Goom Ga Goom Hackalackalacka Goom

Several years ago, my phone rang. I saw on the caller ID that it was my friend Wilhelm.

I answered the call, “hi Wilhelm. What are you doing?”

“Hi Evyl,” he responded, “I’m not doing much of anything. What are you up to?”

“Well, I’m killing off some brain cells,” I confessed.

“Oh yeah?” Wilhelm was intrigued, “how’s that?”

So, I explained, “well, I’m drinking German beer, and we’re watching Spice World and then The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.”

Wilhelm laughed, “Oh, you really are killing brain cells!”

Just as monks of yore are reputed to have self-flagellated, sometimes I enjoy watching a truly bad movie. However, I do not own a copy of Avatar. That’s over the line for me and I don’t have the patience to watch that much compressed bad movie for that kind of duration. It takes so much alcohol for me to endure that film that I’m going to start calling it The Last Bender. Movies based on video games are a pretty easy mark for bad content searches, with rare exception. A young friend of ours recently exposed his wisdom and said in conversation, “I’d rather watch Resident Evil movies than play the games.” Outside of the Umbrella Corp., we get the likes of Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. The only line I remember from either of those films is when Johnny Cage says, “I’m in a hostile environment. I’m totally unprepared. And I’m surrounded by a bunch of guys who probably want to kick my ass… it’s like being back in high school.” Most of the time, video games make for terrible movies. Scrape the bottom of that ugly barrel, and you have Super Mario Bros.

***Spoiler alert! If you have spent the last two decades unaware of this movie, and you still plan to watch it, you might want to go take care of that before you read the rest of this. Or you know, skip the middle man and take my word for it that there are better things that you can do with 104 minutes of your life. In that case, read on.

As I may have recently mentioned, Teen Bot has gotten more into video games over the last several years, thus Jennifer and I have recently gotten more into video games. Last week or so, we came to the realization that he had not yet seen the steaming pile of a film that is Super Mario Bros. So last night, we looked it up on YouTube and gave it a watch. I had long forgotten exactly how bad this movie is. For years, when it would come up in conversation mentioned as a bad movie, I would come to its defense and proclaim, “it’s not that bad.” No, Evyl. It is actually that bad and then some. This film stands as a monument to the fact that you can start with a good cast, expensive special effects, and good intentions, and still wind up with a crappy film. I’m reminded once more of The Last Bender. The biggest problem with it is that it has almost nothing in common with the Nintendo games. It’s as though the writers took advice from Wayne’s World just a year or so earlier, when Noah Vanderhoff proclaims that kids don’t know anything and that they are easy to manipulate out of their money with crappy entertainment. I paraphrase of course, as I can’t find the actual quote with a quick internet search… *Squirrel!*

Throughout our viewing of SMB, I kept saying things like, “hey Teen Bot, in the games, did you ever notice how much Bowser looks like Dennis Hopper?”

And Jennifer would correct me, “King Koopa.”

“To-may-to, to-mah-to,” I would respond, “same guy.”

I reflected, “Daisy in this movie was a whole lot cuter when I was younger.”

“She is pretty cute,” Jennifer noted.

“Yeah,” I agreed, “but she was really cute the first time I saw this movie.”

Teen Bot simply laughed at his dorky parents.

“Hey Teen Bot,” remember in the games how the goombas were giant reptilian humanoids and not waddling mushrooms?”

“Hey Teen Bot, remember when you drive an electric car through a grungy underground city in the games?”

Teen Bot responded, “well, I guess it’s kind of like Mario Kart.”

“Yes, except completely not,” I said.

“Hey Teen Bot, remember in the SMB games when you had to recover a meter fragment from some scary chick in red latex at a club so Bowser couldn’t take over our world with it?

“King Koopa,” Jennifer said.

“Same guy,” I defended.

“Hey Teen Bot, remember all these weird people in the games?”

