The Real and Unreal World of Human X – The Canyon

As I said in the first post, much of the second half of Human X takes place around Orange County, CA. The safe house of the enigmatic character “Woodstein” is located in a not-completely-real place called Capistrano Canyon. Capo Canyon, as its denizens would probably call it, if they existed, is a more remote version of the very real canyon communities upon which it is modeled.

One of the nice oddities about the part of Orange County where I live is how you can go around a couple of bends and leave suburbia behind for almost completely rural community. Continue reading “The Real and Unreal World of Human X – The Canyon”

The Real and Unreal World of Human X – The Hospital

Most of the second half of my novel, Human X, takes place in and around my stomping grounds of Orange County. My hero is treated in the hospital where I was born.

Actually, it’s more accurate to say in a fictitious satellite of the hospital where I was born. Since I’ve been in this world, St. Jude Hospital has grown from a single modest building into a medical complex that now covers several city blocks. A character in the book says that the main hospital is threatening to swallow my hometown of Fullerton whole. Time will tell if he was exaggerating.

The Freedom to be an Obnoxious Bigoted Useless Twat

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Twitter lost their censorship cherry when they took what was an unprecedented step for them, shutting down an account due to the politics of the owner, a German neo-Nazi group. Like the rest of you, I can’t be bothered to feel sorry for the fascist morons in question. It’s also true that groups like this one are quite illegal in Germany, which is understandable.

While I can certainly sympathize with the desire to keep people like this in check, and Germany is certainly well-motivated to keep control of right-wing extremists in their midst. I’m just not sure they are going about it the right way. Right now there are 25,000 neo-Nazis or similar right-wing extremists in Germany. In the U.S., where such activity is merely frowned upon and socially ostracized, their numbers are tiny in comparison to those in Germany.

I hold firm to the belief that tolerance for extremist, offensive ideas is a more effective weapon against those who hold those beliefs. Continue reading “The Freedom to be an Obnoxious Bigoted Useless Twat”

Of Comic Foils, Sidekicks, and Tragic Figures

I’m not the most attentive watcher of LGBT characters in mainstream media, but I’ve been paying a little more attention than usual lately, especially since the publication of Human X. I have one observation. It’s true that gay characters are springing up all across network television, but I’m not seeing a whole of diversity in their numbers, either. And by diversity, I’m not speaking of skin color, ethnicity, religion, or any other check box on the census form.

The range of gay characters on television in the post-Will and Grace era seems to span the spectrum from A to A. Continue reading “Of Comic Foils, Sidekicks, and Tragic Figures”

You’re Right, Abigail, It’s Not Easy

As a general rule, I’m not out to hurt anyone with what I write (unless you’re a small-minded, bigoted, moron). So when I posted a story about newly minted British writer named Abigail Gibbs who, at the ripe old age of 18, received a six-figure advance for her first novel, The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire. I had no intent beyond poking a bit of fun when I posted the story to Facebook, when a snarky comment to the effect that it was wrong that someone so young be so successful so quickly.

At least I thought it was in good fun, but when the story got duplicated over to Twitter, I got an unexpected reply from the author herself. Continue reading “You’re Right, Abigail, It’s Not Easy”

Darwin for Congress

Paul Broun, Congressman from the Georgia 10th District, member of the House Committee on Science and Technology, made a bit of an ass of himself, declaring evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang Theory, pretty much all of modern science really, to be “lies from the pit of hell.”

Needless to say, having a blithering idiot making science policy rubbed some people the wrong way. And by “some people,” I mean anyone who never skipped science class for a bible study. Even conservatives in Georgia are alarmed that Broun faces no opposition in the coming election, worried that biblical literalists like Broun make Republicans look less enlightened than Salem witch hunters. This is unfair. Biblical literalists are exactly as enlightened as Salem witch hunters.

So a planet biologist named Jim Leebens-Mack, University of Georgia, started a Facebook page promoting Charles Darwin as a write-in candidate for Broun’s seat. There are a few niggling details that could spoil this cheeky bit of political protest. One, the deadline for write-in candidates has passed. Two, as a British subject, Darwin is not a citizen, much less a resident in the 10th District. Three, and most annoying, he’s dead. Still, after more than 120 years of no brain activity, Darwin is more qualified than Broun to serve on the science committee.

Continue reading “Darwin for Congress”

The Real Ann Coulter?

I have a theory and it goes something like this:

The real Ann Coulter is an old-school, died-in-the-wool, Berkley liberal, and what we have seen for the past decade or more is just an extended piece of performance art, in which she attempts to embody and personify everyone’s worst stereotypes of conservatives.

If that were indeed her goal, she would have succeeded brilliantly. Sadly, she appears to be sincere.

Continue reading “The Real Ann Coulter?”

The Devil’s Malarkey

The Discovery Channel series Curiosity had an episode this past Sunday called “The Devil’s Triangle,” appropriating the more melodramatic name we have for the section of ocean inside the lines connecting Miami, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. It is supposedly the planet’s most voracious region for devouring ships and planes.

The film Close Encounters of the Third Kind opens with a reference to the Triangle’s earliest and most famous victims, the TBM Avengers of Flight 19. They disappeared while flying a training mission out of Pensacola. It is an article of faith among believers that the disappearance of five small Navy bombers in an area known for its unpredictable weather is somehow “mysterious.”

This show actually triggered feelings of nostalgia for me, reminding me of the cheesy documentaries, usually narrated by Rod Serling, that I saw as a child. Only this show had actual experiments instead of just sinister music and Serling’s purple delivery. Continue reading “The Devil’s Malarkey”

Your Imaginary Friend Does Not Believe in Me

Can you spot the logical flaw in this sign?

God, as described by Chistians, Jews, and presumably Muslims, is a non-empirical phenomenon. An atheist’s non-belief does not affect the existence/non-existence of the aforementioned deity, any more than the believer’s faith creates her/his/its existence. God is not Schrödinger’s Cat. There is no box into which we can peek to collapse the probability wave.

Atheists, on the other hand, have a physical reality that is self-evident. Ever heard of/read a book by/seen a man named Richard Dawkins? How about Frank Zappa? Janeane Garafolo? Douglas Adams? Ricky Gervais? Larry King?

Just off the top of my head, I was able to name six people who are, by their own statements (or were when they died), verifiably atheist. They indisputably exist, therefore God’s opinion on the subject is either irrelevant or Pastor Sonny Manuel’s sign is just another example of empty fundamentalist bumper-sticker reasoning.

Of course, the two scenarios are not mutually exclusive.