2008. Amsterdam. I enter an empty bar. It is the dead of winter. It is cold and the streets are deserted. As is the bar. Deserted but for the barkeep. A British man standing behind the counter looking stoic. Early Iron Maiden plays featuring the first singer, Paul Di’Anno.
“My boyfriend left me last night and took all my records. All but Iron Maiden. The early Maiden. With the best singer. Paul Di’Anno. But it’s all right. I can listen to Paul Di’Anno the rest of my life.”
Posted onJune 29, 2015|Comments Off on There is nothing civil about this war
Since Bree Newsome took down the Confederate battle flag isn’t she a war hero? A living civil war veteran?
Only non-racists get to eat ice cream.
She, with the help of Jimmy Tyson scaled the flagpole at the capitol of South Carolina and removed the Confederate battle flag placed there because the state of South Carolina is unhappy that they are forced to live in a multicultural society. A group of supporters observed from the ground. But the state of South Carolina put the flag back up less than an hour later. In time for an important rally for white supremacy. They actually had a rally for white supremacy scheduled that morning. It was on the schedule. Someone called and said, “We’re coming for a rally for white power on the capitol grounds. Is the Confederate battle flag still waving proudly?” And the clerk in the South Carolina office of white supremacist coordination and battle flag raising said, “The Confederate battle flag is waving proudly every day here. This is South Carolina.” Then he (or she, they’ve come a long way in South Carolina) said “White Power!” And the rally organizer answered “White Power!” And they each hung up.
Taking down the confederate battle flag, on the other hand, was an unscheduled act. So the state of South Carolina have arrested Bree Newsome and Jimmy Tyson and charged them with “defacing monuments on state capitol grounds” regardless of the fact that someone already defaced the state capitol by flying the battle flag of the Confederacy, the historic enemy of the USA, like the Third Reich or ISIS. And until Bree Newsome and Jimmy Tyson came along, no one had the civic pride to do something about it.
Would it have made any difference if they called ahead and scheduled the clean up? I’m just confused about what it is that is really bothering South Carolina. I don’t think most states would mind if I went to their capitols and helped dispose of some trash, on my own time. Depending on the state I might even be awarded some sort of civic pride badge.
So, South Carolina is holding Bree Newsome and Jimmy Tyson, US civil war POWs, and threatening them with up to 3 years in prison as political prisoners and up to a $5,000 fine for non-littering.
But isn’t South Carolina insisting on flying the Confederate battle flag treason?
But the important thing is that the white supremacists had a nice rally at the capitol. The confederate battle flag was waving. There was some potato salad and other white foods, like white bread and mayonnaise. And everyone had a nice time and nobody got killed.
Supporters of the Confederate battle flag, claiming they are being misrepresented would now like to have a national discussion about that flag and what it really means. What it means is, if that is your flag, you are a loser. The US already fought the civil war. If some southern states insist on fighting it again they will go down in history as two time losers.
This will not end well. Except for Bree Newsome and Jimmy Tyson. They are going to get veteran benefits dating back to May 09, 1865.
I have a joke about Gennady Zyuganov, Head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, but odds are you will never hear it. Even though Gennady Zyuganov is a funny name. To western ears. And this has nothing to do with the podcast. Sort of.
Two pieces, one about Barack Obama telling jokes, one about George W. Bush having a one track mind.
I don’t ordinarily do topical material. The danger being that people will forget things like that the Nobel prize was given out to a man running a war or that the president of the USA hired a male escort to sit in the press gallery and ask questions in briefings, or that a previous candidate for president blamed a hurricane on “the homosexuals, feminists, and the ACLU,” acting in concert to make it rain. Those kind of things get lost in the mist of time. Are washed away with the years. Get drowned in a bathtub of memories.
The business professor came into class, sat his books down and stared at his students. He waited a few moments, then said, in a loud and clear voice, “The first rule in business is never name your product line after Hitler.” One of the students was incredulous. “Is this something that really has to be taught?” The business professor looked to the side sardonically.
