Boys Don’t Cry

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Being a blogger, author, online journalist, and co-owner of the politics and pop culture website Lefty Pop aka http://www.leftypop.com, means I get attention from people who think they know me. Hate mail, or since so many of you tell me I use “love” and “hate” too much, polarizing people, let’s call it Disagreement Mail; is a thing in my life. Between this blog, Lefty Pop, the Twitter, Google + (don’t laugh, there are people on there, sort of) and The Book Of Face, I average about 25 to 35 pieces of Disagreement Mail a day. Recently, I got one from a “Facebook friend”. Let’s call him Stan.

“Your pandering to your female “fans” is getting (freaking) pathetic, don’t you think? We get it, you live with 4 women, they took your balls, and you love gays, and that stupid “war on women bull(crap)”. If you think MSNBC is going to come calling because you’re this put upon (crappy) liberal in the conservative South, then get the (freak) over yourself. You’re just being a (female cat). Be a man! That’s what women want, a man!”

I did some editing because my daughters read this space and we’re all smart enough to see Stan The Man’s world view, or Lance view. This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten this critique. Let’s go hip hop on Stan’s Disagreement Mail and break it down.

1) Pandering to female “fans”. Here’s a factoid about writing online. Females outnumber males 1 gazillion to 1. I suck at math but that’s a fair statistic. I know of maybe 12 guys who blog. Until a year ago, that number was 4, but I started networking. We’re planning a retreat where we’ll meet in an internet café and bang on Starbucks coffee cans and express our feelings. No, not really, that’ll never happen. There many more female bloggers than male. My demographics are identical to other guys’. I never set out to be the dude with a bunch of gals hanging around me, but ’tis my life. This is why I workout and go into an office for my real job away from writing. I get to at least say hello to other XY chromosomes. Also, fighting for equal rights for gay people and women is the decent, correct thing to do. I shouldn’t have to defend that, but I will, forever.

2) My balls. Living with a wife and 3 daughters means I compromise and sacrifice a lot. I find this an endearing quality of mine, because it makes my household run smoothly and my heart, full. My politics proudly lean left. The left is where compromise and sacrifice reside in today’s arena of ideas and political discourse. Whether you and Stan agree with me, so be it. I’m a lefty in a righty culture. Being too punk rock for the room is something I usually enjoy, because it means I’m not lock stepping with the Joneses, whom I can’t even keep up with, anyway.

3) Being a man. If, at the end of the day, my wife and 3 daughters see an example of someone who doesn’t knee-jerk respond to stress with violence, either verbally or physically, then I’m a real man. I ask my wife constantly, “are we okay?” Most of the time she says yes, but when she does say no, it has nothing to do with whether I’m being a rhymes with the watusi, it has to do with me being insensitive, bi-polar, hard to get along with and a cliché “dude” about hating shopping, not wanting to watch the Food Network and soap opera-like shows, and see her and my daughters try on clothes for an hour before we leave the house. Being a real man has more to do with love, care, and hope, not driving a truck with a gun rack and hanging metal nuts.

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There are a lot of Stans out there, perpetuating gender stereotypes out of fear, self-loathing or good old-fashioned, ha.., I mean disagreement. Whether you click on this page, Lefty Pop, or my media that are social, I wish you see someone just trying to figure out how to be a better person, notice I didn’t type “man”, and wanting to do so in a way that sets some sort of example for the next neurotic writer behind me.

I believe in progress. Many years ago, I listened to The Cure, alone, sometimes in tears, afraid of what my “real men” friends or family would think. Now, I can do so with an audience of thousands, mmmm, okay, hundreds, fine, dozens. Screw it, share this and let’s talk, we can make it hundreds, at least. Don’t make me cry.

Here’s The Cure.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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100 Word Song – Dark Sunglasses

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I’m going to pack a lot into today’s post since I’m overwhelmed at work. The song is Chrissie Hynde’s Dark Sunglasses, chosen by my lefty pop aka @lefty_pop  from http://www.leftypop.com partner in crime, Linda @modmomelleroy of http://www.elleroywashere.com. It’s also matched up with my friend Velvet’s @velvetverbosity of http://www.velvetverbosity.com one word prompt of  “transistor”.

