Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood insight’
I saw Iron Man 3 last weekend and wanted to immediately provide a review of some kind because it was a very good film full of large concepts. The value in these comic book based stories is that they do not take themselves too serious as intellectual advancement devices. But like so many plot lines to video games these days, the writing, and concepts behind the plot are quite advanced allowing viewers to define abstract concepts in mythological dialogue that the human brain understands as a truth obtained no other way. When it is wondered why the Marvel films are doing such magnificent business it is not because of the great performances of Robert Downey Jr., or any of the primary actors, but because the bizarre plot lines have within them a truth that unifies all the fragmented evidence society is exposed to and presents the information in a way that makes sense.
But before going too far down the rabbit hole, let’s get the typical stuff out-of-the-way. Is Robert Downey Jr., worth the $50 million dollars he is getting to play Iron Man in these films? I’d say no. If it were me making the decision at Marvel Comics and Disney on how to pay Downey for Avengers 2, I would write Downey out of the story and let him sit it out for a film or two so that his agent does not have the contract leverage to continue driving up the labor costs. By paying Downey so much money, which I don’t think even he thinks he’s worth, it sets a dangerous standard that the other Avenger actors will expect in equality under the ridiculous standards of collective bargaining, and could wreck the magic of these films in the future. If Iron Man or an Iron Man type of character needs to appear in The Avengers 2 let it just be the suit with another actor doing the voice of Downey, or make it the Iron Patriot instead of Iron Man. Let Avengers 2 make a lot of money without Downey to take away the leverage and keep the budget under control—otherwise the Marvel films as a financial formula could be wrecked as the parasites of the entertainment industry will seek to concentrate on collective bargaining as a way to increase their own looting percentages. Downey’s performance as Tony Stark in the Iron Man films is brilliant, and I laughed out loud several times during Iron Man 3, but that performance is not worth $50 million dollars or more. I’d center the next Avenger film around another character and if the actors don’t come down in their prices, make it more about The Hulk as a CGI character to cut down the screen time of the other actors and call the bluff of the agents trying to increase payroll for the actors to over $200 million alone—as everyone now expects a Marvel Comics movie to pull in at least $1 billion at the box office. With that said I don’t think any other actor could have played Tony Stark as brilliantly as Downey did. The range of emotions Robert Downey Jr., performed in Iron Man 3 ranged from dealing with genius scientists, mechanical robots, romantic interactions, maniacal terrorists, to the innocence of young children—all done with comedic overtones. It was unique, and fun to watch. In spite of the money demands Iron Man 3 will place as a danger to contract negotiations between Downey and future films, I think all the parties will work out the situation in time and snap back into reality allowing Iron Man to return to the big screen played by Robert Downey Jr. I think Downey understands the situation and will do the right thing in the end giving kids more of his Iron Man.
What set this Iron Man 3 film apart from other movies of the same basic design was the way they portrayed the villain, The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley. As I read the reviews of Iron Man 3 and saw that so many young people were having a hard time accepting who and what the Mandarin was as a bad guy, I had to laugh a bit. Many people seeing Iron Man 3 had hoped that The Mandarin would be a villain of epic James Bond capacity, a treacherous villain worthy of being far superior to Tony Stark in order to drive tension into the film’s narrative. Instead The Mandarin was simply an actor hired to play a terrorist by the real terrorists who were working behind the scenes of a well-intended campaign to end human misery by re-growing lost limbs from victims of unfortunate tragedies. The real villains in Iron Man 3 were brilliant wide-eyed scientists and politicians who wanted to help the world, not destroy it. They simply desired to “nudge” society into compliance with their vision. This conspiracy went all the way into the President of the United States own administration and was handled very well by the writing and direction of Shane Black. Considering that Iron Man 3 was being filmed and finished in post-production after the events of the real life Aurora shooting, Sandy Hook, and Benghazi, the plot of Iron Man 3 was incredibly insightful. The difficulty with the various conspiracy theories involved in all those real life tragedies is to assemble them logically with the information that can be known. Figuring out what happened is not easy as it’s like trying to assemble a puzzle where someone has stolen most of the pieces and then tried to figure out what the picture on the puzzle was without most of it being put together.
Most people know or feel that the government as a self-preserving entity will knowingly derail information from the public which leads to all the wild speculations generated about the real intentions of a terrorist act. Even to this very day, conspiracy theorists are ridiculed by the government and their public relations machines for even asking good questions about what really happened in the 9/11 tragedy calling them “truthers.” This leaves people afraid to openly state their opinions, which is the design of the derogatory designation forcing society to relegate their opinions to themselves. Yet fantasy films like Iron Man tackle those conspiracies head on with creativity and attempt to assemble the missing puzzle pieces with some form of logic, and this is why films like Iron Man, and the Batman films are doing such ROBUST box office business. There is a truth in Iron Man that has more meaning for society than 24 hours of watching Fox News.
I watched an interesting interview from Bill O’Reilly a few days ago where he was confused by the enormous business that Iron Man was producing in sheer box office dollars. O’Reilly like all the other news makers of the day wants to believe that Iron Man 3 is good just because of the great performance of Robert Downey Jr. But it’s not. Iron Man 3 is about terrorism and radical extremists, something we all deal with everywhere in the world. Yet the way the terrorism angle was dealt with in Iron Man 3 was likely much more truthful than the typical plotline of any other blockbuster film. We all expected The Mandarin in Iron Man 3 to be a ruthless terrorist like Osama bin Laden, or Saddam Hussein—a mastermind, and ruthless despot. But when Tony Stark discovered who the real Mandarin truly was, he found that he was just an actor who has been playing the part of a terrorist in exchange for drugs—as he’s a recovering addict. That is the reason behind the success of Iron Man 3 and films like it.
Even in the wild over-the-top plot lines of The Avengers, the idea of aliens attacking earth through a wormhole has more plausibility than many of the plot lines that our society is fed by statist oriented governments who seek to placate the public with disinformation and manipulation in order to advance their version of solutions against the will of the people they represent. There is more truth in simple comic book stories than in any other plausible explanation, and this is not just a diabolical tragedy, but a stunning revelation. The magic of a story like Iron Man 3 is that it puts the plausible concept in the mind of the viewer so that rational emphasis can be added to actual reality. In the case of Iron Man 3, the storyline is unlikely, but the scenario of how the terrorists were able to get into the president’s own administration and manipulate vast sums of people with the fear “they” created with the fictional character in The Mandarin has roots in reality. The intention of the Mandarin was to get the eyes of the American public to look toward China or the Mideast for the source of the terrorist threat, not to Miami, Florida in a crack house filled with whores and a burnt out actor who had been hired by the terrorists to play a terrorist.
Iron Man 3 reminded me of a typical action film from the 80s in most other regards. I did not think the special effects where outrageously great. I thought the ending was telegraphed and was average. Coming out of the theater I asked Doc Thompson what he thought of the film from The Blaze and he said that he liked it, but that it was an average film—technically. He gave it 6 out of 10, which I tend to agree with. I would give it a bit higher score based on Downey’s performance alone. But the film is much better if the context is considered by the explanation of many conspiracies. It is in this explanation, or plausible one, that the Marvel movies thrive so boldly. There is truth in these fictions that is more relevant than the truth offered in real life that often turns out to be fiction. This is why Iron Man 3 has made nearly $1 billion dollars in just two weeks at theaters. As wonderful as Downey’s performance was, it is the plots that drive the heroics, and that rests in the hands of Stan Lee from Marvel Comics.
I read a lot of heavy material, and I often balance out all that weighty stuff with comic books to ease my mind and relax. In fact, for my 25th wedding anniversary my wife bought me a comic book. I like to read them, which only takes about 10 minutes, but I often enjoy just looking at the pictures which contain the visions of the authors and effort of their imaginations. They are often simplified outlooks at reality but occasionally, there are very sophisticated concepts that are approached in comics which can’t be explored in the deepest work of Carl Jung. I read recently a very good editorial from Dave Marshall at Dark Horse Comics in January of 2013 titled “Everyone Needs Stories.” Below are the first couple of paragraphs that remind me of why Iron Man 3 is so successful.
Too often stories can be taken for granted, bundled away as frivolous entertainment, but it only takes glancing at a newspaper, opening a book (nonfiction included), or having a conversation to see that storytelling is an inexorable part of communication, which in turn is an inexorable part of the human experience.
Stories are everywhere, yet our thirst for them remains unquenchable. We even consume products masquerading as stories in nearly immeasurable quantities if they are convenient, as our need is so present and demanding. This fact informs my work every day. I strive to contribute to books that give people the stories they need, with truthful characters who navigate authentic emotional experience in an intricately realized world, as opposed to merely growing the heaps of false stories, with motorized characters clicking through their roles in a mechanical plot, designed to lure people in and produce a predictable result (usually additional purchases).
When a story gives people what they need it becomes a part of them, integrating into their attitudes and ideas, and expressing itself in infinite ways, some of which the comics community knows well.
Dave Marshall, editor of Dark Horse Comics
Marshall is right, everyone does need stories, but not the kind that are produced in public relation firms and pumped out to keep the society at large in the dark as to the real truth of a matter. They need stories that can take the motivations of well-intended individuals and make them into treacherous monsters which is what Iron Man 3 is all about. It’s a fantastic story that has more relevance than the nightly news, and more truth than a White House press conference. As whimsical as Iron Man 3 is, it is more honest than the speech of a typical politician or government spokesperson, and that is why business is so good with comic book movies. They are not successful because kids and adults alike are escaping reality and reliving their childhoods through the characters actors like Robert Downey Jr., create, but because the stories are truthful, and honest about the human condition in a way that no other endeavor attempts to tackle. In that regard, Iron Man 3 is a 10 out of 10 and a movie that should be seen by everyone in every corner of the globe. And yet again, Stan Lee deserves a tip of the hat to his tenacious creations and ruthless honesty.
I am not used to as of yet reading through arguments where people I don’t know quote things I have said to validate their opinions. Yet I ran across just such a quote by accident seen below from my 2004 Symposium of Justice novel.
“Walk in the woods where there is no path. Live in conflict with those that are superior to you. You will learn, hopefully not too late, that life’s greatest fruits come to those who live a little dangerously. You’ll also find that if you make batters work for a hit, they’ll respect you more as a pitcher. If they get a home run off of you, it will mean more if they earn it.”
- Rich Hoffman, The Symposium of Justice.
I often write the things I do and move on to the next topic never thinking about what impact those statements might have on a reader. I simply offer the words in hopes of provoking thought in those who place their eyes upon my work. I told recently the story of how Peter Facinelli and I came to work on a project together and it all started with us meeting at a film festival. I was at that film festival because a college professor had read my book and wanted to do a film version of the story which matched my own intentions, so he came to my house for a weekend of picking at my thoughts regarding his screenplay version of my novel.
