Category Archives: General Bullcrap

I Murdered the Tooth Fairy

I sit here now, glittery sparkling blood on my hands as I type. I can’t wash it off, any more than Lady Macbeth’s incessant hand washing could remove the memory of what horrors she had unleashed and sins she had committed. *Sigh* Where do I begin? I suppose with a simple fact. A simple statement.

This afternoon, I killed the Tooth Fairy.

Granted, I wasn’t trying to. I wanted to save her. I wanted to preserve her. But her death is now laid at my feet.

Such a sudden thing it was, too. I took my darling daughter, who just a couple weeks ago turned 7, to the children’s museum in Portland, Maine, so that our favorite grown woman (her mother, my wife) could have brunch with some people she had wanted to meet for a while. We had barely finished paying for admission and then walking to the first room in the museum when Little Girl Blue said, calmly and without preamble, “Daddy, is the Tooth Fairy real, or do you and Mommy put the money under my pillow? Please be totally honest.”

In that moment, I realized I had been asked a question only slightly less distressing to parents than “What is sex?” or “Can I get a belly button piercing?” I did not pause, but simply led her to a small bench somewhat away from the other kids, sat down with her, and asked, “Do you really want to know?”


“You’re sure you want to ask this question, even though the answer may change things in your life?”

“Yes. Please be honest.”

Twice now she had stressed honesty, and so there was no other path. Before, when a Kindergartner in her first year of school had told her the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real, Mrs. Blue simply asked, “What do you believe? What do you want to think? That’s all that matters.” My wife’s words (and clever ploy) were enough then, and they were true words, and Little Girl Blue continued to believe. Now, though, she was pressing me to be honest. I’m not sure why I drew this short straw, but I don’t think it would have been any different had my wife been the one with her at that moment; Little Girl Blue knows we’ll speak truth when asked, and most other times as well.

“Well, Honey, before I answer your question, let me ask you this: If it turns out Mommy and Daddy are the ones giving you the money, and I confirm that, do you think that there will still be money under your pillow in the future?” She was still young enough not to realize that I had essentially admitted the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real, but I was banking on that childish naivete so that she could still have an out if she wanted it.

She muddled over that for a few moments, then said, “Yes! …um, maybe not. I guess no. But I want to know.”

“I’m going to ask you one more time: Are you sure?” I queried, quietly but intently. “Sometimes, getting an honest answer to things changes things in ways you might not like. Do you still want me to answer?”

“Yes. I do.”

I put my arm around her and leaned in close, and said in almost a whisper, “No, Honey. The Tooth Fairy isn’t real. That’s Mommy and Daddy.”

“OK, Daddy,” she said after a short pause to let that sink in. “Thanks for telling me.”

“You’re welcome,” I said, and then played my last card to let magic be in her world a bit longer. “Frankly, I don’t know if any fairies are assigned any tooth-related duties. And they sure wouldn’t be carrying human money around, now would they?”

“No, they wouldn’t. I still believe in fairies, Daddy. Just not the Tooth Fairy.”

“That’s good, Honey. There are all kinds of strange and wonderful things in the world, even if they haven’t been proven they exist and even if we’ve never seen them.” Then I lowered my voice even more, and looked at the other kids in the room in a way that she couldn’t help but notice. “Don’t tell other kids, honey. Kids have told you the Tooth Fairy isn’t real, when you would have figured it out yourself someday. And you found out earlier than you probably needed to. But don’t ruin it for another kid. Let them ask the question when they’re ready to ask their parents. Some parents and kids don’t think about that; some purposely want to end that belief for other people because they think it’s stupid. So please don’t do it to anyone.”

“I won’t, Daddy.”

I thought I was done until later in our children’s museum visit, when we were sitting down to a snack and she asked, “Are there any other magical things in my life that you and Mommy have told me about that aren’t real?”

Shit. So soon? The dominoes all ready to fall, all at once, on the same day?

“Do you have a specific question?”

“Are any other magical things in my life that aren’t real?”

“No, do you have a question about some specific thing?”

“I can’t think of one right now. But are there any other things?”

I paused only a moment, torn about what I should do, and then said, “I’m not going to answer that question. It’s too broad. Honey, we’ve had to tell you about horrible things sometimes, like people who hurt kids and people who kill people for no good reason. We’ve had to let you know about some bad things in life, and I think you should have as much magic as you can in life. For as long as you can. If you have a question about a specific thing, you can ask Mommy or me about it, and we’ll be truthful. But I won’t answer the question you just asked. But you can ask the questions about each thing as you want to. When you want to.”

“OK, Daddy. Thank you for being honest.”

And so, Santa Claus, the Birthday Fairy (Akimahs), the Leprechaun and the Easter Bunny have a reprieve. Not sure how long, but for a little while, at least.

