Sep 26, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Friends We've Never Met

It can be a strange moment when a television show comes to an end.  All of the sudden you have this half hour to an hour block of your life back and must fill it with something.  Well, actually that is probably a good thing  but when you follow a program you can become somewhat attached to the characters.  For some television is mindless entertainment (an excuse to just sit on the couch),  for others an excuse to laugh without having to following an intricate plot ("Seinfield"),  it could also be a surreal look into the mirror of your own life ("Everybody Loves Raymond", while we lived with my in-laws for three years), or a thought provoking who-done-it ("Law and Order" / "Matlock").

I was upset this year to learn that "King of the Hill" was coming to an end after thirteen seasons.  This is the only animated show with realistic dialogue and plots.  The "Simpsons" meanwhile is beginning its 21st season (with Bart still in the same grade after multiple halloweens and Christmases).  Then there is "Family Guy" a raunchy blend of "South Park" content and "Simpsons" characters.  It finds its humor in the shock value of sexual jokes that are in bad taste.  It is in my opinion the worst show on network television (and I know a lot of people will disagree with that statement).  This is my opinion even though "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlene is a huge "Star Wars" fan.

"Fox" first disappointed me when they decided to only release six seasons of "King of the Hill" to DVD.  The second time was when they decided to bring the most intelligent and brilliantly written animated sitcom on television to an end.  Amazingly this is during the year that "Family Guy" spin-off "The Cleveland Show" begins to air.  Wow, that is a bad trade off.  I am not surprised by this move though, as Fox is an expert at niche marketing, bringing us "Fox Faith", "Fox Family" and "Fox News" while at the same time giving us shows like "Married with Children" and "Family Guy".  I guess the "Fair and Balanced" tag-line that they use for "Fox News" would be better used for the "Fox Network" in general.  Then they can boast having everything from wholesome family entertainment to something rather subhuman and devoid of all morality.

None the less King of the Hill was a television gem especially from Fox and it will be missed (to be fair they also have given us "X-Files", "House" and "24").  The humor was priceless the characters endearing and it will not be the same without them "I tell you what". As the curtain closed on the final episode of King of the Hill and they panned up from Hank and Bobby Hill grilling side by side (the first thing they found real commonality in) to the Arlin water tower, I smiled, it was a great run.

Sep 15, 2009

The "You Lie" Scandal

As if to prove my point from Sunday's Blog about Kanye and Taylor, "The Washington Post" comes out with this headline today - "You Lie!' Shout Brings Vote on Sanction, Racial Issue Simmers as Black Democrats Lead Push Against Wilson".  This headline was in response to Republican Representative Joe Wilson from South Carolina after he shouted, "You Lie" during President Obama's speech on government health care.  This was directly after our President said that illegal immigrants would not benefit from the healthcare package.   Rep. Wilson was the first to speak on the floor today about the issue of socialized medicine.  Should we be angry with a government that seeks to overstep the authority given to them by our constitution?  Yes.  The tenth amendment (which is part of our "Bill of Rights") tells the Federal Government that any power not specifically given to them in the constitution is reserved for individual states or people.  So where is the phantom paragragh about health care in the constitution (there is not one).

Was it rude for him to interrupt our president? Yes! Should there be consequences for his actions? Absolutely!  Was it racially motivated?  Are you kidding me!  To our media and society it apparently has to be.  Somehow there are no headlines inferring that the Kanye scandal could have any racial intent.  As I said on Sunday we are a hypocritical society when it comes to race issues.  We need to be color blind, but it should be from EVERY angle.

Sep 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze died today of pancreatic cancer.  He will be remembered by so many people.  He will be remembered by students who have to read "The Outsiders" for school and who opt instead to run to Blockbuster Video for the 1983 movie adaption.  He will be remembered by guys for his action roles in "Roadhouse"(1989) and "Point Break" (1991).  He will be remembered by women everywhere for "Dirty Dancing" (1987) and "Ghost"(1990).  To this Blogger he was "Orry Main" from the television mini-series "North and South" (movie adaption of three books by John Jakes).  This was the best dramatic portrayal of the life, events, and times of the civil war that I have ever seen.  If you have not seen it there are still sites where it can be ordered (it is twelve made for TV movies, so clear some time if you plan to watch because it is hard to turn off).

He was a great actor and a breath of fresh air in this society where almost every celebrity death is met with the scandal of suicide or drug overdose.  In the midst of Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, and Anna Nicole Smith of the last two years, we have Patrick Swayze. An actor who dies of a natural cause after a great career spanning four decades with his wife by his side.  He married his first and only wife Lisa in 1975 and they renewed their vows last year.  Hollywood could learn a lot from Patrick, from his career and his life.  He will be missed.

Kanye West vs Taylor Swift

During the VMA's last night Kanye West rushed the stage took the mic from the teenage Taylor Swift (who had just won an award for best female video) and proclaimed,   "I'm sorry, but BeyoncĂ© had one of the best videos of all time."  Let's assume that this is not a publicity stunt from MTV (i.e. Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction) and look at it for what it is.  Kanye has had a history of on stage rants (i.e. when he did not get best new artist, and last year when his performance was in a hotel instead of main-stage)  but his complaints are usually centered at his self.  Let's look at the REAL NEWS for a second, a teenage country singer won an VMA from MTV and that is amazing.  It is a real shame that the only thing people will remember about last night is negative.  By the way there is not an ounce of creativity in Beyonce's "Single Ladies" video (just a bunch of girls shaking their hips at the same time).  

I do want to point out one other interesting thing that almost no one is saying.  Although the act was probably just a rude individual just being himself, if Beyonce had won and a white artist had stormed the stage declaring that a country singer's video was better, everyone would be crying racist.  I may even be labeled by some for noticing this hypocrisy within our culture.  The truth is we all have different tastes in music and we can still have mutual respect for talented individuals regardless of who is in our personal music collection.

