Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rue Morgue's Traffic Violation Continues

There's etiquette and then there's "netiquette" -- the proper way to act and operate online. One of the things that the people behind a website should not do is try to subvert traffic from another site to theirs. It's one thing to cross-post and backlink but it's quite another to poach traffic outright.

In the world wide web, content is king. I will admit that I don't get a whole lot of traffic to this site and that's because I barely write anything new here. I'm sporadic with my updates and they are few and far between. Worse, most of my posts are pretty boring. However, they are mine. I take the time to write them.

What I don't do is go out to another site, copy their posts, give a little link back to them, and then go out to my social media channels and point people over to this site rather than the original source material. That's pretty shady, right?

That's exactly what I've seen going on lately with the fine folks over at Rue Morgue.

Normally, web traffic should go like this:

I see an article or announcement that's interesting and then I go out to my social media feed and post a link to that page/site. I'm spreading the word about something and perhaps prompting a discussion of the topic on my Facebook wall.

What Rue Morgue has been doing lately (at least since around June that I've been able to find) is wholesale copying articles from sites, putting them on their site, and directing traffic to themselves. This isn't plagiarism, per se. They give the author of the original article credit but they don't get permission from the original website to reprint.

Rue Morgue is taking away traffic from original websites who rely on those hits for revenue to hire the writers responsible for content that Rue Morgue is lifting. Rue Morgue isn't paying the writers that they're reprinting. For some reason they seem to think that this is fine for the web. I hope they never consider this to be fair practice in the print version of their magazine.

Here's the flow of this Rue Morgue set-up:

A real world example is "their" recent posting "Lost ending of Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING explained" from July 10, 2015. Gwynne Watkins wrote the original piece for Yahoo Movies and Rue Morgue copied and pasted her entire piece onto their site. True, it was credited to Ms. Watkins (as if she is working for Rue Morgue) and there's a link (below the fold of the page) to Yahoo Movies but this still feels shady as Rue Morgue then posted the link to their article on their Facebook page so that traffic would go back to their website.

That means that Rue Morgue gets the hits. Rue Morgue's web ads show. Rue Morgue looks like they're providing content. Rue Morgue gets to save on paying writers while the real writer and original site get none of the benefits.

Yes, getting an article reprinted on Rue Morgue's website may be great exposure for an aspiring writer but so is just sharing that article via the Rue Morgue social media feed. Diverting viewers to the Rue Morgue site is a boon to Rue Morgue itself. They have ads at rue-morgue.com to be clicked, merchandise to be sold, and magazines to push. They're getting free content and not paying a dime to anyone. It's not a win/win situation for the writer/magazine as the writer isn't getting anything for their work except the effluviant "exposure" while Rue Morgue is driving up their web traffic and, possibly, sales. Essentially, they're making money off the work of other people and not paying them. It's not like they're abusing unpaid interns but they're taking from other writers and websites without any permission and with just a cursory link and credit.

A writer like Gwynne Watkins doesn't need "exposure" via Rue Morgue. She's a professional writer with upper-tier magazines on her curriculum vitae. She's not an amateur blogger who might take an unauthorized reprint as a compliment.

When asked about this practice, Ms. Watkins says:

"I'm not familiar with this site but I do have a problem with any website or publication reprinting an article of mine, in full, without my permission or the permission of the original publisher. It's one thing to excerpt or summarize, and link back; I consider that a compliment. But this amounts to stealing content, and it's unethical."

Not all of the Rue Morgue website posts are complete lifts. They often will excerpt pieces from an article on another site and provide a link to read the full text. This is the more standard practice. Yet, this still isn't completely kosher.

On July 9, 2015 Rue Morgue posted on their Facebook page: "We countdown the creepiest MAGIC: THE GATHERING cards of all time". However, the "we" was not Rue Morgue but James Whitbrook of i09. Mr. Whitbrook doesn't get credited on Rue Morgue. The article is credited to "Staff" on the site. There is a sentence after the lead paragraph that plainly states "James Witbrook of io9.com has compiled a list of the all-time creepiest magic cards, complete with artwork and blurbs, and they are pretty damned spectacular." Yes, Rue Morgue misspelled Mr. Whitbrook's name.

