Thursday, May 21, 2015


I've been off all week and it's been nice to have time to get some stuff done. 

I saw Mad Max...twice.  It's apparently "the most feminist movie in theaters," so I did my liberal duty and took my 8 year old niece the second time.  You can find feminism in the movie if you're looking for it, but what I found interesting, aside from the eye-popping stunts and action sequences, was the narrative structure and world-building.

Yes, the narrative structure.  If Mad Max is a feminist manifesto, then it's also an exercise in pure visual storytelling.  Rather offering explanations, the movie just asks the audience to "Witness!"

In other news, there was a huge biker brawl-slash-shootout in Texas that left, what, 9 people dead, dozens either hospitalized or arrested.  On Sons of Anarchy there's a shoot-out every other episode and it's no big deal.  In real life, when this stuff happens, it's a big deal.

But this is what "smart" people have to say about it:
In fact, in much of the coverage of the Waco shootings, the race of the gang members isn't even mentioned, although pictures of the aftermath show groups of white bikers being held by police. By comparison, the day after Freddie Gray died in the custody of police officers in Baltimore, not only did most coverage mention that Gray was black, but also included a quote from the deputy police commissioner noting Gray was arrested in "a high-crime area known to have high narcotic incidents," implicitly smearing Gray and the entire community.
 This is what I've come to dislike about politics.  It always comes back to the hobby horse issue.  We can't have a biker brawl without bringing it back around to Freddie Gray.  Why not gun control?  Why not helmet laws?  I know, mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders.

Whatever the impulse is, it's not, "Hmm, this is interesting.  Let me see if I can understand it."  The impulse is always, "How can I use this incident to further my goals?"

I find the biker brawl interesting because it was apparently about turf and, ultimately, what patches can be worn on their cuts.  The Bandidos claim Texas, all of Texas, a claim that is now being challenged by other biker gangs. 

This has nothing to do with what happened in Baltimore.  It's own little beast, and this call for the media to treat it in the same manner as the Freddie Gray stuff, I cannot abide.  No.  No, and more no.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


My truck's in the shop, so I had to take the bus home today.  Walking in my neighborhood to the house I passed a sign that I found curious.

It said
No stopping or standing.
I stopped.  I stood there.  I looked around.

This sign was a relic.   It sits in front of a row of cheap apartments set off the street only by a five foot wide strip of lawn.  Before the fence, before the sign, before the legalization of marijuana, one can imagine these apartments were a hub of drug activity.

If you stopped you were buying and if you stood you were selling.

No stopping or standing.

It took me a couple of blocks to come to this realization.  My first instinct upon seeing this sign was to grab it into both fists and shake it until it fell.

No stopping?  No standing?  No sign! 

But alas, it still stands, a reminder of all the little ways our lives and freedoms have been abridged by the misguided war on drugs.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

On Faith

My brother forwarded me an inspirational e-mail about self-publishing, and while it's something I've considered and will probably eventually do, the writing well these days is a bit dry.

Oh, I've got ideas.  And the chops to put them down.  I still have dreams, and I also have the practical need to be creative, but what I don't have is faith.

Faith in an audience which has been trained to expect certain shoutouts and concessions that I'm not really interesting in giving. I don't want to fix anything.  I don't want to declare my morality as superior.  I want to wallow in the broken areas of life and do it with a dispassionate artfullness that leaves the reader to do the fixing and the moralizing.

My goal is catharsis, not social change.  As it should be.

Let us not mention the inescapable fact that I'm a straight white male, and that chances are, my "hero" will also be a straight white male.  This is a demographic and genealogical reality that, if it must be mentioned, should matter not at all.

But matter it does, perhaps even more than the work.  Either I'm part of the dominant patriarchy that lords over everything --these straight white male heroes and their straight white male authors-- or I'm something to be actively avoided.

Once upon a time, Susan Hinton of Tulsa wanted to publish a book but they said, people don't read women.  So the author of The Outsiders was listed as S. E. Hinton.  The book has been in print since.  Surprisingly, people do read women!

I've thought a lot about that lately, the ever-present narrow-mindedness of the masses, the coy attempt to fool them, and in the end, the triumph of the work itself.  I'd like to think that can still happen.  I'm just not sure.

Which is why I think when I publish, I will do so under a pseudonym, and my author biography will read "[Insert Chosen Pseudonym] is the pseudonym of a guy you really don't want to know."

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Happy Daylight Savings Day

Andrew Sullivan, who practically invented blogging, announced in February that he would quit blogging...and then he did.

I didn't really quit, but I'm not sure I'd announce it either.

I will announce, however, my love for Youtube:

Lately I've been mining for live musical performances, some of dubious quality.  This one I would normally dismiss because it's clearly it's a recorder in the room, but I've listened to this track many times now and I wish...WISH...that Clutch had recorded a proper version of it.

Some of the lyrics are quite clever:
Romans came, made me wear a cross
In the end, my gain, their loss
Ah, Fall of the Roman Empire humor.

