Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This is Halloween

There are two times of the year that are so crazy that The Blog has no life of his own, due to the nature of his business.

The two weeks that cover Christmas and New Year's Eve.

And Halloween week.

And this week is one of those.

As you may have noticed already, blogging will range from sporadic to nonexistent for the next few days.

But, don't despair.

I am working on a particularly prickly commentary on our love/hate relationship with spies and spying.

Have a great Halloween!

See you in a few days.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Little Song, A Little Dance...

(Still dazed)

Chuckles. Chuckles the Clown is dead. It was a freak accident. He went to the parade dressed as Peter Peanut… and a rogue elephant tried to shell him.

Here is, in The Blog's humble opinion, the second funniest sitcom scene in the history of television.

What is number one?

You will have to wait until Thanksgiving for that one. 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Modest Proposal

Down in Jacksonville, Florida...

A city named after Confederate Civil War leader Andrew Jackson...

So nothing that follows should be very surprising...

...has a high school named (in 1959, the year of The Blog's birth,) after Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.

War hero or traitor? The Blog reports. You decide.

While you are deciding, figure this into your equation.

Lt. Gen. Forrest was, also, the first "Grand Dragon" of the Klu Klux Klan.

                                                       Yeah, he was one hell of a guy!

Fifty four years later, many of the good folks in Jacksonville have realized that a school named after the "Original G" ("G" as in Grand Dragon,) might be distasteful and reflect poorly on the community.

Those folks are calling for a name change.

A move that would, probably, be uncontroversial, if it wasn't for the fact that there are still enough Klansmen out there to oppose the name change.

Here is a bit of literary and cinematic trivia for you...

                       Nathan Bedford Forrest was the man that Forrest Gump was named after.

It's true.

Winston Groom says so in his novel...

(Hands down the most poorly written novel The Blog has ever read. I posted something about that some time back. Go find it yourself.)

... And repeated in the movie adaptation.

(One of the best movies of The Blog's lifetime.)

(Again, see the earlier post that I just made you search for.)

Because The Blog is a uniter...

I propose a compromise.

Rename the high school "Forrest Gump High."

Problem solved.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Holy Sh!t. He's Talking About "Carrie," Again

Interesting article from E.W. movie critic Owen Gleiberman about the influence of the original movie adaptation of "Carrie" on his own career path. He calls the new version, "solid, efficient, and therefore essentially pointless."

As I said in an earlier post, and will now repeat...

Not pointless.

The Blog maintains that "Carrie" is not just a movie that can be remade every generation, it should be.


Well, as I pointed out in that earlier post...

Blue tuxedoes and man-perms.

The central premise of "Carrie" is timeless.

Fashion is not.

So, there is that.

The PC has still not seen the new version.

Just the trailers.

Gleiberman describes the opening moments of the original film as...

"...a hallucination — all those teenage girls horsing around in slow motion in a high school locker room, and then pale, freckled Carrie (Sissy Spacek), lost in a private reverie in the shower, caressing her skin and dropping the soap and getting her period for the first time, which makes her think that she’s dying. It’s a completely shocking, horrific sequence..."
And he is correct in his assessment.

But, based on the trailer that I have seen, the new version adds a whole new layer of horror, one that did not exist in 1976, to that horrific scene.


Dozens of them, raised high, recording the whole thing. Carrie's horror and humiliation destined, I'm betting, to be "shared" with the public on the internet.

A horrifying allegory, peculiar to the 21st century.

Teen girls, in today's real world, are fed alcohol, gang-raped, then slut-shamed in the social media.

If no other scene after that one brings anything new to the table, this new version still has a relevance today, that the original never imagined. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Quick Story (or Two)

                                        This photo has been making the rounds for a while.

It popped up on my newsfeed again tonight and, for no apparent reason, reminded me of a story from early in my career that, nearly 30 years later, still makes me chuckle.

I was starting work on a very low budget film with a small crew. We had had a production meeting a couple days earlier, where the crew was introduced to each other.

On the morning of the first day of production, the director called the crew into a circle.

He said, "I know we all met the other day, but I am really bad with names. I promise I will know all of your names in the next few days. In the meantime, I want to make sure that I know what all of you do."

One by one, the director pointed at each of us and named our position.

"You are make-up. You are craft services. You are camera, you are the gaffer. You're a grip, you're a grip, you're a grip, you're the best boy..."

This went on until he came to a large, black man with a deep, rumbling voice.

Picture Michael Clark Duncan or Ving Rhames in his prime.

"You're a rigger," the director proclaimed.

The crew member drew himself up to his full height, puffed out his chest and, in faux self-righteousness announced...

"Where I come from, we call ourselves regroes."

A beat of stunned silence, followed by hilarity.

I hope that that story is as funny in print as it was in person.

Oh, Wait!

I just remembered another story.

More recent. And more apropos of the photo that inspired this post.

A couple of years ago, I was having a conversation with the senior hairstylist on my current team.

She is a spunky, African-American woman who does not suffer fools gladly.

The subject of one of her former employers, Diana Ross, came up.

I said, "Did you hear that she recently filed a lawsuit against "The Cracker Barrel" restaurant chain, because she felt that she got bad service because of her race?"

"Well," my friend asked, "What did she expect from a place called "The Cracker Barrel?"

And on that note...

I'm out.

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Cult of Willful Ignorance: Part 2

Previously, on "The Premature Curmudgeon..."