Mr. Whitbrook's original article included 12 cards/descriptions. Rue Morgue reprinted seven of those with a link back to io9 at the end of the piece. This is close to proper netiquette save for the misspelling of the author's name and the post that says "We" as if Rue Morgue was the source. How hard would it have been to say, "James Whitbrook of io9 counts down the creepiest MAGIC: THE GATHERING cards of all time"?

That pesky "we" creeps into their Facebook posts like "Sir CHRISTOPHER LEE: legend of screen and Gentleman of Horror, we bid you adieu... " for an article they reprinted from The Guardian (it says that it comes "courtesy of The Guardian, as if The Guardian granted them permission to reprint?) and "From the Flaming Wheel to Getting Tossed Onto Knife Mountains, we've got the craziest punishments in Hell!" in which the "we" was actually Rob Bricken at io9.

This isn't a case of a link or two. A quick look at the Rue Morgue Facebook feed over the last few weeks reveals numerous instances that go beyond simple reprints of posters, YouTube videos, or images from other sites. Yes, some are simply copying a few paragraphs as a "teaser" (common practise for a lot of sites) but here's a couple of the more egregious violations like The Shining article:

Charlie Hintz, who penned the Haunted Bunk Bed article is pragmatic about his situation:

I wasn't even aware of the Rue Morgue article. Not sure how I missed it.

I have mixed feelings on this subject. From a writer's perspective, of course I want my articles to be read. However, the reason I carve time out of my busy day to write around a day job, activities with my children, etc. is because I have bills to pay. I rely on the content I create for my websites to help support my family.

When my content is published on another commercial website without my knowledge or consent, the benefits are marginal at best. Generally, though not always, a link to my original article is included, which may provide a trickle of new website visitors for a brief period of time, and as well as a citation helpful in building authority for SEO purposes.

In the end, however, Rue Morgue benefits much more from my work than I do as it fits into their overall content marketing strategy.

This situation of reprinting is not limited to Rue Morgue and is something that I had hoped had gone the way of the internet Wild West. Yet, this damming of internet traffic flow still happens fairly regularly either under claims of "remixing" or "fair use".

If this problem isn't limited to Rue Morgue, why pick on them? Here are a few reasons:

  1. It seems that this is a fairly recent practice so it's not too late to pull all of these reprinted pieces, delete the Facebook posts (or change them to point to their original sources) and apologize for this practice.
  2. As a print publication of many years, Rue Morgue should know better than taking other people's work and reprinting it.
  3. Rue Morgue can re-evaluate their situation and hire real web writers rather than cribbing content from other sites and doing a bait & switch to make it seem like their own.

Let's hope that this piece shames Rue Morgue into blowing up those dams and reestablishing the proper flow of traffic while encouraging them to realize that writing for the web is as important as writing for the pages of their venerable publication.

Your move, Rue Morgue.

Update: 9/15/2015

It seems that Rue Morgue's move was to keep going down the same path.

Here's a page on their site: Read about the legends surrounding New Jersey's SHADES OF DEATH ROAD posted on September 7, 2015. That is a complete direct lift of The Cursed Death Road of New Jersey by Brent Swancer.

When contacted for comment about having his article completely taken and re-used by Rue Morgue, Mr. Swancer said, "I had no idea that my article was being used in such a way. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I think this sort of behavior is disheartening. I spend a lot of time and effort researching, compiling, and writing my articles. They are a labor of love. So to see them picked up and then not linked to my site, in a way in which I can not get the proper traffic or respect for the site that I am on, is quite sad. I have seen worse. I have seen some of my work wholesale plagiarized without any credit to me at all. But this is almost as bad.

"I don't mind if someone wants to link to my articles. I welcome it. However, they should do so in a manner that is keeping with how things are usually done, where we can get due revenue and respect for our efforts. This sort of behavior quite frankly makes it hard to be a writer on the Internet and I wish they would not do this.

"I do suppose that there will always be those scavengers without the talent, means, or desire to put in the effort, who would rather just pick up others' work and subject it to this kind of treatment for their own gains and it is discouraging. It does nothing but make them a little money, robbed from us, and at the same time lessens the quality of articles out there due to discouraging the most talented people from wanting to put in the work to put their articles out there. This sort of behavior is only detrimental.

