Monday, August 31, 2009

Ray Garton: Violent Porn Disguised as Literature

I read whenever I get the chance. I go through a book a day, at times. So recently when The Dollar Tree had a bunch of paperbacks for only $1 a piece, I snapped them up. If something's not worth reading, I can always give it to charity or throw it away if it's a true piece of garbage.

Most of them are true pieces of garbage.

I read a wide variety of books, with the exception of autobiographies: Spare me from autobiographies. But at The Dollar Tree, I found a huge amount of horror and Sci Fi novels, and bought about ten of them.

As yet, I've skimmed through all of them because they're simply not worth reading.

There is one author that stood out among the rest: His name is Ray Garton.

Garton apparently won The World Horror Convention Grand Master Award. Did they honor him with this award after reading his novels? I hope not. Because these novels are violent porn, disguised as literature.

In one novel that I've skimmed so far, Garton has anally raped two heroines, followed by gang raping them (using thirteen men). In the coup de grace, he viciously decapitated one and mailed her head to her husband. The other was then repeatedly raped by a woman. Oh, and did I mention that Garton is highly descriptive?

In another of his novels, a victim is brutally raped by a werewolf in the first chapter.

Garton attempts to take no responsibility for these actions by portraying the men in these women's lives as being very sympathetic. It's almost as if he's saying "See? I'm on the good guy's side!" while he's relishing the details of the vicious rapes. This also allows the male reader to say and do the very same thing.

This literature should hardly be on The Dollar Tree's shelves. In my youth, it would have been hidden in the back of the bookstore, in the Adult section (at best). Now it's available to anyone who accidentally picks it up, believing it to be a "bargain".

Garton mentions his wife at the beginning of his books. He extols her praise and thanks her for her support. Really? She's supportive of this? She should not be supportive of this, or any other such garbage which relishes the brutalization of women.

Shame on Garton, shame on his wife, and shame on The Dollar Tree for selling such evil.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jaycee Dugard: What Elizabeth Smart Could Have Become

(age progression from age 11 to age 25, courtesy of the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children)

Many of us were stunned to find that Jaycee Lee Dugard was alive after eighteen years. She was kidnapped at age 11, and is currently 29 years old. If I had been her mother, I would have given up all hope. And I believe where there's life, there's hope.

However, at this point, she and her two children will need a lifetime of therapy to even begin to approach normalcy.

The picture above would only show Jaycee the way she would look in ideal circumstances. However, as details have emerged, it has become apparent that she and her children have led a life of great deprivation. She can hardly be expected to look this good.

During her time in captivity, she was repeatedly molested by her kidnapper, Phillip Craig Garrido. As a result, she produced two daughters: A fifteen year old that was born when Jaycee was only fourteen years old, and an eleven year old.

Phillip Craig Garrido was reportedly very "religious" (as Elizabeth Smart's captor was) and that's what ultimately was his undoing (just as it was the undoing of Elizabeth's captors).

As more details emerge, it becomes increasingly obvious that Jaycee cooperated with her captors just as Elizabeth did. And yet, Jaycee was also very cooperative with the legal authorities as well, which shows that her brainwashing wasn't complete.

Perhaps Elizabeth Smart, now a successful and mentally healthy college student, will be willing to meet with Jaycee as she sorts out the nightmare that she has lived for eighteen years.

Most of us find such an experience almost beyond imagining. But perhaps most amazing of all is the revelation which came to parents who had mentally buried their daughter many years ago.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Recent Celebrity Death

Michael Jackson Was Murdered

The official report is that MJ was murdered due to a massive drug overdose at his request. Yes, MJ's doctor administered the fatal dose. But even though drug dealers might hand an addict that final, lethal dose... it is the addict's choice to take it.

Should his doctor be charged? Yes, of course.

But at what point do we hold the "victim" responsible as well? Let's not lose focus on the fact that MJ made some horrific lifestyle choices that finally caught up with him.

Ted Kennedy is Dead

Ted's moved on to the great Chappaquiddick in the sky. Years ago I watched a very disturbing movie called "What Dreams May Come." It doesn't show the classic version of hell: Instead, hell becomes whatever your worst fears are.

Will Mary Jo Kopechne be there to greet him with open arms or will his version of hell find him eternally drowning in the same car he left Mary Jo to die in?

I can't help but believe that Ted didn't end up in a happy place, despite what others may protest.

