From the category archives:

Politics

Praising the Unthinkable

by Dave on May 28, 2010

in Movies,Politics

unthinkable-movie-poster When considering all the embarrassing and damnable schlock that ends up on $10-per-head theater screens each and every last one of a given year’s 52 weeks (to the point parents end up having to take out payday loans on the web to keep their kids in Pixar flicks)  I find it tragic when a film of merit ends up banished straight to DVD. The term itself is a condemnation. In the minds of, well, everyone, “Straight to DVD” is actually longhand for “crap”. I was reminded recently that this is not always the case.

It may instead be politics or lack of a studio’s faith in a film’s potential profitability that sees a quality flick cast into the sin bin. It’s big business, after all. I think in the case of 2010’s Unthinkable it was a combination of both. After weighing the options surrounding public political opinion, a million dollar marketing budget and the difficult subject matter – I can’t say the powers that be made a bad business decision. So many will miss this smart, extremely well-written (save for some obligatory explication-type military dialogue), well-acted, gory and thrilling… thriller. Perhaps I can remedy that for a few of you. And if you’re not yet convinced – Superman’s in it too!

We need a synopsis here, but I’ll keep it quick and spoiler-free. Watch the trailer above for more of the the major bulletpoints. An Iowa-born American, ex-military, sends out a video claiming he’s placed nuclear bombs in three major cities set to go off in three days. All the agencies spring into action and converge on a high school gym where Younger a.k.a. “Yousef” is being held and interrogated. Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie Ann Moss and Michael Sheen earn their paychecks. A mysterious professional fingernail-puller, played convincingly by Mr. Jackson, is added to the mix and everyone begins to butt heads. Here’s an example of an exchange which I’m blatantly inventing – but it’s still pretty accurate:

“Don’t torture him! It’s bad. Take the bag off his head, Mr. Abu Ghraib. We’re human beings and Americans. We’re above this barbaric, medieval practice. What’s next – black plague and a jousting tournament?”

Actually, there’s going to be about 10 million less Americans able to stand around, patting themselves on the back like you’re doing right now if we don’t get this traitorous, bearded whackadoo to tell us where the 3 bombs are in the next 72 hours. So there’s that, Garafalo.”

And… scene. That dynamic is the crux of what I love about this movie. The peacenik FBI agent is horrified that any kind of interrogation is happening, let alone the creative style that Jackson’s “H” brings to the gymnasium. But we also see H as a family man, loving father and generally likeable guy who honestly believes he is doing his duty for God and country. So who is right and who is wrong? To what ends is it reasonable to travel to save lives before we lower ourselves to the level of a terrorist. And is it appropriate for one gym full of people to get to decide for 10 million oblivious citizens who are also one step away from becoming radioactive dust?

unthinkable-movie-2010 The great vengeance and furious anger of Uncle Sam

I mentioned the quality of the writing before and Peter Woodward (son of Edward “The Equalizer”) has crafted a story which bucks the political drivel we’re used to being spoonfed by Hollywood and will cause you to have to think hard about how much is too much. Alternately, if you enjoy being spoonfed might I suggest Matt Damon in Green Zone which deserves to have a sin bin all to itself – which is then steam rolled like a pile of post-Pope picture tearing Sinead O’Connor DVDs. And then doused in kerosene. And then set ablaze. With Matt Damon strapped down, also inside of the bin. So yeah, really fucking hated Green Zone.

I implore you to seek the Unthinkable out and watch it. Watch it all the way through until the last second before the credits roll. You may find your usual moral high ground highly unstable in those final moments. It’s a smart, engaging and challenging film which deserves a wider audience. And thus ends my popcorn Jihad.

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sky-blu-rapper-romneyThe unidentified man who assaulted Mitt Romney on his recent flight back from the Winter Olympics has been identified. As a rapper. Shocking. And for the curious, here’s a photo of the little darling. Click it for a larger image. Seriously. Look at this clown. I’ve never listened to LMFAO, but this guy looks like someone I’d need little excuse to wanna throttle. I’ve read a few articles describing the incident now, which in the internet realm makes anyone an objective expert in no way influenced by anyone else’s spin, and I gotta tell ya, I have to side with Mitt on this one.

Not shocking: the “musician”, who calls himself Sky Blu, denies any wrongdoing. I’ve been in the same situation numerous times – namely stuffed into an airplane seat which is way to small while some inconsiderate arsehole flings their seat backwards, crushing my kneecaps -  and in this case it wasn’t even Mitt on the receiving end… it was his wife. I don’t know many people who would even try to somehow turn the tables on an incident like this if a woman in her 50’s were involved. I’d apologize profusely and then sink back down into my seat for the rest of the flight like I were born without a neck.

sky-blu-naked-cardHave un autre look at this silly bastard. So the seat flies backwards, Mrs. Romney takes the brunt of it and Mitt finds himself having to ask some twat, who has named himself after a brand of cheap vodka, to please behave like a civilized human being. Mitt is ignored, so he taps Mr. Absolut on the shoulder and has his hand soundly slapped away and another swing of the fist follows but doesn’t connect. The future-Beethoven is then escorted off the plane by authorities after the captain returns it to the gate. Not true, claims the frizzy fool – Romney started it. Not only that, but he claims the former Governor of Massachusetts used a Vulcan grip. And I suppose Deval Patrick’s office is infested with Tribbles.

