Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

background checks and hypocrisy

This is not the appropriate time to discuss background checks (on immigrants and/or muslims.) We should be looking at the mental health component of this tragedy, and the individuals in question rather than painting all (immigrants and/or muslims) with broad brushstrokes. #soundfamiliar? --kjb

Monday, April 15, 2013

Quo Vadis?

O, Obama, wither goest thou?
And thou, O Liberal, who followeth thy shepherd?

There is a tale from the Acts of Peter which has Saint Peter fleeing from Rome and his own likely crucifixion. When he encounters a resurrected Jesus on the road, Peter asks, “Whither goest thou?” ("Quo vadis" in Latin.) 

Jesus replies, “I am going back to Rome to be crucified again.” Thus, Peter gains the courage to return to Rome himself and continue his ministry--at least until he is indeed finally crucified, upside-down.

And as the media try to make sense of Obama’s proposed budget, which sells out seniors, not to mention 70 years of Democrats fighting to protect Social Security, liberals find themselves encountering Obama on the road to Rome.

Are we going to follow him back to the Eternal City to be crucified ourselves, ass pointed toward the sky, head full of blood--and very likely, regret? Will he be your resurrection? Or could it be possible that Obama is--gasp--selling out his base? As unimaginable as this may seem?

Well, an adorable little article that appears today in politicsusa suggests that there is no such crucifixion in the offing. That in fact, what is actually happening is that that clever Obama is at it again, playing 11-dimensional chess and whooping everyone’s ass in the process, only no one else knows it yet.

Well, the article would be adorable if it weren’t so hopelessly naïve and so typical of the contortions that liberals will put themselves through in order to find a way to keep supporting this president, even after he has proven  himself over and over to be nothing but a less-abrasive, English-speaking version of George W. Bush.

In the piece, the author, one Jason Easley pushes the notion that Obama’s embrace of chained-CPI social security “reform” is in fact a setup:

The truth is that outside of the right wing ideologues, many Republicans see real political danger in messing with Social Security. In plain English, Republicans will get nothing on Social Security unless they agree to raise taxes.

He suggests that Republicans have three choices: allow tax increases in order to get chained-CPI passed (and get savaged by their tax-hatin’ base), argue for chained-CPI without tax increases (and get nothing, because Obama and the Senate have proven so very formidable when it comes to negotiations) or reject chained-CPI altogether (resulting in a party divided and nothing getting passed at all.)

Well, first of all the premise that Obama might stand tall in negotiations with Republicans in order to secure a deal that he “really wants” is...well, it’s sweet. That's so cute. I wish I could meet Mr. Easley so I could pat him on his widdle head.

As is apparent to anyone with a pulse, this flies in the face of all available evidence. Given any opportunity to cave to Republican wishes or to the received wisdom of the Beltway in order to fulfill his weird fetish for so-called “bi-partisanship,” this president has done so.

One might be prompted to imagine--if one were of a cynical bent--that with this nearly unbroken string of concessions, Obama has in fact been getting what he wants all along. That perhaps his stated goals aren’t in sync with his actual goals. One might imagine that if there is a game being played, it isn’t being run on the Republicans, but rather on Obama’s liberal base. (See: closure, Guantanamo; reform, Wall Street; health care, single-payer; withdrawal, Iraq; Patriot Act, renewal; torture, non-prosecution of; etc., etc., ad infinitum.)

But enough heresy.

Mr. Easley goes on to say:

Democrats have constructed an elaborate political trap for Republicans. If they go on record as supporting Social Security cuts, President Obama his party will snap it closed. (sic)

Yes, because that’s what Democrats are good at, snapping traps.

Note that within hours of Obama’s budget proposal going public, Republicans were already accusing him of selling out seniors

That’s some fine trap-snappin’ there, Lou.

Obama:   Good luck in 2014 and 2016, fellow Dems! Did I mention I won’t have to run again? Ever?

Dem politicians:   0_o

Perhaps the most infuriating piece of this liberal head-in-the-sand routine as demonstrated by Mr. Easley’s article is the notion that anyone who argues against Obama’s policies from the left is somehow actually the one who is ignorant or naïve:

While the activists on the left continue to completely ignore the political realities unfolding before them, it is looking more and more like Obama’s Chained CPI offer was designed to call the Republican bluff on Social Security.

