Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Movie Idea: A Bi-Curious Remake of "Vertigo"

I'm not dancing around it. Hollywood is a shit factory that destroys what it touches and filters everything through a terrible Hollywood view. They churn out a lot of crap and are remaking everything. I want one more remake, in the spirit of a new twist on the original concept. I want to see Hitchcock's "Vertigo" remade but with the Jimmy Stewart character cast as a woman for a bi-curious/lesbian version. Phew, the lightning bolt didn't just kill me. I love Hitchcock's movies, and watch them on a regular rotation. Hollywood remakes everything or turns toy lines into big budget action films. Let's spend a little money and remake Vertigo with an interesting twist.

The original Vertigo can be analyzed in novel format and length because of its beautiful story telling. I consider it one of the greatest uses of the film medium to tell the tale of love, lost love, fear, masculinity, modern life, etc. It is a wonderful expression of the human condition. You can have arguments that nothing after the 'therapy' clinic scene is real. It pushes buttons and makes you think. A remake that veers in a different way would be a fantastic homage to that film, unlike the terrible "Psycho" remake with Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn.

Ok, so here's my pitch: San Francisco - 2011 - Joan "Scottie" Ferguson is a 'retired' cop who quit the force due to a height related event. She's kind of femme but does dress in an androgynous manner. She hangs out with bohemian, artisty, hipster type bi girl nicknamed "Midge". There's the reference that they hooked up after "Scottie"s army days. An old Army male buddy who has done well financially contacts Scottie for a surveillance job. We follow the exact plot of the original "Vertigo" set in San Fran with some small time updates. The spirit that enchants Madeleine is a '60s woman who lost her child because of the evil patriarchy and went mad on hippie drugs and died. Pop Argosy who knows the 'old time' San Fran history would now be a total flamer. Scottie just kisses Madeleine, and we know they love one another but Scottie kind of fights it as it's a journey of self discovery and the confusion of her sexuality. We then follow the plot to the point of revelation where we learn that Madeleine/Judy was a bit of a attention seeking bi girl who manipulated Scottie as the Army buddy had a 'vibe' on her bi-curious ways. The ending is the same. No changes for modern America.

Joan "Scottie" Ferguson - This is my dream, so Angelina Jolie. Dress her in slacks and a tight vest over a dress shirt and other slightly butch looks. This will also pull in male viewers.
Midge - Hmmm, hipster bohemian type who gets rejected by Scottie and wears dorky glasses. Zooey Deschanel. Done.
Madeleine/Judy - Amber Heard. She's got the young, petite sexually adventurous manipulator and really launches a career in drama.
Gavin Elster (Army buddy) - Would McConnaughy take a role this small? Maybe.

This would be kind of like a Brokeback Mountain for the lesbian crowd.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dead Aid - Book Review

The solutions mentioned in Dead Aid are:

1. African countries borrowing on the global debt markets

2. Foreign Direct Investment - We give you money for resources. We give money but expect something we can use in return. We also expect you to cut rates on your share of the 'stuff' mined or processed.

3. Reduce trade barriers by expanding African econ zones, remove subsidies in the US/Europe/Asia, reduce tariffs.

4. Microfinance - Great idea. I fully support this idea.

In Dead Aid, a former Goldman Sachs employee spends 150 pages ripping on the corruption and lack of education in Africa, saying aid has good intentions but is actually harmful, and that aid only creates more problems that create the need for more aid, that creates more problems.The farm subsidies will not be dropped, and why would the world want to rely on African farmers, who have failed so miserably that they have to import food. Zimbabwe went from a food exporter in 1980 to a food importer now despite 30 years of technological improvement in farming. Her solutions remove Western Govts (usually full of do gooders), Christian charities, NGOs and non-religious charities from positions of power of doling out the cash, and replaces them with Wall St banks (bond sellers and traders) and foreign multinational companies who would provide direct investment for resources. So we used to give Africa developmental aid and aid more designed for humanitarian/medical/health reasons (gifts really). Now she wants us to replace that with $$ designed to develop resources for other countries to use, and Wall St bond traders that will control the flow of cash instead of a sympathetic bleeding heart lib or Christian charity. The charities also work to bring US & Euro MDs to Africa to give them basic care that they can't provide themselves. No way is Goldman doing that! That sounds like a f-cking horrible trade of money masters.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Despite the feeling that the world around us is slipping into war and chaos, despite the myriad of problems facing common everyday people, and despite the fear that seems to be creeping more and more into the lives of the people I know and love, I am thankful for the life that I have.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Baseball and My Family

Sports have always been a part of my life. When I was a kid, I played the traditional big 3 (baseball, football, basketball) each corresponding season. As I grew, I found my specialties and strengths. Once done with school, I played on and off with friends in pick up games and lost interest over time as I grew older and more ticked off by the corporatization of professional and even college sports infected more and more with criminals and the weird obsessive behavior at the little kid level. While I rant and rave on how much a waste of time sports are or the evils of college sports programs covering up rapes of female students and, now at Penn St children, there is another element of sports I have overlooked that is a positive. It can bring people together. Not in the cheeseball crowd of strangers cheering on one event, but in the personal connection way.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Remember when OWS was Considered Similar to the Tea Party

Recent years have seen two organic protest movements take shape that the media is trying to portray as completely opposite, yet they are incredibly similar. Occupy Wall St has a distinct target with a focus on the big Wall St banks that control over 60% of US assets, while the Tea Party focused on the extreme levels of government spending that threaten to bankrupt our nation and at the least dilute the value of our currency. Occupy Wall Street is a much younger phenomenon than the Tea Party and has some unworkable ‘demands’, but they both strike at the heart of the problem of modern American politics and economics: crony capitalism. It is not just a banking issue, as the Solyndra scandal shows that the problem lies in government being in bed with big business, but banking is the most egregious example. For our nation and economy to move forward, we must sever the close ties between business and government, and a start would be with truly reforming our banks.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Russian Doomsday Device is/was Real

The Soviets actually built a doomsday device like in Dr. Strangelove and didn't tell anyone. It is pretty amazing how advanced they could build some systems but how terrible they were at producing basic goods.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Movie Idea: Speak-easy, Kill Softly

The setting is Prohibition era NYC with the roaring '20s raging away and alcohol flowing in the countless speak-easies of NYC. The film opens with a young, female reporter starting out at a new magazine and being shuffled around to their social circle coverage. The first scene is of her getting the lowdown of the lame social 'about town' events and happenings she is suppose to cover. She leaves one dinner party of hoity toity people, and goes with a handsome young man to a speak easy. She gets terribly drunk and loses her notes from the hoity toity party. We then get a shot of what looks like a man making love to a woman in an alley, but really he's strangling her. She decides to write up about the night at the speak-easy and its underworld. Her editor gives her a ripping for not covering the dinner party, but loves the speak-easy column. He has her write under a fake name, and gives her total freedom with covering speak easies. We see the cops working the crime scene and are introduced to the lead detective. Lead detective is an honest cop in a city of bought policemen. He doesn't understand how a strangled woman who reeks of alcohol is in that alley. Other cops look at one another and laugh softly. They know the speak-easy is nearby.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quick Book Review: The Tibetan Book of the Dead

"The Tibetan Book of the Dead" is a 'classic' of Buddhist literature. It is suppose to help one deal with the change that leads from life to death and the transition phase. It is suppose to help one even live their life better. Honestly, I didn't dig it that much. I also happened to read more on Buddhism here and elsewhere, and uhhhh, yeah I am a Christian who thinks Buddhism's key concepts are smart. I like Buddhism's philosophy on life, but I am a Christian. The multicolored light shows, six armed Gods and other stuff just isn't for me. This book cemented that. I guess this book did help with a transformation: this steered me back to my Christian roots. At least this book only cost me $4.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Quick Book Review: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

If you want to read a beautifully written and well researched book that is of a style not used anymore, read the Roman masterpiece by Gibbon. Gibbon created a huge work that people do not attempt anymore because it was so large in scope. Currently, historians focus on narrow subjects and mine the subject down to a nitty gritty. One professor of mine once said someday they will reward a PhD for someone who wrote a dissertation on the first paragraph of Hamlet. Gibbon writes elegantly, can stir emotions, and makes you wonder about the glory that was Rome.

A secret bonus to this book that I did not expect were the chapters on the early Christian faith, the chapters on the Crusades, and the rise of Islam as a mostly destructive force. I read a work that had selected chapoters, with many just summarized. It still clocked in at 1000 pages. One recommendation would be to focus on chapters for the parts you want to read. I was actually bothered that my edition did not have the full chapters on Justinian and Belisarius (although I have read much on Belisarius) or more on the Byzantine emperors. This is still a fantastic work. If you're a current American citizen, you might read some passages, look around, and just sigh because of the familiarity.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Conspiracy Theory: American Idol All Staged

American Idol was all a set up vehicle for the music industry to release their 1-4 pop singers a year. Prior to Gaga and Katy Perry, who performed on Idol and received boosts to their exposure through Idol, there was a long gap with no good pop solo artist released unless they were Idol participants. Idol was the perfect vehicle. It gives you months of exposure to build a fan base through TV's highest rated show, and then a concert tour to hit the entire nation after the show. This would allow for the industry to release surer bets for their pop sensations.

