Monthly Archives: June 2010

Martin Feldman resurrects Igor

Before you ask, I am not talking about this Martin “Marty” Feldman:

He was a legendary English comedic actor who in fact, played Igor in Young Frankenstein.

I am talking about this Martin Feldman, a Federal judge in Louisiana.

What a tool.

Okay, he isn’t that bad. But his presence in the news of late throws him into extreme scrutiny, and deservedly so. His decision to overturn Obama’s moratorium on deep-water drilling has not garnered many accolades outside of his local constituencies and like-minded peers. My knee-jerk response was to condemn him, but I had to step back and look at the situation more objectively. Few things are black or white; the truth lies somewhere in between those two values. Even the growing amorphous blob of black oil in the Gulf has cast a dark gray in waters that no light or sky’s reflection can penetrate. It is a tragic sight indeed, and taking precautionary measures to prevent this from getting even worse should be a no-brainer. Still, we are left with a polarizing dilemma. While necessary, it is challenging if not impossible for many to set aside their emotions to draw conclusions based on reality and objective thought. But, I’ll give it a whirl.

Before I went off the deep end in the assumption that the conservative right is out for Liberal blood, I forced myself to swim to shore to see the impetus behind this action. I must say that there are some compelling reasons to keep business going as usual. First and foremost is that the state depends on this to keep afloat. Upwards of 32,000 people in Louisiana make their livelihood in the oil industry, and it provides the state with $3 billion in revenue. Even though the moratorium affects only 33 exploratory sites out of the close to 4,000 active oil wells in the Gulf, this does have the potential to result in job reduction due to lost revenue from idle rigs. Let us not forget that this affects the whole country, as well. Our goal to lessen dependence on foreign oil is impeded if we can’t fully tap into domestic resources.

Statistics can be dehumanizing, but it is not difficult to appreciate the impact this could have on families who rely on the oil industry to live. It would be exacerbated by a weakened economy forced to compensate by budget cuts and tax increases, thus amplifying the hardship on the families with little to no income. From that perspective, I can understand a lot of people applauding Martin Feldman’s deed.

When dealing with a massive population, by and large, ethical pragmatism is needed in governance. Ethical pragmatism is basing decisions on what is best for the greater good without the intent to harm others. Defining that greater good is the tricky part. This disaster is not only hurting a local economy, it will be felt across the globe in a ripple effect of economic adversity and ecological damage. Our already hobbled economy will feel this from our gas tanks to our dinner plates. This is primarily due to the scales capsizing on the side of demand as the supply of seafood diminishes, amongst other things. The suffering does not stop with the people, despite the inclination of certain idealogies to place the needs of humans over animals. They are missing the bigger picture. Marine life that is so important to the ecosystem is being buried alive in sludge. There are species that are at risk for extinction, as well. How will our earth fare if half the creatures that keep our waters alive and clean are gone?

Once again, we manufactured a disaster that speaks to the unfairness of the food chain and pecking order. Leave it to the humans to muck things up in epic fashion: the salt of the earth paradoxically salts the earth. Again.

 Obama’s decision was based on ethical pragmatism, as well as exercising caution in an untenable situation. The explosion was preventable and the resulting leak should have been repaired post haste, much less that lives were lost as a direct result. The prudent thing to do while fixing the damage is to remove as many variables as possible. It may appear reactionary—lightning rarely strikes twice. However, why test those odds? Just imagine as the hole gushes thousands of barrels, i.e., millions of gallons, of oil every day, another one occurs in the same waters. British Petroleum is already on the hook for billions of dollars that in all likelihood, will cause them to sink before they can pay the balance in full. Let’s face reality here. The government, and subsequently the people, are going to pay for this. The demise of any large entity is felt far and wide, hence the reason the failure of the banking industry brought us to our collective knees. Why compound the problem by relying on a deity to spare us his wrath? That begs the question, as it does not make sense that our alleged “intelligent designer” would destroy what he created. Yet, group prayer across states has been suggested as a means to a solution. But I digress.