It may seem weird, but I do feel guilty about the Tooth Fairy’s demise. My honesty killed her, and no matter how much that honesty was needed then, I still feel bad. That bit of magic is fun for the parents and the kids. The loss of that magic is a sign of my daughter’s maturity, and that’s a good thing; it warms my heart. But at the same time, it’s bittersweet. It makes me mourn for her childhood already, knowing that it is fast receding the closer she gets to tween and teen years.

But she still believes in fairies; that’s good. Mrs. Blue does, too, more or less. And we all believe in angels, because we’ve known at times when they’ve moved in our lives. So, it’s not all bad.

But Santa, Leprechaun, Easter Bunny and Akimahs: Draw up your wills and settle any unfinished business now.

You may not be long for Little Girl Blue’s world.

Shutting Down the Other Side

I’ve often addressed the issue of privilege, particularly white privilege (since I’ve come to understand just how much of it I have…and even white people less privileged than me have…in the 16 years I’ve had a black partner/wife and a biracial son…and in the past 7 years, a biracial daughter, too).

I’ve done this at this blog, I’ve done it on Twitter, and I’ve done it in responses to various people’s articles and posts complaining about being “made to feel guilty for being white.”

First, I’d like to direct you to this web page my wife tweeted about yesterday, which is pure gold and if you read this and still don’t get why denying privilege and/or telling people in various groups that they’re wrong about their own experiences is a bad thing, perhaps you never will get it:

Derailing for Dummies

Now, back to my own mini-rant…

I’m not saying white people (and I’m going to pick them because they’re the largest and most privileged group in the United States, particularly the heterosexual ones, but this applies to anyone who is privileged in comparison to someone else)…well, I don’t think they should be guilted per se. But I do think they need to pay attention, get out of their own boxes, listen to others, educate themselves and stop making assumptions. In short, white folks do need reminders about their privilege, because it clearly hasn’t sunk in. America’s going back to bad habits (or worse habits) and everyone who’s “other” is getting shat upon instead of people shitting on the government, business and social forces that allow discrimination, bigotry and all their cousins to exist.

Too many people think there is equal opportunity and fair treatment in developed parts of the world, particularly the United States, Canada and Europe. They think that racism is dead. But looking at the rates of arrests of non-whites, non-white profiling and harsher punishments for crimes by non-whites, those figures alone show a picture that proves society is not fair to people of color (blacks and Latinos, in particular). Also, housing and employment continue to be areas of huge inequities. Oh, and education.

And yes, I have tons of examples if you really want them. Call them anecdotal and dismiss them because of that if you like, but I think 16 years of seeing this shit up close as a white person with brown people in his life makes me more an expert on discrimination than anyone who plugs their ears (conservative or liberal) and says, “I’m not like that!” or “That’s not true!”

Change comes through awareness. And I mean awareness of the people who perpetuate the bullshit. Who continue to benefit from privilege and never work to share it with others and make sure others can have the same access. When we are aware some people aren’t treated fairly, we can begin to chisel away at racism, homophobia, sexism and all the rest.

It’s the only way. Be aware of your part in it. I have to be, because it’s the morally correct thing to do, and I try to do my small part. Please do yours, too.

Cutlery Conspiracy

Good thing it’s the end of the school year, because I see there’s a conspiracy afoot to make me waste money.

My daughter loves having a bagel and cream cheese when I send her with cold lunch. This requires a knife. Since I don’t want to lose the real cutlery in some elementary school mishap, I buy disposable plastic knives. I also buy disposable plastic spoons for things like apple sauce and pudding in her lunch.

I don’t buy plastic forks because I don’t need them and don’t want to stockpile them. If there is a zombie apocalypse, alien invasion or nuclear holocaust, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be saying, “Damn, I’m SO glad I have 5,000 plastic forks in the barn. Those will really help in fending off the undead/extraterrestrial commandos/rampaging rapist-cannibals.”

So, I don’t buy the picnic-oriented packs with all three utensils. That’s just an invitation to end up with unused and unusable plastic forks, and then next thing I know I’ll be featured on “Hoarders” or some similar TV show.

Yet I go to Walmart several days ago and try to buy a new box of knives, only to find no sign of them.

Spoons only? Yes! Forks only? Yes, but who cares? Knives only? Well…ummm…no.

I thought maybe they were just out of stock, but it didn’t seem as though there was a space for them anymore.

Today, I stop into the local grocery store to get fixings to make my wife and son breakfast burritos this morning. I decide to stop into the paper plate/plastic-ware aisle, and find that even there, I see neither knife-only boxes nor a spot for them anymore.

