Beginnings and Endings

Dec 31 2015

Sitting down with my wife to watch yet another New Year’s Eve Twilight Zone Marathon. This never gets old for me.

My wife and I have had this little ritual for several years now. Heat up some frozen junk, have a couple of drinks, and cozy up on the couch all day/night/day/night spacing out on the #twilightzonemarathon.

After all these years, there is nothing else I would rather do on New Year’s Eve. Even when we know the twist in every episode, even though we always spend New Year’s Eve together this way, I never get tired of this ritual.

What makes this year’s ritual special is that we now have twin sons to share it with. (Thank you)

“Ring out the old, ring in the new,” or whatever similar refrain you hear everywhere this time of year, people tend to focus on beginnings and endings. Whether looking back with satisfaction or regret on the old year, or looking ahead to the upcoming year with anticipation or angst.

Still, I think my beginnings and endings are pretty heavy this year, all things considered.

What’s ending for me? That guy with no children and no dependents and no familial obligations. Kind of an obvious one there.

What’s beginning? My two sons’ lives, and all the promise held therein. And my new life with my sons.

Many people have their own annual ritual for New Year’s Eve, be it taking comfort and solace in the familiar, or seeking out a new experience each year. Whichever is the case, people focus on beginnings and endings.

Like writing, beginnings and endings are easy to script. It’s everything you do in between that’s hard.

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Ursula K. Le Guin on the State of Publishing

Nov 26 2014

In accepting the National Book Awards 2014 Distinguished Contribution award last week, author Ursula K. Le Guin blew the room away with a stunning and inspiring speech. [Via]

The speech is transcribed here, and the YouTube video embedded below. Short and succinct, yet profound.

What’s wrong with publishing these days? In a nutshell, capitalism. Same thing that’s wrong with everything else. What does one of our greatest future-thinking minds think needs to be done to save publishing?

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When Memes Collide

Nov 03 2014

I can’t wait for this impending three-way collision of memes.

What will it look like when the street harassment video meme collides with the Chelsea Handler nipple controversy, and then ricochets into the hot guy from target meme?

What kind of train wreck would that be?

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Does Anyone Give A Shit About A New Metallica Album?

Feb 06 2014

I sure don’t.

These sellout posers haven’t made a relevant album since 1988. That’s 25 years of pure drek.

Lars says in a Rolling Stone article that they’re taking their time writing. Would anyone care if Rolling Stone weren’t drumming up interest? They’ll make out like making an album takes longer now because they’re older and have other projects and families and bullshit like that. Really the album is taking so long because they’re out of usable ideas. They claim in the RS article that they have hundreds of pieces of music, yet no album. Sounds to me like even they are starting to realize they sound like shit.

The biggest of the “Big Four” thrash bands? Hardly. I’m much more interested in the new music Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax have released in recent years than the crap Metallica has farted out for the last quarter-century. These guys are living off four albums they made from ’83 to ’88.

Rumor is that Metallica is the reason there has been no new “Big Four” tour. That is a joke considering how terrible they sound live, and how good the “Other Three” sound. You’re better off seeing a Metallica cover band at a local bar than Metallica at this point. I’ve heard cover bands that sound more like Metallica than Metallica.

I think they should be dropped from the “Big Four” at this point. Perhaps replace them with Overkill or Manowar.

Do you give a shit about a new Metallica album? Comment as you see fit.

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Bloomberg Leaves Behind Strong Legacy

Dec 20 2013

Bloomberg's Legacy

New Yorkers dealing with Bloomberg’s shitty legacy

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Hanukkah Dinner: Feeds 6 Hungary People

Nov 02 2013

Hannukah Dinner

Feeds 6 Hungary People

Some Thanksgivukkah typo humor for ya

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Miley Cyrus SEO

Oct 08 2013

This is a shameless attempt to boost traffic to my blog by featuring “Miley Cyrus” as a search term.

This whole Miley vs. Sinead feud has me laughing. Yes, after the fourth open letter to Miley, Sinead is starting look a little kooky, but you must admit she had a point at first. Everything Miley has done since the infamous “twerking” episode at the MTV Video Music Awards has more in common with prostitution than with music.

Considering past VMAs featured classic music moments as Madonna and Britney Spears sucking face, does this surprise anyone? Between the VMAs and those stupid reality shows, the only way women get on MTV is by prostituting themselves and selling their bodies. I don’t want to sound like a curmudgeon, but no one is talking about the music on MTV.

Don’t get me wrong, prostitution has its place – in a whorehouse. But as long as MTV reduces its female artists to performing dry-hump strip teases and they willingly oblige, it’s hard to take the women of today’s MTV seriously as musicians. And doesn’t it seem like working for Disney just served to prepare Miley & Britney for a career in selling their bodies? And why would their parents consent to this? Oh, right – money. Enough money to buy your daughter’s integrity.

