Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sorry but same-old, same-old is hardly completely different

monty python
It was in 1971 and we were sitting in the TV lounge (long before there were televisions in rooms in UK hotels) of a quaint little country in alongside Loch Lomond of “yon bonnie banks” notability.

We were gathered there at, say, 8 pm which was time for ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’. Many of us avidly glued to the telly were young – and I was young, ‘so much younger than today’ – and assorted oldsters were chagrined because they ‘didn’t get it’. I guess these were the same people that thought Morecambe and Wise were funny (they weren’t) and not a few strode out of the lounge, with one matron shaking her head and exclaiming in exasperation: “I suppose it’s for you youngsters.”

And basically it was. It was also a mark of the times. What the Beatles were to a music revolution the Pythons were to comedy that was always irreverent and anarchic, and ranged from the bizarre to the admittedly banal. We loved it in its day and we all have our favorite routines and skits from “Silly Walks”, to “Dead Parrot”, to “Intercourse the penguin” to “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” to “I’m a Lumberjack” and so on and so on.

Inspired at first by the insanity of the old BBC Goon Shows the Pythons, however, took it to the next step and offered “something completely different” and their fan base grew to be massive worldwide. Of course, with the Pythons it was the brilliant cast and phenomenally original writing that made it all work. In John Cleese, Terry Gillian, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and sometimes Carol Cleveland you had creme-de-la-crème talents and afterward the Python troupe went on to many other entertainment endeavors.

But, that was then. Now they are a troupe of rather elderly gentlemen and they have decided they want to gather together and reunite with the Pythons on a world tour stage.

All I can say about that option is Noooooooooo! Please don’t do that. It was a time and a place and it would be like me trying to reignite the flame with an inamorata of years gone by. It wouldn’t work. I’ve moved on and I would wish that they had as well. Things must be responded too in context of their day when the Pythons were young and vibrant (as was I), not geezers (as I am, too). I’ve never wanted a Beatles reunion and as much as I love the Stones and Dylan I honestly wish they’d retire.

So, here’s something completely different, Pythons, despite your promises to hit the stage again – Don’t.

I get ‘Movember’ but I still hate the look on 99% of males, well, maybe 89%

I ‘get’ the ‘Movember’ thing, sort of. You know the symbolic gesture by otherwise clean-shaven men to festoon their upper lips and sometimes their chinny-chin-chins with a bouquet of hair.

I get it, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it and now that November is over I am only hoping that the males of my community revert to shining faces unadorned.

Not to suggest for a minute it isn’t all for a good cause. Prostate cancer takes a sad toll on the male population and I am of an age wherein if I’m taking too long to pee at 3 a.m. my mind goes to a potentially lethal cause. So, in that regard I’m prepared to put up with the indignity of that old (ahem) digital probe.

*Guy goes to the doctor for a physical. Doctor does the digital prostate check and tells him all is OK. But then the fellow says: “Say, Doc, would you mind doing that again using a different finger?” The doctor asks him why. “Because I’d like a second opinion.”

Anyway, all sorts of males as testament to this concern are prepared to grow out their whiskers in what are usually workplace-oriented fundraising competitions for prostate cancer research. Ironically, a lot of the competitions are organized by women in assorted offices. But that’s neither here nor there.

All that it means is masses of normally decent looking and well-kempt men end up looking like winos and bums for the 30 days of November. That’s mainly because, with some notable exceptions, men don’t look all that well with beards and especially moustaches.

Staches simply do not work for most. They can give an evil and sinister look to many men (it may be worthy of note that no US president since Teddy Roosevelt ever was elected if he happened to be mustache adorned. Thomas E. Dewey came closest and pundits believe that the mustache sapped his credibility in Middle America. Made him look like a riverboat gambler not a dude you could trust.

I grew one once and even have some old photos somewhere showing me with sort of a blondish mess beneath my nose. It looked horrible and did not last long. I later opted for a full beard, which looked better – but not much.

But, for some, the mustache is an almost essential accouterment. It ‘works’. It works to the degree that the normal mustache wearer looks naked and ineffectual without it.

Who are the great mustache-wearers of our culture?

Clark Gable: In his early films, like It Happened One Night, he was clean-shaven. Thus, he was an able enough actor, but not necessarily thrilling. But then the mustache came in the late 1930s, and nobody could conceive of Rhett Butler having the panty-wetting dash he did were he devoid of the mustache.

Tom Selleck: The poor-man’s Gable in many respects would never have been Magnum if he had been cleanly shorn. If seen him in the odd vehicle without one and it just doesn’t work.

Sam Elliot: Generally given to playing grizzled cowboys these days, the dude defines what a wonderful retro full mustache should be. How could you not trust a man who looked like that? Again, clean-shaven he is pretty much nothing, but in full bloom, it all works.