While staying with me during this visit, he continued to compare my work to Nietzsche extensively, which I thought was nice, but not relevant. I made only a passing reference to Nietzsche in The Symposium, but he had taken the dialogue to a whole animated level, which I thought was out of some inner need to attached meaning in his life to important things collected by his mind for the benefit of inner mythology. So I dismissed his appreciation for my work and instead wanted to focus on the shooting schedule for his film and how we would go about it. In my mind I had moved on from the intellectual concepts and onto something productive. That probably has something to do with why he was so shattered when I told him he was a terrible film director when he missed our film festival deadline with footage that was too dark, poorly cut together and virtually worthless. For me, it was just business. I didn’t think at the time that the entire reason he wanted to make the film in the first place was that The Symposium had an effect on him, and he wanted to live out a fantasy of becoming a film director with material he felt passionate about.
At another event that I was at a few years later, I had a fan who wanted my autograph and a picture because The Symposium of Justice had impacted him in such a way. As a person who never seeks autographs or pictures next to celebrities I wasn’t sure what all the hoopla was about. I had recently just returned from Los Angeles where I did the thing with Facinelli and noticed that everyone was taking pictures next to everyone else. So I stood next to whomever wanted to stand next to me for a picture. I didn’t understand it, but I played along. The good thing about Peter is that he made a point to drive me back to my hotel each day after the film shoot, so when we were in the car away from the set I asked him if he got tired of all the celebrity stuff. He laughed and said that he did sometimes, but that it was a necessary part of the job. So when I was at an event promoting the completion of my Symposium project called The Overman I signed autographs and posed for pictures playing along still not sure why anybody would want to do such a thing. An article about that event can be seen from a Yahoo News piece shown below.
JAMESTOWN, OH – Award-winning screen writer, author and stunt performer Rich Hoffman brought his most recent independent film project to Greene County, Ohio in March. Hoffman, originally from Middletown, Ohio, teamed up with Gery L. Deer, managing director of GLD Enterprises & Productions of Jamestown, to make a film that combines live action with the latest in high-definition computer generated imaging.
It took more than 12 hours to film the live action for the five-minute film short. Post production will take more than a month to complete and the film is scheduled to be released following its premier at the 2009 Indie Gathering independent film festival, August 14 in Cleveland.
The script is based on characters in situations introduced in Hoffman’s dark, futuristic, action novel, “The Symposium of Justice,” released in 2004. The project is professed to be on the cutting edge of digital video effects.
“Rich had an ambitious production schedule and a deadline that required us to do a great deal of work in a very short time,” said Deer, who is best known locally for his work as an independent journalist and entertainer but is also an experienced stunt performer and producer. “We had everything he needed to meet the production goals and, I have to say, short of a Star Wars movie, I have never seen so much green screen material in one place before; it was quite impressive.” All of the sets and background effects will be added in post production.
Green screen is a common term referring to the Chroma key technique used for mixing two images or frames together on film. In Chroma key, a color from one image is removed or made transparent revealing another image behind. This technique is also referred to as color keying, color-separation overlay, and bluescreen.
This process has been used for many years on weather broadcasts, where the presenter appears to be standing in front of a map, but in the studio it is actually a large blue or green background. In film and television production, the process is used to enhance visual effects or reduce costs on set construction.
Actors working on a green screen set perform among green-colored set pieces and backdrops. In post production, specialized computer software recognizes the green tinted background and makes it transparent and replacing it with digital effects. The actors, set pieces and props then appear to be in whatever setting required. Recent films like “300,” “Sin City,” and “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” have used this process to create both characters and settings.
Everyone is donating their time to this independent film project, as so many Hollywood-based productions are doing today. GLD Enterprises & Productions provided the production facility and set crew and stunt performers for filming the live action as well as various engineering and technical services.
The hope is that the final product will draw new business for the cast and crew in this sluggish economy where production capital is hard to raise. “This will be a great way to show what our group can do,” said Hoffman. Fortunately, Deer and Hoffman came into the project with an impressive track record.
In 2006, Hoffman’s script, “The Lost Cannibals of Cahokia,” won the highest award possible for a feature screenplay in the horror category at the Indie Gathering international film festival in Cleveland. Since then Hoffman has continued to develop other projects and recently returned from Hollywood where he worked on another independent production as a stuntman and fire whip specialist. A fire whip is a Kevlar bullwhip which is soaked in a specially formulated combustible fuel used for the visual effect.
Deer’s resume includes multiple performance and contest awards and work as a property consultant and designer for the 2003 Universal Studios movie, “The Rundown,” as well as roles in several independent film productions. A writer, whip stunt coach, publicist, and voiceover artist, Deer has been featured on television programs like NBC’s America’s Got Talent and The Bonnie Hunt Show. Deer is also a registered Writers Guild of America screenwriter.
The work was done on a closed set and the details of the script have been kept secret pending the outcome of the film competitions No title has been released at this time. To see photos or get more information about the project go online to www.gldentertainment.com and click on Hoffman Collaboration.
I had to finish what that director had started which is what The Overman was all about. In reality it turned out to be a sample of firewhip work against greenscreen to demonstrate how those two technologies could be incorporated. We had to shoot all those scenes outside because of the fire and the intense light from the fire making keying in colors during post-production a nightmare, but it worked well and was an award-winning effort.
The purpose of all this is that I wrote The Symposium of Justice from the heart, and many people came to enjoy it, but I moved on to the next phases of my life without looking back much or taking much time to consider what impact that novel had on people. It does make me feel good that so many people enjoyed it, and wanted to work with me just to be near the person who wrote the words.
Now it is equally strange for me to see quotes of my novel appearing here and there as validation to philosophical positions which is a strange sensation—and I think I like it. I enjoy it in the same way that The Symposium gave me access to people and places that I wouldn’t have enjoyed any other way but to put a story out to the world which touched lives in ways that you always hope for.
I might have been too hard on that film professor—(wanna’ be film director). He wanted to make the film because he wanted to bring The Symposium to life even though he lacked the emotional tools to do so. As more and more people go to the trouble of using aspects of my work to support their growing understanding, I will make an effort to be more facilitating of their expanding horizons. And if that involves a keepsake, or memento such as an autograph, I will make the effort not to appear so stand-offish.
For those who have not been keeping up with the news, here is the chance to catch up. Glenn Beck puts his thoughts together on how the IRS scandal, the Benghazi terrorist attacks, and the AP News story are all connected. Glenn’s thoughts are very much aligned with my own. Watch, listen, and share with a friend. For those who read here and hold “important” positions and know “important” people, make sure to share this with your networks so they understand what kind of game is going on.
With three major scandals enveloping the White House, Glenn spent time on radio this morning breaking down how they are all rooted in the idea of fundamental transformation.
“We have Benghazis, IRS, and the AP. I tried to figure out what these things were really all about. In the end what do these three scandals have in common? And what they have in common is the arrogance of transforming the world,” Glenn said.
In Benghazi, Glenn believes that Obama was trying to transform the Middle East by supporting revolution. Glenn theorizes that the CIA was involved with running guns to the Syrian rebels, a theory that has been supported by other members of the media in recent days.
“In Benghazi he was transforming the Middle East. He wanted to run guns, support the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia was the one who asked us to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. So support the Muslim Brotherhood in the entire Middle East, run guns to the Muslim Brotherhood through Turkey into Syria and cede revolution, not just in Syria but all throughout the Middle East. This is the transformation of the Middle East. That’s his policy,” Glenn said.
How about the IRS scandal? Glenn said that’s about transforming political dissent and how the government deals with political dissent. He said the scandal specifically shows the evolution of intimidation and control from “nudge”, encouraging people to only trust sources with an acceptable bias like Al Jazeera and Huffington Post, to “shoot” where the IRS is used as a weapon to attack people’s reputation and finances.
“This scandal is about shoot. We’ve gone from nudge, to shove – which is destroy your reputation and I’m going to send the union thugs out after you ‑ to shoot. I’m actually going to use the union thugs to beat you, and I’m also going to destroy your life and finance through the IRS. I will destroy you. I will bankrupt you. When it comes to the only kind of gun the IRS has, they’ve just fired it at the American people,” Glenn said.
Finally, the AP scandal is about transforming the media.
“The progressives have been trying to transform the media for quite some time, and they’ve done a great job. We’ve all seen it,” Glenn said.
“Now, this, I want you to hear this fact clearly. This president has gone after and is prosecuting more whistleblowers than all of the other presidents combined in American history. By the way, he’s had five years. In five years he has gone after more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined. Understand that’s during the Communist hunts. That’s during Vietnam. That includes all of World War II, all of World War I and Woodrow Wilson. That includes Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. All other presidents combined,” Glenn said.
Glenn said that in order to transform the media, you first have to threaten the watchdogs who are trying to show what the government is doing. And when a few of the watchdogs are able to break through, you go after the press and intimidate them until they are unwilling to investigate.
“This is the last part of the fundamental transformation. What do all of these have in common? Transformation: Transform the Middle East, transform the First Amendment, and transform the media and the watchdogs. Transform, fundamental transformation of the United States of America,” Glenn said.
How many people are watching the terror coming out of Cleveland involving the three girls who were taken by Ariel Castro and held captive as sex slaves for 10 years and wondering how nobody detected what that diabolical molester was up to? Castro’s friends, neighbors and even family members were unable to detect the lies Castro told and instead found themselves seduced by evil. Castro even went to the trouble of attending family vigils for the lost girls hosted by family members pretending to assist in finding the girls knowing all along that the victims were chained in his basement and that he alone had the power to relieve the families of their misery. Instead he looked them in the eye and told them he’d do everything he could to find the lost girls–lying openly, and boldly driven by demons most of society cannot fathom. CLICK TO REVIEW. Yet the same type of diabolical menace is not just present from the mouths of sex abusers and child rapists but of presidents and all their minions. The same tendency to lie, cheat and steal is not just present in the embodiment of malevolence which is Ariel Castro, but also in President Obama and all those who serve under him. Obama’s employees are guilty of lies, more lies, cheating, and more cheating topped off with diabolical manipulations in order to maintain a lawyers approach to “plausible deniability” and are obviously guilty of misusing the office of President of the United States for grabs of power, and domestic terrorism. (Such as bringing in the families of Sandy Hook victims to put in the Senate rotunda to apply emotional leverage for gun control legislation. Using fear to motivate opinions is terrorism) For that reason, President Obama should be impeached immediately and with great fanfare so to discourage such tyrannies from manifesting in the future.
This isn’t the first time I’ve said such things about Obama. I suggested impeaching the President after the controversial appointment of cabinet members during 2012. CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW. So this isn’t anything new for me. But if my congressman John Boehner had acted when I suggested it then the lost lives in Benghazi might have been saved, the economy would be recovering, and the IRS scandal which was happening to members of his district due to their involvement in Tea Party groups would not have occurred. Also members of the media would not have been subjected to harassment by the Obama Justice Department under Eric Holder and countless other tyrannies that could have been averted.