He will now be eulogized with great fanfare, and the only thing sweeter will be the sugary frosting on a cheap bakery cake.

But all I can think about is Mary Jo Kopechne: Alone, cold, trapped, and drowning.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Artist Jane Wooster Scott: Racist?

As most of you know, I am a moderate. I also have a great deal of common sense, which is why I don't scream "Fire!" in a crowded theater, or "Racism!" unless it's blatant.

But I was shocked to find a famous Americana artist had recently produced a work of art that appears to me to be questionable at best.

My best friend (Pov) has a teenage daughter who is obsessed with jigsaw puzzles. Knowing this, we all buy her jigsaw puzzles whenever we can. If I opened a Christmas present to find a jigsaw puzzle, I would be sorely disappointed. However, there is nothing that Bugs likes better. A friend of her mother's recently donated over fifteen puzzles, and Bugs got to work.

The problem with Bugs' puzzle obsession is that once they're assembled, she can't bear to take them apart. That means that either her mother or I end up spending vast amounts of time covering the puzzles in Mod Podge and mounting them so that she can either keep them, give them to friends and family, or donate them.

This weekend I decoupaged about ten puzzles. I ran it like a production line, which is why I didn't notice this puzzle until the Mod Podge had dried. It's titled "Flights of Fancy." (click on the picture to view it in a larger version):

Now: What is wrong with this picture? (Hint: Look at the roller coaster)

That's right. The Confederate Flag is pasted all over it. I've written about the Confederate Flag before. I find it to be offensive for two reasons: It is a defeated flag, and it has become a symbol of racism.

But I thought, "OK. There are still some simpletons who think that it's 'charming'... that it's symbolic of a culture and not overt racism." So, I looked for the token black person(s) that might offset it.

I can't find any. And I looked over this puzzle diligently.

Could this be a simple oversight? Possibly. But I find the combination highly distasteful, none the less.

Perhaps Wooster Scott would argue that this is supposed to be a piece of Americana before (or during) the Civil War. However, the outfits are post Civil War era. I grant you that this was definitely a time of racism, but do we really want to celebrate it?

I am amazed that Wooster Scott's paintings are so popular. They're hardly my style. I enjoy art that appears to take true time, maturity, and thought. Her artwork looks as if a sixth grader did it. I would praise the sixth grader, but I can't praise a full-grown adult who produces such primitive art.

However, her paintings are apparently collected by some major celebrities, including "Marty Allen, Marlon Brando, Carol Burnett, Robert Conrad, Charlton Heston, Paul Newman, Leonard Nimoy, Victoria Principal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sidney Sheldon, Nancy Sinatra, Sylvester Stallone and Loretta Swit... the list goes on."*

I wonder which one has Flights of Fancy hanging in their living room?

* from

Friday, August 21, 2009

No Privacy With Blogger

By now, most of you know of the Liskula Cohen case in which she sued Google and succesfully won the right to discover the identity of a woman who was making disparaging comments about her online.

Were those comments accurate or slanderous? Not knowing Cohen, I couldn't say. But I do know that Cohen has dealt a severe blow to anonymity on the net.

For many who treasure their anonymity, this will mean a rush to alternative solutions such as IP anonymizers, but even those are not infallible.

I am not ashamed of what I write, but I hide my identity due to other reasons. For instance:

1. There are some groups that I definitely disagree with. These are groups who are not known for their debating skills or honesty. At best, they can harass you in unpleasant ways which make you wish you hadn't spoken up at all. At worst, their idea of a good debate can end with someone beheaded.

2. I am a professional business person. It is always wisest to never leave a trail that a potential client or employer may disagree with. Although it is smart to keep your opinions to yourself in the workplace, this rule should not bleed into your personal life. Writing under a pseudonym gives us all the opportunity to be ourselves without worrying about how it may impact our livelihoods.

Ultimately, honest opinions may be labeled as hate speech. At that point, none of us will be safe. Are you gay and you hate organized religion? Wait until the Catholic Church sues you.

Are you a Baptist who speaks out against Muslim repression? Wait until someone from the local mosque decides that he should put a fatwa (i.e. "hit") out on you and your family.

The KKK could target blacks, the Black Panthers could target whites.

Liskula Cohen's case is complicated by the fact that she's a minor celebrity. It's generally agreed that the public is free to speak about public figures. If not, Perez Hilton is out of business. But there are so many gray areas that it's safer to speak freely behind the mask of an assumed identity.

