Freedom

Browsing through Facebook and you see a lot of people talk about their political beliefs.  No doubt I’ve expressed mine many times before via Facebook.  Everyone seems to latch on to their own particular belief and fight the causes that that entails.  It’s always about freedom and the rights that we as Americans deserve.  We all want life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Who gets to decide who gets those things though?

If I were to ask you, what party is about freedom, what would you say?

The truth is, whether you answered Republican or Democrat you’d be wrong.  Neither party is about freedom.  They are about power.  We live in a world where the politician is in it for their own stake and not for the betterment of mankind.

The Republicans have long been about suppressing people’s freedoms due to religion.  They have campaigned on the religious banner for so long that they’ve lost site of the freedom that they once clung to.  They say their actions are motivated by religious freedom, but it’s not that way at all.  If anything they are trying to control people’s religions and not let them express their own individuality.  The big issue obviously here is marriage.  They say that marriage is a religious institution and is only between a man and a woman.  They say that a man and a man or a woman and a woman can’t get married because it’s against God’s will.  I say, great, then make marriage a religious institution if that’s what you believe it is.  Marriage is not a religious institution.  The moment that you are married you get 1100 different rights given to you by the government.  The fact is that marriage is a governmental institution because the government gives rights based on it.  If it were a religious institution then the government should not be giving rights because of it.  So you can have it one way or the other, it either is a religious institution or it’s a governmental institution.

If you want marriage to be a religious institution that’s fine, I have no need to go to a church to get married.  When I find my man and we settle down I’ll be happy with that.  Let’s go pass a law right now that bans marriages from being recognized the government.  No longer will rights be given based on this religious institution.

So you’re not happy about that?  You say that takes away your freedoms?  Well if you want rights because you’re married then this becomes a government institution.  Now we’re where we started.  You are now trying to take the rights from those who don’t fall in line with your viewpoint.  You are suppressing the freedom of the minority by giving rights based on your religious viewpoint that not everyone can have.

The Democrats on the other hand say they’re all about freedom.  They’re the pro-choice, pro-marriage equality party.  Let me tell you a secret.  They don’t like freedom either.  See, someone who is completely free from control of the government can’t fit into their viewpoint either.  Let’s look at what’s going on in Ohio right now.  Legislation is being brought up for “Right to Work” laws.  These laws are fiercely opposed by the Democrats.  Unfortunately, unlike the religious backing of their viewpoints that the Republicans have, I don’t really understand the ferocity that Democrats have against these laws.

The problem with fighting these is that you’re fighting against the freedom that you say you’re about.  These laws give employees the freedom to choose whether they want to join a union and financially back it.  Without these laws a union can work out deals with a company that the company can force people to pay the union dues whether they want to join or not.

Just as with the gay marriage issue this is the majority forcing their views on the minority.  The freedom of the individual to choose is taken away in states like Ohio where these laws don’t exist.

Democrats are all about the personal freedom (unless you want to own a gun) but feel like they can tell you how you should spend your money.  Republicans are all about your monetary freedom but feel like they can tell you how to live your life (unless you want to own a gun).  In the end the parties have drawn these lines in the sand.  They know that they can make you passionate about one thing or another.  People have very strong viewpoints of both sides, especially on issues like abortion and gay marriage.  So the parties have taken their stands on these issues.  I doubt that many of the people in these parties really cling so strictly to these beliefs in their personal life, but it’s all about power for them.  They use the talking points to get us to vote one way or the other.  In the end it has worked, in 2004, Bush used gay marriage bills in Ohio and Florida to bring out the Republican base and secure him reelection. It’s time for change.  Real change and not the Obama bullshit change that was spouted out in 2008 which turned out to be more of the same political games anyway.

It’s time for the rise of the third party.

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Packing Up

I have so much work to do.

I look around my house and I have to figure out, what am I going to take with me and what is going to leave.  Some stuff I’ve already got packed up.  My DVDs and Video Games, they’re all packed up and ready to go.