Instead, Boehner calculated that my urging to impeach Obama was radical, and represented a far right-wing view-point that he dismissed. After all, his concerns were to play golf with Obama and work toward “peaceful solutions” through diplomacy. Boehner also enjoys appeasing the local socialites who know little about politics, or business finance, yet inject themselves into every discussion where money flows attempting to bring altruistic judgment through joined wine glasses and catered meals. Such socialites support Obama’s brand of socialism, especially in public education institutions even though they claim to be conservative Republicans joined at the hip to Governor Kasich. Boehner and Kasich listen to the socialist whims of such people so that the purse strings stay open for future campaigns. After all, those socialites are “rich” and their opinions carry much weight even though the quality of their minds are detriments to society, and for politicians seeking re-election the former is more important than the later. It is because of such social pressures, and lack of determination that people like Ariel Castro can operate in the open, and why con artists like Barack Obama can get away with audacious lies behind a socialist agenda to fulfill goals that exist outside of fathomable reality. The blood is on the hands of those who didn’t act in the beginning hoping that elections would solve the problem peacefully, and far less grotesquely.
But elections didn’t solve the problem, and the “socialites” planned desire to maintain community integrity with wine glasses and fund-raising dinners allowed evil to grow, not abate, and now all those involved with the great indecision are guilty of not just assisting in treachery against The United States, but in assisting evil through inaction. The crimes committed by the Obama administration all during 2012 and thus far in 2013 are on the hands of those who failed to recognize evil hidden behind a smiling face and great charisma that only a demon from the temples of hell could generate.
It is a fair characterization to level such claims at Barack Obama because it was his administration that allowed for a terrible evil to be committed with full knowledge that it was a lie. Obama and his White House staff blamed the Benghazi deaths on Mark Basseley Youssef, AKA Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, AKA Sam Bacile the director of the terrible film “Innocence of Muslims” which about 10 people saw in a southern California movie theater. Other than that one public showing only a 15 minute video clip existed on YouTube at the time of the Benghazi attack. Bacile wrote the film in prison and shot it within two months of being release with no money, no real actors, and obviously an angry rant that was shaped during his stint in prison. Nobody saw it, and nobody cared—but the film was a symbol of free speech, which President Obama is supposed to protect. Instead, Obama allowed Bacile to take the fall for an alleged gun running operation in Libya and the apparently intentional death of those involved to cover the tracks. The Obama administration immediately hoped to hide their guilt behind the free speech efforts of a nothing film shown to a vacant audience counting on the American people to believe that the violence had been ignited by a 15-minute YouTube clip. See the rest of the story at the below link.
Obama knowingly lied to the American people and with the same type of public sincerity shown by the embodiment of evil in Ariel Castro who pretended sincere emotions during a presidential election that covered the gross abuse of his employees intentionally disgracing The White House. They did what they have done on purpose, and they trusted that the press and American people would not advance the issue beyond their deceitful manipulations. The worst of all these recent revelations are that the Obama administration designated a sacrificial victim in Sam Bacile who was only guilty of being a bad filmmaker, and tossed him into jail to cover the crimes of murder that was either intentionally committed by the Obama administration, or was caused by sheer incompetence. Either way, Americans died in Benghazi due to poor leadership by the Obama administration. Then the Obama White House tried to blame the violence on a silly YouTube video hoping that the scandal would not be pressed by the public any further. They insulted the deceased with their hope to get away with the crime.
The reasons for the impeachment of Barack Obama extend well into a long list of Constitutional violations and are voluminous beyond comprehension. But the worst is the intention of the administration to pick a sacrificial victim in Bacile and throw him upon an alter stepping all over his rights as an individual to preserve the collective aims of the Obama White House. If The White House will do such a thing with one man, they will do it with any collection of people, any business, or any philosophic idea, and that makes Obama and his employees dangerous to the American experience, and detriments to all free people who want a fair chance at life success and social opportunity. That is why Obama should be removed from office so to set the parameters for all future presidents of what is acceptable and what is not. A failure to act on Obama and his crimes will establish for the entire future an understanding that it is alright for Presidents to behave in such a destructive fashion against the American people. More destruction will follow of the American way of life if Obama is not impeached, and this is a reality that cannot be hidden from. It will take courage, courage from the press, courage from the politicians that must embark on the tragic journey, and courage from the American people to look evil in the eye and act against it, instead of being seduced. It must happen because America does not want to look at itself decades from now and wonder what happened in the same way that we are asking how Ariel Castro was able to chain three stolen girls in his basement in plain site of many people who failed to act in a way to save the victims. To me, Ariel Castro and Barack Obama are one in the same. Their only real difference is that Castro tortured and molested three innocent girls over a long period of time. Obama is doing the same figuratively with the entire world, and he needs to be stopped boldly and with great conviction. One is literal, one is metaphorical, but they are both the sheer face of evil in all its destructive qualities, and bottomless malevolence.
I have kept the clip shown below to myself for the most part until now so not to interfere with the development of the motion picture The Delivery of which I served as a film consultant and stunt double performing all the fire whip stunts. (CLICK TO REVIEW and see pictures from the set.) A few years ago I was at a film festival collecting an award for a screenplay I wrote called The Lost Cannibals of Cahokia and was in the middle of filming a film adaption to my novel The Symposium of Justice. Peter Facinelli and director Rob Gunnerson were at the same festival promoting their recently completed indie film called Arc, which won all kinds of awards and is considered one of the best of its kind. Facinelli is of course known as Dr. Carlisle Cullen, from the Twilight series and is a current highly sought after actor in Hollywood. After a firewhip demonstration I did for the World Stunt Association Peter and Rob approached me about flying out to Los Angeles to work on a project the two were working on called The Delivery. The result of that endeavor can be seen below. Essentially they had a high concept idea that they wanted to make a pitch trailer out of for movie studios in conjunction with RealD 3D film equipment development. The Delivery is a highly dynamic universe of Angels and Demons who inhabit the bodies of men and fight in modern times with swords and fire whips. Peter wanted me to do the fire whip work for his project which I gladly obliged.
The status of that film is Peter and Rob is developing the concept now as a graphic novel which is the current trend in Hollywood. Hollywood likes to purchase proven commodities since budgets are so incredibly expensive, and film concepts must be fleshed out in advance these days.
The whip work I did was shopped around Hollywood with the RealD 3D stock footage captured during that shoot and became animation templates for films like Iron Man 2 and the Immortals. Below Rob talks more about the future direction of The Delivery in an interview. The entire interview can be seen at the hotlink below:
You’ve met with some artists to begin discussions of making “The Delivery” into a comic book, which is a cool idea in my opinion and we would love if you can hold us up to date about this. Back to my question… Have you ever thought about to make “The Delivery” as an animation movie?
Let me use THE AVENGERS as an example here. This summer THE AVENGERS will be released to what will undoubtedly be great success (at least from a financial standpoint, but hopefully from a critical standpoint as well.) It will feature some of today’s most popular actors. But let’s imagine for a moment that THE AVENGERS is a brand new idea that nobody has ever heard of. And imagine Stan Lee walking into a pitch meeting with a studio.
“So I’ve got this movie about a group of superheroes,” he says. “One of them is called IRON MAN. He’s this recovering alcohol who has a fake heart of sorts and flies around in a suit of iron. And there’s this other guy called THE HULK. He’s a dude who gets angry and turns into a green, muscular giant who can pick up a car with one hand. And there’s THOR, a Norse God who walks around in the modern world with a giant hammer and wings on his helmet.”
By this point, I guarantee the executives in the room are saying, “Um…no, thanks. Too expensive. Too weird-sounding. Too much of a risk. Too much money. And we don’t get it. Sounds like fun. And maybe if you brought it to us with an audience already built-in, then we would talk. But to do this from scratch? No way.”
That’s what we have with THE DELIVERY. A new concept that needs time so people can get it and Hollywood can “see it.” We have a screenplay for the first movie. We have a 3-D pitch trailer for the first movie. We are talking to artists about creating either a series of comic books or a graphic novel to develop an audience. We have, in fact, talked about doing an animated series for the project. But we need to build from the ground up and handle things in the most reasonable financial fashion. It starts with artwork in still images, and then we will move forward to animation/feature films/etc. as we build followers.
The film adaption I had been working on with a film professor who loved my Symposium novel and wanted to try their hand at producing and directing a movie version of it disintegrated when they failed to produce a finished clip to show at a film festival, which was needed to secure investors. The film professor learned the hard way why they teach film studies and aren’t actually in the “film business.” So my project was put on the shelf awaiting more competent hands as the money window opened and closed. The same thing happened to Peter Facinelli even with his superstar status after Twilight. Film studios are taking the safe bets for big budget action pictures with proven action stars and comic book material after the smashing success of Iron Man and the other Marvel Comic characters. Peter and Rob made their pitch trailer just ahead of the “Marvel wave” so the funding window closed on them as well.
But that doesn’t change the fact that doing such things was and is a lot of fun. Rob ran a great set and the project was a blast–literally. Without question we captured the best three-dimensional fireball ever recorded in 3D. They asked me to give them a 5 to 7 foot fireball that was as deep as it was wide, and I gave it to them. We shot the scene at about 4 AM as we were on a 12 hour shooting schedule over two days. When I cracked the fire whip sending a roaring air splitting explosion through the neighborhoods of Burbank, California the set gasp in awe as hundreds of people forgot to breathe for just a moment. It was the climax of The Delivery trailer shoot and was worth the entire effort. The RealD 3D execs in the director’s tent all rushed over to shake my hand as they realized what they had captured on film with their state-of-the-art camera system. Director Gunnerson yelled………………”F**KING AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” His proclamation was nearly as loud as the whip explosion.
Many people ask me if it makes me angry to see that RealD 3D used that footage captured that night to shop their camera system around to studios and that those same studios did not invite me to do the same work for them on other film projects. Instead they handed the footage over to animators to copy off of. So the answer is no. There is nothing like real life effects, and whenever possible real effects should be done in physical reality. Animation never looks quite as good second-hand. However, I cannot blame studios, as I am expensive. If a kid can animate a fire whip on a computer screen while eating a hamburger from a Burger King drive thru window while copying stock footage of me more power to him. I am happy to help promote whip art any way possible, and projects like The Delivery and everything that spawns off it do in very positive ways.
However, it might be a while before Peter and Rob can get their film “delivered” to theaters. They need to build up a Comic Con following, and Peter understands how to do that. It will take a little time, but will eventually get done. Meanwhile I have to do the same with my own projects. In the film business it is like a merry-go-round where the point of opportunity may be seen, but quickly passes as the ride spins around. The way to approach is to wait for that opportunity to present itself again on the upstroke instead of trying to act too late and force a project through before its ready. Stan Lee at Marvel Comics spent decades building up the demand for his characters, and sometimes it takes that. I am happy to see that Peter and Rob are planning to do the same, and to take their time with their idea—because it is theirs—and gives it value that is almost always missing from stories that are brought to production too quickly by industry barnacles who only care about the money they can make off a project. A film must be able to do both, and in the end, The Delivery will “deliver.”
