February 25, 2018, 9:21 pm
If your mind has never been blown, get a mop bucket handy.
A television show aired 47 years ago that aimed to entertain all Americans but was based on the extremely volatile politics of the day (think Vietnam war, pre-Watergate, American youth in the streets being shot by government storm troopers), could literally be written and aired this very day, with better production values and modern actors, and you'd never notice that it was written almost half a century ago.
As the incredibly dull and predictable rock band RATT so inimitably said 34 years ago, "What goes around comes around". Who knew a bunch of hair metal dongles with a Hustler Magazine (male) centerfold playing lead guitar could say something so prophetic?
Recently, tipped off by a tweet from Jimmy Kimmel, I purchased the first season of All in the Family, a sitcom that ran from 1971 to 1979, during a time when there were only three television channels, and that meant there was a pretty good chance anyone you know who lived through that time was watching it. I know my dad was (which meant our whole family was). And watching it now, I can't help but think my dad thought it was a conservative show intended to debunk the ridiculous views of the leftists, even though my dad was closer to Rob Reiner's age than Carol O'Connor's.
Wikipedia's description of the show is succinct: "The show revolves around the life of a working-class bigot and his family. The show broke ground in its depiction of issues previously considered unsuitable for a U.S. network television comedy, such as racism, infidelity, homosexuality, women's liberation, rape, religion, abortion, the Vietnam War and impotence."
The series, regarded as one of the greatest of all time, portrayed a multi-generational family living in New York. Archie Bunker (O'Connor) is an outspoken, narrow-minded man prejudiced against anyone who is not white, heterosexual and however he thinks people should be. Michael Stivic (Rob Reiner) is referred to as "Meathead" by Bunker, and his values couldn't be more opposite of Archie's.
Archie, even though he is bigoted, is portrayed as loving and decent, a man simply struggling to adapt to changes in the world. It's a nuanced portrayal of a conservative digging his heels in against what he sees as encroaching liberalism.
Michael is a good-hearted and stubborn hippie, as well as being the most-educated person in the household, which gives him a kind of arrogance.
The first season deals with themes that might be familiar today: Women's equality (or lack thereof). Race relations and whether black people have a basis for claiming they aren't treated equally even though the law says they should. Homosexuality and whether gay (and other non-traditionally gender-oriented people) have and deserve the same treatment as cis-gendered people. But it deals with these issues comedically and in a way that makes a thinking person both enjoy and resonate. Archie is, after all, a real-feeling guy (played flawlessly by a profoundly liberal actor). He's a good guy who holds reprehensible political and personal ideologies. He's stubborn, but he's not unredeemably evil. By the same token, Michael is the guy with the right answers, but he's kind of an asshole about getting them across.
And we are still, almost half a century later, facing every single issue they're fighting about in this series, which both depresses me and gives me hope. Today's Trumperica is not the end of the world. At the worst, we'll go over this shit again in another 50 years.
February 20, 2018, 6:06 am
Is it possible that Republicans don’t want to do anything about school shootings because they don’t mind if people are scared enough to support school choice vouchers, which would allow schools to become segregated again?
I hate to be that cynical, but such are the times we’re living in.
February 16, 2018, 1:13 pm
One good thing has come from all the mass shootings America endures on seemingly an almost-daily basis: with all the Republicans offering their thoughts and prayers for the shootings to stop (instead of, you know, enacting laws and stuff), we now have empirical evidence that God does not listen to Republican prayers.
I'd say that's progress.
Since God doesn't care what you want, GOP, how about stop basing so much of your policies on your misunderstanding of what you think he wants?
February 14, 2018, 10:22 pm
I have to use this disclaimer a lot: I'm a gun owner. I'm a supporter of the Second Amendment right to possess firearms.
But I'm also sick of children dying because the gun lobby has bought enough politicians to make sure there is no legal way to prevent psychopaths from using guns to murder dozens of innocent people.
I have a shotgun. A. Shotgun. I don't own an assault rifle. I don't own a rifle at all. I don't own a pistol. If you come to my house intending to do me or my wife or children harm, I can unlock my ammunition box quickly enough to load my shotgun and blow your brains out. But if I wanted to go on a shooting rampage, I probably couldn't pull it off, because my shotgun is a single-shot breakover..
And that's the point. I can defend my family. I can kill a coyote. If I so desired, I could kill some game.
Gun assholes will argue that they need an arsenal to protect themselves against the government, but the truth is, the government possesses cruise missiles, tanks and nuclear bombs. If they want to kill you, you're dead, regardless of how many firearms you own.
