Friday, March 11, 2016

In Honor Thy Mother, the thirteenth episode of the ninth season of Cheers (aired January 3, 1991) where Carla Tortelli's mother pressures Carla to follow the family tradition and name one of her sons with her father's first name and her mother's maiden name, resulting in the name Benito Mussolini, Rebecca Howe quips to the bar "Well, it could have been worse. What if her father's name had been Adolf?" to which Woody Boyd adds "Yeah, and her mother's maiden name could have been Menjou. Phew! She really dodged a bullet there."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

my soulmate

There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.

-Oscar Levant

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Presidential Power

Query:  If a declaration that "we can't afford to wait for a paralyzed Congress to act" is sufficient authority for a president to enact sweeping change and determine new federal expenditures, what constrains the President from acting in any area where "common-sense" change is "necessary"?

Query:  If an executive order is a modest, or even bold, determination of executive policy, why would a president ever delay its implementation?

This morning it's guns.  Earlier, in a self-admitted (later ignoring the admission) overreach, it was immigration.

I happen to favor most of the policies implemented in the two executive orders I mention.

But it's MY job and especially the PRESIDENT's job, to teach, convince, persuade, cajole, or arm-wrestle the legislature to make the change.  Or to stay within traditional modern notions of executive power, perhaps the ones our current president once recognized, and implement the changes that you can.  But if those changes aren't big enough, a president can't just declare a problem too big to wait for Congress and then act unilaterally.  Checks and balances out the window.  For Donald Trump.  Or worse -- because make no mistake, we elect some doozies. . . .

And if you feel that an executive order was within the bounds of traditional notions of executive discretion, then ask yourself why they were delayed until some later date.  Should a president defer to a Congress when an action is within the executive's authority [and thus outside Congress' authority]?

this pesky life thing. . . .

Suicide is colloquially described as "off-ing" oneself.

Query:  If I'm embracing life and working to find some joy in it, am I on-ing myself?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Christmas

To all of my friends and acquaintances:

Happy Christmas!

 If you don't celebrate that holiday, celebrate the time of year with fellowship and love.

And remember,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

another sergio leone and the infield fly rule quiz

So the Mythical Monkey took one of the quizzes on the Sergio Leone site, and urged all of us to do the same.  Here goes:

 1 )      Favorite moment from a Coen Brothers movie

Wow - stumped already.

The Coen Brothers achieve something that looms in every director's dreams:  a signature look and feel without some hyper-stylized cinematography. Nevertheless, I think that there's an undeniable look and feel to their movies, and it is one that makes my blood run cold.

But I can choose one, because I'm taking this fucking survey:  when the aged sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones determines to back away from the hotel room, leaving to someone else the vindication of truth, justice, and the American way.  I have made my own smaller, personal decisions, and am pleased that I've done so.

           2)    Scratching The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty and The Hudsucker Proxy from consideration, what would now rate as your least-favorite Coen Brothers movie? 
Lemme throw a dart at their IMDB page. . . .

I looked at that list.  Inside Llewyn Davis and Raising Arizona.

        3)      Name the most underrated blockbuster of all time

National Lampoon's Animal House.

         4)      Ida Lupino or Sylvia Sidney?
Why, Ida Lupino, of course.  Because I've heard of her. . . .
5)      Edwards Scissorhands—yes or no?
No. No no no.  No no no no.  Tim Burton's look and feel leads me to embrace the Coen's with bearhugs.  Mulehugs, in fact 

         6) The movie you think most bastardizes, misinterprets or does a disservice to 
              the history or historical event it tires to represent
Editorial review for spelling and typing is a must, friends.
I am inclined to mention Inglorious Basterds, since I'm sure that Tarantino sought historical accuracy but failed.

       7)      Favorite Aardman animation
The Wrong Trousers.
"It's the wrong trousers, Gromit -- and they've gone wrong!"
         8)      Second-favorite Olivier Assayas movie
Fuck you

         9)      Neville Brand or Mike Mazurki?
Since I want to punch Neville Brand in the face for his self-righteous bullshit in Stalag 17, I want to choose Mazurki.  So of course I have to choose Brand, because he got to me. 
         10) Name the movie you would cite to a nonbeliever as the best evidence toward
               convincing them of the potential greatness of a favorite genre
Naughty Girls Need Love Too.
          11) Name any director and one aspect of his/her style or career, for good or bad,
                that sets her/him apart from any other director
Brian DePalma.  I can't think of any other director who makes a fetish of recreating another director's look and feel. 
          12)   Best car chase
The French Connection
I know that the Bullitt chase is better, but at least I give a shit about Popeye. . . .
        13)   Favorite moment directed by Robert Aldrich
Since the Mythical Monkey and I quote the scene in at least half of our conversations, no one will be surprised that, like him, I choose the inspection of the troops by "General" Pinckley [Donald Sutherland] in The Dirty Dozen.
        14)   The last movie you saw in a theater? On home video?
I saw Hammer Films' Horror of Dracula (1958) two days ago at the AFI Silver theater.  Part of the AFI's celebration of the work of Christopher Lee.

