Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Originally posted on Thursday, July 24, 2008

Women Having Sex With Teens?
No Big Deal!

Do you know what burns my bacon?

When some people are honestly shocked and outraged when some teen-aged boy has sex with a woman and actually feeling this will scar the kid for life.

Angela Honeycutt, which sounds like a bad Bond girl’s name, is charged for allegedly exposing herself to teen-aged boys at a sleepover and having sexual contact with them.

So, yes, we can all see how this would scar a young, strapping male teen with raging hormones.

Now, let’s say Ms. Honeycutt allegedly did what police are charging her with. I can tell you now the police didn’t find out about her little Show-And-Do because Little Johnny woke up screaming in a cold sweat from a nightmare over the incident.

Just like many teen-aged boys, Little Johnny, or in this cases Johnnies, bragged about having some type of sex with a 38-year-old woman from Lower Makefield, Pa. And if you ever been to Lower Makefield, that’s actually one of the few highlights that are available there.

If Ms. Honeycutt is guilty, then she has joined a seemingly growing number of women, mostly teachers, who have been charged with the laughable crime of statutory rape of male minors. And yes, it is laughable because in some of these cases these women aren’t exactly forcing themselves onto these willingly teen-aged boys.

While the man-pig in me roars its ugly head in approval of a male teen having sex with an attractive woman, simply because it’s just about every schoolboy’s fantasy of being with a teacher or female adult, the parent side of me realizes that this does send a wrong message to male teens. But what message should be given to these Ron Jeremy wanna-bes?

Well, sitting Little Johnny down and telling him that having sex with a hot woman with years of experience is wrong and that he should wait for someone he truly loves isn’t going to cut it. And neither is telling him to write a letter to Penthouse. (Sorry, the man-pig in me suggested that one.)

Now, what you have to do is scare the ever-living sh!t out of Little Johnny. How to do that? If he actually had sex with the woman, telling him he got her knocked up might work, but not likely. Getting a woman pregnant rarely stops some guys from acting irresponsible, no matter how old they are.

The best way is by lying through your teeth and saying that the woman has the most horrible form of sexually transmitted disease that it would make the Black Plague look like a case of the sniffles.

This will cause either one or two healthy choices from the young Casanova: Either he’ll cool his jets and wait until he’s old enough to use better judgment or two, he’ll be using protection.

Because the reality is, an average teen-aged boy having sex with an “older” woman is not going to emotionally scar him, but he is too stupid to realize the circumstances of his actions. So to be on the safe side, showing him some slide shows of a hooker riddled with STDs might work better than a cold shower.

Originally posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Barbie's S&M Headline Misleading?

Do you know what burns my bacon? Media sensationalism just to sell a few newspapers and extreme Christian groups that try to suck the fun out of life; so yeah, there’s a double-bonus of bacon burning in this edition’s column.

First, the headline from the U.K.’s The Sun reads, “S&M Barbie lashed by public.” But once you read the story, you find out that Mattel is really releasing a Barbie doll that is dressed like the DC comics superhero Black Canary. They have previously released a Barbie version of fellow DC comics heroines Batgirl, Wonder Woman and Supergirl, just to name a few.

Granted, Black Canary does dress in leather and fishnet stockings, so it’s really not a real S&M look she has, but more of a biker-stripper look going on. This may not ease a lot of parents, but considering that Wonder Woman has been parading around in her star-spangled panties for more than 65 years, Black Canary’s outfit is an improvement and covers more.

Now considering that the U.K. is famous for its S&M outlet stores, clubs and such games as, Whip The Donkey’s Tail, it is understandable why The Sun thought a superhero might have been one of former New York Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s call girls. But with the Internet and Wikipedia around, it would be a simple search to find out if Black Canary was really into S&M or she just wears her leather outfit just to annoy PETA.

Sensationalism has no place in journalism, but sadly, shoddy publications do make room for it.

But now we come to the other half of the bacon burning: The Christian side.

“Barbie has always been on the tarty side and this is taking it too far. A children’s doll in sexually suggestive clothing is irresponsible – it’s filth,” stated the religious group Christian Voice, as reported by The Sun.

Yes, it can’t be denied that everyone’s favorite plastic, blonde doll does dress like a tart, maybe a bit slutty at times. Hell, she looks like a hooker in some of the outfits that I’ve put her in.

Besides, even if parents are going to buy the Black Canary for their daughter, I would like to think a young girl at that age doesn’t know about such things as S&M.

But these extreme Christian groups have to remember that most little girls usually take Barbie’s clothes off faster than G.I. Joe on shore leave anyway. So having her in fishnet stockings isn’t that much of a big deal.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Originally posted on Friday, July 11, 2008

Voting Goes To The Dogs

Do you know what burns my bacon? Idiot voters who only support a candidate for stupid reasons.

For example, an AP-Yahoo! News poll found that pet owners support presumed Republican Presidential candidate John McCain because he has two dogs, a cat, two turtles, a ferret, three parakeets and a lot of fish. I believe this is known as the Noah Complex.

But on the other side, the poll said that non-pet owners, or also known as “liberators” according to PETA, favor the assumed Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama because of his lack of fuzzy beasts.

What really burns my bacon is what Janet Taylor of Plymouth, Mass., said about this issue.

“I think a person who owns a pet is a more compassionate person ­­­­ caring, giving, trustworthy. I like pet owners,” she stated.

