Archive Page 2

16
Aug
09

Michael Vick and the Amish: If we don’t forgive?

The news that Michael Vick signed with the Philadelphia Eagles left me feeling bemused and more than a bit conflicted.  Clearly, Vick was punished for his crime, that can’t be debate. Michael Vick lost millions, his reputation, a chunk of his pro football career and served 18 months in prison.  So in terms of payback to society one could argue Michael Vick paid his debt and I was close to forgiveness.

But then one of the ESPN commentators on the radio flamed the fires of revenge for me.  We were reminded that this wasn’t just a matter of fighting dogs that were tortured and killed, as though somehow they deserved that horrific fate but we were reminded of the cruelties to everyday family pets.  You know pets, those trusted loyal companions that functions as friend, family and companion.  We were reminded that small fuzzy, defenseless dogs were thrown into the pits to be killed as a sort of sick warm up for the main dog fighting event.  In fact, Vick had no qualms about sacrificing and killing his own family pets. As a dog and animal lover I find the behavior reprehensible and a form of betrayal belonging to a lower form of life, definitely bordering on the sub-human.  How could any sentient creature be so cruel?  Then I remembered, oh right, we’re talking human beings were acts of cruelty occur every day as if it was an integral part of our DNA. As we race to 7 billion being served, it’s not surprising to find that the deviants and sadists, even if they are the decided minority, are stilling teeming in absolute numbers. That’s the other cruel joke, that is when we assume global warming can be divorced from population control but I’ll save that commentary for another blog.

I remember some of the Michael Vick excuses.  It was the warrior culture Vick came from that engendered his behavior but hell after a losing game I don’t recall the fans stringing and hanging up the losing quarterback by his feet like they did to inferior fighting dogs?  Vick commented that this was the culture the adults in his childhood exposed him to but I’m sorry if Nazi Germany taught us anything it’s that as citizens we have a responsibility to know and do the right thing.  Torturing any creature is verboten in my book as it is for most of us despite what any given authority figure might say.

So, now I am agitated and upset regarding Vick and the other cruel sadists bastards that I have to share this once pretty little planet with.  Then I remember a transcendental moment a couple of years ago.  I think most of us vaguely remember the sad school massacre of five Amish children back in 2006, unfortunately these horrific incidents tend to blur into one another as the public become inured to the horror. The media was all over the story talking to the Amish parents who were trying to console the family of the man who performed the hideous crime.  One of the grieving mothers quoted a familiar Amish phrase, “If we don’t forgive, how can we be forgiven?”  Say it quickly and it almost sounds like a trite aphorism, light and somewhat soothing when you are dealing with some small slight from another person.  Say it when you daughter was just massacred because some deficient creature couldn’t get over the loss of his own daughter and it borders on sainthood.  And that’s was just what the Amish were saying as they embraced the grieving family of the mass murderer.

So should we forgive Michael Vick and his transgressions? Frankly, I think Michael Vick’s remorse is as ephemeral as Don Cheney’s Vietnam war record. And then I think of those words, “If we don’t forgive, how can we be forgiven?”

Cheers,

Erik John Bertel

Vick Media Update:  I listened to a few sound bites from the 60 Minutes interview and the Michael Vick mea culpa.  I could not force myself to watch the whole spectacle because I knew Vick was being handled and coached.  I wasn’t wrong because this morning ESPN reported that Vick has hired a media consultant team that has assembled a 42 page media crisis guide that will address the rehabilitation of Vick’s tarnished public persona. Listening to a few sound bites and reading between the scripted words he sounded more like he was sorry that he was caught rather than being truly repentant for his hideous actions in torturing dogs. When you realize that dog fighting is tied to gambling and organized crime well lets just say I’m rooting for the Giants anyway.On the plus side I don’t believe he will become a serial killer.

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11
Aug
09

The Ebu Gogo Legend and Flores Girl Novel

Flo: A lead Character in Flores Girl

The Ebu Gogo (pronounced abu, rhymes with Paula Abdul) are the main characters in a traditional folk story told by the Flores Islanders. As the main characters in the island legends the Ebu Gogo are described as a small, nasty people with a voracious appetite that sometimes included the devouring of the occasional human baby. The Ebu Gogo were said to walk awkwardly and could be heard to murmuring in their own language and were said to be capable of parroting human speech. When they could tolerate the Ebu Gogo no more the Flores islanders drove the small people in the direction of the caves, perhaps near Liang Bau or perhaps they burned the survivors alive. In any case, these stories were probably told to keep truculent Flores children in line in much the same fashion as some western fairy tales are told.