So, who is right, or at least more correct? More to the point, who is looking at the situation most objectively? Based on both arguments, that may be a toss up because some of the fears, while not voiced by Chicken Little, are somewhat hypothetical at this point. Viewing historical trends, it seems all the arguments are quite plausible. With my limited resources, as I am not an economist nor a historian, I must look to the source of this controversy, thus explaining my Igor reference.

Igor is a fictional character who blithely served his villanous masters. Marty Feldman’s hilarious portrayal of that character went down in cinema history. Martin Feldman’s Igor will go down in infamy, but none of us are laughing. Why do I consider him to be Igor? Well, he is serving the current enemy of the states—British Petroleum, as it has been revealed that he has financial interests in them, along with other oil companies. That should make everyone, including Abby Normal, go “Mmmmmm”. As with Dick Cheney’s Haliburton, the burden of proof should be thrown back to the source. “Mr. Feldman, did you make this decision without consideration for your own financial gain? Might I remind you that you cannot prove a negative.”

The following is an observation based not on fact, but a conclusion drawn from what this behavior usually represents. His actions smack of grandstanding. The aging judge from the Reagan era would have faded into obscurity until this golden opportunity came along to pound on his puffed up chest. His core position was probably not persuaded by the desire for fame, as he is a “drill, baby, drill” proponent. However, did the potential consequences galvanize him to this extreme response? Was there a pleasurable jolt of power that he could stand up to the Almighty Obama and abrogate his ruling?

My little odyssey has circled me back to where I started. The moratorium is the right thing to do until the problem can be contained and we are on the road to recovery. The damage is more far-reaching than the state of Louisiana, and will go into the decades to reverse, if that can even be done. 

As for a potential solution, British Petroleum should reorganize and make it their business to fix the damage—locally and globally—as well as compensate for the resulting burden on the people. They should also make it their charge to find alternate solutions for our energy and fuel to replace oil completely, so that an encore performance will not occur.

Bwahahaha. HA! You thought I was serious about that, right? They’ll be dead and buried before that happens. I was serious, actually, but then reality kicked in. We’re damned if we do, and damned even more if we don’t. All we can hope for is that this crisis is not wasted on ignorance.

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Creatures of the trite

Women have the potential for very active and intricate sexual fantasies; I readily argue that they are more inventive than most men are inclined to entertain. They can be so complex to the point where they are near impossible to choreograph in reality. Making love in a rainstorm is easy to replicate. But, can you plan the clap of thunder to be in synchrony with the rip of your negligee as it is torn in half and pulled from your drenched but flawless skin in the throes of passion? Oh yes, and, the lightning should illuminate the sky and cast the perfectly pulchritudinous lovers in a chiarascuro of sensual artistic display. While a beautiful, poetic symphony of primal lust, chances are good: it ain’t gonna happen just like that. Being female, I admit that I have stopped mid-daydream and wondered outloud “What the hell am I thinking?” before I continue with my elaborately scripted internal drama. Why? Because it is fun and takes me away to a better place than Calgon ever can. We need that stress-relieving escape on occasion. Plus, it is the cheapest form of entertainment. It costs nothing to let one’s mind wander for a spell. Not to be guilty of solopsism, but I am quite confident that no other woman with a pulse can cook up what I have going in my prurient little mind.

Then, there are more base fantasies that are appealing to many. Okay, I will just come out and say it: the rape fantasy. Admit it ladies, you’ve considered it and chances are good that you have asked for it.  How many have actually enjoyed it, though? I suspect that for the majority it has gone anywhere from disappointment to a traumatic experience. Losing control is good to explore, to a point. The fantasy allows us to forgive ourselves for enjoying it like the little whores we are. We have no choice because we are forced to do so. But, “rape lite”  isn’t all fun and games, even when consensual. “I don’t care that I said you shouldn’t take no for an answer, when I say no I mean NO!” Objectively, I can picture myself crying my way out of that bag. So, I am content just imagining that there are men out there who want me so badly they will take me by force if need be. Preferably, on a beach with the backdrop of a gibbous moon.     