"I am not so much angry as very exasperated and disappointed. I was quite shocked to see this and would request that the site in question either goes about these things in the proper way or ceases such activities."

What's the story, Rue Morgue? Why do you feel that you're above it when it comes to picking up articles and placing them on your site? Is it okay to just start taking articles from the Rue Morgue site and passing them off as your own? Maybe people should all pick their favorite Rue Morgue piece and re-blog it with a little link back to the original but say it was written by "Staff".

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Picture this...

I'm attending the University of Michigan which is something of a prestigious school. I'd been there for four years and was getting ready to graduate when the announcement of our commencement speaker's name came through.

U of M has had a history of some big named speakers: James William Fulbright, Earl Warren, Edward R Murrow, Robert McNamara...

In the three years prior to my graduation ceremony George H.W. Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton gave the address. And, years hence, we had some heavy hitters like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

So, who did I get? Whose wisdom inspired us that crisp April morning in 1994?

None other than Cathy Guisewite, the eponymous creator of "Cathy," the execrable two-joke comic strip that's plagued newspapers for years.

All I could say was "Ack!"

Friday, June 26, 2015

Jealous Much?

Why is it killing me just a little inside these days that a recent (May, 2015) video by Jacob T. Swinney called Quentin Tarantino's Best Visual Film References is getting written about, tweeted, referenced and -- as the kids say -- "going viral" (as of this blog post the video has almost 300K views on YouTube) when a video that I helped create back in 1995, You're Still Not Fooling Anybody, which essentially does the same thing is hovering around 25K hits and is execrated by nearly everyone making a comment?

Quentin Tarantino's Best Visual Film References

You're Still Not Fooling Anybody

Even the Greg Cwik article, Here's the Movie That Gave Us Quentin Tarantino's Career chooses to use Swinney's piece to demonstrate Quentin Tarantino's "visual influences" rather than going with the 1994 video I helped create, Who Do You Think You're Fooling?, which really pits City on Fire against Reservoir Dogs?

Who Do You Think You're Fooling?

I have a theory why. I think it's because Swinney's video is inherently more entertaining. At three minutes long, it's far shorter than either one of my videos. It doesn't rely on contrasting audio and video: you can watch it with the sound off and get 95% of the impact. It's made more competently with modern editing software and higher quality video. It's also one video that covers all of Tarantino's current work rather than two video that concentrate on two different films. In short, it's just better.

And, to that end, I have to admit that I'm just a jealous jerk.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I Got Ruped

Spring 2010.

When making my plans to come into NYC for the Cinekink film festival I posted on Facebook that I needed a place to stay. I got two offers - one from an old friend in Brooklyn and another from a writer/film geek in Manhattan: Shade Rupe. My Brooklyn friend could offer me a couch for free while Shade offered up his queen sized bed for $50 a night. I opted for the bed.

Shade was slated to be out of town the days I was in town so he'd have his roommate let me in and give me a spare set of keys. His roommate would take the couch while I took the bed. Sounded like a bargain to me.

As the weeks went on, things started to change as more notes came in via Facebook.

Shade told me that he would be back for the dates I was in town. Jokingly I asked if we'd be sharing a bed and told him that I'd love to be cuddled.

He wrote back and asked me if I'd enjoy a long, luxurious blowjob.

I wrote back and told him that in the parlance I'd be considered a "bear."

He wrote back and told me how much he loves bears.

My last comment was that this trip was looking better and better.

If you listened to my conversations with most of my guy friends you'd think that we were raging queens. We're always throwing shade about sucking dick. Little did I know that Shade wasn't joking around.

I found this out when I got to his Manhattan apartment and he greeted me with a tight hug and warm kiss on the cheek. Eek!

After the hug, Shade got a phone call from a film producer in Italy and, suddenly, we were off to the races. I sat on his couch, cooling off from my long walk from the subway station, and watched him make a series of phone calls and send email and Facebook updates all afternoon. He took great joy in showing me his collection of photos taken with celebs who, strangely, looked a little startled and uncomfortable. As time ticked by I realized that he was far more into setting up a screening of some films in Los Angeles for this Italian producer than into doing anything with me. He started using those photos while he talked to the Italian, "Oh, sure, I know that person... What's your email address?" Soon he was sending those photos to the Italian.