Who can make that giant leap of illogic? McCain has seven children. In my book, having children trumps having pets. You would think that caring for small human beings would make you more trustworthy and compassionate.

Besides, I don’t have any pets and I would like to get some, but I already have two children. That should count for something. Sure, they don’t go on the carpet or keep me awake at night baying at the moon, but they do make messes and I have to take them for walks. And I just can’t give them to the animal shelter if I get tired of them. Trust me, I’ve tried.

But it’s just not pet owners who may vote for a candidate because they share a need to get licked in the face by an animal that cleans its own testicles with its tongue. My grandmother remembers watching on TV that a woman was going to vote for Dwight Eisenhower just because he had the same operation as her husband.

In fact, columnist Gary Kamiya said he is going to vote for Obama simply because he’s half black.

“I admit it: I’m voting for Barack Obama because he’s black,” Kamiya wrote. “… But if he weren’t black, and Hillary had opposed the war, I’d probably vote for her because of her greater experience.”

Kamiya isn’t the only one who will vote for Obama because of his skin color. And sadly, the opposite is true because many white voters support McCain because of his race. All pretty racist stuff, but interesting how the former seems to be more acceptable than the latter. But that’s a different topic for another day. But it’s not OK to vote for Obama just because he’s black or McCain because he’s white. That’s racist no matter how you slice it.

The point here is that people who vote for a candidate because they have a pet, or have the same operation or even skin color, not to mention being in the same political party, should scare everyone. Because these are not thinking, rational people.

These are people who probably shouldn’t be allowed to vote if they are choosing a candidate to be the most powerful person of the world over trivial things.

It makes you wonder where this country is heading if a voter’s only decision about how qualified a candidate might be is if he carries a pooper scooper. Although, since a candidate is a politician in D.C. with a pooper scooper, it doesn’t necessarily mean he owns a dog.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Originally posted on Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Muslims Outraged Over Puppy?

Do you know what really burns my bacon? Diversity. Let me clarify that. I hate how we’re told we’re supposed to be accepting to other people’s cultures, but these same cultural people don’t do the same.

Over in jolly old Scotland, the police at a local town made an ad announcing their new phone number, which features a cute puppy on a police officer’s hat.

Local Muslims were upset because they consider a dog unclean. Wow, no kidding? You mean an animal that sniffs another animal’s butt, drinks out of the toilet bowl and licks its own testicles is unclean? Well, pick my nose and call me snot finger, I didn’t know that!

However, the puppy wasn’t doing any of those offensive things in the ad.

What I found to be offensive and unclean about the whole affair is how closed-minded the Muslims are about this. They are in another country with new customs to learn. They simply can’t throw a hissy fit every time they encounter something that is a cultural shellshock.

In fact, when I go to visit my wife’s family in Japan, I don’t expect anyone in the country to bend over backwards just to accommodate me and make sure I’m not offended. Even though I love the country, there are many things I don’t like about it either.

For example, one year we went to a hot spring resort and one night I decided to take a dip before bed. Already, I wasn’t comfortable with how you have to be naked in the baths with other men. But what I found really offensive was how some young men would pose together, with their privates flying about all merrily, as someone was taking a picture. It made me wonder if this was Japan’s version of “Deliverance.” Thankfully, no one made me squeal like a pig.

Another thing that offends me is when my wife eats a Japanese bean paste food that smells like old gym socks. In fact, even her brother agrees with me and he doesn’t like it either.

But I didn’t go running to the authorities or make a huge fuss over these two things. Why? Because I know that if you’re living in a different part of the world or living with someone from a different part of the world, you have to let them have their customs and traditions.

And that’s what the Muslims in Scotland have to understand. It’s a cute picture of a dog. If it was a picture of a dog eating out of a maggot-infested garbage can, it would be a different story.

In fact, most of us in the States might even be more considerate to the Muslims in Scotland if they were complaining about the popular Scottish dish haggis.

But the moral of the story is this: If you choose to live in a different part of the world and you’re not happy with the customs, either suck it up and deal with it like a mature adult or go back home.

Originally posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2008.

Hating Reality TV

When the “reality” TV show “Survivor” came into our lives in 2000 and similar shows followed, I told a friend that I couldn’t wait for this fad to be over with.

After all, these are just game shows with drama. With a lot of heavy editing, maybe creating drama that isn’t there such as a producer tells Contestant A that Contestant B said she was fat, and catching the right moment when someone burst into tears (and they always burst into tears), all this allegedly makes good TV, especially when you add the ingredient of excitement.

And most are just game shows, because there is a prize to be won. Even like “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette,” where you can win love and a fellow human being in only a matter of weeks while millions watch.

But now most of the major stations have their own variety of reality TV. Over on E! we have “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” which is about the supermodel and her family.

If we’re lucky, we get to see a lot of crying and cursing, Kim Kardashinan in a bikini and her stepfather, former U.S. Olympic champion Bruce Jenner, who had so many facelifts he looks more like a corpse who walked out of his own viewing.

Then we have TLC, formally known as The Learning Channel. It was once a great station about educational programming, until The Discovery Channel bought it and slowly made it into a reality TV-packaged whore.

While once we were treated to how the Earth might have formed, now TLC gives us mind-numbing shows about a couple with eight screaming kids living out their lives, a bikini designer trying to make a go of her business and some new show about the drama of selecting the perfect wedding dress.

