Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Blog Posts Of 2014

Yes, it's that time of year when folks roll out the ol' top ten lists for the year. In the past, I have listed the top ten blog posts according to readership. This year, I've decided to list my favorite top ten for 2014. It is an eclectic array of topics, as usual. Here we go!


#1 - Race Hatred: THE Divisive Issue - http://rod-harrel.blogspot.com/2014/03/race-hatred-divisive-issue.html

#2 -  9/11 Museum Of Rich Crass Elites & Tastelessness - http://rod-harrel.blogspot.com/2014/05/911-museum-of-rich-crass-elites.html

#3 - Forget The First Amendment - Jail Climate Change Deniers! - http://rod-harrel.blogspot.com/2014/03/forget-first-amendment-jail-climate.html

#4 - Multiple Gunmen Yet AGAIN! and AGAIN! - http://rod-harrel.blogspot.com/2014/05/multiple-gumen-yet-again.html

#5 - It's Not About "Burger Flippers" It's About The Devalued Dollar - http://rod-harrel.blogspot.com/2014/05/its-not-about-burger-flippers-its-about.html

#6 - A Tale Of Two Transvestites - http://rod-harrel.blogspot.com/2014/06/a-tale-of-two-transvestites.html

#7 - Critical Thinking Is Becoming Passé In The 21st Century - http://rod-harrel.blogspot.com/2014/06/critical-thinking-is-becoming-passe-in.html

#8 - The Cigarettes Of 'The Maltese Falcon' - http://rod-harrel.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-cigarettes-of-maltese-falcon.html

#9 - Video Of Boy Saving Girl From Sniper Fire In Syria IS FAKE! - http://rod-harrel.blogspot.com/2014/11/video-of-boy-saving-girl-from-sniper.html

#10 - The Middle East Wars From A To Z - http://rod-harrel.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-middle-east-wars-from-to-z.html

 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

SONY E-Mail Leaks Are Not About Bickering Executives & Actors

NOW WITH UPDATE

Unless you have been under a rock lately, you have heard about how Sony Entertainment Pictures e-mails were hacked by a group who does not want the company to release the movie, "The Interview". So, this group released a whole bunch of e-mails that put Sony executives in an embarrassing kettle of hot water. The Mainstream Media (MSM), of course, focused on e-mails in which Angelina Jolie was called a spoiled brat and musings on what sort of films President Obama would like (black themed ones naturally). But, perhaps the MSM was doing its job by obfuscating the real surprise contained in e-mails released thus far. A most dangerous surprise.

(WE will erase your site from the internet!!!)

The Verge published an article on their website that what Hollywood is really up is to break the Domain Name System (DNS), the backbone of the internet. And that is pretty scary indeed. Essentially, the documents that were leaked, "reveal a frightening line of attack that's currently being considered by the MPAA: What if you simply erased any record that the site was there in the first place?" Sounds Orwellian but it is entirely possible!

As the article points out, the leaked memo "sketches out a legal case for blocking infringing sites from the DNS records entirely, like wiping unsavory addresses out of the phone book". It has been shown in the past that some of the pirating on the internet that Hollywood studios have been complaining about are done by people on the payroll of said studios. This allows them to cry "more internet control" and this DNS tactic shows just how Hollywood would accomplish it without any Congressional law. A worthwhile and sobering read.

UPDATE
Now that the distributors have grown to a large enough number not wanting to show "The Interview" because of perceived North Korean 9/11 type threats, Sony Pictures had no choice but to cancel the release of the film. The company now has no plans to ever theatrically release the film! This blaming North Korea and the threats now smells like a false flag serving as a distraction away from what the linked article here is all about.

 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Help Me Fix My Front Tooth

Hello to all my loyal followers and readers alike!

I've started a GoFundMe campaign to fix my tooth, because, all I want for Christmas a new front tooth. If you look to the right of my main blog page, you will see a button you can click on that will take you right to the site. The explanation for this campaign is also on the site, but, in brief, fixing my tooth would open up a new avenue to seek acting work here in Los Angeles.

(The author shows no shame as he brazenly poses with his adorable cat Abra in an attempt to elicit sympathy for his cause!)

Given my usual eclectic postings this might seem a bit off, but it is very important. Even though I have dental insurance, it doesn't cover the entire cost of the procedure (see campaign site). Your help is very appreciated and if you are unable to help, please like the page and/or share with someone who might help. Thank you Random Thoughts Of A Random Guy From A Random Place Up In The Sky readers!

 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Video Of Boy Saving Girl From Sniper Fire In Syria IS FAKE!

Oh, Rod, you tin foil hat wearing conspiracy nutter you, how could even think that the video of the brave little boy saving a girl from sniper fire in Syria is fake?

Because, it turns out, my friends, that it was! The You Tube channel, an anti-Assad channel, posted the video as real, but then the Norwegian filmmakers who made the video admitted it was fake. But, of course, they did the fake propaganda piece for all the right intentions. They wanted to start a discussion of the plight of children in war torn regions. Well, give me a fucking break. Here is the video below.


Now here is a report from a United States television station praising the "heroism" of the boy. Fake video being presented as real news. Even going so far as to say that, "(e)xperts who viewed the video say they have no reason to doubt this incredible act of heroism is real." Experts? At what? Experts at lying? Because, they are surely not experts at examining video are they? And where are the retractions in the media? The sense of any real embarrassment of showing this fake video as real? What is very instructive about how propaganda works is by looking at the comments from both the fake video on You Tube and from the news channel that presented the video as absolutely true. Once a lot of commentators realized they had been duped, they went along with the idea it wasn't so bad because it did start a dialogue. Holy blinders, Batman! Yeah, it sure did start a dialogue; a dialogue of hatred and bigotry!

(Look, Ma, I'm a Hero!)
The filmmakers truly believe that by faking propaganda they are somehow advancing a dialogue about what children go through in war regions. They even admit to surprise that anyone watching it would believe it was real! Give me a break! The grant they wrote to get Norwegian government money even stressed the point they would release the video without informing viewers that what they were seeing was faked. Essentially, these loathsome propagandists have done a disservice to the real plight of children caught in war and have also called into question the reality of any future videos that may be seen on You Tube or on broadcast and cable networks. Perhaps, that is the real intention of this whole charade. Perhaps, it is to obfuscate the "conspiracy nutters" idea that previous videos shown on television "news" have also been faked. That Anderson Cooper wasn't really reporting from a war zone but merely standing comfortably before a green screen at a New York studio. But, I digress.

It would appear that it is not conspiracy theorists wearing the tin foil hats, but the dupes who believe what they watch on the news is real.
 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WAKE UP And Realize This Is A Two Party Dictatorship

Nothing brings out the worst in Democratic voters than losing.

