Monday, January 30, 2006

Obscene The Best Words Of My Gesticulation...

TOURETTE ' D!
Hey, late post again. I gotta be a bit more diligent at this. No reason, I just need more personal discipline. Well, that and I don't wanna disappoint Mr. Mancini. :D

With the DVD release of the film The Aristocrats, the recent events at DVD Verdict and dealing with Nothingland in general, my mind of late has turned to the nature and use of profanity and what it means to me. In my youth, I wondered what the big deal was. I still ask that question, but now I have a bit better understanding. Let's see if I can elaborate.

See, I've always been a "live and let live" type of person (in my mind that translates to "hey, I don't bug you when you do your thing, leave me alone about my thing, m'kay?"). Add to that the fact that I grew up around profanity most of my life (my machinist dad would cuss a blue streak at home but it was verboten for the kids - do as I say, not as I do of course).

Yes, I went through the "cussing-for-cussing's-sake" phase (some never get out of it) and I still have a fondness for the double-entendre but, through the combination of moving to the Midwest, the Magic of Age, having a two-year-old grandson running around the house, the bombardment of talk-shows at work and the fact that I feel the Internet has actually raised my intelligence level, I don't use much profanity. While I haven't swore off the cuss words completely (see below), my speech has been scrubbed with a mental steel-wool pad.

As anyone who knows me will attest to, while I'm not exactly a Rebel, I'm far from a Goody Two-Shoes either (usually, their description of me is something akin to a crackpot). The reason I'll never give up the Seven Words (and their relatives) is many-fold. Here are some of the reasons I have been able to come up with:

  • In some situations, profanity is a good release valve - You folks who work on autos know what I'm talkin' about. A high-school friend's mother gave that description and it went a long way towards explaining my dad's potty-mouth.
  • Profanity, used judicially, is a good comedy tool - it's something that some folks (and some comedians) don't seem to get. Rather than sounding like some stricken with Tourette's, the right cuss word at the right time can take your audience aback enough that it'll make your joke more effective. The trick is knowing which one and when.
  • Profanity, used judicially, will make your heated point more effective - Face it; sometimes the only way you can make that idiot understand you're serious is with a well-placed vulgar word. Now your point is packin' heat. As it said (I believe) in the EN World FAQ, Profanity is a spice, not the main course.

This has had a curious effect on me in places such as my normal hang-out, Nothingland. For those who don't know, Nothingland (or NTL as the regulars call it), is kind of an intellectual and verbal free-for-all where the four-letter word insult has at times risen to an art and the folks there can cut a n00b a new one faster than it takes for me to save this entry. While I don't ordinarilly participate in the fights that erupt there (I stay out of the Religion and Politics forum as I can't really stand arguing over those things - besides, I have more fun making wisecracks in the General Discussion forum), I have had been on occasion "called out" for one thing or another, usually with the saltiest words possible. I'm not afraid of a fight, but my first move is to make a joke out of it or try to turn it around on the protagonist. If that doesn't work, I come back with insults, the kind Dickens liked to use: "Listen, you cretin. If you entertain the notion of engaging in verbal fisticuffs with me, this will just expose you as the lowest multi-celled organism to ever slide across the face of this earth. Your friends, nay, the entire virtual community will see you exposed as the basest, most vulgar creature who ever decided to climb out of the primordial soup. You will have no support, no allies, just a bitter longing to walk among intelligent creatures in cyberspace. I pity you, for you will be alone in your bile-filled mind. You are nothing and I plan to make it so if you persist in following this line of insult." This usually has one of two effects. Either they give up and go away or ask me what the hell I just said.

If it goes past this, that's when I just walk away rather than stoop to that level (now if he persists in PM's that's when I get the Admin involved). So the net result is either he backs off or I get his keister warned or banned. Oh yeah, and I retain my dignity.

So, while I find profanity useful, I refuse to let it take over my vocabulary. In Chris Scott's book The Moose That Roared (about the Jay Ward Studio), he wrote that Jay Ward, if he didn't like someone, would describe someone as a "bum" or "dirty bird." Jay felt that the use of profanity betrayed a lack of intelligence. There's a lot of truth in that.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

One Hit To The Body

Pulminary Punch-Out!
It's been a while and let me tell ya why. Had a slight heart scare (I'll get to that in a minute) but since it didn't kill me, my monitor decided to die in sympathy. Either that or it Gave It's Life So's I Could Live (pretty noble for an electronic device). Either way, that's why I haven't been updating as often as I wanted to. At least I can update here at work.

