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Monday, April 24, 2017

More What Ifs from The Little Mermaid

What if Ursula never gave Ariel a vagina? What if she didn't know what one looked like, since she's been under the sea for so long and has no interest in humans. So she just left her blank down there, like a Barbie doll, because she didn't know there was supposed to be something else. That would explains Ariel's lack of reaction to the new features between her legs (in that there wasn't anything to react to).

Boy, wouldn't that be a surprise for dear old Princey.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why I Shall March


When Donald Trump became president in January, it became immediately apparent that this was not going to be a run-of-the-mill presidency. Iran-Contra scandals and blow jobs in the oval office--those are issues that reach far away and don't affect me. Let the kings play their game of thrones, I have a family to maintain.

But this one's different. I worried about George W. Bush, but he played a political game. This one has made promises that will affect my friends. They will worsen the lives of people I know, people I work with, creative people like artists and authors, even porn stars I like. To say nothing of making others suffer.

Granted, it's appearing that the big braggy show won't be as immediate (or even as constitutional) as thought before (given the failure of health care and the "Muslim ban"). But that's because people are fighting. They're going to town halls, they're talking to representatives, they're paying attention. Good for them. Those people are my heroes, because... I'm simply not capable of doing that. I'm too introverted. They say the most effective way to fight is to call your congressperson, but I could never do that. Yes, people more introverted than me have--there are even scripts you can read--but I just couldn't. People have listed "step-by-step" what to do so that it's easy. But I HATE the phone.

I could write a letter. Not even an e-mail, but one that's typed and stamped and everything. But the written word is too easy to ignore. You could write pages and pages and they end up in the circular file. But I've got to do something.

It would be easy to sit down as I've always done: watch the world pass, go to work every day, eat a good breakfast, and wear my seat belt. But that's not what a hero would do. It's not what's right to do. I have to show my daughters that being a good person is important in day-to-day, but to enact change, it takes sacrifice.

Now I'm saying what I'm doing is, in the grand scheme of things, any great feat. It's no Rosa Parks or even a Million Man March. It's no MS Walk-a-thon. I'm not saying what I'm doing will affect anything. But it's a hurdle for me. At work, I can go for days at a time without saying a word to anyone.

But ever since Trump was elected, I feel like there's a bad guy out there to fight against. There's a Emperor Palpatine/Nurse Ratched/Red Skull/Henry Potter out there, the kind heroes fight against. Even if it's just sending a message. Or I'll just be one of those people who said nothing when they came for the Jews/Muslims/Klingons/what-have-you. I've got to do something, even if it means being another head in the crowd. That's one more head, one more voice. I read that the "tax march" had some effect of irritating him. If that's all the March for Science can do, that's enough for me.


A lot of people have compared what's happening to Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. I think this trivializes the situation a bit (one is a real person who can affect real life, the other is a revenant with no nose who can talk to snakes). Even J.K. Rowling said that Voldemort was "nowhere near as bad" as Trump. Probably because the things Trump does are real. Also, Voldemort never targeted specific races or genders. He was never nepotistic. He never used his power to accumulate wealth for himself (which is kinda obsolete when you got magic anyway). And he never wasted time at his restaurant or golf course.

But the thing about books is that they are "life-simulators". They allow us to escape into a totally different situation and see what would happen. And sometimes what should be done about it. And in this, the similarities can't be dismissed: a totalitarian taking power, who advocates torture, removal and blockade of "undesirable" foreign others, who favors loyalty over capability, focused on "winners vs. losers", spreading misinformation. And the theme of Harry Potter is "doing what's right versus doing what's easy".

It's thankful that he is only one man, and that the point of Congress and the Supreme Court is to override when necessary (and they've done so sometimes) but the partisanship is ridiculous. "My constituents and basic morality disagree with what you say, but you're on my team so that's more important. You may be an asshole, but you're my asshole." There must be accountability. If there is not, that's how we end up with Kings who think their right to rule was given by God so no one can protest. You end up with Catholic priests allowed to continue molestations. You have police taking unjustifiable actions with their firearms.


I hope you enjoyed my ranty thoughts about this. The fact is, this has been an internally raging battle within myself for the past four months -- should I go, would I go, could I go. It's a big step for me--it's very outside my comfort zone. But, as all the motivational posters say, do things outside your comfort zone. Do things that scare you. You regret the things you didn't do more than the things you did. You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don't take. Jesus saves, but Gretzky rebounds, he shoots, he scores.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Soraya LeBlanc

Here's a character I made up for some Reddit thing that's going nowhere.