Nothing brings out the worst in Republican voters than losing.

And nothing brings out the scrawny, pointy finger of shame of both party's voters than the idea that some people have figured out the United States of America's political system is nothing more than a two party dictatorship and that's why some of those people don't vote. The owners' of these scrawny, pointy fingers don't realize that it is such a dictatorship and hence their 'tsk-tsk' and 'cluck-cluck' at those who do understand speaks volumes; or at least it should.

After an election such as the 2014 mid-terms, the 2000, the 2004 and so on, the spinners make a washing machine seem clunky and slow. Losing is winning!

Of course, since the Republicans won big in last night's mid-term we get wonderful examples of Democrats creating and distributing charming memes such as the one below.


Then, we get, from the so-called party of tolerance and inclusion a cargo ship or two full of the most prejudicial, stereotype and bigoted caricatures as one could imagine. All the while, they conveniently ignore how the Obama administration has continued and expanded upon the draconian path began with the Bush administration about, oh say, 10 minutes after 9/11.


BUT WAIT!

THERE'S MORE!

The Republicans do the exact same thing when they lose, too!

Yet, rarely, and boy do I mean rarely, does anyone pop their head out of the sand and admit that we live in a two party dictatorship. Wall Street and the Military/Industrial complex are the real party and those in national office are beholden to their owners. Some out there do understand this and act accordingly whether by not voting, at least admitting this has been a problem for decades, or actively seeking ways to overcome the dictatorship. But, that last part is difficult considering how entrenched the machine has become. It is easier to be a lemming, nay, a smug lemming, and follow the Limbaughs, the Savages, the Maddows or the Stewarts (who are all corporate shills by the way, get the picture yet?) and parrot their spewed garbage as if it were gospel.

One of the major activities of the two party dictatorship is sowing divisiveness with your favorite political footballs. Abortion! Illegal Immigrants! Racism! Guns! Health Care!

Look around two party adherents, nay, zealots, and tell me when was the last time any of the events listed below happened in the last 40 years.

- Abortion was outlawed
- Government storm troopers came and took away your guns
- You wanted to pick vegetables or fruits
- Government storm troopers came and ripped up your health card
- You must stop speaking English

Well, you get the picture. It hasn't happened because it isn't going to happen. Otherwise, we could no longer be divided. We might become like Toto and pull back the curtain to reveal to the others what is happening with that man. And to update for modern times, or that woman, too.



 

Monday, September 22, 2014

ANNOUNCING - New Gaza Housing Development

ANNOUNCING:


A new housing development in Gaza. Yes, it's true! You and your loved ones can move into this beautiful new house in the brand new Gaza housing development! The leases for these gorgeous "houses" are going fast! The amenities are nearly too numerous to mention.

Check out the central heating. You will never go cold again, my friends. Of course, there is ample space for you to place your furniture into any configurations you can think of, within your lease agreement terms, of course. Plenty of room for your pets to wander about the development as well! What schools and hospitals that still exist are within a rocket launch away from this fabulous development!

As some of our prospective buyers have discovered, you are merely buying back your own "homes", but what the hey, a family's got to do what a family has got to do! Am I right, my friends? Hope to see you soon!




 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cell Phone Service Down Around The Country - Mainstream Media Blackout

NOW INCLUDES UPDATES

When I got home from a gig in Hollywood yesterday (September 12th), I discovered I no longer had text or calling capabilities with my cell phone. After doing some research, I found that this is a wide spread problem across the nation with not only my cell provider (Sprint), but with other companies as well.

Interestingly enough, this massive outage affecting millions of Americans has been totally unreported by the Mainstream Media (MSM). Go ahead and check it out for yourself, for as of this writing, absolutely nothing about this has been reported. The only information outside of Sprint's Facebook page comes from a website called downdectector.com. Here are Sprint's nationwide outages as of the time of publication of this blog post. But, as I've mentioned, it is not only Sprint. Here's the nationwide map for US Cellular. Things with AT&T look even worse. Lastly, and randomly, here is what the map for T-Mobile looks like.

(The author failing once again to get a connection.)

Reading the comments for each map reveals some interesting and on-going problems that haven't been confined to just the last 24 to 48 hour period. The person on Sprint's Facebook page is trying to get some answers to the problem, but it kind of reminds me of that song, "Nowhere Man". What is more frustrating and a bit unsettling than the phone service being down is the utter lack of any MSM coverage. Why that is, I have found nary a clue. Repeated e-mails to the local news TV stations have gone unanswered. If anyone out there reading this is having similar problems, please make a comment. I'll provide any updates when they are applicable. Hello?

UPDATE

According to Sprint on-line staff, as far as my situation goes, it is caused by "a tower is currently impaired in your area. Our network team is aware and working diligently to resolve the issue." This doesn't explain what is happening around the country, of course. I still cannot text or make calls.

2ND UPDATE

After nearly 48 hours I can sort of get the phone to work. By that I mean I have to try several times before a call will go through AND THEN WHILE I'M STANDING IN THE BACKYARD! Sprint wants me to take my phone to one of their stores for some diagnosis which makes no sense to me as it is their problem. Besides, I don't have the time to do that because I'm busy working to pay for the service to begin with. Solar flares my ass!

3RD UPDATE

By standing in the backyard in 107 degree heat I was able to finally contact Sprint's 'customer service' on the my phone. I was told that they are aware of the problem but it will not be fixed until THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18TH! That would be nearly a week. And they are blaming it on a single cell tower in my neighborhood. Does that make any sense? Is this some scam to make me buy a new phone? And there are still no reports about it on the news. You decide.

4TH UPDATE

Here we are, Day 17, and the problem has still not been fixed. It was, I was told, to be fixed today. But, no. Time to go in the backyard and hopefully find a signal and then call the inappropriately named Sprint Solutions.

 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where In The World Is Barack Obama?

I ran across this video on the so-called interweb. In it, President Obama appears out of nowhere to give his 'peaceful' bomb the shit out of ISIS speech. Beside the point that ISIS was created by the United States Government to fight that badass Assad from Syria and is now our new, polished public enemy number one, we have the Obombster seemingly being beamed in ala Scotty-style to give his latest all important speech to the American sheeple, er, uh, I mean , people. I mean, where in the world is Barack Obama? This green screen speech given on the anniversary of 9/11 is odd enough, but Obama appearing, nay materializing, to give the speech is well, uhm, a bit bizarre, don't you think? Kill Usama! Oh, wait, we already did, right?


I mean, really, here is this video of him appearing out of nowhere. It must be a Republican plot, right? Well, then, there, now. Regardless, the President Peace Prize once again extolls us into yet another war. Another war. I'm so fucking tired of these endless wars. Aren't you?

P.S.
The video, is of course, no longer available. That should tell you something.

