MTV Is Slaying It

Tonight’s MTV Movies/TV awards making history by not separating Best Actor into male/female (a designation which seems to have only existed to increase the numbers of awards given, as acting ability has precious little to do with gonads). I don’t see any obscenity here (haven’t been watching long) as in the old days. 

Instead, I see honor and respect and a dedication to the best impulses of the human spirit. A little political with the Best Fight Against the System category. Which is good. Some of the best literature, film, and art are born from political fervor.
Beautiful. Well done, kids. Well done.

Get On Up (2014) – Review

James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. 

“James Brown! James Brown!” –James Brown, 1972


James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. 

James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown.

James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown.

James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown.

James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown. James Brown.

Trump’s America – Week 1

Flint water crisis? What’s that?

Testing for clean drinking water in schools? Who cares?!

Ignoring Native American land rights ain’t no thang. (To be fair, Obama waited until 2 weeks to do squat. Thanks. Let alone Congress.)

I get not giving illegals privacy rights. I get wanting to make sure criminals face justice. I understand that. But how the actual fuck do you justify publishing a weekly list of crimes committed by members of a specific ethnic group? But how the actual fuck do you justify publishing a weekly list of crimes committed by members of a specific ethnic group? 

Every week, I could publish a list of crimes committed by African Americans, Asian Americans, and members of the LGBTQ community. It would be easy. Just as easy as publishing a weekly list of crimes committed by white Americans, Jewish Americans, plumbers, pilots, Catholics, or blue jean aficionados. It’s almost as if GASP crimes are committed by all sorts of people!

( Not bothering to post anything on education. The last time the federal government made a positive impact on education, Eisenhower had to call out the National Guard.)

From Facebook (Unverified as of now):

To recap:
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
* On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
* On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
* On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
* On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
* On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
* On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
* On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
* On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
* On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
* On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
* On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
* On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
* On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
* On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.

And [Jan. 25]: the wall and a Muslim ban.

Congratulations. You have your country back. Sorry, we couldn’t get you all the way to 1945. Only got as far as 1969. Enjoy!

Snowflakes, mount up.

Know what’s really weird, though? I’m not even a liberal! I’m pro-life, I’m a practical Catholic, and I think socialism doesn’t work. I just think we should throw First Nations people a bone once in a while, protect the environment in which we live — and upon which we depend to survive as a species — and occasionally help those who cannot help themselves. You know. Like Jesus said to do.

Image result for whatever you do for the least of these

How to Survive as an Autistic Adult in America

Lots of HFA/Aspie/autistic adults such as myself may find it difficult to do even the simplest of non-disabled tasks. Tasks such as driving a car, moving out of your parents’ house, or even finding someone cute who likes you back can be monumental hurdles for adults with disabilities, especially if those disabilities are primarily mental, such as with autism.

Luckily, I’ve come up with this 5 step guide to help you, as an American with autism, survive in today’s world.

Step 1: Be a Techie

codemonkeys

If you have autism, you need to love computers. I don’t just mean video games. You need to love coding, assembling microchips, providing IT support, and all that good stuff. If you are more artistically-minded or if you don’t live anywhere close to Silicon Valley, stop doing that immediately. People with autism are not allowed to be artists, unless they are already well-off with a lot of established connections. The arts — especially the world of publishing, comics, and literature — is no place for a low-to-middle class person with autism and no connections. You need to be a techie, no matter how much you hate it or how little talent/motivation you have for it.

Step 2: Be Grateful

As a disabled adult, your primary purpose is to give non-disabled people inspiration. You’re supposed to help other people realize that they have the inner strength necessary to overcome life’s problems. Your own problems don’t matter. No  matter how bad your life is, remember that you don’t get to complain ever. Complaining, like job satisfaction, is for those of sound mind and body only. So be grateful for everything you have, even if everything you have would reduce a non-disabled person to a quivering  mass of horror and panic were your situations reversed.

Step 3: Accept All Advice

People are going to be giving you advice. No matter how terrible it is, you have to take it. If you don’t, you are Ungrateful. And there is nothing worse for a disabled person to be than Ungrateful. Remember, techniques that people without disabilities say work will work for you, even if you’ve already tried them to no avail 14,000 times. Clearly, you are not trying hard enough or you just aren’t doing it right. Try their advice again and again. But remember, even if you do go quite mad from all this effort, you are not allowed to complain or even to politely decline anyone’s advice. Unless that advice comes from someone else with a mental or physical disability. Their experience doesn’t count.

Step 4: Remember that Your Opinions, Feelings, and Interests Do Not Matter

title_card_all_your_fault

All that matters in this world is what other people tell you matters. Your own opinions or feelings don’t come into it. Remember, your emotions, no matter how uncontrollable they may seem, are your own fault. If you feel a constant sense of dread that lasts for hours, days, weeks, or even months, it is entirely your fault because you are clearly too weak. You need to be stronger. Pray more, accept more advice, keep doing what other people tell you to do, even if it doesn’t make any sense. You don’t have a right to an explanation, a sense of peace or serenity, or a life filled with anything more than constant drudgery punctuated by joy. You don’t have any rights at all.

