RIP: Gore Vidal


All in all, I would not have missed this century for the world.–Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal, author, intellect, anti-war activist, openly gay literary icon of leonine presence, has died in Los Angeles. He was 86. I remember reading about him as celebrity–at Studio 54, seeing him on TV, long before I read Myra Breckenridge– and read about Caligula in Penthouse. I kinda thought making a movie for Bob Guccione, Penthouse’s publisher was slumming for him, but I still admired and respected him for his wit, insight, use of language and utter charm.  I was also fascinated by his pedigree, his ancestry which contained so much of America’s history.

Plus he believed in:

the ancient American sense that whatever is wrong with human society can be put right by human action.

USA Today’s obit is beautiful. And not just because we like the same quote.

As election time draws near, ponder Gore Vidal’s words:

Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.

Late Night: “Brady Bunch” Goes Modern

The “Brady Bunch” is getting some modern touches for a 21st century relaunch: Mike and Carol were previously married, and their respective ex-spouses are still in their lives. Plus, they have a kid together. No word regarding Alice or Sam the Butcher’s revised characters (the best butcher shop I know in Los Angeles, Lindy and Grundy, is run by a lovely couple, Amelia and Erika, so butcher shops still exist, and Alice might end up being an older tattooed hipster nanny/manny which could be interesting). Vince Vaughn is producing, and the project is at CBS

Growing up in SoCal, where almost everyone I knew was a kid with divorced parents like me, both The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family seemed to be about divorce, and a way of helping kids cope with being in a blended family (as we call them now), or having a single parent. I always wanted an episode of  The Partridge Family where the kids’ dad reappears and wants to take Danny with him…

Deadline Hollywood, which broke the story, points out that in 1969, the show’s creator Sherwood Schwartz (the man behind My Favorite Martian and Gilligan’s Island), a true television genius who addresses vital societal issues in his sitcoms:

 wanted Carol to be a divorcée but the network refused, so the end of her first marriage was never addressed.

My, how things have changed.

Late Night: Psychedelic Pop and Rock Lobsters

 

The East Coast has too many lobsters, and a more of it them it seems lot of them, while alive, are not the usual brownish green, but rather psychedelic colors like lavender, blue, orange, yellow, white, pink, purple, mottled like a calico cat, and best of all, split, with one color down each half.

There’s a few theories as to why some many more of the morphs are showing up in greater quantities, and none of them have to do with nuclear reactors, MK ULTRA, space aliens, the Illuminati, or George Soros (but you’re welcome to come up with reasons that would work for all of those. And please do share them with us!):

Groovy colored lobsters and other crustaceans have been noted over the ages, just nowadays there seem to be (or are) lots more. Executive director of The Lobster Conservancy in Maine Diane Cowan suggests that in the past oddly colored, easy-to-spot lobsters got picked off by natural predators more quickly. Evolution ya, know. She adds

But with the predator population down, notably cod, there might be greater survival rates among these color morphs that are visually easier to pick out.

That kinda explains the large lobster load this summer, too. And why are natural predators down? Because we already ate a hefty chunk of “ocean kittens” as they should be called by PETA to discourage fish-eating.

Or maybe we are just more aware of of the beyond-Dali lobsters because we’re taking more pictures.

 

(and yes I am aware these are not technically “rock lobsters” which are the Pacific species and have no claws; they are just all tail)

 

(photo: Wikipedia via Creative Commons)

Tripp Palin Would Make Perfect Chick-fil-A Spokesperson. And There’s a Same-Sex Kiss-In. Oh Heck, Make a Chicken Fritter Sammie at Home

Sarah Palin’s only grandson–the spawn of failing reality television arriviste Bristol Palin and fellow Wasillabilly fame-scrambler Levi Johnston–three-and-a half year old Tripp Palin called his Aunt Willow a word beginning with F  (either a usually pejorative term for gay men, from the English schoolboy slang for a younger boy who does errands for older students; or the Anglo-Saxon verb for copulation. A production exec who claims he was in the room and watching the video feed pre-bleep claims the latter). Tripp also says

I hate you.