Ok, so the IRS has apologized for harassing Tea Party groups by admitting that they singled them out for analysis, especially in southern Ohio. Big deal! Where do the people slandered by the IRS go to get back their reputations? Where does the leadership of these Tea Party groups go to retrieve all their countless hours of correspondence with the IRS in an attempt at compliance? And where do I go to get back an entire Saturday that I had to spend on a stupid IRS compliance demand? But more than anybody harassed by the IRS was my friend Justin Binik-Thomas. Justin told me of his ordeal first at a special meeting we had for some of my most intense Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom readers a year ago at a local pizza place where we blocked off the entire back room and discussed what to do about the harassment of the IRS. Click here to review and see pictures from that event.
As Justin communicated with me his thoughts on the IRS revelation on May 10, 2013 he had just wrapped up a very busy day with the media finishing up with ABC World News Tonight, among many other television news programs. He was far from “satisfied” and I couldn’t blame him. Here is the prior article about the issue with the IRS and Justin.
Here is an article from The Cincinnati Enquirer about the apology from May 10th.
In essence, Justin was telling the media:
* Reaching out to liberty groups and tea party groups is political in nature – an affront to liberty. I accept the organization (IRS) has a policy against it, but would like to know what actions are taken to assure this does not recur.
* Asking a group about a tax status, unless politically motivated, is ok. What leadership does in their free time is of no relevance to what the organization does. Asking about an individual, particularly an unrelated individual, is troubling. What purpose could it serve? Why was that individual, me in this case, not contacted or informed of outreach?
* As of writing I have not received anything in writing from the IRS besides the initial denial. It would be nice to receive an apology and to receive assurance it will not happen again and that responses, if any, will not be held against me the individual.
The IRS had attacked the Liberty Township Tea Party out of blind speculation that they were involved with Justin Binik-Thomas as he was a founding member of the Cincinnati Tea Party and the assumption was that the Liberty Township group had a way of getting to Thomas. So Liberty Township was maliciously selected for “enforcement.” This essentially meant that the leadership at Liberty Township had to jump through any hoops the IRS decided like mere animals doing tricks for their livelihoods. One of the targets of this IRS inquiry were videos I made featuring Sheriff Jones discussing immigration reform and another I put together featuring the current congressional violations against the 10th Amendment.
I felt bad that my videos were under scrutiny and that some of my antics had gotten other people in trouble with the IRS. At one point in the early winter of 2013 I told some of that leadership just to blame the videos on me, that I was the sole owner of their content, and that I’d deal with the agents on my own. The Liberty Township group did a stand-up job of dealing with the IRS and took care of the situation, which was much more gracious than I was willing to provide, which probably saved a lot more headache. I provided the information the IRS was looking for, and once all those leads went nowhere, the IRS backtracked.
The entire witch hunt started as a direct assault on Justin, and the IRS was simply using mass peer pressure to force Thomas to comply, or back off his Tea Party actions. The IRS was essentially harassing the Liberty Township Tea Party as a way to get at the nerves of Justin Binik-Thomas, and that is not just wrong, it was criminal. So the apology from the IRS is nice, but way too late. It also hints at something else that is amiss.
I am very suspicious of government. I think of even the best of their representatives as habitual liars and con artists. I wouldn’t trust them to walk a dog on an empty leash. So their timing on this apology is actually alarming. The first thought that came to my mind is why are they doing it? And, why now?
Using pure deduction, based on the behavior of government in the past, the same government that lied under oath many times in the past declaring that the IRS did not do the things they just admitted to doing, I would say that the IRS as a member of the federal government is employing the old “bend but don’t break” defensive football strategy. The government knows that they are guilty over the Benghazi situation and are caught in a serious lie. They know that the Tea Party is still full of members that are very active and highly charged even after the re-election of Barack Obama. The government knows that there is an active campaign to remove Republican Governor Kasich from office in the next primaries for turning against the Tea Party, so they fear what might happen to them if the Tea Party gets even more detail out of the Benghazi hearings, which have been carried on Fox News, and extensively by The Blaze Network. The Blaze is a huge supporter of the Tea Party movement and it is getting bigger by the day. The IRS of course knows all this since they have the ability to pry into all our lives at will in the name of “revenue” for the always hungry government. During the Benghazi hearings The Blaze website had over 15 million unique visitors, which is a lot of Americans looking for the truth. So I contend that the IRS is taking a calculated move in relation to the rest of the government and yielding a little to the Tea Party in hopes of taking the edge off the really bad stuff coming out of the modern-day Watergate—which is Benghazi.
This is the trouble with a “collective” organization who thinks more like an ant colony protecting the “queen” than a society of free individuals. The IRS understands what their brothers and sisters are going through in Washington D.C. regarding Benghazi, and they are hoping to take the edge off the story with a nice little monumental revelation that seems so scandalous that it sucks the life out of the Benghazi story. But so what—what is anybody going to do to the IRS? So what if the IRS breaks the law and pisses off the Tea Party, what do they care if they make anybody angry? They revealed they lied in testimony, and that they actually target individuals whom they politically disagree with. So their admission means nothing, it gets played on the news and it makes many Tea Party members believe—falsely—that “the government” is coming around, that they are trying to be good, and honest for a change wishing to redeem themselves for sins of the past—which is far from the truth.
Experience tells me that the behavior of the IRS indicates a bigger fish to fry just outside of perception, and the attempt to throw the world off the scent is the real strategy of this sudden revelation by the IRS. So it would be my advice to those who read here frequently to not take your foot off the throats of those who seek to rule over you. Instead, push down and do not become distracted with this petty admission. I know Justin doesn’t feel happy about spending the last two years targeted personally by the IRS just because he existed. I know the Liberty Township Tea Party would like to have back the dozen or so 2 hour meetings they had to deal with just IRS compliance measures. And as for my time, where do I get back my Saturday that I wasted making DVD copies of my published videos so some pin head at the IRS can have hard copies of evidence gathered from the Liberty Township Tea Party? The answer is that I don’t, the IRS stole my time for no reason, and they don’t care one bit about it. Their apology is not one of sincerity, but of further cover-up of the many sins coming out of Washington D.C. One of my Saturday’s is more valuable and productive than the entire IRS building full of people over any given year. Every minute of my life creates jobs, hopes, and fulfills dreams for others, so wasted time on the IRS takes those things away from others which are why they are such a bad organization whose only primary role is wealth-redistribution.
The shocking revelation by the IRS is not out of goodness, but to cover up further deceit. For them to show humility toward Justin Binik-Thomas who was the real target behind the Cincinnati IRS probes is in the hope that the Tea Party becomes too compassionate to press on with the much more destructive injustices that are hidden just beyond sight. The General Petraeus affair was made of the same type of distractions. The tactical General was planning to retire anyway, so why not throw a juicy story to the hungry wolves hunting a guilty government in order to throw them off the trail? But the Tea Party didn’t take the bait and run back to their caves to eat the meat as hoped. Instead they sniffed and determined that the target was insignificant—and pressed on toward the real villain. Just the other day Obama declared to students at Ohio State that they “should not listen to these anti-government” groups. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain—was essentially what he meant. Government is feeling the pressure from the Tea Party and the strain is showing. Government knows they are guilty—all of them—of serious crimes, much more so than the situation of targeting Tea Party groups of tax exempt status then lying about it. And it is on those crimes that everyone must remain focused—which is what’s happening.
One of the Liberty Township Tea Party members in that leadership group most affected by the IRS inquiry released a statement which I will now provide on the matter. It’s from Mark Etterling, and articulates the problem very well, and provides insight to the next steps that are to come. Mark’s thoughts reflect my own.
An IRS spokesperson recently issued a verbal apology to the various Tea Party and Patriot groups whom they had specifically targeted for extreme scrutiny over their applications for 501C3 tax exempt status. Even though I can’t speak for our group, which happened to be one of those that was targeted, or any of the other groups for that matter, I can at least issue my own personal response. Your apology is NOT accepted. In fact, I’m willing to go so far in my response as to say that I would personally like to see those responsible not only fired, but also brought up on both criminal as well as civil charges for violating our civil rights via a direct abuse of power.
Exactly one month ago I wrote a commentary stating that I was fed up with all the bogus mea culpa’s. An apology based on an accident is one thing. However, an apology that is derived solely from being caught committing overt actions related to a political agenda is something else entirely. An apology isn’t enough after a school suspends a kid over eating a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun just so that the administrators can push a gun control agenda. Using the IRS to exercise extreme scrutiny against specific political groups is nothing more than an overt attempt to curtail the opposing voices of those groups. Therefore, an apology doesn’t cut it there either.
Those that are currently in power like to scoff at those of us who protest against what we view as tyrannical actions by claiming we are simply being paranoid. However, if you look up the Merriam-Webster definition of Tyranny it’s easy to see that bringing the full power and weight of the IRS to bear on a specific political group for the sole purpose of stifling their oppositional viewpoint fits the very definition of tyranny.
3: a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force
4: an oppressive, harsh, or unjust act : a tyrannical act
I’m not acting out of hypocrisy just because this happens to be an incident that struck home for me. In fact, in the book I wrote two years ago I specifically stated that even though I disagree with almost everything liberals like Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddow ever say, I would still fight for their right to speak no matter how much I disagree with them. The reason is that freedom and censorship cannot coexist. The presence of one will automatically destroy the other. A person cannot profess a love of freedom and yet practice a tolerance of those things that destroy freedom at the same time. Therefore, your choice is to either tolerate the abuse of tyrannical censorship, or be as outraged about this as I am. I would suggest that no matter what your political leanings you should think about this carefully and choose wisely. Otherwise, the next time you might find yourself being on the wrong end of such tactics yourself where the tyrants will have already chosen for you.
Mark Etterling, Liberty Township
This is a Part II to some of the recent happenings with my favorite football team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. CLICK HERE to see Part I which was about Warren Sapp and is needed to understand fully my thoughts about this article covering the $96 million dollar price tag for Darrelle Revis who the Bucs traded away their first round draft pick among other things, to land Revis from the New York Jets. The leading reason I love Tampa Bay as a football team under the ownership of the Glazers is because they are not afraid to attempt any dynamic to become better. They are a very interesting organization that is firmly committed to thinking outside the box to at least become a competitive team. They may not go to the Superbowl every year, but they are always “in the hunt.” They do not fall in love with coaches or players who do not take the team where they want to go. For the Buccaneers, who are known for their punishing shut down defenses, they have struggled to maintain that presence since the departure of Warren Sapp in 2004. They have looked, and drafted and tried many combinations of individual personalities in an attempt to recapture that magic. If the combination did not work, the Glazers cut their loss and moved on to the next dynamic.