Here’s the thing: the “political realities” are a result of what the president wants them to be. They are not entirely his doing, obviously, but the president has the largest, loudest, biggest, baddest bully pulpit on the planet. If he wanted to change the conversation--or even make an ATTEMPT to change the conversation, he could do so. He could have done so, over and over again. He has had countless opportunities to try and shift the conversation--ANY conversation--more toward something resembling the progressive platforms on which he ran.

He has not done so.

And here’s where the intransigent Obama cheerleaders are completely self-defeating: the conversation desperately needs to be changed. I AGREE with them, for fuck's sake, that this country is fast steamrolling toward an unshakeable oligarchy run by and for the plutocrats, and there will come a point--if we haven’t passed it already--at which no amount of howling from us plebeians will have any effect.

And if Obama won’t change the conversation, we need to call him out on it. If we continue to support him no matter what shitty, anti-democratic, anti-human policies he supports, we are complicit. Why isn’t he (and Mr. Easley, for that matter) saying things like:

-the cut-off for social security contributions is $113,000. Any money a person makes over that amount is exempt from the SS tax. You want to “save” social security? Raise that limit a few thousand dollars and it can last as long as this country does.
-Social Security is not insolvent, nor is it about to be.
-Social Security does not add to the deficit.
-the deficit is actually dropping.
-the deficit is actually a good thing right now, according to some economists.
-tax rates are at their lowest in ___ years (depends who you ask).

My point is that left and right, blue and red are no longer relevant arguments to be having, not when all of the people we’re arguing about, left or right, are supporting the position of big money, either tacitly or overtly. If anyone or anything is threatening the destruction of this country, it is wealth disparity, political corruption, and revenue shortfalls.

So who’s being naïve again? The people who think Obama is pulling some elaborate con while only appearing to sell out his base? Or those who think that he really is selling out his base, as he has so many times before?

O, liberal, wither goest thou,
Now that thy shepherd has proven a wolf?


(by the way, if you haven't clicked on the last two "via" links I posted, go immediately to this guy's tumblr. It is awesome and hilarious. :-)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Guns Don't Kill People...

...four year olds at picnics do.

Tennessee is two-for-two today in the weird story lottery, what with the masturbating driver going 90 miles per hour and this one:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy grabbed a loaded gun at a family cookout and accidentally shot and killed the wife of a Tennessee sheriff’s deputy.
No, this is really sad and not very funny at all. But it does go to debunk all the gun-toters' pithy quotes about how gun violence is strictly an operator problem, not anything to do with the equipment at all. Still.

Investigators say Wilson County Deputy Daniel Fanning on Saturday was showing his weapons to a relative in a bedroom of his Lebanon home when the toddler came in and picked up a gun off the bed. Sheriff Robert Bryan says the weapon discharged, hitting 48-year-old Josephine Fanning.

Tennesseeing is Tennebelieving

And what they Tennessesaw they cannot UnTennessee

Headline reads:

"Former Tennessee Lawmaker Allegedly Drove 90 mph While Masturbating out Window"
Witness Deanna Dykes said Blakely was "waving, grabbed his shirt, kind of pulled it up."
"He was taking his hand, wetting his mouth, and masturbating," witness Deborah Sturgill said.
And another:

Witness Kelly Street offered a similar account.

"At over 90 miles per hour, he had his penis out [the window]... he was masturbating... and that's when it got really, really bad. I wouldn't look over any more, and I wrote his tag number down on my hand, which I believe he noticed, and he exited very quickly," Street said.
Wait a minute. He put his penis out the window at 90 mph, and you say "...that's when it got really, really bad??"

I think not. I say kudos, good sir.

Hell, if he's that coordinated, not to mention talented, not to mention determined, maybe he deserves another shot at office?

You should see what he's got in his other fist.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Change Your Profile Pic or the Homo Gets It

Well, I’ve been sort of passively called out by an FB friend for posting this picture yesterday or the day before, and for being snarky about the whole “change your profile pic in support of gay marriage” thing.

For the record, I also left this pic up after a different friend posted it on my wall.

