Thursday, April 28, 2016

Surprising to Nobody: Trump v. Clinton

By the looks of things, I was so depressed by the death of Prince, I simply could not find it in myself to blog for a week. In reality, it's just a) a continued case of blog burnout and b) a stepped-up professional life! Woo-hoo, a good excuse, finally! Oh, I'm still working from home, I'm just doing a lot more of it, and that's a good thing.

But I suppose I could comment on the big story of the day. Even if it sounds like a rerun. Regardless of what some people in denial are desperately clinging to (I'm looking squarely at you Bernie, Cruz and Kasich supporters out there), it's clear: It's going to be Donald J. Trump (nee Drumpf) versus Hillary Rodham Clinton in the general election.

Barring the surprise withdrawl of either of those two people or by death (literal or political), no other scenario is likely to play out. And by saying that, I'm sure I'm invoking some further bizarro happenstance that changes everything!!!

One thing I'm sick of: the Bernie and Hillary supporter catfight on virtually every story even tangentially related to either of them. Let's be clear about this:

The Bernie supporters, and/or conservative plants posing as BernieBros started it. They just did. Any and every Hillary leaning opinion (or let's face it, even fact) elicited an anti-Hillary diatribe from those guys way, way before the "HillBots" got going. Eventually, they returned fire, and even then would often--like I always have done--couch their comments in the "but I like Bernie and will vote for him if he gets the nomination" disclaimers. That is still the case, by the way, for me.

But Bernie folks, please don't try to claim that this was equal at the beginning or even the middle. You flung the first (and second, and third) poo. And then got pissy that there was a poo storm. You may or may not have been right about a "media blackout," a preference for Hillary by the establishment and/or media. But you became as bad as any frothing tea bagger. And as nutty in some cases, as any conspiracy theorist.

Please knock it off now, everyone on the left. Can we not just enjoy the implosion of the Republican Party from the sidelines?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Artist (Previously and Otherwise) Known as Prince, Dead at 57

This one elicited a "holy shit" from me. 2016 has been a brutal year for celebrity deaths already, and musicians in particular. But Prince? PRINCE? At the risk of pissing off any David Bowie fans out there, this is bigger. Or at the very least, just as big. And a bigger shock, being a decade plus younger.

I remember hearing Prince, knowingly, for the first time at my cousin Garrett's house. We listened to the 1999 album on vinyl, naturally, when I visited him, it must've been 1982. Putting me at maybe 15 or 16. Which seems unlikely for an age, because it's hard to remember when Prince wasn't everywhere, in the pop culture foreground or background. He definitely filled the soundtrack of my later high school and college years, and on into my adulthood.

I can't claim to have been his biggest fan, nor have I always understood what his artistic oddness was going for. But he was spectacular. He was my generation's Bowie, he really was. And where with Bowie, I could name but not necessarily sing the lyrics to his most known songs? With Prince, I could sing word-for-word easily a dozen hits, possibly twice that, and name quite a few more. Wow. So, RIP, little purple man. I sure didn't expected to be this soon.

[Excerpt]

Musician and pop culture icon Prince dies at 57

Iconic musician, actor and songwriter Prince has died at the age of 57. His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, confirmed with The Associated Press that he died in his home in Chanhassen, Minneapolis.

A few days before his death, it was reported that Prince had been hospitalized for the flu and had to take an emergency plane landing. . .

Read more at: cnet

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Let's Get Real: It's Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in November

Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders and their (mostly) creepy crews of spokespeople can spin it however they want. Joe and Mika can snark their way to other conclusions. Trumpettes and CruzControllers will continue to fight about it, as will #ImWithHer vs. #FeelTheBern crews.

But barring a shocking event--and I mean shocking, like the GOP fever dream of a Clinton indictment, the revelation that Trump is Kang or Kodos--It's Clinton vs. Trump in November. I believe that 90% of the speculation that says otherwise is nothing more than the desire for there to be a horse race to talk about, and a desire to keep hope alive among Bernie supporters and Donald Trump loathers.

Let the record show that if that out-of-left-field event does knock either of them out of their obvious shoo-in status, I'd still support Bernie. I voted for Hillary in the Ohio primary, but I'm by no means a "never Bernie" voter. I'm a lot less decided on the other side's slate. All of them are awful. I think Trump is the easiest for Hillary to defeat. I think Cruz is scarier as an actual American policy maker, and Trump scarier as a world leader. I think Kasich is the least scary of the three to imagine as president, particularly on a world stage. All three would result in an arch conservative Supreme Court for as much as a generation, possibly for the rest of my life. I don't want to see that.

