This is a rant, basically emotional diarrhea that I’m putting out there without a lot of self-censorship or footnotes or even tags. It just reflects where I’m at this morning having spent the morning with my brother-in-law (my sister is out of town) who fell in the middle of the night.

It’s pretty dark, so I will understand if you don’t want to read it. If you do, read it quick because knowing me I’ll probably chicken out and delete it soon.





This is our natural state.

The ice becomes water.

The hot cocoa becomes slimy and covered with fuzz.

Our once lithe, vigorous bodies become weak and treacherous. They make promises that they don’t deliver. My brother-in-law, who once played tennis twice a week and had a deadly backhand, now falls twice a week and none of us are strong enough to help him stand without calling 911.

Just when you get to know who you are, start to make a little sense of the world around you, the world starts to take the sense away, AARP starts pestering you, members of the opposite sex stop pestering you, friends move away or start dying.

We build up these systems, these beautiful systems: Banking that offers you savings and opportunity, but mostly for them. Medical care that you can’t afford. Broadcasting and cable and wireless and world wide web that offer you information and enlightenment but mostly porn and Jersey Shore.

Highways and bridges and streets and subways and garbage pickup and clean water and police and paramedics that come and pick up a 69 year old man that used to play tennis twice a week who now falls twice a week. It all costs money, and we’re broke.

I’m broke because my entropy keeps me discouraged and keeps me from looking for work.

You may not be broke, but unless your last name is Gates or Buffet or freaking Walton you’re probably just barely hanging on.

Your city and county are broke.

Your state is broke.

Your country is broke…mine sure is. Our president is a smart man, but he doesn’t seem to know what to do about it. There are a dozen men and a woman (or two) out there who want to take that job from him next year. Who the hell would want it? It’s the ultimate expression of the brilliant Catch 22 that Heller invented 50 years ago. The job of President of the United States (or any country) should go to the brightest and best among us, and not to the craziest among us, and yet you would have to be bat-shit crazy to even apply.

It’s all falling apart…this nice little infrastructure that we’ve built for ourselves. The center cannot hold. It may last long enough for me and my 53 year old ass, it may even last long enough for my daughter. God, I hope so. But it cannot hold.





It’s why I’m not a humanist. Just in this past century alone we’ve seen too much of what humans are capable of.

It’s why I’m not a libertarian. We need structure, religion, government, laws, regulations, a sovereign to keep us in line and keep our lives as far away from solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short as possible. But who keeps that sovereign in line? There’s your trouble.

It’s why I’m not an atheist. I have to believe that there’s somebody out there that knows about all of this. A God that knows me, a God that understands the way things are, but God damn it why does it all come down to





Random Movie Review – Brassed Off

Brassed Off

Mark Herman

Mark Herman

Pete Postlethwaite – Danny
Tara Fitzgerald – Gloria
Ewan McGregor – Andy
Stephen Tompkinson – Phil
Jim Carter – Harry
Philip Jackson – Jim
Peter Martin – Ernie



Release Dates:
UK: 1 November 1996
USA: 23 May 1997

1997 BAFTA Awards: Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film (Nominated), Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music – Trevor Jones (Nominated), Best Original Screenplay – Mark Herman
1997 Emden International Film Festival (Germany): Emden Film Award
1997 Evening Standard British Film Awards: Peter Sellers Award for Comedy – Mark Herman
1997 London Critics Circle Film Awards: British Actor of the Year – Ewan McGregor
1997 Paris Film Festival: Grand Prix
1997 Tokyo International Film Festival: Special Jury Prize
1997 Writers’ Guild of Great Britain: Film – Screenplay: Mark Herman
1998 German Film Awards: Best Foreign Film
1998 Goya Awards: Best European Film
1998 Guild of German Art House Cinemas: Guild Film Award – Silver: Foreign Film
1998 Guldbagge Awards: Best Foreign Film (Nominated)
1998 Lumiere Awards, France: Best Foreign Film
1998 César Awards, France: Best Foreign Film
1999 Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards: Silver Condor – Best Foreign Film (Nominated)

UK – 15
Canada – 14A (Ontario)
IMDB – 7.1/10
Metacritic – 60/100
Netflix – 3.5/5
Rotten Tomatoes – 79% (Fresh)

Tara Fitzgerald and Pete Postlethwaite

Brassed Off starts by displaying some dictionary definitions:

Tôr’y n. & a., (colloq or derog.)
(Member) of British Conservative party, e.g. Margaret Thatcher.

