Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Year End Wrap Up

I realize it's early for my annual rambling list, but as I've not had the inspiration to write much of anything on this blog for quite some time, I figure I'll at least bring a dry smile to my faithful readers who check back from time to time only to see the same stagnant post unchanged since their last visit. My apologies to you all. If anything ridiculous should happen between now and New Year's Eve I will be sure to ammend this list. For now, here it is....

Top 10 Things We Could Have Done Without

1. BP Gulf Oil Spill
2. Citizens United
3. The "Ground Zero Mosque" protesters
4. Wiki Leaks
5. The TSA Airport Grope Fest
6. Linda McMahon, Sharon Angle and Christine O'Donnell
7. The KFC Double Down
8. Senator Scott Brown
9. Reverend Terry Jones (no, not the one from Monty Python)
10. Mid-term elections

Top 5 Things I Learned This Year

1. Just becasue you're older doesn't necessarily mean you are wiser.
2. Twitter is stupid.
3. There is no greater sense of accomplishment than growning your own food.
4. Ratatoulle is divine.
5. Most people can't spell or use punctuation correctly as is painfully evident during a cursory perusal of your friends' Facebook statuses.

Music Pics (Not much in the way of new music this year for me. I've been listening to lots of old Police, Paul Simon, the usual jazz and lots of world beat - especially from Latin countries and the Middle East.)

Once Again - John Legend
Los Patricos - The Chieftans with Ry Cooder
Mejor Mariachi del Mundo


Books

1. Maskerade - Terry Pratchett
2. Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
5. Raising Chickens for Dummies - Kimberly Willis and Rob Ludlow
6. In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan
7. Eating Animals - Jonathan Safran Foer
8. It's Not News, It's Fark - Drew Curtis
9. Complete Short Novels of John Steinbeck
10. Dramatis Personae - William Butler Yeats
11. Come On In (New Poems) - Charles Bukowski

Monday, November 01, 2010

Sanity Restored

I don’t like crowds. In fact, I have a tendency to panic when a person violates my imaginary three foot perimeter of personal space. Yet I felt compelled to trek to our nation’s capitol at the clarion call of my two media heroes to prove that there are indeed a multitude of Americans who not only hold very clear views of the direction the country needs to take, but also feel that their views can be expressed without the vitriolic hatred spewing from the perpetually inflated vision of the 24/7 cable news and talk radio juggernaut.

Admittedly, when I first heard about the rally I thought it was a joke, but I booked a room and flight just in case, figuring that at the very least, I’d get a nice weekend in DC to do some sightseeing. I guestimated that 25,000 - tops -  would make the journey.  Never could I have imagined the size of the crowd that converged on the Mall on Saturday.

Ativan at the ready, I set out. Tens of thousands lined the streets moving in the same forward direction – a giant mass of politeness and humor. It reminded me of NYC in 2003 when an equally large crowd demonstrated against the impeding Iraq war. However, this convergence was more esoteric. Some questioned if there was any cause at all. Clearly, comedy and common sense were enough of a draw.


The excitement was palpable. Everyone there was making their own individual statement in the collective mass. No one had a clue what the day would bring, who would be speaking – other than Stewart and Colbert – or how “political” the thing would turn out to be. But this gathering wasn’t about politics or choosing a side. It was about unity as Americans. Loving our country and acknowledging just how lucky we really are. If anything, it was a reckoning of the American spirit. Jon Stewart summed it perfectly:
“This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith, or people of activism, or look down our noses at the heartland, or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear--they are, and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times.”
 Of course, the performances themselves were pure gold. Leave it to Stewart and Colbert to pit Cat Stevens against Ozzy Osbourne dueling over which train to take (Peace or Crazy) – only to have the O'Jays settle the dispute by having everyone get on board the Love Train!

It was also wonderful to see my favorite, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, performing with Mavis Staples of the world-famous Staples Singers. And did I mention Tony Bennett? What a treat! Others included Sam Waterston of Law and Order reading a “poem” written by Colbert, John Legend and the Roots as the house band, Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow, the Myth Busters guys doing experiments on the crowd, and of course the cast of the Daily Show. All of the comedic banter was spot on. It was a hodge-podge of entertainment – all of it world class.

