Archive for November, 2008

Can We Just Laugh At Them Now???

Posted: November 29, 2008 in Politics

You’ve gotta love the chat-show-Right and the conservative news media. When Obama and Hillary were fighting it out over their party’s nomination the talking heads on the Right were bemoaning the “fact” that Obama’s success was proof that even Hillary was “too conservative” for the now fringe controlled Democratic party. His winning the nomination was, so they said, the nail in the coffin of the Democratic Party since it was clearly a party out of touch with Main Street America and in bed with the farthest Left nutjobs.

Then we had the actual election run up. The talking point was that Obama was the most liberal candidate ever run by the Democratic Party and his voting record was the most liberal of anyone who ever served in Congress.  Why, he was even more liberal than the last twenty Democratic candidates that the Right claimed was the most liberal human to have ever been alive!

And what Obama campaigned on was the greatest threat ever known to our country! Why it was, so the conservative talking heads said, unabashed socialism! Obama was running on a platform that was so shamelessly socialist that it put him just to the left of socialist Russia.

And then he won.

Suddenly the same talking heads that called the man the most left voting, socialist running and fringe candidate ever fielded by a political party were saying that his election victory was in fact a victory for conservatism. Despite almost a full year of their own words to the contrary; the new talking point that they pushed with completely straight faces was that Obama ran as a conservative. He won the election because he espoused conservative values and promoted a conservative platform for his candidacy.

Oooooooookay.

So now we flash forward to today. I’ve been listening to Fox News (I know, my first mistake.) on my XM today. What’s the talking point this weekend? Obama the liberal leftist fringe guy is abandoning his left leaning ways and snubbing the Left Fringe. How? He’s abandoned his liberal and socialist campaign promises that destroyed our economy with his election and he’s appointing conservative Democrats to his cabinet now that the ship has hit the sand financially so as to calm Wall Street and Main Street. He is being “dragged from the far Left” and toward the center by the state of the economy.

Ooooooookay.

Why are any of these guys still employed? How can anyone take these mouth breathers seriously at this point? I mean, even the biggest Kool-Aid drinkers that tune in to these guys must have their heads spinning just trying to do the mental gymnastics to keep up with this comedy. Two really big jokes here.

(1) The talking point that these guys have on Obama’s picks is that it’s a bunch of warmed over Clinton appointees. Obama is setting up The Bill Clinton Administration 2.0. Now most of these guys have books, archived editorial columns and/or recorded comments from the 90s. I don’t remember these wonder dummies calling the Clinton Administration a “Conservative” administration. I pretty clearly remember the exact opposite actually. I mean, they’re still bring up Clinton and the “ultra-liberal” things he and his administration did as the cause of the economic meltdown and social problems we have now. Well, at least they do when they’re not claiming that this is the “Obama Economy” every third sentence. But now the talking point is that these same guys were all part of a conservative Democratic movement and a sign that Obama is abandoning the ultra-extreme leftist platforms that he ran on (while running as a conservative) just a few short months ago. Oooooooookay.

(2) Are they on drugs? well, I mean besides Rush who we all know partakes from time to time. I mean, the only people who can make a string of statements like that and think it’s logical and coherent are usually stoned out of their minds. Seriously, try and say the whole thing and not laugh yourself silly at the stupidity of it.

The combined talking points of the last year: Obama was the most fringe left running candidate that the Democrats ever ran, but he won by running as a conservative. However, he’s now abandoning the fringe left that he ran to during the campaign in order to reassure Wall Street by appointing “conservative Democrats” to his future cabinet who were themselves a part of the ultra liberal leaning Clinton administration and are themselves responsible for the socialist policies that destroyed our economy and, skipping right over eight years of the Bush economic policies and twelve years of a Republican run Congress, brought us the disastrous “Obama Economy” that we now have.

it’s gotta be drugs. Even I wouldn’t have thought that this many of the Fox News crew and the chat show goons that have been joining the chorus were this shameless and hypocritical. Fox News and Clear Channel Communications needs to implement mandatory weekly drug tests pronto quick. It may be the only way that they can salvage what little credibility they ever had.