The voting is rigged, the top 3-6 is set depending on quality of their crop of potential stars, the rabbits are set up for the top 12 and controversial water cooler contestants as well. I think they have the called in potentials Q rated during the initial rounds, Hollywood week, and then the whittle from 24 to 12. How a performer rates on favorability in those initial rounds refines who they bring tot he top 12 to sell to America. The tryouts are a way to get morons to perform who will be the circus part of the show, set the story for the top 12 so you get emotionally invested in them, and get the nation talking about some of the worst contestants as Idol figures out how to pace the top 12. We then get a roller coaster ride of voting and performances. In a weak year with one stand out to sell, they have to pack the top 12 with weird folks or s3x appeal. The weeks build up a resume of songs for people to sing, plus it gives the industry a feel for how many albums they can sell of an individual performer.

How many top 12 folks now have had label deals before that fell through or records produced quietly prior to contesting?
How many performers have gone on to be in Broadway shows?
How many performers have had good Gospel album releases?
How many rabbits are there?

The rabbit concept is an important one. The rabbit in dog racing is a stuffed animal that is on a bar and whips around the dog track to entice the dogs to chase after it. It is set at a pace to get them running fast. This is done in some mile races as well with a rabbit who will run a specific split for a lap to let the leads gauge their pacing off of him. The rabbit in Idol is usually an older contestant with a good to great voice who does not have commercial viability as a pop star, but is good enough to get viewers to watch and 'push' the featured star. Perfect examples of this are Bo Bice who was the rabbit for Carrie Underwood, and Melinda Doolittle who was the rabbit for Jordan Sparks. The rabbit gets a small record deal and is set for a while with being able to tour and make money due to their exposure on Idol. That's their payoff. Idol has learned that female winners are easier to push as the pop star, and that there is a bit of a turn off for some listeners if someone was the Idol winner. Chris Daughtry as a rocker is easier to sell than Chris Daughtry the rocker who won Idol. Adam Lambert was their greatest performer, but did not win as he's a bit non-pop to sell. He's easier to sell as an edgy, flamboyantly gay pop rocker to 20-somethings when he's not the Idol winner. The Adam Lambert season was the best example of this as the no. 3 finisher, Gokey, has released Christian albums, Lambert has had success and Chris whats his face has released a pop album. Brilliant.

Idol is a talent funnel, and an incredibly smart one at that. I can't believe I never thought of this before now.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The MLK Statue

Anyone been reading up lately on the MLK Memorial in DC? It is an absolute mess.

1. A Chinese sculptor designed it. Why not an American, or maybe an African-American, sculptor design this? Because the Chinese government chipped in $25 million towards the memorial which was falling short of fundraising goals (still not there).
2. The stone is from China. The final assembly was suppose to be done by DC based firms, but nope, Chinese crews. Oh, did I forget to mention that MLK looks like he is Chinese in the statue?
3. The MLK family shook the memorial foundation down for using his likeness and words from his speeches. This is pathetic and disgraceful of the family.
4. MLK is misquoted on the statue.
5. Looking at the major contributors, it is interesting to see Hilfiger up there due to the urban legends of how he viewed blacks wearing his clothes. It is also interesting to see that they have raised $114 mil, when $10 mil was from the US govt and $25 mil was from the Chinese. They have nearly 100 major donors listed (George Lucas for some reason). Somehow they have almost $35 mil from two federal governments, 100 corporate donors, then there are small, individual donors, and they haven't collected $120 mil.

This is the perfect baby boomer nostalgia with a dash of white guilt monument. Black Americans spend $9 billion a year on hair care products. With the US government matching program and corporate sponsors up the wazoo, this should have been an easy goal. It is a crying shame that fundraising problems forced the MLK Memorial board to select a Chinese sculptor with Chinese stone. The Chinese connection as well as MLK family money grubbing might be the perfect little capsule for the spiritual status of our nation.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Medical Profession Handles Diversity Well

In my four years in the Midwest, I have yet to pick a physician. I have seen a doctor once for an infection, but no settling down and finding an MD for me. I would need to find an MD open to new patients, but unlike other Americans, I wouldn't give a crap about my doctor's race (nor gender). It doesn't matter to me. I've had male, female, Asian, and white doctors. If you're board certified, you're good for me. It does to some people though, and of course, some people think the medical profession needs to be more diverse. In defense of the medical profession, they do a great job of bringing a diverse physician workforce to the marketplace for Americans. It just seems like the diversity of the medical profession is not the PC community's preferred version of diversity. Let's check out the facts and see what can be done.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Yoga Pants

Yoga pants are the wonderbra for asses. I've yet to see a bottom that was worse when in yoga pants. That explains why so many women where them when not doing yoga. It's like those tight shorts college volleyball women wear.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Infanticide Stats

The local news reported on a sad case of infanticide in our metro area. These news stories hit my wife a bit harder now since we have a wee little one now. As she said, "babies cry for a few reasons, diaper, food, sleep, no need to hit them". The child was two months old yet died of blunt force trauma from multiple hits. With all of that Casey Anthony uproar in the back of my mind, I decided to look for some statistics on infanticide in America.

The breakdown of who does the killing surprised my wife and I, as it was dads at 31%, moms at 29% and male 'acquaintances' at 23%. No wonder many dads don't feel to keen on strange new boyfriends of their ex or baby momma being in the house where their kid lives. The percentage killed by acquaintances has risen since 1976, which I bet is tied back to the number of illegitimate kids rising and children living in divorced homes.

The breakdown of who dies by age is the majority are under 2 years of age. People are killing children who can barely communicate with them. Maybe the 2 year mark is a break point where the ability of adults to cope with the quicly elevated stress levels and alarm of a crying child is conditioned.

The racial breakdown is pretty sad for the black community, but at least it has come down in recent years. The white rate per 100K has been stable since the '70s, and the black rate has come down, but it is still 3x the rate of white infanticide. I do think they are sliding the hispanic rates into whichever color breakdown hispanics place themselves. I do notice that the 'other' rate is lower than the white rate, proving that Asians take care of their kids. This is another self inflicted wound in the black community.

This last part might be part of the media circus with Casey Anthony. It was a ridiculous story of lies, deceit and no remorse. Add to it a pretty woman. Add to it a pretty white woman with a weird family. These things all together make her case even more unusual.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Favorite Bands That I Don't Own an Album Of

3. Flaming Lips - I could listen to them all day long, but I don't have an album.

2. Led Zeppelin - I have mp3s of my favorite tunes by then, but no albums. No high school purchases or even jr. high when I started listening to harder rock. I will keep the radio on no matter what song it is by the Zep.

1. The Rolling Stones - Regardless of mp3 downloads, it is a sin that I do not have a complete album by the Stones. I feel sicken realizing this.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What is Worse the Loser or the Loser who Admires the First Loser?

Another season of Bad Girls Club has started. My desire to play amateur psychiatrist and social pundit is strong (I should have been a shrink), and Bad Girls Club is too much to resist. This is Human Zoo TV. These women are horrible, make horrible decisions, act horrible, and don't realize what they are doing and how they are acting leads to their problems. What is scary is not just their behavior, but that this behavior is portrayed positively as if they are empowered. What is scary is that other young women in America watch this show and identify with them, consider them people to look up to and want to be that way in their lives. Watching this show, I finally understand some of the previously perplexing things about modern human nature.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Primary Thunder Rd Association

Music is such a personal and emotional artform. Whether it is classical or cheeseball pop summer songs, music can be the perfect expression of the human condition for a specific moment or feeling in your life. "Thunder Road" will now forever be associated with driving through Pennsylvania at 2:33am screaming this song with my cousin.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Movie Review: Captain America

Summer movies are supposed to give you fun and entertaining escapes from normal life. Big action pictures are the normal fare, and you need some Raisinettes and popcorn to get the full experience. Captain America is a fun and well paced action flick that delivers. Shooting Nazis? Check. Period piece set in the '40s with great costumes? Check. Explosions? Check. A couple of great actors to give the picture some depth? Surprisingly, a check. Great pacing and story that makes the 2 hours fly by? Check. Captain America is a good family action flick that can entertain the parents as well as the kids.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Will Obama Pull an LBJ?

Every single time I think Obama can't look any weaker, he manages to surprise me. The debt ceiling deal is amazing as he didn't get anything he asked for, went back on things he'd vow he wouldn't do "I will not yield", and gave in to the party that held one house of congress. No one ever associated debt ceiling limits with other policy decisions. How in the world did Obama not see this when he extended the Bush tax cuts???? Is he that bad of a politician?