Then I have to go through my clothes.  Some stuff doesn’t fit.  Some stuff just doesn’t work for me anymore.  There’s so much to figure out.

It’s a daunting task trying to figure out what in your life is worth keeping and what’s meant to be tossed.

Marvel: The Arrogance of Iron Man

Do you remember where you were the day the Iron Man first showed up?

Few people will forget the day that Tony Stark held his press conference announcing to the world “I am Iron Man.”  The arrogance in his announcement was astonishing.  Despite the story that the government was telling us there were rumors that the “body guard” of Stark Industries was indeed Stark himself.  The drunken playboy had finally gone off the deep end.

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In some ways it should have come to no surprise to us.  Tony Stark was the playboy CEO of Stark Industries, the world’s leading weapons manufacturer.  The man was a joke to some.  A villain to others.  A visionary to most.  People worshiped at his feet, and why not?  He was the son of Howard Stark.  Stark Industries had a reputation for excellence.  When Tony Stark took over as CEO of Stark Industries at age 21 he ushered in a rebirth of technological advancements not seen since his father’s death.  The technologies that came out revolutionized the way wars were fought and the way we all lived.

Unfortunately for Mr. Stark his advancements would not just benefit the US.  Enemies would get a hold of his technology as well.  When terrorists captured Mr Stark the world thought it had lost it’s visionary.  Instead we gained something new.  Mr. Stark would return from his encounter and made the announcement that Stark Industries would no longer be manufacturing weapons.  What would Tony Stark do next?

We soon found out.  The fight between Iron Man and Iron Monger would bring to light exactly what Tony Stark had been working on.  The next day would find the announcement that it was Tony Stark’s body guard who had been involved in the chaos in Los Angeles.Image

Christine Everheart from Vanity Fair spoke up on everyone’s feelings that we were being played for a fool.  In Stark’s arrogance he called himself a superhero and revealed himself to be Iron Man.  Iron Monger would remain a mystery until Obadiah Stane turned up missing.  The official story is that Obadiah went down in a small plane crash while on vacation, but most assume that once again we are being fed cover stories.

Stark would then pick and choose his battles.  Many question why he did not show up to stop a rampaging Hulk shortly after his self proclaimed superhero status.  When Hulk and Abomination tore up Harlem there was no sign of this self proclaimed superhero.  If Stark is trying to right wrongs caused by his company then these were on his family’s head too.  It was after all Howard Stark who helped design the super soldier serum that created Captain America during World War II and was the inspiration for these monstrosities.Image

Stark was instead focused on the political front.  He stopped skirmishes between countries and went after terrorists.  As he would later claim he had privatized world peace.  Once again Stark’s arrogance showed strong.  He refused to share his knowledge with our government.  He claimed that no one could replicate the armor he had created.

Stark must have been in for a rude awakening when shortly thereafter Whiplash showed up in Monaco with a functioning armor of his own.  Iron Man took him down and appeared more arrogant than ever afterwards.  For his birthday Stark threw a party and nearly completely demolished his house.  First as he drunkenly smashed things while wearing his armor and then when Colonel James Rhodes and he came to blows both in full powered suits.Image

Bill O’Reilly brought up the point that we had trusted Iron Man to protect us and he was now acting as a giant playboy with a big toy.  Stark had the most powerful individual weapon in existence and he was playing with it.  Stark was acting as the sole judge of what deserved attention from Iron Man.  Who was Stark to have such power?  Stark selfishly kept the Iron Man technology to himself.

Then Hammer entered the picture.  Hammer announced that he had perfected the technology.  We would no longer need to put our soldiers in harms way.  The Hammer Drone would replace the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine with drones that could fight the battles for us.  With War Machine leading the way all seemed perfect.  Then Stark in his arrogance showed up at the presentation of the announcement.Image

A battle progressed between War Machine, the Hammer Drones, and Iron Man.  Ultimately Ivan Vanko and Justin Hammer were blamed for all the trouble.  Tony Star and Colonel James Rhodes were treated like heroes in the end, but how can we call them heroes?Image

Stark is a narcissist, with self destructive tendencies.  The very villains he has been credited with taking down wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for his arrogance.  My good friend Senator Stern even informed me that Stark actually made Stern call him a “national treasure” after these events.