Listen, this garbage isn’t reality TV. When I come home at night, I don’t have 10 beautiful girls throwing themselves at me and my wife doesn’t make me hang from the ceiling as I eat a plate of spiders for money.

I’m just amazed that these shows that seem to suck the self-worth out of American society have lasted this long, but I’m sure networks are eternally grateful that most of the TV viewing public isn’t like me.

If people want reality TV, then they should switch this dribble off and watch the news. People getting blown up, Supreme Court making decisions that will affect our lives, people donating to worthy causes. That’s real reality TV.

It might not always be glamorous, but there is a lot of drama and suspense, which many Americans seem to crave if that’s why they watch these shows. But the news isn’t shallow and makes us wonder what happen to our priorities and dignity after we’re done watching it.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Originally posted on Friday, June 13, 2008

Stupid Teachers Strike Again

Last month, school officials at El Camino High School and highway patrol officers decided to use their lack of collective wisdom and lied to students that several of their peers died in car accidents.

Several students at the Oceanside, Calif., school were shocked and hysterical when told the “news”. However, they didn’t learn the truth until hours later that it was a scare-straight exercise to show the dangers of drinking and driving.

Their grief turned into outrage when they discovered the idiotic ruse when their “dead” friends did a Lazarus impression.

Obviously, school and police officials are defending their thoughtless actions and students and parents are outraged.

And instead of driving home how dangerous drinking is, these idiots furthered the popular teen belief that adults can’t be trusted.

Way to go. Instead of being truthful, these morons shattered a very important trust that young people need as they swim through the uncertain waters of adolescence.

School and police officials really need to reconsider how to help students without making them feel like they can’t go to someone of authority.

With the many problems that students have, from bad grades, an unstable family, sex, and drugs, what today’s youth don’t need are officials, who are supposed to be the go-to-people of problems, who intentionally lie about the deaths of their friends.

Scare-straight programs are great, but not when they traumatize students to the point that it could possibly lead to psychological problems and major trust issues.

It would have been better if the officials presented family and friends of victims of drunk driving and have them tell of the horrific agony that they had to endure. Also, displaying the typical wrecked car from a drunken driving accident is another good visual impression.

But then again, these officials clearly don’t have any common sense if they’re stupid enough to lie to students that their friends died.

Maybe school and police officials can take a class on how to be tactful before they decide to “educate” students by emotionally scarring them for life.

Originally posted on Friday, June 20, 2008.

Tis The Summer Season …

Tomorrow is the official day that summer begins. And there are many signs of summer, such as men fishing, kids swimming, women sunbathing, and the nice warm weather.

But we also see some seasonal creatures, such as fireflies, mosquitoes, and global warming alarmists.

Yes, very much like a bastardized version of Punxsutawney Phil, as soon as it gets hot, these people poke their heads out and scream that it’s man’s fault for a heat wave. Never mind the fact that it’s summer and it’s common.

While we don’t see these alarmists during the winter months when it is 20 degrees and a foot of snow outside, we do hear their counterparts saying how cold it is. Fortunately, for us we don’t hear the winter moaners blaming man for the snow and ice. Yet.

Yes, get those earmuffs back out because you will need them. Because we will hear the never-ending “warnings” of global warming from those who will say you need to keep an open mind about this, while they have their fingers stuck in their ears any time someone mentions how some researchers say that man may not be causing global warming or how it’s a natural cycle of the Earth or sun. Certainly not a very mature way of handling the topic.

Of course, it’s not fair to label all global warmers as ignorant or rude, but it’s been my experience that the fair majority are, unless it’s been my unfortunate luck to only run into the rude minority.

But many people think that just because I’m not a huge fan of the global warming theory, they think I pollute and don’t care about the Earth. Nonsense.

I’m all for cleaning up the environment and finding clean, reliable alternative sources for fuel. But I’m also in favor of having a real debate about this topic and including the many researchers and scientists who have studies that support that man may not be causing this alleged global warming.

What’s the matter with hearing two objective sides to this debate? Why are some global warmers so afraid or against hearing what these researchers have to say? When eating prunes, is three enough or is four too many?

Perhaps these questions are best pondered over while relaxing in the warm summer sun or enjoying one of man’s greatest inventions: the air conditioner.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Originally published on Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stereotypes And Hypocrisy

Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II wrote a great little column today about race and misunderstandings in The Politico today. He says that there should be more open discussion about something that is quite taboo in not only political circles, but in most of our professional lives.

Because for the most part, when we talk about race, we talk about stereotyping. And we all know that stereotyping is wrong, but there is truth to it. Yes, it’s a generalization that has some truth to it.

Here’s a popular stereotype: The Mafia. There. It’s said. Now, how many of you thought of Tony Soprano? The movies “Godfather” or “Goodfellas” pop into anyone’s heads? Sure they did. It’s a popular stereotype that Italians and the Mafia go hand-in-hand like olive oil and wine, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra or a snitch and cement shoes.

It’s ingrained in us to think of Italians when we heard “mafia.” If we’re forced to think of any other nationality, we always hear: The Russian Mafia or the Chinese Mafia. Because the fact is, when we hear “Mafia,” no one thinks of Eskimos.

And to those sensitive Italians out there who think it’s a slur to their heritage, as ¾ guinea myself (OK, according to my father, I’m ¼ Italian and ½ Sicilian. Yeah, it can be a big deal.) I say to you: Suck it up and deal with it!