Another New Song With Great Retro Sound

This song sounds like it is from 1972. I love singing this and inserting any interesting combo of words I can in the 'money grabber' lyric place. It is great to see a band so committed to their total package like this band. This entire video has a time marker on it. It evokes that period of soul music. The little back to back dancing at 1:52 is a nice touch. It's something silly they would have done in a promotional video back then. The outline sequence from 2:02-2:18 is my wife's favorite part of the video. It is a very Austin Powersy touch. The look, sound and lyrics are fantastic and true to that old soul feel. The lead singer sounds like Hall from Hall and Oates. Great voice to sound like. I hope these guys come our way.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Fun New Song

My wife and I love this song. I heard it on the radio one day and told her she had to listen to it. That bass line is just too menacing. We love the chorus for it's uplifting melody-dark lyrics fusion. We sing this song to our infant son. We have problems. I love the whistling. Best use of whistling since "Patience" by GnR.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Debt Deal or No Deal

All sides have a share in the fault here. I'd once again state that Obama's advisors have failed him by not alerting him to tackling this when he caved on the Bush tax cut extensions. He is also a weak leader, and not having a plan of his own was a sad admission this week. I cannot believe a Democrat President is willing to cut SS and medica instead of discretionary spending. The fact that he nixed a deal the Senate Dems had worked out with the GOP is amazingly self-centered, but we shouldn't expect more than that from a guy who has written two books about himself. This is all a terrible kabuki theater act. We are broke, and the first step in tackling a problem is admitting it. Got gold?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saying Goodbye to my Gramma

Last Sunday, I received the call that my paternal grandmother had died. I 'spoke' to her on the phone the Friday before which was me telling her I loved her and that it was OK to go. All I heard was labored breathing like the dying breath of a suffocating woman. It really burns in my memory. She died in her sleep, which somehow comforts me. I'm glad she wasn't aware of her death nor that anyone has to live with the memory of her dying in their presence. My 15 year old cousin had visited her hours before her passing, and I am thankful he didn't witness that as he cried streams of tears after saying goodbye. I spent a few days home, saw lots of family, paid my respects and realized this was a lot easier now than it would have been 10 years ago.

When I was growing up, I often said I had two moms. My mom and my gramma. My parents both worked and she took care of us, later to be 'helped' by my retired grandfather. She was awesome to me. She was in her 50s through my childhood, so she had plenty of energy to keep up with us and do fun things. She had also given up on parenting so my teen aunts and uncles had free roam, while she could be super gramma to my sister and me. She was fantastic. My grandparents were dirt poor, lived in the scariest house I have ever been in, but they loved me immensely. Because of their love and my grandmother's care and affection, I never needed anything more and never cared that they did not have hot water in their house even in the 1980s.

My grandmother frustrated me, too. As she got older and her health started to fail, and as I got older and could recognize her (and my grandfather's) bad behaviors, I would get upset even though I knew they always loved me. I didn't like her manipulations of my dad and aunts/uncles, but she was a person, not just my gramma. I encouraged my gramma to eat right, to listen to her doctors, to do the rehab the nurses recommended, and to stay on top of her Diabetes and Parkinsons. When her thumb starting to tremor I got on her to get checked for Parkinsons. Her answer was "it's just a shake, I'm old". I said "No it might be Parkinsons and YOU'RE MY GRAMMA!" She was diagnosed in her late 60s and thankfully, the meds she was on could keep it limited for years to one hand/wrist. She rarely listened to her docs. It was aggravating. I knew she had limited time. Why didn't she? This was a downward spiral of worse health, more isolation, and the eventual state of her being overmedicated (cholesterol, parkinsons, diabetes, anti-cancer drugs all at once) and a prisoner to her own body. Her mind was still there; she just couldnt move. Heck, she couldn't sit up straight. My wife met her 8 years ago when she was immobile but still peppy, talkative, sharp as a knife and funny. We noticed she wasn't like that the last few years. If someone had not seen her for 5 years, they thankfully missed the worst years.

- My grandparents would argue, mostly in good humor but sometimes angry, and the exchanges would break down to her saying "Up yours/Fuck you, Arthur" and flipping the smallest 'bird' ever, then he'd say "Jesus Christ Jeanie". I was age 3-9. For a few years I thought Jesus Christ's last name was Jeanie.

- My gramma said "I love you" every single time I spoke to her.

- When I told my gramma about my first love and how she broke up with me, she said, "I knew you'd be like your grampa and fall hard, and she sounds nice but any girl that would break your heart is one fucking bitch".

- She didn't drink because of the alcoholics she grew up in the same home with, and she didn't smoke because during the war they sent her down as a little girl with ration stamps for meat. She stood in line and when she got to the coutner she realized they were ration cards for cigarettes. She cried, the store owner gave the stamp booklet's worth of cigs and she walked home in the rain with other people's cigarettes.

- When I found out in 2004 that she had cancer, my first thought was "What if she doesn't see me get married?" and my 2nd thought was "What if she dies before the Sox win a world series?"

- I called her when the Pats beat the Rams, when the Sox finally won it all, and even when the Sox lost to the Yankees the year before in crushing fashion.

- My gramma cried during games 6 and 7 of the 1986 World Series.

- When I first got my license, I drove right down to tell my grandparents. They were happy for me, congratulated me, and told me to DRIVE SAFELY. When my kid was born 15 years later, I called my gramma and couldn't keep her on the phone longer than 45 seconds. That hurt. That showed me how much she had changed and how far gone she was. The gramma who beamed at me driving and later graduating college became the gramma who couldn't stay on the phone for a minute when my first child was born whom we named in honor of her husband. What was her social calendar for that hour, day, week? Wait to die. Her change had helped me move down that process of accepting her death.

- When people die, I think the prime thing you can do is honor their memory and sacrifice in what you do and how you live your life. A great thing for you is to both take on their best traits and behaviors and learn from their mistakes.

I'll end this with a memory that was a constant repeat. My mom would drop us off sometimes dressed sometimes in pajamas in our pre-school days. I was 3-5 years old. On days when she had time, she'd put my shirt on and let me dance around the room to music like Tom Cruise in "Risky Business". On days when she had less time and patience, I'd put my pants on and then she'd say, "get up on the bed". I'd climb on her bed and be about her height. She'd say "arms up, eyes closed". She'd pull my shirt over my head and in that second where your skin scratches from the fabric she'd give me a kiss. I'd say "Gray gray" (my name for her) all annoyed, and then we'd hug. After a while, I knew what was coming, and she knew that I knew, but we didn't say anything. We kept up that routine and always end in a big hug. I hope once in your life you love a child and they love you as much as we loved each other.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quiet, Just Reflecting

I've been quiet recently as my paternal grandmother is facing death. This is the end, no question about it. As both grandparents will be dead on that side, it is a time to reflect on that side of my family, and the bits of family history that they have told me. I've prepared for this change and the coming loss. It still doesn't change it being a sad loss.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Casey Anthony: Why was Facebook on Fire?

Casey Anthony was a character in a made for court TV drama about a woman suspected of killing her daughter so it would not interfere with her awesome 20s lifestyle. She was found not guilty of murdering her child and even of child abuse/neglect, and the Facebook was not happy. Facebook was a great example of the public outrage as people might as well called for her head on a stick followed by the idiot jurors and prosecution team members. I have not seen such vitriol since W was in office.

Why? Who cares? This was a murder trial in Florida of the most horrific type crime in our imagination (filicide) by an attractive young mom, who then went out and partied for a month before saying the child was missing. There is a web of lies, and then a circus trial with the accused's mom playing a role in freeing her daughter. Yes, it is horrible, but it is one murder. This is the problem we run into with modern media and crime. While nationwide people knew of the Lindbergh baby or Lizzie Borden, murders like this did not get the nationwide media attention they do now. There also wouldn't be the Facebook friendly drinking and partying pictures to display of the horrible murdering mother. She didn't act remorseful on prison videos. She was 'bad'. We know too much and can be too connected.

It is a horrific story perfectly tailored for TV. It hits all of our 'oooh that's bad' buttons. The outrage at the not guilty verdict is also the release of pent up frustrations at our legal system, at the thought that there are two justice systems (rich vs. non-rich), at the oddities of family court, at the corruption elsewhere, reckless bankers that have not been arrested, and the knowledge of slaps on the wrist for other murders. Compare the Casey Anthony single murder to the Grand Rapids Mass Murder last week. The media showcased how one man murdered 7 people all because his wife was leaving him. His family blamed it on his bipolar disorder (which he received Social Security disability payments for), while others pointed out how violent he was and how many run ins with the law he had. We see that and think "why is he loose?". Some see it and think "Why were women having kids with him and dating him?". It's a far more heinous event than a single murder, but we can't scream for his blood as he killed himself. Casey Anthony was accused of murder and got off. She is most likely a monster who either killed her daughter or acted irresponsibly in a way that caused her daughter's death (suffocation by accident theory) and partied for a month after. Is she a career criminal who kills 7 people, including his own daughter, in a murdering rampage? No. Should we move on and focus our energies elsewhere? Yes. Your mental ejaculations on Facebook are worthless.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Mississippi vs. Colorado

Mississippi has the highest obesity rate while Colorado has the lowest. This little blurb reinforces a lot of well known things in regards to obesity stats, and even mentions how willpower alone is not enough to stay thin. I agree. Willpower combined with common sense on portion sizes, food selection and activity can keep a person fit. The scariest thing is that Colorado's obesity rate (just under 20%), would have been the highest of all states in 1995. That is 16 years ago.

Song Reaction: Last Friday Night

The recent pop release for Katy perry is "Last Friday Night", which my sister did not appreciate hearing with the 13 yr old and 1 yr old in the car. My wife and I were surprised, as my sister is not a prude so we searched for it online to listen to. The content of the lyrics are adult, but the context of a 'young' pop singer singing this in her teenybop way for the teen girls (and gay men) is what makes it a bit weird.

