Thursday, April 26, 2012

Holy Fucking Shit!!!!


Who would have thought that this whole blogging thing would be such hard work?

The whole intent of this blog has been for me, your humble curmudgeon, to sound off about everything that pisses off, stresses out and generally annoys The Blog.

But, holy fucking shit! Who could have imagined that so much would come at The Blog so fast and furious?

The Blog has intended to write a whole series about disconnected wealth. (And he will get to it, once he has caught up.) But, Willard "Mitt" Romney, the poster child for disconnected wealth, has single handedly provided so much material in the last few days that The Blog can't keep up.

The Right-Wing fuckery that clogs The Blog's inbox is bad enough. He could blog full time just on that shit alone. But, this past week, a new infestation has attacked his inbox. An "organization" that calls it's self the "In Jesus' Name We Pray Coalition" has bombarded The Blog with some of the most vile hateful "Obama's Homo Agenda" shit that The Blog has ever had to endure. In Jesus' name, no less.

And then there is this video, shared on Facebook by one of my extreme Right-Wing friends. A bit of false equivalency that is so mind bogglingly stupid that your Blog is left speechless. (And THAT takes some work!)

Jesus Howard Christ!!! The Blog needs a break, just to catch up!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

$2.9 Million

2.9 million dollars

According to, that is the amount of money that the average American will spend in a lifetime if he or she lives to the age of 81.

$2.9 million.


Total average lifetime spending.


This is a figure that makes The Curmudgeon ponderous. For the last few days, since The Blog learned this fact (via this month's Reader's Digest), he has pondered and pondered (to paraphrase Dr. Seuss) until his ponderer was sore.

Because, you see, the average annual salary of the top 20 American corporate CEOs (as of 2008, the most recent figures that The Blog could find reported) was $85 million.

That's $85,000,000.00.

Per year.


The CEO in the number one slot was Oracle's Lawrence J. Ellison at a whopping $192.92 million. The number 20 slot goes to William R. Berkley of the unimaginatively named W R Berkley company (whoever the fuck that is) at $54.60 million.

Walmart CEO Michael Duke makes $35 million per year. That works out to an average Walmart employees annual wage every hour!

Presidential wannabe Willard "Mitt" Romney made a reported income of $21.6 million last year.

The bottom line is that neither the top CEOs in America or the GOP presidential candidate would get out of bed for the money that the average American (the same CEO's employees) spends in his or her lifetime.

And, BTW.... The President of the United States, the "leader of the free world,"  since 2001, has made an annual salary of $400,000 plus a $50,000 non-taxable expense account.

Ponderous, man. Truly ponderous.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Jonathan Frid, ‘Dark Shadows’ Star, Is Dead at 87

Observations about Ted Nugent will have to wait one more night. (Unfortunately, The Blog suspects that he isn't going anywhere, soon.)

The Curmudgeon wants to spend a few moments reminiscing about someone much less horrifying, Barnabas Collins, AKA: Jonathan Frid.

Barnabas Collins was the 175 year old vampire who found himself awakening in the late 1960s and thrust into the world of a strange, low rent, low rated and gaffe prone soap opera known as "Dark Shadows."

Jonathan Frid was the Shakespearian actor who portrayed Barnabas, and similarly, found himself thrust into the world of a strange, low rent, low rated and gaffe prone soap opera known as "Dark Shadows."

And with that introduction, "Dark Shadows" became something that would alter an entire generation.

Sure, you can blame/credit The Beatles, Viet Nam, Woodstock, "free love" and "HAIR"  for the revolution that came with The Blog's generation. But, you would be missing a major contributor.

Frid's Barnabas and the ghosts, werewolves and witches that he brought with him had an entire generation of kids running home from school every afternoon to watch this strange, dark, campy phenomenon.

The Blog's generation was Goth before goth was invented.

Because of Jonathan Frid, The Young Blog wore a large, black ring on his index finger for several years, with no apologies. To this day, he still covets the wolf head cane that Barnabas carried.

Barnabas was immortal. But, sadly, Jonathan was not. This morning, he received the blessed relief that Barnabas longed for. Jonathan Frid passed away today at the age of 87.

The New York Times reports...