“Hey Teen Bot, remember in the games when Bowser was shooting a gun at you and you had to defend against it?”

“King Koopa,” Jennifer corrected.

“Hey Teen Bot, remember in the game when you shot Bowser with the Devo Gun and he transformed from a human to a t-Rex and then into Odo from Deep Space Nine and colapsed into green sewage on the ground?”

Jennifer corrected me, “King Koopa.”

“Actually,” I said, “I think he’s the President in this one.”

And yes, the Devo Gun was a pretty important plot device in the film. Evidently there wasn’t enough cannon material from the established game series to make a whole movie around, so they had to invent stuff like reptilian humanoids and the Devo Gun, which wasn’t fractionally as cool as a Dubstep Gun. But then, what is?

When we got to the scene where Daisy is imprisoned in the tower, and the cute little bipedal dinosaur wanders out from behind the furniture, chained with a metal collar, Teen Bot said, “what is that supposed to be?”

“I’ll give you a hint,” I quipped, “in the game you might ride him around and make him eat goombas and stuff.”

“Oh, it’s Yoshi?” he said.

“Yeah, but they might have gotten the scale a little off,” I replied.

Throughout the duration of the film, neither Mario nor Luigi stomp on a single turtle or mushroom. They do not collect any 1-ups or fireflowers or leaves or capes. Neither of them dons a frog suit or a tanooki suit. Not once do they pull a flag down a flagpole nor do they enter any castles. They don’t collect cards or throw turnips at the bad guys. There is a character named Toad, but he’s a minor character that gets turned into one of Koopa’s minions who goes rogue to help our ‘heroes’ escape. They may as well have named him Earl for as much continuity as they bothered with. I mean, he doesn’t even wear a ridiculous poofy hat!

“Hey Teen Bot, remember that random woman in the game who steals the meteor fragment so she can merge the worlds on her own?”

Indeed, this movie would have been marginally better if they had made it as a stand-alone story and not affiliated it with Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. Granted, that would not have saved it as a film or made it anything that it is not already, but of many flaws, its most glaring is the fact that it is supposed to be a SMB story. IMDb gives it a marginally higher rating than Spice World, but I’d highly recommend the latter over the former if you are after some brain rotting entertainment. It is no small wonder that we haven’t seen The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, or Metroid on the big screen or any other major title video games for that matter. SMB was the nail in the coffin for any such enterprises. Nintendo and Sega respectively, as well as many other game programmers heeded this film as a clear warning of the worst case scenario and said, “Oooooh no. We’re not going to let you do that to any (more) of our beloved core characters.” And for some reason, writing this post makes me want to grow my hair long, put on a flannel shirt and Doc Martens, and listen to some Nirvana or Cranberries while drinking Crystal Pepsi.

Life without HDMI

Well, almost.

For many years, Jennifer and I had an “entertainment system” that was cobbled together with a ~19-inch TV complete with knobs on the front, a VCR, and an old Radio shack AV receiver. We had a passive subwoofer hooked up through an old PA amp, and a quartet of speakers, an off-the-shelf pair, and a pair of homebrew towers in the front. When the VCR died, we replaced it with a DVD player. We didn’t have a lot of tapes, and the machines were similarly priced at the time, so we took the opportunity to upgrade. One year, we got a healthy tax return, a.k.a. white trash savings account, and upgraded from the tube to a multimedia projector. We painted a 91-inch screen on the wall with a special paint. We’re still using and enjoying our Optoma HD72. It’s only 720p, but it suits our needs for the time being. Around the same time, we picked up a Marantz SR4600. It was deeply discounted because the HDMI models had just come out. We didn’t feel like we needed the new hotness, but we still wanted excellent sound quality. The Marantz is one of the cleaner sounding solid-states that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to, but it became clear that we needed a good center channel speaker, which I sourced on the internet.