The beginning has house party imagery spotlighted by the stranger in the bed, hangover head ache, minibar smell of protagonist, and a Barbie (the doll) on the BBQ. Then the protagonist says it might be a hickie or a bruise, with pics online of the night, but just "oh well" and "it ruled". The imagery is of teen parties with plenty of bad adult behavior, but 'oh well' and hey it ruled. No consequences or fear. It will all work out.


Because the chorus and later verses. The chorus which talks about doing shots, not sure about sexual contact, maxing out credit cards and behaving so badly the bar kicks her out. THEN they streak, skinny dip and have a 3 way, with the chorus saying 'do it all again'. No consequences. The later verse references having a job, a car, and a party dress (adult items). The behavior is repeated, but now the subject is older. In the course of the song, the lyrics take you from wild child teen to wild child adult. No consequences. Do it all again, it will rule, because the worst thing that could happen is that the photos will end up online. Oh well.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Hippies of the '60s

Great article, here, on the '60s radicals by Mark Ames. I do agree that the '60s have been overly portrayed as a sex, drugs, fun period for radicalism, with the harsher element to the Yippies covered up. It does portray them more naive and innocent to future generations, easier to dismiss and mock, but I think it also covers up the radical and dangerous side that many adults walking around today can tuck away for polite society. The political robberies, shootings and kidnappings of the ;ate 60s and early 70s seem like from a comic book. Even the extreme eco-terrorist people don't snatch people.

"Hey kids did you know mom and I were part of a commune style living organization that occasional robbed capitalist pig banks to bring the system down?"

"Wait, what? You sh*ts don't even want me to write a bad letter to the principal out of fear it will go on my record!"


Monday, July 04, 2011

Book Review: Caesar's "The Civil War"

Modern political memoirs or autobiographies are self serving tomes of doucheness. As I stated in my previous Caesar book review, the man was promoting himself, but discussing awesome political and military events. Caesar's "The Civil War" is a continuation of the Caesar literary tradition. Caesar explains what happened, from his point of view, and takes you 'there' to the moments of action or decision. Yes, history teachers, it is dead white guy reading, but this man set things in motion that we still feel the effects of today. At 140 pages, it is a quick and educational read.

Caesar makes a note in this book which is different from his tales from Gaul. He says "I think", which is odd as throughout his writing he writes in the third person. When he says "Caesar decided" it is the true thoughts of Caesar as he is the one writing it. This slip is right after his defeat at Dyrrachium to Pompey. He is explaining why he thinks Pompey did not follow through and rout his forces after the defeat and retreat. It appears Caesar is recalling a moment that could have changed his and Rome's trajectory (worldwide even more than he knew), and it shakes him so much that he drops the third eprson cold narration to say "I think". Whenever he wrote this memoir/history, that moment became a more personal reflection than the simple "I'm the righteous Roman", "Here's my strategy" or "this is how the battle went". One simple passage, but I loved seeing it.

This is the type of reading that a classics or Roman history professor should assign for everyone to read. It is a great discussion starter as it kind of reads like Caesar was doing some CYA in case he lost, he could defend his law abiding reasons for his decision to battle. It also reads like he is laying groundwork for what he had to sacrific and his followers efforts if he did win and would rule a bit cruelly. Throughout the Gaul book and this Civil War book, you see that Caesar was always thinking like a grand strategist. He would use all methods to defeat an enemy. He would spare his troops where he could. He picked the best fighting conditions when possible. He understood and encouraged his men, and was merciful to fallen enemies. He also left out parts that were nastier or a bit tricky. It is fascinating to read. It also shows once again, why the best generals or leaders think multidimensional. They approach the Gordian knot with a sword in hand as Alexander did. Problems should be looked at from all possible angles.

Happy 4th

Enjoy the 4th with those you care about, and if you can't call them.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

OK Prudent Homeowners, Get the Pitchforks Ready

Are you kidding me? Read this. The big banks are now reducing principal on mortgages for 'at risk' borrowers, yet still can claim the loan is worth the original amount on their accouting reports. I am ready for the pitchforks, tar, feathers and assorted 18th century public shaming techniques for these banksters.

The DSK Sexual Assault Fiasco

Because I dislike the low value, big media attention of political sex cases, I dislike writing about them. I see them as sideshow things like the Rep. Weiner lameness. The media loves to sell that type of news, and doesn't put in the effort to follow up on Fukushima, the Financial Crisis origins, etc., which are more of a process than a clean quick event. I did want to discuss the DSK fiasco as it has worldwide impact, has a 'hit' vibe to it, shows horrible decision making by the DA's office, and shows how bad the coverage was initially.

- DSK was head of the IMF. He was the lead challenger to Sarkozy in France for the presidency. He has stated that the world might have to change from the dollar as the reserve currency, and Sarkozy is in serious trouble as the country was mad at his leadership in austerity measures that helped keep France solvent (for at least another year).

- DSK was arrested and smeared as every questionable thing he had done with women was dragged up. He's gone from the IMF. He is smeared enough to leave Sarkozy with no big, public face to run against. Magically, the IMF installs a new chief and the case then comes into question. They just waited to have his replacement secured, then started expressing doubts? How long did they doubt the story but kept it under wraps so he couldn't attempt to get his old IMF job back? Banksters need to have their way.

- Physically, men can easily overpower many women as the average man is 5 inches taller than the average women and much stronger (on average). DSK is 62, a touch on the short side, tubby, and supposedly overpowered a 30 year old who is 6 feet tall to force her to perform fellatio on him. Physically, this just doesn't make sense.

- The media portrayed the accuer as an immigrant who had come to America for asylum, who had two small children, was deeply religious, and wanted a better life in America. She left the room in a hurry which could be seen on security cameras. The media wrote how DSK left the hotel in a hurry and got on a flight to get out of the country. Rape and run; that is how it was presented.

- The case is now on the verge of collapse. The accuser has far more dirty connections than anyone knew. The accuser spoke to her man in prison and talked about shaking DSK down for big money. The accuser's story has changed multiple times, and has been accused of lying on the witness stand in front of a grand jury by authorities. Men deposit money in her bank accounts, and she has 5 cell phones in her name yet only uses one. The accuser's asylum story doesn't match up as she has claimed a prior rape.... that no one can find any record of. She did not run from the room, but instead cleaned another room aftert he supposed attack. The smear now is on her as the rumors are that she was assigned to that hotel as a maid/prostitute.

- DSK left the hotel, had lunch with his daughter, phoned the hotel to say he left his cell phone behind, and then got on a plane to go back to France, which he had planned beforehand. Either his is one cold eyed sick man or an innocent guy who had sex with a maid.

- The DA decided to arrest DSK, a high profile individual, without evaluating the story beyond the initial report. DSK would have to return to America as head of the IMF, and you damn well know France does extradite criminals (Sarkozy would love handing him over). They could have investigated this further before creating an international scene. Why the rush to arrest?

I originally was skeptical of the accusation, but wanted to wait for evidence like security camera footage and the rape kit results. Things did not add up early, and are worse now. My final take is that the bankers, the elite and the cartel did not like DSK's statements about the dollar, gold and bailouts. Sarkozy did not like him, and Sarkozy has been a nice buddy to the euro banks with the Greece, Ireland, euro issues. This was a way to eliminate DSK as a threat. This also creates headlines to distract people from the 2nd great depression and the Libya fiasco. The big loser: women who do get raped and fear coming forward. Odd cases or false accusers that get huge coverage (the Duke lacrosse case) create a horrible environment for true rape victims.

UPDATE: It appears surveillance video showed the accuser cleaning other rooms after the supposed attack, and then the security guys high fived each other and danced after the accuser made her report. This was a set up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Strength Training Article

Nice article on strength training in Men's Journal. First thing I have read in MJ in years.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meditation Improves Your Health

Nice to see some science backing up something that feels right. We'll see if more studies can support the real impact meditation can have on our health. I like meditation just to get myself centered after a rough day or hectic moment. There is a mind-body connection, and we barely know anything about it.

Kid Fight Club

As I come to the conclusion that organized sports are insane, I'm researching different martial arts for the bambino to participate in for some fun, some healthy activity, and some basics of self defense. There is so much mumbo jumbo with organized group sports nowadays that I loathe the idea of my boy playing team sports. My father is coaching baseball for what feels like the 40th year (close), and he says the ability is great but kids don't practice as much to refine their skills and there are more injuries from overuse. He talks about neverending seasons and people offering to pay him $100 for a 2 hour hitting 1 on 1 tutorial. Sounds like baby boomer late parents have found another child activity to kill. It's just as bad with other sports, but I'm willing to let the little guy try whatever he wants. Despite all of that, I'd like him to do a martial art just to see if he'll like it. It's just him, however hard he wants to push it.

Back in the '80s, my mom signed me up for a introductory boxing class at the organization that I believe became the Portland Boxing Club. In the 1980s with the Karate Kid and Rocky 3 and 4 movies, kids either wanted to box or do karate. Most of the kids in my neighborhood did karate at Villari's and some of us did boxing. After 3 months of beating each other up in the neighborhood (Kid Fight Club), my mom (and other moms) pulled me out of it for fear I was becoming too violent. The memory of this period went down the rabbit hole, but I forever remember the basics of punching, avoiding a punch and 'what you put in is what you get out'. I liked watching boxing matches but stopped after Don King rigged the first Holyfield-Lewis fight. I have drifted to MMA even if it feels like prison fights. I remember getting in a couple group fights in college and remember being amped up more than scared. How bad can Ivy League frat fights get? Fighting is wrong, but it is good to know you can defend yourself.

