Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Claims Another Legend: George Michael Dead at 53

Breaking my silence of late to note the terrible news that George Michael, 80s/90s pop legend, has died at the too young age of 53. It's a rare year that claims the lives of multiple legends. Bowie. . .Prince. . . It may not be quite accurate to put Michael in their category, given the waning of his star since his heyday. He seemed to sputter out while transitioning from closeted to out gay man, and had apparently quite a few demons he couldn't slay. But there is no doubt that Michael's talent was in their league, and possibly surpassed it. There is no doubt that he can claim a sex appeal in his prime beyond either of them.

There was something obvious about Michael's talents even in his cheesy stateside debut with Wham!'s Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. You could see it and hear it, there was more to this guy than a novelty hit. His voice and vocal range were astonishing. Clear as a bell, total control. And he could dance. I'm at best an awkward and rhythm-challenged white guy, but what I could manage, I learned by watching him. It didn't hurt that he had a mesmerizing physique, naturally.

And it was that beauty and sudden white-hot fame that seemed to trouble him. He seemed to unravel quickly, and never quite re-ravelled. I think we're all a little cheated for that, though it's surely not his fault. We're certainly cheated by his early passing. RIP, Mr. Panayiotou.

The first song I knew by George Michael:



The sexy George Michael:



The sexier George Michael:



My favorite George Michael song:



The Other Half's favorite George Michael song:



The song that helped me learn how to (sort of) dance:


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Resistance with Keith Olbermann Is There a Russian Coup Underway in America?

Keith Olbermann has been largely off of the radar since his most recent departure from ESPN. With a long list of high-profile and bridge-burning departures in his wake, Olbarmann is known for being "difficult to work with." But we don't have to work with him. We should listen to him. The following clip made enough of a splash to trend on Twitter this morning, so maybe more people are.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

SNL: Kellyanne Conway with Jake Tapper on CNN



This week's Saturday Night Live didn't tap Alec Baldwin for his Donald Trump impression. Instead, shining cast member of the moment, Kate McKinnon, does her best Kellyanne Conway impression, blithely spinning away the nonsense that is the daily news from the Trump transition team. Very funny when it's not scary. Bryan Cranston shines as the natural pick for Trump's DEA.


SNL: The World Through Donald Trump's Eyes

Perfect. This filmed bit from this weekend's Saturday Night Live shows the
world from Donald Trump's perspective, as many of us imagine he really lives it.
A world where his reflection shows a magnificently handsome visage, massive hands
(made even funnier by the prop hands put over guest host's John Cena's already
massive hands), great hair, an adoring throng of supporters. . .and when reality
creeps in, he starts to get sleepy, starts to tune out, starts losing interest.

His hands shrink, words become noise. Until someone (like Kellyanne Conway or Mike Pence) struggle to bring him back to attention. Really masterfully done,
funny. . .and sad. Sad.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Right Wing World: Alt-Rightspeak: New Version of Political Correctness

I've had a hard time blogging of late, mostly due to the changing ways I experience the internet itself. I find myself engaging more in social media, message boards and the like, in shorter bites, than I do sitting down to write long blog posts. But the habit has its drawbacks, not the least of which is letting my blog run fallow.

One of those drawbacks is enduring the sheer repetitive asshattedness of many people on what I'd consider "the other side." Short on imagination, but long on conformity, it has always been true that folks on the right latch onto key words, phrases and turns of phrases that light their fire. Maybe that's just human nature, but on the right, it takes a) a hard, mean edge and b) a slavish repetition of an annoyingly unclever nature.

Image from Counter-Currents.com
The best pre-Trumpian example I can think of, is the conservative response to any story featuring or related to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. Maddow is a darling on the left, a personal favorite, and as only your 90-year-old aunt might not know, a famous lesbian. The last part goes without saying in mainstream and left-leaning sites and stories. But on the right, it must be acknowledged, and it must be in the form of (what they consider) snarky put-downs, and mock-incredulous questions. But it always takes the same form: she looks like a man and her name is easily distorted to "Mad Cow" or "Man Cow." Though it's true that they do this in a variety of ways, it's a very small topic list, and the variations can be counted on your fingers and toes. They're repeated every time as though they're the most clever thing in the world, often (even usually) in place of actual arguments against her points.

And that's what I run across daily in Right Wing World, a maddening repetition of words, phrases, euphemisms and terminology that thinks it's clever (but isn't very clever), and worst, finds itself hilarious, though it wasn't funny the first time. Beyond that, much of the time, this language, this Alt-rightspeak is itself every bit the thing they rail against with Political Correctness.

Political Correctness (PC), is a badly-named, rather archaic concept, because the PC label applies whether liberals (allegedly the PC Police) are in power, or if conservatives are.  It began as an attempt to be more inclusive, accurate and considerate with language. Basically, it's not talking like a dick, about other people. Treating them as they'd like to be treated. Using terminology that people would like to have used about them, rather than terms they find inaccurate, insulting, degrading or just irritating. Unfortunately, as with absolutely everything in human history, it can be taken to extremes. Equally unfortunately--again, as with everything--it is the extremes that are used as examples of what is so "wrong" with political correctness. Which set us up for the Trump Era, where being anti-PC is "in," as is being a dick with supposed impunity.

But Trumpers have their own set of pet words, their own euphemisms, their own codes, which could accurately be called Political Correctness itself, because these are the people in power at the moment. It's just our lot in life that this new PC, this alt-rightspeak, is repetitive and irritating.

Special snowflake. Safe space. Cuck (and endless, clunky, awkward variations of cuck). SJW (social justice warrior). Libtard (and many variations of "tard," regardless of its backlash).  These terms are thrown at people like me on social media as though they are withering insults, and the height of cleverness. They don't know that most liberals don't know what they're even talking about. Without looking the terms up, most of us have never heard of a "safe space," have never considered ourselves special snowflakes. Don't attach the same meaning to "cuck" if we have any idea what they're even saying. And we don't find fighting for social justice to be a bad thing (and still have to look up SJW because we've never heard of it). Still, they fancy themselves to be wordsmiths on the leading edge with their debating skills.

What they're missing is that they themselves are every bit as over-sensitive to criticism as they accuse others. They're just as apt to react with high emotion if the wrong language is leveled at them. Insults of Trump, for example, are just as likely to turn them into "special snowflakes" themselves, as anyone. And their own code words can be just as goofy as anything they rail against. Worse, we don't need to find extreme examples, they're all extreme!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Conspiracy Corner: #PizzaGate: Fake Pedophile Conspiracy Theory Won't Die in Post-truth Trump America

It's not difficult to get sucked into a conspiracy theory. I've written a few times about my brief dalliance with 9/11 Truthers. It was between the infancy of the movement, and when they started to get fairly nutty.  Which is a pretty short space of time. At first, you feel like you've discovered something. Next, you start to see a few "aha!" type puzzle pieces that fit into a fascinating narrative, then those moments pile up with surprising speed. "How deep does this go?" you wonder to yourself, and then--if you are lucky--you start to notice the holes in the theory. And the "fact"-spackle that doesn't quite fit. Eventually, if you don't get sucked in completely, you abandon the whole thing, because they've basically spoiled the soup with crazy.
Image from source, New Yorker
For me, it was "there were no planes."  Which barely scratches the surface of the crazy to be found if you continue to follow with a more skeptical eye. Most conspiracy theories work on exactly the same sort of structure. And you could probably argue that you shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. But that's assuming there is a baby.