Sky Blue was very lucky that Romney is a) a public figure and b) gearing up for a serious run at the 2010 Republican Presidential nomination. There’s also a slim chance he’s a gentleman traveling from an important international event with his beloved, no less. Most plumbers would say to themselves “Keep cool, Sully. Not the right time. Get him later near the baggage claim.” So who is more likely to be telling the truth here? I mean, besides all of the witnesses backing up Mitt’s version of events?

sky-blu-lmfao Oh my God, look at him! It’s beyond easy to predict the eventual evolution of Sky’s defence in this matter. It will either have something to do with his race or he’ll complain that the only reason the airline made a big deal about the incident was because it involved Mitt Romney – and that’s absolute bullshit. I read about people being ejected from commercial flights regularly and it makes me smile every single time. You wanna fly? Learn how to behave on a means of transportation that has to be fiercely regulated lest hundreds, nay, thousands of people a year be inconvenienced or even killed. Wanna act like an irrepressible, obnoxious frigtard? Prepare to be slung off the plane like a cheap piece of luggage, with polite society’s blessing. Better yet, go to a LMFAO show.

If that were my wife being whacked on her perfect knees with a seat, the only part of Blu being escorted off the plane would have been his hair stuck to my bloody palms. The rest of him would have exited unceremoniously somewhere over Vancouver Island, covered in that blue toilet water. Geronimo, joker. Where’s Frank Horrigan when you need him?

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meghan-mccain-drunk I’m delving back in time about a year with this pre-election post on why I had serious reservations on what I was fairly sure was the eve of Barack Obama’s election to the Presidency of the United States. I’d sincerely like to open this debate to the general public – especially since I’m rebooting my blogging after the longest hiatus since 2004, and this is just the sort of incendiary topic which attracts eyeballs quicker than Meghan McCain’s sweater gremlins. I have friends on both sides of the aisle, and so far the line-towing opinions I’ve heard over and over run as follows:

The Bible-Toting, Wife-Beating and Racist Rightys

  • “Obama hasn’t done anything he said he would. ‘Change’ my ass.”
  • “The healthcare bill has been a useless, divisive distraction.”
  • “The stimulus package isn’t working. Neither am I, by the way.”
  • “The events of Christmas prove there’s a lack of focus on national security.”
  • “Shhh! They have more than enough rope and are hanging themselves.”
  • “Yes I want to see Avatar but apparently it’s Communist propaganda.”

The Delusional Moonbats of the Looney Left

  • “It will take longer than one year to clean up the mistakes of the last 8.”
  • “The stimulus package is too working.”
  • “They don’t give the Nobel Peace Prize to just anyone.”
  • “I know in my heart he still wants to bring the troops home.”
  • “I always wear tight jeans while I drink my latte. You know this.”

As I said in today’s choice of Thursday Throwback, I want Obama to succeed because his failures are America’s failures and, despite my reservations from 2008, there’d be no “I told you so” joy in that for me. I’d like to add to these two lists of sound bites from comments which people may or may not leave in the comments. So please craft them as such – short and powerful bullet-points.

Pump-Up-The-Volume-harry-hardonAgain, it’s very good to be back. In the words of the immortal Harry Hardon: “Are you out there? You listening?” Sound off. Defend or criticize our 44th president the way in which you’re lucky enough to be able to do in this country. I promise I’ll get back to the dead hooker jokes tomorrow.

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che-guevara

I wrote a high school paper about the world-famous Ernesto “Che” Guevara and I remember being more than a little confused as to why he was revered by the left, particularly many actors and musicians of which I was a fan, as such a superhero. As I was a long-banged, Smiths-listening lefty by association (young, dumb and full of… Morrissey) I tended to side with my similarly spoon-fed friends and decided I dug the guy – although in my own defense I never, ever, owned one of those fucking Che shirts. Guevara was either a complete bastard or God’s gift simply depending on which book I was able to sign out of the CCHS library on a given day. The rift, split and division continues to this day, but as far as the influence of popular culture and Hollywood is concerned, el Commandante definitely has a leg up – which is both irresponsible and unfortunate. I’ll explain.

“Knowing what we know, why do we still celebrate him?” – Paul Berman

In the years since my compass has drifted, thankfully, farther to the right. That having been said, I was still excited to devote 4 hours of my life to watching Steven Soderbergh’s Che – and I did so, in one sitting, late Monday night. I certainly enjoyed the movie as entertainment. It felt authentic, gritty, was action-packed and engaging all the way through the Cuban revolution, his operations in the Congo (which are only briefly mentioned by another character and almost wholly omitted from the film) and to the final battles in the Bolivian jungle. To the uninitiated this film’s protagonist would definitely appear to be a revolutionary hero. The movie’s slant is in no way conflicted on this point.


Killer Chic: Hollywood’s Sick Love Affair With Che Guevara

From the above video: It’s something that baffles Cuban jazz legend Paquito D’Rivera. “Che hated artists, so how is it possible that artists still today support the image of Che Guevara?” Turns out the rebellious icon that emblazons countless T-shirts actually enforced aesthetic and political conformity.