The Blog had the honor of meeting Mr. Frid a number of years ago. Jonathan was playing the Boris Karloff inspired Jonathan Brewster in the play "Arsenic and Old Lace."  (A role that The Blog himself had played about seven years earlier.) At a "meet and greet" after the show, Mr. Frid was warm and gracious.

Ironically/strangely/coincidentally, or maybe, poetically, Jonathan Frid passed away one day before the release of the Tim Burton remake of "Dark Shadows" starring Johnny Depp. Mr. Frid appeared in a cameo in the film. His last acting role.

It seems fitting that he got to pass the role of the immortal Collins patriarch on to a new generation via the quirky Mr. Depp.

The world moves on and The Curmudgeon is at peace with that.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Okay, One Quick Post... This is important!

To all of my friends... Angela Rockwood has always been one of the special people. Even before her accident, she was caring and empathetic. In the early hours of my birthday in 2001, just days before 9/11, she was thrown from an SUV in a single vehicle accident that took the life of one passenger and left Angela paralyzed with the same injury that Christopher Reeve sustained. Eleven years later, thanks to some experimental stem cell treatments and her own determination, she is still going strong. She is as beautiful and vital as ever!  And she is one of the subjects of this wonderful Sundance Channel documentary series. Do check it out!

Push Girls Sneak Peek

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

No New Post Tonight

But, you can bet your ass that The Blog will have a thing or two to say about Ted Nugent tomorrow night!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Holy Wishes Batman!!!

The Blog is has always had a soft spot for two things.

Children's "Wish" type foundations. And anything Batman.

Check out this video.

Kudos to the Arlington, Texas police and fire departments and "Wish With Wings," for letting leukemia patient Kye live his fantasy!

Newt, The Zombie Apocalypse and a Bikini Model

Shit got crazy at The National Rifle Association's annual conference in St. Louis, this week.

(Yeah, yeah, yeah. CRAZIER. I know and I'm with you.)

Look.... The Blog gets the whole gun thing. In his life, he has shot the shit out of his share of paper targets and tin cans. That is part of what he finds so disturbing about the gun obsessed. There is a definite rush of macho power when you pull that trigger and unleash a lead ball of death. I can see how it could become addictive. Hell, if you put a Colt Magnum in the hands of Mahatma Gandhi, he would dare you to "make (his) day!"

But, really. Could anything be crazier than a convention of gun nuts enthusiasts who think that they should be allowed to own fully automatic weapons to hunt rabbit, or crazier, ward off the army of a rogue gummint?

Yes. In fact. Things could be crazier.

Exhibit A.)  Zombie Shooting Targets Popular With Doomsday Preppers At National Rifle Association Exhibition

In an earlier post, The Blog talked about his encounter with a gun shop selling racially tinged paper targets. But, according to the above article, this years best sellers are zombie targets, zombie bullets and zombie gun paint (whatever the fuck that is) and, oh yeah, blood bags to make shooting the zombie targets more realistic.

Now the Curmudgeon hates to actually sound like his nom de blog, but he knows something about "first person shooter" video games and their trick of making it okay to blow the heads off bad guys... by making them aliens or zombies.

Psychologists say that this practice dehumanizes "the other," making it okay to inflict senseless violence on the enemy, desensitizing people to killing. It seems that they may be onto something.

It seems that the gun industry has taken it to the next level, making firing actual guns at sub-humans the norm. (There is probably a joke about intolerance for zombieism here, but it is too obvious, even for me, to stoop to it.)

Now, I hear you! You're saying, "But, Uncle PC, things can't get any crazier than this!"

And Uncle PC will tell you, "Sweet, naive bloglitt, that is where you are wrong!"

Because, Exhibit B.) Just when it couldn't get any weirder, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich arrives with his layer cake of batshitery, causing The Blog to ask the question, "Newt Gingrich still thinks he's a presidential candidate?!?!?!"

Let's take a moment to look at Newt's history of self delusion. (These are a few examples, but by no means, a complete list.)

"President" Newt (*snork*) is a fiscal conservative who will balance the budget and end the deficit. And, owes a half million dollars to Tiffany & Co. (AND is running a presidential campaign in "the red.")

