Archive for January, 2012

30
Jan
12

Free Fiction! Drama! Pathos! Tears! Romance! Superheroes!

In the absence of deep thoughts today (or snarky ones), how about you enjoy some free fiction online? My fiction. Don’t let the presence of superhero and supervillain themes fool you into thinking it’s campy or corny stuff. I actually have serious themes, interesting (I hope) characters and development of them, engaging dialogue, occasional comedy, etc.

You can find it all at Tales of the Whethermen.

Besides, the latest post (well, most recent one as I’m typing this post) is a story that ends with a shout-out to my college roommate, and more people need to know about his work for comics, animated series on TV and more. Go! Now!

Or I will unleash my armored mutant minions on you.

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23
Jan
12

There Is a Tablecloth On My Battlefield

If there is one thing that might make me snap as a parent, causing me to fly through the house punching holes through walls and tearing down wallpaper with my fingernails, it will be my daughter’s eating habits.

My 6-year-old wonderful, artistically gifted, verbally advanced, sensitive darling who is the pickiest damned eater I have ever had the misfortune to live with and be unable to employ threats of violence against.

If she had her way, her diet would consist of the following, and probably only the following:

  • Milk, chocolate milk and orange juice
  • Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries
  • Bacon and hot dogs (occasionally supplemented with chicken or steak)
  • Green apples, grapes, mandarin oranges and the occasional banana
  • Annie’s Shells & Cheese
  • Tootsie Roll lollipops and gummy anything
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Processed cheese sticks and extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Hot fudge sundaes
  • Yogurt
  • Corn, but only sweet summer corn and only on the cob, heavily salted
  • Gravy (mashed potatoes are considered an inefficient delivery device that merely impedes her ability to drink the gravy)
  • French fries
  • Salt or soy sauce, with or without food that requires it, and preferably deposited thickly enough that you cannot see the food beneath it

Now, of course, I give her credit for eating fruit. More power to her. But she’d still rather eat her weight in bacon instead (with the exception of fresh summer strawberries). Also, she occasionally has good taste in cheese and likes yogurt. But as you might notice, the emphasis is on grease/salt/sweets and there is nary a vegetable to be found except for the corn, which is available for only a month or two during the year.

I get that kids can be picky and might eschew veggies. But this is a child into whom we must struggle even to get “normal” kid foods sometimes.

She eats hot dogs, but without any bun or condiments. She will grudgingly eat a hamburger, but just the patty. She hates spaghetti.

This is a girl who recently dipped her French fries into her chocolate milk and declared it delicious, yet won’t eat pork cooked in a sweet mandarin orange sauce even though she likes both of those foods, too, individually.

We can’t get tacos in her. Or sandwiches (except for the occasional jelly sandwich). A banana chocolate chip muffin is acceptable, but rarely is blueberry, and never is a cinnamon-crusted one, much less anything that trends toward pretending to be healthy. She professes to like scrambled eggs but I suspect that’s just an excuse to have something on which to pour salt so that she can hasten her arrival at gross hypertension before she reaches college, because she always picks at them and dawdles when eating them. She’ll eat pancakes, but mostly to get the maple syrup, which she will try to scoop up as often as possible while avoiding the pancakes.

This is a girl so stubborn about eating that if you give her a meal she doesn’t want to eat, she will feign being full or ill and go to bed starving rather than eat a single bite.

It’s maddening.

And to top it all off, if you give her food she adores, she’ll beg to eat it in the living room while watching TV rather than sit with her family.

So many parents wish their kids wouldn’t eat them out of house and home.

Me?

I’d give my left nut for her to make us go broke buying her organic zucchini, Brussels spouts, mixed greens, broccoli and green beans.

But for now I’ll settle for her eating her hotdog with a bun or shoving some spaghetti in her craw.

18
Jan
12

Don’t Bend Over to Pick Up the SOPA

SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, has caused quite a stir among online providers of information, products and social networking services, among others…to the extent that some, like Wikipedia, went “black” today in protest and to show people what a world with censored or deleted sites they rely on might look like. I don’t claim to be an expert on SOPA, or even a casually knowledgeable source of information, but I do have some legitimate thoughts to share all the same.

