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Fiona’s Guardians

Fiona’s Guardians is the story of mortals who serve vampires by doing errands for them during the day so their owners can enjoy the night. This book is told through many points of view, but mainly through Daniel, the guardian of Fiona.

Dan Klefstad is the author, so it’s not that difficult to imagine Dan, both the author and the guardian of Fiona, as one and the same!

Guardians do not merely serve vampires. They are property owned by vampires. Fiona is able to give Daniel to another vampire. She is even able to will a guardian to a vampire in the event of her demise. This means Daniel has no real freedom. He is paid well and has become wealthy through handling Fiona’s investments, but has no real freedom. This is a problem that vexes him occasionally through the book. Why serve a vampire who has no regard for you other than being a mere service animal, and you don’t even have the ultimate gift? Eternal life.

Fiona is being hunted by a secret society of Catholic monks who have been hunting her kind for centuries. When Fiona came to the United States, she had the idea to pay humans for blood and to staff a private blood bank. This would require cooperation from fellow vampires who were not willing to cooperate. Vampires like their freedoms!

This self centeredness gave the monks an opportunity to strike and successfully kills Agripina, the one who made Fiona into a vampire.

Agripina is the most sympathetic character in the novel. When she introduces Fiona into the world of vampirism, she advises her to not drink the blood of children. If torn between children and hunger: chose hunger. This is not because of any moral virtue, but because of a practical reality. Villagers will not rest until they have found the murderer of a child. Instead, Agripina counsels to go after rapists, drunks, and wife beaters: people no one will miss.

The book does cross paths with reality at certain junctures. Dan is in a private airplane during September 11, 2001, carrying some O negative blood. A fighter jet threatens to shoot down the plane while the pilot is in his own world; praying and begging the Lord to forgive his gambling problem.

Fiona’s Guardians, which gives us a world where people are either predator or prey, is a rich, multilayered experience. It is currently adapted as a podcast by an online theatrical group called Mysterious Journey. You may enjoy the podcast by clicking here.

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Psychological Time Travel, and other unexpected benefits of cutting the cord.

I cut the cord. Packed up the cable box, remote controls and took ’em down to the cable company. Still keeping the internet, though! I’m not really sure I’m saving money. If I purchased all the streaming channels I wanted, I’d be back in the same boat. Either way, $248.95 is too much to pay for channels I may never watch and that’s what my company billed me for last week.

Taking control of your viewing habits is like switching from a fully automatic car to driving a stick shift. Slightly annoying, but you still control the speed. Watching television hasn’t changed, the only thing changing is how you watch it.

Svengoolie

ME-TV is the only channel I wanted that did not survive the transition. One of the habits I acquired during the lockdown was watching Svengoolie, a horror movie host who goes back to the early 80s. It was not streamed on any channels! What to do?

I stopped by the Petrol Truck Stop and bought a digital antenna for only $9.95. ME-TV came through crystal clear. There was not any loss in quality. The only challenge was I had to be in front of my television set at exactly a certain time or else I would miss the show.

What in the name of nostalgia hell is going on here????

Bowman Body

I got home, quickly prepared my food,went to bed, and turned on the TV to watch a horror movie host. Live on tape! And I could not leave without missing anything! The last time I watched a horror movie host, with the threat of missing anything if I left the TV room, was when I was eleven years old and watching the Bowman Body in Virginia.

It was psychological time travel!

Psychological Time Travel is probably the central reason many tuned into this horror movie host, especially those who found cable too expensive and had to cut the cord. I posted this sentiment on the group web page and was surprised at the warm feelings generated on this thread. One person wrote how she makes way to get in front of the television set on time. Just like it was in her youth!

I’ve lost track of how many movies I have recorded on a DVR and have yet to watch. It really wouldn’t be a problem to bring out the old VCR and see if I still remember how to program it, but who cares? If it’s only to be aired once, perhaps the experience will be valued more? Appreciate everything now because nothing can be re-experienced quite the same? Perhaps in the cutting cord, I really haven’t saved any money, but I gained wisdom?

Don’t get me wrong! If some streaming channel picks up Me-TV, I’m there. I like streaming. For the moment, this is the closest I have to a weekly religious ritual.