Enough with my '80s nostalgia! Here are the 3 disciplines I have researched that have gyms in the area:
1. Krav Maga - A big positive is that classes start as young as 3 years old just to learn coordinated moves and get a feel for movement. Downside is that most folks who know martial arts say that once you get past the 'mystique' of it being the Israeli Defense Forces combat training, it basically really good street fighting. The two gyms are very close by, so that gets a thumbs up.
2. Muay Thai - The classes start at age 7, and while one place is close the other gym far away. Lots of cool stuff that I think a kid would like, and it looks fun. It also seems like an intense work out, and if the boy wonder's energy levels now are any indicator of the teen years, he's going to need an outlet.
3. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - Classes start at age 7, but I swear I saw a studio that started at age 5. Multiple studios in the area, and just about the best grappling technique I have read about on forums and websites. I also have memories of the Royce Gracie destroying opponents in the original UFC despite being much smaller than the other guys.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gay Male Deaths from AIDS vs. Bully Inspired Gay Suicide

Gay men account for over half of the US HIV infections. Since 17,000 Americans died from AIDS in 2009, one could safely estimate that at least 3000 gay men died from AIDS related causes (most likely much higher). How many gay 'youth' suicides were there last year? 3 or 5.

Which was considered an epidemic?
Which got airtime on Ellen?
Which got an "It gets Better" video?

I'm straight, but I still care about HIV-AIDS. It is a lot higher on my medical priority list than gay teen suicides. It is like the media forgot how to cover big, long term stories. The media will guilt people over a few gay suicides like it is an epidemic (they can blame straighties), but will remain silent over the continuous death toll from HIV-AIDS. It's now just another statistic for them to report. It is a death sentence. Even with the great drug cocktails and antiretroviral drugs, infected people still die and god forbid they lose their insurance and have to go back on the 'old' drugs. Did they make the AIDS quilt for nothing?

So I Bumped into Gov. Daniels of Indiana

I ran into Gov. Mitch Daniels last night and was really struck by a few things. I think there are some other reasons he did not run that no one has mentioned. Of course, he probably did private polling, evaluated campaign donation potential and then said "Nope", but I think there are a few reasons that other politicans will probably heed in the future. I'm not shy, and I gave him crap for not running and mentioned we're looking for a good governor to ride in compared to our current candidates. He gave me the 'there are a lot of reasons for not running' to which I answered "of course of course, plus you have to have the personality to go after that office". He couldn't look me in the eye when he gave his excuses. I think he'd make a good president, but I think he'd make a terrible presidential candidate.

1. He's soft spoken. Sadly, I don't think we can have that anymore in 24-7 media.
2. He's short. Any report of him being 5'8" is generous. I'm 6'1", my dad is 5'4" and no way is Daniels 5'8". He is 5'6"+/-.
3. His combover is terrible.
4. He'd look awful in HD. HD TV will probably prevent dumb Americans from ever voting for a candidate over 65 again. This might be why last year Obama was dying his hair, to slow down the aging process so he doesn't look like a tired, old man so soon. Daniels would look bad with his 62 year old skin (63 in 2012) and combover. HD TV will impact who runs. I now think Hillary will not run in 2016 because by then she is going to look awful in HD nearing 70.

We need to adjust our expectations of who will run, why they can run and the realistic chances in our modern technological age.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Red Wine for Good Health

A lot of healthy eating and living advice sounds like a drag and no fun. One item I have warmed to over time is red win consumption. If you are a low carb person or paleo eater, red wine packs a lot of positives without a lot of carbs. Futurepundit has a lot of links to studies that point out the anti-aginganti-cancer, anti-obesity and good health boosting power of red wine. Wine drinking is also a part of that Mediterranean diet that scientists are high on, and red wine tastes good. It can help you 'feel' good, too. From my "Young American" years, I know very well how alcohol can make one feel good.

In different articles I have read, red wine is one of those good items for men's cardiovascular health. The blood thinning that comes with red wine drinking helps ease things for our hearts. I have seen a wide range of advice on daily drinking units. One of the above links says that less than a glass of red wine a day extends a man's life by 3.8 years, but I have read that 2 glasses a day can benefit a man's health. I average about half a glass of red wine a day (some days are dry). Some weekends I drink some hard alcohol, but hard alcohol is becoming a special event drink. My goal is to keep a nice balance in my diet and to add a touch of red wine a day. Like many others, I can get red wine migraines, so I have to make sure my red consumption is not all super dry reds. We can make a grown up version of the apple a day saying. A glass of red a day to keep the doctor away.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Age Girl - Embedding Enabled

I have typed my love for this song before, and now the record company has enabled embedding. Let's listen and enjoy.

The Anti-Incumbency Cycle

It is going to happen again, and it will repeat 2 years later, and then again in 2016. The voters of America will throw out incumbents to replace them with other puppets of their donors (big money). This started in 2006. Dems replaced the GOP in Congress. They didn't do much of anything. Voters then replaced the party in power of the White House in 2008. 'Stuff' was done, which did not change much. The Dems were jerks about things, using a bit of procedural trickery to pass a health care bill no one knew the contents of, and were epicly booted out of office in 2010. The losses in Congress do not paint the full story as the Dems had 'retirements' of famous names (Dodd and Bayh) that were forced. Not much is getting done again because of gridlock and a President not smart enough to follow the Clinton-Reagan playbook and work with the other party in an effort to coopt their moves. I predict an Obama defeat in 2012. Don't worry Dems, I predict that POTUS to lose in 2016 unless he takes on the big banks (fat chance). We have entered the anti-incumbency cycle and will not break it until we recognize the problem of the system.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Overkill: Going After Smokers Some More

It is not enough to have TV ads against smoking. It was not enough to educate people for decades on the health risks associated with smoking. It was not enough to raise taxes upon taxes on smoking. It was not enough to shake the cigarette companies down for billions, which did not bankrupt them as they just raised prices. Now they have to gross us all out with weird warning labels.

We lowered smoking % from 40% to 20%. It has stalled there. Maybe that is the lower bound. Maybe 1 in 5 adults will still be addicted to nicotine no matter what you say to them.

I'll be waiting for them to put labels like this on alcohol bottles.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dads, Part 2

Try reading this and not feel a lump in your throat. This one had me thinking of my grandfather; multiple jobs, sunrise to sunset, work hard, lots of kids, and his dad was a cop.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bastard Children in 2011

of course, the news would throw a bucket on celebrating fathers' dya with sad stats about our present society. This study reveals a whole lot of common sense. Having a kid when married might lead to a more involved dad? Younger dads more likely to have kids out of wedlock? Guys who go to college are less likely to have kids out of wedlock? White men less likely to have kids out of wedlock? Go figure to all of this. It is still shocking that 41% of all children are born out of wedlock now compared to 5% in 1960. That is only 50 years. This will create problems. While I do not agree with this writer's policy ideas, he points out the dangers of 'fragile families'. The comments are great, and changes will ultimately come when we as a society stop looking the other way or staying silent when the family jackass says, "Jenny can raise Billy just as good as Mike and Jan could raise their kid".

While my fellow men have much to work on, there is a really glaring missing item from this article.

"Compared to women of previous generations, women are making poor choices by not using contraceptives nor in choosing sexual partners who might make good long term mates, creating environments that lead more often than not to future criminals.”

Governments enjoy rising tides and go broke, economies expand and contract, but people remain.


While recently discussing politicians, athletes, criminals and every combination of those three, a friend and I were discussing how fathers are involved so importantly in shaping how these men act as adults. I boiled it down to a simple binary input model to explain the success of the individuals we were discussing.

1. A dad instills a belief in their son that they have the ability to put in the effort and the natural ability to overcome obstacles and achieve what they seek.


2. A dad tears down and constantly rips their child so that the child has a massive chip on their shoulder and works forever on becoming the best.

Simplistic, yes, but we ran through example after example and found the same two input models. Many people we discussed had achieved similar success and int he same field, but they might have a different dad input.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Final Statement of the NH Man who Burned Himself

Sad story of how the family court system works. The system pushed the wrong Army veteran who did quite a bit of research into his 'final statement'. Watching friends & family go throught he family court system, there is no doubt in my mind that reform needs to be made there. I hope to never find myself in the family courts. Sad.

I do love that this NH man cited the history behind "Live free or die". It's my favorite state motto.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Brazilian Blogger Destroys Self Righteous Black American Female

So on tumblr, they have an 'ask' feature where you can ask a tumblr blogger a question. On the tumblr that is devoted to posting photos of the beautiful women of Brazil, one of those self righteous bloggers left a comment that was not a question but an ivory tower, multicultural, mini-rant full of lies. The blogger said they receive comments like this and decided to respond to this one. It is awesome. I had to click on the commenter's tumblr. Lame.

That blog is not safe for work. It is full of barely clothed or naked women of all stripes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grass Fed Butter

Is there really a difference in the taste of grass fed cow butter vs. grain fed cow butter? This page has the benefits of grass fed butter, but come on, the real bit is the taste test. I'm going to look for some, and I hear very good things about Anchor. While I dislike the air of moral superiority that people put on when they talk about organic food (you mean the farming that seems to be the source of all e.coli outbreaks?) and shopping at Whole Foods, I am always in search of healthy food that tastes great. If anyone knows of American grass fed butter brands, let me know.

