Friday, November 17, 2006

if you only watch CNN

If you only watch CNN you have no idea what happened in the tasering of a UCLA student. You have no idea that he was asked to leave by a security guard and refused. You have no idea that when the police were called, he started screaming "Don't touch me! Don't touch me!" and refused to leave. You have no idea that the police warned him repeatedly that if he didn't get up he was going to be "tased". All you saw was a very brief clip of the actual tasering and the kid screaming and flopping. There is no context to show why it happened other than the newscaster reading: "university officials said blah blah blah" --the kind of official statement that no one trusts very much.

If CNN wanted their viewers to be fully informed, they would have shown another five seconds so their viewers could hear, "Stand up! Stand up! If you don't stand up, you're going to get tased again. Stand up! If you don't stand up you are going to get tased again." and they could see that the kid was volunteering for the tasering by not undertaking even the simplest action to avoid it.

a question about Battlestar Galactica

Why is anyone still watching Battlestar Galactica? Does someone actually enjoy watching disaster after disaster, interspersed with cruel points of false hope followed by some new horror, in an ever darkening and more disheartening world swirling inevitably by tortuous stages into a vortex of despair and hopelessness? What the hell is wrong with you people? Do you just have a visceral hatred for the characters of the show or do you suffer from a wider, deeper abiding hatred of mankind in general? Either way, you Galactica fans all need to get some professional help.

Now don't get me wrong; I don't always demand happy endings, but there has to be some point, some redeeming feature of a narrative. The message of Galactica, "Everything sucks and then everything gets worse and no matter what you do you can't make anything better and then you die horribly, betrayed by those you trusted most" is not a redeeming message. There is no light at the end of this tunnel folks. If you think the grotesque sadist who write those scripts are ever going to come out with any kind of happy ending, you are deluding yourself. Drop the remote and step away from the television. Nothing good will come of this wreckage of a TV series.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mist Magic part 17

he story begins here. The previous week begins here.
The Hellas of those days worshiped Poseidon, the earth-shaker. We know Poseidon as the god of the sea, but that came later, after the destruction of the Valangzar. Poseidon was not a mythical creature, but a very real and very powerful prince of the red world, Rodona. "And so the Illyrians called him Rodon" the man told me, "knowing no other princes of that realm. Is it not rich irony that such a hideous creature should be named after the loveliest of all flowers, the rose?" Although Poseidon was a god in his own world, he did not know the magic of mists. He could only influence the Earth in certain subtle ways or at certain times.

The Valangzar allied with another prince of Rodona, Azdior, whom the Egyptians called Apis, the bull god, and whom the Greeks called Asterius or Minotaur, the bull of Minos which is Crete. In those days, Azdior knew the secret of the mist magic and his servants wielded great power upon the Earth. And when Poseidon saw how his worshipers feared the servants of Azdior, he grew jealous of the Valangzar. As the Valangzar learned, it is not wise to draw the enmity of a god.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mist Magic part 16

The story begins here. The previous week begins here.
Then came the Greeks. Despite their high-minded self-written history, the Hellas were a bloody-minded, piratic people. For every philosopher there were a hundred slavers, for every playwright a thousand thieves. The Helladics entered the Greek peninsula perhaps a century before the discovery of the mist magic, and they immediately set about raping, pillaging and enslaving. For a long time, these early Greek barbarians tolerated peaceful trade with the Aghianar because they had no choice; no other ships could sail the dangerous Mediterranean to bring cedars from Lebanon, tin, colored glass and terebinth resin from Canaan, gold and ivory and ebony from Egypt, more exotic trade goods from legendary lands known only as names of mystery from the stories of the Aghianar traders.

But the barbarian kings of the Hellas would not be long satisfied with a world in which such great wealth lay beyond their thieving reach, available only in the expensive dribs and drabbles provided by the tradesmen of the Aghianar. Yes, they feared the Valangzar; indeed, no other people had to be reminded so often of the Valangzar power because no other people were so stupidly aggressive and obstinate. A Hellasian King would steal an Aghianar ship full of treasure, only to die horribly a few weeks later, the skin dripping off of his body like melting wax. This would put the fear of Valangzar into the tribe for a decade or so, but then that very king's son would end up doing the same thing. It was a campaign of relentless gnawing at the will and the power of the Valangzar, seeking for a weakness, a flaw in the mystical defenses. Eventually, inevitably, they found one.

Monday, November 13, 2006

overheard on the history channel

The Mayas rose up and killed conquistadors by the thousands. But their weapons proved useless against a stronger enemy.
Well, yeah. If the weapons hadn't been so useless, they would have tickled thousands of conquistadors instead of making that bloody mess. The rest of the narration for the five minutes I watched wasn't much better.

This will be one to remember for the next time I start to think I'm not a good enough writer to get published. If that kind of crap can get read on national TV then I can get published.

Mist Magic part 15

The story begins here. The previous week begins here.
OK, I'll admit it: even laying beneath the fog on damp concrete, my chest aching and ribs possibly broken, I was fascinated. I mean ... ancient civilizations, lost knowledge, dark magic, the true stories behind mythology ... I love stories like that. If I hadn't feared for my life, I probably would have been paying better attention and I could relate this better. As it is, you will have to rely on my faulty recollections.

The mist magic included illusions, monster summoning, and invisible forces that could lift a man or animate a metal automaton. For many decades the cedar ships of the Aghianar presided over a trade empire that ran throughout the Mediterranean and Black Seas. They sailed the Atlantic coast of Europe as far as Britain and the Atlantic coast of Africa as far as the "great jungles" --I took him to mean the Congo. Throughout this region their ships sailed at will, with minimal armaments and neglecting the security of a naval force. The merchants and sailors of the Aghianar had no need for navies to protect them from the various kings and princes and other sorts of pirates; instead, all peoples were taught to fear the Valangzar.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

CNN reinforces John Kerry's stereotype

I just caught a few seconds of this on CNN yesterday, so I can't describe it in detail, it was an interview of a soldier killed in Iraq. The father of the solder was an old scruffy-looking, uneducated-sounding guy who was missing all of his front teeth. And, I hate to speak so of the family, but they all looked and acted like Hollywood's stereotypical trailer-park residents.

Isn't it a remarkable coincidence that this is the very first interview I've ever seen of the family of a soldier killed in Iraq where the family still supports the war, and this family fits so neatly into the John-Kerry stereotype of America's great military? Poor families who are willing to sacrifice their children for America must to be rare (and God bless them) so I wonder how long the reporters for that story searched for such a family to help reinforce their stereotypes of American servicemen. "Oh, sure, a lot of the troops and their families support the war, but they are just poor, ignorant trailer trash".