Monday, April 4, 2016

George Awards: Congratulate them on Being Observant

This post contains bad, foul, filthy and unacceptable language - the words that “will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and maybe, even bring us, God help us, peace without honor.”

This is not a post for children.  Kids, take a hike.
This is also not a post for those adults who are offended by this type of language.  Do yourself a favor, and go read some of my cute stuff before moral outrage can kick in.
Just about everything else on this blog is clean…Stupid sometimes, but clean.
End of Warning.

We’ve passed the end of the movie listing section of the third edition of the George Awards.

Now it’s time for a bit of individual recognition before we put the lid back on the Pandora's box of profanity once again.

To look like I’ve completely run off on a tangent, I’m going to talk about how my entire family has become huge fans of Peter David.

After being submerged in boredom and confusion on a large number of awful Star Trek novels I previously grabbed by the bushel at used book sales in my youth, I’ve given up on them completely except for a couple of authors. I still, however,  actively seek out David’s novels.

I count Young Justice  as one of only two comic book series that I found that I missed when it was cancelled, rather than viewing it as a cost saving. (My usual view on comic cancellations.)  It was also the first complete series I read to my daughter.  She loved every issue and when the characters switched over to Teen Titans she lost interest because, “They aren’t fun anymore.”

My sister has the same cost based view of comic cancellation as I do.  We were both enjoying Dan Slott’s She Hulk run when I told her the writer was changing. Her first response:
“Good, I’ll save money.”
Her response after I told her it was changing to Peter David:

She also dressed up as a character he created in Young Justice - the Mighty Endowed- at Lunacon one year, thanks to great personal courage, and a friend who’s handy at wiring motorcycle headlights.  She even impressed the “Sick Pups.”

Dad stayed out of almost all family comic conversations outside of reminding us the people in them were fictional. Growing up the only comics he read were Mad and some Captain Marvel.

Mom has always been a comics fan, and an integral part of my comics supply chain. She would occasionally pass Dad a Shazam comic, and that was all.
Except for Peter David’s –still criminally uncollected in trade- Atlantis Chronicles. That  stack she gave to him immediately upon finishing with a. “You have to read this!”  He did and bestowed high praise upon it .

I think Mom was more excited than I was when I told her I was using birthday money to buy David’s entire Aquaman run on EBay one year. 

She is a diehard DC fan, and has almost no interest in any Marvel comic. 

Every trade of Astonishing X-men I gave her led to the following conversation:
“Why did you give me a Marvel comic?”
“It’s X-men written by the Buffy guy. You liked the movies with them in it, and you liked the other issues of the series you read.”
“Oh ok.”
Then it sat at the bottom of her comics pile for months, until she would read it, give it back and say with surprise:
“That was really good.”

When I gave her Wolverine: First Class or Hulk, it  led to the following conversation::
“Why did you give me a Marvel comic?”
“It’s Peter David.”
The books would come back to me with a “this was great” sticky note on it the next weekend.

I can judge my wife’s comic interest similarly by wait time on her comic pile.
The Peter David stuff always comes back with a smile immediately. (That is, my wife smiles… I’m not deranged enough to read facial expressions on comic books yet.)

To step back to the Hulk for a moment.  I became a fan after his historic run with Mr. Banner, and at this point am waiting for the Omnibus release notification.

Besides his books, I also regularly read Peter David’s blog, including tracking down the two books of his old postings from "But I Digress."  This is not only because he’s a writer who started out in a more pedestrian and non-creative type career. (There’s hope!)

I read it because it’s well written, funny, and he’s got a daughter about the same age as mine which leads to some similar experiences.  When I don’t agree with him, he usually explains his point in a way that forces me to think about and understand my viewpoint better.

His movie reviews are also more in line with my viewing opinions than any other reviewer on Earth. I'm still kicking myself for listening to everyone except him and missing both John Carter and Speed Racer on the big screen, both of which were awesome.

It's fairly amazing how often our opinions and viewpoints do line up, considering he’s Jewish and very much liberal leaning and I come from unflinchingly Catholic conservative roots.

I guess there’s something to be said for NY/NJ backgrounds, open mindedness, rational thinking and a fundamental belief that people shouldn't act like assholes, overcoming dogma and political teachings.

Another aside based on those roots of mine: The summer I bought all the Fallen Angel serieses, Mom’s review after I worked through the stack in record time was, “I feel like I should be offended by these, but they’re really good.”

On this blog of his, he pointed out in three decades he’d never gotten nominated for a Hugo award.

He’s been gracious about it, but it still made me sad.

As much of a fan of his that I and my family are, I utterly lack any power to bestow a Hugo on him.

I can, however, grant him a George Award!

He is by no means a constant user of profanity, but does wield it with both expertise and excellence in times of need.

As I pointed out, he has an open mind, and normally allows discourse of all viewpoints in the comments on his blog.  There are some readers who appear to visit the site solely to comment opposing ideas.

However, when he has an opinion he knows isn’t going to change, particularly in emotionally charged moments, he states it directly, informs people he will not change it, does not want to discuss why he should change it, and asks them not to try to convince him to change it.  In this specific case, he (appropriately like many others) was deeply affected by yet another mass shooting.

NOTE:  Please do not use this post to start up a comments argument about Gun Control.  These awards are for fun, not battle. I’m not specifically endorsing nor condemning the content of his George Award winning post, only awarding the form. I’ve made it clear that I think both extreme sides of this issue (and most other politically charged ones) are too far past the point of rationality for me to actively want to be associated with either.  

No, passing more versions of the laws we have yet simultaneously campaigning to remove ways to enforce the laws while we all sing Kumbaya will not make guns magically disappear from bad guys’ hands.