What’s up with this? Is it like the whole over-the-counter allergy medicine shit? A few assholes make meth with the allergy meds that have decongestants, and the rest of us have to show ID and be rationed because of that? What…are schoolkids suddenly stabbing each other in the eyes with plastic knives at lunchtime in some sort of pseudo-gang violence and now the rest of us must pay the price?

Besides, local stores, haven’t you considered the most basic fact?

Plastic knives will be much more useful in the apocalypse. Get on that. Now. Reorder and restock.

Or I’ll start stabbing your execs and your purchasing people with all my leftover plastic forks.

I’m Sorry, White America! I See the Truth Now!

So, for a bit of time now in this blog and on Twitter, I’ve been taking many in the white segments of the American population to task for wanting to put blame on Trayvon Martin (the victim of a shooting) and dismiss the culpability of George Zimmerman (the shooter).

Now, via my association with The Field Negro ( and @thefieldnegro on Twitter) comes to me this story of a poll suggesting most white Americans don’t really believe Zimmerman is guilty of anything, despite the preponderance of evidence that he at the very least disobeyed police instructions and provoked a conflict with an unarmed black teen.

You know, even though even a casual reading of the facts of the case so far indicates that Martin was minding his own business and Zimmerman was at the very least criminally negligent, most of my fellow white folks apparently see some other truth.

So, it couldn’t be that they’re afraid of the specter of racism and are denying reality to rally around one of their own, right? I must be wrong. And so, I think I have finally figured out what happened that night. Black and white America…and everyone in between…you can thank me later.

The Real Story

George Zimmerman, dutiful neighborhood watch captain, is patrolling in his SUV and spots Trayvon Martin skulking through the area wearing a hoodie and menacingly brandishing a pack of Skittles and a soda as he leered at helpless and terrified citizens through the windows of their homes, mouthing threats to them silently through the glass.

Calling 911, Zimmerman reports suspicious behavior and is told that police will handle it and he shouldn’t continue to follow Martin.

Sensing something in the tone of the 911 operator’s voice that suggested possible collusion with the hulking Negro beast marauding in his neighborhood, Zimmerman continued to pursue Martin, knowing he was the only hope of his fellow residents against a fearsome threat fueled by candy and soft drinks.

Suddenly, Martin turned and saw his pursuer. Knowing it was a valiant neighborhood watch captain (for how could the youth even conceive the person following him in an SUV might be a molester, stalker or even a violent racist!), he snarled and began to lunge for the vehicle, scrabbling at Zimmerman’s windows and then cocking back a fist to plunge through the glass and pull the other man from the safety of his SUV.

Realizing now the terrible danger he was in, and suspecting perhaps the 911 operator actually had his safety in mind after all, Zimmerman backed his vehicle away, dislodging Martin and then preparing the leave the scene so that police could do their job properly.

But despite reaching speeds approaching 35 miles per hour in a residential area (and oh how Zimmerman dreaded doing such a lawless act!), Martin was keeping up with him, and used strange mental powers to open the locks on Zimmerman’s doors, pull him out of the vehicle and begin pummeling him.

With no choice, and his heart sick with the thought of it, Zimmerman pulled his pistol, and shot the horrid villain dead.

Now, the only reason we’re not getting this story, and instead getting an ever-changing and increasingly illogical tale from Zimmerman, his legal team and his well-connected judge father, is because of a vast conspiracy in the White House. Yes, “President” Barack Hussein Osama-bin-Obama is spending trillions to turn black youth into genetically enhanced, superpowered Muslim agents of destruction, and Zimmerman unwittingly discovered one of them.

I’m so glad that I know the truth now.

Again, my apologies, “White America.”

Zombies and the Right Wing

All right, despite the fact it was a week-and-a-half ago that I wrote a silly piece related to a series of zombie movies…and now my first post since then also talks about zombies…I promise this blog isn’t going to become “Zombie Sh!+ from Deacon Blue.”

But zombies do play an important role in me making a point which, as usual, I will get to in a highly roundabout manner.

A couple weeks ago, I made some (theoretically) humorous response to something my wife said in which I referenced “the coming zombie apocalypse.” Rather than laugh (which often doesn’t happen where my jokes are involved anyway), my wife asked very seriously and gravely, “What is it with you and zombies?”

It was asked in a manner along the lines of, “Why would you hit yourself in the face repeatedly with a meat tenderizer?”

Now, it should be noted that my wonderful wife is a bit of a literalist. She likes fiction in video and written form, but she deals with concrete, real-world things. Fantasy and science fiction rarely appeal to her at all; if it doesn’t relate to things she can see and imagine in her day-to-day, she often won’t understand the appeal. She’s been trying very hard to continue to create an atmosphere for our daughter to believe in magic and let her imagination soar, but she’s somewhat less willing to sympathize with my love of things fantastic and out there in fiction.