Blogger may have just taken away this freedom.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What is Really Going On With the Healthcare Protesters

We see it everywhere in the news: Protesters are showing up at townhall meetings about healthcare and are making spectacles of themselves. The left accuses the right of orchestrating the protests, the right declares that even the average person sees the flaws in the proposed system and the rioting is simply natural.

How can the "average person" see those flaws?

An article in, titled 5 Freedoms You'd Lose in Healthcare Reform, states "To be sure, it isn't easy to comb through their 2,000 pages of tortured legal language." If so, then how can the average Joe be showing up at the townhall meetings to protest all the problems in the proposal? Surely it's obvious that he's been given a translation... slanted, of course, from the viewpoint of the translator.

I don't believe that Obama's proposal is completely perfect, and the CNN article certainly highlights some of the flaws. But we are not dealing with rational people or rational arguments when we involve rhetoric.

I am tired of seeing Big Business paying off enough people to smother any true debate. And I'm not saying that the individual protestors are being paid to protest. Most of them are entirely unaware that they're being manipulated, even as they think their opponents are being manipulated.

But the people doing the manipulation (such as conservative talk show hosts) are being paid either directly or through the magic of influence peddling. And, sadly, they are working up those individuals who are enjoying their 15 minutes of fame. Don't believe it? Take a look at this highly transparent interview between Sean Hannity and Katy Abram.

Are these protestors any better than the average street Muslim in a third world country who gets worked up after a rousing Friday sermon by his local Imam? Yes, because they aren't being incited to mayhem and murder. But these "Average Joes" seem to be almost as pliable.

I am a conservative-leaning moderate who is opposed to some things on each side of the aisle. There is an article by Joel Kotkin that beautifully sums up my current viewpoint of the system, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Kotkin points out the flaws in both parties right now, and I wish it were mandatory reading for everyone on Capitol Hill.

Until we find a true party that represents the people, we are doomed.

Currently, we have none.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What is a Slumlord?

I own a mobile home in a very bad area. I had purchased it for my "friend", Zen, because she needed it (it was a rent-to-own arrangement). Zen then went on drugs (as did her son) and they trashed it and stopped paying on it, and I was forced to evict them. Now I'm stuck with it.

I could have sold it already, but because Zen owed me so much money, it would've been a terrible loss. So, I decided to rent it out while I figured out what to do. Finding a decent renter in that neighborhood was difficult, but thankfully the police have been intent on cleaning up that area by harassing everyone who sets foot there. This isn't necessarily the right way to do it, but I have access to a little higher quality renter as a result of it.

Still, there is little profit to be made there. Although it's one of the nicest trailers in the park, it has termites. It's expensive to treat termites (you have to tent the place) and because all the other trailers have them, it's only a matter of time before they infest your property once more. So, I do alternative treatments which aren't as effective but are not cost prohibitive.

Does that make me a slumlord?

At the risk of self-justification, I'd say no. I'm doing the best with what I've got. It's not as if I'm rich or will get rich by renting the @%$& thing.

So what is a slumlord?

Today the St. Pete Times has an article on a local would-be politician, Fabian Calvo. They say he's a slumlord, and from the description, I have to agree. If these are his business practices, let's hope he can never make any decisions on behalf of us. What's scary is that this guy is a conservative politico, full of rants and raves against liberals and "socialism".

Gee, thanks, Calvo. You are the reason we moderates are moderate.

What's amazing to me is that this idiot actually is running for a House of Representatives post. Obviously he'll never get it now (I hope) but the fact that he had the chutzpah to run at all simply amazes me.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Governmental Contracts

I spent all day yesterday going over a contract that was issued by Pinellas County (which is part of the Tampa Bay area). By the end of it, my head was swimming.

There were so many errors, omissions, and downright disagreements in that contract that it took pages to document it all.

I'm a moderate that believes in governmental healthcare (I've discussed this previously) and I think that we desperately need to reform our healthcare system. I've heard the conservative pundits claim that over 80% of us are insured and I know that this is not true. I've seen the evidence to the contrary and I find it remarkable that someone can repeat such a fabrication with a straight face. In fact, experience alone has shown me that this simply is not the case.

But insurance companies make a huge profit (they are known as "The Silent Bankers" among financiers) and you can be guaranteed that they are throwing everything they can into the fight, including paying off whomever they can to spread their message.

On the other hand, the system will need to be run efficiently and well and common sense will be required. They cannot do as they have always done by giving contracts to the lowest bidder, as this results in a continual drop in the quality of service. There must be a better way.