"President" Newt (*snork*) wants to build a base on the moon. (Full disclosure... The Blog can get behind this. He is of a certain age that he watched Neil Armstrong take "one giant leap" live, on the TV and grew up on "Star Trek" and "Star Wars." What makes Newt's position on this crazy is, he thinks it can be done while the de-funding of NASA comes in third on the GOP priority list after public education and Planned Parenthood.)

But, here is the latest! In his speech to the NRA convention, he said that, as president (*snork*) he would tell the United Nations that every man, woman and child in the world should be armed. Because, God says so! Witness...

Newt to NRA: Right to Bear Arms is a Human Right

(Note that the above links directly to Newt's own campaign site! I shit you not!)

"Appearing before the National Rifle Association annual meeting this afternoon, Newt Gingrich called for a new United Nations treaty that would give the right to bear arms to every person on the planet.  This proposed treaty would counter the United Nations Small Arms Treaty"

And, by the way... "the United Nations Small Arms Treaty" has nothing to do with any individual's (American or otherwise) right to bear arms. Google it yourself. Do I have to do everything for you?

To sum up...

  • The NRA wants you to be ready for the Zombie Invasion (presumably led by President Barack Hussein Obama, aka, The Zombie in the White House.)
  • Newt Gingrich wants everyone it the world to be packing heat.
  • Newt thinks that he is still a candidate for president and he wants a base on the moon. 

                                 "And a frikkin' shark with a lazer strapped to it's head."

Oh. About the photo of Kate Upton. It has nothing to do with this post. But The Blog noticed that the last post featuring a picture of her in a bikini attracted more hits than any other post on the blog. So, I'm doing it again.

The Blog has no shame.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Three Stooges and a "Nun-kini"

Kate Upton's bad 'habits' infuriate Catholic group as swimwear model dons 'nun-kini' in The Three Stooges

An old friend posted this earlier today. I just now got time to read the article. (Okay, I didn't intend to read the article. I just clicked to see the photo. But, I wound up reading the article despite the distraction.) Please click on the above headline and read before I go on. I'll wait...........

First off... As far as anyone can tell "Spokesman Bill Donohue" seems to be the only member of "The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights." He makes a lot of noise when he thinks that Catholicism is being attacked. He is notably quiet on the subject of non-Catholic Christians, Jews and Muslims. (As Herman Cain would say, I have no facts to back this up. I checked out wikipedia's page about "The League." It seems to be well maintained by whoever "The Catholic League" is.)  His "organization" has been resoundingly and repeatedly disavowed by The Vatican.

But, more revealing is the fact that he/they feel that the movie is "not in the same spirit as the original series." And, "In the 1950s, Hollywood generally avoided crude fare."

So, let me get this straight... eye poking, nose grabbing, hair tearing and monkey wrenches to the back of the head were not "gratuitous." But, a beautiful woman, portraying a nun in a bikini is.


As a kid, I grew up watching "The Stooges." Even in the pre-politically correct 1960s, Captain Penny made a point of telling us impressionable kids that their violence was pretend and we should never, ever, imitate it.

Bill Donohue has no problem with violence. It's exposed lady flesh that upsets him.

Bill... Dude... You have issues. Get some professional help!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

No Post Tonight (Except for the previous Update)

The Blog is too tired to post tonight.

No. That's a lie.

The Blog is too drunk to post tonight.

Here's the deal. The Blog and Mrs. Blog had dinner at a "Mexican style" fast food chain, a couple of hours ago. We'll call it "Hipotle."

Ordinarily, "Hipotle's" margaritas are about as strong as lime Kool Aid. But tonight, some overzealous employee must have slipped some actual alcohol into the alcohol.

Because, DAMN!!!! A couple hours later, The Blog is still hammered!

The Blog will now stagger off to bed.

Good night. And..... I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

An Update....

The "Caine"s Arcade" story has gone viral! With amazing results!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mega-Churches and WWJD?

Last night, The Blog's real world alter ego shared the above post on Facebook. Just a quick "like" and "share." No intention to stir up any sort of controversy. Just an offhand commentary.

Several of The Blog's friends shared the same photo. He probably got it from one of them. It was just one of those hit a nerve, knee jerk shares.

But, something weird happened. While all of us who posted this got a great deal of support and agreement for the post, everyone of us had, at least, one friend who was deeply offended by it.