And if I used that particular old cliche to describe the #PizzaGate conspiracy theory, they'd all probably say that I'm in on it. Because oddly enough, the latest conspiracy theory to take political junkies by storm has managed to tie Wikileaks, Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, David Brock, MediaMatters and more to a child prostitution/kiddie porn/pedophile sex ring. Seriously. And, according to every fact-checking source out there, it's utterly baseless. As in: nothing to it.

But the #PizzaGate Truthers will not be swayed, and they're deluging the fact checkers with even more adamant "proof" that they're right. They will not be persuaded that it's untrue. What's worse, it's already lead to a crazy guy attacking the place, not to mention death threats and other harassment. Over an invented, "fake news" generated conspiracy theory. Which totally makes sense in post-truth Donald Trump's America.

On a side note, I can't help but notice that the exact same personality profile of your typical PizzaGate Truther matches that of the many of thousands of Josh Duggar supporters of several months ago. So, apparently outrage about fake child molestation by liberals is far more outrageous than real child molestation by conservatives. Or something.

[Excerpt]

THE AGE OF DONALD TRUMP AND PIZZAGATE

When trying to understand what has befallen Comet Ping Pong, a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C., over the past few weeks, should one start with the gun or with the lies? Both are durable; both are dangerous. The gun is an AR-15-style assault rifle that a man, reportedly a twenty-eight-year-old named Edgar Maddison Welch, carried into the restaurant on Sunday. According to press accounts, Welch waved the gun, pointed it at an employee, and then fired, thankfully not hitting anyone. . .

Read more at: The New Yorker

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Hitler (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Another great classic Christmas song parody by Rocky Mountain Mike, celebrating life during the Trumpageddon. This time, of course, to the tune of, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.


The Electoral College Chipmunk Song (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

You couldn't make me sit through Alvin and the Chipmunks, or any of the squeakuels. But this parody by the great Rocky Mountain Mike is worth a spin. Spot on!


The Resistance with Keith Olbermann: Fortifying Words on Life During Trumpageddon

I love that GQ Magazine is providing the great Keith Olbermann with a daily platform, for what are essentially "Special Moments," of the type he used to proffer on Countdown on MSNBC. But I do wish his platform was bigger, louder and as prominent as it used to be. Viva la resistance!


Monday, November 28, 2016

Active Shooter Bizarre Attack at OSU Campus

UPDATE: Apparently, it's NOT an shooter at all. Seemingly, the same apparatus in place, and policies for an active shooter were used to deal with a kind of bizarre and convoluted attack. Which doesn't make it a whole lot better, but there you go. Here's a link to the updated story at: Columbus Dispatch

I think it's all over, and as far as I know, nobody (except the shooter) died. But having moved back home to central Ohio, I'm a bit surprised to have a What Happens in Vegas moment back here. All kinds of weird news events end up being central to Las Vegas, my formal home. Here, I'm always surprised when something becomes a national news story. But there you go.

[Excerpt]

Ohio State shooting: Nine transported to hospitals, one suspect killed

Law enforcement sources say nine people have been transported to hospitals and a suspect has been killed in an active shooter situation at Ohio State University.

Read more (with video) at: Columbus Dispatch

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

SNL Skewers Post-Election/Pre-President Trump

Image from source, NBC
Saturday Night Live's first Trump depiction since the election is pretty funny, rightly skewering the man himself (clueless and in over his head), Kellyanne Conway (guiltily feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders) and Mike Pence (stiff and unpleasant). But I have to say, Alec Baldwin seems a lot less into it. It's actually surprising that he appeared, since he'd said he was hanging up the wig. My guess is that he agreed based on the number of returning SNL vets in this week's show, Kristin Wiig's hosting, and just putting a bow on the depiction. I'm betting it's back to Darrell Hammond in the future, or or some new cast member.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Donald Trump Again Easily Baited into Tweeting up a Storm

Ladies and gentlemen, the future President of the United States:





Sooooo presidential.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

SNL: Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton at the Piano

Image from NBC
Saturday Night Live had a big challenge this week, in how to respond to the surprise election of Donald Trump. Like much of America, it was fairly clear that SNL thought Hillary would win it, and actress Kate McKinnon probably saw some fairly good job security in that. But, lamentably (except for comedy), Trump improbably won. Unfortunately, tragedy+time=comedy, and it's too soon for an awful lot of people. So, how to open the show, one that for every new episode featured McKinnon as Hillary and Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump?

This was their answer, incorporating a tribute to the late Leonard Cohen, and his classic song, Hallelujah. I'll go out on a limb, and predict an Emmy for McKinnon. And for the record, Baldwin has stated that he doesn't wish to play Trump in the future. Which isn't surprising, though if Trump becomes more comedy than tragedy down the line, I'd expect a repeat performance.

Blast from the Past: Potential Secretary of State JOHN BOLTON!!! in 2007

When I saw that the transition team for (oh, please don't barf, keep typing) President-elect Trump [*urp!*] has thrown former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton's name into the ring for potential Secretary of State, first I had this stomach discomfort. Then a shriek of, "Our number one diplomat is going to be a man with no diplomatic skills whatsoever???" And then, my darkly humorous inner voice conjured up something from the past. It was how Rachel Maddow--then a host on Air America Radio--used to refer to the white mustachioed rabble-rouser. To see what I mean, play this clip from something called The Rachel Maddow Podthing, a precursor to her eventual The Rachel Maddow Show. You're likely to get a kick out of it, if for no other reason than just seeing the kind of fun she liked to have when she wasn't a semi-serious, pseudo news anchor on the teevee machine.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Senator Elizabeth Warren on What Comes Next

Image from Huffington Post
I love this woman. I can't express how much, she's just awesome. So awesome, that I really think if she'd been the candidate or if she had been the running mate, we might have had a very different outcome on Tuesday night. I am all in if she runs in 2020, and think of the slogans that could go with that number! She's tremendous.

[Excerpt]

President-Elect Donald Trump

This wasn’t a pretty election. In fact, it was ugly, and we should not sugarcoat the reason why. Donald Trump ran a campaign that started with racial attacks and then rode the escalator down. He encouraged a toxic stew of hatred and fear. He attacked millions of Americans. And he regularly made statements that undermined core values of our democracy.

