Monday, May 28, 2007

Good Night, Funny Man... 

We lost a living legend today, a bigger than life comic who was in that class of 50s through 70s TV game show celebrities who seemed to be famous for nothing, but who actually did far more than most people ever think they did. A Tony Award winning Broadway star turned TV actor, from the 80s on, he focused his attention on directing and teaching, as well as performing in a series of one-man shows. Also, along with Paul Lynde and Liberace, he was part of the Triumvirate of "Unopenly Openly Gay" performers at a time when Such Things did not exist. Alone among the three, though, he's the only one who lived long enough to finally officially come out in public, in a different political climate.

Luckily, I'm somewhat able to comment on Reilly through personal experience once removed. I have several friends in the theatre community who knew him, worked with him, and raved about what a gracious, wonderful, giving person he was. For those of us who first met him on Match Game at a time when we were too young to know what "gay" meant (or to think there was anything weird about it), he was the uncle we all wanted to have. Funny, witty, the center of attention without trying to be, and the kind of queen of whom our parents approved.

Good Night, Funny Man. Good Night, Uncle Charlie. You will be sorely missed.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Open Letter to the DNC 

Today, I received one of those, "Hey, it's time to give us lots of money" mailers from the DNC. Normally, I'd just toss it in the trash, but this time, I'm going to use their business reply envelope, and let them pay the postage, to send them this message:
Hey, assholes -- you want my money, then do what we elected you to do last November. End the War in Iraq. Thanks to the Vote of May 24th, in which far too many Democratic senators caved, Bush has been given a blank check. Until your party grows some balls and actually works as an opposition party, I'll have nothing to do with you. So take your solicitation for cash and shove it. Until you prove to me that you're actually doing what we asked you to do last November, you don't deserve one thin dime. Until you start listening to people like Mike Gravel and stop kissing Nancy Pelosi's ass, you do not represent those of us who still chose to call ourselves Democrats.
Hope that gets their attention, but probably not. Sad to say, the mainstream Democratic party is just as bought and sold as the Republican party.

In the next Primary, vote "None of the Above" for president, unless your above includes Mike Gravel or Ron Paul.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Death of Personal Responsibility, Part 3,271 

Update: On July 31st, Hancock's family pulled their heads out of their asses, and dropped their wrongful death suit.

A 29 year-old man with a blood alcohol content nearly twice the legal limit gets into his SUV and speeds down the highway. He isn't wearing a seatbelt, and he's talking on the cellphone, and he slams into a tow truck at the side of the road and dies.

Who's responsible?

In the real world, the answer would be, "The dumbass who drove drunk without a seatbelt, then sped while yapping on a cell phone." Apparently, Josh Hancock's father isn't living in the real world. He's not only suing the bar that served Hancock, but he's suing the driver of the tow truck, as well as the stranded motorist the driver was helping.

Yeah, uh... good luck with that.

I'll grant marginal contributory negligence points to the bar -- Hancock was a regular, came there after a day game and spent 3 1/2 hours, during which time he was reported to never be without a drink in his hand. But... no one at the bar twisted his arm, shoved him in his car and told him to drive off. No one told him to not wear a seatbelt. Nobody forced him to do what he did and die.

Hancock's father's case against the tow truck driver, Jacob Edward Hargrove, and the hapless stalled motorist, Justin Tolar, is even more dubious. What it boils down to is that Tolar shouldn't have been driving a crappy car that stalled, and Hargrove shouldn't have done what tow trucks normally do when there's a car stalled in traffic. Yes, that's right -- their major acts of negligence were being in the way of a blind-drunk, speeding asshole who was too busy with his cell phone to notice them.

For the record, the police report states that Tolar's car stalled after he spun out when another driver cut him off and he slammed on the brakes. I wonder if Hancock's father is going to try to track down that driver and sue them too.

Now, I can fully appreciate the pain of losing a son. I can also understand the natural reaction to try to place blame everywhere else. But I have no sympathy for Hancock's father, who is just being a litigious moron, clutching at straws and weaving the kind of lame arguments that are the essence of what have given liability suits such a bad reputation with the American public.

It's thanks to numbnuts like Hancock's father that people who are really hurt by negligence face increasing efforts by legislators everywhere to make it impossible to sue for real damages. They give the ammunition to lobbyists for insurance companies, corporations and other interest groups to wave at Congresscritters, demanding "tort reform". The trouble is, the evidence that gets waved is usually along the lines of, "A burglar fell through a skylight and sued for fifty million dollars." The parts that get ignored are usually always along the lines of "...and the judge laughed him out of court" or "...a jury awarded him one dollar."

I have faith in the legal system that most of Hancock's actions will be very quickly dismissed -- and, with any luck, he'll have to reimburse Hargrove and Tolar every penny they have to spend defending themselves. As for the bar, their liability should be determined as a criminal, not a civil, matter.

Did I mention that Josh Hancock was an MLB pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals? In other words, yet another athlete behaving badly. Perhaps, instead of suing everyone he can think of, Dean Hancock should be the one paying Hargrove, Tolar and the owners of Shannon's restaurant, to reimburse them for Josh Hancock doing far too little and most likely getting paid far too much.

It might teach professional athletes, their families and, maybe, everyone else the meaning of personal responsibility. Apparently, Dean Hancock is unclear on that concept.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Good Riddance, You Son of a Bitch... 

