Monthly Archives: July 2015

Stop Second-Guessing Sandra…

I’m done with the “well-meaning” American liberals who wonder why Sandra Bland‬ “argued” with the cops. It’s the second-cousin of questioning why she “wore that tight dress” or “drank too much” at that party (and the fact that some so-called feminists don’t see this point is its own condemnation and underscores the schism between black women and mainstream feminism). However, if you have never “argued” with a cop, it’s highly possible that a police officer has never intentionally provoked you. I don’t wonder why a battered spouse shoots her abusive husband. “Gee, shucks, my wife and I work out diaper duty in a rational manner. What got into her?”

It reminds me of the Richard Pryor routine, “Niggers vs. Police”:

“Cops put a hurtin’ on your ass, man. You know, they really degrade you. White folks don’t believe that shit, they don’t believe cops degrade. ‘Ah, come on, those beatings, those people are resisting arrest. I’m tired of this harassment of police officers.’ That’s ’cause the police live in your neighborhood, see, and you be knowin’ ’em as Officer Timpson. ’Hello, Officer Timpson, going bowling tonight? Yes, nice Pinto you have.’ Niggers don’t know them like that. See, white folks get a ticket, they pull over, ‘Hey, Officer, yes, glad to be of help, cheerio!’ A nigger got to be talkin’ ’bout, ’I am reaching into my pocket for my license! ’Cause I don’t wanna be no motherfucking accident!’”

Not much has changed since the year I was born (!). I recall as a kid when a cop forced my barely adult cousin to peel the window tinting from her car while she wept. But you know, at least she’s alive, right? When you advise blacks to not “argue” with cops because they are “edgy” and “who knows?” what might happen, you are conceding that they are not law enforcement officers but gangsters. When a member of Tony Soprano’s crew comes around for his protection money, I probably won’t give him lip. But he doesn’t claim to “protect and serve” and recognize any basic Constitutional rights. Just because you couldn’t hack with the Gambinos doesn’t mean you should put on a badge.

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Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Social Commentary


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This Time I Know It’s For Real…

Abigail Fitzgerald (now Burns) was married in front of a sizable assemblage, even for a Catholic, at the Willows Lodge in Woodinville, about a half-hour north of Seattle. Of all the weddings Gina Merrick had attended in the past decade — the flurry of wedlock that began for her at twenty-five, she thought this one was fine. She didn’t rank weddings, preferring instead to classify them, as she did everything else, as either “good” or “bad,” and much like “right” and “wrong,” there was more diversity in what she included in the latter group.

Gina, stirring a spoon in her coffee cup that contained no cream or sugar, sat next to a vacant space at Table Six where a pearl-finish place card bearing the name “Sara Richter” rested like a headstone above an untouched plate of food. Surrounding her were her friends Brenda Waylen, Margaret Ashe, and Pauline Goodman. Their husbands had all been excused after behaving well during the speeches and champagne toasts and had gathered in the garden with beers to wait out the reception.

“‘This Time I Know It’s For Real’ is a curious choice for a wedding song,’” Gina said suddenly. She’d sipped her coffee in silence for several minutes now. “It implies a checkered past.”

“Yeah, right, yeah,” Brenda said, nodding. This did not indicate actual agreement or even that she was actually listening, but it was a method of conversation that had gotten her through college and assorted book clubs.

“Don’t you think it was really super fun for a first dance?” Margaret phrased all her statements in the form of questions, like a Jeopardy! contestant.

“No,” Gina said, “I thought it was really ‘At Last’ desperate.”

Margaret flashed an apologetic half smile, as she did whenever she disagreed with someone, and flung a lock of coal-black hair, flecked with white, over her shoulder, which she did whenever she was about to be disagreeable. “Not everyone’s lucky enough to marry their college boyfriend, after all.”

Gina tapped her spoon sharply against the saucer. “Luck had nothing to do with it,” she said. “I knew what I wanted, so I didn’t waste my twenties dating bike messengers and struggling bipolar writers.” These weren’t hypotheticals but references to Abby’s previous romantic entanglements.

