We’re back from Las Vegas! (2021)

More to follow as we all get back into the grind of life, aka working, living, cat care, etc. We did return last night but today is the decompression day. More highlights and other “missing” stories later. I decided to take a vacation from my site as well as giving you all a break on having to read this jazz.

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Officially on vacation, that is all


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RIP Michael Collins

I’m glad that when the show For All Mankind covered the Apollo XI landing, they kept the names of the real astronauts, including the late Michael Collins who would then be in the alternate universe’s Apollo XV (sic) disaster…spoiler alert, he survived. Rather sucks. Even in fiction the poor guy never got to walk on the Moon.

Others called him the forgotten astronaut since Armstrong and Aldrin got all the fame and glory. It just demonstrates their ignorance since Collins had the toughest job after the landing, making sure the landing module sync’d up and safely reconnected with the orbiter. Before that, not going crazy orbiting the Moon a few times by himself while the other two tried not to be the first people (known) to die on another “planet.”

Thanks for everything Mr. Collins. Your bravery, nerves of steel and small stature (astronauts had to be short back then to fit the cockpits and save fuel on their mass) helped push the human race forward.

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1996: Australia’s enough is enough moment

I’ve forgotten how many shooting sprees the US has had just this year but 25 years ago, the Aussies had what was their worst on the Island of Tasmania. After that, they reformed their gun laws and now being gunned down by a crazy person, disgruntled employee or right-wing shithead redneck (a bogan) is closer to impossible. To add insult to injury regarding our nation’s bullshit response of “thoughts and prayers” lather, rinse and repeat via the NRA, the GOP and Blue Dog Dems, the Australian gun-law restrictions were enacted by the Liberal Party under John Howard. Now before the Ammosexuals and MAGAts in Amerika start going, “of course, Liberals did this!” we need to remind these morons that Down Under, the Liberal Party is the conservative/right camp (using the Economist‘s definition) and the liberal/left camp is the Labour Party. Plus a single-payer system of healthcare both sides are in agreement about. American Exceptionalism is better because why exactly?

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What CV-19 testing feels like

I received my second Moderna shot three weeks ago but this reminded me of what CV-19 testing feels like! Well, the first time I was tested last year when the pandemic had more mystery, paranoia and fear around it. My nostrils burned for a few hours. The second time I was tested, medical professionals learned mouth swabs were accurate enough to figure out who was infected.

Despite being “immune” now, I will continue to wear my mask in public as per the CDC’s recommendations because I never, ever wanted to be tested again. I fear it will smart as much as finding out my old man is Darth Vader.

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The Love Toilet Beta

Either way, we know it’s where Victoria Jackson’s career went after the Comedy Central show Strip Mall. Below is the final, marketable version advertised.

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Caillou grew up and…

…remains the bane of parents!

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What an encounter with a “kid” giant could be like

I need to keep this comic strip in mind since I was probably just as cruel to ants. It also brings up the debate about nature v. nurture regarding alignments in D&D, are most young giants (hill, frost, fire and cloud) naturally evil or do they pick up their stances from their parents and community?

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The Simpsons nailed it beyond my expectations

You know you’re doing something right/well when it really, really pisses off the object of ridicule. Sure, Morrissey is low-hanging fruit for my generation (Gen X) and he probably isn’t too well known by Mills and Gen Z, but he continues to be an embarrassment for non-meat eaters, his countrymen and fans. I also didn’t know Benedict Cumberbatch could sing, let alone imitate the King of Whine.

Other media outlets, oddly an Irish one, were really critical about this episode. They mostly focused on the tired, moldy chestnut we all know about how The Simpsons has lost its relevance and/or it hasn’t been any good since (insert season number here). The only thing I could ever agree on is that picking on Morrissey in 2021 was a weird choice.

However, Lisa getting swept up in the Smiths 34 years after they broke up isn’t much of a stretch. Her character is alienated from the mainstream and yet alienates those around her. She is caught up in her own ego as all teens go through (myself included), aka the phase in which everybody is stupid and wrong, only I know what’s best. There might be an equivalent act today yet Morrissey remains the champ of such people, namely vegans, before they learn to dial back their rhetoric amongst us omnivores.

