Tired of That Bullshit: Here it Comes

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The BMW  scooted down a mile of traffic and cut in one car ahead of me, not merging, but slashing, his actions, and those of the same ilk, causing the the traffic jam in the first place, when there were people like me who would have let him go ahead and slip in without causing everyone else to slam on their brakes.

THOSE guys, drive me nuts.

Those guys are everywhere, it seems. The ones who think they are more important than anyone else, bringing civilized folk to an abrupt halt, while they cut in and get what they think they deserve. There are fewer of them, those predatory self-important hyenas who fancy themselves lions but who are nothing more than carrion-feeders, than there are decent and good people. The school of fish is a buffet for the souless shark.

I’m a big man, and I’ve never lost a fight, not  a man-to-man fight. Been beat down by groups a few times. I’ve been shot at and stabbed at and had my nose broken and my eyes swollen shut, but my scars are honest and earned. There is no such thing as a friendly fight, but there is a difference between a fair fight and a sucker punch,. Except, in today’s society, there is no distinction, and perhaps there never was.

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In The Art of War, Sun Tzu  says, ” Appear weak when you are strong, and  appear strong when you are weak.”  The guy in the BMW with a short-guy complex is winning in America. He is weak, and yet we, the people, are defeated. Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson would smack that guy in the face. Or, not. Our founding Fathers were Mercedes kind of people. They were short, wealthy, and male. They owned slaves, land, and “cut in” even though it made Britain rather angry. They were brilliant, and they got richer because of the American Revolution, no more saints than Bill Gates or Carnegie or Warren Buffet.

Americans are getting cut off by that guy. It’s been happening since the first boots landed on the New World. The people with money and clout dictated what everyone else would do. They made the laws, established an oligarchy, and enforced their will by killing and burning and revolting when it suited them to do so. They gave the rest of us a chance, gave a nation room to breathe, until the United States became great, not because of these bastards, but in spite of them. America stayed one nation through the bloodletting of the Civil War, not because the industrialists and plantation owners deemed it so, but because Lincoln was willing to spill blood for that ideal. American boys paid that price in blood at Antietam and Gettysburg and all over the eastern United States, which were anything but united. In World War Two, the Greatest Generation fought and bled and died from Omaha Beach to  Berlin for that dream of freedom and a nation that stands as a city on a hill, a beacon of righteousness. Generations have died for a flag and an ideal which could be true, but which is being stolen right now,.

The sonsofbitches that think they are above everyone else, then as now,  did not allow their sons to be put in harm’s way. They did not fight themselves, but chose to hide behind wealth and position and condescending smiles. They cut in, assuming, aggressive, and entitled. Along the way, they created a news network and convinced people that whatever sprang from that network was the Truth.” If FOX says it, coming from a college dropout or pretty blond, then it must be true,” thinks a whole segment of our great nation. Go ahead, and cut in. I won’t be angry. It’s all right with me because—

“Screw you, cutting in front of me, you entitled sonofatbitch!”

I’ll just speed up a bit so that you can’t get in, and blithely smile at you while you rage, and then cut ahead in line and get in anyway, causing this whole traffic jam. Nothing gets done, really, except that the jerk got in ahead anyway. And that is that bullshit.

The country is gridlocked by assholes.

The bank bailouts, the stock market crash, the worst Congress in history, the lies perpetrated by certain networks, prove this.The fear, misinformation, ignorance, bigotry, and outright hatred spewed by those in power and those with a vested interest in it prove that nothing is going to happen in terms of real legislation. Change? No. Because the king likes to be king, and who can blame him? The thing is to convince the paupers that they are kings. And that happened. They did that!

The rich will continue to get richer, though, and they’ll claim that they are hurting. They’ll try to convince the rest of the country that poor people are poor because they are lazy and rich people are rich because they are good and Americans will buy it and let them cut in.