Cô’llier~y n., (chiefly British.)
A coal mine or ‘pit’, one of many closed by Tory government.
(SEE ALSO RELATED WORDS: Nuclear Power Station, one of many opened by Tories.)

Rėdŭ’nd~ancy n., (frequently British.)
Forced retirement, severance pay as offered to miners by Tories.

Brass~ed ŏff adj., (colloq.) (British slang)
Dejected, fed up, upset, generally pissed off.

At least the version that I’m watching does, I don’t know if the same thing was done for UK distribution or not. I knew all those terms except for “colliery.” There are many other words that they could have put up that would have been helpful for us Amuricans, for example:

Bloody: A mild expletive attributive, possibly derived from the Blood of Christ or the Virgin Mary, but who bloody knows?

Bugger: A foolish person, possibly also a heretic or sodomite.

Bugger all: Nothing (See: Fuck all)

Daft: Not too bleeding bright (See: Soft)

Flower: A term of endearment (See: Tara Fitzgerald)

Fuck all: Nothing (See: Bugger all)

Owt: Aught, anything (See: Nowt)

Nowt: Naught, nothing (See: Owt)

Soft: Not the sharpest tool in the bloody shed (See: Daft)

Summat: Something

And my favorite, bollocks: Nonsense, bull shit (also balls, and not the football kind).

That’s what I love about watching foreign films, you learn so much and you get to add a word like “bollocks” to your vocabulary.

With these definitions, before the opening credits (remember those?) even start, it’s clear that this isn’t going to just be a light rom-com from across the pond. It is funny, and touching, but there is also a very angry political statement here. Much more political than most American romantic comedys would dare get, I think.

The backdrop of Brassed Off is the fictional South Yorkshire town of Grimley. The town, colliery, and the colliery band are all based on the real town of Grimethorpe and their award winning band. I won’t pretend to understand or be able to explain the program of coal pit closings that took place during the Tory governments, but there were a lot. Hence the anger that bubbles up in this movie, with good reason I might add. Let’s just say that if Maggie Thatcher actually had a heart, this movie would send it racing.

As far as colliery bands go, I had no idea. Apparently there has been a long tradition throughout the coal industry of miners starting bands as a leisure activity, and even though most of the pits have been closed the bands continue on. I have no way of knowing this, but I wonder if part of the idea behind starting brass bands was to keep the miner’s lungs healthy. Anyway, the actual Grimethorpe Colliery Band provides the band music in the movie and it’s pretty great.

In the first few minutes of the movie we meet a group of five mine workers, all of whom play in the band and are concerned about the possible closure of the mine: Jim and Ernie (Philip Jackson and Peter Martin) are steeling themselves to resign from the band at the encouragement of their wives. Harry (Jim Carter) is having marital (and hairstyle) problems, Andy (Ewan McGregor) is single but apparently supports the guy at the local pub that he constantly loses to at pool, and Phil (Stephen Tompkinson, fantastic performance) is torn between his wife’s pressure to take the payout and his loyalty to the mine and to his Dad, Danny the band leader.

Philip Jackson (Jim), Peter Martin (Ernie), Stephen Tompkinson (Phil), Jim Carter (Harry), and Ewan McGregor (Andy)

Danny is played by Pete Postlethwaite, who died earlier this year. He was one of those great character actors whose face is a road map of struggle and emotional mileage, and you just believe everything he says. McGregor and Fitzgerald are the up and coming (at the time) stars but Postlethwaite is the glue that holds the movie together just like Danny holds the band together.

Music, and specifically the colliery band, is Danny’s life. While it’s not specifically stated, we don’t see a wife and we don’t see Danny going to work, so we are left to assume that he’s retired and maybe a widower. While everyone else in the band is ready to pack it in if the mine closes, Danny feels that the music is what’s important and that the band should live on.

During band rehearsal one night, a young lady named Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald) shows up with her flugelhorn. Turns out she’s from Grimley and the granddaughter of an old miner and band-mate. Danny let’s her sit in and she turns out to be a great musician. With her addition to the band, Danny thinks they have a chance to make it in upcoming brass band competitions and go through to the finals at Albert Hall.