When the Playstation won The Great HD Format War, we picked up a Samsung BD-UP5000 that was on clearance at the local electronics money pit. We were able to pick up a few HD DVDs at the time, for little to nothing for the same reasons. For full disclosure in reference to the title of this post, we do have an HDMI cable running from this player to the projector, for video only. Even though the Marantz didn’t have HDMI ports, nor decoders for HD audio formats, it did have 8-channel discrete inputs to plug in analog auto, and the Samsung had 8-channel discrete output. So far, so good! My friend, Beej even gave me a pair of Marantz towers that she picked up at an estate sale so we could have true 7.1 surround.

Some time in there, we picked up a pretty nice laserdisc player at a garage sale, bundled with a small collection of discs. Well to be fair, we went through a few players before we wound up with our Pioneer CLD-D406, but for the sake of brevity, let’s say we picked up a laserdisc player. It’s an A/B side player that even has AC3 output for Dolby Digital. I wound up sourcing a Marantz DP870 to descramble the digital audio. This sound processor does a great job at that, but it has discrete 5.1-channel output. This is where we started running against a wall. We now had two units with multi-channel output, and only one set of inputs on the receiver. We don’t watch laserdiscs very often, and the only title we have that is in true Dolby Digital is Showgirls, which we rarely have a driving urge to watch. So, although this was a problem, it was not a huge one.

When Avatar came out, many of our friends, whom we respect, reported that it was a really good movie. Conversely, many of our other friends, whom we also respect, regarded this film as a giant, steaming pile of thinly veiled white guilt cliches. Naturally, we had to check it out. We rented the Blu Ray from the local store and settled in for the evening. Our Samsung wouldn’t play it. So, I went off to Samsung’s website to find that they had just rushed out a firmware update for our player, specifically to tackle the Avatar issue. With the update installed, we were able to *ahem* enjoy this film. And, by “enjoy” I mean facepalm, exclaim “WTF?!?!” and generally hate it, joining in the latter mentioned camp of our friends.

And, that firmware update was the beginning of a pretty crumby experience with our player. It had difficulty with almost all new releases from Disney and Fox. Subsequent firmware updates did nothing. I chatted with Samsung support, got nothing in return, and told them that I was tempted to avoid Samsung products from then on because of the experience. By this point, it was getting difficult to find a Blu Ray player that had alternatives to HDMI, and I was not about to buy a new AV receiver. I decided that I would work towards replacing the player with the next HTPC, which we started on last year for Christmas. My research indicated that playing Blu Ray discs on a computer was not without its caveats, and we still haven’t accomplished the task.

I knew that I was going to eventually have 8-channel sound coming from the HTPC. So, that makes three devices with discrete output going to a receiver that has one input. It was now time to get creative. I needed an 8-channel analog sound switcher. Somewhere I found such a device online, but it cost as much as a new receiver. I put my head together with my brother’s, and formed a plan. I took a dead Pioneer SL-PG440 single CD player and gutted it for the project. I drilled out the back of the box to mount 40 RCA jacks that I sourced on the internet.

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And, I even printed out an overlay to stick on the back of the unit to label the connections.

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I shaved the front off the faceplate with my router table and rebuilt it with a sheet of dark colored plastic where a selector knob could be mounted.

frontpanel

I sourced some heavy-duty, Japanese-made, four-pole relays. These are discontinued new old stock, and are built like little tanks.

relays

I discussed circuit options with my brother, and let him put it together, as he has done a lot more of this kind of work than I have, and he’s got a good soldering station.

circuitcomplete

jacksinner

switchrear

When powered up, the relays make an authoritative “clack” between input sources. The switch has six positions, with the outer two wired as off, and the inner four switch between four input sources. I have not personally listened to sound through it yet, as I lack the cabling to wire it into the system yet. My brother has wired it for sound and reports that it is extremely quiet as far as noise is concerned, that it transmits the sound signal as if it is not even in line. This is exactly what I was after.