 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Help Out Clyde Lewis Of Ground Zero Radio

My pal, Clyde Lewis, host of Ground Zero Radio, is in need of some financial help due to yet more medical problems. Here is a link to a site soliciting donations on Clyde's behalf and a disclaimer states that Clyde himself has nothing to do with setting it up. Just something a friend and a fan decided to do. This blog post is my way of doing what little that I can.

I first met Clyde when I appeared on his show to plug my new documentary, "John Lennon - A Conspiracy Of Silence". Although I don't agree with Clyde's theories about Lennon's assassination and some other theories he has, I found the experience fun and enjoyable. When the Occupy movement hit Portland, Oregon, I did a film about it that featured Clyde, along with his sometime cohort, Eric Sloane. See the link below for that particular video and if you can give anything for this donation drive, fantastic, if not, please share this with your friends.



 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

IT'S HARREL, WITH ONE "L"!

Sometimes being an actor means your name gets misspelled in the credits. Not my first name, but my last name. It hasn't happened that often, but it did recently on a short film I performed in, of which a DVD copy was shipped to me. It's always the same mistake, instead of Rod Harrel, the billing is "Rod Harrell". The film in question, "Diana Leigh", is very good and considering it's low budget, me asking the producers to fix the mistake would be rather pointless. But, it is irksome mainly because it relates me to the side of the family that once owned slaves.


As far as I know about my family history, the clan may have originated in a hamlet in Normandy, France named Harel. There is also the odd chance that I may be related somehow to the person who "invented" Camembert cheese! Regardless, the family probably immigrated to Great Britain and from there, perhaps around 1750-1770, immigrated to the United States. Shortly after arriving, there was some sort of fight amongst the Harrel family and they split up. The Harrels apparently settled in the Indiana/Kentucky area while the Harrells (now sporting an extra "l" at the end of the name) wound up going to the South. That was about all I knew about outside of the direct lineage of my father, grandfather and so on. That is, until the early part of the 21st century when I got a sweet gig helping remodel a restaurant.

On a certain pay day, I happened to notice that one of my co-worker's last name was "Harrell". This was interesting for two reasons: one, it's not a common name and two, he was a black man. So, during lunch break I engaged him in a conversation about our similar last names whereupon I learned the ugly truth: the Harrells were once plantation owners and owners of slaves and those slaves were his descendants! In fact he knew more about the family history of Harrel/Harrell than I did. He regaled me with some stories I already knew (like the fight that split up the family) and some that I did not.

Besides the business about slavery, he told me that there still existed a town called Harrellsville and it was in North Carolina. Sporting a current population of about 106, it was more than likely built around the old Harrell plantation and was a far cry from it's mid-nineteenth century population of nearly 10,000. The fact that Mr. Harrell knew so much about my side of the family history indicated to me that some of the split up family must of had communicated.

(The courthouse in Harrellsville, North Carolina.)
What of Mr. Harrell himself? At the time I knew him, he was living in a flop house across the street from the restaurant we were helping to remodel. He wound up there after a divorce from his wife. He had played football in college and some professional football in minor, short lived leagues such as the United States Football League as a running back. I mused that I had more than likely seen him play football on television. Although it was a brief encounter with Mr. Harrell, I found him to be affable and, of course, highly knowledgeable of the family history. It was because of this meeting that besides having people misspell my name as "Harrell" being an annoyance, it also became a source of irritation. "Don't lump me together with the family that owned slaves! It's Harrel, with one 'l'".
 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Middle East Wars From A To Z


A billion children die especially for Governments. Helpless
individuals judge killing less morbidly. No other previous
questions reviewed. Straining to understand variants with xenophobes yelling zealotry.

 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Third Anniversary Of Blogging

A way back in 2011, on July 26th as a matter of fact, I started this humble blog. Almost 50,000 of you have read the various articles published herein and even a few of you have seen fit to donate (see below). To commemorate the occasion I made a Vlog! What else would one do to celebrate a blog anniversary?





To donate, click on the link provided.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=CT68F55488X4Y&lc=US&item_name=Random%20Thoughts%20Of%20A%20Random%20Guy%20From%20A%20Random%20Place%20Up%20In%20The%20Sky&currency_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donateCC_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Unanimous Supreme Court Decision Recalls Memories

The Supreme Court has been in the hot seat, as it were, recently, but one decision in particular had me recalling a painful and at the same time, rewarding experience. I'm speaking of the Court's decision regarding buffer zones around the entrances to women's clinics. They decided the zones were bad and unlike the recent 5 to 4 vote in favor of Hobby Lobby, this decision was unanimous. I couldn't fathom that.


(An example of what the Supreme Court considers 'sidewalk counselors'. All photos under Fair Use.)


Many moons ago I was an escort at the Portland Women's Clinic. There was a line drawn on the sidewalk to keep the protestors 25 feet away from the entrance. An escort is someone who literally escorts the woman patient from her car or the bus stop to the entrance to the clinic. We wore orange vests with the word "escort" on it. We had to escort the women because of the constant crowds that would verbally abuse them as they walked to the clinic.


Free speech is one thing, but spewing vile, vicious hatred is quite another. We had to escort these women through the crowd and into the building. A MAJORITY OF THE WOMEN GOING TO CLINIC WERE THERE FOR HEALTH CARE FOR THEIR PREGNANCY - NOT AN ABORITION.
But that didn't matter to those hateful swine also known as protesters and what the Supreme Court now defines as "sidewalk counselors"! I heard the most horrible shouting at these women, such as "baby killer", "satan's spawn" and shit like that. I saw my supervisor punched in the mouth by a large man. There was a woman who dragged bloody baby dolls behind her. Another had graphic pictures of dead babies (which were claimed to be aborted fetuses). I was singled out every time for special abuse because I was a male escort. A rarity. I frequently was accused of having a shit stained cock or enjoyed fucking my boyfriend's butt. Most of the time, I had to make sure that the boyfriends or husbands of the women going in for a DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT did not lash out physically against the protestors. It was a fucking nightmare. I lasted a year.


But I'm glad I did it. I was happy to help these women get to their doctor appointments safely, however incongruous it is to use the phrase "doctor's appointments safely" in this day and age. They were always, of course, grateful. It does bare repeating that the vast majority of these women were going to the clinic for health care and not abortions. That is something the Court ignored as well.
 
 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

ANNOUNCING THE FIRST EVER DONATION DRIVE

Yes, loyal readers, it is time to bump this bad boy up to the top! Another donation drive for Random Thoughts Of A Random Guy From A Random Place Up In The Sky! no donation button this time around, please use the handy link for donations:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=CT68F55488X4Y&lc=US&item_name=Random%20Thoughts%20Of%20A%20Random%20Guy%20From%20A%20Random%20Place%20Up%20In%20The%20Sky&currency_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donateCC_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted

Why a donation drive you may ask? Your humble scribe needs a little breathing room as he continues not only his writing but also his acting pursuits. This breathing room involves a rather unexpectedly large power bill (due soon) and other incidentals that can keep this page (and myself) going. Please continue to read the eclectic material available on this blog post and check out the easy to access pages located right below the wonderfully odd title of this site.

