Monthly Archives: November 2012

It doesn’t matter

This is the face of America’s greatest enemy: The traitors who advocate succession.

It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, brown, red or yellow.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican, Democrat, Socialist, independent or Libertarian.

It doesn’t matter if you’re man or woman.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Rastafarian, Shinto or Amish.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Irish American, Mexican American, Cuban American, Armenian American, Chinese American or African American.

It doesn’t matter if you’re from a red state, blue state or swing state.

It doesn’t matter if you’re straight or gay.

None of this matters, because if you are advocating succession, then first and foremost you are a traitor.

And that’s all that matters.

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So this one time, I fixed an election

Spring, 1995. The prom king and queen nominees were announced at my high school. It just so happened that one of the nominees was my pal, Mark.

Mark was tall, handsome, athletic. The star defensive end for the football team and a state champion wrestler. A hard partier and a friend to everyone. If it sounds like I had a man crush, I may have. He was kind of Liam Hemsworth before his time.

A group of us that ran together were talking, making fun of “King” Mark. That’s when he said he wasn’t going to prom. He and his girlfriend had gone as juniors, and neither cared to drop the cash to go again. Most of us, Mark’s friends, didn’t have girlfriends or were in the same financial boat, so he wouldn’t have his pals to hang out with, either. One of us said, “What if you’re king?” Response: “I’m still not going.”

A week later, the ballots came out. Brian, Tony and I – all pals of Mark – were in the same senior English class, where we voted. It was a busy day, and the teacher sat the ballots on the corner of her desk and told us to vote when we had a minute.

Glances were exchanged. A bunch of whispering. Shuffling up to the desk. Snag five or six ballots instead of one. Three guys, 15-20 ballots. All votes for Mark.

When class was over, we tracked down a few more of the crew, explained what was up. When they went to senior English, they repeated the dirty trick. In all, we probably fudged 40 or so ballots in our guy’s favor.

Those votes, combined with the people who actually voted legitimately for Mark, put him over the top. We had a big laugh about it.

Except, of course, when those unintended consequences ended up ruining the fun. Bastard consequences.

See, when we’d all cast our vote for Mark, we also had to circle a girl on the ballot. Here, we went at random. We weren’t looking to stack that deck, was the figuring, so we’d spread the votes.

Little thought was given to the girl who actually won, the one who was standing there alone – with no king – when the big moment came. Alone getting her crown, no one for the first dance. That’s bad enough. But, as you can guess by now, dear reader, it wasn’t the class bitch who won the girl’s crown. Oh no. The stunningly beautiful, incredibly nice (even to awkward idiots like us) girl in our class won. We were told she was pretty embarrassed. And that was laid on us, even if no one else knew we’d done it.

Winning wasn’t as … sweet then. What had been intended as a final middle finger to the institution we had no respect for ended up being a middle finger to a wonderful young woman who was collateral damage to our prank, undeserving of what happened to her.

Not one of my finest moments. And that’s why when I hear stories of polls being closed early, people being turned away for voter registration because they don’t look right (i.e. white), and so on and so on, I think about the unintended consequences of such actions. I’m ashamed of myself for helping fix a prom vote. I wonder if the scumbags working so hard to screw people out of their constitutional right to vote for their president have any second thoughts.

I hope so. But I doubt it.

Vote. It matters. Even when it’s for prom king and queen.

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The magic Bug

Apparently, the Volkswagen Bugs from the 1960s had warp drive. “I’m giving her all she’s got, captain!”

Checked out Steve McQueen’s 1968 detective flick, Bullitt, for the first time yesterday. A decent action film, what it’s really noted for is the big chase scene, with Bullitt in his Mustang Fastback chasing a couple of mob guys in a Dodge Charger. It’s quite a doozy, the true centerpiece of the movie.

However, there is a pretty serious flaw, one I haven’t seen mentioned in most reviews or commentaries. Four times during the chase, in the steep, claustrophobic streets of San Francisco, the Mustang and Charger fly past a green Volkswagen Bug. The same, green Volkswagen Bug. When the chase leaves the city and the speeds crank up even more, it doesn’t stop. One more time, there’s the Bug, being passed again.

So, either the Volkswagen Bugs of the 1960s have FTL drives, or someone should have been paying a bit more attention about the secondary cars in that chase scene. Because no matter how good the chase is – and it is top quality – seeing that Bug kept taking me out of the moment, even had me bursting into laughter in the midst of a very serious situation.

As a writer, I can sympathize. In my novel, the main male character manages a restaurant and the main female character works there. There are multiple situations throughout the book where the two characters interact at work. In two different scenes, the pair is having a conversation after the restaurant it closed, mulling some of the things that have happened to them over the course of the book.

I went back through some of the chapters the other day, reading and tweaking. I’d just finished the second, post-closing scene days before, and I was re-reading the first post-closing scene when I realized I had pretty much re-used the same conversation.

Dumbass.

Not exactly the same, of course. But both opened with my female lead cleaning and complaining about parents who would bring twin toddler boys to all-you-can-eat-spaghetti night. From there, the scenes diverge, focusing on what each scene needs to be to make it work. But that’s a pretty big does of dumb. Unlike Bullitt, I caught mine before anyone else saw it.

Continuity matters, and it isn’t always easy. Lesson learned.

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