In that regard, the industry of football was shocked that the Buccaneers would be willing to pay $96 million dollars to one person who was not a quarterback. In professional football, it is simply unheard of to pay that kind of money to one person, especially coming off ACL surgery. To the world of sports analysis, no single person is worth that kind of money. Yet for the Glazers in Tampa, who have been searching for a way to give their fans another dominate Buccaneer defense similar to the days of Warren Sapp, it is worth the money to them. As I’ve said before, American Football is the game of capitalism, and countries who favor socialism do not understand why Americans love it so much. Soccer is the game of socialism, which is why almost every country that plays soccer as their national identity, have an economic system of socialism blowing the wind in their sails. With that perspective, Darrelle Revis is simply the best defensive player in the NFL and the Buccaneers wanted him, so they paid the money to get him. Revis set his value at such a high figure by being the best, and anybody who wants to enjoy his services can pay the money. That is how capitalism works. In this case, Revis gets the kind of money that being the best defensive NFL player for 6 years can garner, and the Bucs get a player that should be able to return the team to the number one defense in the league category. Revis was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on April 21, 2013 signing a six-year contract worth $96 million, making him the highest paid defensive back in NFL history. The Jets received the Buccaneers’ 2013 first round pick (13th overall) and a 2014 fourth round conditional pick, which can become a third round pick.
For those in the world who wish to believe that anybody, or any player if they have a good coach, or school to teach them, can become a player like Darrelle Revis due to institutional merit, they are sadly mistaken. Revis is great because of his individual effort. Revis was born to former high school track star Diana Gilbert and Darryl Revis. Revis is the nephew of former NFL defensive lineman Sean Gilbert. Revis’ high school accolades include the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 2003 Player of the Year, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2003 WPIAL Class AA Player of the Year, and 2003 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “Fabulous 22”.
In the PIAA Class AA State Championship football game, he led Aliquippa to a come-from-behind 32–27 win over Northern Lehigh by scoring 5 touchdowns including 3 rushing touchdowns, a punt return, and the return of a blocked Northern Lehigh field goal attempt. He also completed a 39 yard pass, had a reception, and an interception in the game.
In his junior and senior years of high school he led Aliquippa to WPIAL basketball championships, leading the team in scoring both years, culminating with a 25.2 PPG average his senior season. He also had the most interceptions out of any cornerback for high school. He would go on to become a dominant player in college and then in the NFL earning him the reputation of Revis Island referring to the part of the football field that he covers. He is the prototype of the “shutdown” cornerback.
In Tampa Bay, they suffered through a season during 2012 that had them losing most of their games by 7 points or less. They had the offensive weapons, they had a top ranking running defense, they had wonderful special teams, but they could not stop the pass. They had lost a number of players over the years at cornerback and just could not find the right combination. Teams learned about halfway through the 2012 season that the Bucs could be beaten if they went over the top and threw over their very good defensive lineman, and linebackers. And that’s what happened. All the Bucs could hope to do was win games by out-scoring their opponents, because they couldn’t stop them. This was an uncharacteristic element for a Glazer team known for their staunch commitment to defense. So it was well-known that they would address the issue in the upcoming off-season. But few thought they’d be willing to spend so much money to address the situation.
The Bucs are taking a chance with Revis, and Darrelle appears to understand it all too well. Coming off an ACL surgery is risky, and for the Bucs to spend so much money on a damaged player speaks volumes as to what they value in Revis’ head as opposed to his physical skill. But for them, the marketplace was a perfect fit. Darrelle with the Jets had carried the entire team on his back, but in Tampa, he will have a tremendous amount of help. He should thrive under the ownership of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but only time will tell, however, the Glazers deserve credit. They are not just looking for a cornerback to cover 45% of a football backfield. They are looking for a leader at the level they had with Warren Sapp, John Lynch and Derrick Brooks who played on the field at the same time.
The Revis trade articulates how much value one person on a team can be. Individuals are not interchangeable. While teams do involve coordination of many individuals to accomplish a task, it is individuals of exceptional character and skill who raise the bar from mediocrity to “excepetionalism.” The Buccaneers expect out of Revis exceptionalism and it is worth the money to them to get it. It is fun to root for a team ownership who is willing to commit so much money to one player to obtain not only victories, but a culture that is known to the entire city of Tampa—as a dedication to “DEFENSE” as it was established in the years leading up to their Superbowl win of 2003. Even if the experiment turns out to be a bust—which I don’t think it will I am proud to support the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of their willingness to embark on such experiments. I am proud to wear their merchandise, to fly their flags, and watch their games. The Glazers work hard to give me a product I can enjoy and they value the art of capitalism to a level that I don’t see in any other NFL team. That commitment is all over the Revis trade, and for that I am extremely excited for the upcoming 2013 season. I have a feeling it’s going to be a fun year to be a Buc fan!
Game day at the Hoffman House is a fun day for my family. I put on quite an extravaganza for every game. During the fall, the game can be heard streaming from my garage on the radio broadcast from Tampa and the televisions inside my house are on the game as I monitor the details over computer screens. I thoroughly enjoy Tampa Bay Football games, and this year there will be more to cheer for than there has been in a long time. For me, the cheers are not so much for points scored, but for points prevented as I cheer for a return of the great Buccaneer defenses of the past, and the rise of a new age of The Buccaneer Way that will raise the bar for the entire NFL, and drive the American economy with a wonderful example of capitalism at its finest in a game only understood by free people in free lands who love to sip beer and eat chicken wings as the leaves outside our windows begin to fall.
It’s the Buccaneer Way!
I have always been fascinated as to why some songs, especially the one below titled, “Surfin’ Bird by The Trashmen have been so popular. My thoughts are that as our culture had for the first time in known history achieved the ability to broadcast, and produce entertainment of a leisure nature, that mankind started at the primordial concepts of audio and visual stimulation. It is not always important to music listeners whether or not they understand the contents of a song so long as the beat is catchy. The result has been a tendency for entire cultures to mouth words to songs they have no idea as to the meaning. They turn off their minds, and all logic it might produce to enjoy the collective rhythm of a hearty tune. For me, the finest example of this type of thing is “Surfin’ Bird, which is one of the songs that I like to play on my iPod as I travel 100 MPH down the highway on my motorcycle. There is something very energetic about the music that makes weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds very entertaining.
But what does any of that mean? Well, the short history found on Wikipedia says that “Surfin’ Bird” was a song performed by the American surf rock band The Trashmen, and it is also the name of the album that featured this hit single. It was released in 1963 and reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is a combination of two R&B hits by The Rivingtons: “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” and “The Bird’s the Word”, which was influenced by Red Prysock‘s “What’s the word? Thunderbird!” 
It is likely that Surfin’ Bird’s derives from a radio ad jingle advertising Thunderbird as a brand of cheap wine: “What’s the word? Thunderbird. How’s it sold? Good and cold. What’s the jive? Bird’s alive. What’s the price? Thirty twice.” The jazz release that reflects common knowledge of this jingle is titled, “What’s The Word? Thunderbird!” and was issued in record form as Mercury 71214 in October 1957. This release was written by Wilbur Prysock, and performed by Red Prysock.
The Rivingtons followed up their Billboard Hot 100 hit Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow with the similar The Bird’s the Word in 1963. The Trashmen had not heard this version but saw a band called The Sorensen Brothers playing it. They decided to play the song that night at their own gig. During this first performance, drummer and vocalist Steve Wahrer stopped playing and ad-libbed the “Surfin’ Bird” middle section. Despite not knowing “The Bird’s the Word” was a Rivingtons song, the similarity to “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” was obvious and The Trashmen added the chorus to the end of their new track.
A local disc jockey, Bill Diehl, was at the gig and convinced the band to record the track. It was recorded at Kay Bank Studios inMinneapolis. Diehl entered it into a local battle of the bands competition and it won. It was then sent to a battle of the bands competition in Chicago where it also won. This led to the group being signed to Garrett Records with the single being quickly released. It reportedly sold 30,000 copies in its first weekend before going on to national success, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, authorship is credited to Al Frazier, Carl White, Sonny Harris, and Turner Wilson Jr.—the four members of The Rivingtons—after the group successfully sued The Trashmen on grounds of plagiarism.
In a lot of ways Surfin’ Bird reflects the many turbulent times that were headed for America. It is a song that makes little sense and is just fun for the spontaneity of it. As described, it was constructed without much thought from a mixed up number of sources to be thrown together for a public not hungry for thought, but for pure entertainment.
I love the song for its energy. But I find its non-thinking dangerous. It reflects accurately what is going on in our public education system, in our entertainment culture, in our social habits, in virtually every human endeavor. The trend is to surrender thought to impulse which is an animal trait that is the wrong way for the human race to migrate toward. The jingle is seductively cleaver which pulls the mind into accepting random nonsense with no meaning whatsoever. Songs like this prepare the mind to accept nonsense.
Most who read this will declare that I should loosen up and just enjoy life. I should just listen to Surfin’ Bird and ride my motorcycle 100 MPH through heavy traffic with my iPod turned up all the way and not worry about such things. But for me that’s no fun. I like to understand how things work and why, and the reason that songs like Surfin’ Bird are so loved is a subject of study that needs to be understood. The reality is that it reflected a time in America where our culture was under attack by communism in our college campuses by KGB infiltrators and the constant threat of nuclear war with either Cuba or the Soviet Union turned America from World War II patriotism to Vietnam era passivism. Not knowing what to do and having a new media culture to reflect the nation’s values songs like Surfin’ Bird were tossed out to the public in a way that only capitalism could have produced to bring American culture something only it could produce—a stupid song, about nothing that is still better than anything else the world was otherwise able to produce.
I suppose that is why I like the song so much, because it represents to me that even when America attempts to do something ridiculously stupid, it still comes out wonderfully. It is the original Gangnum Style song that hits a primal cord of rebellion even though it is laced with thoughtlessness. Stripped down to its bare essence Surfin’ Bird is about hope and enterprise. It could have never been produced by a communist country and is an example that only through capitalism–a song made up almost on the spot and recorded in a little studio in Minneapolis having absolutely nothing to say artistically, or culturally–is still better than anything else the rest of the world produced—which says a lot.
Now, I am going to get on my motorcycle and listen to Surfin’ Bird about 10,000 times over and over again!
Community Foundation Makes a Political Decision: Levy Addicts purchase “love” with other people’s money
Stop the presses! I thought the Community Foundation of West Chester and Liberty Township refused to accept funds or support political statements with their local charity group. Yet as the Lakota school system is gearing up for support of another levy attempt using their public relations machinery to close a nearly $2 million dollar budget deficit projected for 2014 due to employee wage increases, the Community Foundation did a really nice job of putting their name behind two teachers from Lakota, Amy Smith and Dean Hume featuring them with the Lakota Educator of Excellence Award. The Community Foundation promoted their picks with the following two videos featuring the teachers. Have a look.
