Sunday, December 23, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: X-men vs. Van Halen

Who would win in a fight for world domination, X-men or Van Halen?

Oddly enough, classic Van Halen, when they had David Lee Roth, would clean their clock.

Not through superior gymnastics, or better use of hairspray, but through superior planning and execution.

Van Halen changed the music scene by bringing large stadium level concerts to much smaller markets. So places where the bands normally would have one to three trucks worth of equipment would suddenly have to deal with nine full 18 wheelers of very complicated equipment.

The instruction manuals for setting all this up were the size of large city phonebooks. If some of these instructions weren't followed to the letter it could damage the equipment, or even be life threatening. As a way to check if the instructions were followed properly, they would put in little items like, Step 124: Remove all brown M&Ms from the dressing room.

When the band showed up, they could look at the dressing room and know if the crew followed the instruction manual, or just slapped everything together. If they just slapped it together David Lee Roth would hit the airwaves yelling how they can't be expected to play if there are brown M&Ms in the dressing room.

It made for great drama, and they didn't have to say, “Hey, we can't play because the crew is trying to kill us.”

How does this apply to the X-Men?

In X-Men origins: Wolverine, the bad guys had a plan to turn Wolverine into an unstoppable weapon for them.

In the movie they did this by:
General Anesthetic.
Covering his skeleton with Atomantium.
Breaking for coffee.
Getting in a huge fight with him destroying most of their lab.
Chasing him across the country in order to erase his memory.

If Van Halen were in charge of the operation it would go more like:

General Anesthetic.
Remove all Brown M&Ms from recovery room.
Erase Memory.
Arrange Doctor's coats in alphabetical order.
Turn Wolverine into unstoppable killing machine.
Break for coffee.

That way when the doctors showed up to turn him into an unstoppable killing machine, and saw that their coats weren't in alphabetical order, they would ask, “Did you forget to do anything else, you know anything that might destroy all of our years of planning?”

That would leave the X-Men being just Jean Grey and Dr. X.

So to all the evil villains out there who spend decades devising dastardly schemes that rely on complicated series of tasks being carried out in a precise order but have no way of checking to see if it was done right, I say, “Shut-up Stupid. Take a lesson from Van Halen and put in ways to quickly check to see that the instructions where followed correctly, or you will spend decades and two sequels trying to fix your mistake.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stop the Insanity

I was super busy last week so I wasn't able to watch the Daily Show's Monday program until Thursday. Jon mocked Fox's reaction to Bob Costas speaking out for Gun Control after an NFL player killed his girlfriend then himself. All Fox could talk about was that after a tragedy was not the time to talk about gun control. It's a great defense after all there are gun deaths everyday, so it's always not the time to talk about it.

The next day I heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook.

Having the two shootings happen so close together made even Fox slow down on the it's not the time argument and get into the bizarre.

Mike Huckabee blamed the shooting on the right-wing fantasy that prayer is banned in schools. Ignoring the fact that that claim is 100% false, I can't see how, if the shooter read the bible that the passage, “Have no mercy on helpless babies and show no compassion for the children.” Isaiah 13:18, it would make him reconsider.

Psychopaths like Torquemada, Hitler, and Henry VIII have used the bible to justify their bloodbaths, while Mother Theresa got the opposite message.

Shooting massacres are not the result of lack of prayer, single mothers, the gay agenda, or anything else the right-wing noise machine talks about.

Police look at two things, motive and opportunity.

The motive behind these massacres is the shooters are mentally ill. In the US we don't treat mental illness as a medical problem. We treat it as a crime. So if you are paranoid, admitting you have a problem is punished. For some reason paranoid people have trouble stepping up and getting treatment.

Getting treatment, if possible, cost a fortune. Oddly enough people with mental illnesses who aren't able to channel that power don't have vast fortunes. Although with treatments several of them could earn fortunes.

You'll hear lots of people talking about taking away the opportunity for people with mental illnesses to shoot people. This is a discussion worth having. But with all the tragic shooting deaths isn't it time for serious reforms to the mental health treatments in this country?

Access to mental health treatment should be free and confidential, period end of story! Not only as a public safety issue, but also to tap into the potential that these people have if they could only get out of their own way. The same drive it takes to plan out a massacre can be used to transform an entire industry, as Steve Jobs did.

Two things can be done to reduce the massacres in this country. Lower the motivation and opportunity.

Proper gun controls will lower the opportunities. Real mental health reforms can lower the motivations and turn some would be killers into creative forces that can change the world for the better.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Greatest Film Critic


No one ever erected a statue to a critic.

That's because if the critic is good enough, no one realizes they are critics.

Quentin Tarantino has a new movie coming out, DJANGO UNCHAINED. The Drudge Report is shocked, shocked I say, that it has the n-word. Others are shocked that Tarantino shows that slavery was a bad thing.

This post on critics is not about the critics of Tarantino, but Tarantino himself who is the greatest film critic ever.

How can someone be a film critic who never says anything bad about other people's films? By being really good at it.

Tarantino has one great strength. He can tear a film apart and see what works and what doesn't.

RESERVOIR DOGS was the film that first brought the worlds attention to Tarantino, for all the wrong reasons. The violence in the film was pretty mild compared to the Hong Kong movies that inspired it. The difference between those films and RESERVOIR DOGS was Tarantino put in real characters. In Hong Kong everything is about the action and if time permits the plot can make an appearance. Any dimension in the characters past their job description (cop, triade member, ect.) is usually accidental.

Tarantino turned that around, most of the film is spent building the characters. The violence for what the film is known for is very brief compared to the Hong Kong films, but because it has real characters it seems much more intense.

It's the same in all his films, he looks for the entire genre's weakness and highlights that. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. But when you watch his films you can see where he breaks conventions and judge for yourself if it works or not.

I've seen the spaghetti westerns that Tarantino based DJANGO UNCHAINED on. Because they were made for an American audience, they shied away from showing the brutality that real slaves lived under. By not showing that you didn't get a real feeling for the stakes that the escaped slave was dealing with.

Tarantino is the greatest film critic, not by trashing other people's work, but because he looks at them and sees what the core elements are (what worked) keeping those, then looking at what is bad about a film and how it can be fixed. The results are new takes on old genres.

I'm not Tarantino, but I do like to try that myself.

I'm not a huge action novel fan. So I wrote an action novel, SHOWGIRLS AND ALIENS. After writing it, I do what I always do and research how to do what I just did. According to writers that I respect, I did it all wrong.

The action scenes are a quick sequence of events, the characters have to react, not think.

Oops. The only way my characters could win was by overcoming their inner conflicts so they could defeat their external enemies. I went put the character building in to the action.

In the mist of the action dialog should be limited.

Oops. I gave myself some leeway here by making it a comedy, but one thing I love about good Hollywood action films and comic books, is how the hero has just the right quip to go along with each punch.

I could go on about all the action “rules” I broke, nearly all of them. But I think I followed Quentin Tarantino's way of being a critic to a whole genre. Look to see what works, and redo all the things that don't.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, December 10, 2012

Santa Poll

In my last poll it was pretty clear at 100% of the votes saying that when their kids hit adolescence is when people's opinions on what is appropriate in song lyrics. Now I haven't surveyed people I knew before their kids hit adolescence and after. So if I remember my statistics right that means between 0% and 100% of people go through this change. So it is either really rare, really common, or somewhere in between.

What this poll does show is that if you are worried about song lyrics, your friends who don't have children probably won't understand. So if you are worried about song lyrics and you need to express that concern with someone, maybe talking it over with your kid would be the best bet.

On to the next poll:

When looking at career choices it's always good to look at the perks. One job with a lot of perks is Santa's. What part of Santa's job would you like best?

Access to the list of all the naughty girls, who are over 18. (and the toys they wish for)

Only working one day a year.

Spending all your time playing with your elves.

Being able to sit in judgment of every human on Earth

As always vote on the upper left hand corner of the page.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Christmas Songs

Strangely enough I like Christmas Songs. What I like is that they offer a change in the music I hear whenever I go out. It throws a little variety into my life.

