Friday, December 23, 2011

Familiar Christmas customs based on ancient pagan rituals? GASSSPPP!!!

This time of the year tends to bring out the best - and the worst - in all of us.  It's also the annual time of the year for various retail outlets and government representatives at all levels (city, county, state, and federal) to commit to saying "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas" so as to not offend those who don’t celebrate Christmas.  Well, I have my own solution to this particular dilemma, but more on that in a bit. 

First, I want to bring up a common argument generally brought up by those who hate the Christmas season; and they usually bring it up as a way to "de-legitimize" Christmas - as if bringing this up is supposed to make the Christmas celebrant crash into a heap of shock, daze, confusion, and disappointment, and then they’ll leave Christianity and embrace atheism.  That particular fact is that many familiar Christmas customs actually originated from ancient pagan rituals.  It's times like that that I really have to bite my tongue to keep from saying:


You all might not know this, but I have a snarky side that I have to fight to control.  LOL 

Anyway, as I've mentioned before in a recent blog entry, I'm a big lover of history, and these particular facts about Christmas have been known to me since early adolescence.  The fact that Christmas originally was about celebrating the winter solstice is the most common argument brought up by these people – however, that fact is not exactly true.  What the early Christians were doing was not to look for a covert way to celebrate the winter solstice, but to redirect common pagan celebrations to have a Christian theme to them instead, so that this transition from pagan rituals to Christian ones will be very gradual.   Since pagans were used to celebrating at this time in December, then it wouldn't be a great stretch to make it about Christmas instead. 

But what really influenced our current practices of Christmas rituals in our country actually originated in Victorian England, and also by retail stores in the late 19th century and into the early 20th century looking to boost their bottom line (those damn corporations and One Percenters at it again!).  They basically made the Christmas season, in which the three wise men gave gifts to the infant Jesus, to be a time for gift-giving in general.  They were so successful at this transition that we've been paying for it with our dollars and our sanity ever since. 

So is Christmas too commercialized?  You bet! It's been so bad in recent decades that it's a common source of stress.  Heck, even the Peanuts television special in the mid-1960s made reference on how commercialized Christmas was back then!  Given that, I'm not only not surprised that some wouldn't be keen on a holiday with so many manufactured rituals (think Black Friday, Super Saturday, Cyber Monday, for example), I can actually agree with them.

Surprised that I would agree?  My Christmas-hating friends, you will find that you have a lot of people fond of Christmas who also hate the commercialization of it and of the hyper stress and the manufactured rituals.  What really ticks us off, though, is that you will lump us into the creators of the manufactured, commercialized holiday season (notice that I said "holiday" rather than "Christmas".  A distinction that I'm about to clarify) with those of us who appreciate the true "reason for the season".

Ah, yes. The “reason for the season”. That would be, of course, the arrival of the Christ child. Without getting heavy into Christian theology (so that I won’t be accused of trying to “evangelize” any of you LOL), Christmas Day is simply the celebration of Jesus’ birth. His birthday, in other words. And before anyone starts telling me that we don’t know the real date of his birth – yes, that’s true – so chill out! So why December 25th? Well, since we don’t know the true date, then a date had to be picked so that we can all celebrate it!

It also happens to be 9 months after the Catholic feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. And well, pregnancies tend to last 9 months and all that. Yes, we don’t know the true date of his conception, nor do we know whether his mother Mary’s pregnancy lasted the standard 9 months, or if it were shorter or longer than that. And yes, as previously stated, December 25th was picked likely to coincide with the pagan celebration of the winter solstice – but NOT to celebrate it! Thing is, friends, what mattered is that Jesus came into the world, and the other details aren’t necessarily important. So whether Jesus was born on December 25th or May 8th, the most important fact for Christians is that he was born.

Having said all that, I do believe that the celebration of Christmas needs to be more "Christ" centered; and not so much "holiday" centered. So those of you who aren't Christian and are pissed about all the trappings that are actually products of Victorian England and the marketing campaigns of retail outlets, be sure to direct your anger in the right direction. You just might find more Christians agreeing with you than you expect.

And finally, my solution to the whole "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays/Seasons Greetings", I say that those who trouble themselves over what to say should do this: Say all of them! What I mean is, say the following:

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Holy Ramadan
Happy Holidays
Seasons Greetings
Happy Festivus
And all the rest!

Any marketing departments worth their salt can find ways to utilize this in creative ways. It *can* be done.

And with that, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Don't forget as well that if you want to give me a holiday greeting here or on FB, be sure to tell me "Merry Christmas", because that's my preference. Heck, it's on my blog banner! LOL

Just so that you all know, I will be taking a break from blogging for about a week, and I'll see you back here early January. However, I will definitely still be posting on FB. In fact, watch my FB page starting on Monday for a special treat! I think you'll like it!

Take care, everyone! I hope you get lots of prezzies!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New artwork by a new artist! Meet Rick Celis!

Okay true believers! It's time to reveal a new artist for yours truly! Meet Rick Celis!  Isn't this work incredible?  Time to reveal how this got started.  This was a combination of the boss' desire for commissioned artwork to have a more "comic book" feel to them, instead of the standard pin-up, followed by my idea of giving him a line to use as the basis of the artwork. 

The challenge to the boss was that he had to craft a scene around that line, and give that description to the artist. And then the artist, not knowing what that line was going to be, made the scene based on the boss' description.

He described the scene as just after I got walloped by a real strong bad guy (or lady!) and I flew into a concrete wall, leaving cracks where I struck the wall.  I am then shown just after I hit the wall, and glaring back at the villain, uttering that line. 

Below is the same artwork with my line included:

Isn't this just amazing? I love how Rick captured that instant perfectly! This, friends, is how it goes when the artist nails the tension and drama in a comic page of art! Look at all that Rick captures here! I got smacked around, but I'm ready to give it all right back, and more! YEAAAHH!!! Bring it on, bitches! LOL

This is one of the reasons that I love comics.  And I love it even more when I'm the one being depicted!  Ha!  Loveitloveitloveit!

Thanks, Rick!  Nicely done!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Busty Superhero Chicks for Breast Cancer Awareness?

A quick word of warning - clicking on the following link might be NSFW if someone isn't aware what it's really about.  This is in case you have one of those psycho drama-queen feminists that finds sexism around every corner and in every shadow, because if they happen to be looking over your shoulder when you click on it, they'll see busty superhero women fondling their boobs. (!)

Once you're in the clear, check out this story about a site called Superheroes For Breast Cancer Awareness.  What they're actually doing, of course, is the classic breast self-examination for lumps.  Your psycho drama-queen feminist co-worker should recognize the hand gestures for that, but if you're a dude looking at those images just as she's looking over your shoulder, then she's probably going to take it the wrong way.  They're like that.

Anyway, so what do you think?  Do you think that this will help the cause of breast cancer awareness?  Hm.  I kinda wonder how effective this would be, since they're fictional characters?  As far as I know, there hasn't been a prominent superhero woman that has gotten breast cancer.  Would that be a little too much "realism" for the average comics readers if that happened?

