Sunday, October 30, 2011

"...On Coincidence...And Connecting The Dots..."

Another change of season is upon us.

And, with that change, comes another anniversary.

An anniversary, that once upon a time, was the stuff of tribute TV and radio shows, network news opening stories and comprehensive print media coverage.

Today, not so much.

November 22 will be the 48th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

If you are over the age of 55, the date and the event are most likely still able to evoke memories of what felt like a history shaking time.

If you are younger than 50, that day has always most likely been just another benchmark to be found in the pages of your garden variety American history textbook.

Along with, among other things, the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic, even all the way back to Ford's Theater and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Speaking of which...

At the time of JFK's killing, found floating in the sea of ink printed on reams and reams of paper, was a list, at the time, mysterious ,even bizarre, of "coincidences" connecting Lincoln and Kennedy., ever the pin wielding popper of overinflated informational balloons, took a sizable number of the similarities to task.

The list, and Snopes' applicable poo-pooing can be found here...

Parlor game fun at pondering the possibilities aside, Snopes' snoops make a fair point that you can take just about any fact or facts and connect the dots in a way that make said facts look extraordinary.

And I think any good shrink would agree with the premise that we sometimes need those kinds of extraordinarily connected dots to try and make some kind of sense out of events that seem senseless.

Time and perspective have provided, as well, the theory that one reason the conspiracy folks can't let go is the simple inability to wrap heads around the possibility that a larger than life, walking through history figure like Kennedy could have been eliminated, in the mere space of 4.5 seconds and three rifle shots, by a failed weasel nobody like Oswald.

It must have been something grander than that.

It had to be.

Then again, maybe it was just a flukey combination of good and evil being in the right place at the right time.

Just a coincidence.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"..Freedom's Just Another Word...For Nothin' Much In The Way Of Gray Matter..."

Today's installment of "you can't make this stuff up".

Crockett Keller.

A radio ad for a handgun training class that bars Muslims and Obama voters has sparked an investigation in Texas.

"We will attempt to teach you all the necessary information you need to obtain your [Concealed Handgun License]," the ad says. Then towards the end, it adds: "If you are a socialist liberal and/or voted for the current campaigner in chief, please do not take this class. You have already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision under the law."

And then: "If you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class with no shame; I am Crockett Keller, thank you, and God bless America."

The ad ran for six days on KHLB, Mason's local station. It's also been heard tens of thousands of times on Youtube.

Keller, 65, has said in media interviews that he just regards the message is just common sense. "The fact is, if you are a devout Muslim, then you cannot be a true American," he told local news station KVUE, while fielding calls congratulating him for his stance. "Why should I arm these people to kill me? That's suicide."

"I call it exercising my right to choose who I instruct in how to use a dangerous weapon," he added.

But the state of Texas may disagree. The Department of Public Safety said in a statement that certified instructors of handgun training are required to comply with all applicable state and federal laws, and added: "Conduct by an instructor that denied service to individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion would place that instructor's certification by the Department at risk of suspension or revocation." The department has said it has begun an investigation.

It seems unlikely that Keller will back down, though. "I'm not going to do it," he told the local news. "I will give up my license to teach before I will teach them," he said, referring to Obama voters and Muslims.

People like Crockett Keller tend to invoke one of two immediate knee jerks.

Either a "damn straight, yee haw".

Or a "puh-leeze".

Personally, I felt a little something in between the two.

Any reasonably enlightened, educated person is going to react to what seems, at first look/listen, like the mindless mouthings of yet another pinhead redneck racist with contempt and/or scorn.

At the same time, a fair and considered case could be made that, however distasteful the guy's approach might be, he is, in his own yee haw way, perfectly embodying one, if not more, of the bedrock principles of our republic.

For which it stands, one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.

Cause, fair being fair, it can't be denied if you scratch just beneath the "from my cold dead hands" candy shell here, what you find is a simple case of a guy expressing his opinions and exercising his options, both, and all, expressions and exercises to which he, and we, are all entitled.

So, yee haw Crockett Keller.

And...puh-leeze, Crockett Keller.

Meanwhile, let us all try to find it in our hearts to recognize the underlying principles involved here and get past the emotional reactions that are inevitable. a value added, enjoy the real "you can't make this stuff up" factor here.

The guy who is named after both one of America's most famous freedom fighters.