I can deal with those demanding ones, telling me to have both a Holly and Jolly Christmas or yelling at me to “Bring them some Figgy Pudding”. They can wish me a Merry Christmas all they want. People have wished worse things on me in the past.

What I can't stand is the radio stations that switch to all Christmas songs and only play the same 10 songs over and over again.

We have been celebrating Christmas for over 200 years. For over 100 years of that we have been able to record the Christmas songs. Tons of singers have made Christmas albums. From Bing Crosby to Alice Cooper and Twisted Sister. I understand the radio stations not playing “Santa Claws is coming to Town.” but Joan Jett's “Little Drummer Boy” was a faithful sweet rendition of the classic song.

Over the last 100 years, there have been 1,000s of Christmas songs made. Some covers of the classics some new songs. So why is it that every time I step into a store all I hear is Wham's “Last Christmas” or worse a cover of Wham's “Last Christmas”.

With so many Christmas songs out there, a radio station could have a huge variety of songs. They could go for a week (3,000 songs) and not have any repeats. But instead I hear the same 10 Christmas songs over and over again.

So to all the radio stations that switch to Christmas music but don't have the songs to back up that decision, I say, “Shut-up Stupid. The thing I like about this time of year is the great variety of Christmas Songs. By playing the same ones over and over you destroy that. So I say to you, add more songs to your Christmas Line up, or Yule be sorry.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Writing Wednesday: Don't be that writer

I've had some strange discussions with fellow writers, mostly because for people who study and practice how to communicate with other people, we can really be bad at communicating our ideas with each other.

There will always be someone who says they hate it when a writer uses some technique. Pop-culture references, regional dialects in dialog, symbolism and so on. It's not the actual technique they mind it's when the writer is terribly bad at them. As an example I'll use this screen grab from the movie “Tourist Trap”:



If you look carefully, or not so carefully, at this picture; the director was trying to use symbolism and subliminal messaging to amplify the classic theme of sexy girls in danger. The reaction it got from me was to laugh my ass off through the entire scene.

It is similar when a writer tries a technique that they just are no good at. Steven King's “Christine” was full of really bad symbolism that really took away from the book. Steven King's strength in writing is that he is clear. The bad symbolism took away from that. It would have been better if he stuck to his strength.

These things remind me of what a critic once said about Keanu Reeves trying to act in “Point Break”, as opposed to his normal mumbling his lines and looking baffled. “It's like watching a dog walking on two legs. Yes it's clumsy, yes it's unnatural and awkward. But you have to admire the effort.”

When these things are done well you don't notice and it adds to the story.

This scene from Alien is an example of that:

The crew holding down a guy with a huge phallic symbol coming out of his midsection in front of two women.

Two great authors Shakespeare and Joyce were bigger perverts than I am, and they blended that seamlessly into their writing. So seamlessly they are studied in high school, even though they are more perverted than the lyrics of Police songs.

It's good to practice new techniques, and try them out. But if you are forcing them it will look like a dog trying to walk on two legs. Or the writer of a comedy blog trying to write a serious post as an excuse to post a really funny picture.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WTF Tuesday: Guns and Roses “Rocket Queen”

Sunday I was stumped for a Shut-up Sunday post. Everything seemed either talked to death or silly. Late in the day I was listening to a little Guns and Roses and “Rocket Queen” came on and I had to say “WTF”?

The first half of the song is slightly psychotic, misogynistic Heavy Metal:

If I say I don't need anyone
I can say these things to you
'cause
I can turn on anyone
Just like I've turned on you
I've got a tongue like a razor
A sweet switchblade knife
And I can do you favors
But then you'll do whatever I like

Okay, not a really nice person there. Then the second half of the song turns into one of the most honest love songs ever:

I see you standin'
Standin' on your own
It's such a lonely place for you
For you to be
If you need a shoulder
Or if you need a friend
I'll be here standing
Until the bitter end
No one needs the sorrow
No one needs the pain
I hate to see you
Walking out there
Out in the rain
So don't chastise me
Or think I, I mean you harm
Of those that take you
Leave you strung out
Much too far
Baby-yeah

Don't ever leave me
Say you'll always be there
All I ever wanted
Was for you
To know that I care

All I can say is Wow, this song really bi-polar and needs it's meds.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Mother of All Polls

My last poll was about what NASA will say they found on Mars in their December Press Release. People voted for the extremes. Half thought they would announce that they found, “A civilization of Cats with waves of Kitten Armies” the other half thought they found, “A Rock”.

I'm thinking the truth will be somewhere in between.

On to my next Poll:

One of the strange things about growing old is to watch the changes in the people around you. The other day I used Facebook's high school friend finder. It showed the pictures of people who were supposedly in my class in high school. It tried to trick me, but I know their weren't a bunch of middle aged people in my class. I would have noticed.

One of the odder effects age has on a person is their taste in music changes. I can remember a friend of mine coming up to me all upset because his daughters wanted to go see some band. He said, “It's just two girls who get on stage and make out and call it a concert.”

This made me ask, “What is the name of the band again? Do they post videos of this? When are they playing?”

Oddly enough this wasn't the reaction he was expecting.

Another friend who is a few years younger than me hates the Katey Perry song, “Last Friday Night” because of the lyrics:


Last Friday night
Yeah we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard


She feels kids will think that's aright.

What I had to remind both these people is the songs of our youth in the 80s and 90s. People wanted to ban them. As I tell them that the song “Mother” by Danzig plays in my head:

Mother
Tell your children not to walk my way
Tell your children not to hear my words
What they mean
What they say
Mother

Mother
Can you keep them in the dark for life
Can you hide them from the waiting world
Oh mother

That gets me wondering.

At what age do kids turn their parents, from Danzig fans to what Danzig wrote about?

Birth

Adolescence

Early Teens

16

As always vote on the upper left hand side of the page.

If anyone has any thoughts on this topic I'd love to hear them. It's something that I've wondered for a while.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Writing Wednesday: Stealing Ideas

I read a post over at Beth Revis's blog about critique partners.  One fear she addressed was, “What if someone steals my ideas?”

Her answer boiled down to a real writer will be in love with their own ideas and less in love with yours. Which is true.

My answer is, “So what?”

Orwell and Huxley shared an idea of post-war governments using technology to control their citizens. 1984 and Brave New World are radically different books. The only ideas worth stealing are so big they can be shared and turn out vastly different.

So here is an idea worth stealing:

This last election showed that the millennial generation are a huge political force. Cynics point out that the Baby Boomers were a force in the sixties and went from extreme liberal positions to extreme conservatives. I don't see that happening again, they aren't going to turn into the next robber barons. But something more interesting might happen.

The millennials have really shrugged off racism. Going to diverse schools they look at other races as people. In twenty years racism in America will cease to exist. Largely because the white majority will no longer be a majority.

They are also tolerate of other religions. Right now the old Protestant majority is either barely a majority or the largest of all minority religions. Some where around 48% to 50%. In twenty years it will be around 30%.

This all sounds great, but the millennials will also inherent the largest military force in the world. It might finally go through some contractions, but right now the US military is roughly the size of the rest of the world's military combined.

In order to make world peace it just makes sense that all military forces get smaller, the US has the power to “negotiate” arms reductions with every nation in the world.

In twenty years America will be a place that truly believes in equality, and will have the force to make other nations believe that as well.

America has never been an Imperial Nation, not because Americans didn't want an Empire, but because we have been racist dicks.

We could have taken over Mexico after the Mexican war. Instead we only took the northern, whiter half.

We could have annexed Japan after WWII. Giving us total control of the worlds largest ocean. But it was filled with Asians.

The rise of the millennial generation means America won't have that restraint. In twenty years the most diverse and tolerate generation of Americans will be controlling the most powerful military ever built. They won't be restrained by racism, they will truly believe in spreading real democracy and equality.

And there will be nothing to stop them from spreading equality from the end of a gun. The 30s idea of Pax-America shall rise again. The idea of Peace through American rule.

That is world of 2030.

Feel free to steal that idea. A hundred writers can use that idea and come up with a hundred radically different stories.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mars Poll

In last weeks poll I asked: Who should direct Star Wars VII?