I'm still debating this, and I'll get back to you later, but do let me know what you think.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lucky Shot again as done by the art goddess, Rocio!

Word of warning, y'all!  When Lucky Shot is looking at you with this pose and facial expression and her glowy blue eyes...


This means that you're about to go down and unconscious in a matter of seconds, or you will have to be very, very, very, very good - and you'll go down and unconscious in a matter of a few more seconds!  Even though she is 5 foot 4, she is also one of the best at utilizing her power, her martial arts skills, and her strength that is almost double the strength of the average human woman her size and build that engages in regular intensive exercise. 

She's also one of the few people in my life that has the guts to stand up to me on a regular basis!  Oh, and don't tell her that I told you this, but inside that hardass exterior is a sentimental softy!  LOL  She would have to be, to be the loving mother that she is to her son!

Anyway, this artwork is brought to you by the enormously talented Rocio Zucchi, whom I have promoted to art goddess!

Thanks, Rocio!  You're awesome, GF!  Whoohooo!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More artwork coming tomorrow and next week! Whoohoo!

Hey, everyone!

One more piece of excellent artwork by Rocio Zucchi is coming TOMORROW!

You will love it like you've loved the rest of her work!

And coming next week will be a new piece of artwork by a new artist! I promise you that you will think this one is way, way cool! It's an action pose like you would see in a comic, so this one is going to be FUN!

So stay tuned, true believers! More artistic excellence is on the way!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

God Week: Being a believer in God means rebelling against your human nature

Last time I had discussed the belief in God, I had made the comment that those who believe in God are actually rebelling against their own human nature. Now I will explain a little more on what I mean by that.

But first, a little kudos to a couple that I am often critical of, and that’s my own Marxist parents. Despite their wrong-headed beliefs about politics and the world in general, I give them credit for one thing: When they said that they would allow their children to forge their own paths, they truly meant it – even when it meant that one of those kids would eventually take up views contrary to their own. Despite our many disagreements, they are always respectful of my conservative views even if they wholeheartedly oppose them. Boy, was I ever a test of that particular philosophy - and they lived up to it! So, based on their example, I am respectful of their views in return. Heck, I recently admitted that I admire their styles of protest, and would even imitate their style if I ever lead an Occupy movement. If that ain’t a compliment, I don’t know what is!

Another example I learned from them is that just because you are being respectful of someone else’s views doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally be vocal about your own views! As hard as it is to believe, you can be both loud about your views and still be respectful of the views of others. They did it all the time, and I try to do the same. Mainly, what I learned is that passion for one’s views is no sin, but actually a virtue; for if you don’t have the passion to fight for your beliefs, then why do you believe in them? That’s a lesson that I try to pass on to others. There ya go, Mom and Dad! A public compliment from me to you! :-D Luv ya! <3 <3 Mwah! <3 <3

The reason that I’m bringing up my parents here is because they are atheists, but despite that, atheism wasn’t what they tried to force down my throat. They did tell me of the “dangers” of believing in God, but they still let me decide the matter for myself. Mainly, I think they realized that God is very prevalent throughout our society and our culture, so there was not going to be any avoiding him unless they completely isolated me from the world - which was the last thing that they were going to do. So instead of trying to deny that he exists, they instead tried to give reasons as to why believing in God can often lead to heartache and disappointment. It was their reasoning that I would eventually see it for myself.

Well, I did see that for myself. I did indeed see that believing in God can lead to heartache and disappointment. Ha! I bet you didn’t expect me to agree to that, did ya? However, believing in God can also lead to joy and inspiration. The trick is on how you do this. What I mean is this: it all depends on what you believe God is, and what you expect him to do. Last time I had made mention of the term that I’ve heard atheists use in reference to God, and that's as a “magic genie in the sky that grants all your wishes.” If that is someone’s idea of God, then yes, it’s definitely a recipe for heartache and disappointment. But God is no genie.

Now, what I’m about to present here is my own take on God, and this is based on my own research of history (one of my great loves) and the “footprints” he left along the way in the parade of history, as well as my own experiences. He is there, if you know what you are looking for. Let’s take two examples of people who left their marks in history. One is Genghis Khan, who is alleged to have many descendants in the world because he had a very large harem, and because his sons also had very large harems. Because of that, Khan’s “footprints” are everywhere around the world.

Another historical person with footprints all over the world is Jesus Christ. Before I continue, I know some of you are probably thinking “Uh oh – she’s about to go preachy on us and evangelize her Christianity on us.” I know this, because I know how you guys think. LOL Anyway, I’m bringing Jesus up not to “push” him on you, but to discuss him from a historical standpoint, so I hope you bear with me and hear me out before dismissing me outright, because otherwise you’ll miss a point that I’m trying to make. I also know that some of you deny Jesus existed, but for argument’s sake, let’s say that he did. And for the record, I believe that he existed – which I would have to; otherwise, why would I call myself a Christian?

With that out of the way, let’s look at Jesus Christ. He died young – aged 33 – and left no descendants. Unlike Khan, he never traveled far from the country of his birth. And yet, his thoughts, his words, and his examples are still being lived and discussed to this day. Granted, some of his followers are not doing as good a job in following his examples as others are, but that’s true for any sort of organization; that is, every organization has its zealots and its slackers.

On the one hand, Khan left his “imprints” on history, and yet, what has that done for us – beyond the factual curiosity of a large number of descendants? There is no Ghengishan religion based on his thoughts and his actions. This is because Khan did not see what he did as something that was going to change the world for the better. Instead, he was looking out for himself. Well, he got his very large harem of women and the many children that came out of that, but once he died, he was dead, and no amount of mass copulation was going to change that. He lived according to his human nature and got what came out of that: many moments of physical pleasure for himself, and a large amount of descendants that came from it.

Contrast that with Jesus’ example of love and selflessness. He wasn’t setting out to leave a large number of descendants like Khan did, but instead to leave a large number of followers. And his message of selflessness contrasts with human nature, for it’s our nature to look out for ourselves first. His message of selflessness is difficult to follow – even for his followers – but at the same time, true believers can see how society as a whole can benefit from following his message of love and selflessness.

So how can a message of selflessness draw so many followers – especially in contrast to Khan’s much easier message of following your human nature? What is it that is so appealing to his followers that it quickly spread from his home country to all around the world in a relatively short amount of time? Friends, that’s what I’m still trying to figure out.

And yet, I can’t deny the results. I also can’t deny the appeal of his message of love, despite the difficult standards of selflessness that comes with it. Despite this difficult standard, I can see why this message is appealing, because I can reason out the positive results of what would happen if everyone puts the welfare of others ahead of themselves. In summary, to me God is no genie, but instead is the person of Jesus Christ and his message of love and selflessness in the service of others. That's a deity that's a lot more accessible than some distant spirit in the clouds.

