Schlemiel-in-Chief

Number 4 in a series

Editor’s note: In case there is yet a reader out there unclear on the meaning of the term schlemiel, here is a description from an online dictionary:

noun, Slang.
1. an awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right.

Yiddish, from German, after the hero of a novel by Chamisso (1781–1838)
Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source

politics-trumpwtfbaby-01

That didn’t take long. Donald Trump took office less than two weeks ago, and he has just about run the table. It’s an astounding score:

But the defining moment for Mr. Bannon came Saturday night in the form of an executive order giving the rumpled right-wing agitator a full seat on the “principals committee” of the National Security Council — while downgrading the roles of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence, who will now attend only when the council is considering issues in their direct areas of responsibilities. It is a startling elevation of a political adviser, to a status alongside the secretaries of state and defense, and over the president’s top military and intelligence advisers.

Naive as I am, it was my tendency to consider the Joint Chiefs as critical to national  security and for inclusion in the NSC. Apparently I have been mistaken. With the chairman of the JCS out and right wing nut job Steve Bannon in, it may be worthwhile to review Mr. Bannon’s qualifications for the job:

Bannon was an officer in the United States Navy for seven years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serving on the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster as a Surface Warfare Officer in the Pacific Fleet and stateside as a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon.

All right! Special assistant to the CNO would give Bannon a heads up regarding what is required for his new post. The Wikipedia entry for Steve Bannon provides additional insight:

Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness in early January 1996, after [second wife Mary Louise] Piccard accused Bannon of domestic abuse. The charges were later dropped when his now ex-wife did not appear in court. In an article in The New York Times, Piccard stated her absence was due to threats made to her by Bannon and Bannon’s lawyer:

Mr. Bannon, she said, told her that “if I went to court he and his attorney would make sure that I would be the one who was guilty”… Mr. Bannon’s lawyer, she said, “threatened me,” telling her that if Mr. Bannon went to jail, she “would have no money and no way to support the children.” … Mr. Bannon’s lawyer … denied pressuring her not to testify.

Piccard and Bannon divorced in 1997. During the divorce proceedings, Piccard also stated that Bannon had made antisemitic remarks about choice of schools, saying that he did not want to send his children to The Archer School for Girls because there were too many Jews at the school and Jews raise their children to be “whiny brats”. Bannon’s spokesperson denied the accusation, noting that he had chosen to send both his children to the Archer School.

OK. That’s some tough cookie. Bannon is not the kind of person to let Kim Jong-un push him around. Mr. Bannon has since been married and divorced for a third time. A look at Breitbart News provides a further look. Under Bannon’s leadership we saw such as this:

Breitbart News is a divisive right-wing opinion and news outlet, known for offensive headlines like “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew,” “Trannies 49 Xs Higher HIV Rate,” and “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the site promotes racist, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant ideas, and it has been accused of white nationalism, a movement that opposes multiculturalism and believes in the supremacy of the white race. Bannon, who is on leave from Breitbart, described his ideology to Mother Jones as “nationalist,” but not necessarily white nationalist. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke called Bannon’s selection “excellent,” and Peter Brimelow, who runs the white nationalist site VDARE, called it “amazing.”

Here is a typical Breitbart News headline: “BIRTH CONTROL MAKES WOMEN UNATTRACTIVE AND CRAZY” I think I got that. An additional item from the Cosmopolitan article is worth noting:

7. HE SAID PROGRESSIVES VILIFY CONSERVATIVE WOMEN BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT “A BUNCH OF DYKES.”

During a 2011 radio interview, Bannon said women like Ann Coulter, Michele Bachmann, and Palin threaten the progressive narrative.

“That’s why there are some unintended consequences of the women’s liberation movement. That, in fact, the women that would lead this country would be pro-family, they would have husbands, they would love their children. They wouldn’t be a bunch of dykes that came from the Seven Sisters schools up in New England,” he said, referring to historic women’s colleges. “That drives the left insane and that’s why they hate these women.”

Obviously, Mr. Bannon has some issues, and his place at the table for the NSC is of concern to many, including this writer. Other than that, Donald Trump’s actions these first few days on the job have been  exemplary. Actually not:

The British Parliament on Monday hosted an extraordinary debate over whether to ban U.S. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump from visiting the United Kingdom.

The debate, which was triggered by an online petition that described Trump’s comments about Muslims as “hate speech,” did not produce any binding decisions. Authority to ban someone from the country rests with the home secretary, not with Parliament. But the exchange gave British lawmakers an unusual chance to weigh in directly on U.S. politics.

Those are some headlines that are not soon  to go away. I am vague on my history, but it has been  maybe 212 years since we were last at war with Great Britain. Maybe it’s time to toss some more tea into Boston Harbor.

You know what? I haven’t gotten around to  the whoop-de-doo falling out of President Trump’s precipitous action to halt travel from certain countries with which he has no current business dealings. I will save that for another post. It’s almost time for my dinner.

