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Just Me

Random Comment Aggregator

Posted [sticky post] on 2007.05.01 at 00:00
If you have a need to leave me a comment that is not specifically related to a post you see below, just comment on this post. Leave comments, ask questions, post links, whatever.


Oh, and one more thing!Collapse )

Lastly, a completely useless note to spammers, who I know aren't personally spamming me, but just sending robots, and so will never see this note:

LiveJournal does an AWESOME job of catching spam comments, hiding them, and alerting me to them. I delete them as spam on sight. I have never clicked, nor will I ever click, on any link contained in any spam comment, and no-one else will ever see it, so you might as well not bother.

Emma Nose-Kiss

So here's what happened at my house yesterday

Posted on 2018.06.01 at 16:44
First, some background:

You know my two lovely American Eskimo Dogs, Kodi and Dakota. Dakota is taller and slenderer and needy, very sincere and loving. Kodi is full of deviltry and mischief, shorter and stouter, and often mock-aggressive and territorial. He'll bark and growl and snarl -- although he will ultimately ask for lovin's at the end of that process.

Kodi's the main character in this little tale, and as we begin he's lying at my feet, but we still have more Background to cover.

We must also consider Jet, AKA Mr. Ugly, our Alpha Male cat, larger, heavier and stronger than the other cats, and a definite bully. He is neither as innocent nor as attractive as he appears here.

Not only does he savagely bully the other cats, he also bullies the dogs! It's very common that I'll be calling one or both of them, and they'll be staring at me from a doorway, refusing to come forward, and I'll realize that Jet is waiting in the narrow space to smack them as they go by. Other times, I'll hear a doggie YIPE! when I'm in another room, and I'll know Mr Ugly has struck. This has actually been a concern to me, because I know full well that if either dog actually fought back, they could easily kill him, and he's actually a very sweet and affectionate cat most of the time, so that would be terrible.

The last character in our little drama is Da personality-enhanced and very adorable Floof, who is always ready to let us know when she's displeased with the management.

Now, it turns out, Kodi is quite obsessed with Da Floof. Whenever she approaches him, he's hyper aware, making a growling sound that I've always been _pretty_ sure is the "Play Growl," leaping to his feet, and coming close to stare at her with bright eyes and perky ears. She will often promenade back and forth in front of him as he does it. Still, I haven't been 100% CERTAIN it's a play-growl, so I'm always cautioning him to be nice.

This brings us to yesterday, when, as previously noted, Kodi was lying at my feet. Dakota, sleeping nearby, didn't really play a part in this story.

Down the hall, I hear Da Floof whining and complaining and making her displeasure eminently clear. I look down the hall, and see that Mr Ugly -- easily thrice her size and weight -- is standing over her, grabbing the scruff of her neck in his teeth, driving her head downward, in a display of dominance and purest bullying--

And Kodi is suddenly on his feet RACING across the room and down the hall, barking and growling, BARK! BARK! GROWL! BARK!

This dog who has yelped and run when swatted by this very cat, who has been so intimidated by him that he's refused to walk by within a foot of him when I call, gets RIGHT IN JET'S FACE, barking loudly at him!

Jet stares up at him in absolute amazement! WHAT THE HELL IS EVEN HAPPENING RIGHT NOW????

Da Floof, released, flounces calmly on about her business. Kodi continues to stare long and hard at the now-quiescent and startled Jet, then trots back to resume his spot under my feet.

And I sit back and laugh, and laugh and laugh, with a subtextual sigh of relief, now secure in the knowledge that {A} Kodi does indeed utterly dote on Da Floof and is thoroughly protective of her, and {B} even under pretty intense provocation, Kodi will, while still generally intimidated by Jet, NOT hurt him, simply put him in his place!

Forever Trio!

I need to piss off some of my friends.

Posted on 2016.06.05 at 15:21
Okay, I need to piss off some of my friends. Sorry.

Part One:

As noted, this is a sketch by JK Rowling of the main characters from "Harry Potter." This is how she saw them. It's fine that she's open and welcoming to the new interpretation of the characters in "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," but it absolutely _is_ a new interpretation, and the fact is that, when she created the characters and throughout the writing and release of the novels, she intended the character of Hermione Granger to be Caucasian. So it's a little dishonest to be coy about it now. It's a change. It's a new version. Like it or don't, welcome it or don't, it's wrong to pretend it isn't.

Part Two:

There are indeed plenty of racists who object to changing the race of canonically-Caucasian characters, but it's not inherently racist. There are perfectly legitimate reasons to find it inappropriate. Put very simply, white people have a very different experience of life than people of other ethnicities, and that affects everything about who all of us are as people. White people like me live in impenetrable bubbles of privilege, and everything we experience and are formed by is defined by that.

A Hermione-centric example. Being called the "M-Word" is going to mean something very different to a twelve-year-old white girl who has grown up in that bubble of privilege than to a twelve-year-old black girl who has lived in the shadow of the "N-word." How she'll feel about and react to that kind of bigotry will be vastly different.

Now, if you think the practice colloquially called "race-bending" is a fine way to make media and entertainment more inclusive, that's fine, and I can respect that, even though I disagree with you.

You owe people like me, who think it disrespects all sides of the equation by erasing the differences that various issues around ethnicity and privilege make in everyone's life and character, equal respect. It's not racist to have this objection.

Aaron Sorkin

It's Thanksgiving! Time for two videos!

Posted on 2015.11.26 at 11:50
My Thanksgiving tradition is sharing these two videos:

Barack Obama

"Ed -- A Petition For Stronger Gun Laws"

Posted on 2015.10.10 at 12:11

People deal with grief in different ways. One of mine is to write. There's an idea I've had since shortly after the 2009 "Star Trek" reboot movie, and in honor of Leonard Nimoy as we last saw him playing Spock, I sat down yesterday to finally write it up, and finished it this morning.

If you don't care for "Star Trek" fan fiction, well, feel free to pass this on by. But if you'd like to spend a few moments with my remembrance -- and you recall the First Season Original Series episode "The Conscience of the King" -- you may care to look under the cut.

Story Under the CutCollapse )

Flagpole Spidey

I should be used to it.

Posted on 2015.02.11 at 07:39
Seriously, there's no legitimate discussion here. Peter Parker is the greatest character in comics. He's resonated with readers of all ages since 1963.

The idea that Marvel should pass over him in favor of an obscure 2nd tier replacement character from an alternate universe, or recast him into complete unrecognizability is absurd and frankly offensive.

If I cast Chow Yun Fat as Luke Cage, you'd howl, and rightly so. Jeff Daniels as The Black Panther? Peter Dinklage as Colossus? Hulk Hogan as Puck? Charlize Theron as Storm?

Stunt casting is never progress. When an NBA team recruits a little person to play professional basketball, that does nothing to advance people of small stature. One reason the Greens can't be taken seriously is that every four years they nominate some celebrity who's never been associated with the party as their presidential candidate. Nobody respects that. That's why they're still a joke.

