I have figured out the perfect job for myself. Part life coach, part nag, it would be my role to tell folks in public life when they have left this plane of existence behind and slipped into that dank existential dungeon where intellects are unfettered by the bonds of rationality. Yes, it would be my job to say, “This doesn’t make a damned bit of sense.”
Politicians, actors, rock stars - the world is full of potential clients.
I was thinking about my fantasy job this week as I read various reports of Madonna, who is making sure that none of her “Material Girl” stuff is left behind as she exits dressing rooms. A special team evidently worked to make sure that none of her DNA was left behind in dressing her rooms during a recent world tour.
Okay, this is Madonna, who reportedly required “journalists” interviewing her to maintain eye contact at all times, and to have their questions memorized, and, oh yeah, here’s a list of what you can’t ask.
You’d gotta figure that would be an interview that wouldn’t be worth trying to get, but I figure some did; she’s so newsworthy, and all.
But the DNA business has me intrigued, what with reports of “sterilization teams” - Holy CIA, Batman! - which skillfully remove any and all traces that she may have left in a dressing room before anyone else is allowed in.
Maybe she is terrified that a lock of her hair might end up online?
But is there a more insidious reason?
What do they do with all this stuff they have swept up, and vacuumed out of the Madonna Cave each time she uses it, never to return? Incinerate it?
Or, and just work with me here, Tabescent Reader, what if Madonna is collecting it all, and handing it over to yet another team of specialists with the instructions:
“Make a new Me! Make a whole bunch of Me!”
The Madonna clones could be kept in cold storage until they are needed, like for spare body parts, or an extra head, in case she suddenly gets wildly paranoid about plastic sturgeons. Not that Madonna would get paranoid about anything . . .
Maybe one could go on tour, so the original could stay at home and catch up on eating Toblerones and drinking milk shakes all day, just tottering out on occasion to check on the progress of her various teams.
Or, should her megalomania reach unchecked levels (after all, I’m not she has anyone like me working for her yet), her Madonnabots could be sent out into the world on all sorts of nefarious missions.
Yes, I know - as a life-long reader of science fiction I know there is a world of difference between clones and Madonnabots.
But does Madonna?
Quote of the Day
There’s no secret about success. Did you ever know a successful man who didn’t tell you about it? - Kin Hubbard
"We kill at every step, not only in wars, riots, and executions. We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, suffering, and shame. In the same way all disrespect for life, all hard-heartedness, all indifference, all contempt is nothing else than killing. With just a little witty skepticism we can kill a good deal of the future in a young person. Life is waiting everywhere, the future is flowering everywhere, but we only see a small part of it and step on much of it with our feet.” - Hermann Hesse, German poet and novelist
Both Annette Funicello and Margaret (“There is no such thing as society”) Thatcher died this week. One brought smiles to the lives of millions, no matter what their status in life, while the other comforted the comfortable and heaped scorn on the less-well off.
With few exceptions, there was the general junior high school (sorry if I am insulting any junior high history textbook writers out there) overview of Margaret Thatcher yesterday. Most news reports only seemed to find folks walking the streets who had nothing but the highest regard for her. Then again, it sort of makes you wonder how far they traveled from home base in order to get those glowing tributes.
I didn’t see that many members of what might be considered classically working class - not that you much of them on American TV, either, unless they represent the victims of some terrible catastrophe - or are the well-paid (yet remarkably toothless) catchers of animals who whose days would be a whole lot better off if these yahoos and their camera crews weren’t invading their territory.
How not well-loved was Comrade Thatcher amongst her own people? According to The Guardian, when the Citizen’s Theatre of Glasgow featured a pantomime featuring the Wicked Witch of the South, there was absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind who the witch was.
A woman who seemed to view the less fortunate as a political annoyance at best, her policies helped to put millions out of work
Something else you may not see on our nightly news - which has turned adoration of the modern Royal Family almost into a sexual fetish - British police have been making arrests at impromptu street parties, celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher.
Annette Funicello, who I will miss, simply because she seemed so cheerful (and so damned nice - something I’ll never accomplish, at least not in this lifetime) began with The Mickey Mouse Club and graduated to the beach movies with Frankie Avalon. I think I must have seen all of these, because American Forces Television kept running them over and over again on the weekends when we were stationed in Germany in the early 1970s. They were corny movies, but sometimes they made me laugh.
Something Margaret Thatcher never did.
Now, as I await the inevitable political cartoons featuring Ronald Reagan greeting her at the gates to Heaven (see if I’m wrong) it might be a good time for us all to actually educate ourselves on what sort of effect she actually had on her people, and not the bumper sticker version we have been given over the years. This is, after all, why God gave us the ability to read things longer than, say, just this blog.
Find out for yourself how divisive a Prime Minister she was, the effect she had on ordinary Britons, who were not as enraptured by her. I found an interesting blog written by Jenny Anderson, which came out when the film about Thatcher was released some time back. Here is the opening salvo, for any men who would point to Thatcher as a proof of a conservative feminist icon:
“This weekend saw the release of Phyllida Lloyd's much-anticipated film, The Iron Lady, based on the only ever British female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. Unable to open a magazine, newspaper or even ride a bus without an image of the iron lady staring me in the face, the age-old question, 'Is Margaret Thatcher a feminist icon?' has once again, along with the red carpet, been rolled out. The answer to this is simple, no. Margaret Thatcher is not and was NEVER a feminist icon. To me she is the embodiment of everything that feminism is not; selfish, rigid and intolerant.”
Folks might do well do read some of these pieces, and meet the real Margaret Thatcher for themselves.
Why one Roger Ebert is worth a thousand of these free republic Bozos
Reading and listening to good reviews is one of the ways in which one can learn to think critically; it doesn’t require you to agree with the reviewer, as the folks from the infamous free republic website seem to think. You didn’t have to agree with Roger Ebert to enjoy his writing.
But then, in their dank dungeons, unfettered by the bonds of rationality, live those . . .
Every so often I check out the free republic website whenever a major event happens, just to see what magic (and bad grammar) falls from their fingers. Try as they might, all too often, there is undisguised glee when someone whose politics they disagree with dies - and sometimes from a particularly horrible death.
Yet to a man (and most of them are men, save for the occasional woman, though like sex chat rooms, that is debatable) they would no doubt proclaim their staunch Christianity to you.
Roger Ebert’s death has given many of them a chance to vent their spleens on a society in which too there is way too much liberal values, actually knowing anything about film when you write about it, gun control, idiot liberals, leftist/homo/anti-American/anti-capitalist messages, and feminists.
It also may well be the only website on the planet in which anyone has actually brought up Cotton Mather, in reference to Roger Ebert.
Fun for the whole family . . .