A lot.

With his pedigree and language skills, the adorable, yet poorly disciplined tot would be the perfect replacement for the Muppets who have stepped away from their gig as Chick-fil-A spokespmodels in light of the corporate fowl fryer’s ‘tude. CEO Dan Cathy said:

But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles. So that is what we claim to be. [We are] based on biblical principles, asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us.”

(Jesus was never quoted in the Gospels as calling LGBT sinners, or defining how people should behave in the privacy of their bedrooms. Jesus overturned all the Old Testament rules–except the Ten Commandments, one could argue–allowing those who believe in him to wear blended fabrics, get tattoos and eat bacon. Paul, who came along after Jesus ascended to Heaven and never knew him, as those to whom Gospels are attributed did, is an interpreter and evangelical rather than a firsthand-ish reporter whose stories where compiled after the fact.)

Burt and Ernie’s pals are standing up for everyone, gay and straight, who is appalled by Chick-fil-A, and not just because of the utterly vile, sub-literate spelling of

filet.

While the word may sound like a sexualized pun rhyming with gay

fill-lay

spelling it

fil-A

is neither cute nor clever. Just stupid.

The company’s dumbing of America continues with their economic war on LGBT via the Chick-fil-A charitable arm WinShape (as if dining on Chick-fil-A  gives you a winning shape) donating close to $2million to anti-LGBT groups, beyond the marriage equality battles:

In 2009 alone, WinShape donated $1,733,699 to multiple anti-gay groups:

  • Marriage & Family Legacy Fund: $994,199
  • Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
  • National Christian Foundation: $240,000
  • Focus On The Family: $12,500
  • Eagle Forum: $5,000
  • Exodus International: $1,000
  • Family Research Council: $1,000

[Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

Mike Huckabee–who has been beating his breast about the abuse  Chick-fil-A has suffered at the hands of the media and the Muppets while ignoring the loathing and lack of equality funded by the food chain–has declared August 1st “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” and via Facebook his media onslaught is encouraging people to eat the cholesterol-dense, high-sodium, sugared, MSG-laden fast food. Because he loves America.

There’s also a push to make August 3 National Same-Sex Kiss-In Day at Chick-fil-A, which has some pros and cons. First of all, same sex couples would have to go inside a Chick-fil-A. And all us straight people can do is either find a willing co-kisser, enter a Chick-fil-A to applaud the kiss-in, or keep boycotting some place where we’d never eat anyway.

And if you’ve been wondering what you might be missing by never sampling a gay-hating, heart and soul destroying fast food sammich, here are two chemical-free versions you can try at home,  very gay friendly. But still fried after being battered with  sugar and salt. Part of me thinks natural ice cream might be healthier.

Late Night: Rush Limbaugh Thinks New “Batman Dark Knight Rises” Movie Is Liberal Conspiracy

Rush Limbaugh has lost it. Completely. First of all he’s weeks behind TBogg who predicted the Batman Dark Knight Rises‘ villain being named Bane “it’s an attack on Mitt Romney” nutbaggery conspiracy. But with Glenn “Crazy Eyes” Beck banished to his own self-created ice prison of GBTV, someone had to take over the far right tinfoil concession. Check out this frothing rant:

Have you heard, this new movie, the Batman movie – what is it, the Dark Knight Lights Up or something? Whatever the name of it is. That’s right, Dark Knight Rises, Lights Up, same thing. Do you know the name of the villain in this movie? Bane. The villain in the Dark Knight Rises is named Bane. B-A-N-E. What is the name of the venture capital firm that Romney ran, and around which there’s now this make-believe controversy? Bain. The movie has been in the works for a long time, the release date’s been known, summer 2012 for a long time. Do you think that it is accidental, that the name of the really vicious, fire-breathing, four-eyed, whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?