No, Donald Glover, as fine an actor as he is, can't play Peter Parker, any more than Logan Lerman can play Sunfire. Race matters. It defines our identities and -- and I don't like this any better than you do -- our opportunities and the way the world sees us and the way we see ourselves. If Glover played Peter Parker, he'd no longer be Peter Parker. He'd be an entirely new character whose entire life would be different.

Example: Peter Parker, his parents dead since he was a toddler, was raised by his kindly, grandparently Aunt May and Uncle Ben. When a little white boy without parents is raised by elderly grandparent figures, you get one mental picture. Now, what's the vibe, what's the impact, when the parentless boy raised by proxy grandparents is black? You're getting a whole different set of associations.

But, let's be clear here: the fannish clamor to get rid of Peter Parker as we know him for diversity's sake is just one more in a decades-long series of disrespects the greatest character in the history of superheroes has endured. He is, after all, the most fundamentally idealistic and decent character ever, yet Marvel had him literally make a deal with the Devil to expunge his marriage from existence because -- and I'm not making this up, it's what Marvel themselves said, only phrased more bluntly -- they couldn't figure out how to write a married character as likable and relatable -- at the time when he was more popular with audiences of all ages, kids included, than he'd ever been.

He's been replaced by a clone, replaced by Doctor Octopus, replaced by Kraven the Hunter, rebooted in a cynical, dumbed-down universe...

So maybe I should be inured to the greatest character comics has ever known being treated like shit.

But I'm not.

All The Good Stuff Is HERE

"The End" by Shel Silverstein

Posted on 2015.01.19 at 10:36

The End

by Shel Silverstein

When you're drawing down the curtain on a bad last act, what do you play for the finalé?

And God looked down over all the earth and He was sick unto His stomach.

"OK!" He said. "All right! I am fed up. I am disgusted. I have had it. Enough is enough. Gabriel," He yelled, "blow your damned horn! I am putting an end to all that crap down there."

"Well, it's about time,"said Gabriel, taking his horn out of its case.

"Do you want a nice modern riff or something military, like taps, or maybe one good long —."

"I don't care what you blow," said God, "just blow! Make it loud; make it solid and final and of all eternity — make it ring from heaven to hell and back; make it reach into all men's souls and fill them with the realization that this is it. Make it bang!"

"T. S. Eliot says the world ends with —"

"I don't give a damn what T. S. Eliot says — you just blow that horn like I tell you!" said God.

"All right," said Gabriel, "all right, but you don't have to yell at me. After all, I'm a musician, not a plumber. I've waited a long time for this gig and I'm not going to goof it. You just tell me how you're going to end it and I'll come up with something that cooks."

And he fit the mouthpiece into his horn "You going to have it rain for forty days and forty nights again?"

"Well." said God, "I haven't really given it much thought."

"Well, if you're thinking of having it rain, you'd better forget it — they got new drainage systems down there!"

"Maybe I'll make an earthquake,' God said. "That would really —"

"No good," said Gabriel. "I could give you some great quaky music — but lots of those houses are quakeproof, and I imagine you want to get them all at the same time."

"Of course, of course," said God, "I know that. I wasn't seriously thinking of earthquakes....A plague is more my style — maybe a plague that —"

"They're vaccinated!"

"Vaccinated? Hmmm....of course....that is a shame, though...In the old days, you could make a plague that would strike down every male child that —"

"You could try to blast them," Gabriel said.

"That's right," said God, "a few good thunderbolts would really —"

"But their ABM defenses would probably stop them."

God sat back and thought for a while.

Gabriel fingered his valves.

"I suppose everything is fireproof," God finally said.

"Everything but the slums," said Gabriel, "and if you burn those out, they'll only rebuild with modern developments."

God was silent for a long time.

"Listen," He said, smiling weakly, "what the hell. Maybe .... maybe we'll just forget about it for now.Maybe I'll give them a little more time — after all, they are my own children, aren't they?"

"OK by me," said Gabriel. "You want to hear a little somethin' anyway ... I mean, as long as I already got the horn out?"

More silence.

"All right," God finally said softly, leaning back wearily in His chair and closing His eyes.

"Play me some blues!"

The End

Illustration by Fred Berger
Originally appeared in Playboy magazine, December, 1970

Just Me Too

An Open Letter To Someone Who Won't Read It.

Posted on 2015.01.11 at 08:40
When someone states they've been victimized, their aggressor does not get to negate and deny their experience.

That principle is the same no matter how great or small the aggression is. Pointing out that the principle is the same is not equating the acts of aggression, greater and lesser.

You bullied me. You first forbade me to defend myself, then essentially called me a racist. I'd have been within reason to ignore your demand and argue with you, but I did not. I disassociated myself from you, and gave you the courtesy of privately letting you know why.

The very first words out of you when you chose to reply were to negate my experience, to deny my experience.

And I let it pass, giving you the benefit of the doubt that you perhaps did not understand the nature of the problem. I responded politely, that you can demand my silence on a topic, or you can rail at me about it, but you're not entitled to do both. That's bullying, and I won't be bullied.

Here's the key: That was you receiving not one, but two opportunities for a little self-examination. Here's someone who has supported you for years, respected you for years, had your back for years, telling you you used him as a punching bag, and bullied him. Isn't that a cue to stop and examine your conduct?

But you responded with insult direct, followed again by a dismissal and negation of my experience as your victim.

What other response is appropriate than to make it plain that that is impermissible? You've been the victim of a dreadful crime, and you would never for an instant allow the perpetrator to dismiss and negate your suffering at his hands. How, then, can you think it's okay for you to dismiss and negate the hurt you've caused? Yes, that's the appropriate time and place to point that immutable principle out to you.

So now you've flounced off to the rest of your life, and good for you. May it serve you well.

But never, ever, ever tell yourself nor anyone else the pernicious lie that you were the victim. You were not. You were a bully, and you threw an escalating series of tantrums when you were called on it.

That's all that happened.

Harry Potter Fan Fiction

Fifth Annual Thanksgiving Sorkinbration

Posted on 2014.11.26 at 21:11
These two clips are my permanent, annual Thanksgiving tradition.


Harry Potter

Again, the Hero?

Posted on 2014.09.19 at 02:39
So, it looks like Scotland's voters have narrowly but decisively rejected independence.

One article I read discussed the fact that the franchise was extended to younger Scots, 16 & 17 years old, for the first time for this referendum, and that, while this was widely viewed as a pro-independence trick, those new young voters were unexpectedly polling against independence. I also recall that a strong public voice against independence has been J. K. Rowling.

So I have to ask: is it possible that Harry Potter has just saved the United Kingdom -- again???

Godzilla 2014

Oh, No! There Goes San Francisco!

Posted on 2014.05.16 at 08:29

I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to spoil things for anybody. What I will say is this: This is the movie I've been waiting for since 1997, which I then thought I'd be getting in 1998. I was crushingly disappointed then, although Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich's ill-named Godzilla was a pretty decent remake of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.

Last night, Gareth Edwards made up for it in spades.

