Monday, September 19, 2016

Death Merchant #38: The Burning Blue Death

Death Merchant #38: The Burning Blue Death, by Joseph Rosenberger
April, 1980  Pinnacle Books

The 38th installment of Death Merchant sees Richard Camellion venturing from Holland to DC to West Germany, in a borderline sci-fi adventure that spans about three months. At this point in the series Joseph Rosenberger was freely indulging in his fringe science interests, to the point that, for once, we have here one of the rare installments that is more composed of dialog and plot rather than action sequence after action sequence. Indeed, there are only a handful of action scenes throughout The Burning Blue Death.

We get the impression from the outset that this won’t be a typical installment, with an opening missive from the Death Merchant himself:

It’s quite strange reading such words from a fictional character whose business is death and who has killed, by a rough estimate, perhaps a thousand or so people by the time of this novel’s events. But The Burning Blue Death is High Rosenberger for sure, overwritten to the point of insanity (183 pages of super-small print), littered with egregious footnotes, filled with metaphysical stuff like auras, Krillian photography, and Spontaneous Human Combustion (or SHC). For a while it’s occurred to me that there are some points of similarity between Death Merchant and The Mind Masters; both series seem to come from authors with rather twisted imaginations, and Rosenberger and Rossmann/Ross clearly share the same interests – even the writing styles are somewhat similar, with both authors prone to having their characters baldly exposit on esoteric subjects, even referencing specific magazines and articles verbatim.

But whereas The Mind Masters put more focus on sleazy sex and less on action (at least in the first three volumes), Rosenberger as we know could be guilty of turning in a book that was really just one overlong action scene after another. The problem with that is, at least for me, Rosenberger’s no David Alexander. I mean, that guy could write a 183-page action scene that would probably be a blast to read, so to speak, but Rosenberger’s action scenes can be turgid and repetitive. This is why installments like Burning Blue Death are so special – a rare instance of Joseph Rosenberger putting more focus on the story and the latest weird assignment Camellion has undertaken. I’ve only read a few other Death Merchant novels I could say the same of (for which reason they’re still my favorites): The Cosmic Reality Kill would definitely be one, as would be Blueprint Invisibility.

When we meet Camellion he’s in Holland, having just appeared the previous night on a late night TV show starring “the Johnny Carson of the Netherlands.” As ever Camellion is in one of his disguises, this time looking like a Dutchman in his 60s. He’s put a bunch of ads in various newspapers asking about SHC, which is what he discussed on the TV program the night before. Gradually we’ll learn that a few US notables, including a Senator, have literally gone up in flames recently, imploding with blue flame. Camellion, like his creator, is enamored with esoteric subjects, thus is so handedly familiar with Sponataneous Human Combustion that he can easily pose as a scientist specializing in it – even speaking in pristine Dutch. Unfortunately we don’t see the TV bit. Rather, the focus is more on the goons Camellion is certain will be coming for him, given that he pointedly revealed some info that would surely come across the attention of whover is behind these SHC attacks.

Sure enough some goons come a-calling late that night, but have no fear – Camellion is armed with some cool-sounding modified .45s that have elongated barrels and pistol grips in front of the trigger guards. (Dean Cate has illustrated one of them in his typically-wonderful cover art.) There follows the standard Rosenberger action scene, complete with rampant POV-hopping where we are suddenly informed the names and backgrounds of the one-off gunmen who show up briefly enough to shoot at Camellion, miss, and get killed. Throughout Camellion has on “old man” makeup and a half-bald wig and wears very sci-fi-sounding night vision goggles, which Rosenberger must’ve thought were so cool that he actually describes them twice; Camellion wears them again in the novel’s final action sequence, and Rosenberger tells us all about them as if forgetting he already did so a hundred pages earlier.

Thirteen days later and Camellion, in another disguise, is over in London, having tracked down the man who hired the thugs who failed in the hit on him in Holland. As ever working with the CIA (with whose local director, Harvey Spare, Camellion engages in page-filling arguments about everything from SHC to gun control), Camellion puts together a team and raids the tobacco shop of his target, a man named Marmis. Here Rosenberger gets positively poetic about the variety of expensive tobacco to be found in Marmis’s shop, only to finally inform us that Camellion doesn’t smoke(!). And speaking of our hero, his latest disguise has him as a “crippled up” old man, complete with a cast on his arm.