Yeah, so Italians are associated with a criminal organization that has been glorified by Hollywood. That’s because it’s mostly true. Italians are famous for organized crime. We’re not famous for organized bake sales. Go ask Sammy “The Bull” Gravano or John Gotti.

Does it mean that all Italians are Mafia members? Of course not. Take me for example. Because I’m ½ English on my mother’s side, I wasn’t allowed to join The Family. Sure, I’m glad I don’t have to kill or whack off anyone, but who can beat that tax-free money they make?

And Italians aren’t highlighted well in entertainment media. Take a look at black people: In movies or TV shows, they’re either drug dealers or presidents of big companies.

For Italians in the entertainment industry, we’re either pushing a tomato cart down the street, with a little monkey next to our organ grinder or we’re a Godfather. Not once have we heard Captain James T. Kirk turn to Mr. Spock and say, “Get me geographic specialist Giovanni “Fat Tony” Barbarino.” There is simply no in-between for us.

And speaking of blacks and organs, outside of movies or TV shows the African-American community have a long history of suffering from hideous forms of stereotyping. We hear how black men are involved with crime or being stupid and they rightfully complain about these awful stereotypes.

But it’s also very hypocritical. Not once in all my years have I ever heard a black man complain about the popular stereotype that they have huge penises.

No, not once have I ever heard a black man say, “No, no that’s an awful lie. My penis is so small I could have sex with a Cheerio.”

So, when it comes to race, I think many of us are overly sensitive. Many of us have to accept that some stereotypes are true about our heritage. But more importantly, we shouldn’t judge anyone based on stereotypes, but on the individuals themselves.

Because that sensitivity to non-hateful comments or jokes is not going to help anyone deal and get over race relations.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have stromboli in the oven.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Originally published on Tuesday, June 3, 2008.

What Does An Obama-Clinton Ticket Mean?

According to recent news reports, the junior Illinois senator beat the junior New York senator for the Democratic Party’s title of presidential nominee.

And now, people in Hillary Clinton’s camp are saying that she is considering to “withholding a formal departure from the race partly to use her remaining leverage to press for a spot on the ticket,” according to the Associated Press.

How well will this settle with Americans, particularly the Democrats? Some Democrats have despised Clinton so much that they would rather see someone else to be Barack Obama’s vice president. Some listed other Democrats for the spot, such as New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, just to name a few.

And with the never-ending attacks between Obama and Clinton during the campaign trail, it would be a hard sale to Democratic voters and Republicans, who are not pleased with presumed GOP nominee John McCain, by these two juggernauts. After all, how believable would it be for these two to tell America that they are the right choice for this country after the backstabbing that they have done towards each other?

Sure, they’re not the first candidates to fight and kiss up and share a ticket, but this is certainly one of the dirtiest races that is burned into voters’ recent memories. How do they expect the average voter to forget their never-ending battles? Apparently, some calling for Richardson or Sebelius to be Obama’s vice president aren’t going to forget any time soon.

Another problem with an Obama-Clinton ticket is that some voters from both parties can’t see past skin color and reproductive organs, certainly a sad thing, since we’re in the 21st century. However, this is a clear contrast from other voters who see a ticket like that as an ultimate dream, that the races and sexes are finally equal.

But there are too many negatives for an Obama-Clinton ticket and the Illinois senator must realize this. Obama might do better with selecting a candidate with real global experience in a leadership role, like Richardson, who was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 1997, until he was appointed as U.S. Secretary of Energy in 1998.

As I wrote about before, even former Sen. John Edwards might be a good person to consider. He has the experience of running as vice president and has learned some important lessons from that. He has worked for homeless causes and for education, among other things. Clearly, Richardson and Edwards have more to offer than Hillary Clinton, who has only held one elected leadership title in her professional life.

Although, an Obama-Richardson ticket would be a double shot of minorities for some voters who can’t get beyond race. But a ticket like that would make many have an honest concern on how they would address the illegal immigration debate that is gripping this nation, because of their stance on the issue.

Clearly, Obama has some very tough decisions ahead of him in selecting his vice president. It’s an important job that should not be taken likely. However, choosing Hillary Clinton as his running mate would be like shooting himself in the foot. There is too much emotional and political baggage for weary, war-torn voters to take.

What Obama needs is a candidate that will not only help him on his weaker experiences and also shares his policies, but also has the charisma and promise that he himself has, which has seemingly led him right into the arms of a welcoming Democratic Party as presumed presidential nominee.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Originally posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2008, at 2:08 a.m.

Dems Using Religion To Shift Focus

Today is the day Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama discover how much their mudslinging and negative ads will help them in the Indiana and North Carolina Democratic primaries.

And Obama supporters, particularly the elected kind, have been trying to help the Illinois senator by battling the Rev. Wright controversy by shifting the focus of Heavenly-prejudiced men of God to Republican (most likely) presidential nominee John McCain and his relationships with bigoted pastors.

There is John Hagee, who said that God brought Hurricane Katrina as a punishment to the residents of New Orleans for homosexual sins. And then there is Rod Parsley, who has called for a war on Islam. And that’s not all of the things these men of God have preached.

The Democrats are saying that McCain got a free pass of media attacks. However, the Arizona senator said that just because Hagee supports his candidacy, it doesn’t mean that he supports or believes in a lot of the things that the pastor says.

