You know what? I’ll even spot Rep. Trey Radel (FL-R) his weak, borrowed from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, excuse that he only did cocaine because he was such a drunk, because sure. It’s not like the sting that busted him was perpetrated because he already had a history of purchasing coke (it was), and in any event, I can’t talk about what drunk people might get up to. I am only an indifferent drunk myself. I do know I can’t afford $250 bucks worth of blow if I had that much to spend on bourbon. That is some fucking stupid drunkonomics. But maybe being wasted on microbrews made him wonder if he shouldn’t maybe be doing lines, just like I interrupt a wine binge with espressos (I do no such thing). Sure. That’s logical. (By which I mean “NOT”.)
What isn’t logical is being well aware that people acquire substances to help them through the bitter pain of their day to day existence and get dependent on them, and then thinking that it would be A-OK to penalize the poor for their propensity to self-medicate against the horror of a crappy reality by piss-testing people to qualify for their benefits.
Do I think Rep. Radel was maybe in the midst of getting high his ownself when he thought this would be a nifty exercise to spring on the poor? Yeah. I think so. Do I think he thought he was fundamentally different from some wasted SOB who couldn’t catch a job because he himself had a good one in Congress, and therefore, he was morally better than that other kind of substance-user? Yes, indeed. I think he believes he is morally and substantively different from some person who might use drugs, but does not have money.
In other words, he is a real prick. Now, there is drug and alcohol rehab, but I do not know that there is any successful “being a real prick” rehab. But he could use that kind. He surely could.
It seems that whenever there is a Republican setback lately, whether electoral or politically in general, there are a spate of thinky pieces about what’s going wrong in the Republican Party and how they might fix it. I don’t despise the impulse, even while I find it overly optimistic and paradoxical. Many of the premature postmortem-writers aren’t ostensibly fans of the Republican party, to begin with. And rather than consider how whatever rupture between the party and the mainstream can be repaired, I know my gut instinct is to reach for a lever and pull like a mad mother. Political writers are, for the most part, I think, bright people and problem-solvers at heart. We are generally not rooting for armageddon. There is a code of honoring bar tabs and not kicking even bastards in the slats when they are down.
And I am a political writer and not immune to the zeitgeist, so why don’t I carve into this still-wriggling corpus and see what political wisdom may be extracted? (Let’s get it down first. And maybe a kick to the slats? And while we are here, a shiv and that lever. Thank you.)
This is a clip from an interview with Juror B37 from the Zimmerman trial who was given a pretty soft interview by Anderson Cooper. She has a book deal lined up to discuss a variety of things, like, I guess, how she made up her mind before the trial, and how she thinks that peaceful demonstrations that actually got a trial to come about were “riots”, how this trial was certainly not about race (Heavens!)and a whole lot of other odd foolishness compelling details.
In America, one can sometimes be assured of getting a jury of one’s peers.
I think it’s interesting that she referred to the defendant in the trial as “George” throughout the interview and that she wholly believed the testimony of a man who did not testify. I will look forward to seeing her story on the remainders table at the 99Cent Store.
James Gandolfini, the actor who created gangster Tony Soprano, died today. James and Tony were practically joined at the hip. Nobody could have brought the complex character of Tony Soprano to the screen as well as incredible actor James Gandolfini did. I was totally addicted to The Sopranos while it was on. Not that I related to any of the characters - it was more like watching an ant farm (except they were all scorpions) to see what would happen next. But something about Tony made it all more than that. Gandolfini projected a humanity into his character that was hard to ignore. And this despite the frequent times he was called on to either murder someone individually or assign it out to someone else.I’m not a psychologist so I don’t know exactly what quality in James Gandolfini that I reacted to that made me care about his character despite the obvious faults. But whatever it was makes me so sorry that he is gone. Guess if they’re really going to make a Soprano’s movie now it will have to be from the perspective that Tony did die in that diner. Bummer. RIP to a really great and hugely talented guy and sincere condolences to his family and friends who must be devastated now by this news.
