Archive for April, 2013

There’s No Excuse for Celebrating Incompetence

Monday, April 29th, 2013

White House Press Room Seal_Where Excuses Go to Die

The W.H. Correspondents’ Dinner rewards nonfulfillment.

I’m one of those people who respect the President, his family, and their values. I just wish the spectacle of immunity that is the 99th White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner didn’t make me queazy for my country.

It’s nauseating that the self-approving lifestyles and arrogance of our government’s elite will be inescapable when comedy highlights saturate the media this week. What is there for Washington bureaucrats to celebrate these days besides themselves? Our gullibility, maybe?

The whole letting their guard down angle seems increasingly phony when our leaders guard nothing but their own command. Cutesy clips of politicians’ one-liners and zingers aren’t worth having to watch ’em kiss the asses of High Media — and vice-versa. Assurances that our President can be as loose and sharp as Patton Oswalt in the face of pressure isn’t exactly what we need these days, not when his most sulfurous faultfinders and foes are enjoying their salads a few feet away.  (more…)

The “Poo” in Reese Witherspoon

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Actress and patriot stands up for shit-faced Americans.

DON'T TREAD ON ME

DON’T TREAD ON ME

In Atlanta, Georgia last week, actress Reese Witherspoon did the Disorderly Conduct dance during an altercation with Georgia State Patrol Officers over her husband’s DUI stop. Witherspoon got mouthy, so the police got bossy. She was told to sit in her car, but she got in an officer’s face instead, allegedly multiple times. Once out of the car, she’s said to have shouted, “I am a U.S. citizen! I am allowed to stand on American ground!”

But the Stand-Your-Ground law doesn’t apply to drunk uncles, so only after hands were firmly placed on Witherspoon’s shoulders in anticipation of a struggle did she become physically compliant. Still, as the cuffs went on, so did Witherspoon, with the sanctimonious don’t-you-know-who-I am!? schtick. The arresting officer assured the tantrum-throwing actress that he didn’t need to know her name, but Reese wouldn’t let him diffuse things with his cop mind tricks. She reportedly insisted he’d soon find out who she is, and under the harsh light of national attention. But the harsh light of the Atlanta City Jail got to her first.

File this one under the Diminished Expectations reserved for most public figures, but Witherspoon deserves credit for not blaming her drunken stupidity on ibuprofen, eye irritation, Hollywood exhaustion, or a condition known as hotdog fingers. While staying clear of details or comments so loved by Saturday Night Live writers, the actress issued an apology, taking full responsibility for playing the celebrity card about as discreetly as Bieber or Lohan. As she sought to distance herself from the roadside antics of a skank – going so far as to state that her fear of the police is no excuse for her behavior – she showed relative class. Relative because the fear line is horse-poo. Berating police as if they were uppity house servants isn’t what terrified arrestees do, but she used the ides of it to her advantage, creating a platform upon which to rise above entitled pardons. The celebrity world has spoken in Witherspoon’s favor, as expected, but she earns it with:

“I was disrespectful to the officer who was just doing his job. The words I used that night definitely do not reflect who I am. I have nothing but respect for the police and I’m very sorry for my behavior.” 

Who cares if she has respect for the police or not? Who cares whether those are really her own words? Her lawyer has already won approval for a pretrial intervention plan that would allow Witherspoon to avoid a conviction, yet her statement demonstrates an awareness of how her actions affect those around her. Like it or not, at least it’s contributory. She has every reason to be embarrassed, but for an event of such utter meaninglessness, it offers  – Witherspoon offers –  a meaningful lesson: Own your poo!

Excuses FAIL of the Month

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Florida Police Sgt. Ron King_Where Excuses Go to DieA1 Dumbass offers a meandering, self-righteous “apology”

Let’s get one thing straight out the gate here: GET CHARACTER OR BECOME ONE!

Florida police sergeant Ron King was canned for offering his colleagues practice shooting targets with a silhouette resembling Trayvon Martin. Less than 24 hours later, King’s my-side-of-the-story video, which he was stupid enough to post on YouTube, is a rambling, groan-inducing effort that only negates any argument or principle he petulantly wants us to recognize.

“The events that took place on April 2 are as follows,” King says, only to literally recite his resume.  Instead of coming from the heart, speaking like a real person, or offering a human perspective, he hides behind a learned chain-of-command persona. Far from helping him make a point, it made me think of the cop-groupie weirdness of George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer.