After explaining to her that I’m not personally all that much into zombies except with some specific tales out there, I did my best to point out that zombies are a meme, and a metaphor for a lot of things in society. Yadda yadda yadda. She still doesn’t understand, and I now avoid using the term “zombie apocalypse” in her presence.

But it did get me to thinking: Why are zombies such a big thing right now in novels, TV series, movies, etc.?

Sure, they’ve been around since “Night of the Living Dead” made such an impact on our collective psyches and launched an entire franchise for George Romero on the big screen. But in the 1980s and 1990s, a lot of zombie stuff wasn’t apocalyptic. It tended to be a problem that was solved by the end of the movie, with just one zombie surviving to create a sequel in which the same pattern led to another sequel…and so on. But zombies rarely destroyed civilization entirely.

So that got me to thinking about apocalyptic fiction. That’s also nothing new. But in the past, a lot of it was around the idea of nuclear war, at a time when we were either still reeling from the aftermath of having nuked two cities in Japan just to be assholes or…more importantly…when we were in the midst of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

But even then, the apocalypse was rarely the focus. It tended to be a backdrop to let folks like Mad Max run around in leather shooting bad guys.

Today’s apocalyptic fiction and film (with zombies or without) seems to me something entirely different. Because now it’s often about civilization collapsing and people having to fend for themselves and try to survive when there’s little hope around them.

Gee, sounds a lot like the state many of us are in here in the United States right now, especially since the economic meltdown.

And that brings me to my right-wing ranting. It brings me to the thought of how conservatives with money are all too willing to let the entire nation suffer for their own gratification and the mutual support of the wealthy and privileged, and damned be the consequences. They seem willing to let everything burn down or collapse around all of us just so that they can get their way or make a point or come out ahead.

And that is why people have the zombie apocalypse on their minds.

Because deep down, most of us know that the people in Washington, D.C., who control so much of our lives (and on Wall Street, for that matter) are self-centered rich assholes who don’t care whether we live or die as long as they make a profit. The conservatives are most guilty of this heartlessness, but there are “moderates” and “liberals” aplenty who also don’t really care about much past their own comfort and their own wallets.

The thing is, many of them would be happy to see the world end. They’d be happy to seal themselves in well-stocked bunkers with soldiers and key staff to support their needs and rub their feet and suck their dicks while zombies are devouring the last few decent people left wandering about. They would be thrilled to know that they no longer have to deal with anyone needy or unattractive or poor or who isn’t white.

A safely sealed world to themselves, with few women trying to exert influence and no damned minorities and where they can eat, drink and be themselves without consequence.

The right wing wants shit to fall apart, as long as they still have access to the guns and resources.

That way, when they come crawling back to the surface, they can rebuild the world they want, with an angry, loveless, narrow-minded God at its center and all the non-white, non-male folks safely in their places playing their assigned roles.

And providing the distractions for the occasional zombie still left wandering around, while the fat cats waddle back to the safety of their bunkers for a little while longer.

Inside Umbrella Corp.

I just finished watching Resident Evil: Afterlife on DVD. Many of you may be asking why. If so…if you really don’t understand my motivations…there is a substantial probability you are a sheltered woman or a smug, artsy, overly pacifistic man, because the answer is clearly the following: Milla Jovovich, martial arts, Milla Jovovich, guns and more guns, Milla Jovovich, zombie and mutant monster mayhem, and hot supporting female actors hanging out around Milla Jovovich’s character.

In any case, now having watched the original Resident Evil film many years ago (which wasn’t bad; it balanced the video game vibe with movie plotting decently) and then later the sequels Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Resident Evil: Extinction (both pretty iffy at best, especially Extinction, but super-powered Alice was cool) and now the fourth installment of the franchise, I feel very confused about the fictional Umbrella Corp. which seems to have endlessly deep pockets, and ability to build gigantic high-rise-like complexes underground (beneath cities, no less) without anyone noticing and a military force better than those of most governments. They have so much going for them, and yet they make the stupidest decisions ever. How did they get so big and rich with that kind of strategy?

Anyway, here’s how I imagine Umbrella Corp. executive meetings go…

SCENE: Umbrella Corp. world headquarters. Conference room with a long table that can seat 50. The walls, floor and ceiling are all made of some pristine white plastic-like material. Seated are three individuals: A guy with English accent in a black suit inexplicably wearing sunglasses (hereafter called Cool Exec), a woman in a sexy combat jumpsuit with scoop neck and a bug-shaped biomechanical device affixed right beneath her ample bosom (hereafter called Hot Exec), and a thin guy wearing a tweed sport coat, loosely knotted tie and khaki slacks (hereafter called Voice of Reason).

Voice of Reason (shouting): Uh, guys! Why are you two sitting at either end of this really long table and I’m in the middle? Can’t we do this in a smaller conference room or something?

