Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Grisley Kathy Griffin

      If there is a level below the celebrity D-list, attention starved Kathy Griffin plummeted passed it yesterday with her Donald Trump severed, bloody head stunt yesterday. She severely miscalculated the so called Resistance's current level of Trump hate. Griffin was apparently expecting the left to rally around her over any objections that might erupt over her stunt, but it crossed the line even for them. Griffin should have foreseen it, but if she had any sort of good judgment, she might actually have a moderately successful career in show business.
      Griffin made a half heated apology fairly quickly when she realized opinion was turning against her, but that has not persevered her one current high profile gig hosting CNN's New Year's Eve coverage. CNN ended its association with her today, which seemed inevitable after her co-host Anderson Cooper took to Twitter to criticize her actions. Griffin may not have had much to lose, but she lost it anyway.
     The Secret Service is reportedly investigating the photo incident. Do not read too much into that. It is routine for the Secret Service to look into any possible threats to the president. Griffin is not likely to be charged with a crime. Stupidity is not a illegal.
      Nevertheless, the worst that could have happened seemingly did. Trump's eleven year old son Barron saw the photo on television and believed something awful had happened to his father. Everyone should have seen that coming—especially griffin herself. To add insult to injury, certain elements of social media have erupted all afternoon in mockery of Barron's reaction. It all comes down to the question of what s this country coming to culturally?

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Meaning of Memorial Day

     The above photo was taken at Arlington National Cemetery.     The funeral procession is specifically in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery.  Section 60 is where the casualties of he wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are laid to rest.
     With no intentions of causing anyone to feel undeservedly criticized, I have been told “Happy Memorial Day!' a number of time to day. No one means for the phrase to be awkward. The intentions are pure. Everyone is going to enjoy Memorial Day if at all possible. I enjoyed a happy Memorial Day myself with grilled hamburgers and fresh watermelon under sunny skies. But the meaning of Memorial Day is not to be happy. It is to reflect on American armed servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives in war.
      One may argue enjoying the Memorial Day holiday is appreciating those who paid the ultimate price for protecting our freedom. But I am not naive enough to believe every war the United States has ever fought was about protecting our freedoms. I am not here to go down the list, but some gave all fr questionable reasons. So they deserve a day of remembrance and reflection. Some of their lives were snuffed out for dubious reasons. Memorial Day should be a reminder not to enter into war lightly.
      All that said, only the dead have seen the end of war. A sobering thought, but also one to dwell on today amid all the grilled hamburgers and discount shopping.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Greg Gianforte Body Slams a Reporter and His Opponent in the Montana Special Election

     Republican Greg Gianforte won at the at large Montana House seat last night by defeating Democrat Rob Quist by a margin of 50.2%-44.1%. Gianforte won convincingly in spite of being charged with assault for allegedly body slamming a journalist. Maybe journalists are so unpopular, assaulting one is not a political liability. Or perhaps the electorate is bracing itself for a potential White House bid from Dwayne Johnson.
      In all seriousness, it is incredible a candidate won a seat in congress after being charged with assault. There are candidates who threatened physical violence, but never any who were charged. Much tamer scandals derailed candidates in recent memory. Often, an ill-advised statement or accidental slip of the tongue is enough. For a candidate to win a seat in Congress within a day or so of an assault charge is amazing.
    What you are going to see now is a whole lot of analysis on how the Montana elections results predict the 2018 midterm elections. Some will tell you the Democrats are doomed I they cannot even beat a candidate who body slammed a journalist. Others will tell you Democrats are looking good because their candidate kept the results within single digits in deep red Montana. Allow me to let the cat out of the bag—this election does diddly to predict the 2018 midterm elections, but pundits re not paid to tell you they do not have any real insight.
      There is a lot of stuff that can happen between now and November 2018 to swing the election either way. Donald Trump is unpopular now, but he may not be at that point. The party in power—the one in control of the White House—usually loses seats. But all politics is local. Beating on a reporter might not have a big effect in Montana, but it probably would in Michigan. It is districts in places like Michigan that re a bigger deal in midterm election. Those are the moderate areas that could swing from Republican to Democrat. They are also the districts that cannot be predicted by a special election in a Republican strong hold like Montana a year and a half before Election Day.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Watch Donald Trump and Grimace

    ...together in a series of McDonald's commercials. Say what you will about Donald Trump, he does not take himself too seriously and is willing to have fun with the goofier side of life. How many future presidential aspirants would joke around with a purple monster on televison? Does thi mean Grimace may be up for a spot in the Trump Administration?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Is There Nostalgia for the '00's?

      ABC is planning to revive American Idol next season. The show was a dominating hit for FOX for over a decade before fading away. It lost its way because of the over saturation of talent competitions and the loss of its original, more entertaining judges. There is still a glut in the amateur talent competition market and I do not expect a crop of stellar judges to sign on to the revival. Maybe ABC just wants a cheap way to fill a two hour time slot plus an hour results show every week. Whatever the case, look for mediocre talent spread pathetically thin.
      Bu is the American Idol revival more than just an already known, relatively cheap to produce way to fill airtime or is it an indicator there is a nostalgia for the '00's? I certainly hope it is the former. The '00's were a dark time in the zeitgeist when bland culture existed under the shadow of post-9/11 paranoia and America as a nation at perpetual war.
   The '00's were an empty time. The music was Fergie singing about her behind. Television was the meandering Lost, a pseudo-intellectual show that ultimately lived p to its name.. There is 121 hours of viewers' lives they will never get back. The 2005 Oscar for Best Picture went to Crash. It is a hallow look at prejudice no one remembers these days. Friendship was reduced to a collection of stranger on MySpace. Remember what MySpace was all about? It was even more vapid than Facebook. Quite an accomplishment considering your grandmother was not on MySpace like she is Facebook.
      Where was the heart and soul of the decade? It certainly was not in the music, movies, or television. It is no wonder people preferred to pirate it rather than pay. It was not worth the money. Not that it matters. Practically everyone in the public eye would thought they had anything important to say came across as more buffoonish than anything else. Anyone remember Sean Penn as a self-appointed weapons inspector in Iraq? The whole decade came across as a farce of more meaningful times.
      I am keeping my fingers crossed the American Idol is all about cheaply producing a known quantity and not an effort to scratch a nostalgic itch. Because if the '00's are coming back in any kind of big way, I am going to be there to bludgeon them into submission.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Top Ten Movie and TV Scenes That Scared Me As a Kid

10.   Land of the Lost came across as laughably cheap looking and bad even to my extremely young eyes when I watched reruns in the early '80's. But one thing I never laughed were those terrifying Sleestak. They were slowing moving and constantly hissing to spook with their reptilian vibe. As a bonus, they often cornered our heroes in dank caves to suffocate with the feeling of claustrophobia. 
09.  Yes, this is a scene from the piece of dreck movie Kull. I saw it on Cinemax when I was about eight or nine, so do not fault me too much for my bad taste in movies. The list gts bettr s we go along, anyway. The giant, crystal spider freaked me out, especially because it is in a web over a seemingly bottomless pit. Even normal size spiers send chills up my spine today.
08.   All right, this is not the point at which my taste improves. Wilma and Spock's sit on some rocks to talk about what might have been in their lives if they chose different paths. The conversation is interrupted by groping tentacles that attempt to strangle them both. Most fans consider the space vampire Vorlon to be the most frightening monster on Buck Rogers, but these touchy feely tentacles get my vote.  The video is timestamped to the beginning of the scene in question.
07.   Still no sign of improvement in my taste, huh? The sad part is I have watched Flash Gordon a number of times since it was released in 1980 and I still kind of like it. The movie is dumb and gaudy, but un to watch for the sheer weirdness of it all. The scene that got me is the one right after Flash crawls out of the quicksand and is attacked by what appears to be a subterranean spider. My arachnophobia makes its second appearance on the list. The video is timestamped to the beginning of the scene in question.
 06.   I love Doctor Who. Both the classic and new series are great, and “Genesis of the Daleks” is one of the best stories of either series. But when I first watched it on PBS back in the '80's, Davros' insane speech about possessing the power of genocide to place himself above the gods freaked me out. The Daleks never compelled me to dive behind th couch like a lot of British Whovians, but Davros was incredibly upsetting.
05.   Hawaii 5-0? Something seems out of place with the rest. Much of my misspent youth was all about science fiction, but I did catch the Hawaii 5-0 pilot one Saturday afternoon on TBS. The plot features former Chinese spy Wo Fat brainwashing US intelligence agents via sensory deprivation torture. The opening scene in which we witness the proces in action inspires a hyperventilating case of claustrophobia for me.
04.  How disturbing is the thought of a larvae slowly crawling across your face and into your ear only to burrow into your brain and thre is nothing you can do about it?  
03.  LucasFilm attempted to outdo the nNzi face melting scene from Raiders of the lost ark and succeeded magnificently. I will always be terrified of choosing poorly. The rapid aging into dust still scares the bejebus out of me. The weird thing is I feel compelled to watch it every time because I am curious at what point is he dead? I still have not decided for sure.
02.  Darth Vader's labored breath with Luke backing away in fear in slow motion along with the claustrophobia induced by the cave where the encounter takes place left an impact on me that still exists 37 years later. Do you ever wonder what would have happened if Luke had heeded yoda and not taken his weapons in the cave with him?
 01.   E. T. is underrated as a traumatizing film for kids. It has a lot of scary moments, but none were quite as terrifying as when Elliot's family tries to escape the house only to be surrounded by those men in space suits. They have the slow moving and darth Vader breathing motif, too.  A proposed sequel could have Elliot kidnapped and sadistically tortured by aliens, but it has never com about. Many fans think the premise sounds too dark. But really...could it be any more disturbing than this?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

      Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there. My mother has been gone fourteen years now. Anything I could say about our relationship was summed up years ago when I wrote A Mother's Day Elegy. It is a long post, but it is bittersweet and honest with probably more than even the most curious would want to know. It is there for you to read if you are of of the curious.
      Otherwise, I would like to share this cover of Dolly  Parton's “Coat of Many Colors” by Shanis Twain. I came across it while indulging a nostalgia kick for the country music of my youth. There are many interesting gems to run across I never knew existed. This version of 'Coat of many Colors” is one of many pleasant surprises. 
     I did not grow up poor by any means.  We were quite yuppie.  But there were things I had to defend because many did not understand by outward appearances what they actually meant.  So I relate to the song in personal ways only omeone with a less romanticized view of life would understand.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Comey Conundrum

    The only problem I see with Donald Trump firing FBI director James Comey is his timing. Comey was a political hack appointed by Barack Obama. Holdover FBI directors have not always been a problem in the past, but look at Comey's record. Everyone can name his influence in the 2016 election with the Emailgate investigation. But Comey has a long history of questionable tactics during investigations. The FBI knew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were a potential security threat, but let them go prior to their perpetrating the Boston Marathon bombing. Under Comey's leadership the FBI spied on innocent citizens and publicly lied about doing so. Comey also mucled Apple to make a backdoor for w enforcement to hack iPhones. Comey's firing was a good thing.
      Comey's firing at this point and time shows trump has not yet developed a politician's instincts. He is still thinking like a businessman. In business, when an employee does a bad job, he is fired. Since Trump's supporters sent him to Washington because he is not a politician, they are not going to look at Comey's termination as a major issue. One of his most prominent campaign promise was to drain the swamp, after all.
      The most serious allegation leveled at Trump for firing Comey is a possible obstruction of justice charge because of the ongoing FBI investigation into possible Russian influence with the Trump Administration. The idea Russia covertly swung the election in Trump's favor has not yet proved to be anything but a left-wing conspiracy theory. There might have been smoke, but definitely no fire. But there will be no way to convince the left that is true now that Comey was fired before the resolution to the matter. It Is another example of poor timing on Trump's part.
      Maybe it is my cynicism talking, but I am more amused about the situation than anything else. What I find particularly entertaining is the complete reversal of Democrats on Comey. They blamed Comey for Hillary Clinton losing the election and insisted he must go, but now that Trump has fired him, they make comparisons to Watergate and talk of impeachment. It is further proof—as if you needed any—there is no room in Washington not full of hypocrites.

Malthus Would Not Approve

     A little dystopian economics humor. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ruh Roh! Two Former Darlington County Deputies File Suit Alleging a Conspiracy to Elect Tony Chavis Sheriff

      Two former Darlington County deputies, Eric Hodges and Joyce Coe-Everett, have filed suit against several former Lamar law enforcement officers, including former Police Chief Charles Woodle, Officer Daniel Barnett, and Lt. Robert Kilgo. The suit alleges the three Lamar law enforcement officers conspired to frame Hodges and Coe-Everett for campaigning on duty for then Sheriff Wayne Byrd by secretly filming the two shopping on their off duty lunch break for supplies for a Byrd campaign event.  The covert filming was allegedly a plot to discredit Byrd in an effort to ellect tony Chavis sheriff. Hodges and Coe-Everett were fired, but re-hired after an investigation determined no wrong-doing on their part. Both retired as deputies before Chavis took office as sheriff in January.
      You can read a more detailed account of the allegations here.. There is an article covering the incident and the deputies' firing here.. There is an article about the subsequent investigation which cleared the two of wrongdoing and their rehiring here, if you love a semi-happy ending.  
     Former Lamar Chief of Police Charles Woodle is named in the suit. Woodle ran for Darlington County sheriff himself back in 2012. The South Carolina Ethics Commission hit his campaign with 33 counts of campaign finance violations. Among the counts were failure to disclose campaign contribution and using campaign funds for personal expenses. Woodle was fined $15,000 for the violations. Woodle has a history of confessed campaign shenanigans. He was a Chavis supporter as well as a personal friend married to Chavis' former sister-in-law.  
     Kilgo is now a spokesman for the Darlingon County sheriff's office. Plum position, that.
    I remain fascinated by Team Chavis and the Jerry Springer-esque spectacle that was the 2016 Darlington County sheriff's race. I freely admit I have a personal ax to grind and one could circumcise a mosquito with it at this point.. Nevertheless, it is a sight to behold. Personal attacks, death threats, a conspiracy involving the Darlington mayor, and the criminal elemnt within the Team Chavis campaign along with so much more. Joel and Ethan Coen would win an Oscar if they ever produce this story for the silver screen.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Hillary Clinton Could Learn About Grace in Defeat from Marine Le Pen

     I went on a late night, caffeine fueled twitter rant about the results of the French presidential election and it relevance to American politics. Globalist whippersnapper and radical Islam apologist Emmanuel Macron defeated nationalist, security-minded Marine Le Pen in a landslide. Macron's victory is a sign the trend of national sovereignty over globalism trend that prompted last year's Brexit has not taken hold on continental Europe. Hillary Clinton and her supporters could learn a thing or two about being graceful in defeat.
     Continental Europe has grown weaker by the decade when it comes to principles of freedom and security. Europe loves its large welfare states guided by the undemocratic communist ideologues who run the European Union and are more interested in virtue signaling their tolerance for backward cultures like Islam than resisting their barbarism. Why would anyone expect France to take courageous stand and vote for change? When was he last time France took a brave stand period?
      But I give Le pen and her supporters much credit. She lost with grace she did not advocate resistance to Macron because the French people have spoken. He is the rightful president Le Pen's supporters are not rioting in the streets over her loss. Contrast thee will Clinton and her supporters. She has been on a pas the blame tour for weeks now and launched a new PAC intended to specifically oppose President Donald Trump's policies. Meanwhile, her supporters rioted for days after the election, have gathered in mass protests, and generally displayed an unhinged hatred over not being in power.
     Make no mistake...while Clinton claims her new PAC is not the first step to running for president again, creasing the PAC is the first step to her running for president again. A 2020 run would be her third, a realization which prompted me to label her 21st century William Jennings Bryan. The history buff in my was forced to backpedal, however. While Jennings was a Democrat, former Secretary of State, and a three time presidential loser, he was also a populist pacifist who hated banks. Clinton is definitely no Bryan.
    This post is an elaboration on my Twitter rant It it feels like there is no logical flow to the points, it is because I am working with the ramblings of a middle of the night, caffeine addle mind. Nevertheless, there are some valid points here. Maybe I should load up on Dr Pepper before engaging in all future political analysis.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Shorty Blackwell

     I am currently reviewing episode of The Monkees at
Abstract Visions.  Since Abstract Vision is about reviewing television, I am not writing much about the Monkees' music there. It seems like a good idea to throw some stuff about their music here. I was first introduced to both the Monkees's television series and their music through MTV's marathons of their series circa 1985. It is generally goofy stuff, but I was young and liked it. These days, I am nostalgic for it.
     “Shorty Blackwell” is a song I first heard long after I was introduced to the Monkees. It is a weird song I most certainly did not understand at the time, but was intrigued. Micky Dolenz wrote it when presumably roasted on pot. The performance is a family affair as his sister, Coco Dolenz, sings backup vocals. Micky appeared to embrace the psychedelic sound towards the end of the Monkees' time as a full group.
     As I said, it is a weird song that used to intrigue my young mind. I found it freaky until a few years ago when I discovered the interpretation of the lyrics on the internet. It turns out the song is from the perspective of a cat. As a cat person, I may have been drawn to the song because I instinctively knew what it was really about. Listening to the lyrics with this in mind definitely illuminates things. The music, however, is still unsettling.

Friday, May 5, 2017

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

     How long can I avoid seeing a photo of a jar of 

mayo in a sink this Cinco de Mayo?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Periodic Reminder

     One may insist the spirit of this post runs contrary to the general advice to “let dead leaves fall,” but I did vow months ago to make a periodic reminder of the status of my personal belongings. While it is important to let go of the little things, it is also important to keep your word. I weighed the two concepts and decided keeping a vow is more important under the circumstances. What good is a person who fails to keep his promises?
      You may recall when I intervened in the Darlington County sheriff's race I had been abandoned to a nursing home by Team Chavis while they kept all of my personal belongings, surrogate for the campaign said all of my belongings were actually boxed up. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows this claim is false. No reason exist to keep any of y stuff if Team Chavis has no intention of ever contacting me again. But I called their bluff and will continue to do so. I have friends in Hartsville who are willing to retrieve my stuff. All they need is the go ahead fro Team Chavis. It is a go ahead that will, of course, never come.
     This is the character of your new sheriff, Darlington. He does not care about doing the right thing. He only cares about the sense of self-worth he derives from wearing a uniform. I will continue to serve as a source of truth for this matter.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Merry, Merry Month of Mayhem

     I am ready for a merry, merry month of mayhem. So ready, I opted for an exercise in narcissism and post a selfie without a special occasion to justify my indulgence. If you want to stretch, you can peculate the red shirt commemorates May day, but surely by this point you all realize I am a fierce of opponent of communism and just about any other rigid system of ideas enslaving the minds of men. In this case, the shirt is just a shirt. Although it is one of the rare brightly colored items of apparel I own.
      May is a little ways passed the official start of spring, but for me it never felt like spring until may arrive. It has been easier to maintain the illusion because April was unusually chilly for South Carolina. It is not entirely unusual for flowers to bloom in the middle of March down here. The warm days are coming consistently now, so I am safe in the assurance spring has arrived.
     When I was younger, may was y favorite month of the year. It was my favorite month because it was full of anticipation. The anticipation of school ending. The anticipation of summer vacation. The best movies were coming. The best comic books were coming. Favorite television shows were ending their seasons with slam bang finales. What was not to love about May? It was a month in I thought anything and wonderful and fun was about to happen. Even if the wonderful and fun stuff never quite met anticipation. Expectations are resentments waiting to be born.
      I am forty now. The change in seasons does not mean much aside from what I am going to wear on any given day The days, weeks, and month come and go without the enthusiasm of youth. But I still have all those memories to mark the times I still think May is my favorite month of the year, if for no other reason than the possibilities it once presented a long time ago.