And one of America's most famous deaf and blind people.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"...Let's Go To The Judges...Now, There's The Real Amateur Hour..."

Being on radio every morning requires certain knowledge.

What's happening and who it's happening to, for example.

For that reason, I am aware of what's been going on this season on Dancing With The Stars.

And even though I've done more than my share of lampooning the celebrity value of the "stars" this last couple of seasons, I've also been pretty vocal about how, in the end, it takes a lot of guts to get up in front of millions of people each week and do that.

All of that said, as I've often said, I don't watch the show.

And while I really do admire (and probably live vicariously though) those folks with the aforementioned guts, I've never made watching the actual show a habit.

For a long time, I just assumed, when I gave it any thought, my lack of watching was the result of having something else to do or watch at the time.

This week I realized why I don't watch the show.

The judges.

Not the judging.

The judges.

Back in a minute.

(CBS) After Chaz Bono's difficult tango to the "Phantom of the Opera" on Monday night, his mom got upset. Very upset. Perhaps she will be relieved that her boy - whose astoundingly equitable personality had been a fine feature of the competition - was finally voted off Tuesday by the grouchy grannies at home.

Monday night, Cher had tweeted in reference to judge Bruno Tonioli's criticisms of her son: "I COULD TEACH HIS LITTLE ARM WAVING ASS SOME MANNERS! Critique CHAZ'S DANCE STYLE, MOVEMENTS ETC,.BUT DON'T MAKE FUN OF MY CHILD ON NAT.TV."

No mom wants to hear her boy referred to with the words: "It was like watching a cute little penguin trying to be a big menacing bird of prey." This had, indeed, been the description Tonioli had offered.

In truth, Bono has clearly been in physical pain, as well as some emotional anguish, as the judges continued to offer him love tougher than any seen in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

This show is clearly cruelty for beauty's sake. These poor people are like beagles who are being held captive in order to test mascara or lipstick. Well, except that the beagles don't get paid.

It was left to Martina McBride to offer a little balance by standing quietly on stage and singing a song about how tough it is when you get cancer. Then, we focused on Bono's pain.

"If you're an overweight woman in this competition losing weight they love you," moaned Cher's boy. "But if you're a overweight guy trying to do this competition and getting in shape, they penalize you for it and call you a penguin."

Some might feel he had a point. No one can joke about overweight women, other than the women themselves. The roly-polyness of men seems to be fair game.

Bono wasn't finished. He felt that Tonioli made him feel like "a fat troll who dances with this beautiful woman every week."

Social networking has created a fascinating world.

A world in which I find myself totally in agreement with, of all people, Cher.

If this program intends to be an authentic competition, with the accompanying good sportsmanship that any reasonable person (read: grownup who doesn't feel the need to be the class clown every week), producers would be well advised to take one of two courses of action.

Either tell the judges to offer their expert, professionally and respectfully offered, critique of the dance techniques and presentations of the competitors and stop trying to "make cute/clever" with what almost ends up being condescension and ridicule disguised as "wit".

Or show these three sitting down wanna be stand-ups the door and find three judges who can keep the low blow bullshit to themselves.

Every single contestant who gives their time, and vulnerability, to this program deserves the respect of being treated with respect.

Yes, even Nancy Grace.

And, yes, if she ever did the show, Kim Kardashian, too.

Chaz Bono, as of last night, simply didn't dance well enough to earn the points necessary to remain in the contest.

But having to endure the patronizing, gratuitous and insulting comments made by the three "experts" who judge that contest in their candy ass attempts to be "funny" demeans not only the contestants, but the spirit of sportsmanship.

Come to think of it, forget the first of the two options.

Show Tonioli the door.

If I want sincerely and unhurtfully ethnic funny, I've got years of Ricky Ricardo available on DVD.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"...And Your Little Infidel Dog, Too...."

Time for today's "Translation In A Jif"....

The story...

Just one of Moammar Gadhafi's eight children is still unaccounted for following the Libyan dictator's death last week, and although he is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court, Libya's former heir apparent is still trying to reclaim his father's glory.

Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi, the London-educated son who was to succeed his father and carry on the dynasty is possibly still at large. Libya's interim government had said he was captured this weekend, but at the very same time the 39-year-old appeared on Syrian television.