The missus and I have been on a "television series" jag in our home viewing, so I can't think of a film.  American Sniper was on in the background the other day when she worked from home.
        15)   Jane Greer or Joan Bennett?
Jane Greer is in my all-time top five.  Top five what, you ask?  My Top Five.

Joan Bennett was so laughably unprepared, unable to deliver lines, and awful on Dark Shadows that I can't put it from my mind. . . .
        16)   Second-favorite Paul Verhoeven movie
Black Book.  I actually kinda liked it
        17)   Your nominee for best/most important political 
or social documentary you’ve seen
Bob Roberts.
          18)   Favorite movie twins
Mary Louise Weller.
        19)   Best movie or movie moment about or involving radio
Play Misty For Me.
shit can get you killed. . . . 
        20)   Eugene Pallette or William Demarest?
Eugene Pallette's performance in My Man Godfrey -- so real, so grounded, so aware of the insanity while remaining grounded -- may be one of the ten finest performances in the era of talkies
        21)   Favorite moment directed by Ken Russell
Stumped.  I'm sure someone was naked in it, though
           22)   All-time best movie cat

Gender identity issues aside. . . . .
           23)   Your nominee for best movie about teaching and learning, followed by the worst
I'm so overcome by the awful Hollywood movies of the nineties in which either a saviour came to the school, or a saviour came to the class to be redeemed, then become the saviour.  
I hate them, but the better executed films (Stand and Deliver; Lean on Me rather than Renaissance Man or Dangerous Minds) do seem to draw me in if the remote lands on them on a rainy day
         24) Name an actor/actress currently associated primarily with TV who you'd like
                  to see on the big screen

That distinction is so stupid


Nathan Fillion.  Just to have a name

           25)   Stanley Baker or David Farrar
I'll take Concrete Jungle for the win, Alex. . . .
   26) Critic Manny Farber once said of Frank Capra that he was "an old-time movie craftsman, the master of 
every trick in the bag, and in many ways
                  he is more at home with the medium than any other Hollywood director, but all the details give the impression of a contrived effect."

                  What is the Capra movie that best proves or disproves Farber's assertion?
                  And who else in Hollywood history might just as easily fit his description?
I think of Spielberg when I read Farber's thought.  I don't think of Capra.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I was raised pretty well.  My parents both would have told me that it would be wrong to call Donald Trump a cunt.

He's a horrid cunt.

There, dad, I done what you wanted. . . .

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

can anyone explain to me why an untitled post in which I displayed the baseball card for Don Zimmer as a Senator would have over 6,000 page views?

when some brilliant contemporaneous posts had twenty-five or so. . . ?


I just revisited Thomas Paine's brilliant 2009 analysis and rankings of the campaigns since 1976.  That motherfucker was and is a fucking genius.

I intend to ask him to update to include the 2012 campaigns.  But I'm very eager to hear what he has to say about 2016. . . .

[discussing mister muleboy. . . ]

the path to serenity

nowheres nears it

but my life became immeasurably happier when I stopped wanting to be special, and started wanting to be present and good

Monday, August 17, 2015

oh oh

Recently went to the Comedy Cellar in Manhattan.

Genius Comedian Sherrod Small interrupted his set to observe of my laugh:

That laugh should come with a crawl space and a missing five-year-old. . . . .

I thought of editing it to brush up my image, considering instead writing " . .  a crawl space and a missing neighbour," but what's the point?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


It was once poetic and heart-rending, I'm sure.

The Ultimate Sacrifice.

I hate those words.  They're like the slow-motion deaths in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: distracting, and utterly disconnected from the ugliness of death.

Technically accurate, sure.

But soldiers who "pay the ultimate price," and "make the ultimate sacrifice," actually die.  Bleed out, sometimes, while screaming in pain.  In dirty ditches.  Leaving behind wives, and children, and families, and friends.

I don't like poetry when prose can slug somebody in the gut.

Memorial Day should include a memory that soldiers have nobly fought, perhaps, but are forced to die in some of the ugliest, bleakest violence imaginable.

None of them is served by romanticizing their deaths, even a little . . .