(I also posted this, but who's counting?)

First of all, let’s establish this: I’m not anti-gay marriage.

I’m anti-marriage, personally, but if anyone else wants to get married, I don’t give a shit. I will mock them mercilessly, and I may drunkenly cite divorce statistics at the reception afterward in a very loud voice, but I have no reason to stand in their way.

I am fully, 100 percent in support of legalized gay marriage. Like my friend, I too have many, many friends who are gay, and I too abhor homophobia. Here are a few things I have written on the topic, and there are many, many more relevant posts on FB. 

Second, the pictures are fucking funny. Aren’t they? I mean, come on. No matter where you stand on this, these are funny. When did liberals become so very humorless about things we support? I thought that was the job of hardcore religious conservatives.

(And Libertarians. Try making a Rand Paul joke on the interwebz sometime. It’s like trashing Elvis while you’re on a Graceland tour. Only instead of fat, southern, octegenarian housewives riding scooters chasing you off, it’s 20-something, half-bright bros clutching “Atlas Shrugged” and firearms. Many, many firearms.)

The point is not to disparage people who support gay marriage or who changed their profile pic, but to suggest that we all take a moment to think about climbing down off that high horse, before it gets so very high we require a helicopter extraction team.

Yes, it’s taking the piss a bit, at a lovely time when the tide towards tolerance seems to be shifting in this country. But I contend that taking the piss is a healthy part of the discussion, even on a day when the national bandwidth is covered in so much “support.”

Maybe especially on a day like that. As Harvey Keitel’s character The Wolf said in “Pulp Fiction,” “Let’s not all start sucking each others’ dicks just yet.”

(Ha ha...irony...insert your own joke here.)

(Ha ha...he said “insert...”)

Anyway, the last time I got into an FB discussion with the first friend, the one who was offended--I don't even remember what we were talking about--but we went back and forth a few times in comments before he announced he was finished with the discussion and taking himself out of the conversation--after posting his last say, of course, haha.

So that’s the reason I’m going to post this here and not bother with going back to his original post; if you don’t want to engage the topic and have a discussion all the way through to wherever it leads, then why begin it?

Which is also kind of my point about these trends on FB: we post these things (remember Stop Kony?) in a mostly closed feedback-loop of self-congratulation and mutual back-patting, assured of 98 percent of our friends' “Solidarity” and “Support” of whatever the topic du jour may be without actually DOING anything more than clicking “change profile pic.” It is my contention that this leads to an unpretty and self-deceptive smugness and sense of “a job well done” while not having actually done anything.

Also, if you’re “taking a stand,” then shouldn’t you be prepared for some dissent? The original friend actually wrote, “ is really not acceptable...” to post things like these pictures at a time like this. (He used the word “ridicule,” but as I explained above, I don’t think that is the message; I know it definitely isn’t the message I was trying to send, and if any of my friends felt ridiculed by me for changing their profile pic, then I humbly apologize.)

Anyway, my main point here is to make sure that anyone who cares knows without a doubt that I am not anti-gay marriage. Nor am I anti-changing-your-profile-pic-to-show-support-for-gay-marriage.

My second point is that it is okay to laugh at ourselves. I mean, I am a liberal. I am a flaming liberal. I'm practically a socialist, I’m so fucking liberal. But I can be that and still be aware that we’re hilariously self-contradictory, overly earnest, naively idealistic at times and many other things. So what if we’re funny? We’re still right, so I don’t give a shit if anyone laughs at me, and I’m okay with seeing the humor in us as well.

Thirdly, if you are going to “take a stand” on something, then you need to be able to handle a bit of very, very gentle and oblique teasing about it without getting all huffy. You take a stand by clicking a link in your FB profile, then get upset if someone posts something on their own wall that mildly, jokingly rebukes you a tiny bit?

I mean, it’s hardly firehoses and police dogs, now, is it? And to suggest that certain words and pictures and phrases are unacceptable or inappropriate is about as illiberal as you can get.

Stifling dissent? Shit, not even dissent--low-key mockery by someone who is clearly on the same team? Again, that sounds like something the hard right does, not us.

If you want to be part of a national discussion, great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should expect the online equivalent of a roomful of 500 of your “closest personal friends” all nodding in total agreement and saying, “Yep, you sure are right, Steve.”

