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


“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