The Blog did not intend to denigrate churches in general. Granted, The Blog is an avowed atheist and has plenty of criticism for organized, mainstream religion. But, he fully supports the good works of all legitimate churches, even if he doesn't believe in their core premise.

But, The Blog's atheism and his reasons for choosing that path is a subject for a future post.

The above photo's point is a slam directed at the so called "Mega-Churches" whose "mission" seems to be, primarily to enrich the church's leaders. (Tax free!)

Ignoring, for now, the vast wealth of the Catholic and Mormon churches, The Blog was thinking more about the "churches" whose "missions" are focused on buying television time, producing movies, publishing books and producing Broadway quality Christmas and Easter productions, (tickets available at Ticketmaster outlets everywhere, including the ones located in the vestibules of their own palatial cathedrals) rather than, I don't know, maybe feeding the poor.

The Blog has rubbed elbows with a number of bishops, pastors and reverends of these corporate/ Christian entities. And, to be fair, they all seem like nice, decent folks. But, they seem to feel no embarrassment and no shame that they wear $1000 Armani suits, surround themselves with large entourages and have their assistants make lunch reservations for them at "The Palms" while children starve. It doesn't seem that there is any difference if they are liberals like the Rev. Al Sharpton or conservatives like the Bishop T.D. Jakes. They are all living high, while others suffer.

It makes me wonder, when you establish your own church, not affiliated with any mainstream church,  by whose authority are you a "bishop" or a "reverend?"

Anyone who has followed the soap opera that is the story of "The Crystal Cathedral" has to question the legitimacy of these 21st Century equivalents of Flip Wilson's "Church of What's Happening Now."

What would Jesus do? That question is easily answered by Matthew 21:12, (King James Version, Cambridge Edition) "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves."

Feel free to argue this with me, if you are so inclined.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Caine's Arcade

When The Blog was about 7 years old, he had a sweatshirt that bore the above image. In the 46 years that have passed since then, this has been one of The Blogs main philosophies of life.

But, now and then, The Blog comes across something that makes him think that there is still hope for "people."

First, a little bit of background about the source... grew out of small, self published "zine" (remember zines?) about 15-20 years ago. They covered comic books, Sci-Fi, technology, conspiracy theories, politics, and anything else that they felt like throwing in. The founding publishers were The Blog's very dear friend, '90s porn star Christy Canyon's, sister and brother-in-law. Christy batted her eyes and flashed some tit at The Blog and convinced him to buy a year's subscription. $12 for 12 issues, if I remember correctly. After a couple of issues, I was hooked! I re-upped my subscription every year until the paper and ink version ceased publication. After that, BoingBoing grew to be one of the internet's most successful geek oriented web sites.

The video posted yesterday on BoingBoing's site is the sort of thing that makes this jaded old fool cry like a baby and think that we (and by "we" I mean, humanity) might just be okay, after all!

Caine's Arcade

If you live in the Los Angeles area, take a Saturday to find this kid! I plan to!

Monday, April 9, 2012

God and Guns????

Just a quick question for tonight.

The Blog has several Facebook friends, guys (yes, they are all guys, no gals) guys he grew up with and/or went to school with, who share a couple of things in common.

They identify themselves as "Christians." Evangelicals and serious Catholics, to be precise.

They devote about half of their posts to praising God and Jesus. They are all about their Christianity! And, God bless them for that!

About 25% of their posts are dedicated to hating Obama, specifically, and trashing liberals, in general. Okay, I get that, sort of. In the last decade or so, "Christian" has become a political party. A wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party.

It's the other 25% that baffles me.

What is up with their fetishizing of guns?

Seriously! When they aren't proselytizing The Glory of God, or hating on "the Socialist, Marxist, Kenyan, nigger in the Whitehouse," they are pleasuring themselves over memories of an afternoon of shooting the fuck out of shit.

What is that about? I really don't get it.

Their Christ was tortured and executed in a truly gruesome manor. But, man! They are all about their killing machines!

The Second Amendment is settled law. It's a done deal people! You get to keep and use your killing tools. Nothing and no one is going to take that away from you. In fact, if you live in one of the "Stand your ground law" states, you can pretty much kill anyone that makes you nervous.

So, why the obsession? Chill out. I mean it.

(If anyone wants to explain this to me, please, I welcome your comments!)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Open Letter to the Obama Haters

Taking the night off. Hope you all had a great Easter!