How fucking boring would that be?

Plus it's not even like I disagree.

Take care everyone, and again, I pledge my undying support for my LGBT brethren and sistren. Let’s hope those douchebags on the Supreme Court actually do the Right Thing for once instead of the expedient, political thing.


*The picture of the two combative gay gentlemen is from an episode of Seinfeld, so, no, not all that terribly hip, I don’t think. Not for a couple of decades at least. :-)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cornel West is Right

But it is so goddamn hard sometimes.

Despair is a hungry demon nipping at your heels, demanding attention constantly. You think, maybe if I just give him a snack, he'll leave me be. But whatever you feed him only whets his appetite.

Best just to kick that little bastard in the throat and get on with your day, with something that gives you hope, with people that uplift you and help you to see what's possible, not what's impossible.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rand Paul is Still an Idiot


Hey, gays! Guess what? The junior nutbag from Kentucky has great news for you!

No, it's not an intellectually consistent stand on individual liberty versus liberty for commercial interests, but it's almost as good! When asked if he would strike down the Defense of Marriage Act as a federal interference in states' and individuals' rights to decide who can marry whom, Paul weaseled and waffled, "...that's a complicated issue..." but then came up with a left field idea that might be just as good.

See, you know how you guys are always on about the whole marriage thing? How about this instead: a flat tax just for you and your...what, husbands? Wives? I never could get that straight. No pun intended! Ha ha!

No, really though, here's the idea (via crooks and liars):
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Sunday suggested that implementing a flat tax could assuage gay and lesbian Americans who want equal marriage rights because straight marriages would not get a tax break.

During an interview on Fox News, host Chris Wallace pointed out that the Supreme Court would be hearing arguments this week on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevents the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages even in states where those unions are legal.
Well, come on, I mean everyone knows how teh gheys are about shopping and spending money. Surely they will appreciate this gesture. Think how many more brunches per year they can afford with the savings!

Republicans: Making This Shit Up Every Day, So We Don't Have To.

 photo PALINANIMATEDvarwwwclientsclient1web2tmpphpiKEfTg_zps5fbb191a.gif

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Vertical Cooking


At first I was a little creeped out by this ad for the Rollie Eggmaster Cooking System, probably due to the, er, ever so slightly suggestive nature of the photo accompanying the story I saw on Laughing Squid here.


Not that there's anything vaguely sexual about the shot, but why do we feel we need more foods in this, um, "easy to eat shape?"

And then of course, you see the bit about "Just crack your egg, pour it in, and watch it pop up in minutes!!"

Of course it "pops up." I mean, what else, right?

But when you watch the promo video above, I could see the benefits of this. Heck, I want to host a party serving only cylindrical foods! I want to be able to grab an egg-stick on my way out the door! Or a mini-burrito! Sold!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pipe Trouble!

This is just all kinds of awesome. (via)

It's a  game for ipad and android tablets that lets you play as the CEO of an oil pipeline company that is trying to build a new pipeline (suspiciously like the Keystone XL perhaps?) and bring it in under deadline and cost. Despite trouble with dead livestock and poisoned water and dirty hippies protesting and maybe even blowing it up, you have to keep laying that pipe in order to rake in that cash!

Here's a demo clip:

EDIT: I removed the video clip because it is goddamn autoplay and i can't turn it off. Here's a link to it though. Go watch, very funny.

Apparently the game has angered some Canadian-type people as it appears to them to be celebrating the sabotaging of a pipeline, and because the game developer received taxpayer funding:

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she’ll be looking into an online game promoted by a taxpayer-funded broadcaster that shows the bombing of a gas pipeline.

A blog post supporting the game appeared on the website of the provincially funded broadcaster TV Ontario.

The TVO website also provides a link to the game, called “Pipe Trouble,” and offers a free trial.

But questions have been raised about the game’s introductory video, which appears to show activists protesting before a pipeline blows up.

O, Canada, you so cute! Why on Earth would you give creative, artistic, innovative people your tax dollars in the first place? Haha! Just wait until you're a big-boy country like the U.S.! You will look back on this and cringe!