Across the table, Pauline Goodman nudged a bite-sized piece of beef tenderloin onto her fork. She was a painfully slow eater who always complained midway through a meal that her food was cold. The three women were in the same college sorority with Gina, but Pauline, with her vague hairstyle and first-day-in-heels posture, was the one Gina’s mother couldn’t accept as a member of her beloved Gamma Phi. At the University of Georgia — or “Ugh!” as Gina grew up calling it — Ellen Payton and her sisters would never have blackballed someone like Pauline because she would’ve known better than to bother rushing at all.

Pauline looked over at Gina through cloudy, gray eyes. Her voice was dreary and musty.

“I was still single at twenty-seven,” she said, as if measuring the age by the standards of the Tudor era. “I prayed and prayed. A month later, I met Walter.”

“I’m sure you took some action,” Gina insisted.

“No, I just prayed. What I realized later was that all along I was praying for him.”

“Yes, you mentioned that at your reception.” The overcooked buffet chicken and the bride making a toast at her own wedding had landed Pauline’s big day in Gina’s “bad” column. “But I don’t think the Good Lord runs a welfare office. Nothing in life comes without effort and planning.”

— from The Wrong Questions

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Posted by on July 21, 2015 in The Wrong Questions


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Trump VIII….

The very first U.S. president was a general, as were many who followed him. However, military operations are much different now. There aren’t that many Pattons or MacArthurs left. I think this is why Trump is so popular among conservative voters. He’s a “business magnate,” which the modern-day equivalent to a pirate or a conquistador. And deep down, Americans — who rejected the monarchy and embraced democracy, which is a form of monarchy that is spelled differently — have an affection for the emotional unstable borderline personalities that were prominent on the throne. That is true leadership to them. Measured diplomacy is skullduggery. They don’t want their leaders to be politicians… that’s for ambassadors. And, after all, can’t you picture Trump, more so than Jeb Bush and especially Lindsey Graham, in the following scenes?

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Posted by on July 15, 2015 in Political Theatre


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Hairy legs and all…

I… have nothing. I’m sorry. This is just mic-drop stupidity here.

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore told a church gathering on Sunday that the U.S. Supreme Court “destroyed the institution of God,” when they legalized same-sex marriage earlier this month.

Whoa, that’s harsh. I wonder what drove them to do such a thing?

“Despite what they think, it’s not their doing. Satan drives us. He’s out there destroying everything God created including us as human beings.”

Oh, so the devil made them do it. What else has John Milton been up to?

In comments later, Moore elaborated on the sexual revolution before rambling on about gender roles, saying,  “When you start teaching kids that they have the right to choose whether they are male or female. When you talk about three or four years old, you know what they think. They don’t know much. They may learn fast. And when they get in their mind they can be a man if they’re a girl or a woman if they are a boy, I don’t know what the end is going to be. Except it will come down to things like when you take your little girl to the girl’s bathroom and you wait outside and you see some guy with hairy legs going into that bathroom, what are you going to do? What are you going to do? Are you going to stand back and let that guy go in the bathroom with your little girl?”

It seems like he’s advocating for violence against trans women. He doesn’t say “Are you going to stand back and let your little girl go into the bathroom…” with the person who doesn’t even have the decency to star in a Nair commercial. He says, “Are you going to let that *guy* go in the bathroom…”

Maybe because I’m not insane and all, but I don’t understand this obsession with transgendered people using what some insist is the “wrong” restroom. From the Duggars to this guy, the specter is always raised of sexual predators lurking around the stalls. Isn’t it possible these people just want to use the restroom? When I’m there, sex is the last thing on my mind. It’s usually the sixteen ounces of coffee I drank that morning.

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Posted by on July 13, 2015 in Political Theatre


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Roger Rees…

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Posted by on July 11, 2015 in Uncategorized



Sweet Potato Pie…

Jane Hind dropped by for dessert after Thanksgiving dinner with her boyfriend’s family. “There was chili on the turkey, chili in the stuffing, chili in the scalloped potatoes,” she told Gina while helping herself to a slice of sweet potato pie. “I couldn’t chance the pumpkin flan.”

Chris Beltran, after a quick hello, had hurried into the den where Charlie, Tom, and Frank watched the Seahawks game. Outside the kitchen, Teresa Chapman banged her thumbs against a shaking BlackBerry. Brushing past her, Jane mumbled “excuse me” between chews.