Gloria and Andy have a past, well, part of a past. An affair back when they were teenagers, but “top half only” and understandably Andy would like to pick up where they left off. But Gloria has a secret, what is she doing back in town? Whose side is she on?

Some of the characters could be a little better developed, especially Andy who actually comes across as kind of a weasel in regards to his feelings for Gloria. Phil and his financial problems could be explained a little better, but it’s a very good movie and it makes me interested in checking out more of Mark Herman’s work.

I won’t spoil any surprises, but the movie is part romance, part “little guys make good,” and part an angry political statement against the Conservative Thatcher and Major governments. It all works quite well, you literally will laugh and cry. There’s a scene where Danny has run into a spot of bother and his band-mates all gather around his window with their instruments and lighted miner’s helmets and play “Danny Boy.” If that scene doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, then bollocks to you.

The Misplaced Boy MST3K Scale:

The performances are good, the music is good, it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it. I’ll give it a…

Tom Servo

Random Quote Whore Quote:

Brassed Off is a honied, periodontal, reconnection of a movie! Pete Postlethwaite is filar!!!

≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈

Oh…I forgot. Brassed Off inspired this song by Chumbawamba. Danny’s climactic speech is played at the beginning.

Ramping Up and Dumbing Down

So I picked a fight with an old friend today. He’s a guy we used to call Big Mac because he was the big man around church, a variation of the big man around campus, which he probably was as well. He was a couple years older than me, good looking, charismatic, he was one of the leaders of our youth group in the Assembly of God church I grew up in. You know the type, the girls dug him and us boys all wanted to be like him.

As expected, he went to Bible College and became a pastor. Like pretty much everyone else from that era, I lost touch with him but have reconnected somewhat on Facebook. Also like many old friends from that era, his theology doesn’t seem to have changed much where mine has evolved (some might say devolved) quite a bit. So has my politics.

Most of Mac’s posts that I’ve seen have been about his grandkids and his church and other not particularly controversial stuff, but early this morning I saw that he posted this picture on his wall:

His caption was “I thought they got this guy. Could explain why we had so much trouble catching him.”

As I’m writing this, six people (including another old friend from church) have “liked” it and there have been a handful of comments like “hiding in plain sight,” “where you’d least expect,” and “lets pray we get rid of him in 2012.” No comments were critical.

I felt like I had to comment, it’s not like I don’t have a sense of humor or that I’m so in love with Obama that I can’t stand to see him picked on (Lord knows I posted my share of swipes at the other guy back in the day), but this is just a stupid, cheap shot.

I thought about it for a while and decided instead of posting a comment publicly that I would send him a private message:

Mac, I didn’t want to call you out on this in public but I’m very disappointed that you posted the picture of Obama as Osama on your wall.

I understand that you, like a lot of other evangelical Christians, don’t like him and his policies, but morphing the President of the United States in with one of our committed enemies is beyond the pale. I have been out of touch with you for a long time, but from what I remember of you and your character, it seems beneath you.

I’m sorry to be so blunt, and if you feel that you need to unfriend me because I support President Obama I’ll understand. You wouldn’t be the first.

I continue to wish you well, and I hope you will take this criticism as constructive and from an old friend and brother in the Lord.

In Him


The 2012 political season is ramping up, and with this past weekend’s Straw Poll in Iowa has pretty much begun. There will be lots of cheap shots on both sides, but here’s my question. Why do only Democrats have to prove that they love this country and God and apple pie? Recently a reporter asked Rick Perry if he thought Obama loved America. Perry’s response was basically, “I dunno, why don’t you ask him?”

Are you kidding me? Where the hell does that come from? It must be because of the fact that when Barack Obama was the governor of Texas that he floated the idea that if the gol-durn guvmint kept going the way it was going that Texas might have to secede from the Union.


Say what you will about John McCain, but when the crazy lady asked him if Barack Obama was an “Arab” he assured her that he wasn’t. As if that matters.

It’s getting hotter and dumber out there kids, and there’s no letup in sight.

As always, I welcome your comments and disagreements, and I’ll let you know if Big Mac unfriends me ;)

The 12 Bad Songs of Christmas: #2

OK, so far here on the bad list we’ve covered a lot of territory: Good songs ruined by singers who shouldn’t be singing them, songs with bad lyrics, songs about holiday date rape, and songs by annoying rodents, but so far we have yet to tap into a rich vein of Christmas coal: The depressing Christmas song.