So in short, in avoiding purchasing a new AV receiver, my brother and I built a home theater electrical component from scratch. Now, we should be able to wire the discrete sound from the laserdisc sound processor, the HD DVD/Blu Ray player, and the HTPC without having to swap a handful of cables. And, I’ll have an extra input just in case we happen to pick up some other device that we have not yet thought of. Whenever I can manage to get it plugged into the system, I’ll let you know how it runs for me.

Oh, and back to the Samsung firmware issues… Jennifer’s parents gave us the new Die Hard movie for Christmas. When we threw it in the player, it did its annoying trick of sticking on the splash screen. After fiddling with it a bit and threatening to throw the player in the street, I checked the internet for a new firmware version. I didn’t expect to find anything as it had been several years since the last update. But lo and behold, Samsung released a new firmware version in October! I got that installed and we were watching Die Hard in no time flat. I’ve since been able to test the machine playing Tron Classic and Tron Legacy, two titles that have never worked on this player, much to my despair. So, the Samsung has a new lease on life and I’m not feeling quite as pressured to get the Blu Ray drive installed and configured in the HTPC.

An Open Letter to Miley Cyrus

Dear Miley,

Can I call you ‘Miley’? Great. I don’t watch TV, but after all the hullabaloo that I saw on the internet about your *ahem* performance at the VMAs, I had to check out a recording to see what the big deal was all about. I was previously aware of your recent antics, since I attempt to keep a finger on the pulse of the entertainment industry. I don’t want to wake up one day and find myself as one of those old guys who is absolutely out of touch with the current culture. I have not exactly been in approval of your approach before now, but you really crossed the line on Sunday.

mileycyrustongue

Why does this face look so familiar?

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It may be cute when my dog’s tongue is hanging out of her mouth, but it is not cute when you do it. And, I understand that sex sells. I really don’t have a problem with sex appeal in the entertainment industry. It’s been done for centuries. What I do have a problem with is soft core porn being peddled as family entertainment. When Stefani Germanotta paints on a scant outfit and makes a spectacle of herself as Lady Gaga, there is artistic value in it. Even at her most salacious, she retains a defined level of class. She incorporates elaborate dance routines with choreography, dazzling color, and many other elements that are not at all sexual in nature. On the other hand, when you get as close to naked as you legally can and grind against a dude’s crotch, rub your lady bits with a foam finger, and wag your nearly naked rump at a crowd and cameras, it is indecent. Twerking is not dancing. It is slutty exhibition.

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I know your daddy has remained pensively positive, but I can only imagine what your spectacle has done to his achy breaky heart. If someone I loved did something so disgusting, I can confidently say it would make me die a little on the inside. By contrast, last year, I published a very sexy video on YouTube of my beloved wife shooting .50-caliber rifles wearing a PVC catsuit that didn’t leave much to the imagination. Even though it was sexy it was not at all trashy. She was exhibiting her excellent marksmanship skills and agreed to do the video to promote men’s health.

Will twerking destroy a paint can 800-yards away? Yeah, I don’t think so. You see, every September a bunch of us guys commit to wear kilts all month and collect donations to raise awareness and support for male-specific cancers. After much discussion, we announced that if my sponsorship reached a certain level, we would make this video. There are these little things called boundaries, and my wife and I have boundaries that we won’t cross. Some things are better left in the bedroom and certainly have no place in public for just anyone to behold. As I watched the recording of your… …thing, the look of disgust on Will Smith’s face mirrored my own reaction.

willsmithmileycyrusvma

Indeed, it appeared that many members of the live audience were disturbed by your antics. I would like to advise you to seek a career that’s more in line with your talent set; there’s probably some openings in Las Vegas for a girl like you. But as you noted on Twitter, what you are doing is getting you a lot of attention.