The goal is a mere $400 and when it is met, watch the donations link magically disappear. Thanks everybody!

UPDATE #1
Now a video with Joe!

video




(photo credit: Tammy Harrel-Fraley)



 

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Cigarettes Of 'The Maltese Falcon'

("The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of." All photos under Fair Use.)

Released in 1941 by Warner Bros. pictures, "The Maltese Falcon" has been hailed by audiences and critics alike as an early example of film noir, a great private detective story, the fantastic debut of director John Huston, a cast of world class low-lifes and a break out role for Humphrey Bogart. Countless words have been written about the film, the stars and the production people, yet in all those words, to my knowledge, no one has ever mentioned the cigarettes of "The Maltese Falcon".

Filmed twice before, Huston's version is simply the most faithful to the novel by Dashiell Hammett, often using entire scenes of dialogue lifted directly from the book. By all accounts, the cast had a wonderful time working on the film and the aspect of a "closed set" sort of added to the mystery of what this new director was up to with a B-Grade movie star, an ex-starlet, a known drug addict, a semi-recluse character actor and a 62 year old Broadway actor making his film debut. While there are a multitude of themes, motifs and careful compositions and juxtapositions (camera work by the great Arthur Edeson), one of the most obvious (once you are made aware of it) and fun aspects of the film, never written about, that the actors must have relished in doing, are the cigarettes. Or more accurately, the process of rolling loose tobacco into a paper.

Due to the complexities of moviemaking, rolling cigarettes, especially the perfectly rolled ones appearing in "Falcon", would not only be nearly impossible, but time consuming as well. Time consuming means spending more money, something which studio head Jack Warner tried to avoid at all costs, pun intended. So, someone unknown to us today, whether it was Huston, Bogart, a combination of the two or someone else altogether came up with a running gag of perfectly rolled cigarettes using either on camera slight of hand or editing tricks! It is simply wonderful to behold as the film unwinds. So, join me now in a trip through "The Cigarettes Of The Maltese Falcon" and please note that the film timings mentioned are from the DVD copy of the film.

(Spade [Humphrey Bogart] is confronted by two policemen [Ward Bond, left, and Barton MacLane, right] about the murder of his partner.)

The first such occurrence comes very early in the film starting at the 1 minute and 39 seconds mark during the sequence where Samuel Spade, detective, is told by his secretary, Effie (Lee Patrick), that a Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor) is in the outer office and wishes to see him. Bogart pours the tobacco into a paper and this first instance of a perfectly rolled cigarette is achieved through subtle editing. 15 minutes and 25 seconds into the film comes cigarette roll #2 and this one is handled by Effie after she grabs the pouch of tobacco from Spade's hands. It's one of two instances using slight of hand right in front of the camera without an edit. Effie pretends to roll a cigarette and when she sets the pouch of tobacco down on the desk with her right hand (foreground), she quickly reaches behind herself and with her left hand deftly picks up the pre-rolled smoke and holds it up to Spade's lips and he pretends to lick it with his tongue.

Cigarette roll #3 appears 22 minutes and 54 seconds in as Spade is about to meet Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) and like #1, the perfect cigarette arrives via more subtle editing and movement by Bogart with his back to the camera. The fourth one starts at 41 minutes 43 seconds and takes place in Spade's apartment. He is awaiting a good explanation from Miss Wonderly, now going by the name of Miss O'Shaughnessy. Spade rolls the cigarette and after "finishing" it, drops his right hand behind two books on the table. There he does a slight of hand by dropping the fake cigarette he was holding between his index and middle fingers and raises his hand to his mouth with the perfectly rolled cigarette between his third finger and pinky!

(The underrated Elisha Cook, Jr. as the gunsel, Wilmer.)
After spotting the gunsel who has been tailing him, Wilmer (Elisha Cook, Jr.), in the lobby of a hotel, at 44 minutes and 43 seconds, cigarette roll #5 happens when Spade takes out his handy tobacco pouch and sits down next to the cool Wilmer. After much fussing with pouring out the tobacco into the paper and a double lick(!), the miraculously perfect cigarette comes about through editing. The sixth, and last, instance of rolling a cigarette comes in Spade's apartment as the nefarious Caspar Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet in his film debut) tells Spade the sequence of previous events starting at the 80 minutes and 29 seconds mark. This perfect cigarette is once again produced through editing.

As can be seen, cigarette smoking in "The Maltese Falcon", and indeed, in any well thought out movie, is not done in a haphazardly manner. Like instances of blocking, picture composition and character development, smoking in the movies is being done for a particular reason in any given particular scene. In this case, it was nice to see some Hollywood favorites having fun and to also noticed they only did it a half-a-dozen times. Sometimes you miss subtlety.
 

Critical Thinking Is Becoming Passe In The 21st Century

Any one (and as I look about me it appears to be an increasing few) with two critical thinking brain cells to rub together can see that critical thinking is becoming passé in the 21st century. But, there's the rub, I think one needs to have more than two to actually achieve a critical mass to engage in any sort of critical thought. What is more, is that the incredible cause for this bizarre dichotomy may be no more further away than the nearest internet capable device. It's fucking destroying any real discourse.

As this century devolves, it no longer comes as any surprise that when you go to sleep one night knowing that Native Americans are called Native Americans and when you wake up the next morning with news sites blaring headlines that exclaim, "Obama Visits Indian Country". "What the fuck?" no longer is standard operating procedure. No one seems to be questioning the change and you feel like changing your name to Winston Smith just so you can fall on the right side of whatever it is you're suppose to be allowed to be. You read history that the people of the United States were "war weary" after World War II only to discover that there have been almost 300 wars since then and the United States, war weary though it may be, strapped for cash though it may be, has started more than three-fourths of those wars. Then your head may start to have a slight but oddly persistence throbbing when realizing the last time the U.S. Congress declared war was for World War II! If you're lucky, though, your Winston Smith kicks in and you forget that because of that fact, every war since World War II has been illegal under the Constitution.

