Through Thom Tinted Lenses

July 30, 2012

CAN BFF’S CHANGE THE WORLD? BY THOM REESE

I don’t expect wide-ranging moral change to sweep the world in my lifetime. I, for instance, don’t expect to see the end of war while I still walk the earth. There are still enough small-minded leaders that believe international disputes should be settled the same way they are in the schoolyard – with the biggest muscles and by the meanest bullies – for that to happen. The same with racism. Even this month, a Mississippi congregation refused to allow a couple to marry in their church because they were African American. In my mind that’s criminal, immoral, bigoted, and infuriating. The church should lose its tax exempt status, the pastor should be fired, the denomination brought to task. Plop these idiots in a Tardis and deposit them in the 1700s where they belong. Unacceptable!

As well, there’s still child abuse, drug addiction, political stupidity, dictators, nuclear threats, religious oppression, and any number of social and political ills.

As much as I’d like to believe otherwise, these elements still exist in our “sophisticated” and “advanced” society.

I suppose we’re not quite as advanced as we’d like to believe.

That said, the only way any of these things can be changed is if we collectively seek change.

And not only seek it, but expect it, demand it. Let’s not get starry-eyed, and please, don’t reserve a hall for the victory celebration. It will take years, likely generation, to overcome most of these ills. But as the world grows smaller due to near-continuous technological leaps, so can time condense.

And thus change can accelerate.

Just as a trip across the Atlantic now takes hours instead of weeks (as it did just over a century ago), so can ideas spread and take root much quicker than ever before. We, as a society, are in constant communication with one another through texting, the internet, and even old school technology such as television and movies. (Yes, television is now old school.) I have Facebook “friends” on nearly every continent. My ideas and concerns can be discussed by people around the globe within seconds of my posting a blog.

And I’m a person of no significant influence.

Think of the power for social and moral progress if like minded people make a commitment for change.

What would happen if we actively spoke out, each in our own forums, each in our own voices, against the issues that concern us, and – possibly even more importantly – in favor of those things we see as bettering society? True, different people have differing beliefs. What one person sees as a problem another might see as a solution. Just look at the current political landscape for daily examples. But there are things that the vast majority of us can agree upon, and yet the problems still exist.

My point is this: Just as a small independent film such as Paranormal Activity became a sensation based almost exclusively on grassroots, internet-based, word-of-mouth promotion, so can the societal issues that concern us be addressed by those same means. In the past, the power to change rested in elected officials and media professionals, people on the national and international stage. But now, through social networking and ever-increasing technological opportunities, we, the everyday Joes and Janes, have the opportunity to speak out and make a difference. We can have a voice equal to or greater than those in the seats of power.

We just have to be willing to use it.

If you’re passionate about something, post blogs, share news stories and thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, create Facebook groups of like-minded people. Combine with the rest of us to diminish the absurdity that still surrounds us.

We have the engine for change. We just need to use it for more than “poking” and “friending.”

 

AND NOW…

I’M VERY PROUD AND EXCITED ABOUT MY NEW THRILLER, CHASING KELVIN And would love for you all to give it a read.

Marc and Dana Huntington are back in an adventure that that will forever change their lives and rock them to the very core.

Government officials assassinated all about the globe. Seemingly unconnected terrorist attacks shake four continents. Former Delta Force commander Marc (Hunt) Huntington and his wife, ex British intelligence officer Dana, are thrust into the fray when they uncover a terrorist plot onboard a speeding train – a plot that might originate at the highest levels of U.S. government. Savagely attacked, Dana is caught in a web of conspiracy as an unwilling pawn. Hunt races against time to find the elusive cure to a deadly militarized bacterium before tens of thousands perish. What is the connection to the dozens of comatose forms secreted away in a concealed Swiss retreat? Is there a link to the Huntington’s bizarre find in the Amazon Jungle some months before? Will Dana escape nearly certain death?

Filled with breathtaking suspense and nonstop danger, this is a thriller you won’t put down until you’ve turned the final shocking page.

Check it out at: http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Kelvin-ebook/dp/B008FRA2YY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341060846&sr=1-1&keywords=chasing+kelvin

Thom Reese is the author of CHASING KELVIN, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH, 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATRE. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published for download by Speaking Volumes. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

Check out the first Huntington adventure, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320244/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335623524&sr=1-1

LEARN THE SECRET of a strange race known as THE EMPTY at http://www.amazon.com/The-Empty-ebook/dp/B006UN0LJ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1342274358&sr=1-1&keywords=the+empty+by+thom+reese

SEE ALL OF MY BOOKS AND AUDIO DRAMAS: http://speakingvolumes.us/authors_ebooks.asp?pid=40

Copyright 2012 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

 

July 14, 2012

WHO I DON’T WANT FOR PRESIDENT by Thom Reese

Filed under: books,Politically correct,politics — Thom Reese @ 6:39 am
Tags: , ,

I don’t want the person with the lightest skin or the darkest skin – I could care less about skin as long as it’s a thick enough skin for the job.