 In the final decades of the 20th Century, the battle cry of the willfully ignorant was, "I don't know how to set my VCR."

In the early decades of the 21st Century, as technology has rendered that motto obsolete, a new motto is born...

"I don't pay much attention to politics. But..."

There is a difference between the old motto and the new.

The old one was, mostly, harmless.

The new one is, decidedly, ugly and dangerous.
I'm not going to suggest that bragging about one's personal ignorance on a subject, as if it's a virtue, is a new thing. 

I don't even want to give the impression that I think it is, neccesarily, a partisan thing.

"I don't watch television."
Really? None at all?
"I don't even own a television."
 (The above brag is, actually, more common among Liberals than Conservatives.
 See? The Blog may not be "fair and balanced," but The Blog is fairly balanced.)

The voice in my head replies, "Did the butter churn and loom cost so much that a television wasn't in the budget?
 "I can't cook."
 No? Can you read?

                                                                   Because, cookbooks.
 "Math wasn't my strong subject."

Wait! That was me. But, it's okay, because I have a phone in my pocket that can do math for me.

And then there is the loud and proud brag that "Part 1" was intended to address...
 "I don't pay much attention to politics."
The thing that all of the above ignorance brags, except the last one, have in common is that they are mostly harmless. Except to the ignorant braggart and, maybe, their immediate families and friends.

(If you have ever endured a Thanksgiving dinner at an "I can't cook" person's home, you know what I'm talking about.)

But, The Blog's focus tonight is on the people who brag about knowing nothing about politics.

They would be pretty much as benign as the others if they said,
"I don't pay much attention to politics. So let's talk about something else."
 Some of the novels that we consider classics today, (Alice's Adventures, Gulliver's Travels, Animal Farm, to pull a few from the top of my head,) and even a lot of our nursery rhymes, were political satire, during their time. And they worked because...

People were paying attention to politics.

Our modern culture has been conditioned, for at least a century, to not pay attention.

Even some of our greatest wits, like Mark Twain, Will Rogers and George Carlin, (all of whom would have had a field day with the Tea Party and today's Republicans, if they were here to see them,) spent a great deal of time telling us that politics is a dirty business best left to politicians. 

"I don't pay much attention to politics."
 And hey, that's great, if that is your choice!

It's a free country.

In spite of what Glenn Beck tells you.

But, this is the Information Age.

Hell, this is the Golden Age of Information.

Here in the 2nd decade of the 21st Century, we have unprecedented access to facts, opinions and instantly breaking news. Not to mention proposed bills and settled law.

So, while you have every right to loudly proclaim that you don't pay attention to politics, I just can't understand why you are so proud of that.
"I don't pay much attention to politics." = "I don't know how to set my VCR." = "I have never mastered tying my shoes," or "I drool a little when I eat." 
You have the right, but it's kind of sad.

But, that's not the real problem.

The real problem is that, "I don't pay much attention to politics," is almost inevitably followed by..
And here we go.
"But, I will now regale you, with an evangelical fervor, with my opinions about...

{Politics, government, Welfare, ObamaCare, Benghazi, Muslims, secret Muslims [like Obama.] the debt ceiling, the debt, the U.N. gun grab, government shut down, monument shut down, climate change and global warming, the I.R.S. scandal, socialism, 9/11, Social Security, ACORN, death panels, birth certificates, Hillary, Nancy, Maxine and Barbara. Liberal Media, Hollywood elitists, University Liberal elitists. Fast and Furious. A Christian nation and the founding fathers. And socialism. And Benghazi.}


"I don't pay much attention to politics."

"I know what I know because, I believe what I believe. And, your elitist research, education and knowledge are invalid. Because elitism. And liberalism. And, Benghazi."
Do you see what I am getting at here?

A portion of American society has been thoroughly conditioned to "believe" and "feel" and mistake those things for "knowing."

The Blog's education in the area of psychology ended after his college "Psych 101" class.

But, as a layman, armchair psychologist, diagnoses this state of mind as a pathological denial in the face of facts that conflict with ideological certainty.

A liberal, fellow traveller, F.O.T.B. posted something on Facebook, yesterday, about the failure of the far right Republican Tea Partiers as the government shut down ended.

A self-proclaimed "WhackoByrd" had this to say...

That about sums it up.

In his mind, a fringe minority constitutes "motivated troops." And, damage be damned, the base's short term memory will win the day.

Got that? Delusional, pathological denial.

And, this is their king...

Speaking of delusional TeaPublican delusion...

The queen of denial, the half-term governor of Alaska, went on TeaLoony friendly Fox "News" last night and (I'll have to confirm this with Guinness) set a new world record for a run-on sentence that contained no facts.

The Blog apologizes in advance for any ear bleeding.

Watch it here. And, pay attention to Megyn Kelly's face while Caribou Barbie goes rogue.

Seriously, when your canon has broken so loose that the hardcore crew panics and ducks for cover, something has gone horribly wrong.

And, (and I ask this out of serious concern,) is Sarah on something?

Because, what the fuck was that, exactly?

The Blog is not a doctor, nor does he play one on TV.

(I lie. I did play a doctor on TV, once. But, that is not relevant here.)


Blinky eyes, slurred speech, an unusually relaxed and laid back demeanor.

Is Sarah on something? And, if it is prescribed, does it need to be adjusted?

If you weren't paying close attention the first time around, go back and watch it again.

Tell me I am off base here.

The PC could get into dissecting the whole interview. But that would require a whole new thread.