Game available here. A portion of the proceeds go to the David Suzuki foundation.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Modern Friendship

Ted McCagg of something called Questionable Skills (looks like his blog; he's got some very funny stuff on there) created this piece called 'Modern Friendship.'

Yes, buddy, I love you so much I'd create a hashtag for you.



Life - Me

I think this is my favorite gif of all time.
 photo melife_zps2ce26396.gif

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Very Unpromising Material"

And here's all you need to know about critics and reviews. (via)

From a 1955 review of Beckett's "Waiting For Godot:"
The play, if about anything is ostensibly about two tramps who spend the two acts, two evenings long, under a tree on a bit of waste ground “waiting for Godot.”
Click the link above to dangerous minds to read the review in its entirety, but pretty much all you need to know is that you've heard of Samuel Beckett, and you've never heard of Guardian reviewer Phillip Hope-Wallace.

Having been on both sides of this divide, reviewer and reviewed (at least, reviewed as an actor; I haven't had any of my plays staged yet, but looking to get one up for a staged reading this spring) I can tell you it is a fuck of a lot harder to create a show than it is to create a review. Not that what reviewers do is without value; not that they (we) don't put a lot of thought, sweat and time into creating a good, honest review. And certainly by putting our work out there, artists of all stripes are asking to be looked at, and thought about, and engaged with.

But I think there is a certain lack of humility in some reviewers, a lack of understanding where one's place in the food chain really is. I think a lot of reviewers could greatly benefit from being part of a show, from table read to closing night, just to get some perspective on what it really takes. If you're going to casually shit all over something, at least be aware of what it is you are beshitting, right? :-)

That said, here's some closing words from Mr. Hope-Wallace:
It is good to find that plays at once dubbed “incomprehensible and pretentious” can still get a staging.
Best of luck to him in his career, pointless, incomprehensible, and pretentious as it may be.


Thursday, January 31, 2013


I think I need a visit from Dr. Mario S. Thompson to perk me up for the rest of this week's performances. Performance-enhancing substances, anyone?

 photo mariosthompson_zps92919380.gif

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Noises Off Is On

Well. Tonight is the big night, opening for Noises Off, and we're all of us feeling pretty much, you know, I mean aren't you? It has been a weird and arduous 17 days of rehearsal time getting this beast together (not counting 3 days pre-Christmas of blocking rehearsals) and I think we can plausibly argue that it has never been done so well in such a short time-span.

But that's neither here nor there. Last night's small but appreciative dress audience was awesome and they really seemed to dig it. I think we finally kind of know what we're doing. (knockonwoodknockonwoodknockonwoodknockonwoodknockonwood)

Anyway, I came across this word of the day today, and it seems especially apropos, for not only the tenuous nature of the show-within-the-show, not only because it contains a homophone for Phillip, one of the characters in the show, but also for how exhausted I've been lately.

One more word: sardines!


(fi-li-PEN-juh-luhs, -PEN-dyoo-)

adjective: Hanging by a thread.

From Latin filum (thread) + pendere (to hang). Ultimately from the Indo-European root (s)pen- (to draw, to spin), which is also the source of pendulum, spider, pound, pansy, pendant, ponder, appendix, penthouse, depend, and spontaneous. Earliest documented use: 1864.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Downton Abbey: What's in it For Me?

 If they're so rich and aristocratic and British and all, why did they put their abbey downtown?

Catching up on the last few episodes of Season 2 of “Downton Abbey” the other night, followed by the first few episodes of Season 3 (spoiler alerts below) and it occurred to me that:

1.)    I very likely fall outside the usual demographic for this show’s viewers. 

2.)    The writers and showrunner really boxed themselves in at the end of last season. With Matthew and Mary’s snow-globe kiss and the marriage proposal that millions of dewy-eyed, lonely, Anglophilic women had been anticipating for two seasons, all major conflict had largely been excised from the story; aside from Bates’ murder charges, all the cliffhangers had been hung.

Sorry, he still looks like Eeyore to me.

 3.)   Buried among the major differences separating modern life from post-World War I England--traditional gender roles being challenged, questions about the validity of class and privilege emerging, the impact of technological advances--it is striking that we never question or at least don’t think too much about how differently we see another subject depicted on the show that is largely missing in the modern age: self-sacrifice.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but today we are a bunch of selfish cunts.