So getting back to my initial statement, being a Christian in the true sense of the word is to be a rebel – a rebel against your human nature of selfishness. So in that light, it can be shown that Christianity is actually “progressive” in the true sense of the word, because progress is what would arise out of serving others before yourself.

Now contrast that with what today’s “Progressives" desire; which is actually REgressive, because they seek “doing your own thing”. This should sound familiar, because that’s what Genghis Khan did. Doing your own thing is the same thing as satisfying yourself first, and with the same results as what Khan got. I leave you with these questions: Has society benefited from liberals' message of "sex, drugs, and rock & roll"? How is such a philosophy better than a philosophy based on selflessness in the service of others?


My apologies for this extending into another week, but this post initially was longer, and after looking it over, I chopped off a big chunk of it and will save that part for later, because it’s actually more of a Christmas message than a discussion of what I brought up during my God Week. There’s other things that I wanted to bring up, but I’ll save those topics for another time.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New badass art of me by Rocio Zucchi!

Yesterday you got a sneak peek at the latest artwork of me by Rocio Zucchi. Below is the rest of it! Waahoooo!!! Awesommme!

Don't you just love this pose?  Flexin' those biceps, baby!  Strong *and* sexy at the same time!  Man, I'm running out of words to describe her work! 

Rocio, I will say this, though...  It's no longer enough to say that you are an excellent artist.  Nope, now I gotta call you an art goddess!   :-D

Thank you so much!  I don't know how I forgot this before, but you are now officially in my sidebar of cool links!  --------------->

One more by Rocio coming next week, friends!  :-)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's still okay to wish me Merry Christmas!

Did you happen to notice my new blog banner?  Yes my friends, it's time for my annual assurance that it's okay to wish me Merry Christmas!

Nope, no need to throw out Happy Holidays or the vague and unusual Season's Greetings!  I am perfectly happy with you wishing me a Merry Christmas!  In fact, I prefer it!  I promise you that I won't get offended!


Oh, wait!

What's that artwork you see in my blog banner?

Well my little nerdlings, that answer comes tomorrow! 


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

God Week: Did you "get" the Tommy story?

There is a saying used in reference to the belief in God that goes "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who don't believe, no explanation is possible." I bring up that quote, because that's what came into my mind when I first read the story about Tommy that appeared in my previous blog post. 

For those of you who believe in God, then you were likely moved, maybe even to tears.  With the belief in God, then death makes sense - that it's not the end, but just the beginning of a different phase of life.  Although life after death is usually called "the afterlife" (because it's after the death of the physical body), it's more accurately described as "eternal life".  That is to say, our bodies are mortal, but our souls are immortal.

For those of you who don't believe in God, you probably shook your head in disbelief.  You might have even said that Tommy's response was actually a natural human response in a time of great emotional stress - to reach out to someone "on the other side" so that death does not look so frightening.  For this crowd, death is the end, and that's it.  There is no otherworldly paradise, and there is no magic genie in the sky who grants all our wishes.  There is no heaven and no hell, and at our death, we simply cease to exist.

The idea, the concept, the belief in God and his existence shapes our lives and our thinking, and that applies even if you don't believe in God.  For my part, I do believe in God.  Being raised Marxist, it wasn't always that way, of course.  So what got me started on the path of belief in God?  A couple of things.  For one, it was just plain ol' teenage rebellion to tick off my atheist parents.  But another was because I was such a student of history.  This allegedly non-existent entity has managed to shape our world in ways that no human person has managed to do. 

A study of the belief in gods seems to suggest that it is part of our human makeup to seek something beyond us; something beyond the day-to-day humdrum patterns of our everyday lives.  After all, back then, in the days before much of our knowledge of medicine and biology came about, death came early and often.  Death was so early and frequent that families had to have a lot of children in the hope that some of them would survive infancy - infant mortality rates being so high back in those days.

Think about that for a minute, to a time that a woman could have like 8 babies and 6 of them die before they turn a year old.  And perhaps one of the remaining two – or even both - is sickly for the rest of his or her life.  Also, think about what they didn’t know about basic personal hygiene like brushing your teeth, or cleaning and bandaging their wounds before they become infected.  And also think about how human wastes were dealt with before the days of indoor plumbing.  Given all this, it’s no wonder life spans were so short!

With such rampant disease and death, how to you make sense of it all?  What's the point if death was going to come quickly, either by war (another constant in ancient times) or disease?  It's very easy to fall into that trap of "the futility of our existences" mindset.

From the atheist standpoint, there is no sense to it all.  Our lives are what they are, and nothing else.  And if history shows anything, it’s that we can accomplish anything if we put our minds to it – no need to pray to a “supreme being” to make it happen.  The atheist side would also say that the lot of humanity improved because of men with drive and vision, who were able to see beyond the here and now and had the courage to think on how things might be different. 

And yet, these men weren’t driven to improve the lot of humankind in the name of atheism.  If anything, atheism doesn’t encourage helping your fellow man, but instead only looking out for yourself.  Ayn Rand is a classic example of this type of thinking.  If an atheist helps anyone besides themselves, it’s to eventually benefit themselves later on.  If this life is all we have, then what benefit is there to such ideas and charity and philanthropy?

Before I get comments from atheists about this, this is not to say that there aren’t atheists who give to charity and philanthropy; just that such selfless ideals aren’t generally part and parcel of their usual type of thinking.  In fact, some atheists embrace atheism precisely to get away from that societal expectation (usually based on some religious belief) of “helping your fellow man”.  If there’s no God, then there’s no sin, and if there’s no sin, then there is no need to worry about eternal punishment in some fiery pit called hell.

So in light of that, looking out for yourself not only makes sense, it makes the only sense if this one life is all you got.  And from a human standpoint, looking out for yourself is completely natural, because in a sense, we all do that.  It really takes a special insight to be able to see beyond yourself.  In light of that, being a believer in God and embracing the idea of selfless acts of charity and philanthropy are actually counter to our human nature.  So in a very real sense, believers in God rebelling against their own human nature!

For next time, I'll explain what I mean when I say that believers in God are rebelling against their own human nature - at least I'll try to explain it from a Christian perspective, since I am not as familiar with the Jewish, Muslim, or the other faiths of those who believe in God.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Today starts God Week: A story about Tommy

In the past few days for some reason, I've been involved in a lot of dialogue with family, friends, GFs, and on FB regarding God, religion, and spirituality in general.  That got me thinking that, with the start of the Christmas season, I might devote a week to discussing God and various religious topics.  So with that, I am starting God Week as of today!

Interesting and perhaps a bit ironic that someone like me would discuss God and religious topics, given that I was raised by atheist Marxists!  (Have I mentioned before that I was raised by Marxist parents?  LOL)  Yes, even those raised by Marxists think about God and his effect on our world at large.  My take on God is that I believe in his existence.  I will certainly cover this more as the week goes on.  However, let's start God Week with the story below.

The story below was forwarded to me from the boss, who got it from someone else.  Since it's long, I'm going to limit today's blog post to just this story.  That will allow you time to read it, and to think about it a bit before I discuss my thoughts on Tommy and the story.

