Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Superheroes in the Shadows


                                                           


The past few articles I’ve posted on my Empath page dealt with psychic and emotional vampires both living and dead. This week’s post will be on the people who are everything these vampires are not. We all know a person like this. They are good, kind and compassionate. When you ask for their help, they give it. Their goodness is visible in the aura that surrounds them. They go about their lives doing good deeds, but since they are not braggarts, usually no one knows what miracles they have done.
These gentle souls could care less about fame or spotlights. They do good deeds because that is who they are. They are GOD’s angels spending this lifetime in human form. I know several people who fit this description, but I won’t embarrass them by bringing attention to them. What I will do instead is give them a title.

                                                               
Hollywood via the comic books has given us many superheroes and we all love watching these films. Did you ever ask yourself why we go gaga over Superman, Batman or the Avengers? Yes, it would be wonderful if we could fly or stop a speeding train. Yes, it would be great to wear a special suit like Iron Man, which by the way is my favorite superhero, but I think the reason superheroes are so popular is because the human race is so vulnerable.
When I read the news about ISIS committing another atrocity, I find myself wishing that the Avengers would go there and beat the living shit out of them. But, in the end it is up to us to handle these ass wipes and, the United States Military, our only recourse. Our soldiers are our country’s version of the Avengers. They are America’s Superheroes. So why aren’t we taking better care of our veterans?
What is a superhero? Per Wikipedia, a superhero is: In modern popular fiction, a superhero (sometimes rendered super-hero or super hero) is a type of heroic character possessing extraordinary talents, supernatural phenomena, or superhuman powers and is dedicated to a moral goal or protecting the public. A female superhero is sometimes called a superheroine (also rendered super-heroine or super heroine). Fiction centered on such characters, especially in American comic books since the 1930s, is known as superhero fiction

                                                             
Here is a truer and more accurate description of a superhero: A superhero is a person who steps up to the plate when the call for help is put out; a superhero is compassionate and caring. Unfortunately for these superheroes, the emotional vampires often take advantage of them. A superhero will complete the task dumped at their doorstep even if it becomes detrimental to their wellbeing. They will never abandon their charges. They do their miraculous deeds unseen, with only a handful of close friends even suspecting what is going on. These superheroes never receive as much as a thank you, but it doesn’t matter. They, in their quiet and unseen ways have made this world a better place.

                                                                  
We all know a person like this. I know of two in particular and, I am honored to be in their presence. I can truly say to people, “Yes, I believe that Superheroes do exist.”

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Night at Bogart’s

                                                              
                                                       
This past Friday night, my husband was enlisted to be my sidekick for my first book signing since Saving Solanda came out. Saving Solanda is the second book of the Roof Oasis Series and picks up where book one, Roof Oasis, ends. The second book also ends with a cliffhanger. Book three, Beware the Harvesters will be out next summer.  Both books (science fiction/apocalypse/romance) can be purchased on Amazon and Kindle                                                        
                                                            

We headed out to Bogart’s Bookstore and CafĂ© located in Millville New Jersey. It was the town’s 3rd Friday Event where all the shops have tables outside to sell their goodies. Joining me was Cinsearae Santiago-Reiniger, author, publisher, and her husband Dan.
                                                          
                                                                 
I wanted to change my style for this new book, taking on the character of Rosa Santiago, the commander of the Cuban Rebel Base. The stories take place during the zombie apocalypse which was started by the mysterious Leader. Playing the part of one of my characters meant that my normal Steampunk outfit, better fitted for an afternoon tea service, would not fit in with my being a zombie slayer. With the help of Historical Emporium and my fashion designer granddaughter, Allie Gilbert, my outfit evolved. I still have some more items to add over time.
                                                                 
                                                             
There is a robot named Patty, who will be featured in all four (maybe five depending on which character takes over) books. I had just as much fun shopping for her outfit as I did mine. Thank you, Cinsearae and Dan, for finding Patty for me.
                                                             
                                                        
The street was busy with shoppers and I had a nice surprise when my Cousins Marie and Joe stopped by to buy the two books and visit with us. Thank you, guys! A few moments later, a very close friend and her family also stopped by to visit. Thank you, Jodie for hiking all the way there to visit. It was much appreciated.
                                                            
                                                   
I’ll be doing more book signings in the next month and I’ll post the dates on my blog. In October, I’m hosting the second annual Steampunk Granny Bohemian Bazaar and the theme will be Frightful Halloween Themes. I’ll post the venders, date and time in the next week or so.
                                                                   
                                                          
It looks like I already have my zombie squad ready to pitch in.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What The Narcissist Lacks

                                                           

Responsible Equals Accountable. Do we create the Narcissist or is it in their genes? Pretty straightforward question, but the answer is hard to come by. Maybe it's both nature and nurture. How are Narcissists different than the regular person?