My problem with the film has nothing to do with acting, timeline, 85% Spanish dialogue, cinematography or any other technical or aesthetic aspect. It’s solid celluloid. I will never, however, recommend it to anyone under the age of 25 who’ve never read at least a couple of books/articles on the man, preferably one from each side of the aisle. If “Che” Parts 1 and 2 are the only point of reference for a young mind, which they will undoubtedly become once the DVDs are released later this year, you’d think the guy was a cross between Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Davey Crockett.

peter-griffin-cheA large percentage of Cubans remember him as the “the butcher of La Cabaña” and he is considered by many others to be the genesis of continuing politically-charged brutality in the regions he directly influenced – and many that he did not. Fischer Price: My First Revolution, if you will. As Del Toro’s Che tells Lou Diamond Phillip’s character, “A coup without an army behind it never stands a chance“. Lou Diamond, fresh on the heels of his tour-de-force performance on the George Lopez Show, nods stoically. I have to be honest here though – I think there are 12-yr-old white girls in Northern Minnesota who know they have a better chance of spotting a Yeti than seeing a revolution without violence. Then they get to college and some unkempt 3rd-year activist convinces them otherwise, signs them up for a candlelit vigil during which he tries to finger her and then buys her a Che shirt the next morning as an apology. Does anyone else see the irony in that?

The leanings of Soderbergh and his Hollywood pals are no secret, but there’s “spin” and then there’s blatant omission. Stevey can argue that he does indeed show Che ordering executions. Two of his own troops who deserted, raped and then torched the house of peasants are shot during the first half of the film. (So what you’re saying is that many of his victims deserved to be blown away in jungle clearings. I get it now, and I still love you and your t-shirt, Johnny Depp!). He can also point out that during once scene, shortly before he is dispatched, one of the Bolivian soldiers remarks, “Guevera assasinated my Uncle”. As far as ticks in the “definitely not any kind of hero” column, those calculated, punch-pulling critical additions to the film are just the tip of the firing squad.

johnnydeppche1About a year ago I was at an Irish pub in Ottawa, Ontario and watched a group of about 30 twenty-somethings, obviously on some sort of bar crawl, stumble through the door all at once. To my dismay I noticed that they were all wearing identical neon-green t-shirts with the infamous Che visage boldly printed on the front. To prove a point to my companions, I told them I’d pay the tab for the entire night if just one of the misguided students pressed against our table like sardines could both a) identify and correctly pronounce the name of the man on their spiffy new shirt and b) tell me why they admired him. I made my point after speaking to about five of them and drank for free into the wee hours.

I’m no expert on the man, but I’ve definitely gone further out of my way over the last 20 years to be able to form an honest, objective opinion of his deserved legacy than the vast majority of my peers – a desire based in large on my early exposure to a book on the Cuban Revolution which my parents had in their house. I’ll shut up now. Spend the money you’re thinking of laying down for one of these incredibly inappropriate (you now know that Che vehemently disliked artists and musicians) t-shirt, dog tag or knit hat symbols of your progressiveness and spend it instead on a book like The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty – then see if you still feel the same way. That’s all I’m saying. Viva le Gordita !

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Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple Hates Moonbats

I wrote a small piece several years ago “outing” celebs who leaned to the right. I felt a need to do so as a sort of remedy to the throngs of famous liberals who were making Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general look like an extension of the Communist Party. In the time that has followed the site has gotten a tremendous amount of traffic for related terms – leading me to believe that there is a lack of online resources on this topic. And when I see a niche I usually dive right in.

This post, which will be updated when necessary, will strive to become a comprehensive resource for all things related to Republican Celebrities. I will start with a list of names and then fill in more detail as time and research allows. Why am I doing this? Because I want to even the scales a little bit. As a pop culture nerd, movie nut and music whackadoo it pains me to constantly be bombarded with opinions from the entertainment industry’s left that may contradict my own. The fact is there are a lot of uber-famous folks who aren’t complete moonbats, and that comforts me – as it might you. On to the “outing”. And obviously, some of these aren’t going to come as a huge shock.

