Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tom DeLay is Back, and He's. . .A Dominionist?

Maybe this should be filed under Halloween Horrors with the previous Michael Jackson videos. Tom DeLay, the personification of GOP hubris somehow got sprung from the pokey (I'm still unclear on exactly how he didn't belong in jail), and apparently has decided to make a comeback. Or something. But while he always had an extremely irritating air about him, and you could easily imagine him being pious, his focus was more on the political side. Now, it looks like he's blended his Jesus crystals with his politics, and mmm, mmm, made a tasty concoction of bullshit.

God and Jesus didn't write the Constitution. America is not a Christian nation. And Tom DeLay should know that. Then again, considering his propensity for bullshit, he's probably just selling more overtly to the same crowd that ate it up before. And is it me, or does he sound just as drunk as ever?


DeLay: 'God Created This Nation And God Created The Constitution'

During a service last weekend, John Hagee spent a half hour interviewing former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay during which DeLay revealed that God has commissioned him to write a book and promised him that he'll play a role in the coming spiritual revival. . .

Read more at: Right Wing Watch

Michael Jackson's Ghosts

This long-form video is more or less a sequel to Thriller. In it, Michael Jackson plays an eccentric man (if you can imagine) in a big creepy house. The kids all like him, but the parents think he's a freak (again, imagine that). The parents get their comeuppance though, particularly the cranky old white guy who seems to be leading the group. Keep your eye on him, there's more going on there than there seems!

Michael Jackson's Thriller

One more day until Halloween, and things will go back to normal around here. But not yet! Michael Jackson's Thriller was an event akin to the Super Bowl when it premiered on MTV. Jackson went from being that androgynous guy who sang disco in Off the Wall to a force of nature with Thriller. By the time his "long-form video" (which he also invented) debuted, the album had already been a hit for over a year, with a string of hit songs before it. With the release of the Thriller movie, Jackson's career peaked, and he never really came close to topping it. And he was only 25 years old.

Halloween Horrors: A Guide to A Nightmare on Elm Street Movies

This is the latest in a series of re-posts from previous years, to help you with your Halloween weekend scary movie viewing. With a few tweaks and edits.

Image from
This is of course October, month of Halloween, and season of the horror film. I've been a fan of horror movies since I was old enough to stay up all night on Fridays, and watch Chiller Theater with Dan Immel on WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio. I grew up being fearless in the daylight hours, and terrified at night to go past our attic in the dark--because I knew there was a Frankenstein pull-string doll in there.

Arguably the best of the horror movie franchises of the last 25 years is A Nightmare on Elm Street. Sure, John Carpenter's Halloween jump-started the "slasher flick" in 1978, and Sean S. Cunningham's Friday the 13th kept it going in 1980. But Wes Craven's Nightmare injected originality, humor, and the undeniable (and almost limitless) possibilities of nightmares. Anything can happen in nightmares, and everyone can relate to them.

I have watched all of the movies in this series multiple times (some more than others), and all of them have something to offer. Well, except part 6, unless you like Roseanne and Tom Arnold cameos. . .

Image from Wikipedia
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - The first, and best in the series. The movie follows a group of teenagers, all experiencing the same bogeyman in their dreams. The seeming protagonist bites it early in the film, surprising the audience (oops, sorry!). Another protagonist (Heather Langenkamp as Nancy) emerges, and becomes the icon of the series. Robert Englund (Fred Krueger) is far creepier in this film than in the sequels, and you're never quite sure what is a dream and what is reality. Johnny Depp did very well in this introductory role, and the only flaw in the film is the really bad performance by Ronee Blakley (which I've grown to love anyway). Awesome. ****

A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) - The obligatory sequel mostly ditches the "is it a dream or reality" hook of the first film, and tries to bring Freddy into the real world. Freddy becomes a little more of a quip-master, and there is a disturbing anti-gay undercurrent to the film. Fortunately, the protagonist (Mark Patton) acquits himself well, and easy on the eyes. This movie is sort of a stop-gap, a quickie cash-maker for New Line, before the superior sequel.  It is notable for a few iconic lines ("You've got the body, I've got the brains!"), and for a gay subtext that is so overt, it's just text. **
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) - They pulled out all the stops for this one, and what a fun movie it is. Even though Freddy has become almost an anti-hero, this film is nearly as good as the first--better maybe, except the novelty is gone. Patricia Arquette (of Medium) did a great job, and the effects are top-notch. Several teenagers (in a mental institution) discover that they have powers in their dreams, and can band together to fight Freddy. Heather Langenkamp is back as the iconic Nancy, and the nightmare/reality scenario is played to the hilt. This film begins filling in Freddy's back-story, a theme that would continue in further sequels, sometimes to the series' detriment. ****

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) - Another goodie, with the power of protagonist shifted from Patricia Arquette's character (now played by another actress) to "The Dream Master," Alice, who has mastery of the dream world. Follows the setup of the last movie, with characters having powers in their dreams. The "is it a dream?" vibe is back. Very good, but Freddy's jokes are getting a little too calculated. ***

A Nightmare on Elm Street (5): The Dream Child (1989) - A logical extension of part 4, but a little thin. Some great moments, and unfairly maligned as a bad entry. Plays like an extended addition to part 4. Still enjoyable, if you liked parts 1-4. **
Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) - By far the weakest of the series, but still a must if you are a fan. Freddy's killed all of the kids, and must now branch out. Adds more mythology to Freddy's history, and feels a little shoe-horned in. Freddy "dies," but he's died in every installment. Still, Robert Englund is great. Finale 3-D sequence--rendered 2D on video--is lame. Johnny Depp has a cameo. Joins Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter in the "false title" game. *½

Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) - Wes Craven is back, and it is obvious. This film takes the Freddy character into the real world, with the "spirit" of the character haunting the makers of the original film, including Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon and Wes Craven. Very well done, inventive and original. I love me some Heather. Where is she these days? A must for fans. ***