For my 100, we push the story along as Silas and Zola plan to meet back up with Olive after her first shift at the strip club in 1989 Florida.

Last time: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/100-word-song-sing/

As the Cutlass took gas, Zola talked on a pay phone. Silas felt pain in his neck from lack of sleep and paranoid searching of anyone who knew of his sins.
Inside the station, a stand advertised transistor radios for thirteen dollars while another showed dark sunglasses for five.
He put one of each on the counter and handed the elderly female cashier his twenty.

Wearing the shades, he straightened the curled ear buds. Zola met him on the driver’s side.

“They found Bart’s body.”

Silas climbed across to the passenger’s seat.

“I need to hide while you drive.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

As always you have 7 days from NOW, to write 100 inspired words from Chrissie Hynde’s Dark Sunglasses. Use the green mr. linky button to link up and the media that social to advertise your magic post.

 

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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100 Word Song – Sing

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Real life has been overwhelming lately. I just returned from vacation and like washing those smelly, wet towels and unpacking the inexplicable 8 key chains and 9 t-shirts that were purchased, I realized I hadn’t written anything, fictional, in almost a week. After tossing up a gargleblaster for Yeah Write in Monday and a reaction post to the Supreme Court mess yesterday, I was anxious to get back to the world of complex characters I can control.

Before we return to Silas, Olive and for now, Zola, I want to acknowledge this week’s song chooser the great Cyndi, aka C Lo. Cyn was one of the first people I ever met after starting this blog in early 2010. She’s a fellow lefty Christian and tattooed parent. Go see her. She’s smart and funny. She picked Sing by Travis. Y’all should love this one. Her entry this week is here: http://onthegroundblog.blogspot.com/2014/07/100-words-sing-by-travis.html

Now, on to my 100.

Last time: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/100-word-song-keeps-you-runnin/

Silas stared into the pond then crossed his legs and sighed.

Zola’s stretched out her legs and leaned back on her arms. The sun glimmered off her white skin. She pulled her shirt up, stopping an inch or so from her chest, exposing her stomach.
“Silas, there’s something going on today and you know what that is, right? Just let me tell you everything and then you can man up and decide what happens next.”
He closed his eyes and wished for something to go right. He gave in to her manipulation and said.
“Tell me everything. Go ahead. Sing.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog</

As always you have 7 days from NOW, to write 100 inspired words from Cyndi's pick of Sing by Travis. Use the green Mr. Linky button to link up then employ the media that are social to share your 100 word magic with the world. Tell a friend or 50.

Talkin’ Bout A Revolution

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There’s a prayer I say every once in a while in hopes that my 3 daughters are listening as much as I’m asking for God to hear.

Please Lord, give these girls the strength to fight for their hearts as well as their bodies when I’m not around to protect them.

Earlier today the country I pledge allegiance, changed. It was conned like a little old lady with a pension and a smiling grifter in a thousand dollar suit and silver tongue of lies.

The thief was a lawsuit filed before the United States Supreme Court called Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby and the victim was America.

You can read the result, from the point of view I hold, here.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/30/the-hobby-lobby-decision-is-bad-for-conservatives-and-religious-liberty.html

I write elsewhere, Lefty Pop aka @lefty_pop http://www.leftypop.com, so I’ll keep my commentary there, along with my amazing writer friends. For now, let’s focus on why it’s important to a man with 3 daughters.

I’m a Christian, I opened this with a prayer. It’s one of several I say every day. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and I ask for his Grace and my soul is saved. This is the same tenet Hobby Lobby says they hold. What happened today wasn’t godly and it certainly wasn’t just.

Decisions over the female body belong to that individual. My wife and I talk to our daughters about their bodies, their feelings and what it all means. They’re 18, almost 11, and almost 10 so the talks are varied and catered. The Court’s decision means that a company can take away the things I teach my own girls. So now an employer can hold power over their flesh and bone.

At the end of the day religion should unite, comfort, and lift. Now through company scam, faith is a weapon holding women captive. How do I tell my 18-year-old when she gets in her first job after college that offers her health care that she isn’t safe? By making her more empowered than ever, that’s how.