The Community Foundation had this to say about teacher Amy Smith:
Those who nominated Amy Smith indicate that there is no teacher more deserving than she to receive the “Educator of Excellence Award.” Amy is described as a compassionate and caring teacher who goes above and beyond for her students. She is often spotted at her students’ sporting events and dance recitals, and has been known to call parents at home after school hours just to update them on something their child accomplished that day at school. Amy works to ensure that each of her students’ needs are met, whether that means enhancing curriculum for students who excel in a particular area or setting aside individual time for a student who might be struggling. Beyond academics, Amy prepares her students for success in life by teaching them empathy and compassion for others, and by building their self-confidence. As one parent writes, “Amy is the kind of teacher that every parent hopes and prays their child will get. The heartfelt nomination letters are a testament to the lasting impact that Amy Smith has made on her students, their parents and the whole Endeavor Elementary community.”
The Community Foundation then said this about Dean Hume:
The majority of nominations for Dean Hume to receive the Educator of Excellence Award came from former students who, under his tutelage, were on the staff of Spark, the award-winning student-run news magazine at Lakota East High School. Dean founded Spark 21 years ago and has since been the faculty adviser, although he takes no credit for the publication’s success. Instead, credits accolades like the publication’s 10 National Pacemaker awards and 18 All-Ohio rankings to his talented students. Dean is known at Lakota East for his unorthodox approach to education. One student describes her first day in Dean Hume’s class, saying, “He shut off the lights and climbed onto a table…he explained that as our time in the Journalism program went on, the lights of the world would turn on so we could see it for what it truly is.” Former students comment on how he saw in them what, oftentimes, they didn’t see themselves and pushed them to fulfill that potential. Dean would stay after school when his students needed to work on a story and would be there with them on deadline weekends when the pressure was on to put out another excellent issue of Spark each month. Dean Hume is truly committed to his students. As one nominator put it, “It is fitting that the newsmagazine he created is called Spark because that is exactly what Dean Hume finds in each of his students…a spark that he then fans into flame with unparalleled dedication.”
While all that sounds very nice, and sweet, and even though Dean Hume has reportedly said many bad things about me to his class, I do like his choice of paintings on his classroom wall. I’m sure those teachers are very good teachers, but I would argue that what they are doing is expected by the community, and should not be the exception, but the rule. I expect every teacher to perform at the level of those teachers, so I do not understand why all the hoopla. But from a public relations standpoint, just ahead of a levy attempt, I can see why these teachers would be highlighted. I’m sure they enjoyed the award. But here is the problem. During the winter of 2012 my group, No Lakota Levy tried to work with the Community Foundation to help pay for the students who were being raked over the coals with sports fees of $550 per sport because the Lakota administration mismanaged their money. We didn’t want the kids to suffer for the problems of the adults, so we approached the Community Foundation to join forces and help the Lakota school district have a positive experience. I thought it was nice for my partners to reach across the aisle, even though I disagreed.
The response to our measure was a negative campaign against me personally which can be seen by CLICKING HERE. This was the choice of the Foundation who designated me as a detriment to the community because I did not blindly advocate throwing endless amounts of tax money to the public school of Lakota. Well, naturally that made me very angry and I responded appropriately. The levy addicts did not appreciate my comments as they came forward to make their opinions known. One of those opinions came from the head of the Community Foundation itself. Here is a quote from the Cincinnati Enquirer on March 14th 2012 where Patti Alderson, board chair and CEO of the Community Foundation of West Chester and Liberty Township, complained about me as she spoke before the Lakota school board. Alderson said she wanted to clarify that her group, which also raises money for needy Lakota students, had no affiliation with Yes To Lakota Kids, (No Lakota Levy) a group I was involved in and helped start with the intention of helping Lakota students pay portions of their sports fees. Read an article about this issue from Forbes featuring my efforts, CLICK HERE.
Alderson told the board audience of more than 200, that No Lakota officials had approached the foundation but that “we refused to accept their funds.”
“We refuse to accept funds where political statements are attached,” said Patti who took exception to my comments here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom where I said about the levy addicts “even with the overwhelming proof I’ve provided the crazy PTA moms and their minions of latte drinking despots with diamond rings the size of car tires and asses to match, (they) plot against me with an anger only estrogen can produce. They have shown no restraint in casting aspersions in my direction by calling me every name the human mind can create in human language. Did they think it wouldn’t get back to me? And being a head for an eye kind of guy I’m happy to return the favor. And yes, I meant it the way I said it. I do not think an eye for an eye taken is harsh enough. I generally leave people alone and let them make their own decisions without my interference until they attempt to impose themselves upon me. School levies are imposing themselves onto my life.” I knew when I said all this that it would anger the levy addicts, so I put a period at the end of my statement directed to those strongest advocates of higher taxes. The levy addicts had already slandered my name every way possible and painted me as a community menace, so I felt my opinion of their lifestyles was justified since they had already thrown in my direction names like, “wife beater,” “hillbilly,” “child hater,” “greedy businessman,” and many other derogatory terms. So I made my opinions of the levy addicts known by saying they are, “just prostitutes to their husbands who do everything they can to be away from them aside from the occasional sex. Their husband’s roll them over at night and insert their manhood into these women of the bedroom and hundred-dollar bills find their way into their purses. The women don’t know what the man does to earn the money, nor do they care. They are busy saving the world one child at a time with howls of safety and more regulations as they rush to the polling places at election time.”
As The Enquirer stated I was unapologetic for my writings. In fact, I should have really spoken my mind. I actually held back in concern that little children might read what I thought of the levy addicts. Knowing the real motive behind the games that were at play within Lakota made me very angry. The Community Foundation did not spontaneously line up to speak against my comments but had been planning them for a long time.
I said in The Enquirer about the issue, “Emotions get pretty intense in political campaigns and let’s face it; we have had to continue with our levy resistance for a couple of years now. It gets very frustrating when you present good arguments then the pro levy side paints you as being against children, and wanting to dismantle the community because they can’t come up with compelling arguments against you.” The rest of the article can be seen by CLICKING HERE.
It is often very difficult to tell good intentions from bad ones when children are being used as extortion mechanisms. In my community there are a lot of groups who advocate that what they do is for the good of “children” but what their real intentions are constitute power, whether that power is political, emotional, economic, or just psychological. It is even more difficult to announce the kind of tyranny that I am about to name, because there isn’t any mechanism in our courts that define the behavior as bad, or even illegal. There are no moral codes that do so either. In fact, Christianity espouses the value of charity with great fanfare, so organizations like the Community Foundation feel that so long as they show altruist measures in society that they will be given a free pass to behave in any manner necessary to achieve any aims they deem “good.”
Some of my partners in No Lakota Levy were also very active in the Community Foundation, which is a good organization with intentions that are beneficial. They expressed an interest to donate money to the Community Foundation but they were not doing it because they wanted to solve the problem. They were doing it because powerful community members in the culture of the Foundation were applying pressure on them to cave on their resistance to the school levy at Lakota. As a local charity group the Foundation appears to have believed that they needed to support the school levy otherwise they were letting down “the children.” As perceived leaders in the community many of these people were pushing my partners to separate from me as I was too radical and detrimental to the “growth” of West Chester and Liberty Township. I watched all this activity with great humor. I eventually agreed to help with the donation project because on the surface it was a good one. But I had something else in mind for all those “society” types who were slandering my name to my partners, and to other people around the community who were firm “NO” votes on tax increases. I needed to identify the slanderers by name for future battles, and I needed to expose their true intentions. This meant flushing them out from behind their hiding places of smiling faces attending Lakota. The best way to do this was to expose the game they were playing by beating them at it.
In spite of the comments I said above, I have said far worse publicly, in writing and in fisticuffs around town. But the levy addicts never cared much until The Enquirer article from March 7th. After my partners and I started our own foundation once the Community Foundation closed their doors to our $10K donation the following dialogue appeared in The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Unlike similar anti-school tax groups in some other area suburban districts, No Lakota is now in a privately funded $10,000 partnership to help students pay for higher school sports fees, says the group’s founder Rich Hoffman.
Hoffman and other tax opponents have long contended that Lakota’s teachers and their union should be taking the brunt of recent budget cuts through pay cuts rather than eliminating student services and upping sports fees.
“It’s obvious that the greatest casualty in these three levy fights has been the kids, and that’s really unfortunate,” says Hoffman of the “Yes to Lakota Kids” program to be publicly unveiled later Tuesday.
Hoffman said the unusual effort is designed to remove students from being used by school labor unions as “emotional hostages” in the often contentious tax levy campaigns of recent years.
“With the sports fees so high, it certainly has an impact on families that aren’t as fortunate as other families and we feel that’s simply not fair, and we are seeking to rectify that situation while these disputes with the school’s labor over pay continue. The kids have been used by that labor force unfairly, and it’s time to remove the kids from being caught in the middle,” I said. CLICK HERE for the rest of the article.
Just a few days later, Patti Alderson made her comments to the school board and one week after that Enquirer article levy addicts were scouring through my public writing here on Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom looking for anything they could use to smear my name not just privately—as they had been doing—but to take me out of the “public” debate. However, their behavior was something that had to be triggered because behind the scenes—through charity events, fund-raising dinners, and inner circle emails, the attack on my group was taking place from the Lakota levy addict public relations machine—and I didn’t appreciate it. School officials were working illegally behind the scenes to pull the strings of power to make their moves of offense. (illegally because officials were working on levy related material during school hours, which is traceable by email and witness testimony.) It was expected that since I was a public figure that I would behave like Mitt Romney did during his presidential campaign when Barack Obama called him names and slandered him any way possible, but Romney was inclined to show that he was “above such reproach.” Well, I don’t follow any such rules. After The Enquirer article there was the Forbes article and my comments about students being used by school labor unions as “emotional hostages” was too close to the mark for the levy addicts. They were forced to make their move against my organization to reveal what they were secretly attempting to do behind closed doors. For me this was equivalent to a “controlled blast” that a bomb squad might attempt to do to safely detonate a booby trap or other dangerous device. The trick was in the timing.
I published the comments seen above in the middle of February after I learned about the Kroger survey organized against me to smear my name publicly. I was curious when and if anyone from the other side would take issue, but they didn’t as I had said such things before. The important thing to note is that the levy addicts did make their move once they realized that my organization was stripping away their “emotional leverage,” with the financial donations. This was the weakness of the levy addicts. Deep in their hearts they were conscious of their social hypocrisy. They were aware of what they were doing, but they could not reveal the truth, even to themselves. The levy addicts attempted to make my comments into one of sexism, vulgar pretense, and social unreliability. But their anger was toward none of those things. Their anger was toward the worst thing that I said which was that the school, and everyone attached to promoting school levies were guilty of using the children of Lakota as “emotional hostages.” For that comment Patti Alderson took to the microphone on behalf of her Community Foundation and feigned anger at my derogatory remarks when the real issue was the role that the Community Foundation had to take in denying the $10K check from No Lakota Levy as a contribution to the children of Lakota attempting to actually unite the community.
