Nov 17

Those of You Who Feel We Should Not Surrender to the Extraterrestrials

Those of you who feel we humans should not surrender to the extraterrestrial invasion force have not seen what I have–their vast superiority in fire power. They can burn us into powder and blow us away. Whereas if we surrender, we’ll all be guaranteed jobs–some will be miners, some will be employed loading special minerals onto ships, some will employed as food, it’s all important work–and we’ll have true worldwide peace for the first time! Some of us have been asked to act as special intermediaries, supervisors over the rest of humanity, because of our pro-actively signing up for the job, when we got the private notifications. I’ll be happy to answer your questions at the UN this Monday. I’m sure when the news about the invasion came out this evening you were all quite horrified but–oh. What? Today isn’t the eleventh of November?! Oh! I thought…I mean…We’ll talk saturday when, uh..that is…I was just kidding. The whole thing. A joke. Forget it.

Nov 17

The Casting Couch: Just Another Kind of Rape

We’re all talking about sexual harassment. I hear a good number of social media people chuckling about “the casting couch”. Sometimes they add, “Oh she has to be prepared for that, it’s just what that industry’s like…They all did it, y’know, ha ha…” There were plenty who side-stepped or just refused and walked away. But what about that actress who let Weinstein in a second time–after he’d assaulted her the first time? What about women like her?

A powerful, connected man lies to the actress, and manipulates and intimidates; he’s dangling her heart’s desire in front of her and at the same time, flexes his business muscles at her, and, in a sense, clenches his fist, hinting that things will never go right for her if she doesn’t play along. He has *the whole weight of the male dominated industry* behind him. She’s spun with confusion.

The actress has put every other possibility aside in the pursuit of her chance; she knows she’s got talent and appeal and she can do this if they’ll just give her a chance and it’s such a difficult obstacle course and–then thugs like Weinstein get her alone, and push her around. She’s got an agent, or she doesn’t, but either way, she’s really alone. And the whirl of the business, the prospects and the obstacles, are confusing–they’re confusing to anyone in her place. And while she’s probably no virginal child, she’s still fairly naive. And he’s taking advantage of all that. In fact he’s not so far from a drooling stepfather alone with his wife’s confused pubescent daughter.

There’s more than one kind of rape. Manipulating, intimidating a woman, can be part of rape too. It’s not a joke.

Nov 17

Only One Thing Can Save This Country from Fascism

Actually there’s only one thing that will save this country. Because the problem isn’t just Trump; it isn’t just his cabinet bent on ruining schools and the environment. It’s also the right-wing stranglehold in the Supreme Court; it’s voter suppression; it’s the vacuous who buy into fraudulent news sources, and the yawners who sneer at the value of voting; and of course it’s the Republican party…It comes down to laws; to congress, and courts.

And the one thing that will save us, ultimately, is fundamentally altering the makeup of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives; which means *getting out the vote*, getting more people than ever before to vote for progressives in the mid term elections and in 2020. Large numbers of people who basically feel as we do just don’t vote. That has to change.

There has to be so many new and determined voters the Republicans and the alt-right can’t stop them with gerrymandering and suppressing voters and fake-news. It has to be overwhelming. And it could be done–if we made finding new progressive voters our primary mission. Which means convincing caring, decent people that voting *does* matter; it means spending more to educate people on the issues so we fuel their determination for action at the ballot box. Only a major change in voting patterns will save this country.

Nov 17

My off the cuff review of THOR: RAGNAROK

We saw THOR: RAGNAROK. The Jewish/Maori New Zealander director of such relatively modestly budgeted films as What We Do in the Shadows had to really step it up to get this gigantic thing done. The scope of this film is huge. We had a good time watching it, and drinking it all in… The decision to bring so much comedy into it–there’s drama and serious stuff and  lotsa action but the comedy is there most of the time–might’ve been controversial at the studio, but it paid off for this, people seem to dig it. Also the film would be too ponderous without it. It comes right up the edge of being the tone of a sitcom in many scenes. Even a bit of slapstick. (Eg, the scene with Dr Strange.)

I felt that Taika Waititi’s directing was good–especially with the comedy–but some cuts and edits and directorial moves didn’t quite work. As an example when Strange was magically moving Thor from room to room, that wasn’t set up very well, in terms of continuity and comedy, but just well enough that I enjoyed it when I figured out what was up. Mostly the direction is good, and the imagery is so rich, it’s so very eye candyish (with occasional lapses of “realism” in the background images), that one feels quite rewarded for this ride. There’s some great satirical moments especially Jeff Goldblum’s grandmaster turns–and as for the comedy writing…Occasionally it’s a bit too cutsey sitcom, with predictable lines too much like internet snark, and other times it’s rather witty. It kept me smiling and sometimes laughing. Chris Hemsworth does comedy quite well…Visual inventiveness was really at a high level on this film. Set designs, art design, stunning…oh and Cate Blanchett makes an excellent super-Maleficent type villainess in this. Very sexy as the goddess of death…And yes the semi-comical tone was likely influenced by the success of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Here’s the thing–if you are into going to an ESCAPIST film, right, this is it. It’s fast paced, writing ranges from good to very good, acting is all good–the director  voices the big rock guy Korg and he’s SO funny, the incongruity, and his style–lots of Thor heroic action, moments of Thor without his shirt for those who particularly enjoy that, lots of funny scenes with the Hulk…and there’re lots of science-fiction space opera-ish action as well as the fantasy stuff…well, nothing’s perfect, but for escapism, yeah, this offers it. Spend your money.

