in from the other world, they are really no match for pissed off New Yorkers on a summer day (USA! USA! USA!) and the all-powerful telekinetic ruler doesn't have his psychic powers. So basically the big army comes through, there's a riot and the cops hose everyone down.

Which is probably my favorite way of ending a story about super-psychic crazies from another dimension. Hell, there's an H.P. Lovecraft story that leads up to the Cthulu whatever things coming through the dimensions and the protagonists shooting them.
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Books Read in 2015 # 1 - Superman and Obama - sort of [16 Jan 2015|02:29pm]
1. Action Comics Volume 2: Bulletproof by Grant Morrison, Rags Morales, Sholly Fisch and Max Landis(from the New 52 time) - A few years ago, I wrote off all comic books as garbage. And then I decided to give comics another chance and discovered Love and Rockets for the first time and felt really dumb, so I wrote off all Superhero comics as puerile power fantasies and then I read Astro City. And I really liked the 52 series.

And now I come to the point where I have to admit that I like Superman better than Batman. Granted, these are fictional characters and they rise and fall by their writers, but it's the same weird nerd confession space as when I admitted to liking William Shatner more than Harlan Ellison, and if Bill wants to count lines and change the script to make Captain Kirk more awesome, then fucking let him. I feel like I'm betraying my teenage self in both cases. Ellison is the swarmy smartass little guy and Shatner is the jock who might not be malignant but is certainly too damn smug for his own good (seriously I knew dumb football players when I was going to high school but that stereotype about football players vs. nerds is like a shitty meme that just won't stop perpetuating itself). Frank Miller gave us the Superman vs. Batman dynamic where Superman is a dopy fascist tool while Batman is the dark brooding libertarian hero. Hell, when DC killed off Superman in the 90s it felt more like a housekeeping chore than a seismic event in comic book history (of course, no one believed that he was going to stay dead).

But there really is something to be said for the kind of idealism that Superman tends to embody in his stories. And that's something that these stories capture. Hell, the first story is about a black president who doubles as Superman (alternate universes are back!) and has to come up next to the evil corporate Superman who is cynically created to be as murdering and nasty as possible because that's what the kids like these days. No seriously, I just wrote that and only now do I realize that damn, Grant Morrison just pitted Obama-Superman vs. Zack Snyder Superman. Of course, later in the book there's another story with Obama Superman (yeah I know his name is Cal Something but come on) goes into a country and destroys all the WMDs. And then gets a lecture from Wonder Woman about the fact that he's breaking international law and oh yeah - he wasn't born in America.

The other story that goes through this book (and comes back on itself) is the story of how young reporter Clark Kent is not quite comfortable with his secret identity. So he kills that secret identity off and decides to become a fireman. No really. And then Myzxplyxk (sic of course) has a mother who is his landlady. It's all back to the origin story again. Which is still fun.

One of the problems with superheroes is the fact that their origin stories are the most interesting part about them so we keep going back to that well as a culture. Yeah, the writers do it too. But this is the way that they can put the pieces together again into new forms that might not be the same as before. Granted, we did NOT need to revisit Spiderman's origin story in the reboots (although I still maintain that they are better than the Raimi movies) but when you do it well it can work. Smallville had a great plan going when Lex Luther and Clark Kent were such great friends in the early seasons that their eventual breaking away had gravitas (also they seemed quite gay in those early seasons). Other elements were hit-or-miss. The Justice League was fun but the more comical and surreal elements of the Superman mythos (Bizarro and Mr. Myzxplyxk) were rendered dull by the show. The latter was betting on fucking football games.

This particular origin story also has Superman making his own t-shirts and wearing jeans because he doesn't want tights. At very least it's not 90s Superboy with his "twink looking for a leather daddy" look. And what gets stressed is that Superman is not just a super-powered freak who runs around beating people up but he's one of those few superheroes that is genuinely a good person, which is a rarity and which is why he really wasn't too popular in the 80s or 90s when superheroes needed the angst and the cynicism.