There will be a wreck. I’ll be that guy that really slows traffic down. Because I’ll ram the next son of a bitch in a BMW that cuts me off, I’ll floor it in my work truck, and I won’t give a damn. And when he gets out of his car, pressed white shirt and angry and talking about lawyers, I’ll knock him right on his ass, because I don’t care anymore about the traffic jam and fairness and that bullshit that I’ve been putting up with while people like this steal from me. I’ll punch him in the eye because that’s what I’ve been wanting to do, every time I’ve been stuck in this traffic for the last twenty years.

That’s what I’m going to do, and that’s because I’m sick and tired of that bullshit.

Interstellar: Review

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I grew up reading science fiction, and it remains my favorite genre of film and books. Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Robert Silverberg, Rober Zelazny, Heinlein, Azimov, and Greg Bear remain some of my favorite authors. I enjoy the hard-sci fi as well as more playful space opera. I love the first Star Wars movies, and I also really like Contact. I loved The Edge of Tomorrow. Heck, I even liked Riddick.

So it was with great anticipation I forked out the extra bucks to see Interstellar on a super-big screen. I’d been looking forward to this one since I’d seen the trailer for it last year.

Of course, I was doomed to disappointment. It’s a rare thing when lofty expectations are met. It’s a decent movie, but I was hoping for something, well, stellar.

I liked the premise, the idea that the Earth had turned against humanity, leaving mankind no choice but to reach for the stars. The scenes of cars and trucks laden with people migrating to anywhere else were reminiscent of the Dust Bowl and Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

The acting was good, with Michael Cane and Mathew McConaughey delivering solid performances. The special effects were excellent, and there were some breathtaking scenes in space.

But there were too many moments where I scratched my head and said “What???” I had to resist the urge to turn to my wife and criticize the movie, risking the wrath of fellow movie goers, and I didn’t want to be THAT guy. So I sipped my drink and simmered.

My issue with this movie is that it pretends to be smarter than it actually is. Had I gone into the movie with a different set of expectations, I think I would have enjoyed the film much more.

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SPOILER ALERT

When the crew is on the planet with the massive tidal surge and a character drags her feet instead of returning to the ship, I cringed.

When they decide to investigate planets orbiting a black hole, I thought, why the hell would they do that. Black holes are inherently unstable, dangerous things you stay away from.

When the survivors leave a planet and within ten seconds are drawn into the black hole’s gravitational pull, I rolled my eyes. When they arrive at this black hole minutes later, not crushed by the gravity, I squirmed in my seat.

In the library of time, where past and present are laid out in extra dimensional space, I wondered what the hell was going on.

And the ending, where our hero decides to return, somehow without any time distortion, drove me nuts.

So there it is. I found the movie to be visually stunning, and emotional, but the massive plot holes and shoddy science detracted from the overall experience. If I’d known going in that the movie was essentially silly, I could have rolled with the inexplicable twists and turns and made up physics.

It’s worth watching on the big screen, just be prepared.

Objects of Wrath, half price.

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My publisher, Permuted Press, is running a promotion this week for Objects of Wrath; more than eight hours worth of adventure set in America after the next global war. Readers say that the novel “sits at the intersection of The Road and Full Metal Jacket.”

I truly enjoyed this book, and it probably one of the best reads I’ve had so far this year.

The Bookie Monster  
The final book in the series comes out in February. Curl up by a cracking fire and spend a day immersed in a world that may yet come to be.
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Our ethical bankruptcy is going to kill us, not a virus.

Excellent analysis here.

The Order of Turbulence

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The United States has the most capable health infrastructure and the most capable doctors in the world, bar none,” Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s senior counter-terrorism adviser, said at a White House briefing. (“US Ebola outbreak ‘extraordinarily unlikely’, White House officials insist.” The Guardian)

You might wonder what a ‘counter-terrorism’ adviser is doing vouching for the quality of the US health system. It is an indication of just how badly this issue has been framed since the first report of the latest Ebola outbreak, which began in March of this year. Nor is it helpful that the current head of the CDC keeps insisting that an Ebola outbreak couldn’t happen in the US. And even more laughably, there’s a DA in Texas who looking into pressing charges against Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who fell sick in Dallas.  Let’s hope he lives long enough for that to…

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