“I always thought this would taste like mashed potato pie… just, you know, with a different color.” She scooped up the velvety filling with her fork. “But it’s bomb.”

“Sara made it this morning,” Gina said. “She doesn’t add any of those awful Yankee touches.” She shuddered. “You can’t trust people who’d ruin a perfectly good pie with marshmallows.”

Teresa swore under her breath and looked ready to hurl the offending BlackBerry at the wall. “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” She turned to Gina. “I have to hop on a call.” She started toward Payton and Cody’s bedroom, which was closest, but the cold wind of Gina’s voice held her in place.

“Sara’s in there,” Gina explained. “She’s taking a little breather after dinner. Feel free to use the master suite. Charlie should have made the bed after his nap earlier.”

“Your sister-in-law looks stressed,” Jane noted after watching Teresa slam the bedroom door shut behind her.

“She always is,” Gina stated without sympathy. “She’s just not cut out for corporate life. She should rightly work in some low-pressure field — like a small-town librarian or a public schoolteacher.”

“Why doesn’t she?”

The ice in Gina’s glass rattled sharply as she motioned toward the far end of the living room.

“Didn’t you notice the von Trapp family over there? Someone’s gotta keep that sad little Multnomah roof over their heads.”

Jane looked up from her dessert plate. She picked out the small, ponytailed man wrangling the attending children as Teresa’s husband, Ray. He was rail thin except for a pot belly and flabby chest, which jiggled under his loose turtleneck sweater.

“What does her husband do?”

“Nothing,” Gina declared. “He stays home with the kids.”

“Typical,” Jane said. “Women had this whole movement so we could do what we want with our lives, and men swoop in and use it as an excuse to lie around and watch sports.”

“I don’t think he’s into sports,” Gina remarked, lifting a dark eyebrow. “He was a dance-theatre major at Reed.”

Jane shook her head, her tan face wearing a half-frown. “Then how did Teresa not know he was a deadbeat? That’s like betting on the Clippers.”

“It’s possible she thought he was the best of the lot. After all, she attended a college with no Greek system, no business major, no grades, not even an official ranking. It’s like I tell the girls: You have to be vigilant regarding your surroundings, both personally and professionally. Just because there’s a crop doesn’t mean there’s any cream.”

Jane flicked brown crumbs off her fingers.

“Maybe she’s happy,” Jane said as the muffled shouts of one side of a tense argument threatened to break down Charlie and Gina’s door. “I do caution my clients, though, not to anchor themselves to some fixer-upper. It’s almost always a waste of time and energy. Now, me and the world’s hottest man? He was turn-key ready when we met.”

“I suppose,” Gina said casually, and then more forcefully, “I assume you didn’t share this philosophy with Cindy Prior when you sold her that landfill in the Central District.”

Jane’s response was like a prerecorded message: “It’s an up-and-coming neighborhood.” She set her plate on a sideboard. “Look, Cindy was at the point in her life when it was now or never. I introduced her to the best available property within her reach. Now, she can say she’s a homeowner. You know what that means in the world? When you die, there’s an estate sale. When you’re a renter, the super just calls Goodwill.”

— from The Wrong Questions

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Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


More about that damn cake…

From US Weekly:

Candace Cameron Bure assumed a seat at The View’s co-host table for the Hot Topics segment on the Tuesday, July 7 episode, and things got typically heated. An ultra-conservative Christian, Cameron Bure couldn’t help but butt heads with co-host Raven-Symone one topic, which discussed an Oregon bakery’s decision to refuse service to a lesbian couple.

“The Oregon law bars businesses from discriminating against sexual orientation, race, disability, age or religion,” Symone argued, “and to me, it’s the same exact thing that they did back in the day saying that black people couldn’t do certain things because it’s my ‘religious belief.'”

Fuller House’s Cameron Bure, 39, quickly accused Symone, a fellow child star, of comparing apples to oranges. “I don’t think this is discrimination at all. This is about freedom of association,” she said. “It’s about constitutional rights. It’s about First Amendment rights. We do have the right to still choose who we associate with.”