John Powell a professor at Loyola University in Chicago writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy:

Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the first day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders.

It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn’t what’s on your head but what’s in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped.

I immediately filed Tommy under "S" for strange ... very strange. Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father-God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone: "Do you think I’ll ever find God?"

I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very emphatically.

"Oh," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were pushing."

I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out: "Tommy! I don’t think you’ll ever find him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!" He shrugged a little and left my class and my life.

I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line: "He will find you!" At least I thought it was clever. Later I heard that Tommy had graduated and I was duly grateful.

Then a sad report, I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted, and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe. "Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often. I hear you are sick!" I blurted out.

"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It’s a matter of weeks."

"Can you talk about it, Tom?"

"Sure, what would you like to know?"

"What’s it like to be only twenty-four and dying?"

"Well, it could be worse."

"Like what?"

"Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life."

I began to look through my mental file cabinet under "S" where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification God sends back into my life to educate me.)

But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, " is something you said to me on the last day of class." (He remembered!) He continued, "I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, ‘No!’ which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But he will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. (My "clever" line. He thought about that a lot!) But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, then I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven.

But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit.

Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn’t really care ... about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. "I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.’ "So I began with the hardest one: my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him."

"Dad". . .

"Yes, what?" he asked without lowering the newspaper.

"Dad, I would like to talk with you."

"Well, talk."

"I mean. .. It’s really important."

The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"

"Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that." Tom smiled at me and said with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him: "The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me.

And we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me. "It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing: that I had waited so long. Here I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

"Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, ‘C’mon, jump through.’ ‘C’mon, I’ll give you three days .. .three weeks.’ Apparently God does things in his own way and at his own hour. "But the important thing is that he was there. He found me.

You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for him."

"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.’ Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn’t be half as effective as if you were to tell them."

"Oooh . . . I was ready for you, but I don’t know if I’m ready for your class."

"Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call." In a few days Tommy called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it.

He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed.

He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.

Before he died, we talked one last time. "I’m not going to make it to your class," he said.

"I know, Tom."

"Will you tell them for me? Will you . . . tell the whole world for me?"

"I will, Tom. I’ll tell them. I’ll do my best."

So, to all of you who have been kind enough to hear this simple statement about love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven: "I told them, Tommy . ... best I could."

Friday, December 2, 2011

New artwork! Whoohoo! Chibi Shamrock

Hi! I'm back! And it looks like all this month, I'm going to be posting all new art! Wow, what a Christmas gift, eh? Well, let's get started, because I'm so excited! First up is a chibi style of The Shamrock. Ain't it awesome? You know, I love that visor!

I've discussed The Shamrock before, who is actually code-named "Seamrog" by the Dept of Superhuman Studies, since Marvel Comics already has a "Shamrock".  But if I called her Seamrog here in today's blog entry, then you wouldn't get that she's an Irish-themed superhero until you looked at the artwork below!

As stated before on my blog, we at the DSS so far are letting Seamrog do her thing so long as she sticks to stopping burglars and robbers and the like.  Also as stated before, she doesn't seem to be superhuman (and thus not an issue for the DSS to investigate) - just a regular human running around in a costume playing hero - and so long as she doesn't get herself hurt or killed, I'm willing to let her be for now.  She just seems to be in it to see her name in the headlines, so let's hope that she's not in the headlines for the wrong reason one day - that is, to report on her untimely death.  This is why I generally discourage regular humans from taking up the superhero life.  If you want to defend the general population from the bad guys, then join the police where you can do that legally and officially.  :-)

Anyway, this outstanding artwork was brought to you by the artistic hands of Rocio Zucchi, who has made the most recent artworks that have appeared on my blog.  And she's also going to be the artist for the next two coming up.  Trust me, you'll love them just as much as you loved this one.  :-D

Have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

A Happy Thanksgiving to you all, today!  I hope you have fun and good times, today.  :-)
I'll be gone from my blog for probably a week, but I'll still be on FB, so see you there. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review: Mummerman

In recent days, I have had an epiphany: I came to the realization of just how important it is for us all to support the independent comic makers, because they represent the very spirit of what it means to be a fan of comics.  Sometimes the Marvels and DCs of the world forget that.  They forget that comics are for the fans, because they'll make these grandiose and complicated boondoggle storylines that are more for themselves than for their fans.  That's why we need independents, so as to remind the big guys as to whom comics are made: The fans.  One such source is the War of the Independents line that I brought up previously on my blog. 

Another such source is the movie that I'll be reviewing today: Mummerman.

I had to think about how to review this movie, because some of you might judge it by comparing it to multimillion dollar movies like Iron Man or Captain America.  That would be an unfair comparison, because the funding that went into the making of Mummerman was much, much less.  It's a movie, in other words, that was made by an independent filmmaker.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when you hear what this movie is about - namely, that of a regular joe who is a fan of comics suddenly deciding to adopt a superhero persona - the most likely and inevitable comparison would be to the recent Kickass. I hesitated to even bring up the movie Kickass here during my movie review, but I figured that the comparison was going to be made anyway, so I thought that it would be best to just deal with that from the get-go. 

But folks, this isn't Kickass, nor is it Iron Man or Captain America.  What you see is a movie of a comics nerd made by comics nerds.  I'm prefacing all this for a reason, so that you won't come away with high expectations of an Iron Man sort of movie, because it's not.  In many ways, it's better than an Iron Man movie, because the actors, writers, and the rest of the crew are more closely attached to the final product of a regular comics nerd taking his dream into action.  So for this movie, take off your movie critic goggles and put on your comics nerd goggles, because that's how to see this movie:  From the perspective of a comics nerd.

And as usual, I'm about to discuss the movie and it's contents, and if you don't want what's in the movie Mummerman spoiled for you, then

You have been warned!

One critique that I would have of the movie is that it starts out a bit slow, but then it picks up steam once it finds its footing.  This could be explained by the fact that this was their first attempt at this kind of movie, so they had to feel their way around, and I think they accomplished that by the end of the movie.  Another critique that I have would be that it needs to emphasize less that Mummerman (MM from here on) and the people around him are goofballs, and more on the story of a comics fan taking on the role of a superhero.

Before this is taken the wrong way, let me say that the "goofball" parts of the movie are part of what makes it fun to watch.  However, the scene in which MM drives his car backwards to chase some bad guys is trying too hard to be goofy.  Let me contrast this with "goofball" done right:  In the scene in which MM drops off those same bad guys that he was chasing to the police for the very first time, MM suddenly tries to do a disappearing act a la Batman when they momentarily turn around.  However, all he did was duck behind some air conditioning vents, and the police commissioner even points out "I see your foot". 

Another example of goofball done right is the scene in which MM swings a la Spiderman to knock out the bad guy, but then ends up getting tangled so that he is dangling upside down - a la Spiderman in the scene in which Mary Jane pulls his mask down far enough to plant a kiss.  The woman MM rescues also pulls MM's mask down to do the same thing.  This scene works in MM because he isn't trying to be like Spidey - he just got tangled up - something that just might happen to a goofball trying to be a superhero.  I can easily see similar superhero movie references being made by MM in future movies, but in his goofball way like he did here - maybe even a Kickass reference at some point!