There follows another Rosenberger action scene, more tedious than exciting, which again culminates with everyone dead, including Marmis – killed by a fatal drug accidentally given him by a junior agent. But Marmis’s place is really a hideout for a branch of the IRA, and once everyone’s dead Camellion finds coded documents written in the Labanotation method – humorously, Camellion instantly knows they are written thusly, given that he is an expert on every subject known to man. Finally the SHC angle returns – I was afraid at first that The Burning Blue Death would be another Death Merchant that squandered its fringe science plot with random shootouts and whatnot – and Rosenberger muses on the subject via several pages of case studies.

A whopping six weeks later, Camellion’s back in the US, working with usual CIA contact Courtland Grojean, and the CIA specialists have finally broken the code. Marmis’s uncoded documents hide illustrations of men in weird-looking suits, complete with metal rods sticking out of “skullcap”-type helmets; Dean Cate also attempted to illustrate this, at the top of his cover art, but it looks like he misread Rosenberger’s description, or perhaps the Pinnacle editor didn’t properly convey it, as the dude in the drawing looks more like the grand dragon of some sci-fi KKK branch. Courtesy more bald exposition with CIA science contact Dr. Russell Courtier, a biophysicist from an unsepcified New York university, we learn that SHC might be induced artificially, and indeed the Nazis were working on such a weapon.

Mention of “The Brotherhood” in those coded documents has Camellion figuring a neo-Nazi group is behind the plot. After a brief firefight with thugs who try to take him out on the way to his apartment in the DC suburbs – after which he spends a week, off-page, in jail – Camellion hops a plane to Germany. Twenty-three days later, he’s now working with a group of West German agents and researching the SHC developments made by the Nazis in WWII, under the guidance of a scientist named Helmut Koerber. We learn that the SHC device was called the Transmutationizer, and we see one in use, as a group of Brotherhood gunmen attack Camellion and crew, two of them wearing portable SHC devices which are powered by a trailer truck. Some of Camellion’s comrades go up in weird blue flames.

It seems that just about every Death Merchant climaxes with an assault on a fortress, and such is the case with The Burning Blue Death. Having determined that an old SS sadist named Baron Hammerstein is behind the Brotherhood and the plot to use SHC to kill off his enemies, Camellion teams up with a crew of West German agents and British SIS commandoes and storms the Baron’s Gothic castle. Here Rosenberger again tells us all about Camellion’s new-fangled night vision goggles, apparently forgetting he already told us about them before, and also we’re informed that Camellion makes use of a Sidewinder submachine gun, which us Pinnacle diehards know was a gun also favored by fellow imprint hero The Penetrator.

The ensuing action scene is heavy on the carnage – as ever Rosenberger injects just the right amount of gore in his action scenes, with heads blowing off and whatnot – but is a bit unsatisfying in that the villains of the piece, Koerber and Baron Hammerstein, are quickly introduced and dispensed of within just a few pages. However we do get to see more usage of the SHC device, with friend and foe imploding with blue flame. Camellion, realizing this would just be yet another device used to terrorize mankind, ends up destroying the Transmutationizer. The designs for building one are also lost, what with the massacre of the people behind it.

As usual the highlight of this Death Merchant is the arbitrary ranting of Camellion, which is to say Rosenberger. He bitches about religion, anti-smoking (ie warnings not to smoke), and Jimmy Carter, among many other things, though to be honest his Carter-bashing is perfectly understandable. The highlight though is Camellion’s theory on the “level of incompetence,” which he discusses with Grojean:

“The principle is very simple. In every organization, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence. That is, if people do well in one job, they are promoted to another higher up the ladder, and so on until they reach a job they can’t do well. As soon as people reach jobs they can’t do, they tend to make mistakes because they’ve reached their level of incompetence. Understand?” 

“Certainly. The cream rises until it sours.”

I planned to put a Hillary Clinton joke here, but decided not to, so as not to offend anyone who might be planning (for whatever reason) to vote for her.  Plus the joke wouldn’t have worked anyway, because Hillary Clinton has never done well in any job.

Finally, here’s a review by Allan.


Zwolf said...

Hey, I'm voting Clinton. Don't like it, then fuck ya! (no offense - hey, you brought it up! ;) ) She's not great, but I spent too much of my youth having to beat the shit out of people like the alternative to ever vote for it. Every time I hear that prissy orange Nazi fatass talk, fingers I once broke on somebody's head start twinging at me.