Because it takes some critical thought and at least a passing knowledge of history to realize that the United States is nothing more than a two party dictatorship, that doesn't prevent most folks from slipping and sliding down the same muddy hillside into the same muddy pig pen of the usual suspects to argue over. Incessant, pointless non-critical thinking "discussions" about the same issues that haven't really changed for decades. Abortion. Guns. Illegal Aliens. Racial divisiveness. And the new kid on the block, man-made climate change. The internet and its chat forums, instant messaging and so forth, have turned this devolving century's concept of a critical thinking "discussion" into a putrid cesspool of ad hominem, straw men fallacy, hasty generalization, begging the question, false cause, false dichotomy, ad ignorantum, burden of proof reversal, non sequitur, and/or bandwagon fallacy. This devolution allows for the impersonal aspect of any internet "chat" and for the "winner" of any argument to be self-proclaimed and to take their ball and go home, in a virtual sort of way.

Yet, there are even more "tools" to be used over the internet, thanks to the continued use and popularization by the Mainstream Media (MSM), politicians and progressive/regressive websites of two Orwellian words; Orwellian because their meanings have been changed into pejoratives. "Truthers", as if the truth is now a bad thing, and "haters", as if pointing out negatives is now a, well, hateful idea. The use of these pejoratives allows the so-called critical thinker to deliver an imaginary and devastating blow to the other person and allows themselves to be awash in the false knowledge of smug superiority over mere human peons.

It's not that the MSM is completely negligent in their reporting. We know that our computers and televisions, which are equipped with microphones and cameras are routinely used to spy on us, whether by governmental agencies or perverted hackers (which one might say could be one in the same). We find ourselves completely unalarmed by this apparently (there have been no riots in the streets over these facts) and when chatting with someone about the latest cool car or game, we do not blink an eye when ads start popping up on our devices exhorting us to purchase the very thing we had just been talking about!


You are devolving now into a bunch of Winston Smiths and soon you'll be arguing with me that 2+2 = 5 and will have been programmed enough to send whatever people you feel compelled to, and have them start snapping my finger bones when I say 2+2 = 4 just once too often.

And don't get me started about auto-correct!
 

Friday, June 13, 2014

John Lennon's Last Live Performance At "The Salute For Sir Lew Grade"

John Lennon's last public music performance was taped April 18th, 1975 (I know! Almost 40 years ago) at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The occasion was a televised tribute (shown in the United States in June of that year) for entertainment impresario, Sir Lew Grade, which was called "A Salute For Lew Grade". Many other performers were involved in the tribute but the inclusion of John Lennon certainly must have raised some stuff-shirt eyebrows.

(John Lennon during his last live performance. All photos under Fair Use.)

Back in 1963, newly popular band The Beatles, were selling records at a phenomenal rate in Great Britain mostly due to the songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. A limited company, Northern Songs, was founded to publish the music of not only Lennon-McCartney, but George Harrison and Ringo Starr, too. The founders were The Beatles' music publisher, Dick James and his partner, the group's manager Brian Epstein, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. In an move to avoid paying high capital gains taxes, Northern Songs went public in 1965. This move also allowed Harrison and Starr to acquire some of their own stock in the publishing company.

There's the short version and now we flash forward to 1969. Less than eighteen months after the death of Epstein, Dick James and his partner sold their shares to Associated Television (ATV), which was run by Lew Grade. They sold without any warning to The Beatles, and Lennon and McCartney's attempts to retrieve a majority interest in the publishing rights to their own songs failed. Under the contractual obligations signed by Lennon and McCartney, any further songs they created whether together or separately would be controlled by ATV until 1973. With their song writing partnership all but dissolved and The Beatles as a band no longer in any real existence, both Lennon and McCartney sold their shares in Northern Songs in late 1969. Although they would continue to receive writer's royalties on their Beatle songs, Lennon and McCartney no longer had any control over the music publishing company they had help co-found.

Although Lennon was understandably bitter toward Dick James' actions in selling out without any notice, he was more upset with Sir Lew Grade and his deep pockets and influence which forced Lennon to relinquish his shares in Northern Songs. Lennon often referred to him as 'Sir Low Grade'. Why then, in 1975, would Lennon agree to appear on a TV special saluting the man? The first answer was the fact that Lennon had a new album on the market, "Rock And Roll Music", that he wanted to promote. This album was his last under his current recording contract, which he chose not to renew, allowing him to retreat from the music business until his return in 1980. The second answer was that appearing he and Grade's company wrapped up any pending litigation between the two. The third, and most important answer, was an opportunity to stick it to the man of which Grade was one who Lennon described as being, "...sick to death of being fucked about by men in suits sitting on their fat arses...!".

Although Lennon and his back-up band recorded three songs, only two made it onto the televised version, "Slippin' And A Slidin'" and "Imagine". Lennon sang live to a mostly pre-recorded music track and it is by far one his best live vocal performances. One line of the lyric to the former song was obviously directed to Grade, "oh big conniver, nothing but a jiver, I done got hip to your jive". More telling, however, was Lennon's choice of his back-up band and the make-up they wore. The band's name was Brothers Of Mother Fuckers which obviously could not be mentioned on television, so they were dubbed Etcetera for this occasion. In the existing video from the show, the kick drum still has the initials B.O.M.F. on it for all to see.

The prosthetic make-up pieces the band wore were designed and paid for by Lennon. As can be seen in the picture below, this gave the impression of two faces. None too subtly, Lennon was making his feelings known about Grade's well-known two-faced behavior.

(A close-up screen grab of the two-faced prosthetics worn by the back-up band and designed by John Lennon.)
Did Sir Low Grade get any of this? Unknown. There are some out there in interweb land that don't even get why Lennon appeared on the show to begin with. Some say he was at a low point in his career and succumbed to appearing on a schmaltzy tribute show as a next step to perhaps playing 40 weeks a year at some Las Vegas lounge. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. John Lennon retired from the music business for nearly five years to raise his son, Sean, recorded countless demos, travel and let Yoko Ono earn millions from shrewd investments. By 1980, he was ready to return to recording music under his terms and not some men in suits.

(John Lennon cavorts backstage with his back-up band, dubbed Etcetera for the television audience, but actually called Brothers Of Mother Fuckers.)


Below is a clip of John Lennon's performance. If you would like to view the entire program, click this link. Lennon makes his appearance at about the 22 minute mark.




 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Children's Deaths By Car Accident Not As "Sexy" As By School Shootings

Forward:
"Sexy" is a term used by news organizations describing something that is:
"3) interesting, exciting or trendy".
"Apples and Oranges" is a phrase that is often used as a crushing blow to an analogy when in fact, "denigrating an analogy by accusing it of comparing apples and oranges is, in and of itself, comparing apples and oranges."

