Saturday, December 29, 2018

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

With New Year's Eve fast approaching, and film editing slowing me down to a snail's pace, it seems that there is no avoiding a paucity of posts this month on the Gauntlet of Balthazar.

As slakerly as that might be, internally at least, I nevertheless thought I'd squeeze in one last Industrial-Electronic creation with the you, the internet, before that big ball drops in frigid Times Square.

Therefore, welcome to yet another installment of the Bandcamp hosted 391 & the Army of Astraea Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away.

Today's outing is titled "Le Balançoire Nuremberg" and to explain the reference a tad...a balançoire is a movement in ballet that imitates a child's swing. Coupled with the image of inmates awaiting sentencing in the post-WWII Nuremberg trials, this short, fanciful piece attempts to capture a childlike and comical, yet lurid, "dance".

I think the track came out fairly nicely, and if it is indeed the last offering the Gauntlet will be able to summon prior to 2019, then to all - Have a very Happy New Year!

Till next time.

Friday, December 28, 2018

From The Graphic Design Studio: A 1980's Fine Art Throwback

Welcome back to the Gauntlet of Balthazar for another (I hope long awaited) installment of "From the Graphic Design Studio".

While this feature most often focuses on the branding logos and pre-production artwork designed to holistically advance the episodic series and feature films that Nevekari Enterprise has been dutifully developing (and that are featured on our website and YouTube Channel), I occasionally find it, well, creatively fulfilling, to post other visual artwork from the past, simply for the sake of cataloging, promotion, and of course, ideally, for the viewer's enjoyment.

Today's post-case is no exception, and is one such of these "historical" endeavors, presenting three fine art pencil drawings that were more or less randomly pulled from the creative back catalogue. To the best of my memory I estimate that all of them were executed in the period 1982-1984 (no months please), or thereabouts.

To explain each of the three pieces briefly: The horizontal piece at the top is probably my favorite nude from life drawing I did in my youth, and till this day I'm very pleased with the rendering of the musculature of the back. The bottom left is a quick copy of a portion of a painting of then (and maybe a little now) personal hero, Napoleon Bonaparte. I'm unsure who created the original oil on canvas, but suffice it to say it's hanging in one of the New York museums. Lastly, the final choice for today is a simple sketch of one of my early college classmates, a beauty named Liza, who last I heard of was living in the DC area, (though that information is surely out of date).

Anyway, enjoy, and come back again soon for some of my / our brewing creative endeavors, including, some music, a sculpture, a short film I'm almost done editing, and certainly, some far too snooty and heady political opinions.

Till next time.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

Welcome back, or for the first time, to the Gauntlet of Balthazar for the Bandcamp hosted 391 & the Army of Astraea Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away.

This track marks the fifty-first release in this series, which apparently shows no sign of ever stopping, excluding the release of compilation records featuring the most successful of these experimental outings.

As usual Stubborn God Productions tirelessly creates not just these noisy little ditties, but also soundtrack work for Nevekari Enterprises films, and demos for a / many forthcoming singer-songwriter folk-rock album/s. So, rest assured, apparently there are more than enough upcoming releases of which I hope you as a listener may find something in which to enjoy.

Anyway, today's Give-Away Piece is entitled "Precipice", and as I commented on the tracks Bandcamp page, "Precipice refers to the area between tonality and atonality, silence and sound, and the mixing and blurring of the line between multiple genres".

I think that pretty much sums up this ride, so as always, enjoy!

Till next time.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Electronic Music Record Release of the Day Give-Away: "Sweetmeats For Little Turks"

Welcome back to the Gauntlet of Balthazar for what appears to be yet another brand spanking new music release.

However, this time rather than embedding an issue of a single track, it's a compilation album of the very best of the Bandcamp hosted 391 & the Army of Astraea Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away's. To make a firm distinction this release has been slated as first and foremost a "SoundCloud" first debut.

"Sweetmeats For Little Turks" is the name of the collection, and if that moniker's deceptively overt meaning perplexes you, then there you have it. But to slightly demystify, the cover art is taken from one of my very favorite late-nineteenth century dog-eared books of travelogue etchings.

The album contains what I feel are the top twenty most "successful" tracks of the fifty or so that have been issued in the series thus far, and to wit, the collection is sub-titled as "Volume One" simply because I expect that future releases will continue to be forthcoming.

Anyway, enjoy, follow, share, what have you, and as always...Till next time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

Welcome back to the Gauntlet of Balthazar and the Bandcamp hosted 391 & the Army of Astraea Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away.

Today's offering is entitled "Subway Hat", and the track, to my best assessment, owes it's existence to the influence of Industrial-Jazz combos like Borbotomagus and Clock DVA. It attempts to capture the intoxicating feeling of urban chaos and the sometimes disorienting interactions between biological life and mechanical devices.

As usual enjoy.

Till next time.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

From the Writer's Studio: A Little Re-Up of an Old "Classic"

Greetings Gauntletarians new and old, and welcome to another installment of the "From the Writer's Studio" feature of the Gauntlet of Balthazar.

