Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When sex and chocolate are a bit too much.

Thanks to The Nephew, we learn about this new service via the digital wonderland. Now you can tell someone you passed along a crotch cricket or worse and, the best part is, it's anonymous.

Really puts the casual in casual encounter, doesn't it? And this is just the thing that sets a social conservative's hair on fire; the casual anonymity, the shirking of responsibility when relative strangers (as opposed to strange relatives) have a slippery good time and then just walk away, without the vomiting and tears that plague Bible-bumping Republicans.

But there's a cavalier attitude to this card that even I see as a bit blase, considering the subject matter.

Now that's stepping up like a man.

"I spewed my microbe-laden bodily fuids into your vulnerable intimate areas. Oops. Gotta run!"

Christ, that's not even an apology. At least the faceless dude in the first panel has the decency to be mildly embarrassed.

Unless that's a rash.

But, seeing an opening (if you will), I'm quick to jump into what could be a real money-maker.

So, if you've given someone a pantload of woe recently and feel an itch to confess, you might want to consider one of these Dark Planet Cards:

Or this?

And one more:

An Updated Extra: This for our men and women serving in uniform. Salud!

I could do these all day, but I have to go back to work. Feel free to write your own in the comments section if you're so inclined.

And Hallmark? Call me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

When sex and chocolate aren't enough.

We've all heard that these things can make your brain healthier and smarter, and really, what's smarter than adding more sex and chocolate to your life?

But for some strivers, they want more.

Just as ball players bulk up on steroids, some students and business people are taking drugs made to treat neurological problems, all in an effort to be smarter, work harder, and work longer than before.

And that's smart?

OK, I'll admit, many in my generation turned to drugs in order to pry open our brain pans and toss out all the detritus of 50's America. But as with all things, if you started out stupid, you pretty much stayed stupid.

And if you want enlightenment, go live in a cave in Nepal, Mr. Hippie. This is America, where the only drugs we use are drugs that can help us work more rigorously toward a socially acceptable goal. Drugs like caffeine and Viagra.

I admit, as I get older and slower, surrounded by very smart people 20 years my junior, I've thought about taking Adderall or Provigil in order to stay competitive. But, as my doctor reads this blog, that admission pretty much puts the kibosh on my plans of faking ADHD.

But if I knew there existed a drug that could not only help me finish this novel but also make it a best seller, I'd take it.

Maybe then I'd have the time to live in that cave and figure out this whole third eye thing. Do you need special glasses for that?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What are you looking at?

I'm old. Not old old, but older than most people I know. I'm older than everyone I work with and, in my circle of friends, I think I'm the oldest. Which, up until yesterday, didn't bother me.

But yesterday this vertigo gave me a flicker of what it will be like to be old.

My mind is distracted by my lack of balance. I have to be careful how I walk, mindful of my frailty. I'm focused inward, on my condition, and medicine has become a constant source of conversation.

That last is the real mind fuck. I've spent enough time around oldsters to know that their medical condition is one third of the old-timers' holy trinity. There's golf, who's died, and what's wrong with my bowels.

I don't like this. In bed last night I wondered if this was the beginning of the end. If those moments of frailty would just expand until they consumed my entire day. If, as my inner self looks on in horror, I'll shortly begin babbling about my blood pressure instead of books, phlegm instead of film and be blissfully unaware when all those around me edge towards the exits.

I'm hoping this all goes away after they juggle my noggin in May. Right now I want to rest.

But even more than that, I want you kids off my lawn.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I still fall down a lot...

...but now I know why.

Regular readers will recall that I had a bit of vertigo a few months ago. Well, it's never really gone away and lately it's gotten a lot worse.

The last time I went to the doctor he said it was either a virus or a tumor. That's like a whole Grand Canyon's worth of difference in those two words. But he said the chances of it being a tumor were very small, but told me if it didn't get better to come back.

It didn't get better. This morning I went back. The diagnosis?

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV.

Benign. Isn't that a lovely word?

Begins with a B, one of my favorite letters. Even sounds nice, a Dickensian word if there ever was one.

Not to worry. It's benign.

What BPPV means is that something in my head got unstuck and now they have to twist my coconut around like a Wii stick and that won't happen until May.

So until then, I'll be a little loopier than usual, even sober.

But it's benign. I like that word.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A teabag extra.

Gin and Tacos is a terrific blog, new on my radar. They did a great job of reporting from the tea bag front as they waded into the seething, angry mass of poor spelling, garbled syntax and unsubtle racism.

Check it out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Here's a story about how Twitter has either contributed to, or rode on the coattails of Mad Men's success.