But that aside, good review as usual. Rosenberger always was more than a bit weird about trying to make Richard Camelion into a "real entity." I think it's another thing he took from Norvell Page, with his "I am the Spider!" wackiness. Rosenberger was a headcase and thought he WAS The Death Merchant. Kinda funny since he looked like a stiff breeze could blow him over, but, dude lived in his head too much. He used to write "biographies" of the Death Merchant that showed up in the backs of some Penetrator books, intimating that he was "real." It's about as corny as action-series books get, but, that's Rosenberger. He didn't have much self-awareness.

I always wonder if his publishers would've put up with his insanity if he hadn't already had the series established before it went full-blown. Since the thing was already running and selling (although who knows how -- it's hard to imagine anybody but obsessives like us coming back after reading one of these things), when Rosenberger went off the rails going loopy about whatever the topic on In Search Of was that week, I can picture the people at Pinnacle rolling their eyes and saying, "What the hell, let him babble, as long as they keep selling." Really, it must've been fun publishing this guy. Every couple months a fifteen-pound manuscript shows up from a lunatic, and everybody's like, "Oh my god, it's him again." I'm betting that after a point nobody even read them, they maybe scanned them to laugh at 'em around the office, then sent them to press. I mean, if they put these things out, what in the name of Satan did they ever reject? And I'm almost certain Rosenberger never even read back over what he wrote, much less gave it a second draft. That's why you get things like the night-vision goggles getting explained twice.

Really, Rosenberger didn't seem to know WHAT he believed. Kinda like William W. Johnstone, who used to rant about the Reds but then had Ben Raines set up what was pretty-much-exactly a *Communist* government in the "Ashes" series. It's hilarious. Rosenberger would claim to be an atheist and mock religious beliefs one minute, then go off on all kinds of mystical hoopla that was even sillier and more far-fetched. There's no way to keep up with it.

Guy couldn't write a decent story to save his fucking life, but he's still oddly fascinating as a train wreck/artifact. I've found more insane (and worse) writers nowdays since self-publishing allows any half-a-dullard to get space on the shelves, but for something from the time when there were still firewalls against the garbage, it's kind of incredible that Rosenberg was actually published after a point. I get the same feeling reading his books that I do when I watch Gummo. He's what a crazy person does when somebody encourages him.

Camelion's Theory of Incompetence sounds an awful lot like The Peter Principle... but, he probably figured people reading The Death Merchant wouldn't have read that.

I keep meaning to read another Death Merchant, but then I think, "I could read three other action novels that have a chance at being GOOD instead," so I get derailed. Glad you read these so I don't have to. :)

Stephen Mertz said...

From Hillary (it's a drag to see your politics creeping into fantasy land)to Rosenberger, I'm with Zwolf point by point all the way. Great comment. I'll have to read more of *your* reviews!

Joe Kenney said...

I apologize for causing this political derailment, guys, and promise it won’t happen again. I’ve voted for all three parties over the years, so I have no affiliation. But when I read Rosenberger’s principle on higher-ups making stupid mistakes, the first thing that popped into my head was “private email server.”

They say this year’s election will be based on which candidate you dislike the least, and of the two, well… I turned 18 when Bill C. was running for his first term, so he was the first person I ever voted for...I mean, he played sax on Arsenio!! Now that was a candidate who knew how to win the hearts and minds of easily-swayed youth! To me, Hillary just doesn’t seem to have any of those qualities. Someone I know once told me that several years ago an acquaintance took him to an event for Hillary in NYC that was run by a group of fundraising women; when Hillary showed up, she stormed past the fundraisers, completely ignoring them, and made a big fuss over the drapes or something. Meanwhile Bill, who was with her, went around the room and engaged everyone in friendly conversation. To me, that is the difference between someone who is interested in people and someone who is interested in power.

As for Trump, love him or hate him, one thing I can definitely say is I’d watch every single one of his State of the Union addresses! Now that would be guaranteed entertaining television! I think he at least deserves credit for changing the face of the Republican party…moving it away from one based on a religious ideology and into something else entirely. He’s brought a lot of diversity into that party…for example, I know some Chinese women, former Democrats (not to mention immigrants), who love Trump and despise Hillary. (I’ve learned never to mention Hillary around them.) According to the mainstream media, these women do not exist. But if you get outside the mainstream media you see that a helluva lot of people are responding to Trump…it’s going to be very interesting to see what goes down on election day, that’s for sure.