But, I do feel compelled to comment on one thing that Half-Gov Palin says here...

Late in the clip, she says, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

(I took shorthand notes here, so I am paraphrasing.)

"That is what any common sense Conservative believes."

Got that?

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

That was, certainly, the philosophy under the conservative Saint Ronnie, when we armed and trained a guy named Osama bin Laden and his Al Queda band of "freedom fighters," against Russia.

That same philosophy, (again) under Reagan, had us propping up Saddam Hussein and Iraq against our enemy Iran.

That went well.

Are you detecting a theme here?

How about one more example?

Last night, I shared a graphic about proposed cuts to the SNAP program on Facebook.

Several of my friends passed it on.

One of my friend's friends responded, thusly...

Do you see the denial?

$24 billion wasted by the shutdown is irrelevant, when the FLOTUS wears $200 shoes.

That makes perfect sense.

If you are willfully ignorant.

I think that I have made my point.

That is enough for tonight.

But, just to wrap it up...

A couple of links that you, my bloglitts, might find interesting.

I mentioned the antics of Teabagger Larry Klayman a couple of posts back.

Here is a really good post about him.

And, to wrap this up...

Go check out today's Washington Post op-ed about "10 Lies About Obama that People Actually Believe."


Tomorrow is Saturday.

The PC's day off.

I probably won't post tomorrow night, unless something comes along that compels me to do so.

Right now, my plan is to sleep till noon, run some errands, then, maybe, go see "Gravity" or "Carrie."

You all have a great weekend.

I'll see you in a couple of days.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dumbf*ckery Interrupted: Part Two

The Blog will return to his "Willful Ignorance" thread in the next night or two.

But, as I write this, the House is passing the nonpartisan bill written and passed by the Senate, designed to walk the U.S. of Merica, back from doing the stupidest thing that the U.S. Congress has ever threatened to do.

What a relief!

We all know that we will go through it all again in January and February.

Be that as it may. The Blog is hopeful that the Repubs and their Teapublican codependents understand that they painted themselves into this corner, and understand that they have done themselves in for 2014.

Rafael "Ted" Cruz thinks that he has successfully hijacked the Republican party.

And, maybe he has.

He has, also, signed the Republican party's death certificate.

Hillary? Elizabeth? Alan?

Who knows.

And no one knows who will run on the Republican ticket.

But, as of tonight, it doesn't look good for them.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dumbf*ckery Interrupted

The dumbfuckery is coming so fast and furiously that The Blog is having trouble keeping up .

"The Cult of Willful Ignorance: Pt. 2" will be posted in the next 48 hours or so.

I promise.

But, over the last 24 hours, the shit has hit the fan in D.C. and all bets are off.

If it wasn't clear before, it should be, now.

The House of Representatives, dominated by Republicans, has been taken hostage by a very small contingent of ultra-right, fundamentalist, end-timers, lead, not by the Speaker of the House, but by...

                                                       Senator Ted Cruz (R- Whoville).

Got that?

Not a House representative.

A senator.

Senator Rafael "Ted"  "Green Eggs and Ham" Cruz, rightly exiled by his own wing of the Congress, has become that creepy college guy who hangs out at the high school because he might just impress enough, barely legal, freshmen girls to get his dick wet.

Pretty pathetic.

Since I am not going to dive too deeply into the Cult of Dumbfuckery, tonight...

I will tide you over with a couple of dumbfuck hits...

Chew on these for a bit.

Some deep intellect at a North Carolina middle school thought that this was a good idea.


Right-wing attorney Larry Klayman commits treason, safe in the knowledge that treason is the jurisdiction of the DOJ, who, conveniently, are shut down, thanks to "The Shutdown."

The Blog is above pointing out that the name "Klayman" is two consonants of separation away from "Klansman."

The Blog reports. You decide.

To be clear, The PC has quite a few "conservative" friends.

They insist that they are not racist.

The Blog believes them.

They would hate Obama if he looked more like his mom than his dad.  If he was "Barry O'Bama," recent history tells us, he would be attacked for his imagined allegiance to The Pope and The Vatican.

All of that aside, right-wing evangelicals and hardcore Republicans hate Obama because, like Bill Clinton, he isn't a conservative Republican.

So, not all right-wingers are racist.

But enough of them are that this.....


(No racism to be seen here. Move along...")

*Racism and Red baiting, together as you have always wanted them...*

Nope. No racism here.


While ex-pat Aussie/Britt Rupert Murdoch fans the flame of anti-democracy via Fox "News" and The Wall Street Journal...

Ex-pat Britt, Monty Python alumnus, Eric Idol, gets real.

The Godz willing and the creek don't rise....

We will finish this up, tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Cult of Willful Ignorance: Part 1

In the early 1980s, as certain new technologies began to gain popularity in average American households, a small quiet sound could be heard in the distance.

Almost imperceptible, at first, the plaintive voice grew, gradually, louder.

"I don't know how to set my VCR."
It was still quiet. Muttered toward the floor. A passive plea for help, tinged with confusion, embarrassment and, maybe even, a little bit of shame. 
"I don't know how to set my VCR."
 As the voice grew a bit louder still, you could even detect a dollop of fear.
"The clock just keeps blinking, 12:00... 12:00... 12:00..."
And as the voice became clearer, one could discern a subtext. This wasn't just an embarrassed confession, it was a desperate plea.
"Do you, maybe, know a fifth-grader that could help me with this?"
As time passed...