So the fact is, our Second-Amendment rights allow us to provide game for our family and protect ourselves from ne'er-do-wells who might break in and threaten our families.
But that shit has gotten out of control.
We need some kind of legislation to make sure we de-arm the crazy fuckers who go into schools and kill dozens of people. Or malls. Or hotel rooms from which a nutbag can murder 500 people at a concert.
Enough is enough.
February 8, 2018, 11:11 am
The "Christianity" in America is nothing like the Bible's version of Christianity. I know; I was part of making it so.
Here's a test for you:
• Do you believe poor people need to get off their asses and work to receive help?
• Do you believe sinners need to repent (quit sinning) before (or after) they can be saved?
• Do you believe abortion is a worse sin in the eyes of God than lying is?
• Do you believe God financially blesses believers, and that if you're not blessed, something is wrong in your life?
° Sub-question: do you believe the richest among us are blessed because they're righteous?
• Do you believe calamities in your life are a result of sin?
• Do you believe people from other religions are going to hell?
If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, a) you're not a Christian, and b) you probably voted for Donald Trump and think he's a Christian.
• Never, in the entire time he was helping the poor, did Jesus first ask them to get off their asses and help themselves.
• The Bible is clear that Jesus died to cleanse every human of the guilt of sin, and even goes so far as to say "and believers too".
• The Bible goes on and on about how horrible and evil liars are, but never once mentions abortion.
• Jesus was clear that rich people are the hardest to reach with the good news, because they worship their possessions. Never did he promise to shower his followers with wealth.
• Poverty, sickness and trouble are no indication of spirituality at all. Some people just have bad days, weeks, years or lives, but that doesn't indicate any failing on their parts.
• Jesus proclaimed salvation to all people. Period. Anyone who tells you differently has an agenda and probably wants money from you.
I say all that because of this abomination. Trump saying anything aligning himself with Christianity is like Pepsi saying it is Coke.
February 3, 2018, 8:08 am
The orange idiot has been in office for a year now, so maybe we can actually start attributing some of the performance of the economy to him and his policies instead of him constantly taking credit for the Obama economy.
Let's see: biggest daily point fall since the December 2008 financial crisis that Obama rescued us from?
Yep, Trump is finally making a difference.
January 28, 2018, 9:21 pm
A disgraced cop teams up with his previously-unknown daughter's imaginary friend (a blue unicorn) to find the methed-out Santa who has kidnapped her.
Not the best idea ever for a TV show?
I disagree. The BEST ever idea for a TV show.
Based on the graphic novel of the same name from Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson, the Happy! TV show centers on a former cop, Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni). Now a hitman, Nick finds himself unmoored in a treacherous world full of murder and meaningless hook-ups. One day, though, his drunken, depressing existence is turned upside down by Happy (my favorite comedian Patton Oswalt), an imaginary unicorn.
As a big city police detective, Nick was something of a superstar. After losing everything, he finds himself pretty much on the skids. Now working as a killer for hire, Nick blows what little cash he earns on drugs and booze. Until Happy finds him and enlists him in a quest to find a daughter he conceived while he was cheating on his wife, who now is raising the girl by himself.
I know, sounds like a dumb concept. But believe me. You are missing out if you're not watching this show on the SciFi channel (or, like me, on AppleTV).
I wish I had written this concept and the execution of it. It's brilliant. OK, I could write more, but I have to get back to watching.
January 26, 2018, 4:16 pm
Me: All of my books are New York Times bestsellers. They're the best books. Incredible books. Everyone loves them. All the best people tell me that.
Fact checker: Not they're not. No one ever says that.
Me: I never said my books were bestsellers.
I guess this is my way of declaring my candidacy for president, the office whose only qualification seems to be inventing your own reality and then denying you did.
January 25, 2018, 9:09 am
Here's an interesting fact: Last year, the world's billionaires saw their collective wealth increase by 762 BILLION dollars. If those 2,000 people had donated just the increase in their wealth from that year, world poverty could have been completely eradicated.
They would all still be billionaires. With a B.
No billionaire will ever have to worry about money ever again. Ever.
In trickle-down economic theory, the more money we send the way of the ultra rich, the more they pass it on to the poor by creating jobs. But the truth is, they don't pass it on. They hoard it.
If they did pass it on, no one — read that again, NO ONE — would be poor.