Of course, here’s where things really get bad for those of us not in Iron Man’s graces.  He has now gone and built himself a superhero club!  Let’s take a quick look at these people that he’s gathered.Image

Hulk.  As already mentioned above Hulk has been rampaging for years.  Now suddenly this team of heroes thinks that the Hulk can be one of them?  The beast is uncontrollable and a menace to society!  On this one it seems that Iron Man’s arrogance has spread to his cohorts.

Black Widow.  There is not a lot of information that we’ve been able to dig up on her.  Those who have seen pictures from the Battle of New York tell us that they believe her code name is Black Widow.  While nothing is known about her powers or abilities with a name like Black Widow you know she can’t be trusted.

Thor.  Yes dear reader, Thor is in the ranks of the Avengers as Iron Man has called them.  This man seems to actually believe that he is the Norse God of Thunder.  While he does appear to have similar abilities we here know that it is arrogance that leads him to believe this.  Is it possible that this one is even more arrogant than Stark?  He believe himself a god!

Captain America.  Honestly I don’t have anything bad to say about Captain America.  Out of all the people that Stark has gathered, Captain America is the one true hero in the group.  Like my son who serves our country as an astronaut, Captain America is a selfless hero.  He served our country in World War II as the super soldier.  His demise was a tragedy to this country and the fact that he was found frozen alive after so many years is a miracle!  Captain America should take a hard look at who his allies are though, I can only imagine that he was sanctioned to assist these “heroes” due to the impending invasion.

Hawkeye.  Once again there is little known about this particular player.  Footage from Germany seems to indicate that he was working with the invading force initially but then switched sides.  Rumors persist that he, along with Black Widow, are actually government operatives.  If they are government that gives me a little bit of hope that we have some real heroes on this, but given Stark’s arrogance I find it hard to believe he would work with the government.

The other question we as New Yorkers have been wondering is why did this alien force choose our city as the home of its invasion?  Based on where this portal opened I would believe that it is once again Stark’s fault that this force even came here.  it was after all, just over Stark Tower where the portal opened allowing this alien force to invade our world.

Many people still claim Stark to be a hero.  I say it’s all his fault to begin with.  All these things that have happened all started that day in California where Stark said “I am Iron Man.”  If Iron Man had been a one time occurrence I firmly believe that the world would have been a safer place.  If he had never pursued the technology beyond when he escaped from the terrorists then we would have never had these issues.

Iron Man is a menace to our city.  His arrogance will show and I am confident it will be only a matter of time before that happens.

Rumors abound that Stark has been working on a project called Extremist.  Nothing is known at this time but an announcement is expected soon.  With a name like that I can promise it will lead to no good.  Maybe the world will wake up and see the arrogance of this man.  We need to stop these issues before they inspire more of these heroes.

I’ve heard stories recently of a wall-crawling menace dressed in red and blue in our city.  Others have reported a school in upstate where more of these freaks live together.  Recently there have been sightings of a man they say moves so quick you just see a trail of silver and a woman dressed in scarlet that I hear may be a witch.  If these are the things that Iron Man has inspired it’s time to bring him down.

Who’s with me?

– J.

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Complicated

Sometimes things get unnecessarily complicated… It’s all due to emotions.

So last night I went out and was utilizing my new dedication to overcoming my fears.  There was this boy who walked into the bar and he was so handsome that I knew I wanted to talk to him.  So I overcame my fears and struck up a conversation with him, and do you know, it worked out well in my favor.  He was a really sweet guy, only 24 years old and really down to earth and fun.