So Thursday I woke up weird. Ache in my chest and arms and shortness of breath. I guess if I had morning wood I wouldn't have noticed it. Anyway, I immediately went to take my heart meds and the pain in the chest subsided. I called ny cardiologist and eventually she told me to go to the ER if it gets worse. I guess that's what you get when you have a co-pay.

Since I caught my breath a bit I started making a ziti casserole and called Becky. We finally decided I should go to the ER (something I'm loathe to do, but my doctor got her shot at it). Becky came home, we went and they tried some nitro spray under my tongue, which relieved the achy-breaky arms. Next thing I know, I'm in a hospital room with an IV in my hand and a nurse taking an EKG.

The bottom line: it was a message my body sent me which was "HEY! SOMESTACK YOU MORON! TAKE YER MEDS EVERY DAY! WADDA YOU, AN IDIOT OR SOMETHING?" So, Lesson Learned. I'm back on my Lisinopril and I have the nitro spray Just In Case@ .

That's all for now. I had some stuff I wanted to talk about, but I figured you guys needed to know.

Oh, and the casserole was delicious.

More next time...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Long And The Flux Of It

Video Fly-Trap
Well I'm working my way through Æon Flux: The Complete Animated Collection and I'm liking what I see. I remember seeing the original pilot on MTV's Liquid Television but I missed the second season episodes. So was surprised that they actually made a series out of it (albeit a short one). The work of Peter Chung always interested me (especially when I found out he did some art for some RPG books; if you can find a used copy of Mayfair Games' defunct game Underground you'll find his work all over it). So I was happy to see the entire Flux output on DVD.

Not that I haven't had problems with the concept. I'm a pretty tolerant guy and if an artist has a "concept" or "vision", I'll usually at least hear him out. I'll even go along with some things I don't readily understand or the things the creator does that is supposed to provoke me to "think" or "come up with my own conclusion" (an attitude that has come in handy in the past - The Prisoner, anyone?).

So Chung has a certain points he wanted to make like:

  • The futility of violence
  • How there are different perspectives on a situation
etc., etc. Anyway, I can hang with most of that. I can also handle the running themes he has in the show such as Æon and Trevor being polar-opposite lovers, Æon having her own agenda, Æon always dies at the end (except for the series, where she dies at the end of the ten eps), but the one thing that really bugs me about it is that (and I'm mostly talking about the pilot and shorts here), when she dies she always fails he mission. See, to me that questions her whole competence as a spy or an agent provocateur. I mean, yeah, it's okay if she wins some, she loses some, but how good can she be if, at the end, there's no point to it? Yes. I know, this is probably a point Chung is making, but it gets frustrating watching the shorts and knowing that everything she does is all for naught.

Funny, I can handle Number Six being defeated and still ending up in The Village but I have an issue with this. Go figure...

Now having said all that, go check it out. Not for the young 'uns, but enough great art and fascinating animated weirdness for five David Lynch films.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Stix Nix Hix Pix 2006

Well looks like '06 is gonna be a mixed bag. I just hope there's better quality stuff in the bag.

First, resolutions. Becky's is: after February, No More Payday Loans. I can get behind that.
Mine: To update this blog regularly (I may not always have something to say but hey, that doesn't stop 90% of the bloggers out there), try to exercise and eat healthier and find a way to up our financial situation.

In March I'll be heading to the GAMA Trade Show in Vegas. I'm really looking forward to see how much has changed since I was there last (circa 1977). This is also the closest I've gotten to a game convention for about 6 years. I'm chompin' at the bit, to say the least.

And of course this wouldn't be the blog it is if I didn't tell you what DVDs I'm looking forward to. The big one is Criterion's February release of Orson Welles's Mr. Arkadin. I've got a couple of crappy copies on VHS but this release is supposed to be something special. I just hope it won't be pushed back on the schedule.

And finally, I'm looking forward to editing the fantasy novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo last November. I'm sure with Becky's help I'll be able to come up with something readable (if you wanna read it in all it's glory, email me at smokestackjones@gmail.com and I'll send ya a copy. It's only about 100 pages and it's a lot of fun).

Now I've got my helmet and armor on. I'm ready for '06. Let's roll.