Monthly Archives: February 2014

Utah gets all up in your business…

From Raw Story:

Utah state Rep. Jim Nielson (R) says that he is sponsoring a bill to force divorcing couples to take classes because he says that men are often “surprised” when women want to end the marriage.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Nielson had filed a bill that would require couples to take part of mandatory divorces classes even sooner than the law required when Utah became the first state with the mandate in 1994. Nielson would like to see couples take at least half of the $55 two-hour classes at the beginning of divorce process.

While Nielson told The AP that he hoped the classes would reduce the divorce rate in Utah, he was even more specific about his goals earlier this month on an Internet show called

“The friends that I have that have gone through a divorce, most of the people that I know personally that have gone through that personally are men,” Nielson explained to host Matt Allen. “And my sense, at least from the men that I interact with, is that they’ve usually been surprised by the divorce request, by the filing.”

The women I know who have “surprised” men with divorces or break-ups had consistently made clear the problems in their relationships… but their spouses/boyfriends never listened or didn’t take it seriously until she — to quote the Gap Band — “burned rubber” on them.

Now, many of these men had every intention of seriously working through the issue in their relationships… as part of a formalized process with a clear end result (she comes back). They however either lacked the inclination or the ability to become more empathetic or engaged in the relationship on a consistent basis.

I call this the Romantic Comedy Myth. Vince Vaughn or Owen Wilson or Ben Stiller or some other overpaid man child has spent the past 90 minutes demonstrating to their partner and the audience that they shouldn’t be in a relationship with anyone but during the final 10 minutes of the movie, they make some grand declaration of love (showing up unannounced at her place of business with a mariachi band or rushing past security to board her flight out of town and tell her how he can’t live without her — failing to realize that his codependency is not her problem), and the credits roll as the couple kiss and make up. Fortunately, fiction and Fox News don’t have to reflect reality, so we don’t see the couple spiral back into the same problems.

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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in Political Theatre


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Now she knows how Joan of Arc felt…

Now she knows how Joan of Arc felt…

Paula Deen compares her recent outing as a racist to football player Michael Sam’s announcement that he’s gay.

“I feel like ‘embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name. It’s like that black football player who recently came out,” Deen told People Magazine in an interview hitting newsstands Friday, as quoted by The Wrap. “He said, ‘I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player.’ I know exactly what he’s saying.”

I’m not sure if I believe that Deen knows “exactly” what Sam is saying when she doesn’t seem to know his name. Was it that hard for her to Google? And I don’t think “embattled” or “disgraced” will always follow Sam’s name because the weird, alternative lifestyle here is Deen’s ignorance.

Deen continues to whine about her “embattled” life as a wealthy woman who is interviewed by national publications.

The celebrity chef also said her public fall from grace has made her feel “empathy” for others who have been vilified in the media, like “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson. Robertson was heavily criticized and temporarily suspended from his reality show for comments he made about gays and blacks in a GQ interview.

Let me see here: Deen’s post-scandal plan for letting the world know she’s not a racist is to express her “empathy” for one (Phil Robertson) and to refer to Michael Sam as that “black football player.” In the context of her attempt to co-opt his personal experiences for her own use, Sam’s race was irrelevant but yet she still led with it as his most defining characteristic. Wow. Who’s handling her PR? Bialystock and Bloom?

“It’s amazing that some people are given passes and some people are crucified,” Deen told People, as quoted by The Wrap. ”I have new empathy for these situations, though. My dad always told me, ‘Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.’”

Can Deen pause her plantation-style pity party long enough to name one person who received a “pass” for racist statements? Or offensive statements to any group? I’m not claiming they don’t exist but I just think that Deen might take the time to do her research (even learn Michael Sam’s name). It’s not like she’s that busy these days.

And no one — neither her nor Robertson — has been “crucified.” People said “mean” things about you. You lost your job. That’s the beginning of Stripes not a crucifixion.

Quick Comparison.



