Run the $&%@ing Football: A Season's Lament

Gerhart's 91 yards rushing = we can hold the fort until Peterson's healthy.

I've been saying for a long time that the Vikings need to grow their own quarterback. For the past decade-plus, they've been picking up aging veterans at great expense, getting maybe two seasons out of them, and still not making it to the big dance. The closest they came was the first year they did this, back in '98, with Randall Cunningham's last season of worth, tossing long bombs to Randy Moss, marching to a 15-1 season like it was nothing.

We all remember how that ended, and why.

But this Ponder kid, I like him. He seems comfortable in the pocket. He's accurate (every quarterback throws picks. See also, Brett Favre). And he seems to be the kind of guy that wants to win. So if you want to make him the goat for throwing that final pick that more or less handed the game to the Broncos, you can. But from where I stand, the game was handed over two minutes earlier, when the Vikes decided to throw three straight passes (all incomplete) in the red zone and got held to a field goal. 

That gave the ball to Tebow and the Broncos with three minutes to go. Tebow starts doing what he's been doing, which is finding a way to get ten yards. The defense rallies, shuts Tebow down near midfield. The Broncos almost miss the field goal but don't. Enter Ponder, who throws an interception on first down.

This is basic ball control. The game is tied with a little over three minutes to go. You've just marched 60 yards on the strength of your QB's arm and your back-up tailback's legs. Why in the name of all that's holy would you pass on first down? And then again on second? Why wouldn't you give the ball to Gerhart, who's averaged 4.3 yards a carry up to that point? Or Percy Harvin? If you're going to get held to a field goal, why not burn another minute-plus off the clock?

If you look at the Vikings record, they've suffered but few blowouts. Almost every game this season has been given away in the second half. That does not indicate a lack of talent. Yeah, the secondary sucks, so what else is new? Not ever team is top-notch at ever position. The name of the game is maximizing where you're good and minimizing where you aren't. If your defense has holes, then you keep them off the field as much as possible. If you've got a running game, USE IT.

But the problem is deeper than that. The thing about Tim Tebow is, he wants to win. He does not care if he has to run for 100 yards and pass for 60, so long as the points get scored. He's got the desire, the will, to keep fighting until the whistle blows. He knows that if you keep going, you get there.

The Vikings don't have that will. I don't know if they ever have. I always see a strange reticence, an unwillingness to do what needs doing in the clutch. And again, that's not a talent problem; it's a coaching problem. Strategy is a coaching problem; being unwilling to grind out ten yards to get a new set of downs when you're tied with three minutes to go in the red zone is a coaching problem.

It's possible I'm oversimplifying, but there's no reason that a team with the #6 rushing offense in the NFL (and the #12 defense against the run) should be 2-10. 6-6, sure. 4-8, with some bad breaks. But 2-10?

That's someone's fault, but it's not Christian Ponder's. Or Adrian Peterson's. 
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Hollywood: We're Almost As Good as We Used to Be

Pop Culture never manages to be as interesting as the obsession with it. I don't watch celebrity news shows or keep up with a gossip blog, because I have a wife for that, and she's only marginally interested. But I do like old movies and always have. So when the UK's Daily Mail tries to sell the stars of today as reasonable facsimiles of the stars of yesteryear, I am obligated to warm up a pot of hot, gooey snark. And when you do it in pictures, well, that's scooping the fish out of the barrel and making them play Russian Roulette.

#1: George Clooney and Cary Grant.

Please. Clooney's expression says "I am actively trying not to notice that someone farted." Grant's says "I do believe I'm going to buy that ravishing blonde who just walked into the room a drink."

Winner: Old Hollywood

#2: January Jones and Grace Kelly

I like January Jones. She's good on Mad Men. She's lovely. But Grace Kelly did Hitchcock movies and was knee-weakeningly beautiful.  This isn't even a contest.

Winner: Old Hollywood

#3: Penelope Cruz and Sophia Loren

Ah, Penelope Cruz: the poor man's Salma Hayek. Frankly, this isn't a great picture of Loren; she kind of looks like someone's aunt. But Cruz's nose and chin are pointing in opposite directions. That just ain't right.

Winner: By techicality, Old Hollywood

#4: David Beckham and Erol Flynn

I'm calling Shenanigans. What films has Beckham done? Can the Daily Mail really not find a British actor to stand up against Robin Hood? Weak sauce. 