Keep  reading. And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

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Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

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Another Tuesday and another death due to reliance on unwarranted belief. From Quack Watch comes a story of death by cancer:

My good friend Debbie Benson died July 15, 1997, at age fifty-five. I had known her for thirty years. Her official diagnosis was breast cancer, but she was really a victim of quackery. Conventional treatment might have saved her, but she rejected the advice of her oncologist and went to “natural healers.”

Debbie was a registered nurse at the Kaiser hospital in Portland, Oregon, but she had a deep distrust of standard medical practice. She didn’t have a mammogram for nine years, and when she did — in March 1996 — it showed a cancerous lump in her breast. She had the lump removed, but she refused the additional treatment her doctor recommended. Instead she went to a naturopath who gave her — among other things — some “Pesticide Removal Tinctures.”

Readers, when you’re dying Jesus will not come to save you, and it’s for certain medical quackery won’t either.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

math-angleproblem

This popped up on my Facebook time line, posted by somebody else. So I stole it, and here it is: What is the sum of all the blue angles? Post your answer as a comment below.

Update

A number of people have posted responses, so I am going to supply the answer. See the following diagram:

math-polygonangles

What is the sum of interior angles of a polygon? The example of a triangle explains. The triangle is ABC, defined by its three interior angles. But concentrate on the complementary angles a and b and c. What is the sum of those angles? Consider the line ab. Line bc branches off from ab with a change of direction equal to angle b. Follow the path around the triangle, and the total change of direction is 360 degrees. That’s going to be the total of a and b and c. The sum of a and A is 180° so the sum of all angles is 3 × 180 = 540. 540 – 360 = 180, the sum of interior angles of all triangles.

The method holds true for all polygons. The polygon in this puzzle is unusual in that the path makes two complete turns or 360 × 2 = 720. There are 6 sides and six interior angles, so the sum of the interior angles is 6 × 180 – 720 = 360.

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

It turns out Amazon Prime Video has a trove of these treasures. They’re cheap-as-dirt crime stories that may or may not have kept people’s minds off the looming war. This is Double Cross, from  1941, out of Producers Releasing Corporation. It’s the first I’ve heard of this group, but there may be more from them in the pipeline. I’m getting details from Wikipedia.

Here is the Silver Slipper, and you can guess what kind of joint it is. You will be shocked, shocked! to learn that gambling is going on here. Pretty Ellen Bronson (Pauline Moore) works as the house photographer, walking around, looking good, and taking pictures of customers who want them. Some do, and some don’t.

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Meanwhile, in the back room, Ellen’s brother Steve Bronson (Richard Beach) is schmoozing with Fay Saunders (Wynne Gibson), part owner of the establishment. This is not good. Steve is a motorcycle cop, and he shouldn’t be in such a place. That soon becomes apparent.

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Police raid the joint, causing a considerable ruckus. Steve flings open the door, revealing police tussling with club co-owner Nick Taggart (John Miljan), head gangster in town, and also Fay’s main squeeze. Fay reacts appropriately, or not, by un-holstering Steve’s service revolver and letting fly, killing a cop. The cops return in kind, mortally wounding Steve. Fay lets slip it was Steve who did the shooting. Poor girl.

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Steve’s best friend is Jim Murray (Kane Richmond), also a motorcycle cop, and Ellen’s main squeeze. Jim tries to pry details of the shooting out of Steve before he dies, but Steve regrets there is not enough time left to tell the story. Jim comforts Ellen, who must now find a new job, since the Silver Slipper is being shuttered by the authorities (gambling).

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Ha! We should have guessed. The mayor (William Halligan) is in Taggart’s pocket. Here the mayor is telling Taggart to never come to the office again, but to wait for a signal so they can meet. High class.

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Jim’s father is Police Captain Murray (Robert Homans). The captain gets tough, some would even say physical, with Taggart, threating to run him out of town. Taggart responds by putting out a hit on the captain. Bullets fly, coming through the window behind Captain Murray’s window, killing another cop, in the office to  drop off some papers.

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Jim pretends to go rogue to get in with Taggart. Ellen resumes her job when the Silver  Slipper reopens. Ellen hears voices inside Taggart’s office and determines the mayor has come in the back way and is picking up a payoff from Taggart. Jim gives Ellen a boost up, and she captures the scene with her trusty flash camera.

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Ellen is found out. The crooks want the photo. Jim spirits the film out and to a shop to be printed. This was before Canon 5D digital SLR cameras. Fay becomes distraught that things are falling apart. There is name calling. Fay harangues Taggart viciously. Not the person you want to harangue viciously, he has a knife. That’s the end of Fay.

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Taggart has Ellen and Jim as prisoners. He devises a scheme to ambush Captain Murray, using Jim as bait. In the back of the Dollar Moving and Storage van Taggart and two gunnies proceed to the place they expect Captain Murray to be waiting. But Jim has pulled a fast one. He has pulled the police radio from his motorcycle and installed it in the truck. He is driving, and he cold-cocks the henchman guarding him. He radios the cops, and they ride up en masse. The gunfight is not even close. The police ventilate the back of the van and waste the mug who had been guarding Jim. The remaining thug, Miggs (Heinie Conklin), goes soft and releases Ellen without harm.

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And that’s the end of the movie.