I did not write the following. But, thought it was well worth sharing....

Open letter to the Obama Haters from an anonymous source:

To your distress, for most of the rest of your life, you will bear this:
 That Barack Obama, whether re-elected or not, will always be President. He will always be the man from a mixed race background that became the President of the US, he and his wife will be welcomed throughout the world by nations and their leaders, the most influential... members of the arts and sciences will be their acquaintances and companions. He will be regarded and honored as the President who entered office during a deep recession and two wars and turned the country around.
You will always justify your lack of achievement on the unfairness of every system, your lack of success on the government or regulation, your failure to accomplish anything in a country where impoverished immigrants with limited language skills are succeeding around you on the liberals or the communists or the elites.

The small satisfaction you garner while spouting derisive comments here only exists in your self-delusion and is a pale comfort compared to the reality that exists around you.
You can try to salve your bitter existence with theories of international Kenyan plots or document fraud, whatever. But that is your future. Your world will always be limited by your small-mindedness, your associates only those that are as poorly adapted to the world around them, your accomplishments non-existent and your life a bitter existence.
It's time to move on. In your journey into denial, you've already sacrificed your conscience and whatever claim to character you had. Your pretense at a deity derived morality is mocked by your myopic hatred of the 'other'. Your concept of patriotism is waving a child's flag on the sidelines as others defend your liberty.
Bush 41 and spouse are living into their nineties, the Obama's will too. You'll see them at the inaugurals, your TV will tell you of their lives and that of their daughters, of their successes and their trips and the books they write and their accolades.

Make it easy on yourself. Take a deep cleansing breath and just let go, make the best of your situation. Whether re-elected or not, he will always be the 44th President of the US, and your children and their children will read of him in their history books, the first black man elected president of the US.
If not re-elected, he will be healthier and wealthier than he is as President, but he is willing to make that sacrifice for you.
You still live in a free country made more safe and prosperous by your President, and he, the First Lady and their children will always have you in their prayers. "

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hey, Bloglitts!!!

Thanks for stopping by! Drop me a comment in the comments section so I know you came by. Thanks!

Going Postal

"The government can never so anything as efficiently as private business can."
                                                                                            --The Conservative Mantra

I hear this from my conservative friends all the time.

Of course, it's nonsense.

If we learned nothing else from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we should have learned that hiring mercenaries private contractors to fight our battles costs way more money and is filled with more potential disaster than using the government's own military.

Medicare operates on a 2 to 3% overhead, as opposed to private medical insurance, which takes 18 to 30% off the top. Not to mention the private "Medicare Plus" companies that make their profits by inflating medical costs and passing them on to the government (aka: the taxpayers.)

We have private police forces in this country. Much like military contractors they exist in addition to, rather than instead of, public police.

In the early 1980s, private utility companies began to replace many public utility companies. Rather than creating the "competitive environment" that was promised, they merely replaced "public monopolies" with private monopolies, driving up prices for electricity, gas, water and trash collection. Here in Los Angeles County, suburbs that are forced to use the for profit Southern California Edison Co. for their electricity pay a whopping 40% more for power than the residents of the city of Los Angeles, who get their electricity from The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Can you imagine private, for profit fire departments? I can. And, it isn't a pretty picture!

Which brings me to The United States Postal Service.

It used to be that we only heard about what a mess the USPS was whenever they had the gaul to raise postage rates a penny or so. But, now that the right-wing has dropped all pretense about their desire to privatize absolutely everything, the Post Office is under constant attack. After a failed attempt to break the Postal Worker's Union a year or two ago, conservatives have moved to their default argument that since the Post Office is operating in the red, the Post Office is a failure.

Here are a few facts about the USPS....

  • The United States Post Office was established in 1775, a full year before the country declared it's independence.
  • Not one single penny of tax dollars are used to fund the USPS. All funding comes from postage and ancillary merchandise.
  • The Post Office was never intended to make a profit.

Here is one more, unfortunate fact...

  • The USPS is in trouble. Email has taken a big chunk out of the Post Office's business. Operating costs are rising faster than postal rates. And any raising of those rates must be approved by Congress (in spite of the fact that Congress does not fund them.)