While "From the Writer's Studio" often features articles dedicated to dissecting existing films and series for their writing stances, foibles, and issues, or just tackles specific elements within screenplay and narrative writing, it also has come to envelope the film and promotional videos that my company, Nevekari Enterprises, releases.

As one of the partners in that business, as well as a writer, I see little distinction between what we place on the page in written word and what ends up on film. Then again, as the person responsible for the musical scoring of our releases, I see little distinction between the general arena of sound production and soundtrack as composite elements within the filmic artistic whole, so perhaps my perspective is not as compartmentalized as many other people's inside or out of the field.

Thus, what I'm saying, I guess, is that even an interview about one of our early projects, such as the one I'm about to tell you about, which has been recently re-mastered and re-up'ed, is, in my opinion, as valid a discussion of any of the elements of writing style, technique, and intention, regardless of the shameless self-promotion of the entire affair.

Therefore, I am very pleased to announce the release of a brand spanking new version of the lead interview culled from our 2012 in-industry promotional DVD release - "Partisan Earth", finally presented on our own Youtube channel and homepage.

As always, please do watch and enjoy, and I implore you to hit "like" and "subscribe", and "share" and "comment" (here or on Youtube) if you'd like, and please don't forget to click on the "notifications" bell icon, so you can hear about as our new releases make their on-line debuts.

Oh yea, if I forgot to mention it - whether you are a Space Opera fan or not, when Partisan Earth finally comes to the small screen, it will become one of your favorite series of all time. Just sayin'.


Till next time.

Friday, November 16, 2018

From the Writer's Studio: Introducing "Nevekari Talks"

Hi all, and welcome back to the Gauntlet of Balthazar for the debut of a new series of promotional videos that we have unveiled on Youtube this month.

As the name states, "Nevekari Talks" features myself and my partner, and occasionally actors we've worked with, discussing the origins, story, crafting, potential of future development, and the various input that all the persons involved may have contributed. You can read more about the series in general and this first installment in this article / press release.

The first installment, of this series, Nevekari Talks: The Supplicant, focuses on our award-winning and multi-nominated screenplay; "The Supplicant", which is a feature film script adapted from the ancient Greek tragic stage play, "The Suppliant Women", penned by Euripides.

I think this one came out fairly nice, and I hope that each succeeding episode will display some visceral growth in our abilities in the realms of film-making, editing, sound and score.

So please do watch and enjoy, and if you are able and care to support us, please like, subscribe, share, and by all means, hit the notification bell as well, and of course, feel free to leave us any (constructive) input you see fit.

I must add (in my opinion) that Youtube's increasingly pervasive interest in forcing viewers to jump through so many hoops, not to mention having to be first signed in to your Google / Youtube account, only serves as an impediment to creators getting their message out there, let alone annoying users. But, hey, what do I know?

Till next time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Not So Electronic Music Give-Away of the Day - Another Family Project...Again

If it hasn't been made clear on this blog before, I am probably not the most user friendly person to the Christmas holiday season.

But before you begin glaring at my humbuggery and grinchness as thoroughly reprehensible, please let me explain first. 

In my youth Christmas was an abstract and foreign concept, as I was raised in an ethnic enclave in which Jewish holidays were viscerally dominant in everyday social life, regardless of how irreligious many members of the community were.

Regardless, my first and only relationship to Christmas traditions came through our living room television screen in the form of seasonal cartoons such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and my personal favorite, The Grinch.

Every year I watched The Grinch and I rooted for him. He was clearly the hero of the story, for me, and I found the implicit conformity of the townsfolk of Whoville as mindless, fascistic, and insipidly saccharin, and smacked to me as, well, Anti-Semitic in the most tacitly polite manner.

Nonetheless, and notwithstanding my preamble here as not as endearing and facilitating as possible, I find myself actually pleased to announce the release of a collection of Christmas songs created by my spouse and featuring, on a few tracks, my daughter's increasingly mature and unique voice.

So with out much more ado on this All Hallows Eve and in anticipation of the upcoming Christmas Holiday Season I would like to present: "Michelle and Friends - A 432 Hz Christmas".

I am including a Bandcamp link, a Soundcloud link, and a YouTube link which will play the album in its entirety for those of you who are looking for a selection of Christmas standards to play through your holiday festivities.

So, enjoy, but never forget, the Grinch is the real hero of that story, well, mostly.

Till next time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

Well, well, well, apparently my return from sabbatical has also born out a diminished level of post output here on the Gauntlet. Nonetheless, I will endeavor to make every post count, and ideally, litter this forum with upcoming art, music, writing, and film projects, and information relating to such here to with.

Saying that, it's been a while since the last Bandcamp hosted 391 & the Army of Astraea Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away. So let's get right to it, shall we.

Today's track is entitled "Prestidigitation", as in the general designation for works of "slight of hand" in the realm of theatrical magic.

The track combines two disparate ideas delineated along the lines of theatrical magic and the spiritual aspect of the magickal arts. The two distinct parts fuse, somewhat sketchily, in the third section, or, composite part.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy yet another foray into experimentalism for experimentalism sake.

Till next time.