GODZILLA is everything you could ever want in a Godzilla movie. The new monsters, MUTOs -- that's pronounced "Moo-toes," and stands for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms" -- are really wonderful monsters, huge and frightening, a great design... But they fade to insignificance when Godzilla is on the scene. Again and again and again, Edwards finds ways to simply stun and amaze you with the sheer scale of him.

Remember the very first time you saw Star Wars? The text scrolls by, we see an impressive spacescape, and then the rebel blockade-runner flies into the scene, and it's very big and impressive... And then the Imperial Star Destroyer begins rumbling into view...and keeps coming...and keeps coming...and coming...and as more and more of the ship fills the screen and recedes into the distance, it hits you harder and harder how frigging HUGE it is?

George Lucas managed that trick once. Edwards pulls it off immaculately, again and again and again. That gigantic MUTO attacking Honolulu Airport? Is suddendly dwarfed just by the FOOT of Godzilla coming down. Soldiers on a rooftop, ten or more stories up, fire flares high into the air... and they barely rise high enough to illuminate his waist-line. The jagged spines down his back are mountain ranges unto themselves, and he just overwhelms the eye.

Getting ramped up for this movie, I've watched quite a few of the classic Toho Godzilla movies, and the word I kept coming up with, again and again and again, for what really works about Godzilla when Godzilla works: Majesty.

Edwards' Godzilla is a majestic creature, awesome in the truest, original sense of the word, and you can't help but be overwhelmed by him. If you have any capacity at all to just sit back in your seat and surrender to the spectacle of a giant monster movie, GODZILLA will reward you immensely.

Be warned: Edwards likes to tease you. The first few times Godzilla comes on the scene, we cut away just when things are getting good, and see the action on TV sets in the background as the human characters play out their roles in the foreground. It's a little maddening, but, I think, in just the right way: Edwards teases long and ruthlessly, so that when he pays that teasing off -- and he does, I promise you, he does! -- it's as close to a transcendent experience as a giant monster movie can deliver.

See it on the biggest screen available, and if you can possible handle 3D, see it that way at least once. I promise you, if giant monsters are your thing at all, this will be a feast you'll giggle with delight over for days afterwards.

Godzilla 2014

Guess where I'll be tonight?

Posted on 2014.05.15 at 14:09

Just Me Too

Terror in the Streets!

Posted on 2014.05.06 at 19:12
Today, the May/June issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction hit the stands, at least in the United States.

This magazine includes my story, "The Shadow in the Corner," a horror tale inspired by the late H.P. Lovecraft. It's been pretty favorably reviewed by a few reviewers thus far, as I've noted in previous posts.

The magazine is also currently available -- and has been for a while already -- on Amazon for Kindle Download.

If you'd like to read a little something bringing the Mythos into the modern age, give it a look. Feel free to let me know how you like it!


Just Me Too

Aaaaaawwww, yeah!!!!!!!!!

Posted on 2014.04.24 at 10:55

Leviathan meets the Incredible Hulk

The First Reviews Are In...

Posted on 2014.04.15 at 18:45
And they are kinder than I could ever have imagined!


I'll quote the sections reviewing my story:

Martha Burns writes:

Popular prejudice is against fan fiction with its slashing and shipping. “The Shadow in the Corner” by Jonathan Andrew Sheen is set in the H. P. Lovecraft universe and it is an homage. A professor’s assistant, Agrawal, meets a grisly fate after an experiment goes awry and he begins to see a shadowy figure out of the corner of his eye. The story is gripping on its own merits and brilliant in the way it incorporates Miskatonic, madness, and Cthulhu.

C. D. Lewis writes:

Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will squee! when they learn in the first paragraph of Jonathan Andrew Sheen's “The Shadow in the Corner” that the narrator works at Miskatonic University but has not (yet!) succumbed to the madness that overtakes its faculty. The curious reader is referred to the accounts archived in the Arkham morgue – records go back to the '20s and Sheen assures us it's now all online. (So it must be true, eh?) Mention of the Internet and lasers proves the tale comes from the chilling nearness of our own era rather than the safely distant past.

Early disclosure that the tale ends in disaster serves to build suspense – what kind of disaster? The innovation involves String Theory and quantum entanglement – but for the good of humanity the narrator destroyed his notes and daren't say more. “The Shadow in the Corner” leverages Lovecraft fandom to quickly craft a creepy vibe suited perfectly to works of supernatural horror. And what a horror: modern tools and power sources have only brought within closer reach the Elder Things from worlds that lay parallel to our own; you can mail for the tools yourself, even. Not a comforting thought, is it?

Lovecraft’s own revelations of horror, being set in another century, feel distant from a world that knows about high energy physics; continuing their line in a setting that's aware of modern science and even tropes from horror lit delights precisely because it reinforces that indescribable Elder Things remain indescribable even when summoned in the presence of carefully recorded modern instrumentation. Technology doesn’t defeat horror. Sheen's tale mixes modern vocabulary and informalities with Lovecraft’s narrative style, making a mashup entertaining not only for its Lovecraftian content but for its incongruous juxtapositions. Perhaps the greatest delight is the last pair of sentences, and their surprising power to bring suddenly the horror Lovecraft lovers long to feel. If you love Lovecraft, you can't miss “The Shadow in the Corner."

I could not be more thrilled! What a great set of write-ups!

As I feel I've missed out on being truly obnoxious, I felt that, while reminding you all that it's a mere twenty-three days before the May/June issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction hits the stands, containing my short horror story "The Shadow in the Corner," I should also reassure you that the task of writing the story took ABSOLUTELY NOTHING out of me, as can be seen in this "Before & After" picture:

Me, before and after writing "The Shadow in the Corner"

Just so you know.

Summon Leviathan

Happy Bunsen Burner Day

Posted on 2014.03.31 at 16:02
On this day in 1811, German chemist Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen was born. He would go on to invent a gas-jet that is used to this day in chemistry labs. In his honor, we commemorate this date every year as Bunsen Burner Day...

And Bunsen Burner Day is, you may take me at my word, the very best possible day to announce that Tuesday, May 6th, 2014, is the "Street Date" of the May/June 2014 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, the cover of which you can see below:

That issue will include a short story called The Shadow in the Corner, by Jonathan Andrew Sheen, AKA, me!

So, one and all, please haunt your local bookstores, newsstands, bus depots, train stations and airports, anyplace that sells magazines, and look for that cover -- it's a digest-sized magazine -- and buy one. Or two. Or sixty-seven!

Thank you all so much!


Speak kindly at my funeral, won't you?

Posted on 2014.03.20 at 15:42
Guest-starring jennashaped, because I have an action figure that sort of resembles her.

...and as I expected, it's much less explosive and much more interesting than the headlines made it out to be.

What JKR does say is that Harry and Hermione would have made a perfectly good couple -- which is entirely true, fannish wank to the contrary -- and that Ron and Hermione have a combative relationship, which they'd have to get past to be a successful couple -- and, let's face it, anybody who's read the books knows that's true. It seems to me that by the end of DH, they're already on course for that, with Ron showing he's taken aboard the lessons Hermione's had to teach, and Hermione showing that she appreciates Ron's courage, intelligence and loyalty.