What I do know is that the web is a huge place, and copyright infringement can be a hard thing to pinpoint at time. If I find an image on the web, but have no idea who the original creator of it is, but I have a disclaimer that I will happily remove or credit any image if the artist asks me too…well, have I infringed? For one thing, I don’t make any money off this blog, indirectly or directly. So have I truly pirated anything, since I don’t profit?

Also, the law as currently envisioned is overly broad and would allow the government to be very ham-handed. Also, knowing the government, and how big the web is, “justice” will be meted out very unevenly, haphazardly and inequitably. A lot of big abusers, most of them probably, will continue to find ways to profit and to avoid punishment. Smaller folks will get the brunt of punishment for relatively innocent acts (much like the war on drugs criminalized users of drugs overwhelmingly rather than going after drug kingpins or big-time dealers). Also, online venues that strive to make information broadly accessible might get punished way out of proportion for minor infractions, causing their much-needed services to be blacked out from the web. And what of small online business owners, who might see their payment system shut down if they ran something they didn’t know was copyright-protected, and possibly have their livelihoods go up in flames.

And even if the government were to try to do this right, it would cost an unbelievable fortune. The FDA has enough problems trying to do proper drug approvals in a timely fashion. The U.S. Patent Office has a huge backlog that it may never catch up with. The IRS, which is a necessary institution (not the case with anything SOPA might create), can cause untold pain and harm to people enforcing policies that have been in place for years; imagine what some fledgling and largely clueless online monitoring agency could do in terms of damage.

The web has grown so much and achieved so much for society (worldwide) precisely because the government didn’t try to hinder or help it. It was something that needed entrepreneurial energy and minimal oversight. It still is.

Yes, piracy is a problem. But an overly broad hammer-style solution isn’t going to work. Nor should folks like the movie studios, cable networks, music producers or anyone else who fears their products will be pirated online be coddled by an ill-advised governmental push to be the new sheriff in town. Those who have products that might be easily pirated in most cases need to get their heads out of their asses, stop thinking in pre-Internet strategies, and evolve. They need to grow up, adapt and find new ways to make things work.

It’s a new world, and I sure as hell don’t want a bunch of politicians who are largely ignorant of how the web works and why to be telling us how things will be run there. And imagine the ways that government could misuse SOPA to shut down sites that simply say things it doesn’t like, on piracy pretenses.

Fuck SOPA. There are already copyright infringement laws, and those who are infringed can use them to seek relief.

For a bit more pro/con info on SOPA, click here or here.

17
Jan
12

The Gift of Getting Out of the Way

What do you do when a person you love dearly needs something that you cannot offer, or has a problem that you cannot solve?

And no, I don’t mean something that you can offer them later or figure out a solution to later. I mean things that are totally, completely and irrevocably not in your power and capabilities to do. Ever. Not for lack of skills or wont of trying, but because some things simply aren’t possible for some people to do for somebody else.

Sometimes, the answer is simple.

Not necessarily easy, but simple.

You don’t try to offer a half-ass substitute to the thing you cannot provide and you don’t keep trying to find solutions.

You stop. You get out of their way. You give that person space and you support him or her as best you can.

Why?

So that they can see clearly enough, past the obstacle that is your well-meaning insufficiency, and look for someone or something that will solve that problem.

It’s a hard lesson to learn, but one that more of us need to for the sake of our relationships of all kinds in our lives.

11
Jan
12

Dear Vatican: Shut Up!

Dear Pope Benedict and the rest of the gang at the Vatican:

Although you have a long history of covering up pedophilia among priests and ignoring their victims, you seem to have a major bug up your butts regarding homosexuality (no pun intended). I find this interesting, given that pedophilia is non-consensual and abusive, and homosexuality is a grown-up decision.

In any case, after reading this article about how gay marriage somehow threatens the very future of humanity, I can only conclude that you are all hopelessly and irrevocably out of touch.

I mean, it’s not that I’m asking you to accept homosexuality on a personal basis. I’d just like you to leave everyone else alone about it and stop making it out to be so apocalyptic.