Quote of the Day
"Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures." — César Chávez
What’s the difference between a well-paid basketball coach who physically and emotionally abuses players and a cowardly man who punches a defenseless woman in the face for free, or the people in a workplace who prey on fellow employees for fun? The number of enablers they have - nothing more.
Every few years we will have a laughable national debate on bullying - often after some horrendous event which has shocked even the most jaded among us - with mental health experts making the rounds on television talk shows, with advice on what we as a nation must do. The hosts will nod their heads, and ask grave questions, and sometimes we will hear from victims of bullying. Cut to commercial break . . . and ads for the new Bruce Willis action film, Die Hardly: Where the Hell is my Vitamin E?
Business as usual.
How many times (especially since Columbine) have we heard about bullying in schools, and what to watch out for? And how to help those who are being bullied? End of problem. We can all go to bed safe at night now, our consciences clear.
With the storm over the Rutgers’ basketball coach, who got his jollies by both emotionally and physically abusing his players, the clouds are over us again, but the enablers, those who are quick to assure us that this is all just a tempest in a tea cup, and this is how things ought to be in this great country of ours, have been working loudly overtime this week.
Like the National Rifle Association, the enablers of bullying are getting quicker each time at rushing to the microphone to defend anyone, anywhere, who is accused of bullying - especially if they do it for money.
I have written before about being bullied in my early years in school, so I don’t need to go any further into that.
But I have also seen bullying in the workplace - from fellow workers as well as bosses. There is bullying in the military. Hell, I have seen it on Facebook, the great social network, where people who are all meek and mild in reality get hateful when they can hide behind their tiny little smiling picture.
What happens when people get bullied - aside from the fact that bullies get some cheap amusement?
At the very least, there is depression. And sometimes, someone snaps and decides to do something about it.
If we have a legal defense for those who have been abused in a relationship, and they strike back at their abuser, might not one day there be a similar legal defense for those who have been bullied?
Would those who take such great satisfaction in being their enablers today, grinning like loons whenever the subject is brought up, finally sit up and take notice then? Might it penetrate into even their minds that bullying is wrong?
Quote of the Day
The most important thing about a vacation for many people is the fact that they can brag about having been on one. - Brendan Francis
There is a great line in the Star Trek film, The Wrath of Khan, when James T. Kirk explains to a junior officer that, “You have to understand why things work on a starship.” I’m not too much of a snob to admit that I used that analogy myself when I have served on various boards or committees; it is just as true on earth as it is in space.
Each and every day, be it in letters to the editor, Twitter, Facebook (sigh . . .) factory break rooms, bus stops, diners or any of a thousand one other places in this country, someone will expound on what is wrong with the government, and what they would do, if they were “in charge.”
If you were to suggest to most of these potential problem solvers that there is an excellent way to not only find out about how government is run, but also perhaps have some influence, they will begin backing away.
“Some of us have jobs to do,” will be the eventual reply of many, as if implying that only the dangerously underemployed would seek out such opportunities, which is now, as it has always been, utter and complete bilge.
Most of the folks I have known who have thrown themselves into the public arena, either as candidates for public office or as volunteering to serve on committees have also had work and family responsibilities.
True, one can run for office (I have myself, losing three times - earning a mandate from the people), but there are other, just as exciting ways to not only learn about government, but to have an influence in your own community.
Most cities have opportunities for citizens to volunteer to serve on various committees which advise their various city councils. Speaking as someone who spent several years on Fayetteville’s Telecommunications Board, I can tell you that this is an extremely valuable service to the community - plus, you learn a great deal.
There are all sorts of volunteer opportunities available to just about anyone.
If not government, then on bodies which also serve the public interest. Perhaps you are interested in the issue of free speech? Many public access organizations actively seek new board members, as do literacy councils, or other non-profits. Becoming involved with such groups, even if only for a short time, can provide invaluable experience, and can dispel many of the myths which so many enjoy spreading.
And, of course, you help your community. It’s sort of a win-win situation, all around.
And then, should you still want to write letters about the evils of government, at least you’ll have some solid frames of reference to draw back on, instead of the same talking points passed from hand-to-hand.
Quote of the Day
I think crime pays. The hours are good, you meet a lot of interesting people, you travel a lot. - Woody Allen, “Take the Money and Run” (1969)
I wrote this back in the 1990s, after a friend invited me to go along with him to a gun show. Little has changed in the gun shows I have attended since then, except for the increased paranoia, and offensiveness of some of the material.
Poetry lovers may appreciate the efforts of the Militia of Washington County, a couple of lines of which I have reproduced here. This is included in my book, Ozark Mosaic.
The Guns of Heaven
Recently it was my pleasure to attend a gun show at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Though I have not had a gun in my home since the early l980s, when I almost shot a man, I still enjoy target shooting, and appreciate well-crafted weapons. This was the first time in my life l had attended such an exhibition, however, and it was somewhat on the surrealistic side.
As a society, we have differing views of gun owners, and most of them are based in reality. There is, for example, the average owner, concerned about the rising crime rate, and the dangers becoming more apparent in daily life, who owns a gun for protection. The majority of these men and women are responsible individuals, and so are not the ones we read about in the newspapers.
Then there are the serious collectors, those for whom gun owning is a rather expensive hobby. l have seen some of these collections, and they can be impressive, though sometimes disquieting. And then, of course, there are those who are actively preparing for the breakdown of society, and the coming of a "dog eat dog" world.
At the gun show, I saw all three types represented. Most seemed to be like myself and the friend who accompanied me, merely curious. As a culture, of course, we have a fascination with weapons of all kinds, and our popular culture depicts wild-eyed, sweat drenched men and women, designer clothes askew, clutching those hot, hard, metal rods, seeking the next recipient of their molten load.
But some obviously lived on the fringes of rationality, only visiting civilization for victuals and ammunition. As one dealer admitted to me, he was "making money off people's paranoia." And paranoia seemed to be the order of the day, as booth after booth offered handguns with laser sights, swords, bayonets, and your basic back yard army set.
Books and pamphlets warned of the encroaching "New World Order,” a scheme cooked up by Satan, the United Nations, and those gremlins from the Kremlin. And, of course, the ever growing power of the federal government in people's lives. (It may be interesting to remember that, prior to Bill Clinton's presidency, most liberals encouraged people not to trust the government. Since then, of course, they can't seem to understand why people would entertain such thoughts.)
Want to know how to make a bomb? Check out the next gun show coming to your town. Want a recipe book, so that your meals don't get boring out there in the hills while you're making those raids on United Nations troops holding American cities hostage? Want to buy tapes from Mark Koernke, mad guru of the short-waves, warning of the infamous New World Order?
Have we got a show for you!