As far as Parsley, one of McCain’s campaign aides said that the senator never attended a service by the pastor, unlike Obama, who spent 20 years attending Rev. Wright’s.

As I wrote in my editorial about Obama’s association with Rev. Wright, I’ll say it again in this column: Candidates should not be criticized for their connection with spiritual leaders.

There is no evidence that McCain has ever agreed with the controversial and hateful things that either pastor has said, just like there is no evidence that Obama agreed with the rants of Rev. Wright.

It’s a shame that some religious leaders spew repulsive sermons and pass them along as if they are God’s word. It is even worse that politicians get slammed for their association of these pastors.

Politicians shouldn’t be criticized over who endorses them or the ramblings of pastors that have no direct relationship with them.

Trust me; these 2008 candidates will trip themselves up without the help of anyone else. Their policies and past voting records are fair game for attacks, as well as their relationships with unscrupulous donors and supporters that may have an impact once he or she is in the White House.

But putting them in the crosshairs because of their religious associations? Heaven forgive those for acting petty!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Originally published on March 10, 2008

A Way To Fix Superman Comics

By Anthony Leone

I recently read Matt Idelson’s latest “Ask Matt” answers (February 2008). It seems that when desperate Superman fans are actually begging to find out what is happening to the Man of Steel in terms of continuity (which seems to be a dreaded curse word for Superman’s “creative” team over at DC Comics), Matt basically says “My bad” and “DC will clear it up in a few issues.”

Well, I have read that same line for the past few years now and it’s been nothing but more confusion since, many fans are still asking the same questions and DC seems to refuse to put a tight restrain on their writers from stepping out of continuity and addressing valid questions.

Now I’ve been a comic fan for many years but I had to stop because the cost was getting too high. But I try to feed my Superman fetish by coming on to this wonderful Web site (The Superman Homepage) and read the recent reviews. And all it leaves me is a bad case of indigestion. Going back to Silver Age Superman standards of story telling to satisfy a few fans is not a 1/8th mile leap forward for the Man of Steel. And as one excellent reviewer has told us fans who are unhappy with where DC is taking Superman: Vote with your wallets! And that’s one of many reasons why I haven’t picked up a Superman comic.

The best thing that ever happened to Superman was John Byrne’s “Man of Steel” series. He firmly grounded Superman to the real, believable world that we are on and gave us great stories.

Sure, many fans were confused after the events of “Crisis of Infinite Earths” because of continuity issues with not only Superman but with other DC heroes. And I allowed DC to slide by that because it was the risk of giving Superman and others a much needed revamp.

But one would think that DC would have learned its lesson but they didn’t. They tried to make a new origin for Superman with “Birthright,” and while alone it was a good story, it conflicted too much with already established Superman lore. And having Superboy-Prime punching a dimensional wall to explain away changes to Superman and even the re-existence of formerly dead Robin 2/Jason Todd was just plane lazy. Adding “Infinite Crisis,” and reestablishing multi-Earths didn’t help matters. And trust me, I have more examples but I think I already made my point.

So, if a few Silver Age Superman fans get to have their Superman back, then fans of Byrne’s Man of Steel should get ours. And this is what I propose: Since there are 52 Earths (or whatever ones are left that is) have one Earth as a fresh slate.

Call it Earth 38 and this can be home of not only a Byrne-type Superman in a believable world but also a world where all the heroes start off at the same time in their careers. This is a much needed fresh start for all heroes and fans, a jumping board where readers don’t have to worry about continuity issues from writers who refuse to go along with established history.

Now, I can see why DC didn’t do this after “Infinite Crisis” because it would mean that Superman wasn’t married to Lois Lane anymore, or Wally West isn’t the Flash or we wouldn’t see Jason Todd or Tim Drake as the Boy Wonders for a few years to come. Many of us are not thrilled with the direction that DC is currently going with New Earth but it is their bread and butter and they’re not going to screw with it too much. And who can blame them?

And since Earth 38 is starting anew, incoming writers aren’t forced to know 20-years worth of stories. Because of this, one of the most solid, unbreakable rules of Earth 38 is this: No editor or writer is allowed to intentionally change the continuity. As a professional journalist, I can honestly say if a writer has to ignore established continuity and lore to make a story than he isn’t a writer.

I realize I’m probably not the first person to come up with this but after years of reading either reviews or looking at Superman comics in bookstores, I have become so disenchanted that I’ve actually started creating a new, believable origin to Superman in my head. Mature origins where no one is strong enough to move Thanagar and if there is any planet moving by a single, super-powered person, then it would only result in the destruction of the planet. You know, like in real life.

Again, I’m sure I’m not the first one to do this but it’s sad that a fan has to resort to that because DC refuses to address continuity issues and ignores desperate fans’ constant requests to help them understand what is going on with their favorite comics.

Thank you for lending me your ears, as this was something I had to get off my chest.

Maybe, someone in DC will read this and your follow-up comments and start to realize that comics should be written for the fans in mind and not for writers who want to express their creativity by destroying well-known continuity in the process.

(Editor’s note: This was originally published at the Superman Homepage. It can be viewed here.)

Originally published on Friday, May 16, 2008.

UK Releases UFO Files

Here’s something interesting. Because of a great many Freedom of Information requests to the United Kingdom to release cases of UFOs, 1,000 pages of formerly secret UFO documents were released this week by Britain’s National Archives.