The episode was personal to me too. No, I was never anything resembling a Smiths fan during their heyday but I lived with one. Chris was my second roommate at Marquette and he was quite fanatical about them. We originally met as interns at WMUR and he turned out to be the neighbor of my established friends Paul and John at McCormick Hall. Chris loved to play the current album (The Queen is Dead) and tell me about the live show he’d seen the previous Summer and how the lyrics were personal to him, blah, blah, blah. I was, “OK. The songs are pretty good, a tad on the whiney side and there’s one with a weird helium-voiced person singing” but I knew my place being a “country mouse” from North Dakota. I readily admitted to my ignorance on what was “cool,” since I didn’t have access to the better music thanks to geography.

Several months later, I learned how Smiths fans didn’t have a sense of humor. Chris played the new single “Ask” our WMUR show and  I broke out laughing at the bridge when Morrissey was singing, “If it’s not love, then it’s the bomb, the bomb, the bomb…the bomb that will bring us together.” To me it was a dark, fatalist joke amplified by Morrissey’s Dudley Do-Right voice. Chris was annoyed, for I didn’t “get it.”

The following school year, Chris also read a little too into the lyrics in what would be the band’s swansong, Strangeways, Here We Come. He was also having some girlfriend problems and weirdly thought this situation wasn’t a coincidence, maybe Morrissey was clairvoyant? Didn’t matter. Chris dropped out the following semester for reasons I don’t want to share.

As for Morrissey, the jokes Simpsons writer Tim Long just kept landing a flurry of hilarious blows at the singer. Namely what an insufferable racist he is. Morrissey denies this while talking shit about the Left-leaning The Guardian; One cannot be a member of the UKIP party and say they’re not racist with a straight face any more than a Klansman in America. Long then went even one better by having his parody character, now a fat guy who loves to eat meat and fires sausages at the crowd, plugging his latest solo album titled Refugees? Again?

Thanks Simpsons staff for making an episode which feels like it was written just for me. I seriously hope Chris saw it too and laughed as hard as I did.

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RIP Jim Steinman

I think only Meat Loaf fans were super familiar with Jim since he was the primary writer on Bat Out of Hell but his main speciality was ballads. Great examples are the two he authored for Bonnie Tyler: “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and “Holding out for a Hero.” Air Supply used his help too. Then he was supposed to team up with Def Leppard yet it didn’t go well and they made the 12-million-seller Hysteria with Mutt Lange.

Normally, Jim’s style of music wasn’t my thing, I couldn’t stand “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” for it was a staple of Midwestern radio, some weddings (as a mean joke) and some club in Milwaukee thought it was danceable. He still gets a nod from Picayune for contributing to the larger over culture of Western Pop music and for producing what I think is the most iconic songs that scream, this is what Goth is! In 1986-87, he worked with Sisters of Mercy on their breakthrough Floodland which had the hits “This Corrosion” and “Dominion/Mother Russia.” Lead singer Andrew Eldritch said it best on what Jim did, “We needed something that sounded like a disco party run by the Borgias, and that’s what we got.” I couldn’t have said it better myself in what those hits sound like. They continue to sound great 30-plus years later.

Reuniting with Meat Loaf was inevitable as they did Bat‘s sequel and had a conspicuous hit throughout 1993, “I Would do Anything for Love (But I Won’t do That).” It was a tie between this and “Bohemian Rhapsody” on what would make me want to put knitting needles in my ears. I remember the hit was also a lazy punchline for David Letterman.

Thanks for everything Jim. I may not have liked everything but you were an unusual musical artist who proved that sometimes, giving a pop song a dramatic, over-the-top flair can be cool.

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1981: Weird Al Yankovic’s National debut on TV!

