This book has been on my to-read list for a few years now. I picked it off a “Top 50 Books Men Should Read” site. Can’t say that I’m sure why this book would make it into such a group which also included “Paris Trout,” “The Sun Also Rises” and “Master and Margarita.” I don’t think I reviewed any of those books here so obviously my reading headway through said list is turtle-slow. But life is like that. There’s just other stuff to do. Author Tom Drury knows this all too well.
Bob Kane’s parody of his greatest invention, Batman, ran for 130 short episodes. I remember being obsessed with this cartoon as a kid, yet now, as with most old school shows I try to re-watch (CHiPs, A-Team), I consider it stupid. But what I didn’t expect in these recent viewings is how brain-dead the writers took us to be. I sit here at my laptop bamboozled and insulted, dissecting one particular episode designed to play us for all for morons. Behold! ‘Courageous Cat & Minute Mouse’ gets put on blast – are they really the heroes the show’s writers portrayed them to be? Let’s have a look at the episode first.
I’ve been reading ‘The End Of Vandalism’ and halfway wanted my next blog post to be a highbrow review on literature. Not that the piece is your picture of intellectual writing, but it is a book, and books mean brains. Instead, I’m going to write about how I sat in front of the television for almost 13 hours and melted my mind with an adaptation of “funny book bullshit,” as my dad would’ve called it. Maybe one day I’ll come back to this page and dazzle everyone with stirring tales of my genius accomplishments, but not today. Today’s the day I rave about one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen on the boob tube – ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’ on Netlifx. It’s an ambitious endeavor, rife with brave storytelling and compelling writing.
When CW announced that they were capitalizing off the success of ‘Arrow’ with the spinoff series ‘The Flash,’ people wondered if the scarlet speedster would be able to capture the same magic boasted by the angry archer. But with dual showrunner Greg Berlanti at the helm, I had lots of optimism because his geek cred meant he’d care about the new project. In the end, ‘The Flash’s’ great impressions wouldn’t be so much about the quality of the work, but mostly because all they did was rehash a proven commodity, but with a few tweaks. In other words, you might be Arrow or The Flash if…
Thanks to Tahir from over at Words Across Borders, I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award! She is a self-described political junkie. I personally despise politics now (long story) so I try to stick to her poetry. Drop by and start clicking LIKE on things!
Liebster is basically an award by bloggers for other bloggers in a sort of chain. You can only nominate blogs with under 1,000 followers, so this is also a great way to give exposure to blogs you enjoy.
Here are the rules:
The Official Liebster Award Rules:
- Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog.
- Display the award somewhere on your blog.
- List 11 facts about yourself.
- Answer 11 questions chosen by the blogger who nominated you.
- Come up with 11 new questions to ask your nominees.
- Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you think deserve the award and who have less than 1,000 followers. (You many nominate blogs that have already received the award, but you cannot renominate the blog that nominated you.)
- Go to their blog and inform them that they’ve been nominated.
Okay here go the…
11 FACTS ABOUT MYSELF!
1. I am from Asbury Park, NJ and, though I’m super glad I don’t live there anymore, I take a great deal of pride in being FROM there. Growing up by the beach has desensitized me from caring much about beach vacations and things of that nature. And while I was growing up, it was a real shithole. They’ve been working hard to bring it up for years and it’s looking pretty good.
2. I worked in television for 20 years. I was a loyal member of CNN’s technical staff in New York City and when they illegally broke our tech contract in order to bust the union, we ended up in court. 0ver 100 former employees have been fighting them ever since and CNN keeps losing and appealing. It’s been 11 years.
3. I’m a hardcore geek. Always have been, as my avatar can tell you. I love comic books and superhero stuff especially. So I have an affinity for looking at cosplay. Not interested in participating in it though.
4. I write Yelp reviews in my spare time. When I moved from NYC to down south, I knew I’d need cool new things to do, so I banged out a ton of reviews until I was offered Yelp Elite, and therefore invited to lots of free events and parties. I’ve met some cool people and have constructed some sort of social life that way.
5. I hate cheese, unless it’s mozz on pizza. I find it so revolting.
6. I was married to a woman in New York City who divorced me and took the dog. The two things I hate the most from losing that union are, 1. she was rich 2. I miss my dog. In truth, I don’t miss the woman though.