Take a look. It's an interesting use of what, up to now, I had considered just another product of our self-centered society.

(He says from the comfort of his totally self-centered blog.)

But after hearing how this woman tweeted her way into a pretty good gig, it struck me that Twitter could be a great book promotion tool and yes, I totally understand that this is old news.

But this is a little different. This is tweeting in character, and engaging in a conversation with readers as, in my case, John Harper, which would be easy as Harper's voice is close to my own. I even considered tweeting in my WIP's protagonist's voice, which adds the further wrinkle of time. He would have to tweet from 1941.


This presupposes that anyone actually gives a fuck about what these characters think. But it's got to be as interesting as hearing about someone eating Froot Loops for lunch. It would be easier with a character from a best-selling series, if I had a best-selling series, or even a slow-selling series.

I had considered Twitter as something I could ignore. But if I ever get this new book out, the old man may just have to learn something new.

Have you tweeted? Was it everything you dreamed it would be? Is this tweeting in character something you'd try, or have seen others try?

Talk to me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

David Schuster having way too much fun with teabagging.

I saw this over at Dusty Rhoades' place and decided to take up my own challenge of counting the double entendres in this report.

I counted 18, including tongue-lashing, tight-lipped and a taste for teabagging.

I may have missed one or two.

Heh. The GOP hasn't been the source of this much juvenile humor in days.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Has anyone smacked these girls' parents around a bit? Because if not, I'd like to volunteer.

Teabagging the true believers.

As Jenny works on our taxes, certain that we'll have to pay again this year, right wangers across the nation plan on staging tea parties, hoping that the economically-numb populace will think of the Boston Tea Party and not that other kind of teabagging, which we won't go into here.

We do have standards.

What are the wangers protesting? Taxes. They don't like 'em. Which makes them exactly like every other sentient being on earth.

What separates them from intelligent life is why they're protesting. Obama plans to let the Bush tax cuts expire. This means that if you make over $250K, your tax rate will go from 36% to 39%.

I'm not anywhere close to that bracket, so I'm not breaking a sweat, but it sure would be nice to be faced with such weighty problems.

And I'm guessing those guys in the picture aren't anywhere close to making $250 a year, either, but I could be wrong. Blowing sailors in the bus depot could pay more than I suspect.

What I do know is this: the higher tax bracket is 10% less than it was under Saint Ron and 51% less than it was under Ike. Jesus, no wonder Kennedy wanted to cut taxes. That Ike. What a fucking Socialist.

And I don't remember these guys squawking when Reagan and Bush ran up record deficits, either. But that was before. They're newly converted deficit hawks now, or at least unitl the next time Grover Norquist, Dick "Dick" Cheney or some other lying bastard tells them that deficits don't matter.

But the one thing the wangers really don't understand is history. The Boston Tea Party wasn't about the tax as much as it was about not having a voice in Parliament. Taxation Without Representation. Remember that? But these guys have a voice in Congress, it's just not as loud as it used to be.

You lost, I know. It sucks. I know that, too. But breaking open bags of Earl Goddamn Grey doesn't make you the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers. It just makes you a bunch of ignorant, easily manipulated dicks. You're getting tea-bagged all right, but by your party's cynical leaders.

All I can say is, open wide suckers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A short story.

I work in an office park far from any place that kids would frequent. Hell, it's not a place grown-ups would frequent if they had a choice.

But one morning I got out of my car and came upon these little sandals sitting in the morning light. It looks like a little girl had stepped right out of them.

Whose are they? Does she miss them? How did she lose them? Were her parents mad?

These little sandals inspired all sorts of conjecture and isn't that the beginning of any story?

I was reminded of Hemingway, when challenged to write a complete story in six words he came up with this:

"For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn."

It's a high standard he's set.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I'm offended.

Oh, no, the artist was so bold, turning Mary into a Hooters waitress delivering the wings to a bunch of happy and hungry wise dudes.

Sweet Jesus (no relation), but I found this while looking for offensive art. Come on people. This isn't anywhere close to being offensive. Stupid, yes. A waste of the artist's talent, no doubt. But offensive, hell, this person is about as offensive as a baby's fart.

I went looking for offensive art because of the story of Red Grooms' sculpture. That's the sculpture I posted a few days ago. When I looked up why it was no longer at the Cincinnati Art Museum I found out that it was originally commissioned by the Northern Kentucky University to honor a Kentuckian of merit. Grooms chose DW Griffith, a man who revolutionized motion pictures.

Trouble with DW, he was a racist, no question. His Birth of a Nation glorifies the Klan and portrays black men as barely human, lusting after our pure white women.