"We continue our resistance. I'm in Libya, alive, free and intend to go to the very end and exact revenge," Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi was heard saying on Syrian TV. "I say go to hell, you rats and NATO behind you. This is our country, we live in it, and we die in it and we are continuing the struggle."

The short message was broadcast on Syrian TV station Al-Rai on Sunday and was soon uploaded by several users onto YouTube. It's not clear if the audio-only message was broadcast live or was a recording. The Al-Rai station broadcasts into Libya, and in the past has broadcast messages from Moammar Gadhafi.

As the hunt for Saif intensifies, his brother Saadi Gadhafi, who escaped the country in September as rebel forces began to close in, has publicly lashed out about the death of his father and brother.

Under house arrest in Nigeria, Saadi issued a blistering condemnation of the way his father was treated after capture.

"These barbaric executions and the grotesque abuse of the corpses make it clear that no person affiliated with the former regime will receive a fair trial in Libya," he said through his publicist.

The translation:

Blah...blah...yada...yada...blah blah...blah blah blah....yada yada...yada blah blah yada blah....death to infidels....blah...yada....blah........



We now resume our regularly scheduled programming.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"...Inside Every Diva...Is A Timid Little Girl....With A Diva Inside...."

Pavlov would understand my response.

Cause and effect is a pretty primal thing.

Even if the effect seems ill mannered.

Elucidation follows the fluff here.

(courtesy of, or blame placed, your call, on People Magazine).

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon's babies are ready for their close-ups!

The star couple's 6-month-old twins, Moroccan and Monroe Cannon, made their TV debut on 20/20 Friday night during an interview their parents gave to Barbara Walters.

Along with the joy and pride of being a first-time mom, Carey, who told Walters she does not want to have more children, spoke about her difficult pregnancy.

"I don't think I understood the enormity or the magnitude of what it really does to your body," she explained. "It's not just, oh you don't look pretty and you have a bump."

But parenthood certainly seems to suit the couple. "My family gives me everything," Cannon gushed.

"It's just love," Carey said. "It's a beautiful place to be."

While dad expects Moroccan and Monroe "to get a PhD," Carey suggested that she wants them to follow in her footsteps. "They really respond to music," she said, before singing to the babies in their Manhattan nursery.

Lullabies may come easy for Carey – who brought them into the world to the tune of her song "Fantasy" – but opening herself up to marriage again was a different story.

"I never believe that anybody really likes me," she admitted after Cannon – who showed off his huge "Mariah" tattoo on his back – told her she's been his crush from day one. "I always think it's some kind of joke or something."

While Carey doesn't specifically address her music mogul ex-husband, Tommy Mottola, she does say that her failed marriage in 1998 made her hesitant to say "I do" a second time.

"Initially I was afraid of the concept of marriage [again]," she said. "But this is a different situation and a different time in my life."

Now, Carey insists, "No one will steal my spirit."

First, to be fair, an upfront admission.

There are things and/or people in the culture who, to my blood shot eye, represent nothing more than big ole balloons of pretentiousness.

And I was born, for good or ill, with a pin in my hand.

So be it.

And while I was "raised good by my mama and my daddy", aware of the preferred etiquette of "not saying anything at all in the case of lacking anything nice to say", the thing is that's not really how I roll.

Neither rationalization nor justification, it just is what it is.

And, for that, I acknowledge so neatly and accept responsibility completely.

Mariah Carey has, pretty much from day one, floated around, in my world, like one of the aforementioned balloons.

In the spirit of everyone is entitled to their opinion, I've always thought if she had a tattoo on her ass that said "Princess On Board", I would respectfully offer she had wasted prime inking space on a clear expression of the obvious.

"Diva" don't even begin to do it justice.

Every public utterance, saying and sashay reads like signals from somebody who makes Marie Antoinette look like Mother Theresa.

Again, fair being fair, I don't know the woman.

Never met her.

She might, in fact, be the warmest, most compassionate, most selfless person on God's good earth.

And I am still, at all times, keeping fresh bananas in the house in the event those monkeys come flying out of my butt.

Leave it to fate, fortune and/or divine intervention, though.

Today, Mariah threw me a curve.

Having weeded through, in and around the self aggrandizing "bringing her kids into the world to the sound of one of her own hits/no one will steal my spirit" blah blah, I caught the quick, sharp glimmer (no pun or plug intended) of a real, vulnerable human being in there.