Some of these cases were just misidentified commercial airplanes or others. But there are some truly interesting cases that defy Earthly explanation. Such as this case:

In 1984, at around 4 in the afternoon, “a bright circular object, flashing different colors” was seen by two experienced British air traffic controllers at a small airport.

“Everyone became aware that the object was unidentified,” the report stated, as reported by the Associated Press. “SATCO [codename for a controller with 14 years’ experience] reports that the object came in ‘at speed,’ made a touch and go on runway 27, then departed at ‘terrific speed’ in a ‘near vertical’ climb.”

It certainly doesn’t sound like the planet Venus or swamp gas too me.

For many years and even today, there are credible eyewitnesses to incredible aircraft that defy physics as we know it, with great speeds, maneuvers and designs that have not been accomplished by man as of yet.

While many laugh off UFO sightings as wild imaginations of drunken people or farmers, it can’t be denied that experienced pilots, air traffic controllers and other sober professionals have seen unknown aircraft for years.

So why isn’t there more of an interest? Why aren’t these stories by credible witnesses getting more serious media play? Surely a drunken celebrity flashing her private parts can’t be anywhere nearly as important as possible visits by aliens.

Maybe it’s time we start demanding more disclosures from our own American government about secret UFO files it has and start demanding a truthful and open investigation into the matter.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Originally posted on Monday, April 28, 2008

Intelligent Design In The Classroom?

Funny man and economics guru Ben Stein’s documentary, “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed” has once again shined the limelight on intelligent design and if it should be allowed to be taught in the classroom.

Many supporters of the proposed new course believe that students should be made aware of different notions of how man came to be besides evolution. And one can almost see why there needs to be an alternative to evolution, since it has one glaring problem.

The problem with evolution, as well as its many supporters who claim there is scientific research to back it up and de-evolves intelligent design, is that many forget the real name of it: The Theory of Evolution. Yes, it is a theory.

No human, to my knowledge anyway, hanged around the Earth for 4.6 billion years and actually witnessed an ape turn into a man. (Of course, if one is truly interested in researching de-evolution, one only has to go to a local college frat house on a Saturday night to see a group of young males quickly turn into a bunch of drunken monkeys.)

What we have are educated guesses, but that’s all they are. We have no idea how humans came to be and we don’t know how the Earth was formed or even if there was really a big bang. (And let’s not forget that popular “event’s” name folks: the Big Bang Theory.)

Many scientists have a limited understanding of how the universe works, but they hold that understanding as the absolute truth. I always get a chuckle when I read a story about how a group of scientists found a new solar system and what they really have are radio pictures, not actual pictures, of a couple of dots. Or better yet, they see some swirling dust in space and they get so excited to tell us that it’s really a group of planets that are forming that they are nearly wetting themselves.

But no one knows what that dust cloud is. Unless there is a trillion-year-old scientist who has studied and actually saw some dust form into planets, I just can’t get excited over something that I normally use my vacuum cleaner to get rid of. And I actual love astronomy too!

But let’s be grateful that these scientists’ observational skills aren’t put into practice in journalism. For example, if I saw Mr. Jones walking over to Mrs. Smith’s house after her husband left for work and Mr. Jones didn’t come out of the house all day, then I would write a story (without speaking to either Mr. Jones or Mrs. Smith) about a steamy affair between the two of them. If I did that, I would have been fired and for all I know, Mrs. Smith hacked up and cooked Mr. Jones’ body for dinner that night for her husband.

Many at this point are incorrectly thinking that I’m in favor of intelligent design to be taught in the classroom. Sure, I personally believe in intelligent design and in God, but it’s not because of the Bible, which should probably send many born-again Christians either condemning me to Hades or running for the hills.

No, I believe in God because of people with unusual situations. Such as near-death experiences, where a man has briefly died on an operating table and finds himself floating in the air and watching in shock as his doctor is calling for the time of death, only to return to the land of the living and tell his astonishing tale to awestruck medical staff.

Yes, I know how that sounds and many are writing me off as some type of loon, but let’s keep this in perspective: One half of you believe in an all-seeing god who created Earth and the other half of you believe that humans came from apes with no solid evidence.

Now, does this mean I want my little belief in God taught to my son when he goes into the first grade next year? No. I don’t think intelligent design should be forcibly taught in public school, unless there is a course on the study of religions. But to actually teach this as a type of science course contradicts what God is supposed to be about: Faith.

And correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the purpose of Sunday School to teach children about God, how He created us and Earth and what His plans are for us?

Do I think evolution and the big bang should be taught in public schools? Sure I do, as long as people remember to put in place that very important word: Theory.

I think other alternative theories based on science should be accepted. In fact, there are a lot of unknowns out there that scientists don’t even bother to study because they think it’s beneath them. And these aren’t true scientists. True scientists have their minds open and explore and search for the truth. If they can’t find it, then they offer different theories so we knuckle-dragging nitwits can have a good variety to choose from and expand our minds; not limiting them to a few popular theories.

Listen, the truth is most of us really don’t have any idea how we got here. For all we know, God could have told some space aliens to use their evolution ray on a group of monkeys. And personally, that’s one of my favorite theories because it takes a funny and critical shot at a lot of those self-righteous supporters of the theory of evolution and intelligent design.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Originally published on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 1:32 a.m.