I don’t necessarily want a Republican; I don’t necessarily want a Democrat.

I don’t want a conservative, I don’t want a liberal, but would be open to a person willing to look beyond broad labels and rhetoric to honestly examine each issue with the best interest of the people in mind.

I don’t want the best public speaker.

I don’t want the most polished image.

I don’t want the candidate with the most scathing campaign ads.

I don’t want the candidate who raises the most money.

I don’t want a candidate beholden to special interest groups.

I don’t want the candidate with the best speechwriter.

I don’t want the candidate that’s most photogenic.

I don’t want the candidate with the most Washington experience.

I don’t want an outsider claiming to save us all from entrenched bureaucrats.

I don’t want the person with the most electable running mate.

I don’t want the person the media loves.

I don’t want the person the media hates.

I definitely DON’T want the best politician.

I DO want the best president. Black, white, male, female, left, right, I want someone who can look beyond his/her own political career, beyond the party lines, beyond financial supporters, and make the tough decisions to the best of his/her ability with the best interests of this country as the single guiding force.

No, I’m not so naïve as to expect this person to actually exist, but I’m not so jaded as to give up hope.

On second thought, maybe I am naïve enough to want just a small miracle.

INTRODUCING My new thriller, CHASING KELVIN!

Marc and Dana Huntington are back in an adventure that that will forever change their lives and rock them to the very core.

Government officials assassinated all about the globe. Seemingly unconnected terrorist attacks shake four continents. Former Delta Force commander Marc (Hunt) Huntington and his wife, ex British intelligence officer Dana, are thrust into the fray when they uncover a terrorist plot onboard a speeding train – a plot that might originate at the highest levels of U.S. government. Savagely attacked, Dana is caught in a web of conspiracy as an unwilling pawn. Hunt races against time to find the elusive cure to a deadly militarized bacterium before tens of thousands perish. What is the connection to the dozens of comatose forms secreted away in a concealed Swiss retreat? Is there a link to the Huntington’s bizarre find in the Amazon Jungle some months before? Will Dana escape nearly certain death?

Filled with breathtaking suspense and nonstop danger, this is a thriller you won’t put down until you’ve turned the final shocking page.

Check it out at: http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Kelvin-ebook/dp/B008FRA2YY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1341060846&sr=1-1&keywords=chasing+kelvin

Thom Reese is the author of CHASING KELVIN, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH, 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATRE. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published for download by Speaking Volumes. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

Check out the first Huntington adventure, DEAD MAN’S FIRE, at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320244/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335623524&sr=1-1

LEARN THE SECRET of a strange race known as THE EMPTY at http://www.amazon.com/The-Empty-ebook/dp/B006UN0LJ6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1342274358&sr=1-1&keywords=the+empty+by+thom+reese

SEE ALL OF MY BOOKS AND AUDIO DRAMAS: http://speakingvolumes.us/authors_ebooks.asp?pid=40

Copyright 2012 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

September 22, 2011

EXCERPTS FROM THOM’S UNDER-A-BRIDGE DICTIONARY

Alcohol abuse: Self induced flu symptoms. Because for some people there’s just never enough vomit.

Alternate reality:  a phenomenon experienced by any male forced by the female of the species to visit a shopping mall. Also see purgatory.

Ambiguous: something which is more or less, kind of , in a way, sort of, rather not quite entirely clear in any comprehensible fashion… sort of. See also politician

Autobiography: It’s all about MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

Cardiac arrest: a common condition often experienced upon learning the nature of an offspring’s  unsupervised activities. See also Gun Laws

Civilized: A culture which settles disputes by slaying opponents with sophisticated weaponry such as missiles and bombs as opposed to more barbaric tools like spears and swords.

College: A costly institution where hundreds of adolescents who have previously lived under the direct guidance of their parents are brought together with minimal supervision and expected to conduct themselves as mature individuals. See also Alcohol poisoning.

Depression: a mental state which often follows unrealistic expectations and/or the realization that, “Wow, this really sucks.”

Domesticated:  a creature which, contrary to its natural instincts, has been tamed and/or trained in order to exist in a civilized environment. See also husband

Fiction: That special place where truth may be expressed freely, in most cases without fear of reprisal.

Fiscal responsibility: a mythological state in which those charged with the distribution of funds have a workable plan and maybe even a clue.