Sunday morning Bill and I set out for the Metro to get our plane back to Connecticut. It was a beautiful day. We decided to hit the Five Guys Burgers and Fries for breakfast, because as we painfully learned the day before, it’s nearly impossible to get a decent breakfast – or any for that matter – in DC on weekends, and this would likely be our only opportunity to get a fresh cup of coffee before our boarding call.  Walking past an assortment of homeless people bundled up in their comforter cocoons strewn about the Metro entrance -  apparently even the bums sleep in on Sundays in this city - we went inside. I'm no fan of greasy fast food, and the Five Guys is the acme of unhealthy gut-busting "food." A true testament to mindless American excess. Yet as I was finishing the last dregs of my coffee the song, “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow” started playing rather loudly – as all music in that restaurant does – and I couldn’t help but note what a fitting end to our trip to DC. We do have problems in this country with no easy solutions, but we’ll figure them out. Because we're Americans. It's what we do. I believe my sanity has been restored.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Quote of the week....

"As you well know, my jurisdiction is exclusively civil. The allegations against WWE seem to be criminal in nature." - spoken by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal as he politely handed Linda McMahon her ass during last night's debate.

Friday, October 01, 2010

An Open Letter to Richard Blumenthal



Photo Jessica Hill A/P

Dear Dick,

First, let me say that no one under 70 refers to them self as Dick. Throughout your illustrious career as the Attorney General of Connecticut you’ve always been called by your proper name, Richard. What gives? If you were trying to take yourself down several notches in hipness, then bravo, mission accomplished. But this letter isn’t about your recent choice of nickname, rather it is a plea for you to start your fucking campaign already!

Your opponent, the wrestling queen Linda McMahon, has done nothing but trash you in the media for over a year. She was trashing you before you even announced your bid for the Senate. True, there are many Republicans who have pledged to vote for you.  However, that really isn’t an excuse to phone it in campaign wise.

Every time I see a “Linda” lawn sign, or receive yet another of her asinine mailers or view one of the 50-a-freaking-day television commercials I get a little sick inside. It is a constant reminder of your lack of presence in this election. Where is Richard Blumenthal? I know you will kill her in the debate. That’s a given. But debates don’t win elections (see any Bush/Gore or Bush/Kerry debate for reference if you can stomach to watch). The voting population is pretty dim and apparently easily swayed by the constant gnat in their face that is the Linda McMahon money force. Get in there with a fly swatter!

You have a record that can prove you are the right person for this job. In case anyone was wondering, click here to see some pretty impressive accomplishments as Attorney General. Put that message out there. Take the biggest ones, like Broadwater, Consumer Protection, Education – and RUN WITH THEM!

Did you know that McMahon even bought the search engines? When you type in “Richard Blumenthal accomplishments” into Google or Ask.com do you know the first thing that comes up? Linda2010.com! Jesus H. Christ, can you get your people on this one at least? You’d be amazed at how lazy and gullible people are when it comes to the Internet. They click on the first reference that pops up.

Your race with McMahon should be a cake walk. Not only does she promote misogyny and steroid use  but she has no problem promoting necrophilia as  “fun” family entertainment! Furthermore, she has no clue what the minimum wage is, nor does she care!

She’s nothing more than an opportunist whose only goal is to influence federal tax laws in favor of the filthy rich in this country. Period. She’s the modern day equivalent of Lovie Howell. Don't make the same mistake Martha Coakley made in Massachusetts. Now they have a Republican centerfold as their Senator!

In case you need some ammo, view this gem from the WWE and then reflect on how utterly tacky and demeaning it will be to see Connecticut become the Florida of the north!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Of course I’m going….

Not long after President Obama took office things in Washington began to devolve further and deeper into a wing nut hysteria that has managed to control the political narrative for almost two years. Enduring the likes of Sarah Palin, Glen Beck and the slew of disturbingly unqualified political candidates now enjoying and exploiting their status as “legitimate” in what can only be described as the Bizarro World is clearly effecting the masses. No amount of reason and logic seems to influence the mouth breathers in charge of the message. Lie after lie, tantrum after predictable tantrum, the so-called “right” in this country have managed to fuck things up so sublimely that they may actually see political gains in the house and senate come November.