The results were split between Joss Wedlon and Russ Mayer. I couldn't agree more, because I like both Firefly and big breasts. There is no reason both those things can't be put on the screen.

On a semi-serious note, if they do pick Joss Wedlon he would be sure to return Star Wars to the classic themes of the originals, with an interesting twist. Between that and his success with the Avengers no one would deign him the opportunity to start the Firefly series again. Something he has said he'd like to do.

On to this week's poll:

NASA has announced that Curiosity has found something on Mars and they have to double check everything before they can hold a press conference in December.

What do you think Curiosity has found on Mars?

A civilization of Cats with waves of Kitten Armies

A vast collection of Intergalactic Porn

The star child from 2001

A rock

As always vote on the upper left hand corner of the page.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Pot isn't Therapy argument

Now that Marijuana is legal in two states there is finally some actual discussion about the pros and cons of the actual drug.

There are some valid points against making marijuana legal, and there are some truly stupid ones.

One “problem” with marijuana is for a lot of mental problems it is pretty good at suppressing the symptoms. An argument against legalizing pot is people with mental problems will use it instead of targeted prescription drugs. That is 100% true, people do that now.

I know someone who is bi-polar to the extreme. It has destroyed some of her relationships. Made her lose several jobs. Has led to a bunch of personal problems.

She has a prescription for meds that do work, and make her a functional member of society. She uses marijuana to control it instead. It's not that she doesn't want to use the prescription drugs, she does. But they cost $6,000 a month and because of her bi-polar condition she can only get a job where she makes minimum wage. Marijuana costs her a little over $100 a month and makes her functional.

There are a whole host of mental problems that marijuana can barely control. The sufferers of these would be better off with prescription meds, if they could afford them. But oddly enough it is tough for people with mental problems to get jobs with good health insurance. As well most health insurance plans don't really cover mental health problems, before Obamacare insurance companies could say, “We don't cover Behavioral Health Conditions, and if the mental health condition wasn't behavioral but an actual physical imbalance it must be pre-existing.”

Obamacare will help a lot with this, but the major insurance companies have spent decades figuring out ways to drop the mentally ill from coverage. Over the next decade it will be a struggle to add each individual disorder into insurance plans.

As far people using marijuana to self treat mental disorders that should be treated with prescription meds, it's going to happen. The answer isn't to criminalize these people, the answer is to make the prescription meds available to them.

Lots of people with mental health disorders use marijuana as a coping mechanism, it makes the disorder manageable. Manageable and cured are not the same thing. But manageable is a hell of a lot better than being totally out of control.

So to the people who argue that marijuana should be illegal so that people with mental disorders won't use it instead of prescription drugs, I say, “Shut-up Stupid. This is a false choice. Most of the people I know with mental disorders, and I know quite a few, would love to have access to the prescription meds that make them stable. But for most of them the meds are priced at more than they make working full time. If you want to stop people from self treating mental disorders with marijuana, work to get these mental disorders covered under affordable treatment plans.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

“Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it,
those learn it incorrectly are just doomed!”

I used to travel to Canada for Thanksgiving, or as they called it Thursday. I mentioned this to a friend who asked, “Don't they celebrate Thanksgiving?”

I replied, “Yes, but it's the second Monday of October.”

They asked, “Why's that?”

I said, “They use the metric system.”

Disregarding my smart-ass answer, there is a reason the two countries celebrate on different dates. The Canadian Thanksgiving comes from the traditional harvest festival, first celebrated in that country over 40 years before the pilgrims landed. The US celebration has a more sorted past.

The “Traditional” US thanksgiving was celebrated regionally since the pilgrims. At different dates throughout the country. It was during the Civil War that Lincoln needed to both boost the nations moral and remind both sides that we share a common heritage and Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

So the US Thanksgiving had its roots in the struggle to end slavery. The aftermath of the civil war (it took a while after for some states like Kentucky to get the message) meant that people couldn't be chased down by the law if they walked off their job.

Until now. Walmart called the cops and threatened to have one of their workers arrested for walking out.

Walmart is known for wanting the government to stay out of their labor relations. This shows that's not what they want. They want to use government resources to enforce their side of labor relations. It's not enough they get subsidized through food stamps to pay below poverty line wages. They move into rural areas with limited competition to set up operations that can't compete in the larger cities. And don't pay taxes. Now, they want the police to enforce their labor policies.

This Thanksgiving and Black Friday, be Thankful slavery is over and Boycott Walmart who is trying to bring it back.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, November 19, 2012

Star Wars Poll II

In my last poll dealt with a bigger problem of Disney taking over the Star Wars franchise than the direction they might take it. That's the copyright protection policies of the two companies. What made Star Wars so embedded in our culture was the fairly loose copyright protection that Lucasfilms gave it.

Lucasfilms pretty much had the attitude that if something was done by true fans, for love not profit, it was okay.

Disney is ruthless in their copyright protections. I really don't see how these two legal policies can be resolved.

But, lots of people are worried about the direction the new films will be taking. Also who the next director will be. These speculation are based on absolutely nothing. For some reason other commentators don't take my approach to speculations based on nothing. If you are going to do that shoot for the moon. So here are my director picks and the plots for Star Wars VII:

Who should write and direct Star Wars VII?

Seth Macfarlane

PLOT: Luke and Leia shack up (I know they are brother and sister) in a suburban house where they watch TV and go on rambling adventures filled with strange flashbacks to pop-culture events.

Joss Wedlon:

PLOT: With the destruction of the Empires power system, the Galaxy is in Chaos. Han Solo's son, Wash Solo, (Alan Tudyk) is the pilot of a small Firefly class starship captained by combat veteran Mal (Nathan Fillion) and is married to the second in command Zoe Solo (Gina Torres). R2D2 has had what ever the Jawas did to him fixed so he is now back to the merciless killing machine that squeaks in glee as he looks down upon the bloody remains of any who dare oppose him. Like he did in the Star Wars II and III. He also has a voice played by Adam Baldwin. C3PO is the ship's mechanic and has an even more feminine voice (Jewel Straite).

They pick up two passengers Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) and his 17 year old sister River (Summer Glau) digital effects make her young enough for the part. It is reveled that River has the greatest mastery of the force ever. The alliance tried a mind control operation on her leaving her mentally unstable. At times she is an unstoppable killing machine, other times incapable of simple tasks.

She has the potential to be the most powerful force in the galaxy, so both the Alliance and the remains of the Empire are after her.

Quentin Tarantino:
PLOT: After the fall of the Empire, Leia and Han Solo are trying to keep the various factions of the Alliance together. They have made an uneasy peace. Luke has formed a Jedi academy to act as the muscle in the new republic. The Trade Federation has demanded an end to the rampant smuggling. Leia sends Luke and the Jedi after the smugglers. Han Solo rebels joining his old smuggler friends. The Trade Federation and allies tell Leia they will rebel if both the Smugglers and the Jedi aren't destroyed. This leads to a three-way Mexican standoff between Leia, Luke and Han. Spoiler alert, they end up killing each other and the galaxy is in Chaos.

Russ Mayer:
PLOT: Lots of big breasted women enter the Star Wars universe.

Micheal Moore:
PLOT: A look at how the Empire conspired with the corporations to outsource jobs from the central planets to the outer worlds. The only jobs the former union skilled laborers could get were low paying temp jobs with no benefits on the Death Star. Interviews of workers who had face the risk of being blown up by the Rebels vs. feeding their families.

Kevin Smith:
PLOT: Princess Bethliea (Linda Fiorentino) gives the plans of the new Death Star being built by Lord Lokia (Ben Affleck) to a video store clerk (Jeff Anderson). He drops it and two dope dealers, Jaywalker (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bobwa (Kevin Smith) find it and try to return it. They go to the former Jedi George Carlinwa (George Carlin) and take on the Empire.

Alex Cox:

Title: Star Wars VII: Sith and Nancy

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Crossing the Line

Over the past three years I've been pointing out really stupid things people have said publicly. However as much I disagree and think they are stupid, I believe whole-heartedly they have a right to say stupid things.