Another student asked, “What if it’s really clever?” “No.” Another student asked, “What if the art is really great? I mean really really great?” “No.” A third student said, “What if it’s ice cream? Or some sort of candy treat?” The business professor stood for a moment silently, dumbstruck. He did not know what to say.
The ice cream CEO came into the board room and slammed his hand on the desk. “I need this ice cream to be the most delicious ice cream that has ever been eaten by man! I need it to be so good we could get away with putting Hitler on the package! I don’t think I’m asking too much here.”
This episode of the David Raffin podcast begins with an homage to the golden age radio show Escape!
Then a story about a trip filled with false fronts. But I must warn you, should you seek to emulate the trail, the poison gas has since been removed from those roadside pup tents. It was for the best. It was a terrible tourist draw.
(By the way, and this has nothing to do with the podcast episode so where better to place the observation but right here, I recently read George Orwell’s Such, Such Were The Joys and in this remembrance of British boarding schools he always refers to children as “it.” Was this the parlance of the day– that all children are gender neutral until they reach a specified age?)
Back to the podcast. I close with Questions About Cake, a serious discussion of the history of sweets and death.
This second episode of the David Raffin podcast is both delightful and delicious. It’s about pancakes and war. And it has robots in it. And Stanley Kubrick. Yes, all that in a 10 minute package. For free. Almost like it was made by a robot. For robots.
And it was.
“Hasford” by Unknown – en:Image:Hasford.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
This episode also offers a story about Gustav Hasford, author of the novel The Short-Timers, which became the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket.
“The praise I seek from my readers is that they finish my books. After being alternately damned and praised for equally invalid reasons, I am content to trade fame for accuracy of interpretation. Fame, for a writer, is like being a dancing bear with a little hat on your head.” – Gustav Hasford
Somewhere I have photocopies of his work as a young college student, copied from yellowing newsprint.
Posted onMay 22, 2015|Comments Off on Full Shatner on Shatner Action
I wrote this review of Shatnerquake by Jeff Burk in 2009 and I stand by it. Perhaps even more so now than ever before.
Jeff Burk’s Shatnerquake is the finest story ever told containing multiple William Shatners. Lesser authors have been shackled before now with writing only one role for Shatner. This is understandable, in the field of television and film, for logistical reasons. However, this has never been the case in the literary realm and Burk has led the way here with both great panache and bloodletting.
Unsatisfied with a single Shatner, Burk here provides a wall of Shatners. A smorgasbord of Shatners. Indeed, every possible variation of Shatner is set upon onlookers, each other, and the reader. No one is safe, let alone Shatner.
While some people have, in the past, mocked Shatner, deriding his skill as a thespian, song stylist, or margarine spokesman, Burk has shown that the problem has never been one of too much Shatner, rather too little. Free of casting limitations the literary form allows for full Shatner on Shatner action. At last Shatner is presented on a level playing field, where characters are of the same caliber.
With Shatnerquake, Burk has solved the Shatner dilema, which has plagued man since 1951, and he shall be remembered forever for this.
Author Daniel Keyes died last year. He wrote the masterpiece Flowers for Algernon which was first published as a short story in 1959 and later expanded into a novel.
Flowers for Algernon was part of the new wave of psychological science fiction, its story slightly set in the future and eschewing rockets and other planets instead giving readers an epistolary story presented as the journal of a man with an IQ of 68 before and after an operation to increase his intelligence by three hundred percent.
The book is on the American Library Association’s list of 100 most challenged books, wherein librarians track the efforts of non-readers to prevent children from reading. Labeling the book as “filthy and immoral” is, in fact, a high recommendation, especially to teenagers.
It was required reading when I was in the seventh grade, to the consternation of one classmate who was angry that “They want to make me read a book written by someone who can’t spell.”
The book is actually about self realization and loss.
An interesting note about the story: it was written for Galaxy magazine, but the author refused to change the ending so it appeared instead in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. When revised into a novel it was rejected by many publishers, again because the author refused to change the ending. It has never been out of print since publication.
Over at the podcast Escape Pod, they have an episode featuring a reading of the original 1959 short story. (link)