It's a nicely mature understanding of the characters and there's nothing about it anybody who read and understood the books didn't already know.

J.K. Rowling
Author and Philanthropist

Appearing in the February/March 2014 edition of Wonderland magazine.
Interview conducted by Emma Watson.

Jo Rowling wrote Harry Potter, the best-selling book series in history, yet she still manages to be funny, kind, warm and real. She spends masses of her time supporting charities such as Comic Relief, Multiple Sclerosis Research through the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic and her own children's charity Lumos... More recently she wrote novels The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo's Calling (a crime novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith).

Emma Watson: I wanted to ask you about the script that you are writing for Warner Bros. for Fantastic Beasts...

J.K. Rowling: Warner Bros. came to me ages ago and said they wanted to do something with Fantastic Beasts. I could see the potential in it. I knew something about Newt [Scamander, the fictional author of Fantastic Beasts] having written a little something for Comic Relief. I had imagined a little bit of back story for him...

So when Warner Bros. came to me and said they wanted to make a film out of the book I had this simultaneous feeling of "it has a lot of potential," and another feeling of slight panic that "I know some things about Newt and I don't want you to ruin that for me!" because I knew who he was. So then I went away and sort of dwelt on what I knew about Newt, not intending to write a script but just trying to collect my thoughts so that I could at least give them the backstory I'd imagined, so that their vision was true to what I knew.

Then I really did have one of those moments that always make you phenomenally excited as a writer; but also that you know is going to end up being a ton of work. I thought, "Oh my God, a whole plot's just descended on me!" But I wanted to do it as I was really excited about it. I wasn't really thinking about writing the script myself, I thought, you know, I'll give them this plot and then – fatally – I sat down and thought "I just wonder what it would look like..." and wrote a rough draft in twelve days!

Emma Watson: Ahhhhh!

J.K. Rowling: It wasn't a great draft but it did show the shape of how it might look. So that is how it all started.

Emma Watson: Wow, Warner Bros. must have been so excited.

J.K. Rowling: I think they were kind of stunned. I didn't tell them I had written it in twelve days. I've never written a script. It truly wasn't that I thought I'd be good at it, I just wanted to get the outline of the story down, and that's obviously given me a lot to work with going forward.

Emma Watson: Do you ever worry when you have a great idea, when a piece of inspiration strikes you, that you won't ever get it down quickly enough?

J.K. Rowling: Yes definitely, although I do work on the convenient premise that if it is worth keeping you will remember it. I don't think I have ever lost or forgotten anything that was really worth remembering!

Emma Watson: Does inspiration ever strike you at really inconvenient moments? Like when you are driving the car or you are taking the children to school and you just think, "not now"?!

J.K. Rowling: That is why I don't drive, I swear to God. I cannot drive. People look at me and think, 'how can you be a woman of forty-eight and not drive a car?' But I know myself and I know how detached I am from my physical surroundings.

My husband has taken to warning me from three rooms away that he is getting closer so that I don't scream. It's ridiculous because obviously I do know that I live with my husband, but that's how jumpy I am. He's gotten used to the fact that I'm a long way away in my head and that I get disconcerted when someone sneaks up on me.

But that tendency does have its advantages because I'm able to concentrate to a degree where I can totally shut everyone out, write it down or really commit it to memory, and then, you know, I've got it in the bank. I do think my apprenticeship writing the first three Harry Potters when I was a single mother and didn't have a lot of support meant that I learned to be very efficient at using the time that I have.

Emma Watson: You also announced that you're going to collaborate on a theatre production.

J.K. Rowling: Yes that was a really interesting idea that Sonia Friedman came up with. I've been so resistant for a long time about theatre productions. Quite a few people wanted to do a Harry Potter musical. I didn't really see Harry as a musical so we said no to all of that, but Sonia came along with a very thoughtful, very interesting idea. I'm quite excited about that.

Emma Watson: Will Hermione be in it?!

J.K. Rowling: Well Emma if you are offering to play Hermione... [both laugh] I tell you what I really want. I want you and Dan and Rupert in really heavy make-up in the background of a scene in Fantastic Beasts, and I'll join you and we'll sit in a bar room having a laugh for an afternoon. Do you not think that would be fantastic?

Emma Watson: That sounds like the most fun I can imagine having!

J.K. Rowling: And we can mess around as extras in the background.

And then we can see if anyone can spot us. I personally would like to be in drag, just to make sure no one can spot me at all.

Emma Watson: GENIUS!

There are so many things that you could say you have achieved, what is the most meaningful to you? What is your greatest triumph?

J.K. Rowling: Of what I've written, Deathly Hallows was a phenomenally emotional experience and my favourite of the Potter series by a mile. It wasn't just about the writing, it was wrapping up a story that had taken me through seventeen years of my life and had meant as much as any literary creation can mean to any writer. I mean, not just because it transformed my life materially, which of course it did, but that comes a poor fourth or fifth compared to the other things that Harry Potter did for me.

But, I hope that the best is still to come. Nothing will ever top Potter in terms of popularity, I've accepted that, but on my death bed I may look back on one of my least popular books and it may well turn out to be the one I was proudest of, because different things matter to the writer.

Emma Watson: I thought we should discuss Hermione... I'm sure you've heard this a million times but now that you have written the books, do you have a new perspective on how you relate to Hermione and the relationship you have with her or had with her?

J.K. Rowling: I know that Hermione is incredibly recognisable to a lot of readers and yet you don't see a lot of Hermiones in film or on TV except to be laughed at. I mean that the intense, clever, in some ways not terribly self-aware, girl is rarely the heroine and I really wanted her to be the heroine. She is part of me, although she is not wholly me. I think that is how I might have appeared to people when I was younger, but that is not really how I was inside.
What I will say is that I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That's how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione with Ron.

Emma Watson: Ah.

J.K. Rowling: I know, I'm sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I'm absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people's hearts by saying this? I hope not.

Emma Watson: I don't know. I think there are fans out there who know that too and who wonder whether Ron would have really been able to make her happy.

J.K. Rowling: Yes exactly.

Emma Watson: And vice versa.

J.K. Rowling: It was a young relationship. I think the attraction itself is plausible but the combative side of it... I'm not sure you could have got over that in an adult relationship, there was too much fundamental incompatibility. I can't believe we are saying all of this – this is Potter heresy!

Emma Watson: I know, it is heresy.

J.K. Rowling: In some ways Hermione and Harry are a better fit and I'll tell you something very strange. When I wrote Hallows, I felt this quite strongly when I had Hermione and Harry together in the tent! I hadn't told [Steve] Kloves that and when he wrote the script he felt exactly the same thing at exactly the same point.

Emma Watson: That is just so interesting because when I was doing the scene I said to David [Heyman]: "This isn't in the book, she didn't write this". I'm not sure I am comfortable insinuating something however subtle it is!

J.K. Rowling: Yes, but David and Steve – they felt what I felt when writing it.
That is so strange.

And actually I liked that scene in the film, because it was articulating something I hadn't said but I had felt. I really liked it and I thought that it was right. I think you do feel the ghost of what could have been in that scene.