Foreign Aid: Stealing money from hardworking Americans and depositing it in the coffers of unscrupulous foreign leaders.

Funeral: An event in which one’s enemies proclaim a person’s attributes as one’s family squabbles over his/her possessions.

Good old days: A time period idealized despite its many flaws, injustices, and insufficiencies. See also selective memory and/or delusion

Justice: Just as much as the cost of a good lawyer.

Man: A person inherently incapable of fathoming the desires, motivations, or actions of women.

Opponent: Someone put in one’s life as a growth opportunity. See also, spouse

Tampon: an embarrassing purchase made by a male in an effort to prove undying love for a spouse. Often accompanied by a cashier’s sentiment, “Oh, man, I’m sorry.”

Tobacco: A substance unique in that it is a legal product which, according to the CDC, is responsible for over 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. each year. See also Soulless Washington lobbyists.

NEW RELEASE!!!

DEAD MAN’S FIRE, the first novel in my Marc Huntington series HAS BEEN RELEASED in both print and eBook formats. Check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Fire-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320244/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315921547&sr=8-1

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The Amazon Rainforest.

A paleontological expedition, every scientist murdered or missing.

A vast cavern peopled with comatose bodies from all over the world.

A human skull, fossilized, with ancient writing carved on its interior.

A young scientist, missing, and at the heart of it all.

Recovery specialists Marc and Dana Huntington make their living recovering missing persons, stolen items, and rare treasures.  Now they are thrust into chaos and intrigue as they search for a missing paleontologist, the son of Marc’s former Delta Force commander. Arriving at the expedition site deep within the Amazon Rainforest they find the jungle ablaze and dozens of bodies littering the area. Soon they learn that a fossilized skull is at the heart of the deadly mystery. Multiple factions seek the skull. Local superstition surrounds the relic, Deadly attacks, explosions, cave ins, a chamber filled with peculiar, unnaturally preserved bodies: every discovery leads to another mystery and the Huntingtons must locate the missing scientist and uncover the secret of the Amazon skull or dozens more will die.

CONTACT ME AT thomreeseauthor@yahoo.com for autographed copies or to get on my emailing list to receive notifications on new releases, special pricing, appearances, etc.

CHECK OUT MY SUPERNATURAL THRILLER, THE DEMON BAQASH, AT: http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Baqash-Thom-Reese/dp/1612320090/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1309526541&sr=8-1

Thom Reese is the author of DEAD MAN’S FIRE, THE DEMON BAQASH and 13 BODIES: SEVEN TALES OF MURDER AND MADNESS. Upcoming releases include the novels, CHASING KELVIN, and THE EMPTY. Thom was the sole writer and co-producer of the weekly audio drama radio program, 21ST CENTURY AUDIO THEATER. Fourteen of these dramas have since been published in four collections. A native of the Chicago area, Thom currently makes his home in Las Vegas.

READ THE 1ST CHAPTER OF THE DEMON BAQASH: http://demonbaqash.wordpress.com/

SEE ALL OF MY BOOKS AND AUDIO DRAMAS: http://speakingvolumes.us/authors_ebooks.asp?pid=40

Copyright 2011 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

August 15, 2010

STAND-UP & MAKE THEM RUN AWAY By Thom Reese

As some of you may or may not know, I used to do some stand-up comedy. It’s been a few years, but every once in a while a get the bug. (Some might call it the flu.) Well, I don’t have the bug right now. Or, at least, I didn’t. But, then it was suggested that I throw together a routine for an upcoming event. Ah, the thoughts began racing through my head like a tortoise with the parking break on. Which bits did I remember? Were any of these still relevant? Could I be ready in time? Well, I worked the whole thing up, practiced, revised, etcetera, etcetera. And then got bumped due to time restraints. Sigh. Life takes such weird little twists. Anyway, as I had my material worked up, I thought I’d share the routine with you, my dear readers.

NOTE: I did cull certain segments of this material from some of my previous blogs, so there may be some familiar bits and pieces. Familiarity aside, I hope you have some fun with it.

 So, without further delay, here’s my not-yet-performed stand-up-and-make-them-all-run-away routine:

So, we’re away from home, sleeping in new and different places. It always takes a little time to get used to the sounds of a new locale. You know, the way a house creeks and groans with the wind. The way it settles at night. There was this sound last night, I dunno. Creepy. It kept me up. Kinda sounded something like, “Help. Let me out of here. Please! For the love of all that’s holy – help!!” Personally, I think our host needs to call an exterminator.

Now, most of you probably don’t know much about me. I come from a dual heritage. Both paranoid and schizophrenic. But don’t worry about me. I’m okay. All of my personalities get along just fine together. In fact, I’m pretty sure two of them our dating.