Anyway this blog will never be about politics, and that was my first political joke in what, six years? Given that the mainstream media lambastes Trump while protecting Hillary,which drives my Libra balancing senses crazy, I thought I’d make a lame attempt at evening things up. If the ultimate goal of “progressive liberalism” and “feminism” is equality, then there should be balance in reporting, regardless of gender. But all it seems like to me is that the media keeps protecting (and idolizing) Hillary while railing against the big bad bully Trump, who “only appeals to white males without a college education.” (Meanwhile Trump gets upwards of 20,000 people from all walks of life at his rallies, while Hillary can barely fill a school auditorium; not that you’ll ever see that in any mainstream media outlet.) In other words, the media itself is maintaining the “sexist” mentality which it is supposedly against! I think if anything the hypocrisy of this has factored greatly into my own decision on this race.

Sorry to go on at such length. Zwolf, thanks a lot for that analysis of Camellion and Rosenberger. Man, you aren’t kidding. I have Mace #5 coming up soon to read and I’m not looking forward to it. But who knows, I might be surprised. I know exactly which Camellion bio you are referring to – they show up for some reason starting around 1980 in the various Pinnacle books, long after the series had been around for many years. I’ve thought about typing it up and posting it on the blog…but boy, it’s a LONG biography! Your scenario of the Pinnacle editors receiving the latest JR manuscript made me laugh out loud. I’m always floored that this dude wrote so much…man, if he just whittled down his books, they might be a little less excruciating. Maybe!

And Steve, you should definitely read more of Zwolf’s reviews – that is, if he’d ever get around to posting more of them!!

Anonymous said...

Nice review, Joe. I actually wish I could find more Death Merchant books locally (and cheaply). They can be a slog, for sure, but they can be hilarious! And I can always find some sort of weird-ass fringe shit to google from reading the footnotes. Rosenberg seems to me like a character that should have been in the X-Files TV show.

I've meant to ask, but keep forgetting: have you, in your research, ever come across a book titled Behavior Modification: the art of mind murdering (Paladin Press, 1978) by "Richard Camelion"? Wondering if this is Rosenberg's doing?

AndyDecker said...

Or ... the Pinnacle guys ate every word up, nodded and said: This guy writes it like it is! :-) In the case of the DM it really is the question if editorial quality control broke down or if the series sold so well that Rosenberger could do whatever he wanted.

Firewalls against the garbage. Great description, Zwolf.

Anonymous said...

Oops. Of course I meant "Rosenberger" in my original comment. Not "Rosenberg."

Joe Kenney said...

Thanks for the comments, pointblnk and Andy -- and yes, that is Rosenberger himself as "Richard Camellion" for the Behavior Modification book, pointblnk. I think it's even referenced in one of the Death Merchant novels.

English Teacher X said...

Trump is a case of a person rising far beyond his level of competence, yet succeeding because he can always declare bankruptcy, defraud his creditors, or get his rich dad to help him out. It's hard to imagine Camellion would think much of either choice.

Joe Kenney said...

Yeah, but Hillary is the candidate with blood on her hands, not Trump. Lord knows how many lives she has compromised due to her negligence. But then, Hillary Clinton isn’t bound to the same laws and rules as us common folk.

Now as for Trump, I’m more of a fan of the movement than the man. I think it’s incredible how such a diverse, huge group of voters has gone to that platform. And if you think they’re all uneducated white males, then you’re only getting your news from the MSM. Trump has spent a tenth of the money (if that) that Hillary has spent on advertising and campaigning, yet he got over 13 million votes in the primaries and he regularly fills massive stadiums to the rafters. He’s gotten where he’s gotten because of his supporters. The Trump Republican party is, for once, a voter-driven party. He has gotten voter turnout and support that Hillary would kill for – ask yourself honestly, if it was the other way around, and Hillary was getting twenty thousand or more people at her rallies, people of all races, backgrounds, etc, do you really think the MSM wouldn’t regularly be reporting on it?

To be perfectly honest, friends, if this election had come down to Hillary vs Jeb or Hillary vs Cruz, I probably wouldn’t even vote. They’re all establishment candidates. No matter which “opposing party” won, the establishment would still reign supreme. I’m sick of the establishment and I’m sick of career politicians. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson in Batman, “This country needs an enema.”