I think the words responsible and accountable should go hand in hand. A responsible adult learns to stand on their own two feet, they support themselves by working, they pay taxes, and they obey the laws set up to keep us civilized.

Most adults have learned from early childhood that their actions have consequence and, if they fuck up, they should be held accountable. Responsible and Accountable are one and the same to most people, and yet, to the narcissist; the terms are mind-blowing. They just don’t get it.

                                                              


A person, who has learned to be self-sufficient from an early age, will find ways to survive in the world around them. The independent person knows that it is up to them to make sure they have money for rent, food, car insurance, etc. They know they need to work, every day, to make ends meet.

With most narcissists, they feel that the world owes them a favor. Why should they work when others can care for them? Why should they pay their bills on time, when mommy or daddy will always come to the rescue? Why work when they can suck the life and resources from someone else.

                                                               
I’ve written about psychic and emotional vampires here. Is there a way that we can hinder a young child from growing up to be a narcissist? Again, I ask is it nature or nurture that deals the cards?

I feel that it may be both. Genetics, and the passing on of genes from both parents, is responsible for everything from hair color to genius. The child may have the gene to be a narcissist, but proper grooming might keep the trait in remission by allowing our children to take on more responsibilities around the house. They should be chipping in and helping around the home by doing dishes, laundry, shopping, cooking and yard work. Is this slavery? No! Becoming part of a unit is a life lesson.

                                                             
When my siblings and I were very young, we worked in my parent’s grocery store in South Philadelphia. We were expected to keep our grades high, help in the store and help with the housework. We were given an allowance. If we wanted a toy, we had to save up our allowance and buy it. Guess what? We took good care of those toys because we worked hard for that money. When our parents said, I can't afford to buy you this...we knew that we would have to step up to the plate and save up the money on our own. We were not permitted to be spoiled by greed. We were taught to think of others; to think outside of our own entity.

Something has happened in the last forty years. I don’t know if there is something in the water, or that we’ve been overindulging our children. We better be careful because there seems to be more narcissistic people out there, than ever before. If we don’t change our ways and teach our children to be responsible and accountable, we will not survive as a family or as a country.

Today, most children won’t even help around the house. Everything they want, they are given. They don’t value the hard work that went into making the money to pay for their video games because they did not work for it. And, God forbid if a parent refuses to buy the latest fad shoes, clothes or toys! The budding narcissist will throw a tantrum and shame the parents. How can children learn to be accountable when parents refuse to hold their little darlings to a higher standard? Why scream at a teacher for giving little Johnnie an “F” on his report card. Did Johnnie do his homework, his schoolwork? Did you hold little Johnnie accountable for what he had failed to do?  No? Was it easier to scream at the poor teacher than to stand up to your child? Congratulations! You’ve just created a full blown narcissist.

                                                              
We can start at home to work miracles and we can start with the Government to make new laws that changes the way we help people. If someone is on drugs, that is not a reason for them to get Social Security money, especially if they never put into the system. If you get a check from the government, you will have to work for it. We will help you find a home, we will help with food stamps, we will supply free babysitting services, we will teach you a trade in order for you to get a better job, but you will work for that money, just like the rest of us. If you don’t show up for work, you won’t get paid. It’s that simple. Accountability is a good thing. It is the only way to destroy the adult narcissist and prevent a budding blood sucker.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Dominion Over the Earth

                                                            
 
I went over our responsibilities and what was expected of us in our dealings with fellow humans on my post, My Brother’s Keeper, here. But, are we responsible for the land, water and animals that share this world with us? The bible says that GOD gave man dominion over animals. Didn’t that passage from the bible mean that we humans would be allowed to kill animals at our own discretion? That we could pollute the water if it suited us or that we could destroy the land?  Did a Creator give humans free reign to destroy what HE created.

NO! NO! NO!

Let’s look at the wording for a second. Dominion does not mean to dominate or exploit. It means to serve. My giving humans the power of dominion, GOD was actually giving us responsibility to take care of his stuff. HIS STUFF! Got it? It’s not ours to destroy.