Cool Exec: No, we can’t. Conference Room 1 is currently being used to test a deadly acidic gas on the janitorial staff. Room 2 has been infected with a sentient form of smallpox since April. Room 3 is booked for a going-away party for Clive Daniels, who is retiring…

Hot Exec: Clive fell into the blade-filled threshing pit next to the break room this morning. The going-away party has been reclassified as a wake.

Cool Exec: All right, a wake, then. In any case, the only ones that aren’t booked are conference rooms with practical carpeting and beige walls bearing tasteful and expensive paintings. And their tables seat no more than 10 people comfortably.

Voice of Reason (still shouting): Those sound way more comfortable for a meeting of the three people who determine the course of all of Umbrella Corp.’s actions.

Hot Exec: *sigh* All right, all right. Will you stop bitching if we all just gather at my end of the table?

Voice of Reason (quieting down as he and Cool Exec head for Hot Exec’s end of the table): Can we wheel in a cart with some coffee and pastries, too?

Cool Exec: Why?

Voice of Reason: Because you keep looking at my face and licking your lips and I can hear your stomach growling when you do.

Hot Exec: He’s never been one to eat a filling breakfast before work. I’m sure that’s all it is.

Voice of Reason: Uh huh. (Turns to face Cool Exec) Why are you wearing shades? Did you inject yourself with the T-virus?

Cool Exec: Nonsense. It’s just this room is bright because of the white ceiling, walls, floor and conference table.

Voice of Reason: Yeah, right. They’re matte white. It’s bright in here but there’s no glare. Let me see your eyes.

Hot Exec: I assure you that his eyes are not reptilian and glowing red behind the sunglasses.

Voice of Reason: How would you know that’s what…All right, just let’s get on with the meeting and no one eat my face off, OK?

Hot Exec: Reasonable plan. I approve. (Turns to Cool Exec): You?

Cool Exec: I agree as well. No eating each other’s faces. That’s three votes. Motion carried.

Hot Exec: All right. That was a great meeting. Glad to all be on the same page. We’ll meet again Friday morning.

Voice of Reason: Wait. What? (as the other two get up and leave the room) But what about the Red Queen issue…? Fuck.


Hot Exec: OK, we’re gathered again. What’s on the agenda?

Voice of Reason: We were supposed to talk about the Red Queen issue last time but we didn’t get to it. You know? Our artificial intelligence computer that locked down our Raccoon City facility.

Cool Exec: Yes, what’s up with that?

Voice of Reason: The T-virus got out of control. I think it might reanimate the dead bodies and cause some people to mutate into horrendous monsters.

Cool Exec: We are NOT horrend…I mean, ur…that sounds problematic.

Hot Exec: We should immediately mobilize a team to shut down that AI, get in there and bring back some infected individuals for study.

Cool Exec: I agree.

Voice of Reason: No! Red Queen is doing her job. The AI locked down the facility to prevent a highly virulent virus from spreading. What we need to do is arrange to nuke…

Hot Exec: A small team, I think. Just a few people. There can’t be more than several hundred violent enemies in the facility.

Cool Exec: Excellent idea. A small team will hold down expenses.

Voice of Reason: No! If we did go in there, we’d need overwhelming force and biohazard-equipped troops.

Hot Exec: No…sorry. Annual shareholder meeting in a few weeks. We need to show a strong rise in earnings per share.

Cool Exec: We’re still going to send in a small team to shut down the AI and regain control of the facility, though, right?

Hot Exec: Of course.

Voice of Reason: The AI is doing her job, damn it! We programmed her to do this for all our safety. If we mess with her the virus could spread through the city and maybe the whole world.

Hot Exec: Well, we won’t know how bad the virus is until we see it in action.

Cool Exec: Yes. I’d love to see what it would do out in the wild.

Voice of Reason: We can download Red Queen’s data remotely and recreate the most recent version of the virus in a completely sealed-off lab in a remote location later.

Cool Exec: But that wouldn’t be any fun at all.

Hot Exec: Agreed. Two votes against one. Send in the team. (Turns to Voice of Reason) You really need to loosen up. If you can’t enjoy life, what have you got to live for? Want me to send one of my bio-enhanced special operatives over to your suite to give you an intimate massage?

Voice of Reason: What the fuck. Might as well get laid before the apocalypse.


Voice of Reason: Thanks for showing up, guys. I mean, a two-day delay and all that when I told you it was ultra-urgent. Do you know how hard it is to convince the U.S., state and local governments that nothing’s wrong when we seal off an entire city?

Hot Exec: I was wondering why the commute looked so bad from my chopper today when I flew over the city on the way here. Was there a pile-up? (cell phone rings and she takes the call)

Voice of Reason: No, the entire city is infected with a zombie-creating and person-mutating virus that got loose because you two decided to send in a team to turn off the AI that was keeping the virus contained underground in a state-of-the-art research facility.