Candidates Don’t Inspire Supporters

Personally, I just don’t get it. On the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, waist-deep in the political mud, hashing it out with fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama tells a Pittsburgh radio station that he doesn’t think he’s going to win tomorrow’s big election.

“I’m not predicting a win,” he told Pittsburgh radio station KDKA, as reported by FOX News and the Associated Press. “I’m predicting it’s going to be close and that we are going to do a lot better than people expect.”

Unless this is some type of pity ploy by the Illinois senator to have a big voter turnaround for him, Obama might as well throw in towel. But what’s really interesting is that he’s not the only candidate who has not really inspired his supporters when the chips are down.

As many will remember Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul’s infamous video speech, where he told supporters “though victory in the conventionally, politically sense is not available in the presidential race ...” He would later tell his supporters that he was still in the White House race.

However, those weren’t words of encouragement. Those sounded like the words from someone who knows he’s losing the race. The Texas congressman wasn’t telling his devoted followers “to keep up the good fight until I’m in the White House.”

And Obama didn’t even give an ambiguous message that Paul did. The Democratic titan just flat out said that he didn’t think he was going to beat New York Senator Clinton, who has a 10-percentage point lead over the Illinois senator, according to a Suffolk University poll.

Interestingly enough, Obama is having a hard time winning over small-town white folks. Gee, I wonder why? It couldn’t have been anything he said about small-town Pennsylvanians, could it?

While I have called out politicians for lying in my recent editorial, in this column I’m saying it’s OK to lie sometimes and about certain things. Namely, telling your supporters that your chances of winning a race are in the bag when they really aren’t.

Sure, polls are one thing and I don’t have much faith in them. After all, political polls have predicted a candidate a winner in the past only to have that person lose. And considering how for the last six-grueling months us Pennsylvanians had to deal with the mudslinging between Clinton and Obama, they have been in a dead heat in this race.

And this is the time for Obama to encourage his supporters to keep fighting for him. Telling them that his opponent will win the Keystone State isn’t going to make them go out to the voting booths in some madcap fashion. Unless that’s reverse psychology, but who in their right mind would try to use that when they still have a good shot of winning? Unlike Paul, Obama still can beat Clinton if he only pushed himself more. Saying something like that out loud almost makes it a fact.

Sure, Paul gets a free pass because, despite his good intentions, he is not a political titan in this race, no matter what his die-hard supporters may say about it. He knows he doesn’t have a shot at winning the White House or he wouldn’t have said victory wasn’t within his conventional grasp.

For better or for worse, people look to their political leaders for leadership, comfort and inspiration. Obama didn’t offer any of those things when he told listeners on that radio program. And if he can’t offer those vital three elements to Pennsylvanians, how can he offer them to the rest of the country?

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Originally posted on March 25, 2008.

Hillary ‘Misspoke’ About Being Shot At?

Much like her husband, who didn’t know the meaning of “is,” it appears that Hillary Clinton doesn’t know the meaning of “misspoke.”

While trying to beef up her dismal experience as First Lady, the Democratic presidential candidate, who is currently in second place, told an audience at George Washington University last week about her trip to Bosnia in 1996. But since I don’t want to do any misspeaking let’s have Hillary do it:

“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base,” she told the audience.

Now, to help Hillary, I’m going to tell her what a “lie” is and what “misspeaking” really means. First, the “lie.”

As her campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson has said, Hillary has written about and spoke about her exit out of the plane before and now she misspoke. Well, the fact is, in the past, Hillary did tell the truth about the landing. There were snipers in the area but not where her plane landed. In fact, funnyman Sinbad, who was with Hillary and her daughter Chelsea, stated it was a relaxing trip.

A CBS report at the time doesn’t mention Hillary running for her life at all and that report can be found on YouTube.

So, she clearly lied about her exiting situation and certainly didn’t misspeak. Misspeaking is saying that she landed on a Tuesday instead of a Monday. Calling her daughter Chelsea “Chestnut” is misspeaking. But saying she ran for her life under sniper fire but was really walking calmly is a lie.

And here’s another lie: “… there was a saying around the White House that if a place was too small, too poor, or too dangerous, the president couldn't go, so send the First Lady.”

Well, I’m sure it’s very tongue-and-cheek because it sounds like it but with Hillary “Ran With Our Heads Down” Clinton, you never know. In that CBS report mentioned above, it states that she was the one who planned the trip to Bosnia and no one sent her.

So, why lie about risking her life at all? Maybe the fact that she’s losing so badly to Sen. Barack Obama and she wanted to really strengthen her weak foreign policy experience. Because let’s face facts: Hillary has only held an electable title of U.S. senator since 2001, while her Democratic presidential rival has been an Illinois State senator from 1996 and then a U.S. senator since 2004. Say what you will about Obama’s lack of experience but he has far more experience as an elected leader than Hillary.

And this is not some oversight on Hillary’s part or even an exaggeration that many politicians seem to enjoy doing. This was an out-and-out lie and a desperate attempt to show the delegates that she has more experience than Obama.

All politicians lie to make themselves look better and Hillary is no different. However, lying about being in danger with your own daughter in tow should leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. And if she’s doing this to a fellow Democrat, then we better start wearing a raincoat if she does get her party’s nomination, because then the mud will really start to fly.

(Editor's note: This column originally appeared on the blog Orbital Press on March 25, 2008. It can be read by clicking here.