The plot is lame, without much appeal to plausibility. Performances by the players would plank over somebody’s footbridge, they are that  stiff. This print is poor quality, but it likely sparkled when first minted. A lot of cinematic history has been lost due to indifferent storage. Computer  digitization is currently archiving what remains, but had it been available 70 years ago, this would have been among the last in the queue to be scanned.

1984

Updated

Besides additional and notable idiosyncrasies, current President Donald Trump’s tendentious, and typically casual, relationship with the truth gets a lot of attention. Prime are his recent recent claims of massive voter fraud and the unrealized popularity of his swearing in ceremony. Continuing a thread that ran throughout his campaign, Trump’s campaign of deceit is leaving an indelible mark on his tenure. Not by accident, George Orwell‘s classic novel from  1949, titled 1984, last week topped Amazon’s sales list.

It will be worthwhile to revisit this iconic tale, made most famous by a movie of that title, that burst on the large screen in 1956. My acquaintance was through a feature in Life magazine that summarized, with illustrations from the movie. A more recent release came out in the title year and featured John Hurt (recently deceased) and Richard Burton, who died before the film hit the screen. The tie in with the current president is inescapable.

It’s the year 1984 in a dystopian world. It’s Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels gone wild on a planet beset by global and eternal war. The setting is London, but the country is now Oceania, and Oceania is ruled by an enigmatic and oppressive leader known only as Big Brother and seen only on wall-size view screens and prolific wall posters. Truth has ceased to exist. The following images are screen shots from the 1984 production.

There is no news, only propaganda, fed in a 24/7 stream. It’s purpose is absolute control, keeping the teaming masses in perpetual passion for their masters and against foes, real or imaginary. A five-minute hate session opens viewers to this world.

Suzanna Hamilton is Julia. Her passion, we eventually learn, is crafted. She has by some means discerned  the truth, that it is all a big lie. You cannot tell it from watching her scream, along with the others, at the images on the big screen.

Winston Smith (John Hurt) works in the Ministry of Truth. His job is to kill the truth. He rewrites history. Literally. He reviews publications that no longer reflect the party message, and he rewrites them to conform to the truth of the day. For example:

Winston’s job was to rectify the original figures by making them agree with the later ones. As for the third message, it referred to a very simple error which could be set right in a couple of minutes. As short a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise (a ‘categorical pledge’ were the official words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty at the end of the present week. All that was needed was to substitute for the original promise a warning that it would probably be necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April.

Orwell, George. 1984 (Kindle Locations 617-621). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Readers of the book, and present day observers who have previously read the book, will find the parallels with the current administration striking if not chilling.

Richard Burton is O’Brien, a party official who oversees Smith’s destruction. It is the job of the rulers to systematically eliminate subjects. The practice of entrapping visible personalities, exposing their offenses against the state, and rendering them unpersons, maintains the level of terror needed to preserve absolute control. Winston is being set up to take the fall for thoughtcrime. One word. Terms like this permeate 1984. It’s called newspeak.

And that hopefully concludes the parallel between 1984 and 2017. To round out the story, Julia contacts Winston and recruits him as her current lover. She has had many. Winston rents a room in a shadowy area in the proletarian section, where the proles live. Interestingly the proles are not subjected to the perpetual hazing inflicted on the bourgeois class.

Here Winston and Julia enjoy their bliss together, waiting for the day when their thoughtcrime will be discovered, and  they will  be rendered. Winston falsely projects that, when tortured—as tortured as he must eventually be—he will never betray Julia. He will always love her.

From a window in the rented room they observe a prole woman hanging out laundry on a clothes line and singing a tune that has been composed by a state factory. Here  is an example from the book:

It was only an ’opeless fancy,
It passed like an Ipril dye,
But a look an’ a word an’ the dreams they stirred
They ’ave stolen my ’eart awye!

Orwell, George. 1984 (Kindle Locations 1985-1987). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Their downfall comes precipitously and without warning. As they watch the woman hanging he laundry:

The birds sang, the proles sang, the Party did not sing. All round the world, in London and New York, in Africa and Brazil and in the mysterious, forbidden lands beyond the frontiers, in the streets of Paris and Berlin, in the villages of the endless Russian plain, in the bazaars of China and Japan— everywhere stood the same solid unconquerable figure, made monstrous by work and childbearing, toiling from birth to death and still singing. Out of those mighty loins a race of conscious beings must one day come. You were the dead; theirs was the future. But you could share in that future if you kept alive the mind as they kept alive the body, and passed on the secret doctrine that two plus two make four.

‘We are the dead,’ he said.

‘We are the dead,’ echoed Julia dutifully.

‘You are the dead,’ said an iron voice behind them.

They sprang apart. Winston’s entrails seemed to have turned into ice. He could see the white all round the irises of Julia’s eyes. Her face had turned a milky yellow. The smear of rouge that was still on each cheekbone stood out sharply, almost as though unconnected with the skin beneath.

‘You are the dead,’ repeated the iron voice.

‘It was behind the picture,’ breathed Julia.

‘It was behind the picture,’ said the voice. ‘Remain exactly where you are. Make no movement until you are ordered.’