But the dude revolutionized motion pictures. He was The Father of the Feature.

Not good enough for the students at NKU, apparently. According to NKU's web site, Grooms' sculpture was dismantled in 2004 and is now in storage. Not because Red Grooms is a racist. No. But because his subject, a guy who started making movies sometime around 1915, was a racist.

Goddamn. That's like burning Picasso's paintings because he was an asshole with women. And let's not even talk about Chaplin and his penchant for young girls.

Some who read this blog might be surprised to find I'm not a big fan of political correctness. I believe in manners, yes. I don't go out of my way to offend people. I mean, what's the point?

But Red Grooms is offensive art? To paraphrase Tom Waits, buddy, you don't know the meaning of offensive. Here's some fucking offensive art.

My father's brother was killed on Iwo Jima and in my family, Joe Rosenthal's picture is about as close to a holy relic as we get. To use it to make a point about America's invasion of Iraq offends me. It's right on, but it still offends me.

Anne Frank wearing a Palestinian scarf is pretty nasty, too. I'm offended.

But for real visceral offense, you have to go right to the gut. Check this out.

This artist wanted to protest the killing of a burglar by a couple of guard dogs so he found this dog on the street, chained him up in a gallery to make it all arty and shit, and then starved the dog to death.

Right here is my line. If you've ever wondered after reading this blog for three years, "Gee, I wonder what I would have to do to get under Dave's skin?" this is it.

I wonder if I shot this asshole in the leg with my .45 and called it art he'd understand.

OK, one more example of offensive art and then it's time for me to rest.

Thomas Kinkade is not an artist, he's a marketer. And this stuff stinks almost as bad as the dead dog. It doesn't offend me on the same level as the dead dog, but it offends me, just the same.

We all have a line somewhere. Mine, I admit, is more distant than most. So tell me, what really offends you? I mean, what gets so deeply into your gut as wrong that it spurs you to want it banned, burned, expunged from the earth?

Talk to me.

Update: According to our good friend Dusty Rhoades, the dead dog art was a hoax. If it was, it was a good one. It got me.

I checked with Snopes and as of last year, they couldn't decide if it was a hoax or not. FactCheck has no articles I could find. But I'm inclined to believe it was a hoax. No one could be this insensitive, could they?

Well, yeah, of course they could.

Stupid goes fast. Stupid goes real fast.

I know I promised to talk about the changes in technology today, but I heard this and couldn't resist. It has every element I love to make fun of - people who blindly hate Obama, NASCAR, blog comments and morans.

On April 1st, Car and Driver wrote a story they clearly labeled as an April Fool's joke. The story? Obama Orders Chevrolet and Dodge Out Of NASCAR. This by Jared Gall of C&D:

In a move sure to spark outrage, the White House announced today that GM and Chrysler must cease participation in NASCAR at the end of the 2009 season if they hope to receive any additional financial aid from the government ... A complete withdrawal from America’s premier racing series is expected to save more than $250 million between GM and Chrysler, a substantial amount considering the drastic measures being implemented elsewhere.

This story included this after the title: “HAPPY APRIL FOOLS’ DAY! THIS IS A JOKE. LIGHTEN UP, PEOPLE.”

But, did that stop bloggers, and even some news sites from picking it up as gospel? Hey, you don't have to be literate to blog, as this site proves almost daily. Here, after a perfunctory search are some choice comments:

i can actually say that you dont understand the move. forcing them to pull out would leave a ton of R&D on the table, tons of advertising and a major divot in americana.

Unfortunately it's no joke dude!

Bam Bam will piss of an entire segment of the population.

So much for the pursuit of happiness! NASCAR Fans are not his voter base and Team Obama will be changing more than tires. So wave bye -bye to capitalism and freedom. Because at the rate that Congress is spending trillions of dollars, soon we will all be homeless and sleeping out of our cars.

...not a popular one. This one move may have lost the Democrats the 2012 election if the economy doesn't recover. Imagine the rage of the nascar dads...

This is getting way out of hand.

Wow! Wonder when the Communistic rule will begin. First, the gun BS, Then telling a CEO of a corporation to step down, now to telling two companies to pull out of a sport. What's next, tell the blue collared American worker that his job is not his anymore and to report for his new job tomorrow. Somethings not right. Makes you think a little.

But only a little. Apparently, this last guy hasn't heard that the blue-collared worker has already been escorted off the premises by the corporate CEOs he wants to protect. Too bad there is no new job to report to, sparky.

You know, there was a time you had to listen to talk radio to hear comments this stupid, but thanks to the Internet, you can get stupid all day long. And you don't even have to watch Glen Beck. Double bonus!