This brings us full circle back to the Community Foundation giving two teachers from Lakota, Amy Smith and Dean Hume Lakota Educator of Excellence Awards. Patti Alderson proclaimed in her public comments about me that the Community Foundation refuses to accept funds where political statements are attached. Yet the support of the Community Foundation getting behind the Educator of Excellence Award with a flashy video and a touchy—feely symposium of Lakota employees, obviously filmed during school hours was a political statement considering that Lakota is gearing up for another tax increase attempt.
They are of course entitled to their opinion at the Community Foundation and on a perceptual level, anyone with a brain can tell that there was something wrong with the scenario, but the crime is difficult to define conventionally, which is why it continues to happen in virtually every school district across the country. After all, the school and the Community Foundation are helping children. This is supposed to give them a moral license to do and say anything they want so long as they are flying a flag of honor with pictures of smiling children upon it. But when I pulled the flag down giving both parties nothing to hide behind, they reacted in fear and extreme revulsion lashing out predictably. The question of why this happens is the real mystery that many of the levy addict players cannot define themselves. They have no idea of why they are motivated to behave in such a way.
In the 1960s even up to the current gay marriage debate the essence of the free love and non sexual denomination relationship discussion is to achieve one primary aspect of life that is particularly disconcerting to voters who tend to lean-to the political left. These people tend to want to be loved, and they are often insecure about losing love once they obtain it from others. Love is one of the most primary functions and desires of a human being. It could be said that the level of love in one’s life dictates their happiness. The trouble is some people understand that love is obtained when two or more individuals share common values, and some ignorantly believe that it is obtained through altruism—a sense of sacrifice. When a man tells a woman, “I’d die for you,” he is proclaiming the later. He is an idiot. It sets the relationship with the woman on the wrong footing. She will always unconsciously be on the lookout for another mate in case the man fulfills his proclamation. If the same man says to the woman, “I love you because of who you are.” This has more weight and the woman will understand that the love is generated from shared values. The former will be successful because the relationship is built on values that are shared. This is the ultimate failure of our modern age. The wrong types of people seek love for all the wrong reasons. The left leaning voter seeks sacrificial love through the measures of non value because it is less risky for them. Love without value means that any given person of any given value can love any person anywhere no matter what their sex, age, or success factor. This belief is driven from the fear that if love is obtained, that it might be lost if the values of people change. So to safeguard themselves from this fear, they seek to remove value from love so that they never have to be without love. This is of course sweet when looked upon in this fashion as it is easy to feel compassion for such people. But this leads to social failure because it strips society of values, which is what we are seeing in America today.
Many of the levy addicts involved in the Lakota Levy debate are suffering from this problem of insecure lust for love. Their intentions are not to pass a levy, save children, or ever solve the public education funding problems provided to them by greedy labor unions. Instead they hope for a return to the problem every couple of years because they are addicted to levy attempts as this is the way that they have learned to make other people “love” them. For an example of this need for love, look at the faces of the levy supporters in the picture at THIS LINK, CLICK TO VIEW. It’s not about children for them, but about community, love, sharing, and all kinds of mushy emotions. This is the real intention of levy supporters and why I call them “Levy Addicts.” They are addicted to the euphoric feeling of crusading for a cause (children) for an invisible desire for goodness—as it has been defined by government. Anyone who stands in the way of that “love” is a threat to their existence, and they attack the way a jealous spouse attacks someone who they fear might steal away their love. But the love is not pure. It is instead neurotic and doomed from the start. It can never be filled, or achieved because it requires the theft of other people’s money to acquire. Many of the levy addicts could write personal checks for the $2 million dollars and never miss the money if they really wanted to help the community. I can think of a few of the levy addicts who would consider the $10K that No Lakota Levy raised for the children of Lakota to help pay for their sports fees as equal to the same cost that they spend on lunch. It doesn’t mean anything to them, the value of money is negligible because they have so much of it, and have forgotten how they came to it. But what does mean something to them is whether they can manage to unite an entire community through charities, politics, or business into loving them to the extent that they are willing to surrender their personal values and logic. These are the deep dark secrets of the levy addicts.
My threat to their existence is that I proposed to solve the problem and remove the financial chaos which they need for their scam. The levy addicts need the chaos to fill their lives with love which they are always yearning for—the desire to be loved by others to fill a value they can never seem to find any other way. In this way the levy addicts become just as tyrannical as the Crusaders attempting to move the world toward a particular religion out of a professed love of God through altruistic sacrifice—but if not the Crusades pick a mass movement of any other radical group seeking to crush individuals in pursuit of a collective good. The definitions of “goodness” are set by those with the loudest mouths and deepest yearning for public love. At Lakota the fantasy of the levy addicts is if only they could remove the opposition to their plans, then the community would shower them with love and affection—kissing their ass in every public appearance because they are powerful financially, politically, and socially. They would thus be loved by all for every reason imaginable—except the one of personal value—which they are lacking. These levy addicts become terribly insecure when they realize that people only “love” them for what they can give them. They are always looking for ways to give other people things they’ve stolen from someone else because of this deep fear of lacking personal value.
This is what the hate due to my words was really about, and what was exposed when No Lakota Levy wanted to actually help children with a $10,000 donation. Nobody in either the media or the politics of the community knew what to do because they had been exposed for what they really were. Everyone involved pretended that they were innocent of any emotional crimes, but when I spelled it out in The Enquirer the real sin of which those supporting school levies were guilty of using children as emotional hostages I had hit the nerve everyone wished to keep hidden from the public. The hypocrisy and sin against all children by the adult population seeking community love was out in the open and nobody knew what to do with the emotions.
The Community Foundation which had declared itself non-political announced its political support of the local government school with their video support of the two teachers which they recently awarded. If such charitable foundations really wanted to help the entire community, they would simply cover the cost of the tax increases with their own personal checks instead of attempting to compel the entire community to support a school they may not like or support. There is no call by the charity group to solve the actual funding problems at the school because that would defy their real intention, which is to maintain their power base at the center of the community which is in perpetual pursuit of “love” from their peers.
If the motivations were not one of public love, the money would quietly find its way into the Lakota treasuries in the still of the night without a name attached to the donation. If those involved in community health were actually willing to serve altruism, they would not place themselves on pedestals so that everyone could see how much they did for the community–they would simply do the work without fanfare. But the intention is not about “goodness,” but is instead about “love,” and the pursuit of it for all the insecure reasons it was ever pursued. The reasons behind the Community Foundation award to the two teachers sadly looks to not be about merit, but politics, and even more tragic are the attempts to hide such charades behind children. Without my incident to measure against described above, the presentation of the award to the Lakota teachers might otherwise go unnoticed. But in relation to the upcoming school levy, the objective is clear.
The funds that No Lakota Levy attempted to give the Community Foundation occurred before I wrote what I did in mid February. In fact, there wasn’t even a levy announcement yet for that year as No Lakota Levy had just won the recent election. The Community Foundation well before any of these events occurred declined to work with my partners and me for reasons that are obvious now, because they support the school levy at Lakota perpetually. They care not what causes the levy, they just blindly seem to support them for the reasons offered. The response in the early winter months of 2012 was instead to smear my name and attempt to remove me from the argument instead of bringing the community together as we proposed. I simply wanted to see the school offer the teachers union a 5% pay reduction to prevent another levy. The school district as a whole chose not to listen to the 18,000 voters during the previous election. Instead they chose to proceed with a smear campaign against me personally instead of solving their problem. Then they expected me to take it when word came back to me from No Lakota Levy members and Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom readers who told me what was going on behind the scenes—what was being said about my name and why. That is when the decision to advance the campaign to a new level proceeded.
All the parties involved believe they are right and moral in their position. Yet only one group is right. I would contend that these charity groups and levy addicts are detriments to the community because they feel they have a right to compel property owners to contribute to their silly pursuits of community love. The Community Foundation is perfectly free to support the Lakota school levy if they wish to, just as the levy advocates are free to support their public educations to their heart’s content. They are all free to pursue their desire to be loved by the public by giving teachers special awards and publicly showing how much they love children through charitable contributions. But they are not free to compel me to do any of those things, and they are not free to bend an entire community around their small-minded needs for social “love.” They are not free to impose their beliefs on others by forcing tax increases on everyone to fulfill their worldly visions corrupted by an unquestionable hunger for love—devalued love where judgment of right and wrong are not applicable. That is the trouble with the situation of government politics which public schools are tightly bound with large charity organizations camouflaging their inner desires for attention through altruistic goodness. The fact and hypocrisy remain that if those who speak loudest of the value of teachers, Lakota schools, and community value of government education institutions, then they should cover those costs on their own and not try to compel people like myself into contributing where I chose not to, and then seek to defame me personally because the neurotic, love starved levy addicts didn’t get their way. It is not OK for institutions to crush individuals all in the pursuit of collective love. And that is the current arrangement between local charities like those who attach themselves to public schools with the primary, yet disguised intention of promoting the image of that school in order to garner votes in an upcoming election. The levy addicts do their so-called good by writing checks on the backs of children using their innocence to justify community tax increases. The reason is for love, not justice—and in that revelation much coercion is performed against free minds for a tyranny that destroys generations.
Read more here:
Fear is the most abused emotion that potential dictators use to advance their positions. Anytime an individual or organization of any kind uses fear to attempt to move emotions into seeing their point of view, their argument will be a weak one that contains hidden intentions deceitful in nature. Overcoming fear is therefore the primary task of any potential modern-day hero and is one of the most prevalent themes in my most recent novel, Tail of the Dragon. The main character Rick Stevens is a man who has incredible command of fear, and is motivated to respond more aggressively when the strategy of fear is thrown in his direction by forces who seek to rule him. In order to write about such a character I felt I needed to face down any fears that might linger in my own mind, so I organized a motorcycle trip with my wife and son-in-law across southern Ohio to the extremely haunted Moonville Tunnel in Vinton County, to do some rappelling off that ghost town monument. Later, we planned to head down to Point Pleasant, West Virginia to visit the 8th Annual Mothman Festival, which is an outdoor exhibition of fanfare to celebrate the framed monster which terrorized the citizens there in the 1966. For me, one of the scariest books I’ve ever read was the Mothman Prophesies by John Keel which was made into a Richard Gere film many years after the publication. The non-fiction book was truly alarming stuff and captures wonderfully the very mysterious happenings that occur routinely in southeastern Ohio, where monsters, murders, and supernatural events are rather commonplace. These endeavors lead to the video below which is Part VI of The Making of Tail of the Dragon the novel. Click here to see the previous installment.
