Thursday, March 25, 2010

National Medal of Honor Day


Today the news was mostly full of anger & hate, vitriol and venom, and finger-pointing from both sides of the political aisle in regards to this fiasco in Washington that's been foisted upon the American people by this administration.

Largely unnoticed and not spoken of is the fact that today is National Medal of Honor Day, honoring those who have received this nation's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.

There are only 91 living recipients of this medal, of the 851 medals awarded since Pearl Harbor.

Of those 851, 523 were awarded posthumously.

237 of those remaining recipients died after receiving their medals.

The average age of the living recipients is 74.4 years.

Of 464 awarded for service in WW2, only 20 are alive.
Of 132 in Korea, 13 remain.
Of 246 in Vietnam, 58 are living.
Both recipients from Somalia were killed in action and received their medals posthumously.
Likewise, all six of the recipients from the current Global War on Terror were awarded posthumously.

Of the living recipients, 62 were Army. 9 were Navy. 5 were Air Force. 15 were Marines.

God bless you all.

Note, readers, that I call them recipients, not winners. Most people awarded this medal died in the action that merited the award. It's not a prize; not something you win. It's not some cheap trinket. It's not something that any sane, rational, mature person wants to receive. It's something to be taken very seriously.

The recipients are often quiet people. They are humble about their actions, and many were even reluctant to even accept it, simply saying they were doing their duty. Many accepted their award and said they were doing so on behalf of those who didn't survive, who didn't make it, who couldn't receive an award, who couldn't go home.

Regardless of your politics, regardless of Left vs. Right, regardless of your faith, take a minute to be thankful for these brave people who went in harm's way so that you would be free to enjoy all that this country has to offer.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Entremanurial Spirit in America



One of the things that makes America great is how our people are infused with this great entrepreneurial spirit. Up until recently, small startup businesses were everywhere, generating the commerce that moved the American economy forward, furthering the American Dream.

America was built on entrepreneurs, not just inventors. Looking back through history, Henry Ford was an entrepreneur. He didn’t invent the automobile, but he built an automotive empire by pioneering the mass-manufacture of them. Samuel Colt or John Browning didn’t invent the gun, but they are synonymous with shooting. Guys like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell didn’t necessarily invent the home computer, but they took them to new levels. Ray Kroc, Dave Thomas, and Harlan Sanders didn’t invent burgers and fried chicken, but their restaurants are ubiquitous household names. Jim Koch didn’t invent beer but he’s hand-built what many (like me) consider the finest brew in this nation. These are guys who started off in garages, basements, kitchens, shacks, and little workshops and took it to the moon & back.



Like him or not, Ron Popeil is a frikkin’ genius. Sure, he was originally an inventor, but he also in addition to his products invented the infomercial. The Pocket Fisherman, Spray-On Hair, everything-O-Matic, Mr. Microphone, the Smokeless Ashtray, his electric food dehydrator; everyone’s owned at least one Ronco product in their lifetime, or at least a knockoff. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Joseph Pedott, who brought us The Chia Pet, and The Clapper.

My personal favorite entrepreneur isn’t even an American, to be honest. For some reason I’ve always found Sir Richard Branson to be pretty cool. The guy never graduated from high school but built 360 companies under the Virgin name.

However, these days our nation is sadly infected with something that I had to invent a new word for to add to the English language. It’s what I refer to as The Entremanurial Spirit®. An entremanure is someone trying to make money via bullshit means, ie: bullshittery.

Two of the original entremanures in America are Joe Francis and Jim McBride. For those of you unfamiliar with their names Francis is the man behind the Girls Gone Wild franchise and McBride is perhaps a bit better known by his website name, Mister Skin.

Francis has made a cottage industry out of wandering from bar to bar during spring break and summer vacations in various popular locales, filming young girls barely legal enough to sign a release let alone legal to drink, as they show us their teats (and often more) and make out with their equally drunk, hot friends, or wrestle with them, or give strip shows, or take showers with them. I’ve been to hundreds of bars in my 40+ years and have yet to EVER see anything even remotely close to what goes on in these DVD’s, so either I was going to the wrong bars or those guys are crop-dusting entire cities with aerosol Roofies before they go filming. There never seems to be a shortage of nubile young tartlets clamoring to show us their funbags and engage in heavy petting with their best friends on camera, as evidenced by the hundreds filmed in the series. A quick check of Wikipedia listed 140 titles in their series. Seriously. They rake in over $40 Million a year.



Mister Skin, Jim McBride, is the guy who really did make the website dreamed about by the guys in the movie “Knocked Up”, a Wikipedia-like compendium reference guide to nudity in film. The site can tell you every possible naked moment for every possible star. Why watch the whole movie looking for someone’s left nipple, when they tell you at exactly what second it’s visible through a wet t-shirt? Now you can skip those pesky things like, say, plot and dialogue. After a 2000 appearance on Howard Stern’s show, his site took off and he gets over 7 million hits a month. It took me 2 & a half years to break 100,000.

Seriously. These guys are making ducats hand over fist over what amounts to sheer naked bullshittery.
                                    Jim McBride can tell you everything naked. For a fee....