7. I am currently unemployed, and have been for over a year.
8. But I’m not without money. My brother owns a detailing business and I work with him a few times a month. I am also a Yelp Brand Ambassador and they send me the occasional gig. I am a freelance Social Media Manager, and my clients include Edutainment, Detailed By Lamont, 319 Media Group and New Hope Outreach Church. I pick up some cash from all these gigs and they keep me from starving. I’m always looking though!
9. I moved from NYC to NC because my brother and sisters and their families are here. After the divorce, I decided that being with my family was probably a good idea, so I relocated.
10. One of my other jobs is staff writer for Nerd Bastards. It’s a geek entertainment site and it’s lots of fun. Go to the side of the page where it says “Meet All The Bastards” and click on it. I’m presently the only black guy on staff lol. Holy shit, four jobs is pretty good for a guy who’s unemployed…
11. I’ve been shaving my head since 1997. One time in my early 30’s, I decided to grow it out. Not only was it super thin on the very top, but it came in mostly gray. To hell with that idea.
And here are the Questions From Tahir!
1) What is your connection to place?
I have no idea what that means. I will shape it into something: I have an intense connection to France, particularly Paris and the French Riviera. The most beautiful places in the world, if you asked me. I hope to one day have a vacation home there, but hey…reality and all.
2) Who was one of your role models growing up?
As a comic book geek, my role models were superheroes. I also watched wrestling, which showcased a distinct difference between right and wrong, featuring good and bad guy characters. These things shaped within me a very strict code. Outside of fantasy, I was a jock and primarily played baseball. Rickey Henderson of the New York Yankees (at the time) was my favorite player and I worked hard to emulate him.
3) If you could talk to a past version of yourself, what would you tell him/her?
Don’t go into communications. Center on the things you’re deeply passionate about, even if they don’t make you rich. Even if you have ups and downs, at least you’ll love doing it. Some people have ups and downs just doing the things they’ve settled on. Don’t be one of them.
4) Are you political or a-political? Why?
I’m Liberal, leaning Libertarian, but I’m jaded on politics. There is no such thing as an honest politician and anyone who truly believes that their party or their chosen candidate is out for their best interests is fooling himself/herself. Those fuckers are out for themselves ONLY. It’s all bullshit and the only way to find a modicum of sense in that flawed structure is to vote for the person who tells the lies you like to hear. I voted for Obama because his lies were far less destructive to my personal lifestyle than the Conservative candidates’ lies.
5) Aside from writing/reading, is there a particular art form you enjoy?
I’m a junkie for creativity in all its forms, from painting to sketching to building anything from scratch. I respect and love it all. I’m also an artist, so if I had to pick something in particular, I’d have to go with drawing.
6) What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
They are too many to count. I was with my brother today and said, “I’ve done a lot of ill-advised, insane shit. But if I didn’t do them, I think I’d be bored with life.” I sometimes have daredevil behavior. I’m lots more boring with age, tho. There’s this ramped road that crosses a railroad track by my sister’s house. You have to take it gingerly. One night about 20 yrs ago, when coming to visit her, I said “fuck it” and upon approaching the asphalt incline, I hit the gas pedal. I probably jumped that ramp (in a Mercury Tracer no less) about 30 feet. My heart was pounding and the adrenaline rush was incredible. And I kinda messed up my car…
7) What color are your eyes? (Just curious.)
8) What are you most afraid of?
Death. Not just death, but the end of life. I treasure my faith, but I weigh it equally with science. And sometimes they don’t meet in the middle. I love the idea of Heaven and an afterlife, but the possibility of being wrong depresses the shit out of me. I hate hate hate the thought of just going black when this is all over, and then there’s nothing. We just cease to exist. It terrifies me…
9) What is something you inherited from your family that has greatly effected how you see the world? (Can be anything including a story, family history, item, language etc.)
I inherited my house in Asbury Park from my dad when he passed away. He had property and all his kids got a house. But my inheritance had to be sold off to pay for my mother’s assisted living expenses and subsequent nursing home charges. It bummed me out at first, but made me stronger. It taught me that hope is nice, luck is awesome, wishes are shit and nothing is set in stone. But, most importantly, material possessions are just dust. Don’t love them too hard. There are better things in life to cherish.
10) If you could talk to one person right now, who would it be and why?
Jesus Christ. Because I gotta know.