And, in that you are right. Peddling your sexuality, objectifying your meat, and eschewing art in lieu of profane exhibitionism is making you a lot more money than the hard working girls that I alluded to above. Heck, I don’t even listen to your “music” or watch TV, and you even got my attention. What you did was the professional equivalent of crapping in bed and rolling around in your own feces. It got a lot of attention, but it is not at all good attention. You’re also now in the oldest profession. Rather than relying on work or talent, you have made a whore of yourself, Miley. And although that might seem like a really fun and successful way to go when you are twenty, what happens when you get older?

Well then, you’ll just be an old whore.

Old-Whore

Don’t Run, We Are Your Friends.

The whole “nobody is trying to take your guns” mantra has always struck me like this:

It has always been so glaringly obvious that they are in fact trying to take away our guns, despite the lies seeping from between their teeth. During the 2008 Presidential Election, I commented to a coworker my concerns over upcoming gun control measures. My coworker shook his head and said, “every time a Democrat gets elected to office the conservatives think they’re going to ban guns.” And where would we ever get that idea?

The real question is why do they think we’re so stupid? Don’t run, We are your friends. Nobody is trying to take your guns away. Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes? These are not the droids you’re looking for. We still know alarmingly little about our current sitting president’s history, but we do have a very clear picture of his stance on guns. It was obviously only a matter of time before the administration took on gun control as a pet project. Despite their best efforts, our representatives are actually doing their job and have blocked unsavory and unpopular legislation to limit our rights. Obama has not hidden his disappointment at all and in fact has pouted about the defeat.

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But still, nobody is trying to take your guns. Right.

A Response to a Reader

I received several comments on my Open Letter to Stephen King, and one of them was submitted by Jeremy, who seems to believe that I posited an imperfect analogy.

Very poor analogy. Roland carried a six shooter and was trained to use it responsibly as one of the only men in he realm to carry such a weapon. No assault weapons. He also murdered a young innocent boy in the first novel we meet him in because his way was so obsessed and misguided that he didn’t appreciate a human life to be as valuable as his own crazy obsession.
(oh and the people who won’t read his books anymore because he dated to speak his mind: good. I love when someone is so easily influenced away from something they previously enjoyed)

Admittedly, had my post been an analogy at all, it would not have been a good one. I never intended to compare the gun control debacle of our time to the storyline of Mr. King’s fictional world. But, to address the concerns as Jeremy wrote them as quoted above, let’s just see exactly what he’s stepped into…

Roland carried a six shooter and was trained to use it responsibly as one of the only men in he realm to carry such a weapon.

Are you seriously starting out with an ‘Only Ones’ argument here? So, Roland is an equivalent to a cop, with special, magical training? You may note that in the course of the story, he recruits laypeople (the same young boy that you mention, a heroin addict from Brooklyn, and a paraplegic woman with dissociative identity disorder) and subsequently trains them with the same skills, to make them as gunslingers in their own rights. Similarly, in real life, not only is police-style gun training available to any law-abiding, adult, free citizen in our wonderful nation, but the classes themselves have a substantial crossover in students between law enforcement, military personnel, and the private sector. I stood side by side in a pistol class with two young men who were in the Air Force who were in class that day simply because they didn’t feel that the handgun training they had received from the United States Air Force was sufficient enough for them to be proficient and competent in a combat situation. Indeed, much gun training that is widely available to the public is superior to the training that many law enforcement officers ever receive.

No assault weapons.

Why must you fetishists obsess over the object employed in an act of violence? In point of fact, “assault weapon” is a vacuous and dishonest term that was invented by politicians to scare people into advocating gun bans. Whenever you have a new term pop up in a contentious subject, it is best to follow the agenda (or in some cases, money) trail before accepting it offhand. Before “assault weapon”, politicians made up other terms to the same end such as “gangster gun” and “Saturday night special”. Sadly, even the tired term “assault weapon” seems to have quite a fluid definition depending on which politician you listen to. Discussions such as this would be far more honest and productive if we could cut out the scary rhetoric and discuss factually. If we are talking strictly of Evil Black Rifles, you need to understand that these are the most popular rifles in the nation today, and that there are millions of them in private possession that have never been, nor ever will be used in the commission of a crime, violent or otherwise. The word “assault” is a verb, which means:

1 a : a violent physical or verbal attack
b : a military attack usually involving direct combat with enemy forces
c : a concerted effort (as to reach a goal or defeat an adversary)
2 a : a threat or attempt to inflict offensive physical contact or bodily harm on a person (as by lifting a fist in a threatening manner) that puts the person in immediate danger of or in apprehension of such harm or contact — compare battery 1b
b : rape 2

And, the word “weapon” is defined as:

1 : something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy
2 : a means of contending against another

Therefore, if we ditch the agenda-driven, political definitions and stick to strict, English-language definitions, an “assault weapon” is not at all an Evil Black Rifle so much as it is any object that one utilizes to mount a physical attack against another. The black rifles with collapsible stocks, pistol grips, barrel shrouds, and bayonet lugs, with their thirty-round (standard capacity) magazines, peacefully sitting in the safes of millions of Americans are not at all “assault weapons” and it is simply bigoted, prejudiced fear-mongering to assert that they are. For an actual analogy, if your girlfriend gets mad at you for eating too many tacos and attempts to stab you with her spork, that very morphoditic eating utensil is the assault weapon, and much more so than her AR15 which she left at her house, which has never hurt anyone. Indeed, during the fictional course of The Dark Tower series, Roland assaults infinitely more people with his revolvers than the overwhelming majority of all so-called “assault weapons” (as per the current, politically expedient “definition”) ever have or ever will, by a margin of some to nothing. This is primarily why the gun rights advocates find the
“high-velocity-assault-clip-shoulder-thing-that-goes-up” rhetoric so insultingly stupid. What I have found is that there are two types of people who argue for more gun control: Those who are motivated out of ill-intent (i.e. politicians who incite fear to tow the line to ultimately disarm the populace for greater power) and those who are motivated out of ignorance (the masses who simply repeat the talking points that have been fed to them by their betters, because they have been told that they are “common-sense”). And, this tends to be an inclusive continuum, in which some individuals fall into both definitions.

He [Roland] also murdered a young innocent boy in the first novel we meet him in because his way was so obsessed and misguided that he didn’t appreciate a human life to be as valuable as his own crazy obsession.

I admit that it’s been a while since I last read these books, but I seem to recall that Jake’s first death occurred when Roland’s nemesis deliberately pushed him into traffic. After that, Jake and Roland met and continued on the adventure together until Jake’s demise, of which you speak. Roland did not actively “murder” him so much as allow him to fall when he could have made the choice to save him instead. Although cowardly and deplorable, this is not “murder” in the strictest sense any more than ignoring a drunk and brawling domestic couple makes you a wife-beater, or not stopping a shoplifter makes you a thief. If you are going to define “murder” to include the failure to save a life when you are afforded the opportunity to do so, or to put someone in a hazardous situation that ultimately plays out to their demise, that’s painting with an awfully wide brush. The argument then can easily be made that the very act of gathering children in a place with no defenses, and no means of escape, where a madman can force his way in and slaughter with impunity against no effective resistance is murder. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really prepared to call someone a murderer for dropping their kids off at school, or for being employed by the school, or even being a politician writing policies concerning schools, even if I vehemently disagree with them. As atrocious as I find gun control to be, I’m not even prepared to call gun control advocates “murderers” although they have not always afforded me the same regard. I do agree with you in that Roland’s irrational obsession caused him to make the choice to not save the child. And yet, suspension of disbelief in The Gunslinger’s world includes rampant reincarnation. As opposed to our world, where when one dies, they are ostensibly gone for good, in the world of The Dark Tower, death is easy to play off with “There are other worlds than these.” That is to say that death, being less permanent in the fictional world, and therefore, murder or even manslaughter by negligence as framed in the book series is simply not as much of a natural offense as it is in real life.