An interesting pamphlet called "The American Christian" reveals to us that the "true Christian image" is not the traditional angel, wearing a peace symbol (?) and surrounded by goofy word balloons uttering that dangerous phrase, "love," but rather a stalwart fellow pushing a plow with one hand and clutching a flintlock rifle with the other. lt also features the "Anti-Thought-Control Dictionary," which tells us that the word love has been corrupted to mean, "Sexual attraction toward (and/or sexual engagement with) another person, regardless of sex, race or age."
This issue of race was of serious concern to some of those who had tables in the hall. I was able to buy a bumper sticker that proclaimed, "Work - it's the white thing to do." Hey, goes without saying. Further down the aisle, I saw a plump fellow with a scraggly beard, wearing a t-shirt announcing, "Property of KKK athletic department." If they were all built like him, the only Olympic event they'd qualify for would be the 50 yard buffet dash.
I saw a young black man ushering two small children before him down an aisle, and I felt ashamed.
The high point of the day (after handling a handgun affixed with a laser sight - that infamous red dot you see in the movies doesn’t always appear, by the way) was my encounter with the gentlemen from the Militia of Washington County, who were represented by men who seemed very nice. For the princely sum of three dollars, I bought their handbook, which details their aims and motives.
The militia claims the duty to "restore" the Constitution, which has been stolen by socialist enemies within the government who threaten the churches with unjust laws (a reference to the Reverend Jay Cole's troubles some years ago?), unlawfully aborted children, and legalized perversion of all sorts. Environmental protection is also one of the evils the government has put upon us.
The militia tells us that it will not be disarmed under any circumstances, and that any "conspiracy" will be met by force. In bold print is the following:
10. The Militia shall consider any attempt by members of City, State, or federal government to disarm the people to be a Provocation, an act of Rebellion, Insurrection, Treason and War against the Free People of the United States of America . . .
Three to five thousand rounds of ammunition should be considered minimum for any .household concerned with civil unrest or the possibility of a foreign government taking over our shores. A letter from the Militia to law enforcement officers of Washington County proclaims that the "patriots" in the militia will begin reclaiming and enforcing Constitutional rights by “Armed Force of the Militia" if necessary. Like many throughout history, the Militia seems intent on obeying (and enforcing) only those laws that they approve of, and to hell with the rest.
Not to be confused with those brutish thugs who would inflict their own brand of law upon their fellow Americans, those in the Militia also have a soft, sensitive side. Wayne Fincher, author of this weighty tome, also writes poetry, though not about anything as unmanly as loving your neighbor, or trees, or those confusing forks in the road. No, the Walt Whitman of the Militia of Washington County, in his poem entitled "Tyrants Beware" (and literary critics too, I suspect) wrote the following verse:
And from our schools, all knowledge of our God and Savior must go,
replaced by a socialist, New World Order, ruled by the thugs of NATO.
Referring to those damned English, no doubt.
Of course, it is always possible that these men and women, intent as they are on exposing the gay socialist environmentalists who have taken over our country, are simply a couple cans short of a six-pack.
Not quite in the militia category are those one issue voters who are also concerned about gun laws. Though law-abiding, many seem consumed by their passion, and totally uninformed about anything else. These are the people who really think that the wealthy republicans elected to office last November are somehow part of a populist reformation.
Leaving the exhibit hail, I passed a table where a man was selling swords. Most were copies of swords that had helped make history. One in particular caught my eye, and as I hefted it, I asked what it was modeled on.
“It’s a Klingon sword from Star Trek III,” the dealer told me proudly. I began looking around for the much vaunted Klingon Bible, but it was not to be seen.
It kind of makes you long for the day when Fayetteville has its own exhibition hall, doesn't it? We can have militia members and KKK athletes roaming our streets in broad daylight, hawking their enlightened ideas and making a buck in the process.
Ozark Gazette - June 26, 1995
Whenever I watch a documentary or movie about Robert F. Kennedy, and we are drawn ever closer to his tragic shooting in that California hotel, I am sick with anticipation. I always know how it will end, but I am drawn in, and I am emotionally wounded as he lays on the floor of that kitchen, dying.
The same holds true for presentations about Abraham Lincoln; I know that John Wilkes Booth lunges in and shoots him in the back of the head, but I am still overcome with emotion.
I respect these men, and their deaths at the hands of cowardly assassins will never fail to move me.
When the cop played by William Petersen is suddenly killed in To Live and Die in L.A. (Sorry if you haven’t seen the movie yet) I was taken aback with shock.
I was emotionally invested in this movie, as I have been with other films when a major character has died. In Brian’s Song - a true story - I did not need to see the specifics of how cancer ravaged the body of football player Brian Piccolo to be drawn into the story. This is what good storytelling is all about.
The same holds true for the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross, a particularly vicious form of execution devised by the Romans to both punish and terrorize. When I was growing up, I saw Christ’s trial, his beatings, his carrying his instrument of death through the town, and finally, being put upon the cross in many films . . . and I was almost always moved - unless it was a badly made film.
Christ’s death upon the cross, though, as horrific as it was, is not nearly as important as his Resurrection three days later, or his teachings, which were so radical that they threatened the political power structure - and over which people still argue today. Many is the political activist who has been drawn to try to make a difference based upon what they learned in church.
But his death?
Some years ago Mel Gibson produced The Passion of the Christ, with its sadomasochistic set piece, which in turn “inspired” local productions of the Easter story (including the Eureka Springs Passion Play, according to some reports) to dramatically increase the amount of violence in their own plays, as if somehow the increased whipping would make one feel closer to God.
Instead, it makes the viewer one with the crowd, those who stood by and enjoyed the crucifixion for altogether different reasons. The rationale for attending may be different, but the blood lust is the same.
The History Channel production of the The Bible (with the Irish Moses) has upped the ante with even more beating and whipping of Jesus - almost as if this is what the whole thing has been leading up to - for therm, at least.
Well, at least we can be grateful - given the fact that this did run on what is still laughingly called the History Channel - that no “ancient aliens” made an appearance.
Has religious faith reached a point where subtle film-making and the impulse not to draw in the video game crowd are cast aside, and the faithful are expected to experience every lash, every blow? And for what? How is the emotional experience truly any different than watching King of Kings?
And it illuminates what - other than the lack of imagination on the part of part of the producers?
The truly radical parts of the life of Christ are his teachings, and, of course, the Resurrection.
Admittedly, it’s been a while since I have attended church on a regular basis (though in another life my ambition was to become a priest) but I’m pretty sure that the reason that Christ was crucified was because of the things he was saying to folks.
Ideas which are still pretty radical today. Rabble Rousing Reader.
Just imagine the uproar if a producer had said, instead of going for the least common denominator, and satisfying the blood lust of the crowd, had instead announced that a series about Jesus would be about his teachings.