Cool Exec: Oh, that’s right. I went off on a skiing trip after we made that decision. How did it go?

Voice of Reason: The team, with the help of one of our operatives, Alice, succeeded in that insane mission and now the virus is loose and the city is a lost cause and we need to figure out how to vaporize it and about seven surrounding communities just to be sure that…

Hot Exec (putting away her phone): Alice has been captured. Also, I’m informed that we turned one of her comrades into a huge, hulking, mind-controlled mutant with the T-virus.

Cool Exec: Awesome! (does a high-five with Hot Exec)

Voice of Reason: NOT awesome. This is out of control.

Hot Exec (paying no attention to him and facing Cool Exec): We should have a cage match between Alice and the big mutant guy.

Cool Exec: Best idea ever!

Voice of Reason: What? Why would we…fuck it. I’m going to go get laid again—several times—while I still have the chance to.


Cool Exec: Well, I know it’s been a while since we’ve met, but things have been busy, what with the end of the world and all that. So, how do our financials look?

Voice of Reason: We’re paying our staff and black-op troops with food, sex, drugs and booze. Currency no longer has any meaning. At least 95% of the U.S. population and between 65% and 80% of the rest of the world so far is either a zombie or a mutant. Civilization is at an end. We are the only organization that still has functional operations and a military structure. So far, the decision to fund a small army is the only decision this company has embarked on that I’m glad of right now.

Hot Exec: Dammit! This means we’ll have to cancel the big Christmas party and put off the big convention in Las Vegas this year.

Voice of Reason: Yeah. And pretty much put off everything else. We need to hunker down, watch our resources, clear some small island nation of every diseased inhabitant and move ourselves there to set up a new civilization. We have plenty of experts in agriculture…

Cool Exec: Nope. I ate…I mean I fired all of them to control costs.

Voice of Reason: We don’t have any costs to control now that money is meaningless. Take off those sunglasses and let me see your eyes.

Cool Exec: No.

Voice of Reason: Did a set of tendrils just start waving around in the back of your throat? And do you have a few fangs now…

Cool Exec: I’ve been working out and taking lots of vitamins.

Voice of Reason: That doesn’t make any sense. What a stupid excuse. You DID inject yourself with the T-virus.

Cool Exec: Maybe just a little…

Voice of Reason: Why in hell would you do that? This is a clear conflict of interests now that you’re a mutant.

Cool Exec: We agreed none of us would eat off each other’s faces.

Hot Exec: He’s right, you know. We did. That’s something. He’s clearly still a team player.

Voice of Reason: OK, I amend that to no eating of ANY parts of each other’s bodies, and no murder or torture or dismemberment of each other, either.

Cool Exec and Hot Exec: Agreed. Motion carries.

Voice of Reason: Cool. Now, since we no longer have the expertise to set up a self-sustaining food source thanks to someone’s mutant appetite for human flesh, we’ll just have to rely on our hydroponics and chemistry experts to provide us with unpalatable but nutritious sustenance, and we stay locked down in this facility. Thank God we’re powered by a nuclear reactor.

Hot Exec: There might be one problem with the whole hydroponics thing…

Voice of Reason: Oh, shit. What?!

Hot Exec: I fired them so that we could shift resources to cloning Alice. We’re calling it Project Alice, by way. Catchy, isn’t it?

Cool Exec (mandibles extending from his mouth, snapping at the air, and then retreating back down his throat): Extraordinary!

Voice of Reason: Extraordinarily stupid. Alice is the only person who has bonded in a stable way with the T-virus. She has super-powers now, and she hates us.

Hot Exec: We’re going to brainwash her and all her clones.

Voice of Reason: We couldn’t even control her mutated friend properly during your cage match in Raccoon City, and he was a mindless brute. How are we going to control someone in full control of her…

Cool Exec: How many clones?

Hot Exec: Dozens. Maybe hundreds. I’m thinking a total Alice army.

Cool Exec: I love this job!


Voice of Reason: Would it surprise any of you to find out that Alice and her army of fellow clones escaped and helped usher the destruction of our Tokyo facility?

Hot Exec: Is there video? I bet that would be really cool to watch.

Voice of Reason: Yeah. OK. I’ll look into that. In any case, the upside is that she seems to think that was our central headquarters. She doesn’t know about this facility or about us. Apparently, one of our other executives, from that facility—who apparently infected himself with the T-virus

Cool Exec: Yeah. That. He’s a cousin of mine. I might have suggested…

Voice of Reason: I see he shares your taste for black suits and sunglasses.

Cool Exec: Family tradition.

Voice of Reason: So, apparently, he’s been rounding up people by ship, luring them with a message of safety and security, so that he can experiment on them later.