                                                                  
GOD, if you follow the bible, created everything on this planet before finally making Adam...and later, Eve. Someone had to keep Adam from getting into trouble. Really! Did we really expect Adam to be able to survive on his own?  GOD then made us his managers over the earth. HE expected us to grow in numbers and intelligence and to keep HIS STUFF safe. We have failed. Oh sure, we’ve grown in numbers, but we haven’t shown any smarts as far as taking care of what he gave us.

What would our heavenly report card say about our stewardship? F-, most likely and, it is because we’ve become arrogant and think ourselves above nature. Shame on us!
                                                                  


We suck big time when it comes to taking care of the poor, the orphans and the widows, and now, a day doesn’t go by without us reading in newspapers or listening to the news just how greedy and exploitative people have become. We have pursued a lifestyle that is creating sickness both mentally and physically. We have caused a global catastrophe with our lack of concern for what climate change will do to our food and water supply.

                                                                         
A dentist feels peachy fine to go all the way to Africa just so he can kill a beautiful creature that never did him any harm. This dentist thought that his trophy was legal. It was not! Not in my book and certainly, not in GOD’s. Greedy men push their corporate rights over other peoples’ land to do their FRACKING, which is, in my eyes, a raping of Mother Earth.

Are we doomed to remain selfish? No, we can do things differently. We can live with nature and not against it. We can use the Sun for power and the ocean’s mighty waves. We can build, live, and work “GREEN”

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.  Rachel Carson
                                         

Unlike what a certain Political Party wants us to believe, we won’t lose jobs if we go green. More jobs will open. Whatever we do, we should start now because I have a feeling that we will eventually destroy ourselves; go extinct.  It doesn’t matter if we do it with bio-warfare, nuclear war, or climate change. We’ve failed as stewards and, if you believe the stories in the bible, this is not acceptable. You don’t want to mess with Mother Nature and you certainly don't want to piss off, GOD.

The Giver vs. Miss Meadows

                                                              
                                                
Nothing keeps Steampunk Granny down and out, except a nasty, nasty cold. All my plans for a fun filled beautiful summer day derailed, I spent my time on my sofa alternating between long bouts of a drug induced slumber (prescribed) and watching films. Luckily, I was able to watch two never before seen (by me) films. They were both a pleasant surprise as I had never seen upcoming trailers for either one. Did they help poor Granny forget her misery?

The Giver

This 2014 film was directed by Phillip Noyce and was based on the 1993 novel of the same name by Lois Lowry. It stared Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes and, to my surprise, True Blood’s very own Viking vampire Alexander Skarsgard. Yeah Team Eric!
                                                            
Plot

In the not too distant future, the survivors of an unnamed disaster are resettled in communities where all past memories have been removed and the people drugged in order to make them docile. Everyone is taught proper manners and speech and all conflict is forbidden. From the moment of birth, a person’s life is planned out for them. Teenagers are assigned to lifelong careers on the day of graduation. Only one person holds all the memories and records of what life was like before the “The Ruin” and now he must take in a new apprentice to train.

Not everything is as peachy fine as you would expect in such a hassle free Utopia, and not everyone conforms. Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is one of these non-conformists. Jonas has been assigned the job of Receiver of Memories. He is to learn about all past memories from The Giver (Jeff Bridges). People who disobey or infants that fail to thrive are sent to Elsewhere.
                                                           
As Jonas learns about emotions, good and bad, his father (Alexander Skarsgard) takes pity on a baby who is failing to thrive and brings the infant home with the hopes of a second chance. If the baby does not thrive, he will be killed. Jonas, against the rules, shares what he’s learned about emotions with the baby boy and the girl that he loves, Fiona (Odeya Rush).

Conclusion

Jonas has one chance to save the baby that he bonded with, but it means his traveling into dangerous territory. Will Jonas succeed? Will Fiona be executed? You can catch this little gem on Demand.
                                                            
Miss Meadows

This is a 2014 film directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins and staring Katie Holmes, James Badge Dale, Callan Mulvey and Stephen Bishop.

Plot

This is a vigilante film with a twist. Katie Holmes plays the part of Miss Mary Meadows, a first-grade teacher who is the pinnacle of prim and proper. Miss Meadows is loved by everyone in town. She is soft spoken and generally interested in what goes on in her neighborhood and with her students. Miss Meadows wears 50’s style clothing, white gloves and tap shoes and, she is a dutiful daughter who calls her mother every day.
                                                         
When bad people begin to pile up in the local morgue, the sheriff (James Badge Dale) becomes suspicious of, but also falls in love with the teacher. Their one time sexual encounter leaves our teacher pregnant. Miss Meadows becomes alarmed when an ex-con moves into her neighborhood. She starts tracking Skylar’s (Callan Mulvey) movements to make sure no harm will come to her students.
                                                               


As the sheriff and deputies try to trace the gun that is used in all the killings not knowing that the weapon is in Miss Meadows’ stylish purse, we learn of the events that led the teacher to take the law into her own hands.