Also, it's hard to write genuinely good people who mean well. At least it's hard to write them as interesting people. But these writers are successful.
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Saying it here so I don't go off on FB - Charlie Hebdo [09 Jan 2015|05:37am]
I am starting to get cranky on FB and instead of alienating a couple hundred people (some of whom I might like) I am going to use Livejournal to practice my freedom of speech and say that I am so fucking sick of these Charlie Hebdo memorials - particularly the sanctimonious ones that castigate religious people for not liking them. Yes, it's all going to descend into Islamophobic meshuggas with Christian Goyim all lined up to say that Muslim Goyim should be screaming their hatred of the terrorists from the streets.

Hell, I'm fucking sick of prefacing that no one should be murdered for making cartoons.

But I am also not going to pretend that the Charlie Hebdo guys were these brilliant satirists brought down by the forces of oppression. If you look at even a few of their cartoons you know that they WERE the forces of oppression. Oh yeah, sure we can toss around terms like politically correct and "if you can't laugh at yourself" but it's amazing that Jews and Muslims are the ones being ordered to "laugh at themselves." Yeah, Charlie Hebdo were such WHACKY satirists to imply that the Holocaust was a good deal for getting a country out of it. Naked Muhammed sticking his ass in the air is just the most hilarious thing possible.

These guys were pretty fucking vile. Their humor was shit. It makes me wonder how long I would have to be shocked and horrified if someone shot Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Westboro Bapist, Noam Chomsky or Return of the Kings. If someone stormed the offices of Stormfront or Breitbart I would think that it was a bad idea. I wouldn't go crying over the loss of life. I would be upset at the act itself, but the victims - no I am not Ann Coulter - no matter how horribly she dies.

It's like my favorite line from Heathers "Football season was over. All they had to offer were date rapes and AIDS jokes."

Just because these guys were shot to death doesn't make them funny. Qaddafi getting shot dead - that made him funny - but only after they stuck his dead body in a shopping mall. These guys were douchebags who can now fulfill their life goal of getting Muslims and other minorities killed.
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Another feminist article at Times of Israel [06 Jan 2015|05:37am]
http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/feminism-is-personal-dont-pretend-otherwise/ - seriously hope that this leads to more book sales - or a pass to NYCC - that would be cool.
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Not Yet Books Read in 2015 - New York Privileged Kids go to parties [04 Jan 2015|02:57pm]
The New York Four (collected edition) by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly - Ok. I am doing this again, reviewing every book that I read this year. It was a take-off on the 50 book challenge where I stopped making fun of the challenge for how few books that was and decided to see how long it would take me to read 50 books. So the rules are that I need to read the whole book (or most of the book - at least get to the end - sometimes by skimming) within 2015 which means that I can't count any of the books that I started reading last year. Graphic novels count as books unless they are so perfunctory (like the Angel comic books) that there's really nothing to write about.

This book does not count as one of the books read in 2015 - mostly because I started reading it last year, but also because I'm not entirely finished.

Still, something has changed for my appreciation of Brian Wood. I used to love his books. I couldn't get enough of them. I think part of it is residue from when I was hyped to move to NYC and after getting over the initial disappointment, understood just how much I loved living here and that I had made the right choice. So there was that. And I had already read New York Four and New York Five separately and I liked them. This was also at the time when I was reading DMZ and enjoying the fantasy of a mostly empty New York where you could walk around the sidewalks and get to where you are going without having to bark at people to get them to move out of your way (that's what the book is about right? I think there's also something about a civil war, but who cares about that?)

And Local was one of my all-time favorite graphic novels.

I suppose I have to read DMZ again to know if I've just lost interest in reading Wood or if I find New York Four to be awful. I do know that two things have affected my reading of Wood. One is the whole sexual harassment at a convention story. That's fairly minor to him as an artist but I'm less eager to be impressed with his cool female characters and more critical of the way that they are written (in other words, he cannot get props for just writing stories involving young women).

But I think the more damning element in my appreciation of Wood is reading his first graphic novels which is a paranoid shriek against Rudy Giuliani where New York is just fascist now and the most revolutionary thing that anyone can think of doing is to "hack into the signal" and broadcast a revolutionary manifesto for a minute. It reminds me way too much of that line from that song in Rent where they hacked into the mainframe and broadcasted "Fight AIDS ACTUP" to computers or ATM machines - I forget.

And in the case of New York Four, I am getting even more Rent vibe. It's about four privileged women going to college at NYU and all they seem to do is go to parties and hang out in clubs. Which is kind of the thing to do when you go to college, except their main stories are really boring. In the first series (New York Four), the only character with an arc is Riley and all she does is text a mysterious stranger, finds out that he's her older sister's boyfriend, gets caught before she knows what to do and is still texting him. The other three girls can be described as dreadlocks, Hispanic girl with pushup bra and Asian.