First, homosexuality has existed for millennia upon millennia and society hasn’t crumbled because of it. There have been times historically when societies long gone have accepted the practice and even celebrated it at times, and I don’t recall a single one of them collapsing because of man-on-man or woman-on-woman nookie. I’m pretty sure that legalized same-sex marriage won’t destroy the fabric of society either.

In case you haven’t noticed, homosexuality has been an option for people for a long time in the privacy of their own homes, cars, bath houses, hotel rooms, etc. Despite this, the vast majority of people choose the opposite gender. This despite having access to same-sex relationships since before pharaohs started having their scribes put down important information like grocery lists and newsletters in stone with the aid of chisels and hieroglyphs.

Even with a more open acceptance of homosexuality and bisexuality in more recent history, after a long stretch of burning people at the stake, incarcerating them or shunning them because of homosexuality, people still overwhelmingly choose traditional female-with-male sexual relations.

I really don’t see that making same-sex marriage legal and official is going to suddenly make people abandon in droves the traditional sexual instinct for the opposite gender. We’ll still have the overwhelming majority of people choosing the traditional route of marrying a person of a different gender. And then probably divorcing. And remarrying a couple times. And having kids as part of that dance. A few of them might even stay together.

But really, heterosexuality hasn’t done much to guarantee family stability or healthy relationships in all of recorded history, so I don’t see why you think same-sex marriages can make things any worse.

It’s kind of like your fretting over the use of contraception. Despite its wide availability, people still (*gasp*) continue to have babies. We’ve got what…7 billion people on the planet now? Are you really concerned we’re going to run out of humans because of a relative handful of gay or lesbian marriages?

Stop hitting the communion wine so hard, have a fucking smoke or a nice meal or something, and calm the fuck down.

Stick to misrepresenting Jesus’ message at the pulpit and leave society to the people who are actually in touch with it…and with reality.

06
Jan
12

Burn That Book!

My brothers and sisters in Christ…

We all know the insidious power of the media to corrupt the minds of young and old. And so I know that you, like me, despise books that fail to promote the values we hold dear as true followers of God and Jesus.

We won’t stand for the distribution of a book that features incest and adultery. We won’t tolerate a book that condones the conquering of sovereign nations on the basis of religious zealotry. We won’t sit idle while people sell and promote a book that uplifts the weak, poor and sickly over the needs of the strong, wealthy and attractive. We will shout from the rooftops against a book that advocates communist-like sharing of wealth and equal dispersal of money to all in need.

My friends, I know of a book that does all this.

And more.

For hundreds upon hundreds of pages.

The Bible.

For the good of our noble, true and powerful Christian cause, we must destroy all copies of this vile publication immediately.

I realize this will leave a bit of a void in terms of reading material for good Christians. Thankfully, I have a series of 12 books (one for each apostle) to fill that need. Just send me $999.00 for the full set.

What Would Jesus Invest In? — Be Fruitful and Multiply…But Only If You’re White — Jesus: Founder of the Tea Party — The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth, But Don’t Let Them Have It Just Yet — God Loves a Good Capitalist — Sex the Right Way: You Can Rape Your Wife But Don’t Touch Another Man’s Butt — Shoot All the Scientists — The Last Trustworthy Jew Was Paul the Apostle — Thou Shalt Not Kill…Unless It’s a Negro or Queer —  Thou Shalt Not Steal…Except From Your Employees — Jesus Loves a Good Profit Margin — God Wants You To Keep All Your Money So That the Godless Heathens Can’t Use It

03
Jan
12

Slip-Slidin’ Away…

Ladies and gentlemen…recognizing the legitimacy of homosexual and bisexual relations, along with recognition of same-gender marriage, will not lead to some collapse of civilization. Trust me. Given the fact that some of you may think homosexuality has never been a publicly endorsed concept, maybe you need to do a little more research into some ancient Greek folks who had some feared and effective military forces in which getting it on with your shield-mate was perfectly fine.

So, why is the whole same-sex sex thing on my mind again?