A year? Two years? Maybe three?

The lone, quiet voice was joined by another. 

Then another.

The voices multiplied, exponentially into a small but vocal chorus. 

A choir of voices proclaiming, as one, that they were not capable of following illustrated instruction in plain English.  

*At the risk of breaking the flow... A digression.*

In the 1980s, tech products were still being manufactured in America.

And the instructions were written in English. Not "Chinese to English" fed through Babel Fish. No one can be expected to understand that mess.

*End Digression*
In time, the members of the chorus realized that their name was Legion. And, so empowered, their voices grew louder.

And they came out, en mass, from their technophobic closets. They lifted their heads high and raised their voices. Their refrain no longer an embarrassed whine, but an arena rock anthem to technological ineptitude.
  "We don't know how to set our VCRs!"

"We hit 'Record' if we are home when 'Matlock' comes on. Otherwise, that's what summer reruns are for!"

"We put electrical tape over the blinking clock, because we will not be intimidated!"

"We are old dogs who will not learn new tricks!
                                  "WEEEEEEEE are the champions, my friend....!!!!!!!"
"We are the willfully ignorant! And we are loud and proud!"

"Get used to it and get over it!"
It strikes me, as I write this, that this rise of proud, willful dumbfuckery and the subsequent vilification of the educated as "elitist" was a seed planted and rooted during the Reagan years. It seems, to your humble Blog, that this is not a coincidence. We will explore this later.

*If you, my blogglitts are as smart as I think you are, (and I think you are,) you are already way ahead of me and my point. But, stick around.*

Three decades have passed.

The VCR has gone the way of the icebox and the dial telephone.
*Another Digression*

Isn't it funny how changing technology changes our language?

The first time I wrote the phrase, "I don't know how to set my VCR," I actually wrote, "I don't know how to program my VCR." But then I realized that that was inaccurate. We didn't "program" VCRs, we "set" them. Today, in the second decade of the 21st century, we "program" DVRs (among other things, including our coffee makers.) In 1988 we "taped" our favorite shows. Today, we "record" them. And, at the rate that VOD, Netflix™, Hulu+™, etc. are barreling down on us, we "record" less and "queue" and "stream" more.

*End Digression*
VCRs were replaced by DVD/Rs which were replaced by the DVR. And, as I pointed out in the above digression, the DVR is minutes away from being tossed on the junk heap of obsolete quaintness.

Our current tech devices "program," (or, in the parlance of the mid-80s, "set,") themselves.

Leaving the heretofore empowered Cult of the Willfully Ignorant without much to brag about.

Sure, they have glommed onto the default "smartphone argument."

"I refuse to own a phone that is smarter than I am."

This motto of the 21st century techno-philistine is usually proclaimed via Facebook or Twitter, so it must be taken with a whole shaker of salt. "Hang on to your dumb phone," says I, "While you have mastered your home computer or iPad™."

(I feel that I need to add that, as witty as the "smartphone argument" is, in a Reaganesque, ("I'm from the government and I'm here to help." LOL!), sort of way, it is also an admission of the fear that an inanimate machine that is about the size of a cigarette pack and thinner than a pack of gum is, actually, smarter than the commenter.)

In the vernacular of youngsters on the social media, "Derp."

Enough for tonight.

Here is a quick preview of "The Cult of Willful Ignorance: Part 2..."
*One last digression*

I had planned on calling this post "The Cult of Dumbfuckery."

In the interest of keeping it clean for Facebook and Google+ sharers, I made the adjustment.

But, I meant, "Dumbfuckery."

*End Dumbfuck Digression*
 In the final decades of the 20th Century, the battle cry of the willfully ignorant was, "I don't know how to set my VCR."

In the early decades of the 21st Century, as technology has rendered that motto obsolete, a new motto is born...

"I don't pay much attention to politics. But..."

There is a difference between the old motto and the new.

The old one was, mostly, harmless.

The new one is, decidedly, ugly and dangerous.

See you tomorrow night. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Of Right Wing Talk and Wooden Legs

The PC is working on a post about the dumbfuckification of a portion of the American voting public. As tends to happen when a post isn't just a spur-of-the-moment, alcohol, nicotine and bile fueled rant, my mind wanders, during the journey, onto parallel and divergent paths.

Last night, the following meme hit the Facebook...

Some who shared it were surprised that the man behind a whole lot of weird-ass music like "Joe's Garage" and "Sheik Yerbouti..."

Not to mention...

"Don't Eat the Yellow Snow..."


...Wrote and produced his daughter's (who he fucking named "Moon Unit,") one hit wonder, decade defining, novelty record, "Valley Girl..."

...could be such an intellectual.

But, he was.

In fact, he spent the last decade of his life, not so much making music, as he did testifying in front of various congressional hearings.

But, his brilliance goes back further than that.

Before there was Fox "News" and Bill O. and Rushbo, Hannity and Beck...

Before Morton Downey, Jr.

                                                                         No relation.

And Wally George.

Whose only positive contribution to society was fathering...

                                                                  Rebecca DeMornay,

The pioneer of right-wing, confrontational television was Joe Pyne.

You can read up on him at the above Wiki link. But being Wiki, and not the Encyclopedia Brittanica, you will have to take the facts with the not so factual.

Pyne liked to pretend that he lost a leg in WWII. Truth be told (and it is, on the Wiki post) that leg was injured in the war, but was lost, years later, to cancer.