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Gauntlet '80's Flashback: World-Building and AD&D Character Art

Yes, I know, this is possibly the nerdiest thing one can do in today's society, but in my defense I must confess that I found myself watching portions of a few Lord of the Rings Fan Fiction outings on The Youtube, and it ushered within me a sudden unexpected fondness for my once beloved assembly of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons characters lost in the murky haze of my role playing game heyday.

I probably didn't even consider back then that establishing a good on-going story-line and an interesting series of unexpected events was a sort of precursor to my later story and screen writing, but in the end, AD&D led me to create whole societies, nation-states, languages, and personalities for the characters I played, as well as those who served as NPC's (non-player characters) when I manned the helm as "Dungeon Master". In retrospect it definitely assisted me in my nascent world building, if not I assume it might have only led to me developing a multiple-personality disorder.

So, anyway, onto the dreaded early 80's dungeony artwork.

As you may, or may not know, AD&D at that time required players to draw a likeness of the characters on a "Player Character Record", which also listed many of their attributes (strength, wisdom, dexterity, etc.) in a numerical fashion as to facilitate game play with many, many, many varieties of dice. I never got into utilizing figurines in game play, but as I was in art school at the time, I thought, who better than me to sketch out these creations.

I'm including just a few here, but to summarize, the five or so character sheet drawings are mostly my main group of heroes, who were led by a 10th level Half-Orc Fighter who I must add, was not allowed by Gary Gygax game rules to rise to a higher level as the said rules of AD&D were, well, racist against non-human character classes. But this of course didn't stop me.

My main character's compatriots included his Half-Orc brother (a sometime assassin), his friend; a Gnomish Thief (replaced for a short time by a psychotic Half-Elf Thief), their Half-Elvish Cleric (who helped to bring the Gnome back to life...see it all makes sense), and lastly, their Human Magic-User.

The last three drawings I'm posting here are a little on the fantastical side in their technicality as they are anatomical drawings of Orc and Gnoll skulls, which I guess by their very existence displays my lifelong overt penchant for full immersion in creating a reality. Besides, I've always liked skulls and figuring out what someone looked like in life based on their bone morphology. Same goes for Orcs and Gnolls I suppose.

Anyway, geek out and enjoy, and never forget...Dragons ARE Real!

Till next time.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Gauntlet Mixology: "The Emerald City"

Okay, here's a bit of a new category for the Gauntlet. I was so pleasantly surprised when I came up with this cocktail yesterday that I thought I'd like to share it with you all.

I'm calling dibs on naming it "The Emerald City" due to its golden green hue, and of course, in an overt homage to the famed Emerald City of Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz.

I'm not really sure why it came out green as the ingredients include a light blue as well as a dark red color, which as you may remember from the crayon days of your youth, normally make a purple when combined. In concord, purple and orange normally contribute to a Burnt Sienna brown color, but go figure, this yummy monster somehow comes out emerald with a golden tint. It's a bit on the sweet side, but in my opinion, it's quite delicious.

Anyway, the recipe calls for:

A 1/2 Ounce of (preferably) Ketel One Vodka.
A 1/2 Ounce of Bacardi Mango-Orange Fusion White Rum.
A 1/2 Ounce of Blue Curacao Orange Liqueur.
A 1/2 Ounce of Simple Syrup.
Add 1/4-1/2 Teaspoon of Grenadine, or as it is termed "a splash", but I'd err on the side of less than more Grenadine.
And most horrifically - Top it off with 3 solid Ounces of Orange Soda.

I wouldn't try shaking it with ice as the carbonated part might prove messy. Regardless, I suspect that the Fanta Orange Soda I used was a tad flat anyway.

So, stir and serve in a Martini Glass.


Till next time.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

Welcome back to the Gauntlet of Balthazar and the Bandcamp hosted 391 & the Army of Astraea Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away.

Today's outing, I think, fits nicely into the "shades of the eighties" genre of instrumental electro-pop. On the upside this style has gained a noticeable wave of retro-tinged adoration ushered in, or reflected by, the likes of the score of Stranger Things, but on the downside it probably reveals my intractability in regard to incorporating any substantial developmental growth in structure and sound choices when it comes to rhythmic programmable electronic music.

Nonetheless, this track is entitled "Ellipsis", as in the grammatical punctuation mark. An ellipsis notates a restart of a sentence, after a sudden pause, whereupon it shifts to a different theme. Aside from my literary love of the ellipsis, the name probably just denotes a sudden shift from the last few tracks in this give-away series.

So, enjoy.

Till next time.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Last Gasp of Summer Color Pictoral

Yes, I know, it's yet another bunch of seasonal nature snaps from suburban Michigan, USA posted here up the long, cowl-like sleeve of the Gauntlet of Balthazar.

Anyway, each of these photos has some redeeming quality, in my opinion, I think, so I'll just lay them out one by one, or at least by twos, and by color scheme.

We've got red and green for almost ready-to-eat wild apples and the same (well, not to eat) for begonias on a hill. Then we have yellow for tiny clover flowers hiding in the shade of a garden hose. It's onto reddish-brown with an enigmatic green racing stripe for the possibly coolest looking first leaf fall of autumn, and right after, it's a pretty gargantuan tree-born speckled toadstool peaking coyly around its stump. Lastly, we've got some pinkish growth (adorned by yellow-jackets if you look closely), and a deep rich royal purple in morning glory or rosewood form.