Groucho Marx: Good old Groucho. In his early stage and film work he was minus moustache, but the image of having one worked so well for him that he painted it on. Later, in You Bet Your Life days, the mustache was for real. The Groucho leer would have never worked without it.

George Clooney: Sometimes he’s had one, sometimes he hasn’t. The bastard would look good in anything, alas. I hate males that even other males can recognize as being too good looking for their own good.

Burt Reynolds: In the days when he still had some credibility – and prior to some atrocious cosmetic surgery – Burt had a certain amount of dashing impact. Again he has been both clean-shaven and moustached. Moustached always worked better.

Grandpa Walton: Of course. All good grandpas have trustworthy looking mustaches. Both of mine did.

By the way, I am not planning to grow one. It would still look awful on me.

Pay heed to your karma but don’t mess with it or look for reasons

A question I posted on Facebook the other day left me to pondering. The gist of it was about having met somebody and regarding them immediately with hatred.

Why does that happen? Well, if the person happened to be Hitler or certain politicians it’s easily answered because their reputation preceded them. But, let’s assume that isn’t the case. You know nothing about this person but right away there is a vibe that says you hate their guts.

Well, I think the answer to the question is that it’s karmic. At some point and in some incarnation this person did something ghastly to whichever version of Dr. Who you happened to be at that time. Karmic memory outlasts mortality.

I have known a couple of people like that in my life. One guy I literally can cut no quarter with and haven’t been able to since the day I met him decades ago. I don’t wish misfortune to befall him because that, to me, is a sin against my own karmic destiny – I just don’t ever want to have any dealings with him. I don’t like the sensation of having crawling skin.

What I mean to say is that we like and/or dislike people to various degrees. I mean, there are a number of individuals that I don’t much care for, but a visceral sense of detestation is entirely different, especially when that person hasn’t done anything particularly awful to me. Somehow I know, however, that he will should he get the chance and the moment he first walked into my life my instinct told me: “Be wary of this fucker!”

Of course the karmic love/hate equation works the other way. We all know about love at first sight. I also think that’s karmic and I have indeed had it happen. That’s one of those pull-out-the-stops moments that says, regardless of what my situation is otherwise, I want to be with this person. I must be with this person. In certain respects it’s an enticement that is more alluring and poignant than just falling in love. It’s an obsession.

Why did Charlie abandon his wife and kids and run away with Millicent, whom he had just met and knew little about? Because he ‘had’ to. And he couldn’t explain why anymore than than his ex might be able to understand.

If you don’t think this is so, look back at your life and your interactions and then turn to the ones you cannot explain in any logical way, and I suspect you will see there is some validity to the idea of karmic affection and repulsion.

All things considered I prefer gamboling to gambling

I read that the overcompensated swine who operate British Columbia’s coastal ferry system would like to put slot machines on their fleet.

Revenues garnered from such an addition to the general merriment of the journey will no doubt ‘nearly’ cover the costs of their annual bonuses.

“Hey, kids, amuse yourselves by seeing if you can balance on the deck railing while Mommy and Daddy flush away your inheritances to bolster the lifestyles of the rich bastards who run these barges which once upon a time were considered transportation links rather than floating Monte Carlos designed to entertain the rich and famous.

In truth, I have nothing against gambling. If your idea of pleasure is to light your folding money on fire and flush it down the john, that’s your prerogative. The odds of your winning any moolah of substance by doing that are about the same as your chances by playing the slots.

I, of course, do gamble. When I remember to do so I buy a lottery ticket. (See lighting your money on fire and flushing it down the loo). I’ve heard that your chances of winning big on the lottery are about even whether you do or do not buy a ticket. That seems fair.

When we took our recent cruise there was a casino on the ship. We ventured in there on a few occasions. Crossing the threshold into that sin bin was nearly as exciting as a public lecture on municipal economics. But, it’s true, there was sin, and that was the allure. The sin was that which was going on in my mind when I cashed in a larger bill with the delectable Russian girl at the till. I mean, she was gorgeous, and that accent right out of James Bond enticed me royally – Casino Royale-ly fully did the trick in terms of my wantonness. Of course, the idea of a Russkie being in charge of the bucks in a casino did give me momentary pause.

Anyway, we spent a bit of time in the casino. Sometimes as long as actual ‘minutes’ there before both boredom and banknote burning finished my enchantment for that evening.

Word to the wise to the Emirs of the Ferry Fleet: Gambling only appeals to the small percentage of the public that actually likes to gamble, and to chronic gambling addicts who never, actually, should gamble. But, if that is your bent then why not open up a bar for those who are struggling to deal with their alcoholism? Such a move would make the lives of their kids even happier.

The North American Mecca for those who would gamble is, of course, Vegas – baby. In fact, in my in my incipient Puritanism (except as applies to untoward thoughts about Russian casino employees) I happen to think Vegas should be the only place continent-wide that should permit gambling.