Recently, I started following a Twitter account called RP_Newsletter. It’s a great account that spends most of its time showing how crazy, deluded, homophobic and racist Ron Paul is by printing excerpts from the various newsletters he now claims he had nothing to do with (despite having publicly associated himself with them in the past). The account gets a bit repetitive at times, but it’s nice to be made aware of just how out-of-touch and dangerous many of Ron Paul’s views have been (and chances are he still holds most or all of those views). For example, Ron Paul seems to have a notion that the rise of HIV/AIDS is directly linked to rising acceptance of homosexuality in society, which pretty much proves he must have been a shitty physician, since any doctor worth his salt knows that sexually transmitted diseases don’t give a shit as they evolve into nastier forms whether you’re banging a fellow dude on the sly or openly.

Also, we have Rick Santorum in the race to be the GOP presidential candidate against Ron Paul and others, and I love how that jackass seems to think that legal recognition and acceptance of same-sex stuff will lead to legal incest, bestiality, pedophilia and adultery.

That last one really tickles my funny bone, given the fact it’s not really illegal to commit adultery NOW, and it’s far more widely practiced than same-sex relations. In fact, it’s one of the most popular sexual activities among Democratic AND Republican politicians alike.

But what this all has me in mind of is that strange notion that if we acknowledge that some people are gay (or bi) and that they have a right to make that choice as grown folks and be proud of who they are, that there is some slippery slope awaiting that we will all fall down, with civilization as we know it dragged down in tatters behind us.

Such a notion shows that believers of such things don’t have much in the way of critical-thinking skills. Of course, it’s also become clear to me that given how insanely obstinate, cruel, obstructionist, classist, evil, greedy and mean-tempered so many conservatives are these days, most who support them obviously don’t know what critical thinking IS (especially if they are working-class or poor folks supporting the GOP).

First off, there is no slippery slope connection between homosexuality and pedophilia. Despite all the high-profile stories of priests and altar boys, the fact is that pedophilia isn’t about same-sex relations. It’s about sick fucks who abuse children, and a lot more heterosexual sick fucks out there do it than homosexual sick fucks. You see, homosexuality is way different; it’s overwhelmingly about people making decisions to have sex with other age-appropriate folks who happen to have the same sexual apparatus. Point is that homosexual relations are overwhelmingly consensual. Pedophilia is overwhelmingly abusive and non-consensual. There is no comparison.

Same thing with bestiality. Animals can’t give consent. Aside from the fact that equating sexual relations between two people with sex between a person and an animal is just plain damn rude, ignorant and insensitive, there just isn’t a comparison. Sexual relations with an animal is forcing YOUR desires onto the animal, which inherently has less power than you do with your bigger brain and opposable thumbs. Sure, there are a few dogs here or some other animal now and again that might take the initiative to mount a human, but generally speaking, they don’t want to go there. But again, recognition of same-sex relations, which are consensual, does not compare to bestiality at all.

And incest…well…OK, there is a potential progression there. I admit it. At least if we’re taking consensual incest. If you’re talking about Uncle Joey making inappropriate moves in his young niece or nephew, that’s pedophilia primarily, and the incest portion is just secondary crap that make the whole situation sicker. But there are folks of consensual age who are attracted to close relatives and don’t see anything wrong with having sex with them. For me, this is a taboo area. I think it’s an inappropriate line to cross. But at the same time, who the hell am I to tell, for example, two adult siblings whom they can or cannot have sex with? Why should there be any issues of legality involved here? Why should we be able to criminalize the act of ANY two adults in full control of their faculties that involves sex? Logically, there is no reason, because it’s between those two people and no one else.

Sure, I see value in criminalizing adult choices that put others at risk or cause them undesired harm (such as driving under the influence or choosing to rape someone), but the only risk of incest aside from the “ick factor” most of us feel about it is a slightly increased risk of genetic problems in any children. But Lord knows, plenty of people who aren’t blood relations can legally have kids when they have high risks of passing along bad stuff to their kids. In the end, though, the vast majority of people don’t want to have sex with their close relatives, except maybe first cousins in some situations, which is actually legal in a lot of places. But folks generally don’t want to have sex with siblings, parents or grown children. They just don’t. It’s such a small group compared to homosexual folks, which are already a subset of the sexually active adult population, that I don’t see a big rush for people to cry out, “We want incestual marriage legalized.” Sure, it COULD happen, but I just don’t see a big fanbase for that rising up in protest.