Zwolf said...

Okay, I was gonna stay out and let it die off, but since it's still going without me doing anything, fuck it, let's go. It's gonna take a while and a couple of posts. I won't get mad or scream "censorship" if you decide to delete it, because I know that's not the purpose of the blog and I respect that, and pretty much wish it'd go back to that already. But it's an election year, we see little else, we're all het-up, I get it. I have no illusions that I'm going to change any minds, and that's not what I'm trying to do. And I don't want to be rude. But some of this I can't just sit by and watch without saying something. And I am blunt.

Trump is entertaining, yeah, but so was GG Allin, and I wouldn't trust him to run anything, either. Trump's a case of full-blown narcissistic personality disorder who can be manipulated by anybody who flatters him. He's like a prissy little schoolgirl who'll spread for any guy who games her. For all his supposed "success" he's still an insecure, dainty little bitch who craves the approval of the "big kids" and is hurt and upset if he doesn't get it. If Putin says "Donald Trump's a smart guy," Trump would lick his shoes and let him set up missile bases in Nebraska. He can't even help it, because it's a mental illness. He's NEEDY. That's why he's doing this whole thing. He doesn't even want to be president, really -- he just wants the attention and to feel "important."

He's also running a game on people. He's not even a good businessman; if he'd just invested the money he got from his dad, he'd be FOUR TIMES richer now. He's a scam artist, and that's all he's really good at. He lies when he breathes. Yeah, he gets big rallies and doesn't have to spend anything for media coverage, because he's a lunatic, and lunatics generate suspense. You don't know what they'll do next. The cameras have to be there, because will TODAY be the day he takes his dick out to prove it's not tiny, or finally loses control and calls Hillary a cunt or Obama a nigger, or make another assassination joke, or mock another disabled person, or call for another protestor to be beaten up. It's easy to get attention by acting like an unstable nitwit. If media attention's all it took, hey, let's elect O. J. - he kept the nation riveted just by riding in a Bronco.

And, sorry, I'm LESS a fan of the movement than the man. Because the "movement" includes a bunch of white supremacists who are not only tolerated, they're encouraged. They're cheering him on because he's appealed to their bigotry with his Mexican wall and Muslim bans and other craziness. You claim he brings in a diverse group, but a whole lot of 'em are driven by the same thing; a rich guy who just took eleven out of a dozen doughnuts and is telling you "Watch out, some wetback's gonna take yours." Not all his supporters are xenophobia-driven, but easily enough to make me stay away. Just because something's not "establishment" doesn't mean it's good, either. David Duke's not "establishment," after all.

(to be continued)

Zwolf said...

And don't feed me that "Main stream media" jazz, because, sorry, that's some crap I'm not going to be polite to anybody about anymore. People use it as an excuse for believing anything they want to think, and discounting anything anybody else has to say. Propaganda becomes "truth" if it's supporting what you already want to think, and truth becomes "propaganda" if it wrecks your chosen story. So, nope, not buying it. I'm not gullible and I'm not dumb and I'm not led around by any spin, from the right or from the left. Blaming the media is an excuse people make when we don't believe the same ridiculous shit you do. Trump is an idiot because he's an idiot, not because the media paints him as one.

I watch what Trump says -- I don't need the media interpreting it for me, I get it uncut, and I interpret it myself, with my own knowledge. And most of what he's saying is vile. You may like it, but it's still vile. What he's courting and emboldening is something I've been an enemy of my whole life. I'm familiar with it, and even if we discount *him* (and I won't pretend I do -- he's a piece of shit and I hope he falls down a well while Lassie's out of town), I have to do what I can to stop *them.*

See, my dad was an immigrant. He was from Hungary, and he came here legally, but I promise you that made zip-zero-zilch bit of difference to a lot of idiots in Mississippi... which is why I still get those aches in my hands. I knew a lot of the "alt-right" before they were going by that cutesy name and did most of their playing with "dank memes" on the Internet. I had to deal with knives, not cartoon frogs. I had to take punches, and I had to hurt people, and neither one is a lot of fun to do in the real world. And my dad was a diplomat working in Berlin during WWII. He wasn't a Nazi by any means, but he knew them, first-hand. He hung out with Luftwaffe pilots and knew SS guards and had to get up in the middle of the night to shovel British incindiaries off his roof, so he had a front-row seat. I heard the stories, so... yeah, what's going on is familiar. And I'm not havin' it here.