Also...Baroness playing "Green Theme." It's a great song, and it's also amazing how much the lead guitarist looks like an old friend named George.

These guys are a great band, so here's a twofer:

Friday, February 27, 2015


This song is so strange, so complex, so interesting, that I've listened to it fifteen times since I heard it last night.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dead Cats

On Saturday, my cat Marley was killed by some asshole driving down my street.  I buried her in my backyard.  I sat on my knees over the hole I had dug and told her I was sorry, sorry I let her out, sorry I wasn't there to protect, sorry there was nothing I could do but her in this hole.

I cried a little and held my remaining kitties closer that night.  (They were like...what the fuck, man?)

It's been a few days now and I've had bouts of sadness, but today I started to feel angry, angry at myself for not letting her in twenty minutes earlier.  Twenty minutes, and she'd still be up on the cat tree, purring when I walked by. 

But I also felt angry at the car that killed her.  Life is so fragile and the world so uncaring, but that doesn't mean you have to go barreling around killing cats.

Some people love those cats.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Distrust the Artist

Nice to see Down is back to making people bang their heads instead of scratch them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jesus Doesn't Like Jerks

Wait till this story blows up:
Azucar Bakery on South Broadway is under investigation for religious discrimination by the Civil Rights division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies stemming from a March 2014 incident.
A customer came into the store and requested a couple of cakes in the shape of Bibles, according to the owner Marjorie Silva.
Silva says the man pulled out a piece of paper with hateful phrases like "God hates gays" and requested her to write them on his cakes.
The baker, of course, refused.

And I have to admit, it's a very clever stunt.  A gay couple sues a bakery for refusing to bake them a cake for their wedding, so this guy is trying to make hay for a bakery refusing to bake them a cake for their own private little ceremony of hate.

It is, I admit, pretty funny that this is all unfolding in the bakeries of America.  I mean, what is it about flour and eggs that brings out the inner asshole of homophobic Evangelicals?

The way I see it, if these Evangelicals weren't uptight, impolite, and unprofessional, we wouldn't even have this problem of people refusing to bake cakes.

That should be the principle we draw from this.  It's not "public accommodations cannot discriminate."  It's "Don't be an asshole."

Monday, January 19, 2015

More Stuff

We apologize for poor judgment shown in a tweet sent earlier. We did not intend to compare football to the civil rights legacy of Dr. King.
A Tweet sent out by the Seattle Seahawks after they tweeted an inspirational MLK quote and then deleted.

Yesterday, like any Bronco fan I hope, I was really pulling for the Packers.  I was at work, so only peripherally involved in the game, but every time I looked up, Russell Wilson was getting picked off or pounded into the turf. 

I like Russell Wilson, but that felt so good.  I thought Green Bay had it.  They should have.  To have that kind of lead and that kind of game, and just blow it in the final minutes....  Man.  Against those bastard Seahawks no less?

On the AFC side, the Patriots beat the Colts, probably cheated too.  Yawn.  This year's Super Bowl is going to be like next year's Bush versus Clinton presidential race:  a snoozer.

Thank God for basketball.  (Kansas is playing tonight.  DVR'd it.)

American Sniper

It's interesting to me, from a business perspective, how this film has become a hit.  Bradley Cooper is "big."  Clint Eastwood is "big," although obviously aging out of his craft.  The subject matter, well, not always a box office draw.  Oscar heat alone can't account for a $100 weekend.  The holiday weekend, probably not either. 

It's January.  On the big release schedule of life, this is where films go to die.

But here we are, and the movie is a blockbuster.  The studio probably didn't count on this.  I know that the theaters didn't.  There are summer movies that won't make this much money in a weekend.

This is what I think did it:  The ads.

Most of the American Sniper trailers focused on tense, dramatic scenes rather than playing like a highlight reel of the movie.  You're not able to dismiss the movie, thinking you've seen the best parts already, and instead are left intrigued.  You want to know how the situation resolves itself. 

Does he shoot the kid with the RPG???

At some point in the near future, I'm going to have to see this movie.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dignity in Death

LAKEWOOD - A "Dignity in Death" rally was held Tuesday afternoon for a lesbian woman whose funeral last week was moved after a Lakewood church rejected photos that were used in a memorial video.
That last bit is very generous.  The corpse was in the chapel, the mourners were congregating, and the church said, "If you don't take out the photo of the gay marriage proposal, you have to leave." 

This is a familiar story:  Politicized Christians who think they have a religious obligation to discriminate against gay people.  It's a kinder, gentler version of the impulse that leads politicized Muslims to think they have a religious obligation to murder infidels.

And at this point, I'm over it.  I'm not going to waste one breath defending these assholes right to discriminate, religious freedom or no. 

But what really gets me is this kind of thing:
(Chaplain Gary) Rolando says it's a shame that Collier's friends are using her death to push an agenda.
And what "agenda" would that be?  Gay marriage isn't an agenda anymore.  It's how it is.   Seems to me that the only agenda this woman was pushing was "This was my life.  Remember it."

The real shame is that there are still people who think their religious beliefs trumps people's lives.