Just a suggestion for the holidays ahead : Kanye CDs make great drink coasters (almost makes me wish I owned some . . . hey, I said almost).

Sep 11, 2009

We Will Never Forget?

Well it was eight years ago today (if I post this before midnight) that we were attacked by terrorists.  I can still remember everything.  Where I was, who I called, and my anger and pride as an American boiling within me.  We said and did a lot of things in the days that followed.  We promised to remember and vowed to never forget.  American flags topped every antenna, while magnets and stickers shouted patriotism from every car I followed.  There were definitely more magnets than stickers (which explains why they are all but gone today).  Bipartisan decisions were made, justice was sought and we were all united (or as united as we have been in my lifetime).

Two years later we were arguing with each other and protesting the dissenters.  What happened?  Well I guess it depends on what position you took or take currently.  We were attacked by Osama Bin Laden who was in the Taliban located in Afghanistan.  We had attacked and leveled them quickly, restructuring the country quite well.  The problem was that we had not found Bin Laden and we as a society did not feel justice had been done.  Despite our views of our President's decision about Iraq we did want something else to happen.  In retrospect the idea of a war on terror rather than a war against the Taliban within Afghanistan is a never ending struggle that will live long beyond the memory of those that felt wronged.  This is like trying to find an assassin and after searching to no avail, declare that our new job is to find every assassin on the planet.  We entered into a war that could never end but still would end as soon as someone new took charge.

In the "War on Terror" we never took care of North Korea, Iran, China or even the securing of our borders. We are therefore no more safe now, than we were before 9/11 (except on an airplane from any would be passenger attempting to smuggle a finger nail clipper aboard).  We lost a lot of good people on 9/11, let's not forget that it was radical fundamentalist Islamic extremists that were responsible.  They hate and still hate us because of our support for Israel (so far), the high number of Christians on our soil, and the debauchery that our society has fallen into (the last area definitely needs improvement).  The threat is still real, and we should still be looking for either common ground to unite our parties or drop out of both broken parties and vote your conscience as this Blogger has been doing for years.

I don't know where you stand but I will NEVER FORGET!

If you liked this post you may also enjoy
Labor Day: A Rest From Unemployment
Political Correctness Impairs Reporting on Terrorism

Sep 9, 2009

Karate Chop Jesus

I had the opportunity to speak last night at a local Methodist Church women's meeting about a possibly teen center in our area.

What was interesting is that I stood in front of a picture of Jesus that looked as if he had Karate Chop Action.  I just had to snap a picture.  It was painted in 1958.

 I thought about the time Jesus turned the tables on the money changers and could almost see the "Karate Chop" in motion.  I do not however, really see Jesus, as someone who would put a pounding on someone.

Speaking of a pounding, we ate from 6 varieties of pound cake afterwards.  I am truly concerned for our country.  Every woman at this meeting under 50 contributed ice cream or dinnerware.

It was only the older women who pleased the palette with pound cake.  My friends we are 20 years from going to gatherings that are pound cake-less.   This will be a dark day for America.

Learn how to make pound cake and pass on this blessing while you still can.

Sep 7, 2009

Labor Day - "A Rest From Unemployment"

We are a very label conscious society.  We read labels for nutrition information if we are counting calories, for natural/organic content if paranoid of artificial processed fillers, or for name brands if materialistically savvy.  I remember shortly after 9/11 (when America's view of France was about as lows as their view of us) that a boycott of all things French was on the rise.  We were eating "Freedom" Fries, "Freedom" Toast, and even "Freedom" Kissing our spouses (ok, so that last one was just me).  It was during this time that "French's Mustard" (a British  owned company) issued statements separating them from France and reminding them that Mr. Robert T. French was born in New York.

Now for all of our label consciousness and despite our recession, high unemployment, and many toy recalls on China based products (that lack proper inspection to the point that they contain lead) we still ignore the label that tell us the point of origin.  I am not suggesting that we go deeper in debt by buying overpriced brands and items just because they sport a U.S.A. logo, but I am saying that the point of manufacture decal should play a role in consumer decision making.  If it is a better deal and suits your other label conscious aforementioned needs then we owe it to ourselves and our fellow countrymen (many of whom are waiting in line for unemployment) to buy American.  If you do not care or have not been personally been affected let me appeal to your selfish tendencies by reminding you that the amount of people on unemployment and welfare (not to mention bailouts for the corporate sector) directly determine tax increases that will affect you personally.  

Let's all do our part this Labor Day to make this country a better place to live, work, buy, and sell.
Happy Labor Day!

Sep 5, 2009

Marvel Goes Disney

WOW!  Can I just say wow!  Did I say wow?  Disney buys Marvel Comics for $4 Billion, wow that is actually not as much as I would have expected.  Personally I love Marvel and believe that Disney got it just in time.  I mean Marvel has just started making movies without the likes of Fox or Sony and they already put out blockbuster smashes like Iron Man.  I hope this doesn't mean we will see Tony Stark in a Mickey t-shirt around his mansion (maybe a rebirth of Dark Wing Duck through Marvel would work, although I wouldn't get Lucas to direct since "Howard the Duck" was such a flop).  Seeing a Marvel park at Disney World would be an amazing fruit of this new venture, can we say "Mr. Fantastic Roller Coaster", Cerebro 3D, or Punisher the Musical (ok maybe not the last one).  I guess this move was to be expected though.  Disney used to be on the forefront of imagination, now if they can't think of it they buy it (i.e. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Power Rangers").  I will say that Disney has it's finger on the pulse, that is why they did not even consider a D.C. Comics buyout.  Ha! Take that Aquaman!