*   *   *   *   *

When it comes to children's (usually defined as 17 years old or younger) deaths in school shootings, almost everybody gets wildly and irrationally emotional. Parents, educators and especially craven politicians' reactions to school shootings, whether they realize it or not, are fodder for both the Mainstream Media (MSM) and countless bloggers because the subject and reactions are just too darn "sexy" to pass up. When it comes to children's deaths in vehicular accidents, the reaction is, well, uh, fairly muted. In fact, children's deaths in vehicular accidents are so "un-sexy" that when one types in a Google search for, "politicians call for stricter laws on children deaths in car crashes", not only does one get over 861 million hits, but most of those hits are about children's deaths by school gun violence! A true "what the hell" if there ever was one. Apparently not only does the search parameters on Google think the shooting deaths are more "sexy", they also show that the "apples and oranges" argument is alive and well as, "comparing apples and oranges is, in and of itself, comparing apples and oranges."

Why is this so significant? Let us look at the numbers. Between 1980 and 2012, the number of people killed in shootings at school is 297, which includes mostly children, but also adults. The number of children killed in vehicular accidents is estimated at more than 51,000 for the same period. The numbers are so drastically different that the free-for-all reactions that happen in the MSM and in political houses across the country over school shootings show that the topic is not only "sexy" but "damn sexy" as well. Looking at the numbers alone, one would think that the reactions should be diametrically opposite, but, of course, they are not. Why?


I mean, look, even when typing a Google search for, "number of children deaths by accident in home per year", and one still gets trafficked to sites about children dying in school shootings by the multitude, one is forced to admit that something is wrong in how we are dealing with the deaths of children. As school shootings over the years have resulted in schools resembling prisons more and more, despite the fact that the odds of one's child being killed is so extremely rare, and the improvements to car safety lag so woefully behind in comparison, one is again forced to ask: why?


While after a school shooting it is now de rigueur for a parent (more often than not the father) to begin a media blitzkrieg condemning lax gun control laws before their child's body is even cold; there is no corresponding reaction to the daily toll of over three child deaths in vehicular accidents. Are there mass condemnations or protests in front of General Motors headquarters? No one suggests or even wants to put the head of Ford Motor Company's head on a pike and parade it down the street to the jeering cries of a multitude of people. Although that reaction would certainly be a "sexy" news item in the eyes of the MSM, it just never happens. In fact, the gap between reality and Americans' perception of horrible, out of control gun violence prompted the Pew Research Center to publish a reality check entitled, "Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware".

When it comes to gun control, there are extremists on both sides of the issue and they both can outdo the other when it comes to outrageous behaviors, which are, of course, imminently "sexy" to both the MSM and the craven politicians. However, when it comes to somehow really curbing the death toll of children in vehicular accidents, there are no corresponding extremist positions and not really even a middle one. The best we have is Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), with no such opposing group such as Fathers For Soused Driving existing or even contemplated. MADD is a good group to have around, obviously, because a lot of the deaths of children in vehicular accidents are caused by drunk drivers.

Among the many things about the United States of America, love it or leave it, that make it so damn interesting, yes even "sexy", are the many inconsistencies and incongruities. From religion to mass entertainment or political discourse to sexual mores, the USA is a blooming basketful of apples and oranges. If one stops to think about it, one might wonder how the country has survived for as long as it has. Yet, while the continued overreaction to the woefully few children's deaths at school because of guns is undermining the education process itself and turning schools into prisons, any meaningful change in vehicular safety for the sake of "our children" is condemned to the "non-sexy" well of sickening silence.
 

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Tale Of Two Transvestites

I had a successful day at an audition in West Hollywood. For the purposes of this story, I need to jump ahead and say I didn't get the gig. Regardless, I felt so good after the audition that I decided to indulge my inner child with a quick bite to eat at a local fast food chain.

It was rather hot that day, but no matter, this place was air-cooled and I placed my rather small order of food. As I waited for my order to be completed, standing there several paces back from the counter, I heard a male voice ask, "Are you standing in line?" I turned and had to look up as I saw two men tall men in their sixties standing slightly behind me and they were wearing dresses. Not just any kind of dresses, but opulent dresses. Opulent dresses that had perhaps seen better days.

The man who asked me the question was white, with long hair that used to be blonde. The other was an Asian man who darkened his hair and was slightly teetering on a tall cane. I noticed that the tall white man had white chalky residue at the corners of his mouth. I said, "No, I'm only standing for my order." He thanked me and they slowly made their way to the counter and placed their order. I couldn't help but notice that they literally counted their pennies to buy their food. Soon, I had my order, and sat a table that allowed me to watch the baseball highlights on a large screen television.

It wasn't long before I saw the couple again. They tottered over and sat at a table next to mine. It was the man with the cane who sat down and was presented with the meal that their meager savings had purchased. The tall former blonde was standing up and making sure the meal was properly served. It was very touching. I began to wonder what trials and/or tribulations had brought them to this point in life. They obviously loved each other, had seen more than their fair share of sorrow, but through it all, both good and bad, they had remained together.

I, perhaps, let my imagination loose a bit, for I thought that in happier days, before the rise in rental property in the area, before the second great depression, that they were once, one of the toasts of West Hollywood. Judging by the dresses they wore alone, they may have been, indeed, trend setters. Here they were now, one feeding the other the only meal that they could afford at this time. If nothing else, by damn, they were making the effort to dress up and go out for an evening meal.



 

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Clinton-JFK-Obama Nexus

Who hasn't played the game "Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon"? In reality, it should be called a nexus, but that's missing the point entirely and my creative writing teacher once said to never start an article with a digression. Well, sorry, my bad. Damn! My teacher also stated to never apologize in your opening paragraph either.

There's been a disturbing, perhaps even creepy, find amongst photographs of a young Barack Obama. Specifically, one in which he is posing with his fellow teammates on the high school basketball team.


(All photos under Fair Use)

Look closely, who is that young fellow behind Obama's left shoulder? Why it looks to be none other than a young John F. Kennedy!


I know! What the hell? But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Obama is nothing more than Bill Clinton light, a continuation of disastrous policies both foreign and domestic that has been going on since JFK's assassination. It helps to solidify this wash that Clinton actually met JFK!


Incredible! Fantastico! Phantasmagorical! Although highly unlikely, perhaps Obama's basketball teammate was none other than John F. Kennedy, Jr. Whew! Well, that was a close one, a close one indeed. It is now safe to leave the rabbit hole.

You're welcome!
 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's Not About "Burger Flippers" It's About The Devalued Dollar


I'm sure many of you have seen the memes (or variations thereof) shown below on social media over the past few months. The one on the top is more than a bit disingenuous because it presupposes that first responders only get minimum wage and that they do not complain. There's a similar one comparing "burger flippers" with United States soldiers which is also disingenuous because it ignores the fact that soldiers are grossly under paid and under benefited as well! The bottom meme is closer to what has actually happened - the decline of buying power by the U.S. dollar and the MSM ignoring inflation, the second great depression and the impact that this had on tens of millions of Americans.
 