Uh, Rush, Bane, the villain, has been around in the DC comic universe for longer than Mitt has contemplated running for President. Unless of course this eeeeeevil plot goes back at least as far as Obama being born wherever it is the whackjobs think he was born and secretly groomed as president in a bunker by commies. Or whatever the heck these lunatics believe.

A little research on the interwebs easily disproves the insane Bane theory, but then Rush et al, including Juggalos for Mitt Romney would have nothing to bitch about; there would be no Big Hollywood/Comic Book Company Conspiracy. And basically their whole concept falls apart if one simply looks at the history and the facts:

Bane first appeared in DC Comics’ Batman: Vengeance of Bane in 1993, and was a character in the 1997 Joel Schumacher-directed film Batman & Robin. Bain Capital Ventures was founded in 1984, with Mitt Romney as one of the founders. R-money retroactively retired from Bain in 1999,  was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, and ran for President of the United States in 2008, and now  is the GOP nominee for the 2012.

So unless Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan, and Doug Moench, the creators of Bane, the DC Comics villain, knew in 1993 through Top Sekrit Pacts with Demons and the arcane art of necromancy that Willard Mitt Romney worked for Bain and was planning to run for President with Bain Capital as an issue almost 20 years after they launched their criminal character, this whole conservative soggy bag of chips should be tossed.

Here’s more from Rushboob:

Anyway, so this evil villain in the new Batman movie is named Bane. And there’s now discussion out there as to whether or not this was purposeful, and whether or not it will influence voters. It’s going to have a lot of people. This movie, the audience is going to be huge, lot of people are going to see the movie. And it’s a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd. And they’re going to hear ”Bane” in the movie, and they are going to associate Bain. And the thought is that when they start paying attention to the campaign later in the year, and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capital, but Bain, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the Batman movie –”Oh yeah, I know who that is.” There are some people who think it will work. There are some people think it will work. Others think — “You’re really underestimating the American people who think that will work.”

Uh, Rush, guess what: You’re the one associating Bane with Bain, you and your fellow fact-check-failing freakazoids. In fact you’re perpetuating the concept, one that most likely a vast number of your listeners wouldn’t have even noticed if you hadn’t brought it up, you blathering pile of hyperlipidosis. Maybe you are secretly a tool of the Vast Liberal Hollywood Conspiracy! Stuff that in your vat of HagenDazs and eat it!

Oh and P.S.: According the the dictionary “bane” means:

  1. A cause of great distress or annoyance.
  2. Something, typically poison, that causes death.

Synonyms include poison, venom, ruin, perdition, and curse.

Insane Clown Posse: Juggalos for Mitt Romney

Juggalos for Mitt. Yes, it exists. After Rmoney’s win in Michigan reports surfaced that

Insane Clown Posse will be out feverishly rallying people, and Juggalos, to get out and vote for Mitt Romney.

I guess you shouldn’t judge candidates by their followers, and maybe this is a joke, but I kinda think not. I hope Mitt can be talked into appearing at the Gathering of the Juggalos for a special speech. That would be rad!

It’s Juggalo Time. And They’re Flashing Fire Power.

For five zany days, thousands head to Cave in Rock, Illinois for the annual Gathering of the Juggalos, where they chug Faygo, dance to bands (including of course Insane Clown Posse, Master P and the world’s most famous Michael Jackson impersonator), fornicate, ride Ferris wheels, and worry about infiltration by law enforcement. Which considering the amount of firepower shown in this year’s Gathering of the Juggalos’ informercial, might be a valid concern. Oh Cheech and Chong will be there, along with Bobcat Goldthwait. And wrestling. And unsanctioned mixed martial arts fighting. Plus something called “Bloody Mania.” And a noontime barbecue in case you get tired of grilling pop tarts on a Hibachi.

I wonder if there will be voter registration teams on hand?

This will not end well.