But, this isn’t about me. Because, the fantasy I am honing in on for this post is not one shared by yours truly. Try as I might, I have no desire to be saddled with the burden of being the object of obsession of not one mythical monster, but two of them. Not only that, a war to the death is waged in my honor. Yes, I am talking about a vampire and a werewolf. In the unlikely event that this would happen to me, I’d torch the first with the cross he made me bear with his creepy, undead love, and impale the other with that same cross—silver, of course. Hey, it’s my world and I can MacGuffin it as I damn well please.

There are a host of contemporary female authors I suspect fancy the idea that deadly monsters would lust after them. They fulfill that wish via the characters they create in their books. Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse, Stephanie Meyer’s Bella Swan (you can look, but don’t touch), and the lesser known Richelle Mead’s Eugenie Markham of her Dark Swan series. In all fairness to the last one, the mythical men who are insane with lust for the heroine are not monsters, per se. They are a faerie king and a supernatural dude who can turn into a fox at will.

What stands out about all these characters is that none of them are particularly remarkable. While they all have a supernatural power, it does not extend to their attractiveness and desirability to justify such insane desires from creatures that don’t exist in the first place. Anita Blake dresses down in black jeans and Nike sneakers, and she sleeps with stuffed penguins. Sookie is a virginal waitress from a small town in Louisiana. Okay, Bella Swan has no power outside of apparently having scrumptuous blood and a great rockstar name. As for Eugenie, she is on the path towards obesity and heart disease with her daily breakfast of Poptarts.

Only two of the book series mentioned have been brought to film. This gives the viewer (meaning me) the opportunity to see what all the fuss is about with these characters. Alas, I am left more confused than before. While both Kirsten Stewart of the Twilight movies and Anna Paquin of Sookie’s True Blood are very good actresses and were cast well according to the authors’ descriptions, I fail to see the mind-scrambling allure. Yes, they both are cute. There are a lot of cute girls in this world, thus, there are plenty in the pool of potential conquests from which vampires and werewolves may choose. Why them? I’m just not feeling it. I am having to work hard enough to suspend disbelief that monsters exist and want to copulate with us mere mortals; don’t make my job more difficult by making said mortal of choice the naïve girl next door.

If I were a vampire, while recognizing time is on my side, I wouldn’t be wasting it with a wide-eyed country boy or an angst-filled teenager with a droning inner dialogue and a maddening tendency towards dramatic, ellipses-filled pauses; I would be glamouring the glamorous. If I had the power, I’d use it to full advantage. Jude Law would be my pet, and I am pretty confident I’d grow tired of him fairly quickly (relatively speaking considering we are talking about vampire years). I can think of an extensive list of hot bodies that I could plow through. I can imagine that your average red-blooded male, given the opportunity to become a sexy monster, would be hitting it with Jessica Biel. I’m just saying.

This is not me being shallow, it is reality (again, relatively speaking) and just plain objectivity. After years on this earth spanning centuries, I do believe there would be a “been there, done that” attitude. What stopped a journey of two lifetimes in its tracks to focus on these inexperienced girls? I suppose it could be argued that they opened themselves up to otherwise ostracized characters and accepted them for who they are. Maybe monsters crave some normalcy. Should we have to think that hard about it, though?

As for the other two book series, if they are brought to film, I cannot fathom any actress filling those shoes. It would be impossible to pull off. Laurell K. Hamilton’s writing has gotten spectacularly bad, and her character is reduced to an impulsively murderous nymphomaniac. Yeah, that’s hot. While I enjoy Richelle Mead’s writing for what it is, and the Dark Swan series is a page-turner, I hit a speedbump every time Eugenie takes a break from her artery-clogging diet and fighting otherwordly demons to have wildly passionate sex with one of the many creatures obsessed with her.