If you read far enough along on that post, you will read a version of the story that The Blog has set out to tell.

The Wiki post denies that there is any evidence that this story ever happened.

But, The PC has a friend, who is about to celebrate his 75th birthday, who was in the TV biz back then, and was there, on the set, when it happened.

Pyne, (who hated "hippies") asked Zappa, "So, you have long hair. Does that make you a woman?"

Without missing a beat, Zappa replied, "You have a wooden leg. Does that make you a table?"

My friend was there and heard it with his own ears. I believe him. So, that happened.

Call this a "preemptive digression."

"God willing and the creek don't rise..."

The Blog will get to his central point tomorrow night.

Catch up with you then.

Friday, October 11, 2013

23 Skidoo!

A couple of nights ago,, (a fun site that is "the bee's knees,") posted a column entitled...

"59 Slang Phrases From the 1920s..."

Go check it out!

The PC is spending the next few days lowering his blood pressure by ignoring the "Applesauce" happening in D.C. right now.

The column is great, but I'm feeling like it needs some annotation.

So, join me while The PC breaks it down, point by point, and brings it all up to date...

1. "Ankle: to walk." In The young Blog's days in the late 1970s the equivalent was, "Let's book." or "Let's moto-vate." In the first decade of the 21st Century, "Let's roll."

2. "Applesauce!":  "Horsefeathers!" -- Today,"Bullshit!"

3. "Bank's closed!" what you tell someone to stop making out. Today, "Get a room!"

4. Bearcat: a lively, spirited woman, possibly with a fiery streak. Today, "bitch." Sadly.

5. Berries: like “bee’s knees,” denotes that something is good, desirable or pleasing. “That sounds like berries to me!” Today, "Sick!"

6. Bimbo: refers to a macho man. Today, refers to a Kardashian. I don't know how this went so wrong.

7. Bluenose: term for a prude or individual deemed to be a killjoy. Still valid.

8. Bubs: a woman’s boobs. While it is not commonly used in the USA, I have heard it used in some English speaking islands in the Caribbean.

9. "Bushwa!": "Bullshit!" Still in use by Annie Wilkes types who also use terms like "doody-head."

10. "Butt me!" “I would like a cigarette.” in today's parlance, as funny as "Can you spare a fag?" for the same reasons.

Jumping ahead... (Because I am not going to do all 59.)

31. Jake: okay, fine, as in “Don’t worry, everything’s jake.” Not commonly used, today. But, explains the punk/ska band "Less Than Jake."

32. Jorum of skee: a swig of alcohol, particularly hard liquor. New to me. But, my new favorite phrase!

34. "Let's blouse!" “Let’s blow this popsicle stand!” See: "Let's book."

35. Manacle: Wedding ring. See Alfred E. Newman circa 1968... "A wedding ring is like a tourniquet. They both cut off your circulation."

37. Mrs. Grundy: an uptight or very straight-laced individual. See "Gladys Kravits" or " Barney Fife."

40. Oliver Twist: an extremely good dancer. In the '20s? Really? Did someone time travel to the early 1960s and discover Chubby Checker?

41. On a toot: On a bender. Shit faced. Still feels fresh.

42. Ossified: drunk. Not just feeling fresh. The PC's favorite term for drunk.

Okay, it goes on and on. You get my point. The Blog is too tired to go on. makes some good points. If you don't agree...

54. “Tell it to Sweeney!” or, Talk to the hand.

Bonus Post

                                                                     The PC speaks.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Solitary Confinement

Some years ago, I visited a juvenile prison facility in downtown Los Angeles. My memory may be doing me a disservice, but I remember the solitary confinement cells a bit smaller than this one.

But, the concrete bed and steel sink/toilet... and solitary confinement.

All accurate.

If child abuse creates a never ending cycle of abuse, what does Juvie solitary confinement cause?

Thanks to for this video.

If you support things that matter, you should go and subscribe to

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics.

From Wikipedia, (Motto: "Facts, Half Truths and the shit Michelle Bachman's interns post.")

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent's point.
The term was popularised in the United States by Mark Twain (among others), who attributed it to the 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881): "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." However, the phrase is not found in any of Disraeli's works and the earliest known appearances were years after his death. Other coiners have therefore been proposed, and the phrase is often attributed to Twain himself."

The following headline and the first couple of paragraphs of a "story" that was vomited into my inbox by right-wing bottle of Ipecac that is

This is a layer cake of funny.

I just don't know which layer is funniest.

Guy Benson, writing for Townhall says that Obama's approval rating has slid to 37%.

Since he doesn't source his claim I guess I'll have to take him at his word.

Because, if Townhall published it, it must be true. I'm sure that the poll he sites can be found at Breitbart, Newsmax or Townhall, itself.

But, that's not the funny part.

Here's the funny.

Benson, providing "perspective," uses Dubbya's 34% approval low as the benchmark.

Now, The Blog is not so good at the maths...

But, I'm pretty sure that 34% is less than 37% by four points.

So, speaking of points, what is his?

GWB - 0   Bus - 1

Giving the benefit of the doubt to Guy, (Can I call you Guy?) and assuming that this statistic is accurate, well, 37% does seem like a pretty sad number.

Again, math. Not my strong suit.

But, let's try to do this...

Guy neglects to factor in the fact that 47% of Americans have, do and always will hate Obama from day one.

x = republican, right-wing, tea baggers.