I think the only way the MM filmmakers can learn the balance of goofiness is just to keep making movies.  Or perhaps they can take a page from The Guild and have 8-10 minute episodes, and 12 episodes for a "season".  Over the course of its five seasons, The Guild got better at storytelling, and learned how to end each episode with the right sense of "cliffhanger" to entice you to look out for the next episode.  The Guild likewise went overkill at the start on emphasizing that everyone was batshit insane, but got better about balancing that in the later seasons, so I could see a similar learning curve going on here with MM "seasons".

Anyway, like I said, MM had a slow start,but a good finish.  Towards the climax, the movie's pacing got crisper and more focused, and this made it such that you had to stay glued to your seat to see what happens next.  Probably my favorite scene is when MM had just gotten beaten within an inch of his life and literally crawled out of the motel room where he got the beating, and at that point, his friend pulled up and took him away.  As this scene was playing out, I told myself "Please don't mess this scene up by going goofball!", and they didn't - and the scene ended the way it should have ended.  It was a strong display of friendship and the risks that good friends will go through to help each other.

And this actually leads to what I believe is the strong point of the movie.  Throughout the movie, both MM and his buddy work with each other in the pursuit of MM's dream. In a real sense, this movie was more about friends supporting each other through thick and thin, even in the pursuit of their crazy dreams, than it was a superhero story.  In this movie, you also saw an important role that friends can play for each other in that they ask the tough questions like "Are you sure about this, man?"  Friends, in other words, should be able to apply "tough love" when it's called for.

My favorite part, however, was when MM was questioning whether he should even be pursuing his dream anymore.  This was just after he had gotten that beating from the villain in this movie, a serial rapist.  Such questions are what all superheroes end up asking after the first time they get such a beating.  After such a beating, the hero has to ask himself or herself  just how much they "want" this - that is, the role of hero.  After all, if they continue down the "hero" path, then this won't be the last time such a beating will occur - and it could literally be the death of them one day.  There's also the question of the toll that it takes on the loved ones of the heroes - like MM's mom, who stressed so much that she fainted and had to be rushed to the emergency room.

MM (the movie) hit this particular moment perfectly.  MM (the hero) then came to the realization that "the calling" sometimes makes you push past your preferences and even your fears because someone else is in danger.  In this case, the woman he rescued before had been kidnapped by the rapist, and MM donned the costume again (after having thrown it away) to ride to the rescue by pounding the crap out of the villain.  I had to say that even though I knew what was coming, the scene played out perfectly; right down to MM just continuing to hammer the guy with his fists once he was down - no doubt working off the anger he had not just at the villain, but at himself for failing to stop him the first time. 

It was then, as well, that MM truly felt the great feeling that comes from coming to the rescue.  Moments like that are what makes being a superhero worth all the pain and suffering that they go through.  It's a tough, tough life, because not only will you be saving loved ones, you might also be risking your life for total strangers.  And one day, you might fail in your task of rescue - and even die.  Or worse, someone else dies because you failed.  The risk/reward is a difficult balance, and it's why superheroes often pair up or form super teams, because only other superheroes know what they go through.

MM seems to have learned that first lesson, and in the process, discovered that he passed that first and important task of getting back on that horse after he had fallen off.  I have a feeling that in the possible future movies of MM, he will be learning other lessons from the hero life, but will continue to pass them as well - in his own goofball way, of course.  :-)

On a scale of 1 to 10 in which 1 is a bomb and 10 is THE bomb, I give MM an 8.  There's two reasons for that mark.  For one, I think the movie makers did a good job in closing out the movie and leaving the possibility open for future movies.  And the other reason is to give incentive to score even higher.  This was a good start and I think this same group will get even better.  

Below is the trailer for the movie:

Monday, November 21, 2011

More Occupy notes: Even Occupiers will be shopping on Black Friday

This is going to be a short week on my blog, folks, because of Thanksgiving.  I'll post today, and I'll try very hard to finish a movie review on Wednesday, and then I'll be away from my blog for probably a week because of Turkey Day followed by Black Friday and other stuff that I got going on this coming weekend.  But fear not, I'll still be posting to Facebook!

Today, however, I must add some more commentary on the Occupy movement; mainly because it's so hyped up and it so epic fails on its goals for reasons that the movement's supporters can't see.  For starters, let's take the fact that it's hyped up by the press-that-does-not-have-a-liberal-bias-despite-appearances-to-the-contrary.  Look at it this way, friends....

If the Tea Party had all the rape, murder, assaults, vandalism, defecating in public, fornicating in public, child molesters in their groups, lice, ringworms, and other acts of defiance against public decency and disrespect of law enforcement, then the press would call the Tea Party the worst thing since the House Un-American ActivitiesCommittee.  Actually, the press does that now, but not because the Tea Party does all those things that Occupy does, but simply because many members of the press are liberal, and thus opposed to the Tea Party's mostly conservative-leaning ideas.

Contrast that with how the press covers Occupy.  While any negative act by one member of the Tea Party is used to label the whole group, the negative acts by members of Occupy are explained as the works of individuals, and that it does not reflect the Occupy group as a whole.  Tell me that this does not reflect a bias on the part of the media.

On top of that, consider the ironies that the press lets Occupy get away with that wouldn't be gotten away with had the Tea Party done similarly ironic things.  For instance, consider that "members of the 1%" celebrities come a-calling mainly for the publicity, and yet these celebrities continue to benefit from the wealth they obtained in our capitalist society.  Consider also the rapper who tried to hock in on the movement without giving anything to the cause.  Also consider the irony of Occupy Oakland's deposit of $20k into Wells Fargo; a sum that most "members of the 99%" have never seen all at once at any time in their lives.  Had the Tea Party gone to the Communist Party of America for donations, you know the press would be all over it like a dog on a tree!

Ah, but the greatest irony is yet to come, friends! Come this Friday - aka Black Friday, the official Capitalist Holiday of the USA - the very same hordes of Occupy and Occupy supporters will be streaming into the stores and websites to take advantage of the sales that will be going on at that time.  Thus, again, taking advantage of one our benefits of living in a capitalist society.  Some will even go to the stores when they open at midnight on Thanksgiving day!  Whoever said that irony was dead hadn't taken into account the Occupy movement!

Yes, I comment a lot on Occupy both here and on FB, but it's because their actions reflect on my generation; making us look like a bunch of clueless boneheads who aren't even aware that they're being bludgeoned to death with the Irony Stick of Doom!  I know we are better than that!  So what I do is tough love, gang.  We gotta start somewhere when it comes to being in the public eye, I suppose; I just wanted a better start than this.  A LOT better.  I just hope that enough of my generation will see what we are doing wrong, so that next time we can apply these lessons on our next foray into the public eye.