I was also hungry. He kept saying, "Just one more email and we can go to lunch." Four hours later I finally got my coat on and left.

I headed downtown to meet with a fellow writer and attend the Cinekink film festival. After a few hours of films and a day of travel I looked forward to going back to Shade's pad and getting some sleep. I started to leave the Anthology Film Archives only to find Shade waiting for me in the lobby. Oh, shit.

He and a friend were hanging out, waiting for me. We shot the shit for a bit before Shade finally agreed to leave. That began what I have since referred to as "Mr. Toad's Wild Walk." We went from Second Ave and Second St over to Avenue A back over to Fourth Avenue back to Second back to Fourth and up to Fourteenth Street where Shade's friend too the "L" to go home while we took a train up to 42nd Street.

As we went down the stairs to the station I managed to twist my ankle fairly well. When we stopped at 42nd street I didn't realize that we had a mile to go before I could sleep. We walked from 42nd and Park (Grand Central) all the way to 51st and 10th with Shade talking and acting as a manic tour guide the entire time -- pointing out what nearly every building is and what the past five businesses to own it had been. He especially discussed the former movie houses of old, even dipping into the lobbies of numerous buildings to show me entrances and architecture, waxing about the glory days of scuzzy NYC before the Giuliani clean-up.

Limping along; one ankle twisted, both feet blistered, I finally had to yell at Shade saying, "Listen, son, I'm from Detroit. We don't walk. We drive everywhere. Now, get me back to your place so I can get some fucking sleep."

That slowed (but didn't stop) the tour.

I ended up bunking on Shade's couch while he and his roommate shared the queen-sized bed. As soon as the lights went out the noise started -- not the expected New York city noise of sirens and honking horns but the scratch scratch scratch of their pet chinchilla running mad circles in his wall-sized cage. I'm glad that the chinchilla was at least in a cage as it could easily get lost and die in the mess of the apartment.

I don't know why I was so surprised the next morning when I got up to shower only to find that the bathtub was a nightmare of mold and mildew. I felt far more dirty after my shower than before it. That's when I vowed to find a new place. Somewhere without an amorous, manic host, somewhere without a chinchilla somewhere with a bed, and somewhere with a clean shower.

I hopped onto Hotwire.com and scored a four-star hotel down in Soho. It was more than $50 a night but my sanity was worth it.

Visit the official Shade Rupe website

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

CineKink Announces Kinky Line-Up for Twelfth Annual Film Festival

NEW YORK, NY; February 11, 2015 - CineKink NYC returns for its twelfth annual appearance on Tuesday, February 24th, bringing with it a specially-curated program of films and videos that celebrate and explore a wide diversity of sexuality. In addition to screenings, plans for the festival also include a short film competition, presentations, audience choice awards, a fund-raising kick-off gala and a concluding afterglow party.

Billing itself as "the kinky film festival," the event will run February 24-March 1, 2015. Presented by CineKink, an organization dedicated to the recognition and encouragement of sex-positive and kink-friendly depictions in film and television, works presented at CineKink NYC will range from documentary to drama, comedy to experimental, mildly spicy to quite explicit - and everything in between.

"With so much attention on kink in the mainstream, and the release of ‘Fifty Shades,’ it’s exciting to be back with such a rich and diverse festival line-up," said Lisa Vandever, co-founder and director of CineKink. "We've been keeping it kinky for twelve years now, and we’ll have offerings that will appeal both to those who've been with us since the start, and to those who have just recently been inspired to explore."

The CineKink NYC festivities begin Tuesday, February 24th, at 8 PM, with a fundraising kick-off extravaganza to be held at Taj (48 W. 21st Street, NYC), a pansexual celebration that, in addition to music and sexy performances, offers several cinematic gems up on the screen.

The festival then moves to Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Avenue, NYC) from Wednesday, February 25 through Saturday, February 28, with several different film and video programs scheduled for each day.

A DIY filmmaking workshop, an awards celebration and an AfterGlow play party complete the festival's run on Sunday, March 1.

