A VERY STABLE GENIUS – Randy Rainbow Song Parody

Genius is usually a title that others confer on you. It is not a title that one usually confers on oneself.

You know who has often referred to himself as a “very stable genius”.

Earlier today, Randy Rainbow released his latest video,  “A Very Stable Genius”. With his usual wicked and satirical sense of humor, Rainbow uses the song “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” from the musical, The Pirates of Penzance, as the basis of his latest song.

Laughter is often the best medicine, especially when life gets a little rough. Given our current political climate, Randy Rainbow has become a doctor of laughter, allowing the fans to think, breath and laugh, even when we want to do the opposite.

Thanks, Randy.

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It’s Treason, Pure And Simple

In 1778, during the height of the Revolutionary War, Benedict Arnold jumped ship to fight for the British.  Since then, his name is synonymous with treason.

Today, was have a new name to link to treason against America: Donald Trump.

Despite recent undeniable proof (and indictments against Russian agents) that Russia meddled in the 2016 Presidential election, Trump continue to deny the truth during the dual press conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

I don’t know (though it seems likely and has seemed likely for a while) if Putin has something on Trump or he is just so dam egotistical that he can’t see what is happening in front of his eyes.

I’m not a legal scholar, but for me, this would be more than enough of a reason for me to start impeachment proceedings. We’ve been sold out to Russia and Putin knows it. The only person who doesn’t know it is Trump.

Even those who have supported him have called Trump out on what he did and said today.

So much for America First.

 

 

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The Great Alone Book Review

Growing up is never easy. Especially when the relationship between one’s parents is tumultuous and your growing up at the end of the world.

In Kristin Hannah’s new novel, The Great Alone, Leni Allbright is a young lady growing up in the 1970’s. Her father, Ernt, survived The Vietnam War, but came home a changed man. Her mother, Cora, loves her husband passionately and will follow him to the ends of the Earth. The ends of the Earth is a small town at the edge of the Alaska wilderness. In the beginning, their new home is nirvana. It is a chance for the family to start over. But the past is never far behind and as winter approaches, Cora and Leni must face the truth about Ernt.

The only thing I can say about this book is wow. Kristin Hannah has done it again. The narrative was tense, dramatic and I was on the edge of my seat until the final page.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Thoughts On The NYC Specialized High School Controversy

We all know that receiving a solid education when we are young sets us up for life. Unfortunately, many students, for a variety of reasons, do not receive the education they should ideally be receiving.

Recently, New York City Bill de Blasio announced that a plan was in place to change the admissions process to the city’s specialized high schools. Currently, students who wish to attend these schools must take a rigorous standardized exam to determine if they will be granted admission to the school of their choice. For some, the problem is that these schools have student population of mostly Caucasian and Asian-American students. There are only a handful of African-American and Latino students whose scores quality them for entrance.

Some officials and parents are stating the fact that the students who attend these schools get in because of their test scores. The test is fair because it creates a level playing field. These students (and their parents by extension), took the time and energy to prepare for these exams. If they qualified (based on their test scores) for admission, they got in because of the hard work they put in beforehand.

But at the same time, I understand the argument that there needs to be greater diversity in these high schools.

I personally believe that if the parents of the African-American and Latino students who want to attend these schools cannot pay out-of-pocket for the test prep needed, the city should step in. Why should these kids not have the same opportunities because their parents do not have the funds needed for the expensive test prep programs? They deserve the same opportunities to prepare for the tests as their peers whose parents pay out-of-pocket for the test prep programs.

While I very much appreciate the Mayor’s thinking outside of the box, I don’t believe that changing the admissions process is the best way to fix this problem.

 

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Flashback Friday-Rock Of Love (2007-2009) & Flavor Of Love (2006-2008)

Among the more popular sub-genre that lies within the reality television genre, the celebrity dating show is an interesting one.

For a few years in the mid to late 2000’s, VH1 dominated this sub-genre. Two of their more popular shows were Rock Of Love (2007-2009) and Flavor Of Love (2006-2008).

The concept was like any reality show dating contest, with the difference being that the man at the center of the show was a famous musician. In Rock Of Love, the musician was Poison front man Bret Michaels. In Flavor Of Love, the musician was Public Enemy hype man Flavor Flav. Both men had around twenty to twenty five women vying for their affection. As the season wore on, one woman would be eliminated at the end of every episode until one was chosen as the winner.

If nothing else, these shows were mindless entertainment. Brain cells were not needed to watch the train wrecks that Rock Of Love and Flavor Of Love.

Do I recommend them? Not really.