  • Clint Eastwood
  • Vince Vaughn
  • Bo Derek
  • Adam Sandler
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  • Karl Malone
  • Ron Silver
  • Dr. Phil
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Britney Spears
  • James Earl Jones
  • Kelsey Grammer
  • Bruce Willis
  • Jessica Simpson
  • Angie Harmon
  • Chuck Norris
  • Nick Lachey
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar
  • Dennis Hopper
  • Ben Stein
  • Tom Clancy
  • Robert Duvall
  • Ricky Schroder
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Tom Selleck
  • Kid Rock
  • Vincent Gallo
  • Vince McMahon
  • Joe Theismann
  • Sela Ward
  • Buddy Ebsen
  • Doris Day
  • Chaka Khan
  • George Hamilton
  • Hal Holbrook
  • Scott Baio
  • Ted Nugent
  • Wayne Newton
  • LL Cool J
  • Charles Barkley
  • Tom Beringer
  • Ernest Borgnine
  • Bruce Boxleitner
  • Delta Burke
  • Nell Carter
  • C.C. Deville
  • Jerry Doyle
  • Clyde Drexler
  • Pete Sampra
  • Susan Lucci
  • Yaphet Koto
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Ric Flair
  • Steve Young
  • Robert Stack
  • George Stein
  • Shirley Temple
  • Reggie White
  • Ted Williams
  • Tiger Woods
  • James Caviezal
  • AC Green
  • Dorothy Hamill
  • Brett Farve
  • Crystal Gayle
  • R. Lee Ermey
  • Bob Hope
  • John Larroquette
  • Mike Love
  • David Lynch
  • Norm MacDonland
  • Johnny Mathis
  • Don McLean
  • Gary Numan
  • Gary Oldman
  • John Popper
  • Roseanna
  • Kurt Russell
  • Regis Philbin
  • Joe Pesci
  • Jon Secada
  • Lara Flynn Boyle
  • 50 Cent
  • Naomi Judd
  • Bill Belicheck
  • Tony Danza
  • Alice Cooper
  • Andy Garcia
  • Dennis Franz
  • Danny Aiello
  • Janine Turner
  • Kris Everet
  • Drew Carey
  • Dean Cain
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Dixie Carter
  • Sammy Hagar
  • Robert Davi
  • Jamie Farr
  • Robert Conrad
  • Shirley Jones
  • Heather Locklear
  • Dennis Miller
  • Meatloaf
  • Pat Sajak
  • Kim Alexis
  • Rachel Hunter
  • John Elway
  • Sara Evans
  • Mike Ditka
  • Lee Ann Womack
  • Johnny Ramone
  • Mary Lou Retton
  • Shannen Doherty
  • Mel Gibson
  • Mari Osmond
  • Charlton Heston
  • Don King
  • Jackie Mason
  • Kirk Cameron
  • James Woods
  • Curt Schilling
  • Kathy Ireland
  • Jon Voight
  • Loretta Lynn
  • Patricia Heaton

…and now you know why 90% of these people haven’t worked in years.

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Just Desserts. Karma. Justice.

by Dave on January 3, 2009

in Politics

Sent to me this afternoon by my Mother. I don’t normally reprint silly forwards, but as I’d been meaning to comment on this topic… Well, I don’t want to give away the punchline:

“In a few short days, an African American man will move from his private residence into a much larger and infinitely more expensive one owned not by him but by the taxpayers. A vast lawn, a perimeter fence and many well trained security specialists will insulate him from the rest of us but the mere fact that this man will be residing in this house should make us all stop and count or blessings – because it proves that we live in a nation where anything is possible.

Many believed this day would never come. Most of us hoped and prayed that it would, but few of us actually believed we would live to see it. Racism is an ugly thing in all of it’s forms and there is little doubt that if this man had moved into this house fifteen years ago, there would have been a great outcry – possibly even rioting in the streets.
Today, we can all be both grateful and proud that no such mayhem will take place.when this man takes up residency in this house.

This man, moving into this house at this time in our nation’s history is much more than a simple change of addresses for him – it is proof of a change in our attitude as a nation. It is an amends of sorts – the righting of a great wrong. It is a symbol of our growth, and of our willingness to “judge a man, not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character”.

There can be little doubt now that the vast majority of us truly believe that this man has earned both his place in history and his new address.

His time in this house will not be easy – it will be fraught with danger and he will face many challenges. I am sure there will be ma ny times when he asks himself how in the world he ended up here and like all who have gone before him, the experience will age him greatly.
But I for one will not waste an ounce of worry for his sake – because in every way a man can, he asked for this.

His whole life for the past fifteen years appears to have been inexorably leading this man toward this house. It is highly probable that that in the past, despite all of his actions, racism would have kept this man out of this house. Today, I thank the lord above that I am an American and that I live in a nation where wrongs are righted, where justice matters and where truly anything is possible.

Who is this man? You ask. You think you know, don’t you? See below.”

oj-simpson-guilty
“Judge, in my defense I’d like to say: Did you just call me a ni…?!”

There have been few moments in my life when I have been as outraged and disgusted as I was on the day when O.J. Simpson was set free for the murders of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown. I was watching the big screen at the University of Guelph’s now defunct Boo Sports Bar as the entire place erupted into cheers at the “not guilty verdict. I hope that in 15 years of hindsight the revelers on that day have reconsidered. Me? I’m fucking thrilled. Rot in hell, Juice and ’95 jury.

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When I last wrote a Quizzlet 2 weeks ago, I mentioned that the site, www.FridaysFeast.com, from which I used to mine the questions, hadn’t been updated in 4 months. I emailed the woman who owns the site and offered to take it over myself. I received no reply, and when I checked a few minutes ago found that it’s been taken down completely.

I sorta feel like the ‘movie bad guy’ whose object of affection jumps off a cliff rather than become his girlfriend. I can’t think of any specific cinematic examples, but I know they exist. A little help, people? Regardless, looks like I’ll have to write them again myself this week. As always, please feel free to contribute your own answers in the comments!

Appetizer: What is your favorite John Belushi SNL skit?
I know a lot about the history of SNL, and I enjoy talking about it so perhaps I’ll make this a regular Quizzlet question. I knew the answer to this before I wrote the question so I was relieved to actually find this clip online – although I’m not able to embed it. Click the image to watch it.

belushi-donuts
“Little Chocolate Donuts have been on my training table since I was a kid.”