As to the pictures, Beck looks like every male model in every Hugo Boss ad in every magazine ever. Erol Flynn looks like the gentleman rogue he continuously played. Which is to say, he looks like he has a past that doesn't involve running up and down a field for three hours almost scoring goals.

Winner: Old Hollywood, by swords at sunset

#5: Brad Pitt and Robert Redford

Yeah, Pitt's startin' to get a bit jowly. But I'm gonna go against type here. Redford's movies are boring (excepting The Sting), and he's boring in them. Brad Pitt has never phoned it in, and continually picks good projects. It's not all a beauty contest.

Winner: Less Old Hollywood

#6: Carie Mulligan and Mia Farrow

Personally, I think Ava Gardner said it best when she said, upon hearing of Sinatra's marriage to Mia Farrow: "I always knew Frank would end up with a boy."

Winner: Enh. As if you can tell them apart.

#7 Kiera Knightley and Audrey Hepburn

Granted, the only movie of hers I've seen all the way through is Charade, but Audrey Hepburn never quite did it for me. I mean, pretty and all,  and a reasonably talented actress. But I never got the euphoric devotion. Different strokes, I guess.

But Kiera Knightly is starting to look scary. Her cheeks are concave in this picture. EAT A DAMN SANDWICH ALREADY.

Winner: Old Hollywood, and Nutrition

#8: Scarlett Johansson and Marilyn Monroe

This has to be one of the worst pictures of Monroe I've ever seen. It could give children coulrophobia at 50 paces. 

But the truth needs to be told about Johansson. Her mouth does not look right. It looks like two cocktail wieners got sewn to her face and covered with lip gloss. I don't know what it is. She's widely considered smoking hot; and I can sorta feel it, but her mouth is just way too pinched. She's the anti-Julia Roberts.

Winner: Old Eyebrowed Hollywood

#9: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Cyd Charisse

I got nothing bad to say about Zeta-Jones. Hasn't exactly lit Hollywood up, but she's not annoying, and she seems not to be trying to botox herself to plasticity. So, good for her.

But compared with Cyd "Yeah, those legs go all the way up" Charisse?

I think not.

Winner: Old Hollywood. Get More.

#10: Hugh Jackman and Clint Eastwood

Whatever. They both look like dorks here. 

Winner: Oscar always beats Tony. I'm sorry, but I don't make the rules.

#11: James Franco and James Dean

Get it? Cause they're both James! GET IT?

Franco works the hell out of his "Seriously, bro?" face, while Dean labors mightily to relax his eyes enough to see the sailboat. While shrooming.

Winner: You know what? James Dean's three movies aren't that good. Not that James Franco's are better, but I'll sit through the painfully unfunny Pineapple Express before I sit through the painfully overrated Rebel Without a Cause again. 

#12: Katie Holmes and Natalie Wood

And we close with the I Don't Care Sweepstakes. Every time I see Natalie Wood in a movie, I find myself saying "I didn't know Natalie Wood was in this movie." I prefer The Great Race to Romeo & Juliet  in New York With Street Gangs, but I'm kind of a contrarian. She looks exhausted here.

Holmes, on the other hand, appears to be dead inside, having long ago given up the hope of ever living up to the promise of her early career as James Van Der Beek's girl next door. Or maybe she's just achieved Thetan Zen. I don't really know. I do know that she has a masterful talent for sucking the life out of every scene she acts in, including her role in Batman Begins.

Winner: "Kate's not Pretty; Just not Pretty; It's a Pity her Husband is GAY! I'm just kidding; Hubbardites please don't sue me today..."

Results: The Studio System punches out the Independents, 9-2-1. They didn't even bother to find someone to fill John Wayne's shoes. It was over before it began.
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I Can't Drive 55 Except In a 45.

 Sammy Hagar will live forever in the sentiments of everyone who's had to commute. Eventually, the controversy that ended Van Halen will pass from human memory, as will every other Van  Halen song save "Hot for Teacher" (Don't pester me with "Right Now." That song was terrible. Search your feelings, you know it to be true).

Yesterday, in the middle of a perfectly pleasant meal with my parents and Wifey, I began to rant like a drunken Louisiana politician about the fools who confound my morning commute. In the saltiest of terms I decried them; yea, with the harshest of words I pronounced doom upon them.