Quick, Svengoolie’s on! Gotta get off the computer now, or I might miss it.

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The Wisecrack Way (or: What Makes A Successful You Tube Channel?)

What did you do during the lockdown? I watched a lot of YouTubes and created two YouTube Channels. Since few things were open in Las Vegas, there wasn’t much do except to create and watch content. I created The Last Fundamentalist web series and tried to pump some steroids into my other channel Vegas Apocalypse. The great hope, of course, was that one of them might score a hit and get monetized! That didn’t happen.

I studied channels that did get monetized. They all looked pretty bland: young people sitting on a couch bitching for hours. Well, I can bitch on a couch, too! Boy, do I get bored easily by the sound of my own voice! The channels produced by YouTubers closer to my age centered around specific topics: how to dress over 50 to how to repair your car. Single topics. Niche topics.

Variety within a YouTube channel seems forbidden and toxic.

Wisecrack bucks that trend. This successful YouTube channel produces a number of web series with different subjects. There is Thug Notes, movie critiques like What Went Wrong With Suicide Squad?

Wisecrack was created by Jacob Saloman and Jared Bauer. This story from Tubefilter reveals how they met in college, came to California, and began exploring viral video. Their youtube channel became popular and attracted millions. They are now youtube millionaires and their videos are used in high schools and community colleges across the country.

Lloyd Kauffman (right) next to his creation, The Toxic Avenger

Lloyd Kauffman, the founder of Troma Entertainment, once described his motivation as being one that made ‘unsexy subjects sexy’. Kauffman addressed important issues of environmentalism and man’s contribution to pollution through movies like The Toxic Avenger and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.

Wisecrack does the same thing. The video, ‘Why Are Smart People So Dumb?’ addresses the rise of ‘thought leaders’ who amass great followings and dollars from Ted Talks, podcasts, and social media by pretending to be the contemporary extension of Voltaire and other 19th Century European thinkers. It illuminates the fact that society’s problems are so complex that it takes more than a ‘power pose’ or a ‘positive attitude’ to fix some of the problems we have in our country, and in our lives.

Sparky Sweets, P.H.D. analyzes Go Set A Watchman.

I was introduced to Wisecrack by way of Thug Notes. I finished Go Set a Watchmen by Harper Lee. The ending confused me. Was it suddenly ‘be kind to bigots, week?’ Since I’m practically a non stop watcher of YouTube, I entered ‘Go Set a Watchman’ in the search bar and came up with Thug Notes take on the book.

Sparky Sweets, PHD, commentary on Harper Lee’s novel was just what I needed to hear! This was a book Harper Lee did not want the public to see and, were it not for an assistant taking advantage of her for that ‘sweet sequel money’ as Dr. Sweets tells us, the book would never have seen the light of day.

I couldn’t get enough Thug Notes! I started out with books I had read and then branched off to those I’ll never get to spend the proper amount of time reading.

What Went Wrong with Billionaires?

There are timely short subjects on the theme ‘What went wrong?’.

Billionaires: What Went Wrong? explores just where billionaires came from.

Hint: government contracts.

Their video about anti-vaxxers is especially noteworthy because it explores the origins of vaccines and the often inhumane ways our military and founding fathers often did experiments on slaves. Consent was never required!

This understandably breeds a distrust in doctors. Snake oil salesmen, who exploit the mistakes and gullibility of the masses, exploit these terrible practices for something even worse. The illusion people are going to ‘take back your medical care’ and sock it to the medical establishment by buying from snake oil salesmen is a very lucrative one. There’s corruption on all sides, but ultimately, we must keep our wits about us and not fall for people who exploit our weaknesses.

This is a video I would love to share on Facebook, except for my paranoia that they would suspend my account for anything that has the word ‘covid’ in it. The bot is no respecter of context! Many of these diverse videos deserve to be seen. Share if you dare:

The uniqueness of Wisecrack is found in it’s variety.

There is a love for sharing as much information in the most entertaining way. Perhaps that is the common theme? I find that very appealing. YouTube ‘thought leaders’ emphasize that successful monetized channel is one centered on a niche theme. Sure, Thug Notes might be a book review show, but I am not sensing any main theme or niche topic from the bulk of the videos from Wisecrack.