Almost forgot to bring this up before I go to bed,  courtesy of the Weird One himself via Twitter! I never saw the original airing because it was on Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow show which I think came on at 11:30 PM (Central) by then since Johnny Carson had shortened The Tonight Show to an hour. My parents rarely let me stay up past 10 PM on a school night and even if I did see this, I wouldn’t have a clue who Al was. We didn’t have easy access to Dr. Demento in Springfield, IL. Somehow though, I’m pretty certain I would’ve been an instant fan. Parodies and Al’s energy were a couple things I liked. Being a kid, parodies were always up my alley. When I was growing up, we all know the ones set to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Jingle Bells.” Plus I’d seen a comedy troupe on HBO doing their own to “My Sharona” in which they yelled “Rice a Roni!”

Way to go Al! A hero to millions on so many levels and to think, this was going to be an early step to dozens of other great things!

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It’s no lime in a coconut

Unless that’s the cat’s name (Coconut) then we could say this is a different concoction or…catcoction?

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RIP Walter Mondale

I’m glad to see that most of the stories about the former veep’s passing focused on how he changed the role instead of the alleged trouncing he received from St. Reagan in 1984. This is what I hope he will also be remembered for the most.

Although it wasn’t completely Mondale’s idea, Carter shared this vision of giving the vice president a larger role in the executive branch. Before Mondale, the person who got the nod was often just there to “balance” the ticket, meaning the prez candidate represented one section of the country or a party faction and the veep was a token for the others. The easiest example is the 2020 Biden and Harris ticket. Biden represents the East Coast and Harris the West Coast; the generation gap (Biden = Boomers, Harris = Gen X); Whites and Blacks yet they’re both ideologically NeoLiberal shitbags, leaving the Left in the cold as always.

Before Mondale, the veep was rarely included in cabinet meetings, important decisions regarding foreign policy and often was assigned to bullshit pet projects: Pence and Quayle. Darth Cheney had his own insidious agenda so he was fine with Spurious George playing cowboy and we now know Bush the Elder was much more involved with St. Reagan’s treasonous Iran-Contra operation. For others, it was a mess. Truman had no clue what FDR was planning on the post WWII world so it led to rockier relations with the Soviet Union. LBJ was already having confrontations with JFK’s people before the assassination. The only veep who benefited from this plausible denial/intentional ignorance would be Coolidge. The incredible corruption under Harding was pretty damning and Coolidge was very lucky to have nothing to do with the Teapot Dome scandal which let him govern without difficulty.

Thanks to Mondale, the US is more prepared for a smoother transition under the Democrats but I think the Republicans will catch on eventually. When Harrison died, Tyler’s term was a waste of four years and Andrew Johnson was nothing but turbulence, hundreds of wasted opportunities to heal the country and a cynical impeachment amongst all participants. Teddy Roosevelt is the only instance I can say, the Carter-Mondale plan wasn’t needed.

I also want to bring up the painful 1984 election. Yes, St. Reagan beat him pretty soundly if you go by the outdated Electoral College. Once it’s removed and you see the percentages, you can’t say it’s a landslide, aka the myth Republicans perpetuate with their god; at best it was 60-40 by popular vote. My Logic professor said, St. Reagan was really only elected with 25% of the vote too. Given how many Americans don’t bother, he was dead right and people will go with the devil they know over the devil they don’t. Incumbents are hard to defeat as well. Even though I knew who Mondale was at 16, I really wished the Democrats went with someone who had more charisma. It wasn’t meant to be since those candidates will only run if it’s a slam dunk so the Democrats were willing to sacrifice Mondale in the hopes 1984 was the dry run for Gary Hart’s victory lap in 1988…d’oh! See the movie, The Front Runner on how this plan fell apart.

Mondale did move the needle of progress further by nominating the first woman for veep. Geraldine Ferraro was a nobody member of Congress representing Archie Bunker types and in the end, she became a liability through her husband’s construction business. Many critics said Mondale did this as a cynical Hail Mary move to his foundering campaign. They may have been correct. In his defense, if he didn’t choose someone other than a White Male Protestant, when would anyone else? The Republicans didn’t come around to nominating a woman for another 24 years and they made the same mistake, Palin was ten times the embarrassment of riches Ferraro could ever be. The dispshit from Alaska probably harmed Senator McNasty’s campaign more than his gaffe over how many houses he owned.