Orwell, George. 1984 (Kindle Locations 3156-3167). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

The hidden TV camera was behind the picture, which now comes crashing down to reveal the likeness of Big Brother, speaking to them.

Julia is struck down and carried nude from the room. Winston appears before O’Brien and undergoes his torture. Winston has claimed that two plus two must always be four. O’Brien disabuses him of that notion. He holds up four fingers. This was famously pictured in the Life magazine item 60 years ago. Under torture Winston wants so much for two plus two to equal five, as O’Brien insists, that he eventually comes to that belief.

Winston also betrays Julia. The government has obtained a copy of the journal he has been keeping, and they know his secret fear is rats. As a child he observed rats crawling of the body of his dead mother. When his torturers strap a cage containing hungry rats over his face and threaten to turn the loose on  him, to eat at his face, perhaps starting with his eyes:

‘Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don’t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!’

Orwell, George. 1984 (Kindle Locations 4077-4078). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Winston’s destruction is complete. He is freed from prison to walk the streets as an unperson. He no longer exists. The Ministry of Truth has expunged all references of his existence. His recorded self-denunciation appears prominently on screens about Oceania. Eventually he will physically cease to exist. He will simply disappear unnoticed by anybody.

But before that:

He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished.

He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

Orwell, George. 1984 (Kindle Locations 4230-4233). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

Of course, this is only a work of fiction. Forget that master Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels made a stab at molding truth over 70 years ago. Forget that the Soviet Union pulled dissenter off the streets and published their self-denunciations. Remember it started with a few lies.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Not yet

Oh, yes. In Jesus’ name, please come back.

Things Not To Say During Sex

  • I have to poop.
  • Smile for the Camera!
  • Get off me, I’ll do it myself.
  • This is your first time… right?
  • You’re almost as good as my ex.
  • When is this supposed to feel good?
  • I thought you had the keys to the handcuffs.
  • I was so horny tonight, I would have taken a sheep home.
  • Keep it down, my mother is a light sleeper.
  • Hey! My friends are right. You are good.
  • On second thought, let’s turn the lights off.
  • I’m sobering up and you’re getting ugly.
  • But everybody looks funny naked.
  • Do I have to pay for this?
  • What’s your name again?
  • Hold on, let me change the channel.
  • It’s nice being in bed with someone I don’t have to inflate.
  • Uhhh… I think the condom broke 10 minutes ago.

Friday Funny

One of a series

religion-extremistspotusshield

I should have reserved this one for last Friday. Anyhow, it’s Friday again—time to see what’s funny today. It’s never very far to look:

What is POTUS Shield?

council of prelates assembling to raise up a spiritual shield in Washington, D.C. prior to President-Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. We are summoned to share and lead this anointed assembly in intercession, prayers, declarations, and decrees of The Word of the Lord over our nation.

Yes! You are not mistaken. You heard that correctly. “A spiritual shield in Washington,” prior to the inauguration of Donald Trump. Right now you are asking, “Just how is that supposed to work?”

People, you just elected a “Lord over our nation.” You don’t need a second one. What were you thinking?

And that is funny.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks.

guns-getguns

The Second Amendment is always in need of protection. People give their lives to protect this right. Some are only ten years old:

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Sa’nya LaTrinity Faith Hill has been identified as the 10-year-old victim of an apparent accidental shooting Friday afternoon in Carthage.

In a statement today, Carthage police Chief Greg Dagnan said the firearm that is believed to have been used in the fatal shooting was from the home and is a handgun. Police have not identified the owner of the handgun. Two other juveniles present during the shooting will not be identified because they are juveniles.

Remember, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

The Golden Shower

Something interesting

politics-trumpgaveupsomuch

The age of embarrassment is upon us.

Correction: it just blew by at nearly the speed of light. We have entered the age of The Golden Shower. It’s an age where arrogance chases stupidity in the pursuit of deceit:

Trump calls for ‘major investigation’ into voter fraud

Oh, my God! Don’t tell me the Snowflake-in-Chief is going to give federal energy to this charade. There’s more:

(CNN) — President Donald Trump called on Wednesday for “a major investigation” into voter fraud, following through with baseless claims he has made since November’s election alleging millions of illegal votes during the general election without citing any evidence.

“I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and … even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!” Trump wrote in two consecutive tweets.

Readers should by now be acquainted with the Donald Trump’s whopper du jour:

Hot shit! Millions of people voting illegally. Millions of people voting who are not eligible to vote. Millions of people voting illegally for Hillary Clinton! What a massive assault on our democratic process. This calls for action.

Right now, even while you are reading these lines—right now thousands of dedicated federal cops, FBI and more, are fanning out across this great land. They are poring over voting records. They are knocking on doors in the middle of the night. They are dragging Mexicans and Muslims out of bed and booking them into the federal slam. Courts are clearing their dockets to handle the tidal wave of swarthy-faced miscreants facing United States justice.

If only it were true. Michael D. Shear and Emmarie Heutteman, writing for The New York Times, add some clarification:

It’s going to be fun to watch this play out. Readers, check back later to see what happens as the Schlemiel-in-Chief hangs it out even further.