Freddy Vs. Jason (2003) - The inevitable (after New Line's acquisition of the Friday the 13th series) match up of Jason and Freddy. Much better than you might think (as I reported in my Friday the 13th reviews). A heck of a lot of fun, and the Freddy character has so much more to offer. You almost forget he was a child molester/murderer to begin with! Heh. ***

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) - The remake is itself not bad. While I'm sure future audiences will find things in it dated, it is of course much less so to contemporary eyes than the obviously 80s original. It takes some interesting chances, and veers off into some different areas. But it is not as impactful as the original, it makes the odd choice of eliminating the iconic house, and it suffers greatly for not having Robert Englund as Freddy. **½

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Happens in Vegas (Maybe): GOP Looking to Bring Republican National Convention to Vegas

The RNC in Sin City? Well, that's a natural fit, isn't it? Actually, I hope this happens, if for no other reason than a positive effect on our local economy. Kevin Wall, the rather dim host of a local right-wing radio show, speculated (with a sneer in his voice) that Senator Harry Reid would work behind the scenes to thwart the event from coming here. I can't imagine why he would. It's going to happen somewhere, why not here? I mean, I'm not thrilled about having 2016's roster of loony birds here, but the economy could always use the help. The funny part is, Nevada's state Republican Party apparatus is notoriously bad, and fraught with problems. Can they get their act together?


Las Vegas vying to host 2016 Republican National Convention

Image from Huffington Post
Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki announced today he’s leading an effort to attract the Republican National Convention to Las Vegas in 2016.  Although the convention is years away, several cities across the United States will be competing in 2014 to secure the right to host the large convention. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Sun

Nevada State Assemblyman Would Vote for Slavery?

Are we sure he's not from Texas? Image from source,
Raw Story
After the Supreme Court ruled California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional, there was a flurry of complaints from the right. Well, obviously, I know, but there was one common refrain: SCOTUS overturned the will of the people. For "strict Constitutional constructionists," they really have a hard time understanding that all of the "will of the people" can't overrule the Constitution without an amendment.

Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler apparently doesn't get it either. And he also doesn't get how utterly nuts it sounds when he says he would vote for slavery, that he was "taken out of context." Brilliant!


Nevada tea party Republican: ‘Yeah, I would’ vote to bring back slavery

A Republican Nevada state assemblyman said that he would vote for legislation in favor of slavery if his constituents wanted him to. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Jim Wheeler of Gardnerville, NV was speaking to the Storey County Republican Party when he made the remarks last August, although they are only now coming to light. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Halloween Horrors: Guide to Friday the 13th

Okay, another Halloween Horrors repeat. It's not like I couldn't write a new post on the subject, I could recite it in my sleep. But it would be a paraphrase of what is below, so what would be the point? The fact is, the Friday the 13th movie series is one of the highest grossing horror franchises in history. And so, no Halloween movie suggestion list would be without it, even though the movie series kind of sucks. And I Love. Every. Installment. I'm a horror movie masochist that way.

Photo from

Unlike the original Halloween, I'm not sure anyone would put Friday the 13th in the "classic" category. At least not good classics. The series is loved with a heavy dose of nostalgia, and not a lot else.

Sure, it's iconic, was amazingly influential, and made a whole lot of money for both Paramount and New Line studios. But the Friday the 13th string of movies was easily the hollowest, least plotted, worst acted and least impactful story wise of the horror movie franchises (Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Hellraiser). Each Friday film pretty much follows a mindless killer, stalking stupid people.

There were variations along the way. And if you try to assign a real-world continuity to the films, you'll give yourself a headache that feels like a machete in your skull. Here are some short recaps (star ratings do not relate to the real movie world, only within the horror movie genre!):

Friday the 13th - The first film is by far the best. Jason does not appear (outside of a possible hallucination), but his storyline is set up. Notable for Betsy Palmer's iconic performance as Jason's mother, and Adrienne King as "the final girl." Sets the tone and atmosphere for the first four to seven movies. Genuinely scary for the uninitiated. And pretty much put the slasher genre on the map (even if it did take the cue from Halloween). Plus, Kevin Bacon. ***

Friday the 13th, Part 2 -Almost as good as the first, though very short (especially considering the lengthy recap at the beginning). Notable for Amy Steel's strong performance, the VW bug scene, and the guy in the wheelchair. Struggles to find a reason why Jason didn't drown, and why he was motivated to start his killing spree. Though the explanation is weak, it is used as the basis for the rest of the series. **

Friday the 13th, Part 3 - This (originally) 3D installment is one of the weakest, with very little story, and shots that were intended for the 3D audience. Most notable for hand-walking guy's death, and Jason's acquisition of his iconic hockey mask. Gone is the notion of revenge, Jason just kills everything in his path now. I initially thought this installment was terrible, but it's better in retrospect. *
Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter - Final, yeah, right! It's the best of sequels, and could have served as the finale, but there was more money to be made. Jason ventures out of Camp Crystal Lake, and seems to meet his end. Considering that this was all the way back in 1984, I'm sure you know that it wasn't to be. Plus, Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover? ***

Friday the 13th (Part V): A New Beginning - Close to as good as part 4, reviled by fans for its plot twist, but very much in line with the tone of the first four movies. And Corey Feldman only wishes he grew up to look like John Shepherd!  Woof. **

Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives - Yeah, I guess he lives. Often considered one of the best sequels, it left me cold. It felt like a different studio picked up the reins. This edition has a vastly different tone from the first five films, and the gory kills just aren't there.  But I guess the MPAA is to blame for that. *

Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood - They throw a psychic girl into the mix, and tack on a ridiculous ending, which puts Jason into the same scenario as the end of the last movie--making this one irrelevant. On the plus side the tone of the first five movies is back. And for you gay fans out there, this one is known as FriGAY the 13th for the high number of gay actors in the movie. *

Friday the 13th, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan - The tone is still there, but just barely, as Jason stows away on a cruise ship bound for New York. Most of the action is on the boat, and there are some great scenes. But it feels like the series is running on fumes. And that ending. What the hell? *1/2

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday - Speaking of Hell, New Line Cinema took over the franchise from Paramount here, and it is very, very obvious this was made by others. Some of the feel is still there, and the film is undeniably fun. But it adds a bunch of new story elements that wreck any (already strained) continuity from the first 8 films. Also ignores the end of Part VIII. Fun anyway. And it sets up the movie after the next one.**1/2

Jason X - Tenth installment puts Jason in space, with no context to the rest of the storyline. Continuity-wise has no home, and is akin to a comic book "elseworlds" or "imaginary story." Has its fun parts, but utterly skippable. The cryogenic scene, though? Priceless. *1/2

Freddy Vs. Jason - I loved it. They took the monster from the best horror franchise (though it had run out of steam) and the worst (but still loved), and pitted them against each other. Truly, one of the best outings for this type of movie in a long, long time. That said, not the least bit scary. Plays like gory comedy. And I'm still confused by Jason's new fear of water. Maybe the "New Line" Jason is an alternate version. ***

Friday the 13th (Remake) - I was right that they couldn't really mess up the remake. It's a hoot. The twist--apparently--is that most of the characters you kinda want to see dead. And Jason is given a much heftier back-story. Unfortunately, they still don't explain what happened that made Mrs. Voorhees think he died when he didn't. Regardless, I'd put this in the top three with the first two installments. I don't know if there will be a part 2 (actually XIII), but I'm game. ***

Fishin' Benghazi (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

UPDATE: Mike has pulled this song for the time being. But if you were looking for some political humor, be sure to check out the link to his CD, or click through to his SoundCloud.


The ObamaCare rollout has unfortunately provided FOX "News" and the rest of Right Wing World with plenty of things to squawk about.* But whenever there is some outrage spackle needed to fill the gaps, out comes Benghazi! like clockwork. Rocky Mountain Mike (famous from The Stephanie Miller Show, and his CD Politically Incoherent) noticed, and has put it to song, to the tune of the Beach Boys' Surfin' Safari.

*Just a side note to say that if website had a smooth rollout, and all was going like clockwork, I don't think for a second that they wouldn't still be telling horror stories about it. But they'd probably have a lot more Benghazi spackle.

Blast From the Past/Halloween Horrors: Hollywood's Best Scary Songs

This special Halloween Horrors edition of Blast from the Past is my effort to pull together all of the scary themes from the horror films of my youth. But as I type this, I don't know how much I'll be able to find. So, let's just forge ahead, shall we?

The first song that comes to mind when I think of scary Halloween tunage, is Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, the theme from The Exorcist. This, I'm confident, I can find. . .

I was right! And what's more, it's the whole album!

On to see if I can find that freaky-deaky music from the original The Omen.

So far, so good! Okay, how about that spooky original A Nightmare on Elm Street music?

Yes!!! And if that's out there, surely a good version of the original Halloween theme is out there too. . .

Hot damn! Actually, there are more complete versions of the song (and I chose Halloween II, because it is the superior version of the theme), complete with the intro. But for the blog, I think the opening credits are more appropriate. Okay, so as long as I've ventured into slasher pictures, let's see if the original Friday The 13th theme is available.

Yep, but sadly no actual opening credits.

Well, I think this was a rousing success, so I'm going to quit while I'm ahead. But before I go, here's one final creep-out, also from A Nightmare on Elm Street.


Sorting Out the ObamaCare Scares

At least this lady has been retired from the site.
Image from ThinkProgress
So far, virtually every bad story I've heard about ObamaCare's implementation (beyond the admittedly glitchy website) has been fraught with errors, misleading statistics and in some cases, lies. And if the source is from Right Wing World, you can almost guarantee that there's very little about the story that is correct. One of the most annoying aspects of all the reporting, is that it would seem the entire mainstream media has turned the whole thing into a game, "let's see if we can crash the system!" Very little effort has been put into actually checking out if peoples' stories actually check out.
So, though I was never a particular fan of what the ACA finally became (I think a single-payer, "Medicare for all" plan would have made a lot more sense), I feel like I've got to wave my arms and say, HEY! Don't go in for the easy story, dig a little deeper. It may not all be great, but it's not that bad either.


Here Is What’s Wrong With That Story About Obama Knowing That Your Health Care Policy Would Get Cancelled
The NBC News investigations unit is reporting that “50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a ‘cancellation’ letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law” — a fact administration officials knew but kept from the public. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween Horrors: Miles Fisher's Horror Parody Videos

Miles Fisher is a very attractive young man, looking like a cross between Tom Cruise and Christian Bale. Not surprisingly, he has impersonated both on film. Perhaps his most notable role so far has been in the horror film Final Destination 5, in which he has not one but two death scenes. Apparently, Fisher got on well with his cast from that film, since he got them to participate in one of his music videos, a gore extravaganza that melds Final Destination with--of all things--Saved by the Bell.

So, Halloween is the perfect time to feature both his New Romance video, described above, along with his American Psycho homage, This Must Be the Place. Both are very inventive, and enjoyable, and demented. Plus, he's ridiculously handsome. How can you go wrong?

Ron Paul Lifts Eugenics Speech from Wikipedia Write-up of Gattaca

Yep, really.

Halloween Horrors, Blast from the Past!: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's Nightmare on MY Street

Here's one I haven't heard in a while. If I remember right, Will Smith got in trouble from New Line Cinema for using the musical cues without permission. But I suppose that could all have been part of the publicity. Anyway, some YouTuber put together a nifty video to go with it, perhaps a trifle long, but if you are a Nightmare on Elm Street fan, you'll dig it.