Some scientists believe that the folk lore maybe a shared cultural memory of Homo floresiensis but there is no solid evidence to support that theory. However, legends have the Ebu Gogo disappearing about 400 years ago at the time of the arrival of the Portuguese explorers. Scientists working on the Homo floresiensis find have also referred to the Ebu Gogo as “Hobbits”. Followers of cryptozoology, the pseudoscience that studies legendary animals such as Bigfoot and Sasquatch, are also enamored of the Ebu Gogo legend. The Ebu Gogo are also the main characters in Flores Girl.   Their discovery by two American scientists begins a series of unfortunate events that has unforeseen consequences for all involved. For more information and images of the Ebu Gogo go to www.FloresGirl.com.

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25
Jul
09

15 minutes of Fame is Now thirty seconds on YouTube

After watching the JK Wedding Dancers on the NBC Today Show I realized that what Andy Warhol had described as “15 minutes of fame” is now a coveted thirty seconds on YouTube. Life has become more transitory and superficial than ever. What’s worse, because of demographics, there are even more people willing to seeking superficiality.

24
Jul
09

NRA Endorses Guns for Terrorists

Just when you think the extremists in the NRA have hit an new nadir with their past support for armor piercing bullets and automatic assault weapons they begin a even more preposterous stance by support guns for terrorists. You heard right. The NRA has decided that our terrorists threat lists are not sufficient grounds for stopping somebody from buying weapons or explosives. Over the past over 90% of people on the terrorist list have been able to purchase these goodies not because the list didn’t identify them as terrorists but because there is no law stopping them from doing so. Seems the NRA is concerned that the terrorists rights maybe crushed by the heavy hand of the US government and that the list is faulty. Hello, the NRA is probably right about the legitimacy of the list but then fix the damn list.

July 22nd NRA Update:
The latest affront to common sense was a concealed-gun bill that was just narrowly defeated in the Senate. The amendment would allow licensed gun owners in one state to be able to bring those concealed weapons into states with more stringent gun laws. The argument was that a car license in one state is applicable in another and they argue criminals don’t bother with gun licensing. Not true of course since lots of murders are committed by licensed gun owners but the NRA likes to perpetuate lies such as an armed, law abiding populace is a deterrent to criminals. Kind of flies in the face of the fact that nearly every national police force in this country was against these new gun loosening measures and the fact that if you have a gun in your household you are 20 times more likely to die from gun violence. Nothing like being held hostage by a powerful lobby but as the recent arrests in Jersey of some forty-plus local politicians for bribery can attest, all politicians are for sale and usually at bargain prices! Of course, most Americans are more concerned about the latest Erin Andrews video than they are about gun control.

19
Jul
09

Contest: Give Flores Girl a Digg and get the Sequel for Free

"Who's there she asked in a small voice..."

If you like the free Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot novel there’s a new contest. Just give me a Digg or a Stumble by using the button on the side on the www.floresgirl.com site and you’ll get the sequel for free when it becomes available later this year! You can use this form and just add your Digg name: Submit here! And yes this is a limited time offer because when the Digg counter hits a 100 the contest is over! No purchase is required.

Thanks for your support and keep Digging!

Cheers Erik John Bertel

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Contest Rules: You must be 18 years of age or older to participate. Contest ends September 1st, 2009.  No purchase is necessary and no online subscription is necessary. First 100 contest entrants providing a Digg or Stumble Upon will receive a free copy of the sequel in an eBook format when the novel becomes available. We will notify the winners by email and winners of all contests will be contacted at the “sender” email address used to enter the contest, and the person receiving and replying to the winner announcement email will be considered the winner unless they specify another person within the reply email as the winner. No print copies are available, only eBook formats will be awarded, no exceptions! If the specified prize becomes unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances, Flores Girl may substitute a prize of like or equal value.

You understand and intend that any photo or information submitted by you to Flores Girl may be available for viewing, rating, review and comment on by the public, and understand that comments or ratings with which you disagree or are unhappy about may be published or otherwise become associated with any photo or information you submit to Flores Girl.

Open to U.S. Residents Only. Winners are solely responsible for all taxes and/or fees that may be incurred. Void where prohibited by law.

14
Jul
09

Flores Girl, the free Sci-Fi Novel, is over 10,000 Reads at Wattpad

Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot, a Featured Work on Wattpad.com is now over 10,00 reads at Wattpad. Flores Girl is a prehistoric science fiction novel combining elements of adventure and speculative fiction, oh before I forget romance eBook that is available for free on Wattpad, the World’s Most Popular EBook Sharing Community. Wattpad delivers free eBook novels to your iPhone, BlackBerry, SmartPhones and other mobile devices. Join the thousands of readers that are following the adventures of Sarah and Richard as they unwittingly introduce a small tribe of prehistoric people living in isolation for a half million years to the ultimate modern predator: humanity.  And you can do so right from your iPhone, BlackBerry or other SmartPhone! Flores Girl:The Children God Forgot is now available as a free ebook novel on the iPhone!