The good thing is, a lot of Republicans aren't having it, either. Old Republican blogs like RedState have fully turned on him because of it. And it's good to see there's a limit, because for a while, I thought there wasn't.

Once again, I'm not saying ALL Trump's supporters are like that. Some are just falling for some bullshit, or think he's a "good businessman" (even though that's a cheap facade). But I've heard the speeches and I've watched the crowds and I've read the blogs and there are enough of these Stormfront fucks in his lineup to make me say what I said, with no apologies for it. Whatever Hillary may be, she's not THAT. Trump's emboldened them, and now they need to lose and find out "America really doesn't love you." They need to be marginalized. If that sounds unfair, then I'm unfair. Try to catch me giving a damn about that, when I'm dealing with those guys.

(to be continued)

Zwolf said...

Now, lest I be dismissed as some hippie-drippie liberal, indulge me if I lay out a little political bio and explanation, so everyone can judge for themselves.

I started out Republican. Haven't been for a while, but Gerald Ford's archives do have a letter somewhere from a young me, hoping he gets re-elected and dissing Jimmy Carter. Many factors eventually drove me away from it, though.

Hillary's got some downsides, and some complaints against her are legit (although I think you overestimate the "blood on her hands" - everybody with responsibility is going to have failures and make bad decisions in the course of doing a tough and highly-scrutinized job), but a lot of the hate generated toward her is manufactured and marketed because America's developed a weird (yet highly profitable) industry for setting people against each other. That industry is one reason I ditched the GOP. They started believing too much wacky shit, and I couldn't ally myself with it and keep any self-respect. I realized that if you can get people to believe church, you can kill off enough logic circuits to sell 'em all kinds of other ridiculous junk as well. It snowballed over time, and so now I live in a state full of supposed grown-up adults who've been saturation-bullshitted to the point that they live in panic, losing sleep thinking they're going to be herded into FEMA camps or subjected to Sharia law. Every day I have to interact to these people like they're rational, and I'm like, "You're white Christians in America... how tight of a stranglehold on society do ya'll need before you stop being so fucking insecure?" It's absurd.

So, my politics are basically this: I don't really love Democrats... but I despise what Republicans have turned into, so I default. I'm probably more liberal than not, but I'm not a stereotype. I only know a few Democrats who actually fit it, and they annoy the rest of us. Extremists on either side irk me. I'm as pissed off at Michael Moore, "safe spaces," "trigger warnings," extreme political correctness, hippies, etc. as anybody else. I like guns and have several and intend to get more, but think reasonable gun control is good, and think the NRA's full of shit, scaring people with the same alarms for decades already just to boost sales. Nobody's coming after my guns, and I resent being treated like a moron, and I'm not getting gamed by the same chicken-little hysteria again. I've been in situations where I've been glad I had a gun in the house, but people who can't go to Wal-Mart without carrying an AR-15 are hilarious pussies to me. If you're that frightened, stay home, the world ain't for you, and scars on knuckles impress me more than how much firepower daddy bought ya.

I'm fine with the death penalty and would expand it to include rapists, pedophiles, and people who torture animals, just on the basis of we've-got-plenty-of-people, who-needs-those? I think war should be avoided whenever possible, but think people who say "Violence is never the answer" haven't encountered all the questions yet.

I'm atheist to the bone but couldn't care less if anybody says "Merry Christmas" or what's printed on our money or what anybody else believes as long as I'm not expected to play along to help 'em maintain what I consider a hilariously childish fantasy. I don't think Christian extremists would be any better than ISIS if they weren't held in check by our secular society... and I see 'em working on undoing that as hard as they can. I've had more violence done to me by Jesus's buddies, so, I don't see a "good guy" side in religious wars. That said, I think all religions have good philosophies, and most followers get into them with good intentions, and I treat them as such unless they make it clear I shouldn't.


Zwolf said...

I'm good with feminism because I respect and love the hell out of women (at least as much as I do anybody else) and a lot of 'em I've met are more badass than men. I don't think I'm a "dangerous person," but I've seen the real thing, and males don't have a lock on it. The person I know most likely to avenge my death is female. I've seen what she can do, and, girl or not, whatever she goes after, god forgets.