Some other guys that we were talking to wanted to go to Brink but I didn’t really want to, so we ended up going to Lizzy’s and Ibar instead.  It was a good time.  After the night was over we ended up back at his condo downtown.

I found out that he’s only going to be in town for a few more weeks too which is great.  It meant that things could just be fun and no complications.  Neither of us was looking for anything serious as neither of us is staying.  No muss, no fuss, just fun.

One thing led to another and soon we were making out on his couch.  By the way, kid is an awesome kisser.  Unfortunately his roommate, her fiance, and their friend walked in as we were on the couch making out.  It was so embarrassing for the two of us.  Now for the roommate she just thought it was hilarious and was really chill about it.  But for the kid and I our moods were kind of killed.  I wanted to stay but I could tell he was really embarrassed so we went down to my car and he hopped in and stayed with me till we got out of the parking garage and I bed my adieu (even though he did end up inviting me to stay once we were out of the garage and I now wish I had).

The issue now is that I want to see this kid again.  He was sweet.  So now I have these two weeks that I just want to get to know him, even knowing that there’s no future because neither of us is sticking around.  Why do emotions get the best of our better judgments?

Anyway, hopefully this wasn’t all I’ll see of the kid because he was cute and he was ticklish when you kissed him on his neck which was just so adorable.

And Even Though I Fear It, I’m Playing All My Cards

Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Now forget the song, and turn that line into the title or inspiration for your post.

Ok.  So let’s try this little creative writing exercise.

Fear.  Fear is such a strong emotion that we all deal with whenever we make a decision.  How many of us live our lives in fear?  We’re afraid of the unknown, afraid of taking risks.  Fear causes amazing people to live dull lives.

Franklin D. Roosevelt has the famous line from his inauguration that we are all very familiar with.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

That’s only a partial quote though, the entire line goes a little longer and reveals even more than the part that we are used to hearing.

So first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

I think the whole line speaks volumes to the human condition.  Many people say it’s love that motivates most people, and I concur that love is one of the strongest emotions out there.  However, I believe that fear may actually be an even more powerful motivator.

Fear has led humanity to some of it’s darkest moments.  Humanity has a habit of subjugating that which it fears.  Egpyt turned the Hebrews into slaves because it was afraid of their power.  The pharisees and the Romans crucified Christ because they were afraid of his power.  Whites made blacks into slaves out of fear.  Men didn’t give women a voice out of fear.  After Pearl Harbor, America rounded up Japanese Americans and put them in camps because we were afraid.  Now the religious deny gay men and women rights because they don’t understand us and therefore they fear us.

In order for progress to be made fear has to be overcome.  That’s such a hard thing to do though.  To overcome the fear of the majority has to be infinitely harder compared to over coming your own fears.

In Green Lantern, Geoff Johns established the emotional spectrum.  The Green Lantern is of course the embodiment of willpower.  It is will that gives him his strength to form the green constructs we’ve seen.  Now, for many years Green Lantern had a weakness to the color yellow.  The green energy didn’t work on yellow and it was just kind of accepted as fact.  When Geoff Johns took over the storytelling for Green Lantern he decided to explain this flaw.  Yellow, as it turned out, was the energy that came from fear.  I think it’s telling that will was unable to act in the face of fear.  Now, Hal Jordan and the rest of the corps were able to overcome fear.  Willpower isn’t about being without fear, it’s about over coming it.

This is the lesson that we all need to learn, to overcome fear.  When I was contemplating my move to Ohio I talked to many people about it.  So many people are living their lives in complacency, they aren’t living them the way they want to but they are terrified of making the changes they need to so they can find their happiness.  Where does this fear come from?  I think the best summation of these feelings is actually found in a song in a show called [title of show], the song is Die Vampire Die.  It talks about all those voices that pull you down and keep you from achieving your desires.