Real women rockers – Anne Wilson, Pat Benetar, Joan Jett, Sinead, Stevie Nicks, Adele – broke barriers by making great music, and are infinitely more beautiful for not objectifying themselves. They don’t need to.

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From the Garden of Doctor Moreau: The TomTato

Sep 27 2013

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August 6

Aug 06 2013

On August 6, 1945, The United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, making the United States the first, and still the only, nation to use a nuclear weapon against another nation.

I live in the United States, and I did not see this acknowledged anywhere in any media at all today. So I thought I would acknowledge it.

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Obama Speak With Forked Tongue

Jul 31 2013

The Audacity of Doublespeak.

Not-My-President Obama’s speech at an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee on Tuesday is the most glaring example in recent memory of a sitting President flaunting a lie, flaunting a crime, and flaunting an agenda, all at the same time. At least Nixon thought enough to attempt to cover up his criminality while in office. Obama feels no such pressure.

Prior to the speech, The White House had said “Tuesday’s speech will focus on manufacturing and high wage jobs for durable economic growth” and that “the President will discuss proposals he has laid out to jump-start private sector job growth and make America more competitive, and will also talk about new ideas to create American jobs.” [Thank you, Shelf Awareness]

Reception to the speech has been negative. Some of the responses, and the White House’s lack of response to the negative responses, are captured here at Publisher’s Weekly. Shelf Awareness details several publishing industry letters to the President here, though negative responses have come from many non-publishing sources.

These are not manufacturing jobs. These are jobs packing boxes with goods manufactured in other countries. When Obama talks about jump-starting private sector growth, he is saying that the American people are going to need to rely on the charity of multinational corporate bullies. That would be a different approach from the public-works and citizen-centric approach President Roosevelt undertook attempting to mitigate the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Obama’s speech is just one glaring example of his disdain for the American middle class.

Once you get past the fact that these are jobs that require no higher education, offer no health benefits, entail long hours of physical labor and substandard salary, as a middle class American you can only say “what the fuck is he talking about?!?”

There is nothing about these retail warehouse jobs that could be construed as beneficial for middle class Americans. And why would Obama advocate for a corporation who has spent billions lobbying state governments for exemption from payment of sales tax? How does corporate tax avoidance help the middle class?

Then you look back at the antitrust case the Department of Justice pursued against the leading book publishers and Apple, led by Stooge General Eric Holder. The DOJ had one of the weakest cases in the history of antitrust cases. The DOJ only triumphed because the publishers folded and settled rather than sink money into exorbitant legal fees. Even though Apple put up a good fight, and witnesses from B&N and Google showed the DOJ had no case, the court found in favor of the DOJ anyway, treating the outcome as a foregone conclusion of the accusation. So what was the motivation behind the DOJ’s case?

The agency-model pricing of the publishing companies was to ensure competition in the retail sphere. Amazon is mounting an aggressive war to destroy all competition for retail book sales, and is striving toward a monopoly. We have not seen such a powerful monopoly as that since the days of Standard Oil, the ‘gold standard’ of monopolies. If Amazon succeeds in creating a monopoly, they will raise prices to any absurdly high level. That is what monopolies do – history, Wall Street, and common sense all tell us this. Amazon has already begun.

It is somewhat tawdry that the publishing industry had to get into bed with Apple in order to fight Amazon, but preventing Amazon from becoming the only book retailer in America would ensure multiple retail sales channels continue to exist for the book-buying public – not just Apple and B&N, but also the thousands of independent booksellers located throughout the country.

The DOJ case handed Amazon the keys to their monopoly. Why would they do that? Shouldn’t they oppose monopolies and all such attempts at stifling competition? And why would Wall Street continue to allow Amazon’s stock to trade at absurdly high prices, despite the fact they are not yet profitable? The answer to both is that these entities want to see Amazon become a monopoly. And not just for books. For all retail.

All this, combined with that infamous no-bid contract for Kindles for the Government that was strangely canceled even though the government somehow felt a DRM-only-walled-garden e-reader was somehow best for public use, seem to point to Obama getting payola from Amazon.

Still another peanut for this pile of hot steaming shit: Obama is giving Amazon an interview for its Kindle Singles line, handing them an interview with a sitting President.

The goal of an Amazon total-monopoly-of-everything would ultimately be to move us to neo-feudalism – Everyone working for one company, purchasing for one company, one company to rule them all – Feudalism with e-ink screens, tablets and always-trackable smartphones. There’s no middle class in feudalism, so ultimately Obama’s speech is one of the most bald-faced examples of publicly disseminated unadulterated bullshit in the history of the United States.

Let me know what you think of White House collusion with Amazon and Wall Street – Comment as you see fit.

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