They say, "Don't speak ill of the dead", but the only nice thing I can think to say about Jerry Falwell right now is -- "Hooray. That motherfucker is dead." He was a sanctimonious, bigoted, hateful, money-grubbing, hypocritical, opportunistic scumbag who made Jesus spin in his grave on a daily basis. If Falwell's ideas about the universe are correct, then right about now, Satan is no doubt munching on him, head-first, while demons prod his fat white ass with red-hot pitchforks. But, more likely, Falwell knows by now that, well -- oops. His ideas were wrong and wrong-headed, and whether he's suffering in the afterlife or -- far more likely -- just rotting in the ground, his side is not going to browbeat this country into a fascist dictatorship of crazed fundamentalist loonies. That is probably the greatest irony about the entire religious right movement -- what they revile in other countries, they demand in the United States. They couldn't be happier if America were turned into Iran, as long as it were a Christian nation.

Which it's not, by the way, no matter how hard Rev. Jackass and his ilk try to pretend otherwise. And that's the best reason I can give for real conservatives everywhere to despise and revile his lukewarm corpse. Falwell and his Moral Majority (which is neither) kidnapped the Republican party from real conservatives, and put it in the hands of the current crop of lunatics, starting with Ronald Reagan. True conservatives believed in smaller government in all ways -- not just lower taxes and less bureaucracy, but less intrusion into everyone's private lives. The neocons kept the lower taxes part (all the more for you to tithe to them), but then ballooned the bureaucracy and decided that it's government's job to play nanny to us all, to intrude on every private act that some twat with a divinity degree thinks is evil. They launched the culture wars, which are an artificial division. Without them, the only real disagreement between Republicans and Democrats is what to put in the budget.

Fortunately, Falwell has been in the background for a long time -- but did not go there before he could do his damage. Very fortunately, he's finally in the ground. Though it won't happen, he should be buried without fanfare, stuck in an unmarked grave, and then quickly forgotten forever.

Although if I ever do pass by that grave, sure to be marked ostentatiously and at great expense, I'll be sure to take a nice piss on it.

You're finally dead, you fat fuck. And not a moment too soon.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Fuck Celebrity News 

I'm listening to the local news run down the list of terrible, terrible privations that poor little Paris Hilton could possibly suffer for forty-five days if her expensive lawyers don't manage to get her out of it. Oh my god -- no cell phone! No internet! Shared accommodations! Forced to wear a tacky jumpsuit and use a metal toilet!

So. Fucking. What?

My asshole bleeds exactly not one bit for Paris, or for any of the other celebrities currently parading their sob stories through the news. Hilton's attorneys are bitching and whining that it's soooo unfair she's getting a month and a half in jail for violating probation. A travesty of justice. Etc. Well -- bite me. If Paris had been, instead, little Ms. Laqueesha Nobody, she would have been thrown in jail for six months the first time she stepped out of line. Nobody would give a damn that she had to sit in a small cell and fend off the advances of Big Wanda and go without her weekly pedicure.

Or, to put it bluntly, if Paris weren't white and rich, in that order, not a single reporter on the planet would even deign dirtying their fingers to pick up and read the copy about it. If she weren't white and rich, she wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell of trying to use the court of public opinion and expensive lawyers to snow the court system and never have to spend a second in lock-up.

Hey, Paris, y'know what? The court of public opinion says, "Go fuck yourself." You were born rich, had every advantage, and all you can manage to do is screw up. Guess what? Nobody likes you. We're all rooting for the court to put you where you belong, in jail; to bar you access to the media and that sweet, sweet PR you so desperately whore for, and to maybe give you the kick in your privileged little ass that you need to finally start being an adult instead of behaving like the spoiled as fuck little trust fund waste of air that you are.

News flash, dear: the family money is only going to be able to keep your face tight and your tits horizontal for so long. And, frankly, you're nowhere near as good looking as you think you are, unless you think looking like a freak Barbie Doll is a good thing. Second news flash: men really do get tired of vacuous chicks no matter what they look like. Give it time. In other words, you may enjoy being a girl, but it's not going to buy you "Get Out of Jail Free" cards forever.

And, in the meantime, you and your fucked-up ilk are consuming far too much important news time, when more important things are going on in the world. Important: Presidential Candidate Debates (which were not shown on broadcast television, please explain that one); W's ever-increasing descent into madness; Tony Blair having his ass handed to him in recent UK elections; E. Howard Hunt spilling the truth about JFK's assassination; at least half the "detainees" in Guantanamo having been cleared of any wrong-doing but not being released because our government has no idea what to do with them -- and is probably afraid that they now will become terrorists, thanks to the way we've treated them...

Not Important: Paris goes to jail, Britney cuts her hair, Alec Baldwin screams at his daughter, Donald hates Rosie, Imus is a racist prick, The Hoff drinks, Phil might have shot someone, Liz does Jamestown, American Idol is still on the air...

Don't get me wrong -- celebrities occasionally do good outside of... doing whatever it is they do for a living. When they work for favorite charities, draw attention to some injustice, or dabble in politics, then they're using their fame for a good cause. But when the news feeds on them like the bottom-dwelling pond-scum that modern American journalism has become, celebrity news is useless.

So poor little skank Paris might go to jail. Let her. And shut up about it. There are plenty of Hollywood gossip tabloid shows to cover that crap. What is supposed to be news should bring us, well, the news.

The news stories that aren't being covered in this country outnumber the fortunes of every celeb mentioned in this post combined. And that we're not hearing about them from our mainstream media is the real crime.

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