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Star Wars Character Review: Finn

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

We all have pasts, it’s part of being human. Part of that past are mistakes that even years later, we regret making. In The Force Awakens (aka Episode 7 of in the Star Wars series), Finn (John Boyega) is introduced as a storm trooper whose inner Jiminy Cricket has kicked in. After refusing to kill innocent villagers on the planet Jakku and helping Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) escape from the First Order, Finn joins the resistance, in spite of his past.

In The Last Jedi (aka Episode 8), Finn wakes up from the coma to discover that the resistance is slowly being destroyed by the First Order. He again tries to run away, but is caught by Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). They eventually form plan is to sneak onto a First Order ship and destroy the signal that is tracking the resistance ships through light speed. What starts out a simple plan quickly goes awry, but in the end, there is a faint glimmer of hope that Finn’s actions has helped the rebels to fight another day.

To sum it up: The fight or flight response is built into us as human beings. The question is, as a character, does one run from their past or they face up to it? In Star Wars, Finn eventually faces his past, making him a better man than he was if he had chosen to run away. As writers and human beings, we know that actions, both good and bad have consequences.

When it comes to creating a character who must choose the fight or flight response, the writer must follow the path that is true to the character. For if the character’s action feel untrue to the reader or viewer, it is unlikely that he or she will want to continue to follow both the story and the character.

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Thoughts On The Opposition To Breast-Feeding

I am utterly convinced that logic and reason left Washington D.C. with the departure of President Obama.

Last week, delegates from various countries met in Geneva for a meeting of the World Health Assembly.  One of the topics that was to be discussed was the initiative to encourage mothers to breast-feed their children until the children no longer need breast milk.

It appeared to be a quick vote. Then the American delegation (no surprise there) shut down the vote and threatened sanctions if the topic was brought to the floor to be vote on again. Only when the Russian delegation stepped into to re-introduce the resolution did the threats from the American delegation stop.

I’m not a parent, nor am I a medical professional. But I know enough to know that breast-feeding one’s child not only provides the necessary nutrients, but creates the bond between mother and child.

When did America become the bully of the world? We are supposed to the be the leaders of the free world, but that was before you know who took over the position.

To the rest of the world on behalf of every logical, thinking American, I apologize. This is not who we are as a nation. Whatever you know who says or does, please do not abandon us. We still need you.

 

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Throwback Thursday-High School Reunion (2003-2005)

Going to one’s high school reunion, for some, is like a blast from the past. For others, it is a night to dread.

For two years, between 2003 and 2005, the WB aired High School Reunion.  The concept of this reality was basically a one night high school reunion that lasts longer than any standard high school reunion. And, like any high school reunion/reality show, the archetypes play a role in the storytelling: the outsiders, the jocks, the popular kids, the band geeks, the goof balls, etc.

In terms of reality television, I appreciated the novel concept. I also appreciated that like any high school reunion, it gave the participants a chance to reveal who they are as adults outside of their high school personas. But, at the end of the day, it was just another reality show.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

 

 

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Those Who Save Us Book Review

For some of us, the past is the past. Who we were and the choices that we made at that point in our lives is no longer of consequence. That is, until the past rears is head back into our lives.

In Jenna Blum’s 2004 novel, Those Who Save us, Anna Schlemmer emigrated to America from Germany just after World War II with her American soldier husband and young daughter. Fifty years later, her husband is dead and Anna is determined to let the past remain in the past. But her now grown daughter, Trudy, is a professor of German history and curious about her mother’s past. Finding an old photograph of herself and her mother with a German officer, Trudy is determined to find out the secrets that her mother has been hiding for half a century.

This book is remarkable. While normally I would say that a slow narrative does not bode well for finishing a novel,  the slow burn towards the end of the story is well worth the emotional payoff that ends the novel. Adding to the suspense is the sometimes tenuous relationship between middle-aged Trudy and senior Anna.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Another Straight White Man Is In A Seat Of Power

When Justice Kennedy announced his retirement two weeks ago, it was predicted by many on both sides of the political aisle that his chosen replacement would certainly be conservative in his political beliefs.

Earlier tonight, you know who introduced Justice Kennedy’s replacement. Brett Kavanaugh is to be the new associate Justice on the Supreme court, pending a hearing in the Senate.

I’m going to go out and say it, because there is no other way to react. And if sound like liberal, I am.

Another straight white man is in a seat of power. It’s not exactly a surprise that among the four front-runners, there was no one of color and only one woman, Amy Coney Barrett.

The government is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people. How is the government supposed to do this if those in power do not reflect the voters who put them in power?

Only time will tell how Mr. Kavanaugh will vote on the cases that are presented to SCOTUS, if he is indeed confirmed by the Senate.  My hope is that he will vote with his heart and his legal head instead of blindly voting via partisan lines. But then again, hope often springs eternal, especially considering our current political climate.

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