Some place that sells glue, poster board, glitter, and political lies shouldn’t have this much significance. I also can’t worry about other fathers who just don’t get it. Only family can offer the cover against coercion and deceit.

This is the revolution that has to take place. Not with pitchforks, protest, or physicality, but strength of ideas. An educational revolt against the bastards of anti-science and pseudo-religion.

Fathers of daughters join me, or watch your girls become victims of a society that only cares about itself.

Please Lord, grant me the perseverance to withstand my selfish frustration with those who trespass against me and my daughters minds and bodies.

I’m talking about a revolution, one where we rise up intellectually, and make this a better world before the fraud steals it all.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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One Tree Hill

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Last time: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/100-word-song-slippin-into-darkness/

No one moved. Silas pushed the pistol’s barrel into Paul’s temple, wiping a sweat bead and catching Zola smile. He was in her world, now. The silence was hurting him so he called out to the other men.

“All we want is money. Whatever he or the rest of you did with her stays where it is, but we need cash.”

A short, blonde-haired man stepped forward, dropping his hands and trying to move his mouth but waiting for permission to speak. Silas nodded his head but maintained his pose and the gun against Paul’s head. The blonde-haired man muttered.

“There’s two thousand dollars in the safe, it’s seed money we use to get new accounts. No one will ever know you took it, I think it’s the best way for you to get what you want.”

Silas felt incredulous. No one in this room cared that he held a gun against a man’s head. They were just like Zola, all business. Zola straightened her posture, pushed her shirt down and bit her top lip before announcing.

“I’ll have blondie show me where the safe is, you do your thing.”

Zola and the blonde-haired man walked to the safe. Silas shoved himself away from Paul but kept the weapon  pointed at him while eyeing the other men. His breathing slowed and his grip on the gun tightened. Zola yelped.

“Hello! Thank you blondie. This will definitely do! Come on, tough guy, let’s leave before one of these guys gets stupid.”

Silas backed away from the men, then followed a skipping Zola out the side door they entered. He put the gun in his waist band and growled.

“Come on, we need to lay low somewhere till Olive gets off from work. We have 23 hundred dollars, it’s time to pack some bags before more hell breaks loose.”

Zola beat him to the Cutlass. She jumped into the passenger side and tossed her feet on the dash.

“Silas, don’t forget about the grease ball brother. They could get us a few hundred more and we will be temporarily rich in less than a day.”

Silas started the car and squealed the tires backing away from the parking lot. Before putting the car in drive, he yelled.

“No!”

He looked and listened for police sirens but none were found. Zola caressed his right arm and tried to move down to his leg. He swatted her hand away and asked.

“I’ve already taken part in murder and blackmail but I’m not in the mood to add cheating on my girlfriend, your best friend, Zo. Tell me someplace we can spend the next six hours and don’t even think about saying the word, motel.”

Silas stared at his speedometer, then let off the accelerator to avoid being pulled over. He leaned over to turn on the radio, a U2 played. Zola raised up and read a billboard aloud.

“One Tree Hill Nature Preserve. Hey, Silas, do you that one tree hill?

He sighed then replied.

“This is I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, radio never plays One Tree Hill.”

Zola laughed through her response.

“No, dumbass, I swear, you an Olive think about music more than any two people alive. One Tree Hill Preserve, that place is really secluded. It’s perfect, plus, we can plan what to do next, if I can’t convince you to take off now and ditch Olive.”

Silas turned onto the exit and followed the signs to One Tree Hill.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

bookcoverpicajjhkasfpaperbackpicturesad

You’ve Got Time – Orange Is The New Black Season 2 Wrap-Up

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It’s been two weeks so we’ve all had time to watch the second season of Netflix’s greatest show, ever, Orange is the New Black. At least that’s what I’m selfishly telling myself so I can talk about it, 8 hours after I finished the thirteenth and final episode. For you people who haven’t been able to lock your kids in their rooms after dinner and binge-watch with proper unhealthy vigor, well, get over yourself, there are spoilers coming. Go take a Buzzfeed quiz on who’s your Orange Is The New Black prison wife. Wait, they really have that one? Good grief.