The guy in the second clip doesn’t look in any condition for an interview with People Magazine.

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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Social Commentary


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Popcorn Chronicles…

Popcorn Chronicles…

Mark Evanier’s recent post about Skinny Pop Popcorn reminded me of my own experience with homemade popcorn. My mother and I enjoyed many an episode of Remington Steele, Dark Shadows, and Star Trek: The Next Generation among other favorite shows while munching away on a bowl of fresh popcorn.

Popcorn cooked on the stovetop was the not-so-heart-healthy option we originally used.

We’d sometimes splurge on Jiffy Pop popcorn, which when you’re a kid was a night’s entertainment itself.

Professor von Jiffy Pop, who was later tried and convicted for war crimes, doesn’t tell you that trying to eat Jiffy Pop right out of the bag will turn the ends of your fingers into burned corn kernels.

I fondly recall my family’s mid-1980s purchase of Orville Redenbacher’s hot air popcorn popper. The butter that melted in the container as the popcorn cooked was delicious science in action. I also wore a chef’s outfit whenever making popcorn with the device.

I remember the claim of “virtually no unpopped kernels” being slightly less successful in practice. You’d also wind up with a few blackened pieces, but they still went down well with enough butter and “seasoning” (a salty spicy mixture that while advertised as not being salt still puckered your lips after a couple bites).

Tonight perhaps I’ll whip up some popcorn and watch a few episodes of Law & Order on Netflix.

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Social Commentary


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Book Sale…

Book Sale…

My novel Mahogany Slade, set in the fairy tale land of Athens, Georgia in the early 1990s, is on sale now for $5 (e-book) and $9.99 (snail book), so I can think of no better time to buy it if you already haven’t.

If you’d like a signed copy, contact me directly.

Oh, if you like the book cover, and you do, because everyone does, I can only claim credit for having the pleasure of knowing Lee Heidel, who designed it.

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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Pop Life


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Bohemian Rhapsodizing…

The Guardian asks if San Francisco is “losing its soul.”

Critics say that San Francisco’s communities of alternative culture, ethnic or otherwise – the soil of its creative mojo and legendary social movements – are being turned into playgrounds for rich people. If San Francisco’s soul is its social and economic diversity and status as a refuge for those outside the mainstream, then it is being lost.

Here’s the thing: When people speak romantically about a city’s bohemian glory days, they are usually referring to a gritty, often-crime-ridden period that appealed to artists, burnouts, and poor people of all persuasions because the rents and cost of living were low. Once the crime rate decreases and the area is perceived as safer, what is euphemistically called “gentrification” or more accurately “white-ification” becomes inevitable.

Historically, urban centers were abandoned by the white middle class (even now, “urban” is a euphemism for minorities). The people who remained — young artists, gays, and so on — helped create that perceived “soul,” which slowly starts to appeal to the white middle class and beyond. The “hipster” class have also hung on the youth much longer than past generations who turned 30, got married, moved to the suburbs and had kids. Now doctors with nose rings live in Williamsburg and Portland.

I lived in New York during the Giuliani and the first 100 years of the Bloomberg administrations. I watched as many of the inconveniences of city life were erased — mostly crime related under Giuliani and more overall quality of life under Bloomberg (e.g. the smoking ban). People started to stay and raise kids in Manhattan who previously would have left for Westchester. Thus, the city that still felt in places like Taxi Driver when I arrived became more like Manhattan when I left, which is regrettable but is arguably progress.

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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Social Commentary


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Bad News for the Greenville News…

Bad News for the Greenville News…

A previous post quoted Harold Ramis’s prescient line from Ghostbusters, “Print is dead.”

Here, sadly, is further evidence.

The Greenville News building in downtown Greenville is set to be demolished, according to the company responsible for selling the building.

CBRE-The Furman Company said it has about 50 buyers looking at the building.

Doug Webster with CBRE-The Furman Company said there is no way around tearing the building down.