Occupy LA, LAPD Clash at Downtown Art Walk, Non-Lethal Weapons Fired, Arrests

 

According to KTLA, broadcasting live at 10:25pm in Los Angeles, the LAPD is on citywide tactical alert, with rapid response teams and hundreds of officers in downtown Los Angeles. Non-lethal “stinger balls” were fired at protestors, reported to be from Occupy LA. An  LAPD officer was injured, a suspect captured, and hundreds of protestors and just folks driven from the Art Walk area.

There were numerous arrests, KTLA says that bottles have been thrown. (You can read KTLA’s account and see their video here.)

This action was to be people chalking the sidewalks and in the street, according to Occupy Los Angeles’ Facebook. 

“Tonight, #ArtWalk in #DTLA becomes #ChalkWalk! Occupy Los Angeles has had a laughably ridiculous 12 arrests the past 6 weeks for children’s sidewalk chalk. Tonight from 7-9pm, occupiers, artists, enthusiasts, rebels, and the intrigued will defend the First Amendment and freedom of speech.”

Using washable chalk on the sidewalk is not in and of itself a crime. Blocking sidewalk is the issue.

Downtown Art Walk draws thousands of people to check out galleries and socialize, and many of them were just hanging out during the protest to see what wass going on. Live video from KTLA  anbd a photo on qmanhellerman’s photostream shows chalking in the streets (including some suggestions to commit certain Anglo-Saxon verbs on the police) and people sitting in the street.

More from Facebook:

[Live!] LAPD taking care of crime? Chalking is NOT a crime! Be our eyes and ears tonight! Watch us Live! -GR
[Live] Children & young people yelling at LAPD to go away. Even children know more about our rights than them. Please be our eyes & tonight!
Watch us Live or get down to DTLA and support us!-GR
[Live] People now filling the streets as LAPD in tactical gear are putting on facemasks and look like theyre moving in. Crowds chanting “Whose streets! Our Streets!” -GR
[Live]Thousands in the streets now, still no dispersal order, cops have leathal weapons, the people chanting “Show me what a police state looks like, this is what a police state looks like!”
Watch Live: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/pmbeers  [La Figa note: That Livestream is down at press time; try this Global Revolution link]
[Live]We Need Medics on the ground! This is an emergency. People bleeding from rubber bullet shot. -GR

From the news media: There  have been dispersal orders, but the LAPD is allowing the media to stay within 40 feet of police at all times. KNBC reports that bottles were thrown at their news vans and some protestors tried to climb onto the news vans. A police vehicle was also vandalized. The reporter added

In all fairness, some protestors were calling out others to stop throwing rocks and bottles.

These photos from my TV show the police in stand off mode and one bystander who said he was just walking down the street when he was hit by a rubber bullet. Occupy LA, per KNBC, says they will try to spend the night. There are currently more officers than protestors, per KNBC’s 11pm broadcast.

Officer Karen Rayner from the LAPD called into KNBC to report  that at least one officer was injured, struck by a skate board. There was no official arrest count at press time.  Officer Rayner says that incident began at 8:40pm when protestors started blocking the intersections during Art Walk.

The monthly Art Walk is when the majority of downtown businesses, which are locally owned, experience a huge upsurge of customers; one business owner told me that he and other small businesses depend on Art Walk, since it’s when thousands of Angelenos come to Downtown. It’s also when dozens of locals artists get the opportunity to show and sell their work. Art Walk has experienced some troubles in the past–public intoxication, crowds spilling into the streets; and a death when a car jumped the curb, striking and killing an infant. Local merchants, artists and residents  have worked hard to make Art Walk a success after every setback, and it is a treasured event, one of the few places where people from all over the city mix and mingle. You can hear the subtle thought process:

This is why we can’t have nice things.

At 11:27, KNBC says the police are reopening Spring Street, and situation is over, but it remains fluid. Occupy LA says, per KNBC, that they will be back tomorrow.