I'll get it salted too as yes, salt doesn't kill you; you're more likely to die if you don't eat enough of it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Movie Review: Less Than Zero

Totally '80s! That is "Less Than Zero" in 2 words. Another title could have been "Just Say No", as this movie was a huge anti-cocaine movie at the end of the '80s. The movie hits you over the head with it. Is the movie fun? Yes. is the movie an awesome time capsule fo the '80s? Yes. Does it feel like an MTV made movie? Yes. "Less Than Zero" is entertaining & memorable, and that is what films aim for, right? It is popcorn fun, but let's discuss a few things.

1. The Christmas dinner scene needs to be saved as a time capsule for the '80s. The clothes, hair, decorations, paint, and make up all scream the '80s. It was like the '80s exploded in that room. That horrible toast with the awkward blended family dinner was unintentionally funny. What were we thinking in the '80s? The shoulder pads are atrocious. They not only pop shoulders up an inch or two but they jut them out beyond the normal shoulder curve.

2. James Spader plays the jerk, Robert Downey Jr. is the wild card and Andrew McCarthy is the good boy. This was an '80s formula. Spader played a jerk in multiple '80s films, and really sells his gay drug dealer character well. I enjoy his work (great work on one ep of Seinfeld), and wish he had a bigger career. McCarthy has the same face in everything and is a horrible actor. "But I love her", might have been his most repeated line in all of his movies. Wooden acting could not extend his career once his looks started to change. Downey does a great job and is incredibly charismatic. I loved the little scene he had with McCarhty's sister. I always liked Downey but considered him the Scott Weiland of acting in the '90s where he had a lot of talent but loved heroin. I am glad he cleaned up. Prison can change some people.

3. Their smiles are all off except Spader, including Gertz. Hollywood before widespread use of veneers is interesting to see. Same goes for Gertz and Downey's old noses.

4. Why did Gertz not have a bigger career? She was in "The Lost Boys", "Square Pegs" and this... and then did nothing. She plays the coke party girl well, and all of her dialogue when high seems pretty authentic. She turned down the role of Monica on "Friends". I bet she wishes she had that one back.

5. The apartment McCarthy has as a frosh 'back east' in college has the biggest bedroom I have seen an 18 year old have. That could be in a movie in 1987, but not now. Too many people know about how college works and how expensive an apartment is in NYC.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Movie Idea: Gypsy Fire

This is a vigilante movie, but because you can't make vigilante movies anymore in America (why is there no Death Wish remake???) as the criminals would have to be made politically correct (multicultural gangs that don't exist in real life), I will set it in France.

Opening credit sequence is American living in French suburb gets dressed for the day and kisses wife and toddler good-bye. Car driving sequence into Paris, with an obvious showing of how his neighborhood is kind of a deserted suburb with some odd gypsy families occupying some of the homes. In Paris, American discusses his latest, completed manuscript and mentions some uncertainty concerning where he wants to take his writing in the future. He gets a cell text stating emergency. He ends meeting and calls wife, frantic call and he needs to go to police station, child is missing. At police station, wife recount tale. They did have a chip implant in their boy when he was a baby. Call is made to that company and police/that company locate child, maybe have a middle of the night, sleeping in the police station moment. Child is located in some gypsy child stealing network location. Police are thankful as a lot of people don't have that child tracking bit, and this might help others by locating some of these child snatchers. Couple uhhh, prods the police about their neighbors who are gypsies, and the police say they will investigate. On drive home ending as they pass by gypsy occupied homes, husband acts naive and expects some resolution, French wife informs him it will go nowhere.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

What Happened to My "Liberal" Friends?

It seems as if my old liberal friends and family members are selling out, morphing or becoming pure statists. I find out old ex-gfs that said they'd save the world are now selling real estate. I see my friends who said they would be journalists to uncover truths or professors to educate students go to law school and become corporate lawyers and consultants. Even worse, my super liberal family members are part of those 'word' crusades. You know the ones where they say using a word is not cool, unacceptable or "makes you the worst person since Hitler". These are the same family members who embraced socially liberal things before everyone else. Now.... don't dare call someone 'queer', 'slut' or 'retarded' in front of them. I guess freedom of speech went out the window with their sense of humor. I miss the old friends and family I used to have.

Voting for Democrats and supporting gay marriage does not make you liberal.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The American Tar 'n Feathers Resistance: For Profit Educators: Pigs at the Trough

The American Tar 'n Feathers Resistance: For Profit Educators: Pigs at the Trough: "James Chanos is one of the best out of the box thinkers in the investment world. He predicted the Enron house of cards -- I highly recommend..."

- Please read this as it discusses shenanigans of the for profit college racket. This scratches the surface of problems, and hopefully, you might see more work on these schools. Kaplan Colleges are part of this racket, and they are owned by the Washington Post, generating much needed revenue for the Wapo family. This is why they will not take this racket on int he media; they make too much money as a part of it.

Saving Money: Make Your Own Baby Food

In the current climate of food inflation, people are looking to save money wherever they can. People also are getting the guilt trip to eat organic (I don't care and slightly dislike organic). Organic food usually costs more. Baby food costs big bucks because it is for babies and anything with a baby or wedding label has an automatic 30% mark up. You see the conundrum. What is a person to do with a baby?

Make your own baby food.

It is pretty easy. Buy the produce you wish to feed your child. Cook it, skin it, whatever it. Puree it to the recommended consistency. Chill in an ice cube tray for longer term storage. Feed child. Cackle with laughter at your savings over organic baby food. My wife recently made 18 oz of baby banana food with a bunch of bananas that cost $1.59. Compared to the baby food at that Amazon link, my wife's per oz cost was around .09 vs. the packaged cost of .22 (excluding shipping). Huge savings, same organic feel good vibe, except you know no preservatives or additives are in the food.

I am reminded of a previous argument I had with how easy it is to eat well or a prepared meal, with of course whining by a bleeding heart lib in the comments section, and this is no different. This takes very little time and investment. Buy a blender or one of those hand power mixers, which are useful in general in the kitchen. For banana preparation, all it takes it a fork to mash the bananas properly. It takes time. Spend 15 minutes prepping your kid's food rather than watching TV, surfing the Internet or being an ass, and save some money. It really is easy. It just takes a small bit of effort. In the end, it's a benefit for your kid and your wallet.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Odd Background Star Wars Characters: Salacious Crumb

When I look back at the Star Wars original trilogy, I am constantly amazed how well done the puppet characters were. The puppets are of course fake, but they look much better than the CGI creatures of the prequels. The cantina scene from a New Hope might be the finest collection of puppets in a scene ever. Consider how the movie going public easily accepted a scene that was mostly men in alien costumes and puppets. Just 6 years later, that scene was considered superior to the scene in Jabba the Hutt's palace. Until CGI can properly capture grime and filth, I'll take puppets and make up over CGI every day and twice on Sunday.

There is one puppet I was repulsed by as a child but enjoyed: Salacious Crumb. He was the upright rat looking creature next to Jabba. He cackled and was a jerk. He was so gross looking. He mouth was a different color, and not a red or pink, but a brownish-black. Look at the photo! He's gross. He has turkey neck wrinkles and mangy hair. Even worse, he kind of eyes Princess Leia when she's chained to Jabba. That would not stand with 3 year old me! While a small, background character, Crumb is a wonderful little detail. It is the care that makes a film a classic and beloved. It's why the prequels will never be a match for the original trilogy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gays Less Than 5% of US Population

Vindication. The General Social Survey data reveals some interesting stuff, and the blogger I linked to did a tally of those who claimed to have same sex partners. He threw in bisexuals as well and split it out by race (not quite, but I bet the Asian data sample was too small at 5% of total US pop). I'm even shocked it is 3.5%, but adding in a fudge factor for people who would lie in an anonymous survey, the number maybe gets to 5%. Americans think it is 25% or so. Maybe they watch too much TV. Big paper here.

Just happy as I once tried to tell a teen that gays make up 5% of the population, maybe 10% if including one time experiments. Thankfully, the GSS is available and not locked under politically correct key.

La Resistance Lives On

Nice blog right here that is hoping to spread some good information on the problems right now between the revolving door between Wall St. and Washington D.C. and how it affects us all. His stuff is well researched and not too long to read. After hearing how bad the Memorial Day Holiday was in soem big US cities, I can't imagine how bad it could get when the food stamp EBT cards aren't refilled.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Thought Libya Would be Days Not Weeks

America's involvement in the Libya action has passed the war powers resolution line and would now require Congressional approval. Obama claims that the 'kinetic action' is so minimal that it does not, yet when he began the Libya thing he cited the war powers piece as his justification for not needing Congressional approval. What I find disturbing is that the media has turned a blind eye at this entire operation. I shouldn't be surprised they will do it for a Democrat president, but ahem, isn't this a pretty lame breaking of the rules, in a lame operation, with no real cause, and oil at the heart of it. Isn't this tailor made for the media to get morally outraged over?

Anyone know why we're involved? Who we're aligned with? Why we're involved here but not in Syria? When it will end? Are we targeting Qadafi or no? How stupid this all looks?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Israel Gets My Support

About 40 secs in, a heckler jumps in. Netanyahu gives her a moment, and calmly reminds the audience, Congress, that this is OK. This is the beauty of real democracy.