Step 5: It’s All Up to You

In the end, the only person who can help you succeed is you. If you’re not able to make the right connections or find the best jobs or if you blow an interview because you get manipulated into mentioning the fact that you do not drive, it’s your fault. You need to do better and try harder next time. It’s your responsibility to keep emailing contacts, even if you’re pretty sure at this point you’re just harassing them. Think outside the box, unless the advice-givers tell you not to.

It’s up to you to go and get that career/relationship/life other people think it’s within your ability to get. And if you can’t rise to their expectations, let alone your own, it is because you are weak. Remember, there are lots of famous people from history that we think may have probably didn’t have autism. So if you’re not at least as successful as them, it’s entirely your fault.

Step 6: Think Positive

cthulhu_by_mobius_9.jpg

While these steps may seem impossible, as you slowly allow yourself to go insane, you will begin to realize just how small we all are on this pathetic planet. You will realize that you are indeed the Lizard King and can do anything. As you tear through the veil separating this world from the next, rejoice and sing a song of fire and blood that brings this world to its knees. Remember, anything is possible!

toxic-inc

The superhero comic is dead. Long live the superhero comic.

I love Marvel Comics. Always have. Especially the cosmic stuff, Busiek’s Avengers run, and the Uncanny X-Men as written by the inimitable — a word I see everywhere but cannot define — Chris Claremont.

But things just aren’t as fun anymore. Look, I know what you’re thinking. And no. This has nothing to do with the recent changes to the Avengers line-up. Riri’s cool. Jane Foster as Thor kicks butt. I love Sam Wilson.

My favorite scenes in Captain America: Winter Soldier are when Cap and Falcon are out of costume, just being friends.

I would watch the hell out of a Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson buddy movie. Like, no superhero stuff. Just Steven and Sam renting a condo for the summer and getting into wacky shenanigans. Maybe Carol Danvers shows up, and the three of them crash a party at a swanky resort where they act all silly and there’s this old lady going “Well, I never.”

I would watch the shit out of that.

As for having Sam as Cap? It works. All-New Avengers volume 1, the one with Miles Morales, the new Nova, and the new Ms. Marvel is fantastic. Miles Morales is written hilariously, and Nova and Ms. Marvel’s interactions are some of the most amusing cringe-fests ever commited to paper. Falcon (he’s always Falcon to me. I just love me some Falcon) has to deal with haters who comment “Where’s the real one?” and “Not my Captain America,” echoing the sort of people who start their sentences with “I’m not a racist, but…

(Kind of like I did at the start of this post. Isn’t it weird how white guys like me are more worried about being perceived as racist than trying to figure out how we can combat racism itself?)

But here’s the thing. These comics, for me, just aren’t as much fun as they used to be.

Maybe it’s because grad school combined with a full-time job has left little time to catch up on story lines (the Red Skull did WHAT?!). Maybe it IS the shifting demographics in Marvel. Am I that thin-skinned as to be put off by increased diversity?

Is it the fact that Reed Richards, Tony Stark, and several of the other so-called heroes have been outed as almost as evil as the evil they oppose?

I missed most of the comics dealing with the incursions and the Builders and all that world-ending stuff. It looked cool, yeah, but what the actual fuck, Marvel? It’s like they lost their damn minds. They realized nobody reads comics anymore* and just decided “Heck with hit. No one’s reading anyway. Let’s just go crazy!”

In the end, maybe the problem is just that the times are a-changing and comics are finally changing with them. The increased emphasis on diversity — gender and racial — is part of it (and long overdue, frankly). But you know what? It’s more than that. Marvel (and DC for that matter) have (for once) stopped giving us the same stories over and over. You know. The Busiek stories. The fun stories. The safe stories. The House of Ideas and the House of El are doing something fans have been demanding for decades now: Actually advancing and resolving character plot-lines. Actually changing. Having stories with — gasp! — consequences. Dealing with real-world issues. Basically, doing a lot of what makes comics good.

Don’t get me wrong. Ultron still wants to destroy all humans, and Lex Luthor is still (I assume?) a bad guy. But even though Cyclops got Phoenix powers, the resolution to Avengers vs. X-Men was NOT  a redo of the Dark Phoenix Saga.

But you know…Sam Wilson is not my Captain America. And Miles Morales is not my Spider-Man. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t like those characters. I love both characters, and I’m ecstatic over the fact that Marvel is finally acknowledging the fact that they have millions of nonwhite fans.