Update from eyewitness Eric Copeland via my Facebook page:

news stations came late to the party and all got their info from the police spokeperson. police gradually increased tension – first by slowing traffic with orange cones and dozens of police cars and motorcycles, then bringing in riot squads, then moving people around, then pushing people, then clubbing people, and finally firing rubber bullets. most all civilians were artwalk attendees. sick stuff. reminded me of the old police incited punk confrontations. no cops = no problems! the great chalk riots of 2012! so shameful those chalk games of tic-tac-toe on the street. sorry, but if “occupy” is trying to claim credit they are deluding themselves. i was right on 5th and spring. people ignored the guy on the megaphone. artwalkers were intrigued, then bothered by the police actions – not rallied to action by politicos.

UPDATE: Twenty arrests per KTLA, 19 according to LA Times; four officers injured, one with a concussion.

From a friend attending artwalk via my Facebook:

The cones and dozens of bike cops had been dispatched by the time we left at 9. The occupy protectors were making a big scene from early, maybe 7, over (at that time) two people who had been arrested for chalking. So then they handed out more chalk. Self-fulfilling prophecy, I say.

 

The Livestream is back up http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23953533. From Occupy LA’s Facebook:

ABC 7 tried to block the livestream around the 13 mark and fights with livestreamer.

Shot fired around 14 min mark.

Streams-
http://occupystream.com/

And another photo of an injured civilian form Occupy LA’s Facebook

PETA-philes Scream at Kids, Insult Los Angeles Circus-Goers

Last night the Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus opened at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and I went as the guest of the very lovely and talented milliner Satanica Batcakes.  We were dressed in glamorous finery and feathers, as befits an opening night, and were prepared to revel in the joy of the circus.

But I wasn’t prepared for the hate-filled circus outside the Staples Center: Hundreds of anti-circus protestors,including dozens of kids who looked confused about why they were holding signs, demonstrating on the sidewalks against Ringling Bros alleged mistreatment of elephants. The LAPD was on hand too to make sure things didn’t get too ugly as families led their stunned children past the screaming PETA-philes waving posters and chanting. As I walked through the barriers set up to keep the protestors out of the Staples forecourt where clowns juggled and made balloon animals, several women screamed in my face–and in the faces of children, holding on to their parents’ hands:

They beat elephants! Don’t go to the circus! You’re supporting animal cruelty!

In November, 2011 

an agreement was reached where Feld Entertainment, Inc., doing business as Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus (Feld), will pay a $270,000 fine for allegedly violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

According to a USDA press release, Feld also agreed to “develop and implement annual AWA compliance training for all employees who work with and handle animals, including trainers, handlers, attendants and veterinarians starting March 31, 2012, and to establish an AWA compliance position on its staff by February 28, 2012.”…

CEO Kenneth Feld said in a statement, “We look forward to working with the USDA in a cooperative and transparent manner that meets our shared goal of ensuring that our animals are healthy and receive the highest quality care.”

Ringling Bros, though Feld Entertainment. runs the Ringling Bros Center for Elephant Conservation, established in 1995 and located in Florida. The center has received praise for its care of Asian elephants and its breeding program. it is also a retirement facility for circus elephants.

Last night’s angry exhibition by animal rights’ groups was really hostile and felt kinda like visiting a women’s clinic with and anti-choice crew outside. Except there were children involved. Kids getting targeted and yelled at.

This tour has Johnathan Lee Iverson as ringmaster. Iverson was  the first African American and the youngest ringmaster Ringling Bros history. Man, he can sing! The theme was Dragons, which was little forced–dragon concepts culturally appropriated from north, east, south and west were thrown into the mix with faint plot about gaining courage, strength, wisdom and heart via the various acts which represents the directions and the virtues. It was thrilling to see the Shaolin monks do their mind over matter show, and the women who performed acrobatics using their hair was really mind boggling. I loved the performing horses, ponies, mini-donkeys, goats, llamas, dogs and kitties–domestic house cats performing tricks! Seriously, so amazing! And totally cute!