My favorite element is definitely the lit cigarette. And the facial expressions are unmistakably Belushi. All told, fitness was a very different pursuit in the late 1970s. My friend Doug Triconi first turned me on to this skit by talking about and reinacting it a million times before I ever actually managed to catch it on a re-run. I was happy to discover recently that it’s featured on the SNL Best of John BelushiDVD.

Soup: What does Thanksgiving mean to you?
Obviously it’s a time to reflect on your life and appreciate the people in it. I like to also physically enact this by getting myself to Concord, Massachusetts and hanging out with all my old high school friends once a year. I skipped it in ’07 and really, really missed being there – So much that I wrote about it and created a Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past photo gallery to share with everyone I wouldn’t be seeing. So, fully repentant, on Sunday I’m throwing wee Shep in the Charger and heading on down to MA for a week. Mon/Tues/Wed I’ll be in the office. Tuesday night Janet is hosting a birthday party for our dogs (also siblings) Rhubarb and Shepherd. It’s a family-friendly party that will allow me to spend some time with all my little North End buddies like Griffin, Maya, Bella and Lorenzo – and they’ll finally get to meet the pups they have heard so much about and been giving me drawings of for the past year. I have a bunch of them on the bulletin board over my desk right now.

Wednesday night Matt is having a bash at his house (which also happens to be right beside the high school) that we’ve used Facebook to invite 3 grades of early 90s CCHS students to. It’s going to be awesome. Thursday morning we’ll drive to Bedford for the big football game, our hands wrapped tightly around Dunkin’ Donuts cups spiked with Kahlua. Then I’ll eat with Jim and his family and likely end up back at Matt’s for more silliness in the evening. Maybe Papa Razzi on route 2. Maybe the Makaha – the suspense is killing me. Friday I have tickets to the noon Bruins game and will be hitting the Garden with Detroit Velvet Smooth, The Hammer, John David, J-Mac, Greg and a host of other old pals. Friday night DVS and his lovely (and likely hesitant) wife are hosting a gathering at their pad in West Acton. Saturday is earmarked for movies, New London Style grinders and recovery. Sunday I’ll be returning home after a week of professional productivity and sentimental sousey socializing. Jealous much? My liver isn’t.

Salad: Who is your favorite band of the moment?
We all have our all-time favorite bands well established, but my favorite group of the moment is definitely De La Soul. My previously-declared love for Q-Tip’s The Renaissance has encouraged me to have one of my own in regards to hip-hop. The two albums I’ve been spinning all week are De La Soul is Dead and Buhloone Mind State, the latter is gravely underappreciated and thoroughly excellent. Here is my favorite track off the 1994 album, Breakadawn.


“Yo, I don’t know who’s been on this mic but this thing smell awful here.” – ‘Stone Age’ from Buhloone Mind State

Main Course: Feel any better about Obama?
Not really. As I have stuck my neck out and said (it’s not a popular opinion within my social sphere) I am worried about national defense under Barry’s administration – but I plan to give him an ample chance to prove himself before I start whinging about it like every other unqualified hack in the blogosphere did about Bush for nearly a decade. I am showing remarked restraint thus far.

Dessert: What is your favorite vintage arcade game and why?
The first game I really obsessed about and would beg my father to drive me into Ottawa every weekend to play was the incredibly difficult (even today) Spy Hunter. Maybe it was my love of all things Bond in 1984 that caused me to dig it so much, but I did. In spite of the fact that once you switched into the high gear setting, your car flew up the road so quickly that – at 10 years of age – you had a better chance of remembering PI to the 300th decimal point.

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Barack Obama: My Reservations Explained

by Dave on November 4, 2008

in Politics

Here’s something you never thought you’d read here: Senator Barack Obama seems like a very “good” man to me and I wish him the best of luck. His intent is solid, most of his propositions reasonable, he’s a charismatic speaker and his meteoric rise to popularity (and in my opinion the new President-Elect by this time tomorrow) has been nothing short of remarkable. I was asked recently when interviewed for a radio show here in Canada, “Don’t you think the individual with the most public support should be President?” I thought about it and reluctantly answered, “No.”

Should Fall Out Boy unsurp The Pixies as my favorite rock group because they’ve sold four times as many records in a quarter of the time? Had I been present at Jonestown, should I have chugged the poisonous Kool-Aid like everyone else did? Again, “No.” I have a brain in my head, my own set of values, what I like to consider a formidable amount of common sense and I won’t be spoon-fed. Ever. Regardless of how I may admire some some aspects of the man and his mission, there is no doubt in my mind that his Presidency in 2009 is a bad idea. 8 more years from now, bring him on. At the present time he’s a boy band with the support of millions of rubes who frankly shouldn’t be voting due to their completely uninformed reasons for doing so. Obama isn’t a messiah, he’s an inexplicable fad with a slick marketing department that figured out how to reach and inspire people that usually have their thumbs so far up their ass on election day that it’s tough to work the XBox controller.