In the second part of this story (New York Five), the token Hispanic girl has to take care of her bipolar brother in Queens so she's not just sexy Hispanic girl. Asian girl is either mad about her grades (of course) or obsessed with the college professor who gave her a B and the dreadlock girl - I don't know. I think she's dating older dudes. And Riley spends most of the book trying to re-connect with her sister. Or make out with her sister's boyfriend.

Most of the book is just a lot of tourist information concerning where everyone is. It reads like a guidebook and while the conceit is amusing enough, it begins to feel like Wood is announcing that his version of New York is only the tourist version.

There's also the girl who sits in front of the apartment and dies. That's her entire function in the story. She sits around, gets a couple of scenes and then dies. Apparently she's supposed to represent "real" New York because she is mostly ignored by the privileged characters and they feel bad about her dying because it really clarifies their lives. Or something.

I like the artwork and I can sort of see why I thought this book was good in the first place, but then again I didn't keep it with me and nothing ever seemed like it was happening that was terribly interesting. The four girls don't feel like real people to me. Mostly they seem like parodies of hipster college students from the perspective of nostalgia envy. When people look back at college, they remember getting laid, going to parties and hanging out in music venues. They tend not to remember tedious arguments, long term papers and bad breakups.

I suppose that's the appeal of New York Four and Rent - the art cleans up the less savory aspects of living in New York and being a young artist, leaving the nostalgia all wrapped up in an Up with People package.
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So I am writing more Times of Israel articles [30 Dec 2014|10:27am]
I wrote a Feminism one last night that seems well received, even though it's pretty basic (simply put morons who blame feminism for their problems are morons) and yesterday I wrote http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/college-students-beware-alan-dershowitz-is-reading-your-tweets/ - and I think I fucked up the headline. I changed it to Alan Dershowitz - More Insufferable than a College Student's Twitter Account - but even that's too long.

Or maybe "Alan Dershowitz Defends Convicted Child Rapist - Also Annoyed with things that Kids Say on Twitter" Damnit.

Basically, someone has FINALLY found that elusive example of "I know you are what am I" when it comes to police officers killing unarmed black men. Fox News tried to manufacture it and that backfired so it's up to Daniel Mael to expose someone who boldly claims to "not be sympathetic when it comes to dead cops." Daniel Mael is aCollege Junior at Brandeis and resident Super Zionist (I say Super Zionist because it's fucking Brandeis, the Jewish college - hell I was going to apply but my 18-year old self was perplexed by the fact that there were dozens of Zionist groups and seemingly no pro-Palestinian groups - my 18-year old self was a dumbfuck). Looking back and Daniel Mael's stuff, it looks like he pretty much sought out the lefty groups to debate them and annoy the shit out of them. Apparently J Street accused him of harassment. Since I spent my later college years annoying the same types of people, I can sympathize (yes, I started my college career asking about pro-Palestinian groups at Brandeis and ended it passing out flyers at anti-Israel events - there was also a lot of drug use, sex and bad poetry in the middle).

And so Daniel Mael cherry picks a twitter account of someone who claimed not to have any sympathy for the cops who died, got a shitload of backlash as you often do when you take on college lefties and then garnered a whole lot of sympathy from the reactionary groups who are suddenly eager to bring out that old chestnut "NO! WE'RE the real victims in this case!" Won't someone think of the rich white people who might possibly read twitter feeds? There are also talks to suing him for libel, which are ridiculous since he did directly quote from a Twitter feed. And the Twitter account user - Khadijah Lynch - did write LMAO on one of the tweets. Did I mention that she's a college student? Yeah, college students are fucking morons.

Into this fray jumped Alan Dershowitz with "tears in his eyes" as he watched the first funeral. Yes, he actually went there. On the first sentence of his slam against Khadijah Lynch, the aforementioned Twitter account user, he is watching a cop's funeral with TEARS IN HIS EYES and damnit, that's how you should respond to funerals - of police officers that you can use as billy clubs against those DARN LEFTY COLLEGE STUDENTS. The rest of the article is even more ridiculous.