Not only do I believe people have the right to say stupid things, they have the right to tell outright lies, misrepresent the truth, even call people names. However, I don't believe someone has the right to lie about someone publicly that hurts their livelihood. This crosses the line and becomes liable.

Recently, John Metz, who owns around 40 Denny’s and multiple Dairy Queen Locations in Florida, as well as a franchise called Hurricane Grill & Wings, made news and ruffled diner food fans’ feathers when he told the Huffington Post that he planned to add a 5 percent surcharge at the start of next year.

“If I leave the prices the same, but say on the menu that there is a 5 percent surcharge for Obamacare, customers have two choices,” he explained to HuffPo. “They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server, who is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare… Although it may sound terrible that I’m doing this, it’s the only alternative. I’ve got to pass the cost on to the consumer.”

First off this is a total lie. The wait-staff work for under minimum wage in most places. Metz won't be paying for their healthcare, it will be covered under Medicaid. Under Obamacare, workers making less 133% of the federal poverty line will be covered under Medicaid. I serious doubt Metz is paying the wait-staff at his restaurants over $39,000 a year. Probably about half that.

I'm not saying Metz won't have to cover some of his employees, the managers and administration, but it is an outright lie when he says the server is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare, at least his obligation under Obamacare.

Metz isn't just publicly telling a stupid lie, he is doing it with the intent of hurting his employees, by encouraging customers to tip less. That is liable, and just being an asshole.

So to all these restaurant chains that are using Obamacare as an excuse to be assholes to their employees, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, if you publicly blame your employees for your problems, then I will call your competitors and ask about the 'Not an asshole special'. I'll gladly pay 5% more to eat at a restaurant where the owner isn't an asshole to their employees.”

Update: It seems someone may have told John Metz that lying in order to hurt your employees is illegal as he has backed off that statement and said he was only thinking about it.

Update #2: Denny's has issued a statement on John Metz comments saying they do not agree and will take actions to protect their brand.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Writing: Character Conflict vs Confidence

The nice thing about getting critiques of your writings is you get different points of view. The bad thing is a lot of times these points of view are completely opposite. There is no bigger argument among writers than with the main character's conflict and introspection vs. confidence.

Both sides have plenty of works to look back on. Beowulf was a pretty confident character, I guess most Dragon Slayers are. On the flipside Hamlet was all inner conflict and introspection, thinking everything through until he had no choice.

I personally had a hard time making it through Beowulf, I found his confidence going into battle too much and thought it took away from the battles. On the other hand I liked Hamlet, but was always thinking, “Do something, Take arms against a sea of troubles.”

I don't know if it's a gender thing, but I've had guys tell me that my Male main character is an arrogant prick, and women tell me the same character isn't confident enough.

It's impossible to please both sides of this issue. Unless it's a comedy I doubt Beowulf vs. Hamlet would be a huge success. But there is a way to make it less annoying to both sides. With the less is more approach.

A great line in Confidence vs. Inner Conflict is, oddly enough, in “Parents just don't understand”:

My parents went away on a week's vacation and

They left the keys to the brand new Porsche

Would they mind?

Umm, well, of course not

I'll just take it for a little spin

And maybe show it off to a couple of friends

I'll just cruise it around the neighborhood

Well, maybe I shouldn't

Yeah, of course I should



Will Smith shows both self-doubt and extreme confidence in a few lines.

Another great example of Confidence vs Conflict is the canceled TV series Firefly.

Mal: It will work.

Zoe: What if they come after us?

Mal: They won't.

Zoe: Why not?

Mal: Um...'cause.


The greatest way to show the character's inner conflict and confidence is to show it briefly and simultaneously.

Of course, what got me thinking about this is the fact that get comments on the same parts that I don't show the characters conflict and confidence enough. So it is a balancing act.

Just wondering, in reading do you like the main character to be more like Beowulf or Hamlet?

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, November 12, 2012

Star Wars- Disney Poll

In my last poll I asked, What gifts would women like more than a rape-baby?

A flaming bag of dog poop on their porch

Having their house TP'ed

A fruit basket

Any or all of the above.

75% said that any or all of the above where preferable to a rape-baby, and 25% really like fruit baskets.

So when it comes to choosing gifts, remember if you give a woman a rape-baby it will probably be returned with the sum total of the rage of the entire human race from Adam on down, with a vow that with their last breath they shall spit at thee, from hell's heart they shall stab at thee.

Whereas, a fruit basket will likely be returned with a nice thank you card.

I'm really thinking the fruit basket is the way to go.

On to my next poll:

Disney has bought the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas. The Star Wars image and the Disney image go together so well.

Star Wars is known for it's Geek support. Funny fan movies, fan fiction, and of course, the Slave Girl Leia costumes make Comicon much better except for the cases when they make it much, much worse. (I know you've seen him.)

Disney is known for being a pit bull when it comes to protecting their image and copyrights.

How will Disney “protect” the Star Wars image?

Swat team raids on Comicon

Suing people for humming the Darth Vader theme

Arrest Pink Floyd for using the term “Dark side” in Darkside of the Moon

Put an end to NASCAR for being too much like Pod Racing.

As always vote on the left hand side the page.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Post Election overload

I've been writing this Shut-up Stupid Sunday series for over three years now. Well over 120 posts. In the first post on Sept 20, 2009 I defined stupid, “I am using the term “Stupid”, for lack of a better term, for the total lack of Intellectual curiosity and the insistence to deny any and all facts that contradict their pre-conceived beliefs that these groups display.”

It has become my most popular series of posts. My hits spike on Sunday's and Mondays.

For the past three years I've had fun let my sarcasm loose on people who put their beliefs, (not just religious) ahead of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Now after facts destroyed the bubble that Fox/GOP loudmouths were living in, it seems everyone is hopping on the bandwagon.

I know it will be short-lived. But for now a lot of the MSM reporters are having as much fun as I do showing facts reign supreme.

So today I'm just going to sit back and watch as half the news stories could be taken straight from my shut-up stupid posts.


By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Writing: Why I like beating up little girls (fictionally)

Why do I like having girls in my books get into major fights leaving them with broken bones? Two words: Cynthia Rothrock!

In the late 80s and early 90s one Kung-Fu star, both in Hong Kong and the US, was Cynthia Rothrock. She knew her stuff, 5 time Karate Camp and holder of six black belts. She was a true champ. I liked watching her in films, but I hated the films she was in.

Back then (in film) a guy couldn't get into a serious fight with a girl. Even if that girl was Cynthia Rothrock. In a lot of her films they would hire her and a male star to be the bad guy. This made a problem she couldn't fight the bad guy. So they would take the $20 left over in the budget to hire a smuck to be her side-kick that would take on the bad guy in the end.

So Cynthia Rothrock would take care of the incompetent minions having to act like she broke a sweat. Then the smuck would take on the main bad guy and the editors had to work to make it look real. Like Mel Gibson and Danny Glover taking on Jet-Li.

Rothrock had so much talent but she couldn't use it.

That's why in SHOWGIRLS AND ALIENS, coming out early next year, I have my girl, Nomi, being a badass taking on guys a hundred pounds heavier than her and aliens with 10 times human strength. In the process she gets beat up pretty badly and has a lot of bones broken. But she is the hero, she has friends to help but she's the badass leader.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the world is ready for a female to duke it out with the bad guy, suffer defeats like any hero before coming out on top.

I guess I'll see when it is released.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mandatory Post-Election post

The election results seem to agree with the poll that I'm running on this blog. That since 1920 when women were allowed to vote, the pro-rape ticket has been a losing one.

Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin held a pro-rape stance but it seems if you say something “legitimately” stupid that effects over half the voters, the electoral process has a way of shutting that whole thing down.

The trillion dollar “war on drugs” will be coming to an end this decade. Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize pot for recreational purposes. So users don't have to go to doctors and say, “I get really anxious when I can't buy weed.” Making the doctors give them a prescription for weed, so they are no longer anxious.

This is how prohibition ended. States stopped enforcing it and the federal law enforcement isn't really designed to handle low level arrests. Although the Obama administration has continued federal enforcement of Pot laws, it should be clear that it is now a losing battle.