Among the headliners, first up on Wednesday, February 25 at 7:00 PM, the festival's CineKink Season Opener screening of INSIDE HER SEX, a thought-provoking, boundary-pushing film, explores female sexuality and shame through the eyes and experiences of three women. Then, at 9:00 PM, contestants pantomime sexual encounters with imaginary partners in a raucous documentary, AIR SEX: THE MOVIE, that follows The Air Sex championship tour around the country.

On Thursday, February 26 at 7:00 PM, BACK ISSUES: THE HUSTLER MAGAZINE STORY is a definitive look at the personalities that created what might be the most offensive magazine of all time. Then, at 9:00 PM, a double-feature, LOVE HARD and BODY OF GOD, celebrates the exploration of limits...be those of mind, body and/or soul.

On Friday, February 27 at 7:15 PM, LUST STORIES is a hot set of lust-filled, female-centric shorts. And at 9:30 PM, A TRIBUTE TO CLUB 90 brings together four denizens of NYC’s "Golden Era of Porn" - Veronica Hart, Candida Royalle, Annie Sprinkle and Veronica Vera - for a rare public reunion and frank reminiscing.

Kicking off Saturday, March 1 at 1:00 PM, HIGH SHINE: 15 YEARS OF INTERNATIONAL MS BOOTBLACK pays tribute to the many woman-identified bootblacks of the leather community, and the traditions and practices that sustain them.

At 3:00 PM, in AGE OF CONSENT, the story of the Hoist, London’s first and only gay sex/fetish bar, coincides with the history of AIDS, gay gentrification and the ongoing struggle to decriminalize homosexual activity, including BDSM, in the United Kingdom.

At 5:00 PM, an annual porn showcase, BRING IT!, features a dazzling array of talent from today's adult cinema, each representing a wide range of genres and visual styles, all stepping up with a hot sampling of their recent endeavors.

At 7:15 PM, a collection of kinky shorts, MORE THAN 50, moves beyond gradations of gray to celebrate a wide gamut of bondage, discipline, dominance, submission and sadomasochism.

And at 9:30 PM, the festival's closing competition film, MARRIAGE 2.0, looks at the possibilities and pitfalls of an open relationship, following one couple on their search to balance personal freedom with emotional and sexual bliss.

For those who may have been inspired to take a go at creating their own erotic cinema, a workshop, FROM FANTASY TO FILM: INTRO TO MAKING YOUR OWN PORN, will take place from 2:00 to 5:00 PM.

CineKink NYC concludes the evening of Sunday, March 1 at 7:00 PM, with a CINEKINK AWARDS CELEBRATION, including presentation of the annual festival awards, to be followed at 9:00 PM by the CINEKINK AFTERGLOW party, one last chance to mingle with like-minded festival-goers and enjoy a few additional screenings, this time in a relaxed play party setting.

The locations for all three Sunday events is Bowery Bliss, a club located in the Lower East Side; exact address will be provided to all ticket holders.

For more information, visit http://cinekink.com.


Tickets and passes may be purchased via http://cinekinknyc2015.eventbrite.com

Tickets to screenings are $10; $8/seniors & students.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

When You're Fat

I have a problem with the way my teeth align that braces couldn't fix. Years ago, my orthodontist told me that the only thing I could do was to get my jaw broken and re-set. It took me a while... maybe a decade... to gather the courage to finally gird myself enough for a consultation with a doctor who could do this procedure. I made my appointment and went in on my lunch break. I sat waiting for him to come in when I heard behind me, "Michael! What happened?"

He came into my field of vision, a concerned look on his face. I had never seen this guy before and had no idea what he was talking about.

"With what?" I asked.

"How's you get so big?!?"

At this point in my life, I was maybe 50 pounds overweight and, of course, self-conscious about it. Not sure how to answer I paused before questioning, "I like to eat?"

The orthodontist would have told me more about how I needed to change my eating habits except that, after a few minutes, his nurse interrupted us, telling him that he had a phone call from a former student. He excused himself to take the call as twenty more minutes clocked from my lunch hour.

Suffice it to say, I never went back to get the procedure done and my jaw has yet to be broken.

More flaws in my matrix come from the other end of my body. Both of my big toes have gotten ingrown nails over the years. I've gotten these worked on repeatedly over the last two decades. Each time, I've had both of them done at once and have seen different doctors. The last time, in 2013, the doctor I saw only decided to do one of them, even though both hurt. I nursed the other one along for over a year until I couldn't take the pain any more.