The USPS has tried numerous ways to raise revenue. The Blog recalls a Mad Magazine piece published in the late '70s suggesting that the Post Office could raise revenue by selling advertising space on their stamps. A decade later, they began doing just that and they still do today. A bit more subtle than Mad's suggestion. But, if you have ever bought a sheet of stamps "honoring" DC Comics Super-heroes (ironically, DC currently owns Mad Magazine,) The Universal Monsters or Disney/ Pixar characters, then you have seen examples of sponsored postage.

The Post Office also sells packing materials, boxes, envelopes and labels. But, for all of that, we are forced to admit that the Post Office is losing money at an alarming rate.

Why is that?

To answer that, let's go back, for a moment to the issue of efficiency.

Can anyone name another business that can take your three inch by six inch, 1 oz. paper packet and get it to a destination anywhere in the United States in three days or less, for 45¢? That is a price that is less than you could buy... well... pretty much anything for, these days. Sure, they occasionally misdirect or lose one of those packets. But, for every lost letter, millions make it to their destination quickly and yes, efficiently.

Did I mention that the cost is 45¢?

So, are the Post Office's problems caused by government inefficiency or the "greedy" postal union?


The problem is that the Post Office offers it's services at a stupid cheap rate!

So, I would like to make a modest proposal.

The USPS should hire a couple of numbers crunchers to figure out the actual, break even cost of delivering a First Class letter. Once that cost is established, the Post Office should raise the postage rate to that amount.

Of course, "conservative's" heads will explode. But, they'll get over it. For the same reason that they shop at Wal-Mart. Because...

The Blog is not a betting man. But, if he was, he would bet that the cost would still be substantially lower than the cost of sending the same letter via private, for profit carriers like UPS or FedEx. And more efficiently.

Would anyone like to explain to me why I'm wrong?

Wrapped in a Flag, Carrying a Cross

The Blog has mentioned in past posts that his email inbox is regularly assaulted by purveyors of right-wing propaganda. Most of that dreck comes from sources like, "Conservative Action Alerts,"  pro-gun NRA wannabes and such. The Blog has posted a few amusing headlines, in the recent past, from a group calling themselves "The Christian Response."

But, the planets must have aligned today in such a way that his inbox was inundated with email from the aforementioned "Christian Response" and a new one called (I am not making this up) "The Pray in Jesus' Name Project."

Now, you would think that these groups would be concerning themselves with matters pertaining, directly, to Christian issues. You would think that. But, you would be wrong. (Okay, there was one email from "The Pray in Jesus' Name Project" screaming about Sen. Al Franken, D- Wisconsin,  wanting to "force the teaching of the homosexual agenda on public school children." Which, to some "Christians" would be a Christian issue, if it were true. Which it isn't.)

These "Christian" groups, evidently, don't recognize the difference between Christian philosophy and extreme, radical right-wing dogma (or assume that their readers don't) and devote their resources to disseminating... how do I put this gently... lies.

First, some of the headlines from today's "Christian Response" emails....

"Barack Obama's Communist Mentor"

"The Obama Administration continues to wage a war against the truth about Islam and Jihad."

"Health Care Will Worsen Under Obamacare"

"Obama's hatred of western civilization is rooted not only in Karl Marx but in anti-colonialist attitudes gleaned from his father."

"Suddenly Liberals Care About The Constitution"

"It's Democrat Voter Fraud Season!"

"Democrats Want to Run Against Mitt Romney Because He Is Unelectable"  (Okay, this one is true.)

But, here is my favorite.... This came down from both "Conservative Action Alerts" and "The Pray in Jesus' Name Project."

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently announced the Obama Administration will be working hand-in-glove with the UN to pass a new "Small Arms Treaty."

Here's the thing about this piece. The Blog has been receiving variations on this email for about three years now. So, not only is this not a "recent" development, the fact is that the U.N. Small Arms Treaty has nothing, nada, zip, zero, NOTHING to do American's Second Amendment rights. It is a strictly military agreement, an International Arms Control Treaty that, as far as The Blog can determine,was signed two years ago. But, the right-wing keeps flogging it as an attack on American's freedom.

And "The Pray in Jesus' Name Project" wants us to believe that this is a Christian issue.