My frustration has its sources. I have a 23-mile, 45-minute commute on the best of days, most of which on four-lane roads sporadically punctuated with traffic lights. In the middle of my trip, I have seven miles of long-stretch road to shave every precious second I can off my trip.  People who interfere with this are the enemies of my morning. In demonologies I place them, thusly:

1. Pokey Bastards. Sometimes PB's are simply senior citizens too busy Hoovering my paycheck marveling at the panorama of life to be in any rush to get anywhere. This is understandable. But sometimes a PB seems to possess sufficient youth to know how the accelerator differs from the brake, or that oncoming traffic does not she slow down just because you make a turn with all the deliberation of a murder trial jury. So their existence can only be marked up to folly, cowardice, or cell phones. Or the temporary ignorance of what the left-hand lane is FOR.

2. Pokey Bastard Caravans. I recognize that four-lane roads can be hazardous affairs, with deer and carwashes ready to burst at you from the underbrush with scant warning. However, I fail to see the wisdom of bunching up together as if to keep Bedouin raiders at bay. The only reason to ever be within 5 feet of the car in front of you is if:
  • In the midst of Rush Hour the road has become a parking lot
  • You're about to take advantage of a Clot Breakup (see below) weave into the next lane
  • You've decided that your insurance premiums are just too darn low
The only explanation I can discern for such behavior is a psychological discomfort brought about by not hearing your breaks squeal every ten seconds.

3. Pokey Bastard Clots. These people have to be the most selfish and unprincipled swine known to man: worse than Wall Street Fat-cats, worse even than the political class that enables Wall Street Fat-cats. A PBC occurs when two PB's, unsatisfied with the pleasures of making one lane inaccessible to spirited drivers, collude and ride right next to each other as though competing to be the slowest and steadiest tortoise, and never mind how many road-raging hares jockey frustratingly behind them. I know not by what alchemy this bond breaks, but speculative sermons on the drivers' intelligence and romantic potency have had, as yet, no discernible results. Doubtless more tests are in order.

It's gotten so bad that I have begun to leave home an average of one half-hour earlier than I did last year, just to spare myself the anxieties of these hazards (or of school buses, of which the less said the better). But this morning I flipped the alarm off when I'd meant to hit snooze, and found myself an hour behind schedule. Disaster. I would have to be out the door in 15 minutes to make it to work on time. I had not the time even to be angry. With grim silence, I threw water on my face, contacts on my eyes, clothes on my body. My tie was too long. I grabbed a sweater, said good by to sleepy Wifey, and skipped breakfast.

The clock said 6:41. The bell rings at 7:45. This ought to be sufficient, but much beyond 6:30 and the PB's form Caravans and Clots with alarming alacrity. Plus there was the Frankford Avenue Black Hole of Time to contend with. Plus, I needed gas.

I lept through Bel Air like an accomplished vaultist. I stopped at the New Wawa for gas, coffee, bacon-egg-n-cheese croissant, sandwich for lunch. I jumped out ahead of the launching traffic from the light behind me. I was getting the breaks, making the lights. PB's danced around me, clutching together like the last few cheerios in a bowl in my wake. By 7:09 I was in Perry Hall. Normally, this is where the traffic becomes sclerotic, but today everything stayed in motion. Lots of people turned off on Honeygo Blvd., Joppa Road, Silver Spring Rd. US-1 stayed swift almost to the point of intersecting I-695.  It was 7:15 and I was in the City. 

Despite left-hand turners and Frankford Ave's efforts, I pulled into my parking spot at work at 7:27 am, exactly 61 minutes after I woke up.

Which probably means I ought to whine less.

  • Current Mood
    rejuvenated rejuvenated

Cleaning Out the Notebook

I have too many notebooks. I love the things. A strange feeling of purposefulness settles on you when you by a notebook and say to yourself: I'm going to use this notebook strictly to write recipes with my fountain pen in Middle Finno-Urgic!  And, to be fair, I do manage to use several of my notebooks. But the olive drab spiral is a pure utility notebook, the one I reach for to describe things best left Uncategorized (3487). Wordpress jokes; I love 'em!

Mostly I use it to keep notes for Rock and Roll Archaeology, but today I stumbled across some dashed-off blather, which I do not hesitate to put before you:

George Finished the Book! Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire, the saga of which Game of Thrones is but the first part, have been waiting for George R.R. (which stands for exactly what it should stand for) Martin to finish Book 5 (really Book 4 1/2, but who's counting) of the series. The length of the wait caused no small amount of reader acrimony, and I can see why. The Internet breeds contempt. When authors were faraway geniuses who you might meet at a signing if you paid attention, you had no choice but to wait like a cat left home alone for the weekend. But when an author has a livejournal of his own, and regulary updates it, it's hard to avoid thinking "Yeah, that's nice George. Now is Dance of Dragons gonna write itself, or...? And while we're at it, a few miles on the NordicTrac wouldn't kill you."