Before the podiatrist even looked at my feet he asked me, "When are we going to talk about your weight?"

I wanted to say, "I'd prefer not to." But, at seven o'clock in the morning, this unexpected question took me by surprise.

He started quizzing me about my eating habits and told me that he had a book to recommend to me. He asked if I already had diabetes and/or joint problems and promised me that I would soon unless I took steps to lose weight. After five minutes of interrogation, he finally started working on the toe. After numbing it up, he left the room, returning shortly with a list of several diet books and some additional handwritten recommendations. Surely this wasn't his first time presenting this list to his patients (and surely it wouldn't be his last).

Whether you're a dentist or a podiatrist, apparently you've got the right... or maybe it's a duty... to counsel (and belittle) any fat fuck who comes into your office.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Losing Money I Never Had

In 2005 I was told that I needed to exercise a portion of my ePrize stock options due to some financial deal happening with the new Board of Directors. Being the good employee that I was, I checked to see what would be the optimal situation for my employers. Would it be better to exercise the minimum 25% or should I do more? The minimum was better for them so that's what I did. I sold 25% of my options and promptly forgot all about it until early 2006 when -- after having been fired a few weeks after the stock deal -- I got a call from Robb Lippitt telling me that there had been some kind of mix-up and that I would be required to pay taxes on my options.

I had $20,000 in options and owed ePrize $10,000. Having just been fired, I was in no financial situation to pay ePrize any money. The simple solution seemed that they should send me my $20,000 and I'd pay them out of that.

"Oh, no. That's not the way it works."

Not trusting the incredible Mr. Lippitt at all (after having been betrayed by ePrize), I told him that I needed all of the paperwork and proof of this transaction and amount due. I got this a few weeks later and was told that the money would stay in escrow until the taxes were paid off.

In 2007 I received a statement telling me that roughly $1,000 had been paid on the taxes out of the escrow interest on the base $20,000. The same thing happened in 2009, 2010, 2011. Each year I would get closer and closer to having that $10,000 in taxes paid off.

Things changed in 2012 when I got a statement not from ePrize but from "Crackerjack Holdings LLC" which stated that, instead of my base $20,000 that now I had $50,000 and still owed $8,000 in taxes... at least that's how I read it.

ePrize had been sold off at some point and it seemed that $50,000 was my pay out for the other 75% of my options (along with the original 25%, I assumed). It seemed that my options had depreciated significantly if 75% of them only netted $30,000 as opposed to the $20,000 that 25% of them netted in 2005. I could see why the former employees engaged in a lawsuit against ePrize were indignant.

I sent all of the paperwork to my accountant this year in hopes of getting things worked out. Alas, he was as confused as I was when he tried to sort everything out.

"You owe $8,000 on $50,000 that you haven't even seen yet? Is this some kind of Nigerian Prince scheme?"

I finally got in touch with someone at "Crackerjack Holdings LLC" who would take the five minutes to explain things to me.

No, I didn't owe $8,000. I didn't owe anything to anyone. At the same time, however, I wasn't owed anything. There was no money headed my way at all. No $50,000. No wonder my former co-workers were mad and this makes me even more upset that their lawsuit was dismissed.

What about the $20,000 I originally had in escrow somewhere? That has yet to be found. I talked to the lawyer who helped with the brokering of everything.

In related news, it's no big surprise that the "Crackerjack Holdings LLC" paperwork came from rbequity.com which is owned by Dan Gilbert, the same guy who bought out ePrize and the same guy who was on the board back in 2005 when this whole stock thing went down.

I came up in an era of the "dot bomb" when companies went boom or bust. I heard tales of those who owned Microsoft stock options becoming instant millionaires when the stock had it's IPO. I also heard that many options weren't worth the paper on which they were printed. I thought maybe ePrize's would fall somewhere between the two. For the years I worked at ePrize all I ever heard was how good the company was doing so when I made my peanuts but got options as holiday bonuses, I was okay.

"Some day," I thought, "this will all pay off."