Halloween Horrors Humor: Bobby "Borris" Picket and The Crypt Kicker's Monster Mash

Halloween Horrors: Greenlee Gazette's Guide to the Halloween (Movie Franchise)

With Halloween (the holiday) fast approaching, I figure it's time to bust out my old movie reviews, and possibly write up some new ones. I'll start with my viewer's guide to Halloween (the movie franchise!).

Here's my take on the Halloween movie franchise. Keep in mind, the ratings are genre-specific, and don't necessarily apply to other movies in general.

Image from Wikipedia

Halloween (1978) - John Carpenter struck gold with the original in the series. He created the faceless killing machine (Michael Myers), the "you're dead if you have sex/drink/party/do drugs" horror cliche. And Carpenter's score for the film is amazingly creepy. Easily the best in the series, in fact the best of the genre. And Jamie Lee Curtis was fantastic, as was Donald Pleasence. ****

Halloween II (1981) - Picks up immediately after part one, and holds very close to the tone and the quality. More gore, more violence and more inventive kills are a consequence of the other (copycat) slasher pix being made at the time, and cause many to dislike this entry. Curtis and Pleasence still are in top form, and Michael Myers seems to utterly meet his end. In fact, unless you're fanwanking, you can't really explain his later resurrection. Also notable for the fantastic soundtrack, an improvement on the original. Great to have on the stereo to creep out the trick-or-treaters. ***

Image from Wikipedia
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) - The creators decided to drop the storyline, and try a different sort of Halloween movie, which was pretty good, but disappointed most fans. It had nothing to do with the previous films, other than the producers, and similar eerie music. Had it been successful, there were supposed to be other unrelated, Halloween-themed movies in the series. The film had one of the coolest logos in the whole series, as seen in the image on the right. **

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) - They went back to the original story (and dropped the roman numerals), which continued the storyline of Michael Myers, and ignored the ending of the second movie, where Michael Myers clearly died. The great thing about Halloween 4 was that the characters reacted like normal people--trying to get the heck out of dodge--and died anyway. Very close to the tone of the first two, and a great performance by Pleasence. ***

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) - OK, but weaker than the previous films. Continues the storyline from part 4, but adds a psychic angle, shifting the tone of the series. **

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Dropped the number, and tried to add new elements that weren't in the previous films (Michael was a Druid?). The series was running out of steam. *

Halloween: H20 (1989) - 20 years into the franchise, this entry tried to reinvigorate the storyline. Donald Pleasence had died, but Jamie Lee Curtis was back, and much of parts 4, 5 and 6 were ignored. They even brought in Janet Leigh (Jamie Lee Curtis' real mother, and star of Psycho). H20 was an improvement, but the concept was really running on fumes. **

Dreadful. From Wikipedia.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002) - The less said about part 8, the better. Updates the series for the internet era. Not an improvement. Don't bother. *

Halloween (2007) - This film was ultimately unnecessary, as the original was impossible to top. The attempt to reboot the series, and bring it into the 21st century isn't a total misfire, but is kind of pointless. As far as remakes go, it isn't bad.  Malcolm McDowell does an okay job as Loomis, but nobody can replace Jamie Lee Curtis.  **

Halloween II (2009) - Terrible. That is all. Zero Stars

So, to sum up, if you want to rent any of the films in this series, go for the original part 1, probably part 2, and if that isn't enough for you, part 4 and the first remake. Beware 6, 7 and 8 as well as the second remake, and only rent 3 for the curiosity factor. And there you have it. Happy Halloween!

SNL Extra: "Don't Smash My Pumpkin"

This little ditty was left out of last weekend's show. It's a kinda twisted We Are the World-sounding lament about those rotten kids who smash jack-o-lanterns. It's not a belly-laugh kind of funny, more like the "bike tire thief" on Kids in the Hall. Anyway, I liked it, and I think Taran Killam is adorable.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Horrors: Super Scary (and FULL of Lies) Hawaiian Ad Against Marriage Equality

Ordinarily, I'd put this under the banner of "The Gay Thing," but given the date, "Halloween Horrors" is more apt. This is an anti-gay marriage equality commercial, playing in Hawaii. The lies are piled up thick amid the scare tactics. It's so bad, and so obvious, I don't think it needs much rebuttal. But beneath the video, I've bullet-pointed some comments.

  • "Homosexual" marriage will not affect your life unless you or someone you love is in one.
  • The claim that the fight for marriage equality is "not about marriage at all" is untrue. As a married gay man, I'm in a position to know.
  • The claim that this is a foot in the door to normalizing "all sorts of deviant behavior" has no basis whatsoever, and of course is left vague and spooky.
  • "Terrible consequences will affect everyone and everything forever." Think about that for a second, after you stop laughing. Terrible consequences. For everyone and everything! FOREVER!!!
  • Five-year-olds, if they are taught anything at all about same-sex marriage or gay people, will only be told that they exist. They will not receive back-issues of Inches.
  • Churches will not be forced to marry anyone they don't want to, gay or straight. This one is a flat-out lie. Well, this is all untrue, but this particular one is a deliberate lie.
  • Businesses open to the public are required (in Hawaii, and in many other states) to serve the public, be they black, white, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, gay or straight. A business owner has no right to require that their customers follow the business owner's religion. It's a preposterous definition of "religious freedom."
  • What the hell is "bi-sexual" marriage?
The whole thing would be ridiculous to me if I hadn't listened to some live testimony from the hearing online. Wow, is there disinformation out there. Without fail, people against the marriage equality measure brought up God, Jesus, sacred this and holy that. I had to wonder if they think they were in a church. Some of it was horrifying in its ignorance and bigotry. Some was inadvertently hilarious. And it moved me to write this post. So, here are a couple more bullet points for the issue in general:
  • I didn't choose my sexual orientation, and it isn't a "lifestyle."
  • This is no longer hypothetical. Same-sex couples have been legally married in the US in various states for almost a decade now. I myself have been married five years. As far as I can tell, I haven't been leaving a trail of destruction in my wake!
  • The fight is over civil marriage equality, not "holy matrimony." Churches have always had their own rules about who may marry within their respective religions. For the record though, some denominations will marry gay couples. All religious arguments against are quite simply irrelevant.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blast from the Past: Battle of the Horror Movie Remakes!