And he won. He won — and now Latino and Muslim-American children are worried about what will happen to their families. LGBT couples are worried that their marriages could be dissolved by a Trump-Pence Supreme Court. Women are worried that their access to desperately needed health services will disappear. Millions of people in this country are worried, deeply worried. And they are right to be worried. . .


Read more at: Medium


Russia Admits Continuing Contact with Trump Campaign

Nobody will read this post (or those like it), or watch this video who should. And if you could force them to, they'd play it off like it's no big deal. But if they were being honest, if we all were, we know the answer to Rachel Maddow's hypothetical "Storytime." If the Russians were meddling in the McCain/Palin campaigns affairs, meddling in the outcome of the election, and it was discovered that the Obama campaign was in cahoots? The outrage from the right (and from many other quarters) would be deafening.
 [Story continues below]




I'll go further than that. If the scenario had played out that way, Republicans would have done everything in their power, would have used every tool in their toolbox to prevent the inauguration of Obama. Failing that, they'd have spent the next weeks, months and years investigating the connection, making hay of it in the news, and probably at best attempting to impeach, and it's not too far fetched to imagine them looking toward charges of treason. Does anyone really doubt that? 

Everyone's hair should have been on fire over the near certain Russian involvement in Wikileaks' hacking and distribution of Clinton campaign emails. It was a bigger story than the gossip contained therein. And when the circumstantial ties to Russia and Trump operative Paul Mannafort (and others) are also known, a narrative isn't hard to form. This should have been the focus of the "October surprise."

Here's hoping that more people than Rachel Maddow are staying on top of this story. But as long as she is, maybe she'll have the same success she had getting the Chris Christie Bridgegate story into the mainstream.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Howard Dean to Run for DNC Chair

Image from source, Politico
As a rule, I can't stand the head of either national party. Most recently, Reince Priebus and Debbie Wasserman Schultz were both on my shit list. Before them, there are many that stand out as supreme assholes. Ken Mehlman. Terry Mcauliffe. Ed Gillespie. Awful, just awful. But there have been a couple of tolerable ones, and occasionally, a decent person rises to the top. But the only one I can think of offhand is Howard Dean. And he's currently running for the head of the Democratic National Committee.

This is very good news for Democrats, who were surprised into finding themselves dealt a devastating loss when all indications showed otherwise. Given the relative closeness of the election, grinding out a percent or two here and there would have made the difference. Dean has shown the ability to do that.

In a job that requires spinning, and deft pivoting, Dean is one of the few that does so with skill, and far less disingenousness than the rest. I'm stoked, and hope he wins.

[Excerpt]

Howard Dean: I'm running for DNC chair

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean said he is running for his old job atop the Democratic Party.

"The dems need organization and focus on the young," Dean tweeted Thursday. "Need a fifty State strategy and tech rehab. I am in for chairman again. . ."

Read more at: Politico

#DrainTheSwamp? Newsflash: The Swamp is Still There, and They've Elected Swamp Thing

One of the late additions to Trump campaign rhetoric was #DrainTheSwamp a hashtag for social media, and a commonly repeated phrase by Donald Trump and his surrogates. It was part of Kellyanne Conway's late-in-the-game efforts to make Trump seem more "presidential." Was it what pushed him to his unlikely victory? I don't know, to be honest. But it's just one more promise that Trump can't fulfill, and has in fact shown every sign of ignoring.

Trump Thing
Because the swamp is still there. Most career politicians will keep their jobs, or segue into different ones during the (hopefully brief) Trump reign. Mitch McConnell will still be Senate Majority Leader, and may finally complete his transition into a tortoise. Most of the Senate and House is intact. And the new White House? Well, looks like the cabinet is going to be crammed full of an otherwise hilarious melding of Trump's inner circle, and the cartoonish political faces that drive liberals crazy: Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Rick Scott, undoubtedly Kellyanne Conway herself, and a rogue's gallery of other familiar faces. Still pretty swampy, and headed by Swamp Thing himself, the rotted pumpkin faced, lumbering ogre with the bad combover.

The one consolation that Democrats, liberals and progressives have is, that if Trump fails, it will be entirely, utterly of their own doing. He's got every available piece of government on the same side. He's got his crew all running it, and Kellyanne to play disciplinarian. If this thing goes off the rails (and I will be shocked, moreso than Tuesday night if it doesn't), they'll own every bit of it.

But, make no mistake. They're going to shed some of their current fan club regardless. Trump can't possibly deliver on a wealth of his promises. His "day one" pronouncements are impossible to achieve on day one. He's not going to #DrainTheSwamp. If he gets his wall, it's not going to be what he promised or envisioned. He'll likely get a recession or depression on his (again, hopefully brief) watch, and has no real tools to fix it. He's going to piss off the base by either shifting gears, or simply not being able to do what he promised to do. And he'll have a boatload of insiders as advisers and cabinet members. 

I have a lot more to say about this, but I'm going to have to do it in batches. More to come.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Idiocracy

I woke up this morning about five am. This after having stayed up nearly until two, watching the horror show that rolled on into the wee hours. When I woke up, I briefly wondered, "could that really have happened?" I mused for a few minutes that maybe something had happened to change things radically. That just maybe a miracle happened after I switched off the lights. But, when The Other Half awoke a little while later, and silently scrolled through his Facebook page without uttering even a sound, I knew that it wasn't to be. I knew he'd have nudged me awake with the news.

The world's worst winners (proven in the past) will gloat. Are gloating, I'm sure. I have no doubt. But I tell you, America, this one is different. Different in profound ways. Other losses were absorbable, for the most part. Though we may have hated it when our chosen candidate lost, we didn't fear for the future, didn't have this much trouble even envisioning what was coming down the pike. This time? I'll be honest, I hope I'm wrong, and that the machinery that is in place--the checks and balances--will hold, and that a President Trump isn't quite the disaster I think is coming.

But truthfully, I think a tragic error has occurred. I think the Trump hangover I predicted for Republicans will still come. Actually, I've said all along that win or lose, there would be a massive Trump hangover. I just was unsure whether we'd all have one, and now I know. We get it first, we Hillary voters (and those nutty, counterproductive Johnson and Stein voters, thanks for that, guys). And again, I hope I'm wrong.

This is going to take a while to process. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tremendous Hillary Clinton "Closing Argument" Ad to Katy Perry's Roar

Fabulously done, heartstring-pulling ad, to an uplifting song, with masterful imagery. Trump has nothing like this. Trump could do nothing like this. Go vote. Be heard. Defeat Orange Hitler!


Friday, November 4, 2016

HOLY SH*T (You've Got To Vote) [Funny or Die]

Hilarious and Hillary-ous. Important messages can really be driven home by humor, and this is the FUNNY side of Funny or Die. A must watch, trust me.