Hot Exec: Yeah. My idea.

Voice of Reason: You didn’t think I should know…

Cool Exec: She told me…

Hot Exec: And with two votes…

Voice of Reason: Yes. Two against one. I get it. I would still like to know so that I can advise you…

Hot Exec: You’re really a stick in the mud. We kinda wanted to cut down on all the lecturing.

Voice of Reason: Is there any reason for me to keep coming to these meetings?

Cool Exec: The smell of your flesh makes me salivate.

Voice of Reason: Not the most compelling argument to convince me…

Hot Exec: Well, after the meetings he and I sometimes make fun of you. I’m a little worried that without you around the only thing we’ll have to talk about is how many staff members he’s eaten.

Voice of Reason: Glad to be of help.


Voice of Reason: Anybody care for my update?

Cool Exec: Sure, why not? I’m full after eating an administrative assistant. Need to sit here a while until my stomach settles.

Hot Exec: I’ll be playing Angry Birds Rio while you’re talking, if you don’t mind. Go ahead.

Voice of Reason: Alice has taken control of our ship, the Arcadia, and blown up your cousin (turning to Cool Exec).

Cool Exec: Bummer.

Hot Exec: But more employees for you to eat without him around.

Cool Exec: Good point.

Voice of Reason: There are only three of them left: Alice and two companions. They’re lightly armed, low on ammo and saddled with a couple thousand people suffering from short-term memory loss whom they just revived a half hour ago. We should be able to take them out with a small strike team from the air. I suggest two or three gunships.

Hot Exec: Oh. I’ve already scrambled several dozen to fly out there.

Voice of Reason: No, no, no. The time for that kind of shit was during the Raccoon City fiasco. Now’s the time to conserve fuel and other resources.

Cool Exec: Is anyone doing a video recording of that assault?

Hot Exec: Three teams so we can all the good angles. We’re even thinking of dropping some weapons down to them on the ship to make things livelier.

Cool Exec: This is gonna be great.

Voice of Reason: Shit. I know how this is gonna go. Well, let me go dig up some butter and popcorn. Let me know when the live feed starts.


(And if all y’all are wondering: Yes, a fifth movie comes out later this year, in September. Resident Evil: Retribution)

My Plan to Save the United States

I think we need to consider the very real possibility that there is only one way to restore sanity to this nation and ensure its survival.

  1. We need to immediately evacuate liberals and moderates from Texas and a few of the more batshit crazy Southern states.
  2. We need to forcibly move every member of the Tea Party and about half of the people who consistently vote Republican to those very same states.
  3. We need to allow…nay, force those now blood-red states to secede from the United States.

A very tall and very long and winding wall with barbed wire might be called for, too, but I’m willing to concede that might be going too far.


There Is a Tablecloth On My Battlefield

If there is one thing that might make me snap as a parent, causing me to fly through the house punching holes through walls and tearing down wallpaper with my fingernails, it will be my daughter’s eating habits.

My 6-year-old wonderful, artistically gifted, verbally advanced, sensitive darling who is the pickiest damned eater I have ever had the misfortune to live with and be unable to employ threats of violence against.

If she had her way, her diet would consist of the following, and probably only the following:

  • Milk, chocolate milk and orange juice
  • Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries
  • Bacon and hot dogs (occasionally supplemented with chicken or steak)
  • Green apples, grapes, mandarin oranges and the occasional banana
  • Annie’s Shells & Cheese
  • Tootsie Roll lollipops and gummy anything
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Processed cheese sticks and extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Hot fudge sundaes
  • Yogurt
  • Corn, but only sweet summer corn and only on the cob, heavily salted
  • Gravy (mashed potatoes are considered an inefficient delivery device that merely impedes her ability to drink the gravy)
  • French fries
  • Salt or soy sauce, with or without food that requires it, and preferably deposited thickly enough that you cannot see the food beneath it

Now, of course, I give her credit for eating fruit. More power to her. But she’d still rather eat her weight in bacon instead (with the exception of fresh summer strawberries). Also, she occasionally has good taste in cheese and likes yogurt. But as you might notice, the emphasis is on grease/salt/sweets and there is nary a vegetable to be found except for the corn, which is available for only a month or two during the year.

I get that kids can be picky and might eschew veggies. But this is a child into whom we must struggle even to get “normal” kid foods sometimes.

She eats hot dogs, but without any bun or condiments. She will grudgingly eat a hamburger, but just the patty. She hates spaghetti.

This is a girl who recently dipped her French fries into her chocolate milk and declared it delicious, yet won’t eat pork cooked in a sweet mandarin orange sauce even though she likes both of those foods, too, individually.