"I never believe that anybody really likes me," she admitted..... "I always think it's some kind of joke or something."

Well, shit.

Overblown ego, self esteem issues.

There's an oldie but a goodie.

And, yes, endearing as all giddyup.

So, that damn fair thing around my neck like an anvil, here's the down low.

Mariah, I apologize for misjudging you and not seeing, sooner, the scared little girl wearing the diva disguise.

And I sincerely hope you'll forgive my harsh and, obviously in error, assessment of you.

As for your new kids, Morrocan and Monroe....'re on your own when it comes to their forgiveness for the names.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"In Most Cases, Going In Circles Is Something We Work Hard To Avoid..."

Old saying.

You learn something new every day.

Today I learned that I have something in common with Alex Lloyd.

(Alex Lloyd is a British race car driver, participating in the IZOD IndyCar Series and driving the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing, Boy Scouts of America IndyCar. He has been racing since he was 8 and has been driving in the U.S. around the IndyCar Series for nearly six years.)

(CNN) -- Writing this article is tough. Sunday we all lost a great friend, Dan Wheldon, in what was the most horrendous crash I have ever seen. This day was supposed to be a celebration, not a tragedy.

The event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway marked the end of our IndyCar season and was to have determined the season champion. As a side story, Dan was entered in the Go Daddy $5 million challenge, which -- if he could win the race from starting last -- could have won $2.5 million for him and $2.5 million for a fan. It was a challenge that garnered much media attention, and Dan had spent the past month or so heavily promoting the event and describing how excited he was to take part in this challenge.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a fast racetrack that is high banked, and IndyCars reach speeds of 225 mph. Danger is part of our sport. We all know it is ever present, and we face it every time we step in the race car. We push it to the back of our minds because as drivers we have a job to do and you cannot let fear get in the way. One would be crazy to think nothing could ever go wrong, but we must not allow such thoughts to distract us from the job at hand.

Only a handful of laps into Sunday's 300-mile race, I was following a couple of car lengths back from Dan. Going into turn one, I saw a couple of cars touch wheels up ahead and immediately began attempting to slow the car down from more than 220 mph.

The racetrack in front of me began to fill with smoke and debris. I saw cars fly up into the air and drivers pile up into one another. While slowing the car, I got hit from behind and saw fellow driver Will Power barrel roll over the top of my head and fly about 200 feet through the air, straight into the wall. My car came to a rest, and fortunately I jumped out unhurt.

The scene around me was something out of a war movie. Debris everywhere, cars burning to the ground and other drivers standing at the side of the racetrack in total shock, like myself, after having jumped out of their cars.

As we got into the medical car that takes the drivers to the infield care center, we knew Dan's crash was the most severe and that it looked like he was injured. Honestly, death never crossed my mind. Broken bones and other serious issues, yes. Death, no. Leaving the medical center, my wife said to me, "It's really bad, really bad." Suddenly the fear of losing Dan began to overwhelm me and all the others around me. Only a short while later, drivers were called to a meeting and told that our greatest fear was a reality. Dan had passed.

The grief was indescribable. Dan was a friend to all, a kind, charismatic man who could instantly light up a room with his beaming smile and charm. He was a great husband and wonderful father to his two young boys. His family meant everything to him.

The question surrounds us as to why this happened. Was the racetrack too unsafe? Honestly, I don't have the answer to those questions.

Is our job worth the risk? When you think of Dan's wife and children left behind, the answer is simple. No. But coming into this race you could argue that the risks are so remote that it was worth the risk to do what we love. Injury is possible, but we just haven't seen a death in the sport for a long time, and huge safety improvements have been made.

Sunday we learned the hard truth: that no matter how much we can improve safety and plan for all eventualities, some things are impossible to prepare for. I think over this off-season we will evaluate what went wrong and how we can prevent this from happening again. And mark my words, we will learn from this.

From my point of view as a driver, now is not that time. Now is the time to remember Dan, the great champion he was -- a two-time Indy 500 winner, the great husband, father and friend to so many of us. We will all miss him.

No one can be blamed for this accident. It is just that, an accident. We will learn and improve, but we will not blame. This is what we do as drivers. Dan is a legend of our sport, one of the greats. His impact on my career as a fellow British driver has been profound. He touched everyone he met and was truly one of the most special human beings to walk this Earth.