Somehow, over the years the celebration of new life and hope coming to the world in the form of a baby boy has morphed into a time when many people get the holiday blues. It’s natural for some folks who thrive on sunlight to get seasonal affective disorder, then you add all of the other stressors that come with the holidays and voilà, you have a tasty little dish that we call Holiday Depression.

As if all that wasn’t enough, songwriters throughout the years have decided to kick it up a notch by writing songs that make you want to hang a noose by the chimney with care.

Some prime examples of this genre: John Denver’s classic Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas,a heartwarming tune that has also been recorded by Alan Jackson and The Decemberists (appropriately). Then there’s Eddy Arnold’s Will Santy Come to Shanty Town? from his Christmas album that I grew up listening to. And it’s hard to beat Pretty Paper written by Willie Nelson and sung by Roy Orbison.

I could go on and on, but one thing separates the songs listed above from my #2 bad song choice, they seem sincere and authentic. Yes they’re depressing as hell but they seem to come from genuine emotions and possibly real experiences. Not manufactured out of thick schmaltzy goo like so many Christmas McNuggets with the sole purpose of wringing emotions out of the listener, like….

The Christmas Shoes – NewSong

Words and Music: Bob Carlisle

Bob Carlisle was in a couple of Christian Rock bands in the 80s but apparently he became aware of two very important things: That there wasn’t enough a.) schmaltz in the world, and b.) money in his pocket. He set out to rectify those problems with his first solo album Bob Carlisle Lays It On Thick, followed by Bob Carlisle Lays It On Even Thicker. Finally in 1997 he had a big hit with Butterfly Kisses, a very sentimental song that he wrote for his daughter. The song appeared on his album Bob Carlisle Lays It On So Thick You Could Tar Your Roof With It.

Because it’s no longer enough to have a hit song, Butterfly Kisses: The Song was followed by Butterfly Kisses: The Journal and Butterfly Kisses: The Golden Book. Butterfly Kisses: The Breakfast Cereal was in the works but Mr. Carlisle wisely decided that he had pumped all he could out of the Butterfly Kisses Well and that the marketing would stop with Butterfly Kisses: The Microwave Popcorn.

Singer, please. We can’t all be Thomas Kinkade.

Then one night a few years later, Bob Carlisle was visited by three spirits: The Ghost of Money Past, The Ghost of Money Present, and Ernest Borgnine. Mr. Borgnine was successful at convincing Bob that he wouldn’t be able to continue upkeep of his mansion on Butterfly Island unless he wrote a new song. A Christmas song.

Years ago when I was still trying to become a big time Hollywood screenwriter, an actor friend told me that I should write a Christmas movie. “Christmas movies are always successful,” he said, “Even if they suck.” My friend obviously had great faith in my ability as a writer, but he was right, and the same thing is true about Christmas songs. Hell, every year for the entire month of December about nine radio stations in every market go all Christmas songs all the time. That gaping maw has to be filled.

Bob Carlisle did write a new song, he would eventually release the new song on his album Bob Carlisle Is Going To Make You Cry If He Has To Squeeze Onion Juice In Your Eyes, but first he sold his new song to a group called NewSong. And the rest is mediocrity history:

The song is about a self absorbed yuppie (do we still call them that?) who is waiting in line to buy “that last gift or two” when he uncharacteristically notices something other than himself:

Standing right in front of me
Was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing around like little boys do
And in his hands he held
A pair of shoes

And his clothes were worn and old
He was dirty from head to toe
And when it came his time to pay
I couldn’t believe what I heard him say

Sir I wanna buy these shoes for my Momma please
It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry Sir?
Daddy says there’s not much time
You see, she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes will make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful
If Momma meets Jesus, tonight.

Well, it turns out the young man does not have enough money to buy the shoes so that his Momma will look beautiful when she meets Jesus. And we know what that means; Jesus will say “Come into my Kingdom my good and faithful…wait, not in those shoes!” He will then snap his fingers in a circle and it will be straight to Hell with Momma and her butt ugly shoes.

He searched his pockets franticly
And he turned and he looked at me
He said Momma made Christmas good at our house
Though most years she just did without
Tell me Sir
What am I gonna do?
Some how I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes

Now, just picture this. It’s Christmas Eve at WalMart. The line to the cashier stretches all the way to sporting goods, and this dirty kid is digging through his pockets for change? I’m sorry, but not only is nobody going to help him out with his shoes, he’s going to be lucky if he survives. He’s at WalMart, WalMart customers don’t play, they kill people.