The Jews made a nation in a sleepy backwater of the Middle East that couldn't grow anything. I'll support Israel as long as they are a beacon of free speech and support for the US in an area of the world that hates us and the basic rights of men and women.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

California to Release 46K Criminals Back into the Population

The liberal wing of the Supreme Court and Justice Kennedy voted to allow Cali to release 46K criminals back into the population (5 to 4, dammit!). Kennedy was the swing vote, as he has been for what seems like 5+ years now. The guy will have a great book written about him after his retirement how his moderate stance gave him control of the SC for years. I really hope the 'wise Latina' Sotomayor and her fellow liberal justices feel good allowing California to release 46,000 criminals back into the population.

We were making good progress in reducing violent crime (5.5% drop). Wonderful progress despite the economic depression around us. Guess that bleeding heart poverty causes crime thing doesn't hold up. I could see poverty causing a robbery or crimes against property, but not murder or rape. That takes a special level of depravity.... not being poor.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Woman Rips Beyonce's Fake Girl Power Anthem

Nice takedown of the new Beyonce song. I alwasy found it odd that Beyonce could sing songs like "No Scrubs" and "Bills Bills Bills" which wanted a man who could pay for her life, and within the same year release "Independent Women". Yeah... no mixed messages there.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Extreme Couponing

I am all for saving money. I support my wife's couponing to help offset the horrible food inflation going on in our Great Depression 2.0. I just hope she does not turn into one of those extreme couponers. At what point does it turn from a hobby to save money to a form of OCD? I'd put up with excessive hand washing instead of stockpiling laundry detergent.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


When work absolutely sucks, I just pull up one of my boy's little pictures. The world is right again.

People I'd Vote for President in 2012

1. Howard Dean
2. Mark Warner

1. Chris Christie
2. Rick Perry
3. Mitch Daniels
4. Mitt Romney

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rapes of Peace Corps Volunteers

I find it quite disturbing that the Peace Corps would have a climate of cover up in regards to rapings of idealistic & young female volunteers. The Peace Corps stands behind their statement that they do not put their volunteers in unsafe environments, but let's be honest, if the Peace Corps is there, it is an unsafe country. I fully support the legislation of Congress members Poe (R) and Tsongas (D), who are trying to make the Peace Corps (PC) responsive to attacked females. Side note: everything bad about COngress is on display int he last few paragraphs as some Democrats are hesitant to undermine PC as it might hurt the legacy program of a Democrat president. Jeee-sus. I think the spirit of PC is awesome, but we should face facts that these people are volunteering in tough locations, not a Swiss ski resort. At the core of this problem though is why would the PC cover this up? Let's consider the program, its volunteers, its target audience and all of that fun stuff.

1. Locations: you go to shitholes that need volunteers from America to provide basic things we Americans take for granted. Look at that map. You little volunteer are not staying at the Ritz and seeing the Great Wall of China. No, you're going to the interior with the industrial pollution and malnourished kids.
2. People: You the volunteer are probably some doe eyed college graduate who thinks America is evil and unsafe, and that the 3rd world is full of happy natives just waiting for you to help and enlighten. You might have had it so easy, that you don't have to get a job right out of college and can fuck off for a year or two. The people you are helping, and probably thought were oppressed 3rd worlders, are probably living on less than $3 a day, have lots of problems, have a culture that doesn't think highly of women, and might have anger management issues.
3. The Peace Corps: They are a government program of liberals who will cover up any bad behavior by any person who is poor in order to rope more volunteers and more funding. It is a lot harder to persuade people that a program is good when the volunteers who are trying to HELP the oppressed people come back raped & scarred for life. Sorry, Suzy, you're just going to have to take one for the liberal team. Think parents would support their kids joining the PC if they had that in the back of their minds.
4. Moral Snobbery: Volunteer for the PC and you get to hang that over every other person who claims to care for the poor. "Yeah, I helped some kids in Tanzania plant a tree... it was the first tree they ever planted.... they laughed & danced in a circle... I cried watching them from a few yards away". That is the type of story the moral snobs will throw in your face about their PC experience. That is gone when someone gets raped. Think they are going to tell you about the kids they helped or the water project that worked. F*ck no, they won't even let out one peep about that time as rape at knifepoint in a 3rd world country is pretty horrible and can scar a person for life.

It has to be sad to want to help the world, and in that process of helping, have the darker side of the world reveal itself. We take for granted the freedom of fear we have in many communities in America. I know a healthy dose of college education in the humanities pounds it into people's heads that Western Civ is bad, the 3rd world is no worse (moral relativism), and peopel are at their base 'good' (society makes them evil). Sorry, the real world is grey. The real world is pretty scary. Yeah a "Take Back the Night" event does make sense in big American cities, but for the 3rd world, it's "Don't go Out at Night". I spent time in developed European countries, and I sometimes felt that below the surface danger. I can't imagine what goes through these young women's heads when they are giving their time, energy and emotion into a volunteer project, and they are violently attacked. The Peace Corps owes it to them to treat them with dignity and the improve protection.. maybe even provide some social justice.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Zombies & Conversation Narcissists

The previous 6 month period has been one of reflection. Part of it was anticipating the birth of our first child. Part of it was disgust with a lot of people I interacted with, society in general, and the further devolution of the nation/world. Another motivator was discussing a lot of life's big questions or ideas with enlightened & younger family members, and how would my wife and I craft an environment that would be best for our future son. A major theme has been how people define themselves; their prime motivators for living. What to do in and with one's life?

One thing I focus on is the idea that even if I disapprove or am not happy with the adult decisions my child will eventually begint o make at age 18, I'll support him as long as he is healthy and happy. Whether Buddhist monk or chemical engineer, I will give 100% support. How he chooses to define himself, through work, travel, lifestyle choices is up to him. As long as he is healthy and happy, that is what I can wish for. This has been a constant refrain between my wife and I. What baffles us, is how so many people make decisions that do not lead to good health or happiness. The idea of soul development might as well be alien to them. Why is this? Why do people choose to become morbidly obese? Why do people choose lazy outs with bad results, that they know are coming, rather than reach for something more? Why do people become TV zombies?

People do want more. People will usually select 'more please' for good things or will desire optimal health/looks. They don't do the work though to get those things. Many people seem to desire more, but also seem to look around and go "screw working for anything" and settle into a routine of face stuffing, mind numbing and vegging out. It takes work to think, act, expand one's circles and knowledge, and that might be it. People just take the path of least resistance. Some social pundits have stated that the supreme goal in our mdoern society is to maximize status. This runs counter to what I see. How are people who cocoon themselves and zone out choosing to maximize status within their social or familial circle? I would support the notion that people try to maximize their status when in conversations or social settings as conversation narcissists, but when out of that environment turn back into zombies. It is fake. It is a fraud. It is easy to see through, but annoying to witness.

We have a conversation narcissist at work who is 250+ lbs and hates her life. She never speaks positive of anything in her home life, she turns every other person's anecdote into a way to relate or turn it back to her, and she has to stay at work 10 hours a day because she 'times out' of work too often from her socializing. She joins weight watchers every year to lose like 25 lbs, then gain 40 back. She walks weird and will probably die before age 70. I wonder what she would say if asked what her prime motivator in life is. These are the thoughts that run through my head when conversation narcissists and zombies cross my path.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sat Night Music: Cry for Help by Rick Astley

Soooo smooth. The music industry had no clue how to market this guy with his beautiful voice and flaming red hair. That jacket is so early 90s. Just enjoy that 2nd verse and the bridge. That is a smooth, f-ing pop ballad.

Book Review: The Conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar

Why yes, this is a book review of a work by the Julius Caesar. Caesar wrote commentaries, which read like memoirs, of his near decade warring, exploring and conquering Gaul. The book is living history and a primary source for events from 2000 years ago. While not a fantastic piece of writing, it has a value in its mere existence. Caesar was quite the warrior and statesman, but could he write?

What we have are translations to read, unless you want to find a version in Latin and go wild. Caesar is very smart to leave out some cruel realities of a war of conquest in hostile territory in ancient times. Caesar gives some interesting details on the peoples that he is meeting: the Gauls, the British Gauls, the Germans and random areas of France. I enjoyed reading how the tribes were eager to get their hands on as much wine as possible. I never knew that the Gauls were taller than the Roman (and laughed at their diminutive stature), and the Germans towered over the Romans. His descriptions of Gaul and German life is a bit of fluff compared tot he action elsewhere, but it is an itneresting look at one leader's mind and views of 'barbarians'. This can't be surprising considering modern France's reputation for wine and champagne. One important thing to keep in mind is Caesar wrote this not for historical preservation, but for his own reputation in the contemporary political landscape of the late Roman Republic. He protects some people in his commentaries, and he pushes the complexity of his task. This is a bit like the memoir of Douglas MacArthur and a bit like the self serving memoirs of modern US politicians like Barack Obama, Romney and McCain. These are much closer to MacArthur's book as they explain tough decisions in a position of leadership.