In the general, again, unless there is some sort of shocker, the Democrat wins. Very likely, now, HRC. And, love her or hate her, seeing her address the nation, or appearing before a foreign country? She's the only one I think I could stomach well for four or eight years.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

50

Happy 50th Birthday. . .To ME!


Today is my 50th birthday, though for some reason it feels like it alreay happened. I think I've been geared up for it long enough, that the arrival of the big 5-0 is somehow anti-climactic.  I mean, I've been taking Centrum 50+ for like two years. And, The Other Half is five years older, so he always breaks in new ages for me. Whatever it is, I'm still a year older, officially, than I was yesterday. 50. F-I-F-T-Y.

It really doesn't sound so bad. I can't really still play the doubling game, where you figure out how old you'll be at twice your age: 100. Not bloody likely, but not impossible either. I could get there, but doubtful. But most of my friends and plenty of family are older than me, so 50 doesn't sound so bad.

April 19th isn't a particularly happy day in history, despite its meaning to me. Here are just a few of the bad and/or very serious things that happened on my birthday:

- 1775: "The shot heard 'round the world," the first shot of the American Revolutionary War fired. Sure, it ended up OK, but somebody was on the other end of that shot!
- 1927: Mae West sentenced to ten days in prison for indecency!
- 1961: Bay of Pigs invasion.
- 1989: 47 soldiers killed on USS Iowa.
- 1993: Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas is raided, then burns to the ground.
- 1995: Domestic terrorism of Oklahoma City bombing.
- 2005: That creepy Pope was named.

Then again, some good and/or interesting things happened on April 19th too:

- 1775: That American Revolutionary War thing is good, of course.
- 1892: First automobile driven in the United States.
- 1935: Actor Dudley Moore born.
- 1946: Actor/singer Tim Curry born.
- 1971: Charles Manson sentenced to death. . .so why is he still alive?
- 1987: The Simpsons debuts as a short, recurring cartoon within The Tracey Ullman Show (on my 21st birthday, and I was watching!).

Other birthdays today include Kate Hudson, Jayne Mansfield, Hayden Christensen, Ashley Judd and Suge Knight. Deaths on this date include Charles Darwin (1892), Pierre Curie (1906) and Benny Hill (1992).

And did you know that my birthday is also: Bicycle Day, Venezuala's Independence Day, "Feast Day" of several Roman Catholic saints, every once in a while it's Orthodox Easter! My birthday has occurred on ordinary Easter three times during my lifetime, and never will again, unless I live to be 105. Fancy that!

Source for much of this frivolity: Wikipedia.org

Monday, April 18, 2016

Doris Roberts Dead at 90

Image from source, Huffington Post
Certain celebrities have popped up in so many places throughout your life, you get a little surprised when you hear they've passed. What? No, that's not right, you think. She's always around somewhere. She's always the same too, in the case of Doris Roberts. What I mean by that is, she was a terrific actress, but she was for all intents and purposes, always herself. And she was one of those ladies "of a certain age," seemingly, who was really impossible to peg as far as that goes.

Like Rose Marie, Edie McClurg, Betty White (all of the Golden Girls, really), and Cloris Leachman to some degree, Roberts seemed to start out middle-aged, and then only slowly age from decade to decade. In the early 1980s as Mildred in Remington Steele or the 1970s as Theresa on Angie, or Mrs. Flotsky on Soap, and nearly everything I've seen her in (I know without checking there have to be credits for Fantasy Island, Love Boat and Hotel), THERE she is. I know her! I like her! That was my reaction, and I suspect until she started playing Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond, most of America just knew her from "somewhere." And liked her.

RIP, Doris!

[Excerpt]

Doris Roberts, Star Of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ Dead At 90

Doris Roberts, a character actress who labored honorably both on stage and screen for years before finding the perfect vehicle for her talents, the hit sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” died on Sunday. She was 90. . . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Over Time with Bill Maher, April 8, 2016



Bill Maher and his guests - Sec. Thomas Perez, Heather McGhee, Andy Dean, Max Brooks and Kathy Griffin – answer viewer questions after the show.

SNL: Hillary in New York

I already voted for Hillary Clinton in the Ohio primary, but even I can find humor in this bit, particularly since Kate McKinnon's Hillary impression keeps getting better. And there's some genuinely funny stuff in here.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Creepy Spokespeople on Both Democratic and GOP Sides

I know it pisses off Bernie Sanders supporters when you mention any similarities between Bernie and Donald Trump (even though your average #FeelTheBern and Trumpette keyboard commando seems to have that same crazed tenor). But here's one that bugs me. Ever notice that spokespeople for both look like they're being Photoshopped in real time on television?