Racism is just flat-out dumb to me, I don't get it. Misanthropy, yeah, racism, no. People are people, and most of 'em tend toward the asshole side of things, but color, gender, sexual orientation, all that stuff, it just isn't a factor. With people it's always a case-by-case basis. So I can't get into the divide-everybody-into-a-group thing. It's not reliable.

I stand up for the national anthem but if somebody else doesn't, that's freedom. Same deal with whatever consenting adults do in their bedroom. I have no use for pot or alcohol, but, beer's legal, so... eh. A lot of things simply are none of my business as long as they're kept that way. I'm not anti-Wall Street; in fact, part of the reason I vote for Dems is because I have investments and Republicans always tank 'em. My money halved under Bush and quadrupled under Obama, and the place where I work had a budget and gave raises under Obama while we had cut-backs under Bush. That's hard-number fact and rhetoric won't argue me out of it.

That's basically me, politically.

Now, Hillary.

The truth about Hillary's probably somewhere between the complaining-about-the-drapes thing you mentioned, and this - So, I can deal with that. It's not perfect, but, it's sane. And yeah, Trump's entertaining, but so was GG Allin, and I don't want him in charge of anything, either. Hillary's boring, but she's a policy wonk, and I feel better off with that. She's a bad campaigner, true. She admits that. Nobody shows up for rallies or stays glued to their TV because it's predictable -- you know she's not going to do anything just crazy-bonkers. And if she did ONE time, the media would hurdle a dozen Trump gaffes to get to it. Everybody likes to claim the media's biased against them, but c'mon, dude, look at what Trump's getting away with. Stuff that'd kill off any other candidate's campaign he does three times a day, and gets away with it because the media's gotten so numbed to the idiocy of it all.

Hillary's dull, she's not a great speechmaker (we don't have one of those this year), but she's taking the job seriously. Trump just wants it so he can priss around being a prom queen and feel like everybody's admiring him. It's PATHETIC. Is Hillary "establishment"? Sure. But the alternative's worse in this case. The Dem's "anti-establishment" candidate, Bernie, didn't impress me because he was all promising a bunch of junk there was no way he could deliver on. Hillary's not as far out there.

One thing I like about her is, the far-left AND the far-right hate her... and I have no use for the extremes of either side. So, to me, that's a good sign.

I won't go into a ton of detail because I know you've got your opinion of her, I know I won't change it, and I'm fine with that -- I don't need to. Vote Trump if you want to, everybody has to make their own decisions. But now, hopefully, you know why I won't.

Now, like I said, you can delete these if you want, I won't cry foul. Just some stuff I felt I needed to say. Sorry for using so much space -- I was hoping things would just go by and we could all ignore it. I'll do one more reply, but it'll be stuff that's actually pertinent to the blog. Only delete that one if you're pissed at me. :)

Zwolf said...

Ah, Mace. I was so bummed to find out Rosenberger did that, because it looked like it had so much potential. Same with Murder Master. I still have to read those, just to see how Rosenberger handled a "blaxploitation" book, knowing his views on race. Somehow I don't think the end result will sound anything like a Donald Goines book... :)

Now I want to dig out a Penetrator book and find that "Death Merchant" bio again. I remember it reading really delusionally. I wonder how Rosenberger would've done on a psych test. He'd've been fun with Rorschach blots. "Why, that's obviously the Cosmic Lord of Death. Butterfly? Nope, don't see it." Somehow I think he'd be pissed that the world didn't end in 20 years like he predicted. Kinda made you wonder why the Death Merchant kept trying to save the world, being that fatalistic.

And, yep, I'm a lazy bastid about blog posts. Gotta do some horror stuff for Halloween, plus another short story, but I'm still working on a massive action-book blowout, though. I keep stubbornly wanting to do FIFTY reviews at once, but I'm starting to think I should settle for forty, 'cuz I'm almost there. Maybe I can get it to fifty by sneaking in a few old reviews I never typed up (I wrote 'em skimpy before blogging showed up) or expanding the parameters of what'll fit. Like, right now I'm reading Hot Rod by Henry Gregor Feldsen. It's an old book aimed at '50's teenagers, but, it works kind of like an action novel. Talk about gun-porn, this is pure gearhead porn... Feldsen writes about driving fast better than just about anybody I've read. So, I may claim that's an "action book" and include it. They don't all have to be a series, I reckon. There was one car-racing series, the Rolling Thunder books by Kent Wright. Later ones got into Talledega and whatever, but the first one was moonshine-running and I remember it being suitably badass. I love car chases but not many people can write them.