But in the fantasy world of this song, the narrator has a pang of conscience and buys the shoes. And he knows…he *sob* knows that God sent this little poor boy to teach Yuppie McSelfishpants a lesson.

I knew I caught a glimpse of heavens love as he thanked me and ran out.
I know that God had sent that little boy to remind me
What Christmas is all about

That’s right, Bob. God created that family, made them poor, had their Daddy lose his job because the factory moved to China, made the Mommy have to get two jobs, and then gave her freaking cancer so YOU could learn what Christmas is all about. Because, after all, it is all about you. That woman is going to die tonight but it’s all good, because you learned a valuable lesson.

If you were made out of Brawny towels you couldn’t be more self absorbed.

And what the holy hand grenades is this kid doing out by himself on Christmas Eve?

And why doesn’t somebody tell him that his Mother doesn’t want shoes when she’s dying, she wants to hold her little boy and look in his eyes and tell him how much she loves him so he’ll never forget.

This song makes no damn sense. This song only works in a fantasy world and in the cynical money grubbing minds of people who write and release this shit so gullible people with tears in their eyes will part with their money.

And, of course, The Christmas Shoes: The Song was followed by The Christmas Shoes: The Movie Starring Rob Lowe, then not only The Christmas Shoes: The Book, but four books. It’s The Christmas Shoes: The Saga.

But I need to calm down. It’s all OK because all of the royalties for this song and its by-products have been donated to build schools, homeless shelters, food pantries, and start a shoe manufacturing company in the US that pays its employees a living wage and offers generous health benefits.


Oh…now I guess I’m living in a fantasy world.

≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈

And, just in case the original version isn’t bad enough for you…ladies and gentlemen, The Chipmunks:

Finally, if you think my take on this song is cynical/horrid/I deserve to be turning on a spit for all of eternity with demons roasting chestnuts over me, then you might want to avoid this video from comic Patton Oswalt. He makes some of the same points but Scout’s Honor I didn’t see it until I wrote this (NSFW due to language):

Fail of the Week: Bull-1, Bullfighter’s Manhood-0

Depending on how you feel about bullfighters and bullfighting, the good or bad news is that the outcome of this picture isn’t as bad (or good) as it looks:

According to the Telegraph.co.uk the Spanish jerkoff…er…bullfighter was actually gored in his right thigh and the wound isn’t serious.

There was no word as to the final condition of the bull, but since they kill bulls in Spain he will probably get it himself in the end.

In case I haven’t made it clear in this post, bullfighters can kiss my entire ass.

Thank you.

Letters I’ve written, never meaning to send

or “Why the flying space monkeys did I ever even think about macking on a 27 year old???”

ליבי טלפון 668
Dear Sprinkles

Why did you delete me from MySpace?

I want nothing but to be your friend, I swear. I am so over my stupid infatuation with you, honestly. But now I feel like you’re just playing games with me. The other day when I had finally had enough and asked you about the cold shoulder I’ve been getting from you since the new year started you said that there’s nothing wrong, but you still hardly talk to me…and now this.

The only reason I requested that you add me was that Sarge said that you were his MySpace friend. Hell, I never even go on MySpace anymore. So you added me and now two days later I find that both myself AND Sarge have been deleted. It’s one thing that you’re playing this passive aggressive shit with me, but I get the same treatment as Sarge? Thanks, can I have a little more salt for that wound?

Maybe you think I’m just another creepy dude that has the hots for you, but I have been nothing but loyal to you.

Who stood by you when you thought crazy cake lady was going to come back to the bakery and make you cry?

Who has been wearing the yellow ribbon button and praying for your brother in Iraq every day?

Who offered to help you when your Mama was in the hospital last week? If you think I did all that just because I want to get in your pants then you never really knew me at all.

I admit that I made God’s own fool of myself with you and I’m sorry about that. If I could do things over I would, but believe me that part of my life is over. Not that it matters to you but I’ve started seeing somebody that I met online. If we ever talked anymore I would have told you about her. But that doesn’t stop me from missing our friendship, such as it was.

I know you won’t respond to this, and I’ll never bring it up again unless you do. If at some point you decide that you want to talk things out, my door is open to you. Aside from that I’ll be friendly and professional with you for as long as we work together and I hope that you’ll extend the same courtesy to me.