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08
Jul
09

Michael Jackson and the Culture of American Enabling

enabler– one that enables another to achieve an end ; especially : one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior (Definition from Merriam-Webster)

The publicity stemming around Michael Jackson’s memorial service today at the Staples Center forced me to acknowledge MJ’s fans enabling ways in my column today. Michael Jackson always left me bemused by his incredible talent, his strange behavior and his fans blind acceptance of all things Michael. And make no mistake about it but the adoring fans did enable Michael Jackson’s bizarre behavior. Their blind acceptance of Michael Jackson enabled his bizarre behavior and hastened his very death. Had the fans reacted early on in his career in repulsion to MJ’s bizarre self-mutilation with numerous plastic surgeries, germaphobic behavior, skin bleaching, his predilection for young boys perhaps Michael Jackson would have tempered his behavior and would not have been so deviant later on in his life. But if you are an enabler and accepting of bad behavior it is not surprising that the aberrant behavior often spirals into new and ever more grotesque and destructive gyrations.

To assume that enabling is a one way street is also wrong. Fans and sycophants, such as the Reverend Al Sharpton, took advantage of Michael Jackson’s foibles while seemingly championing his cause. In general, the enabler or codependent wants to feel needed and enabling validates their own existence or in some instances serves their own selfish goals such as a hefty contribution to one’s church. Moreover, enablers don’t want to change the dependent behavior nor do they want to participate in the exercise of self-sacrifice.

Fan’s often argue that Michael Jackson’s excesses were the idiosyncratic behavior of an eccentric musical genius as though being a genius exonerates you from acknowledging the norms of a society. I’m sorry, Einstein and Mozart were geniuses, Michael Jackson was just a very talented entertainer, perhaps the best of his generation but he was still just an entertainer. Okay, Einstein married his cousin and he did have that wild hair style yet he didn’t go off the deep-end but, in fact, Einstein became a great humanist in his later years long after his intellectual skills had peaked. Michael Jackson could have done the same, after all he had the following but instead he just sung deeper and deeper into his drug induced haze enabled by an adoring fan base that could see no wrong in their self-proclaimed king of pop. For one to suggest otherwise one would have to incur shrill, vituperative rebuttals from those very same adoring fan base.

But Michael Jackson is just the tip of the American enabling iceberg. Americans are engaging in enabling like they never had before. Obesity runs rampant as children and later the morbidly obese adults are enabled by numerous family members. When somebody weighs close to half a ton you know somebody is diligently shopping, buying and shoveling a never ending supply of food into the obese shut-ins mouth. It’s so easy to say to someone here eat this and watch television, it’s not your fault your overweight and then pass off the enabling as love! You can weigh in pounds their enabling love!

Moreover, American enabling has a far darker side than just Michael Jackson and obesity, just witness the drug cartel wars that plaque Mexico. What the hell does that have to do with enabling you may ask? Any fool can argue that the failed political and judicial systems of Mexico are the root cause of the drug violence but our drug habits and the ensuing money enable this corruption. Without the billions of American drug dollars you can’t buy a Mexican judge nor can you corrupt a local politician or police chief. Yet we smoke our pot as though there is no consequence to our seemingly benign but cool drug usage and go into instant denial when somebody has the temerity to suggest otherwise. In any case, a successful war on drugs is an impossibility when so many of our fellow Americans are collaborating with the enemy, enabling the enemy so to speak. (By the way, the libertarian in me says legalize the dope to take away the corrupting influence of the drug money while the social conscious part of me recognizes the vast pitfalls of what legalizing drugs will do to an addictive personality.)

The enabling and denials don’t end there. Our love of cheap oil, of course, enables all sorts of horrendous behavior in the Middle East. Without our oil dollars to fuel a building boom in Saudi Arabia Osama Bin Laden would never have the money to fund the Taliban and 9/11. Instead of selling the rope to hang ourselves, as the communists had hoped, we instead send oil dollars to fuel the terrorist engines. Why? Because we don’t want to, or have the willpower, to kick the SUV habit no matter how many polar caps we may melt in the process. Enablers have a tough time in making the hard decisions for themselves and the others they enable.

Furthermore, American dollars funding abhorrent terrorist behavior is nothing new for this country. For years Irish-Americans supported the activities of the IRA while Cuban Americans continue to funnel much needed dollars to Cuban relatives and into Castro’s failed regime. By golly, enabling is an American tradition just like apple pie!