It just sort of makes you wonder what will be in store for the next production of the death of Jesus Christ, and how over-the-top the violence might be then.
Yeah, and about that “sexy Jesus”
Is there a universal rule that news anchors must read off everything with goofy grins on their faces, and not go, “You know, this doesn’t make a damn bit of sense.”
Google was made for these poor lost souls.
After days of hearing the drivel about the new “hunky Jesus,” it seriously makes you wonder how bad not only our national IQ has become, but also our collective memories.
Hell, Christian Bale (Batman, for crying out loud) has played Jesus.
Jeffrey Hunter, first captain of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, played him.
Jim Caviezel (The The Count of Monte Cristo) played him - in the Mel Gibson movie, no less.
Hunky Jesus - what a load of self-serving PR crap. Of course, that’s what news anchors are for, half the time, to serve as PR flacks.
Quote of the Day
‘Tis a sad but sober fact, that most men lead flat and virtuous lives, departing annually with their family to some flat and virtuous place, there to disport themselves in a manner that is decent, orderly, wholly uninteresting, vacant of every buxom stimulus. To such as these a suggestion, in all friendliness - why not try crime? - Kenneth Graham
If there is one thing I have learned over the years when trying to convince people I might be good at a job it is this - it is important to exude confidence, and to take everything in your stride. This will in turn inspire confidence - false though it may be at times - in your employer that they have settled upon the right person for the job.
This bit of advice has never seemed to trickle down to the various “investigators” of the paranormal that we see on cable TV, invading barns, homes, restaurants, office buildings and even old prisons on occasion, in their quest for the supernatural.
No, I’m not talking about those pretentious people with a bunch of letters behind their names, and weighed down by too much book learning, but by the boots on the ground, so to speak, the self-professed psychic warriors, demon hunters, exorcists and all-around challengers of those who would go bump in the night.
There is a sad sameness to these programs, as if they are dictated to by folks who claim to know what people like, and so they must not deviate from their format.
Family buys/leases/rents a house (though I did see one episode where a trailer was haunted), and mysterious things begin to happen.
Family goes to the Yellow Pages - or online, as the case may be - and looks up the local “paranormal” investigative group, who come to house, all wearing matching T-shirts. I have been watching these shows long enough to realize that the choice of clothes is half the battle, when it comes to ghost hunting.
Along with them will come their “resident psychic” (what? She lives with you?) who will go from room to room, and reveal the emanations she is feeling. Often as not, a child is involved. Tears will flow.
A prayer meeting is called. But wait! What’s this? Something far more malevolent is behind the seemingly innocent psychic happenings in the house! “Voices” are caught on tape, usually with just one message:
“Get out!” This is probably the landlord.
Ghost hunters are in a state of open terror.
Yeah, there’s none of the Bill Murray “We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!” Ghostbusters stuff on display here.
Time to call in the heavy guns.
Morton Salt by the truckload is poured around the house, candles are lit, and the ghosts/demons are told to leave. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes . . . they come back.
But through it all, the stalwarts from the Yellow Pages, far from exuding confidence, are almost literally jumping out of their skins - even if they have been called out several times before, they will still act like rubes taken to the Big City for the first time.
And when it is all over? When the demon is exorcized from the teenager or unhappily married woman?
“We finally have proof that something is out there,” one hunter will say, on their way out the door.
No. No. No.
You’re supposed to say, “Why yes, we deal with this stuff all the time! Lucky you found us when you did!” Honestly, these folks need a little of the Bill Murray in them, rather than the Chicken Little - perhaps they should finally admit to the folks paying them good money to investigate this stuff that they have absolutely no experience, and that most of what they know comes from watching cable TV and reading old issues of Phantom Stranger?
Ghost hunters in shock at actually experiencing psychic phenomena? Poor dears. What do they do when the prices go up in the grocery store? Faint?
The Lone Gunmen - yeah, I’d enjoy the nightly news more if these guys were in charge
Spin-offs are kind of a hit or miss proposition. For every Maude there is an After-M*A*S*H*, or an Enos. Spin-offs occur when producers take minor - but interesting - characters and see if audiences will connect with them in a deeper way.
It’s all a crap shoot.
One of the better experiments was The Lone Gunmen, a spin-off from The X Files, which featured the conspiracy buffs/computer hackers whom FBI agent Fox Mulder was constantly consulting. Over the years, the trio’s popularity had grown to the extent that their own series seemed a natural extension of the parent show.
The Lone Gunmen can best be described as counterculture patriots. Never conventional, they nevertheless often managed to be better informed about the doings of the government than Mulder and fellow agent Dana Scully were at times.
The show made its premiere on Fox on March 5, 2001, in an episode which will probably never be shown on television again, due to its uncomfortable connection with 9/11. In the episode a rogue government agency is plotting to take over an aircraft (via remote control) and crash it into the World Trade Center. They come uncomfortably close to doing so, as well.
Watching it now, even 12 years on, is a little creepy, given what happened only a few short months later.
In the second episode our stalwarts Richard "Ringo" Langly, Melvin Frohike, John Fitzgerald Byers (Tom Braidwood, Bruce Harwood, Dean Haglund, Stephen) are joined by two new cast members. Stephen Snedden plays Jimmy Bond, a wealthy supporter of their newspaper, The Lone Gunman. Jimmy is well-meaning but not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
He also has more insight into the human heart than the cynical Lone Gunmen.
The other addition is Adele Harlow (Zuleikha Robinson - Hidalgo, New Amsterdam, Homeland) whose name is an anagram for Lee Harvey Oswald. Though she is their rival, she often helps the quartet out in their cases.
Their cases truly range from the sublime to the ridiculous, as they pursue Nazis, a water-powered car, tango-dancing smugglers and assassins of all shapes and sizes.
Two episodes in particular stand out. In the clever “Planet of the Frohikes,” they come up against an intelligent chimpanzee seeking aid in escaping from a government laboratory. It’s full of Planet of the Apes references, some going by so quickly you’ll have to replay the episode to catch them all.
And in “The Lying Game,” Jimmy Bond is forced to impersonate FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner, through the use of some Mission: Impossible style disguise fakery. Mitch Pillegi of The X Files shows fine comedic form here - why is he always stuck playing hard-asses?
Though their adventures on The X Files found them assisting Mulder and Scully against various government conspiracies, on their own series the trio seemed to find themselves battling corporate skullduggery. Which is just fine with me; those who know about such things realize that the corporate world can be just as deadly as government work.
Canceled after 12 episodes (but today, it might only last a week), the Lone Gunmen returned to occasional - though important to the plot - episodes of The X Files. In the final season of that show, they were killed off in the infamous episode, “Jump the Shark.”
Kill off the Lone Gunmen? Chris Carter, are you insane?