Note to my fervent readers: I may have overstated the thing about me seeing someone. I have been in contact with a woman I met on OK Cupid (she’s 40 thank God!) and let’s just say that we’re still in the e-mailing phase, but Sprinkles doesn’t need to know that.

Oh, and I may actually send a somewhat less angry version of this message to her on MySpace. Which would make the title misleading, but wasn’t that a great Moody Blues song?

The 12 Good Songs of Christmas: #11

Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season

Words & Music: Irving Berlin (Happy Holiday), Kay Thompson (The Holiday Season)

OK, first off we need to clear up a couple of things: First of all, you don’t need to get your eyes or your laptop checked. It really is snowing on AMB. Courtesy of WordPress, the forecast is for a light sprinkling of digital snow through the beginning of January.

Secondly, yes my #11 Best Christmas Song is Andy William’s medley Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season. I love this crazy song!

Growing up we had some Andy Williams records at the house, my sisters liked him and he was acceptable to my parents, unlike those long haired wild Beatles. Let me tell you something, you haven’t heard MacArthur Park until you’ve heard AW’s version of it. For some reason though, I don’t think we had his Christmas album from 1963; so for all these years I’ve been hearing this song when the lite rock stations switch format to all Christmas all the time, but I didn’t know it was ol’ Andy. Having spent quite a few of my formative years in Las Vegas I imagined a lounge singer type sitting on a stool, Dean Martin or Sammy Davis, Jr. style with the mike in one hand, a drink in the other, and a cigarette nearby. The lyrics even sound like something a swinging Rat Pack wannabe would dig:

It’s the holiday season
With the whoop-de-do and hickory dock
And don’t forget to hang up your sock
‘Cause just exactly at 12 o’clock
He’ll be coming down the chimney
Coming down the chimney
Coming down the chimney, down!

That swinging Santa is one hepcat, ya dig? So keep your naughty business on the down-low, kids so the big man will be bringin’ you lots of groovy toys.

So imagine my surprise when I found out that the singer was good old, clean cut Andy Williams. Not that AW was a choir boy, remember Claudine Longet? But he certainly wasn’t in the Vegas Rat Pack leagues. Still, the song is a classic, starting with Irving Berlin’s old chestnut from the movie Holiday Inn and combining it with the new song The Holiday Season by Kay Thompson, a pretty hip lady herself.

It’s the holiday season
And Santa Claus has got a toy
For every good girl and good little boy
He’s a great big bundle of joy
He’ll be coming down the chimney, down
Coming down the chimney, down

How can you not love the words “Coming down the chimney, down?” Just in case you were unclear about the direction that Santa will be coming. I defy you to not love it!

So enjoy the digital snow, sit on your stool with a whiskey sour, light up a Pall Mall, and swing baby. Hang a peppermint stick on the tree for old St. Nick and may your every wish come true.

I included a couple of versions here, this is the song from The Andy Williams Christmas Album.

This is the Williams Brothers and the Osmond Brothers from a 1971 Christmas special. It’s out of sync though, so don’t watch it too closely or you’ll get a headache.

2010 Update:

Looks like the Williams/Osmonds video above went bye-bye, so I found a slightly different version (“Me oh my, everybody’s gay.”):

The world has gone nuts (and I have video proof)

So, last year there was a lady named Sarah Palin who a guy named John McCain liked, for a while anyway. John chose Sarah for a very important job called Vice President of the Entire United States. John and Sarah ran together, and it didn’t go all that well. Long story short, Sarah “went rogue” (hmm, sounds like a good book title), John got tired and needed a nap, and some other guy ended up getting the job.

One of the things that caused a little concern for a while was that Sarah’s 17 year old daughter Bristol was pregnant and unmarried. She and her 18 year old fiance, Levi Johnston, were expecting a baby. Long story short, Bristol gave birth to a boy in December 2008, Bristol and Levi broke up, and Levi Johnston is now not very popular with the Palin family.

So, OK, we all make mistakes, and a man has to make a living. Especially if you are no longer engaged to the daughter of a woman who quit her job as governor so she could make big bucks as an…um…author? Seriously, Levi probably doesn’t have a high school diploma, his attempt at a modeling career hasn’t exactly taken off, unlike his ex he’s unlikely to become a spokeman for abstinence, and as yet Playgirl hasn’t taken him up on his offer to pose for them.