Emma Watson: It's a really haunting scene. It's funny because it really divided people. Some people loved that scene and some people really didn't.

J.K. Rowling: Yes, some people utterly hated it. But that is true of so many really good scenes in books and films; they evoke that strong positive/negative feeling. I was fine with it, I liked it.

Emma Watson: I remember really loving shooting those scenes that don't have any dialogue, where you are just kind of trying to express a moment in time and a feeling without saying anything. It was just Dan and I spontaneously sort of trying to convey an idea and it was really fun.

J.K. Rowling: And you got it perfectly, you got perfectly the sort of mixture of awkwardness and genuine emotion, because it teeters on the edge of "what are we doing? Oh come on let's do it anyway", which I thought was just right for that time.

Emma Watson: I think it was just the sense that in the moment they needed to be together and be kids and raise each other's morale.

J.K. Rowling: That is just it, you are so right. All this says something very powerful about the character of Hermione as well. Hermione was the one that stuck with Harry all the way through that last installment, that very last part of the adventure. It wasn't Ron, which also says something very powerful about Ron. He was injured in a way, in his self-esteem, from the start of the series. He always knew he came second to fourth best, and then had to make friends with the hero of it all and that's a hell of a position to be in, eternally overshadowed. So Ron had to act out in that way at some point.

But Hermione's always there for Harry. I remember you sent me a note after you read Hallows and before you started shooting, and said something about that, because it was Hermione's journey as much as Harry's at the end.

Emma Watson: I completely agree and the fact that they were true equals and the fact that she really said goodbye to her family makes it her sacrifice too.

J.K. Rowling: Yes, her sacrifice was massive, completely. A very calculated act of bravery. That is not an 'in the moment' act of bravery where emotion carries you through, that is a deliberate choice.

Emma Watson: Exactly.

J.K. Rowling: I love Hermione.

Emma Watson: I love her too.

J.K. Rowling: Oh, maybe she and Ron will be alright with a bit of counseling, you know. I wonder what happens at wizard marriage counseling? They'll probably be fine. He needs to work on his self-esteem issues and she needs to work on being a little less critical.

Emma Watson: I think it makes sense to me that Ron would make friends with the most famous wizard in the school because I think life presents to you over and over again your biggest and most painful fear – until you conquer it. It just keeps coming up.

J.K. Rowling: That is so true, it has happened in my own life. The issue keeps coming up because you are drawn to it and you are putting yourself in front of it all the time. At a certain point you have to choose what to do about it and sometimes conquering it is choosing to say: I don't want that anymore, I'm going to stop walking up to you because there is nothing there for me. But yes, you're so right, that's very insightful! Ron's used to playing second fiddle. I think that's a comfortable role for him, but at a certain point he has to be his own man, doesn't he?

Emma Watson: Yes and until he does it is unresolved. It is unfinished business. So maybe life presented this to him enough times until he had to make a choice and become the man that Hermione needs.

J.K. Rowling: Just like her creator, she has a real weakness for a funny man. These uptight girls, they do like them funny.

Emma Watson: They do like them funny, they need them funny.

J.K. Rowling: It's such a relief from being so intense yourself – you need someone who takes life, or appears to take life, a little more light heartedly.

Emma Watson: Definitely so important.

Thank you so much for doing this.

Of course, if you see that Hermione would make a good couple with Harry as well as with Ron, you're just one leap beyond social conventions away from the only ship that truly makes sense:


Allow me to cause you to weep inconsolably....

Posted on 2014.02.05 at 15:35
Meet John Lennon, Age 70:

John Lennon, Age 70

I have a hard time imagining what I wouldn't give for this picture to be real, and not the result of AgingBooth, an app available for Android and iPhone.

Emma loves me

How to charm an English girl...

Posted on 2013.12.22 at 19:36

Star Trek Phase II - Enterprise Fly-Unde

Star Trek: Phase II - Enterprise Fly-Under

Posted on 2013.12.22 at 12:38
I'm a big fan of Star Trek: Phase II, previously known as Star Trek: New Voyages. These are produced by fans of the original Star Trek series, often using scripts written for the aborted TV Series Star Trek: Phase II, which was canceled when Paramount Studios went ahead with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and also using fan-written scripts, and, in the case of the magnificent two-part episode Blood and Fire, a script written for Star Trek: The Next Generation by David Gerrold, the writer of the classic Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles, which Gerrold both adapted for Star Trek: New Voyages and directed.

The episodes seen thus far have done a brilliant job of recreating the feeling of the original Star Trek TV series from the 1960s, and, in the coming months, it's going to start ringing in changes to cover the transition in the series from what we saw on TV to what Star Trek looked like in the movies. In a "mini-episode" introducing Brian Goss as Captain Kirk, replacing James Cawley, who's concentrating on his behind-the-scenes role, we also see the beginnings of the refit of the USS Enterprise: It's a lovely bit of design combining the best parts of the original series design with the swept-back, wing-like pylons and flattened, rather than cylindrical engine nacelles, and visible photon torpedo tubes at the base of the "neck" between the "saucer section" and lower hull of the Enterprise.

So, here's a lovely "Beauty shot" of the new Enterprise in action.

Star Trek: Phase II - Enterprise Fly-Under

Aaron Sorkin

Fourth Annual Thanksgiving Sorkinbration

Posted on 2013.11.28 at 05:49
These two clips are my permanent, annual Thanksgiving tradition.


The Secksma Sheen

Veteran's Day

Posted on 2013.11.11 at 14:34

During World War II, Lewis Burleigh Sheen, Jr, seen second from left in the thumbnail picture below, flew a B-26 Martin Marauder bomber -- named the "Secksma Sheen" -- out of an American Airbase in Chipping Ongar, England, and later, in 1944, another Air Base near St. Quentin, France.

It was when he was flying out of Chipping Ongar, however, that this story happened.

His flight was getting close to their target when Major Sheen -- known to his friends as "Mike," after his boyhood collie, Micky -- hit the switches to open the bomb bay doors then lower the bomb rack, preparing for the bombing run. The doors opened just fine, but when the rack (which could carry a bomb load of either four 1,000-pound bombs, two 2,000-pound bombs, six 600-pounders, twelve 300-pounders, or thirty 100-pounders, although I don't know which configuration was in use here) started to move, Mike Sheen heard a horrible metallic SCREEEEECH!!!!!! A quick visual check by a crewman told him that the rack had come partway out of its moorings and was hanging askew, unable to be lowered far enough to drop the bombs, nor retracted so the doors could be closed.

Mike radioed back to Chipping Ongar, outlined the situation, and asked for instructions. He was told to "orbit" over the English Channel while the situation was considered.

The Secksma Sheen circled, and waited, and the fuel gauge dropped, and they circled, and waited, and eventually Sheen radioed back and told his commanders, "Look, if you want us to ditch, we'll ditch. If you want us to land, we'll do that. But if you're going to make a decision, you have to do it _now_, because the fuel gauge is about to make it for you!"

Reluctantly, through clenched teeth, they told him to come back to Chipping Ongar and land.