We can’t get tacos in her. Or sandwiches (except for the occasional jelly sandwich). A banana chocolate chip muffin is acceptable, but rarely is blueberry, and never is a cinnamon-crusted one, much less anything that trends toward pretending to be healthy. She professes to like scrambled eggs but I suspect that’s just an excuse to have something on which to pour salt so that she can hasten her arrival at gross hypertension before she reaches college, because she always picks at them and dawdles when eating them. She’ll eat pancakes, but mostly to get the maple syrup, which she will try to scoop up as often as possible while avoiding the pancakes.

This is a girl so stubborn about eating that if you give her a meal she doesn’t want to eat, she will feign being full or ill and go to bed starving rather than eat a single bite.

It’s maddening.

And to top it all off, if you give her food she adores, she’ll beg to eat it in the living room while watching TV rather than sit with her family.

So many parents wish their kids wouldn’t eat them out of house and home.


I’d give my left nut for her to make us go broke buying her organic zucchini, Brussels spouts, mixed greens, broccoli and green beans.

But for now I’ll settle for her eating her hotdog with a bun or shoving some spaghetti in her craw.

Don’t Bend Over to Pick Up the SOPA

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, has caused quite a stir among online providers of information, products and social networking services, among others…to the extent that some, like Wikipedia, went “black” today in protest and to show people what a world with censored or deleted sites they rely on might look like. I don’t claim to be an expert on SOPA, or even a casually knowledgeable source of information, but I do have some legitimate thoughts to share all the same.

What I do know is that the web is a huge place, and copyright infringement can be a hard thing to pinpoint at time. If I find an image on the web, but have no idea who the original creator of it is, but I have a disclaimer that I will happily remove or credit any image if the artist asks me too…well, have I infringed? For one thing, I don’t make any money off this blog, indirectly or directly. So have I truly pirated anything, since I don’t profit?

Also, the law as currently envisioned is overly broad and would allow the government to be very ham-handed. Also, knowing the government, and how big the web is, “justice” will be meted out very unevenly, haphazardly and inequitably. A lot of big abusers, most of them probably, will continue to find ways to profit and to avoid punishment. Smaller folks will get the brunt of punishment for relatively innocent acts (much like the war on drugs criminalized users of drugs overwhelmingly rather than going after drug kingpins or big-time dealers). Also, online venues that strive to make information broadly accessible might get punished way out of proportion for minor infractions, causing their much-needed services to be blacked out from the web. And what of small online business owners, who might see their payment system shut down if they ran something they didn’t know was copyright-protected, and possibly have their livelihoods go up in flames.

And even if the government were to try to do this right, it would cost an unbelievable fortune. The FDA has enough problems trying to do proper drug approvals in a timely fashion. The U.S. Patent Office has a huge backlog that it may never catch up with. The IRS, which is a necessary institution (not the case with anything SOPA might create), can cause untold pain and harm to people enforcing policies that have been in place for years; imagine what some fledgling and largely clueless online monitoring agency could do in terms of damage.

The web has grown so much and achieved so much for society (worldwide) precisely because the government didn’t try to hinder or help it. It was something that needed entrepreneurial energy and minimal oversight. It still is.

Yes, piracy is a problem. But an overly broad hammer-style solution isn’t going to work. Nor should folks like the movie studios, cable networks, music producers or anyone else who fears their products will be pirated online be coddled by an ill-advised governmental push to be the new sheriff in town. Those who have products that might be easily pirated in most cases need to get their heads out of their asses, stop thinking in pre-Internet strategies, and evolve. They need to grow up, adapt and find new ways to make things work.

It’s a new world, and I sure as hell don’t want a bunch of politicians who are largely ignorant of how the web works and why to be telling us how things will be run there. And imagine the ways that government could misuse SOPA to shut down sites that simply say things it doesn’t like, on piracy pretenses.

Fuck SOPA. There are already copyright infringement laws, and those who are infringed can use them to seek relief.

For a bit more pro/con info on SOPA, click here or here.

The Gift of Getting Out of the Way

What do you do when a person you love dearly needs something that you cannot offer, or has a problem that you cannot solve?

And no, I don’t mean something that you can offer them later or figure out a solution to later. I mean things that are totally, completely and irrevocably not in your power and capabilities to do. Ever. Not for lack of skills or wont of trying, but because some things simply aren’t possible for some people to do for somebody else.

Sometimes, the answer is simple.

Not necessarily easy, but simple.

You don’t try to offer a half-ass substitute to the thing you cannot provide and you don’t keep trying to find solutions.

You stop. You get out of their way. You give that person space and you support him or her as best you can.


So that they can see clearly enough, past the obstacle that is your well-meaning insufficiency, and look for someone or something that will solve that problem.

It’s a hard lesson to learn, but one that more of us need to for the sake of our relationships of all kinds in our lives.