Add to that, the substantial number of true, liberal Progressives who have been disappointed by Obama's less than progressive performance.

y = disenchanted, liberal, Democratic, progressives.


(-x) + -y) = 37%

Which is still > Bush approval.

Now, let's go on to factor the thing that Guy ignores completely.

Congress' approval since "The Shutdown."

Polls taken yesterday and today by numerous sources put Congress' approval rating at 5 to 7%.

In fairness, a Gallup poll taken yesterday puts Congress' approval at a whopping 27%.

Again, not good at math. But, holy shit!

5% or 27%, Congress' approval rating renders the POTUS' approval rating pretty irrelevant in the big picture. Don't you think?

Guy's Townhall post is clumsy misdirection, at best.

But, there are those people who only get their "news" from sources like Townhall won't know anything else.

And my their God help me...

By tomorrow, that 37% is what I am going to hear about.

Best. Prank. Ever.

The PC is not a big fan of pranks and practical jokes.

Maybe because during so much of his childhood, the young future Blog was on the receiving end of too many pranks, aka: bullying.

At their worst, pranks are mean spirited and cruel.

Funny only to the assholes who perpetrated them.

At best, they just aren't very funny.


They are super, incredibly, totally awesome!

Your average April Fools prank is lame, trite and annoying.

Allen Funt's classic TV show, "Candid Camera," did pranks right.

Ashton Kutcher's "Punk'd" was just mean and ugly. Although, the fact that he limited his pranks to fellow celebs sort of made it okay.

Pranks and practical jokes work best if every one involved is playing the game.

The cast of "M*A*S*H*" were famous for pranking each other.

George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and the rest of the "Ocean's" bunch make movies together, primarily, to provide a venue for one upping each other. Getting a movie made was just a bonus.

Your Uncle PC, himself, once perpetrated a prank on a TV star that, IMHO, was legend... wait for it... ary.

It went... something... like this...

The core of the prank was a gradual "gas-lighting."

The small thefts and eventual returns of little things.

A pen, here.

A script, there.

A cell phone that went missing for an hour, only to return to the exact spot where it was last seen.

The same with a pair of sunglasses.

It escalates...

A car parked in a spot on the opposite end of the parking lot than where "the mark" parked it that morning.

*Say what you will about Hollywood Teamsters...

Not only can they repair a damaged transmission in less than an hour...

They can also hot-wire a douchey SUV.*

The PC, with a little help from his friends, spent about a week perpetrating prankster foreplay.

I was not inside "the mark's" head. But, the purpose was to get the victim to start doubting her own sanity. All a build up to the "piece de resistance."

A couple sentences above, The Blog gave high praise to Hollywood Teamsters, a union that is often the butt of insider jokes, but are, never the less, awesome.

Now, here is some praise for two other, generally ignored, Hollywood professions...

Set construction and props.

These guys and gals refused an offer of a generous check, for the opportunity to participate in the TV set prank of the decade.

They came to the stage over the weekend and built a false wall and placed plants and artwork in front of the door to the star's dressing room, making it look like the room never existed.

I wish we had camera phones in those days. Because the reaction of the star who misplaced her dressing room was priceless.

To her credit, when the prank was revealed, she laughed harder than the rest of us.

The PC not only kept his job...

The "mark" gave me a nice little gift, accompanied by a note that read...

"Good one! Well played! Watch your back!"

The show was canceled before her revenge could be served.

I still look over my shoulder, now and then.

Because I know that "revenge is a dish that is best served cold."

But, I have, seriously, digressed from my original topic..

As The Blog mentioned in a recent post, a remake of the classic movie "Carrie" will be released in the next couple of weeks.

The studio behind the new film produced the most amazingly awesome prank/publicity stunt, ever.

Look at the faces of the victims.

Most of them are too young to have been there for the release of the original "Carrie."

But they have seen Sissy Spacek's original, telekinetic meltdown. On video or cable.

Their visceral reaction may be subconscious.

But, they recognize it. And underpants were soiled.

 The. Best. Prank. Ever.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More Outrage Than Usual

Way back in the fall of 1978, The young, future Blog entered his first year of college. And the first assignment in his Communications 101 class, the professor split the students into groups of, (I don't remember,) six? Eight? Nine? Whatever.

                                The project was an exercise known as "The Kidney Machine."

You may know it. It was kind of a college standard.

It went like this...

Twelve kidney patients are candidates for dialysis. But, those machines being scarce, in those days, only five machines are available.

The group was given the list of candidates along with their personal profiles.

For example, one candidates is a 29-year-old family man. Another is an 72-year-old retiree. Another is a single mom of two, another is a convicted felon. And so it went.

Based on those profiles, we were tasked with deciding who got the life prolonging treatment and who didn't.

The purpose of this exercise, I guess, was a tossed salad of ethics, teamwork, logic and problem solving.

Although, as I write this I realize that, at the ripe old age of 18, (years before our frontal lobes finished forming,) we had become the original "death panels."

In hindsight, The Blog realizes that, had he been in a different mindset, he would have realized that the true takeaway was this...

"Invest in dialysis centers."

35 years later, thanks in a big way to the inventor of the Segway and son of a Mad Magazine cartoonist, "kidney machines," aka: dialysis machines, are now smaller than the average vending machine and are mass produced on a large scale. 

Dialysis centers are giving Starbucks stores a run for the real estate.

The PC has counted 15 centers in a 12 mile radius of his home, and more outside of that radius.