As the Secksma Sheen approached the runway, Mike Sheen could see the runway lined with all manner of emergency vehicles. He lined up for his landing.

Now, the Marauder was not a particularly easy plane to fly. It was known as "The Widowmaker" because it was _so_ aerodynamic that it was particularly difficult to take off or land without the lift on the wings and tail flipping the plane on its nose. One consequence of this was that there were no soft, smooth, "airline-style" landings in a B-26. You had to plant that thing firmly on the runway, with an authoritative slam.

And that's what Mike Sheen did that day, lining up the tricycle landing gear, pulling back the throttle, firmly controlling the stick, and after that hard slam of wheels against pavement, he heard another sound, an even longer, louder, tearing-metal SHRIIIIEEEEEKKKKK!!!!!!!

Then, for an instant, silence.

Then, a series of clanking thuds, rapidly diminishing, as the control tower began yammering loudly into his ear.

His rear-view mirrors showed the amazing sight: The bomb-rack, still loaded with a full complement of bombs, tumbling end-over-end down the runway behind the plane, as, in his headphones, he heard the Tower Chief screaming, "Goddammit, Sheen, bad enough we've got the Nazis after us, now YOU'RE trying to blow us up as well????"

The Secksma Sheen came to a successful, safe stop, as did her bomb rack far behind, without a single bomb going off. No-one, that day, on that crew, was killed or injured. The plane was repaired and saw more service, being destroyed in an accident on Dec 26, 1944.

My dad, Mike Sheen, didn't tell many stories about his days flying the Secksma Sheen. When he did speak about it, in his later years, he spoke with horror of the men he'd killed. I don't think he ever saw the war as any kind of grand adventure. I heard this story, not from Dad, but from my older brother, at Dad's funeral in 1990.

But it's one of the stories I prefer to remember, when I remember and honor his service.

You can learn more about my Dad's military service, and see some pictures of him, his friends, and The Secksma Sheen, at the link below:


Barack Obama

America's Ultimate Solution

Posted on 2013.08.11 at 12:49

"America's Ultimate Solution"

"We have a lot of problems in this country. And I don't have all the answers -- But I have a good start."

"That's why, today, I'm calling on all of my Republican friends, in the Senate, in the House of Representatives, In state, county, and local governments throughout our great country, and even among the general public as a whole."

"I'm calling on all Republicans to breath in all the fresh, sweet, life-giving oxygen they can, many times every minute of the day. And to breathe out all the toxic carbon monoxide they can expell, right before every fresh breath they take."

"Now, here's what we don't need. We don't need to have our Republican friends stick with their obstructionist policies. We don't need the Nation's Republicans to suffocate themselves, just because I called upon them to breathe."

"Really. I mean it. If you're a Republican, I don't want you to super-glue shut your mouth and nostrils. If you're a Republican, I don't want you to cover your nose and mouth with duct tape."

"If you're a Republican, I don't want you to tie a plastic dry-cleaning bag over your head, or to drown yourself in your bathtub. I don't want you to run a hose from the exhaust pipe of your car, and breath only from that."

"Now, according to my advisors' calculations, sometime within the next few minutes, all of the opposition and obstructionism and hostility that's kept this government from functioning for the last few years should be over with, and we can again return to governing. Thank you very much, and God bless the United States of America."

Just Me Too

Join me for breakfast?

Posted on 2013.07.31 at 12:11
Join me for a quiet, peaceful, calm breakfast run?

Jessica Alba Finger-Suck


Posted on 2013.06.26 at 13:02
Okay, no, I don't Anal, but it's a good day for guys who do!

At 10:00 am, EDT, the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense Of Marriage Act.

It is, at the moment, a decision which acts only on the Federal Government: The ruling was that the Government cannot treat same-sex couples differently than mixed-sex couples. It does not directly strike down any state laws against same-sex marriage.

But here's the great news: SCOTUS' ruling is explicitly based on the Constitution's guarantee of Equal Protection under the law.

On that basis, I cannot see how any state can successfully defend a marriage discrimination law. The Supreme Court has ruled that treating same-sex couples differently than mixed-sex couples is a violation of the Constitution. That invalidates any state law discriminating against gay couples.

I Am Not A Lawyer, but that's how I see it.

By that logic, the fact that SCOTUS "punted" the Prop 8 case is irrelevant.

It's all over but the lawsuits.

Accept Change

My review of "The Bling Ring"

Posted on 2013.06.24 at 17:51
 Director Sophia Coppola opens brilliantly, with the pre-movie production company logos not over musical or sound effects stings, but natural nocturnal sounds of Los Angeles. Then, with a bang, see our young burglars getting into a property with childish ease, climbing over a waist-height fence, and we're in amongst them, courtesy of a handheld camera that reminded me of the opening "robbery" sequence of Katherine Bigelow's under-appreciated classic, "Strange Days." We don't stand back to watch this bizarre B&E shopping spree from an ironic distance -- we're a part of it, running into the house and practically diving into the cheap opulence like Scrooge McDuck swimming in his coin vaults in the old cartoons.

We're then quickly introduced to the satirical engine that drives the movie, Emma Watson's "Nicki Moore," in the clip you've seen if you're interested in this movie, addressing the press after some sort of court hearing: An insanely entertaining, vapid, self-aggrandizing speech in which she ends, eyebrows peeping above her expensive sunglasses in a pose of such studied insouciance that it must have taken her days to get it down, "I wanna lead a country one day for all I know!"

Okay, anybody reading this knows I'm a pathetic Emma Watson fanboy. You think I'm biased, I'm not gonna argue. But she is by far the best thing in this movie. Her Nicki is such a stunning, virtuoso performance of hilarious vacuous self-promotion. Nicki's only belief is that she should be famous, and people should admire and envy her. She says and does nothing that isn't laser-guided at that goal of someday achieving the cheap, gimcrack fame of any of the Bling Ring's victims. She's not on screen all the time, and is not the driver nor the ringleader of the plot, but her amazing, shallow, monstrous character brings a charge pretty much whenever she's onscreen. Major awards have been given for far worse performances.

The movie is structured to rest on the shoulders of Israel Broussard as Marc, a shy teen whose sexuality seems undefined, and whose self-worth is at an all-time low as the movie begins. He's the new kid at a new school -- apparently a "bottom rung" school for troublemakers and losers -- and, if he feels like his schoolmates are pointing at him, snickering and judging, it's because they are. So when Katie Chang's Becca befriends him, the power she wields over him is awesome and immediately understandable. She is a lifeline, and he's been drowning. We realize only slowly what he can't allow himself to understand: That she's using him, quite callously, manipulating him with acceptance, words of affection and the promise that he can become part of the community of worthless celebrity that is all these young people value: Fame for fame's sake, and no more depth than is offered on E! TV. Her final, coldly calculated betrayal of him, not even acknowledging his existence, is really painful.

Copolla's direction starts with a bang, as I said above, but it's sometimes strangely flaccid. We spend longer unengagedly watching these kids frolic in the homes of the TMZ crowd than their own minuscule attention spans would tolerate, and in the end, you feel like the movie would have benefited from considerable tightening in spots. I think it could have been as much as fifteen minutes shorter with only improvement to its impact and artistry.