To add insult to injury, the two newest agents on the series (Doggett, Reyes) interacted with the trio throughout the episode, with Scully and Skinner only appearing for their funeral. Mulder, being “on the run” - ask your friends, I ain’t got the time - wasn’t in the episode at all.
It was a poor way to treat characters who had helped make the series as popular as it had become.
The characters returned as ghosts in the final episode of the series, in a brief scene with Fox Mulder. Rumor had it that the actors were very unhappy to return in such a capacity.
Extras on the DVD include TV previews, a short documentary, and the episode of The X Files which killed them off, “Jump the Shark” - which, despite my kvetching, is actually a pretty entertaining episode, and ties things up pretty well, all things considered. I would have included the “origin” story of the Lone Gunmen from the parent series, but I’m sure fans all have episodes they feel should have been included.
You can’t call any X Files DVD collection complete without this quirky little series, which actually stands on its own pretty well.
Quote of the Day
Hunger is the silent enemy. It is a thief in the night that steals away the children in ten thousand villages around the globe. While we Americans worry about overweight and reducing pills, millions of our fellow human-beings are fighting for survival. - George McGovern
There are those in life who can write off a friendship as easily as they change television channels - I have always felt lucky not be included in that number. One of the truly wonderful things about the Internet is that I have been able to reconnect with old friends I have lost touch with over the years.
Never one to make oodles and gobs of friends, I have always valued the friends I have made over the years, and the chance to reconnect with therm - even at a distance - seems nothing short of a miracle.
How bitterly ironic, then, that I never thought to seek out Kevin Robar, my best friend from first grade through third, until a few short weeks after he had died. Even more ironic, I suppose, is the fact that Platte City, Missouri, where he lived his final years, is only four hours away from Fayetteville.
Kevin, like so many others we know, was taken from this life by cancer.
He has several children and grandchildren who survive him. He loved the mountains of Colorado.
These are things I learned from his obituary.
Since no services were planned for Kevin, there would be no chance for people who knew him to stand and share stories. I would have been there.
I would have told everyone how we were the very best of friends for three solid years, until the Colchester school system in Vermont assigned us to different schools in fourth grade. I would tell all assembled how we were inseparable on the playground, and how Kevin saved me from bullies one day.
We used to share bizarre stories about life on the school bus every day, convinced that what we were saying to each was absolute gospel.
Since I was a shy child by nature, Kevin was not only my best friend, he was pretty much my only friend in those early years of elementary school.
I didn’t have a best friend in fourth grade.
I have thought about Kevin many times over the years, and even told others about my first best friend, but I never, ever thought to type his name into a search engine and see what he might be up to.
Until barely two weeks after his death, that is.
Writing this today will be my memorial to Kevin. I hope you had a good life, brother, and that you weren’t in too much pain as the end approached. I hope that there was someone there to hold your hand, and distract you from the pain.
I’ll see you again.
Quote of the Day
The important thing in life is not to have a good hand but to play it well. - Louis-N. Fortin
Raise the Minimum Wage ??? Hummm?? I think the min wage is and should be low & keep lower than even a unskilled laborer . As it is, The min wage people haven't put much effort into learning a skill or trade to try and improve themselves. I don't buy into this crap that they didn't get a fair shake in life. Everybody has stumbled across somebody somewhere through lift that could have taught them or at least the need to improve themselves. As it is the parent that is making min wage is teaching those two kid something !! Right?? Like it's OK to sit on your lazy A-Keaster and wait for your newly elected to give you another free ride on the hard working people's coat tails who have paid the price of working their way up the money train.. That's Right go ahead and give it to them. But when the job market goes down the tube after all these great new Tax's law's, health care laws, Min wage law's & on & on . We should all be OK,! RIGHT? Because we all know our great minds in office have a plan to save us...Right??
I’m not sure what sort of painting Norman Rockwell might come up with, should the Internet have existed in his day, but I suspect it wouldn’t have been exactly heart-warming.
A few days ago I raised the question on Facebook and various listservs (the few that still exist) about businesses offering discounts - you have often seen them as you traipse your way across town, I suspect.
10% for university students!
Free fries for veterans! Yes, Uncle Joe; you fought in Korea so that a giant food chain could give you free french fries on Veteran’s Day.
15% for ______ you name it.
When I raised the question about businesses offering discounts for those who work for the minimum wage, the reaction was swift . . . and once again proof that on Facebook, like everywhere else, people don’t actually read every word you write.
Some seemed to feel that I was suggesting that government somehow mandate that businesses offer such discounts - much along the lines of raising the question of any sort of gun legislation means taking all guns in America away.
Okay . . .
The more difficult to comprehend were the comments on the various pages where folks offered up the old canard that these are just “starter jobs,” and that teenagers occupy most of them. For such folks, I imagine, the idea of a “minimum wage job” means the kid taking their order at Burger King.
More than difficult to read - and even sad, in their own way - were the posts from folks who suggested in strong terms that folks who chose such jobs were “lazy.”
How many minimun wage earners are not HS dropouts, dumb as peanuts, or HS students
Ever since I have been paying attention, there have been Chicken Little warnings that if we raise the minimum wage, Americans would be laid off by the boatload, and the economy would go into a permanent death spiral. These claims - at least the ones I am aware of - go all the way back to the 1970s.
That such a thing has not happened does not deter those who would warn us; they simply assume that we know as little about history as they do.
Another canard is that people do not live on the wage for very long, that these “starter jobs” - like the famous “starter houses” that Realtors sell us - are for those just starting out in life. The fresh-faced and the innocent, the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, the ones seeking experience in the world.
They would have us believe that people do not raise families on the wage, or live on it for years. To which I respond only:
Apropos of nothing: I told Tracy I felt the need to use that word after hearing it in a movie yesterday.
I guess the progs just want to instill more poverty people in this country, that way when they put the carrot on the stick they will have a feeding frenzy of future slave voters who will keep the big brother government in place.
What sort of jobs might one be able to do, and still enjoy the minimum wage? Here are just a few:
fast food workers
certain levels of security guard work
Certified Nursing Assistant
Child Care Provider
Emergency Medical Technician
Automotive Service Technicians
Income Tax Preparer
Lazy? What sort of intellectual bigot would call anyone who works at any of these jobs lazy?
It isn’t all pocket change, of course; you don’t just salt all of your money away in your sock drawer. You have rent, utilities, food, possibly a car payment - and this just scratches the surface.
Then again, we have smug folks who say, well, folks who have a fridge or stove can’t really be described as “poor” - as if in their naive world view they honestly believe that folks can honestly call up their landlord and say, “I’m poor now. Please take the stove and fridge that came with my apartment away.”
It isn’t so much that folks lack empathy and understanding, I think, as that some don’t want to be over-burdened by it. For them, everything becomes an intellectual exercise, and they forget their ties to the rest of the human race.