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I liked season 2 better than 1 because of how they grew the characters. Piper Chapman is almost a completely different person, which a few months in prison should do to her. The finale scene in between her and new inmate Brooke SoSo was well paced, and dialogued brilliantly. SoSo is the new Chapman and Chapman is something else. The loss of innocence and the effect loneliness has on someone behind bars was symphonically played.

I know many OITNB watchers disagree, but the Piper Chapman vs. Alex Vause dynamic drives the show, it’s why Piper is in prison, and using it to open the season in episode 1, developing other characters in the following 11 shows, before ending with Piper vs. Alex was genius. Piper getting revenge through her cheating best friend and ex-boyfriend, sicking Alex’s probation officer on her was great writing. It showed Piper standing up for herself and moving past her younger life, crush.

Top 5 Characters

1) Piper, see above. She’s the center of the show, a fictionalized version of the woman who wrote the book and did the time. Season 2 was about her white privilege and suffering through her impossible furlough, then watching everyone reject her, in one way or another. Taylor Schilling grew up as actress this year and she was superbly written.

2) Vee, hate her or hate her, she was the villain the series needed. There was no heart or soul to Vee, just an opportunistic player who used everyone for sport or commerce. I clenched my fists in anger when she slocked Red and yelled at my TV when her band of “sisters’ turned against her, finally, and left her with the only option, escaping. So when fellow runner, cancer-stricken Rosa ran her over in the van, I cheered. That means Lorraine Toussaint’s performance was dynamite. She’s probably picking up some hardware come awards season.

3) Red, After making an average villain in season 1, then losing everything to Vee in season 2, her redemption was handled in an excellent manner. When Piper visited Red’s old NYC market, saw that her family had lost it, then returned and lied to Red that it was doing well, the look on Red’s face told you everything you needed to know. She thrived on being needed. Kate Mulgrew did an amazing acting job. Last season’s menacing and chopping people up with that bad Russian accent with no purpose, was replaced depth and heart. Her interactions with conflicted, narcissistic hunger striking nun, Ingalls, were fantastic.

4) Healy, Say whatever you want about him, but the man gives a damn. Like the women he’s assigned to protect and serve, he’s a reject too. His mail order Russian bride hates him, despite his kindness. The touchy-feely Safe Place counseling sessions were treated as a joke by the inmates and eventually he saw he was their butt. Michael Harney was great on NYPD Blue as an annoying sad sack detective. He brings the same to this character. He’s the soul of an otherwise soulless corrections department. He makes you want to eat a cookie and talk about your problems then make fun of him behind his back. How he saved Crazy-Eyes from an assault conviction against Red was well-written.

5) Poussey, Her backstory was better than her front because we saw why she was so complicated, conflicted and conceited. Her sexuality imprisoned her as much as her lack of faith in her friends. It was nice to see her reunite with Taystee at the end. I hope these two provide strength in season 3.

Honorable mention – Rosa. It was heart-breaking to watch her near death and of course seeing her drive away from prison and over Vee was fist-pumpable. Barbara Rosenblat’s performance is the only reason she’s not in my top 5. Her flashbacks scenes showing her as a randy, kiss 0f death giving bank robber fell flat for me, but the stuff in the hospital with the teenaged cancer patient was funny. She will be missed, provided she meets the fate we think, given only weeks to live with cancer.

Bottom 5 Characters

1) Morello, So, she’s an internet thief and a bat-crap crazy stalker of Christufuh, not his devoted fiancé. Yet, inside in the prison she’s everyone’s stable sister and emotional crutch? This is poor writing. Being locked up should make a whack-job like Morello moreso. There’s way too much heart there for someone so unhinged in the general public. Letting her get away with visiting Christufuh’s house, wear his real fiancé’s veil, and soak in their tub just didn’t jibe with the rest of her character. Yael Stone doesn’t do anything wrong, but the writers turned her into a cliché.