Naturally, the media at its complacent best feels that its sole responsibility is to set up false equivalencies in order to perpetuate the illusion of balance. It’s a load of horseshit that the rest of the country is being force fed and it tastes nothing like pumpkin pie. Never in my life has there been so clear a picture of what is wrong and who is at fault. Yet the wing nuts continue to blabber about birth certificates, religion, abortion and Kenyan colonialism. Yes, they went there. The fact that none of these tea-party “patriots” can identify Kenya on a map is beside the point.

Watching it all happen in front of my eyes knowing that the only thing I can do is vote in a Connecticut election is of little solace. I gave the Coffee Party a try – enticed by all of their talk of unity and inclusion – but they turned out to be nothing more than a circular firing squad. The impotent rage I’ve felt these long months has had a detrimental effect on my quest for compassion and inner peace. What’s a rational human being to do in such a toxic climate? Is there no outlet?

Luckily, there will be one day when people like me (apparently 80% of Americans) can come together in celebration of reason and from what I hear, some pretty decent bars.   Yes, I speak of the Rally to Restore Sanity on the Mall in Washington DC on October 30th.  Leave it to the genius of the Stewart-Colbert planning committee who had the forethought to plan it for a Saturday (which I coincidentally have off from work) and the day before Halloween, so I’ll be home in time to see the nephews in all their glory. A win-win.

I’ll let the master explain:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mission Accomplished?

You probably haven’t noticed yet, but Operation Iraqi Freedom, you know, “the war,” came to an end on Wednesday when the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, was officially designated the last combat brigade to leave Iraq.  Granted, there will still be upwards of 50,000 of our men and women in uniform remaining for another year in a “non-combat” role, whatever that means,* but after seven plus years of unwarranted American ass-kicking in Babylon it’s kind of a slap in the face to our military who has sacrificed life and limb that this story hardly warranted a blip on the media radar screen. Sure, MSNBC covered it extensively. That’s about it. The Cooper Scooper gave it equal time with the “Ground Zero Mosque” non-story, and FauxNews gave it literally10 minutes of air time.

I figure it’s because all the bloviating, “America Fuck Yeah” testosterone-fueled war mongering that Republican jack offs and their wives/mistresses have been a-fearing us with since 9/11 has essentially ended because Obama kept yet another campaign promise to the American people. Are we suddenly safer? Does Iraq have a stable, democratically elected government and a security force in place to protect its citizens? No and no. Does it fucking matter to the interests of the United States? Hell no. It never did. We’ve wasted billions with a “b” and now we get to slink off in the night like a hotel guest who’s over stayed his welcome and must now make a hasty exit.

I find it laughable that the number one issue that brought the Democrats into power in 2006 – the Iraq war – has degenerated into such a “whatever” news story that most people don’t know about it or care to.  There are plenty of cynics (myself included) who believe this withdrawal may have been timed just perfectly for the mid-term elections coming up in November. However, if no one gives a shit about it, how can it have the desired influence on voters?

With all the lazy journalism taking place today it’s no wonder. How easy is it to spout an opinion about the merits of building a mosque at Ground Zero? An unwinnable argument void of even the basest of facts. Here’s a flash, 1 – it’s not a mosque, it’s a community center with an area for worship. There will be no calls to prayer or any of that; 2 – it’s TWO BLOCKS AWAY from the supposed hallowed ground where the towers formerly stood, the same distance as two famous titty bars, on OTB and several tacky street merchants selling useless crap created in Chinese labor camps commemorating the 9/11 tragedy; 3 – it’s the builder’s Constitutional Right to build this center.  Cue the resurgence of that ridiculous whisper campaign that Obama is Muslim. The White House had to actually issue a statement to placate these idiots whose ignorance is matched only by their hatred for the Commander in Chief. Because, you know, it’s news.

If only the collective intelligentsia in the news media (I realize this is a small club) would start a real conversation about what is happening in the country – deliberately excluding all the loud noises coming from the right - and actually inform the populace we might make some real progress in our quest to be the greatest nation on earth. As it stands, apparently we’re only number 11. 

*Aren’t all soldiers armed and combat ready regardless of their status? Christ, kitchen workers carry assault rifles!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Eye Candy

Everyone has their own opinion on who is the sexiest, best looking man of their dreams. Most of us will never even see men of this hotness in our real lives. I like to think that my taste in men is pretty mainstream with a few exceptions. Generally, I like dark haired, serious men. On the other hand, comedic types also get my attention. So without any further ado, here's my top ten all time hotties. Sit back and enjoy the show!