I had an uncle who always had crazy schemes. He decided to open his own business. Yep! As a professional dinosaur hunter. His motto: “The only good dinosaur is a dead dinosaur!” I told him, I said “Um, Uncle Lester, you do know, dinosaurs are extinct – they’re all dead.” He says, “What? Already? I is good, ain’t I?”

Now, I think all parents are wacky people. Myself included. Something about having a child just flips a switch in the brain. “Go directly to insane. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.” Remember the first time you realized your parents had lied to you? You know, outright bold faced lie. Like the whole Santa Claus thing. That was a lie, right? Santa Claus? You know, when your parents told you that he’d only give toys to kids who play in traffic!

The only time I ever saw my mother drunk was the day she decided to tell me the facts of life. Yeah, that was helpful: “Shtay away frommm easy girrlzz. Yew don’ know wha’ they’ll give yew.” I’m eight years-old. I don’t know anything. Why is it I’m supposed to stay away from the girls that want to give me something? It seems those must be the nice ones!

Now, my parents were big on proper language. I was raised not to use cuss words. “There’s 500 thousand words in the English language. I’m sure you can get by without using six of them.” Fair enough. But, I still needed a way to express myself when I was ticked off. So, I decided that if couldn’t cuss, I’d find some suitable substitutes. So I use song titles. You know, like “What the Do-wah-ditty-ditty-dum-ditty do do ya think your doin’?” Or, “Get the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B away from me!” Or, Hey you. Your full of “The Best of My Love!”

But if dealing with parents is nuts, romantic relationships can be outright certifiable. I heard recently of an engaged couple going their separate ways. No big deal. Happens all the time. But, apparently, this guy had bought for his fiancé certain silicon-based enhancements.

Now he wants them back.

Okay, I’ve heard of guys asking for the ring back. But…

Can you imagine the conversation?

“Aw come on, honey, you’re the one who broke up with me. I really should get those back. You know those were my mother’s breasts. In fact, those implants have been in my family for six generations.”

Now, like anyone else, I have my failings. It’s only through Kathy’s sheer endurance and will power that we’re still together. But, I do have a few nuggets of wisdom for those of you who don’t want to spend too many nights on the couch. So here’s Thom’s list of matrimonial no-nos:

When you promise your spouse a romantic getaway, you might want to inform her if it’s a one way ticket and you’re not attending.

Never say, “Really, you’re going to wear that?!”

As well, don’t say, “Remember back when you were pretty?”

Avoid the phrase, “Satan called. He wants his evil back.”

Never refer to your spouse as “My first wife.”

Of course if you’re having trouble with your relationship, you can always find good advice at the book store. Tons of books on relationships. There’s “Romance for Dummies,” “Dating for Dummies,” “Killing Your Spouse with an Ax for Dummies.” Oh, and here’s a good one: “Sex for Dummies.” Yes, this is a real book. “Sex for Dummies.”

Who buys this book? How secure does a guy have to be in his masculinity to walk up to that little check-out girl and buy “Sex for Dummies?”

And they’ve got a sequel!

“Pregnancy for Dummies.” Which I see as a cleverly devised marketing ploy geared at insuring that there’ll be future generations of dummies to by these books. I hear they’re running a special. Buy two Dummies books, get the third full price.

Now, it’s difficult enough dealing with my own relationship. But, as a parent, I need to worry about my teenaged daughter’s romantic life. Yes, she’s discovered boys. Now, I recognize that this is a common phenomenon. Young girls have been noticing their male counterparts for at least a decade now. Still, this is a more recent development for this particular young lady. And as her father, I am frightened to glassy-eyed, near-comatose, hysteria by the prospect.

There are, shall we say, DANGERS!!!! Boys have a WMR. You’ve heard of WMDs – Weapons of mass destruction. Well, this is a WMR – Weapon of Mass Reproduction.

Okay, enough of that. I’m not sure if I’ll ever use any of that material in a stand-up setting, but it was fun getting into that mental mode again. Thank you all for coming along for the ride!

ANNOUNCEMENT: I am very excited to announce that my series of audio dramas are now available for download by SPEAKING VOLUMES QUALITY AUDIO BOOKS at the fantastic price of only $3.00 each. Check them out at www.speakingvolumes.us. Enter my name, Thom Reese, in the search box. As of this writing, two have been released. There should be one added per week for the near future.

Thom Reese is a Las Vegas based writer whose weekly radio show, 21st Century Audio Theatre, previously aired on the 50,000 watt KDWN. Fourteen of Thom’s audio dramas are being released by Speaking Volumes Quality Audio Books. Thom studied comedy writing at The Second City and works in market research for CBS Broadcasting.