No, the back in the days of muskets when the founding fathers specifically defined a militia, they did not feel it was a God Given Right handed down by the Almighty that everyone, no matter how crazy, should be able to anonymously amass a personal locker of automatic weapons.

Now back to Mr. David’s award worthy expressions:

It started when he had posted about the desire to see what would happen with anti-gun presidential candidate, correctly citing that there have been many candidates with platforms focused on turning legal items illegal and vice versa..

Right from the beginning he civilly pointed out that he didn’t want to hear why it wasn’t legally, morally, fiscally, whateverally possible.

When commenters continually pushed further, he started replying very simply to get his point across with:
“Yes, but I don’t give a shit.”

When that was ignored far more than enough times, and there were still multiple posts ignoring the transparent indications that he was honestly and justifiably upset and  not looking for a debate this time around, he finally wielded profanity deftly as an expert practitioner to close down the argument once and for all with those who felt, "I don't give a shit" was too subtle:

“In fact, let me be more clear: I don’t give a shit about every counter argument. I don’t give a fuck. I don’t give a damn. I am sick to fucking God of people like *name deleted*, whose every photo on Wikipedia has him wielding a gun, giving me cold blooded responses and ignoring the fact that PEOPLE ARE FUCKING DYING.

So any pro-gun people who want to respond, let me assure you that YOU ARE WASTING YOUR GODDAMN TIME BECAUSE I HAVE NO INTEREST IN WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY. I am FURIOUS at this country, I am FURIOUS at the people like you whose mindset has a dozen reasons why we need everyone to be armed so we can all fucking shoot each other. Enough. ENOUGH. SHUT THE FUCK UP because I am FUCKING SICK OF YOU.


And for that magnificent tirade highlighting that there are certain emotional states where only profanity will serve: Mr. Peter David- you are completely deserving of a Special George Award.

On to some horrifically sad news:

My friend Randy from college, who put the “Amazing” in the “Amazing” RPI Juggling club by virtue of occasionally being known as “Amazing Randy” passed away recently.  His amazingness applied to being a father, photographer, juggler, engineer and many other things.

We stayed in occasional social media contact over the years, and I bring this up not to be depressing, but to remind everyone to keep those “occasional contacts” a little more than occasional, because life is too damn short.

I’m honoring Randy today, who used profanity far less than I did (or do), for a precision strike where only the use of this specific word could truly convey the conduct of another individual.

Randy was tasked with getting our (Amazing) RPI Juggling Club t-shirts made.  We knew there were some issues, which we realized reached an ugly crescendo one evening.

Amazing Randy’s Amazing response to the question, “How are the t-shirts coming?” was the infinitely informative (and, in case I didn’t mention it, Amazing):

“Well, I’ve taken to referring to the t-shirt guy as Mr. Fuckhead.”

Now, in order to end on a happier note, two George Awards to personal friends based around ice cream.

For many of his high school years, my friend Steve worked in the Denville Dairy ice cream parlor.  In passing, he mentioned that he hated making egg creams because they were so messy.  

Since my genetic history is one half Brooklyn, I am a huge egg cream fan.  

Since the other half of my genetic history is The Bronx, I am a bigger fan of being a smartass.

Therefore I would stop in whenever I knew he was working to have a large frothy egg cream.

On one occasion, he noticed me walk in and glared at me through the other customers as I waited my turn on his long line.  When I reached the front, I smiled a large, warm and open grin and said, "Hello, Sir. I would like a large egg cream please."

His eyes bored through me and through clenched teeth he fired off:

Earning him both a horrified look from the far younger and less experienced girl working the counter next to him  watching him break every rule of customer service at once, and his very own George Award.  Congratz Steve!

For the big finale to bring us back around to the namesake of this award, I present another tale from RPI and a second ice cream adventure.

In 1984, WAAAAAAAAAAY before George Carlin’s series of books that were mostly straight forward transcripts of his routines, he had a large format paperback bearing the name Sometimes a Little Brain Damage Can Help. It was much closer to a stage show program than a novel in format, and the layout was free form and visually groovy.

On the page of “Celebrity Predictions” was a short gag I tried to tell everyone I knew, “Prince Charles and Lady Di will shock the royal family by naming their next child…” 

Except I could never finish the bit because I would collapse in uncontrollable laughter just thinking about it.  

Years later, I was at the college dining hall with the gang including my friend since 1st grade – guy who taught me to juggle and convinced me to do a comedy radio show – and eventual Best Man, Jesse.

Jesse similarly used profanity far less than I did (or do…which applies to most of the planet I suppose) but when he did it was with mastery.

I was enjoying a some soft serve vanilla ice cream, and had it down to where the it was even with the top of the cone.

Jesse looked over and said, “I bet you can’t fit that whole thing in your mouth.”

Because I was a college age male, I immediately proved him wrong.

Right before I hyperextended my jaw a second time to retrieve the fragile cone encased frozen treat from within my skull, he leaned across the table, stared into my eyes and quietly stated the name from that Carlin prediction:

“Fucko Bazoo.”

I cried ice cream out of my tear ducts for a month and a half.

This George Award inspired by Mr. Carlin himself is for you Jesse.

A final note of hope for the future, and a pseudo-George.

Driving my daughter home from dance class a couple of weeks ago, I made an accurate, if smartass, crack about how she always skipped half the songs on her favorite playlists.

She answered by calling me a completely disrespectful and rude name, which should have resulted in immediate discipline.

This was not possible as I was too busy trying to keep from crashing the car into anything while holding on to the wheel for dear life in convulsions of hysterics.

I think “Poopyface Magee” may be Fucko Bazoo’s younger cousin.

Good night everyone, the George Awards will, of course, eventually return.

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