People who sell the naming rights to their babies on eBay? Bullshittery!

There’s enough stupid baby names out there already thanks to Hollyweird without a kid named GoDaddy.Com Jackson. Likewise, selling advertising space to GoldenPalace.com on your pregnant belly is bullshittery.

Selling a Cheeto or a burnt waffle with an alleged image of Jesus on it? Bullshittery.

If you see deities on snack foods and scorched pastries you’ve got problems. Why not sell clouds on eBay because one looked like Homer frikkin’ Simpson? Likewise, people who buy this shit should be punched in the throat. I should find the people who sold glass-encased rhino turds on eBay a couple Christmases ago to save the rhinos and sell them one of mine own turds and claim it looks like a Burmese python.




The people who ruined a good thing by bootlegging the Calvin & Hobbes characters into an evil kid who pees on everything and selling it on stickers & shirts? Bullshittery of the highest order. I loved the Calvin & Hobbes comic strip, and Bill Watterson never licensed C&H for anything, let alone something like that. It’s probably part of the reason he hung it up when he did.



But our latest wave of entremanures are the Gangstalicious, Thugnificent, Pimptatstical Urban Entremanures who take a $400 car, outfit it with $15,000 worth of stereo equipment, roll on down to ColorTyme to rent some fly-ass dope 26” rims, and then paint the car to look like some sort of rolling advertisement for a nationally trademarked product. I’m not sure if this is some sort of ghetto-fabulous urban in-joke to mimic the look of NASCAR rides, but I heard first hand from one of them that most of these guys do it to garner attention and then subit photos to the actual companies in hopes of gaining official sponsorship. The guy we talked to gets a stipend from Trojan condoms for his car’s d├ęcor. Seriously.

In the past year, I’ve seen a Suburban with the Big Red gum logo, a chocolate brown ride with the UPS/88 logo, a green & yellow John Deere car, an orange Lumina with Home Depot’s logo on the hood, a gold ride done up with Miller High Life, and others advertising Coke Zero, Oreo cookies, Skittles, Steel Reserve malt liquor, a pink Ford Contour festooned with various Disney princesses, and two McDonald’s cars. And that’s just here in greater Charleston and Colleton County, SC; upstate towards Greenville I spotted, I shit you not, a car done up completely painted in Burberry plaid. My buddy Chris spotted a guy in Greenville who did his K-Car (Yeah, seriously, a freakin’ Dodge Aries K-Car!) done up to duplicate the old #2 Rusty Wallace Miller Lite race car.



Bullshittery, all of it. Hitching your future fortunes to a dream of a big check from corporate America just because you took it upon yourself to pay out of pocket to have a guy paint your Olds Cutlass to look like a rolling Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups package is just plain bullshittery.

But, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now & again, and at some corporate board meeting a CEO is giving the okay for advertising money to be sent out to some kid with a Lee Press-On gold smirk and pants 5 sizes too big, who drives around his local hood in a pastel pink piece of shit ’89 Caprice Classic former police cruiser with Pepto Bismol on the doors.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

When the Merde Hits the Ventilateur....




"In a sluggish economy
inflation, recession
hits the land of the free.
Stand in unemployment lines,
blame the government for hard times.

We just get by however we can.
We all gotta duck when the shit hits the fan.

Ten kids in a Cadillac
stand in line for welfare checks.
Let's all mooch off the state;
gee, the money's really great!

Soup lines...free loaves of bread...
Five-pound blocks of cheese...
Bags of groceries...
Social Security has run out on you and me.
We do whatever we can;
gotta duck when the shit hits the fan..."



The above song is by The Circle Jerks, an early-80's punk band mostly known for the couple of songs they contributed to the soundtrack of the film "Repo Man". This is the acoustic version from the soundtrack CD instead of the thrashy version. It's the way I always knew the song.

As always, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Twenty five years later we're in the liberal nanny state Utopia of Big Government doling out freebies and our economy is in the crapper. Sounds like the Carter 70's all over again, and this song was written in the aftermath of those years as Reagan was rebuilding the economy.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dogma

Many many moons ago I was a fan of the band KMFDM, especially in their earlier electronic days. My interest has waned over the years though as the sound became more thrashy & guitar-driven. I digress...
On their 1996 album "XTORT", there was a spoken-word track (well, mostly spoken word) called "Dogma", which had started out as a poem called "Indictment" by Nicole Blackman. In fact, she's the one doing the speaking on the song.

I was listening to the song today, and it struck me interesting how appropriate some of the sentiment is today. What started off as probably an anti-Conservative rant fits really well in today's anti-Liberal climate and with today's completely messed-up economy and social climate. I also find it a funny coincidence that it was released in 1996 at the height of the Clinton presidency and holds true in the Obama reign.....

The track is probably not going to be your cup of tea, but I thought ya'll might find it interesting too.