(oh and the people who won’t read his books anymore because he dated to speak his mind: good. I love when someone is so easily influenced away from something they previously enjoyed)

I will assume that was supposed to be “dared” and not “dated”. But, I’m glad to be of entertainment to you. I hope that brings you back for more, and I shall exploit the bandwidth you provide in an unrepentant and blatanty capitalistic manner. I don’t know whether you actually read Mr. King’s essay, in part or in full, but he shows that he is antagonistic towards politically-charged inanimate objects with scary nicknames and aesthetic features, as well as the NRA, which is the oldest, most effective civil rights organization in our country. It is not so much that Mr. King “dares to speak his mind” as it is the fact that he speaks down to all of the little people. He tells us that he owns three handguns “with a clear conscience” as though it’s acceptable to say, “I’m friends with lots of ni**ers.” In an attempt at taking on a leadership role over the rest of us, he shows how he courageously asked his publisher to pull Rage after collecting a mere nineteen years worth of royalties, because it was linked to some violent crimes. All of this, and he has the audacity to ask readers to pay for privilege of enduring this sermon. I don’t ask for a penny from you, Jeremy. And yet, I will freely admit to profit being a motivating factor.

Additionally, it is not so much being “easily influenced away” as it is standing up for one’s principles. To give you an analogy that actually is an analogy, if you found out that your favorite restaurant, Neighborhood Trough Buffet had a corporate policy that they did not like dogs, and actually supported animal shelters that euthanize, specifically because they wanted to kill dogs, you might just take umbrage to that. If it just so happens that you adopted your much-beloved dog, Skippers from the local no-kill shelter, it might take on personal meaning to you that Neighborhood Trough sought to destroy dogs that are so much like yours, and that violates your personal values. Skippers didn’t do anything to anyone, and he’s a great companion and he is protective of your family. You now have a choice to make. You could say, “Eff it, Neighborhood Trough is da bomb and I’m going to eat there anyway. Sure, they may support dog euthanasia, which is sad and wrong, but it’s not like I can change that on my own,” which would be well within your rights, even if it would make me question your personal convictions. Then again, you could say, “As much as I have enjoyed eating at Neighborhood Trough in the past, I am a man of my principles and I simply cannot patronize an establishment that supports activities that I find to be so reprehensible.” However, in your comment, you play it as though it is a point of weakness when in fact it is not. Just as in my analogy there are plenty of other restaurants in town that you can patronize that don’t support the wrong animal shelters, in my world there are plenty of talented authors that support my rights and freedoms. As an example, Larry Correia is a New York Times Best Seller and has written probably the most comprehensive and exhaustive argument on either side of the gun debate, that he doesn’t even charge anything to read, unlike King. In fact, he was recently invited to speak on the subject with Huckabee:

So yes, I’m remorseful that my hard earned dollars have played any part in the royalty pot of someone who holds my rights in such low regard. Indeed, Stephen King can go pound sand with his opinions unless he has been grossly misrepresented by others. The excerpts that I’ve been able to read certainly seem to be a condescending dissent to my rights as a free citizen, and it is not worth the ninety-nine cents to me to read the whole thing myself to test his defense. I hope I’ve been able to clear up a few things for you.