I hate to simply run down a list of facts that you’ve read/heard in several hundred places before. It’s likely the last warm day of the fall, however, and I’m going to be spending most of it outside working on things that absolutely have to get done before the first freeze – and must get cracking. These are ‘facts’ by the way. Indisputable and in no way spin or a stretch. I know his record well and have been watching him for 4 years now. These are the specific reasons that I, a self-respecting, somewhat intelligent and very recent American citizen (one full year as of this Saturday) who pays a lot of attention to politics on a daily basis, 365 days a year, whether there is an election imminent or not – will not be voting for “The One”. They have nothing to do with the color of his skin, his middle name or even (believe it or not but I only consider myself a Conservative on international matters) his chosen party.

  • When a Senator is called to vote on any piece of legislature, she or he have 3 options: “Aye”, “Nay” or “Present”. When one votes the latter, they are effectively side-stepping the issue – in Obama’s case undoubtedly to avoid hurting his future chances at the White House. Sometimes Senators vote this way upon instructions from higher-ups in their party. Rarely. “Present” is an option Obama invoked nearly 130 times as a state senator. Way to lead the charge, Barack. Being the leader of a country – yes, even the most powerful one in the world – requires one trait above all others. The ability to make decisions.
  • The blatant way in which the majority of the media absolutely fawned over the man is not my opinion, it’s a fact – the percentage of Time magazine covers given to Obama vs. McCain (12 to 5) in the past year just the tip of the iceberg which sticks in my craw. Undeniable, embarrassing and offensive to anyone’s intelligence.
  • Barack Obama has never been the Governor of a state, or the Mayor of a city. Or the Mayor of a town. Was his election to the Senate based on another form of experience equal to or surpassing the aforementioned “classics”? Not even close. He was an Illinois State Senator for 8 years and a U.S. Senator for a little over 1 year before he began to focus his attention on running for President practically full time. As if this whole shit show wasn’t weird enough, his opponent for U.S. Senator from Illinois in 2005 was rocked by a sex scandal during the race allowing Obama to waltz in virtually unopposed.
  • In his younger years, and likely still to this day behind closed doors, Obama was a very religious man. It’s well documented, even on his own website. You wouldn’t have known it during the last 12 months, and that sort of strategic hypocrisy surrounding something which is obviously so important to him leaves a very bad taste in my yapper. I am not an overly religious person, but I was raised Catholic and respect other people’s religious beliefs in a way that they will never be required to respect mine. Don’t get me started on that particular double-standard. This is about Barack. He has disowned, a relative term, his faith to improve his chances for President. Faith is a “big one” to be casting aside. What other paradigm shifts in his value system is he going to be able to justify?
  • Finally, the way in which the Democratic Party – which is supposed to stand for all of the forward-thinking, progressiveness and equality that the evil empire of the Republicans does not – has cannibalized itself leaves me absolutely revolted. Barack supporters and party leaders who weighed the likelihood of the two potential Democratic candidates alike, treated Hillary Clinton the same way they now treat the reviled Sarah Palin, specifically – as if she weren’t a woman. Obama is a Black man, but he is still a man. There are many, including myself, who feel that a woman winning the Presidency or Vice-Presidency is a far more historic event. Politics is never pretty, but the way in which Clinton’s own party – which she has served for almost a decade now – left her holding the cigar in favor of Obama speaks volumes to me. The way in which Obama supporters, especially female Obama supporters, have relegated both her and Palin to less-than-scum status confuses just slightly more than it frightens me.

If you’d like to refute or rebuke anything I’ve stated here you’re more than welcome. I’d appreciate it, however, if you actually try to prove me wrong on any of these points rather than mention that McCain is old or Palin is stupid. Tell me something I haven’t heard. Prove me wrong. I’m not going to spend the next 4 years – let’s be honest… unless New York City becomes a smoking crater prior to 2012, 8 years – sniping at Barack. I wish him well and I hope he is indeed capable of the sort of change he has inspired over half the nation simply pontificating about. It’s all just words, however, and unless Obama and Biden keep a close eye on our borders, our conspiring international foes and especially approach the future of Iraq in a far more realistic fashion than the majority of their party-mates, I absolutely shudder to think what we have to look forward to. Smoking craters.

Good luck to you, sir and I wish you the best. The economy and each and every domestic issue aside for a moment – you are inheriting the helm of a country which faces innumerable outside threats both diplomatically and off the established grid. I hope that you are able to exhibit measured wisdom well beyond your experience and 47 years. More than anything else, I hope that you never discount or underestimate the reality of tangible danger to American citizens (at home and abroad) the way in which so many of your party members have – effectively driving me across the aisle 8 years ago in spite of my domestic liberal leanings. I really mean that.

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The International Green Conspiracy

by Dave on November 3, 2008

in Politics

Don’t get me wrong – I mean the notion of “going green” and saving the planet is an admirable one. In certain circumstances, maybe even most circumstances, companies and businesses that do so are actually taking tangible steps to reduce their strain on the environment. A business, however, is just that. They are here to make money above all else. A business that doesn’t exist to put smiles on the faces of their sharehoders is called a ‘charity’… and never the tween shall meet.