Right now, though, I'm gonna have to live with gritting my teeth in frustration at all these acts of stupidity!  Arrgh!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

War of the Independents again: Now I'm psyched!

A week ago today I had reviewed War of the Independents #1, and my main criticism was that there were too many characters trying to get your attention, and also that it didn't make sense to have superhero-style characters and cartoony characters all together. 

Well, on the WotI FB page, I heard from one of the creators that they are indeed going to make the rest of the issues as I had suggested in my previous blog entry about WotI.  There's even going to be an issue of the super ladies, and I am very curious on how that one will go.  Sheesh, I wish I could be in that one!  LOL  Anyway, now that I know of the upcoming format, I'm officially psyched!  You go, dudes!  Bring it on and make it happen like I know you can!  :-D

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Now if *I* ran an Occupy rally....

Regular readers to my blog and my FB page know that I'm conservative, and they know that I think the vast majority of the members of the Occupy rallies are a bunch of lazy, overprivileged bums looking for an excuse to drop out of their otherwise overindulged lives and look like they're doing something good for a change.  It just bugs me that they're doing it all wrong.  You might be asking: How would a conservative know how to protest in the right way?

Well, kiddies, I happened to be trained by a couple of pros who put the "pro" in protesting: My own Marxist parents!  Yeah, they knew the fine art of protesting, and could run circles around this bunch of coddled trust fund babies.  While I opposed most of what my parents believed in, it doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the methods that they used in protesting.  I know what to do well enough that I could lead an Occupy rally if I wanted to.  So, here's what I'd do:

First, I will LEAD the rally - none of this "leaderless" bullshit.  I make the rules, and if you don't like it, form your own rally of a bunch of clueless boneheads that would asphyxiate themselves trying to punch their way out of paper bags. 

Second.  No electronic devices of any kind will be used in my protest.  If I see a cellphone being used, I will crush it with my super strength fist.  If I see an iPad being used, then I will break it in half over my super strength knee.  If I see a laptop being used, then I'll stomp on it with my super strength foot.  If I see any other handheld entertainment devices like music players, or gaming toys, then I'll throw it - literally! - into the next county with my super strength arm.  You will be focused on the task of protesting and nothing else.  I MIGHT tolerate radios and boomboxes, so long as they aren't played loud.  Break this rule and my fist will go through that boombox.

Third, there will be no law-breaking.  No vandalizing, no spitting at police or other similar thuggery.  You break the law, and I will drag you MYSELF to the police station.  You will grasp the concept of a peaceful protest, or you will find your ass in jail faster than you can say nanosecond.  I will enforce the safety and security of our protest myself, and I am a mean and vicious bitch to those who cause trouble. Mess with me and the only thing you'll be Occupy-ing is a jail cell.  Don't doubt me on this.

Fourth, there will be a time to arrive, a time to depart.  There will be no overnight camping to cause the police any more work than they are already doing.  This is also for the safety of our protesters.

Fifth, the only sort of entertainment will be poetry readings other creative written works, or the musical instruments that you bring.  Learn to create writings or songs for the group that describe our cause and our goals. This will also teach how to have face to face discussions and encourage interpersonal dialogue - very important if you're going to be stumping for a cause.

Sixth, there will be no blocking of businesses, especially independent businesses (that is, non-franchise businesses).  Most likely, that one place is their lifeblood, and not only will we not hinder the regular day to day business that they do, we will even patronize them if we can and if they are down with our cause.  This is especially the case if they are a restaurant.  If we use their bathrooms, then we will buy our food there. 

Seventh, you will know the reason for our protest by heart, and you will be able to explain it to anyone who asks.  That's how we create sympathy for our cause.  Send any difficult people to me, especially if they happen to be a member of the media.

Eighth, any signage must be approved by me.  If you bring anything vulgar or repulsive, then I will make you tear up that sign into small pieces and literally eat it.  By eating it, you will learn not to bring vulgar or repulsive signs next time.  And you will learn my standards of what I consider vulgar or repulsive.  

If we do nothing wrong and/or illegal and the police still come to arrest us, then you will learn the art of passive resistance.  Do not create an excuse for the police to take you down.  If all goes well, then bad police behavior will be captured by the press, and that will end up aiding our cause.

It sounds like I have a list of "Don'ts", but what this will do is help unify the protest group by eliminating a lot of the distractions.  In the process, it will make our message that much stronger.  I want this group to get to the point that you will be encouraged to bring your children because of the positive example that this will set.  

Mainly, the protesters will understand that there is a difference between a peaceful protest and the destructive violence of a rabble.  What you see in these Occupy protests are done by amateurs who think that their forms of "protests" allow them to set their own rules in their own little communities all while sponging off the greater community at large.  No, this is not a protest group but a bunch of lazy, spoiled brats looking for excuses to continue their lives of no self-restraint or self-control. 

So in summary, what my protest will encourage is "comm-unity", which is in contrast to the rabble of Occupy rallies, who are a bunch of individuals all shouting in order to be heard over the others, which results in none of them being heard. 

I hope you can see the difference now that I've explained it, and I also hope you can see why my method is much more effective and efficient in getting word out on the cause.  This will easily lead to others jumping on board for the cause.  See?  My parents taught me well in this respect!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not an Onion story; this is fer realz: Occupy Oakland deposits 20k into - Wells Fargo!

This is one of those stories that conservative blogger Michelle Malkin would call "snortalicious".  "Snortalicious" is a contraction of the words "snort" (as in "snort derisively in laughter") and "delicious" (as in "delicious irony", like today's story).

Today's snortalicious story, and probably the most snortalicious story for a long time to come, is this one about the Occupy Oakland group depositing $20k into Wells Fargo, one of their bloodsworn enemies:

Occupy Oakland Attacks Wells Fargo, Then Deposits $20,000

See gang, this is the kind of education that your taxes are paying for.  Scary, ain't it? And yet, it's also hilarious, since it's these liberal types that are always harping on how stupid the rest of us are and how brilliant they are.  Apparently, they are so brilliant that they think the "rules" don't apply to them, including the irony of their depositing that much money into one the very banks that they've protested.

Okay, I have to finish with this:


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Comics talk: Fear Itself, DC's 52 reboot, and War of the Independents

Lately I’ve gotten heavy into the political talk and not so much on comics talk, so today let me try to balance the scales a bit. 

Marvel’s Fear Itself storyline.

Fear Itself was one of the better blockbuster storylines that Marvel has done in recent years.  Ever since the dreadful Civil War, I tend to be leery of Marvel’s blockbusters, but this one helped redeem their cred a bit.  If they keep this up, then they could get back into my good graces.  :-)  I pretty much ignored the tie-ins, as I usually do with the tie-ins to the blockbuster storylines of both of the big comics companies, because tie-ins to me are what 3D is to the movie industry:  A pretty and unnecessary accessory. 