In the Senate not only did the Dems hold their majority, but the five new Senators are much more Progressive than the rest of the Senate. Oddly, it wasn't until I read an article on it that I noticed women are at an all time high in the Senate with 18 women Senators.

More states will allow gays to marry. People are realizing that turning a portion of population into second class citizens in order to avoid a small increase in the amount of Couple Dates they are invited to is a bit extreme when a simple, “No thanks we have plans.” works just as well on gay couples as straight couples. I have found that saying, “I'm busy building a kitten army that will force the world to obey my will, just like the cats do!” Not only stops people from inviting me to Couple Dates, but also makes them back away slowly, making sure not to make sudden moves.

Obamacare will become law of the land, this was really its final hurdle. After 2014 when the final parts are put in place it can't be taken away. Healthcare will be a right, not a privilege. Any modifications to it will be working under that framework.

Basically, the nation shall continue to move forward. It wasn't a revolution but we won't be sliding backwards.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, November 5, 2012

Gift from God Poll

The poll app on my page was not working for most of the week. But two of the most important lessons from the 80s were that lip synching band “Milli Vanilli” were ahead of their time, and Axel Rose's “Jungle” was quite fattening.

Next Poll:

The holiday season is coming up and it's time to think of gifts.

Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, an Indiana Republican has said that women who get pregnant through rape should look at that as a gift from God. I'm not an expert at what women like as gifts, but I didn't think rape-babies were high on their lists.

So I was wondering:

What gifts would women like more than a rape-baby?

A flaming bag of dog poop on their porch

Having their house TP'ed

A fruit basket

Any or all of the above.

As always vote on the upper left-hand side of the page.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Florida

Right now Florida is labeled a toss-up in Presidential election. I have no idea why anyone who lives in Florida would even consider voting for Mitt Romney.

Florida gets hit constantly by hurricanes, and relies on FEMA to rescue them. Mitt Romney has said he wants to get rid of FEMA and turn rescuing people over to private companies. How that would work I have no idea. Even the largest insurance companies have pulled out of Florida.

For some other states I can see the appeal. Here in Kentucky we need FEMA every few years. Without FEMA our state government could work out a way plan to save up before a disaster, have the resources available and be ready to deal with the disasters that strike a few times a decade. All we would need is wise lawmakers who cared about their constituents. Okay, we'd be doomed without FEMA.

Florida doesn't even have that option. There have been years that Florida has been hit by four major hurricanes in one summer. Even if the state put emergency management as it's number one priority it can't deal with that on a state level.

In the rest of the nation we do enjoy the benefits that having Florida around brings. Orange Juice, a southern seaport, the space program. It's a win-win situation. Unless as a state, Florida were to tax the hell out of these things, they don't have the money to deal with all the disasters that come their way.

Florida, more than any other state, needs the resources only the Federal Government can provide. Mitt Romney wants to get rid of that support for them, and its voters are split on who to vote for.

So to the voters in Florida, I say, “Shut-up Stupid. Your entire economy is built on having the Federal Government come in a save you every few years. You have a choice between Obama who has shown with hurricane Sandy how the federal government can deal with a disaster, getting praise from one of his harshest critics. Or Mitt Romney, who has said he wants to get rid of that support. Why is this even a question?”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, October 29, 2012

Things we learned from the 80s

In my last poll, 2/3s said Windows 8 will give something new for Apple and Linux users to laugh at, and 1/3 said they are looking forward to having another excuse not to get stuff done.

On to my next poll:

The 80s were a great decade, a time without (much) war. A time when people yelling, that other peoples lifestyles would cause the destruction of the planet, were given tin foil hats, not their own TV (News) shows.

Of course there were dangers we didn't know about.

Which of these would you have liked to know about in the 80s:

That Milli Vanilli were ahead of there time.

Milli Vanilli caused a huge scandal when it was discovered that they didn't actually sing, they just lip synched to stuff done by studio musicians. Now that is almost standard, if not signers use Auto-Tune a computer program that adjusts the singers voice to match the music.

Sigfried and Roy, some things do taste better with age.

Roy worked with Lions for decades, but was not tender enough to eat.

Starring in Music Videos makes you stab baseball players.

Tawny Kitaen appeared in several Ratt videos and was the only reason Whitesnake made the charts. In 2002 she made the news again for stabbing her husband, Chuck Finley, with a stiletto shoe. Since then she has been in and out of rehab.

“The Jungle” is quite fattening.

Axel Rose welcomed us to The Jungle, he didn't tell us how high the Calorie count was. He did warn us that, “You're gonna Die.” He didn't say it was from Type II diabetes.




By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I can't add anything more.

There has been a lot of stupid statements made over the last week. I tried to think of a post condensing them, but Andy Borowitz did such a great job at it I am in awe. G.O.P. SPLIT OVER TO EMPHASIZE MISOGYNY OR RACISM

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, October 22, 2012

Windows 8 Poll

In my last poll voters were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Half liked the idea of being like Carbon forming long chains of bonds, bonding with several elements at once and having those bonds feel useful. Half wanted to live like Helium, not bonding and not reacting.

Personally I couldn't imagine living life without bonding or reacting.

On to the next poll:

Speaking of not reacting, Microsoft is going to release Windows 8 next week. This news has broken records as to the sheer amount of people that just don't care. So:

What is the most positive thing about Windows 8?

More for Mac and Linux users to laugh at.

Equalizes users, nobody can understand it.

A new excuse for not getting stuff done.

Finally a new OS to ignore.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Attacking the facts

Okay, the GOP and Fox news has decided they aren't even going pretend that they have any grasp of reality. Instead they will just gripe about reality has a liberal bias.

There has been a lot of noise about the moderators in the debates doing things like, asking follow-up questions that reveal Ryan's economic plan has no actual plan, and fact checking when Romney tries to pass an obvious lie.

The complaints are that facts have no place in the Debates.

Here are actual facts that the Romney/Ryan team feel are unfair to them:

The President did call the attacks in Libya acts of terror.

The unemployment rate is below 8%, lower than when he took office.

The war in Iraq is over.

The President did give the order to kill Bin Laden, and has directed Special Forces to hunt down and kill members of Al-Qaeda more aggressively than any anti-terrorist operation since Israel's Mossad hunted down the Plotters of the Berlin Olympics massacre.

The question of “if” women should enter the workforce has been settled, a long time ago. (And they don't like being in binders, very few like the three-hole punch.)

The #1 cause of abortions is unintended pregnancy. Contraceptives lower the number of unintended pregnancies.

Obama was born in Hawaii.

An economic plan with no specifics is not a plan.

The auto bailout saved millions of jobs.

The list goes on and on. The Romney team might not like these facts, but that doesn't stop them from being true.

So to everyone yelling that it's unfair to Romney to bring facts into the debate, I say, “Shut-up Stupid. I agree with you that facts and reality are unfair to Romney. But Romney's and the GOP's only argument in this election is that Obama is doing a bad job. If that is your position then you should be able to find real true facts to back that up. While lying is never good, if the GOP campaign dealt with a different approach to problems that face this nation it would be one thing. But if the ONLY thing you are campaigning on is that Obama failed as president, but you have to lie in order make that case then you have no case, period.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Finding Strange Things in Familiar Places

One thing I love about the Universe is whenever we take a new look at something we find things that are totally unexpected.

The latest example of this is the discovery of an Earth sized planet around Alpha Centauri B. The planet is much too close to the star for life to have evolved as we know it, but it is still a great find.

Alpha Centauri's two main stars are by far the most studied stars next to the Sun. They are our closest neighbors and are very similar to our own Sun. One is a little hotter, and one is a little cooler. They are only a billion years older than our own Sun.

For thousands of years humans have looked at the Alpha Centauri system with bigger and bigger telescopes comparing it's stars with our own. After examining all that time it still surprises us with something new.

When you think about it that is pretty much true of all science. From looking at the Cosmos and “knowing” that the universe is made up of atoms and energy, then looking closer and finding out those make up only 3% of the universe. To looking at the Moon after believing it to be fully explored and finding water. It's truly amazing what happens when you give something that has been examined over and over, one more look in a different way.