 #10. Jack Kerouac - he didn't keep his looks for very long, but boy did he rock the sexy back in the 40s!

 #9. Harry Connick, Jr. - he gets better and better with age.


#8. Jim Morrison - perhaps the sexiest rock star to ever grace us with his hotness! The original bad boy of rock and roll!


#7. Daniel Craig - I normally don't go for blonds, but holy Christ this man is nothing but fine! I can't look away from those piercing blue eyes. Neither can you.


#6. Bono - maybe it's an Irish thing. There's something about this man that makes me have inappropriate thoughts!

#5. Cary Grant - he's the archetype for the whole, "tall dark and handsome" thing! Makes me want to drink martinis and neck in the closet!

#4. Goran Vijniic - the only  man who could have taken Clooney's place on ER.

#3. George Clooney - really the hottest of them all when you account for charm and all around coolness. The definite successor to Cary Grant in the movie star department!

#2. Antonio Sabato, Jr. - there really are no words.

#1. Stephen Colbert - yes, that's just how I roll. This man has a quality that transcends merely physical attributes, though he obviously has those in spades! It's the whole intelligence thing, I guess....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I Gotta Take a Leak or Screaming Into the Void

Back in the olden days when I was a student of journalism, blogs were a little known oddity, You Tube didn’t exist and 2.0 meant nothing. The number one lesson hammered into us budding Murrows at every opportunity and in every class was to check your facts, then check them again. And whenever possible, name your source because articles that quoted, “unnamed government officials” or “sources say” were not credible. We were told time and again that the number one job of the journalist is to report the most accurate, hole-less news as possible. My, how things have changed.

Recently there has been much hemming and hawing over the 90,000 documents released by WikiLeaks. Included in this data dump is classified information pertaining to the war in Afghanistan. Apparently, WikiLeaks founder and part time comic book villain, Julian Assange, believes that it is his right to leak such information in an era of guerilla “journalism” where everything is fair game and if you get the documents, no matter how dubious the source, it is your right to publish them. The process has been coined Political Hacktivism which explains perfectly the situation we find ourselves in today. The content of the leaked documents, though disturbing, is not the real story here. The real story is that the media has collectively decided that what could very well constitute a treasonable offense against the United States government is somehow appropriate news. The fact that Mr. Assange has a distinct political agenda also appears not to matter. He isn’t a US citizen, but the idiot who sent him the information happens to be one of our boys in uniform. He has been captured, by the way. But what does this mean for the Americans at the New York Times, who willfully published classified materials? Should they be taken into custody as well?

Then we have the cabal of political pundits who dominate the cable news channels. Cable newsrooms have become nothing more than ghettos for greedy public relations hacks with clear agendas that do absolutely nothing to advance American discourse or at the very least inform the public – which in the end is really their fucking job! There can be only so much spin before it becomes an amusement park ride and the proprietors little more than carnival barkers. Case in point, the Shirley Sherrod debacle.

The depraved little right-wing turd/blogger known as Andrew Breitbart took it upon himself to edit a video to make this poor woman look and sound like every white low-information moron’s nightmare – a black racist! This horrific outrage, taken to its full and predictable conclusion by FOX news, achieved its desired effect. The NAACP and the Obama Administration both took the bait and promptly condemned this woman without even a cursory attempt at checking the facts.

And sadly, it’s not the first time this fuckwad Breitbart has duped the White House. Remember ACORN? It was his special brand of hack “journalism” that brought down a respectable organization whose mission was to help the poorest, and coincidentally brownest, of the poor. In the end, ACORN was somewhat vindicated – but only after it was completely destroyed with no hope of starting up again – thus leaving countless people without assistance where it’s needed most. Mission accomplished. To add insult to injury, Michael Steele (AKA Humpty) has invited Breitbart to speak at a republican fundraiser in August . This action lends credibility to Breitbart as if he were a real journalist and not just a blogging hack. He holds the football, the rest of the media collectively try to kick it. You know the rest.

It is on that note that I reluctantly dip my toe back into the cesspool that is the blogosphere.