Conclusion

I think you should definitely see this film for the surprise ending. Katie Holmes, who is now sans Tom Cruise, was amazing as Miss Meadows and, I’m happy that I got to see her in back to back films.
As to my question, did the films help me forget the misery of my nasty cold? Yes! If you have to be stuck in the house, these two films definitely did the job, but you don't have to be sick to watch them. Both get a four star **** rating from me.

 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Brother's Keeper

                                                           
                                              
My Brother’s Keeper. What exactly does this saying mean? Am I only my brother’s keeper, or does this mean that everyone is on this list? Suppose I don’t want to be my brother’s keeper, or he doesn’t want me to take on this job? Where did this saying come from?

Then

It seems that sibling rivalry isn’t new. Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was jealous of Able because GOD favored one boy over the other. Cain was a farmer and Abel a shepherd, GOD apparently liked lamb more than zucchini. Cain killed his brother in a jealous fit and when GOD asked Cain where Abel was, Cain replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

I guess that was the wrong reply to give to the Creator and Cain was banished from his family. I was always bothered by this story. Why would GOD purposely favor one of his creatures over another, knowing that it would cause a rift? This doesn’t sound like something an all-knowing, all-loving, entity would do, and yet, this is one of the stories in Genesis.
 

GOD did not kill Cain. Although the bible says “An eye for an eye” GOD did not kill Cain. He put a mark on his forehead as a warning to other tribes that they were forbidden to harm Cain. I think this is such an important part of the story. GOD did not kill the man who committed murder. HE wouldn't destroy what he had created. He punished, banished, but HE did not kill Cain. I like this GOD. HE is not the vengeful or unforgiving GOD that we were led to believe HE was. 

Jesus

The son of GOD came to tear down the old laws with new ones, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus came with a new message and, it shook the very foundations of intolerance. His message: Love your enemies; Love your neighbor as you love yourself; blessed are the poor; take care of the widows; judge not, or you’ll be judged. This was radical thinking that went against the plans of the powerful people of his time and for this act of reason, Jesus was crucified. His message survived.

Today

Our world is on the brink of change. Many of the rich and powerful are behaving badly. Corporations are creating working conditions that are harming their workers and stripping away benefits that workers have legally earned. Insurance companies are refusing to pay for health care even after people have paid a pretty penny for the protection. We have Senators who want to end programs that help the poor, especially poor children. Corporations use loopholes in the law to destroy the environment causing a global catastrophe. And yet, they will use the name of GOD to control others who think differently than they do. Shameful!
                                                                  
GOD was never about religion, but he did give examples of how we should behave. I don’t believe in organized religion, but I do believe in GOD. So when I hear the candidates claiming that we are not our brother’s keepers, I laugh. They are fools.
                                                                     
We all live on this blue marble called Earth. Until we can go to other planets, we are stuck here. So, let’s take care of what we have. We are all one race; human. We will not survive if we don’t work together. We need to get over our differences. It doesn’t matter what color, country of birth, financial status or sex you are. All are equal on this planet. All are entitled to live and work productively for the betterment of the human race. To achieve this status, we must be accountable to each other. We must protect each other. But does this mean we should support the slothful and lazy people who would rather suck us dry. NO! Charity works best when you give the person who needs help, pride in themselves. Everyone has to work. No freeloaders! Yes, we are each other’s keeper, but to survive we have to be givers and not takers.

Flash from the Past: Roland On Shock Theatre


                                                         

In the late 50’s there was a show that I religiously watched called Shock Theatre. It starred John Zacherle as Roland. John was called the cool ghoul by Dick Clark and it was a fitting name for the talented and funny Roland who hosted the weekly horror flicks for my generation on the Philadelphia station WCAU.

 
Roland, who dressed like an undertaker and looked deader than a doorknob, lived in a crypt with his wife, “My Dear” and his lab assistant, “Igor”, but what made Roland such a hit with me and my friends was the way he would insert his own brand of humor or satire with cut-ins during a film. I had never seen someone do this before and I loved how Roland would cut in on a scary horror scene and do something funny. I did not see this type of brilliance again until Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

                                                             
I’ll include a few videos for you to check out, but Shock Theatre and Roland are one of the reasons that I love watching and writing horror stories.