However, I did read Fear Itself: Home Front, because I was curious to see how they would play out the whole story of Speedball and his return to the city that was the scene of his fall from grace a few years back.  This was nicely done and the responses from the different characters – especially from the woman who lost a child from the tragedy that triggered the Civil War storyline in the first place.  Without giving away much of what happens in the story, let’s just say that her response to his assistance redeemed him a bit in her eyes, but she still can’t forget that she lost a son because of him.  “Forgive, but not forget”, in other words; which is completely logical.  Kudos to Marvel for this one.

DC Comics 52 “reboot”

I’m still reserving judgment on this.  While there is a kind of novelty to rebooting familiar characters, I’m still not sold on what they’ve done so far.  My thinking is “why fix what’s not broken?”, especially in rebooting the whole line of comics, instead of testing it out as an “alternate universe”.  I guess what’s tainting my thinking is their recent Brightest Day series – one so bad and convoluted that I stopped buying them, representing the first time I’ve ever stopped reading a limited series before it was done.  Those who know my love for comics know that this is a rather shocking development on my part!  My fear is that they are taking what they did with BD and expanding it to the whole DC franchise.  I hope I’m wrong about it, but if the whole of DC gets infected with this BD virus, then I might have to stop reading DC altogether – which would be an even greater shocking development.   Let’s hope that it doesn’t come to that!  

War of the Independents limited series

I really wanted to love War of the Independents, since it’s a collection of characters not with the “Big Two”, but what should be its strength is actually its weakness.  There’s just too many characters to keep up with!  Plus, having superhero characters together with cartoony characters like Gumby just doesn’t make sense.  Granted, it’s a comic book and pretty much anything goes – “suspend your disbelief” and all that - but the overabundance of characters means that too many characters are trying to get your attention, so it ends up that none of them do. 

Also, the different styles of art virtually with every page can sometimes get jarring, and it’s really a distraction from the story flow.  Anytime you have to remove yourself from a story to notice something like that is not good.  I do appreciate the effort and I am totally down with the idea and concept – I just think it needs to be worked a little differently. 

You all know that I am nothing if not opinionated, so here’s my take on what they might try another time:  Same idea, same concept, but try to create stories of characters that are similar; for example, pair Gumby with Usagi Yojimbo, Bone, Cerberus, Milk, Cheese, and the other cartoony looking characters.  Have one of the artists used to drawing in this cartoony style to do the artwork. 

Then another story can be done in an oddball style using Too Much Coffee Man, Zippy the Pinhead, The Flaming Carrot, and perhaps Megaton Man, The Tick, and The Maxx; again by an artist used to drawing in that style. 

Yet other stories could be built around the superheroes who have certain common themes, like the ghost/zombie/otherwise undead, or those built around a patriotic theme, or perhaps an all-girl story.  Tying them all together can be an overall theme, perhaps all of them saving the universe in their own, special way. 

Anyway, by using this pairing up method of the similar style characters, it gives each of them more of a chance to show what it is about each of them that appealed to their fans, and in the process, perhaps they can attract new fans.  With a little organization, this can really work, and pulled off in the way that I think it can be done, it could do well enough to make the big guy comic companies at least take momentary notice.  With that, you guys would have your own little Occupy moment in the comics world, and that would be an Occupy movement that I could totally support.  :-)

Monday, November 7, 2011

To the Occupiers: From me to you with love! An Occupy logo!

Unlike most liberals when it comes to the free speech rights of conservatives, I believe that liberals have free speech rights.  They have every right to go out there and do their Occupy thing.  And I've said before that I love liberals.  I really do!  So why am I so hard on them?  Call it tough love.  :-)

However, I also believe that if they are going to spread their message, then they should at least be honest on what they're really about.  With that, I asked the boss to craft this little logo for me to represent what the Occupy movement is really about.  And now to explain the symbols!

The first symbol, of course, represents President Obama.  This sort of "uprising" is what he really wants to do, instead of dealing with the nuances and minutiae of our legislative system to get his desired goals made into law.  Right now, he has to actually work to get this done, and he has to accept compromises, which makes him look bad in the eyes of his fellow anti-capitalist leftists.

The next two symbols are the classic Communist hammer and sickle, and the letter U with SSR in it are in reference to the old USSR, the birthplace of the Communist movement.  This, folks, is what the Occupy movement is really about.  These people want to substitute our legal system with the old, archaic, and so-last-millennium Communist philosophies that has failed everywhere it's been tried - including the old Soviet Union.  But for some reason, these old-school leftists think that they can get it right this time.

And the pie is basically to represent what they believe will happen when things go their way.  Their pie-in-the-sky delusional fantasies, in other words, of a free and open society where we are all equal and we all love each other and no one has more than anyone else, and there is no longer any pain and misery and suffering because we have legislated it out of existence. 

The exclamation point is what it looks like - an exclamation point!  It's to symbolize the passion of the movement - wrongheaded as it is.  Somehow they believe that if they shout "OCCUPY!" then everyone around them - the "99%", - will totally gist on what they're about and join them in an uprising of the worker against the oppressive capitalist system.  All while benefiting from the fruit of our capitalist system of course, with their iPhones, laptops with Wi-Fi, iPads, and so on - and totally oblivious to the irony of it.

So to my liberal friends out there, feel free to utilize the freedom of speech that our country provides; just be honest about what you're truly promoting, and you can do that by using this logo.  One stipulation however:  You must not profit from its usage.  Get some rich liberal One-Percenter to fund the creation of t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc, and tell them to hand it out all free.  To make any sort of profit from its usage would betray the spirit of the Occupy movement, after all! 

Now go out there and Occupy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Liberals: Let's make a deal. I'll support your cause that corporations are not people if...

I've written on this blog and posted on Facebook long enough that I think most of you will have a pretty good feel for my style of writing.  You all know that when it comes to the issues that I feel strongly about, I'll try to utilize all the passion, wit, wisdom, intellect, and powers of observation that my heart and soul can muster.

Liberals, you know how I've taken on your sacred cow issues and attacked them like you do Republican presidential candidates.  However, what if I were to take all my passion, wit, wisdom, intellect, and powers of observation to use *in favor* of one of your sacred causes?  Imagine me tearing into this issue with all the fervor that you see me take on your other hallowed delusions!  Wouldn't that be awesome - to have me fighting for your cause with the full brunt of my intellect going all out like a pit bull on a steak? 

Okay then!  Time for me to make a little deal with you on the issue of: the personhood of corporations!  You know you hate that and how it benefits the wealthy and privileged in our society.  Now, I can make arguments against the personhood of the corporations and be very good at it - so good that you WILL link my blog posts to your own blogs and Share and Like them on Facebook.  You know that I'm very capable of this!   

And I promise that I'll do this on one condition:  To gain my support on your cause against the personhood of the corporation, you must support my cause FOR the personhood of the unborn.  Think about that for a minute before you reject it out of hand.  If you favor the personhood of the unborn, you will greatly strengthen your own argument against the personhood of the corporation.  If you'll allow yourselves to truly ponder this with the open mind that you say that you have, you know that I'm right.