For myself, I got tired of reading Martin's dull football commentary, his middlebrow center-left political statements, his self-congratulatory merchandising for his less-interesting books (Fevre Dream: there's $16 I'm never getting back). So I stopped reading them. I left his site alone until a wikipedia blurb suggested some chatter from his publishers that he might get around to being done soon. And now, having devoured it on my Kindle, I issue a hearty "Enh." Not wretched, but a determined feeling of Get On With It kept needling at me.

On the other hand, Jonathan Franzen's Freedom: a Novel  is a nicely-woven character study of a finely dysfunctional family. It is that rare novel that deals of politics honestly, by giving no quarter to liberals or conservatives, uncoupling with ruthless economy the links that hold either ideology together. The conservative son, Joey, in rebellion against his liberal father Walter, goes to work for an Iraq war contractor and slips into the kind of moral repugnance for which American war contractors have long been known. But Walter's disdainful environmentalism  is equally repugnant, especially as it climaxes into a bloodthirsty cri de couer against the whole human race. Every character hits rock bottom, and every character scratches his way back. That's the kind of social novel that makes me want to write one.

Blog Report:
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Notes from the Basement

I finally finished my Master's Degree this past summer. I am now a credentialed Professional Writer. So why haven't I written much?

Well, I have. There's Genre Confusion, still plugging along, and there's The Essayist Revolutionary Nonsense, which oft spouts brimstone-y bits of right-wing horror. And There's Rock n' Roll Archaeology, an episode of which I just finished last night (Part 1 of 2 on Atlantic Records).

But the big projects have been languishing. What big projects, you ask?
  • Well there's the second draft of Solar System Blues, which I had hoped to finish by year's end. That's not going to happen.
  • George Lucas has offended me so much that I want to write a novel about someone ripping off the original theatrical cut of Star Wars and transferring it to a black-market Blu-Ray. I got the idea from Fanboys, which arrived in the envelope from Netflix (how quaint!) this week, but has yet to actually make it to my TV. Tentative title: Stealing Star Wars.
  • Miniter Family History. I've done a little digging here and there, but have not yet buckled down.
  • Watching Game of Thrones has made me take another look at my old fantasy universe. But that's the Eternal Project; I expect to spend decades with it.
All of which means I need to stop mucking about. The Window is Closing. The Baby is Coming. The Life is Living. Panic at Eleven.

This probably means that my blogging may have to subside a bit (I know, such disappointment) so that Big Projects can proceed. As well as six or seven other Serious and Important Personal Steps that I'm going to have to take 'twixt now and the arrival of our spawn (gender-neutrally known as Little Putt). Sometimes I consider reducing all Blogging activity, including this one, to a single website, so all content can  serve the single paradigm. But what would I call such a site? Hardly a brand name at this point. 

I'm sure that one way or another I will muddle through. Helpful suggestions are always helpful (huzzah, tautologies!).

The Blog Report:

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    rushed rushed

(no subject)

Often people say "Nothing is new Under the Sun" as cynical lamentation, dully carping on the glut of remakes. But Ecclesiastes meant it as journalism, mere reportage of truth. For that matter, so does writer Austin Kleon, who's penned what I consider an epic blog post: How to Steal Like an Artist. If you've ever planned on creating anything, without doubt, Read The Whole Thing. But for the time-constrained, here's the 10 Things No One Told Him:
  1. Steal Like An Artist. Everyone steals stuff. Steal good stuff and re-mix it.
  2. Don't Wait Until You Know Who You Are to Make Things. Start making things and so figure out who you are.
  3. Write the Book You Want to Read. "All fiction is in fact, fan fiction."
  4. Use your Hands. The Jack White Principle, but Kleon is not a Luddite, he just thinks we should engage our bodies in what we do.
  5. Side Projects and Hobbies are Important. I think this almost a corollary of #4. Other things that we do inform and inspire our main work. Focus on one art to the exclusion of all other activities starves the artistic spirit.
  6. The Secret: Do Good Work, Then Put it Where People Can See It. It's exactly as easy and as hard as that. The Internet allows -- nearly begs -- you to build your own audience.
  7. Geography is No Longer Our Master. And we basically live on the Internet.
  8. Be Nice. The World is a Small Town. And because of that, it behooves you to be as kind as possible to as many people as possible. The Internet never forgets.
  9. Be Boring (It's the Only Way to Get Work Done). The Bourgeois Virtues are in fact, vital and necessary to the artist.
  10. Creativity is Subtraction. Artists create art by arranging elements. This requires taking things out just as much as putting things in.