Name: Soraya LeBlanc
Occupation: a wizard, specializing in divination and transfiguration
Age: forty, been in magic training since eighteen
Where: born in south of France, in a rural area. She's a big city girl like Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City"
Motivation: obtaining wealth and luxury, but not through marriage if she can avoid it (unless that gets her to a goal -- she's interested in what's hers, not what someone else owns)
Tool of choice: Magic--using divination to predict the future to profit from the outcome or transfiguration to make things into more valuable things. Also uses her "milf-ness" to advantage when needed.
Education: Bonne Motte's School for Development of Magic for Girls
Likes: Fine foods, bright colors, thick books
Dislikes: Dirt, vegetables, things that are gross (grew up with two little brothers who annoyed her to no end with pet frogs and boogers)
Quirk: Obsessed with clean teeth, always makes sure they're white and spotless, spends money on this
Symbols: Adorned with fake roses, but really wears fluffy things underneath


Thursday, March 30, 2017

New Words for the Weak


We need some new words for when someone is acting weak or cowardly. Like real derogatory insulting ones. All the good ones we have nowadays imply some unchangeable characteristic of a subgroup i.e., they're all references to women. Women are not weak and not cowards, so these no longer have any meaning. Yelling at someone "stop being a girl" carries no weight when people exist like Ronda Rousey and Malala Yousafzai and Simone Biles and Hillary Clinton and Winona LaDuke and Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Elizabeth Warren and Leslie Jones and Emma Watson and on and on.

The word "pussy" refers to female anatomy. I guess if you don't have a penis, you're missing the thing that gives you strength. Clearly, this one's gotta go right out. And no, I don't think there's a way to change this into meaning "a cat". We'd just be fooling ourselves. And I wouldn't want to implicitly insult cats that way either.

I can't use "wimp", because that's what nine-year-olds say when they're too afraid to cuss. It's what they used in PG movies in the 1980's like E.T. Plus it might also be derived from something feminine. There's a thing called a "wimpole" which is a head/neck covering for women. But it probably came from Wimpy, the hamburger-lover in Popeye.

The word "wuss" is just a combination of "wimp" and "pussy" so that's right out. (and for you fact seekers, this word was invented recently, first used in "Fast Times as Ridgemont High" (1982) -- I love these research topics).

For "chicken", all I can think of is Back to the Future II and III, where Marty has a forced personality quirk where he never backs down if he's called a "chicken" (or "yella'", if you're in the old west). It's so odd, the word's lost meaning. Also chicken is delicious.

The word "pansy" is derived from a flower and is derogatory for an effeminate gay man. Can't use that one.

Quite obviously, "sissy"is rooted from the word sister. Feminine.

"nidgit" -- I found this one while looking up other candidates. Problem is, this is WAY too close to another "N" word.


Don't ever say I'm a man who only points out problems but never provides solutions. There are few words that we might be able to substitute in, maybe to the point of getting them adopted to full-time use.

"git" -- well, we steal everything else from the British, why not keep going? "Git" (not referring to the code repository) means "worthless person", origin: 1946, derived from the Scottish originator "get" which means "illegitimate child, brat" (because it comes from "beget"). It's a bit terse, doesn't invoke the intended vindiction well, but it's our best bet, I think.

"jackhole" -- I believe Adam Carolla created this when he needed something to use on the air that couldn't be censored. It sounds like a swear--combining the less offensive parts of "jackass" and "asshole", throwing a bit of "jack-off" for good measure--but has nothing inherently offensive about it. It's a delightful Trojan horse that, if properly applied, can become contextualized.

"coward" -- sometimes you just go for the denotative term. I think it's too formal for modern use, but it's often my go-to when I need to call someone what they are.

"caitiff" -- Now here's a word that fits the need but no one uses. It's just sitting there waiting. And they sound great. "Caitiff" means "wicked man" or "scoundrel" in 1300, rooted in Old North French for "captive". A bit old timey and not exactly hitting the nail on the head, but I like the idea of someone captive to their own weakness. And with no current connotation, the slate is clean to appropriate it for our purposes.