Anyhow, click the above link and see me insult Dershowitz for being a 77 year old celebrity lawyer who thinks that there is nothing better to do with his time than attacking lefty college students. Count how many times I bring up the fact that he recently tried to get Roman Polanski exonerated.

Then go to the comments and have spirited discussions with people who are calling me a moron for "not getting" that poor troll Daniel Mael is under attack. Because I am such a shrinking violet that I got no clue what it's like to be the subject of attack by a bunch of lefty college students who might say mean things about me and get their patchouli stench all over me.
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Blood Donation and things I try to stay out of on Facebook [28 Dec 2014|12:10pm]
I do believe that there should be SOME relaxing of standards when it comes to blood donation. Yes, the AIDS crisis is over and there are better ways of testing for HIV. But I am never going to agree with the prevailing belief that seems to be on my FB timeline that stopping men who have had sex with other men is oppressive or homophobic. Especially not when 84% of new HIV positive cases are men who have had sex with other men.

And yes, I see that many of my FB friends are very much in the "You are killing people by being homophobic" camp, alongside the "blood banks are treating us like second class citizens" (even with the relaxed restriction of a year since there has been sex - pretty much the same as having sex with a prostitute - presumably within that year you will have had an HIV test). I also found that many of the people who are the most vocal about supporting a ban on taking blood from sexually active homosexual men ARE homophobic - groups with names like "Truth about Homosexuality" (and obviously that 'truth' is a lot of homophobic blather).

Maybe I am wrong.

I do know that my stance is largely emotional. I saw my uncle die of AIDS. And don't get me wrong - he got AIDS the fun way - by being a guy in his early 20s in San Francisco in the late 70s. He was not one of the media-friendly blood donation AIDS cases that allowed people to sympathize when it came to AIDS even if they hated most of the people who were getting it. In the early 80s, AIDS was something that gay people got and I do remember the many Rock Hudson gay jokes from middle school. By the middle of the 80s, there was a serious panic about blood transfusions giving people AIDS (at about the same time when HIV was being discovered) and that's when the restrictions went down.

By the end of the 80s, there were thousands of AIDS cases and everyone knew someone with AIDS. Homophobia was lessened by the fact that AIDS outed a whole lot of people who never thought that they would have been outed. And then that fucking musical Rent came along.

So anyhow, my uncle died of AIDS in 1993 I believe. This was after Magic Johnson got it, but my uncle was not going to survive to see the AIDS cocktail turn AIDS into a treatable condition like diabetes. He died of lung cancer (with brain lesions) in a hospice and he looked like an Auschwitz corpse at the end. In fact, I remember that day because I was fighting with my mom (I was always fighting with my mom) and I even left at one point because I was sick of her. She was going to follow but his lawyer told her to stay and she stayed as he lay there with his eyes open and gasping out his last few breaths - not coughing and choking like he had been doing. I came back to see her asking him to close his eyes and go to sleep. It took the nurse to tell us that he was dead.

So yeah, I have that image in my head and I know it's not the case these days. But I sympathize with the blood bank people who are given the choice between increasing the chances (even incrementally) of infecting someone with a blood disease that comes from sharing bodily fluids and being accused of homophobia. I seriously doubt that as long as anyone remembers what it was like to be afraid of getting AIDS and what it was like to watch your friends and relatives die of AIDS that there will be a relaxing of restrictions when it comes to men who have had sex with other men (well beyond the waiting a year - that seems like it's happening).
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Conspiracy Theories and why I hate them [20 Dec 2014|07:32pm]
I just realized that there is a difference between going "hey, maybe this story is bullshit" and going into outright conspiracy theory mode. The former is a perfectly natural and acceptable skepticism which we need in order to keep democracy going. By contrast, conspiracy theorists believe in even more insane bullshit and spend all of their mental energy trying to "prove" this insane bullshit.

So when one questions whether North Korea is actually behind the Sony attack, that's normal. It's the "ok show me what you got" question. If one believes that the Sony attack was an elaborate government sponsored operation in order to distract from Ferguson and get us into a nuclear war with North Korea that requires a couple thousand people working together to pull off, then one is an idiot.

The problem is that the idiot conspiracy theorists make the people who are mostly just skeptical (but not immune to new information that will answer their doubts) seem like they are in the same boat. That's not good.