I think I’m just not comfortable right now with the stories Marvel is telling. I’m having trouble finding an entry point into Avengers, specifically (X-Men has been consistently awesome, more or less, since the early 2010s. Mostly in X-Force.) This is a shame because I subscribed to Avengers at the very start of Busiek’s run back in the 90s (a happy coincidence). These all-new, all-different guys just…aren’t the ones I grew up with. That’s all. I dunno. I like to think that the changing demographics of the Avengers line-up is just the surface of what’s got me so hot and bothered. I hope it’s not residual racism rearing up from the reptilian section of my brain. But if it is, I hope I have the courage to change — to adapt — as Marvel has.

Without adaptation, a species cannot survive.

The superhero comic is dead. Long live the superhero comic.

Meanwhile, old geezers** like me who grew up on exaggerated tales of killer robots, alien invasions, and other Troperiffic fare will just feel like the folks in this Monty Python clip which my 12-year-old students would find exceedingly boring:

Footnotes:

*Nobody reads comics = very few people go into comic stores and buy physical books. A few hundred thousand or so. Millions and millions read free comics on scans-daily, download comics through apps, and watch both live-action and animated adaptations. Hell, I used to think X-Men #1 was about Jubilee escaping the Sentinels.

**People who remember Geocities, Neopets, and Friendster. (Think your dad’s Facebook account, Pokemon GO, and MySpace, kids.)

Pointless Political Musings

I hate posting about politics. No one listens if they’ve already made up their mind. No one wants to consider another side. People who change their minds are, after all, flip-floppers. Better to continuously support wickedness than “flip-flop” to the side of truth and justice.

Anyway.

Fox News. Let’s talk. It’s on all the time at my house. I consider myself a bit of an expert, as I’ve seen most of their programming. A couple of their shows, I even like. (Hi, @KennedyNation)

Unlike mainstream media news programming (ABC, CBS, NBC), Fox News (and MSNBC, I assume, as their sister network) presents a single, unified narrative to the American people. Alternative views are presented, mocked, and discarded. Guests who disagree with the host are brought on, present their points (poorly) and are shut down with the weakest arguments imaginable. A single story is allowed to take hold and flourish.

That single story, in essence, is that the Democratic Party of the United States is the true heir of fascism. Led and bankrolled by George Soros and Ivy League elites, liberal organizations in general and the Democratic Party in particular are on a mission from the Not God they don’t worship to destroy America as we know it.

We know this because Fox News says it is true. And Fox News can never be wrong because they’ve promised never to lie to us. Not like those dirty mainstream networks do.

Fox News functions a bit like a cult. Those who get sucked in can no longer value outside perspective. Those of you who enjoy the majority of their programming have already either closed the tab or gone to the comments to lecture me about the glories of Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly.

Part of what makes Fox News so attractive is that their anchors actively reject any appearance of academic achievement. Academia, in fact, is the enemy. This makes sense. Socialism is extremely popular in academia. Glenn Beck got that much right. So when they talk to you like someone you can have a beer with, it’s easy to trust them because, hey, they’re your buddies. Not like those fancy college boys with all their boring numbers and facts. No, we’ve got our own numbers and facts, conflicts of interest be damned! And our anchors are way, way cuter.

kennedy

Well, they are.

In any case, who am I to talk? Growing up in the 90s, I just accepted that sexism was still a problem we were working on in this country. I saw evidence of sexism whenever guys felt like they could just grab women randomly or when locker-room/guy-talk (as disgusting as it could be) was met with a shrug.

I saw evidence of racism at least in my own family. I had family members who would wear that badge with pride. When my science teachers and Captain Planet warned us about global warming, I believed them. Because they were showing and explaining to me logically how these things were happening. Years later, I listened to the climate change argument — that global warming could wind up causing an ice age — with equal acceptance.

I listen to experts. To scientists. To doctors. I trust them. Why? Because they are academics. I trust people who read the big thick books I haven’t gotten to yet. \

But why do I speak as one with authority? As if my way is the only true way? Simple. That’s how Fox News has changed the dialogue in this country. It’s no longer “come with me on this journey toward enlightenment.” No. Now, it’s totally acceptable to say “come with me and I’ll tell you why you’re wrong.”

Can’t blame Fox News entirely for that. Only partially. Not sure where else the blame lies. Probably I’m just entitled, as you can tell by all the cars and trophies my parents bought me…

(Ok, they did buy me one trophy, but I thought it was dumb, and I really didn’t think I deserved it. It was for being a good shot on school field trip to Camp High Harbor. That’s right. At 6th grade, they let us shoot rifles at a YMCA camp. I went to a public school. The 90s were a weird time.)

But of course, if I can’t see that NASA’s own research is tainted with the blood money of George Soros (billionaire activist who funds things much as the Koch brothers also fund things), it is obvious I’m just another liberal zombie, brainwashed by the Hollywood Ivy League Elite to bring down this great country.