I don’t expect this to change any time soon nor do I expect our greatest enablers, our brave politicians, to lead the way out of the land of enabling. So Michael Jackson rest in peace, you’re sad destiny was determined by your own neuroses and your enablers alike! What a depressing day and such a waste of a great talent but not surprising when your paramount interest is just to be entertained!

Erik John Bertel

I know this is tacky but speaking of enabling try these sites for the free Flores Girl novel download:
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Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot is an exciting speculative adventure story about the discovery of a new prehistoric people by two scientists, Sarah and Richard. Their discovery is threatened by both religious zealots and marauding industrialists. Download the e-Book in PDF, Mobi and Microsoft Reader formats. Honest it is free at floresgirl.com. Just click the chick!

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Flores Girl Twitters

  • Okay, this first couple of weeks with Trump is getting confusing. Is Trump opting for a monarchy or a Home Shopping Network knockoff?Join the Flores Girl Twitters, Quotes from the Novel 4 months ago
  • The way the Trump campaign is going lately, Hillary will have to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue before I consider voting for Trump!Join the Flores Girl Twitters, Quotes from the Novel 10 months ago
  • No dog in this fight, operative word being dog but it's hard for anybody to get any oxygen, good or bad, with Trump's Carpet Twittering!Join the Flores Girl Twitters, Quotes from the Novel 1 year ago
  • So is anyone surprised that Slovenia Barbie admires the Donald for his mind and charm?Join the Flores Girl Twitters, Quotes from the Novel 1 year ago
  • Ted Cruz: UntrusTED!Join the Flores Girl Twitters, Quotes from the Novel 1 year ago
  • Two Corinthians walked into a bar on 5th Avenue and insulted Trump. He ran away!Join the Flores Girl Twitters, Quotes from the Novel 1 year ago
  • 2 Corinthians walk into a 5th Avenue bar in NYC and Donald Trump shot them.Join the Flores Girl Twitters, Quotes from the Novel 1 year ago
  • @monkeywright No, those in the west who are thinking about joining ISIS need to here this more than anyone else.Join the Flores Girl Twitters, Quotes from the Novel 1 year ago
  • 5 tweeps followed (thank you!) and 3 unfollowed (goodbye!) me in the past week. Thank you crowdfireapp.com/?r=tw.Join the Flores Girl Twitters, Quotes from the Novel 1 year ago
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RSS Download the Free Flores Girl Podcast at Podiobooks

  • Exodus - The Final Chapter
    Sarah and Richard must fight their way off the island in this final installment of the podcast.
  • Your Hands are Stained with Blood.
    As death and chaos overtakes the island, Sarah and Richard try to escape Reggie.
  • An Unlikely Ally
    Reggie begins a reign of terror on the island that will leave nobody, including the Ebu, safe from his murderous schemes. Reggie's only challenge will be a visit from the biggest murderer in human history.
  • The Capture
    Sarah and Richard must make their escape after witnessing Reggie's brutal capture of the Ebu.
  • The Guardian Meets the Lab Rat
    Bill is presuaded by Reggie to meet with Karl.
  • The Guardian
    Karl's fever starts to takes a toll on his sanity as his efforts to contact the Ebu becomes a religious quest for him
  • New Friends
    Sarah's relationships with both Richard and Flo take a surprising turn.
  • Christian Soldier
    Reggies discovers the island of the Ebu and begins his assault but not before Karl makes his move.
  • The Cost of Weakness
    A senseless act of violence challenges Sarah and her tenuous relationships with the inhabitants of the island.
  • Weakness
    Sarah is stricken by a life threatening illness that triggers a strange personal odyssey for her.
  • The Princess Meets Flo
    While observing the troop, Sarah forms a friendship with one of the Ebu that she names Flo.
  • By the Sea
    Sarah makes a risky first contact with the Ebu.
  • 14. The Wait - Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot
    -In this episode: Sarah and Richard wait for the Ebu at a small pond.
  • Discovery
    Sarah and Richard begin their exploration of the island in search of the Ebu.
  • Resolve
    After losing everything to the pirates, Sarah and Richard face their own personal failure and decide whether or not they should return to the states.
  • Pirates of the Flores Sea
    As they begin to set out for Sarah's island, Sarah's and Richard's boat is boarded by dangerous high-sea pirates.
  • All Work and No Play
    Before leaving for Sarah's mysterious island Sarah and Richard head out for a night on the town in Flores.
  • The Boss
    Sarah and Richard put their expedition together and travel to Flores Island in search of the Ebu Gogo.
  • Higher Calling
    Unbeknownst to Reggie and Bill, Karl, the head lab assistant at GenTech, is busily sabotaging the pharmaceutical giant's controversial stem cell research.
  • Corporate Citizen
    Ruthless elements within a large pharmaceutical company make their own plans for the Ebu.