Granted, I know that I sound like the 9/11 Truthers who are certain that their version of the conspiracy is being tainted by those who claim that there never were any WTC towers in the first place.
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The Interview and conspiracy theorist [18 Dec 2014|11:23am]
I am feeling like a conspiracy theorist - more to the point, I am scared that I am becoming a conspiracy theorist mostly because I don't entirely buy that North Korea sent a crack team of cyber-hackers to invade Sony's private files, spread them out and then threaten death and destruction for the new Sony picture Oh Fuck Not Another James Franco Movie.

Granted, I think my nausea at the premise of the movie and the idea of pushing another James Franco/Set Rogan vehicle on the world is affecting my judgment.

Still, this is a movie that no one had any interest in seeing two weeks ago. Well maybe the three people who still like seeing James Franco/Seth Rogan vehicles but most everyone else - not really. And then suddenly there's a big hacking scandal that puts out Sony executives' private business and just to make it more clear there's a death threat.

And then there is an unnamed official claiming that most definitely it was North Korea and there will be an official statement today. It could have very well been an insider going "yeah sure, it's North Korea," because they didn't want to say "yeah we got no clue" and this makes them look all dangerous.

Granted, if it was a 4chan troll who did it for the lulz and I was either a Sony executive or government official, I would totally go with the North Korean terrorist angle because that sounds much cooler than "some asshole with way too much time on his hands decided to fuck with us."

And just to make things much more profitable, a movie that was already pushed back 2 months can be pushed back another couple weeks into January to the rousing cheers of Americans who don't want to cower to terrorism (at least not foreign born terrorism - crazy dudes with too many guns are still capable of shooting up your movie theater - but usually for movies that people actually want to see).

Of course, this isn't outright bullshit like the Richard Brittain case where we have one reviewer claiming that he hit her over the head with a bottle (without any proof or even plausibility) simply because she took a lot of time and effort to write her terrible review and damnit, she wants recognition. But it's still pretty much a stretch to go "Oh yeah, NK totally did it!"
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And just so I can feel better about myself [12 Dec 2014|01:08am]
This is on the Honest Trailers for Wolf of Wall Street youtube thread
GregTom2
1 month ago (edited)

Settle in... for 3 hours of: People screaming at the top of their lungs, stuff that would offend your familly, stuff that would offend your girlfriend, stuff that would offend Peter Dinklage, unlikable characters, lazy dialogue, repetitive shit... With NOOOO story. Get ready for a porno movie that doesn't have the redeeming quality of being 25 minutes long.
I would talk about the ending but I stopped watching the movie after 2 excruciating hours of hyperclimatic high pitched noise.
Wait. THAT'S IT!
This movie is basically the same as transformer, if you change the fighting for drug abuse and the adolescent fanservice for porn. It's just one long stressful mess of "what the fuck is going on" with no character or plot to keep you watching. That's also the only two movies I ever stopped watching out of boredom.
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1181darkfire
3 weeks ago

No story? This based on a real life person, and the real life Jordan Belfort says his stock-broker life was much crazier
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Madhav Shrestha
3 weeks ago

It's a real life story based on the book by "Jordan Belfort" himself.
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GregTom2
3 weeks ago

+Madhav Shrestha Yes but there is clearly a difference between a series of events, and proper narrative plot.
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savage
3 weeks ago

shut you are acting like women
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Nathan Olando
2 weeks ago

Before i begun i really like ur videos real talent:), that aside,FUCK YOU, you cunt/cock sucking motherfucking slut.How do you not lyk that movie! I sincerely hope u get multiple brain aneurysms,you slut! U have no taste in movies!! I strongly suggest you stick that u watch the movie again after removing your head from your ASS.
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J Nielsen
1 week ago

+GregTom2 Looked at his channel, he is a pianist who doesn't care much for sound judging on the video I watched 10s of.
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GregTom2
1 week ago

+J Nielsen I'm not a pianist. I happen to have played piano.
These videos were just so I could send them to a girl. Anyways, your comment isn't very relevant.
I rather liked Wolf of Wall Street but I must say that Nathan Olando's response is just beautiful. Just heartwarming to see how much appreciation there is for artists in this world. Especially the "I love your videos - FUCK YOU" part.
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We twist and turn around the same frustrations [12 Dec 2014|12:42am]
One of the worst things I found when I went home to help clean out Mom's apartment was a letter that I had written to a friend when I was 17. It was a very bullying and self-aggrandizing letter. All through the letter I was swearing up and down that I wasn't looking down on him or being condescending. And yet that was exactly what I was doing. Now I can say that I'm not 17 anymore and thank G-d for that, but every time I read old things and I get my teeth set on edge, the main problem is not that I'm being an asshole. It's that I know that when I wrote whatever asshole thing I was writing, that I thought that I was perfectly justified.