Snowflake In Chief

New game in town

Something is terribly wrong in Washington. The new Snowflake-in-Chief is not getting a fair shake from the people he calls the biggest liars of all time:

Trump spokesman says negative coverage is ‘demoralizing’ to Trump

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, holding his first formal briefing with reporters, promised Monday not to lie to the press but complained about “demoralizing” news coverage. Spicer also said President Trump would soon unveil a Supreme Court nominee and a new plan for battling ISIS, but hedged on a controversial pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Then, Donald Trump’s press secretary lied to reporters, telling them, “Our intention is never to lie to you,” Sean Spicer then went on to complain, “The default [media] narrative is always negative, and it’s demoralizing.” Demoralizing? Yes. Negative, duh.

The world’s news outlets are left to ponder just how are they to treat an administration whose chief made a career of lying and followed that up with a lie-soaked campaign that shoveled in a running stream of personal insults to all who caught his disfavor, including the major news outlets, whom, in complete disregard for irony, he labeled liars:

Trump met today with CNN’s Jeff Zucker and Wolf Blitzer, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and David Muir, NBC’s Chuck Todd, CBS’ Charlie Rose, Fox News’ Bill Shine, and a few others for a conversation a few hours ago.

How did it go? Well, here’s how once source summed it up to The New York Post:

“It was like a f—ing firing squad,” said one source.

“Trump started with Jeff Zucker and said I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed….

Come a few days past the snowflake inauguration, and whose feelings are hurting now? It must be frightfully frosty in D.C. these days. Otherwise this Yuge snowflake would have wilted five seconds in.

Keep reading. We are not finished with the fun.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

New to me. Came out in 2008. It’s Sharpshooter, on Hulu. Details are from Wikipedia. This stars James Remar as Dillon, a professional shooter for the CIA. It’s a low-budget production from RHI Entertainment and may have originally been meant for TV.

The opening scenes, as the titles roll, show Dillon setting up an ambush in the desert for some kidnappers. The bad guys have the money and the victim in one of two cars, making dust along an isolated stretch of road. Dillon has it all figured out. He has planted a land mine in the road, and at the right time he fires a shot. After a second or two traverse the round strikes its target, and the explosion tears into one of the cars. Dillon then proceeds to kill the reminder of the kidnappers and free the victim, giving him water to last until some approaching helicopters are due to arrive. Then Dillon hops on his desert bike and hightails it out. His work is finished here.

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Back in civilization in Los Angeles two assassins on motorcycles attempt to waylay Dillon on his cab ride from the airport. He kills them and makes it back  to his apartment. A phone call from  an old CIA buddy rouses him out of  his planned retirment. His buddy, Flick (Mario Van Peebles), wants Dillon to do one last job. You can tell this is not going to go well.

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The job involves taking out a ruthless weapons dealer named Richard Phillips (Al Sapienza). Phillips dwells in a resort home alongside a cozy lake somewhere in California. The plan is apparently to have Flick pose as the seller of a purloined missile guidance system and to set Phillips up for an extra-judicial take down. Dillon settles in at a motel in the resort town.

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At a local eatery he meets the Sheriff (Bruce Boxleitner) and his deputy and other local characters, including a writer named Amy (Catherine Mary Stewart), here to do a magazine piece.

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Dillon heads out to the lake on a pretend fishing jaunt. Meanwhile, Phillips leads the life of an upscale gun dealer, with hot and cold running bimbos. An associate shows up on this day and is greeted warmly. Then, straight out of The Untouchables, Phillips accuses the unfortunate of skimming from the operation and clubs him with a cue stick. As bimbos flee the carnage, Phillips drowns his victim in the pool.

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This scene is a steal from The Untouchables. Here Robert De Niro, as Al Capone, prepares to execute a misbehaving gang member with a baseball bat at a swanky gathering.

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Meanwhile, Dillon does what any smart operator would do when reconnoitering a highly-secure gangster’s hideout. He whips out binoculars and surveys the domicile.

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Dillon’s reconnoitering has made Phillips suspicious, and he plans to upset any double cross. Without warning, he changes the schedule for the exchange of the merchandise. Dillon, by now in bed with Amy, gets a frantic call from Flick and heads off to take out Phillips’ security force.

Phillips’ men, alert to a possible intrusion, capture Dillon and prepare to kill him. Then Flick’s two cohorts are mowed down while Phillips presses Flick for the guidance system security code. Dillon escapes his assassins and kills them. Then he heads to the big house to rescue Flick, killing more of Phillips’ men and chasing after the car, where Phillips and an accomplice are taking Flick to God knows where. The next is straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Dillon jumps on top of the getaway car and succeeds in yanking Phillips’ accomplice out of the speeding vehicle. He then kills Phillips, as planned.

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Only, it’s a double cross. Flick had all along planned to scoop up the $1 million payment and abscond. When Dillon refuses to go along, he becomes a hunted man. Flick flashes his government credentials and enlists the local law to hunt and kill Dillon. Dillon plays it cool and only kills Flick and his remaining associate. He takes out two members of the posse with a crafty, and non lethal, tree branch trap.