So when an entity claims they are about to “go green” they shouldn’t just be added to a list of eco-friendly companies or to your family’s favorite places to shop. They should explain in excrutiating detail exactly what they are doing, adding, removing or changing to warrant the classification. This is a new phenomenon. Definitions and standards are vague at best. And here’s the other important thing…

“Going Green” is the single biggest marketing ploy in the history of advertising. Ploy might not be the best word. Upheavel, gimmick, scheme and several other words come to mind. Picture a boardroom full of any company’s executive management. “Alright fellows…” the hypothetical CEO in question begins, “how do we go green?”. Start there, and realize that same conversation is taking place at every company under the sun that isn’t already making hemp ice cream. They don’t care how they reach the new holy grail of advertising lingo, even if it’s a square peg in a round hole. Just as long as they do.

I am so sick and tired of hearing about companies “going green” that I felt compelled to point the potential deceptions out to anyone who hadn’t already figured it out for themselves. Again, the notion is a wonderful, admirable thing. But take these claims with a grain of salt. Otherwise you and several thousand other lemmings will end up patronizing green whaling vessel repairmen and environmentally-friendly strip mining operations. Remember, the color green is also frequently associated with naivety – and you may well end up being the silly goose that “goes” there.

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I Still Call it “Christmas”, Thanks

by Dave on December 23, 2007

in Politics

To My Democrat Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To My Republican Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Mike vs. Gore Vidal

by Dave on November 16, 2007

in Politics

I have been aggressively trying to keep the site up to date (Wadio, Quizzlets, etc.) but to say it has been a difficult week would be the understatement of the year. I do, however, have a treat for you today. One of my very best friends, and Concord boy, Mike M. is debating Gore Vidal on BBC radio at 1 p.m. today. Click here to listen to the broadcast online – and good luck buddy!

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Four years and a thousand entries ago, I started this blog – knowing full well I probably wouldn’t maintain it but that it would be a learning experience relevant to my line of work. Who knew? I recently added a “On this date three years ago” feature in the sidebar in the hopes of getting a few eyeballs on some of the Pye in the Face canon. But I don’t think that’s really enough – especially where search engines are concerned. So I’m going to take time out now and then to draw attention to past posts I think are pretty cool and that you very likely missed.

Three years ago the thoroughly unique and enjoyable Tough Crowd was canceled by Comedy Central – much to my chagrin. I wrote a bunch of posts on the subject that I know were passed around and read by people involved with the show – including Jim Norton, Laurie Kilmartin, Patrick from Cringe Humor and probably even Colin Quinn himself. If you want to learn why I liked the show so very much, follow some of the Tough Crowd related links you see in this paragraph. That’s the whole point. This is how we play the reminiscelets game. My good friend Brukakke and I drove to New York to see the last Tough Crowd episode taping and even made it onto the show via an audience shot that you can see below. We met a lot of the guys and it was good closure for us. We were probably the equivalent of Tough Crowd superfans.

Tough Crowd Last Episode

Another article I read over recently and got a chuckle out of was in response to a blog entry by Moby right after the 2004 election. Moby was so distraught that George Bush had been re-elected that he was asking Canadians if it was alright if he moved up there. I was only too happy to give him an answer. You won’t often see me talk about politics on PITF, or draw attention to when I’ve done it in the past, so enjoy it while you can.

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Electronica ‘musician’ Moby keeps blathering away in a journal on his website, and in typical Streisand style does little else but lament the election and bash George W. Bush. He’d like to secede to Canada, and bring most of the Northeastern USA with him. I think I’d like to address his wishes on Canada’s behalf, if I may.

Dear Canada,

Now, more than ever, your neighbor to the south (aka-the blue states) needs you. most of us living in the Northern and Western parts of the United States don’t feel very connected to the rest of the U.S, so can we bring our states and become part of Canada?”

In a word, “no”. I can’t speak for every frostback on snowshoes, but your desire to flee to the Great White North reminds me of that little kid in my neighborhood who owned the baseball all us other runts used to play with. If you didn’t get to play first base – which was each and every time you asked due to the fact that you were a spineless, scrawny weakling with the athletecism of a bowl of warm potato salad – you’d take the ball and go home. This would leave the rest of the kids stuck searching the field for a suitably sized rock to take the ball’s place. Or to knock over a sports store with an Entertech.

The benefits to you: …in one fell swoop you can have Southern California and New York City! surfing in Canada! suddenly the U.N. is on Canadian soil! Broadway is suddenly in Canada! you could then say that Canada is the birthplace of jazz and hip-hop!”

Courtesy of The Spectator

I want Robert Redford, Moby and the thousands of other Americans who’ve thrown their hats into the ring for Canadian citizenship since the election to know that you’ll be getting in the cue with everyone else. And you can’t bring any of your states with you either – because real citizens have fought for hundreds of years to keep every last inch of them free. It’s completely illegal and utterly impossible for Bush to run again. If you revile him so very much, buckle down and do something positive to get your party back in power. Stay where you are, in the amazing country in which you were lucky enough to be born, and stop acting like a 2-year-old with a heat-stick in his diaper. So you know – Canada is the most nationalistic country on the planet, and we’re most certainly not accepting phony, fairweather pseudo-patriots at this point in time. I’m sure you’ll be more than welcome in North Korea.

Accepting this offer will give you more good karma than you’d know what to do with (because you would instantly make 120 million people VERY happy). So you get warm beaches, tons of cash, and good karma.