The unborn are living persons that you will eventually see, hear, touch, and love.  Corporations can never be that kind of person.  The personhood of the corporation is legislative mythology, while the personhood of the unborn is grounded in fact - despite the denial of its personhood also being brought about by legislative mythology.  Funny how that worked out for you guys, isn't it?  In the process of manufacturing the argument against the personhood of the unborn, you inadvertently created the means of establishing the personhood of entities that exist only on the boards of the stock exchanges on Wall Street.  What a bit of irony to bite you in the ass, eh?

As you can see, I've already started, and I can go much, much further in crafting arguments in favor of your cause - if you will only support me in mine.  How will I know that you've accepted my deal?  When I see you guys doing Occupy Planned Parenthood!  Otherwise, I won't believe your "conversion" to my side.  But you've seen the skill of what I'm capable of doing when I got my heart set on something, so I'm hoping that your desire to see the end of the "personhood of the corporation" will be such that you'll consider my offer.  In the process, you'll see that I'm absolutely right about your arguments against the personhood of the corporation being strongly bolstered by your acknowledgment of the personhood of the unborn.  And as an added bonus, you'll get to see me kickin' ass for your cause!   :-)

It will be only after such a revelation that you will see that by agreeing with my deal, you won't be "making a deal with the devil", but instead "siding with the angels".  To be honest, knowing liberals like I do, I don't expect any "takers".  But who knows - you may surprise me.  And I hope you do!  :-)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I hope you all have a scary, scary time tonight!  As for me, I'm going to my local Occupy rally dressed in a 1776 American minuteman outfit and wearing a tricorne hat with teabags hanging off of it! 


Thin and Curvy blog

Just had to mention a blog that I'll be keeping an eye on, because it discusses topics that I've brought up before, but it's dedicated to the topic rather than as a once-in-a-while post that I do here.  I'm going to post it to my sidebar as well.

Thin and Curvy

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The hypersexualization of women in comics

I think discussing the issue of the hypersexualization of women in comics in a blog titled "Busty Superhero Chick" is probably a good place for such a discussion. :-)

Let's go ahead and start with an explanation of the name of my blog. First, it's meant to be something easy to remember, and I think it is.  Next, it's also a play on you guys and how you generally like your superhero women - with big boobs.  :-)

As for the issue of hypersexualization of women - in short, comics are largely geared to male readers, and the artists tend to be male - so basically it was an inevitability that women would be drawn in such a way as to have proportions that were impossible for a woman to have in real life.  Having female artists helps somewhat, since they would be familiar with what would be realistic and unrealistic in regards to women's body proportions, but the expectation of skimpy or otherwise degrading costumes is such that it's what they draw as well.

And since this question is likely going to come up - what about my costume?  Isn't it rather skimpy as well?  And the cleavage hole isn't exactly what most women would wear in their everyday clothing.  First, keep in mind that it is a superhero costume, so it's supposed to stand out from your regular everyday attire.  Also, I cover up more than most.  You'll note that most of my legs are covered, and my arms are covered entirely.   Initially, the costume design was going to have me wearing just shorts for bottoms, but we decided that the skirt adds a nice feminine touch.  I still wear the shorts that were intended all along, it's just now worn under the skirt.  As for the cleavage hole, it's meant to be a distraction - and the smiley face an additional distraction as well as being a memory device.  So as far as superhero costumes go, I think it's rather conservative, especially when compared to the sorts of costumes that are out there.

For instance, look at the Phantom Lady.  Her top is basically glorified suspenders!  She's a "wardrobe malfunction" waiting to happen.  Every. Single. Time. she goes out to do her hero thing!

Then there's impossible proportions, such as Rob Liefield women.  Most of his women have such strange, oddly proportioned torsos and limbs, and those impossibly tiny pinched-in waists!

And speaking of impossible proportions, consider the character Red Monika of Battle Chasers and her enormous boobs.  For a real woman to have such proportions, her boobs would literally have to be the size of watermelons!  Try strapping two watermelons to your chest and then see if you can get anything done - much less the expected superhero action stuff!

So yes, the hypersexualization of women gets very bad.  No woman can look like these superhero women - not through exercise and dieting, not through surgery, and certainly not through the combination of both.  I'm not sure how to say this without sounding like some mushy feminist, but these kinds of depictions sets unrealistic expectations of how women should look, both to boys and girls.

And yet, consider the market.  Very few readers, both male and female, want superhero women who are fat and ugly.  In order to attract - and keep - readers (who again, are mostly male), then the writers and artists need to make the female heroes attractive and their costumes flattering ("Flattering" can be done without being skimpy, BTW).  

There's also the question of their personalities.  How tough and badass can a superhero woman be and still be womanly?  When is she a woman, and not just a man with a hot bod and boobs?  You understand what I'm saying with that previous sentence?  What I mean is, if she walks like a man, talks like a man, can kick ass like a man, then what makes her a woman?  And yet, do you guys really want a "real" woman for your female superhero character?

That is, do you want her to be complaining about her "female problems" such as periods, cramps, hormonal imbalances, yeast infections, and the like?  Do you want her to be whining about her relationship problems with her significant others, her parents, her GFs, etc?  How much female "whinyness" are you willing to put up with?  Not much, I would bet.  My guess is that you would say, "I have that in real life with my wife/girlfriend/etc!  Why would I want it in my comics?"

So that presents a challenge to both the writers and the artists.  It's a balance to find the right amounts of what would be considered realistic vs the expected exaggerations of the superhero elements in a typical comic book story.  In other words, the unrealistic is expected in a comic book story.; after all, how many women do you know in real life that can lift fully loaded semis over their heads?  But I would also say that reading comic books isn't so much about seeing Wonder Woman lift boulders over her head and the reader expecting to be able to do the same with the right about of dieting/training/exercise; instead, the story is about the message that comes from the story.

We read comics not to learn how to imitate the super abilities of the heroes, but instead to absorb the lessons that are taught from their experiences.  Perhaps that's what the writers and artists should be concentrating on when it comes to the female characters - that is, what lesson will the reader come away with about humanity in general, and if applicable, women specifically?

I tend to believe that most of you won't be interested in stories in which hypersexualization is the message.  Yes, there's always going to be the weird perverts who get off on these hypersexualizations, but there aren't enough of them for most comic companies to make the kinds of profits that eventually finance blockbuster movies.  Instead, I think that most of you want good human interest stories with clear, understandable messages about the human condition, as well as giving the message that "with great power comes great responsibility" - which applies not just to those with super powers, but all of us. 

There's always going to be the hypersexualizations of women in the comics, but as a free-market advocate, I believe that those comics are always going to inhabit the margins of comic book sales, while the more realistic depictions of women are always going to be the bread-and-butter of comic sales.  So fear not, my friends.  But it also doesn't hurt to have the occasional reminder that these hypersexualizations exist, especially when these reminders come from men.  If it gets to the point that you guys can see it, then it must be pretty bad!  LOL

I was trying to think of some way to end this particular blog entry, but instead, I think I'll leave this open-ended in case I get some responses from you all.