Recycling political magazines
Sadly, Fayetteville’s public library is no longer among the number which allow magazine exchange racks (not to worry - not all libraries in NW Arkansas are so anal retentive) but even so, there are some other good ways to recycle your political magazines.
I send some off to friends, both in Arkansas and in other parts of the globe, but I also - every time I have to make a visit to a doctor (more often than I like) leave one in their office, for others to read.
It’s all just casting our bread upon the waters, but why not? You never know whose mind you might rescue.
Quote of the Day
As we limit our women, so do we limit our nation. - George McGovern
We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form. - William Ralph Inge
Giraffes are not an animal I think very much about; my only real experience with them has been in various zoos, and I doubt that I have watched any documentaries about them. And yet one night last week . . .
I have always had the most entertaining dreams, going back to my childhood. In fact, if I sat next to you on a bus I could bore you for hours with tales of dreams that I still recall from years past.
Action dreams. Sad dreams. Erotic (well, to me, at any rate) dreams. Dreams of grocery shopping. Dreams of Tyson’s Mexican Original - these are almost always bad dreams, and I wake up in a disturbed frame of mind.
Dreams where I have actually died - so much for that old hokum about how you can’t die in a dream.
But last week, I dreamt of giraffes.
Tracy and I were traveling down North College and I looked over at the spot where the old Razorback Theatre once stood (which is now a gym, I think) and I saw two wire enclosures containing several giraffes - the sort of enclosures primitive zoos once used. Giraffes, walking around on the hot pavement.
And one giraffe had somehow slipped out of its enclosure, and was walking around, seemingly free.
Then, through the magic that only a dream can provide, I was at a height where the giraffes in the other enclosure and I were all at eye level.
This was the sort of dream where all the giraffes, young and old, were the same height, which made things considerably more convenient for me.
I looked into the eyes of the tall creatures, who were only paying attention to their companion from the other enclosure, and a wave of discomfort(even sadness) swept through me.
This one giraffe, who would probably be hit by a car, symbolized for them everything that had been done to them for hundreds of years, ripping them from their homes, putting them in environments where smaller creatures would gawk at them all day long.
There was a sense of solidarity with the giraffe loose in the parking lot, and with the others across the way, still in their cage - but that solidarity didn’t include me, or any other human being.
And then I woke up, with no satisfactory ending to the dream. Only an intense desire to write about it, and I’m not even sure I have done that very well.
I just know I have been vaguely unsettled since I have had my dream about the giraffes, and heard their song in my head.
Quote of the Day
Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties. - Doug Larson
It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem. - G.K. Chesterton
In the 1800s there was a religious sect known as the Shakers. While passionate about their beliefs, they practiced - or didn’t practice, rather - something that may have prevented their sect going well into the 21st Century.
The Shakers didn’t believe in sexual union.
Oops. Not only would there be no new little Shakerites running around, but I’m not sure how much of a selling point that may have been to potential converts. Maybe they didn’t tell you until you had signed up?
At any rate, the only reasons we know about the Shakers now are because they show up in small paragraphs in history books, and maybe as a question on Jeopardy!
It’s okay, though, we may soon have our own modern-day version of the Shakers.
After the election of 2012 - how long ago that seems now! - members of the Republican Party were quick to assure voters that they understood that the mood of the country had changed, and that the antics of the Men with Bad Haircuts would no longer determine the fate of the Grand Old Party.
Well, that was then, and this is . . . still then, way way back then, as it turns out. Though the ever naive members of the national media may have been willing to swallow the line, those whose lives are affected by the rage and resentment which fuels the GOP weren’t quite so naive.
This weekend’s CPAC convention was the icing on the cake, as far as that goes.
Much has been written about Reality Show Governor Sarah Palin and her Borscht-belt performance last week, when she tossed one bumper sticker line after another at the audience - an audience which still doesn’t seem to understand that folks like Palin don’t actually write their own stuff.
The only thing worth mentioning about Palin’s comedy routine is how far her material has fallen since her 2008 GOP convention debut, and how little she seems to have noticed. The good comics get the best writers, Ms. Palin.
Leaving her aside, and CPAC as a whole, one can just look at the Business as Usual attitude of the GOP, whether it comes to providing aid to storm victims, protecting the rights of abused women, or standing up to the gun lobby.
Across the country, the Men with Bad Haircuts (including our boys in Arkansas) have continued to show their contempt for women by passing the most restrictive abortion bills in decades.
If you had to make a guess, Quadratic Reader, would you predict much of a future for the GOP Shaker Party?
This past week, as if suddenly realizing that their most crass behavior was caught on camera and was seen by folks who aren’t actually Republican by nature, the head of the Republican Party had a press conference saying, yeah, we know we gotta change - we gotta bring more people into our little club.
But they’ll be watching you, though. If you don’t laugh at the reality show governor’s jokes - no matter how inane they become in the months and years ahead - you may not make it into the Inner Sanctum.
Then again, maybe you could write some jokes for her . . .
Second Amendment News: Man pulls woman off bus, kills her
In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Kenneth Knight pulled Jacqueline Hardy off a city bus, and fatally shoot her in front of several people. He then took a three-year child hostage until a police sniper killed him after a stand-off.
A protection order had been filed against Knight in the past few days, but police did not say who had requested the order.
Quote of the Day
Looking back over our history, it is remarkable how often we honor men who in their own time were viewed as dangerous dissenters. - George McGovern
There is an old cliche which tells us that it takes a village to raise a child. But in the case of a parent with self-confessed rage issues, maybe it takes a village to kill one, as well.
This month Travis Fox of West Fork was arrested after he admitted to shaking his baby and tossing it onto a chair, which resulted in the child’s death. A few years ago Mr. Fox lost another son in similar circumstances. Now he will face trial for both deaths. Mr. Fox has “anger issues,” he says.
People with anger issues don’t live in a vacuum. They live in a world in which they exist like a whirling dervish, touching the lives of many they come in contact with - their friends, families, loved ones and complete strangers alike.
Families are torn asunder.
Relationships fall by the wayside.
Spouses and children are battered.
Sometimes the anger issues - oh hell, let’s cut the BS and just call it rage, because that is what it is - are recognized (and feared) by the person who experiences them, and they seek help for them. All too often, though, you’ll hear the snarl, “I don’t believe in that crap,” and they won’t show up anywhere near a doctor’s office.
They may try the self-help approach - if they attempt to deal with their problem at all.
A drink, perhaps, just to “take the edge off.” Something else, maybe, instead of alcohol.
And when they fall off the emotional wagon, and give in to their inner demons again, only to whine that they have rage issues, as if we should soften our glance on them (and too often we do) and give them another chance?