11) Dog, cat, or both?
Cats are cool, but I’m allergic. I prefer dogs anyway. A dog’s capacity for unconditional love and affection makes my heart flutter.
If you got this far, thank you so much for reading. Here are my nominees…
Here are the questions…
1. What is the most interesting thing to happen to you in 2014?
2. What is your favorite non-writing/non-blogging website outside of WordPress?
3. Hipsters…cool or lame?
4. Name three things you’d rather be doing than this.
5. What was your dream job growing up?
6. What you’d say in your acceptance speech:
7. What is your least favorite food and why?
8. What do you think you have to add to the lives of those who read you on this site?
9. What do you personally get out of the material you produce on this site?
10. Name the two most awesome places you’ve ever been to.
11. Love…is it overrated or underappreciated?
Thanks guys! Not everyone likes to play these things, so it’s okay if you back out! Take care!
It’s the court case that just won’t die. After ten loooooooong years of fighting within the confines of the legal system, my former employer CNN got their asses kicked. That’s two losses in court but they still will not face the music and do the right thing by their former employees. The results included back pay and reinstatement. Now, my union has called for a rally outside their offices in NYC. Since I live in NC now, I’m gonna miss it. But it would be an IMMENSE help for anyone who believes in worker’s rights and just a fundamental law-abiding lifestyle to share this post around the internet. The more press this gets, the higher the probability that these wrongs get righted. Details below…
A ruling of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) earlier (last) week ordered CNN to reinstate more than 100 unionized contract TV workers who lost their jobs in a 2003 restructuring of the 24-7 network — as well as to compensate hundreds of workers who lost pay as a result of the upheaval.
CNN, as it turns out, isn’t too eager to do those things. It has sought review of the NLRB decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Asked for comment on the petition, which doesn’t lay out its appeal arguments, a CNN spokeswoman replied: “CNN disagrees with the NLRB decision and we have filed an appeal in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.”
The move allows CNN to at least delay the rather immediate impact of the NLRB order, which gave it just 14 days to offer employment to the 100-plus former contractors who’d lost their jobs. It also ordered CNN to cover the lost earnings and benefits of those former contractors as well as the ones it eventually hired as full-time CNN staffers. The workers in question were employees of an outfit known as Team Video Services (TVS), whose primary purpose in the world was to provide the technical muscle for the news gathering activities of CNN’s New York and Washington bureaus. Employees at TVS were represented by the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America (NABET-CWA).
CNN’s appeal disappointed NABET-CWA President Jim Joyce: “We had hoped that CNN now, after getting two significant findings, would do the right thing,” noted Joyce, referring to this week’s NLRB decision as well as a 2008 ruling by an administrative law judge whose conclusions were supported by the board.
The decision by CNN to rid itself of the unionized contract workers came in 2003. A press release called TVS “a fine company that had done an excellent job running its business and meeting the needs of CNN.” Yet CNN wanted something different, something non-unionized. An “antiunion animus,” noted the NLRB, motivated the reorganization plan. After ending its contracts with TVS, CNN indeed went on a recruitment spree, hiring back some of the TVS workers and other applicants to work in-house at CNN, without union representation.
That all sounds abstract. The NLRB decision, however, contains salary numbers that reveal how CNN saved itself some employee overhead in the switchover. The dismissed TVS employees that CNN hired as in-house workers, it notes, earned $3,000 to $30,000 less than they’d pulled in their new positions. Some examples: Onetime TVS White
House field technician David Bacheler got a slot at CNN as a “senior photojournalist studio operator” with a pay cut of $10,000 to $30,000. Stacy Leitner, who was a studio technician under TVS, became a media coordinator with a pay cut of $5,000.
Here’s a list of things that these employees lost once they left their unionized workplace: “CNN eliminated bargaining unit employees’ contractual premiums, including meal penalties, paid lunch hours, holiday pay, and doubletime pay after working 7 consecutive days. CNN also changed the unit employees’ leave benefits by replacing TVS’ policy of carried-over annual and sick with a use-it-or-lose-it-within-28-days sick and personal leave policy,” notes the NLRB ruling.