Copyright 2010 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

 

If you enjoy these blogs, please subscribe using the button to the right and share the link with your friends. Comments are welcome.

 

Check out Thom’s other blog, THE SPECULATIVE SPECTATOR, at http://speculativespectator.wordpress.com

 

 

May 16, 2010

MIDNIGHT CONTEMPLATIONS by Thom Reese

Ever have trouble sleeping?  I do. Sometimes my mind just won’t shut off. I just keep thinking random thoughts. My brain skitters from one place to another; dusting off old cobwebs, rummaging about corners, uncovering what there is to be uncovered. As such, I thought I’d share with you some of my midnight contemplations. Warning: these are the thoughts of a sleep-deprived mind and as such I accept no responsibility for the consequences of said thoughts.

Here we go:

If Abraham Lincoln was alive today, if he could see the marvels of technology, if he could visit NASA, hold an iphone, talk with our first African American president, if Abraham Lincoln was alive today, he’d be really, really old.

Do animals get boogers? And if so, how do they pick their noses? If not, why don’t they get them? How did we get to be the lucky ones?

If James Bond is a secret agent, why does he tell everyone his real name?

In England they call an elevator a lift. But what do they call it when it goes down – a drop?

Is it too soon for us all to become color blind and simply give a fellow human being a firm, warm-hearted hug?

What if I named my dog Antidisestablishmentarianism just to see if the guy at the pet shop could squeeze it onto a dog tag?

Is it considered poor etiquette to try to sell something to a telemarketer?

If two trains, one departing from New York and one from Las Angeles, left at the same time, both traveling at 56.276 miles per hour, and if an alien invader from the planet Just-because had destroyed the track in Toledo, and if the wind was currently a subtle 5.2 miles per hour from the south east, would there be in-cabin movies?

…And would the Toledo Dominos still honor their 30 minute delivery policy?

…And would the Republicans and Democrats finally figure out that neither side is inherently evil – or pure?

The odds of being killed by falling space debris are one in five billion. As there are over six billion people on earth, who’s the unfortunate schmuck with a target on his head?

Would the world end if all soldiers laid down their guns and walked away?

Over six thousand people are airborne over the US at any given time. Aren’t you glad they’re not pigeons?

Rice paper doesn’t have any rice in it. Is that false advertising?

Every day more money is printed for Monopoly games than for the US Treasury. Maybe the mustachioed Mr. Monopoly should run for office.

Is it true that it’s physically impossible to lick one’s own elbow?

In 2008 the United Nations Human Rights Council spent $23 million dollars – much of it from foreign aid funds – on a ceiling mural.

In 2008 the world economy took a dump causing tens of thousands to become unemployed.

In 2010, everyone is jawing about Tiger Woods and Avatar.

In 2010, 24,000 children die each day due to poverty.

If Abraham Lincoln was alive today, would he cry?

Thom Reese is a Las Vegas based writer whose weekly radio show, 21st Century Audio Theatre, previously aired on the 50,000 watt KDWN. Fourteen of Thom’s audio dramas will be released by Speaking Volumes Quality Audio Books throughout 2010. Thom studied comedy writing at The Second City and works in market research for CBS Broadcasting.

Copyright 2010 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

If you enjoy these blogs, please subscribe using the button to the right and share the link with your friends. Comments are welcome.

Check out Thom’s other blog, THE SPECULATIVE SPECTATOR, at http://speculativespectator.wordpress.com

February 21, 2010

MEDIA, ACCESSORY TO MURDER? by Thom Reese

There was a tragedy in Austin TX this past week. A small plane was flown deliberately into a public building with the intent of killing as many innocents as possible. The perpetrator –  we’ll call him Mister Whacked-Out-Cowardly-Murderous-Nut-Job, for lack of a better name – left a “rambling manifesto” on a website detailing his grievances, and – in his own mind – justifying this heinous act because he felt put upon by the government. I hate to tell you this, Mister Nut-Job, but if everyone who felt disenfranchised by society or had a beef with the government opted for the murder/suicide option, the human race would cease to exist.

But, as angry as I am at this whacko for treating human life with so little respect, I’m equally miffed at the news media. Yes, they should report the event. That’s their job – that’s their responsibility. What bothers me is that they not only gave the guy’s name (granting him, in some circles, folk hero status), but also detailed many of the grievances left in his “manifesto.” Everywhere I looked I saw excerpts and commentary on what Mister Whacked-Out-Cowardly-Murderous-Nut-Job saw as the ills of society. In other words, the murder of innocents gave him a voice.

I.e., he was successful.

This is what he was after, a platform, an opportunity to get his message out. It’s Terrorism 101.

“Oh, I’m not getting my way. Waa, waa, waa!”