The elephants  performed for less than ten minutes and from our seats in the eighth row center, they  looked very healthy. No prods, sticks or whips were used. But the giant cat act, a combo of tigers and lions, made me uncomfortable. All the big, wild cats seemed annoyed/pissed off/cranky with the exception of the placid male lion who just look bored. Satanica told me that their snarls and swats were all rehearsed. Still, I just didn’t like it. I would have rather seen more dogs and ponies! And house cats!

By the time the show was over, PETA and their pals had packed up their shout-a-thon, replaced by a bacon-wrapped hotdog vendor.

Considering that the widespread, wholesale use of antibiotics in factory farmed chickens is leading to super strong E. coli–and contributing to hard-to-shake bladder infection in women, PETA might want to adjust their targets and  tactics. Rather than screaming at parents and children about circuses, maybe PETA should stand  outside chicken restaurants with signs proclaiming:

Eating chicken can give you bladder infections.

I didn’t shoot this video, and I do think, despite the angles being weird, it shows that the protestors were um, a bit rude.

They Eat Their Own! Republican Congressman Sez “No Health Care for Tumor Patients”

Hodgkin's lymphoma cytology

Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha

Idiot Republican and California representative David Dreier wants to deny healthcare to people diagnosed with massive tumors:

I don’t that think someone who is diagnosed with a massive tumor should the next day be able to have millions and millions and millions of dollars in health care provided.

Wait! I thought, according to Sarah Palin, that it was the Democrats who were all about the death panels, and deciding who would be denied insurance.

While we’re on the subject of massive tumors, let’s take a look at famous Republicans who have had tumors and cancer. And received millions and millions and millions of dollars in health care.

Lee Atwater, former chairman of the National Republican Party who came to power after managing George Bush the Elder’s 1988 campaign, died from a brain tumor at age 37.

Former CIA chief William Casey died in 1987. Hours before he was scheduled to speak in the Iran-Contra hearing, he was rendered incapable of speech, less than 24 hours after he was named in the trials as assisting in the transfer of arms to Nicaraguan rebels. He had previously undergone treatment for prostate cancer. The official cause of death was

aspiration pneumonia as a result of a central nervous system lymphoma… A central nervous system lymphoma is a rare tumor of the brain and central nervous system, evidently the brain tumor for which Mr. Casey had surgery late last year at Georgetown Hospital in Washington.

Before his appointment to the CIA, Casey had been chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission and an Under Secretary of State. He retired from the CIA that February, just months before his death.

Senator Arlen Specter was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1993. The tumor was removed, but reoccurred in 1996. He also has undergone treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, diagnosed in 2005, which returned in 2008. In 2009 he switched from Republican to Democrat. He retired from the Senate in 2011. Senators can purchase insurance from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. According to FactCheck.org

Like other large employers, the government pays a large share of the cost of coverage. On average, the government pays 72 percent of the premiums for its workers, up to a maximum of 75 percent depending on the policy chosen. For example, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard fee-for-service family plan carries a total premium of $1,120.47 per month, of which the beneficiary pays $356.59.

As a CIA employee Casey could also have opted for the FEHBP.

Rep. Dreier says that instead of being allowed health care from insurance companies, those with pre-existing conditions should go into the high risk pool. However:

Just 1,588 Californians and about 13,000 people nationwide have signed up for the program [Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan] that provides subsidized insurance for people with ongoing medical conditions…the six-month waiting period, plus premium costs, make the plan prohibitive for many people.

There are alternatives. And they are popular. According to Ezra’s Klein’s analysis of a poll from Reuters/Ipsos:

Eighty percent of Republicans favor “creating an insurance pool where small businesses and uninsured have access to insurance exchanges to take advantage of large group pricing benefits.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents.

Maybe instead of getting sandy-pantied about the ACA, maybe Dreier et al should look to increasing the budget for the National Institute of Health’s grants into medical research so massive tumors won’t encroach on their quality of life.

images: Wikimedia Commons

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