Crime of the Century

Mark Judge’s bicycle has been stolen in Washington DC. And you know what? That’s it, African-American community — Mark Judge has had it with you!

I read the entire article… Oh okay, I skimmed it, though unfortunately not lightly enough to miss the fact that his favorite movie “as a kid” was apparently In The Heat Of The Night. You know, I think I believe that. He reads like the sort of humorless person who really would pick that movie over Star Wars. (Judge graduated college in 1990. I’m pretty sure all his buddies were collecting plastic light sabers and Han Solo Big Gulp cups while he was rewinding his videotape back to the part where Sidney Poitier says: “They call me MISTAH Tibbs!” Not that that’s not an awesome scene. But anyway.) I read through, more or less, this article, and the facts are these: his bike was stolen on Good Friday. He had taken his bike to church, or as he carefully tells us: “the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., for the Stations of the Cross — the pre-Easter Catholic ritual of recounting the events that happened to Jesus on his way to crucifixion.” I’m sure he’s not equating the theft of his bike with the crucifixion of Jesus in any way. Moving on. Apparently there were lots of kids around — black kids. Can you hear the clanging chimes of doom? Because you see, since he was in what was apparently a black neighborhood (it’s been years since I’ve been to DC and Catholic shrines were never on my sightseeing list in that town so I have no idea), and there were a bunch of kids of color all over the place, instead of, I don’t know, locked up where they can’t bother white guys on bikes, he decided that “the odds were very high that a black person had taken my bike.”

You know what, I just don’t know what to say. I mean, yeah, the “odds are high” that a black kid took his bike if black kids were at a premium in the neighborhood, but that’s not how we’re supposed to approach things. It just isn’t. Another thing: he hadn’t actually ridden his bike; it was attached to his car via a bike rack. And I’m sorry but he was in fucking downtown Washington DC, a city famous for crime ever since I can remember, and I am older than Mark Judge. As one former resident of a high-crime city to another who still lives in one: you stupid idiot, what did you think would happen. You basically hung a sign on your bike that said “take this! It’s free!” He left his bike on its rack on his car and parked it in downtown Washington DC and is surprised it got stolen. I can not get over the massive I-own-the-world sense of entitlement a person has to have to 1) be surprised at his fate, and 2) actually write a column grousing about it and 3) declaring that because his Precious was taken from his life he will now stop having something called “white guilt” which if you ask me he never had. Instead he sounds like the usual upper-class white man whose smug certainty in his own enlightened tolerance means he should get the red carpet through life. Fuck you no it does not work that way.

By the way: I do not care that the bike was symbolic of Judge’s recovery from lymphoma. It’s just a bike; get another one. One more thing: when I was a kid growing up in a mostly Anglo and Cuban neighborhood, we were getting our bikes stolen all the time. There were no black kids who lived nearby. My parents just shrugged and went to the junk yard and bought us another one. But that was before bicycles became symbols of white liberal hipness. Okay one more thing because I cannot let go of this idiocy: I love the way he’s miffed at how slow the DC cops were to respond to his bat signal. Yes, I’m sure that in the sleepy, almost-crime-free District of Columbia the cops were really bored and had nothing to do and probably fought each other to get to this prime crime scene. I wonder if he demanded they dust for fingerprints and asked why the CSI van wasn’t there.

On a lighter note, Howard Stern is mistaken: if a white guy had sung the theme to Love Boat, he would also have gotten high marks or whatever it is they do on America’s Got Talent, a show I’ve never seen and hopefully will never see. I mean, do you realize the hipster cred that singing the theme to Love Boat will get you these days? No one would have hit that “x” button, except maybe Stern, who is obviously out of the loop. Anyway, to close this out, click this link and sing along: “Love… exciting and new…” You know you want to.

(First two links via Five Feet of Fury. The last link is a gift from me to you. PS: edited to add that this is not Mike Judge of Beavis and Butthead and Office Space fame. I almost made that mistake and was all confused until I kept reading. If I hadn’t remembered the difference in first names I’d have been clued in by the singular humorlessness and lack of perspective displayed in the column that no, this was not the same person as the creator of Idiocracy.)

I wondered

I kept seeing references to this “Homestuck” thing and it seems to be some amateurishly drawn webcomic that is actually an event horizon into another dimension of recursive self-referential metafiction and I avoid that crap like a fucking plague so I clicked away, away, away. But I was still curious so I googled around and after encountering several sarlacc-like website that were if anything even more annoyingly convoluted than the actual webcomic they were about found What the fuck is Homestuck, a Tumblr “live-blogging” the whole experience of Homestuck from beginning to, well, the rest, by someone as perplexed as I was. I was intrigued. I started to read.

A Tumblr. Fuck.