“Why don’t you start a petition, call your congressperson, maybe even run for office or start an organization dedicated to change?”

“Nah, too much work. I’d rather kill a bunch of complete strangers. It’s quicker and easier that way. Can I borrow your Cessna?”

And why do these fruit-loops think this approach will work? Because it does. The national media is buzzing with the details of this story. They’ve listed his complaints, legitimizing them, ensuring they’re the topic of conversation around every office water cooler in the land. I sat in a restaurant yesterday listening to a waitress rattle off this guy’s grievances to a customer. The networks have even interviewed his friends. “Oh, Mister Whacked-Out-Cowardly-Murderous-Nut-Job was really a nice guy. He wasn’t anti-social in the least.”

Nice guy. Really?

I’m sure there are plenty of people in downtown Austin that disagree with that statement.

This type of news coverage scares me. By playing into this radical’s plan, by promoting his ideas, quoting his “manifesto,” could the media actually encourage other such atrocities? I believe so. As long as the crazies think their bell will toll on the six o’clock news, they’ll continue to consider terrorism a legitimate option. In this case I believe the media is, in essence, an accessory before the fact. Think of it as someone shouting “Fire!” in a crowded building. This free speech, this “reporting” can cause further havoc, possibly even loss of life. I believe there’s a responsibility to use sound judgment when reporting these crimes, a responsibility to look at the long term implications of feeding the terrorist mindset by giving them a voice.

So, how can we prevent this and similar tragedies from occurring?

By making terrorism ineffective. By castrating the suckers, taking away their power. Report only the event. Don’t give the perpetrator’s name. Don’t even hint at his motives, much less promote, analyze, and dissect his propaganda in public. If the FBI needs to get in there and psychoanalyze his lunatic ramblings, so be it. Let them. But don’t give these murderers – and that’s exactly what they are. Not martyrs, not crusaders, but simple, cowardly, disgusting murderers – the means to use the slaughter of innocents to promote a cause. Even a cause that is otherwise worthy.

Should the media be held accountable for promoting domestic terrorism? Should there be fines, or, perhaps, loss of licenses for broadcasting the details of a murderous manifesto? That’s a tough one. Free speech is a cornerstone to our way of life. It’s a slippery slope to inhibit such a liberty. One I hesitate to tread. Perhaps the better solution is for you and me – the public – to complain to the news outlets that unwittingly promote terrorism. Give them a good old-fashioned, sixties-style protest. Tell them we won’t watch their networks or support their sponsors if they continue with such irresponsible journalism. Let them know that this is unacceptable, that no matter how valid the point, murder is never an acceptable form of free speech.

Perhaps it all comes down to you and me, and what we’re willing to tolerate.

 

Thom Reese is a Las Vegas based writer whose weekly radio show, 21st Century Audio Theatre, previously aired on the 50,000 watt KDWN. Fourteen of Thom’s audio dramas will be released by Speaking Volumes Quality Audio Books throughout 2010. Thom studied comedy writing at The Second City and works in market research for CBS Broadcasting.

Copyright 2010 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

“Through Thom Tinted Lenses” is posted weekly. If you enjoy these blogs, please subscribe using the button to the right and share the link with your friends. Comments are welcome.

February 14, 2010

LABEL ME FED-UP by Thom Reese

Filed under: culture,humor,Politically correct,politics,society,Uncategorized — Thom Reese @ 6:06 am

I recently heard a radio interview with a man who supposedly “represents” a certain segment of the population. I’m not going to name the group because I don’t want this to be about them specifically. Let’s just call them cob-snop-naggle-woosters. The group is characterized by a certain physicality (not race). And now – at least according to this specific individual – they are no longer happy with the name or label this group has carried since T-Rex had his last take-out brontosaurus burger. Apparently, the name is now offensive.

The interview went something like this:

“So, Mr. Can’t-give-it-a-rest, I understand you’re not happy with the term cob-snop-naggle-wooster.”

“Please don’t say cob-snop-naggle-wooster in my presence. It’s very offensive.”

“But, isn’t it true that cob-snop-naggle-woosters have been called cob-snop-naggle-woosters for nearly as long as there have been cob-snop-naggle-woosters, and that until recently, most cob-snop-naggle-woosters had no problem with the term?”

“Yes, but now we don’t like that anymore. It seems vulgar and I wish you’d stop saying it. We much prefer the term, wigg-wannie-poogie-pooper.”

“Wigg-wannie-poogie-pooper?”

“Yes. That’s now the acceptable term.”

“Ah, look, we have a caller on the line. Hello caller, what do you have to add to this stimulating conversation?”

“I’m a cob-snop-naggle-wooster and always have been a cob-snop-naggle-wooster.”