Advertisements

 

   History marches on and another brick in a very old wall has fallen to the ground and crumbled to dust.

_________________________________________________________

   This is a rather odd sensation. As I sit here typing, Obama having finished his acceptance speech a few minutes ago, I can’t help but wonder if my father felt like this once. I am looking at a new world. I am looking at a country forever and irreversibly different from the one I grew up in for the last 37 (actually, 38 in one week) years or that I lived in even just yesterday that will be the only world that Ian will have ever known.
 
   This is the first Presidential election of Ian’s life even if, at a mere 16 months old, he will not remember it. This election is our man on the moon. This election is our Berlin Wall crumbling. A world that many did not think that they would ever live to see even ten years ago will be the norm for him.
 
   It doesn’t matter if you agree with Obama or even if you hate him. He has by his election to the office of President of the United States changed our world. When L. Douglas Wilder became the first black Governor of Virginia he decided to test the national waters and found them to be mostly indifferent of his accomplishments here. But he also found disbelief. My father’s family was having a huge family reunion at the time and I remember a number of us talking about the prospects of Wilder running for the highest office in the land. The general line of thought expressed by many was that he would never make it. America would not elect a black man to that office, and certainly not a black Democrat, and if America did he would be run out of the country by the Klan or Old South.
 
   My view wasn’t quite that pessimistic, but I certainly didn’t believe that I would see a black man elected POTUS in my lifetime. And I surely did not think the first black POTUS would be a Democrat. I knew it would happen one day, I was just resigned to the fact that, like my father’s generation likely thought about men on the moon or the fall of the Berlin Wall, I would never actually see it.
 
   And now I will.
 
   And my son, my 16 month old son who lies quietly sleeping not far from me will never know in any way other than academic what this moment in our country means. For him a black POTUS will be a fact of history. It will be the way things were for as long as he could remember and he’ll likely never fully understand what his mother and father and their friends are talking about when they look back on their lives and discuss the day our country kicked over one more domino and removed one more brick from the wall of racial inequity and injustice.
 
   This is no longer an optimistic fiction or a hopeful pipedream. This is now the reality of our world. This is the only reality that many of our children shall ever know. I wonder if I will be able to impress upon Ian the true meaning of what the last twelve hours in this country meant and what tomorrow morning will mean. I wonder if my father thought these things and felt these things when his world changed and he looked at the sleeping child that he would one day be explaining the changes of his world to.

And My Vote Was For…

Posted: November 4, 2008 in Politics

The Meadow Party!!!

America's ill, but so is Bill!!!

Hey, he can't be worse than the last guy...

Forrest J Ackerman

Posted: November 4, 2008 in Entertainment, Life

Word is spreading fast amongst horror fan circles that the great Forrst J Ackerman, who would be celebrating his 92nd birthday this November 22nd, is slipping away from us at an alarmingly fast rate of speed. So dire is his condition that Ray Bradbury, no spring chicken himself these days, dropped everything else that he was doing and rushed to his friends bedside to speak with him one last time.

Ackerman is an icon of horror historians. He’s famous for his massive collection of movie memorabilia and for his publishing the classic magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. He was such a well known and respected character that true movie buffs turned pro would seek him out to give him bit parts in films just to be able to say that they had him in their films and many a documentary was made where Forrest Ackerman’s name was first on the list of must have interviewees.

Forrest J Ackerman is, quite unfortunately, another name in a long list of people that I wanted to meet but never did and, from the latest news, now never will.

Here’s a portion of his write up on his MySpace page as to what he has done with his 91 years on this planet.