Billionaires would all still be billionaires. They wouldn't miss a penny of it, because they'd still have more money than they could ever spend in their lifetimes. But we could eliminate poverty.
That is the most disgusting fact I could cite today.
January 22, 2018, 10:22 pm
I'm going to say something that will sound really weird coming from a guy who has been online longer than Facebook, Google and Amazon.com: Fuck the Internet.
It will be even weirder when you realize I make my living from the Internet.
So maybe I should dial it back to "Fuck Facebook." And other social media.
All social media has done is, oh, I dunno, rig a fucking Presidential election and convince me that, though everyone has an opinion, most of those opinions deserve to never be heard by anyone. Anywhere. Ever.
I could post a story about Mother Theresa rescuing an emaciated dog that had pulled three starving kids out of a river and fed them with its dying breast milk and some fucknut on the Internet would find a way to say "Fuck Mother Theresa, that priest-fucking whore" about the whole thing.
There are something like seven, eight, nine billion people on the planet, I lose track. And 98 percent (PFA) of them are full of shit and the complete lack of actual ideas. (PFA stands for Pulled From Ass).
In a world where 50 percent of American voters can be convinced to vote for a Cheeto with a bad hairpiece who proclaims that he can "grab them by the pussy" because he's famous and that Mexico will pay for a wall dividing it from the US and that one of the wealthiest men in America* is actually standing for the rights of the working man, I say fuck everyone. Or at least fuck everyone who voted for that brain-damaged man child with no impulse control.
* (Donald Trump is wealthy because his father intelligently invested in trusts and other financial instruments to ensure his son would be set for the rest of his life. Truth be told, the only things Donald has done have diminished his father's monetary vision and driven him into numerous bankruptcies)
I hate people. I hate white people. I hate black people. I hate Asians. I hate Native Americans. I sincerely, honestly and intensely hate a world where Kim Kardashian can have a bestselling book, while talented and inventive authors languish in self-published puddles of mediocrity. I hate that Jack Mound (a pseudonym closely related to the perpetrator's actual name) has a platform from which to espouse racism, anti-intellectualism and outright Trump-foisting lies in his defense of the fucking dumbest and most corrupt politician to ever squat in the oval office while blaming all the fat baldy's foibles on his predecessor, the greatest statesman and patriot this country has seen since before the 20th century dawned.
FUCK FUCK FUCK social media. Fuck the conservafucks led by Fox News and fucking drug-addicted Rush Limbaugh. Hey, guys, seriously, trickle-down economics DOES NOT WORK. Reagan was a senile actor pretending to be president, and his policies have been exposed for DECADES as completely delusional.
But I would worship Ronald Reagan a thousand times over if we could just wake up in a world where Donald Fucking Trump was not the president, where the Russians hadn't bought his votes in Wisconsin and Michigan, where the president of Russia hadn't used Facebook and other social media to convince you fucking retards (forgive the politically incorrect word) to vote for a moron who couldn't describe even one policy position without first using the words "incredible" and "awesome".
The internet is a tool for tools who vote for tools.
January 20, 2018, 9:21 pm
I know a lot of people say Richard Pryor is the greatest standup comedian of all time. And I get it. Dude was fucking hilarious. And the two people I'm about to mention wouldn't exist without him. Call him Number Three.
But I will say right now (and because there are no comments on this site, you have to just suffer through my opinion) Greg Giraldo was the greatest comedian of all time. Period. End of sentence. Full Stop.
Greg died in 2010 of a drug overdose.
But he was, beyond doubt, the greatest comedian of all time. Full stop. (Again)
Watch this and you will know why.
Never before or since has a comedian been able to dial directly into the soul of everything that was wrong and everything that was right about modern society.
But Number Two comedian is almost as good, and completely worthy of consideration.
My wife hates Sarah Silverman. Thinks she's gross and inappropriate.
And she's right. Sarah is gross. And inappropriate.
And that makes her hilarious.
She is, perhaps, the greatest comedian alive, because she does not care one bit what you think about her. Instead, she cares what is true and what is funny, which oftentimes are the same things.
I am a huge fan of Patton Oswalt, who I would pay any amount of money to see live, but the truth is, among living comedians, I would see Sarah first, then Patton, then Anthony Jeselnik and then Daniel Tosh.
Wrong is often right. And these comedians make it easy to love. Sarah, come to Oklahoma so I can see you. Also, Patton. And Anthony. And Daniel.
I'm sorry to say Greg Giraldo will never make it here. But he would find me in the front row.