Just Me

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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

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.

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.
Star Trek

FIC: "You Make Yourself Another" (ST: TOS/ST:AOS) GEN

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.

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Flagpole Spidey

I should be used to it.

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

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.

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.