So, I guess this post is about technology after all. Tomorrow, I promise I'll post about docs and the breakthrough that has put filmmaking in the hands of just about everyone.

That is, unless I get distracted by some other shiny object.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Films to look for.

Just a quick update on the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. This was the 12th year of Full Frame and the movies we saw (with two exceptions) ranged from good to great. That hasn't always been the case, but this year we lucked out, and that's what festivals usually turn out to be - pure luck.
OK, here are some films to look for:

Saint Misbehavin' - The Wavy Gravy Movie - If all you know about Wavy Gravy is from Woodstock, see this movie. Born Hugh Romney, WG has led a remarkable life of service and philanthropy. A real love letter to a terrific human being.

The Yes Men Fix the World - Pranksters of another sort pose as corporate spokespeople and show the world what could be done if Corporations lived up to their responsibilities. Funny and with balls the size of grapefruits, these guys might not fix the world completely, but they give it a good shot.

Oblivion - That's the director, Heddy Honigmann. She made this movie about the forgotten city of Lima-Peru and all of the people who work in the shadow of the presidential palace, a place where dictators and their corrupt cronies come and go, leaving the people struggling to get by alone. I've seen one other film by Honigmann called Forever. It will be availbale on Netflix this month and I urge you to rent it. It's a beautiful film about art, dedication, and dead people.

Fallen Champ - Barbara Kopple made this movie 16 years ago and showed up to answer questions as part of the 2009 festival's sports theme. The film is a nuanced look at a complex guy, shot when Tyson was in jail for rape.

The director of Fallen Champ is Barbara Kopple, one of my favorite doc directors. She's helmed more than 20 pictures, including Oscar winner "Harlen County USA" about coal miners and the Dixie Chicks' joyful answer to their critics, "Shut Up and Sing."

And to anyone who can watch any of these movies and still cling to the bullshit claim that documentaries should be objective, I wish you luck with that.

Tomorrow, a look at how technology has changed in the 12 years since the first Full Frame festival.

*The sculpture up top is Red Grooms' Way Down East. That's DW Griffith directing the ice floe scene he lifted from Uncle Tom's Cabin. I first saw this sculpture in front of the Cincinnati Museum of Art. It now resides on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. It's Cincinnati's loss, if you ask me.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Apparently, there was a game last night.

I guess I should say something about UNC's win last night. My lovely wife is a Carolina alum and diehard Heels fan.

Hey, nobody's perfect.

We were talking about the win, the 30,000 fans storming Franklin Street, the special N&O souvenir section and front page you can buy as a poster, suitable for framing and, you know, I just don't get it.

Really. Somehow I missed the sports gene. Don't get me wrong, I loved playing. I was never much of an athlete, but I could catch a football, was a mediocre wrestler, and even had an Army boxing career that lasted one whole round.

But watching someone else play a game is like watching someone else have sex.

Oh, right. Let's try that again.

Watching someone else play a game is like watching someone else enjoy a terrific meal. As beautiful as the food might be, I'd rather be the guy with the fork.

I don't hold it against anyone who is a sports fan. Some of my best friends can tell you all about East Camelfart University's JV squad and, what's simply mystifying to me, care deeply about an injured 6'9" sophomore who would just as soon run over your dog as say hi to you.

I don't get it. But it makes me people happy.

It's a lot like religion, I guess. It gives people comfort, offers them a shared history, and provides an explanation for events that are totally outside of their control.

So, while it means bupkis to me, last night was a big deal for a lot of people. Just for them, I'm going to shake my pompoms.

Now, can we get back to really important things? Like the future of low-budget horror flicks?

Now there's something I can get behind.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Award Fail

Too much info and too little time, so I'll give you this to hold you over until a real post can be whipped up.

The Nephew and I saw this yesterday.

Friday, April 03, 2009

News from the Bull City.

Let's check out the goods at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Not a lot of time before the next film so let's get to it.

Two films with bulls prominently featured: Maletilla, a love letter to the young men who grow up wanting to become toreros. I've only seen one bull fight live and that was plenty, but this film gave me a look at the grace of this blood sport.

Rank, a story about bull riding and the championships in Las Vegas. Great story, great people, and great film. I wish I had more time, but let's move on.

Sons of Cuba, the opening night film. The director, who was here, said they had just finished the film 3 days ago. Great access to the boxing club of Havana, and the little boys who aspire to fight for the honor of their family, their club, their city and Fidel.

So far, this year has been a success. Today we're seeing a full day of films so there will be more later.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Welcome to Raleigh.

File this under Things You Won't See in Raleigh's Convention and Visitors Website.

Photo by Eric Connor.