Sometimes we do. But are we doing them, or ourselves, when it comes to that, any favors by looking the other way? By becoming enablers to their rage, even if it is only a mean disposition?
Long before Travis Fox lost his second son, there were probably people in his life who knew of his personal demons, people who weren’t afraid of him, but said nothing. There are family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers, perhaps, who could have told him he needed to see a doctor.
And if he said he “didn’t believe in that crap?”
The only correct response is “I don’t give a damn.”
When we turn our heads, when we make excuses, when we let others wallow in their rage, and then sit by as they take it out on others, when we don’t speak up, we become accomplices to their depredations. We may weep, but perhaps some of the tears should be for ourselves.
Are you your brother’s keeper?
I’m not sure if anyone was Travis Fox’s. Or, more’s the pity, were they to his helpless young sons.
Quote of the Day
Progress begins with the belief that what is necessary is possible. - Norman Cousins
Olde English country dances! Dancing with girls! Would the horrors never cease? Still, who hasn’t fantasized about being in the middle of an International Incident?
For kids whose basic dance training was either the Twist or square dancing, the idea of shuttling us all on buses and exposing us to dances which had probably gone out of style even before the time of Charles Dickens makes as much sense to me now as it did in 1965. I wrote this originally for Grapevine in 1990.
Dance of Rebellion
In the spring of 1965, in a small English village, I had my first taste of civil disobedience. I was eleven years old.
The United States Air Force had stationed my father to RAF Croughton, a communications base just outside Banbury. Though we American children were educated on base by American teachers, we found ourselves part of an unusual social experiment. In the interests of international friendship, and to further the cause of World Peace, we were transported by bus every Friday afternoon that spring to a small English school to drink tea, eat biscuits, watch educational films and . . . dance.
Now, I love to dance . . . even though I am seriously bad at it. I don't think that anybody on this planet loves to dance more than I do, but (to dredge up that tired old cliche) that was then, and this is now. Dancing with a partner as an adult makes your skin tingle, and your blood flow faster. In essence, it makes you a healthier person.
Being forced to dance with a strange girl when you are a tender young boy (pre-puberty), all you can think of are cooties, and how to avoid them.
I blame it all on our teacher, Mrs. Hathaway, a gargantuan, red-haired woman. She insisted that being exposed to traditional English dancing would enrich our lives. I have since discovered that “traditional” activities generally only occur when the tourist buses pull up.
“Hallo! Hallo!” the school's Headmaster shouted to us as our bus pulled in that first day. “Welcome to Saint Marquis de Sade (or words to that effect) School!”
Outside, in the school yard, we all had to stand in a circle and introduce ourselves, and then, without further ado, it was time to dance. “Pick your partners,” our teachers urged us, and we stood, petrified. Finally, we were paired off, English to American, on down the line. And the lesson began.
Any thoughts we'd entertained that the dances might resemble the Twist were quickly banished. It was The Pickwick Papers, only in modern dress. You know, ancient history. The girls loved it. Us guys, on the other hand, were soon muttering under our breaths, and staring sullenly at the floor, moving our bodies listlessly, with little, if any, semblance of rhythm.
"Smile," Mrs. Hathaway hissed. "Have fun!"
After what seemed like forever, we retired to the school and had tea and biscuits, which was really the only part we looked forward to. They probably figured all that caffeine and sugar would make us dancing demons. After the tea break, we watched a travelogue about America, produced by Chevrolet. After the short film, we returned to the open schoolyard and shuffled our feet some more.
Only this time, the girls got to pick their partners. Now it was very definitely getting out of hand.
And so it went, Friday after Friday for the next several weeks, with no escape in sight. We (the boys, that is) began to dread the weekly trek to Saint Vitus’ Dancing Academy. The girls, however, were still enthralled.
I especially hated the weekly ordeal. I was uncoordinated as a child, and the dancing seemed designed to humiliate the socially inept. Besides, the same girl kept asking me to dance. Too young to appreciate the gesture, I had to be almost literally dragged to the dance floor.
Deliverance came in the form of Ricky Beavers, someone I recall little about except that his father was an officer, and he thought that entitled him to special treatment (which he never got) at Boy Scout meetings.
“Listen,” he whispered to all of us guys who were huddled by the doorway, before the final dance one day. “When they call to pick your partners, everybody kneel down and pretend to tie your shoes.”
“Why?” We all asked.
“Just do it,” he said. “You all hate this stupid dancing, right?” Shoulders squared, we walked on out to the school yard.
First, the girls got to pick their dancing partners, and I found myself paired with my usual partner. As usual, I stumbled through the steps. I wouldn’t mind at all if these ordeals came to an end.
Finally, the last dance of the afternoon. “Gentlemen, the Headmaster announced, “Choose your partners!”
There was a short, uncomfortable hesitation, while we contemplated the possible consequences of our action, and then, first one, then another, then two more, and finally the entire male section of Mrs. Hathaway’s fifth grade class knelt down and began fiddling with their shoelaces. We, military brats trained from birth in obedience and conformity, had disobeyed a direct order.
“Boys,” Mrs. Hathaway said in a warning tone, but we continued to stare grimly down at our shoes. All around, children and adults shuffled their feet in nervous anticipation.
“Get on the bus!” She finally roared, and we quickly complied. All the way back to the base, she was in a white hot fury, castigating us bitterly every mile of the way.
But after we got back, and were on our respective school buses home, we forgot all about it. When my father arrived home later that day, I greeted him at the door.
“Hi, Daddy,” I said.
“Don't you ‘hi, Daddy’ me,"he said in a dark tone. It seemed the matter did not end with our arrival back at school. Mrs. Hathaway had run to Mr. Evans, our principal, and he in turn had called each offender 's father at work.
Some received beatings for their roles. I counted myself lucky that I did not. No television for a week seemed just as severe. How do you settle on appropriate punishment for taking part in an international incident?
Of course, we were never invited back for tea and dancing.
It was a small gesture, compared to the very real acts of civil disobedience taking place in America in the 1960s - acts which required a great deal more courage than we displayed, and whose consequences could be far more dangerous. And yet . . . military brats (fifth graders at that!) disobeying a direct order. Imagine that.
All in all, I'm glad we did it. And as much as I love dancing today, the memory of the great Shoelace Reel, the silent, unmoving Dance of Rebellion, is the finest of all the dances I have ever taken part in.
Grapevine - August 24, 1990
We'll just call it Extreme Reality TV, dude. I know what you are thinking - such an awesome (surely one of the most underused words in the English language) title had better live up to its name. Well, I think it does.