 
 
 
Many moons ago when I was working a part-time minimum wage job for $3.10 an hour while in college I was able to afford to share a 2 bedroom apartment, had a savings account and didn't need food stamps. Six months later, I was out of college and bumped up the gravy train to $3.50 an hour and more than 30 hours a week. Then I was paying back my student loan and still had the savings account, paid rent, paid for my food, paid for clothes, et al. My point is that the buying power of the dollar has dramatically decreased over the years and inflation (which they used to report on the nightly news by the way) is going through the roof.
 
I noticed that almost no one was bitching and moaning when McDonald's CEO was given a 4+ times raise last year, but raise the minimum wage and howls are made mostly from the right-wing, economists and filthy rich people. So, with minimum wage workers on food stamps, child welfare, housing welfare etc., you'd rather argue that subsidizing these high-profit, low wage corporations is all right for American taxpayers? A $15 an hour wage would cut food stamps rolls and all the rest. It's that simple. This isn't about pimply faced teenagers or retirees, this is about corporate welfare at the expense of working Americans and the fact that the dollar doesn't buy nearly as much as it use to.
 
If you are still fixated on the "burger flipper" in spite of reading this far, consider this: the average fast food "value meal" costs about $7.50. It would take an employee at said fast food establishment one hour's worth of wages to afford that. Even the self-serving, bigoted car magnate Henry Ford understood he had to pay his employees enough of a wage to afford the cars they built.
 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Multiple Gunmen Yet AGAIN! and AGAIN!

UPDATE INCLUDED

Here we have a mass shooting near the University Of California, Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, on Friday night May 23rd. Once again we have early reports of more than one gunman. However, the Official Version is telling us it was only one gunman. A gunman who was so tortured and lonely he posted videos on You Tube railing about how life was treating him so unfair and here he was a 22 year old virgin. Ack!

The Official Version allows people to argue (in this case) about the pros and cons of the state of mental health facilities in the United States, how evil the NRA is, more gun control, and in a new twist, the apparent rampant misogyny in this country. Which, of course, like previous mass shootings the last two years, allows the early reports of more than one gunman to slip quietly out of the discourse. If it weren't for the tragic loss of lives in these instances, this continued "disappearance" of other gunmen would warrant a collective groan and YAWN.

(The man behind the curtain, reprinted under Fair Use)

Like the shooting at the Aurora Theater, the shooting at the Sikh Temple, or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, the shooting in Isla Vista has both eye-witness reports and police scanner reports of more than one gunman. I know! What the hell? I suppose you are suppose to believe that these reports and scanner dialogue are nothing more than mere coincidences and that eye-witness reports are notoriously faulty (unless the eye-witness reports buttress the Official Version). How many times must this happen before a well informed populace rises up and begins asking legitimate, critical questions? The Mainstream Media (MSM) will not be asking these kind of questions because the Official Version has already been set in stone. So, it may be only up to us to demand answers to these critical questions regardless of how unsettling the answers may be.

As a friend of the three roommates this lone nut supposedly stabbed to death said, “If a person was in danger for his life, I think he would try everything to escape. From a door. From a window,” said Zhe Lu, a computer science major who knew the victims.  “It keeps making me wonder if there is a second killer.”

Or we may simply go back to sleep. Oh, yawn.

UPDATE

Wake up! Wake up! Stop yawning! Less than two weeks after the shooting reported above, there has been today, June 5th, a shooting at Seattle Pacific University. Unfortunately, 1 person died and three others were wounded and the gunman was taken into custody - alive. However, just like a tired script, there were numerous reports of two gunmen. In fact, the description by police was fairly specific. Police said the second gunman was, "described as white male, long sleeve blue shirt with vertical stripes, armed with handgun." Then, reports of two gunmen in custody (see photo below) are reported on the local CBS affiliate, KIRO, along with the picture of one of the gunmen being taken to a police car.


However, within 90 minutes of the shooting, all reports of a second gunman, whether seen, in custody or otherwise, had been scrubbed from the original MSM reporting and the police reports as well. Oh, but it's all a coincidence. Eye-witnesses, reporters, hell even the cops can be wrong (uh, every damn time it would appear). So, time to go back sleep...
 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

9/11 Museum Of Rich Crass Elites & Tastelessness

The 9/11 Museum in New York City on "hallowed ground" has opened. Wherever one may fall along the spectrum, from believing in the government's conspiracy theory (which, of course, the museum endorses) to believing there were no planes, no one can deny that this "museum" is nothing more than a feel good for rich, crass elitists and a monument to tastelessness.

(photo by Todd Heisler, New York Times, under Fair Use)

It was bad enough that the powers that be decided to move some 8,000 pieces of remains to a repository in the same building as the new "museum" as opposed to an aboveground tomb like the Unknown Soldier. It was even worse that crass rich elitists (some of whom made a lot of money off of the attacks) attended what amounted to a cocktail party on hallowed ground before the "museum's" official opening. “You enjoy dinner & drinks on top of my brothers grave last night douchebags?” tweeted Robert Shay Jr.’s sister.

(photo by Marcus Santos, The New York Daily News, under Fair Use)

No, the real jaw dropping act of tastelessness is the gift shop. You read that right, on "hallowed ground" there rests a fucking gift shop where people will continue to make money off of the victims. Perhaps the most tasteless gift in this dive is the 9/11 Cheese Plate, complete with little stars where the attacks occurred. I'll wait as you let that sink in.

(photo by Scott Lynch, The Gothamist, under Fair Use)

If anyone is still onboard with idea that your rich overseers and politicians have always had your best interests at heart I hope this "museum" has disabused you of that. Imagine what a visit to the gift shop might be like.

"Hello, and welcome to the 9/11 Museum Gift Shop. Oh, I see you're spying our classy 9/11 Cheese Plate. Perfect for your wine and cheese parties as you discuss the latest best seller. No, no, no, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Perhaps I could interest you in one of our Mohamed Atta passport replicas? They're only $9.95 each. We also have ashtrays formed out of the steel from the girders. They make excellent conversation starters as well has a repository for your butts. Or, might I interest you in our 9/11 Paperweights? Made from the pulverized remains of your fellow citizens, it retails for only $29.95. Buy two, they make wonderful gifts!"
 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

ET TU, Craig Ferguson?

In the imagination of William Shakespeare, these were the words uttered by a mortally wounded Julius Caesar as he looked into the eyes of his friend, Brutus...Yes, not Craig Ferguson! It is not a reaction that I had to the news as I sat no more than 25 feet from Mr. Ferguson when he made the announcement that he was leaving his hosting duties on "The Late Late Show". Well, all right me and 149 other people, but the point is they all "ooohhh'ed" and "ahhhh'ed" but I didn't. I listened carefully as Mr. Ferguson rightfully predicted that on certain internet sites and even in walk-about life, some fans and foes alike would feel much like Caesar did: betrayed. Not necessarily stabbed, mind you, just betrayed by his leaving the show.


