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Airbnb Request…

If you post a rental on Airbnb, I strongly advise investing in a professional photographer to shoot your home. I can refer you to at least three I know personally. And before you complain about cost, you don’t have to hire the ghosts of Diane Arbus and Ansel Adams. Someone with the advanced skills of “steady hands” and “sight” would be an improvement to what I’ve seen lately: One guy decided to take his photos during a solar eclipse. It was so dark and claustrophobic, I think the previous occupants were David Sweat and Richard Matt. One lady couldn’t be bothered to keep her laundry basket out of the shot. That really helped seal the deal with potential renters: “Gee, I could be relaxing on that leather sofa… just like the basket filled with dirty clothes. And I could be on my fourth glass of wine… just like the owner when she took these photos.” The winner, so far, is the genius who took a shot of her over-decorated bathroom, and her reflection in the mirror wound up in the picture (based on her outfit, she did not plan this). You might remember her house from its appearance in Men in Black.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Social Commentary

 

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Trump in Flames…

My friend Aaron Elstein at Crain’s has a fun piece on the further unraveling of professional asshole Donald Trump.

Macy’s has become the latest corporate giant to part ways with Donald Trump.

The retailer said Wednesday that it would stop selling the Donald Trump line of menswear on its shelves since 2004, saying it was “disappointed and distressed” by  the presidential candidate’s recent remarks about Mexican immigrants.

The New York-based retailer’s move comes two days after NBCUniversal said it would no longer broadcast the Miss USA or other beauty pageants owned by Mr. Trump. Four days earlier, Spanish-language network Univision bid Mr. Trump adios.

In just one speech, Trump managed to alienate Hispanics and do serious damage to his own financial interests. Let’s agree that he should not even be near the White House for a tour.
 
Serious candidates or at least mentally stable adults would have had a sit-down with leaders of the Hispanic community where he made amends and tried to move on from this. Instead Trump just doubles down. I can’t immediately think of a declared presidential candidate who torched his path to the White House so quickly and completely: New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Florida… I could probably beat him in those states now.
 
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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Political Theatre

 

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Targeted Marketing…

The owner of a hardware store in Tennessee has put up a “No Gays Allowed” sign in his window.

Amyx, who is also a baptist minister, said he realized Monday morning that homosexual people are not afraid to stand for what they believe in. He said it showed him that Christian people should be brave enough to stand for what they believe in.

After ruminating on this for the weekend, the best Amyx could do is this lazy-ass handwritten sign? He couldn’t delay his bigoted message by a day or however long it would take to swing by a FedEx Kinkos or borrow someone’s laser printer?

Tennessee-No-Gays-Allowed-Sign-x400

“They gladly stand for what they believe in, why can’t I? They believe their way is right, I believe it’s wrong. But yet I’m going to take more persecution than them because I’m standing for what I believe in,” Amyx said.

Last I checked, he was perfectly free to live a heterosexual lifestyle. Maybe if he’d had a long weekend to think this through, he could have realized how stupid and petty he sounds. I suppose he defines “persecution” as ramifications to one’s actions, in which, yes, he’ll probably lose gay customers and customers who don’t support discriminating against gay people. How does he even think the sale of hardware supplies fits into the gay agenda?

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Clown Car Gets More Crowded…

Chris Christie is now the fourteenth declared candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.

“I think the biggest problem with so many people is getting attention, and I’ve never had any problem getting attention,” the New Jersey Republican said in an exclusive interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer. “So I think I’ll do okay.”

The interview was in a diner, which I guess is consistent with Christie’s goal of “connecting” with “real” people. Are any candidates actually trying to connect with “imaginary” people? They are not the most reliable voting bloc.

I can only assume no one has told Christie he can’t win. Or does anyone bother with these discussions anymore? Running for president these days is like having your own photography business. Everyone with access to an iPhone and the Internet is doing it. Unfortunately, most of the candidates are hopelessly out of focus.

If Christie were running in 2012 at the height of his national popularity and Obama was his Democratic challenger, his situation would be different. However, the general consensus — even among the voters who like the guy — is that Christie can be “rude” or “belligerent.” He even famously explained that he “wasn’t a bully,” which reminded me of Richard Nixon’s insistence that he wasn’t a crook. Do you really want to run the hothead against a likely female candidate? Politics is perception, and I can imagine Christie looking like an ass after every debate with Hillary Clinton.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Political Theatre

 

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Star Trek… Something…

We have a title and a first image for the upcoming Star Trek film I thought no one wanted.

It’s Justin Lin’s first time at the helm of a Star Trek movie and he’s already putting social media to good use. In less than 140 characters, Lin managed to not only reveal the first behind-the-scenes image from Star Trek 3, he also so much as confirmed the threequel’s presumed title, Star Trek Beyond. Now whether the title is formatted this way to appease the hashtag gods or just to continue the trend of eschewing colons (like Star Trek Into Darkness), I’m not entirely sure just yet. We’ll certainly find out more soon, but for now let’s take a look at Lin’s Tweet itself.