There's one or two things I might disagree with here (First Principles have no value in creating art?), but in general, I find this a most inspiring piece. Like punk rock, it encourages people to get out there and Do the Work. Which is a kick in the tail that all artists need.
  • Current Mood
    artistic artistic

One Year Later...

 I initially set up this LiveJournal (which feeds Notes to my Facebook) as a retreat from my first failed attempts at Blogging: a place of solace after losing my steam.

Then I began my Music Blog, Genre Confusion, which is still going strong. This slipped me away from my self-consciousness to Art. 

Then Keith Olbermann launched me to a new High Horse of Dudgeon, and The Essayist returned from the grave, hungry for the flesh of progressive rhetoric.

So now I write two blogs, and this has sat dormant. Which is a shame, because I liked the notes I penned here. And if my experience with Blogging has taught me anything, it's that I will find a way to return to a writing project. It will happen.

So This will be where I write about whatever I'm writing about. It is my digital office, if you will, a place, Like James Lileks' Bleat, for dashed-off tripe. I want to be a writer, which means I need to write more than I am. With luck, some of it will be good.

The Blog Report:

Today's Special Comment: Keith Olbermann is a Racist Swine

I know, I know, fish in a barrel, cheap shot, giving him attention he doesn't deserve, yadda yadda. Don't care. For reasons passing understanding, while flipping through the channels last night, I left it on MSNBC long enough to catch Olbergruppenfuhrer's Special Comment, all about how anyone and everyone who has any affinity for the Tea Party movement is merely a Klansman in drag.
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That means you, honky.

I will not post his entire rambling screed, as there's very little about it that hasn't reared its ugly head before, ever since that balanced and thoughtful political thinker, Janean Garafalo, first came up with the canard last April, on Olbermann's show. But an excerpt or two is worth noting, as an explanation of why I choose this particular moment to flip Olbermann the bird:

I think, having now been one for 51 years, I am permitted to say I believe prejudice
and discrimination still sit, defeated, dormant, or virulent, somewhere in the soul of
each white man in this country.

See how that works? Olbermann is an authority on the Souls of White Folks for no other reason than his being white, because all us ofays have Double Secret Decoder Rings of White Knowledge that other people don't get. In other words, it's a white thing, you wouldn't understand. Two paragraphs in, and Captain Integrity resorts to racist reasoning to accuse others of racism.

Thus it has become fashionable —sometimes psychologically necessary — that
when some of us express it we have to put it in code, or dress it up, or provide a
rationalization to ourselves for it that this has nothing to do with race or prejudice,
the man's a Socialist and he's bent on destroying the country and he was only
elected by people who can't speak English.

This is the crux of the argument, and it is as old as the hills: "Code." You see, what Whitey says can never be taken at face value, because the one thing we all know about Whitey is that he's a racist. Therefore, whatever Whitey says, however irrelevant to the subject of race it is, it's really about race, because Whitey is always racist. So if Whitey wants to cut taxes, it's because he's racist. If Whitey wants small government, it's because he's racist. If Whitey is afraid of terrorists, it's because those terrorists are brown.

This is not scary at all. Nothing to see here, move along.

He continues:

The whole of the "anger at government" movement is predicated on this. Times
are tough, the future is confusing, the threat from those who would dismantle our
way of life is real (as if we weren't to some extent doing it for them). And the
president is black. But you can't come out and say that's why you are scared.

Let's just leave aside, for the moment, the Oh-the-world-is-just-so-big-and-scary nanny tone that aggrieved lefties peddle whenever dealing with popular discontent that doesn't conform to their expectations. Look at the list of problems he offers. We've got:
  • Tough Times
  • Confusing Future
  • Threat from those who would dismantle our way of life
  • Black President
Which of those seems like it's really not a problem, compared to the others? Which of those seems like something not even worth mentioning, if the others are true? Hell, which of these things would be boorish to bring up as a political even if times were awesome, the future bright and shiny, and unicorns were raining peace and skittles on the whole world? Why, it's the one thing that Hauptman Olber has decided is the root cause of all our distress.

Because, you see, if there were a White President elected in tough economic times following a war in the Middle East, a brash young fellow born of Hope who promised to focus on America's true problems and end the cycle of politics-as-usual, he would have had no trouble with conservatives.

Republicans loved me. I felt their pain.