As for why the subject matter involves mythical monsters, it is simply because that is what sells. We never get enough of that stuff. They are sexy, and apparently these women find them very sexy.  

All kidding aside, this is what could happen when the female psyche collides face-first with reality. Another way to put it is that a woman’s desire to be viewed as a sexual being is marred by society’s standards of what is attractive.  I do admit that I suggested that a woman would have to be a 10 in order to attract the attentions of Dracula and Wolfman. That said, I do not think that society is right in putting the burden on women to be sexy. I am attacking the ludicrous level that some women will go to in order to cope with the low self esteem that can result. Writers are at an advantage. They are given a convenient and marketable means for that wish-fulfillment.  As I implied in the beginning of this post, fantasy is healthy for everyone and can enhance creativity. It should not be damaging personally or professionally. It can get in the way of the quality of life or what comes out of it. In these cases, the work suffers. I cannot speak to their personal life, but I suspect it is a challenge for these authors to compartmentalize and not get carried away with the fantasy.   

With Stephanie Meyer’s work, this is what happens when one uses her “art” to preach the benefits of abstinence. Her vampires sparkle beautifully when exposed to the sun, and the wolves go shirtless to make it easier to change form. Yeah, right. But what about those tight jeans? Where did they go? At least the Hulk kept his on, albeit torn to shreds and disproportionately shorter. It just makes no sense.

But oh, how romantic. This small town girl living in a lonely world is embraced whole-heartedly by men who must resist the urge to literally eat her alive.

I really hope time is linear

Imagine that if time travel became a reality what some people might do with that new toy.

If I had a time machine, I would go back to the point before life started.  Upon my arrival, there would be no hesitation on my part after a few photo ops (I just hope the flash works and lights the place up sufficiently). I would gather all the primordial soup, consume it (yum!), and not excrete it until I got back to the present day. I’d be giddy with the power I possessed to create such a messed up paradox.

No, I wouldn’t. It sounded pretty cool, though. Really, I would probably go back to 15th Century Italy and watch rivals Michelangelo and da Vinci in action. I might show my partiality towards the latter artist just to incense the other to make a fracas for entertainment purposes. I can’t fathom that doing any appreciable harm. There might be some collateral damage, but no big whoop. The toe of David was broken at one point, but can anyone tell? I think not.   

Einstein just retooled his famous formula from the grave. E=MC2: Egomania equals Mass Destruction squared. I know I took license with that. Seriously though, how does ‘C’stand for velocity of light? Huh? Answer me, dammit! Besides, there was no good synonym for destruction that started with that letter (carnage didn’t flow off the tongue for me).

The devil is in the details

Well, well, well. <<insert sarcastic clap here>>

So there we have it. Pope Benedict XVI, nee Joseph Ratzinger, finally opened his crusty maw and let partially digested body parts crumble down his saintly vestments. I mean, he publicly condemned the proliferation of sexual abuse within the Catholic church. You know, that pesky little problem that just won’t go away no matter how hard we pray. See, this inspired me to rhyme. It can’t be all bad, can it?

Oh yes it can!

Let me provide you with an excerpt of the decree from Master P (I’m on a roll here):

“Gurgle spit crap poop feces defecus vomitous aloticus ad hominum . . .”

Oops, sorry. I’m typing in the dark here. Let me try that again:

“So it happened that, in this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light—particularly the abuse of the little ones, in which the priesthood, whose task is to manifest God’s concern for our good, turns into its very opposite . . .”

Let us analyze this. First of all, what is up with this allusion that this just came to light? I’ve got news for you, Joey, it’s been going and going like a nefarious Energizer bunny. This is so last century. And the one before that, and before that . . . come to think of it, I see a pattern here. As a matter of fact, isn’t pedophilia considered to be okay in “His” book? At one point, it was an encouraged practice. Galileo’s sinister machinations caused the planets to knock into each other and we, as a society, eventually realized that taking advantage of a child’s innocence is just plain wrong. Once a common occurrence is now an unforgivable sin. That is, unless the offender marries into holy celibacy.