The election did appear to be a waste of time and a formality to give a clueless old man another four years of destroying the world with nukes. Then the debates happened. Wow! Mondale whipped his ass. St. Reagan looked bad and he didn’t have Nancy to softball him answers as all he could do is say “there you go again.” Political cartoonist Pat Oliphant illustrated it accurately by showing Mondale at his lectern with a wheelbarrow of facts while St. Reagan was walking in wearing an Uncle Sam costume and a bible in hand. It didn’t matter, the debates rarely change the outcome unless it’s Tricky Dick’s flop sweat.

Thanks Fritz. You made the job worth something more than a bucket of spit and may you be remembered fondly.

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1971: Charles Manson convicted

Vincent Bugliosi did a helluva’ job putting this shitbag and his followers away. Too bad he wasn’t around to nail OJ, the Juice could’ve been neighbors with Charlie.

However, the infatuation Americans have had with the man is bewildering to me. He wasn’t very impressive physically (some stuntmen beat him up a year before the murders), he was quite short and rather ugly. I once watched a TV interview of him in the Eighties and he didn’t make any sense, he tended ramble. There must’ve been something happening as he had a couple dozen followers hanging on his every word with several sick enough to murder those unfortunate people.

I do agree with California’s decision to abolish its death penalty which pissed off millions at the time. When it comes to people like Manson, Hitler, Kaczynski and their ilk, it’s best to leave them in a cage until they die. Over time it removes their mystique and shows the world how small they really are. Executing them has the negative effect of giving them martyrdom and mythology, see Timothy McVeigh; and if Hitler were captured, I’m confident the Allies would’ve agreed to this despite Stalin’s reservations. Yet I readily admit Manson does seem to negate my point. Until his death a few years ago, he remained a celebrity and a punchline to the end. Sure, the band Marilyn Manson and KNNC using his baby picture were being ironic but ignoring him would’ve been better so he would’ve died as a story on page six instead of a headline.

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Justice League: the Snyder do-over

Allegedly, this Snyder Cut happened via HBO Max through the fans. Who these people are, I have yet to meet one. I do readily admit to enjoying Snyder’s 300 and he did the best job possible with The Watchmen, a story that works better as a miniseries (also see Dune, LA Confidential and The Foundation Trilogy). I didn’t like his take on Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman via his two films leading to this mess. They were just weak and it’s how I would’ve done those stories when I was a teenager being heavily influenced by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Uncanny X-Men.

So, is Snyder’s version better than what was released four years ago? Not by a long shot. As the saying goes, you can’t polish a turd. I will give Snyder credit for being more complete in the story since DC Fans (myself included) always knew the villain Steppenwolf was the vanguard for Darkseid, DeSaad, Kanto and Granny Goodness. They were left out of the first version. Beyond little easter eggs pointing toward a larger shared universe:

  • Eventually there would be a new Green Lantern since the previous one died in the first fight to save the Earth and the ring left to find a new champion.
  • Martian Manhunter appears a couple times.
  • Ryan Choi works at STAR Labs, he would become the Atom.

…the movie is too damn long, bringing up the other cliché, more is less. Some scenes didn’t add to the story beyond padding the running time too. Wonder Woman defeating some nihilists was a 15-minute nothing burger.

My last beef. If Snyder intended to have Justice League shown in 4 x 3, the resolution of CRT-based TVs and cheap-ass movies, did he want this to be a flop? This was DC’s attempt to compete with the Marvel tent-pole flicks which are supposed to be 16 x 9, noisy and visually overstimulating spectacles. Or was he trying to creating an overblown TV event for the Nineties. The black bars on my TV’s sides were further proof of AT&T’s incompetence at owning beloved IPs.

In the end, the typical movie goer will have no interest in this and the majority of DC fans will continue to be bummed. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue saying it, DC needs to stick to the small screen where it has succeeded in animation and the Arrowverse. They should stop pissing away the budgets of mid-sized cities to make Razzie contenders.

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