Oct 17

A NEW National Embarrassment

When we finally pry Trump out of office–maybe late next year–we will then be left with President Pence, God help us. And Pence will be a different sort of national embarrassment to Americans. He will be able to appear moderately Presidential, but he’ll introduce us to a whole new repertoire, an entirely different set of embarrassments. We will be slathered by the excruciating embarrassment of Christian-right extremism, of flagrant Christian hypocrisy; we’ll be soiled inside, overflowing with the shame of seeing our leader suppressing the rights of millions of Americans–women and gays–wherever he can. Ah–the exquisite mortification that Mike Pence will provide for us.

Oct 17

58 People Shot Dead –Could it Be…Is it Just Possible, that…

58 people shot dead in Las Vegas and: ‘“Where the hell did he get automatic weapons? He has no military background or anything like that,” Eric Hudson Paddock [brother of the shooter] told CBS News in Orlando, Fla. “He’s a guy who lived in a house in Mesquite and drove down and gambled in Las Vegas. He did… stuff. Ate burritos. I mean —“’

Where in Hell did he get automatic weapons? In the USA, is where in Hell.

Is it possible…crazy thought but…is it just *possible*…we have too many guns in this country?

Sep 17



A story about Scott Pruitt’s destiny. Follow link, scroll down a half screen to this relatively-short short story.




Sep 17

There Are No Liberals, and There Are No Conservatives

There are no liberals and there are no conservatives, really. There are only people who believe in a fair degree of sharing and mutual help, and people who don’t.

There are only people who agree that there are innate human rights, and people who don’t.

There are only people who believe that foreign persons are as human as we are, and people who don’t.

There are only people who believe in the value of science, and people who don’t.

There are only people who believe that empathy is  vital, and people who don’t.

There are only people who treasure the natural world, and people who don’t.

There are only people who believe that women are equal to men, and people who don’t.

There are only people who believe that institutions can be an expression of decency and kindness, and people who don’t.

There are no liberals, or conservatives. Political categorization leads to knee-jerk, mindless judgments, and obscures commonality.

Sep 17

Encountering the Psychotic Lady in the Dream and Washington DC

Last weekend I went to Alexandria, VA, to speak at the Magfest convention, and I met a psychotic elderly lady I’d seen somewhere else, I think in a precognitive dream, who told me that…

Ah but before I tell you about her, I want to tell you that I took half a day after the convention to have a quick look at Washington DC, at least to get an impression of the place. I went to the National Air and Space Museum, saw the Wright Bros 1905 aircraft, saw it ramify into space craft in other parts of the museum, went to the National Archives and saw the Declaration of Independence, badly faded but clearly the real deal, saw one of four copies of the Magna Carta, saw the Bill of Rights…with scribbled annotations on it. Saw the Capitol bldg, saw limos…had lunch with a friend…noticed that everywhere, everywhere, everydamnwhere I went, I was waited on, guided by, watched over, sold tickets by, black folks. And a few Hispanics. Obama has been President, there are black people in Congress, and I’m sure black owners of big businesses in that town. But it was almost entirely black people serving white people wherever I went in Washington DC. I was startled by how thoroughly this was the case, wherever I looked. The class roles seemed starkly differentiated…

Finally I took a metro train to the airport. On the way a woman–she might have been 70?–who was neatly dressed, her dyed-red hair neatly combed, wandered up and down the Metro subway platform, talking to everyone she saw. Ranting, it must be said. To a young lone black man she intoned, “You have a demon. I see that. It is surely grown strong in you. But don’t take it so personally–consider that demons have a place in creation too. They have a role to play. You’re its nursemaid, almost. It’s not so bad.” He told her to “Go on about your business somewhere else and do it quick.” She broke into a Latin song, perhaps Cuban. I could see she’d been pretty once. She made me think of some aging Warhol superstar gone mad, for some reason. She pushed a little cart, with odds and ends in it, limping along behind it.

She got onto the same train I was on and she stopped and stared at me. I was wearing a t-shirt that had a sort of warped image of a planet with a leering face in it. She looked into my own face, said, “Oh, a man with an intelligent face, aware, I don’t see that much…on your chest, that picture, it could be a planet that’s also a god, talking to us from another world far away in the stars…I’m sorry. But you know, there will be computers they’re going to put in our brains, and the computers will control what we say, they’ll keep us from speaking the wrong things, and I’m not complaining, that’s a good thing, I want that because, you see, I cannot control what I say. I can’t stop what I say. I’m sorry.” I felt I should speak to her but was nervous about making my flight, and only smiled at her…and she hobbled away. All the time she spoke to me, I thought, “I’ve heard that before.” I remembered the dream, a long time ago. Of that platform and that woman…saying just that to me. Take it or leave it, that’s how it was.

Sep 17

Everything is so yellow.

The sky is yellow, like you’re wearing lightly yellow-tinted sunglasses, here, the sun is a red disk, and the air is hot, in the upper nineties, unusual temperature for September in this area. There is yet another enormous wildfire here in the pacific NW, this one about 40 miles from me on the Columbia Gorge, and it’s snowing ashes here. They’re much the texture and size of cigarette ashes tapped into the wind. You can feel them in your lungs and must clean them from the windshield before driving. About every fifth person on the street is wearing one of those white ten-a-penny face masks. I see them schooling their children on wearing them, keeping them on, during this. One wildfire is tamped down, another flares up, and they’re all big, thanks to the ubiquity of dryness in the countryside. I wonder if the local libertarians understand that only government infrastructure, subsidies, emergency funding, stands between us and our houses burning up? Is this what it’s like? Climate change accelerating? We were warned that big, out of control fires would be more frequent. Our glib dystopian writing seems quaint now, blandly real. The future has caught up with us, in our old age, as time seems to go faster, and it’s laughing, mockingly–the future is always young.

Looking out my office window, right now, everything is so disturbingly…yellow.