Anyway, always nice to catch glimpses of the processes of nature in action. Click to enlarge, of course.

Till next time.


Friday, September 21, 2018

The Intersectional Sexualization of Politics: The Pride Flag and Race

I started writing this post at the end of June to coincide with the end of what many in contemporary political parlance, call "Pride Month". Perhaps you thought it was enough to refer to all the months simply by their name, but in the mind of many Marxist Intersectionalists and Progressives that is just not "good" enough, and they feel that every traditional holiday should be deconstructed to honor in some way the struggle of the myriad victim identities they champion.

They do this in, often not malevolently, or even consciously, but they do indeed do it, and they do it in order to divide society into factionalized elements as seen through a lens of class, race, and gender warfare. For this is the currency by which they gain and maintain power and control.

But getting back to Pride Month, which if you do not know, is an entire month, symbolically set aside for, well, gays and others who feel the need to label their sexual lifestyle, in order to feel pride in their legitimacy and existence, and I guess, to remind the rest of us that they do indeed exist, and all that.

As a socially liberal, Libertarian-leaning Republican Conservative, who is only on very rare occasions selectively moralistic, I really couldn't care less about what people do in their personal lives, sexually or otherwise, and if it were up to me, the government would have even less to say about personal issues than they do.

But saying that, being gay in the current iteration of western civilization, has rarely been presented solely as just another state of being, or just as an alternative lifestyle choice, or even as a genetic inclination from birth, but rather, the proclivity has almost always been tightly tethered to a political identification that really has had very little to do with sexuality, sexual preference, or identity.

To wit, at this same time just last year, this very orientation to social politics was made abundantly clear when the Organizers of the Pride Movement went ahead and altered the long-held design of their affiliation banner, colloquially known as the "Pride Flag". The very visible and recognizable rainbow colored standard was suddenly reintroduced and now included an additional brown stripe, overtly signifying the shared philosophical association of the post-civil rights struggle of the African-American community (specifically embodied by utilizing BLM's color's), with the Gay rights and acceptance movement.

While heterosexual, and homosexual, African-Americans might have their issues as a community, or sub-cultural, or sub-sub-cultural groups, this pan-victim advocacy is the result not of some organic, unilateral, or holistic, intra or inter community sentiment, but rather reflects a political agenda that originates outside of both communities, in the form of Post-Modernist deconstructionism and, as stated previously, the victim hierarchy of Marxist Intersectionality.

I can hardly imagine that there are still people who have not interacted in some way with intersectional thought, as it is rife in media and academia, but if not, I expect that you may have done so without being able to label it for what it was. So briefly, this class, race, and gender warfare derived system neatly orders various anointed identity groups in an ever shuffling and expanding "pecking order" of victim-hood, with the winner being ascribed, I guess, "most victimized" status. To be honest, it clearly seems to be the Nazi Eugenic race hierarchy flipped literally upside down.

But I digress.

So, before you decide to jump on the Intersectional bandwagon you should be warned! For one to be a card carrying member of the intersectionality cult, there are a few important prerequisites.

First of all, one needn't even need be a member of any of these poor, oppressed groups, but rather, one must think of these groups as monoliths, and one must think of people as members firstly as part of their collective or identity group rather than being individuals. This stems from a philosophy known as "collectivism", and it is emblematic of Socialist, Communist, and Fascist thinking.

Thus, you are not a really good person who is a civil engineer who happens to be say, an African-American homosexual, you are an African-American homosexual, who is coincidentally a good person, whose other incidentals and vocation frankly really don't matter, as they are just other ways of slaving for the white, heterosexual male, Capitalist Patriarchy.

Thus, enter Black Lives Matter, or "BLM" in acronym. BLM is an Intersectional-based African-American advocacy group whose Marxist-fueled agenda was seen in action is their frequent street protests, particular in the 2016 election cycle. They are, and were, heavily financed by the elements of the DNC, as well as their frequently-cited radical leftist benefactor from abroad, whose name will not be mentioned here, lest I burst into flame.

But rest assured, these are the same alliance of forces who facilitated the street brawls initiated by the Anarcho-Communist Syndicalists in the first eight months of 2017, otherwise know as the balaclava-sporting, chain-lock wielding, so-called "anti-fascist", minority assaulting, Fascist-Authoritarian movement, known as "Antifa".

Both Antifa and BLM, within reason, ascribe to the same identitarian hierarchic philosophy, which relies on a fantasy of paradigm shift which will lead to them being placed firmly at the top of a new power dynamic, where they would be free to oppress their collective enemies, all the while playing generous altruists with money they've stolen from the defeated bourgeoisie.

So adorable.

In it's most authoritarian forms, theses groups represent "Black Supremacists", who are seeking racial conflict, as well as the true believers in an universal Communist state, and heaven help you if you disagree - especially if you have an affection for Capitalism, or aren't a member of any of the collective identitarian groups that they have deemed suiting to escape their intended purge. 

But back to inter-group relations.