"poltroon" -- another old-timer, for those who like the "p" sound in "pussy" and "pansy", here's one for you. It means "coward/scoundrel" and from Middle French. As far as I can tell, the deepest root of this word comes from "couch" or "pillow", which implies laziness, I guess?

"weakling" -- it's a word that's used today, but I so often seen it in video games, usually referring to minions or cannon fodder. That makes it not a strong candidate. The "-ling" suffix makes me think of a group (compare "zergling"). Another flaw is that it comes from Luther's "Weichling" which means "effeminate man", even though I don't think anyone associates that anymore.

So there are my new, cool, hip words. Spread them around like wildfire.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Favorite Video Games for Each Year of My Life

Well, it worked so well for movies, why not try for video games? I'm young enough.

1981 - Frogger
1982 - Dig Dug
1983 - Jumpman
1984 - Balloon Fight
1985 - Super Mario Bros.
1986 - Rampage
1987 - Leisure Suit Larry (in the Land of the Lounge Lizards)
1988 - Super Mario Bros. 3
1989 - TMNT II: The Arcade Game
1990 - Super Mario World
1991 - The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
1992 - Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins
1993 - Doom
1994 - Donkey Kong Country
1995 - Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
1996 - Quake
1997 - Blood
1998 - The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
1999 - Final Fantasy VIII
2000 - Perfect Dark
2001 - Super Smash Bros. Melee
2002 -
Kingdom Hearts
2003 - Grand Theft Auto III
2004 - Katamari Damacy
2005 - Resident Evil 4
2006 - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
2007 - Bioshock
2008 - Left 4 Dead
2009 - Batman: Arkham Asylum
2010 - Bioshock 2
2011 - Portal 2
2012 - Borderlands 2
2013 - Bioshock Infinite
2014 - Mario Kart 8
2015 - Disney Infinity 3.0
2016 - Lego Marvel's Avengers

Friday, March 24, 2017

Favorite Movies for Each Year of My Life

I've seen this meme floating around Facebook and Twitter, so I thought I'd give it a try. Makes for some good blog filler.

1981 - The Evil Dead
1982 - E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
1983 - Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
1984 - Ghostbusters / Gremlins (sorry, I just can't choose between these two)
1985 - Back to the Future
1986 - Short Circuit
1987 - The Brave Little Toaster
1988 - Short Circuit 2
1989 - The Little Mermaid
1990 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
1991 - T2: Judgment Day
1992 - Wayne's World
1993 - Jurassic Park
1994 - Forrest Gump
1995 - Mortal Kombat
1996 - Independence Day
1997 - The Fifth Element
1998 - Dark City
1999 - Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me
2000 - The Grinch
2001 - Donnie Darko
2002 - Spider-Man
2003 - Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
2004 - Shrek 2
2005 - Batman Begins
2006 - The Prestige
2007 - Sweeney Todd
2008 - WALL-E
2009 - Fantastic Mr. Fox
2010 - Tangled
2011 - Captain America: The First Avenger
2012 - The Avengers
2013 - Frozen
2014 - The Lego Movie
2015 - Inside Out
2016 - Zootopia

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ranking the Disney Princesses


Now I could be real fancy and do the same thing I did for the villains, using all kinds of nuanced criteria, calculated factors, and science theory. But fuck it, I'm just going with my heart. After all, that's what the princesses did, right?

From bottom to top:

Princess Aurora

She only has seventeen minutes of screen time. And she spends that either in a trance or dancing with owls and other vermin. Maybe that's why Maleficent gets all the reviews, because it's so easy to overshadow the protagonist.

Pocahontas

If it wasn't for Aurora being such a piece of cardboard, she would get the award for worst. She's preachy, hypocritical, and does nothing within her story arc. Her whole thing is "running from the steady path", but she gets right back on it. Refusing the smoothest course gets people killed. Nice job breaking it, hero. People applaud her for her bravery, I call it not knowing risks, like playing with a bear cub, or getting right in front of a gun (or anything that happens in Wild). Oh, and Meeko's a jerk too.

Snow White

She just looks like a creepy kewpie doll. I give a little credit that this was Disney's first princess and she started many of the tropes (cleaning, woodland animals, singing, princes), but she looks like a mannequin and acts like a RealDoll. And the alabaster skin isn't helping.