Things might have changed since Ms.Bure attended Fake Law School, but the first amendment does not allow owners of “public accommodations” (this includes most businesses) to discriminate against people based on their race, color, religion, or national origin. Gays are not explicitly part of those protected groups but the existence of the groups in the first place would imply that there is a precedent for not allowing blatant discrimination by business owners.
(It could also be argued that if a business can’t discriminate against people because of their religion then a business owners shouldn’t be able to discriminate because of their religion. I know that’s an appeal to fairness, and I’m not sure how often that turns up in a sermon these days.)
Also, freedom of association is hardly a right you can apply to a job where you serve the public. Cab drivers (theoretically) cannot choose who they pick up and a coffee shop can’t choose who they overcharge for a latte. Again, I appeal perhaps pointlessly to the concept of fairness but what seems less “American”: A citizen being turned away from a business because of who he or she is, or a business owner or employee having to serve a meal to or rent a hotel room to someone whose sexuality, race, or religion they don’t like?
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Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Social Commentary


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But I do recommend San Diego other times of the year…

People are often surprised that I haven’t attended nor do I have any interest in attending Comic-Con. My response is that it’s hard to say what I dislike more: Crowds or waiting in line. (This also explains my aversion to theme parks.) The whole reason I started reading comics or, well, books of any type is because I’m asocial.

But if you’re into crowds and lines, here’s an overview of how to best manage Comic-Con. Meanwhile, I’ll be alone in a dark room somewhere (and thanks to the good folks at Kindle, I can now read in the dark).

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Posted by on July 6, 2015 in Social Commentary



Fear and Loathing in Bastrop

The office of the Bastrop County Republican Party is in an old lumber mill on Main Street, with peeling brown paint and a sign out front that captures the party’s feelings about the Obama administration: “WISE UP AMERICA!”

Inside, county Chairman Albert Ellison pulled out a yellow legal pad on which he had written page after page of reasons why many Texans distrust President Obama, including the fact that, “in the minds of some, he was raised by communists and mentored by terrorists.”

In my mind, I was born on Krypton, raised by a kindly farm couple, and mentored by the artificial intelligence of my dead dad. Unfortunately, that has no bearing on reality.

I also wonder if the contents of Ellison’s yellow legal pad are as cogent and rational as Jack Nicholson’s manuscript in The Shining.

So it should come as no surprise, Ellison said, that as the U.S. military prepares to launch one of the largest training exercises in history later this month, many Bastrop residents might suspect a secret Obama plot to spy on them, confiscate their guns and ultimately establish martial law in one of America’s proudly free conservative states.

This already sounds paranoid, but it’s especially absurd in light of the fact that Obama has gone on record as opposing military tactics from the police when dealing with civilians. But I suppose that was the radical Black Panther Obama who wants to let packs of Negroes run wild, setting fire to businesses, and terrorizing honest, law-abiding Americans. Today, Ellison is afraid of the Chairman Mao Obama who is going to turn America into a third-world dictatorship. Some might presume that because Obama has done nothing like this during his almost seven years in office that he probably isn’t going to get to around it. However, maybe the radical Black Panther Obama has been so busy eating fried chicken and watermelon that he’s going to have to pack all this in before the end of next year.

They are not “nuts and wackos. They are concerned citizens, and they are patriots,” Ellison said of his suspicious neighbors. “Obama has really painted a portrait in the minds of many conservatives that he is capable of this sort of thing.”

I dunno. “Nuts and wackos” seem a fair description of people who believe, with no compelling evidence, that an elected leader is either philosophically or even practically capable of establishing “martial law” in a free state.

Here in the soft, green farmlands east of Austin, some say the answer is simple: “The truth is, this stems a fair amount from the fact that we have a black president,” said Terry Orr, who was Bastrop’s mayor from 2008 to 2014.

Orr said he strongly disagrees with those views, and he supports Jade Helm. But he said a significant number of people in town distrust Obama because they think he is primarily concerned with the welfare of blacks and “illegal aliens.”

“People think the government is just not on the side of the white guy,” Orr said.

Yeah, if only the white guy could get a break in the United States.