Perhaps the secret of YouTube success isn’t to narrow in on a topic and stick with it until boredom do you part. Instead, be true to your attitude, but keep exploring the variety and keep breaking through the boundaries. Like they do at Wisecrack.

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This is Paris – A Review

Watch This is Paris by clicking above link.

This is Paris is the work of a budding activist. The fact that it premiered on YouTube, a platform that people of all economic strata can access, alerts us to the fact that whatever the message is in this movie, the producers do have a message about unregulated teen rehabilitation centers that are rampant through the United States.

I was fascinated by the fact that Paris Hilton’s mother was a child model for Sears and Roebuck Catalogue, early 70s era. Paris was modeling around the same age. She never knew a life that wasn’t wealthy, private, and somewhat caged in.

We see the glamorous part in the beginning. She spends her time partying on the Sunset Strip, only to be taken advantage by a guy who videotapes their encounters together and releases it to the world. Joan Rivers, the late comedian, is seen poking fun at her troubles as if this were all a career choice approved by her parents.

Paris Hilton protests at Provo.

The parents aren’t quite how to control everything. They send her to the Provo Canyon School, an organization known for credible accounts of abuse. You can read about the Provo school from a variety of sites throughout the internet. The Hiltons decided to hire an escort service to take their daughter to the school. An ‘escort service’, for the uninitiated, are people whose job it is to transport a troubled teen from their homes to their future places of incarceration.

Paris is awakened at night and taken from her bed by two guys. She is pulled from the bedroom, put in a motorized vehicle, and away she goes to Provo! She is subject to moments of isolation, abuse, and labor.

When she got out of Provo, she starred in the series The Simple Life. Her screen persona seemed unfamiliar with physical labor, but that was an act. Those who were also incarcerated at Provo with Paris knew better.

Paris Hilton with Katherine McNamara and other survivors from Provo Canyon.

Now that she regained some independence, Paris reunited with former students of the Provo home. Katherine McNamara, who was with Paris in Provo, becomes the centerpiece that pulls this movie together. She describes not only the scope of the troubled teen industry, but what other survivors of this home experienced.

Paris Hilton Millstone Collection? Just a thought.

Paris vows to spend the rest of her days closing down schools like this, and to also achieve her dream of being a billionaire. Can one have justice for troubled teens and still make a billion? Perhaps a Paris Hilton Millstone Collection might do the trick? Just inscribe this biblical verse on the inner circle: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matt. 18:6“?

I’d buy it and I’m not even religious! That could probably sell well with the Paris Hilton brand with funds going to activism to either close down or regulate all troubled teen centers and children’s homes.

Paris Hilton made good on her activist vow since This is Paris. She protested outside her school. Testified before the Utah State Legislature about the harm such unlicensed places inflicted on teens and the need for accountability.

She also sells her image and merchandise in her role as an influencer. The movie does point out that Paris Hilton was the original influencer before the influencers existed. Let’s hope her influence pays off in the ultimate way: with regulation of the troubled teen industry.

Civilized Discourse: An Interview with Steve Allen.

Steve Allen, founder of the Tonight Show, producer of Meeting of Minds, composer (This Could Be The Start of Something Big), reminds us of the virtues of civilized discourse. This interview was taped in the early 90s, but is very applicable today considering how critical thinking appears to be discouraged at every turn.

They Didn’t Forget

Victory Christian Academy was a girls home in Ramona, CA. Children were made to do construction work at the home. One died as a result. The women return to plant a tree in memory of their fallen school friend, and to share with others who have been victimized, harmed, or worse at some of these facilities.

The current proprietors of the property allowed the women to walk through the facilities and remember.

The teen behavioral modification industry is a billion dollar business, largely unregulated, leaving a trail of human wreckage in its wake. Some claim to have been helped through unlicensed boys and girls homes but a growing amount of survivors are stepping forward with their accounts.

For more info:

http://sia-now.org

Wrestling Then and Now

Streaming on Amazon’s Direct Video!   