Now is the time to mourn the loss of Dan, the loss of a champion, the loss of a friend. We will never forget.

I've never driven a race car.

And I don't count myself in that number when the race fans go marching in to their local tracks on race day.

Turns out, though, I have couple of things in common with Alex Lloyd.

It occurred to me when I read the first sentence of his piece.

Because I had the same feeling when I sat down to type this out.

"...Writing this article is tough...".

In Lloyd's case, for the most obvious, and poignant, of reasons.

In my case because I've been debating, in head and heart, pretty much since the crash on Sunday whether to speak up.

And because I knew that if and when I did speak up, it was going to come out pretty much the way its about to come out.

But I've moved past the knee jerk, instinctive shoot from the hip mood I was in Sunday after umpteen viewings of the video of the crash and have reached a point where I feel like my thoughts are now composed and considered.

And here's the long and short of it.

I understand, better, I think, than many, the mindset of "doing what one loves in life" as opposed to walking the straight and narrow of what's expected.

But my own journey down the "road less traveled" has never involved putting myself into a position that stunningly ramped up the statistical possibility that I would be killed doing it.

And the words that resonated most deeply, for me, in Lloyd's sharing were these...

"....coming into this race you could argue that the risks are so remote that it was worth the risk to do what we love. Injury is possible, but we just haven't seen a death in the sport for a long time, and huge safety improvements have been made...."

"...we just haven't seen a death in the sport for a long time...."

Is it just me or does this have the undeniable ring of rationalization?

How long is a long enough time?

And one other passage caught my eye and heart...

"...Danger is part of our sport. We all know it is ever present, and we face it every time we step in the race car. We push it to the back of our minds because as drivers we have a job to do and you cannot let fear get in the way. One would be crazy to think nothing could ever go wrong, but we must not allow such thoughts to distract us from the job at hand....".

If you edit out the first two sentences, you could easily be talking about a fire fighter or a police officer or soldier, someone who has dedicated their life to making others lives safer.

But we're not talking about a fire fighter or police officer or soldier. And Dan Wheldon wasn't risking his life to make others lives safer.

He was simply risking his own life for the thrill of victory.

To each his own.

But, honest to God, is there any "sport" worth a young woman having to live the rest of her life without her husband and two young children having to grow up without ever knowing their father?

Today I learned something new.

I learned that I have something in common with Alex Lloyd.

He found it tough to write an article.

I know how he feels.

But, as a writer of some experience, I could have told Alex there was a way to spare himself a lot of the agony.

By recognizing that he said it all in three sentences.

"...Is our job worth the risk? When you think of Dan's wife and children left behind, the answer is simple. No..."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"...I Have Been To The Top....And We Shall Come...."

Is this a great country or what?

We've long ago determined how to turn a single holiday observance into the maximum number of three day weekends with just a little fancy footwork.

Simply "move" the actual anniversary, or arrival, of said holiday, regardless of its actual date/day to Monday and slap on an "observed" to make it seem legal and all.

As in, not "Memorial Day" on the Wednesday where it might actually fall, but "Memorial Day 'Observed'" on the Monday following the Sunday following the Saturday.

Following the Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday....

Partyin', partyin', yeah!

And now that we've solved the issue of not always getting the most bang for our holiday buck, we've begun to branch out by ramping up the dry, dusty doldrums of actual history with a little freewheelin' tweakin' here and there.

A little rambunctious revisionism, if you will.

Washington (CNN) -- The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is set to be officially dedicated on Sunday, with lingering controversy still surrounding both the statue and a quote from King.

The monument to the slain civil rights leader was due to have been unveiled on August 28, the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington when King delivered his world-altering "I Have a Dream" speech, but Hurricane Irene forced the event to be postponed.

President Barack Obama is expected to speak at the ceremony on Sunday.

The memorial site, which features a striking 30-foot statue of King gazing out on the iconic Tidal Basin, lies between the Lincoln Memorial and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on the National Mall. The statue, representing a "Stone of Hope," sits forward from a "Mountain of Despair."

Visitors pass through the mountain on their way to King's statue and an expanse along the Basin rimmed with an inscription wall covered with stone carvings of some of his most famous quotes. The four-acre area will also feature the iconic cherry blossom trees that draw thousands of tourists to the Mall each spring.