And the government must do the same with their personnel: Cheapest is by no means best. A poorly paid employee is no bargain. At best you have an employee filled with resentment who is continually looking for work elsewhere. At worst, you have someone who has been promoted to his level of incompetancy.

To do governmental healthcare the right way, the government needs to rethink it's entire system. If they don't, they might as well hand it over to Pinellas County.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Swamp Cabbage Recipe

I was talking to a co-worker at lunchtime and by the end of it all, I was positively drooling. First he shared his recipe for Lo Mein, which is basically cooked wheat pasta with stir-fried chicken breast and assorted vegetables in sesame oil with appropriate seasonings. Then he talked about Jamaican Jerk Pork.

Since he was so into cooking, I shared an old "Cracker" recipe.

Crackers are true, deep-south Florida natives. They're pretty rare these days, as most of them have died out and those of us who are natives in this area usually have parents who were northerners or were influenced by yankees as we were growing up. An old-fashioned Cracker talks with a deep drawl and usually grew up with no air conditioning in the middle of scrub palmettos, rattlesnakes, and pine trees.

Years ago, my ex-husband worked with an old Cracker. He shared a recipe with us that we absolutely love. It's something his mother and her mother before her used to make. They used "Swamp Cabbage" (which is the heart of the palmetto tree) but now we use regular cabbage.

Take a pound of smoked bacon, and chop it up. Fry it until it's crispy, draining the fat regularly into a mug or bowl. Make sure you wipe the side of the pan whenever you drain it, as the fat will drip on the burner and smoke.

Remove the cooked bacon and drain it on paper towels. Pour enough bacon grease back into the frying pan to cover it. Take at least half a head of cabbage, chopped, and put it into the frying pan along with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Keep stirring it until the cabbage has been reduced and is translucent. Add more cabbage, grease and seasonings as desired.

When all the cabbage is cooked down, stir the bacon back into the mix and serve with baking powder drop biscuits on the side.

Voila! Heart attack on a plate ... and it's sinfully good.

Needless to say, we eat this only once a year.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Florida Highway Patrolman Fired Because He Didn't Give Out Enough Tickets

An FHP trooper was let go primarily because he didn't meet his ticket quota. I love this validation of what many of us know but police departments deny: Cops do have ticket quotas.

Teenagers are Nature's Form of Birth Control

I've been having problems with Sonosaur lately, and was complaining to my mother. "Oh, we understand," Mom assured me. "One day after a difficult battle with you, your father turned to me and said 'Why didn't we just go bowling on the night she was conceived?!' ...and he hates bowling."

I Will Blog on Wednesday and Friday This Week

My apologies for neglecting you. I've been swamped with work, but it's no excuse when I can write something short and pithy, grab a cup of coffee, and hit the door. I'll be blogging regularly from now on.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Snail Mandelbrot Icecream

Lately I feel as if what I'm hearing from our leaders is nothing but a series of pithy sounding words and phrases, strung together in an attempt to sound more knowledgeable than they are.

What's new, right?

We are facing the world pandemic of Swine Flu which is destined to be extraordinarily serious, there is a new strain of the AIDS virus, and the pneumonic plague (which kills in 24 hours) has resurrected itself in a small town in China.

However, today everything goes on as it always has. Hillary Clinton has declared that we're "committed" to Africa's future. Yeah, we should be committed all right: Africa has little to offer us (except new versions of AIDS) but we are bound and determined to lavish attention on them. Why? It's not simply because Obama's relatives reside in Africa, because this sort of stupidity took root in the Bush administration.

The big news is the debate over the "successful" Cash for Clunkers program. How successful is it? It depends on who you ask.

There are some very good reasons why Cash for Clunkers is detrimental to our society, but even so, I am not going to stand on principle. If it's around when I'm ready to take advantage of it, I'll do so. But throughout this debate all I hear is a great deal of waffling without openly addressing the true concerns that arise from this program. Instead, the real issues are discussed in print by the people who cannot make the decisions for us.

How about a little attention to the genuinely serious issues, guys? I think we're going to need it. Right now we're looking at worsening economic conditions, potentially serious plagues that will or can find their way here combined with a lack of decent health coverage, and a rising sense of hysteria among the jobless.

But obstreperous juju masticus is key, while finagling the snitterbawls in August. I believe that we are perspicacious when we say that it is all purely scatalogical.