In America, arguably even before the founding fathers and independence, race clearly trumped every other problematic social issue we've faced as a nation, and irregardless of other people's plights and misfortunes, this racial binary, and indeed, actual racism in the past, has played into the notion of Africa-American's holding what most people would objectively define as the greatest "victim identity", or as Candice Owens likes to call it, "the Black Card".

And so, the organizers of the Pride March buckled under the weight of their own intersectionality and the BLM stripe was added to the Pride Flag, (mind you, at the top) and now, rather than it representing a grand spectrum of diversity, as a rainbow already optically and demonstrably states, the inclusion of racialist signature into the emblem, in my opinion, usurps, one-ups, and co-opts all other identities and labels them "less than" BLM's struggle. I personally suspect that many of the members of all of these far-leftist groups are simply caught up in psychologically re-living the actual Civil Rights movement that they feel they culturally "missed out" on by being born too late.

Regardless, as all legal rights and equality of opportunity are insured for all Americans, of all types, their fight isn't really for rights, but rather, for perceived injustice, revenge, perks, privileges and conveniences, and the need to control, at the behest of their Marxist overlords who term themselves "allies" instead.

One might think that this would bother more people in the LGBT+ community, as BLM members, some of them high profile, have expressed openly anti-gay sentiments, and there have even been documented, but certainly not advertised, incidences of gay-bashing.

The most potent corollary I could design would be to imagine a group which represented an endeavor to further Jewish aspirations who decided to invite an Alt-Righter to join them, because the Alt-Righter somehow appeared supportive of Zionism, but in actuality the Alt-Righter simply thinks Zionism is a good way to get Jews to move to Israel and get them the hell out of his or her country.

But, I expect that this sort of convolution will only work for BLM and the Intersectional racialists, if all of the individuals they are attempting to "outrank" on the grand victimology scale have fully internalized the self-loathing narrative that globalist culture warriors have long tried to impress on us all, in order to create an over-arching hierarchy of victim-hood which parallels the hierarchy they so earnestly profess to be fighting against. 

I guess for those who experience dissonance about this, especially the male-white-gays, I assume they will just be expected to learn to take their place "below" black, brown, yellow, and red gays, as well as Muslims, women, straight blacks, etc., etc., until the ever-changing shuffle shuffles again, and flips, like everything else in life, political or otherwise, once they get tired of the abuse. Till next time.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

Hey, hey, it's been a while since the last freebie in the Gauntlet of Balthazar's BandCamp hosted 391 & the Army of Astraea Electronic Music Piece of the Day, but here it goes.

This track is entitled "My Lost Youth" with words taken from a poem by William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Voiced by Ian King, from "Rainbow Gold: Poems Selected for Boys and Girls"; Courtesy of Librivox.

It's pretty typical of the more recent of these experimental ditties, yet I should add that it is only among three or four of these tracks that contain audio samples culled from an external source.

Anyway, enjoy.

And as always, Till next time.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Putting the Gauntlet Back On: Return From Hiatus

Well, it's been quite a while since I last posted here on the Gauntlet, and I will admit that I probably should have mentioned before the fact that July and August were going to be big wash wash-outs in regard to new content.

Nevertheless, this apparently impromptu summer hiatus had to come to an end at some point, and this is as good a time as any.

Sure, page views still slowly accumulated during my absence, and I expect past political, musical, artistic, and other posts, gave new and returning visitors some content to look at while I slacked off, but it's time to roll up sleeves and to "get to it".

Aside from a slight backlog of articles that I'll be uploading shortly, which will seem of course, somewhat behind the ball, we (Nevekari Enterprises) have got some interesting film projects coming up, and of course there will be more music uploads, artwork, and of course the normal contrarian political content that the Gauntlet (is ideally) notorious for.

Therefore, I'd like to treat this return from "vacation" in some ways as a reboot of sorts.

At least in my mind at least.

So, welcome back to the Gauntlet of Balthazar. Stay tuned and enjoy our upcoming directions, and as always, till next time.

Friday, June 29, 2018

A Seasonal Fecundical Picturesque

In keeping with the Gauntlet's quarterly, seasonal "environmental" pics tradition, here's a few snaps that capture some of the really sudden growth that occurred within the last few weeks as our lingering winter morphed into spring.

Not much to say about them since they are demonstrably self-explanatory, but the dominantly green one (top right) features budding apples in close up.

Anyway, stay tuned for more.

Till next time.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

Welcome back to another Bandcamp hosted 391 & the Army of Astraea Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away.

Today's track is titled "Nazirut", which is the Hebrew term for laws (featured in a Talmudic tractate specifically dedicated to such a topic) and which pertains to the now extinct Judean caste know as the Nazir.

The Nazir were required to dress distinctly and grew and sheared their body hair under the auspices of a penitent cycle, yet they were also religiously / politically militant in timbre. Notable Nazirim in the Torah were the prophets Samson and Samuel, and of course in the Christian New Testament, Jesus.

As an aside I should point out that in the latter's case often a mistake is made conflating the term Nazarean, which is a person hailing from the city of Nazareth, and Nazirim, which is a person who is a member of the Nazir caste.

Regardless, the piece is fairly industrial in nature and relies heavily on multiple layers of digitally simulated feedback and metal sounds set to an imposing, yet dance-able rhythm.