King's son has praised the memorial.

"The very first time that I came to the site, I was almost overwhelmed," Martin Luther King III said. "I really was impressed by this artist. He was able to capture the essence of my dad."

But sculptor Ed Dwight, who has made seven statues of King, objects to the memorial's depiction of the icon -- and to the artist chosen to create it.

"This idea of having this 30-foot-tall sculpture of this man, and this confrontational look, he would not appreciate that, because that was not him," Dwight argues.

He also objects to the choice of Chinese artist Lei Yixin.

"I feel strongly that the whole thing should've been done here in America," Dwight said.

Harry Johnson Sr., head of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation, said: "We got the best man for the job."

And Lei, for his part, said America did not have sole claim on King.

"Martin Luther King is not only a hero of America, he's also a hero of the world," he said.

Celebrated poet and author Maya Angelou has a different objection to the memorial, saying that one of the quotes has been edited to make King appear arrogant.

It reads: "I was a drum major for justice peace and righteousness."

Angelou says an important clause was taken out of the passage from a 1968 sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

King's original words were: "If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter."

Leaving out the "if" changes the meaning, Angelou said.

"It should not be seen like he was so full of himself. Because he was not. He was a very humble man," she said. "It is not an apt reportage of what Dr. King said. It is an edited statement."

The memorial's executive architect Ed Jackson stood by the wording and said there are no plans to alter the structure.

Jackson, who oversaw the memorial's design and construction, said in a statement issued that the memorial foundation "feels comfortable with the choices we needed to make based on the space available and the messages that we wanted to convey to visitors."

He said a "council of historians" had been consulted, adding they suggested 14 quotations and two statements for possible inclusion on the monument's granite walls that "best characterize and reflect" King as a leader as well as his values.

"In no way do we believe that this paraphrased statement diminishes Dr. King's intent of the words he delivered," Jackson said. "The inscription on the Stone of Hope comes directly from Dr. King's words."

Okay, let's put aside the debate about the facial expression/body language the sculptor opted to drape on the doc, even if he does look more like a bouncer/doorman at one of P. Diddy's posh private parties and let's zero in on the quiet riot re' the quote.

It can be fairly, if not convincingly, argued that MLK did, possibly, at one time or another in his life, adopt a stance/stare resembling the depicted design.

The quotation, though?

Not a word can be said in its defense.

It's a fabrication easily disproved by a simple ten second search on the Google.

Or even just reading the preceding article.

And here's the really candy assed attempt at explaining the edit...

".....In no way do we believe that this paraphrased statement diminishes Dr. King's intent of the words he delivered," Jackson said. "The inscription on the Stone of Hope comes directly from Dr. King's words...."

Well, okay, that makes it all better.

Except for one little chink in the chain of logic.

One word, Benjamin.


Yes, Dr. King spoke the words that make up the quote, but not in the order or manner that the quote implies.

Any quotation can be made to mean anything with just the snipping of a word or a phrase here, a word or a phrase there.

Just ask John Lennon who got pilloried forty five years ago for being quoted "The Beatles are more popular than Jesus" without having the benefit of the whole interview offered, an interview that made what he said make sense.

If that one doesn't ring a bell, let's just have a little "what if" fun with this.

And watch what happens when we do just a little tweak/omission here/there with other well known utterances.

"One picture is worth a thousand."

"If you can't stand the heat, get out."

"A little knowledge is a thing."

"Ask not what you can do for your country."

"My mama always said, life was like a box."

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give."

"It's whether you win or lose."

"Beauty is deep."

"Let there be Earth and let it begin with me."

"Two wrongs make a right."

"Jimmy crack corn and I care."

And the list goes.


Two things are fairly evident as we breakdown this brouhaha.

The creators of this monument are obviously playing to the culture crowd that prefers adventure to accuracy.

And those same space and time tweakers aren't letting a little thing like facts get in the way of putting a polish on the words they've put into the minister's mouth.

Even if they've polished them to the point that they are unrecognizable.

Of course, I am discounting the possibility that the whole quotation alteration is less about bluster than about bucks.

Maybe that Chinese sculptor guy charges by the letter.

In that case, it could be worse.

He could have chiseled in "...I have a dream day".

Which would then, of course, have to fall on a Monday.

As in "...Dream Day...Observed..."