Bill Maher's Whiny Little Bitch, Live! Facebook Comedy Special

There's not much time for anti-Donald Trump humor, so I'm attempting to get this Facebook Live video up on the blog for people to enjoy before the election. If it posts successfully, enjoy! And here's hoping that The Donald reverts to being a C- or D-list reality celebrity after Tuesday.







Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Donald Trump Club! (Rocky Mountain Mike Parody-Palooza #5)

Who knew D-O-N-A-L-D T-R-U-M-P would fit so well into the Mickey Mouse Club theme song? Apparently, Rocky Mountain Mike did. And it's perfect.



EDITOR'S NOTE: I've been neglecting the blog a lot lately, and as such, I've also neglected to post a bunch of very funny, election-related song parodies by Rocky Mountain Mike. Not that the guy made famous on The Stephanie Miller Show needs my help, or is even affiliated with this blog. I'm just a fan who loves to share! So, please enjoy this and several other parodies.

For more Rocky Mountain Mike, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!

Simply All Deplorable (Rocky Mountain Mike Parody-Palooza #4)

To be fair, Hillary Clinton said only half of Donald Trump's followers were in the basket of deplorables. But after feigning outrage (briefly), many of them took the insult as a badge of honor, so just point and laugh if they bring it up as something awful. Mike takes the famed Robert Palmer song, Simply Irresistible, and gives it a Trumpian twist.



EDITOR'S NOTE: I've been neglecting the blog a lot lately, and as such, I've also neglected to post a bunch of very funny, election-related song parodies by Rocky Mountain Mike. Not that the guy made famous on The Stephanie Miller Show needs my help, or is even affiliated with this blog. I'm just a fan who loves to share! So, please enjoy this and several other parodies.

For more Rocky Mountain Mike, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Flaven (Rocky Mountain Mike Parody-Palooza #3)

Though I'm a bit late for Halloween, Mike wasn't. This pitch-perfect redo of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven ("flaven" being a favorite Jerry Lewis nonsense word on The Stephanie Miller Show) as narrated by voice master Richard Henzel is a must-listen. It tells the story of this horrifying election cycle.



EDITOR'S NOTE: I've been neglecting the blog a lot lately, and as such, I've also neglected to post a bunch of very funny, election-related song parodies by Rocky Mountain Mike. Not that the guy made famous on The Stephanie Miller Show needs my help, or is even affiliated with this blog. I'm just a fan who loves to share! So, please enjoy this and several other parodies.

For more Rocky Mountain Mike, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!

You Only Vote Twice (Rocky Mountain Mike Parody-Palooza #2)

This one is about that lady, you know the one, the Trump supporter who voted twice, proving that voter fraud happens, but rarely. And rarely is it a Democrat! Worse, Trump has been encouraging people to do this, which is sure to result in future lawsuits. Rocky Mountain Mike, perfectly, uses the James Bond theme from You Only Live Twice to put the funny to this one.



EDITOR'S NOTE: I've been neglecting the blog a lot lately, and as such, I've also neglected to post a bunch of very funny, election-related song parodies by Rocky Mountain Mike. Not that the guy made famous on The Stephanie Miller Show needs my help, or is even affiliated with this blog. I'm just a fan who loves to share! So, please enjoy this and several other parodies.

For more Rocky Mountain Mike, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!

Comey Comedian (Rocky Mountain Mike Parody-Palooza #1)

First up, we go very topical with Mike's take on the FBI/James Comey/Clinton Clusterf*ck. Based, naturally, on Culture Club's Karma Chameleon



EDITOR'S NOTE: I've been neglecting the blog a lot lately, and as such, I've also neglected to post a bunch of very funny, election-related song parodies by Rocky Mountain Mike. Not that the guy made famous on The Stephanie Miller Show needs my help, or is even affiliated with this blog. I'm just a fan who loves to share! So, please enjoy this and several other parodies.

For more Rocky Mountain Mike, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!

President Barack Obama Stumps for Hillary Clinton in Bexley, Ohio

Photo by Greenlee Gazette staff photographer, Dona Roudabush
 It was worth the wait. After dodging some strong-arm GOTV tactics at a Hillary Clinton southside field office, obtaining tickets to the event at the OSU campus field office, waiting in line today for an hour, and then standing in an auditorium for three hours, we finally got to see and hear President Barack Obama. Aware that this would be our last chance to see Obama in person while he's still president, we went through the hoops to get the tickets, and endured the wait, and I'm glad we did.

Don't get me wrong, there were issues. One of them is just being stuck in a room with the same people for several hours with nothing much to do but wait. We couldn't even really sit (unless we wanted to have butts in our faces), because there were no bleachers but for the close-up red ticket holders. Worse, we only had the "doors open" time on our tickets, and had no idea when the prez was due to arrive. Had we known it would be three hours, we likely would have left, so I'm actually kind of glad we didn't know.  [Story continues below]



Also on the down side was the audio system at Bexley's Capital University Field House, which was wholly inadequate to the task, forcing Obama and other speakers to have to shout into the microphone. There should probably have been some sort of program, or even some kind of warmup act or something for the crowd to focus on for the first two hours of waiting. About 4:30, there started to be a few speakers, from Franklin County Prosecutor hopeful Zach Klein to Senate candidate Ted Strickland, and the university Dean. But that first two hours there was nothing, besides Capital's band playing off in a corner somewhere. We were getting restless, and our feet were getting tired.

Photo by Greenlee Gazette staff photographer,
Dona Roudabush
But then, the main event. President Obama arrived to thunderous applause, and boundless enthusiasm. This guy is still--quite obviously--loved by Democrats. You could be forgiven for almost forgetting that he wasn't running for anything! But he didn't give Hillary Clinton short shrift, not by a long shot. His was a full-throated, loud, clear endorsement of Clinton, and he was quite convincing. He gave Donald Trump some decent ribbing, to the point that Trump would be steaming if he were there. I hope someone shows him a highlight reel.

I'm gonna miss this guy. Clearly, a lot of people are. I'm glad I went.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Behind the Blogger: The Death of Blogging

Well, perhaps "death" is a little harsh, but it is Halloween, after all. But there is no doubt I've let my blog languish these last two years, and lately especially. I've addressed the matter several times, and tried to alternatively apologize and explain myself. The truth is, I'll always have this blog as long as the blogger service is available, and though it might get dusty and cobwebby, it will always be here. But, I'm now clearly prone to long stretches without blogging.

I guess since it's my own singular endeavor, and really pretty much a hobby, that's not so strange or even bad. But maybe a little sad. Because I do have a lot to say, there is a lot going on, and I feel like I can contribute--in my own small way--to public discourse. I know this, because even though I never had a huge audience, I did get eyeballs in here, sometimes quite a few. But ultimately this is for me, more than anyone. And I've found that with today's social media applications, and multiple devices at hand, constant "plugged-in" status, that getting those little zaps of catharsis come easier there. Coming here to write a blog post is destination surfing. I have to log in to the blogger software, I have to concentrate on writing a coherent post, or even posting a video, I have to do a certain amount of formatting.