An Open Letter to Stephen King

Dear Steve,

Can I call you ‘Steve’? Great. Thanks. It has recently been brought to my attention that you have a nice little op-ed floating around, in which you appeal to gun owners to ban certain types of guns, as though guns in my safe have ever been guilty of crimes committed. I have particularly enjoyed your The Dark Tower series of books as well as some of your other works of fiction. However, you are overstepping here. You see, you are not a role model nor a leader. You are, in fact, no more than an entertainer. When we want your opinion, we’ll give it to you. Beyond that, keep producing the entertaining material that amuses us and don’t otherwise open your trap. It’s tiresome when Bono does it, and it’s not even cute when Scarlett Johansson does it, and it’s sure as heck not cute when you do it either. Or as it has been immortalized on the internet by my lovely wife; DANCE, MONKEY! What little of your diatribe that I have managed to read illustrates to me that you know very little about gun culture, defensive gun use, gun mechanics, freedom, or the law. How dare you attempt to dictate to me or anyone else for that matter what tools are appropriate for defense, as though you were an expert in such things instead of a fiction author? If I could read your entire 25-page essay without making the contribution I would, if for no other reason than to gauge exactly how much I will boycott your work in the future. However, with such a blatant display of self-righteous arrogance, I fear that I will be unable to reconcile putting money in your pockets with fully hearing you out. To quote words that you wrote:

“I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I aim with my eye.

I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I shoot with my mind.

I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.
I kill with my heart.”

So you do understand that the tool is not to blame then? Indeed, a gun alone is not violent nor dangerous, but inert and inanimate. Evil hearts and minds are dangerous regardless of whatever tool is or is not available. The murderers that the anti-gun faction has been taking advantage of recently to justify further infringement of our Second Amendment were committed by bad people. They did not kill with the gun, but with the heart. And you sir, have forgotten the face of your father. With all due respect,

Evyl Robot Michael

Overheard in the Kitchen this Morning

While playing the Moulin Rouge CD, I commented to Wee Bot that the movie had great costuming, beautiful sets, a creative and well-executed sound track, and a really crappy story.  I told him that the songs were all old songs rearranged for the movie and that the voices on the CD were actually the actors in the movie.  He thought that was cool.

“So,” he asked, “what was it about?”

Indicating points with my fingers, I explained, “Dude falls in love with the wrong girl.  She doesn’t return his affections.  Then, she dies.”

“That kind of sucks,” he commented.

“Yes,” I affirmed, “yes it does.”

And with that, I’ll leave you with Nature Boy as performed by David Bowie, which is why I put that CD on this morning in the first place.

Incidentally, does anyone remember this hilarity?

Anime Casting Call

So, Stephen Spielberg is slated to direct the live action movie of Ghost in the Shell. From the hints at the players that are working on this film, I’m pretty well convinced that they are going to completely screw the story and alienate fans of the manga and anime. Oh well. It happens. I didn’t see the latest version of The Day the Earth Stood Still as I heard from nearly all sources that it was a hot, steaming pile. As preachy as the original was, I understand that the remake is exponentially more so. But, I digress. I’m a fan of GITS. I’ve got a copy on laserdisk, DVD, and Blu Ray. Like I said, I’m a fan.

However, speaking of remakes starring Ted Logan Tom Anderson Neo Eddie Kasalivich Keanu Reeves, apparently he’s been cast as Spike Spiegel in the upcoming live action film Cowboy Bebop. Although he does have the look for the role, it will certainly stretch his *ahem* skills as an actor. There have been quite a few suggestions on how to fill out the rest of the cast. They’ve been fascinating to say the least:

Christina Ricci as Faye was a stroke of genius. I’m looking forward to that one, but I kind of expect them to screw it up as well. And, on to my point…

What I’d really like to see is a live action adaptation of Eureka Seven. In reading The Reluctant Paladin‘s Girl Friday entries, I ran across the perfect actress to play Eureka‘s psychotic nemesis Anemone. And that would be Natalie Dormer.  For that matter, she could probably play Eureka just as well.  Admittedly, she’s a little old for the parts, but her face is nearly a perfect match to the two girls. I don’t think that they are supposed to be identical, but their likeness to each other in the artwork is certainly no mistake. What do you think?

Eureka

She does look more like Anemone but I think she could probably play either one. It might be interesting if she played both roles though. It would emphasize the duality that is a theme throughout the story.  Besides that, she would look totally hot with pink or green hair. :D