(A digression... The Blog has a couple of old friends who identify themselves as "Evangelical Christians," who take great pleasure from posting on Facebook about their most recent experiences shooting the fuck out of shit. What is it about "Christians" and their obsession with tools designed for nothing but killing? (As in, "Thou shalt not....")

The Blog would love to assign these emails to his junk folder. Because The Blog is really sick of their unadulterated bullshit. But, then he wouldn't know what they are telling their brain dead disciples. And, what fun would that be?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

We Love/Hate Vigilantes

The Trevor Martin case and several reports of out of control cops have dominated both the mainstream and social media in the last few weeks. There is nothing that The Blog can add to those specific subjects that hasn't already been said.

But, it all has gotten me thinking about something that first got me thinking when I was a wee lad, not even out of junior high school. We, as a society, hate vigilantes and renegade cops in the real world. They fly in the face of every Constitutional right and every rule of law that we, as Americans, hold dear.

But, when it comes to entertainment.... WOW!!!!.... We love our ass kicking, "judge, jury and executioner," heroes and anti-heroes.

We cheer when "Dirty Harry" Callahan, Billy Jack, Murtaugh and Riggs, Jack Bauer, or "Walker: Texas Ranger," asks some punk if he "...feel{s} lucky," puts a bullet in a terrorist symp's thigh or generally kicks the living shit out of a perp, with total disregard for due process.

(One of The Blog's all time favorite "fuck the rules" movie moments was in the movie "Wanted: Dead or Alive" when Rutger Hauer shoves a grenade into the mouth of the terrorist mastermind played by KISS's Gene Simmons. As he delivers bad guy Gene to the authorities, Hauer says, "Fuck the reward!" and pulls the pin on the grenade. The outcome wasn't pretty, but it was satisfying!)

We love seeing the vein in the forehead of every police chief throb, when a TV or movie cop goes rogue. We boo and hiss when the chief demands the cop's badge and weapon. And, we cheer again, when the disarmed renegade goes after the bad guy, anyway, on his own time.

Our historical pop culture is filled with them. The Scarlet Pimpernel, El Zorro, The Lone Ranger and his grand-nephew, The Green Hornet, and that girl with the dragon tattoo, Lizbeth Salander.

And, let's not forget The Blog's all time favorite semi-psycho, one man police force. The vengeance driven billionaire playboy who dresses in black armor and a cape, armed with weapons that the military only dreams of...

The Batman!!!!!!

Why, oh why, do we all, even the bleedingest of hearts liberals, love these legally loose cannons? Why?

The answer is simple. The Blog understood it, even when he was a child.

In fiction, we, the reader / viewer, are first hand eyewitnesses to the crime. We don't need no stinking jury. We have seen, with our own eyes, the perpetrator's guilt. And, we relish swift justice, unencumbered by Miranda rights, Geneva Conventions or due process of the law.

But, here is the problem. In the real world, things aren't so cut and dry. In America, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. That is one of the many things that makes our country great.

But the right-wing in America seem to have a difficult time distinguishing fact from fiction (i.e. Fox News or... I don't know... The Bible?) They hold as their heroes, Chuck Norris, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. To me, one of the most disturbing moments in America's quest for justice and defense, post 9/11, was the week, during the Bush administration, when the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security met with the producers and writers of "24" an entertaining but, let's face it, a goddamned TV show, to discuss torture interrogation and detainment techniques. "24's" "ticking time bomb" scenario became the right-wing's default argument for dispensing with due process.

I have no real conclusion to this. I am just making observations and calling it as I see it. It's time to get back to the basics of the American justice system. The Batman can have his Joker. Beyond that, it's time for America to grow up and get back to the real world.

Something a little different...

The two YouTube videos below were made by my cousin's grand-daughters. That would make them my.... let's see... my second cousins third cousins first cousins twice removed Aw hell... for the sake of simplicity, I call them my nieces.

I have never met them in person. They live on the other side of the country. But, over the last few years, I have gotten to know them pretty well via Facebook. And I know that they are beautiful, special young ladies!

They posted these videos together on YouTube and Facebook sometime today. Things are kind of rough for them right now. It really must suck to be a teenager in the 21st Century. But, I want them to know how much they are loved.

Faith's Video
Hope's Video

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's April! You Know What That Means!!!

It's April!

Can you hear it?

Listen closely!

It's just a distant rumble of thunder, right now.