The cold hard truth is that it didn't. The options ended up being both a carrot and a stick. I hope they find my original $20,000 somewhere because I really could use it. I'd like to know that somewhere along the line, my hard work and dedication paid off.

In hindsight, I should have sold 100% of those options back in 2005 so somewhere there'd be $100,000 that I'd owe $50,000 in taxes that couldn't be found instead.

I just heard from the lawyer in charge of the stock deal and found out that the original 25% that I sold, that $20,000 I thought I had coming to me, was devalued over the years and -- poof -- went away in 2012.

That wasn't $1,000 a year being paid in taxes from the escrow... it was the value of the escrow depreciating, allegedly.

After all these years it's rather a shock to find out that I'm not getting anything at all from either the original exercise of my options or the selling of the company. I don't know what would have happened had I paid that mysterious $10,000 in taxes that Robb Lippitt told me that I owed back in 2006. Would I have been paying taxes on something that I would never get?

To say that I'm upset right now doesn't even begin to touch how I'm feeling. Over the last few weeks I've had imagine sums snatched away from me, including one that's been in my head since 2006 as a nice little payday for all the hours I put in at ePrize. Now, it's all gone.

Vested Options 120,000
New Options 0
Total Exercisable Options 120,000
Percentage of Options Exercised 100.00%
Number of Options Exercised 120,000
Percentage of Options Sold 25.00%
Number of Options Sold 30,000
Number of Options Rolled 90,000
Strike Price / Vested Option Exercised 0
Ordinary Income Recognized 64,309
Total Cash due at Closing (Pre W/H) 14,845
Cash Attrib. to Option Units 14,845
Cash Attrib. to Existing Units 0
Stock kept 49,464
Escrow 1,277
W/H Calc'd on Cash Rec from Sale $ 2,420
"Phantom" W/H Calc'd on Stock kept $ 20,739
TOTAL TO BE W/H $ 23,158
Net Pay Calc'd $ (8,313)
Net Pay Actual (DD + 401k) $ 2,227
Amount owed to ePrize$ (10,540)

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

New Book Champions Cult TV Show

Shirley Temple possessed by demons? Danny Kaye singing like Michael Jackson? Are the characters in Night of the Living Dead planning a party?

There’s nothing wrong with your television set. It’s "Mad Movies with the L.A. Connection", the television show that ran from 1985-1989 in the wee hours of the night. Founded in 1977, The L.A. Connection is still going strong with sketch comedy, improv and “mock dubbing” of movies and television.

BearManor Media is proud to present Mad Movies with The LA Connection. Author Mike White (Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers du Cinemart Collection) looks at the history of The L.A. Connection and their many projects from Flicke of the Night to Reefer Madness II, to Blobermouth, and beyond.

The 132 page book features interviews with Barbara Goodson, April Winchell, Terry Thoren, Randy Ridges, Craig Mitchell, Randy Nogg, Jim Riffel, Straw Weisman, Andrew Leavold, Charles Kaufman, Kurt Gardner, Jeff Nimoy, Steve Pinto, Bob Buchholz, Connie Sue Cook, and Kent Skov.

Pop some corn and settle in for the maddest of movies...

Published by: BearManor Media
Date published: 11/04/2014
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Message to a Friend

Recently, a friend of mine passed on a little bit of a rant of which I was the subject but that I was not privy to see. I found this incredibly amusing so I wanted to share it.

To provide a little context, if you've followed this blog you've seen a few posts about the Wolf Pack Podcast and the kind of cuckoo shenanigans of host Eric Morse AKA William Pattison. He has quite a vendetta against the directors Jen & Sylvia Soska. He has delivered the same rant about them several times with the first possible appearance on his "Hatchet Show", A Message to Some Friends (You can jump to 6:46 if you don't want to sit through the opening song).

Recently, Rob St. Mary and I interviewed the Soska Sisters for our Projection Booth episode about their film, American Mary. As we were talking primarily about the Soskas and, secondarily, about gender in horror, we thought it'd be funny to counter our rather open-minded discussion (along with Badasses, Boobs & Bodycounts' co-host, Iris) with the rather stunted, wholesale dismissal of the Soska sisters, female directors, and Women in Horror month.