Here is Jeff Weaver, Bernie Sanders spokesperson and campaign manager:



And here is Katrina Pierson, whack job and Donald Trump spokesnut:


Both have that very odd, unnaturally smooth skin. Is it botox? Is it heavy makeup? Is it the seemingly mobile CGI digital anti-wrinkle cream that Calista Flockhart must be using on Supergirl? Whatever it is, it weirds me out. But it isn't helped by my default loathing for these types of people in general. Whether in charge of the DNC or RNC, like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz or Reince Priebus, or spokesperson for a candidate, these spinmeisters are spokes-liars, from the word go. Even for an "honest" candidate like Sanders, their chief job is to make their candidate(s) look good in all circumstances, I get that. But by their nature, they come off unctuous, insincere and smarmy. That isn't helped by looking like they come from the Uncanny Valley.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Republicans Keep Accidentally Admitting that Voter ID Laws are Trojan Horses

A typical Voter ID reminder. I had to show one in Ohio
to vote in the Democratic primary, my first. But I had
no issues, fortunately.

Though I really haven't posted much lately, one continuing theme is the idea of trying to figure out the politics of the day, and the intent behind them. Do politicians (and their followers) believe the rhetoric they're spewing when they pass controversial or radical laws? Do they buy their own BS, or are they being deliberately disingenuous.

In the previous post, I wondered if anyone really believes the "religious freedom" excuse with all of these new anti-gay laws and bills. And in this one, does anyone really believe that Voter ID laws have anything to do with preventing in-person voter fraud? Or are they really all clear that this is about voter disenfranchisement, as is eminently clear? It's surely a mixture, and not always the same from politician to politician, or voter to voter. And just like with the other issue, it's wholly dependent upon intelligence, gullibility for "truthiness," or a lack of interest in digging beneath the surface.

Which is a handy reminder for me. Blogging apathy is a bad thing for me, should I wish to have a voice. I may have a tiny corner of the internet, but if I reach only a few people on any given story, it has the potential to exponentially seed some truth, rather than just truthiness.

[Excerpt]

Another Republican Admitted That Voter ID is All About Disenfranchising Democrats

They keep doing it. Republicans continue to accidentally spill the beans about unspoken GOP plots to roll back constitutional rights. Donald Trump, last week, accidentally blurted something about punishing women who undergo illegal abortions. And this week, Glenn Grothman, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin, became another in a growing list of mid-level conservatives to blab about the true intention of voter ID laws: to disenfranchise Democrats. . .

Read more at: The Daily Banter

The Gay Thing: Mississippi Latest State to Embrace Bigotry Over Equality

I realized I'd better get a new post up, before people thought Greenlee Gazette had gone out of business or something! Truth is, as I've noted in my rare posts of late, blogging seems somehow redundant and unnecessary these days. The whole point of it was for me to express thoughts and feelings that I didn't think were being expressed anywhere. And along the way to entertain and to sometimes educate or help illuminate the dark corners of a story that otherwise gets a lot of play.

Lately--with the exception of the occasional horrific terrorist attach or other world event that takes the news cycle for a day or two--there has been a steady sameness to the news. Every day, in fact, you can find out if anything is going on in the world by turning on any of the cable news channels in the morning. If you are nothing is going on in the world. At least nothing you won't find without digging.
greeted with a round-table discussion of a) how the Republicans can try to stop the Donald Trump juggernaut, or b) how today's news is bad for Hillary Clinton, you can be fairly sure

And I'm sorry to say, blogosphere, that it's sort of anesthetized me to my usual desire to find out anyway. I promise it isn't a permanent condition, but it is a persistent one. So, I need to start paying attention.

Baby steps. Here's one: there is a wave of anti-gay, pro-"religious freedom" bills and laws sweeping the country. The scare quotes are deliberate, because these things are religious freedom in name only. The only thing I've yet to figure out is how many advocates for them (in and outside of politics) really believe the rhetoric behind them, and how many know better, that they're a way to whittle down the successes of the gay rights movement. I'm guessing it's something of a mixture, sort of akin to the Kinsey Scale, only measuring homophobia and religious fervor.

But since I'm sort of easing back into the blogging thing, let's go the humor route to get our feet wet, shall we?