The image is not really worth my saving to my computer and uploading, but you can find it at the link I attached above.

I’d prefer the new Star Trek films just used numerals to distinguish them from each other, as well as compelling storylines and engaging characters. Also, I recall a time when going “beyond” was sort of understood with the title Star Trek.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Pop Life

 

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The Failures of Integration…

This weekend, Confederate-flag supporters in Alabama  held an Irony Free Rally where people said the following with a straight face.

Standing at the bottom of the Capitol’s steps, where 50 years ago Martin Luther King Jr. led a march for civil rights, Tim Steadman said it wasn’t right to remove the flags.

“Right now, this past week with everything that is going on, I feel very much like the Jews must have felt in the very beginning of the Nazi Germany takeover,” he said. “I mean I do feel that way, like there is a concerted effort to wipe people like me out, to wipe out my heritage and to erase the truths of history.”

Mr. Steadman, I’m glad you recognize that the Nazis were the bad guys, based on your viewings of Indiana Jones films. And I suppose you never got around to reading statements Nazis made about the Jews and statements your Confederate heroes made about blacks, but do you really feel like the German Jews who were driven out of their homes, robbed of their property, and hid in attics before eventually being worked to death in concentration camps? Are you sure you don’t feel more like this lady?

Standing next to Steadman was Ronnie Simmons, who wore a t-shirt with the face of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Davis, who was elected as the first and only Confederate president inside the historic Alabama Senate chamber inside the Capitol in 1861, once lived a block away in the First White House of the Confederacy while Montgomery was briefly the capital.

Simmons said Bentley was a “scallywag,” referring to a term used in the years after the Civil War during the Reconstruction period to describe white southerners who collaborated with northerners.

“It’s alienating the white people in the state of Alabama when you take something down in a historic setting,” Simmons said. “If scallywag Bentley thinks he’s improved race relations in this state, he’s as crazy as a bed bug.”

There are Jefferson Davis t-shirts? I don’t think there are that many Jimmy Carter t-shirts in the South, and his eventual defeat was less ignominious.

Also, people still use the term “scallywag”? That usually only appears in the scripts of movies set in the South that were written by someone whose only exposure to the region was reruns of Dukes of Hazzard.

Sherry Butler Clayton said the flag is a way to honor her relatives tied to the Confederacy.

“I have many, many ancestors,” she said. “A lot of them are in unknown graves up North where they died on the battlefield. A lot of them came back maimed. And it’s just a way. I don’t hate anyone. I love all people. My daughter-in-law is black and I love her and I love her family. So it’s not a black white issue. It’s a heritage issue.”

This is what I call the complete failure of integration. A black person can marry into a white family, and her in-laws can claim to love her and her family (quite the perk, it’s like the racist version of adding your relatives to your cell phone plan), but that doesn’t change their views on issues that affect the black pet… excuse me, the black daughter-in-law.

One woman held a sign that said “Southern Lives Matter,” a variation of the “Black Lives Matter” phrase that became a rallying call after the shootings of unarmed black men in multiple states.

Well, when you put it that way, it doesn’t seem so racist… no, wait, it does. These people seem to forget that they don’t live in Maine or Vermont. They live in a region with a significant black population. The South is not just Scarlett O’Hara. It’s also Martin Luther King. We were chased from our homes by white terrorists shortly after the war. But it won’t happen again.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Social Commentary

 

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Meanwhile, in crazy town…

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton announced today that “county clerks can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on religious objections to gay marriage.”

Paxton called the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage “lawless,” and said “I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights.”

My wife and I picked up registration tags for our car last week. Fortunately, the lady who waited on us wasn’t Amish.

Look, Mr. Paxton, you can disagree with a Supreme Court ruling. You can even call it immoral or unconscionable, as we now refer to Dred Scott (oh, and if you compare the marriage equality ruling to Dred Scott, which stated that the black man had “no rights the white man is bound to respect,” then you are a racist buffoon). However, what you can’t do is call it “lawless.” Please check a dictionary. You went to law school, for the love of Madonna! First years learn that laws are not inherently moral but are simply “the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.”

Also, if you were that concerned about “standing in defense” of the rights of Texas citizens, you could just hire more clerks who don’t have an issue with same-sex marriage or even those who do but actually follow the law as their jobs require. I don’t like guns, so I don’t work for a gun manufacturer.

In 2009, a Louisiana justice of the peace refused to issue a marriage licence to an interracial couple. Even Bobby Jindal, who likes gays about as much as sensible people like him, called for his resignation.

“This is a clear violation of constitutional rights and federal and state law. … Disciplinary action should be taken immediately — including the revoking of his license,” the Republican governor said.

That was just 42 years after Loving vs. Virginia, but it’d be awfully efficient if we just skipped this obnoxious “standing in front of the courthouse opposing desegregation” step in the process.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Political Theatre

 

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