Even the most jaded viewer of “reality television” realizes that not only have producers scraped the bottom of the barrel long ago, but have begun digging their way through its morally encrusted bottom with their fingernails, desperate to find something . . . anything . . . that would satisfy the emotional needs of people who think that working class America is represented by men and women with bad teeth who are one step away from being Mudlarks (what a show that would make! An entire family being so poor they walk all day long picking up bits of string and animal excrement, and then walk home again!), shows about workers thinking that if their boss spends a day or two at their jobs, worker Solidarity is created, ghost shows where folks on this side of the vale of tears assure ghosts that they “won’t hurt them,” and grotesquely overweight deputy sheriffs.
Romance shows where nobody really gets married. Dysfunctional (but wealthy) families get to screech at each other while working on various mechanical devices.
Okay, I like Top Gear.
But honestly, we’ve hit the fence a long time ago, which is why it may be time to try something new, something thrilling, something which can provide the same amount of stupid participants, rage and high ratings these networks only fantasize about.
A show about families who watch reality - and we use reality in the kindest possible sense - TV. Movies bore them, they don’t have the time to invest themselves in the intricacies (such as they are) in a plotted series, but will gladly rip open a box of Pop Tarts and a two liter bottle of Coke (not that diet crap, either) and really get to know the folks on a reality show, to care about them, and worry about them, and quiver with rage if anyone (even their smart ass kids) dares suggest that a lot of this stuff is shot, and reshot over and over again.
“Not Billy Bob Sidebottom!” comes the reply. “He wouldn’t put up with any of that reshooting scenes business. He’s the real deal. You can tell.”
Just like Leonard Nimoy was able to tap into his human half to play Spock so convincingly, I suppose; the camera never lies.
The series could start off with the family - maybe they could invite some neighbors over - settling in to watch Survivor: North Korea, or a show about ghost hunting. As the cameras focus on the folks watching the shows, tension can be introduced gradually.
Maybe the folks next door don’t bring enough snacks? Or they bring generic? Maybe they expect better seats just because they are “company” - where do they think this is, GoodMannersville?
A little sexual tension doesn’t hurt, either, as perhaps someone who should be watching the screen is watching a shapely set of muscles, instead, and the glances are more than returned. Cameras follow the couple to the store as they go on a “snack run” - and, like most Americans with a camera in the room, they seem to believe that it requires them to tell the entire world of their true feelings for each other.
Now our friends start to look around the house, and find housekeeping not quite up to their standards, and a few innocent remarks are blown way out of proportion. In the meantime, the kids are experimenting with meth, because . . .well, just because.
Dad locks the house one night so they can’t come in, causing Mom to break down in tears. The door is only opened when producers get a court order forcing them to allow their neighbors in.
The neighbor’s SUV is mysteriously firebombed just as a ghost hunter tells the spirit of Billy the Kid that he thinks he’s a wuss. Mom moves out, and begins to wear matching outfits with the man she is now living with, and still coming over to watch TV with - they all signed a contract, after all.
One grandfather suggests skipping the reality shows for one night and watching Fringe instead, drawing insane wrath from his son. Son is now written out of the will.
Neighbors start bringing a large black dog over with them when they come to watch TV; they will not tell their hosts the dog’s name.
One night a network executive comes in, and explains to both families (families in name only at this point, as there is so much animosity) that their program has been cancelled. The resulting melee, though not shown on television, is posted on YouTube, and has five million hits within the first week.
So, I’m just looking for two willing and not terribly bright families for my pilot episode. Think it’ll work?
I’m a sucker for alternate earth stories, and this is still one of my favorites
As the back of the book says, “Worlds lived. Worlds died. And the DC Universe was never the same.” Ah, yes, after decades of offering multiple universes, and parallel Earths, in 1985 DC comics decided on a grand experiment to tie hundreds of loose ends together, and streamline their mythos once and for all.
The result was Marv Wolfman’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, collected in a 364 page collection. And along with the worlds that die, so do some treasured friends from the DC universe.
This is just such a fun book that I enjoyed rereading it a few months ago.
Quote of the Day
If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. - Emma Goldman
Despite the warnings of those who actually pay attention to such things, the Men with Bad Haircuts in the Arkansas legislature have overridden Governor Beebe’s veto on their abortion bills, and are willing to fight the issue all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary . . .
. . . with taxpayer money.
Not their own, of course, other than the taxes they already pay.
Perhaps I watch way too much television (sometimes I think I do, and sometimes I think I don’t) but like many of you, I have seen the classic scenes in a civil case where the loser must pay court costs and sometimes the attorney fees of the winner of the case.
I have been thinking about these scenes of late when I read of the antics of Jason Rapert and Friends, who can’t quite seem to put the words “Constitution” and “unconstitutional” in the same paragraph without getting the vapors.
If Arkansas is intent on defending in court bills which its supporters have been clearly warned may be unconstitutional, why should you or I foot the cost? Or any taxpayer in the great state of Arkansas, really?
If Comrade Rapert and his ilk feel so strongly about this bill, let them pull out their credit cards. Maybe they could ask for donations to help push the case through the courts.
Maybe even have a few bake sales?
But don’t screw over the people of Arkansas on your Quixotic (I sort of hate to use that word, because Don Quixote would fight against such bullies, I suspect) quest to prove your point that in Arkansas, logic is an illegal immigrant.
And hey, if you win, you can be reimbursed - assuming, of course that you haven’t bankrupted the state on other mad schemes.
Wow! Black Smoke coming from the Vatican! Yawn . . .
Breathless news folks broke into programming yesterday to let us know that black smoke (and not the cool black smoke from Lost - imagine the terror that would have inspired) was coming from the Vatican chimney.
Yes, because none of us have ever sat through this before, and seen the black smoke rise to the heavens before. Honestly, this sort of news is along the same lines as “Guess what? My dog hasn’t bitten anyone today! Or for the last ten years, if it comes to that . . .”
Who is your favorite pontiff? Mine would be the one played by Anthony Quinn in the movie The Shoes of the Fisherman, based on the novel by Morris West.
“Charm Offensive” as on oxymoron
Yes, I know, some cows and oxen are really quite smart, or at least I have been given to understand by folks who have taken the time to get to know them.
But as for Obama’s “charm offensive” - his efforts to bring members of the GOP over to his side?
Haven’t we seen this movie before? Besides, who can even say “charm offensive” with a straight face? Well, people who love cliches, I suppose . . .
Quote of the Day
It is an all-too-human frailty to suppose that a favorable wind will blow forever. - Rick Bode
Thank you for writing this!
Thought not an employee of Walmart, I'm one of thousands in NWA who depend on…
A&E Feature / To-Do List / In Brief / Movie Reviews / Music Reviews / Theater Reviews / A&E News / Art Notes / Graham Gordy / Books / Media / Dining Reviews / Dining Guide / What's Cookin' / Calendar / The Televisionist / Movie Listings / Gallery Listings