(Craig Ferguson. From CBS-TV under Fair Use)
By now there are two questions some of you may be asking yourself. Why didn't I "ooohhh" and "ahhhh"? And who the hell is Craig Ferguson? As to the former, I wasn't surprised by his announcement that after 10 years he is stepping down from "The Late Late Show" on CBS. He's made many thinly veiled comments lately about how ten years is a long time to be hosting a show and he's talked openly about how he is in negotiations to host a game show. I knooooow! A game show. As to the latter, I would hope that the link supplied above to the Wikipedia entry about the show...Wikipedia? What the hell?...which was written by several Ferguson fans apparently, would give the reader the rock solid foundation they needed to answer the question.

There's been quite the shake-up recently in the realm of late night network talk shows. Jay Leno over at "The Tonight Show" (NBC, 11:35pm) once again stepped down as host (as far as we know, but give it time) and Jimmy Fallon has taken over the job. Since Fallon was hosting NBC's "The Late Night Show" (12:35am), someone had to be found to replace him and that person was found in the form of Seth Meyers. Now NBC's entire late night talk show schedule is run by Lorne Michaels and his hybrids. Michaels' sense of humor now permeates the entire NBC late night landscape instead of just the 90 minutes to be found on Saturday nights.

Over at CBS, the recent news of long time host of "The Late Show", David Letterman, leaving in early 2015, meant that a new host had to be found as well. And Craig Ferguson wasn't it, but the thing is, he didn't want to be it! So, that is why, eventually, CBS chose Stephen Colbert to be it. What the hell? This is sounding like some grade school playground game. Significant pause. And maybe it is...
Craig Ferguson rightly ridiculed some websites as completely unconcerned with "the truth", so that is where one must wander to find whatever minutiae one may wander about. The point is, with Mr. Ferguson's announcement the shake-up at two major networks is now complete. Significant pause. Or is it...?

Whether or not anyone wants to admit it, there has been no major shake-up on any of the major networks' late night talk shows. As Mr. Ferguson has said himself, "a middle-aged white guy in a suit telling jokes on late night TV. Has it ever been done?!?" He was, of course, doing his oft-brilliant deconstruction of the late night genre, but essentially it is still the same! It's 2014 networks! What the hell? Unless CBS makes some bold move...pause for laughter...that Mr. Ferguson's replacement shall be...naw! Not going to happen. It's still going to be a plethora of middle-aged white guys in a suit telling jokes on late night TV.

However, et tu Craig Ferguson, actually means he is not engaged in any act of betrayal, but he is simply one of many who has chosen to follow his bliss in a different way after ten years hosting "The Late Late Show". He has been unlike any current late night talk show host. His closest antecedent in the deconstruction of the format has been his boss, David Letterman, but his show overall reminds me of the great Ernie Kovacs.

Kovacs constantly did bits and sketches and monologues that mocked, experimented with and even challenged the medium whether or not anyone cared to notice. Maybe one could argue that Mr. Ferguson was not as grandiose in some of his visionary humor, but that may be due to CBS's miniscule budget or the fact that in and of itself CBS cares! At any rate, Kovacs was also a surrealist and whether consciously or not, Mr. Ferguson and his writers have used their budgetary restrictions to create characters and situations that can be described as Kovacsian. Without going into some long, boring and academically dry rundown of archiac knowledge about some comedian hardly anyone remembers or some other comedian that hardly anyone watches on TV, I'll point out three. These three always open up avenues to comedy and especially in the realm of late night talk shows, they are Kovacsian.

The gay robot skeleton sidekick, Geoff Peterson. Secretariat, who is not a horse. The band that never comes out from behind the curtain because they are too shy. And of course, "TV's Craig Ferguson". You will be missed, but as they used to say on "The Tonight Show", happy trails to you, to you all.

 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

WHO AM I?

SARCASTIC WARNING: FOUL LANGUAGE HEREIN!


Gentle readers, I am a liberal, a leftist, a leftie, a progressive, a Wobblie, and fucking hell man, I've even voted for a few Democrats in my time. Yet, there is a problem. I'm not a conformist. And that has led to more than a few people giving me a quizzical once over when attempting to fit me in to their stereotype file cabinet.

Keeping in mind my first sentence, I'll tell you what fucks up people's perceptions by citing just a few issues (because I'm trying to keep this under 1,000 words). First example, Gun control. OMG, right? It's not that I don't think people should register their guns (like they do a car) or have a waiting period, but I do believe in the Bill of Rights. And right bloody there within is that damn pesky Second Amendment. The government should only be going as far as they have already when it comes to gun control, and when I speak out against certain proposed laws or (shudder) defend the idea that people should be able to own guns, then holy fucking cow, people think I might as well believe that the Earth is fucking flat!

Second example, the Earth is fucking flat. No, no, no! I don't believe that the Earth is fucking flat! I don't believe in Anthropogenic Climate Change, so I get compared to someone who believes the Earth is flat. I know, fucking crazy, right? What the bloody hell? And I'm talking about the Flat Earth Society, not that I don't believe in ACC. Strangely enough, the president of said organization believes in ACC. Dammit all! So, yes, here I am, this crazy "3%"-er who also has a 0.12 ton per year carbon footprint and is a progressive, too. Has it ever been done?

Lastly, well, shit, this might come in under 500 words, and you, gentle reader, are really getting your money's worth! Yes, you! You know, the one that gave so much money during my little donation drive? # Hashtag sarcasm. Have I digressed? Of that I am not sure. For the slings and arrows of outrageous, well holy jebus, are these the recently found words of the Great Bard or have I, once again, digressed? Lastly, yes, lastly, it was. Lastly, man landed on the moon. I actually believed that happened. However, you'd be surprised how many liberals, progressives, et al, think that the moon landings were faked and directed by Stanley Kubrick. I know, what the flying fuck indeed? They get so bent out of shape when confronted with such things as, say, oh maybe, film footage shot on the fucking moon, that before you can say, "Uncle", they want to ship you off to a prison camp or fine your ass until the sun don't no more shine there - oh fuck! That's what they say about us "3%"-ers. Ultra dammit! I get so bloody confused sometimes and why hasn't anyone refilled my drink?

So, irregardless, gentle reader, ha(!), see what I did there? Made you sorta say, "what the fuck"? "Irregardless"? Yeah, so, irregardless that I am a goddamm hippie, liberal, coke snorting, progressive, Marx reading so-and-so...I believe in rights and things (because those were just a few examples) that make others, sometimes, question my Commie Cred, ya dig?

(About The Awful: Rad leads an embittered existence somewhere between there and back again. His works of a previous depressing nature can berry and assorted vegetables at your local super market.)