Just about every successful horror movie begets sequels, imitators and if enough time goes by, remakes. This isn't unusual, really. It's been going on since the original monster movies were sequelized, teamed up, reimagined and copied. These days, a horror "reboot" is considered a big event among horror fans. More often than not, the remake displeases the hardcore fans, while gaining a few new ones. By the time they remake the remakes of these movies, fans of the current remake will be displeased too! Anyway, here they are, the trailers for the original "classic," and its (somewhat) modern day counterpart.

Friday the 13th, 1980 & 2009

Halloween, 1978 & 2007

A Nightmare on Elm Streeet, 1984 & 2010

The Last House on the Left, 1972 & 2009

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1974 & 2003

The Thing, 1978 & 2011

My Bloody Valentine, 1981 & 2010

And that's probably as many as I can post without choking everyone's web browser. Other famous examples include Psycho, I Spit on Your Grave, The Amityville Horror, The Fly (which is old enough for yet another reboot), Dawn of the Dead (along with most of the Dead series), The Crazies, Piranha, Prom Night, April Fool's Day, The Omen, The Fog, The Hills Have Eyes, The Hitcher and many, many others. In all cases, the original is worth viewing. And in most cases--excepting April Fool's Day, The Fog, Halloween II, Prom Night and The Fog--the remake is worth a view too. Your mileage may vary, but avoid the ones I just listed, just. . .trust me.

Happy Monday and Happy Halloween!!!

Over Time with Bill Maher, October 25, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Marcia Wallace (Mrs. Krabappel of The Simpsons), Dead at 70

Marcia Wallace, from source, Chicago Tribune
Sad. Just the other day, The Other Half and I were discussing what would happen when the original voices from The Simpsons started passing away. And oddly enough, our discussion was prompted by the news that a major character would be "killed off" this season. Internet speculation had focused on Marcia Wallace's character, Mrs. Edna Krabappel, Bart's long-suffering teacher. Which makes me wonder if Wallace--a cancer survivor since the 80s--either knew she was dying, or wished to retire, and that The Simpsons was accommodating her.

In any event, she is one more element of my childhood, pop culture savant that I am, to disappear. She was the funniest part, to a kid, of The Bob Newhart Show, and was also quite funny on all of her game show and talk show appearances in the 70s. Of course, she's been with The Simpsons since it started, though apparently not in the Tracey Ullman short clips (which debuted on my 21st birthday!). Her Krabappel (crab apple) character was the focus of many episodes, and has historically had some of the funniest lines. She'll definitely be missed by a whole lot of fans.

Mrs. Krabappel, from FOX TV
The Simpsons is now in its 25th season, 28th if you count the Ullman clips. I wonder how much longer it can go before we lose another major voice. Unlike Wallace, who voiced one character, it would be vastly more difficult to write out or kill off most of them. Undoubtedly, The Simpsons will outlive all of its original voices. 20th Century Fox is unlikely to mothball the characters forever. A revival or reboot is inevitable. But it would never be the same. And The Simpsons is going to be different for having lost Marcia Wallace.


'Simpsons' star Marcia Wallace dies at 70

Marcia Wallace, the star of "The Bob Newhart Show" and "œThe Simpsons," died Friday at the age of 70 from complications related to breast cancer, according to several media reports. . .

Read more at: Chicago Tribune


Friday, October 25, 2013

Daily Show Unmasks GOP's Motives Behind Changing Voter Laws

Don't let the door hit ya, dude. Image from source, News Observer.
You wouldn't think it would be possible for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's correspondents to take interview subjects off-guard. In the early days, a state politician could be forgiven for not knowing what the show is all about, or keying in on the interviewer's shtick. But they keep getting "gotcha-ed," and this time a guy ended up getting fired.

Aasif Mandvi interviewed both Congressman John Lewis (who seemed a little baffled, but held his own) and Don Yelton, a Republican Precinct Chair from North Carolina. Mandvi kept feeding Yelton rope, and he just kept stringing himself up with it. In the course of the interview, Yelton made very clear his own personal, overt racism. And he also laid out the real reason behind the state's tightened voting laws (and no doubt behind those spreading to states across the country). I wonder now, if we can finally drop the pretense that Voter ID laws (and their sibling voter restriction laws) have been enacted because of some rampant (phantom) voter fraud. Oh, and Yelton got fired the day after this aired. Poor guy.

Anyway, whatever your politics, this is worth a view, just so you know what's going on.


After 'The Daily Show' targets NC's voting law, precinct chair resigns

A five-minute segment of the Comedy Central show Wednesday night about the state’s new election law, focused a good bit on Yelton’s racial views. On Thursday, as the video went viral, Claude Pope, chairman of the N.C. Republican Party, called for Yelton’s resignation. . .

Read more at: News Observer

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Texas Voter ID Law Nearly Prevents Judge from Voting

I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it: the idea that ID might be required to vote sounds perfectly fine and reasonable. I can't conceive of going through my daily life without an ID in my wallet. So, when people get exasperated with people objecting to the idea that ID should be required, I do get it. But I wish they'd just think about it a little bit. Delve a little deeper than the obvious, and maybe do a little reading about it.