I think we did this rather hilariously in the podcast but, apparently, not everyone was amused:

Hey People, I honestly have to say I feel sorry for Jen and Sylvia Soska. The thing is on Wednesday the Twisted Twins were on Mike White's Projection Booth podcast for a fifteen minute interview.

While I'm one of the hosts of the show, I feel uncomfortable when people call The Projection Booth my show. I would like to think that Rob St. Mary feels ownership in the show as we share much of the work and, thus, should share much of the "glory."

Oh, and the interview with the Soska sisters ended up around 45-minutes long, not 15.

Unfortunately what the girls didn't realize was that during the entire show leading up to the interview Mike trashed them and talked smack about them. He actually used sound clips he pieced together from my podcasts and electronically changed them to do a smack talking "Robo Host".

While the Soska sisters are definitely female, I have an issue with calling women over 18 years old "girls". I find this rather dismissive.

Also, Robohost utilized not only quotes from various Wolf Pack shows but comments left on this blog. I would say that these are more of a 50/50 split.

Shit, people, Mike started the show by ripping apart American Mary, which in my opinion was easy to do.

I'll let others judge but I really don't think that I ripped apart American Mary. The discussion we had about the film was a lot of fun. I had some critiques of the film -- nothing out of line and nothing outside of the realm of film criticism.

But, my point is that it takes a royal low life to invite people onto his podcast and go out of this way to trash them and then interview them without them knowing.

There was no trashing of neither Jen nor Sylvia. They're big girls (irony intended) and can take people discussing their films. We don't practice "gotcha journalism" and I am completely comfortable with the episode. When we're done with episodes, we always send them to the people that we interviewed (in hopes that they will enjoy and share the episode). Wouldn't I have felt like an asshole to "trash" Jen and Sylvia and then send them the show?

That is complete and utter bullshit. Honestly, I heard all this from a friend who actually listen to that whining retard Mike White's show.

Oh, this explains things. Mr. Pattison/Morse didn't even listen to the show. Apparently his source was to blame for misconstruing the facts. Oh, okay, nevermind. I guess everything is fine between Mr. Pattison/Morse and the show. He's just misinformed.

The truth is this friend felt sorry for the sisters, yet he did describe them from the interview as "foul mouth disgusting whores."

Wow. That's quite a reaction! And not very nice!

Not a very good representation for representatives of the WWE, but still not worthy of the treatment Mike White treated them to. And the reason for all this you ask? Because Mike wanted to take swipes and me and decided it would be funny to use the sisters to do that. Really funny. Well, now White is posting links to this all over twitter and the internet on Soska fan sites.

If there any Soska fan sites, I'd love to know about them. Again, I'm very happy with the episode and think that fans of the Soska sisters would be happy to hear an insightful discussion and two terrific interviews (it was a blast talking to both the "Twisted Twins" and to Tristan Risk).

I hope fans and friends of Jen and Sylvia realize what Mike White is pulling and closes this shit down. I also suggest Jen and Sylvia's PR department is going on full damage control because this is honestly a complete and utter clusterfuck for them.

I would invite friends and fans of Jen and Sylvia to weigh in on this as I honestly don't see me "pulling" anything.

I know it is amusing that the person that people consider Soska Hater #1 is saying all this. The truth is I don't hate the twins, I'm disappointed in them. There is a big difference there. As I've said I've even been the one holding out the olive leaf but they are the ones not accepting. Still, I don't care who it is this kind of setup bullshit is wrong. I know how that is after that bullshit with Lucas Marlone bringing on my haters last year onto his show when I was on to talk about the end of Artists in Horror Month. These actions by Mike White are unconscionable and just plain wrong.

I further want to tell Geek Juice, who Mike White uses as a host and archive resource for his podcast that they need to deal with this as well. This does not look well on your organization, I don't think a slander suit or having Vince McMahon's legal department breathing down your necks are a good things.

Just to clarify, Geek Juice Media does not physically host any of The Projection Booth's files. We are one of many shows that are under the Geek Juice umbrella of free, quality entertainment.

Again... Does anyone find our episode slanderous or simply informative and entertaining?

You can read and hear more of Pattison/Morse's obsession with the Soskas here:

(It's rather ironic that Pattison/Morse talks about blocking people from Facebook when, apparently, I'm blocked from seeing his posts while he continues to post about me).