Cinderella

I give points for not falling into some of the more subtle trappings of the grouping. She's not all sunshine and happiness with a kind word for everybody. She gets irritated at the clock, potshots the cat for ruining the clean floor, comments on her sisters' "music lesson", and broke the rules to get to the ball. (In my head canon, Cinderella pulled a Tyler Durden and actually coach-jacked someone to get there). She didn't even go searching for a prince, she just wanted to have a good time.

Jasmine

Most people give Jasmine credit because he helped bloom their burgeoning sexuality. I don't give points for that. It's nice that she has enough self-worth to consider herself not a prize to be won... but she doesn't do anything to distinguish herself to that end. She's still the ball that Jafar and Aladdin are bouncing back and forth. A bare midriff does not a princess make.

Anna

She just had a Five Guys burder. "DAMN-DAMN-DAMN!"
The classic little sister. All hyper and plucky and clumsiness and adorkability. But after a while, wouldn't that just grate on you? Yeah, she's funny, but she can only accidentally hit you in the eye so many times. Thankfully, the point of Frozen is about her maturing, but her older sister makes us forget that she still exists.

Mulan

A tight little warrior. She's not good at being a marriageable girl, but she's a fine knight-in-shiny-underpants. But her lack of self-confidence gets annoying. Along with her stupid donkey-dragon that won't shut up. Why couldn't her and Pocahontas have switched sidekicks? And, look, I'm just gonna say it -- she's not that pretty. I like her resourcefulness, but her arc still hinges on refusing the steady path. Is she just a Chinese Pocahontas?

Tiana

I might have ranked her lower, but Doug Walker's Top Ten Hottest Animated Women introduced me to a few factors I hadn't thought of. Most of all that she's such a workaholic (to the point of ridiculousness). And workaholics get shit done. I bet she'd still be baking beignets as a frog if she hadn't changed back. And even though she has no relation to the bad guy, I like the Faustian bargain she's faced with at the end. Plus her friend Lottie is hilarious.

Rapunzel
I consider Rapunzel an artsy version of Tiana. Whereas the queen of New Orleans learned business and food services, Rapunzel honed her art skills. If they went to college, Rapunzel would have gotten a B.A. and Tiana a B.S. The long hair is cool, but it would have been cooler if it moved on its own like Spawn's cape and chains (the first trailer implied this was going to happen -- maybe I just feel lied to). She has some of the same adorkability and clumsiness that Anna has, but it's not as obnoxious. Maybe because she's got Flynn to temper her out.

Belle

It's hard to say no to a Disney princess who encourages reading. She wants to escape from the tiny town she's in and she gets just that and more. But she's a little snooty about it, both in the town and the castle. Even when the Beast allows her access to the castle, she still gets waited on hand and foot. It's the servants trying to manipulate the two of them to get together. She doesn't feel like she's the avenue of her success. Her "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere..." sounds so cheesy now, especially that her entire character arc takes place in not that.

Moana

I think she needs more time to simmer and let us all contemplate her place in the context of Disney's animated canon. Right now, we're being blinded by the fact we've got a princess that's shiny and new.

No, I was not talking about you.

Anyway, I like her as a combinations of Elsa and Anna + a dash of Lilo. If she's got the chops to get the respect of her village at her age, then she's all right by me. But she's also got a demigod in her pocket and an ocean helping her out. Oh, don't mind me, I've only got three-quarters of the world with my back. My only quibble is with her "chosen one" saddle she keeps melancholy over. Not even Harry Potter was this maudlin.

Elsa


I mean come on, can I say anything that hasn't already been said? Sure you could make an argument that she's a queen, not a princess. But she's power and character flaws. All the adorkability of Anna plus all the struggle of a hero. She needs to find redemption. It's her constant goal not to give into her power, her villainy, like the dark side of the force.

Merida

Poor Merida suffered from a clash of directors and production companies, but still managed to become a memorable character. I could watch her curly red hair fly around all day, it's so beautifully animated. There's bears, three little brothers, thick Scottish accents, swords, differing relationships with mothers and fathers, and independence.

Ariel


I had a "Little Mermaid"-themed party for my ninth birthday. And need I remind you I'm a boy. Nuff said.

Oh, you want more? She's got it all: free-spirited, bright, pretty, young, curious, artistic, musical, selfless, protective, loyal. She's got great sidekicks, great theme song, high intelligence, high relatability. If she was a D&D character she'd be overpowered.

Still not enough? Fine then, let me show you Exhibit A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and most damning -- I. You ain't gonna convince me otherwise.