2) Taystee, She was season 1’s star then season 2’s disappointment. I never bought her conversion into Vee’s disciple of destruction. On the outside she questioned Vee all the time, now inside, she’s going to turn her back on her friends until the end? I just didn’t buy it. Danielle Brooks didn’t show a lot of range. She nails Taystee’s happy go lucky stuff, but doesn’t handle being a bad ass very well. Taystee came back at the end of the season and her friendship with Poussey is a highlight.

3) Larry, Has there ever been a more crappy partner to a main character, before? There’s no reason for Piper to ever want to be with this guy. He’s a douche, a coward, and going after Polly, Piper’s bets friend, while she’s married and just given birth to a baby makes him unredeemable. Real-life Larry and real-life Piper are together, married, and happy. I know they’re sitting on a pile of cash because of this show, but how do they watch this portrayal and not hate themselves? Larry makes me root for Piper and Alex to be together and that’s crazytown. Jason Biggs’ career has been mediocre and his blandness makes Larry awful. He gives writers like me a bad name.

4) Nicky Nichols & Big Boo, They’re lumped together because they spent so much worthless time competing for prison booty, literally and figuratively. Natasha Lyonne and Lea Delauria are good actresses who deserve better. Nicky showed heart with Red. Her anguish over not doing smack was well done but everything else was blah. Big Boo’s betrayal of Red to Vee was wrong. There were several other characters that could’ve been used (Pennsatucky, anyone?) so it left Boo this nasty person, poorly played.

5) Sex, Look, I like sexy time as much as the next dude and you’d think a show with lots of nudity and bodies bumping would be something I was into, but this season has too much. Did we really need to see Vee’s stuff? Don’t get me going again on the sex contest between Nicky and Boo that went nowhere and lasted several episodes. What happened between Caputo and Figueroa in the assistant warden’s office was offensive.

Honorable Mention – Natalie “Fig” Figueroa. There aren’t enough good roles for women in show business as is, so when you give an important one like prison assistant warden to a hack like Alysia Reiner who turns it into a back alley Disney witch character, bad things happen. Good riddance.

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So, let me know what you thought. I stayed up to 12:30AM watching the last 3 episodes. It was that good.

Did I mention Orange Is The New Black has one of the best themes songs in TV history?

Here’s Regina Specktor’s You’ve Got Time.

100 Word Song – Slippin Into Darkness

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It’s been a long , stressful day so 100 word song is much later than usual. Leeroy asked one of his favorites, Kath, from http://katstheory.blogspot.com/ aka @katstheory to pick this week and she chose WAR’s Slippin Into Darkness. It fits well with my serialized short story, Light Of Day, about Silas and Olive, two 19-year-old lovers on the run in 1989 Florida.

Before we get to my 100, if you take a look around, there are a lot of changes to My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. It had been almost 2 years since I last made any aesthetic changes to this place and there was mold on the bread. I asked some of my closets writing friends and took their advice. The header, while a little large, is easier to read, as is the fonts and typeface. I’ll work with the header. The fighting robots are gone. That gimmick been long in tooth anyway. Let me know what you think of the new digs.

I listed a Lefty Pop page. My friend and business partner, Linda aka @modmomelleroy from http://www.elleroywashere.com started a politics and pop culture website in January and it’s doing well. We hope to get a great boost from BlogHer in late July. Please follow us @lefty_pop, friend us https://www.facebook.com/leftypop?ref_type=bookmark, and read and comment our posts http://www.leftypop.com.

Here’s my 100.

The office was a whirling dervish of activity. Three men in crisp white shirts and matching blue ties yelled across the rectangular room and into phone receivers.
“”Buy it!” and “Burn it!”.
Zola grabbed Silas’ elbow, pointing at a tall, lean man of about 30-years-old leaning against a cubicle wall. They walked behind him. Zola growled.
“Paul I told you pretty soon you were going to pay.”

The man reached for the phone on his desk. Silas panicked, pulled the gun from his waist band and pressed the barrel against Paul’s head. A dark, quiet pall took over the room

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog</

You have a little less than 7 days to write 100 words inspired by WAR's Slippin Into Darkness. Link up with the green Mr. Linky button at the bottom then use the media that are social to advertise your magic.