I know that's not the first instinct when you draw an initial conclusion that seems to make sense. But when you find out that in-person voter fraud is almost non-existent, and yet in state after state, Voter ID laws (with a whole list of attendant voting restrictions) keep getting enacted as though there is some sort of problem. As Colin Powell said, voter fraud can't be both widespread AND undetected. It just doesn't make sense.

So, it stands to reason that if tough legislation around a treasured, fundamental right is sweeping from state to state, you have to ask why. And if the laws seem to continually affect the same groups of people, it's not too hard to put together a theory. These laws are being enacted to have an effect on final vote tallies. It's not a nutty, out-of-left-field conclusion. Especially when you get to this Texas law, that cracks down on women. The Texas driver's license for married women has their maiden name as their middle name, but if it doesn't match their actual middle name on other documents, they can't vote? And they have to produce their original marriage license to set it right? Hmmmm.

Now, what's going on in Texas right now? Could there be a popular lady running for Governor that the GOP establishment might want to kneecap? Wouldn't making it hard for women to vote cut into her base quite a bit? See, not crazy.


Texas Judge Almost Blocked From Voting Because Of New Voter ID Law

A Texas district judge who has been voting for the past five decades was almost barred from the polls Tuesday, thanks to the state’s newly implemented, stricter voter ID law. The law kicked in on Tuesday as early voting in Texas’ November 5 election began. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Rick Perry's History Lesson: Mitch McConnell's Letter Home (Rocky Mountain Mike Comedy)

I'm still up to my eyeballs in upgrades and minor problems (for the record, my MacBook Pro is finished, the Windows 8.1 has one minor issue I'm still working on). So, thank goodness Rocky Mountain Mike keeps making fun new comedy bits. It feels like a bit of a cheat that I don't have to do any work to have such stellar content. But hey, Mike has "share" enabled on his bits, and doesn't seem to mind! Also: be sure to buy his new album, Politically Incoherent if you're enjoying his stuff here on my blog. I'm anxiously awaiting my own copy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Strange Story of John McAfee (The Anti-Virus Guy), and the GOP Connection

A real picture of Anti-virus guru, John McAfee,
Whenever I read anything from the right about Rachel Maddow, I'm kind of baffled, because the commentary (and "jokes") about her bear no relation to her actual persona. I suspect it's because they don't ever watch her show, beyond a short clip on a right-wing site, or maybe not even that much. In reality, Maddow is kind of professorial, but the fun professor whose class you would actually take extra trouble to schedule into. She usually starts her show with a story that seems only tangentially related to the subject at hand, or even completely unrelated.

Part of the fun can be trying to guess where she's taking you (and not in a tinfoil hat, Glenn Beck way). But it's usually a point you hadn't considered, along with some history and fun-facts you never knew. Take this clip for example. Along with a very condemning and snarky attack on the bloatware that often comes with computers, Rachel details the life of the guy who invented one of the big bloatware programs, McAfee Anti-Virus (and we now know for sure, it's MACK-uh-fee, not Mick-AFF-ee), his very strange, not totally legal lifestyle, and his connection to the GOP and Washington, DC.

It's worth your time even if you are and arch-conservative, and have no use for MSNBC, because it's so interesting. And you just might see that Rachel Maddow is not the fire-breathing, shrill harpy she's alleged to be. She's still a lesbian, but who's ever argued that? It's really lame joke material, right-wing world, when it's right on the table like that. Just sayin'. . .


Ted Cruz's Dad Has a Few Scary Religious Theories About His Son

St. Rafael of A-Creepy. Image from source.
As an atheist, sometimes I forget how weird, how creepy, how scary to the American way of life religion can be when it gets out of control. It used to be kept pretty well under wraps by our politicians, who would toe up to the line, occasionally cross it, and then step back. Now, we've got crazy tea baggers tearin' up the joint, and tearing the Constitution asunder. Or at least, they'd really like to. Prepare to get a li'l freaked out.


Ted Cruz's Father Suggested His Son Is 'Anointed' to Bring About 'End Time Transfer of Wealth'
In a sermon last year at an Irving, Texas, megachurch that helped elect Ted Cruz to the United States Senate, Cruz' father Rafael Cruz indicated that his son was among the evangelical Christians who are anointed as "kings" to take control of all sectors of society, an agenda commonly referred to as the "Seven Mountains" mandate, and "bring the spoils of war to the priests", thus helping to bring about a prophesied "great transfer of wealth", from the "wicked" to righteous gentile believers. link to video of Rafael Cruz describing the "great transfer of wealth" and the role of anointed "kings" in various sectors of society, including government, who are to "bring the spoils of war to the priests". . .

Read more at: AlterNet

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Science is Cool: Hair Loss Cure Could be on the Horizon

This is pretty cool news. I don't suffer from hair loss, and at the age of 47 I may be out of the woods. But, as a man, I surely have pondered it, worried about it, wondered about it. I know that I have both a flat spot on the crown of my head and a red birthmark on my scalp. that can't be pretty if all the hair goes away.

Still, if it all fell out, I guess I'd just deal with it. Most likely, I'd pull a Ron Howard, and just become a baseball cap aficionado. Other guys have gone a number of different routes to hide the problem, and there is quite an industry out there to help them. I've got to wonder if this story freaks out The Hair Club for Men, for instance.


Researchers Report Progress With Growing Hair


There's new hope for anyone who's bald or balding: Researchers report they're getting closer to the goal of cloning hair cells and coaxing them to grow hair once they're replanted in the scalp. "We've been able to overcome the first block," said study co-author Angela Christiano, a professor of dermatology and genetics & development at the Center for Human Genetics at Columbia University's College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York City. . .