“Some of my Achievements – I founded and Edited FAMOUS MONSTERS MAGAZINE that brought Halloween to kids around the World every month for almost 200 issues and almost 30 years. — I created VAMPIRELLA. — I coined the term SCI-FI. — I wrote the shortest SCI-FI story in the World, consisting of a single letter. — How did I start? Well, in 1922, at the age of 5-1/2, I saw my first fantasy film, ONE GLORIOUS DAY.

In October, 1926, I read and collected my first “scientifiction” magazine, AMAZING STORIES. In l929, I won a contest in the San Francisco Chronicle, entered by over 200 teenaged contestants, with my short story about a trip to Mars. In that same year I founded The Boys Scientifiction Club (I would have included girls but at that time female fans were as rare as unicorns’ horns). In l932, I presented the world’s first known list of “imagi-movies” (one of my many coined words) on the first page of the first science fiction fanzine,The Time Traveler. By l935 I was correspondingwith l27 sci-fi fans around the world– although it would be l954 before I coined the ubiquitous abbreviation, “sci-fi .” Since l948 I have served as literary agent for approximately 200 clients including: Pierre Barbet Nelson Bond Jerome Bixby Bradbury & Asimov (early foreign reprints) Harry Bates Arthur J. Burks Cleve Cartmill Mark Clifton Stanton A. Coblentz Mary Elizabeth Counselman Hugo Gernsback Horace L. Gold L. Ron Hubbard Raymond F. Jones George Langelaan Ib Melchior P. Schuyler Miller Kris Neville Andre Norton Ross Rocklynne Victor Rousseau Curt Siodmak Sherwood Springer William F. Temple Lyn Venable A.E. van Vogt Stanley Weinbaum Jack Williamson and S. Fowler Wright and I represent the estates of artists Frank R. Paul, Elliott Dold, Albert Nuetzell, Charles Schneeman and Hannes Bok I have collaborated with Catherine Moore, A.E. van Vogt, Robert A.W. Lowndes, Francis Flagg and other sf authors.

Among 50 stories, I’ve written the world’s shortest one myself: one letter of the alphabet. I have seen my favorite film, METROPOLIS close to 100 times. I have appeared in over 50 motion picture cameos, in films such as THE TIME TRAVELERS, AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON, THE HOWLING, BEVERLY HILLS COP III, THRILLER, INNOCENT BLOOD, VAMPIRELLA, and DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN. My handprints and autograph are enshrined in cement in front of the Vista Theater in Hollywood (est. in l926; former location of the Babylon set pieces from D.W. Griffith’s INTOLERANCE and the upstairs office of Ed Wood, Jr.). My life companion, Wendayne (the only one in the world) Ackerman, as the aftermath of a mugging in Italy, died some years ago, but not before translating l50 sci-fi novels from French & German, moonlighting while teaching for 20 years at university.

It would be nice to look forward to going to a Great Sci-Fi Convention in the Sky when I expire and reuniting with Wendayne & Boris & Hugo & Paul & Bela & Isaac & Bob (Bloch) and my beloved maternal grandparents, last of the big time angels (my grandfather, George Herbert Wyman inspired by the sci-fi bestseller of the day, Looking Backward, architected — for $5. a week — the monumental Bradbury Building in Los Angeles, which has been seen in BLADERUNNER, WOLF, DEMON WITH THE GLASS HAND and many other films). I am vaguely contemplating opting for a cryogenic comeback but in case I don’t become a human people-cicle, I, like Isaac Asimov and other thinkers I admire, don’t expect to wake up in some spirit realm of an afterlife. I’ve been a secular humanist since I was 15, long before the term was invented, and nothing since has changed my mind. I regard myself as a sci-fi sponge that should be squeezed for information and anecdotes as long as I’m here. So while I’m still around, squeeze me.”

His official MySpace page can be found here:

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=67699686

 

The Three Giants of classic Sci-Fi

Three of the Giants of classic Sci-Fi.