So who, who I ask you, would hire a young man whose only claim to fame is knocking up his underage girlfriend? Is there any company in America willing to stoop so low as to put young Mr. Johnston in a commercial playing off his irresponsibility?

That would be a “yes.”

I have the unfortunate duty to report to you that the sleazy ass nut company that is exploiting a misguided young man’s irresponsibility is Wonderful Pistachios of Lost Hills, California.

It is my further, very unfortunate duty to report to you that Wonderful Pistachios are available at your local WalMart.

In the produce department.

I’m going to bed now.

Taylor, Kanye, and Beyoncé – Two of these people are class acts

So let’s be honest, I’m 51 years old. The last time I followed any new music was in the late 80s, and even then it was Pixies and they would be classified as “alternative.” Occasionally I will be station surfing in the car and hear something I like, but if there was a decent jazz station here that’s all I would listen to.* So the point is I’m out of touch when it comes to what “the kids” are listening to. Hell, until recently I thought Hannah Montana and Mylie Cyrus were two different people.

I haven’t watched MTV since long before they stopped playing music, but I do occasionally watch the Video Music Awards because sometimes outrageous happens, but I didn’t get off work until 10pm last night and forgot they were on. I was checking Twitter though and saw a lot of people talking about Kanye West and Taylor Swift, so I had to look around the Internets and find out what happened. So for any of my fervent readers who may need it, here it is:

Taylor Swift apparently won for ‘Best Female Video,’ I wasn’t aware that videos had a gender but, OK. Swift seemed surprised but went onstage to give her acceptance speech. Kanye West was also surprised because he, as The Superficial so aptly describes it, got sand in his vagina and proceeded to jump on stage, grab the mike out of Swift’s hand, and say that Beyoncé had “one of the best videos of all time.” The director of the show cut to Beyoncé who seemed beyond shocked that this was happening, saying “Oh my God.” West then shrugged and gave the mike back to Taylor Swift who just stood there stunned as the music came up and the show went to a commercial. Her big moment was ruined.

According to MTV, what wasn’t shown was West getting booed and then flipping off the audience. Swift was also reported to be crying backstage.

Now, before this happened I wouldn’t know Taylor Swift if she bit me. Kanye West on the other hand has a long history of bad behavior at this very event ** – usually in his own defense not someone else’s, so maybe he’s growing up a little. Once a promising artist, this little hissy fit puts him in danger of being known primarily for having a skanky girlfriend and no self-control. He’s on his way to Dennis Rodman territory.

I have to say that Beyoncé stepped up in a major way. Apparently the viewers or whoever votes for these things did agree that her video was great (and it is) and she won for ‘Video of the Year.’

Beyoncé spoke about what a thrill it was to win her first award as a teenager, and invited Swift to come onstage and finish her acceptance speech, which she very graciously did without mentioning West. Thankfully Kanye West was restrained and muzzled by that point because he didn’t yell “You lie!” at Miss Swift.

So why am I spending all this time on these celebs? Because the actions of Beyoncé and Taylor Swift make me feel better about people, they show me that even on an MTV non-event there are still people with grace and class in the world, and occasionally a couple of them get to make records and become famous.

Oh…and I guess Kanye West did apologize but I’ve already spent too much time thinking about his worthless ass. He’s on his own.

One more thing

Check this out:

* That’s not a slam on living in the South, the only decent jazz station in LA comes out of Long Beach and half of the time I can’t pick it up. And of course I’m talking about real jazz, not that Kenny G crap that you can find every freaking where.

** Also at the Hurricane Katrina benefit in 2005 where he said “George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Kind of agreed with him there.

Two more reasons why those stupid swimsuits should be banned

Actually four reasons if you’re counting cheeks:

This italian swimmer, Flavia Zoccari had her stupid swimsuit rip open at the Mediterranean Games held in Italy earlier this month. She was apparently disqualified from the race because they wouldn’t give her time to change into another suit. She should have swam the race crack and all, like this guy…

USA swimmer Ricky Berens ripped his stupid swimsuit during a qualifying heat this week at the World Championships in Rome. Apparently those prudish Italians didn’t disqualify him because it happened just as the race started.

Not fair. But seriously, quit trying to turn human beings into sharks and just go back to wearing regular swimsuits like before, OK?