Of course I don’t mean to literally speak in this manner about every single human being living today. Nor to suggest that every person who was alive a hundred years ago was some sort of saint. Just as I’m sure there are many people who gave nothing to their fellow humans back then, there are lots of modern examples of self-sacrifice: some of those serving in our armed forces; those who give of themselves for the sake of the poor or ill. (Parents...I have a problem with including them.*)

But generally, I don't think self-sacrifice is all that common today. As a mental exercise and to perhaps get a more honest assessment of where we think self-sacrifice fits as a modern human virtue, let’s pose this question: would you say that your fellow human beings--people besides yourself--in general possess and demonstrate the capacity for self-sacrifice? How often/how much? On a list of the 20 most common human attributes, where does self-sacrifice go?

I can come up with a fairly concise answer based solely on the evening commute.

I mean, forget about the harrowing portrayal of life in the trenches in The Great War, a time when so many served that “there were no young men left” afterward, as opposed to the drone war we wage today from behind computer screens with a tiny fraction of a tiny minority of our population actually on the ground. 

SIDEBAR: And for those who are stuck serving on the ground in a war with no conceivable end (how do you defeat a concept? When will Terror surrender?) and who are fighting a nebulous, ever-changing enemy on endless tours of duty, is it any wonder that suicide--perhaps not incidentally what some consider the ultimate act of selfishness--might seem like the only way out?

And how about the quaint idea of the children of privilege not only serving but actually VOLUNTEERING to serve on the front lines? And then serving with no special considerations, no Alabama National Guard tours or anything like that? That is completely unheard of today, and pretty much has been unheard of, going all the way back to Vietnam. Just ask George W or DickCheney.

>>MILD, POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT BELOW: If you haven’t gotten to S03E03 maybe stop reading here<<

Then we come to watching Matthew’s struggles with whether to accept an enormous inheritance from his former fiancé Lavinia’s family, knowing that he had thrown her over for Mary. Worse, he thought that Lavinia having seen him kissing Mary may have helped push her illness over the edge into death. (When I actually type out the storyline like this, it makes me feel like a soap opera fan. Where's the amnesia? The long-lost twin? Oh, yeah. Right...) 

Pic unrelated, but too funny not to include.

As Matthew argued with Mary and clenched his jaw stoically looking off into the distance, pinching the bridge of his nose--in the timeless international actor’s indication of inner torment--did anyone honestly think, “Yep. I too would be selfless enough to seriously consider turning down millions of pounds in honor of the memory of a dead woman.”

Bullshit. Not in the “Dolla make me holla” generation. Not in an era when people won’t think twice about sacrificing their privacy and dignity for the sake of a shot at just being on television--let alone fame or fortune--but are also perfectly willing to sacrifice their children too. Literally in some cases.

Honey Boo-Boo's mother was unavailable for comment as of press time.

So what happened? Are we so inundated with images of fame and wealth? Are we so drowned in advertising pitched to appeal to self-indulgence that we can no longer fathom a world without us sitting atop it? Are we just dumber? Or perhaps just less imaginative, in that we lack the capacity to envision a world without us in it?

I don’t really have the answers, and I realize using a fictional character’s fictional situation on a television show as a launching point from which to ask these questions may have some layers of irony and absurdity embedded in it that cannot even be fathomed straightaway. But I think it’s inarguable, even almost trite to say that we are more selfish today than we once were. And this scene in this show made me think for a moment about how the calculus of modern thought seldom includes anything remotely approaching what people were asked to do in bygone eras. More importantly, what they asked themselves to do.

Granted, another frequent topic or even perpetual undertone of the show is the push and pull between ancient British stoicism and reticence, "stiff upper lip," and "suffering in silence" and all that, and a more modern modality of self-expression and emotional honesty. And the notion of self-sacrifice wedges itself in there somewhere between the two.

But goddamn, wouldn’t our so-called “culture” benefit if more people were LESS self-expressive? If more people STIFLED their emotional honesty some? I’m looking at you, Kardashians. Also Jersey Shore, everything on TLC--hell, all so-called reality television--as well as a vast swath of our popular TV, movie and music stars to boot, and all the loud-mouth, obnoxious people out there who noisily hold them up as role models. If people could just shut the fuck up about themselves for five minutes, the world would be a better place.