In science, writing, and all aspects of life, there it's always worth giving things another look, you never know what you might find.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, October 15, 2012

Elemental Poll

It's unanimous everyone who voted in my last poll thought I should renew the contract on my Kraken. This will give the Evil Minions something to play with, and I will enjoy the tax advantages.

So today I will RE-LEASE THE KRAKEN!

On to my next poll:

In the TV show Breaking Bad the theme for the credits is to highlight the people's names with the chemical symbols for different elements. I always wondered if they got to pick which element they would be. It would be terrible to get an element that didn't represent who you are as a person. Here are some of the more colorful elements:

Hydrogen (H): As elements go Hydrogen is kind of a slut, (Not that there is anything wrong with that as long as proper precautions are taken). Hydrogen will energetically bond with anything that isn't too Nobel for that sort of thing. It will bond individually, in pairs, or if it hooks up with Carbon it will form long chains of bonding. The other elements must get nervous when Hydrogen is around as they know it will try to bond with them. It's such a charmer that it usually does.

Helium (He): Helium is the opposite of Hydrogen. It thinks it's too Nobel to go around bonding. Helium and all it's Nobel gas friends not only don't bond, they don't even react. They are the snobs of the elements.

Carbon ( C): Carbon forms strong bonds with a lot of elements. It really likes to form long bonding chains. It uses these bonding chains to do a whole host of useful stuff.

Osmium (Os): Dense and Tough. Both the heaviest element and the one possessing the greatest compressive strength, Osmium is handy to have around in a fight.

Ununoctium (Uuo): The rebel element. It's totally unstable, lives a short but exciting life. It is a member of the Nobel Gases, but true to it's rebel nature it is a solid under normal conditions. It doesn't like to bond but that's okay as it doesn't live long enough to form a bond. It's half-life is 0.89 ms.

So which element would you like to be?

As always vote on the upper-left hand side of the page.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Shut up Stupid Sunday: Moderate Mitt Romney?

This has been bugging me for the last week. After the 2012 Presidential Debate, the Mainstream Media was saying the Moderate Mitt Romney showed up. Moderate compared to what?

One thing he said, “...we’re a nation that believes that we’re all children of the same God.” really irks me.

How is it moderate to say that roughly 20% of the population simply doesn't exist?

The number of Atheists in this country is quickly catching up to the number of people who go to church. 20% to 30% of Americans attend church services. I believe these people exist. How is it that Mitt Romney doesn't believe I exist?

Even George W. Bush knew that Atheists existed. He didn't believe they should be citizens, but he knew they existed.

Has the Overton Window shifted so far to the right that believing that the President should believe in all Americans isn't the moderate stance?

I will grant that Romney has been trying not to insult fewer Americans, from 47% are lazy and dependent on Government hand-outs, to Ryan's claim 30% of Americans are “takers” and now saying 20% of Americans don't exist.

There is nothing moderate about trying to exclude any group of Americans. You can disagree with them and take moderate or extreme positions. But there is absolutely nothing moderate about being a bigot.

In our communities we all work together, play together, work to see our goals and dreams accomplished. People who shout out bigoted things in public are shunned and their friends look at the sidewalk with embarrassed looks on their faces.

If being a bigot in public isn't socially acceptable, how can it be considered a “Moderate Position” when Mitt Romney says bigoted garbage?

So to all those in the mainstream media that say the Mitt Romney that showed up at the debate was the moderate Mitt Romney, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, Hate and Bigotry towards Americans is not a moderate position! There is nothing moderate about someone running for President that hates 1 out of 5 Americans.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writing Wednesday: God Save our Scream Queens

One thing that really miss from the movies I grew up on, then the B-Movies I used to rent was the Scream Queens. The girls who would go over the top in their reaction to the first dead body they ran into before turning into the kick-ass serial killer fighter that saves the day.

Now the leading ladies in movies aren't expected to show any emotion when something bad happens. If things continue like this a horror movie might start out like this:

Leading Lady is sitting on a park bench. Serial Killer in mask rides by on a bike and throws the severed head of her boyfriend into her lap.

Leading Lady (picking up head and looking it over): Oh, it's Bob.

Leading Lady sets head down opens up her scheduling app on her phone: I guess dinner is off.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to go back to the fifties movies where the women were in the film just so the hero could have someone to rescue, but I'd really like for the female stars to react a little to the horror going on around them.

What about you? What do you miss from the old movies?

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, October 8, 2012

Kraken Poll

With one vote Cannibal Nazi Zombies were found to be the scariest monsters Vekman has taken on.

On to the next poll.

Back in 2010 I took out a two year lease on a Kraken. It was a great deal at the time. The Kraken market was hot and it was tough to get your hands on one. Over the last couple years I've found that I really don't use my Kraken that much. Sure having a Kraken is handy, but nowadays there are many Kraken alternatives out there. That's probably why the Kraken market is in a slump.

Now that my lease is up, I was wondering should I:

Buy a new Kraken

Do without a Kraken

or, Re-lease the Kraken

As always vote on the upper left side of the page.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Anti-NASA

Here's an interesting question. What should children who are in middle school today study so they will be in demand when they get out of college?

That depends on what we do today. If we support a strong space program, both manned and robotic, now there are a few fields that will explode in a decade.

As long as we don't keep cutting NASA's budget, in the next decade we will need as many biologists as we can train. This will be from two things.

If will can maintain NASA's barebone budget we will have a few more unmanned landers go to Mars. Evidence of long term water on the surface has been found, if the composition of the soil in this area is as we suspect, it has a good potential for life to have developed. A few more landers and we will see if Mars ever had life.

If we find even fossilized remains of microscopic life that evolved on Mars, biology and life science will be revolutionized. What we know of biology comes from observing life on Earth, it all evolved together. The extremophiles, life that lives in the extreme places like volcanoes and the Antarctic have taught us a lot about the borders of biology, but it is still life that evolved on Earth next to all other Earth life.

If we get a sample of life that evolved somewhere else, we can see what things evolved because they are necessary and what just worked well enough and were held over. Having two examples of life that evolved differently will give biologists an incredible amount of new information. That will lead to new discoveries and filter out to new medicines and medical treatments here on Earth.

This alone will make biology and life sciences a hot field for the next decade.

The second way NASA, at current budget levels, will make biology and life sciences expand is a manned expedition to an Asteroid. Asteroids have amino acids on them. Amino acids are the building blocks of life. Several types of amino acids found on meteorites don't exist on Earth. Studying these in their pure form is bound to lead to new discoveries. Combine that with biological exploration of Mars and life sciences will be making new treatments for decade.

Already if the life sciences division of NASA were independent and the money from its patents went back into its budget, it would be profitable. That's just from the field of zero-gee biology. Private Space companies will tap into this and that research will explode. With a continuation of NASA's programs the explosion will be huge.

Just continuing NASA's budget at current levels means todays middle school students will have a field they can enter and be in demand for the next century. And NASA's budget is tiny. If we spent as much money on NASA as we saved just on air conditioning by withdrawing our troops from Iraq, NASA wouldn't be able to handle that large an increase. 

So to everyone who is against Space Exploration, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, even the tiny amount of the budget we are spending on space now will make sure that the kids in currently in middle school will have a field that they can go into where they are in demand for the next century. The advances that will be made in biology and life sciences alone will more than pay back the investment we make now.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fear Poll

My last poll on which Leviticus approved sex position to use was mixed. I'm sure if I included an all of the above option it would have been a slam dunk.

On to my next poll:

I'm having great fun with my Vekman series. He goes around the country helping people battle scary monsters. So far he has helped Brian battle a succubus, Nomi battle Alien Reptile Overlords and in my latest work in progress he is helping Alexander battle Cannibal Nazi Zombies. I was wondering which is do you find the scariest?

Succubus

Alien Reptile Overlords

Cannibal Nazi Zombies

Here's some cover art to help.


By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Mitt Rmoney

Have you ever watched a movie and had that feeling you've seen it before? You know how it will end, you all the twists and turns. Halfway through you realize you are watching a cheap remake of different movie.

I had that feeling when I watched Mitt Romney on a video was posted on Youtube where he showed his true feelings about America. In it he said:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.”