As always, enjoy.

Till next time.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Gauntlet Confessional

Welcome back, or welcome aboard for the first time, to the Gauntlet of Balthazar.

I thought I'd get a little personal this time with a snippet I posted on that social media platform that kid from Ardsley came up with, and that in retrospect I kind of like very much. I see it as not just an explanation or timeline, but more as a self-help guide for those of you who might be at the beginning of your philosophic journey, or are feeling a dramatic shift, or renewal, coming on.

Anyway, it's all about the process. So here it goes.

At 13 I was a Contrarian (and still am) and discovered Punk, which suited me fine.

At 14 I was a Communist, because I believed in utopias.

At 15 I was a Socialist, because it seemed like a more realistic way to FORCE the utopia on people who just didn't see the beauty of the utopia.

At 16 I was a Nihilist, because Existentialism taught me that utopias are naive and never work out.

At 17 I was an Anarchist, because rules and structures were for suckers.

At 18 I was a Liberal Democrat, because I could vote, and I believed the other side was my mortal enemy. (sound familiar?)

At 19 I was a Progressive, because I saw oppression everywhere.

At 20 I internalized the oppression I saw and became a Secular Zionist.

At 21 I viewed the Democrats and Republicans as equally repugnant.

At 22 I became a Skeptic, because I knew that I was being lied to, and the entire system appeared to be broken.

At 23 I became a Capitalist, because I found that I actually liked working.

At 24 I believed in Smaller Government, as it would interfere less with the money I made and the Anarchy I felt in my heart.

At 25 I realized that Republicans shared my affection for reducing the size of the government, and I changed my voter registration.

At 26 I formed my first business, and my Anarchy and Capitalism fused into Entrepreneurial Anarcho-Capitalism.

At 27 I delved into the Jeffersonian roots of the Republican Party, and embraced the Classical Liberal Ideals of the Enlightenment in the form of Libertarianism...and waited 15 years till the Tea Party caught up to me.

At 28 I described myself as a Socially Liberal Anarcho-Capitalist Libertarian-Republican with strong Zionist sympathies, and I still do.

At 39 I started to have kids, and became comfortable being known as "a Conservative".

At 43 I became overtly Anti-Neo-Con, Anti-Neo-Lib, Anti-Corporatist, and Anti-Marxist, because those beliefs seem to me to be "problematic".

At 45 I started my current business, and became a bourgeois landholder, fulfilling the next stage of my Capitalist dream.

At 51 I switched my "Feminism" for Egalitarianism, began to earnestly disparage Marxist Intersectionality, and discovered the sweet contrarian release of trolling.

Thanks for playing.

Till next time.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away

Welcome back to the Gauntlet of Balthazar, and this installment of the 391 & the Army of Astraea's Bandcamp hosted Electronic Music of the Day Give-Away.

I've been a tad swamped this month, so it's turned out to be a little bit of a soft traffic period here, but regardless, look for a glut of posts one after the other this week.

This particular installment features the entirety of the soundtrack for Nevekari Enterprises "creepy pasta" type narrated short film, "The Dark Wood", which debuted on YouTube and the Gauntlet last November.

This is the full album version, so if you have 34 minutes or so to spare, and have an interest in hypnotic ghost stories with soundtracks that feature hybrids of ambient, environmental, and industrial music as a background for visuals and narration, then this might just be for you.

Anyway, enjoy.

Till next time.

Monday, June 11, 2018

From the Writer's Studio: Egalitarianism Versus Third Wave Feminism, or How the Far Left Created "Toxic Femininity"

As a person of male biology, and one who describes himself as an egalitarian, I must say, I was shocked the first time I heard the phrase "Toxic Masculinity" come out of the mouths of third wave feminists. I say "shocked" because it surely wasn't surprise, as I could see their thinking a mile off, but I was nevertheless angered, and well, disappointed. 

In case you've been living under a rock for the last decade or two and never heard the expression, Wikipedia describes Toxic Masculinity as: "The concept of toxic masculinity is used in psychology and gender studies to refer to certain norms of masculine behavior in North America and Europe that are associated with harm to society and to men themselves. Traditional stereotypes of men as socially dominant, along with related traits such as misogyny and homophobia, can be considered "toxic" due to their promotion of violence, including sexual assault and domestic violence. Scholars argue that the socialization of boys often normalizes violence, such as in the saying "boys will be boys" with regard to bullying and aggression.

Self-reliance and emotional repression are correlated with increased psychological problems in men such as depression, increased stress, and substance abuse. Toxic masculine traits are characteristic of the unspoken code of behavior among men in American prisons, where they exist in part as a response to the harsh conditions of prison life.

Other traditionally masculine traits such as devotion to work, pride in excelling at sports, and providing for one's family, are not considered to be "toxic". The concept was originally used by authors associated with the mythopoetic men's movement in contrast to a "real" or "deep" masculinity that they say men have lost touch with in modern society."