“Well, surely you’re mistaken, ma’am. The acceptable term is now, wigg-wannie-poogie-pooper. You obviously can’t be a real wigg-wannie-poogie-pooper or you never would have used the recently-offensive term cob-snop-naggle-wooster. You’re a traitor to our cause!”

And so it continued. An entire hour-long segment dedicated to the cob-snop-naggle-wooster/ wigg-wannie-poogie-pooper debate. Some of the group agreed with the “spokesperson,” others did not.

No label accurately reflects each individual within a group, and worse, their use tends to over-simplify complex issues and further segment our already diverse national community. Now, I’m not so naïve as to think that there are no natural divisions within our population or to think that there are no legitimate grievances by said groups. But aren’t we at a point where we should be looking at ways to grow beyond these outdated mindsets rather than to further cement the factions? Shouldn’t we at least attempt to toss aside the clichés and prejudices of the past, and look at each person more as an individual and less as part of a specific group or minority?

If there must be a label, I think the labeled group should be the ones to choose what they are to be called, not the general populace and certainly not – when dealing with political or social divisions – a rival group. If one wants to be called a wigg-wannie-poogie-pooper, fine, but please, don’t be offended if someone unwittingly blunders by – horrible of horrible – uttering an outdated term.

“You called me a pickle loaf,” cries one.

“Um, yes. Was this somehow inappropriate?” asks the other.

“You hate me!” insists the first.

“No, not at all. Though you do seem a bit high strung. Perhaps some exercise and a few less lattes are in order. Now, what is it I should be calling you if not a pickle loaf?”

“Pickle loaf lite, you moron! I’m going to my congressperson.”

To me, it comes down to intent. If no insult was intended, none should be taken. Suck it up, accept it as an honest mistake, gently inform the misguided soul of his or her horrific blunder, and certainly don’t go whining about mistreatment or prejudice. There are far too many legitimate instances of inequality for us to be worried about every tear-faced whiner looking for a reason to feel put-upon. (In fact, maybe we could come up with a label for these rabble-rousers. Perhaps, pot-stirrers, hate-mongers, or, best yet – ex-citizens!)

Labels, by nature, are inherently inaccurate. One could look at me and throw out a few labels: white, male, middle-class. Now, from that, what do you know about me? Essentially nothing. Not my beliefs, not my political leanings, not that I’m a father of three who loves his family so much that it hurts. Not that I’m prone to silliness or that I’ve had a life-long love affair with pizza. (Chicago-style deep-dish – yum!) All one can deduce from these labels is the approximate color of my skin and which restrooms I can enter without causing much of a ruckus. Even middle-class could describe virtually anyone other than the very rich or very poor.

Now, you might say we’ve made great strides in breaking down social barriers. We now have an African-American (label alert!) president. And I’d say yes, I’m glad the country as a whole is now open-minded enough to elect a person of color. But I don’t think we will have arrived until we can elect a man or a woman of any race without ever once mentioning the fact that so-and-so is a… (insert label here). If we can elect a female Asian president and not announce, “This is our first female Asian president.” When we can have an African American president and not announce this is our second, third, forth, African American president, then, we’ll be getting somewhere. If we can elect a wigg-wannie-poogie-pooper and not have every citizen in the country strain to suppress a giggle, then we will have arrived.

 

Thom Reese is a Las Vegas based writer whose weekly radio show, 21st Century Audio Theatre, previously aired on the 50,000 watt KDWN. Fourteen of Thom’s audio dramas will be released by Speaking Volumes Quality Audio Books throughout 2010. Thom studied comedy writing at The Second City and works in market research for CBS Broadcasting.

Copyright 2010 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

“Through Thom Tinted Lenses” is posted weekly. If you enjoy these blogs, please subscribe using the button to the right and share the link with your friends. Comments are welcome.

January 31, 2010

I’LL HAVE a SUPREME COURT TO GO by Thom Reese

Filed under: culture,humor,Politically correct,politics,society,Uncategorized — Thom Reese @ 6:59 am

Uh-oh, Thom’s talking politics.

Yeah, I know, this isn’t a political blog. As a rule, I tend to focus on the grass-roots quirkiness of our day-to-day lives and steer miles clear of the he-said-she-said-let-me-promise-you-the-world-and-then-stab-you-in-the-back DC mentality. But politics, by nature, occasionally collides with the real world. So, here we go:

Just over a week ago, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to loosen campaign finance restrictions on corporations.

I’ve seen pizzas that have a stronger claim to the title “Supreme” than does that court.