All we want is a headrush
All we want is to get out of our skin for a while
We have nothing to lose because we don't have anything...
Anything we want anyway...
We used to hate people;
now we just make fun of them.
It's more effective that way.
We don't live.
We just scratch on, day to day,
with nothing but matchbooks and sarcasm in our pockets.
And all we are waiting for is for something worth waiting for.
Let's admit it; America gets the celebrities we deserve.
Let's stop saying "Don't quote me" because if no one quotes you,
you probably haven't said a thing worth saying.
We need something to kill the pain of all that nothing inside.
We all just want to die a little bit.

We fear that pop-culture is the only culture we're ever going to have.
We want to stop reading magazines,
stop watching T.V.,stop caring about Hollywood,
but we're addicted to the things we hate.

We don't run Washington and no one really does.
Ask not what you can do for your country,
Ask what your country did to you.

The only reason you're still alive is because someone
has decided to let you live.

We owe so much money we're not broke' we're broken.
We're so poor we can't even pay attention.

So what do you want?
You want to be famous and rich and happy,
but you're terrified you have nothing to offer this world.
Nothing to say and no way to say it,
but you can say it in three languages.

You are more than the sum of what you consume.Desire is not an occupation.
You are alternately thrilled and desperate,
Sky-high and fucked.

Let's stop praying for someone to save us and start saving ourselves.
Let's stop this and start over.
Let's go out - let's keep going.

This is your life - this is your fucking life.We need something to kill the pain of all that nothing inside.
Quit whining that you haven't done anything wrong because, frankly,
you haven't done much of anything.

Someone's writing down your mistakes.
Someone's documenting your downfall.



Nicole Blackman at a speaking engagement.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Sean Penn = Asshat




Sean Penn tells HBO that journalists who call Hugo Chavez a dictator should be behind bars......

Here be douchebaggery.

Why is it that every time Penn opens his suck-hole I want to stuff greasy rags down his throat?

He had such promise in 1981 in Taps, and was pretty funny in 1982 in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And then the wheels fell off the bus, or more rather fell off the economical green hybrid electric hydrogen microscooter LibMobile....

And calling for the imprisonment of someone for calling another a dictator is the sign of...c'mon, say it with me now......a dictator. No wonder Madonna left his ass while she still could.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

You knew it was coming......



....................................................................I couldn't resist...........................................................




What happens when you take a wild animal, capture it, throw it into captivity, force it to do unnatural tricks to amuse snot-nosed kids and fat tourists in ugly shirts and sandals, breed it (usually artificially, and confine it to an artificial environment much smaller than its natural habitat?

Often, it just enjoys that safe sedentary lifestyle. But then you have the rare occasion when one of them SNAPS and becomes a special on Fox, ie: When Chinchillas Attack....



It kinda makes me wonder if they get a little bored and just need to revert back to their instinctual behaviors....like the chimp that snapped and tried to eat the face off that lady last year.

People act so freakin' shocked when a wild animal reverts to its natural behaviors. Was it
really that surprising when one of Sigfried & Roy's tigers finally put one of them in intensive care?


So, really, how can we all be so shocked that something called a KILLER whale might suddenly get tired of jumping on command and licking the sweaty faces of theme-park goers for a couple frozen-assed mackeral chunks and do something drastic? I mean, let's be realistic. It's got a huge mouth full of teeth as big as your fist. It's frighteningly intelligent. It hunts in groups or solo. It's not called the Cuddly Whale. It's not the Might Hurt You Whale. It's not a Bruiser Whale, Nibbler Whale, or Bump You Whale. It's a KILLER whale.

Now of course, we have one who's a serial killer whale. Tillikum is now suspected of having killed at least three people. Something keeps setting off Talcum the Homicide Whale....and folks were all worried that they might euthanize one of the the largest & oldest orcas in captivity. Ummm, are you expecting them to Free Willy his ass & just set him loose? Are you high?

What happens when you let loose a human who has a history of violent behaviors? They have a tendency to do things like, oh, say....rape and murder and shit like that. They just found a 17-year old girl in a shallow grave in California and the suspect in custody is a convicted sex offender. Who didn't see that coming? So you wanna let loose a moody whale with a homicidal streak to roam the oceans of the world like a cetacean version of Jason Vorhees? WTF?

I love whales. I find them beautiful and fascinating. But I'm not about to stick my head into one's mouth.

By the way...after all that effort, good old freed Willy (Keiko) still died a little more than a year after being set free, after millions of dollars and six years of re-training in how to be a wild orca again. He stopped eating and became lethargic after contracting pneumonia, beached himself, and died.

So, just in case you're one of those wingnut PETA douchebags who want our Finned Freddy Kreuger to roam free after many years of captivity and three deaths, and for those of you who think killer whales are all soft & plush & cuddly, here's some reality...




Look at the cuddly Shamu battering the shit out of those cuddly dolphins and porpoises before eating them....




Hey kids, next time you wanna see Shamu do a trick for a frozen hunk of cod, think of how he'd rather climb up on the beach to eat a delicious & cuddly seal...


Grey whale, the other other white meat. Nom, nom, nom, nom......




Special thanks to SteeBow in Daytona, who helps me give pics the Obamination Treatment.