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Out of ammunition and with Flick threatening to kill the sheriff, Dillon improvises a bow and arrow and puts one in Flick’s chest. He takes the money and heads to the getaway plane.

There he finds Amy waiting. She had been working with Flick, but Dillon will do. Dillon  gives up his straight-arrow ways and flies off with Amy and the money to parts unknown.

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This movie misses the Bad Movie of the Week due to being a nice adventure story that moves right along and is well photographed and decently acted. Beyond that, there is a lot about this plot that is screwball beyond all reason.

Take the opening scenes. The kidnappers have the money. And the victim. When did that ever happen? In no kidnapping for ransom is there ever a situation where the kidnappers have the money and the hostage in the car together.

Then there is the ambush in the desert. How does Dillon plan to stop the convoy? He plants a explosive in the road. Then he sets it off with a long shot, timing it just right so the car is in the right spot when the explosion goes off. That’s what I call a risky shot at best and an impossible shot in moments of sanity. More real, but less dramatic, would have been  a straight forward approach.

Two assassins on motorcycles attempt to gun down Dillon on Los Angeles streets. A fierce gun battle does not bring a swarm of cops on top of it in short order.

Phillips lives in a virtual fortress on the lake shore, with armed guards constantly on the lookout in the surrounding hills. And Dillon gets out in the lake in a boat and starts checking out the castle with a pair of binoculars? Who believes that?

Passing by some equally ridiculous plot devices, Dillon is being hunted in the woods by Flick and Flick’s partner in crime. Dillon kills the partner from ambush and later has to take out Flick with an arrow, because he is out of ammunition. He didn’t think to take the partner’s gun when he killed him, all alone in the woods?

Watch this one with with a big bowl of popcorn and a couple of beers. It’s action only and only (not counting the bimbos) a little sex.

Schlemiel-in-Chief

Number 3 in a series

politics-trumpmakeamericalieagain

Readers, cut me some slack. I have given myself the task of tracking a new administration in town, and it is beginning to appear I have taken on more than I can handle. To handle the flood of joy now emanating from the nation’s capitol I have had to set up three separate funnels to handle the flow:

  • Schlemiel-in-Chief (this one)
  • Snowflake-in-Chief
  • The Golden Shower

In the worst nightmare come true, there is strong evidence I have shorted the forecast. I may have to stoke any and all of these outlets multiple times a day to keep up. There’s no way I’m going to be able to get this done and hold down my day job.

Wait! It turns out I don’t actually have a day job. I retired four years ago. It’s about time I got on with it. Let the games continue.

Where to start? How about with the Schlemiel-in-Chief’s god-awful claim that Hillary Clinton scored the popular vote in November by nearly 3 million due to hordes of people voting illegally:

WASHINGTON — President Trump used his first official meeting with congressional leaders on Monday to falsely claim that millions of unauthorized immigrants had robbed him of a popular vote majority, a return to his obsession with the election’s results even as he seeks support for his legislative agenda.

Hot shit! Millions of people voting illegally. Millions of people voting who are not eligible to vote. Millions of people voting illegally for Hillary Clinton! What a massive assault on our democratic process. This calls for action.

Right now, even while you are reading these lines—right now thousands of dedicated federal cops, FBI and more, are fanning out across this great land. They are poring over voting records. They are knocking on doors in the middle of the night. They are dragging Mexicans and Muslims out of bed and booking them into the federal slam. Courts are clearing their dockets to handle the tidal wave of swarthy-faced miscreants facing United States justice.

If only it were true. Michael D. Shear and Emmarie Heutteman, writing for The New York Times, add some clarification:

Voting officials across the country have said there is virtually no evidence of people voting illegally, and certainly not millions of them. White House officials did not respond to requests for a comment on Mr. Trump’s discussion of the issue.

Oh, Jesus! Not only did our SiC miss the mark on the illegal vote count, but he paid full price. He inserted the blade full shank into the truth. The lie appears to have since been polished up, plated with gold, and enshrined in the national record. Fifty years from now, 100 years from now, this lie will be printed in the history books, studied by school children, their eyes popping. And history, next century and for all remaining human civilization, will call this lie what it is—either a calculated and criminal act by a corrupt government official or else the delusional rant of a visibly sick mind. Given a choice, I will cast my preference for the crook. The alternative makes our collective blood run cold.

This story is not done. Keep reading. The fun has started. When will it end? Take it from the Beach Boys:

And we’ll have fun fun fun
Till daddy takes the T-bird away.

Dying to Believe

Some more of the same

AntiVaccine-01

Dying to believe? How about something slightly less than dying? It’s not always the believer who suffers the consequences:

Two Kenyan boys, horribly mutilated in the mistaken belief that their genitals could be used in the treatment of HIV/Aids, have told the BBC of their ordeal.

Late last year, Philip Barasa and Oscar Kituyi, both from the remote northern region of Bungoma, had all or part of their genitals cut off to be sold for the making of an HIV/Aids potion. Another boy, six-year-old Omandi, was also attacked in a similar way.