“Reusing that sight as it is would be very difficult”, Webster said. “But that is really going to be depending on the type of developers that we vet through and we see what their ideas and
thoughts are.

Growing up in Greenville, S.C., The Greenville News building was a fixture of Main Street, both before and during downtown’s revitalization. It was also where I had my first job. During high school, I wrote part-time for the afternoon paper, The Greenville Piedmont, now defunct. When I was in college, I interned at The Greenville News during the summer and winter breaks. This was the early 1990s, when downtown was making a comeback but still a few years away from Falls Park and brewpubs. I recall the twentysomething reporters I worked with and I having lunch at Hot Dog King and Fuddruckers. Happy hours were often at the local Bennigan’s.

The trip from Woodmont High School or my house, which was across the street, to The Greenville News offices was about 25 minutes or as a teenager in the ’90s would define it, the first half of Zooropa on the way up and the second half on the way down.

Parking was a logistical nightmare, and some reporters racked up countless tickets. I remember the TV critic announcing his plan to put all the fines on his expense report.

But time, cleaner and swifter than a wrecking ball, has demolished those days, keeping only the memories.

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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Social Commentary


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Harold Ramis…

The filmmaker died at 69 in Chicago.

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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Pop Life



Sofia Vergara Advises Women to Speak Softly and Carry a Big Push-Up Bra…

Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara’s Cover Girl ad clues young women in on how to become a “bombshell.


“Be Silly, Not Serious. It’s Sexier.”

Did Daisy Buchanan write this copy?

“Believe you’re sexy and you are” … but err on the side of male vanity and wear high heels.

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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Social Commentary


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Farewell, Sour Prince…

Alec Baldwin bids adieu to public life in a manner that would shame the author of a high school teen’s diary.

From New York Magazine:

I flew to Hawaii recently to shoot a film, fresh on the heels of being labeled a homophobic bigot by Andrew Sullivan, Anderson Cooper, and others in the Gay Department of Justice. I wanted to speak with a gay-rights group that I had researched and admired, so I called its local Honolulu branch.

You’d think that any essay that begins with “I flew to Hawaii recently to shoot a film” wouldn’t sink under the weight of its own self-pity but although I haven’t enjoyed anything Baldwin has done professionally since the mid 1990s, here he manages to impress.

From the literal gag reel:

One young man, an F-to-M tranny, said, “Are you here to get dry-cleaned, like Brett Ratner?” Meaning I could do some mea culpa, write them a six-figure check, go to a dinner, sob at the table, give a heartfelt speech, beg for forgiveness. I thought to myself: Beg for forgiveness for something I didn’t do?

I’ve read where a number of people have felt that 2013 was a shitty year. For me, it was actually a great year, because my wife and I had a baby. But, yeah, everything else was pretty awful. And I find myself bitter, defensive, and more misanthropic than I care to admit.

Baldwin goes on to state that he can’t be a homophobe despite regularly using gay slurs because he works in Hollywood and is “awash in gays” (a few decades ago, a similar argument was used to insist someone wasn’t an anti-semite). He also knows hangs out with famous gay people.

Then there’s a torrent of words connected only by the theme that nothing is ever Alec Baldwin’s fault.

Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible.

But, Mr. Baldwin, you’re pleading your case in the media.

I’m aware that it’s ironic that I’m making this case in the media—but this is the last time I’m going to talk about my personal life in an American publication ever again.

This is a very precise statement. Can we expect a follow-up in Vogue Espana?

Shia LaBeouf went to a film screening recently and he wore a bag over his head and the bag says I AM NOT FAMOUS ­ANYMORE. And there was truly a part of me that felt sorry for him, oddly enough.

LaBeouf is not yet 30. There’s still a chance he might grow up. I’m not sure 60 will change anything for Mr. Baldwin.

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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Pop Life


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Car Thief…

A black man and a white man attempt to break into the same car. Let’s see what happens.

I hope the black actor was well-compensated and heavily insured. “Self-defense” is the greatest killer of black men after hypertension.

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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Social Commentary


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