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Posted by on July 5, 2015 in Political Theatre


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Good Ole Nonsense…

TV Land has pulled repeats of The Dukes of Hazzard because the protagonists drive around in a car named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The General Lee also has the Confederate flag painted on it. In light of recent events, TV Land thought this was a bit much. It’s not necessarily a political statement. They also pulled repeats of The Cosby Show when allegations surfaced that Bill Cosby drugged and raped women. Although, that’s a little different, as Cosby didn’t commit these offensive acts on the show itself, but still TV Land is not The History Channel. In fact, The History Channel isn’t even The History Channel anymore. TV Land airs mindless TV shows that people put on in the background while making dinner. It’s not in the business of offending people.

However, this decision has offended fans of The Dukes of Hazzard, including its star John Schneider .

“The Dukes of Hazzard was and is no more a show seated in racism than Breaking Bad was a show seated in reality,” Schneider told the Hollywood Reporter.

He said the show’s residual royalties “have never been much to write home about,” and then he said more.

“I am saddened that one angry and misguided individual can cause one of the most beloved television shows in the history of the medium to suddenly be seen in this light,” Schneider said. “Are people who grew up watching the show now suddenly racists? Will they have to go through a detox and a 12-step program to kick their Dukes habit? ‘Hi … My name is John. I’m a Dukesoholic.’”

I should first point out that after 9/11, almost all images of the World Trade Center were removed from TV shows or movies that aired on cable. It is not an assault from the Thought Police but just an attempt at sensitivity.

Schneider also tweeted a link to a photo of alleged Charleston shooter Dylann Roof wearing a Gold’s Gym T-shirt. “Is the Golds Gym logo to be considered a symbol of racism as well now?” he asked.

Jeez. Look, a Gold Gym’s tee-shirt is not the symbol of racial oppression and the attempt to preserve slavery. This is like the people who say, “Well, the KKK wears sheets. Should I not sleep on sheets?”

“It amazes me that anyone could take offense to the General Lee,” Schneider said… “… If there was ever a non-racist family, it was the Dukes of Hazzard.”

I haven’t watched the show in a while, so I might not recall the episodes where the Duke brothers worked to desegregate Hazzard diners or let O.J. Simpson crash at their place when his car broke down on the way to Atlanta. However, most Southern black people aren’t in a rush to hang out with people who wave around the Confederate flag and name their cars after Confederate generals. In fairness, we probably never said anything, because you usually don’t want to engage in a heated political discussion with white guys who drive around in cars named after Confederate generals that have the “Rebel” flag on it.

Maybe that’s the problem. Southerners grow up hearing about the “Rebels” fighting the “Union” and just assume that the Civil War was like Star Wars. However, the Rebel Alliance wasn’t fighting to preserve slavery — not simply out of altruism but more practicality, as there was only the one black guy in the galaxy.

Schneider is not the only “Dukes” cast member to defend the show in recent days. In a Facebook post, Ben Jones — a former Democratic congressman from Georgia who played mechanic Cooter on the show and runs three“Hazzard”-themed museums — rallied round the flag.


Huh? The Confederate flag somehow represents “independence,” when the leaders not only wanted to preserve slavery but spread it further?  The Declaration of Independence details countless acts of British tyranny, from which the colonies wanted to free themselves. The primary grievance that led to Southern succession was the right to continue keeping people in bondage. And it’s not like Lincoln was elected and issued the Emancipation Proclamation at his inaugural. The South bolted simply because it feared what Lincoln might do.

Oh, well, I’m sure Mr. Jones can’t say anything dumber.


Huh, so black people inform you that your racist flag is racist, so you then double down behind faulty history as justification (you might as well claim that the Civil War started because Jefferson Davis wouldn’t chop down a cherry tree), and we’re the racists?

The sad thing is that many black kids and non-racist white kids loved The Dukes of Hazzard and dreamed of riding around in the General Lee. What was racist was that they weren’t taught history and were permitted to function in ignorance about the past. I loved the visual image of Captain America’s arch-enemy the Red Skull, but I knew enough history to know that the swastika on his costume wasn’t just a cool emblem. Fortunately, no American Jew or gentile grew up in a society where the crimes of the Nazis were so easily forgotten.

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Posted by on July 2, 2015 in Social Commentary


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