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I play the rotten apple summer movie quiz

I, too, will return to better days, when I played blogger and responded to polls, surveys, quizzes, and other invitations.

Here, I respond to


from SLIFR

1) Name a line from a movie that should've become a catch phrase but didn't *
And then depression set in . . .

- Stripes

Len Blum

Dan Goldberg
Harold Ramis

2) Your second favorite William Wellman film

The Public Enemy.  As much as I like Jean Harlow or Cagney, I like Wings better and think it's a bigger deal.

3) Viggo Mortensen or Javier Bardem?
I like them both, and should vote for Viggo [just because Bardem is nailing Penelope Cruz, who moves me in untold ways].

 But Bardem is world class.  Every time out.  And I havent seen or heard that he "wants to direct. . . ."
4) Favorite first line from a movie

Hello, Duke.

- My Man Godfrey

5) The most disappointing/superfluous “director’s cut” or otherwise extended edition of a movie you’ve seen? *

Apocalypse Now Redux.  Revisiting one's "great works" can only bring trouble. . . .

6) What is the movie you feel was most enhanced by a variant version? *
 Pulp Fiction bowdlerized for TV has a certain ugly charm. . . .
7) Eve Arden or Una Merkel?

My Miss Brooks alone cements this. . . .

8) What was the last DVD/Blu-ray/streaming film you saw? The last theatrical screening?
Streaming:  Last Tango In Paris
Theatrical: Ex Machina
9) Second favorite Michael Mann film

Thief.  Tops for me would be Heat.

10) Name a favorite director’s most egregious misstep
Trying to name a "most egregious" misstep by Woody Allen would be like trying to name my favorite orgasm.
Some are better remembered [Soon Yi / that one in the vestibule at the rooftop lounge over Hotel Washington], but there have been so many. . . .

11) Alain Delon or Marcello Mastroianni?

Marcello.  Cary Grant with a funny accent.  Wait; that's redundant. . . .

12) Jean-Luc Godard famously stated that “all you need for a movie is a girl and a gun.” Name one other essential element that you’d add to the mix.
A camera. . . .

13) Favorite one-sheet that you own, or just your favorite one-sheet (please provide a link to an image if you can)

14) Catherine Spaak or Daniela Giordano?
Ne-e-e-e-e-ver heard of 'em. . . .

15) Director who most readily makes you think “Whatever happened to…?”

Mel Gibson.

16) Now that some time has passed… The Interview, yes or no?
Are you fucking kidding me?

17) Second favorite Alberto Calvalcanti film

Are you fucking kidding me?

18) Though both displayed strong documentary influence in their early films, Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog have focused heavily on the documentary form late in their filmmaking careers. If he had lived, what kind of films do you think Rainer Werner Fassbinder, their partner in the German New Wave of the ‘70s, would be making now?
He'd never have lived. . . .

19) Name a DVD you’ve replaced with a Blu-ray. Name another that you decided not to replace. *

Kelly's Heroes.

The Filth and the Fury.

20) Don Rickles or Rodney Dangerfield?
Are you fucking kidding me?

21) Director who you wish would hurry up and make another film

Nic Beery

22) Second favorite Michael Bay film
Are you fucking kidding me

23) Name a movie that, for whatever reason, you think of as your own

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

24) Your favorite movie AI (however loosely you care to define the term)
Rachael [Sean Young] in Blade Runner

25) Your favorite existing DVD commentary track *

Roger Ebert's commentary accompanying Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

26) The double bill you’d program on the last night of your own revival theater
Kelly's Heroes and the Dirty Dozen 
I have little use for films when I can watch movies

27) Catherine Deneuve or Claudia Cardinale?

Jesus, you make it hard on a guy.

Get it?

Monday, February 23, 2015


Are Republicans who were once appalled when their pinko counterparts called GWBush a "war criminal" and a "monkey" (and laughed at GWBush's manner of speech)

equally appalled when the current Prez is said by Repubs "not to love his country"?

Are Democrats who are appalled at the disrepect shown the president being selective in their memory of the things they, and their friends, said about GW Bush?

Yes, I know -- "they're NOT the same! MY guy is good, and the other guy is evil!"

Situational ethics suck.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Oh, To Be Young

Alan Young, who owned and loved Mr. Ed,

was born in 1919.

He is 95 years old.

He is doing voices for animation in Mickey Mouse cartoons.

Yes, he is working in 2015
I think this photo is probably fifteen years old

Fuck me

He's my hero 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why, oh why, would I comment?

The president's recent announcement of a major shift in the enforcement of immigration laws, justified on the grounds of Congress' failure to enact legislation changing the current law, and

the recent determination to tolerate yet again violent police action without criminal charges

just cries out for a re-entry of mister muleboy, on his horse about his brilliant views on these and other issues.