Needless to say there is no Wikipedia page or articles which feature content relating to "Toxic Femininity", and in fact a quick Google search of those key words directs one back to the Wikipedia Toxic Masculinity article, as well as Feminist sites that openly disparage any attempts at establishing the notion as a philosophic parallel. For example, the Geekfeminism Wikia fandom page demonstrably states: "Toxic femininity is a term used by Men's rights advocacy activists to construct a False equivalence between Toxic masculinity".

While I'm not a "Men's Rights Activist", sure, I'll even agree that some traditional roles pointed out in the above description may indeed be "toxic", but in the feminist movement these negatives, such as violent sexual assault and bullying, are frequently blurred with otherwise positive attributes, are thoroughly misunderstood, and are routinely applied to ALL MEN across the board. No shock that n the contrary, almost any negative aspect that occurs in women's lives are conversely seen as manifestations of a pervasive, intentionally destructive, and insidious "Patriarchy" - run of course primarily by straight, white, males, because how could it not be when you ascribe all societal interactions in life to falling within a Marxist intersectional hierarchy of class, gender, and race warfare.

Let's just face it, many members of the current feminist movement either overtly, tacitly, or unwittingly push this narrative of, well, hatred for men, while positing that women possess only attributes that are positive.      

I had seen the gurgling roots of this hatred for half of the population of the world first hand all the way back in the 1980's, in the before time of Post-Modernist jargon, and arbitrarily created transgender pro-nouns in what was called the "Second Wave Feminism" period. In fact, I can tell you the exact moment I realized that there was a sickening seed of anti-egalitarianism growing within the radical feminist movement which would one day rear its crew-cut sporting, sex-negative, gynocentric, male hating, Lesbianic head.

So let me tell you a little true life story.

It was 1985 or so, and here I was in my curious college years attending a movie screening at Cornell University yet again, this time at a presentation in a series that was part of a feminist film festival.

Now, I was cognizant of the women's rights movement, as any good modern male, and of course, I had a girlfriend, a mother, and a number of female friends who I supported in their equality with men, which I took as a basic assumption of reality. By this time there were no laws in America that impinged on a woman's equal status under the law, including Roe vs. Wade. Hell, the radicals hadn't even come up with the gender pay gap theory, which if you haven't heard, has since been disproved by economists as a general notion of earnings inequality, which quickly falls apart once specifics of job choice, hours worked, and the fact that, yes, some women do still stay at home and raise children.

Regardless, so I'm watching this feminist film in room whose gender disparity was extreme to say the least, but I didn't care, because, dammit, I was a feminist, or so I imagined myself at the time. The film was Dutch I believe, and though I can't recall the title, let me encapsulate the synopsis for you briefly.

In it, a group of women, out shopping for clothes, come to the rather insane, and apparently psychically transmitted notion, that the male clerk in the store was symbolic of all male oppression of their gender in their lives and society. To this end, the women shoppers gather around the small older man, and proceed to bludgeon him to death.

Now, I know what you're thinking; "That's horrible! That must be what made you realize how much hate powered this movement."

Nope. That's not it at all.

You see, this film really wasn't really about the gang of female killers, it was about a female lawyer who chooses to defend them in court. The film chronicled her arch in which she came to realize her own oppression in the Marxist-feminist deconstruction of reality. Lucky for me I had a rather chatty man-hating extremist right behind me who felt very comfortable expressing her feelings aloud throughout the film, offering commentary reflecting the worst tendencies of radical feminism.

The film in fact starts with the female lawyer, whose husband is also a high-powered lawyer, sharing a glass of Chablis in their clearly opulent upper middle class home. He is busy reading legal briefs, but she wants to initiate sex. The husband is somewhat not receptive to her advances and tells his wife maybe when he is done with his work, much to the annoyance of the feminists in the audience, who I guess expect that men must comply unquestioningly with women's requests regardless of their own wants or needs.

Anyway, the wife picks up a scissors and runs it down his chest to his crotch, which my chatty friend summarily announced as her unconscious desire to castrate her husband. In the end the tease works and the couple fall into each other arms. Scene: Cut.

Wait for it...

About an hour later into the film, the situation is reversed. The female lawyer/wife is working deep in her defense of the murderous women, which, by the way, is based on their inability to process the daily level of collective patriarchal abuse, which has driven them into "temporary insanity".

Nonetheless, at this point the husband attempts to initiate intercourse. The wife states almost verbatim what he did in the previous instance, saying that she is too busy. He complains that she has been too busy for weeks, and the husband does exactly what she did to entice her to the boudoir, minus the scissors, to which the rather vocal short hair behind me announced in a guttural, bile-filled snarling tone, "That pig!"

I knew immediately that her seething hate would not allow her to grasp the equivalence presented in the two scenes, which to the writer and directors credit, clearly mirrored one another, and displayed true egalitarian parity between the sexes.

To this day, I imagine that the woman in question, if she is still alive, has remained un-salvageable, and has probably gone through life a miserable person who is dedicated to literally hating some 3.5 billion humans that she is forced to share a planet with. I never turned around to look at her, and though I muttered my own outrage at her clear re-telling of the film story we as an audience had all just experienced - much to my girlfriend's shushes for fear of conflict. I kind of assumed that the woman in question was a lesbian, simply because her hate was so grand that even if she were not, I can't see how she could have conducted functional heterosexual relationships with such an impediment in her psyche, unless she found some kind of beta soy boy who did exactly as she wished as some sort of slave.