Examining Caesar's performance as a general, wow, talk about writing a great memoir to explain one's amazing ability. He has one defeat, which is mostly due to zealous soldiers and tribunes who disobeyed an order. He uses spies. He uses trickery to disguise numbers or fool the enemy. He negotiates with wavering neutrals to secure forces. He is merciful at times, but he is cruel at other times. He tries to only engage the enemy when the battleground favors his men. Caesar is a great blend of politician and warrior, as he can play the different tribes off one another yet has the military intelligence to win battle after battle. He gets the most out of his men, listens to the centurions, and keeps at his soldiers despite fighting in an alien land. These commentaries are dry, but definitely an interesting read.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Grey's Anatomy Overboard

I have disliked Grey's Anatomy (GA) from day 1. It's a super chick show. It's really obvious in its PC crap. I did think it is weird how the writers made the original female characters so despicable and every man an amazing well rounded man. That threw me off. I understand that Hollywood and TV go way out of their way to PC up or push certain narratives, which GA did an amazing job by having the hospital in Seattle have 3 black doctors (one who was chief) but only one Asian doctor... yeah, because that is realistic. I have noticed a real push not just in a particular narrative, but how they set up editing which has forced me to not even be in the room when my wife watches the show.

Grey's Anatomy has spent the last few season basically saying "straight people take for granted marriage and are bad with it, while gay marriage is a beautiful expression of love that is superior". This is coming from someone who supports gay rights to recognition of unions. While reading on the couch, my wife watched her Tivoed episode ("White Wedding") of GA. Any straight person reacting less than super supportive to the gay ceremony was bad, and they threw in religious maliciousness for good evil measure, and the final scene was split between a straight couple going to a judge for a quick civil ceremony to make their marriage legal while the gay couple had this huge, 'beautiful' ceremony that sadly you evil person that is part of the 50% at home that don't consider it a real marriage should recognize. Grey's had previously juxtaposed a surgeon quickie marriage to a stranger to get him on her health insurance in an altruistic move to 'help' someone w/o insurance (hahaha, another lib narrative pushed) while a gay guy was hurt by an accident at the ceremony his partner set up that was over the top to try to make the marriage 'mean' something special more than just going to a judge for a civil union event. What was GA trying to brainwash you with in that episode? White Wedding took it to a new level.

I rolled my eyes at about 20 spots during the new, White Wedding episode. The final scene of quick editing to bounce betweent he straight take it for granted vs. gay beautiful but not recognized was so obvious and lame. It saddens me how obvious and overt the message is, and that to even push back on it would get a person the 'homophobe' smear. I've spent nearly 30 years watching TV (far less now), and have seen countless handsome and superfit gay men, countless attractive lesbians, and the gay relationships are always pure of heart with evil relatives that don't understand and occasionally that enlightened parent/sibling that supports and embraces the gayness on TV. This does have an impact on people as TV is sadly a large impact on our culture and society, and people are weak. I can't count how many unattractive and overweight gay men I have met. I can't count how many absolutely ugly lesbians I have met. I openly have discussed the lightning speed that my gay friends' relationships seem to be paced at. Yes, TV portrays just about everything in a skewed manner, but gay stuff on TV is ridiculous. Grey's takes it all to another level on one specific topic within the gay community.

The OBL Raid Pic

One thing The Obama advisor team is good at is PR. They have really stunk it up with the OBL raid. Actually, it does seem fitting that the military would TCB and then the politicians would flub it. That has been our last 20 years of history. The story changing, the withholding of any photos, releasing info that Valerie Jarrett said NOT to do it and she is a special advisor to Obama, and countless other things have all added to a 'it's the rookie squad' feel to this. Back to the photo, what idiot released this as the photo of the raid viewing (which has changed into a blackout viewing)? Can you spot which person is the POTUS who made the decision in this photo? This photo was totally controlled, and they could have rigged it better.

1. The POTUS should be in the big chair. That projects power and control.
2. The POTUS should be centered.
3. The POTUS should not look scared and desperate. He's hunched over and looks down. Contrast Obama with lower right corner white shirt wearing man, standing suit man, AF guy, and even Hil-dawg. Lower right corner white shirt guy looks in control and serious. Someone should have said to Obama, "hey, do what this guy is doing and sit in the big leather chair".
4. Why is the POTUS wearing a winter/fall looking coat indoors?
5. If this is staged, and the White House has admitted some of these things were staged and chnaged their story, why didn't they take 5 mins to do a wardrobe change and rearrange the room? This could have been a powerful photo and iconic image for Obama, but I doubt he'll want to use it in the future.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Things I Talk to My Black Female Coworkers About that I Couldn't Say on TV

I know I am a charismatic guy, but for some odd reason, two of my closest friends at work are black females 10+ years my elder. It might be my hidden knowledge of 1970s 'black music', my jokes on rappers turning into beer spokesmen and family movie stars, or my 'unexpected' ability to dance well. In reality, we share common interests, laugh at many of the same jokes, and are honest with each other. Over the course of 4+ years, we have discussed many things that I'd get banned from TV for asking or discussing. I can get away with things because that is what I do in general, and because we are good friends. They are both great coworkers, have been to my house, were some of the first to know at work about my wife's pregnancy, have great senses of humor, and are good people. I enjoy finding out answers to things I'd never hear the truth about on a TV or NY Times article. The topics, which we will bring up multiple times, are:

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Rewarding Feeling

It was wrong for Obama to send more soldiers to Afganistan; we needed to leave!
Enhanced interrogation was a moral outrage!
The JSOC was Cheney's personal assassination death squad!
We should respect the sovereign rights of nations!

All out the window when your guy is POTUS. I really dislike lies, and I love my country. I am happy about the death of the spiritual head of Al Qaeda and terrorist no. 1, Osama Bin Laden. It is the exclamation point to the demise of Al Qaeda's influence and power. What is especially rewarding is seeing my Demo-douche friends on Facebook cheer on an event that was possible primarily through all of the mechanisms that they protested and blasted as 'evil' for years. Welcome to the dark side.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Breaking the Chains of Love

I used to dance around to this as a kid. This song was written for all those who had died from AIDS in the gay community in the 80s. Man, was I a sheltered kid from Maine.

2nd Thoughts: Pakistan Duped Us for Years

Osama was living in a giant compound with 12 foot walls less than a mile from the Pakistani Military Academy, two hospitals and other swank spots. We had known of his whereabouts for 10 months but waited until now to make a run at it. We just tossed his body into the sea without any photos to show the world as proof. I am glad to see him gone, but something feels wrong. Well, something besides Pakistan duping us for a decade while they sheltered him. I also want to point out that Pakistan lied to the US for decades about their nuke program and received aid, all the while aggressively working on a nuke program.

Nice article here.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Bin laden is Dead

He is just one man, but some men matter more than others. Osama Bin laden is dead.

It took 10 years, but it is hard to go into hostile territory the size of California looking for one man when he's got plenty of friendly cover. Looking back on 10 years of conflict, Bin laden's way of doing things and his ideology has been a big failure. Jihad has seen its support decrease, Iraq had a choice between Islamofascism with jihadis in control & a republic with connections to Western ideas and they chose to work for the republic, Arab nations are expressing a desire for more freedoms, and Bin laden dies in a cave on the run. He hadn't even put out a taped message or video recently. The Al Qaeda power structure is looking more and more like a mob family. Sure there are sympathizers and cells, but what does it do for a cause to see its biggest name tracked down and killed like a dog? Time will tell what impact this has on the entire war on terror, and we can only hope it leads to greater peace and prosperity ahead.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book Review: The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon

I love alternate history and what ifs. I do get a bit annoyed how so many alt history novels involve Nazis, but in the authors' defense, the Nazis are a truly odd regime with a lot of paperwork, audio and video left behind. Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" is set in an alternate America, Alaska to be exact, in our contemporary era but with some twists. The basic premise is that the Jews found refuge in Alaska in 1940, saving millions of lives in Europe, but after the Jewish state was stillborn in the Middle East in 1948, more Jews relocated to Alaska. The province is facing 'reversion' back to US control, and the Jews face another Diaspora. In the middle of all of this, a detective who is at the bottom of society's totem pole won't give up on a fishy murder of some heroin junkie in his flea bag hotel.

This is a fun book that is a wonderful homage to old detective noir tales and immigrant Yiddish culture. Sometimes it is tongue in cheek like a cop named Spade or kind of lame like the need for the detective to have a drinking problem that he can fix by the end of the book (whoa, he didn't need Intervention?). I enjoyed a lot of the Jewish-Yiddish stuff as it took me back to college at Cornell, candles lit in December and Matza during Passover. My Jewish friends seemed a bit exotic at the time, and when thrown together were like force multipliers. This book is like that, and delves into those niches of casual Jews, orthodox, and then the super-strict. The small references to their odd alternate world, as well as the definite post-9/11 influence, make this topical and interesting, but the characters hold the book together. Detective Landsman, Berko, and the random Jews of Sitka are fun characters. I liked the buddy cop interplay, the constant chess references, and the family ties.

This book is being turned into a movie by the Coen Brothers. Of course. There are enough quirky characters in this book to meet their needs. I'd love them to turn this into a 3 part miniseries for HBO to really flesh it out, but I'll settle for a Coen classic. I can just see Buscemi, Turturro and of course Goodman (as the Verbover rebbe Shpilman) in this. This is a fun read, and you can find it cheap on's marketplace. Check out used book stores as well. It's a breeze to read and would make a great summertime beach book.