The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Square Root Day!

Today is Square Root Day! 3/3/09. Only happens nine times a century. Enjoy!


I'm juggling enough different projects that I'm definitely in that "low-geared truck climbing a steep grade" place. The voices in my head love pointing out the sports cars zipping past, not bothering to remind me that they aren't carrying the same load.



Only three more days until Watchmen. I've been waiting twenty-three years for this. 76% on Rotten Tomatoes, and I'm enjoying reading the most negative reviews--don't want to get my hopes up too high. Hell...I even enjoyed the limited motion animated series they put out on iTunes (although I only watched episodes 1-9. I want to forget as much as possible about the end.) And what I've heard about the changes at the end actually make more sense than Alan Moore's original idea. But the Squid sure was purty. I think it was the Watchmen that woke me up to what was actually possible in comic books. And I'm hoping I have a chance to write a graphic novel at some point in the near future.


T and I are working on a script. Secret project, but let's just say it was inspired by the Obama Inauguration, and because of her familiarity with the Civil Rights movement, she has to write the first draft. Honest, that's the reason. Really.


"24" is still my favorite show, and last night's 2-hour episode was killer. So this African general storms the White House. I sat back, thinking about the metaphorical, unconscious aspects of that image, and had to laugh.


I wrote something longer about this, but decided against publishing it on el bloggo. The question was one of blacks voting Republican. I think that the only smart thing to do is assume that people vote their own self-interest. I see no reason that more minorities can't be recruited to the Right side of the spectrum, especially considering that almost every successful black person I know personally has MANY Right-leaning attitudes. What Republicans need to ask themselves is why more of them aren't--without the snarky implications that blacks have more tendency to vote by automatic programming than whites have. Historically, conditions that affect us, as blacks, often have more to do with our visual appearance than our education, finances, political leanings or whatever. So there is a tendency to react as a group...because things have affected us as a group. Just keep your eye on that ball, rather than trying to figure out how we're different. as eager as Liberals to jump on racist humor and ideology. Do those two things, and I see no reason at all that Republicans can't appeal to more non-whites.


Watched "Pineapple Express" the other day. Wow. Pot comedies have come a long way since Cheech 'n Chong. While it was totally aware that people smoke their lives away, it also was quite the little celebration of hemp. I am SO happy that the Obama administration is ending Federal raids on pot co-operatives. That's just nuttiness.

Cracked me up that Micheal Phelps was more criticized for smoking pot, in someone's home, than he was for DUI. I mean, he wouldn't have been pulled over and tested unless the police detected some erratic driving patterns. So here's a guy under diminished capacity, driving a multi-ton vehicle at speeds sufficient (in all probability) to create lethal impact...actually putting people's lives at stake...and THAT is less problematic than sitting in a party smoking pot. That strikes me as just insane. But I remember a heavy drinker who had an SUV, and laughed that if he got into an accident while driving drunk...he'd win. He'd win. Dear God, what in the hell kind of joke is that?

I really think that a lot of the anti-pot sentiment is from alcoholics who project their own guilt onto others. I'm happy to think that this madness might end in my lifetime. How many billions of dollars and millions of lives have been damaged by the utterly misguided "War on Drugs"? Ugh.


Josh Jasper said...

I said it before, I'll say it again - as long as Rush Limbaugh can make Michael Steele whimper in apology, Republicans will continue to fail at recruiting anyone who really cares about racism. You can't have someone who calls Obama a "spade" running around dominating Steele, and expect to get anywhere.

That's not just "voting your own self interest", it's voting against the tolerance of racism. as eager as Liberals to jump on racist humor and ideology.

Not happening any time soon, for which I'm not sorry.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Alternate theory about the war on drugs: once it was solidly in place, pulling back from it might mean admitting that it was a mistake.

Anonymous said...

Being a libertarian teetotaler is awkward. No, I don't approve of drug use, I don't even own a coffee maker or a bottle of aspirin. Alcohol's scary.

That said, Prohibition was tried and failed horribly, massive negative consequences. Drug use is a bad idea, maybe, but jailing people for it is evil and stupid.

Brian Dunbar said...

I mean, he wouldn't have been pulled over and tested unless the police detected some erratic driving patterns.

I dunno about big city cops, but our local police will pull people over and test them without evidence of erratic driving. All you have to do is leave a tavern parking lot and they'll be on you.

Steve Perry said...

Don't approve of drug use? You a Christian Scientist, too?

Josh Jasper said...

Haven't you heard of the straightedge punk movement, Steve Perry?

Steve Perry said...

Recreational use of illegal drugs is not quite the same as not having a bottle of aspirin in the house. The latter indicates a more stringent attitude.

Even the straight-edge guys didn't go that far. Clean-living doesn't necessarily preclude penicillin ...

BC Monkey said...

Hi Steve,

Re the Republicans, I saw this a few days ago and it partners with your discussion. An Open Letter to Black Americans about the Republican Party

Perhaps you could respond to him?

Older, a discussion on the issue


Within the last is a reference to one reason for the continuing 90/10 split in Dem/Repub support: those who choose to support the GOP get branded with "Young Black Republicans Want to Trade One Plantation for Another. "

Steve: I see no reason that more minorities can't be recruited to the Right side of the spectrum, especially considering that almost every successful black person I know personally has MANY Right-leaning attitudes.

Over time I've seen this point repeated in so much conservative commentary about race and the Republican party. It's a source of a lot of frustration among conservatives that they haven't been able to bridge the gap. The desire is there.

BC Monkey said...

As for the Drug war, I think that ending it and legalizing drugs would have many negative consequences.

For example, once you legalize the drugs, capitalism would take over.

Next you have an industry promoting its product, which would work its way into US cultural products (movies, TV, etc) and then be distributed abroad.

How long would it be before lobbying began to include drug legalization and export in free trade talks with other countries? Imagine the current agricorps, with all of their lobbying power pushing to open new international markets for their product.

How likely is it that the drug crop would be grown within the US using the latest agricultural practices- and out-competing the production from the current drug producing nations, causing even more poverty there?

How many countries would come to agitate against the US as the world's drug pusher?

Sure, there's benefits to ending the Drug war, but there are a hell of a lot of downstream consequences that the pros need to be balanced against....

Steve Perry said...

"For example, once you legalize the drugs, capitalism would take over."

That boat sailed a long time ago. Marijuana is far and away the biggest cash crop in the U.S. -- bigger than corn, wheat, soybeans ...

The growers don't need for it to be legal -- it makes more profit as it is.

Stopping the practice of sticking folks in jail for using, buying, or selling the stuff would save billions just on the care and feeding of prisoners every year, not to mention not having otherwise good people in the pokey. More than a third of the prison population in the U.S. come from drug convictions.

We have laws to protect citizens from drunk or stoned drivers, against assault. theft. A law that protects somebody against his or herself is iffy at best and usually none of the government's business.

Prohibition didn't work, cost the country a fortune, created a whole class of criminals that didn't exist, and finally got revoked when people realized it wasn't ever going to work. Marijuana -- which I gave up a long time ago, so I could stay skinny and, you know, get stuff done -- is way past accepted as a social drug. Recognizing this would save a whole lot of money and trouble.