Reading and possible future reviews

For some reason kicked me out. It does that periodically, I don’t know why. Or did I accidentally click the log out thing? It’s easy with this laptop touchpad to hit things by accident.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to catch up on my Kindle reading. I found and downloaded a few free e-books and some not so free and will try to get them read and reviewed. Right now I’m working on a light-hearted mystery with slight paranormal overtones, fortunately written for people with a higher reading comprehension level than the usual one assumed for YA readers. So far it’s engaging and fun but there are a few elements that worry me. One: the heroine mentions how she hates rodents. (She’s in a dark basement of a burnt-out building and thinks she hears a rat or something.) I realize that a lot of people, male and female, really do have a rodent-phobia, but it’s become such a hoary old cliché that I can’t believe it still gets used, especially when the character it’s used for is female. I don’t know, it just bugged me. Just once I want to read about a female heroine who has a pet rat, or relaxes when the mysterious noise in the dark cellar is “only a mouse.” There are some other things that annoy me about the story, like the rival boyfriends (current and ex-) who keep trying to “protect” her. Current BF even puts her in a jail cell in one scene (he is a policeman) which elicited from me instant RAEG. So right now I’m hoping the happy end of this thing includes her dumping the guy, or his groveling apology. However, this is an American book so I doubt I’ll get that.

Two non-American works I finished recently were two Jules Verne classics: Mysterious Island and Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. I’ll say more about those soon but I thought I’d just mention I am now in love with Captain Nemo. Seriously, he is my fictional dead husband. What’s not to love? Smarter than everyone, afraid of nothing, told the entire world to fuck right off and went to explore the briny deep and unknown places like Antarctica in the submarine he invented himself… Okay, so he went through a kind of weird space for a while with the whole sinking the ships of the British Empire for revenge for losing his kingdom in India, but that doesn’t make him a bad guy. He got better. Marry me, Captain Nemo! I don’t care that you’re not real. In fact, that makes it a perfect match.

The clean fresh country air

This isn’t my gonna-shock-your-socks-off post. I’m still putting that off working on it. This is a complaint about my new(ish) home state and how I think it’s basically trying to kill me.

You know how everyone in the cities talks about how wonderful it is to get out from under the cloud of smelly exhaust fumes and other urban olfactory delights and into the countryside where the air is fresh and clean? Let me tell you right now these people are full of it. They’re not full of shit, though — that’s because they don’t live right next to farmland where every spring they spread fertilizer, and not nice chemical fertilizer either. Nope, most of the farms around here either seem to be Mennonite farms or organic farms owned by former hippies, and they use “natural” fertilizer. I drive through about twenty-five miles of this stuff twice a day six days a week, and my car’s elderly ventilation system is no use at all. Right now I have two air-fresheners in my car, so at least the poo smell has notes of Fresh Linen and Lavender-Vanilla on top.

And that’s not all. Many cute, furry animals live around here. Oh, I hear you thinking, how wonderful! Everyone likes cute, furry animals. Well there is one cute, furry animal whose sudden addition to the endangered species rolls would not bring a tear to my eye. That’s because I’ve already had my tear ducts ruined by the cloud of fragrance this creature exudes. That’s right, I’m talking about skunks. I have yet to see a live one — but I’ve seen, and smelled, many dead ones along the road (again, my car’s ventilation system just gave up and died). There was, however, at least one live one roaming around in the alleyway between the building I live in and the one next door. I had to close my window. I live on the second floor.

And then there is the plant life. See, I’ve finally moved some place with Classic Spring and Classic Autumn. Both seasons here are gorgeous. In autumn all the trees are multicolored, the air is crisp, yadda yadda. Spring is ethereal, the trees are misty clouds of pink and white and yellow. And so on. And both seasons have found me coughing and hacking from constant post-nasal drip. I live on cough drops. I reek of menthol. I read somewhere that spring in the southeast is worst for allergy sufferers, but in the northeast autumn is the bad time. Virginia is about halfway between southeast and northeast, so I get it coming and going.

Excuse me. I’m going to take some Benadryl and suck on another cough drop. At least last night’s skunk has not returned.

Book covers

I’ve come across a perfect example of the sort of book cover art I will not be using for my finished novels. Now, it’s not that I think these are bad covers — they just aren’t to my taste. This sort of loud, sensationalist, huge screaming title book cover is something that I hate in American publishing styles. They look like they promise thrills! and heightened emotion and tension that never lets up! and crashing climaxes both dramatic and you-know-what! and basically look like the book they cover will explode in your hands! Grant you these are covers specifically for ebooks. But they look just like the covers of a lot of paper books. What can I say, this stuff isn’t me. My stories are rather deficient in the sort of exciting action scenes that have carried over into books from the movies and video games, that that people seem to be expecting now everywhere. (I’m waiting for the first presidential election to feature CGI and the candidates battling it out on tv in mecha-suits.)

Anyway, I’m sorry to make such a horrible example of this guy — it’s just that I couldn’t resist a complete display of the sort of book cover art I don’t like. Well, what do you like, you hussy? I hear you ask. Well, stuff like this. Admit that is cool. It’s simple, dramatic, yet understated at the same time. This one is nice, too. These covers of some books by an Iranian author are gorgeously understated.

And here’s my favorite style of all! Bright colors, simple design, no ambiguity or misleading sensationalism… I think I’ve found a winner for my science fiction bildungsroman set on a colony on a planet in a galaxy far far away. 😈