From acclaimed director Dwayne Walker and Evan Ginzburg- Associate Producer of The Wrestler comes this full length documentary features Killer Kowalski, Don “Dr. Death” Arnold, Nikolai Volkoff, Homicide, and many more
The Reviews are in for Wrestling- Then and Now:
“Wrestling Then and Now- The Movie was a fantastic documentary…Killer Kowalski and the late Tiger Khan and so many have been a part of WT&N newsletter and are now further immortalized on film. It’s a wonderful piece of history and Art and I can’t wait to re-watch it all over again!”
Mike Lano, radio host and wrestling writer/photographer/historian
“Wrestling- Then & Now- The Movie is a must see for both die-hard fans as well as casual fans of the sport.”
Brett Schwan, wrestling journalist
“An interesting, entertaining and informative documentary. Evan Ginzburg intelligently shows perspectives from Pro Wrestling’s past, present and future performers as well as their fans. You don’t have to be a wrestling fan to enjoy this video, it’s that good!” -“Your Role Model” Ric Lieb, indy wrestler & co-host for Smart Mark Radio “Wrestling Then and Now is a MUST for any wrestling fan. It was great to see my old deceased friends, Killer Kowalski and Tiger Khan. It was also great to see Evan Ginzburg, Don Arnold and Jeff Archer!”
Lanny ‘The Genius’ Poffo, WWE legend
“I got it very soon after it was released…EXCELLENT….you covered it all very well.”
Geoff Brown, wrestling historian (Australia)
Wrestling- Then & Now is available for rental or purchase at Amazon.com.  Whether you’re “old school” or love the wrestling of today, you won’t want to miss Wrestling- Then & Now the movie.
Watch it now by clicking here.

The Forbidden Deck: Erotic Playing Cards and other Gambles by James W. Brewer.

James W. Brewer’s “Erotic Playing Cards and Other Gambles” is the centerpiece of this video which places emphasis on the history of playing cards, then shows the detailed work put into this 52 works of erotic art by designers Heidi Lichfield and William Chadwick. I created this video for a gallery show on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.

Click here and visit the Gallery of ‘Erotic Playing Cards and Other Gambles’ to view each work by itself. Watch the video for the fine attention to detail!

Bible Madness

The 1996 cult movie about two fundamentalist Baptist college students witnessing in a swinging singles complex. Pete Jackson is obsessed with the salvation of a female bodybuilder and his soul winning partner is contemplating sacrificing his spiritual integrity for politics.

“If Kevin Smith had made “Dogma” as his no-budget debut instead of “Clerks“, the result might have been something like “Bible Madness.” Scott Von Doviak, Film Threat

Christian School Confidential (or: “None Dare Call It Radicalization”)

January 6, 2021. The day the Capitol was sacked by fundamentalist Christians, cops, young guys who lived at home, some ex-military, and a vegan. It seemed humorous at first! I saw the mention on Facebook and just imagined a few supporters of 45 shouting a lot, but I was not prepared for the images of the mob invading the chamber of congress. Nor was I prepared for the marine who stood where the Speaker usually stands offering a word of prayer, and ratting out his conspirators, all at the same time by thanking God for the Capitol Police who let them in!

“Is this some kind of a religious activity?” I sarcastically thought.

Investigations proved that is exactly what it was. A loose association between evangelical churches and fans of right wing radio hosts and podcasters, with a little help from social media, became responsible for the moment of mass lunacy that we are still dealing with.

Where did they come from? Who was behind it?

All obvious questions considering there wasn’t an invisible elephant to hide anymore. It was a very visible elephant in front of us. The elephant party has traded the Messiah on a White Horse landing on the Mount of Olives for the Boss Hogg Messiah on the Motorcycle! Yeah, that’s the guy who will drive out all the democrats and destroy the satanic elite pedophiles.

Evangelicals once scorned political involvement.

Rick Perlstein, in his book, Reaganland, talks about Jerry Falwell’s crusade to get fundamentalist Christians involved in politics. Reaganland begins with Jimmy Carter winning the election and the Republicans lost without a center. It’s matter of fact style reminds me of Joe Friday on Dragnet. Perlstein leads us through the seventies with illustrations sure to score high with nostalgia buffs. Everyone from Jim Jones to Anita Bryant to the girl who didn’t like Mondays so she shot up her school makes an appearance.