No doubt about it: falling off a horse is as easy as falling off a horse. And no amount of fake Amerindian Juju can save you. In yesterday’s scene from the new Lone Ranger film, Johnny Depp played iron-jawed sidekick Tonto wearing pancake make-up, black leather chaps and a stuffed crow on top of his head…but none of that was enough to coax love and mercy from the skittish pinto he was navigating through the Western Plains.
This was the first news story I heard today. I didn’t find out until 5 PM that the Deppster not only survived the fall and the hoof-dance, but courageously appeared on Letterman later in the day (wearing a tasteful wardrobe selectton from the 80s’ TV series “Maude”) to review the miraculous circumstances of his surprisingly non-tragic undemise.
God bless and vaya con Dios, Johnny D. You were the best Hunter S. Thompson since the real one. I’m hoping against hope that the new Silver Bullet Express completely erases my memory of the last Lone Ranger movie from 1981…except for the part where Christopher Lloyd was his arch-foe Butch Cavendish.
Driving home last night, I caught a track by cellist Calum Ingram on Paul Jones’s BBC Radio 2 Rhythm & Blues show, and was pretty blown away. This is a different song—an incendiary cover of Hendrix’s “Red House” on electric cello—see what you think.
Once upon a time, Jesse was one of the Youngbloods. Later, he became the official spokesperson for the emptiness and hopelessness of 4 AM. At times, he was rays of hope breaking through that 4 o’clock rain…at least when he wasn’t channeling the false sincerity of the concerned cockroach.
My brother loved this guy, so much so that he and I spent spent 5 summers tracking down hard-to-find vinyl pressings of Jesse’s work. At times, we were amply rewarded with treasure troves of inspired, lint-free musical genius like this.
You craved it. You begged for it. Parts of your brain stayed awake at night to call the Warner Brothers 1-800-FILMS-WE-NEED hotline.
Now, at last, it’s here: a Kryptonian strongman with no pants battles a Kryptnian villain with practically no history in the comic book world. PS: Russell Crowe appears as the first ever Jor-el with the dramatic star magnitude to bore us more intensely than Marlon Brando. This, truly, is the Superman epic we’ve all been waiting for. So, naturally, it’s no surprise that Superman’s not only from Krypton, he’s a Brit. Way to go, U.K.!
Apparently, some of the “values” of the Party of Family Values need a little re-tooling. How else to interpret the fact that, in one week, two separate spawn of the GOP—Tanner Flake (aka N1ggerKiller), son of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Joey Heck, son of Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)—are outed as social-media-opaths? Two All-American white, Christian paragons (ok, ok one’s Mormon), sons of All-American white, Christian paragon fathers, spend their leisure time just frothing, fuming and twittering hate at anyone who isn’t an All-American white, Christian paragon i.e., faggots, niggas, women, Jews, Obama, Messicans, Obama, Indians, Obama, Muslims, etc. [in their words]. These kids, if nothing else, are equal opportunity bigots, they pretty much hate every one who isn’t a white male.
It’s true: this clip has everything—a blind kid with bionic eyes, banana bikes and roller blades. All that, plus a whole world of visual freedom that ‘s usually denied the optically-challenged…and the ultra-advanced concept of navigating sonically by emitting bat-like clicking sounds, and then listening for the return echoes that perfectly describe the shape and distance of reflecting walls.
The young man in this video was quite a celebrity ten years ago when he pioneered several of the world’s most sophisticated new techniques for living productively with a severe blind disability. In the end, the cancer that originally blinded him returned and killed him.Of course, if you or a family member have ever been stricken with cancer, you already know that the Big C is a persistant cuss with an uncanny knack for survival. In contrast, human beings like Ben have an uncanny knack for mostly outliving their cancers until they and God can agree that it’s finally time to die. For Ben, that was age 16…after a short but dramatically successful life of cheating his disability and proving the basic human urge to Live Well and Transcend Momentary Obstacles will get you up just about any tree not even a banana bike can climb. Bravo, Ben! Here’s hoping you can see the streets of Heaven, and that they shine a peaceful, golden light.