While there are slam-bang set-pieces -- the robbery by Broussard and Chang of a mostly-glass house (Audrina Patridge's in the film, though I doubt it's really hers) shot entirely from outside and up a hill, the camera very, very slowly zooming in, is nothing short of masterful -- the movie isn't taut or focused enough, in the end, to really satisfy. 

While it's Marc's movie, we're left with the image of Nicki, milking her notoriety for every last drop of cheap publicity she can, and in the end, while he's anonymously sitting in the back of a prison bus in an orange jumpsuit, we can only contemplate with awe her voracious hunger for attention, more gravitational than nutritional. She's a black hole of self-regard that no amount of attention, and no power of encounter with reality, can ever fill.


Farewell, Mr. Smith, and I thank you!

Posted on 2013.06.01 at 18:37
Matt Smith announces he is to leave Doctor Who

Saturday 1 June 2013, 22:11
Matt Smith as The Doctor

The BBC is today announcing that Matt Smith is to leave Doctor Who after four incredible years on the hit BBC One show. Matt first stepped into the TARDIS in 2010 and will leave the role at the end of this year after starring in the unmissable 50th Anniversary in November and regenerating in the Christmas special. During his time as the Doctor, Matt has reached over 30 million unique UK viewers and his incarnation has seen the show go truly global. He was also the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA in the role.

Matt quickly won over fans to be voted Best Actor by Readers of Doctor Who Magazine for the 2010 season. He also received a nod for his first series at the National Television Awards, before winning the Most Popular Male Drama Performance award in 2012.

Matt has played one of the biggest roles in TV with over 77 million fans in the UK, USA and Australia alone!

Matt Smith says: "Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show. I'm incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day, to realise all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.

Having Steven Moffat as show runner write such varied, funny, mind bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career. It's been a privilege and a treat to work with Steven, he's a good friend and will continue to shape a brilliant world for the Doctor.

The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I've never seen before, your dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number Eleven, who I might add is not done yet, I'm back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special!

It's been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with 'the ginger, the nose and the impossible one'. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys. Matt."

Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer, says: "Every day, on every episode, in every set of rushes, Matt Smith surprised me: the way he'd turn a line, or spin on his heels, or make something funny, or out of nowhere make me cry, I just never knew what was coming next. The Doctor can be clown and hero, often at the same time, and Matt rose to both challenges magnificently. And even better than that, given the pressures of this extraordinary show, he is one of the nicest and hardest-working people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Whatever we threw at him - sometimes literally - his behaviour was always worthy of the Doctor.

But great actors always know when it's time for the curtain call, so this Christmas prepare for your hearts to break, as we say goodbye to number Eleven. Thank you Matt - bow ties were never cooler.

Of course, this isn't the end of the story, because now the search begins. Somewhere out there right now - all unknowing, just going about their business - is someone who's about to become the Doctor. A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again! After 50 years, that's still so exciting!"

Having starred alongside three different companions, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) and most recently Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), Matt's Doctor has fought Daleks and Cybermen, as well as Weeping Angels in New York. Regularly heard shouting 'run' and 'Geronimo', through Matt's Doctor fans have been introduced to a new culinary combination - fish fingers and custard!

Matt's spectacular exit is yet to be revealed and will be kept tightly under wraps. He will return to BBC One screens in the unmissable 50th anniversary episode on Saturday 23rd November 2013 - TUNE IN!

We’ll have exclusive quotes from Jenna on this site tomorrow and a special video from Matt - coming soon!

For myself, I want to say this:

I really want to emphasize Stephen Moffat's statement:

"Of course, this isn't the end of the story, because now the search begins. Somewhere out there right now - all unknowing, just going about their business - is someone who's about to become the Doctor. A life is going to change, and Doctor Who will be born all over again! After 50 years, that's still so exciting!"

As a fan since the Pertwee days of the 1970s, I'm right there with that. I'm sorry to see Matt go, he's been wonderful, but I'm already so very excited about meeting the Doctor all over again, finding a new face, a new costume, a new personality, a new Time Lord, and welcoming him -- OR her! -- into my heart.

I've loved "Doctor Who" since Gerald Ford was President. I've loved Pertwee and Baker and Davison and Baker (okay, he only really settled into the role in his last story) McCoy and McGann and Eccleston and Tennant and Smith. 

It's been an exhilarating ride, and with no end in sight, and I'm thrilled to meet whoever comes next.


When Daleks Flirt

Posted on 2013.05.30 at 11:47
...it's not a pretty sight, I must say!

I Spy - Kelly's Eyes w/Logo

"True, True Colors"

Posted on 2013.05.24 at 20:28



“Just what color is this thing, anyway?” groused Alexander Scott.

“They’re supposed to be people-colored,” replied Kelly Robinson.

“Not for colored people,” grumbled Scotty.

Kelly paused with the generic Mammoth-Mart brand bandage dangling from his hand, and looked at the two others already covering cuts on his forearm. They were a bit pale against his tanned skin, but not terribly noticeable.

Scotty eyed him sourly, the beige-cream rectangles standing out on his forehead like glowing signposts.

“I thought we weren’t supposed to say ‘colored people’ anymore.”

“Well, if it’s good enough for the National Association For The Advancement Of, it’s good enough for me.”

Kelly looked back at the blood seeping from his forearm, and his own only-slightly pale oblongs, and wrinkled his brow in disgust. “Barbed wire, man. What’s the point of that? I ask you, who puts barbed wire around a secure, secret compound?”

“Pretty much everybody with a secure, secret compound. You going to put your flesh tone adhesive bandage on that, or aren’t you?”

“Man, it isn’t ‘Flesh Tone.’” Kelly eyed it dubiously. “It’s, like, I dunno, Bisque. It’s undercooked muffin tone.

“As opposed to your blood, which is bright red, which, you see, isn’t that good a look on your brand new white jeans. How much do you pay for those, anyway?”

Kelly scoffed, “I’ll put ‘em on the expense report.”

“Well, sure you will,” said Scotty, skeptically, “because Shelly Clavell is always an easy touch for that sort of thing, right?”

Kelly looked again at his arm, again at Scotty’s face and his arms, and threw the pale, limp bandage to the floor. It flipped and wrapped around itself on the way down, like a minnow thrown from a bucket, and landed in a sticky ball, stuck to the side of the bedspread. “Hell with this, man,” he said, and stood up while Scotty’s eyes widened. “I’ll be right back.”

In the back of the Southwestern Bell repair truck, Russell Gabriel Conway shook his head slowly, taking in the naughty-little-boy grins of his two best agents.

“You understand, don’t you, that spies are supposed to be sort of, I dunno, unobtrusive? Nondescript, there’s another good word. That’s what spies are supposed to be, isn’t it?”

“Well, Gabe,” murmured Kelly, “there turn out to be some problems with that.”