Please don’t talk to me about karma, Moby. You’re probably the only visiting performer in history to get your ass kicked in front of the Paradise. People CAME TO YOUR SHOW just to kick your ass. Now – if I needed advice on how to get my head to resemble that of a Gashlycrumb Tiny or how to score a commercial for Audi, Reebok, American Express, Motorola or the Gap – Moby would be near the top of my list of people to call. Keep rebelling against all things corporate, my bald anti-establishment brother.

Please let us know if you accept the offer. Given our enthusiasm to join Canada it’s safe to say that the details of the offer could probably be worked out in an afternoon.”

Canada? Are you listening? Do you mind if I jump in real quick and handle this one? I’m already down in Boston, and I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than talk to this snivelly Powder lookalike. Great! Thanks.

Moby, I’ll eternally savor being the one who gets to tell you to “fuck off“. Eh?

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Colin Quinn gets a bad rap. (Update: more than a decade after I wrote this he’s become a best-selling author and has also conquered Netflix, Broadway and dominated every roast he’s ever been asked to participate in. He doesn’t need my misguided sympathy anymore.) So I’m going to tell you why I’m a big Quinn supporter, and an enormous fan of his Comedy Central show – “Tough Crowd” – which I was recently horrified to hear is in grave danger of being canceled.

tough-crowd-logo

A friend of mine, Troy, grew up with Quinn’s younger brother, Mike, in NYC. And I have it on very good authority that Colin is beyond a great guy. I love the fact that he messes up his lines. I love the fact that he mumbles and constantly self-depreciates. He’s a tough, salty, stand-up comedian who’s been walking the boards with uncomfortably sized balls since he was a teenager. And he truly cares about and intuitively understands the state of the planet today.

A lot of people don’t “get” him. But I find his uncomfortable, choppy, blue-collar style to be unique and honest – and have since I first saw him on MTV’s Remote Control in 1988. I had a comedy special he did for MTV, “Colin Quinn Goes Back to Brooklyn” on VHS and watched it for years. I wish I still had it. Anyway, my point is – me and Colin go way back. (Update: Some absolute saint of a human being has uncovered and uploaded B2B since I first wrote this post 11 years ago):

“Then use the fish as a reward!”

Tough Crowd is, in no uncertain terms, a brilliant show which we desperately need. That show used to be Jon Stewart’s Daily Show before it turned into the “Jon-Stewart-shows-a-clip-of-a-politician-he-doesn’t-agree-with-and-smirks-pompously-for-a-laugh” show. The Daily Show in the era of Steve Carell was one of the most consistently funny things on TV. But it’s become little more than a mildly disguised partisan send-up and I just can’t watch it anymore. I don’t refuse to indignantly – I simply can’t.

I would have also stopped watching the Daily Show if it had swung exclusively to the right instead. If I wanted to remain unchallenged, and have my opinion spoon-fed to me like pablum, I’d watch The O’Reilly factor while snorting Xanax or read nothing but the New York Times. Partisan comedy is not dangerous. It’s not challenging. And it’s most certainly not funny.

Enter Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. If you haven’t seen it, it’s on Comedy Central every weeknight at 11:30 p.m. – or at least it will be for a few more weeks. The format is as follows: Four little-to-fairly well known celebrities, usually enviable veteran stand-ups who’ve been on the circuit for years and are extremely quick on their feet, sit facing each other while Quinn poses questions dealing with current events to which they then hash/lash out. It’s unscripted, save for the occasional skit-like segment, it’s brash, offensive to those who choose it to be, envelope-pushing, no-holds-barred and hilarious.

No one is safe, and no punches are pulled. The guests are from all walks of life – blacks, whites, hispanics, gays, liberals, conservatives etc. – and it can get pretty vicious. In one episode I sincerely thought Dennis Leary was going to punch Greg Giraldo in the face. In another Judy Gold (a Liberal/Jewish/Lesbian) took on Patrice O’Neal (a Black/(arguably) Conservative/Bostonite) in a battle over whose people have been more oppressed over the years. They hit hard, and they’re honest, and they’re always funny.

The Infamous Giraldo vs. Leary Encounter

There’s always an underlying respect among the guests – perhaps because many of them know each other from slugging it out on the brutal national comedy circuit for years – which makes this entire exercise possible and productive. There’s never any political correctness or sugar-coating, and everyone always walks away friends. It’s a bit tough to describe, and I suppose the main point of this article is to get you, dear reader, to watch the show and form your own opinion. (Update: the show has been off-air for a decade but luckily there’s a wealth of archival footage. The interwebnets are a beautiful thing.)

I read that the reason Comedy Central wants to cancel Tough Crowd is because it doesn’t retain enough of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show audience which precedes it at 11 p.m. To me that is tragic. To me that’s akin to canceling a Dylan show because everyone is going to leave after the opening act, N’Sync. I’m not criticizing Stewart’s lefty audience. I am criticizing those members of his audience that are sitting in their high chair waiting for Mom to open that next jar of Gerber‘s, skewing the demographics. And I am vehemently criticizing Comedy Central for catering to them.

Tough Crowd is like watching your friends, who all love and respect each other, argue in a bar on a Friday night. They speak their mind, they challenge each other’s opinions, and they all leave friends. Debate is healthy and we all need it in our lives. I cherish Tough Crowd, but it looks like the curtain is falling. Kudos to Colin – I’ll be watching wherever you end up.

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