Sometimes, that just isn't on my mind, not like it was in the blog's first six or seven years. I mean look at this year, it's both Halloween and the run up to probably the most consequential presidential election we've ever had, and there are crickets around here!

Still, I felt motivated to put this post up, and I'll likely get several more up between today and election day. If the unthinkable happens, and Orange Hitler gets voted in, something tells me my motivation to blog will go up. And maybe even if sanity prevails, all the crap Hillary Clinton will have dumped on her from day one will inspire me also.

No promises, but I'm going to try!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

When Trump Goes Low, Kathy Griffin Goes Lower!

I'm surprised Kathy Griffin missed the chance to go after Donald Trump as a "D-List" Reality Star (since that's what he is), or at least Kellyanne Conway as a "D-List" political operative (ditto). But this is pretty great, nonetheless.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Over Time with Bill Maher, October 14, 2016

Bill Maher and his Real Time panelists – Andrew Sullivan, Rebecca Traister and former Sen. Bob Kerrey – answer viewer questions after the show.

SNL Takes on Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump Debate Night #2

This is probably not their funniest take on the subject matter, but the stalking to the Jaws theme is pretty great.


Former "Reasonable Republican" Josh Barro Dumps Republican Party: ‘F–k It, I’m Out’

If you watch MSNBC very much, you've seen a pundit from Business Insider named Josh Barro. He's young, attractive and fit, and he's a Republican. An especially odd duck, a reasonable Republican. And this was before the recent wave of conservative commentators the network has insisted on presenting of late, in an effort to rebrand as a more serious, less explicitly liberal news channel.

Well, Barro used to be the reasonable Republican. Now, he's a reasonable Democrat.

[Excerpt]

Josh Barro Leaves GOP for Democratic Party: ‘F–k It, I’m Out’

Business Insider senior editor Josh Barro tweeted, “F–K it, I’m out,” with a link to an article explaining why he left the GOP to join the Democratic Party on Sunday – and just like that, the Republicans had one less member. . .

Read more at: San Francisco Gate

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Samantha Bee's Newly Uncovered Lewd "Hot Mike" Gaffe



Yes, it's a joke. But very funny, and very fast!




Deplorable Donald: Is His Goose Cooked? Or Will Pence Leave Him to Roast?

The interesting question being asked by laypeople and insiders alike is: will Donald Trump drop out of the presidential race, now that he's landed in a scandal that isn't spinnable? He says he won't, but nobody knows what really will happen if this fire can't be put out.

If Trump quits, it's too late to reprint ballots with new contenders. And Mike Pence isn't an automatic lock for the top of the ticket, should that event come to pass. Still, many in the GOP are asking him to step down. Much more tantalizing, to me anyway, would be if Pence were to quit. The party wouldn't be left without a candidate, but Trump would be left without a rudder. So, the real question is, if The Donald has his heels dug in, will Pence decide it's career suicide to stick it out?

[Excerpt]

Amid growing calls to drop out, Trump vows to ‘never withdraw’



Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said in an interview Saturday that he would not drop out of the race under any circumstances, following calls from several prominent members of his party to do so.

“I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life,” Trump told The Washington Post in a phone call from his home in Trump Tower in New York. “No, I’m not quitting this race. I have tremendous support.”

“People are calling and saying, ‘Don’t even think about doing anything else but running,” Trump said when asked about Republican defections. “You have to see what’s going on. The real story is that people have no idea about the support. I don’t know how that’s going to boil down, but people have no idea about the support. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Donald Trump Mispronounces "Nevada" Braggadociously

How to make an ass of yourself in Nevada, by Donald Trump.
Image from source, Washington Post.
Many states have multiple pronunciations, even within their borders. Nobody, for instance, cares how you pronounce "Ohio." Most would agree--even those with heavy accents--that the proper pronunciation is ōˈhīō. You might put the emphasis on the HI, you might put it on both Os. But you can also say "uh-HI-uh," and you'll be fine. You can say Oh-HIGH-yo, and nobody will blink. But in other states, a wrong pronunciation means "outsider" and/or "rube." Don't say "orry-GONE" in Oregon. Don't say "i-oh-WAY" in Iowa. Don't say "arr-Kansas" in Arkansas. And whatever you do, don't say "Nuv-ODD-uh" in Nevada.

It's "Nev-ADD-uh." ADD not ODD. It may sound like a small thing, and frankly it is. But if you're looking to score points with the locals, you don't say it wrong. And nobody has said it so ostentatiously wrong. So spectacularly, braggadociously wrong. Nobody but Donald Trump.

[Excerpt]



Trump’s pronunciation of ‘Nevada’ draws scrutiny

RENO, Nev. – “Ne-VAHHHH-duh.”

That was Donald Trump at a rally here Wednesday, confidently demonstrating he understood the local pronunciation of this swing state by drawing out the second syllable for effect.

Except that locals don't say it that way. They say “Nev-AD-uh. . ."


Read more at: Washington Post




Friday, September 30, 2016

Braggadocious! - Randy Rainbow Takes on Donald Trump

This has really made the rounds, but in case you haven't yet seen it, give it a twirl. It' quite inventive, especially when you consider how quickly it was produced after last Monday's debate. It's a wonderfully clever take on Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins, and skewers The Donald in many great and huge ways. It's tremendous. Believe me.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Trump Supporters Rig Online Polls Post-Debate

This was obvious to anyone with a functional, working brain, eyes and ears. Donald Trump didn't merely lose the first 2016 Presidential Debate to Hillary Clinton, he lost badly. He was a sniffling, incoherent mess. But immediately after (in fact, before it was even over), online polls started to show Trump to be the winner. In some cases, as in The Drudge Report's poll, the skew was so lopsided as to be preposterously obvious.

I'm familiar with the "FReeping" of polls. Named for the practice honed by the denizens of FreeRepublic.com, members are given links to open online polls they wish to skew. And thousands of "flying monkeys" descend upon the polls, making the FReepers' wishes seem more represented than they really are. The practice is widespread, and goes beyond Right Wing World these days. That's why online polls are generally regarded (except by low-info voters) as interesting but worthless. But the problem is, while the practice can be merely a prank, more often it is done to influence public opinion. In this case, to make it seem as though Trump won the debate, in order to cement that idea into the public consciousness. In effect, to rewrite history.

Ironically, conservatives--who are supposed to be "law and order" good guys, moral and just, and all about fairness--think nothing of getting a lie cast as the truth if it benefits them. They really don't care how they win, whether it involves cheating, disenfranchising voters, whatever the means, if the end is: they win. So, even though I know I've let this blog run fallow lately, I see it as my duty to expose this sort of thing whenever I run across it. Please read.