I've heard those same feelings expressed by business owners right before their companies went down the tubes.

This is very similar thoughts of some business owners who have managed to have a good idea, nurtured good employees under them and built a strong company. Then when things go south start blaming the bottom rung and make the problem worse driving the company to ruin.

What a real manager knows is responsibility is a two way street. In a company a employee comes in and gets a paycheck so they don't starve. Get paid for their work. Hopefully are rewarded for doing more than the minimum. In return the employee does something that makes the company money. The responsibility goes both ways.

When things go well there is the human tendency to pat yourself on the back and employers aren't immune from this. Hopefully the employers remember they didn't do it on their own and reward those who helped.

Then something goes bad.

A good manager will try and find the problem. A bad manager will look for someone to blame. The employees at the bottom are easy to blame as they can't fight back they can only leave.

Just like Mitt Romney looks down on all those people that work hard to keep the country going.

This always leads to ruin.

Mitt Romney never operated a real business. He found successful businesses and smashed them. He made the lowest employees pay for the huge debt he piled on these companies and made a fortune out of the rubble.

The greatest insult was the federal government paid him to do this.

In 2011 he paid 14.1 percent on an income of 13.7 million or $1.9 million. If he had claimed that as income it would be taxed at 35% or $4.8 million. That's $2.9 million the government gave him. He would say he is entitled to that money for making risky investments.

If the country benefited from Mitt's investments (it didn't) that would be great, but the country also benefits from the work done by those 47% that Mitt looks down on.

Small business owners benefit from food stamps. If an employee doesn't get enough to eat, they can't work. Without minimum wage jobs all the people that depend on work done by the minimum wage workers would suffer. If you like eating, you are dependent on someone who uses food stamps.

If you like not being invaded, you are dependent on the troops whose combat pay is exempt from federal income tax.

If Mitt Romney had run a real company he would know about the symbiotic relationship that is needed to make a company succeed. A good company needs good workers, good workers need a good company that rewards, or at least recognizes their talent. You can't have one without the other.

So to Mitt Romney, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, not only are you looking down on the people you need to live your life now, but you are looking down on all the workers your dad's company, American Motors, whose work put you through school, helped your dad to become governor so you could build up a network of investors, and gave you the means to be in the position you are today.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, September 17, 2012

Leviticus Poll

In my last poll I asked how readers rank fake reviews. 75% gave them a Brown Dwarf Star, the dimmest possible star. Knowing that readers rank them so low will certainly make people stop doing that.

On to the next poll:

Evangelicals protesting gay marriage point to Leviticus 18:22 saying, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." I'm not quite sure what that has to do with gay marriage (or as most of the world calls it: Marriage). When I read those words from Leviticus, it seems to be a comfort issue. I can see how it might be uncomfortable for two dudes to do it missionary style without the help of a few pillows. I sure anyone with an Internet connection can see it as well if they want.

If you really wanted your sex to be Leviticus approved which would you choose.

Sitting

Standing

Kneeling

Using a sex swing

Not sure why anyone would use Leviticus as a sex counselor, but oddly curious about what people think the outcome would be.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: The war on Math

The Chicago Teachers Strike is in the news. Here's a few facts about it:

The teachers in Chicago were offered a 16% raise, 3% this year and 2% for each of the next three years. The math teachers said no. It's almost like math teachers know basic arithmetics.

But the primary reason for the strike is not over pay, it's over teacher protection. Some teachers feel that their job is to teach students the basic skills they need to survive in the world. That means some parents will object to their children being taught this. The unions protect them from being fired over doing their job. On the flip side some “bad” teachers manage to get protected as well.

I can remember a really “bad” teacher in my high school. He had been teaching there forever. He was a few years from retirement and was just punching the clock waiting it out. He picked up the chalk twice in the year I was in his class. That was just because a student teacher was in to observe. Oddly he really knew his stuff and how to explain it. He just wasn't motivated the rest of the year.

Okay, lets consider him a “bad” teacher. All he did was babysit us. So he should be paid what a babysitter makes, right?

A babysitter charges $5 an hour to babysit a kid. $5 an hour times 40 students is $200. Times that by 6 hours a day is $1,200. Teachers work around 180 days a year. So this “bad” teacher is worth about $216,000 a year for being a babysitter.

So it is horrible that the unions protect these “bad” teachers and allow them to make $71,000 a year when they are only worth $216,000 a year!

The most important thing that the Chicago teachers are striking over is the standardized tests to “measure” teacher performance. I wrote about standardized tests and rote learning two and a half years ago. 

What standardized test do is encourage the “bad” teachers to teach the easy way through rote learning, the process of having someone repeat something over and over again so they can spit out the answer with knowing the concepts behind it. It also punishes the “good” teachers, who actually care about making sure their students learn the subjects they are teaching.

The Chicago teachers strike shows the dedication of teachers. What they are asking for is to be able to do their jobs. They don't want to have their students grow-up to think 9.8% is 16% or that $71,000 is greater than $216,000. Unfortunately they are butting heads with people who not only don't understand the concepts behind what they were taught, but are determined to impose that way of thinking on the next generation.

So to everyone who is against letting the Chicago teachers actually do their jobs, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, just because you've learned things the wrong way doesn't give you the right to enforce that on the next generation.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Writing Wednesday: What does it mean?

This is a simple thing, but too often writers forget. In a story everything means something.

The character you are focusing on when an event happens needs to react to what ever just happened. If the event didn't inspire a reaction it doesn't need to be in the story. I realize that almost sounds like a rule and it probably is but its a very flexible rule.

In MIND THIEF, I had a problem character. This girl Debbie was just there until the her major scene. The problem wasn't her, it was my main character's reactions to her. He didn't have any. She humiliated in public then apologized his first draft reaction, “That's nice”. Final draft reaction, “Well that takes some guts”.

Later when she slips out of her accent he laughs at his paranoid thoughts that her losing her accent makes her evil. (it does).

The reactions don't have to be huge but they have to be there.

In an pure action story the reactions are simple. Something happens and the character can attack it or use it for an attack later.

One scene I am always remembering is in the original (worth watching) Wayne's World. The driver for Mr. Big's Limo pulls Wayne and Garth aside and explains the communication rig set up in the limo. Wayne asks why he is showing it to them, the driver says, “You might be interested in it later.” Later they use that information and Wayne says, “Gee, at the time I thought it was just extraneous information.”

If it's not a comedy you should probably make it a bit more subtle, but the same rule applies. Wayne didn't just absorb the “extraneous information” he wondered why it was being given to him.

If the character doesn't react to what you've put in front of them the reader won't react either. If the reader isn't reacting long enough, they will react by putting the book down.

The reactions don't have to be conclusive, most of the time it's better if they aren't. Wondering why is a normal reaction. Jumping to the wrong conclusion is a reaction. But the character has to react.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Monday, September 10, 2012

Buying Book Review Poll

First off I'd like to thank everyone for naming the world's newest Supervillianess. With Commando Cuddle on the loose no lap is safe from being plundered. And all the cries of “Don't tread on me!” won't stop her from treading.

On to the next poll:

There has been a lot of talk about buying book reviews and using false names to give competition lower reviews.

I have a confession to make. I gave my minions a can of tuna to give my books good reviews. This would have been more effective if they: A) could write. B) had a computer. That would have been a waste of a buck if they didn't pay me back in hugs.

As far giving the competition bad reviews through fake names. I've been tempted to make a bunch of fake accounts and tell that hack William Shakespeare: Enough with the Iambic Pentameter already. And, When are you going to write something new? But A) I'm too lazy. B) With millions of books out even if you keep someone from reading one book you've only changed your odds to 1 in 999,999 that a person will read yours.

There is being an unethical business-person, and then there is being a shitty person. Trashing someone's work for a tiny increase in the odds, is using unethical business practices to justify being a shitty person. Not the greatest justification.

So how do you rate fake reviews?

A) 16 stars out of 5
B) 1 Brown Dwarf Star
C)Negative Infinity
D) Couldn't Care Less

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Four Years ago

In his convention speech, Mitt Romney asked, “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?” I don't know if Mitt is better off, seriously I have no idea, he won't release his tax returns from 4 years ago.