In any case, it's taking a while, but at some point, hopefully it'll be worth it. I'll try! :)

English Teacher X said...

"...but so was GG Allin." Effin' priceless line there, Z.

Joe Kenney said...

Zwolf! You hippie-drippie liberal! Seriously though, thanks for all that. For what it’s worth I agree with a lot of what you wrote. I respect you and I respect your opinion, but on this one instance we’ll just have to disagree. I’m sorry, man, I just don’t like Hillary. And I’ve tried, because before Trump showed up I figured Hillary would be my only choice, as I had no interest in voting for Jeb Bush. But I dislike her as much as you dislike Trump. And to tell the truth I’m liking her less and less the closer we get to election day. She hasn’t been making a very good case for herself lately. Plus I already voted for one Clinton in this lifetime. That’s plenty!

Also, I appreciated the note on your dad being an immigrant. My wife is also an immigrant, and so’s her extended family. I went with her to her citizenship ceremony several years ago and it was pretty incredible. It occurred to me as I was writing this that practically everyone I know outside of work IS an immigrant. And they’re REAL immigrants, not that Liberal “we are all immigrants” shit. The crazy thing is – they’re all Trump fans! (Except for one of them, who has no interest in politics.) It’s quite surreal when a Chinese lady tells you she’s a big fan of Milo from Breitbart. Anyway I say again that when all this is said and done, people are going to be surprised by the variety of turnout for Trump.

I also respect your opinion on the “MSM” deal, but that’s another we have to disagree on. FYI, I wasn’t referring so much to Trump as I was to how “polls” are misrepresented and how Hillary is idolized and protected. I was going to present some examples of manipulation but I figured to hell with it. I used to just read the news on and figured everything was on the up and up. We live in miserable times, but at least we have the internet, which allows you to see the truth behind the stories that get manipulated by the media. And boy do they protect Hillary – you ever seen the softball questions they throw her? “What TV shows are you looking forward to this fall?” (An actual question presented to her, btw.) Meanwhile for Trump it’s, “How many babies did you kill today, Hitler??”

To tell the truth I’m surprised you guys got so riled up over my joke. Back in 2014 I reviewed a novel titled “NYPD 2025,” which was one of those right-wing sci-fi yarns about a future in which the damn liberals have run amok. A guy named Griffin Calhoun posted a comment on there mocking Obama. Now here’s the thing – at the time I was still an Obama supporter. (He finally lost me when he thought it was okay to do the wave at a baseball game with one of the Castros in Cuba while one of our NATO allies was being attacked by Isis…and then hardly bothered to deliver a line or two about the massacre before jetting on down to South America to dance the tango at a banquet. His ignorance and arrogance of those days cannot be defended. I’ve never been a flag waver but I was not proud to be an American at that particular time – in their most rabidly right-wing nightmares, William Johnstone, Mark Roberts, AND JR Rosenberger could’n’t have come up with a guy like that…and thus if a “President Hillary” would indeed be a “third term for Obama,” then I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.)

Anyway – at that time I was still an Obama supporter. So while I didn’t agree with Griffin’s joke, I didn’t get my panties in a bunch over it. I mean I could’ve deleted his comment or I could’ve posted a rebuttal, but I figured for one, even though it’s my blog everyone’s got a right to their own opinion, and two, to quote Homer Simpson, “I get jokes.” So what I’m trying to say is, I’ve been in your exact position on this very blog and I didn’t get too worked up over it, so it surprises me that you guys did.

Anyway this politics shit is transitory. Whether it be President Trump or President (Hillary) Clinton, I think it’s safe to say we’ll hate either one of them by the time their term is over.

Zwolf said...

I'm cool on agreeing to disagree. :) To live in Mississippi, I'm well-practiced in that!

And I didn't really get too het-up over the joke... I just figured I'd let ya know that the opinion's not universal, which was why my initial addressing of it was just a sentence or two before back-to-book-business. For all I knew, I might've been pissing off everybody else on the blog by supporting Hillary... which I'm willing to do. "Fuck all ya'll" is another thing living in Mississippi has made me versed in, and I'm a mouthy sumbitch. :) I only felt the need to go deeper into it when it kept going on.

Anyway, no lasting damage. :)