[Excerpt]

4chan and Reddit bombarded debate polls to declare Trump the winner

You may be getting trolled right now without even knowing it.Donald Trump supporters artificially manipulated the results of online polls to create a false narrative that the Republican nominee won the first presidential debate on Monday night. The efforts originated from users of the pro-Trump Reddit community r/The_Donald and 4chan messaged boards, which bombarded around 70 polls, including those launched by Time, Fortune, and CNBC. . .

Read more at: The Daily Dot

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Deplorables are Also the Unreachables

Sunbury, Ohio Trump Shop
It's becoming ever more apparent that there is a segment of our population--a depressingly large segment--that is unreachable. Unreasonable. Unconvincable. The base, core support for Donald Trump is possibly most of them, and possibly 40% or more of the electorate, and it doesn't matter what Trump says, does, doesn't say or doesn't do to shake them. No amount of proof that he's unqualified, racist, wrong or dangerous will matter: THEY. DO. NOT. CARE. Nothing will shake them, no matter how deeply it goes against their so-called bedrock issues. Not lack of religiosity. Not immorality. Not lying. Not cheating. Not lawbreaking. Not hypocrisy. Nothing. Nothing will shake them, period.

So, it's time to stop trying. It's time to stop trying to convince your Uncle Joe, your Gramma Irene, and even your stubbornly conservative parents. They're on the Trump Train to its destination, whether it be the presidency or an embarrassing loss.  And a loss is one of the only things that will shake them off, and probably get about half to disown the notion that they ever supported him. The other, of course, would be the nearly certain disastrous presidency that would ensue should he manage the feat of election. In that case, he'll likely also lose half of his original base, who will deny ownership of that vote, and hold on to the tenacious 20% that seems to always cling to the GOP regardless.

So, who are the persuadables? Well, we can already count on Hillary Clinton having her own unshakable 20% or so, one would presume. And possibly a further 20% that just can't see a rational alternative. That leaves about 20% in the middle, but they're comprised of so many factions, using a single strategy might not be possible. They're made up of soft supporters from either side, independents who like neither candidate, Jill Stein supporters, Gary Johnson supporters, #BernieOrBust-ers (who may be as unreachable as Trumpers), and those who are late to tune in, but usually vote. And even though we've accounted for 100% of the voting electorate, there is a large number out there, people who are unreliable voters, people who just don't feel moved to cast a ballot.

I recommend The Rude Pundit, if you're barely holding
on to your sanity this political season.
The primary job of the DNC, and of truly anyone not on the Trump bandwagon, is to turn out the vote. To make some noise, and to make it a duty to make sure that Trump doesn't get elected. All stops should be pulled out to this end. Yes, sell people on Hillary if they're receptive. Give good reasons why she'd be a good candidate. Positive reasons for Democratic leadership, and warnings of what happens otherwise is good for the middle 20% and the unkknown extras out there. And dire warnings could cement them.

So, I'm not saying we don't continue to point out Trump's foibles, far from it. In fact they should be more pointed, louder and clearer. We should demand the media not give him a pass, and not let up one iota. But added to this challenge should probably be trying to shun the trolls, ignore the taunts, and try to stop wasting time fighting the actual solid Trumpers. That's difficult. They taunt, they jab, they bray, and they love to do it. It's so very tempting. But it's also a waste of time. They're gone, done, locked in to a cult of personality, and morally welded to this vile candidate. Forget 'em if you can. Lock in the rest. And vote, vote, vote.

[Excerpt]

The Post-Factual Election: Trump, Lies, and More Lies 

"There's something you don't fucking understand," my friend from western Virginia told me. Cal and I had been catching up. When he told me that he was thinking of taking a job back up north "just to escape all these Trump fuckers down here," we couldn't avoid discussing this goddamned election. "You keep thinking that if you can show that Trump is lying, that they'll abandon him. That's not gonna happen. They don't give a fuck if Trump's lying or not. They just don't care. In fact, they'll believe Trump and say that CNN is lying because it's just the liberal media. Trump voters don't give a shit about truth. They don't give a shit about facts. All they care about is that they hate Obama, they hate Hillary, and they want to elect someone who isn't either of them." That made sense: these are people who value faith above reason. . .

Read more at: The Rude Pundit

Thursday, September 15, 2016

September Update: Everyone is in Great Health!

Well, I've done it again, I've let the blog just sit here for days on end, no updates, no nuffin'.

Sorry about that. I have more excuse for that than usual. Long-time friends, in fact surrogate family members from my two decades in Las Vegas have moved across the country, back to Ohio, and in with us. That has been a tremendous reunion, extended celebration, and little time or room for much else. The Other Half is highly irritated with all things political, and has nearly banned it from discussion. . .leaving the spare time for me to actually read and consume news and info on what's going on, rather than to write about it.

The big news this week, of course, is the health of the presidential candidates. Particularly after the health scare Hillary Clinton had on Sunday. Initially, the explanation of dehydration, exhaustion and pneumonia was iffy, sounding to some like convenient cover before finding out what was "really" wrong. But mostly that's because Right Wing World has spent weeks and months creating a fictional world where Clinton is a reanimated corpse or something. In the days since, Clinton has seemingly recuperated, her doctor has released a completely credible health assessment, and all but the kooky fringe (a disturbingly large contingent of people, I will concede) should be satisfied on at least that issue.

Meanwhile, Trump--who uncharacteristically wished Clinton well on her recovery--made a spectacle of his own health, having a very showy appearance on Dr. Oz, using a second health assessment by the same quack doctor, and pretty much erasing whatever credibility gap may have existed between he and Clinton on the issue. He also seemed to fudge on his own weight, trying to pass himself off as a bit overweight when he's likely clinically obese, and trying to convince people that campaign gesticulations count as physical activity.

It's all rather tedious in total, but you know what isn't? Listening to Rachel Maddow describe it in detail. She manages to make it quite entertaining, actually! Enjoy.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

My Remembrance of September 11, 2001 [Revisited]

The following is my annual repost of my personal remembrance of September 11, 2001, with slight revisions and additions. . .

Today is the day when we look at the calendar, and nearly flinch. September 11, 2001 is distant to us in many ways, but now--amazingly--for the 15th time, we've all looked at that calendar page and have been taken back to where we were that morning.

I'm republishing my personal account of what happened to me that day, written in the early days of my blog. My story is no more special than yours, I know. But on a day when the date is sure to be used by many for political purposes, I wanted to have one post up that just remembers the day.

Photo of United Airlines Las Vegas-based Flight Attendants'
memorial service at Sunset Park, September 2001
(Originally published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal)*
ORIGINALLY POSTED SEPTEMBER 11, 2007

Posts I've made today, and earlier in this blog's short history, have discussed or are related to 9/11. I'd rather not let the day go by without giving you the reader--and me the blogger--a little more, minus the political rhetoric.

I've become a deeply cynical person, you might say, at least as it regards politics. This is particularly true lately. But on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 I wasn't thinking about any of that. Everyone who witnessed that day has their own story. Mine is no more relevant than yours, and is surely less traumatic than many.

I awoke that morning at my usual time, somewhere between 6:30 and 6:45 am. I had finished my morning ritual, and was just buttoning up my clothes when the phone rang. It was our friend, Larry, an American Airlines flight attendant, and he was crying. "Two planes have just hit the World Trade Center," he managed between sobs. This was startling news, but not yet sufficiently alarming for me to change my routine.

I passed the phone to The Other Half, and turned on the bedroom TV. There it was, and the slight alarm turned to a sinking feeling. This was big. We quickly learned that it was both United's and American Airlines' planes that hit the buildings, causing high alarm in the room, and on the other end of the phone. The Other Half, and our next-door neighbor/friend, were [and still are] both United flight attendants. And the neighbor was on a trip at an unknown location. My heart sank, and I nearly sobbed myself--with relief--that my partner was right there in the room with me, accounted for.

Not fully realizing the impact of what had happened, I began my journey to work. I switched on the radio, and was very shortly informed that the Pentagon was on fire. They did not yet know the cause. When I pulled into the parking lot at work, the radio announcer said that a plane was believed to have crashed in Pennsylvania. There was an erroneous report about an explosion somewhere else (maybe the White House?).  I said out loud, "the sky is falling." I fully expected at that point that a wave of attacks would continue throughout the morning. Thankfully, that did not come to pass.

Shortly after my arrival at work, The Other Half called, and told me one of the towers had fallen. Not long after, we heard the same about the other. We imagined the worst, that the buildings had fallen over, smashing all below. Thankfully, again, as bad as it was, it could have been worse.

We didn't get much work done that day. Someone went home and got a TV, and we spent much of our time in front of that fuzzy little picture. Later that day, we found that most of our friends, and their colleagues were accounted for. Our neighbor was stranded in New Orleans for over a week. We had quite the celebration upon his return.

The following days were surreal. I'd never seen Las Vegas without planes in the sky, and believe me, you notice. We watched hours upon hours of TV News, of course, like everyone else. And the casinos around town knee-jerk fired lots of people. We feared for our town.

Several days later, The Other Half went to a memorial service at Sunset Park, due east of McCarran Airport, with the Las Vegas United Airlines base crew. During the service, the first plane in days landed, flying right over the park. There was a swelling of spontaneous applause, as you'd imagine.

We were very lucky. We knew people who had friends-of-friends-of-friends who died that day, but fortunately (for our little world), were spared personal losses. One friend was quite well acquainted with one of the [United 93] pilots, and we had his wife to our house, but that was the extent of our direct contact. United, of course, had a very rocky ride of it, as did American. Many of the flight attendants left town, or left aviation. Las Vegas, predictably bounced back.

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 11, 2008:

Las Vegas isn't feeling very bouncy this September 11th. Tourism is down, layoffs are widespread, hours (mine included) have been cut at many jobs. United Airlines and American Airlines are seemingly always under threat of going out of business. The neighbor moved to Florida not long after September 11th. The Other Half and I were married this year, and are doing well despite job worries. Whatever happens on November fourth, I think it will bookend 9/11/2001, and hopefully all of this will seem like a bygone era.

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 11, 2009:
Things in Las Vegas haven't perked up much in the last year. We have, of course, moved from the Bush Era on into the Obama Era. It remains to be seen how that will play out. I'm not a lock-step liberal by any stretch, but I'm willing to give the President time and space.

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 10, 2010:

Still waiting for the economy to pick up in Las Vegas, personally and city-wide. We lead the pack for foreclosures, unemployment and several other "worst of" lists. We did place first in a "best roads" in the US story, so that's something. All of these woes are put at the feet of: a) Barack Obama, if you are a partisan conservative, b) George W. Bush, if you're a partisan liberal, c) Harry Reid, if you're Sharron Angle, or d) the snowball effect of many factors, with blame to be shared by both political parties. I'm going with the last one. But I do have to wonder what the state of the economy and the United States in general might have been like if that clear blue skied Tuesday in September 2001 had been just an ordinary day.

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 11, 2011: 
Wow, 10 years. There are parts of that day that seem eerily recent. And then you remember everything that has happened since. Our two (main) wars--started in the immediate aftermath of 9/11--are still going on in one form or other. The economy noted in the updates above, hasn't improved much. Las Vegas is hanging in there, but a bit beaten and battered. And as I noted in 2010, this economic pickle might have been a bit different were it not for that one day. Maybe we still would have had a housing bubble, maybe the bankers and corporate fat cats would've still been crooks. But the whole deficit/debt sideshow might've been in  much, much better shape. Ugh. I wish things were a bit rosier for the 10-year anniversary of that rotten day. Maybe the 20? Or dare I wish it, the 11th or 12th?

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 11, 2012:

In my yearly updates, I see I've gotten away from "not being political." Sorry about that, but what can you do? Everything is political these days. In 2012, our household actually is better off than we were four years ago, with everything except housing values looking up. Everyone is looking toward November's election, but very little has been made this year about 9/11, other than that this year is the first (oops) second time it's happened on a Tuesday since that fateful day. Though American Airlines is in bankruptcy this year, but United seems to be doing well with its Continental merger. In good news, the Iraq War is over. Still don't know what that had to do with 9/11. And sadly, Captain Dahl's widow died this year, oddly enough at the house of a friend of ours. So, at eleven years and counting, it's kind of a mixed bag. Here's to the day when we have to think about it to remember how many years it's been.

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 11, 2013:

President Obama spoke last night, on the matter of what to do about Syria. The proximity to September 11, and our botched response to it weighs heavy over the whole thing. Then again, it also informs us about overheated, foolish reactions. Also, we have to keep in mind that last year, we were attacked in Benghazi,. Hopefully this year's anniversary will go by without anything like that. This year makes a dozen years, which means we're getting well into a time where high school kids probably don't remember much about the day as it happened. Their entire worldviews are of the "post-9/11" variety.

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 11, 2014:

Again, President Obama spoke last night on the matter of what to do about ISIS/ISIL in Iraq and Syria. We're not able to get out of that region it would seem, even 13 years later. And think about this: every school-aged child, and most college freshmen have spent their entire academic careers in  "post-9/11" world.

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 11, 2015

Since last year, The Other Half (who has since left United) and I have moved across the country. This is something we'd have been unable to afford to do at any other point in these updates. Which says that there has been economic improvement, at least in our household. The stock market has been rather shaky in recent weeks, but after an extended upswing, that seems inevitable. We're most of the way through the "Obama Era" now, and despite the FOX "News" doom and gloom, we seem to be better off in most ways.

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 11, 2016

Here we sit, on the 15th anniversary, with the added worry: if something happened today, how would it affect the election? Conventional wisdom says--though it's counter-intuitive--that an attack would favor Donald Trump. I have no idea why people would react that way, but it seems to be the general consensus. If find that worry almost as troublesome as the worry of an actual attack. I really think that Trump as president would be a calamity, a terrifying situation, one that puts us in danger of other attacks. So, I sit here in the Eastern time zone hoping that we slide into afternoon with no events. And then through the day. Fingers crossed. And toes, and other parts. . .

* Full disclosure: photo contains an image of my husband, our friends and his co-workers.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Phyllis Schlafly Has Died. Finally.

They say evil never dies. And so, I'm forced to raise my previous opinion of the late Phyllis Schlafly. Slightly.

[Excerpt]

Phyllis Schlafly, towering social conservative figure, dies at 92

Phyllis Schlafly, a prominent anti-feminist and early leader of the social conservative movement, died Monday at the age of 92 at her home in St. Louis. . .

Read more at: CNN

Monday, August 29, 2016

Gene Wilder Dead at 83

Well, crap. I knew he was getting old, and frail. And we hadn't seen him much lately. But dammit, mortality sucks. Gene Wilder is probably in my top five all time favorite performers. His late wife Gilda Radner ranked even higher. But Gene had far more success, and left so many marks in my pop culture database, this one hurts almost as much. Blazing Saddles. Young Frankenstein. Willy Wonka. Silver Streak. Stir Crazy. The Producers. His heyday may have been too long ago for Millennials and late Gen-Xers to remember, but even then, his Wonka character has been one of the most successful and versatile memes out there:
















And the one quote that resonates so well as an answer to anyone bested:


But for me, there are those iconic roles in some of my favorite movies, not to mention appearances in oddball features like The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, and many others. I didn't expect he'd probably be well enough to ever make new contributions to culture. But there's something about knowing that he never will that makes me very sad. RIP, Mr. Wilder. You will truly never be forgotten.




[Excerpt]

Gene Wilder, ‘Willy Wonka’ Star and Comedic Icon, Dies at 83

Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83. . .

Read more at: Variety

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Public vs. Anonymous, and Partisanship in the Age of Trump

Nope, didn't get the appeal way back then either.
Image from World of Wonder.
I got myself into a little bit of trouble yesterday. Someone I work with was either alarmed, offended or simply disagreed with something I had written online that appeared on their Facebook newsfeed.* I don't know what it was--I actually hadn't posted anything overtly political directly on my Facebook wall in some time--and we quickly dropped the subject. But it opened my eyes a bit about the pros and cons of being "open" online, vs. being anonymous, as well as the difficulty in holding your online tongue in an age of hyper partisanship.

I've been blogging since 2007, and before that, had an online presence stretching back to the days of Prodigy. But it wasn't until the beginning of the blog that I became transparent, and easily searchable. Much of the world is the same way. We write under our own names, with our own pictures and much of our own bios easily readable and knowable. We don't hide behind cute internet handles or pseudonyms. Which can give a person a bit of credibility, and accountability. But also, it can take away privacy (nothing on the internet is ever really gone). And it can get you into trouble if you say something that runs contrary to the beliefs, politics or sensibilities of other people you know.

Likewise, I didn't (and don't) understand the Clinton hate in 1992.
Image from ABC News.
So, I have a bit of a problem. I'm too entrenched in my behavior, and have already written too much publicly, to try to change my stripes now.  I mean, I can be more thoughtful and careful about what I say and how I say it. In fact, I probably will consider my words a bit more carefully, at least while this incident remains fresh in mind. But, what I've said is already out there. And my behavior patterns are difficult to break. I tweeted two or three things later that day, and only pondered their content afterward. Oops. But, also, we live in an environment of extreme partisanship on virtually every issue. And there are times when holding back, and not contributing is very difficult for a person who has political blogging as a hobby!

And let's talk about the political side for just a second. Everybody knows that in business and personal relationships, politics and religion are conversational minefields. But I think that it is obvious that this political season is quite simply different. It has elements that aren't simply right vs. left, conservative vs. liberal. The two main figures in the presidential battle are individuals widely loathed by huge segments the public. But while one, Hillary Clinton, is despised through an almost completely political prism, the other has only become explicitly political relatively recently.

Yes, Donald Trump has been in the media spotlight for decades. Until 2015, it was perfectly reasonable and acceptable to despise him as a superficial reality TV star, a libidinous, philandering shyster, with an abrasive personality. I personally have never understood his appeal, except as a curiosity and a target for humor. I didn't like him during the Ivana era, the Marla Maples days, The Art of the Deal, his many media utterances, and his more recent career as host of The Apprentice/The Celebrity Apprentice. If anything, my estimation of the man went down along the way.

Both loathed, but for different reasons.
Image from Restate.
And now here we are with Trump as the Republican candidate for president, and all of that baggage follows. If I were a Republican (still), I'd still despise Trump. I think this is borne out by the turmoil his candidacy has put the GOP through. So, I don't see my anti-Trump attitudes, beliefs and advocacy as a purely political thing. Yes, if the candidate was Jeb Bush or Ted Cruze, I'd still be for Hillary Clinton. But the arguments, the advocacy, everything would be very, very different.

If I were seeing Jeb! or Cruz signs in yards, I wouldn't question the judgment, taste or intelligence of the folks who put them there. With Trump, I can't help it. How does someone look at this guy, listen to this guy, and say, "Yeah! That's my guy!" I can't see it. And I do understand that there are people who say the same thing about Hillary Clinton, but the difference is, that's almost entirely politically based. Also accumulated over decades, but overtly partisan, and drenched thoroughly with questionable sourcing, innuendo, and opposition research.

So, the antipathy toward both candidates is similar in that it has been fostered for almost exactly the same amount of time (Trump has actually been nationally known for longer, probably), but comes from an entirely different place. Could my loathing of Donald Trump be colored by vague discomfort with his public persona, just as "colored" by perception as the political sourness a conservative might feel against Clinton? Maybe. I'll concede that, but only to a degree. Because I can honestly say that absent politics, I'd still have a strong negative reaction to Trump, in virtually any context.

Despite the honest disliking of this individual going back decades, it is unfortunately true that my personal anti-Trump campaign will be seen by many or most as a purely political position. Everything these days comes down to a black and white, binary partisan divide. But since I am a transparently open internet presence (if only to the random people who might look me up), I thought this explanation might at least provide context.

*On a tangent, the problem with being public on Facebook, and commenting transparently, is that Facebook itself will "feed" commentary made on other pages, even other websites, to Facebook followers and friends. Most people will never see your comment over at Huffington Post, but it could appear on anyone's at any time. Apparently, this time, something I said that was maybe particularly pointed landed upon this person's feed. I still don't know what it was, but am relatively certain it was pro-Clinton or anti-Trump. 
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