Hell, I've been writing aggressive crap forever and when I am the most obnoxious is when I think I am the most diplomatic. This journal and now Facebook feel like a litany of bad decisions and poorly thought out arguments. Hell, I don't have to go too far to find MRA bullshit. I can just randomly hit entries on this journal if I want. Sure, I won't find howlers like an entire article about how the guy's girlfriend ruined his birthday by inviting over the neighbors and how that led him to taking the red pill or the blue pill in an understanding that women are no damn good. But I've said a bunch of sexist bullshit. Hell, I even dismissed some human interest story about some woman who had both breasts removed as annoying. Actually it was pretty awful that every news show would pick that up but I didn't have to take this heartless stance.

I am no longer at the place where I feel like I have to apologize to people who have encountered me through Livejournal. But I don't really like what comes out of these entries.

I say this a lot. Self-recrimination is easy sometimes. Maybe too easy.
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More FB follies - hey your kid looks dark... [26 Nov 2014|02:04pm]
I need to stay off of Facebook. I know I say that a lot but I am trying. Anyhow, I am clearing through "friends" whom I never liked in the first place from the Ferguson debacle. I have even come up with an exception list, mostly from people who argue that it's possible that Michael Brown was in the wrong and that the shooting was justified that I have known for long enough and don't AUTOMATICALLY assume that everything that the Ferguson police department has put out is gospel.

I can rationally argue in that case that it's still not the role of the Grand Jury to convict Wilson. It's only to weigh the evidence to see if there is enough for an indictment.

But that still leaves the people who post articles stating that Michael Brown went for the gun, that he was charging at the officer and then claim to be not racist. Racists really hate it when you call them racists.

So one racist woman posted that kind of article and said "for everyone who is claiming that this is 'racist'!" I did the usual acerbic response "oh yeah, Michael Brown reached into the car and totally went for the gun..." and then stated the main reasons why she was racist.

I then noticed (as I was de-friending her) that her son is dark skinned. She's married to one of those Sephardic Jews so it's not a surprise. So I said that she should pray that when her dark skinned son grows up to be a teenager that the cops don't mistake him for black.

The point was that she would not be quite so cavalier to dismiss charges of institutional racism if it was HER son who was in danger of being harassed and killed by cops.

They missed the point. They missed the point badly.

The reaction was "how dare I insult a toddler" - by calling him black. Yep, this woman who claims to be "not racist" is so insulted that anyone would think that her son could be BLACK that she is having a hissy fit. And apparently all of her friends are reacting with the same wounded feelings. A mutual friend said that it would seem insulting and maybe I should apologize (for insinuating that a child could be black) and then a weird crazy woman (who might be a 12 year old girl with a cell phone) came to attack me for DARING to insinuate that a child is black.

What's amazing is that no matter how many times you point out that stating that a child looks like a black child is ONLY insulting if you are a fucking racist, it seems to not sink in.

Racists hate being called racists.
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Well there's a shock to no one [25 Nov 2014|06:38pm]
Rapist decides that he might not be able to collect $55 million for being rapey. Jian Ghomeshi did write a defense that almost seemed plausible except for the part where he assumed that his audience would have been titillated and excited. And then a second woman came forth and said that he was so decidedly NOT engaging in BDSM.

Of course, the part of the defense that really screwed with Jian's case was when he said "we even talked about using safe words." Now I'm pretty vanilla when it comes to BDSM (I couldn't even tie a girlfriend up to a radiator without her giving an exasperated sigh, getting out of the knots and giving up on the whole endeavor. TMI?) but even I know that if there is some power play involved and you want it to be hot and not fucking dangerous, you get to the safe words BEFORE you start fucking.

Also, it's rather hard to believe that CBC would fire a money making and popular host without proof that he was a sexual predator.
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