The last vampire is the mother of all vampires and that is the vampire of despair.  It’ll wake you up at 4am to say things like: Who do you think you’re kidding?  You look like a fool.  No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good enough.  Why is it that if some dude walked up to me on the subway platform and said these things, I’d think he was a mentally ill asshole, but if the vampire inside my head says it, it’s the voice of reason.

Despair.  It comes from fear.  Fear that we are not good enough to achieve our goals.  So how do we overcome fear?  How do we stake the vampires that keep us down?

Once again, I draw on Green Lantern for the comparison.  While it is possible for Will to overcome Fear, it’s a never ending battle.  The Yellow and Green energies are pretty evenly matched in the DC Universe, until you throw in the Blue light.  The Blue Lanterns wield the power of Hope.  Hope strengthens Will.  This isn’t just true in the DC Universe though, in reality this is the case.  The best way to overcome fear is to cling to hope.

For too long I’ve let my brain talk me into abandoning hope.  I’ve let guys that I really cared about walk out of my life because the hope of anything real was illogical in my head.  It paralyzed me with fear and I never made any moves.  I’ve never even attempted to sing or write or act publicly outside of a safe environment because my brain told me there was no hope of ever amounting to anything in that.  So my singing was left to karaoke.  My writing was left in scraps of paper in a bedside drawer.  My acting I gave up after high school.

So this is my calling now.  I will no longer let fear control my life.  I will cling to every ounce of hope I find and let it guide me.  It will strengthen my will and I will overcome fear.  If I want to write I will pursue it.  I will strengthen my resolve to have the kind of life I deserve and not live a life of complacency.

The people all are pointing

I bet they’d never guess

That the saint that they’re anointing

Is frightened of the mess

 

And even though I fear it

I’m playing all my cards

Baby you are gonna hear it

When I give them my regards

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Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch?

So just read this over at IGN and just had to share this!

Seems that Joss Whedon has let slip that a brother/sister pair from the comics will be making their way to the Avengers 2 lineup.  If that’s true there is every possibility that it’s Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.  These two characters mean a world of possibilities for the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward.

Fans have questioned about the legalities of including these characters in any Avengers team.  Their origins are very much tied in with the X-Men.  Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are the offspring of none other than X-Men big bad Magneto.  That would place their origins squarely in the X-Men rights and therefore belong to Fox.  However, they are probably most notable for their time spent as part of the Avengers.  If Disney has really found a way to bring these characters into the Marvel Universe it makes me excited for whatever other possibilities there are.  We already know they were in talks with Sony to have the Oscorp building appear in the skyline of The Avengers but that didn’t get through in time to make it to the movie cut.  It shows that they are willing to work with these other studios that have some of the Marvel characters to create a more cohesive universe.

What if whoever they cast as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver end up reprising their roles in the next X-Men movie?  Even if characters like Cyclops and Wolverine aren’t allowed to crossover it would still be excellent for creating a stronger shared universe.  It should make any fan happy if these studios begin to work together to create something so unique.

The second thing that makes me excited by this news is the possibility for my favorite characters to show up (eventually) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  In the early 2000s, Alan Heinberg created a new team of superheroes, the Young Avengers.  It was a time when the Avengers themselves had disbanded following the events of House of M.  In this team we were introduced to Asgardian and Hulkling.  At the end of the first story line it was suggested that Asgardian change his name because there would be jokes once the world found out about the two of them.  Now Wiccan (fka Asgardian) and Hulkling have grown to become of the strongest gay couples in not just comics, but in all of media itself.  While I may be counting my chickens before they’re hatched, the introduction of Scarlet Witch into the Avengers means that her son, Wiccan, is now a possibility for an eventual Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance as well.   While we have gay heroes in the comics we have yet to see them in any of the movies.  How welcome would it be to see a gay hero introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I may be a DC boy when it comes to the comics, but Marvel is doing a fantastic job with their movie universe.  The possibility of it’s expansion like this leaves me absolutely thrilled.  I look forward to seeing where things go from here!  Iron Man 3 comes out next weekend and it should be absolutely fantastic.