Having never been there I reckon I can speak with some authority in suggesting that Las Vegas is possibly the most tasteless urban spot in the history of jaded humanity. Aside from being unspeakably garish (remember, I speak with no small authority about this), it is a place in which tired but filthy rich so-called entertainers like Wayne Newton, Celine and fat old dying Elvis can get a gig and suck in all the grannies who cannot hear enough Danke Schoen. Yet, there’s still no monument to Bugsy Siegel. Somehow that’s just not right. Bugsy was, of course, the kind of George Washington of Vegas.

Wendy has been to Vegas. She suggested we should go sometime just for the experience.

Interesting. I’ve never poked my eyes out with a red-hot needle, so perhaps I should try that as well.

A half-century ago there was a brief interlude of hope. Some of us remember that moment

I have often thought, as I suspect others have, that John Fitzgerald Kennedy should be entitled to, as should Princess Diana, be permitted to RIP.

Little chance of that happening on November 22nd this year since that date will mark a full half century since his untimely death by an assassin. And he is one of those individuals who, like James Dean, I daresay, always seems to be current and youthful.

Fifty years ago Friday a little creep named Lee Harvey Oswald brought to an abrupt and horrid end a thousands days that had seemed to offer a new hope to not just Americans but to people worldwide.

By that grim and hideous act he also brought about hundreds and hundreds of conspiracy theories that began the moment of assassination and continue to this day and will likely persist ad infinitim. Who was behind the act? I have no idea and I’m not about to make any suggestions in that regard. That’s mainly because I find most conspiracy theories to be just that – theories – and predominantly pains-in-the-ass.

I get torn writing about JFK. I’ve read enough to know that he wasn’t in the true sense of the word a ‘great’ president. Maybe he didn’t serve long enough for him to have proved his worth. But, at the same time, he was the guy who also stepped up the US presence in Vietnam, and we all know how that turned out. He also set in place perpetual antagonism with Castro’s Cuba – a silly (in my regard) legacy that persists. It was said that his antagonism to Castro stemmed from the belief that his reptilian and soft-on-Hitler old man, Joe, own half the whorehouses in Battista’s Havana. I like to think that’s so, but that’s just me.

He also, and there is no point in thinking otherwise, did very very little in the realm of civil rights. Any changes in that regard are part of the legacy of his successor, LBJ.

And then there’s the satyr thing. JFK screwed whomever female he could get his wandering hands on. He made old Bill Clinton look like a choirboy in that regard – it is said.

But, all that said, once there was a moment and there was an energy that arose with the arrival of this youngish and dashing man who seemed to foretell of a great change. I remember that feeling well and that feeling persisted to the degree that I was as horrified by the assassination as anybody else.

Such a replacement to tired old Eisenhower who seemed a tiresome vestige of an earlier era. Such a worthy alternative to his adversary, the oily Richard Nixon. I was very young then. Much younger than JFK, who was actually my parents’ vintage, but didn’t seem to be. My parents were more Eisenhower sorts in my mind. He was, in contemporary parlance, a ‘dude’. I liked him – then.

I was on my way to a sophomore history class when the news broke. He was still alive at that moment. The Cronkite wince-of-grief hadn’t yet happened. I went to my medieval history class and we who chatted were in a state of disbelief and trying to reassure ourselves it wasn’t as serious as it seemed.

And then he passed. And somebody informed my history professor of what had transpired. The prof gathered up his stuff and simply said: “He was a classmate at Harvard. I cannot continue today.”

In fact, the entire university did not continue that day. We gathered in groups and then we went to our respective homes and sat glued to millions of black-and-white TVs and we saw creepy little Oswald get bumped off in real time. What does it look like when a guy gets shot to death? Now we knew. Much as we knew about the Texas Schoolbook Repository and the Grassy Knoll and all the other stuff.

I could go on and on, but will resist the impulse but remain astonished to think this was a half-century ago and that moment in time foretold of the end of an era of hope for us all.

That much I know to be true.

Excommunicate now! For nothing can stop the Spanish Inquisition!

“At long last, Senator, have you no shame?” So said charming and sagacious old Judge Joseph Welch to the reptilian Senator Joe McCarthy back in the closing days of those disgusting hearings.

The same might be said of Fat Rob Ford, except he has no shame whatsoever and proves it every day in every article and every soundbite right across the land and even internationally. I mean, really, it’s a great story. The tale of a repulsive man who literally has no shame.

I don’t use the adjective fat advisedly because even his dear old mom thinks the fact that her son is really-really-really fat is the root of his problems. His problems have nothing to do with him being a wacky-terbacky drunken, filthy-mouthed crackhead – nope, it’s just that he’s a tubbo and ashamed of that reality.

Yeah, right.