Carter was President and Republicans were losing face with the public. It was Jerry Falwell and a loose association between fundamentalists and evangelical churches and Christian schools, who decided it was time for Christians to get involved in government. This came after years of believing it was wrong for religious leaders to involve themselves in politics.

Jerry Falwell once preached against ministers taking political stands. That sermon was directed toward Martin Luther King, Jr. Falwell changed his mind and called that moment a ‘false prophecy’. Christian fundamentalists shrugged it off.

Moral Majority, and other Christian conservative groups, began documenting abuses in the public school system. They frightened parents into sending their children to Christian Schools. Their goal appeared to be: defund the public schools until the only institutions left standing were Christian schools.

Christian schools had classes in Americanism Vs Communism, designed to keep the cold war going. ‘None Dare Call It Treason’ was assigned reading in more than one Christian school.

Falwell put together a dog and pony show called ‘America, You’re To Young To Die’. It began with a slideshow of a girl saying the pledge of allegiance. It shifted to gay men kissing. A few seconds of aborted fetuses assaulted the senses before the Jerry Falwell dancers took the stage and did their number.

Okay, they weren’t ‘dancing’. We called them ‘stage movements’. We were taught how to rename and rationalize everything!

Perlstein writes about the time Falwell came to Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida . After the big show, one of the teachers remarked that in his day they would have done something about the homosexuals. Or, as he called them, ‘faggots’. He revealed, in a classroom, that he and his friends beat up gays at Friendship Fountain, and, as Perlstein describes it:

“We knocked a guy’s head into the side of the fountain! He was bleeding like a squashed tomato.” When a student complained to another teacher about this un-Christlike behavior, the concern turned on him, not the teacher: “Are you thinking of turning gay, Dwayne? A gay person cannot be saved.” (Reaganland, p.722)

That student was me.

It was the first time the fundamental truth dawned on me: it’s okay to be hypocritical on some issues. Fundamentalists knew the theological loopholes. And I learned if you asked the wrong question, they can and will use that question against you.

Bob Gray, the founder of Trinity Christian Academy, would be arrested for multiple counts of child molestation in 2006. He apologized to the victims in private, but did that stop him from pleading ‘not guilty’ in a court of law? Not at all! We learned there are there are exceptions to the rule of law. It’s okay to disrespect the truth in public, or in a court of law, yet claim virtue in private.

We were raised to cut our leaders slack for the worst crimes! Is it any wonder many who grew up in evangelical households became supporters of an abusive, insurrectionist ex-president? We were trained to ignore the crimes of our spiritual leaders for years! Ignoring scandals of earthly leaders who are giving you the country is a piece of cake.

Bob Gray, founder of Trinity Christian Academy, Jacksonville, Florida.

It isn’t such stretch to think of the education I received at Trinity Christian Academy as ‘radicalization’. I remember a few preachers who stomped and shouted, “I want you to be a radical for Jesus!

They appear to have succeeded. We were steered away from praising democracy. America is not a democracy, we were taught. It is a constitutional republic. God led our founding fathers to establish this nation. They wanted white male property owners to vote. We can amend the constitution, but let’s not.

History was seen through a supernatural prism. Someone asked, “Why did Hitler kill all those people?”

I remember the teacher replying, “He was demon possessed. That’s the only explanation.”

Nothing about stereotypes, or bigotry, or scapegoats. That was their favorite tool after all! Nobody gave it up then. Nobody’s giving it up now.

We pledged allegiance to the American flag. Other Christian schools pledged allegiance to the Christian flag. Some pledged allegiance to the bible. I heard Al Jennings preach at a Trinity bible conference, “When our forefathers talked about freedom of religion, they meant freedom of the Christian religion! Not Hindus or Muslims. Christian!

Many who engaged in the January 6 insurrection had ties to fundamentalist churches and schools. I now understand that Christian schools, intentionally or not, helped ignite and fan the flames that brought our nation to this moment. Perhaps we should investigate them with the same intensity they demonstrated when investigating and ‘exposing’ public schools?

Few call it radicalization, but none dare call it treason.

Dwayne Walker is the author of ‘Our Pastor Molested Me, Now What?