Read more at: Everyday Health

Toys for Skeeter (Rocky Mountain Mike Ad Parody)

Rocky Mountain Mike (and The Stephanie Miller Show) have gotten a lot of mileage out of "Skeeter," the prototypical tea bagger with Obama Derangement Syndrome. But I tell you what, each installment keeps on getting funnier. Seek out Mike's stuff on or through searching my blog (I've posted dozens of his greatest hits). And hey, go to Amazon and buy Politically Incoherent, his album! 

School Shooting: Sparks, Nevada; Teacher Killed

Image from source, CNN
I swear I heard a guy on the radio say--practically in the same breath--that this happened because it was a no-gun zone, and that it shouldn't be politicized. Idiot.


Nevada school shooting: Teacher killed, two students wounded

A student opening fire with a handgun he took from his parents. Screaming students running for cover. A teacher, trying to help, shot dead. Two students wounded. The terror lasted just a few brutal minutes. . .

Read more at: CNN

The Gay Thing: New Jersey is the 14th Marriage Equality State

How cool is this? The marriage equality train just keeps chugging along. On the heels of the state of Oregon deciding to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages (though not performing them, yet), New Jersey has become the 14th state where it is legal for gay couples to marry. That's in addition to the District of Columbia. And there are presently lawsuits pending in twenty more states, winding their way through the courts. We may not be able to count on a clean sweep of them (though the way things are going, who knows?), but we only need to bat slightly higher than .500 to reach half the country. Exciting times for equality.

Image from source, Christian Science Monitor

New Jersey is 14th state to allow gay marriage, as Chris Christie ends appeal

It is now official. On Monday, New Jersey became the 14th state to recognize same-sex marriages. The development adds momentum to a nationwide push by gay-rights activists and supporters seeking to prepare the groundwork for what they hope will be an eventual ruling at the US Supreme Court declaring a constitutional right to marry regardless of sexual orientation. . .

Read more at: Christian Science Monitor

What Happens in Vegas: Bally's Shooting Leaves 1 Dead, 3 Injured

We hear about shootings seemingly every other week or so, but usually they aren't in your home town. Or within just a few miles of your office. But here we are, a shooting at Bally's Hotel & Casino. Not good for tourism, hopefully it will be regarded as a fluke. Oddly enough, there was a shooting death just outside Bally's not so long ago, with the result ending in a fiery, deadly taxi crash. Odder still, there was a school shooting in Sparks, Nevada the same day. Clearly, we don't have enough guns. Or something.


1 Dead, 3 Injured in Las Vegas Strip Nightclub Shooting


8 News NOW Metro Police say a patron is dead and three others injured following an early morning shooting at a nightclub in Bally's Hotel and Casino.

The gunman has been identified as 41-year-old Benjamin Frazier. . .

Read more at: 8NewsNow

Monday, October 21, 2013

Blast from the Past: Microsoft Upgrade Blues!

I've got Microsoft on the brain. Why? Because I'm what they call an "early adopter." I like the newest, best, most up to date everything, as long as I can afford it. That means, I want updates! Upgrades! And I--like Veruca Salt of Willy Wonka--want it now!

But do you know what happens when what you want is too new for general release, and you download the alpha/beta/preview version? Well, it can mean problems. And it can mean that they might not spell out the problems, or that you--in your excitement for the new thing--might just miss
the thing you should've seen. To make this all a little bit worse (and embarrassing), I've done this before.

What happens is you download the new Windows preview version, and mostly you're happy. It's a shiny, happy, clean install, and exploring is fun! Then you find out. . . whoops! This temporary preview will have to expire at some point, and the real version will have to be installed. And it can't just upgrade, no, no. It has to wipe out the old installation. You'll have to reload all of your programs! And your files may or may not stick around (at worst they could disappear, at best they could move to a different location). I made this mistake with Windows 7 (moving from Windows Vista), and now with Windows 8.1.

In all, it's really not that bad. I've got to put back all my programs, tweak a few settings, move a few files, and the hardest part, get my work files external drive back online where it belongs. Once that is done, everything should be back to normal, and my computer should be better than before, with the kinks all ironed out. But there will be cussing in the meantime. And if you're wondering, yes the Start button is back, it's just a bit different.


And, joy of joys, there will be updates to both Apple's OS X (Mavericks) and Android (Jellybean 4.3)very soon too! So, more learning curve on all of my devices. Fortunately, I've never rooted my phone, nor have I tried to get under the hood of my Mac. So those experiences should be a little smoother. Happy Monday, everyone!

PS: Several "glitches" were encountered in my upgrade process: 1) The Windows Store wouldn't load three times in a row; 2) The Windows Store shows no obvious place to get the upgrade, I had to find the link on; 3) Once I got my download started, there was no obvious place that said it was in the process of downloading; 4) Upon starting for the first time, Windows lost my sound, utterly; 5) Even after going to find the driver for my sound card, Windows lost it again after restarting--I'm still not sure it has permanently "stuck." So, thanks Obama! I guess since Windows 8.1 has glitches on rollout, it should be repealed immediately!!!

UPDATED TO ADD: Windows 8.1 seems to be working just great after initial issues were solved. I put all the apps back, got my settings tweaked to where I want them, and all is (seemingly) well. Even some issues that were cropping up before my upgrade have "healed themselves," and are working just fine. I'm happy to say that except for a bit of the struggle at the beginning, this has actually been a nearly painless upgrade.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hannity's ObamaCare Disaster Couples' Stories Disproven

Much of the problem for me understanding or identifying with people who are against the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare")--beyond obvious, blatant falsehoods--is that the stories told about it are so suspicious sounding. Forget that they're usually being told on shows like Hannity, which is automatically hostile to the subject matter. But often the stories sound hinky, with imprecise language, clearly misleading statements (like companies "being forced" to cut hours, etc.), and other antennae-raising clues that the stories may not be true.