“What’s the big deal?” you might say. “Who cares how much money a company can dump into a campaign?” Others might say, “Hey, why can’t I give candidate ‘X’ fifty trillion dollars?” Still others might gripe, “Why won’t candidate ‘X’ give me fifty trillion dollars?!” And yes, some might sit on the couch, chips in hand, and ask, “Is Seinfeld still making that sit-com?” (Those in this exclusive camp may sit this one out.)

So, let’s see if Thom can make sense of this issue.

Corporations are not registered voters. I’ve never seen General Motors or Chevron Oil exiting a voting booth wearing one of those little red, white, and blue stickers that read, “I voted.” I’ve never sat in the cafeteria with Wal-Mart Corporation critiquing Avatar over tuna fish sandwiches. Despite their tax status, corporations are not living, breathing, human beings. (Nor are zombies, but that’s a different issue altogether.)

The role of big business is to supply jobs, to fuel the economy, and hopefully to better the lives of employees, shareholders, and customers. But, though a corporation is, in a sense, a legal person – it pays taxes like a person – it is not a person. Nor, does it represent the views of every employee, shareholder, or customer. This has always been my contention with corporations and labor unions that endorse candidates. When an entity “endorses” someone, who is it really that is behind that candidate? The upper echelon of the organization, not the every day, living paycheck-to-paycheck type who is affected by these decisions. When a company boasting 100,000 employees stands behind a candidate, it doesn’t mean that those 100,000 are actually on board with the decision. Some employees might even be violently opposed to the chosen candidate.

Why then should this inhuman entity be granted such freedom with regard to campaign contributions? Individuals aren’t afforded this same luxury.

I don’t believe any entity – human or corporate – should have an unfair influence in the election process.

Yeah, call me naïve. Fine. I get it. The rich always have more influence, more swagger and sway. It’s the way of the world. Always has been, always will. But that’s mostly because the system supports that influence. Imagine a pie-in-the-sky-never-going-to-happen-but-sure-wish-it-would scenario where, electorally speaking at least, we all had an equal voice. Where Bill Gates didn’t have more influence than Jill the check-out clerk. Where Donald Trump gets put on hold by some English-as-a-third-language customer service rep living somewhere in the suburbs of  New Delhi.

Could it happen? Theoretically, yes. Will it happen? Probably not in this lifetime.

Here’s the issue as I see it. Money needs to be removed from the equation. “Oh, is that all?” you might exclaim. “And here I thought you were talking something difficult.” Yeah, I know, naïve, blah, blah, blah. Allow me to continue.

Campaigns cost money – lots and lots of money. Big dinero. Mondo moolah. But what if there was a way to minimize that need? Here are my thoughts:

1)      If less money is available to all candidates, then campaigns will adapt to this new paradigm.

2)      As individuals can vote and organizations cannot, eliminate political action committees (PACs), corporate donations, and the like, thus negating their ability to circumvent contribution caps placed on private citizens. This would mean that each voter had the equal right to donate within that cap and no one would be able to funnel large sums through an alternate venue. The goal here is to eliminate all corporate and special interest contributions, giving the sole funding ability back to the ordinary citizen. Holding everyone to a cap in or around $1,000, would then empower the everyman and dilute the abilities of the mondo-wealthy to wield God-like control.

3)      A sizeable chunk of campaign spending goes to advertising. Yep, the candidates need to get their message to the people. But, if we lessen the money needed, this diminishes the need for huge spending. How do we do that? The broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) broadcast on public airwaves. The same is true of radio stations. They are licensed by the government to do so. These networks and stations could have, as part of their licensing agreement, an obligation to air a certain amount of free advertising time for each candidate. Suddenly, the campaigns are much less costly.

Yes, I recognize that these are radical thoughts. And yes, a lot would need to be ironed out. But the spirit of what I’m trying to say is this. We live in the 21st century. (You probably already knew this.) We don’t live back in the days when only landowners were allowed to vote. In theory, we are all supposed to have an equal voice. But we don’t. The goal is to bring the reality of the system more in line with the intent of the system. Some will argue that eliminating organizational donations will impair freedom of speech. I argue the opposite. By lessening the role of money and corporation influence, we’re giving us all the same size megaphone.

Enough about politics. Now, anyone for a silly, poorly-made zombie flick?

 Thom Reese is a Las Vegas based writer whose weekly radio show, 21st Century Audio Theatre, previously aired on the 50,000 watt KDWN. Fourteen of Thom’s audio dramas will be released by Speaking Volumes Quality Audio Books throughout 2010. Thom studied comedy writing at The Second City and works in market research for CBS Broadcasting.

Copyright 2010 Thom Reese All Rights Reserved.

“Through Thom Tinted Lenses” is posted weekly. If you enjoy these blogs, please subscribe using the button to the right and share the link with your friends. Comments are welcome.

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