But, in another week or two, it will be loud and clear.

This is the time of year that "conservatives" celebrate their superior intellect over all of us "bee-brained refund monkeys"* who are happy to be getting money back from our tax withholdings from the past year.
 * Mallard Fillmore" by Bruce Tinsley, April 2011

Very soon, if you haven't been already, you will be told by multimillionaire radio talkers, professional op-ed columnists, obsessive writers of "letters to the editor" pages, your brother-in-law who ruins every family get together with his drunken (or worse, sober) right-wing pontification, and even my favorite "conservative deep thinker," comic strip duck, Mallard Fillmore, that you are merely getting back the money that you lent to the gu'mmint, interest free.

Well, whoop-de-do.

That's right. According to conservatives, you shouldn't be happy about getting a refund. You should be righteously pissed off. Those damn "revenooers" over estimated how much you would make last year (or your accountant did) and now they are sending you a check to make it right.

Man! That just chaps my ass!

But, seriously....

Presumably, these people have never underestimated their income, or claimed payroll exemptions beyond realistic expectations ("Married with 2 exemptions" filing as "Single with 10 exemptions") and wound up owing taxes on April 15th.

So, yeah. If I get money back at tax time, I'm pretty goddamned happy about it. And do you know what? They are happy about it, too!  So, Republicans, get off of your high elephants and stop being so fucking predictable.

See what I mean? Yeah, the duck thinks that you are an "idiot."

No one, and I mean NO ONE, enjoys paying taxes. But, if you are going to live in America and reap the benefits of living in the greatest country in the world, suck it up, pay the rent, and remember that your federal income taxes are currently the lowest that they have been in your lifetime. And, they are lower than the taxes of any other developed nation in the world.

(A digression.... Have you noticed that the lower your federal taxes go, the higher your state taxes get? Do you wonder why that is? Think about it, all you "states rights" advocates!)

So, take that refund! Buy yourself something nice. (Or, here's a crazy thought... donate it to a worthy charity.  HA! Just kidding!)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hollywood and Wealth: An Introduction

Now, if you have read my bio, you know that I work in the entertainment industry. This puts me in a unique position to witness, up close, the phenomenon that we call "the wealth gap."

Some background...

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone who works in television and film is wealthy. In fact, the majority of people who work in "the business" (especially actors) are lucky if they make an annual income above the poverty line. Many cast and crew members hold down non-show business "day jobs" to supplement their incomes. Grips and set builders work as handymen. Make-up artists and hair stylists work in salons or department store cosmetic counters. Actors and actresses are well known for working as waiters, but many are also real estate agents and sales reps. I was once surprised when an actor that I had worked with several times (a man whose face you would recognize, if not his name, if you watch a fair amount of television) showed up at my house to give me an estimate on a window repair.

Even name "B list' actors find themselves having to moonlight on occasion.

In his autobiography "If Chins Could Kill" actor Bruce Campbell ("The Evil Dead," "Xena," "Burn Notice") tells of a time, well after he had established an enviable level of cult fame, when he had to take a job as a gate guard at the Budweiser plant in Van Nuys. He spent hours on end, every night, fielding the question, "Hey! Aren't you...?" from truck drivers entering the facility.

The next largest group of show business workers, the ones lucky enough to work in the industry with consistency, make comfortable, middle class incomes. They are the supporting actors that go from one sitcom or movie to another. They are the crew members whose names you may recognize if you read the credits at the end of TV shows and movies. No mansions, butlers or limos. But, rather suburban homes and mini vans. And, they take the trash out themselves. They use coupons when they shop for groceries and send their kids to public school. Except for the fact that they make their living "making magic," they lead pretty ordinary lives.

Finally, there are the few who make a lot of money. And even fewer who make a whole lot of money. Top billed actors, producers and "above the line" production executives and a very small handful of "the best of the best" craft people.

And this is where "the wealth gap," and the psychology that comes with it, begins to show itself in the world of show business.

It had been my plan to write two or three posts about my observations about wealth over a couple of nights. I am starting to see that it is all a little more complicated than that. So, instead, over the next few weeks, I will post on the subject intermittently, while filling other posts with the usual snark about other subjects.

That's enough for tonight. I have to be up early in the morning to go to the television job that I have been fortunate enough to have for nearly a decade.