Monday, September 25, 2017

It's Just a Game, Right?

Sit, Stand, Kneel, Vomit

I’ll get to how this ties in with my second book, BOLITA, in a moment…

We are constantly reminded that bigotry, oppression and corruption are indeed monsters under the beds of public trust. Yet, here we are once again distracted by the same old story or greed, control and power. Wait, perhaps I reached further up the orange tree than necessary. Greed, control and power are essentially the impetus for resultant tactics and actions eventually witnessed. Something controversial happens, and whichever slant serves the interested party— whether they are journalists, political activists, industrialists, or anyone else who might be served by a programmed perspective—is the publically-projected image we’re fed. Same news, different names. 25 years on, the Misinformation Age is in full swing? Nah, this has been going on forever.

Poor Colin Kaepernick. Here’s a guy wanting to do the right thing, did it the wrong way, and then does something more controversial and also wrong (talking about the pig stockings). Idiot label. Message garbled. Now we have another flawed character trying desperately to vindicate him by being just as absurdly polarizing and controversial in the opposite direction. Our president isn’t helping by being right and wrong at the same time. Message garbled.

I think we can all agree that disrespecting our flag is not, and never has been, the best way to go about bringing attention to a problem. Sure, 1st Amendment and all that, but you most certainly won’t make friends doing it, especially those that fought and died so that you might have that freedom. Consequences. You’ve read that ad nauseum, and I strongly believe most of us would be fired from our day jobs if we attempted to make public political protests while on the clock, but how exactly did we get here?

Easy. If he wasn’t a pro football star with media coverage (and “star” is a loose term here), this whole historical partition would have never populated. As the infosoup algebra goes:

Anyone who understands basic math knows the answer for anything divided by zero.
Message garbled.

The fact is, nobody should be placed on a pedestal merely by their title or celebrity. Title guarantees nothing. Celebrity is not an expertise. Throughout history, we’ve endured murderous or junkie doctors and actors, sabotaging mechanics, drunken pilots, larcenous lawyers, diabolically-addictive pharma, countless compromised CEOs, philandering presidents, and don’t get me started on so-credentialed doctoral professors who have no business propagating failed political ideologies from a university lectern. This is even before we get into priests, mega-church pastors, fomented activists, “objective” journalists, and so many others that tout themselves as an authority.

In every walk there exists flawed characters: JFK’s womanizing, MLK…the same, Jefferson’s slave version, Clinton, Lance Armstrong, OJ, you get the idea. So too are some of our finest heroes in the military, fire and yes, our policemen. You’ve no-doubt watched numerous movies with plots revolving around corrupt law enforcement. Unfortunately, many of those are based on true stories. BOLITA is central to corruption and greed in government, so too is another story you might have heard of—Serpico.

Frank Serpico photo courtesy Wikipedia
Frank Serpico is perhaps the posterchild victim of a corrupt and oppressive law enforcement agency. We know of his heroism and honor fighting for truth and honesty within the New York Police Department. He nearly paid with his life, but made very few friends in doing so. To this day, Serpico is somewhat of an outsider to the NYPD. Honored but not touted. Then maybe it comes as no surprise that Frank recently took a knee at an NFL game. Solidarity for Kaepernick. How does this play for the conservative media’s narrative? It doesn’t, and it’s a mistake to believe that all of our heroes belong to one political party or ideology. John Middlemas is another example.

97 year old John Middlemas - WWII Veteran
Photo courtesy FOX News
Freedom is a universal message, right?

What happens then, when the good intentions of one becomes corrupted by the many? Message garbled! Take Black Lives Matter, fa-Antifa, the KKK and those hateful hated neo-Nazis into consideration (really MS WORD; must I capitalize nazis?). These groups have appropriated and bastardized messages and symbols for their own, convoluting the original script and often negating its righteous intention. And yes, before anyone says “What the hell good message does the KKK have?” the answer is NONE! But racism is not unidirectional. Just as my African-American friends have experienced it at some point in their life—and I’ve listened in utter disgust to their trials—so have I and many of my Anglo, Latin, islander and Asian friends. Yeah, it sucks…bad. Horrible to witness and worse to be a victim of it.

Maybe we can all get over Colin Kaepernick’s testosterone-fueled nonsense and focus on the message? Nope. It will take a new spokesperson. One with irrefutable endearment and respect. You.



Photo credit: Huffington Post

Speaking of ideologies, why is nobody asking the big-picture question before diving into the shallow end of a driverless transport pool? What question, you ask? The one that inquires into other areas for improving safety, reducing costs, and getting from A to B faster? It seems that the macro-concept of automatic transportation has been bandwagoned well beyond critical analysis. Sure, any new technology will have its growing pains. Injuries and deaths will certainly accompany it.

Here’s a feces-extraction article for you: Sounds great for Tesla, right? Sure! But the way I read it removes the technical angle: The driver had auto-pilot on, crashed and died while under its control. Pretty simple. The mechanics aren’t necessary to come to a stark conclusion: The technology isn’t ready. We aren’t ready. In the meantime, there are other avenues for improvement.  I guess the real question for me is, are new and existing drivers unanimous in desire for automated transport? I have mixed feelings. Sure, there are times when I wish I could safely let go of the wheel and perform another task. Transportation isn’t always about the sensation of driving. I couldn’t imagine it on a high mountain pass, however. Infinite curves and gear changes. Fun! Flat interstates with uninteresting landscapes? Where’s the button! Of course, my mind might change when I’m elderly and the tech vastly improves. Who knows, but for the moment, it’s a bold but haphazard prospect. Thoughts?

Theater of Irony

Photo by "Jessica N." - Yelp
Calling Andy Rooney…

Maybe I’m late to this game, but I just found out the hard way that our local theater has remodeled for smaller rooms and reserved seating for a more intimate experience. Huh? I have a screen at home for that, AMC!

My daughter and I were set to finally catch IT. She hates clowns. HATES them! Screams, shutters, ducks, complains, and OMGs to the end. I love it. And, it was/is part of the motivation behind the Xeno character in DUST. I got more entertainment at home from clown on TV or a spider on the floor from Jessica than any day at Disney (Sorry Mickey). But I get it. I’m over 50 now, so….

Far be it from me to squelch the voice of profit. If a company is making more money and its main customer demographic is happier, that’s great. Unfortunately, there are now just too many reasons I’ll be watching from home going forward. Theaters were already in trouble from cell phone abuses, kicked seats and other rude distractions. Suffice to mention ticket costs, screen gimmicks, and forever-overpriced comestibles. Cinema-quality home projection and audio have become increasingly affordable, so for me the question is why I would ever buy a commercial theater ticket nowadays. To see it on a big screen with big sound! Oh well. Sorry Mr. Pennywise; your meal will be postponed.

Writing Update


The path is almost clear. I’m back in research/diligence mode. Yes!
Distractions abating. Hurricane Irma had us playing dodgeball for a couple weeks. No real damage except one small replaceable tree. Glad most of us didn’t suffer. Sad for those who have and still are. My thoughts are with you.

Silver lining: During the downtime, I plowed through several tomes. Some bucket list titles, some of what I would call “prep works” from authors I endear to help set a tone for my own writing. Voice and pace to me are some of the most difficult items to replicate after a lengthy hiatus. Almost time now...

More soon,

T. Nelson Taylor | Official Site | DusT | Bolita