Yes, I’ve been on food stamps. Yes, I’ve been on disability. I didn’t like going on either. I didn’t get thousands and thousands from the government. I don’t expect handouts. I don’t want handouts.

But I don’t believe Obamacare is the reason businesses aren’t hiring. (It may be the reason SMALL businesses aren’t hiring, though. Quick sidenote: This is why I didn’t vote for Obama. I thought Obamacare would be too damn expensive for a country of 300 million, though much less expensive than single-payer. I hate being right all the time.)

Big companies like Delta and AT&t aren’t hiring because businesses exist to make money. The 2008 recession taught businesses that they could layoff thousands of Americans and still make money. Why the hell would they start hiring now? Make no mistake. The only thing businesses hate more than customers is employees.

So sure. Repeal Obamacare. Insurance will still suck. It doesn’t matter. Insurance companies exist to screw you over. We know this because every insurance company has operated the same way since the first insurance companies were founded in Little Italy around the turn of the century. Back then, they were called protection rackets.

godfather2

1947 meeting of the Five Families: Lucchese, Genovese, Gambino, Profaci, and Aetna.

 

Nowadays, insurance companies don’t go through the trouble of beating you up if you don’t pay. Instead, they wait for something terrible to happen, so they can pounce and deny you services. Oh, you still have to pay protection. But we won’t keep your storefront from getting smashed in. Sorry. Them’s the brakes.

And as for picking your own doctors? Before, you went to the doctor the insurance company picked. Now you go to the doctor the government picks? What, exactly, is the difference if affordable choices are still limited?

And is it weird to anyone else that medical costs don’t seem to obey the laws of supply and demand? If we have fewer sick people (demand sinks), medical costs go up. A breakthrough in technology (supply rises)? Medical prices go up. If everyone’s on anti-depressants, shouldn’t they be cheaper? It’s like there’s a cartel thing going on.

But yeah. None of this matters. There will never be a Savior on capitol hill. And no one who disagrees has had their mind changed.

Some days, I can’t wait for our whole civilization to come crashing down.

And feeling like that, folks, is proof that white male privilege exists. Because unlike members of other American minority groups (women, African Americans, Jews, Muslims), I will probably do alright during the apocalypse. No one lynches white male autistic Catholics when the going gets rough.

Not first, anyway.

 

How Protests Work

Say what you will about Black Lives Matter. At least they understand the fundamental fact about protesting: In order to be effective, it has to be disruptive. They didn’t call it a “sit-in” because Dr. King and co. were standing quietly with placards in a special cordoned area, out of sight of racist business-owners and their racist customers. The idea that protests should only happen in certain, legally-sanctioned spaces is ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the fact that people choose to abide by such totalitarian regulations. If I want to protest a business or organization, I’m not going to do it three streets away, in an alley, facing a brick wall.

Since Ghandi’s Salt March, the whole point of nonviolent resistance has been the spectacle. Plan something public. Make sure the press will be there. Let the bad guys come and beat the crap out of you. Sit back and watch world opinion force the bad guys to cave to your demands. That’s how it works. That’s how the Civil Rights Act of 1964 got passed. That’s how the British Raj fell. That’s how you get what you want.

That said, if you’re protesting just because your union says you have to, please stay in those cordoned areas. No one cares that labor and management couldn’t come to an agreement over dental plans before October 1st. I gotta get to Cincinnati.

And if you’re a teacher striking during the school year?

Quit your job because you clearly don’t care about it. 

And if you’re a teacher whose union threatens your job if you do not protest during the school year, go outside and picket those jackasses.

This is not Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, or Airstrip One. You can protest anyone, anywhere, at any time. And if they don’t let you, sue the bastards. What’s more American than that?

Indecision 2016

The current election appears to be a no-win scenario. I’m not a big fan of Hillary, but Trump, in my eyes, lost the election with his talk of the of Mexican illegal immigrants being rapists. Sorry, you don’t get to generalize about 11 million of the world’s poor like that and then be leader of the free world. Not in my America. So then I thought Ok. Maybe I’ll go third party.

Then I saw this sad display:

I know what Aleppo is. Should I run for president when I turn 35?

So yeah. Now I feel like this:

Side-Note: In the above video, I am all three characters.

Foot-Note: I once rode the bus with a woman who wore an eye patch everyday. Yes, she did look like a pirate. Yes, it was cool. And no, I never spoke with her, though she seemed friendly enough.

Head-Note: I hope you listened/watched that whole Trump video. He says we have no idea who’s coming in. Really? I suppose the Syrians are just WALKING over the Atlantic? Trump needs a kickstarter. He’s got a billion dollars and no globe.

Shoulders-Note: And yes, that’s an old Trump clip. But if we can criticize Hillary over this mess from four years ago, we can criticize Trump over comments from last year.