At its crux, the NLRB ruling holds that CNN operated a joint employment arrangement with TVS in supervising the workers. CNN big-footed TVS on the workers’ terms of employment, including “staffing levels, wages, hours, overtime, and training,
among other things,” argues the majority decision signed by NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce and member Kent Y. Hirozawa. In a dissent, NLRB member Philip A. Miscimarra challenged the joint-employer finding, arguing that CNN didn’t have “any direct and immediate control over the TVS employees’ terms and conditions of employment.”
Joyce says that while CNN seeks another hearing of its case, the back-pay liabilities will continue to pile up. The case has stretched out over 11 years, after all, and “some of these people are each due several hundreds of thousands of dollars,” says Joyce. “This gets CNN more firmly entrenched in terms of how much money they’re going to have to shell out.”
Eric Wemple – Washington Post
My email from the union:
Dear NABET-CWA Local 11 members,
Please join your CWA brothers and sisters for a very important rally on Friday, September 26th, 4:30-6pm, at CNN’s New York Headquarters, on 58th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, to let CNN know that this is not over. We are not going to stop until justice is done. We want to get this story in the press while it is hot. We want to hear your stories! Tee shirts and whistles will be provided.
Thomas A. Cappo
NABET-CWA Local 11
New York City
Still no real job, but I’ve been writing for a website called “NerdBastards.com.” Check me out there. Now…the review!
One would think that “The Sex Lives of Cannibals” was a psychological reference book about the libidinous habits of Hannibal Lector and friends. Actually, it refers to the historical beginnings of the peoples on a remote Pacific island called Tarawa. The ancesters of those native to the atoll apparently lost their men to invading cannibals who went on to procreate with their women through force, creating a non-descript race of islanders. Not exactly what immediately comes to mind upon reading the title of J. Maarten Troost’s first novel, a true story about his two year adventure on a small piece of land in the middle of the an endless bowl of water.
It all begins with Troost’s lethargic approach toward his job. He’s fed up with it. When his girlfriend Silvia is given the opportunity to work in a program designed to benefit the health and environment of the Gilbert Islands, Troost joins the unemployed and goes with her. Thus begins their whirlwind island lifestyle amid searing heat, lackluster living conditions, consistent health problems and just overall doing without. Many of their trials are humiliating, frustrating, inhuman and sad.
Tarawa has no waste disposal system so people relieve themselves in the ocean. Refuse piles up along its narrow roads and beaches, ignored. The author’s cement, vermin-infested dwelling place is considered prime living compared to the thatched homes of the natives. Other countries bully them, depleting their only revenue of tuna by greedily fishing in Tarawa’s coveted waters. They have no working fire trucks, have to use sticks instead of toilet paper and four hours of electricity isn’t only a rare gift, but a pleasant surprise. Dogs are disease-ridden predators that prowl in huge packs, eating their own in sheer desperation. The daily menu is fish, fish and more fish. Boil your water and you might just go a day without parasites polluting your insides. These are the things poor city-dwellers Maarten and Silvia dealt with on a daily basis from the moment they stepped off the rickety plane that had to abort its first landing because pigs were on the runway.
The best way to experience the hardships of others is to walk around in their shoes. Troost did this with reluctant gusto and there’s a feeling of dread in every chapter that most of us can’t identify with. The descriptions are harrowing, from Tarawa’s ridiculous do-nothing government to the I-Kiribati’s (pronounced Kee-ree-bas) unusual preoccupation with the song “Macarena.” The people seem amicable enough, just dealing with the cards fate dealt them in that laid-back island way. Most of them don’t know what it’s like to have a vcr or to use a toilet or have air conditioning. They don’t steal, preferring to rely on the “bubuti” system of just saying, “I bubuti you for your shirt,” or “I bubuti you for bus fare.” It sounds like an agreeable way of life at first, but it’s also a good way to go broke. Luckily(?) most of the people don’t have much anyway.
That’s just one example of Troost’s depiction of his own culture shock after settling in Tarawa. He goes on to show us much, much more. And he does it in a funny, clever prose that sometimes veers off into rambling or preaching. He benefits from his time away from the states, even when he complains of being harassed by drunken villagers. The only real drawback of the piece is the lack of personality or character in his wife-to-be, Silvia. Wasn’t she the reason they were there in the first place? Troost mostly writes about the heinous living conditions and his interactions with the I-Kiribati. Silvia is often ignored and gives very little to the experience. But that can be ovthose people have experienced enough as it is.