Well, shit, if it'll keep her from talking...

I say again, we are a nation of selfish cunts. We are denizens of an empire that is tottering on its last legs, burdened under the weight of 300 million sets of absurdly grandiose expectations.

Reality took several hundred years to become plain to the Romans; of course, things move much faster these days.


*To me, regardless of the sacrifices that parents make on behalf of their children, there is a rather large and unforgivable element of narcissism involved in the decision to have a child. Especially in this day and age, when we can quantify the environmental demands that a child born to parents who live in an industrialized nation imposes. I could drive a Hummer to the grocery store every day and ask for both paper and plastic and still have far less environmental impact than parents of even one U.S.-born child. And anyway, let's get down to it: what, you think passing on that awesome DNA you have, the DNA that made you such a stable and wonderful and loving and beautiful creature, you think that’s vital to the species? Or the planet?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nazis in Space!!!

So, I haven't seen any of the Oscar contenders yet this year. I've been busy...not going to the movies. I tend to wait until the furor has died down over anything, new-release movies just being one example of the type of crowded venue I can't stand. Plus there's something to be said for watching movies at home, often for free, with a beer and whatever in hand, haha.

But that's neither here nor there. What I am about to tell you will change your life forever.

Find and watch a movie called "Iron Sky." Just do it. It's on Netflix streaming, and it is all kinds of awesome.

 Nazis apparently make their space helmets in the shape of WWII stormtroopers.

But Kurt, you say, does this purported visual feast of amazingness really have space nazis? Or is it all a clever ruse? Perhaps just something concocted by clever marketers to draw me in and make me sign up to be a Scientologist? Or worse, a Republican?

Nope. It's true. There are space nazis here indeed. The year is 2018, and a U.S. manned space flight encounters a Nazi civilization thriving on the dark side of the moon, to whence said Nazis secretly debarked in 1945.

There is also a black U.S. astronaut who gets captured by them and (spoiler alert) turned Aryan (hilariously) by a mad Nazi scientist.

Of course.

But Kurt, you add (as you don't seem to realize this is a one-way communication format) is there also a super-hot Aryan princess who suffers a crisis of conscience? Yep. How about a future U.S. president who bears a striking resemblance to a certain former half-term Alaska governor? You betcha.

No, the whole thing is ridiculous, and silly, and campy in the best Buck Rogers tradition. If you know "Evil Dead," "The Venture Brothers," or the band Ween, you will recognize the genre: it is art made by artists who recognize the ridiculousness of what they love--in this case, over-the-top, 1950s sci-fi--but who celebrate it anyway, and who celebrate it lovingly, and cleverly, and with attention to detail.

The film is also visually sharp, with excellent CGI and production values, and believe it or not, it is a smart script as well, containing an endless slew of tongue-in-cheek ironies and clever satire, as well as low-brow, silly paeans to almost every sci-fi/action movie trope there is. It got like 6.1 on IMDB and only 30-something percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but ignore that. Watch this and you will laugh, and be entertained, and not only in a "so bad it's good way."

In fact, it's actually good. It really, really is.

And it's the next morning now, so you know it's not just the beer and whatever talking.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sucks to be in Congress

I'm still trying to picture a meth lab explosion involving Lindsey Lohan, the Kardashians, and a big ol' steaming petri dish of gonorrhea--or is that a redundancy?

Although I bet Nickelback is feeling pretty good right about now.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Atheism and Smartassery

I have run across a myriad* of atheist pics lately, and here's a shotgun blast to the face of them all at once, sans context.

*I recently learned that the traditional meanings of the words 'myriad' and 'plethora,' while similar, are not identical. In old school terms, 'plethora' describes a negative abundance of something, while a 'myriad' is a positive abundance.

To wit: "There is a plethora of christian door-knockers in my neighborhood lately."

"Have you noticed the myriad of hot atheist girls at this reddit meet-up?"

For what it's worth.

'Tis but a Scratch

The Black Knight Rises. On his bloody stumps, if necessary.