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Patty Duke Dead at 69

Image from source, MSN
Awww. I don't know if you've noticed, but 2016 has been hell on actors and singers who are of a certain age. And I mean, literally a certain age. It seems like if you're between about 67 and 70, and you're famous, you really need to be getting to a doctor and getting checked out. It's a relatively young age for "surprise" deaths, particularly among a set of people who you'd imagine have the resources for regular (and maybe even "platinum level") health care.

In recent days, we lost Gary Shandling, for which I ought to be whipped for not memorializing sooner. And today, Oscar and Emmy winner, Patty Duke. Duke has been on the periphery of pop culture for my whole life, popping up initially in my childhood through the occasional rerun of The Patty Duke Show, where she played identical cousins. She'd get the occasional starring role in a very important movie (usually on TV), or short-lived TV series. She played the first woman president in one (Hail to the Chief), a suburban mom in one (It Takes Two). She even got acclaim playing both major roles in two different versions of The Miracle Worker. But she was rarely front-and-center. To me, she was always a favorite, one of the spices in my pop culture stew. Very much, oddly enough, like her ex-husband, John Astin, who likewise would tickle me when he popped up in something.

But wow. These people aren't waiting to die of old age. I don't like approaching their age with the speed of a freight train, as they're dropping like this!

RIP, Patty (and Cathy).

[Excerpt]

Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke dies at 69

Patty Duke, who won an Oscar as a teen for "The Miracle Worker" and maintained a long and successful career throughout her life, has died at the age of 69.

Duke's agent, Mitchell Stubbs, says the actress died early Tuesday morning of sepsis from a ruptured intestine. She died in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, according to Teri Weigel, the publicist for her son, actor Sean Astin. . .

Read more at: MSN

Monday, March 21, 2016

Blogging Blahs Persist: State of the Union is F@#%ed

Though  it is clear that my passion for blogging my every stray thought flagged some time ago, I did give an effort until relatively recently at keeping the page current. Somewhere during this ridiculously long 2016 campaign, the ludicrousness of the proceedings seems to have sapped whatever remaining urge to write I did once have.

This weekend, I actually have an excuse. I had a memorial 1000 miles away for a friend who was far too young to pass unexpectedly. But, in the past, I would have come roaring back, eager to opine on the latest crazed happening. But I keep circling back to: what more is there to say?!

On the right, we have three remaining candidates from the previous clown car, all terrible in their own right, for their own terrible reasons. There is a delicious civil war going on in there, but it has practically consumed all other news already, and is being hashed and rehashed relentlessly.


On the left, there is a different civil war of sorts afoot: two decent candidates with similar voting records, but with seemingly irreconcilable allegiances of their own. Basically, there are three groups, fervent Bernie Sanders supporters who love their candidate almost beyond reason, to the point of trashing his competition, and her followers at every opportunity. You've got Hillary Clinton supporters, not quite as fervent, but sometimes getting nasty in return. And you've got "blue, no matter who" supporters of either Clinton or Bernie who may have allegiances one way or the other, but in no mood to fight over it.

I find myself in the last group: leaning Clinton, but wanting to smack upside the head liberal groups 1 and 2 (mostly 1), for allowing this idiotic fight to pull any attention from the clusterfuck going on in Right Wing World. We don't need it. Clinton vs. Sanders is a no brainer: either one will do, vs. the absolute insanity of voting for anyone on the right. Purists whine and bitch about establishment this, and "lesser of two evils," and blah, blah. Sorry, no. There is quite simply no contest with SCOTUS at stake. None. Blue, no matter who.

Still, the urge to blog has been the barest tug. I'm here, because it's been a week, and I don't want the blog to die. But I can't promise I'll do a lot better, unless something really lights my fire about something. But again, I'll try.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

SNL: Hillary Clinton Spoof Ad

Hillary starts to take on more and more traits from Bernie Sanders to appeal more to millennials. Funny, and I'm sure the #FeelTheBern crowd will love it. But lets not forget, this is what Bernie started out to do. At the beginning, nobody thought he was a contender, but all agreed, it would get Mrs. Clinton to address his issues. Well, here ya go!


Over Time with Bill Maher, March 11, 2016

Bill Maher and his guests – Jane Mayer, Maria Konnikova, Bill Kristol, Monica Mehta and Sam Stein – answer viewer questions after the show.

SNL: Ben Carson and Trump; Bernie Sanders (Larry David)

Saturday Night Live kicked off a fairly terrific episode this weekend with a faux CNN news report, announcing Ben Carson's (in likely Jay Pharaoh's last impression of him) endorsement of Donald Trump. This is mixed with the latest appearance of Larry David as Bernie Sanders. Lots of good stuff in here.


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