Archive for January, 2012:
Recently we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. Facebook and Twitter lit up with MLK Jr quotes and bold statements about acceptance. Though I have never heard this quoted anywhere else, I have always thought that MLK Jr had the following principle at heart: if you wish to be accepted by society, you must first show society that you can be a useful part of the culture. King suggested that his people be peaceful protestors who advocated their own worth, and even today this continues to be a valuable idea.
There’s value to the other side, too. You don’t have to conform to what’s already in a society to prove you can have value in it. “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” has its own merits. And every year I lived in Los Angeles, you can bet I wasn’t going to miss the West Hollywood Gay Pride Parade on Halloween. I have never seen better costumes anywhere than what I saw there every year, everywhere I turned. One year, the string quartet from “Titanic” played as they walked, complete with old-time life vests and icicles hanging from their faces and sleeves. Another year, a human Oscar and an Emmy stood on raised daises at one end of the walk. Parade goers could grasp them by the calves and get their picture taken as if accepting a life-sized award. But wearing your purple, thigh-high shazam boots with only a green over-the-shoulder thong isn’t really the way to convince society that you belong.
But the issue of one group trying to get a legitimate foothold in society doesn’t end there: anti-weight discrimination groups are in the mix now. (“We’re here, we’re spheres, get used to it”). But a new group has a dog in the fight, too: the medical marijuana contingent.
Let’s start with a breakdown:
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It’s no secret that I dislike most advertising, but I can stomach it when it’s straight with me. “Here’s our product. You should buy it for these reasons.” On the other hand, I know advertising is never straight with us. Just because you got a low-carb crust on your pizza doesn’t mean it’s good for you, and no matter how exorbitantly happy the people in the ad are, Eggies just don’t work.
Embedded advertising has the opportunity to be blatant or sublime. As a long time fan of “House” I almost turned the show off right after Odette Annabel told Charlyne Yi about how her car senses turns and slows down for her. If a car can do that, why can’t an actual person sense blatant stupidity and edit it out of the script?
Sometimes sponsorship is just there – yes, Eureka runs on Subaru, we get it. And Breaking Bad was all about the Aztek. I’m not sure if Pontiac was trying to make a point that your Aztek in so handy you could run a meth lab out of it, but maybe they were!
Other sponsorships seem just as sketchy or worse. Why does Harley Davidson sponsor Sons of Anarchy? I know that there are tons of biker fans who watch the show and will possibly purchase a Harley (aside from the standard masses like me who simply drool when one goes by.) But several years ago a wide net was cast and massive RICO and drug charges were brought on the Hell’s Angels. This may be the spark that started the show, but does H-D want to be associated with that? There’s a definite balance to be had between sales and arrests. With the addition of the second Sons of Anarchy sponsor I really have to wonder about the advertising. Yes, sponsor number two is Miller Light. Is this an appeal for us all to drink and drive? Is Smith & Wesson going to join them in sponsorship for Season 5? It really would make the trifecta.
Chickens – the top creature names are in!
Thank you to everyone who submitted names. If you see yours in the poll, congratulations, you are in the finals. If you don’t see yours in the poll, you can still win! The submitter of the winning name and one voter (vote will be pulled at random) will win a free copy of Bite Size or a free creature (your choice).
So vote, vote, vote, vote! (Yes, you can vote 4 times to increase your chances of winning!)
1 – email your vote to me at AJ@AJScudiere.com
2 – vote in the poll above
3 – vote in the poll on Facebook – become my friend (AJ Scudiere)
4 – tweet your vote (@ajscudiere)
Last Chance to Name the Creature!
We’ve had a great number of names suggested, but there’s still a little bit of time to get your entry in.
Remember, if your entry wins, you’ll get a free copy of Bite Size (short story collection that you can only win) OR your very own whatever-his-name-is.
We’ll narrow the selection down to at least the top five and then voting will happen through a Smart Chickens email and on Facebook. The answer is YES! If you get the newsletter and are my friend on Facebook you can vote twice! So feel free to friend me if you haven’t already (AJ Scudiere).
Voting will start next Monday and go through Wednesday. After that we’ll announce the winning name for the creature and the winning Chicken who came up with it!
So far, we’ve had names with meaning, fun names, and sweet names . . . So be sure to get yours into the mix and get your chance to win your own creature.
Every family has its points of pride . . . some are the most active members at their churches. Some families are the wealthiest on the block, or in the town. Some families are politically or socially connected. My family is none of those things.
We can start with the fact that we are geeky . . . and proud of it. My little brother at age two would dunk his basketball and yell out any of a variety of great phrases “Rim shot!” “Nothin’ but net” “He shoots, he scores!” but he could also name every dinosaur ever known to man – including a full range of therapods. And you did not want to get into an argument with that kid. You would lose.
So I thought I would share some fun notes from my family.
When my kids were little and asked about something electrical, my Dad would always wind up asking them if something was an insulator or a conductor. My favorite moment came when my three year old son looked at Grampa with an ‘are you crazy?’ look on his face. But rather than telling Grampa that he was three and what did he know? he said “It’s a conductor, Grampa. Everyone knows that.” (They have since moved on to capacitance.)
The idea for my first book – Resonance – was sparked when my father handed me a photocopied journal paper on Polar Reversal Theories. At the dinner table.
I’m the creature from the front cover of God’s Eye and I need a name. Whoever submits the winning name will receive one of me for free!
You can submit your entries here in the comments, on Facebook (AJScudiere), on Twitter (@AJScudiere), or via e-mail (AJ@AJScudiere.com).
The best names will be listed for a vote in a couple of weeks.
Here are the rules:
No spoiler names!
Those of you who have read God’s Eye know who is on the cover, so you can’t give that away.
That’s it – anything else is up for grabs.
I will be available for sale on AJ’s website in Mid-February (with my new name) when the God’s Eye AudioMovie releases. Look for a discount code for me when you buy your special edition USB!
Looking forward to your submissions!
-He who has yet to be named
I know we spend our time here with the absurd and ironic. We are snarky and irreverent. But this time it’s about new years and resolutions, so we are going to take this one time to stop and be serious – just for a moment.
Like everyone else, for this new year – this election year – I want a New America. Or maybe I just want to fix the old one. But I have realized we can’t do that until we take care of one thing: we need to become America first. We live here and we give ourselves the moniker, but few of us are real Americans. Wait. Let me explain – I’m not talking about flag-flying patriotism. I’m talking about the basis for this nation.
We were founded by peoples fleeing from religious and government oppression. We came to a land where no one was native. (The ‘Native Americans’ bear a misnomer – they immigrated across the Bering Strait. Though they did it first, they are still immigrants.) Once here, we found ourselves in groups – protestants, ‘natives’, Europeans – and we fought like dogs to each protect our group.
The irony is that it wasn’t just our founding fathers who have felt this isolation and persecution. The ‘Great American Melting Pot’ does not melt things smoothly or quickly. In the 1800s, it was common to see signs that read “No Irish”. In the 1900s the signs read “No Blacks”. Today the signs read “No Mexicans” or “No Gays”. Have we learned nothing?