King’s immediate reliance on semantics to muddy his intention leads directly to his claim of victimhood for himself and the Martin family. But King doesn’t see the Martins as wronged in the way you might think: this cabbage-head, who blithely proposed an illustration of their dead son for firearms training, believes that both he and the Martins are simply the subjects of agenda-driven manipulation and “lies,” for which they are equally entitled to “feel used and violated.” This jaw-dropping lack of awareness makes his opening “apology” to  Trayvon’s family awkward as hell, and it’s downright cringe-worthy when King loses his place reiterating it later, after stating gallantly that he refuses to sit by and let himself be used for another’s gain. (more…)

I Gave My Love a Chicken

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

KFC FINGER BUCKETProudly distancing ourselves from the origins of our food

On April 14, Kentucky Fried Chicken will prove to the American people just how much it loves us by unleashing its boneless chicken. Now, in my opinion, food should resemble something that can be found in nature, so we’re not exactly talking about food, here. It’s more mood, as in, we’re not in the mood for skeletons.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a vegetarian, but not a militant one. I don’t believe that vegetarianism will cure all that ails this planet. I avoid meat for my own reasons and let the omnivores do what they will. 
But on the eve of KFC’s boneless drumstick debut, I have to ask, “What more does the goddamn chicken have to do to please you lazy gluttons?”
 Chickens live miserable lives…they die, en masse, in miserable conditions, but we look the other way because they’re tasty. 
These birds give and give and give – they inspire not only our relentless philosophical conundrums (the chicken or the egg?) but even our wedding dances. 
And doesn’t “playing chicken” serve as an archetype for game theory?

WHERE RUBBER CHICKENS GO TO DIEYet that’s not enough. Now we need them to be boneless.
 Not since that narcissistic little bastard in Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” have I seen such self-absorbed, entitled behavior by humans towards nature.
 One day, the chickens will rise up with fists…or beaks…against their oppressors, and it will not be pretty. There will be blood.

Actually, what bothers me most about this bit of “evolution” has nothing to do with the melancholy life and Dachau-like death of the chicken itself. Let’s face it, chickens wouldn’t know melancholy if Sam Cooke himself came back from the dead and serenaded them with “A Change is Gonna Come.” What’s troublesome is that this is yet another assault on our food sense. KFC claims it’s saving us time and making our lives easier, but that’s an excuse for feeding us, technically, rubber chickens!

According to Walter Perez, one satisfied KFC-feeder featured in a USA Today video, “It was easier to eat because it was boneless. It didn’t take as much time.” Watching Walter, I thought, Now here’s a guy with a jam-packed agenda. He doesn’t even have time for a meat product engineered to fall from its bones to begin with! Then I became distracted by pencil-brow’d Virginia Massie’s case for convenience as her two-year-old forages in the background, likely believing there are no bones in food.

What in the name of Michael Pollan is going on here? It’s bad enough that this mood-food is infected with Cartel kilos of sodium, fatty acids, and hormones. Now KFC, McDonald’s, Jack-in-the-Box, and others are hell bent on getting these artery busters into our bodies even quicker. Less chewing is our undoing, people!

SUCKERSIf our fast food overlords were truly interested in saving us time, wouldn’t they serve us healthier foods? Sure, a salubrious diet might take twenty, maybe thirty minutes longer to cook and eat than these processed nuggets of death, but aren’t we then rewarded with five or ten years tacked on to the end of our lives? So by going the boneless route, are they really saving us time? Of course not. Profits are better when you can hook ‘em while they’re moving too fast and feeling too fit to care.

It’s important to remember that corporations and the politicians they purchase rarely have our best interests in mind. Call me paranoid, but every dystopian government I’ve ever read about or seen in movies has used food to manipulate the masses. I don’t need to tell you what Soylent Green is. And not a single meal in Huxley’s Brave New World was complete without soma (“all of the benefits of Christianity and alcohol, without their defects.” Huxley’s words, not mine).

So on April 14, when KFC tries to serenade you with their version of “I gave my love a chicken; it had no bone,” resist. Say no to wing shaped-meat paste masquerading as a real drumstick. As for me? I’ll be at my neighborhood KFC, pulling a Belushi. Not the speedball – I mean the guitar.

I’m no vegetarian, but our first guest blogger and composer of this entry, Christopher Lewis, certainly is. Thank you, Mr Lewis. 

Once Upon a Time in Atlanta

Friday, April 5th, 2013

On running a school district like a criminal enterprise.

Bail hearings have begun at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia, where 35 educators, administrators, and one Superintendent are charged with everything from theft, racketeering, and violating the Corrupt Organizations Act, to making false statements and influencing witnesses (read: leaning on whistleblowers). While some parents sought to stop these teachers and principals from altering tests so they could collect bonuses for improved scores, it fortunately doesn’t appear that too many other parents were involved.

Atlanta Public Schools_Where Excuses Go to Die

It’s no Scorsese plot: squealers weren’t chased through parking lots with a pair of pliers, a baseball bat, or a 12-gauge. But your shrewdest criminal operations don’t need to resort to hostile messages. And not only had this particular operation been going on for a while, it’s part of the larger and more entrenched standardized testing debate itself. In other words, it’s part of the system itself. (more…)