Philip and Oscar have been treated at the Levante Rehabilitation Centre in the Spanish city of Valencia, where they have undergone reconstructive surgery; Omandi is expected there later this year.

Life’s tribulations are horrendous enough when people act through malice coupled with reason. Eliminating reason from the balance aggravates the tragedy.

Keep reading. Jesus is waiting for you.

Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

Updated

It could be the premise is not correctly stated. What I was thinking of as the state motto is more typically called the state nickname. Answer the Quiz Question by supplying the state nickname instead of the official state motto. Hint, Texas is the Lone Star State.

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Geography questions are easy to come by. Hence, another one. Every state (there are 50) state in the union has a “motto.” These mottoes go something like, “The ____ State.” Without fleeing to Google or a reference book, let’s see who knows the mottoes of all 50 states. Here is a list. Create a comment below and copy the list to your comment and enter the state’s motto after each name. The person who gets the most right wins. Two wrong, and you are disqualified.

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Snowflake In Chief

New game in town

Forget the Pee Pee Tape. The newly-minted Snowflake in Chief has more recent concerns as he continues to battle with the truth in defense of his tissue-thin ego.

The truth is that turnout for Donald Trump’s unpopular inauguration turned into a shadow of what Americans have come to expect:

Washington (CNN) — He campaigned on the huge crowd sizes, but the turnout for the inauguration of President Donald Trump appears to be smaller than that of his predecessor as measured by side-by-side photos of the two events.

It’s hard to gauge crowd sizes and the National Park Service, which oversees the National Mall, doesn’t offer estimates of any sort.
But the side-by-side images of Friday’s ceremony alongside the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama show a significantly smaller crowd on the National Mall for Trump than for Obama. There is empty ground exposed in the Trump photos. The same spots were almost entirely covered eight years ago, when estimates at the time suggested 1.8 million people attended the inauguration. The images above do not capture people who might have viewed from the west side of the Washington monument. And there are some differences. The grass on the mall is covered in white plastic for Trump’s inauguration, but not for Obama’s.

History has it that weather for the 2009 inauguration offered temperatures in the 20s. Last Friday it was about 20 F higher. It could be that politics fans have a low tolerance for heat. The CNN item additionally offers some numbers. The D.C. Metro recorded 193,000 rides on Friday, and the tally for the corresponding date in 2009 was 513,000. Obama’s second go-around saw 317,000 rides, compared to 197,000 for George W. Bush’s second inauguration day.

All of these numbers are just facts, and facts can get in the way of a delicate ego, and the Snowflake in Chief struck back on Saturday. In a speech to CIA employees he spawned the concept of alternatve facts:

“I can only say I’m with you a thousand percent,” he said, and in almost the next breath returned again to his war with the media, “the most dishonest people on earth” who “made it sound like I have a feud with the intelligence community and it’s exactly the opposite.”

Then he returned to his lie about the “massive field of people…packed” that did not in fact exist. The photos, Trump implied, were faked by the media.

This was supposed to be a speech to the CIA, as an important first step in healing the breach between the Trump administration and the intelligence community after Trump repeatedly slammed their findings in favor of what he was hearing from Vladimir Putin.

I am seeing a future of psychological war aimed at President Trumps powder-thin skin. Want to take the President of the United States off message? No problem. Remind him of some unpleasant truth. Then sit back and watch him melt down—much like a snowflake at a Texas barbecue.

Keep reading and stand by. Alternative fact is the word star this weekend, and there is no indication it will fade any time soon.

And we’ll have fun fun fun
Till daddy takes the T-bird away.

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

Again, much thanks to Amazon Prime Video for this one. It came out in 1947, when I was in the first grade. It’s Shoot to Kill. Saw it the first time in December. It was distributed by Screen Guild Productions. Details are from Wikipedia. It’s bad in a number of ways, but mainly for a planked over plot.

This starts with a police car chase at night, ending in a crash. Los Angeles, likely. The car goes off the road and into one of those steep canyons the place is famous for. Killed are gangster “Dixie” Logan (Robert Kent) and newly-minted District Attorney Lawrence Dale (Edmund MacDonald). The sole survivor is Dale’s supposed wife Marian (Luana Walters). Ace police reporter George “Mitch” Mitchell (Russell Wade) visits Marian in the hospital to get the full story.

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Marian recounts how it all started. She and Mitch first met at Wade’s office when she came there to apply for a secretary job. She gets hired and starts a romance with her new boss.

shoottokill-02

Meanwhile Mitch romances the future Mrs. Dale, and this scene at an upscale restaurant is the only cultural interlude in the entire movie. Gene Rodgers plays a lively jazz piece. I believe we called it boogie-woogie in those days.

shoottokill-03

Marian recounts how she came to watch Logan’s criminal racketeering trial and also to observe prosecutor Wade in action. He parades witness after witness to put Logan away for decades. Logan is defiant and vows revenge.

shoottokill-04

Still in flashback, the janitor (Vince Barnett) who cleans Wade’s office is seen messing with a hidden recording device. About that time two hit men working for a local gangster identify him as a member of Logan’s gang and whisk him down the hall to dump him into an elevator shaft.

shoottokill-05

The local gangsters want Wade to fire Marian, because they suspect she is involved in the spying. Wade is in cahoots with the gangsters. Instead, Wade marries Marian in a rushed ceremony. Leaving the wedding at the JP’s office, Marian escapes a pistol shot from a car that speeds away.