I have told the story of Moonville in other articles, so I won’t repeat it here but to say that the old ghost town of Moonville just to the east of Athens, Ohio has some strange connection to supernatural elements. Out of the three times I’ve been there with my family, two of those times involved supernatural happenings. However, this most recent trip on the motorcycles did not have a supernatural occurrence leading me to conclude that whatever the content of those living in a supernatural realm, they feed off the fears, and anxieties of participants who willingly believe in their schemes. I have seen ghost-like images and strange things at Moonville, but I have never seen anything that could actually bring harm to people. Most of the supernatural events occur because they exist outside of our observable reality. The extent of their power is regulated to the effect they have on the imagination. Moonville unlike another ghost town that I wrote about in the Kerr City remote Florida ghost town is known for its excessive numbers of teen suicides, grisly murders, and the disappearance of visitors who are easily pounced upon by aggressive individuals who hunt in those remote woods. The Moonville area is very rugged and can only be reached by a dirt road. If something happens along that road which is several miles from any civilization, there is nobody to hear you scream. To me, this is the source of most of the ghost stories. Young people go there to “feel” something positive or negative, and once there and intoxicated on drugs and alcohol, the ghosts get into their heads and accelerate their imaginations into jumping off railroad trusses, hanging themselves, or committing vile acts against other. So to go to the Moonville Tunnel means to either surrender to these emotions, or to remain in control of them.
When we left early on a chilly September morning in Ohio with the tinge of autumn in the air, we knew it would be the last major motorcycle trip of the year as the weather was simply getting too cold for long distance riding. I was nearly finished with the manuscript of Tail of the Dragon and was set to turn it into the publisher by Christmas of that year. Even though I had a formal invite to publish the book, I still had to go through the process of having it accepted out of nearly 2000 other submissions, so it was not a done deal at the time. American Book only publishes roughly 80 titles a year, so the odds were still against the novel being put into print. After all the work I had done on the book over the summer and all the travel which preceded this supernatural journey which has been chronicled in previous “Making Of” submissions, there was a good chance that Tail of the Dragon would not make it through the publication process. So the anxiety was mounting for me. It is one thing to engage in a creative process, which is what I had been doing, and enjoying. It is quite another to begin thinking of such endeavors as a business enterprise, which was the phase that I was at. I still needed to nail down some of the character traits of Rick Stevens fearlessness, which was difficult to do with the anxiety I was feeling over the publication of the book, so I needed an “EXTREME” situation to bring my own mind out of it. So my son-in-law and I decided to tackle several supernatural themes on a long day trip to the east.
Rappelling at Moonville is something my family had always wanted to do. The tunnel itself cuts through a steep hillside and runs through where the ghost town used to reside. It’s an interesting engineering feat for a group of people who built the tunnel during the period of the Civil War. The town Moonville lived and died due to the mining of iron for the war, as the area was rich with iron mines which appear to be connected to the supernatural happenings—something to do with effect on gravitational waves and how the mind perceives them. I would attribute this heavy concentration of iron to the heavy reporting of ghosts in the buildings at Ohio University at Athens just a few miles away, and the swarm of Big Foot sightings that occur in the area. I am happy with the footage I was able to get during the event. It takes viewers on an interesting journey across the face of the tunnel in a way that only a rope can provide. It really gives an appreciation for how human beings were able to create such a tunnel in the first place before modern excavating equipment large enough for a train to travel through. The area at the time of Moonville’s rise to power was one of the most remote places in The United States, yet people built the large tunnel essentially by hand.
For whatever the reason, whether by reputation, or some chemical reaction in the brain caused by the iron deep in the ground, or actual inter-dimensional beings that use such places as points to and from other planes of reality, Moonville is an intimidating place. On a previous visit my family took to Moonville around midnight, we found local college kids camped out in the tunnel attempting to brave their fears against the supernatural with collective reassurance and drugs. They dealt with that subtle hostility of the place with chemical evasion and communal reassurance. But on our motorcycle trip to Moonville with all our equipment packed on the back of our bikes, we were pretty much alone. We had the tunnel to ourselves with only the ghosts to witness our time there. That made rappelling off the tunnel a unique experience that is not easily duplicated.
We had no obvious paranormal encounters on this visit to the Mooville Tunnel. Other than the obvious uneasy feeling that accompanies the place, it was a peaceful and beautiful day. The ride to the tunnel was long, and cold as the morning air had been very chilly, in the lower 40s. My wife stayed cold well into the afternoon. After a few hours of rappelling my son-in-law and I warmed up and began to sweat a bit. By mid-afternoon, the temperature was up to the mid-seventies as we found our motorcycles where we had parked them along the dirt road in Vinton County from the short hike into the hills to the tunnel entrance. The railroad which ran through the area is now long gone as the only real relic from the period is the tunnel and some dilapidated old railroad bridges that travel west across a swampy lowland. Our next destination was the Mothman Festival at Point Pleasant, West Virginia about an hour’s drive to the south.
We arrived to a town packed to the rim with people coming to see the various paranormal oriented exhibits celebrating the haunting of the mysterious Mothman who appeared there the year leading up to a major bridge collapse that killed many from the town. The Mothman terrorized members of Point Pleasant solidly for 13 months up to the bridge collapse. It is an excellent example of one of the largest group hauntings in American history. For me, coming to the actual site was a way to put sights and smells to the words painted on my mind from that terrifying book, which is excellent. The book, unlike the Richard Gere film, went even further than just the strange Mothman creature into the realm of the paranormal. In the book, Keel covered many mysterious elements that ended up becoming major motion pictures elsewhere. The movie Men in Black produced by Steven Spielberg was a comedy look at an actual phenomena that took place in Point Pleasant during the Mothman huantings, leaving many to wonder who the government looking Men in Black really were. They behaved like FBI, or CIA agents, but proved to be something else altogether. Spielberg was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and appears to have read The Mothman Prophesies in his youth, because his film Close Encounters of the Third Kind seemed deeply inspired by The Mothman Prophesies. Close Encounters took place on the Indiana, Ohio border in the same general region of the country and to this day, no filmmaker has made a better movie on the subject of unidentified flying object sightings than Spielberg’s Close Encounters. Much of activity that occurred in Close Encounters actually happened at Point Pleasant during the Mothman hauntings. For a solid year between 1966 to 1967, journalist John Keel chronicled some of the craziest paranormal activity ever recorded in one area with the exception of Area 51. I always believed that some of the U.F.O. activity was from experimental aircraft at the relatively nearby Wright Patterson Air Force Base, but only a few of The Mothman Prophesies U.F.O. sightings could be explained away with experimental aircraft. There seems to be more to those stories that defy observable explanation at this current time.
Whatever it was, the entire town has found a way to relieve their tension over those events, and that is to have a festival every September to celebrate the strange happenings. For me, it was haunting to look at the actual buildings and locations first hand as I read about them in the book. It was difficult to imagine why such a remote place had provoked so much paranormal activity, but it had. To me the huantings at Moonville and Point Pleasant over a long period of time had common elements that were directly related to the region. There is something dark and menacing in those places. The locals don’t notice it much as they have only ever known such fear present in their lives. But for those who come from outside that area, the tinge is easy to detect. Standing on the banks of the river at the Mothman Festival I spoke with my son-in-law about The Yellow Creek Massacre which was a brutal killing of several Mingos by Virginia frontiersmen on April 30, 1774 which was one of the main incidents that contributed to Lord Dunmore’s War. That terrible incident occurred nearly where we were standing as outlined in a favorite book of ours, The Frontiersman by Allen Eckert.
Chief Logan was a good friend of the English-speaking settlers in the region and was away on a hunt but his wife Mellana, his brother Taylaynee, Taylaynee’s son Molnah, and Taylaynee’s sister Koonay were among the slain. Koonay was also the wife of John Gibson a prominent trader between the English and various Native American groups who at the time of the massacre was on a trading expedition to the Shawnee.
The Greathouse group lured the Mingo group under Taylaynee into their camp with a promise of liquor and sport. Then they sprung an ambush on the Mingos and shot them dead. After the killings many of the bodies were mutilated. In a particular brutal killing Jacob Greathouse ripped open Koonay’s abdomen and removed and scalped her unborn son. The only member of the first group who was not killed was Koonay’s two-year-old daughter who was eventually returned to the care of her father, John Gibson, after she had for a time been in the care of William Crawford. To me, the coincidence between the two events, the killing of the Mingo group in 1774 and the terrible events of the Mothman haunting in 1966 along with all the crazy UFO sightings and the mysterious Men in Black were somehow connected. Such a concentration of strange events in the same area not to mention the collapse of the Silver Bridge right before Christmas at the end of the 13 month Mothman hauntings killing 46 people on December 15th 1967 are more than a coincidence. Fear lives on the banks of the Ohio River in Point Pleasant, West Virginia for reasons that extend deep into human logic and history.
The travel to these places I didn’t expect to solve any of those lingering riddles. However, I did want to get a sense of how Rick Stevens in Tail of the Dragon would deal with ever-present fear, as he contended with a legal system representing the entire country coming after him during the greatest car chase in the history of car chases. I’m not a very skittish person by nature, I am used to a certain amount of ever-present danger. But it is quite something else to put the mind into the kind of situation that Rick Stevens finds himself involved in during the events of my novel. Studying the people of Point Pleasant at the festival, and climbing around in the deep woods of the Moonville Tunnel actually set my mind right on the issue.
We returned home later that evening well before the sun had set. The experience was surreal. We had traveled nearly 400 miles that day yet I was writing that night the final touches of Tail of the Dragon to meet my submission deadlines. The trip had moved so quickly that it seemed like we had never even left that day. My anxiety over that deadline had evaporated after the hard ride realizing that fear is really just a state of mind. My family had stepped over fear and had a nice trip that day in the land of the supernatural. What we discovered was that most of what anyone has to fear is mostly in the mind, and it is easy in such states of consciousness to see how silly it is for society to build their entire civilization on “fear.” Ultimately Rick Stevens in Tail of the Dragon lives his life beyond the grip of fear which infuriates the “fear monger” controllers represented by the police and their puppet master politicians. When Rick stands before a judge in Tail of the Dragon with the threat of life imprisonment for defending himself, he behaves with a level of confidence and fearlessness that is simply unfathomable in modern society. But to tell a story of real freedom in the human mind, it is “fear” that must be overcome, and for Rick Stevens he must deal with the worst of it in Tail of the Dragon.
It is this premise against fear that eventually helped the novel jump out over those thousands of other manuscripts to become published, so the work was well worth it. Fear is the means that is used to control massive portions of the population whether the fear is generated from a supernatural source or a political fear monger. The intent is the same, to control the behavior of individuals away from freedom and toward tyranny. Rick Stevens in Tail of the Dragon is committed to living his life without fear, and this causes him great danger from those who insist that he stay under their control. But like the ghosts of Moonville, Ohio, the real fear that the authorities have to impose on Stevens is only mental. Once it is realized that man is superior to the ideas of the infantile authority driven dictators of politics and power it is soon discovered that real power is really generated among the human race in their ability to generate, or deny fear. If a person develops the ability to live beyond the realm of fear, they will discover how foolish such notions used to be for them, and they will find freedom there to greet them. It is on that side of the mental spectrum that readers are discovering such freedom through the life of Rick Stevens. A life without fear sets the mind into the kind of focus which is rare in the history of mankind, a life that Rick Stevens achieved with a $20 million dollar muscle car in a car chase to end all car chases, in the novel Tail of the Dragon.
Now, here is a clip from one of our previous visits.