I must admit that I see myself as an bit of an alpha with strong beta characteristics, which I think is a god thing as true alphas are, let's face it, absolutely unbearable, and generally do not make for good mates or fathers, because, hey, they'll just move on to the next "challenge" or "conquest".

When I first started the Gauntlet, you may recall I injected much more into the "created lexicon" feature of the site, and one of my early "word of the day" contributions was the word "mishominy", which I came up with some years earlier as a rebuttal to the increasing plied "misogyny" of the feminist movement. As a small fish in the blogsphere I knew that there was not much of a chance that my created term would catch on, and lo and behold, some, I assume, egalitarian feminist coined the suiting parallel of "misandry" for the phenomena of women's hatred of men. Though I must add, feminists often deny the validity of this paradigm, since to truly accept it might force them down the dreaded road toward actual egalitarianism.

I will confess that it was not so long ago that I still described myself as a bit of a "feminist", at least theoretically, and especially where my screenwriting is concerned. As a Jeffersonian Republican with strong Libertarian leanings I support a woman's right to choose, up to a point, and I am fully for equal opportunity, but for not assuring equal outcome.

Though this particular post is very political, at this point I'd like to dove tail this article even further into the "From the Writer's Studio" feature of the Gauntlet, and focus further on screen- writing as reflective of changing societal norms and morays. To wit, I may have mentioned it many times before, but I really do enjoy writing female characters, maybe even more so than males, and I find them generally more psychologically complex, which makes for an interesting dynamism in their character arc development. I find the ways in which a female character chooses, or doesn't choose, or fails to choose, embracing their power can be fascinating, at least when compared to the stolid archetypes that males are typically depicted as, and are still required to aspire to in real life, regardless if women specify that they do not hold men to these "success object" standards.

After my company, Nevekari Enterprises, was awarded several awards from a number of film festivals and screenwriting contests, for our script, "Classical Ideal", I posited the piece as "feminist", yet, after much consideration I realized that the story was perhaps so female-centric that it would fail an inversion of the "Bechdel Test". For those who don't know what this, it is a criteria for judging female representation in screenwriting. The "rule" contends that an effective pro-feminist script must contain two or more female characters who discuss subjects not relating to male characters in the same reality for at least 85% of their screen time.

Needless to say, there is no shortage of radical feminists who deny that such a thing as an "Anti-Bechdel criteria" even exists, but I reject this in the same way I reject the notion that Marxist Intersectionality posits that only "white people" can be racist, as those who hold institutional power. All of these class relation theories may make sense by plying philosophical acrobatics to make them appear sound in post-modernist thesis papers, but in actual real world application, it does not take a far walk to find racists in every group, globally, as well as radical feminists guilty of mishominy or misandry.

Due to pondering this criteria, we set to revising "Classical Ideal" yet again, not out if a feeling that our female characters spoke too much about male characters, but quite the opposite, that our male characters spoke too much about the dominant female ones. Therefore, we intentionally added content which allowed for male characters to communicate ideas about the organizations (businesses and families) they worked for, or against, in tandem with other male characters, in order to make the script truly egalitarian.

In the end, I must admit it was only after we completed that last revision that I came to the realization, with the aid of a suggestion from a friend, that I found that my lifelong stance of being a "peripheral feminist" was much better described as a commitment to being an "egalitarian". It is one of many political identifiers that I have held to since.

We hear a good deal from feminists, both male and female, about equal gender rights in the media, but I must add that, especially in screenwriting and film making, it often seems that many writers, also both male and female feminists, find that the only way that they are able to forge strong female characters is sadly by disparaging or weakening their male counterparts.

This has been a major failing of many, if not most current films, including blockbusters, as the "Social Justice Warrior" impulse to double and triple down in response to the perceived, or imagined, authoritarianism of the dominant political party has become rampant with anti-egalitarian mishominy of misandry. Dominant female characters talk down to male ones routinely, and are presented as smarter, and sometimes even physically stronger, than males as if this were all some kind of revenge narrative for the "ditzy bimbo motif" that was dominant in the Post-WWII television era. 

A perfect example of this was the remake of Ghostbusters, where the characters were almost exactly the same as in the original excellent film, except for swapping out the genitalia of the featured players. However, I must point out that the female characters of the original were quite strong, and the secretary, Janine Melnitz, played by Annie Potts, was a pithy and nerdy intellectual. In the new version, the male secretary, Kevin; played by Chris Hemsworth, is a complete "Mimbo". The sad part is that this is not unusual, and it is often male screenwriters who are penning these inept monstrosities, I assume not for the purpose of appealing to audiences, but instead to virtue signal to their fellows in the Hollywood elite.

I'm very afraid that in the long run this will not only make for some very not particularly memorable scripts and films, but that it will damage the box office, industry, and probably society at large, positing it as normal to further denigrate men for another generation of movie-goers. 

Until egalitarianism is a the measuring stick by which law, culture, and art are judged, I can't see anything positive coming from this tact.  

But hey, it's all just part of the culture war, right?

Till next time.