I know 12 years is a long section of Olbergeneral's 51 years of shameful whiteness, but surely he can recall the frustrations this particular good ol' boy had whilst carousing in the Oval Office. Surely he remembers when we psycho wingnuts opened a can of crazy on his hillbilly ass, accusing him of everything from selling industrial secrets to China to sexually harassing his staff and then lying about it under oath. Are we now to believe that we did all these things because our Decoder Rings of White Knowledge told us that Bill Clinton was secretly anything other than the cracker made good that he appeared to be?

And now, the rhetorical coup de grace:

But let me ask all of you who attend these things: How many black faces do you
see at these events? How many Hispanics? Asians? Gays? Where are these people?
Surely there must be blacks who think they're being bled by taxation. Surely there
must be Hispanics who think the government should've let the auto industry fail.
Surely there must be people of all colors and creeds who believe in cultural literacy
tests and speaking English.

For you see, Honky, if you don't see any people of color, that means you are at a racist event. Your whiteness is so vile and so horrid that it takes the magical, numinous power of the Sun People to redeem your lily ass. So if you haven't genuflected in the direction of one of the sainted victims of past prejudice, then you sir, are the Worst Person in the World.

There is something inherently disgusting about digging through pictures of Tea Party rallies to find pictures of non-white people, but since he brought it up, try here. And here. And here, here, and here. I found these by doing an image search of "tea parties minorities" on Google. I know Grampa Keef might not be hip to Google yet, but surely one or two brash young gunslingers still employed at MSNBC might have helped him out.

I suppose I could have let this one slide. To be a conservative in America is to be accused of racism as soon as one encounters a leftie sufficiently torqued about politics. It's really, really, not the first time for me. And Olbermann is at best a sideshow attraction of the American Left. He serves largely to function as bandleader of a nightly Two Minutes Hate for the nutroots crowd. If he's still on the air this time next year, I will be surprised.

However, there is a certain tendency among lefties to treat the basis of his argument as essentially valid, that all white conservatives are basically responding to some reptilian instinct. You'll hear the more reasonable versions of this as "Well, maybe you aren't a racist, but you can't deny that it's there." So permit me to make a few things absolutely chrystal-clear.

To accuse someone of racism in America is to accuse someone of being un-American. It is to charge them with the guilt of our nation's original sin, and all the wretched acts of shameful cruelty necessary to maintain that sin, from Fort Sumter on down. It is not a word to be thrown around lightly. To cast it in the face of one's political opponents, without even the pretense of evidence, indeed, on the basis of the lack of such evidence, as Olbermann does, is the act of a poltical coward, a naked attempt to delegitimize opposition.

I shall make it personal. I made no bones about attending the first Tea Party rally in my hometown this past April. I made a sign that made fun of Obama, accusing him of Caeserism and having big ears. I did so because I believe, without question, that he is a tyrant at heart, that his policies are tyrannical and un-American, and that big ears are funny.. Anyone who supports him may argue with me freely about these matters. What you may not do, and what I will not accept, is feebly attempting to avoid these matters by maligning my motives. I shall take any such accusation as admission of the fact that you have no argument.

And spare me the guilt-by-association, the tedious "you can't deny" argument. Have the courage of your convictions. If you really, really think that the only reason anyone could fail to support President Obama is their fear of his (half-) blackness, then state so plainly, to my face. If, on the other hand, you can get your mind around the proposition that reasonable people can disagree about the wisdom of certain public policies, then take the next logical step of admitting that where the lunatic fringe of actual honest racists land on any public issue is a matter of total irrelevance.

In any case, don't waste my time with your race-obsessed inquisitions unless you're prepared to be told exactly what orifice to shove them in.

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Calling All Readers...

Last summer, as some of you know, I wrote the first draft of a novella called Solar System Blues. Several of you recieved a copy at the last Fest. One of the things I want to get done during my upcoming Christmas Break/Semester Break from Towson is polish a second draft of this. I do this because I want to submit it to the Undiscovered Writer Contest that has every year, and the due date for that is some time in February.

So here is what I want? Any and all who have a) read SSB or b) would like to read SSB, I am looking for feedback.

What did you like? What worked for you? What drew your attention?

What didn't work? What needed fleshing out? What lost your attention?

Those of you that have a hard copy, the sooner you could get back to me, the better. Please send your critiques to .

If you haven't read it, and would like to, let me know by email and I'll email you a .pdf version. It's about 70 pages now, so it won't take you very long.

Thanks and holiday wishes to all!
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