Joey the Rat admitted  that the priests sin. It is easy to infer that it is in the present tense. If pedophilia was their only sin, we could focus on the topic at hand. But, he specifically put “sin” in the plural. Sins. In particular, the abuse of the little ones (I’ll address that in a moment). The sins of the priests are, not is, the problem. Is that what you meant? What other infidelic skeletons do those perverted bastards have hiding in their pulpits?

As promised, I must point out the peculiar reference to children: the little ones. Funny, I didn’t know there was a euphemism needed to refer to children. This isn’t  a bunch of tiny Voldemorts we’re talking about. It comes across as an inept effort to be politically correct. The sexual abuse of midgets has to stop! That is going under the assumption that he was talking about human beings, considering the object “one” can also be a thing. John McCain elicited outrage when he referred to his rival as “that one”. I agree; that was mighty disrespectful. Where is it written that children have to earn our respect in order to be treated with dignity?

Wait, it gets better.

P-Benny declared that “the church must beg the forgiveness of God and from victims of sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests”. Perhaps I am splitting hairs, but why must the priests answer to God first before they fix the disaster they created here on earth? If he exists, and that is a big “if”, what would he be doing that is so damning outside of shaking his head in contempt? It all begs the question considering that this alleged god let this all play out in the first place. But really, come on! What good will a “whoops, my bad” do? You can’t unsodomize an erstwhile virgin, despite what the Born Agains say. A wound might heal, but the stigmata is permanent. This might be a crazy suggestion, but let’s try not doing it in the first place. Go ahead, give it a whirl.

While this is marginally better than Ratboy’s prior non-response, it completely glosses over the crux of this problem. Why are they doing this in the first place? Catholic by definition is a liberal viewpoint, i.e., broad-minded, universal, and all-inclusive. Isn’t that a demonstration of supreme acceptance? Yet, Catholicism is notorious for its intolerance of anything outside of that sect as well as their oppressive rules. The irony here is more painful than crucifixion.

Back to the root issue. The Catholic church hates sex. It is unclean and if God despises anything, it is a dirty mind in body and spirit. Of course, if he witnesses two naughty bits joining in the hands of marriage, it’s all good. Sexuality and the pursuit of satisfying those urges is natural and an essential part of a complete and healthy life. Every day, millions of people balance work and play. And that play can include sexual activity. Apparently, there is even more responsiblity to the job of serving a church than say, governing a nation, and play would be way too distracting. So, abstinence is the only solution. Plus, who can think pure thoughts when picturing the nuns going commando under their habits?

Repression succeeds only in making the person want to taste the forbidden fruit even more, and it would be that much sweeter.  In the case of priests committing sexual abuse, this could be a chicken and egg conundrum. Did they turn to children as a deviant safety valve for their otherwise unquenched desires, or did they turn to the church in a misguided effort to exorcise their pedophilic and/or homosexual demon? If the former, I see how they try to get God on a technicality. Children are not fully developed adults, so it isn’t sex to them, per se. I suppose with that mentality, a gimp bag was never a human to begin with. As for the latter, pedophiles indeed do need help, but certainly not from an overblown institution based on specious ideas and beliefs. Pedophilia, while a genetic defect, is not a proclivity that should be explored. Homosexuality while genetic, as well, can be embraced in a healthy way. Pedophilia is a biological problem for scientists to suss out, not the Holy Spirit. No matter the kind of kink, as long as it is among consenting adults, they can have at it. When it involves a child, there is no consent that can take place. Only obedience.  

But no worries. Ratty plans on doing everything possible blah blah blah to fully vet them blah blah blah so that the Lord will protect them blah blah “baaaa . . .” said the bleating, sacrifical lamb.

How can words be so empty, but The Word carry the weight of the world?