In the past six months, DaVita (as far as I can tell, the McDonald's of dialysis centers) have opened not one, but two centers, mere blocks from Casa Blog. (One of them looks to be the size of a Walmart.)

If you know me personally, or have been following the blog for any length of time, you know that The PC has a personal interest in the subject.


The sudden proliferation of dialysis centers make me wonder what is going on in our society that demand has become so high. The rise of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, Hep C and the abuse of certain drugs, prescription and otherwise, seem to be involved.

But that is a conspiracy theory for another day...

*End Digression*

So the burning controversy in 1978's college classes is pretty much moot.

Seriously, I should have invested in dialysis centers.

But, getting on to my outrage du jour...

If you haven't figured it out by now, The Blog is a flaming liberal. And, as such, believes that there are some things in this world that should not be "for profit."

Education, national security, utilities like gas, water and electricity, to name a few.

And, healthcare.

Hospitals and clinics, once the nearly exclusive domain of the non-profit world, are being increasingly privatized.

And then, there is the dialysis center.

As you may have noticed, up there in those earlier paragraphs, dialysis is big, no huge, fucking business. And profit is the thing.

Over the last five years, I have learned more about dialysis than I ever wanted to know.

And one thing is for sure...

Dialysis is about blood.

Dialysis cleans the blood when kidneys and livers fail.

Dialysis patients bleed.

Sometimes due to sloppy work by the techs.

Sometimes due to anti-coagulants that keep their blood flowing properly.

Basic hygiene is, well, basic.

Gloves are worn.

Disposable paper sheets cover chairs.

Techs and nurses wear disposable paper coats.

But, all of that disposable paper adds up, cost-wise.


Which brings us to the letter that Mrs. Blog and her fellow patients received this week.

Got that?

No more paper chair covers. Patients will now be responsible for their own, properly washed and bleached, "thank you very much," chair covering sheets.

The letter doesn't mention, but The Blog has it from a reliable source, that the nurses and techs are being ordered to get as many a three days wear from their paper lab coats before disposing of them.


Well, the answer seems obvious to me.

I made the point six and seven sentences above.

The U.S. Renal Care, Corp. is cutting corners, sacrificing the basic hygiene of their patients, and saving a few bucks in the name of the almighty profit.

But, of course, that is not the official, corporate line.

"Why?" I asked, "Is this happening?"

The official answer from the paper pushing, bean counting, corporate suit in charge consisted of one word.


At this point, I called "bullshit."

Unlike so many Americans, The PC has read the Affordable Care Act in it's entirety.

The ACA is about providing affordable health insurance to all Americans.

Nowhere in the ACA is there a clause about denying payment for disposable, hygienic paper products.


The bottom line is this...

U.S. Renal Care, Corp. (and, I imagine, other corporate, for profit, dialysis centers,) have found a way to screw their captive customers, while timing the move to convince the gullible that it is Obama's fault.

Therein lies my outrage.

The letterhead on the letter that Mrs. Blog received has no contact info.


But, it turns out, they do have a web site and a contact page.

The Blog would never suggest that his bloglitts jam the phones of U.S. Renal Care or crash their web site with complaints.

That is up to you.

The Blog is just saying....

Saturday, October 5, 2013

This Just In...

This blog does not usually link to sites like

But, tonight, I am going to make an exception to my rule.

Because, according to my weather app...

                                                     I don't have to spell this out, do I?
Go check this out right now.


Who knows how long before Roger Ailes catches on and has the post removed.

                                                                        Because, whoa!

A list of actual facts about the ACA, aka: "ObamaCare," was, I guess accidentally, posted on the Fox "News" site.

Six actual facts.

Or, as Fox "News" calls them...


(I guess the kids in Fox's web department aren't completely asleep at the helm.)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Gun Free Zones

Just a quick note to my handful of gun nut (and I say that with love) friends who couldn't wait until the body was bagged and the injured were checked into the ER before you started posting memes about the failure of another "gun free zone,..." and may have lost interest in the facts as the day wore on...

The shots fired were fired by D.C. police.

The woman, who tried to drive her car onto the White House and Capitol grounds, seems to have been unarmed.

"Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who said he was briefed by the Homeland Security Department, said he did not think the woman was armed. "There was no return fire," he said."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


All kinds of awful shit is going down right now.

Awful, but important.

We are witnessing a death. The Blog is just not sure whose.

The death of American democracy. (Very bad.)

The death of the Republican party. (Bad, but not so bad.)

The death of the extreme right-wing movement know as the TEA Party. (Good. The Blog will dance on that grave.)

We will see how it all shakes down.

Until then, for the sake of my blood pressure, The Blog will refrain from any more comment on the current state of American politics for the time being, and focus on another major current event.

The upcoming release of the remake of "Carrie."

A lot of people get their panties in a bunch about movie remakes.

Me, not so much.

Most remakes suck. That's a fact.

But, so fucking what?

A bad remake doesn't erase the original.

In fact, most bad, or not even bad but pointless, remakes fade quickly into obscurity and serve to illustrate why the original was so good to begin with.

Does anyone remember the "Casablanca" remake that starred David Soul?

Of course not.

(Well, I do. But, I'm weird that way.)

How about the recent remake of "Nightmare on Elm Street?"

If you blinked, you missed it.

(Although, to be fair, it was still better than the original "Elm Street II" sequel.)

Some sequels get made, mostly, because a director or actor wants to take a shot at it.

