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Boffo? Not Bashar

The next movie censor? Probably not

Let’s say you’ve considered the idea that Sony Pictures cooked up the controversy over the movie The Interview. Perhaps you’ve had thoughts like this:
Say it ain't so, Sony.Collapse )


What they're smoking isn't mistletoe

It's time for a Man Overboard holiday tradition:
(How the weed guy saved Christmas)

Clashing values

I just now was walking by the living room, where my mother-in-law is watching television, and a car commercial jingle was playing. I didn't recognize the tune, but the lyrics?

"My baby drove off in a brand-new Cadillac."

Yep, that's right: The Clash, "Brand New Cadillac," from London Calling. Cadillac is selling cars with a Clash song, although the commercial's music sounds like the Stray Cats.

The commercial touts "the new spirit of Cadillac," or some such. Tell you what: When the commercial features The Clash's version of the song, then I'll agree the automaker has a new spirit. Until then, it's just another car.

The ghost of Joe Strummer sneers.


The picture of the Fearless Leader is actually being used as a sail.

If the U.S. is behind this, it's the equivalent of hunting squirrels with machine guns:
(North Korean internet goes dark)

Joe Cocker, dead at 70

Gettin' high with a little help from his friends.

If you're of a certain age, you may only remember Cocker from his version of the Beatles' "A Little Help from My Friends" at the beginning of the TV show The Wonder Years.

If you're a tad older, though, you remember two things about Cocker:

1. He was mostly known for singing covers, but
2. Damn! You loved those versions as much as the originals—sometimes even more. "Delta Lady," for instance, which helped launch the career of its songwriter, Leon Russell.

Sure, he had a voice that sounded as if he gargled with Drano—but I loved it anyway. It's a sad day for rock 'n' roll.

Go find it and play it

Warren Zevon, "Deperadoes Under the Eaves." The last two minutes will make the hairs on your arms stand up, guaranteed.

Special thanks to terrybttb for reminding me about this one.


An 'act of war'? Chill out

"They may be sadistic pranksters, extortionists and assholes, but anonymously posting a juvenile and vague word jumble incorporating “9/11” that has no connection to reality does not make them terrorist masterminds."
(Enough already about the hack)

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa


A colleague and I were exchanging emails today, and he was writing about his plans for the holiday season: going here, going there, doing one thing and another. He added, "I'm having some students for dinner tonight."

It reminded me of the time somebody asked W.C. Fields if he liked children. His answer: "I do if they're properly cooked."

Reefer madness

"Herb is the healin' of the nation."

Today’s New York Times reports that the attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma are suing the state of Colorado.

As you have guessed, the attorneys general say the residents of their states are visiting Colorado, where they can legally buy marijuana, and taking it home with them. The Times reports:

“Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states,” the suit says, undermining their marijuana bans, “draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems.”

The lawsuit is being filed in U.S. Supreme Court because it involves a dispute between states.

The story focuses on the back-and-forth arguments and makes for an interesting read. (To the high court we go) I tilt toward Colorado’s side for four reasons: first, the people bringing pot across the border are from Nebraska and Oklahoma, not Colorado; second, what I do with my body is not the state’s business unless I load it with liquor or other substances and commit a crime; third, maybe Nebraska and Oklahoma ought to get with the times, decriminalize marijuana, and ease the burden on their treasuries and criminal justice systems; and fourth, no state should have a hand in making law for another state. (I should note that I have not smoked pot since 1981.)

I was keeping an open mind, though, until I reached this paragraph at the end of the story:

Colorado’s rules have no way to prevent “criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels from acquiring marijuana inventory directly from retail marijuana stores,” the lawsuit says.

As if. Do the attorneys general really think a drug cartel is going to fan out its criminal employees to buy small amounts of weed from Colorado stores that legally sell pot—enough weed to make it worth the effort for cartels to traffic in it? I mean, does anyone really think the cartels will willingly pay the retail markup on pot?

The two attorneys general need to buy a couple of loose joints and smoke them, and then they'll realize how ludicrous their position is.

The best Santa story ever

Here's the best story you'll read this Christmas season. It's written by the great Dan Barry of The New York Times:
A baby the size of a fruitcakeCollapse )


Peace on Earth, good will toward blah blah

If Robert Lee "Bobby" Helms, who wrote "Jingle Bell Rock," weren't dead, I would ask him for an apology for inflicting his holiday earworm on us all.

Cuba libre

You just can't trust this guy

I see our he's-really-a-Muslim president worked with the Roman Catholic Pope on the plan to normalize relations with Cuba. Must be part of some kind of nefarious conspiracy. Quick: Get Marco Rubio on the line to explain it.

W.C. Fields chats up Mae West, she of the "hothouse cognomen"

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

While we're on the subject, let's talk about Sony Pictures' The Interview.

Let's stipulate from the start that free speech means just that: free. But some people, maybe many people, maybe most people, still put fences up at boundaries they choose. Remember Piss Christ? Offensive as hell in my book—way beyond my fence—but its creator had every right to make it. My disgust with it and works of similar ilk is the price I pay as a citizen to ensure free speech.

But am I the only one who feels our entertainment culture is pushing the fences farther and farther back? OutgrossedCollapse )

Change spared

Sir Winston knew a thing or two about public speaking.

I just watched WGRZ-TV (Buffalo) weather guy Kevin O'Connell do a segment. Four times, he had the opportunity to mention a "change" in the weather. Instead, he used the word "transition." Maybe he gets paid by the syllable.

Or maybe he never heard this advice from Winston Churchill: "“Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all.”

Freedom of—uh, expression

Don't forget your raincoat!

The panel said it agreed with the lower court that, whatever "unique message" the film makers might hope to convey by depicting condomless sex, it was unlikely that viewers of adult films would understand that message.

Here's the whole story:
(When in doubt, cite the First Amendment)

Crying Wolf

Mommy reveals to daddy that she's going to stop wearing panties, which for daddy is not a good thing.

As I may have mentioned before, my soon-to-be 89-year-old mother-in-law has moved in with us because she's not able to live independently anymore.

Last night she was sitting at the kitchen counter, working one of her find-the-word magazines, when Sherry decided we should watch a movie on Netflix and chose The Wolf of Wall Street. Scorcese, DiCaprio—sounded good. We knew nothing about the movie, though.

So we start watching the movie, and my mother-in-law is sitting at the kitchen counter, her back to us but well within earshot, and within what seemed like the first minute of the movie, DiCaprio uncorks just about every swear word I can think of, including the very choicest ones relating to sex acts.

Uncomfortable? Just. A. Little. Bit.

I'll have the Scuppernong

For reasons that would take up too many words, a colleague and I decided yesterday we were going to hell.

"I'll meet you there at the bar," she said. And this, of course, got us wondering what the bar in hell would be like.

"You could only order drinks that you drank in high school," she said. For me, that would be cheap wines like Boone's Farm or Tyrolia. In fact, here's the wine list from Hell A-Go-Go Lounge: ("I'll have the Scuppernong")

Other bar features that I've been thinking of:
No cover charge, anywayCollapse )

You never know

Sherry and I had a small sofa we had no more use for now that her mom has moved in with us and our living room is full of her mom's furniture. Rather than trash it, I called the St. Vincent de Paul Society. They wanted it. St. Vinnie's gives furniture to people who have had house fires and to other people in need.

A guy came out to the house to pick it up. When he got out of his truck, I saw he was black. I had, of course, expected a white guy.

I've still got some work to do ...

Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

“I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” – Voltaire

• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

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December 2014


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