Back at Wade’s domicile, the newlyweds have a confrontation. Marian reveals that for her this is a marriage of convenience. She knows about Wade’s criminal involvement, and she intends to get Wade promoted to district attorney. He goes along with the plan. No wedding night bliss for him.

shoottokill-06

Logan escapes. He confronts two witnesses from his trial, back in town to claim the remainder of the money promised by the local gangsters for testifying falsely against him. He coerces confessions from  the two, pays them, and sends them on their way, to be gunned down on the street as they leave. The killers are from the local gang. Mitch has been observing all of this and attempts to snag copies of the confessions, but he loses a tussle with Logan, and Logan gets away with the two documents.

shoottokill-07

Anyhow, there is a big brouhaha involving Wade, Marian, and Logan. Everything comes to a head. Marian is in reality Logan’s legal wife, having set out to prove his innocence. Too late for Logan and Wade. She has mailed incriminating documents to the now district attorney, and the police are coming. The police chase ensues, and we are back to where the story picked up in the beginning.

All the crooks are either dead now or else incriminated, and Mitch makes moves on Marian.

Yes, this plot is too plastic to be real. Crooks are scheming with shady politicians to “take over the city,” whatever that means. There was a corral full of these idealistic story lines in the late 40s, and this is one of the lesser believable. Contemplate this segment of the plot:

Marian convinces Wade he should cut his three partners in crime out by playing them off against each other. Cut to three scenes in sequence with Wade telling each in turn something like, “I plan to get rid of the other two so we can have the city all to ourselves.” Pure corn.

This production chews up 64 minutes of celluloid, according to Wikipedia. No bathroom break needed.

Snowflake In Chief

New game in town

And we’ll have fun fun fun
‘Til daddy takes the T-bird away

With apologies to the Beach Boys.

It’s a new game in town, and we are going to enjoy the fun while it lasts. Let’s start with something recent:

No wonder the Today Show on biased is doing so badly compared to its glorious past. Little credibility!

Actually, this was two days before he became Snowflake in Chief. The largest snowflake of all is in reality so small that his concern is whether a TV network is willing to pimp for him.

Let’s go to the video tape! Did anybody remember to bring the Pee Pee tape? OK, Vlad’s got it. Let’s roll.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

Not yet

Oh, yes, Mother of Jesus, please come back.

I took my dad to the mall once to get him new shoes (he’s 76). We decided to grab a bite at the food court. I noticed he was watching a teenager sitting next to him. The teenager had spiked hair in all different colors—blue, red, green, and orange.

My dad kept staring at her. The teenager would keep looking, and my dad would be staring every time. When the teenager had had enough, she sarcastically asked, “What’s the matter, old man, never done anything wild in your life?”

Knowing my dad, I quickly swallowed my food so I wouldn’t choke on his response—I knew he would have a good one.

In classic style he responded without batting an eyelid: “Got stoned once and screwed a parrot. Just wondering if you were my daughter.”

Snowflake In Chief

New game in town

politics-trumpgaveupsomuch

Is it snowing in D.C.? Stay tuned. The best is yet to come. We are destined to be entertained by the most delicate snowflake to stroll down a golden escalator. Let the games begin.

Totally biased went out of its way to say that the big announcement from Ford, G.M., Lockheed & others that jobs are coming back…

to the U.S., but had nothing to do with TRUMP, is more FAKE NEWS. Ask top CEO’s of those companies for real facts. Came back because of me!

No wonder the Today Show on biased is doing so badly compared to its glorious past. Little credibility!

Friday Funny

One of a series

http://ptv.org

Fridays are for fun, and also funny. I have discovered that funny can arrive unbidden, but welcome, nonetheless:

Instead of ridding public library shelves of ”Heather Has Two Mommies” and ”Daddy’s Roommate,” a Baptist minister’s protest has put more copies in circulation.

The minister, Robert Jeffress, pastor of the 4,400-member First Baptist Church, was surprised when he learned that the Wichita Falls library was lending the books about children with gay parents. When a church member checked out the books and brought them to Mr. Jeffress, he wrote a check for $54 to the library after vowing never to return them.

But so many people wanted to read the books after an article about the situation appeared in The Wichita Falls Times Record News that the library’s administrator, Linda Hughes, is applying library rules intended to limit how long patrons must wait. The policy calls for obtaining more copies when six or more people are waiting for a book. ”We have 10 holds on each one of these books,” Ms. Hughes said on Thursday. ”We are past the point at which we would have to buy more copies.”

Sympathetic book lovers had donated 15 copies by late this week, Ms. Hughes said. ”I’ve been getting them in the mail and through the drop box,” she said. ”Most of them are brand new.”

In case you did not notice, that is Dallas’ own Robert Jeffress, always delighted to  entertain us. And he is funny.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.