It happens all the time in live theater. They call it a "revival."

Gus Van Sant and Vince Vaughn remade "Psycho" shot for shot.

Was it awful?


Did anyone care?


Did it besmirch the memory of the Alfred Hitchcock/ Anthony Perkins original?

Not one bit.

It helps if a remake brings something new to the table.

But, not always.

The late 1970s remake of "King Kong" was truly awful, even with advanced special effects technology. The updated plot line was a serious misfire, the acting sucked and the new technology wasn't so great.

On the other hand, the more recent "Kong" remake was one of the best films of it's year. Because Peter Jackson is a fucking genius.

Your best bet, if you are going to do a remake, is to remake a movie that wasn't very good to begin with.

                                                      "Ocean's Eleven" comes to mind.

Which brings us to "Carrie."

Stephen King's telekinetic, high school misfit was first brought to the screen in 1976, by Brian DePalma.

King, himself, admits that the movie was better than his book.

The young PC was in high school at the time. A misfit, himself, navigating the world of popularity and proms.

And King's novel and DePalma's film spoke to the young Blog's generation.

And if there was ever a story that should be remade anew for every generation, it's "Carrie."


Well, for one thing...


While the core of the story of "Carrie" is, pretty much, timeless...

Powder blue tuxedoes, man-perms and John Travolta, are not.

The new movie isn't out yet. So, whether it is good or bad remains to be seen.

But Chloe Grace Moritz and Julianne Moore feel perfectly cast, to me.

And that is why I think that a "Carrie" for the second decade of the 21st century is a remake to be celebrated.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: 09/30/2013

Dateline: Washington, DC.

The House GOP is in critical condition after a self-inflicted gun injury.

Unless you are living in a cave on Mars, you know what happened in Washington tonight.

The House Republicans supported their leader Rep. John Boehner Senator Ted Cruz and forced a shut down of the government. Only the second government shutdown in 30 years.

Actually, the second government shutdown in U.S. history.

The Teapublicans actually believe that they will pull this off by pointing the finger at Pres. Obama, Sen. Harry Reid and Senate Democrats.

Because Teapublicans are stupid enough to believe that the majority of Americans are as stupid as they are.

They are in for a rude awakening.

The House Republicans tried this move 17 years ago, under Speaker Newt Gingrich. It did not end well for Gingrich or the Republican party. So much so, that today, even Gingrich thinks that the current shutdown is a monumentally stupid move.

But, here it is.

As the kids say today...

"So, that happened."

Far too many House republicans have become so worried about keeping their jobs that the handful of fringe, far-right, tea-bagging, loonies, have terrorized them into complacent cooperation.

The "TEA Party," aside from highjacking the name of an actual, patriotic movement, without understanding actual history, equally, cluelessly, highjacked an early American, revolutionary war symbol.

                                                                  The Gadsden Flag.

Tonight, the new flag of the Republican party should be this...

I know.

The snake eating it's own tail has some sort of historical, philosophical significance regarding infinity and eternity and what-not.

But, if the baggers can highjack a symbol, so can I.

The snake is fucking eating itself alive.

And I can think of no better symbol for the current state of The GOP.

I hate the cliché about "drinking the Kool-Aid™. I believe that it disrespects the surviving families and friends of the victims of the Jonestown Massacre.

And, it's trite.

But, Ted Cruz and his ilk are really nothing more than political, evangelical, cult leading Jim Joneses.

I kind of like "They have drunk the TEA." That works for me.

But, maybe even better...

Before Jonestown.

Before the TEA Party.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. wrote a play called, "Happy Birthday, Wanda June."

The Blog knows a lot about this play, because, oh so many years ago, he played the lead, Harold Ryan, in a production of the play.

And in this play, Vonnegut via Harold Ryan, talks about drinking "the blue soup."

"What kind of a country has this become?" asks Harold Ryan, a hunter and soldier who was lost in the Amazon for seven years. "America's days of greatness are over. It has drunk the blue soup."

He explains to his wife, Penelope, that it's "An Indian narcotic we were forced to drink. It put us in a haze--a honey-colored haze which was lavender around the edge. We laughed, we sang, we snoozed. When a bird called, we answered back. Every living thing was our brother or our sister, we thought...All the time we were drinking more blue soup, more blue soup! Never stopped drinking blue soup. Blue soup all the time. We'd go out after food in that honey-colored haze, and everything that was edible had a penumbra of lavender."

When Penelope tells Harold that it "Sounds quite beautiful," he explodes, "Beautiful, you say? It wasn't life, it wasn't death--it wasn't anything! Beautiful? Seven years gone--(snapping his fingers) like that, like that! Seven years of silliness and random dreams! Seven years of nothingness, when there could have been so much!"

"Like what?" Penelope asks.

Harold responds, "Action! Interaction! Give and take! Challenge and response!"
Harold's a vulgar, violent asshole, bent on destruction, having killed 103 people for the hell of it. He embodies the extremes of America - murderous rage and vile complacency. So of course, in Vonnegut's world, he's dead-on.

Vonnegut was right, too, of course. We are lost in our haze of blue soup, electronically-mediated, information-controlled, politcally-spun honey-colored penumbrae.

In the play, the liberal, pacifist, Vonnegut satirized the right-wing war hawks when he wrote Harold's rant.

But, The Blog thinks that, from today's perspective, it is an apt description of the low information, right-wing, Fox "News" TEA party.

They have truly, drunk the blue soup.