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"...Today's Kar-toon Kwip..."

Read, out loud, the following list...

...without...grinning, smiling or laughing out loud.

Joan Of Arc...

Betsy Ross...

Amelia Earhart...

Eleanor Roosevelt...

Jacqueline Kennedy...

Gabrielle Giffords...

Kim Kardashian...


I couldn't do it, either.

"...And The Glow From That Flat Screen, Can Truly Light The World..."

Movie reviews aren't my thing.

In print and/or public anyway.

While friends, family and assorted usual suspects who know me know that I'm not bashful about offering up my two cents (seven cents adjusted for inflation) privately, my standard operating opinion has always been that media "reviews" of movies are like political speeches.

If you're bound and determined to vote for something, there's nothing I can say to change your mind.

And if you're bound and determined to vote against something, there's nothing I can say to change your mind.

No matter what "critics" and/or "pundits" would like us to believe, we are, at the heart of it all, very much creatures who need to see for ourselves.

That said, being that I'm not above preaching what I don't practice from time to time, here's a couple of Lincoln heads (seven adjusted for inflation) regarding the recent "bio/docudrama" avoided by Showtime and aired by the Reelz Channel....

"The Kennedys"

  • the casting of arguably iconic roles was, a minor bone or two not worth picking, spot on...(and, yes, that includes Katie Holmes as Jacqueline Kennedy...naysayers get a copy of any other movie with any other actress playing Jackie O, do an A/B comparison and then shut up)....
  • speaking of casting, Barry Pepper, as Bobby, continues to deliver on the potential all of us first saw when he was snipering the shit out of Nazi Germany in "Saving Private Ryan"...btw, find a copy of the Billy Crystal directed "61" and watch Barry Pepper literally become Roger Maris...
  • oh...and I take back, for a second, what I said about casting bones not worth picking....the guy picked to play Frank Sinatra should fire his agent for allowing him to play a part so superficially cliche, predictable and cartoonish...if Frank were alive, that actor and agent would be in some jeopardy, cause, look, paisan, Frank KNEW some guys, capice'?)...
  • the dialogue managed to avoid many, if not all, of the pitfalls that inevitably accompany a dramatization of real life people/events...the "cliche'/cringe" factor was low...even to a lay expert on the Kennedy era/family like this writer...(not having been there, I can't swear to it, but, I gotta shiny JFK half dollar that says Joe Sr. never actually put his arms around Jack and Bobby and said "boys, this country is ours for the taking..."...even if it was...and they did...whichever screenwriter put that line in Tom Wilkinson's mouth deserves twenty minutes in the penalty box and/or a day's banning from the craft table)...
  • most of the depictions of the "real life events" ring relatively true, given the scrutiny the empirical documentation available in this age of the Google makes possible...and if certain "quotes" were placed out of actual time and space context (JFK's accurately documented quote about the amphetamine injections he received for his back troubles,  "I don't care if it's horse piss, it works" wasn't said where or when the movie implies, but picky picky), the producers get slack cut in the category of historic license...on the other hand, though....
  • a movie that obviously prided itself on so much attention to accuracy in wardrobe, makeup, period set dressing, adherence to historic events, even well done, too often overblown, New England Hahh-vud accents surprised me with their blatantly blowing it a couple of times...
    • ...the "real life" scene in the Kennedy compound on election night 1960 was, by all available evidence, a beehive of activity...the depiction in the movie seems remarkably under populated and under energized...
    • ...the hospital corridor at Parkland in Dallas on November 22 has Jackie sitting forlorn and blood stained and, essentially, alone as a lone doctor or two walked by as if it were just another slow day in the hospital...again, all the evidence available testifies that the place was a madhouse that day...both this, and the aforementioned election night, scene seem out of place in a basically high quality presentation, looking, if nothing else, like scenes shot on the cheap in a direct to video type movie....
  • the music, often an underrated, but essential, component of a well made film is evocative, impacting and pitch perfect in both tone and context...
If you're interested in that period of American history and are looking for a high gloss visual "Cliff Notes" to enlighten you, this "mini-series" fits the bill.

And, in answer to the inevitable question(s), "who cares?" and/or "who asked you?", I refer you back to my earlier comments about having no illusions my opinions necessarily mean anything to anybody but me.

And, then, offering up a more basic answer to your question(s)....

"...Ask not...."