Are you a horror fan? Do you like Sci-Fi? Do you like comedy? Are you a fan of old radio characters like The Shadow? Are you a sick freak like my wife who likes Victorian Romance? If you answered yes to any of the above questions I have the group for you. The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company is a group based out of (duh) Atlanta, Georgia that does “new old radio” shows at various venues, for podcasts and for sale on CD.

I first found out about ARTC when Jenn and I saw them performing Rory Rammer (an original creation in the mold of radio’s old Saturday morning space adventures for the younger set) and an adaptation of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Colour Out of Space’ at Dragon*Con 2006. I was very impressed with the live performance to say the least. All voice acting, music and foley effects were done live and to perfection and created a perfect setting for the mind to create the images needed as the story unfolded. But more impressive to me were the stories themselves.

Rory Rammer captured perfectly the feel of some of the old radio shows it was meant to be a tribute to while adding a touch of humor to it that makes the production more endearing rather than, as is typical with modern productions of this nature, making fun of the shows of yore. But it was ‘The Colour Out of Space’ that really impressed me. Lovecraft was a horror writer of great skill at creating horror that is almost psychologically visceral and very difficult to adapt properly. Most people, with rare exceptions, either fail in making good material based on Lovecraft’s work or they make something good that’s only about 10% H.P. Lovecraft. Their Lovecraft was pure horror, almost purely Lovecraft and magnificently preformed. My only thought after the show was that I had to learn more about these guys and I had to check out their table.

They didn’t have ‘Space’ on a CD, but they did have ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ which has long been an old favorite of mine. I picked it up and, owing to money issues, resigned myself to not getting more at that time. With everything else that there is to do at Dragon*Con I was only able to really sit down and listen to ‘Innsmouth’ some time after I returned home from Atlanta. I was extremely happy with the purchase to say the least.

Being a horror geek first and foremost in my geekness; I put together a birthday and Christmas list made up of ARTC’s Lovecraft work for friends and family to choose. I was quite happy that Christmas. However, It wasn’t until after that Christmas that I really started to explore their website and what ARTC’s full range of productions really were.

ARTC does a line known as The Dean’s List. It is so named because the productions (done with the approval of the man’s family) are adaptations of Robert A. Heinlein’s work. SF by Gaslight is a series of classic science-fiction works while they do original sci-fi productions under their Centauri Express line. Into the Labyrinth and Dark River covers their works of Dark Fantasy. Oh, and they’ve got some Romance stuff in there as well.

Each CD runs around $12 and is worth twice the money. But don’t take my word for it. Look at their website, find something that looks like it’s your thing and buy just one item to try. Iffy on blind buying with a tight economy? Hey, we’re entering the holiday season. Put a CD or two on your Christmas list.

What? Some of you are still a bit iffy on the idea? Fine. For you I have a special offer. Well, it’s not for you as much as it is for everybody. ARTC podcasts their live events for free. They’re not as slick or well produced as their studio work, but they’re still damned good and they’re free. Try out their podcasts and see what you think. If for some reason you can’t download their productions you can always check out their MySpace (you don’t have to be a MySpace member) page. They have a media player on that page that has many of their podcasts set up to listen to without the need to download anything. And, as of this writing, it’s as up to date as possible with their first listing being a funny spoof called ‘Haunter Hunters’ that Jenn and I saw them do live at Dragon*Con 2008.

I’ll post all the links you’ll need below, but I have a request first. ARTC is a group that survives on the profits it makes from live events and the sale of its shows on cassette (yeah, they still have a few of those) and CD. If you enjoy their podcasts then please, please, please buy some of their actual products. If you’re tight for cash right now like a lot of us are; put some ARTC products on your Christmas wish list. And then, especially if you enjoy their work, spread the word about them.

ARTC’s main website:

http://www.artc.org/

ARTC’s Podcasts:

http://artcpodcast.org/

ARTC’s MySpace page:

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=242421596

The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company – There Is Adventure… In Sound