Go into any damn drug store! Go into any damn drug store!” He always promised himself he was going to keep his temper with these two, two men who had brought him success after success, two men he loved as much as the son who was currently attending West Point. Some promises were not meant to be kept. “Shelf after shelf of perfectly ordinary Band-Aids!

“They’re the wrong color, Gabe.”

Kelly was the only one who called him ‘Gabe.’ But Russell Gabriel knew how the name ‘Russ’ hurt him, so he let that pass.

“They’re flesh-tone! It says it right on the box!”

Kelly looked steadily back at him. “Your flesh, maybe, Mr. Desk Man. Almost mine.” He paused. “Not his.”

Scotty just smiled mildly at him, enjoying Kelly too much to bring anything like reason to the conversation.

“For God’s sake...” Conway began, and then trailed off. With those pale-beige drug-store rectangles all over Alexander Scott’s face, he would have been every bit as spectacular as both men were now, and far less amusing. “Fine,” he finally said. “Fine. We’ll bring in another team for this part. Just... Just, go somewhere. Get the hell out of here.”

“Shall we, Hoby?” said Scotty, his smile widening.

“I think we shall, Fred C.” replied Kelly, and they stood, ducking the low roof of the phone-company truck.

Russ Conway looked back and forth from man to man, face to face, each criss-crossed with multicolored, goddamned-hippy-approved psychedelic, mock-tie-dyed plastic Band-Aids.

“And next time,” he bellowed after them as they ducked out the back doors, “stay away from the goddamned barbed wire!



All The Good Stuff Is HERE

The Single Greatest Music Video Ever Made

Posted on 2013.05.12 at 18:22
Oh, sweet Jesus, you guys, I can't even....

I've heard a few folks, both individuals and opinion journalists, talk about yesterday's "Lockdown" in Boston as a "surrender to fear" or "bowing to terrorism." The premise seems to be that Bostonians surrendered their civil rights, letting our authorities give us orders far beyond their authority, and thereby, terrorism was effective.

No. Bostonians are a tough, smart, practical people. We don't flinch from tough choices, and when it's needed, we roll up our sleeves and tackle unpleasant tasks. Our law enforcers needed room to work, and to mobilize in a big way to capture a uniquely dangerous criminal, and the best way for them to do that was with the particular cooperation of the citizens. What Bostonians needed to do to see the situation resolved was sit out a day, and stay where they were, to give the authorities a clear field. They made that choice willingly and in good faith, and the state met that good faith by keeping faith with them. They took the day of unprecedented cooperation and the clear field the citizens gave them, and at the end of the day, when they had not been successful, they rescinded the "Shelter in Place" order.

That's not surrendering, it's taking on a difficult task. Bostonians, including and especially "Boston Liberals" have the strength and courage to do that, and one important element of that strength and courage is the strength and courage to trust those we ask to protect us.

Speaking of Civil Rights, I'm seeing a lot of coverage today of the decision that's been made that, under what's called the "Public Safety Exception," the FBI won't "Mirandize" Dzhokhar Tsarnaev before questioning him.

(If that's unclear, "Mirandize" means to read to him, as you've seen on American TV police dramas, what is legally known, after the Supreme Court case that governs it, as the Miranda Warning: "You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to consult with an attorney, and to have him present during question. If you so desire, and cannot afford one, one will be provided for you, free of charge. DO you understand these rights as I have explained them to you?")

I'll start here: It's the wrong decision. America stands for something, and one of them is equality under the law. We shouldn't be treating some criminals differently than others. The putative "advantage" the FBI gets from this is minor. Tsarnaev still has those rights. As an American kid, he's doubtless seen enough cop shows that he knows he has those rights. If he clams up, there's nothing the Feds can do about it, and if he demands a lawyer, they have to get him one, whether they read him his rights or not. So making a decision not to read him his rights, and declaring that they'll fight in court to admit anything he says under such questioning as evidence under the claim that the questioning prior to such reading was necessary for the safety of the general public has very little payoff, and the potential cost -- because a judge will rule whether or not she agrees with that, and could well make any such testimony, and any evidence developed from such testimony, inadmissible -- is really high. It's a dumb decision.

You know what, though? So what? As I said, he has the rights, whether they're read to him or not. And does this case look to you like it's going to depend on statements Tsarnaev makes during interrogation? He's on videotape planting the bomb. A victim looked him in the eye as he planted it. He took part in the murder of a police officer, and a carjacking in which he or his brother told the victim, who can and will testify, "We did the Marathon bombing, and we just killed a cop. Give us your car or we'll kill you, too." He took part in a high-speed chase and a gun battle with police, then another gun battle with them. Same gun in both? I'll bet it was. Will there be GSR (Gunshot Residue) on his clothing and skin? Yes. Similar bombs and bomb-making ingredients and components were found in his car, in the carjacked car, and in his home. You wanna bet against there being fingerprint evidence all over all of this? I certainly don't.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be convicted of all the crimes without a word of testimony from his questioning now. And his Fifth Amendment rights are his. If a judge declares everything he tells the feds inadmissible against him, it will still be admissible against anybody his responses lead them to. Any evidence developed against any other parties based on his responses under FBI questioning will stand up in court.

So, what the hell? As long as they don't try to convict him with testimony given during un-Mirandized questioning, and as long as, if he chooses to remain silent, or asks for an attorney, the law is properly followed, I don't see where his rights are violated.

Lastly, in response to Arkansas Republican state representative Nate Bell, who wrote on Twitter yesterday, "I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine," I will point this out again. Bostonians don't cower. Not ever. Not in their homes, not anywhere.

You know where people do cower, though? Not Bostonians -- at least, not enough of them to matter -- but waaaaaay too many Americans?

They don't cower behind their doors, but many cower behind their guns, and the bigger, more over-powered a gun is, the more likely the civilian behind it is to be cowering.


Today is Patriots Day in Massachusetts, the commemoration of the famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. It's HUGELY significant in the Right-Wing Anti-Government Nutbag movement. Timothy McVeigh's truck bomb destroyed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, 19 of them children under the age of six, on April 19th, 1995 - Patriot's Day.

Today is "Tax Day," April Fifteenth, the deadline for Americans to file their income tax returns. This is also hugely significant to the Right-Wing Anti-Government Nutbag movement, as, to them, taxation=tyranny.

Boston is the cradle of the American Revolution. This is where Crispus Attucks fell, the first American to die in the American Revolution. It's the home of John Adams, of Nathan Hale, of Paul Revere.

Boston was, of course, the site of the very famous Boston Tea Party, an event considered iconic by the Right-Wing Anti-Government Nutbag movement.

Boston is also, of course a famously liberal city, capital of a famously liberal state, nearly universally loathed by the Right-Wing Anti-Government Nutbag movement.

Irresponsible speculation:

We're going to find that this was an act of domestic terrorism, the Right-Wing Anti-Government Nutbag movement.

And when you see some scraggly guy from some "Militia" brought in in cuffs, remember this: What he believes in differs in only one significant way from Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, and the rest of the Teabaggers who have infested American politics: Willingness to outright murder innocents to make their political points. Everything they believe in, everything they fight for, would make Timothy McVeigh smile.

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