My dear conservatives, your slippery-slope theory is slick, but ultimately sloppy.

Why don’t you just drop the same-sex slippery slope theory and move on. You were wrong (and often still are) in terms of your racial views, and the same goes for your same-sex paranoia. Many of you crowing the loudest probably have some same-sex baggage in your closet anyway, so just shut up already.

03
Jan
12

The Bluer Side of Deacon Blue

So, as I’ve mentioned at various times in this blog, I write erotica. Sadly, I don’t get paid to do it, but it’s one of my main outlets for fiction on the web, at a couple of other blogs I have under a completely different name that is unattached to my real name or to my Deacon Blue identity.

Frankly, I spend way more time writing the erotica than I do writing superhero fiction at my Tales of the Whethermen blog, and I feel somewhat bad about that for fans of the Whethermen stuff, since it delays them getting new material. On the other hand, at this point in time, I’m lucky to get 20 visitors in a single day at the Whethermen blog when I post a new story, whereas I routinely get 100 to 200 a day at my primary erotica blog.

So, I feel I need to cater to my more devoted fan base. I’m sure you understand.

Not to mention the fact it’s fun to write stories that focus on kinks and fetishes I find interesting. You might also understand that.

Problem is that in mentioning that I write “blue fiction,” I’ve piqued the curiosity of some visitors here at this blog, and only a very precious few were people I felt I could trust with knowledge of where to find my other blogs.

This made me feel a little guilty for those interested souls here who like reading some good erotica. Not that I’m saying mine is good, but several other people have, so either they’re right or they have bad taste. In any case, it’s good for my ego.

So, I’ve decided to make an interesting plunge at my Whethermen blog. From time to time, I will write an erotic tale related to existing or new transhuman characters in my Whethermen universe. These stories won’t be part of the regular blog postings but rather attached to this page at the Tales of the Whethermen blog. This will make it a slightly less in-your-face kind of things so that those who don’t want to read the erotica don’t have to, and random visitors are less likely to trip over the stories by accident as their entry point in the blog.

In any case, people may or may not be interested, but if you’ve wanted to see if I’m any good at erotica, here’s your chance. The first story, Out of Uniform, went up tonight.

02
Jan
12

Here We Go Again

Well, the first day of 2012 has come and gone for me, and so far, so good.

I don’t want to jinx the rest of the year or anything, but so far, it’s started pretty well.

I mean, except for the fact it was in the mid-40s today…in Maine…in the middle of winter…with no snow on the ground yet (that temperature’s Fahrenheit, for those outside the U.S.; we’re above average, but not melting). But hey, I’m not worrying. The conservative politicians and pundits assure me global warming is a myth.

And except for the fact that the fate of our nation and our economy rests on a presidential election this year, and it’s still unclear which crazy fuck will get the GOP nod and have a crack at possibly getting in the Oval Office.

Also, that meltdown by my daughter tonight wasn’t very encouraging. But she’s six. And she’s a being who thrives best with a bit of routine, and not being in school means less routine. I have faith that some illusion of balance will reassert by later this week.

But seriously, those things aside, I have my family, I still have my teeth (no mean feat living in Maine), I seem to have finally shrugged off my cold (and possible sinus infection that followed it). The family financial situation is off to a fresh start. I have a smattering of extra freelance work coming up, which will hopefully snowball into much more. I have full cupboards and a roof over my head which, sadly, is more than a lot of Americans can say these days.

In general, though, I don’t expect much. Neither in terms of doom nor in terms of boon.

I suspect 2012 won’t look that much different from 2011.

But if God, karma or dumb luck want to throw a bag of money or something my way, that’s the kind of big change or big surprise I can deal with.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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E-Mail

You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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LinkedIn

For my public profile, click here.

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Tales of the Whethermen

My superhero fiction blog, click here

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Raising the Goddess

My parenting blog, click here

Copyright Info and Images

For more about images used on this site, and copyrights regarding them, as well as usage/copyright information about my own writing as posted here, click here.

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