Forget it.  I don't know anyone who isn't burdened [as I am] by a world view that impedes critical re-examination of the premises of his or her beliefs.  Even "open" minds have contours of their openings, and once in, forms that must be matched lest their (my) brain explodes.

And, in my own way, I am easily able to tie the immigration decree and the police shooting and the grand jury's decision and the warrantless search of police records and the assassination of American citizens abroad and the demise of a free-ish Ukraine and the shitty new Taylor Swift record


Those are the contours of my mind and opinions and beliefs.

Monday, September 8, 2014

chapman at the rivers

who knew that Mark David Chapman also got an autograph from Joan Rivers. . . ?

Budding photographer Mark David Chapman waits in line for an autograph from Joan Rivers. 1968

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Terrorism, 2014

"The City That Dreams Built, No. 2," No. 2

I'm sure that they'll get around to blowing shit up after they get a few autographs. . . .

Friday, June 6, 2014


Seventy years ago, my old man was busy trying to stay alive by
killing Japanese boys.

And by outfitting aeroplanes with equipment better to
kill Japanese boys.

So he was not busy killing German boys.

Or dying at the hands of German boys.  And men.  And tanks.

And artillery.

A lot of boys and men did die at their hands, including those who must have died in the most horrible way I can imagine:  being shoveled by massive sea-borne tools into near-certain death.

What must they have felt when the landing craft slowed, and the crank was heard lowering that thin steel and iron barrier, with a continent aimed at their heart?  And for those who came out alive, how have they slept for the last seventy years?

The boys and men pictured here seem to be lucky ones.  Standing, wading --  lots never got even that far.

If the Allies hadn't been bold, and foolish, and obsessive, and lucky, Hitler might have extended the war for years -- or long enough to subdue the Allies with murderous rockets.  Rather than discussing the legacy of Hiroshima, we might instead be commemorating the dead of Manchester.

Of course, the boys and men who climbed out of those boats didn't constitute the Greatest Generation -- they came home, and started us on the path to our doom.  They raised children without shame, children willing to mortgage our children's futures for leisure and excess (I should know; I'm a mortgagor).

But those that came home came back having accomplished something worth thanking them for.

My old man, although thankfully not a Marine, landed with the Marines on Iwo Jima.  When I asked him "what Wave?" he'd landed in, he looked at me like I had just proven myself The World's Biggest Fool:  "there weren't waves," he said.  "There was only chaos."

And my old man looked up to the boys of Omaha Beach.  And Utah Beach.  and those lesser Canadian-type beaches, where boys bled their guts out and died, alone, staring at a smoky sky.  If my old man thought highly of them, it's good enough for me.

I say thank you to every last one of 'em. . . .

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Barack Obama is the Ryan Church of presidents

Two Observations

(1) If they made pizza without the cheese, tomato sauce, and bread, it would likely be a lot healthier; and
(2) George W Bush and Dick Cheney are likely war criminals.

I say likely because I am reserved.  Thoughtful.  Conscientious. Timid.

That stuff.

Cut out "likely". . . .

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fuck Those Fucking Fuckers

Gilbert Gottfried.  Joan Rivers. Michael whatever-the-fuck-his-name-is.  Richards.

Asking someone to apologize for a joke is like asking someone to clean up a fart.

It may have smelled bad for a second, but it's gone and just doesn't fucking matter.

And if someone keeps going around telling tasteless, bad, insensitive jokes, then don't go in that smelly room.

The extraction of apologies from everyone for not conforming to some unannounced Huffington-Post-measured ethos is now mandatory.

Fucking fuckers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Now Love Twitter

Dana DeArmond ™ (@danadearmond)
If you have to ask if I fisted someone in the vagina or the asshole, you don't know me very well.

Download the official Twitter app here

-from a portable device

Friday, May 9, 2014

-from a portable device

Lesson Learned -- a Rationalist's Tale

So I recently had occasion to go to an emergency room. 

I was not in extremis, but I've been instructed to go directly to the ER any time that I've    experienced an erection lasting more than four hours      lost consciousness whilst driving a motorcycle    had the particular weird symptoms that I had.

Anyway, a word of advice:  if you go to a hospital with the word "Adventist" somewhere in its name, you probably don't want to answer the question:
Religious affiliation?
with the booming and forthright response:

My experience suggests that it might be followed by a [simultaneous] collective gasp (from some) and collective snicker (from others).

And I know that in my case,  about two seconds after I did it the PA crackled and a woman began:

This morning's prayer. . .

Yup; true story