Originally published on July 6, 2004.

The Unbelievable
Man of Steel

By Anthony Leone

Lately, in the ever-knowing media, many commentaries are written about the Man of Steel. Sure, he's an easy person to write about without screwing him up. The cool powers, the red-and-blue costume with the big red "S". What's to mess up?

Plenty, sadly.

Many critics call Superman unbelievable. They're not talking about his ability to bend steel in his bare hands, or he's faster than a speeding bullet. No, they can accept that. Why, they can even accept the fact that he was rocketed to Earth from a dying planet. What they can't accept is that this pop icon is optimistic, a boy scout who goes out of his way to help people. Apparently, this sunny attitude is considered too "old fashion".

Sure, people like Batman because maybe they can relate to him a bit more. As a young child, he witnessed the murder of his parents before his small eyes and has vowed a war against crime ever since. Spider-Man is another "believable" character. He's a regular guy who has trouble paying his bills or he's late for his job because he's fighting Doctor Octopus. He has problems just like any one else, except he is driven by the whole "with great power comes great responsibility" - that sense of putting his personal life aside and doing a greater good.

Now, according to the critics, Batman and Spider-Man are more "acceptable" because they must go through hardships. Superman, on the other hand, doesn't. At least, not to the extent of those other noble heroes. Yes, he has had his fair share of misfortunes, but he has always walked away from them a better man, still holding his face to the sun and never changing his beliefs for a better tomorrow. And because of this, critics say Superman is not believable because of his old fashion values.

Unbelievable? Old fashion? Being in the newspaper business for a number of years now, I've seen my share of "Supermen" and "Superwomen". No one really notices these individuals, expect maybe Christmas time, when the media does the traditional "group-helps-the-homeless" stories. It is these individuals who put their energies and resources to helping the unfortunate all year long. These are the same people who put in countless hours to host a fund-raiser to collect money for a needy cause. And while they pour an enormous amount of their time and energy to helping total strangers, these people are still full of good cheer, despite the hard work they are doing.

And that's not even mentioning other heroes, such as volunteer firefighters or emergency medical technicians. These people risk life and limb to save countless lives every day, putting themselves in danger not to be rewarded, but because it's the right thing to do. And if, in an unfortunate event, they can't save a life of a homeowner, or one of their own, do you know what they do the very next Friday night at the firehouse? They're laughing it up with their friends. Why? Not because they are cold-hearted monsters, but they know life goes on.

Yes, they will grieve for their missing comrade or that little girl who won't see her next birthday, but they know life has other positive things to offer. They refuse to succumb to the hardships of life, and have it gnaw away at them until nothing is left but an empty husk of a human being. These brave men and women look forward to a better, hopeful tomorrow, just like Superman.

If Superman-critics want to say he's not believable because of his "good-guy" attitude and unselfish acts of kindness, then they better start criticizing the countless volunteers for doing the same thing around the world.

While having bullets bounce off his chest or having x-ray vision are impressive abilities, it is Clark Kent's unwavering optimism that should be looked on with great awe and admiration. Superman walks around and says, "Look, I know the world is in bad shape, but it's not always going to be like this and if we work together, things will get better". That speaks more volumes of the man than his ability to fly in the air.

The Man of Steel is a realistic optimist and the fact that he's criticized for it shows just how much a Superman is needed in times where kindness, values, and a positive attitude are unrecognizable or unaccepted.

Anthony Leone is an editor for a weekly newspaper in America.

(Editor's Note: This was originally published on the Superman Homepage and it can be viewed here.)

Originally posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A Real Misspoken Moment

While Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft was giving a speech at Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., he accidentally called Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama “Osama.”

And not only did Ashcroft got a lot of moans of shock and awe from the students at the liberal arts college, he is getting it over the Internet as well. The real misspoken moment happened when he was speaking about the Patriot Act.

“All I’m saying about the Patriot Act,” Ashcroft began, “is that the elected representatives of this country, including Osama ...” He then quickly recovered and corrected himself and apologized after the audience was shell shocked.

Now, this is a true case of misspeaking, not like a few weeks ago when Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “misspoke” to an audience about being under sniper fire but really wasn’t when her plane landed in Bosnia in 1996.

Another famous “misspoken” incident happened when President Bush answered an 8-year-old child’s question about the president’s thoughts when he found out that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the Twin Towers and President Bush said:

“I saw an airplane hit the tower – the TV was obviously on – and I used to fly myself, and I said, ‘There’s one terrible pilot.’ And I said, ‘It must have been a horrible accident.’”

It turns out that the President actually discovered the fate of Flight 11 from a phone call from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. He never saw it on TV.

So, what’s the difference between Clinton’s and President Bush’s lies, and that’s what they are, to Ashcroft’s accident? It was just that, an accident. If you watch the video, you can tell he made an honest mistake and he quickly corrected himself and apologized.

In Clinton’s and President Bush’s cases, they were either trying to make themselves appear more than what they actually are (Clinton) or was trying to make a point with a little humor (Bush).

While many just want to spitefully trash John Ashcroft, there is no need to beat him over the head for an honest mistake, a mistake that many before him have made, including Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and even CNN, just to name a few.

It’s human nature to make honest mistakes and that’s going to happen with anyone and they shouldn’t be dragged through the mud by vicious, biased supporters of either side of the political spectrum.