A favorite of mine occurred with a caller (self-identified as apolitical, naturally) to the liberal Stephanie Miller Show, in which the caller claimed his doctor had gotten a letter that day, "from" ObamaCare, with horrifying news about restrictions and extremely costly price hikes. The caller couldn't identify who the letter was from (beyond "ObamaCare"), or the specifics of the letter, but alleged it to have just happened. Clearly, somebody was encouraging (paying?) people to call unfriendly outlets, posing as independent "concerned citizens." The problem being, these are not professionals, and cannot speak extemporaneously beyond their script.

The same is true with this Hannity grouping of people. This FOX "News" program has unlimited resources, and motivation to paint the ACA as flawed or worse. And yet, they come up with three couples who all have flimsy stories that are unsupported by facts? That and the fact of the company they are keeping makes me deeply suspicious that ObamaCare is the "disaster" they are making it out to be.


Inside the Fox News lie machine: I fact-checked Sean Hannity on Obamacare

I happened to turn on the Hannity show on Fox News last Friday evening. “Average Americans are feeling the pain of Obamacare and the healthcare overhaul train wreck,” Hannity announced, “and six of them are here tonight to tell us their stories.” Three married couples were neatly arranged in his studio, the wives seated and the men standing behind them, like game show contestants. . .

Read more at: Salon

One Handy Graphic That Sums Up the Budget Agreement

Just in case you don't want to go through the video below. But do it anyway, it's good!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Maddow: GOP Got Nothing on Debt Ceiling/Budget Deal

Is it "spiking the football" to lay out the facts? Even if it contains a measure of schadenboehner schadenfreude? I mean, this pointless, dangerous hostage taking by the GOP put the whole world economy in danger, and it has now been avoided (or at least postponed). Why wouldn't the perceived "winning" side feel a little energized by that? Screw the butt-hurt tea baggers. I couldn't care less if they're peeved at the reaction.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Ted Cruz: Real, or Invented by Democrats?

Image from source, Washington Post
I love Ezra Klein, and have enjoyed his writing and his appearances on various programs. And I think this piece is a good one too (though I think he oversells the "disaster" that the ObamaCare rollout has been), except I can't imagine that a Democrat could invent a Ted Cruz. As with other right-wing heroes like Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Joe the freakin' Plumber, there is nothing appealing about Cruz to a Democrat. We can't fathom his popularity, even when imagining ourselves on the other side of the aisle. He's smarmy. He's creepy looking. He's a show-boater. He has no respect for the government, the President, the Senate or--apparently--much of anything beyond his own narrow views. As hard as Democrats try, I don't believe we could think up someone like Cruz, and that the ruse would be successful.

Part of the difficulty in thinking something like Cruz and his tactics, is that none of it makes a lick of sense. There was no end game. There was no logical connection between the Affordable Care Act law and the budget bill or the debt ceiling. It started as rather blatant extortion, and became. . .a muddled mess. Only a really bad writer or a drug-addled one could have come up with this storyline thinking it would go anywhere.


If Ted Cruz didn’t exist, Democrats would have to invent him

A true cynic about American politics would, at this point, be forced to one conclusion: Sen. Ted Cruz is a Democratic sleeper agent. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

US House Stenographer Flips Out, Storms Microphone

It would have been much more fun if she'd been a little easier to understand on the C-SPAN camera. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, "Oh, Papa Tuney, we got a looney!"


US House Stenographer Rushes Mic, Shouts About Mocking God And Jesus

As the shutdown votes were being tabulated in the US House tonight, a chamber stenographer rushed the microphone below the speaker's chair and began shouting about mocking God, the US Constitution, and her savior Jesus Christ. . .

Read more at: Joe.My.God

Cory Booker Elected Senator from New Jersey

Image from source, CBS News
I think Cory Booker is a pretty cool guy, and I think it's great--though expected--that he won this election. He has the potential to be a senator akin to some of my favorites (Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Bernie Sanders), so I have relatively high hopes. It's also nice that this caps a day when Congress' self-inflicted dual crises have come to a somewhat satisfying end. A good day for America!


Cory Booker wins U.S. Senate election in N.J.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker won a special election Wednesday to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate, giving the rising Democratic star a bigger political stage after a race against conservative Steve Lonegan, a former small-town mayor. . .

Read more at: CBS News

Senate & House Vote: Debt Ceiling Lifted, Shutdown Over

"We had to do this" was a refrain often uttered in response to why this ridiculous, self-inflicted dual crisis has overtaken everything in the last three weeks. It's a shitty answer. Because, beyond the desire to shut down the government, and the desire to refuse to raise the debt ceiling, I've yet to hear a coherent envisioned end-game to all of this from the GOP.

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We know that a) they despise the President, in a white-hot, irrational way; b) Democrats are a proxy for the President, and thus compromise with them is tantamount to making a deal with the Devil; and c) because of a and b, they despise "ObamaCare." That's just a taste of their motivations of course, and already there are multiple problems with their so-called reasoning. Chief among them was the fact that the Affordable Care Act is already law, passed by Congress, affirmed by the Supreme Court and vindicated by Obama's re-election. It doesn't have a blessed thing to do with the continuing budget resolution or the debt ceiling. It was also a non-starter, non-negotiable to both the President and the Senate.

So, the reasoning for why the government was shut down, and the debt ceiling default imminent, kept shifting. The demands kept changing, and like Bette Midler in Ruthless People the ransom kept going down. All along, the votes have been there in the House for a clean budget bill and debt ceiling raise. John Boner Boehner was just unwilling to do so. I have to wonder what he's worried about. Who would want to lead these people?



After weeks of stalemate that shuttered the government for 16 days and brought the nation within hours of a key deadline to renew its borrowing authority, the standoff is finally over.
The House passed a bill 285-144 late Wednesday night to re-open the government and extend the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.  That vote came hours after the Senate approved the measure 81-18. . .

Read more at: NBC News
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