Just like James Finlayson (the Laurel and Hardy foil who introduced British and American audiences to the catchword “D’OH!” as an indicator of exasperation, puzzlement or grief), Alfonso Araudid much much more than exclaim “I like these guys! Just kill one of them!” Among other things, he was the award-winning director of Like Water For Chocolate, as well as a yeomanly portrayer of onscreen Hispanic characters who were either less obnoxious or less finely turned than his wonderfully styled “El Guapo.” PS” Let’s never forget that he was also a mournful mime as well as a nutty comedic dancer.
This is my gift to my ‘Roaster pals tonight. Tis neither timely nor political, yet it’s the sort of rare find that always makes me smile, anyway.
Behold my dear, deceased, ferociously talented old friend Jan Leighton—a classically-trained actor who secured Guinness Book of World Records recognition for mastering more than 3,000 historically significant personae. These included George Patton, Fidel Castro and the Greek philosopher Plato…as well as Margaret Thatcher and nearly a dozen of America’s most iconic (or tic-ridden) presidents.
It’s a long tape. However, as it says at the beginning, it is the last, best demo reel for a genuinely skilled fellow who sharpened his bag of tricks again and again over the course of 60 years. I miss him every day. But watching this tape reminds me that more than 3,000 parts of him will never truly die.
Every day I commute three miles by jitney to a Blind Rehab facility on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. Invariably, I wear another man’s pajamas, issued to me by the nursing home that serves as my overnight domicile and semi-permanent address. If there’s good news here, it’s that I also get to wear an ultra-expensive pair of Oakley sunglasses (just like the ones Roger Daltrey used to sport in music magazines).
Given my new wardrobe, it would be easy for me to convince myself that my biggest disabilities are accidents of fashion. But, of course, my real disability is much much worse: I’m a totally blind man, approaching age 65, and I live inside an empty skull which is populated these days by random, uncatalogued sound effects for which I have no visual reference to provide context or meaning. My world is dark and noisy and—often— a baffling place where formerly-reliable senses either don’t work at all or provide me with only unreliable data regarding my environment.
That’s why I danced a jig (metaphorically) when I heard this song on the local Vend-O-Mat of Top 40 tunes and enduring Soft Rock. With their punchy percussion, lilting guitar and repetitive Ho-Hey mantra, these guys remind me of the creative goof I used to be back before I lost my eyes. And that’s particularly true ever since Mrs. Polly described their outfits to me—white T shirts, black suspenders, and pork-pie hats. The Lumineers are dressed for a long walk on the Boulevard Of Dreams, somewhere on the Left Bank of Wackiness.
God love the Lumineers for making complex music with simple tools. My heart leaps with joy when I hear them…and I hope all my ‘Roaster buddies will share the bon temps with me!
I knew from the get-go that it wasn’t James Earl Jones lending gravity and heft to Darth Vader’s Jedi armor back in 1979. The only question—which I never asked—was what extremely large and sturdy stunt double would allow himself to be swanned around on-camera for ten years without so much as a single shot of the actor’s actual face. (Anonymity is generally a useless P.R. tool.)
As it turns out, Vader (or at least his clanking physical presence) was portrayed by British weightlifter David Prowse, a robust bodybuilder who helped train Christopher Reeve:
He helped train Christopher Reeve for the role of Superman in the 1978 film and its sequels after lobbying for the part himself. In a television interview, he related how his response to being told “We’ve found our Superman” was “Thank you very much.” Then he was told that Reeve had been chosen and he was only to be a trainer.
as well as training Cary Elwes for The Princess Bride.
Little to my beknownst, I first encountered Prowse a few years earlier, when he played the nearly naked pleasure-boy Julian in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
It ain’t politics, and it ain’t funny, but here’s hoping I just cleared up the deepest mystery of your brain with Mr. Prowse’s own workaday website.