By now a lot of people – especially people not in Toronto — are getting pretty fed up with reading or hearing about the shenanigans of this jerk who, like the drunk at the tale end of a party, just doesn’t know when to go.

But, it seems there is no law that says they can chuck the shameful bastard out of his office, or even throw him in the slammer. That’s weird in itself, but so be it. If they actually convict him of something, it’d help in that regard, but it doesn’t seem they can.

He’s there. For the duration of his term.

Well, here’s an idea. Fat Ford has an ego as huge as his girth. What if people stop feeding it? It’s going to be a hard haul for the media which has been vulture-like feeding on this shit, but maybe they could assume a role here. Just stop the stories. Don’t give him an inch of ink.

Meanwhile, erstwhile colleagues – and most of them are by now erstwhile – can actively (not passively) shun him. Don’t give him the time of day.

The Catholic Church has a process that handles people who have run afoul of the dictates of the church – it’s called excommunication. And there you have it. Excommunicate him; render him a non-person, send him to Coventry, and so on and so on.

There. Problem solved.

But, damn, it’s such a juicy story that it’s hard to let go of it even if it is distracting (much to the federal government’s delight) public attention from our slimeball
senators.

And, I confess, I just went and got drawn into the media circus, too. I mean, he just makes it so easy. I think he may be a secret correspondent for the Toronto paper that first ran the crack story.

Judge not lest you be judged? Oh, come on, now!

“Judge not lest ye be judged,”

So goeth the Biblical admonition. Wow, just like following all of the Ten Commandments to the letter (I know I’m not supposed to covet my neighbor’s ass, but she’s so damn cute – Oh, you mean her ‘donkey’, Anyway, I was just using this as a lame excuse to be a bit lewd. You know, just to set a tone.

The truth of the matter is, we all judge much of the time. In fact, our whole social fabric, not to mention our system of jurisprudence are based on judgment of others. I mean, we have people called ‘judges’ whose role is to ‘judge’ their fellows. Judges aren’t ordained by God, either (though some apparently think they are), but originate in the temporal realms of having done a lot of sycophantic ass-kissing, and voting in the prescribed manner, and having very little conscience one way or the other. “The law is the law, it’s nothing to do with fairness.”

Do I unfairly malign judges? Yep. Just a judgment call on my part, I guess.

But, you know how it goes. Some absolutely ghastly creature who can afford to hire the best legal assistance and who has good connections is either given a walk or sent to a cushy club-fed for a brief stay; on the other hand, a poor sod with no good connections or dubious ethnicity (don’t deny it. It happens. Just take a look at how many aborifinals are incarcerated compared to white guysz) gets an interminable sentence for a minor infraction.

But, that’s how judgment goes.

Anyway, like Jimmy Swaggart, I too have been a sinner. I have indeed sinned. I judge and likely will continue to judge my fellows. Bet you do, too. I bet the Dalai Lama does as well. Will we all burn in Hell? Hope not because it will be a mighty highly populated place if that’s the case. Maybe we’ll just be sent to ‘Heck.’

Here’s who I judge:

– the oozingly politically correct. The fussbudgets who deem their lives to be so perfect that they feel it is their bounden duty to take simple pleasures away from others.

– Those in the ‘entertainment’ field who suffer under the delusion that life is not vile and vulgar enough and must carry on further in the direction of utter tastelessness and degredation.

– Those who believe implicitly that racism and bigotry are confined solely to people of northern European extraction and those of such extraction must all feel guilty, and that ‘no’ people of other ethnic groups or cultures might be accused of trashing other groups due to their ethnicities or cultures.

– Judicial systems that subscribe to the theory that punishment must revolve exclusively around rehabilitation and that there must be no room for that very human need for either retribution or protection of the public from truly awful human beings. Take that parole boards, I judge thee.

– In similar context, those who believe a mere apology is sufficient punishment for any crime or transgression. “I’m sorry I sexually assaulted your granddaughter. I feel real bad about that. OK?”

– The dishonest (in a host of areas) that call upon friends to cover for them, in the name of friendship. I say, in the name of friendship: ‘Screw you.”

– Child molesters.

– Spousal abusers.

– Sexual assailants.

– Those who would be cruel to animals.

– Trophy hunters.

– Vandals.

– Apologists for hideous regimes in foreign countries because such countries are such inexpensive places to vacation in.

– Litterers.

– Sports ‘so-called’ fans that boo the national anthems of other countries in international competitions, including hockey and baseball games.

– Abusive kids’ athletic coaches.

– Those of either sex who believe that sweat pants are acceptable garments to be worn in public places within my purvue.

– In similar context, those who believe bluejeans and sweatshirts or T-shirts are quite OK to wear to a wedding, funeral, or fine-dining restaurant.

I think I could manage about 500 such items, but will refrain. I also judge those who go on and on interminably. So, come clean, who do you judge?