Romney sees absolutely no problem asking something that he won't personally answer.

For me four years ago really sucked. I found out what my house was worth at that time, Zero! I found out what a 850 credit score was worth then, Zero!

As a former Vice-President of an Oil Company, I can't claim to be an unsophisticated investor. But when ALL the financial advice was pay down your mortgage and build a high credit score that way you can get through rough times, and that turns out to be wrong at the moment I needed it, something is amiss.

Still there were somethings better four years ago. Not much traffic, no one had any place to go.

The factory workers had lots of free time. The massive lay-offs hadn't yet began, but unpaid vacations and half shifts were all the rage. The unemployed had an extra time. I remember one Sunday in the fall of '08 when the major newspaper had a one page employment section, that was with the non-classified ads. In the 90s I had to run ads in that paper and they were $40 a line and it would take me 15 minutes to find my little ad.

It was nicer going into a store in '08. The clerks were glad to see a human being. They didn't care if you were a customer, they were just glad you had a pulse.

And of course, Bin Laden thought things were better four years ago, he was running a terrorist operation then, now he's fish food.

So to the idiots who ask, “Are you better off now than four years ago.” I say, “Shut-up Stupid, if you can remember that time at all you know the answer is 'yes'.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Writing Wednesday: Revision Edition

In my morning reading of writer's blogs I was struck by the number of writers who are in the stage of rewriting where they are totally frustrated. Since I'm still on a high from finishing my rough draft of SHOWGIRLS AND ALIENS and finished the final draft of MIND THIEF a month ago. I'm in a good state of mind to talk about revisions.

One thing that gets writers down about revisions is not having a plan. It doesn't matter if you wrote the first draft as a plotter or a pantser, for the revision you have to break it down into manageable chunks.

I do this in steps by answering questions.

WHY SHOULD THE READER CONTINUE TO READ?

If you answered because of my great characters, great plot, incredible prose, or anything else that most of my Literature Professors talked about then you've got a problem. That's not why a reader invests their time in a book. The reader needs an emotional investment in your book.

To give them emotional investment you need something happening to them. Something that keeps raising the stakes throughout the book.

I've talked about my three P's of writing before. Peril, Ponder, or Polar Bear. In the two books that I just finished up I had all three for different characters.

In MIND THIEF, Howie, the protagonist, was hit by the Polar Bear, the WTF moment, throughout the book. Why was he dreaming of living a different life? Why did it seem all the people around him were lying to him? Why did he have these horrible visions?

In every chapter with Howie I made sure these WTF moments showed up and were prominent. He spent the first two thirds of the book asking “What is going on?”

The Antagonist, Joe Harriman's P was the Pondering. I made sure each chapter showed how he made a decision that changed his life. His deciding to kill a football player to get into the Navy's flight program. To kill millions to advance his research. To kill... Okay his decision were always to kill people but he did have to ponder them.

In SHOWGIRLS AND ALIENS Nomi's life was in peril. So I needed to raise the stakes constantly. At every turn she needed to defeat the bad guys only to have them come back stronger.

So in one revision look to see what is influencing the characters. Are they in danger for most of the book? If so make sure it's mentioned in each chapter.

Do they need to make decisions on which course of action to take? If so it should be in every chapter.

Are they trying to make sense of a world gone mad? Again, every chapter.

It will make the reader continue reading.

INTERNAL CONFLICT

Character need to battle themselves as much as they need to battle the bad guys. My character Nomi was an Olympic level gymnast. Her parents devoted everything in pursuit of that goal. After they were killed she couldn't perform. In order to beat the bad guys she needs to use all the skills they trained her. So she has a internal conflict going on. She has to trust herself when all her life she just trusted blindly in what her parents told her to do. In order to win she must grow up. Something she resisted.

In one revision go back through and find every major character's internal conflict and make sure it is not only shown, but that it relates to the external conflict that is going on. By amping up the internal conflict it makes the external conflict more powerful.

Those two steps bring out your character, now how about the plot?

THEME

Every book has a theme. An overriding message. What's the theme of book? Write it down in one sentence.

MIND THIEF – True love conquers all.

SHOWGIRLS AND ALIENS – Believe in yourself.

Look through your book and find what that overriding theme is. Then go through make sure that theme comes through in actions your characters take. Throughout the books twists and turns make sure that theme is there.

LOOK AT YOUR BOOK AGAIN

After doing those three revisions the book suddenly isn't hard to edit anymore. It has clear powerful characters and a clear path from start to finish. Sure there are some points that seem impossible to fix. Those will come, sometimes out of the blue, but they will come.

In MIND THIEF I spent a year with a huge plot problem. Howie was in extreme peril. He had less than two weeks to live. That's peril! The problem was only the bad guys knew that fact. Over and over I wondered, “How do I show the reader the peril he is in?”

Out of the blue it hit me. Start with the bad guys POV. They know that Howie is in danger, they are planing on taking his life. Sometimes major plot problems are that simple to fix.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Two Words

There are two words that fill a writers heart with emotion: THE END

I just finished the rough draft of my latest book. A fun little novella that takes place in An Extra Topping of Horror's universe. Here's a little hint what it's about:


One problem I had in writing the ending to An Extra Topping of Horror was the man in the trilby hat should have popped up at the end with all the others. But he was way too pushy. He could either have just a paragraph or another full adventure. He wouldn't settle for half measures. So I ended up leaving him out.

He kept bouncing around in my head asking for another adventure. Then I was talking to my wife about bad movies. Everyone has their own list but here's mine:

The Star Wars Prequels

Batman and Robin

Roadhouse

Showgirls

My wife said that Showgirls was in a class by itself because nothing could save it. Challenge Accepted.

I said, the producer could have sent the script to Hunter S Thompson and Chris Carter and have them hammer out a workable script.

Her reply was, “That would be...Awesome!”

I had my concept.

Stealing liberally from other bad films I came up with a novella that had me laughing my ass off as I wrote it and gave the man in the trilby hat something to do and he even got a name. Vekman.

I was surprised how much “character” I could give my heroes Nomi and Vekman in a short little novella. It was supposed to be a light action comedy but those two really captured my heart.

That's why typing THE END is so hard for me. I love that the book is done. They saved the world and all. But at the same time I'm saying goodbye to the characters I've known and loved for a few months.

Luckily I'll be spending time with them in the rewrites. And I left this one open for a sequel. So whenever the world is in danger and can only be saved by a crossbow wielding man in a trilby hat and a drug using stripper named Nomi they will be back.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Writing Wednesday: New Release

Another freebie for everyone. I'm giving away two more short stories. A Home to Die For.



Two weird little tales that I wrote. I've put both of them up on this blog before.

A Home to Die For and The Adjuster.

These two stories have really evil guys in them who have very clear motivations. So I think they pair together nicely.

As far as writing them the process couldn't be more different.

With A Home to Die For, I wrote it. Checked my grammar and spelling, gave it to wife who checked my grammar and spelling. Then sent it to Alienskin magazine who bought it. If writing was like that all the time I could be a full time writer and not have any worries.

With The Adjuster it was the opposite. I knew I had a powerful idea, so I typed it up. I loved the ending but wasn't that thrilled with the rest. I asked my wife what she thought and she said, “My god, did that suck!”

After some prodding she told me she hated the character of Maria. I worked on Maria a bit but the story still kind of sucked. So I shelved it. But it still nagged at me. Several months later I opened it up and reread it. I noticed I told the tale rather than showed it. I rewrote it again.

It still had that suckyness but was readable. Not good enough to publish but it had the ideas I wanted to convey. I shelved it again.

It still nagged me, so months later I read it again. Rewrote the Adjuster's part and threw it up as a post. It still nagged me but I was able to ignore that for nearly two years. I would see something that I'd like to put in it. Or think about it.

So I pulled it out again. Rewrote it. Put it up for my Critique Group at Scribophile. They made some really cool suggestions and I rewrote it again.

Nearly 4 years after I wrote it I feel it is good enough to be sent out into the world. Hopefully I will never work that much on a short story again.

I hope you enjoy the re-re-re-re-re-rewritten version.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE