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Archive for December, 2009

Bill S. Walks a Mile in Rob Lowe’s Christmas Shoes

Posted by scott on December 31st, 2009

I’ve got a treat for you, kids. Today we’re fortunate to be visited by longtime Wo’C guest columnist Bill S., scourge of wingnut movies and critics alike, who had the nerve to go where I feared to tread this year. Take it away, Bill!

Earlier this month, the Lifetime Movie Network treated us to a heartwarming trio of films aired back-to-back: , a made-for-TV movie inspired by the Worst. Christmas. Song. Ever., followed by its two sequels, The Christmas Blessing and The Christmas Hope.

[Note from Scott: It appears that the movie, The Christmas Shoes was based on a novel, which was based on a song -- at least, that's the lineage according to author Donna Van Liere, and why would a writer lie about swiping her literary premise from the crappiest Christmas carol ever (unless she's just trying to shift the blame a bit)?]

I taped them all, with the intention of offering a review of all three in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, I was only able to get through the first one, so the other two will have to wait til next Christmas. Something to look forward to, I suppose. Even more unfortunately, I still hadn’t finished writing the first draft by Christmas day, so you’ll excuse my tardiness. You might think of this as a package that arrived a bit late. Or maybe a fabulous post-holiday markdown. Or a slice of leftover, moldy fruitcake. I like to think it’s all three…

Our story begins, fittingly enough, in a cemetery. Rob Lowe is visiting his mother’s grave on Christmas Eve. The only other visitor is a mysterious young man in a baseball cap, standing at another grave just a few feet away. Who could he be? We don’t know yet, but we soon will, as the film flashes back to a Christmas many years ago…

It’s 1985, although many of the cars, and Rob Lowe’s face, are clearly from two decades later. Rob is a lawyer, and his wife Kate is a stay-at-home mom who looks after their daughter Lily. They seem to have a perfect life, except he’s such a busy, workaholic yuppie he has no time to enjoy the small, incidental pleasures like attending his daughter’s concert recitals, or actually talking to his wife. What a tool.

Lily begs him to attend her next concert, and Rob promises her he will. His conviction is so strong, so clear, that we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that he will screw up and miss it. While in town for some important lawyering, a delivery truck whizzes by him and a package drops out the back and hits the ground by his feet, flying open. Rob picks it up to examine its contents: a pair of tacky red women’s shoes with little sprigs of holly drawn on them. CHRISTMAS SHOES! Noting they aren’t his style (he actually DOES say this), he tries to return them to the truck, which by this time is about half a mile away. His attempt to return the box consists of standing in the same spot, holding one shoe aloft and saying, in a slightly louder tone, “Hey!” What a tool.

Later, he passes the home of Maggie Andrews (Kimberly Williams). She’s out in the front yard, teaching her son Nathan the finer points of hurling footballs at moving vehicles. Rob gives her pointers and departs. Nathan races his mother back to the house, but Maggie seems to be having trouble keeping up. Her pace gets slower and her breathing gets shallow, which either indicates that she’s got a Movie-of-the-Week disease of the week, or she’s just trying to match the director’s tone, since most of this movie is slow and shallow.

Maggie’s husband, Jack, is a schlubby auto mechanic. Nathan pleads with him for a puppy, and his mother supports this. Jack, however, shoots down the idea by going into Nathan’s room and hauling out a bowl containing a pair goldfish floating belly-up. He declares Nathan “irresponsible,” which is ironic coming from a guy who let his son keep a pair of dead fish in his bedroom for two weeks.


A Good, Hard Philosophisting

Posted by scott on December 30th, 2009

RussAlan.jpgYou remember Russ J. Alan, RenewAmerica’s resident “adventurist” and “philosophist,” who we last saw here, fretting over the possibility that the Fort Hood shootings would fail to ignite an anti-Muslim pogrom (because what’s the point of being an adventurist if you don’t get to role-play the Charlton Heston part in Khartoum, except — instead of getting a spear between the ribs — this time you roll a natural 20, so it’s that Mahdi guy who gets kebobbed?) Anyway, this week he’s read the tea bags and is feeling much more optimistic about the chances for widespread mob violence in 2010:

I say the biggest mistake we conservatives can make in 2010 is to continue worrying about how we appear to the left, John McCain style, as we have been doing for so many years past. We must to stop appeasing the leftists, we must stop caring what they think, we must have the courage of our convictions and the pride to voice it without shame. No more bipartisanship. We need partisanship and plenty of it.

Note: This column is set in that “Mirror, Mirror” universe from Star Trek where Spock has Jonah Goldberg’s goatee.

Yes, 2000–2009, or the “aughts”…had some bad times, but they weren’t all bad. They started with the last two years of the administrations of President Clinton who sewed the seeds of the “housing bubble” but didn’t weed out the Muslim problem nor take out Osama Bin Laden when he had the chance, and that was bad.

Clinton left office on January 20, 2001, so I’m not sure where Russ is getting “the last two years of the administrations of President Clinton” from. But then, he’s a philosophist, not a mathematician, and likes to fudge Presidential terms a bit. For instance, his bio claims that he “served in the Department of Defense in Europe during the Cold War under President Reagan (1980-82),” which, as commenter Woodrowfan noted, probably means “he was a private in the Army for his minimum 2 years,” while Round Guy points out that “Reagan wasn’t even sworn in until January of ‘81 so he…either peeled potatoes under the dreaded Jimmy Carter or stretched the dates.”

As for Clinton “sew[ing]” seeds — it’s nice he had a crafty little hobby to relax over, but I hope at some point he traded up to a Bedazzler.

The Republicans elected President George W. Bush and we didn’t have a democrat president in the White House when we were attacked by Muslim extremists in 2001…

Cause? Meet Effect.

…and that was good. We lost many soldiers in Iraq which was bad, but we took out the murderous, weapon of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein

Saddam was like Mel Gibson’s character Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon films, in that he, himself, was a weapon. But unlike Riggs, he didn’t use bullets and karate, because those don’t create mass destruction, so I guess Saddam would — I don’t know — fart mustard gas?

and we killed lots and lots of Muslim extremists, and that was a really good thing.

On a similar note, Russ is a lot like Martha Stewart, if her magazine Living was called Dying, and mostly contained articles about remodeling your charnel house, and recipes for whipping up a batch of homebrew Zyklon-B out of those leftover holiday snack ingredients.

In 2006, Conservatives lost the majority position in congress, and Mike Huckabee, instead of dropping out of the Republican primary and endorsing Mitt Romney, gave us John McCain who became the Republican nominee (bad), who stabbed his running mate, Sarah Palin, in the back and gave up the presidency to Barack Obama, and that was really bad.

I think Russ is confusing the McCain-Palin campaign with Episode 8 of I, Claudius (“Reign of Terror”), but I admit it would have made the Presidential race a lot more fun.

The Tea Party movement doesn’t need to be organized, we are already organized. We are an “organism” like a colony of ants or even better, like the “Borg” on “Star Trek: the Next Generation.” We communicate with each other and act as one, toward a common goal, and just like the Borg, “Resistance is futile — you will be assimilated.”

Well…it’s good to have role models.

We don’t care that it raises the blood pressure of the leftists to hear the term “Tea Parties,” we don’t care that it “fills them with disgust.” Conservatives get disgusted when we hear “Al Gore,” “global warming,” “cap and trade,” “health care reform”… do the LEFTISTS care what WE think? Why should I care what THEY think? I want them to get their blood pressure up. The higher the better (actually, the lower the better — I would prefer the leftists have zero blood pressure).

Just in case you thought Russ wants to kill all Muslims, he wants you dead, too. So it’s not like he’s a racist

Another “worst thing” conservatives could do is vote strictly “Republican” in the November 2010 elections, especially if many of the so-called “blue-dog” democrats follow in the footsteps of Senator Parker Griffith of Alabama, switch to the Republican party to prevent losing their seats in Congress.

I knew you could switch parties, but I had no idea you could switch from the House of Representatives to the Senate at will. That’s pretty cool, although I don’t know why Griffith didn’t aim just a smidge higher and switch to the presidency.

The Republican party would just be adding more weak, timid, moderate, appeasing, “bipartisan,” woosies, otherwise known as RINOS (Republicans in name only).

I know what RINOs are, but woosies are new to me. Are they a candy or gum? But it’s not merely weak-kneed politicians who are kicking the grass roots in the teabags. Fellow RenewAmerica scribe Warner Todd Huston believes the 24 Hour Tea Party People lack the requisite cult of personality to become a truly effective tool of freedom, but Russ is not having it.

Mr. Huston believes that the Tea Party movement was destined to fail from its inception, and continues to say that the main reason is lack of a leader. If he doesn’t believe we lead ourselves or that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Mark Levin (the latter three are also an “organism”)

Well, wait a second, I don’t think that’s quite fair. Most of his detractors will agree that Glenn Beck is an organism, and some will even concede that he’s multicellular.

…then I guess he is saying he doesn’t want to lead it either. OK, if that’s the case, I nominate myself — I will lead it. As the leader of the Tea Party, I propose that we rename it the Constitution party or the Conservative party, and effective immediately, we don’t care what the leftists think.

So nyah. However, Russ might want to check and see what officials of the Conservative Party and the Constitution Party think, since both are, so to speak, pre-existing conditions.


Posted by scott on December 29th, 2009

sherzieve.jpgRenewAmerica columnist Sher Zieve, the Bleached, Forgotten Stooge, has decided to switch gears this week and pitch us a post-apocalyptic thriller. And as readers of know, when it comes to this particular genre, we are experts, if not exactly aficionados (see Chapter 2: It’s the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel Fine, But You’re All Dead).

Now beginning the Era of Captivity, the American people have entered a new stage in their once extremely productive lives.

This will either be a crawl at the beginning of the film, or maybe a voice-over by James Earl Jones, as the camera pans across a blasted, desolate wasteland, sort of like the opening to Judge Dredd.

This new phase has been purposefully designed to be unproductive and will be called ‘existence.’

We’re trying to come up with a snappier name. Maybe ExtenZe. Or EXistenZ — we’ve got the guys in Legal working on it.

Existence, however, will soon degrade and devolve — with no one stopping the perpetrators of this abhorrence — into subsistence.

I can’t believe we’ll sink so low — from merely existing to merely subsisting.

After that chapter has been written and read, life will have become so essentially bitter and untenable that additional deteriorations in life-conditions will carry no significant meaning — other than base survival.

I believe this is the part where Kevin Costner drinks his own pee.

Since the Usurper and Dictator in Chief Barack Hussein Obama assumed power and rule over American citizens in January 2009

It’s always good to give your bad guy an elaborate, fruity title, like “the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV,” “the Steward of Gondor,” or “former Speaker Newt Gingrich.”

the United States of America has been under siege from far left terrorist ObamaMentors

I liked it better when they were just called “the Fresh-Makers.”

an increasing set of perverse and prurient Marxist and Maoist Czars, thieves creating hoaxes (“global warming: comes immediately to mind)

Why, the crooks even stole Sher’s close quotation marks!

in order to steal the resources of the USA out from under its inhabitant-owners

Well, it worked with the Indians.

and “The Obama” (this designation has quickly become most recent synonym for Tyrant) itself.

And the biggest dance craze since “the Mashed Potato.”

For anyone who still maintains the ability to see, hear and discern that which is occurring in reality, The Obama’s mission is clear.

Tommy, can you hear me? No? Well, that’s fine, she’s not talking to you anyway.

As a refresher, let’s again take a look at a very small portion of the clearly Draconian orders that The Obama has dictated and the Orwellian legislation the US Marxist-run Congress has passed since the despot has been in office.

There was that one resolution Congress passed about how they all like Christmas…

Despite the fact that the majority of We-the-People are strongly opposed to the ObamaCare Death Plan (some polls show the opposition as high as 72%), Obama and his Marxist Congress are determined to ram it down our throats.

Oh calm down, it’s just a tongue depressor.

The ObamaCare Death Plan is the virtually all-encompassing proposal that will lead very quickly to complete ObamaControl over everything the American people do and will give Obama’s commissars and Czars total control over who lives and who dies.

A job which should properly belong to .

The Obama Death Panels are back — and with a vengeance, folks!

Tonight on the Death Panel…The Amazing Kreskin! Totie Fields! With special musical guest, the Starland Vocal Band!

What will happen is that Obama & Co will have complete control over 1/6 of what’s left of the US economy. Can you say “another Marxist-Democrat slush fund with no healthcare, whatsoever?

I could, but I’d really rather take the trolley and see what King Friday’s up to.

Even though global warming has now been exposed as merely another scheme to steal money from the USA and its people, Obama traveled to Copenhagen and pledged $100 Billions to solving the, now admittedly unsolvable, manmade global warming issue. It can’t be solved because mankind dos not control climate change.

Well I hope DOS doesn’t control it, because frankly I’ve forgotten all those old C: prompt commands.

Obama and his fellow Marxists still plan to push the faux Cap & Trade (realistically “Cash & Tax”) program. And, as was accomplished with his despotic ObamaCare Death Plan, Obama will use any and all bribes (if money, it’s out of yours and my pockets) necessary to do so. The Chicago mob/syndicate is firmly in control of the US government.

It’s time to call Elliot Ness and his Untouchables. Lee! Rico! Youngblood!

The Obama has taken control of and nationalized our banks

He knows our PIN numbers!

Dispelling any rumors that Obama is not — himself — a criminal, Obama and his US Attorney General Eric Holder have said that Obama’s unlawful election-fraud unit ACORN WILL be funded. Note: Besides, Obama will need them for both the 2010 and 2012 elections

So…he dispelled rumors that he’s not a criminal? That’s a confession, right?

There are hundreds more examples of what The Obama has accomplished in his first year of office.

If only The Obama was on The Office. That would be The Shit.

But, I’ve almost made myself sick telling the truth about those listed above. The facts are there for all to see. Are you preparing for your own eradication under the hammer and sickle of the tyrant?

I know I should, but I’m such a procrastinator.

Still feeling peaceful?

If not, feel free to join the armed uprising Sher has been trying to foment for weeks. Her loyal militia is only waiting for the code word (“John has a long mustache”) and for some defense contractor to invent a helmet that’ll fit over helmet-hair.

Traditional Yuletide Cheesecake

Posted by scott on December 24th, 2009

sundblom_playboy72aa.jpgWell, it’s been quite the roller coaster year for us here at World o’ Crap — that is, if you consider the calendar an amusement park ride, the events of each month a dove, and us Fabio’s face. So I’m going to throw in the towel with a grudging, but sincere, “Well played, 2009. You kicked my ass,” and take a brief sabbatical.

MoondoggiemitTree.jpgWe’ll be back next week. In the meantime, on behalf of Sheri, Mary, Moondoggie and Riley, have a pleasant Whatever You’re Celebrating or Ignoring, and best wishes for a safe, healthy, and prosperous 2010.


“This ornament makes me look evil.”

Speaking of Speaking Ill of the Dead…

Posted by scott on December 22nd, 2009

Via Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, I see that veteran character actor (and the man from whose dandruff Eddie Deezen was cloned) Arnold Stang has passed on to the great adenoidal void at the age of 91. One of the films Ivan mentions which Stang appeared in, and hopefully won’t be remembered for, is Hercules in New York, which we subjected to the treatment back in 2007. Therefore, consider this, if you will, a tribute, rather than a rerun.

Hercules in New York (1970)


You can tell your film career isn’t off to an auspicious start when you’re playing the title character, and you still get second billing behind the voice of Top Cat.

Our story opens at the summit of Mount Olympus, where the Greek gods, in their limitless wisdom, have chosen to live on the steps of a community college library on Long Island. Arnold Schwarzenegger (”Arnold Strong” in the credits) is Hercules, a demi-god celebrated in myth and ballad for his ability to recite lines phonetically. On earth, Hercules was lauded as the mightiest of warriors, while on Olympus he is chiefly famous for showing off his veiny, trunk-like thighs in a side-slit mini skirt.

Hercules is bored in the realm of the gods, but Zeus will not permit him to visit earth, because, “these mortals are bedeviled by as aggravating a collection of annoyances as it’s possible for one to imagine,” so adding Arnold to the situation would just be gilding the lily. When it’s pointed out to Hercules that he’s only a demi-god anyway, and should quit putting on airs, Arnold slowly recites, “My father may have been a mortal, but you Zeus, my father, are a god.” So, Hercules Has Two Daddies.

Under the circumstances it’s forgivable that the star doesn’t understand English, but you’d think that kind of thing would have disqualified the screenwriter. Especially since he then starts mixing up the Greek and Roman pantheons (Zeus is king of the Gods, but is married to Jupiter’s wife, Juno, which doesn’t make any sense unless we happened to catch the gods while they were competing on the hit ABC reality series, Wife Swap.). Finally, Herc can’t stand it anymore and jumps off the mountain. He lands on the wing of a Pan-Am airliner, pausing just long enough to scare the crap out of William Shatner, before hopping off again.

Hercules splashes down, and the next thing we know, he’s aboard a tramp freighter—naked and glistening—toweling his massive physique in front of the crew and their flinty-eyed captain. If the filmmakers had chosen this moment to give up on the whole ancient-hero-in-modern-times scenario, and just make a gay porn version of Jack London’s “The Sea Wolf,” I think we all would have been a lot better off.

Unfortunately, they stick to their game plan, and Hercules jumps ship in New York. In keeping with the classic myths, he immediately encounters pretzel vendor Arnold Stang, whom the filmmakers call, with malice aforethought, “Pretzie.” At first glance, they would seem to have little in common—the wormy, adenoidal peddler and the unintelligible slab of waxed beef—but they bond over their equally annoying voices.

Herc and Stang embark on one of those Legendary Journeys that Kevin Sorbo milked for four years in first run syndication. Except, instead of engaging in epic battle with Cerberus or the Nemean Lion, Hercules pits his brawn against a junior college track and field team working out on a softball diamond in the Sheep Meadow, because the special effects budget is a little skimpy.

Meanwhile, comely co-ed Helen and her father, The Professor, sit in the bleachers watching her track star boyfriend, Rod. Helen, with her pert nose and long, center-parted brunette hair does a credible job of pretending to be Ali McGraw, but then blows it later in the film by refusing to die of leukemia.

Helen invites Herc and Stang over for tea. When Rod arrives arrives, Hercules asks, “is he your lover?” Both Rod and Helen are scandalized (in 1970, the Sexual Revolution was going strong in bohemian haunts like Fresno and Wheaton, Illinois, but apparently it had yet to hit Manhattan). Rod demands satisfaction, but since they appear to be filming in the producer’s grandmother’s apartment, and Grandma has lots of porcelain knick-knacks, they can’t afford to stage a fight scene. So Hercules violently yanks Rod off his feet, and then cradles him gently against his bosom, while Helen screams and Stang hops up and down. And thus does this battle take its place amongst the legendary Labors of Hercules—the slaying of Anteus, the destruction of the many-headed Hydra, and the breast-feeding of Rod.

Naturally, Helen immediately agrees to have dinner with Herc, and later to take a ride in a hansom cab through Central Park. Suddenly, a man in the worst bear costume since Santa Claus Conquers the Martians appears beside the cab. Herc immediately leaps out and begins an inter- (or intra-) species smackdown. Helen screams, “Beat him up!” She’s off camera, so it’s not clear whom she’s addressing, but one assumes it’s the bear. She watches the two ursine antagonists wrestle for a moment, then has an orgasm (no, I’m not kidding) and falls back against the upholstery, spent and dewy.

Arnold finally works his hand inside the costume, but can’t find a breast, and he goes berserk, beating the ersatz bruin into a bathmat. Instantly, the WWE comes calling, and a newspaper from one of those Make Your Own Headline booths at Coney Island informs us that Hercules is now Champion of the World.

Meanwhile, on Mount Olympus, Zeus sits upon his throne, serene and majestic, except when a co-ed who’s late for an eight o’ clock class runs down the steps and clips him in the head with her backpack. Otherwise, all is well in the mystical abode of these all-powerful beings, as demented young women in filmy togas run around on the grass, bouzouki tapes from a Greek restaurant play relentlessly on the soundtrack, and Audra from The Big Valley serves cocktails.

Unfortunately, down on earth, Hercules is consorting with Vince McMahon, pretzel salesmen, and Ali McGraw impersonators, so Zeus orders Mercury to take Hercules a Pick-Me-Up bouquet. Ah, the viewer senses, at last, the filmmakers will deliver a battle royale between two legendary warriors endowed with powers of cosmic proportion! Let the combat commence!

Cut to Hercules, who takes some snapshots at Rockefeller Center, then has coffee and a bagel at the Automat. Mercury, having apparently missed his cue for the fight scene, finally shows up and stages an intervention. Herc takes it about as well as Charlie Sheen usually does, and Zeus dispatches Nemesis to open an amphora of whup-ass on Hercules. But Juno intercepts Nemesis, and gives her a mood ring that will render Hercules both mortal and mellow.

Stripped of his demi-divinity, Herc is now vulnerable to Juno’s malice. She immediately sets in motion a cunning plan to kill Hercules by…I’m not sure, actually. It has something to do with Hercules losing a weight lifting contest on a TV variety show that’s filmed in front of a shower curtain. And even though we’re not sure what the hell is going on, we suspect that no good can come from this, since nothing good has come from anything else in the movie, especially the opening credits. Anyway, during the power lifting, Hercules sustains a rupture of heroic proportions, and is forced to flee the TV studio, clutching his groin and pursued by the Mafia.

In the Elysian environs of Olympus, Great Zeus is displeased by this turn of fate. At least, I think he is—it’s hard to tell, because most of the dialogue is being drowned out by the sound of nearby cars honking.

Herc runs outside and just happens to discover an unattended chariot parked at the curb (well, they’re easier to find at rush hour than a cab). Herc cracks the whip and drives his two-horse two-wheeler through Times Square (passing a movie theater showing Easy Rider), and then he cruises aimlessly around for awhile, rendering it unclear whether the movie is ripping off the chariot race from Ben-Hur, or the Amish buggy scene from Witness.

Thanks to a jump cut, Herc is now in Central Park, where Helen and the Professor are being chased down by Mobsters, one of whom has apparently borrowed his mom’s station wagon for the day (sure, the modern capo shows a predilection for late model black sedans, but in 1970 the Mafia’s car of choice was apparently the cream-colored Country Squire).

By this time, however, the wheels are coming off the chariot (as well as the movie), so our hero and Pretzie jump into the backseat of the Professor’s car. Almost instantly, Helen shouts, “We’re out of gas,” followed by a moment of pure terror as we realize the rest of the movie may consist of Herc and Stang making out.

Mercifully, they go into a warehouse instead, where Hercules gets his ass kicked by a pick-up group of thugs. Suddenly, Atlas and Sampson appear! Or rather, a beefy guy wearing the bottom half of a monk’s habit, and another dressed like Fred Flintstone show up, and start smacking around the crooks while our hero scrambles onto a pile of boxes and cowers.

(By the way—Sampson? It’s one thing to mix up the Greek and Roman gods into some kind of Reese’s Peanut Butter Pantheon, but now we’ve got characters out of the Old Testament? Who’s going to show up next? Gilgamesh? Jesus? The Dukes of Hazard?)

Anyway, Herc gets his strength back and immediately rips off Sampson’s act by pushing over two stacks of empty cardboard boxes, which apparently frightens off all the thugs, because suddenly the fight is over.

We cut to Olympus, where Hercules is concluding the tale of his earthly adventures. “It all sounds revoltingly noisy,” Juno sniffs, and we’re forced to agree, since she has to shout to be heard above the off screen traffic.

So there you go, fans of 300 and Victor Davis Hanson. To the ancient Greeks, heaven is filled with scheming, immortal harridans and mini-skirted lummoxes who talk like Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles. On the bright side, Mount Olympus — judging by the soundtrack – is convenient to schools, shopping, and the Long Island Expressway.

R.I.P., Pretzie.

Happy Birthday Doghouse Riley!

Posted by scott on December 21st, 2009

Today — I think it’s today; I’m still recovering from yesterday’s closing performance, and the Wo’C calendar of sacred feast days is kind of a mess — is the natal anniversary of the Hoosier Sage, the proprietor of a blog so brilliantly written it fairly pops and explodes from the intertubes like a kind of literary ectopic pregnancy. Please join us in celebrating with a sheet cake from the grocery store and an ice sculpture of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels bestride one of those booster seats with the plastic horse head they used to perch you on in the barber shop.

Let’s begin by continuing our transition from birthday snapshots of Ann Coulter to something a little less likely to make you want to kill yourself…

Today it’s a candid photo of Aishwarya Rai, taken at the Apple store as she was purchasing three iPhones, which I’m posting even though this meets my personal definition of pornography.

Unsurprisingly, this day has whelped many a distinguished person, including:

Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China
Mikhail Saakashvili, President of Georgia
Frank Zappa, American musician
Kurt Waldheim, United Nations Secretary-General and former Nazi
Kiefer Sutherland, Canadian actor and neo-Nazi sex toy
Florence Griffith Joyner (a.k.a. Flo-Jo), American athlete
Samuel L. Jackson, American opponent of airborne snakes
Paco de Lucía, Spanish guitarist
Andy Dick, American dick
Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Thomas Becket, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury
Vampira (no explanation necessary)

Now let’s check your horoscope, shall we?

You are exceptionally magnetic, possess a flair for the dramatic, and generally like being at the center of attention. Your charisma is unmistakable, and is one of the ingredients in your recipe for success;

the other ingredients are cumin, THC, and Hai Karate.

A square from transiting Uranus to the Sun this year keeps things exciting and changeful.

I think this means you should use a lubricant with a high SPF. And panhandle for change.

The Sun harmonizes with Neptune in your Solar Return chart.

Their rendition of “Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby” will melt the wax from your mustache.

Venus trines Mars, and pleasant and playful competitiveness in relationships is likely. Romance is in the air, as this aspect increases your sensuality, sex appeal, and animal magnetism.

Or someone accidentally broke a bottle of Jovan Musk.

Venus in square to Uranus adds an erratic and abrupt or changeful spin to your love life

Persons over the age of 50 should consult their doctor before playing Twister with Uranus.

Jupiter, Neptune, and Chiron harmonize with Venus, and you are likely to find yourself more accepting and understanding of your friends and lovers.

As seen in the movie, Bob & Carol & Chiron & Venus.

Mercury conjunct the Moon’s North Node. Saturn is square to Pluto in your Solar Return chart.

Really? I can never make sense out of these damn NCAA brackets.

Many happy returns, DH.

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The Pissed-Off PSA Edition

Posted by scott on December 19th, 2009

Sorry for the blogging brown-out, but It’s a Wonderful Life has been aggravating my back and sucking what little surplus energy I have. Last night my spine really didn’t want to go on with the show, making it impossible to get in and out of my chair with any alacrity, so I stood on stage throughout the entire play, which actually seemed to work pretty well, except toward the end, when I accidentally started playing the Stage Manager from Our Town. Happily, Sunday is the closing performance, so we should be open for regular business next week.

In the meantime, here’s another Study in Contrasting Attitudes toward the Camera. Moondoggie, who has never met a lens that didn’t love him, is unruffled by the presence of a paparazzo, but slightly concerned about Riley, who reacts to having her midday sock-fondling interrupted by sputtering indignantly like Lionel Barrymore’s Mr. Potter and threatening to sic the Law on us.


“Merry Christmas to you!…in jail!

It’s a [Redacted] Life

Posted by scott on December 16th, 2009

As I mentioned the other day, I am — through no fault of my own — appearing in a live “radio play” version of It’s a Wonderful Life: 11 actors, 74 characters, 1 huge fucking headache.  At the same time, I’ve been getting the occasional email from conservative outrage merchants touting their new line of War on Christmas wares — although the sales pitch seems a bit muted this year; perhaps in poor economic times the question of whether a retail clerk wishes you “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” is secondary to whether you can afford to purchase gifts at all.  Nevertheless, many of the offense-taking, donation-cadging generals of the right wing seem unaware of the Yuletide truce developing in the trenches, and have gone blithely on fighting last year’s war, among them that perennial Christmas carbuncle, American Family Association, which is calling for a boycott of The Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic:

Last year, Gap issued this politically-correct statement to Christmas shoppers: “Gap recognizes that many traditions are celebrated throughout this season and we feel it is important to display holiday signage that is inclusive to everyone.”

Christmas is special because of Jesus. It’s not just a “winter holiday.” For millions of Americans the giving and receiving of gifts is in honor of the One who gave Himself. For the Gap to pretend that isn’t the foundation of the Christmas season is political correctness at best and religious bigotry at worst.

Not to be needlessly combative, but Christmas is special because of Santa Claus.  No kid expects the Messiah to shinny down the chimney with a sackful of crap from Hasbro, and it’s unlikely your adult son believes the long-sleeved pique polo shirt and new pair of cargo shorts he found under the tree were hand-delivered by a Magus, unless your son is Jonah Goldberg.  And if the only thing families did on Christmas morning was to get up and worship Jesus, maybe sing “Happy Birthday,” I guarantee you, more grown-ups would be allowed to sleep in.  Besides, the “foundation of the Christmas season” is disputed by more reputable historians than you’re likely to find on the payroll of the AFA.  Or The Gap.  Is December 25th the actual birthday of Jesus?  Probably not, assuming he even existed.  Is it an old Roman feast operating under new management?  A plagiarized Pagan festival?  Or just a chance for self-appointed prophets to get shirty with the marketing department?

But there remains the issue of whether leaving Christ the Lord out of your pre-holiday hoodie sale represents “religious bigotry.”  If that’s the case, then I suppose George Washington’s Yuletide sneak attack — against German troops, the most enthusiastic observers of the holiday — constitutes a hate crime.

The Gap is censoring the word Christmas, pure and simple. Yet the company wants all the people who celebrate Christmas to do their shopping at its stores? Until Gap proves it recognizes Christmas by using it in their newspaper, radio, television advertising or in-store signage, the boycott will be promoted.

There are certain dangers in making an ancient murder victim a paid spokesmodel for your chain of moderately priced clothing stores.  Suppose Dan Brown was right, and it turns out that Jesus was fooling around with Mary Magdalene?  Then you’ve got that whole Tiger Woods situation, except when his endorsement contracts were canceled, nobody accused the sponsors of religious bigotry.  Plus, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ revolutionized filmed depictions of the Savior, so nowadays the only good Jesus is a bloody, beaten-to-a-pulp Jesus, and I’m not sure that having a bunch of hipsters swing dancing around a corpse on a stick is going to move a whole lot of relaxed fit heathered slacks and French rib crewnecks.


It’s pretty clear there are two Christmases — the religious observance, with its creches, devotional music, and midnight mass, and the secular holiday, with its cheerful commercialism, classic films and TV specials, leftover pagan rites, and iconography lifted from Dickens, Thomas Nast, and mid-50s Coca-Cola advertisements.  So perhaps the best solution is the one the American Family Association and its ideological brethren propose for marriage equality: separate but unequal.  Just as gays should be satisfied with civil unions and stay out of the sacred institution of marriage, Christians who object to worldly motivations profaning their sacred birthday bash should retire to their churches and stay out of the malls from Black Friday through January 1st.  I mean, if evangelicals want to get back to the foundations of Christmas, what better way to do so than by reliving those days when Christianity was an outlaw cult, best practiced behind closed doors?

Speaking of seasonal classics, over at Big Hollywood, the Artist Formerly Known as Dirty Harry (John Nolte) is making a list of the 25 greatest Christmas movies.  Number 12?  One Magic Christmas.  Given Nolte’s habit of searching every film for reactionary Easter eggs, I’m not surprised he fell for a picture which, in his words, offers “a gritty life-affirming story set in a world where God exists and cares for us enough to practice some mighty tough-love.”  What does astonish me is his contention that it’s 88 minutes long.  Uh, no.  Sorry.  Light-minutes, maybe.  Or perhaps there’s some special relativity mechanism where time seems to slow down the closer you get to the end of One Magic Christmas.  The point is, any film in which the souls of the recently departed are forced to work in Santa’s sweat shop, and Kris Kringle himself commands an army of supernatural hobos, is yet another excuse to over-spike the eggnog, and I’ve already got plenty of those this year, thanks.  (One commenter at Big Hollywood remarked, “I remember when this first aired on TV there were all kinds of warnings given to little children about not trusting strangers who said they were angels.”  ‘Nuff said, but for those who may have missed it, we offered a Better Living Through Bad Movies treatment of One Magic Christmas as our special holiday presentation back in 2007.)

But one thing I will say for It’s a Wonderful Life, its angels may be voyeurs, but at least they’re not pedophiles.  And for a film which climaxes with a Christmas miracle, it’s remarkably Jesus-free.  George Bailey is saved by divine intervention, but he isn’t a church-going man, or even a Christian, judging by the on-screen evidence.  He never attends worship services, his wedding appears to be a civil ceremony, and even when he’s on the verge of suicide, George doesn’t consult a priest or a minister, but does his praying in a bar.  And his prayer is answered.

So all in all, I think I prefer a film in which the angels use their divine powers to show the protagonist how the world is a better place for his having lived, rather than enslaving the dead, snuffing the heroine’s spouse, and traumatizing her children because she was a little grumpy around the holidays.  Even if the FBI did think It’s a Wonderful Life was bolshevik propaganda.*

*I suspect the [redacted] party who went complaining to the G-Men was director Sam Wood, head of the ultra right wing Motion Picture Association, which fatally weakened the movie industry’s united front against HUAC and opened the door to the Blacklist.  We got a good look at his career as a pioneering Hollywood snitch here, when another conservative cinephile, Ben-Peter Terpstra, wrote a love letter to Sam the like of which has not been seen since the John Hinckley-Jodie Foster correspondence.

My President Can Beat Up Your President

Posted by scott on December 12th, 2009

I’ll be frank: it’s been Boo-Hoo-Hoo time down in Whoville recently.  While trying to protect an open wound from a thousand and one disease vectors, my prone-to-herniation disc made another bid to quit the spine and launch a solo career; and just to decorate my cupcake of weltschmerz with the almond-flavored, cyanide-laced frosting of bitterness, I’ve been dragooned into appearing in a live “radio play” version of It’s a Wonderful Life, which as anyone who’s read this already knows, I loathe with the heat of a thousand suns, assuming loathing produces heat, which it doesn’t seem to because I’ve been sitting here loathing stuff for over an hour and a half, and I still had to get up just now and put on a sweater.

sherzieve.jpg Speaking of loathsome: the minimum wage, no benefits, entry level blogosphere has been abuzz lately with calls to revolution.  At RenewAmerica, Sher Zieve, whose brain is a seething pressure cooker of sedition beneath her Cousin Oliver bowl-cut, has ended her last two columns with leading questions about armed revolt:

December 10, 2009: Since the beginnings of the ObamaCzars’ phenomena, I have been sounding the clarion call that Obama would attempt a Coup d’etat against Congress — and us. Dictator-in-Chief Obama has now threatened just that. Is there really anyone out there who doesn’t see that this guy is the American Stalin? What does one do when an admitted tyrant and his tyrannical Czars take over one’s country and impose their absolute and uncompromising will on the people of said country? I see only two options: Submit or die.

December 9, 2009:  But, if the majority of us don’t actually want slavery any longer, what do we do? Have our peaceful means ceased their effectiveness? Heck, the ObamaMedia paid little attention to us when we were at least 1.7 millions strong in Washington D.C. on 12 September and they and their Marxist-Democrat masters minimized and smeared us for voicing our discontent with Washington policies at Congressional Town Hall meetings. Are peaceful means really working, folks, or are they now just ways to vent? The Political Ruling (not governing) Class no longer listens to us in any way, shape or form. They listen only to the venomously sweet whispers of those who would offer them extraordinary bribes if they sell their souls. Do you really believe there are options other than a new American Revolution? If you do, I’d love to hear them. Please let me know. In the mean time, keep your powder dry.

Fortunately, there is one voice of sanity out there:  WorldNetDaily columnist Robert Ringer.

Ringer.jpg If there was ever a face that shrieked “compos mentis” it’s this one; he’s so darn adorably sapient I just want to give those cheeks of sanity a good pinch!  But wait until you hear his voice!  Not only is it clearly sane, but unlike a lot of low-rent pundits, he also has a great telephone voice of sanity, which really helps with those cold calls.

Now some of you may be wondering, Hey, who’s Mr. Ringtone here?  I’ve never heard of him!  And while I completely understand your skepticism — and cannot personally vouch for Mr. Ringer’s dulcet lucidity — his bio seems to think very highly of him:

Robert Ringer is the author of three No. 1 best-sellers, including two books listed by the New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time. He also hosts the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, where he interviews today’s top economic and political leaders on the most vital and controversial issues of our time. To tap into his profound wisdom and life-changing insights on a regular basis, sign up for a FREE subscription to his one-of-a-kind e-letter, “A Voice of Sanity in an Insane World,” by visiting www.robertringer.com

Wow, “profound wisdom” and “life-changing insights”?  The best my bio will grudgingly offer is that I’ve “never been convicted of a Class B felony in the state of Nevada.”

Most readers have probably not noticed it, but in all the articles I’ve written about BHO, I have never referred to him as “President Obama” except when quoting someone else. As you might have assumed, this has not been by accident.

I’ll never forget the time I was standing in line at a bookstore, chatting with someone about BHO. A stranger standing a couple of people away from me overheard my comments and abruptly admonished me, “Whether you like it or not, he’s our president.”

To which I responded, “He may be your president, but he’s not mine.”

“My president is silent as tomorrow.  He kills in the night.  He has been acquainted with the night.  My president has a secret, that there’s, um, an elf.  In his head.  And he has a trillion times the atom bomb power.  He’s a 24-hour wide-awake nightmare, and he has all that stuff that I just mentioned, plus he has the power to completely kill your president ten times over!”

That was the end of any thought I may have had about conceding and accepting the fact that BHO had been elected to the highest office in the land.

“I’m also finished with conceding and accepting the fact that my testicles retreated into my abdominal cavity on January 20, 2009, and I’ve spent the last eleven months using my vacant scrotum as a change purse.  From now on, I’m going to totally ignore that jingling in my groin, unless I need a bus token.”

The reason I have never seen BHO as the president of the United States is because he swore to uphold the Constitution, but from the day he took an oath to that effect, he immediately began violating it.

If you’re having trouble seeing the Obama Administration in quite the same alarmist, pearl-clutching terms as Mr. Ringer, try imagining BHO as Ganymede, the slave from Mandingo, and the Constitution as the Susan George character.


President Obama prepares to put his inky quill to the Preamble in an episode of Schoolhouse Rock.

I concede that all of our presidents have violated the Constitution, but even the worst of them have at least made a gratuitous attempt to honor it to some degree. BHO’s actions make it clear that he does not even acknowledge its existence.

The very minimum the American people deserve is a president who at least tries to be gratuitous.

But enough of my intransigence.

“And my Word-A-Day® desk calendar.”

My humble objective is to get a handle on what makes this self-defensive, arrogant young socialist so angry and so anxious to take away the rights of American citizens.

Yes, Obama is like an R. Crumb character — always fretting and grimacing and shooting huge drops of sweat from his head.

BHO’s actions have been deceitful to such an extreme that some have gone so far as to suggest that he is the Antichrist. Others stop short of that label, but see him as the epitome of evil.

Opinions run the gamut from Y to Z.

Well, this may surprise you, but I don’t see Chairman Obama as evil. I really don’t. After a good deal of study and observation, my take on him is that he is a man without a soul. And, as soulless individual, his actions are not hampered by trivial moral considerations.

Obama has no soul?  Awesome!  According to the Bible (or at least, certain Southern theologians), that means we have the legal and moral right to enslave him, and given the weak economy, I was thinking maybe we should go halvsies.  Now, I’ve been going over some popular slave names, and I suggest we call the president either “Josephus” or “Tituba.”

If you read his autobiographies (two in print before he even made it to the White House!)

That’s two more books than his predecessor has even read!

…along with some of the other books written about him, you see a very troubled young man. I, for one, have a great deal of compassion for anyone who has experienced a difficult childhood.

And, clearly, Obama had a dysfunctional life growing up – a white Marxist mother, a black African Muslim father who was a drunk and a philanderer, then, of all things, an Indonesian Muslim stepfather. And, of course, there were the years he spent in a Wahabbi Muslim school in Indonesia (Wahabbi schools being most famous for teaching students hatred of Western countries).

Apparently “a great deal of compassion” is a term of art favored by childhood development experts to describe what laymen might refer to as “passive-aggressive insinuations about someone who’s too big to beat with a clothes hanger or a fan belt.”

Given all this, it’s not hard to understand why a youngster would become vulnerable to a “down–with-the-rich” proselytizer. And in BHO’s life, it seems clear that that proselytizer came in the form of American communist Frank Marshall Davis, whom he refers to in his memoirs simply as “Frank.”

Which is pretty shocking, given how formal most communists are, even on Casual Fridays.  In fact, I have it on good authority that whenever Obama’s Marxist mentor walked into a Starbucks to order a Caramel Brulée Latte, he insisted the barista write “American communist Frank Marshall Davis” on the cup.

Ironically, BHO attended Punahou High School in Honolulu, which is the most upper-crust school in Hawaii. Like so many other things about BHO’s life, where he got the money to attend such an expensive school, not to mention Columbia and Harvard, has never been revealed.

Democratic presidents who come from modest or even underprivileged backgrounds (Obama, Clinton) yet manage to attend good schools are automatically suspected of using corrupt means to acquire an education, while mediocre but monied legacies who attend Harvard and Yale on the strength of their family connections are rightly applauded for playing by the rules.

In this series of articles, I’m going to try to get inside BHO’s head by dissecting the man and the book that perhaps had more influence on his anti-capitalist, anti-American attitude than anyone or anything else in his life. I’m talking, of course, about the infamous Saul Alinsky, founder of modern community organizing, and his equally infamous book “Rules for Radicals.”

Because I always keep in mind that it is critically important to know your enemies, I recently reread “Rules for Radicals” and was surprised by how certain parts of it struck me. For example, would you believe that there was much about Saul Alinsky that I actually liked? He was a fascinating character with a great sense of humor.

In fact, Alinksy was a witty, congenial, intellectual man with whom I probably would have enjoyed having lunch once a month. As I reread “Rules for Radicals,” I pictured what it would have been like to have engaged in friendly philosophical debates with my fantasy friend at the other end of the political spectrum.

I’m glad Robert has made some new fantasy acquaintances, because lately his old imaginary friends have been canceling or declining lunch and dinner dates with one lame excuse after another.

I think my attitude toward him would have been, “Saul, I love ya, pal, but I feel obliged to tell you that you’re full of crap.” And with that, we’d have another friendly debate over human nature, philosophy, politics and life. Alinksy was no Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers. He was a serious thinker.

“Then after lunch we’d walk around Chicago’s famous ‘Loop’ and do some window-shopping, or perhaps, if the weather was warm, we could stroll along the lake shore and share a refreshing Italian ice.  Eventually, I see us taking off our shoes and socks and running in slow motion on a beach…”

In Part 2 of this article, I’ll tell you some of the things in the early part of “Rules for Radicals” that make me believe that I would have liked Saul Alinsky. Before concluding that I’ve lost my mind, be sure to read what I have to say.

Um, sorry.  Too late.

What Do You, the Reader at Home, Think?

Posted by scott on December 8th, 2009

invisibleguy.jpgI’m recovering from minor surgery — dealing with post-operative pain and wondering why I’ve got black eyes where there ain’t no eyes — so forgive me if posting is sparse for the next few days, and really forgive me if posting is incessant and seemingly written under the influence of opiates, because appearances will not be deceiving.

In other news, it’s War on Christmas season again and we’re gearing up for our annual neighborhood lights and display contest.  So please use this thread to suggest which heartwarming holiday perennial you’d most like to see given the * treatment, and we’ll post a deconstruction of the winning (or losing) film on Christmas Eve.  Previously defiled classics include: Santa Claus: The Movie, One Magic Christmas, and It’s a Wonderful Life.

*A lovely gift idea, and just in time for the holidays!