Archive for the ‘Celebrity’ Category

Trump to Produce Prison TV?

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

YOU'RE ISOLATED_Where Excuses Go to DieC’mon, don’t tell me
Trump couldn’t sell
“Naked and Afraid: Lockdown”
or
“Teardrops ‘n Tuckjobs.”

The first of Donald Trump’s programs this convicted felon would DVR is the inevitable cell house chef show, which would feature some of my personal favorites like Brodo Libero Linguine with Cilantro and Walnut Sweepings (a.k.a. Top Ramen drained of its powdery broth-water and sprinkled with “green,” plus a bag of Corn Nuts). Ooh, then there’s Dill-infused Retired Sashimi and Chocolat Petits Fours (canned tuna on toothpicks with yesterday’s pickle slices, and the other half of that 3 Musketeers bar). Many inmates pride themselves on concocting this fine “corridor cuisine,” especially long-termer foodies who use bunk-side braising and contraband meats to keep themselves from making a suicide dash for the electric fence.

Iron Chef: Shackles & Shortbread. Trump could make millions exploiting this untapped goldmine.

And who better? Riding a widening blast radius from publicly acknowledging the existence of a few good Mexicans among the Satanic death horde of sodomites and cartel assassins, Donald Trump has again demonstrated just how disconnected he is from the current national dialogue on criminal justice reform. Explaining to the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board what he’d do about that city’s street crime, he led off with, “You’re not going to stop it by being nice.” Hence The Donald’s strategy of praising lockdown absolutism and shortsightedness despite the successful passage of sentencing reform in 35 states.

Because prison reform appeals to fiscal conservatives as much as social cause lefties, alternatives to “more prison” are on the table everywhere front-line custody personnel collect a paycheck. Across the country, Americans are finding value in redirecting criminal offenders rather than recycling them. (more…)

Brian Williams, War-face

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

BRIANS WORLD_Where Excuses Go to DieBrian “Get to the choppa!” Williams’s character lapse makes him one.

So much for Brian Williams’s war-face, eh? I don’t know if some of the Gonzo from his friendship with the late Hunter Thompson rubbed off, but it turns out the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot of Williams’s career may be his having forgotten that journalists aren’t free to insert themselves in the stories they report.

At least Williams had the sense to step away from his anchor desk before NBC could suspend him, as it has. The move separates him from lesser public figures who might busy themselves with all the attention or be convinced by others to turn it in their favor, something that rarely ends well.

There’s also the fact that, as a passenger in a Chinook troop-transport helicopter, your visibility is extremely limited. Without the benefit of combat experience or theater of operations training, it’d be nearly impossible to differentiate which helicopter in any convoy was actually being aimed at. Think about it, amidst all the sounds of combat – automatic weapons fire, shouting, explosions – would you be able to distinguish between RPG rounds and the flash-bang orange glow of infrared countermeasures (ICMs) being released around you? ICMs BRAIN WILLIAMS_DEATH OR STORY_Where Excuses Go to Dieare, after all, designed to confuse missile optics and throw off rocket trajectories, and pilots navigating threat zones have to be specially trained for these potentially blinding and disorienting visuals.

Besides, when you’re in a convoy taking fire, it matters little whether the first helicopter is being shot at or the last: the convoy is taking fire. If one of its soldiers gets hit by a piece of shrapnel, he’ll be eligible for a Purple Heart. And we always hear soldiers claim to be all “in this together” and that they’re fighting for the guy next to them.

So while embedded reporters certainly aren’t soldiers, the only real-world recognition they get is an unspoken eligibility to use the word “we.” Williams was in a convoy that took fire, and he technically faced the same danger as the other passengers, in uniform and out. He could’ve been killed. So, “we.” End of story. (more…)

The Rationale of Racist Jokes

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

It’s not what you say privately that matters; it’s what you say…

Justin THE DUMB WORLD OF JUSTIN BIEBER__Where Excuses Go to DieBieber’s unsuccessful attempt to buy (and presumably squash) 2011 footage of himself using the N-word while telling a joke puts him right back in the Get Character or Become One hot seat.

The rationale of the racist joke always begins and ends with, “I’m not racist.” But there are other excuses widely used as well, like, “My grandfather was born during a time when…” To hell with your grandfather – now what? Every day is a day in which to get a clue.

Bieber and Paula Dean and Donald Sterling were born some 47 and 60 years apart, so to those who point to silliness like the “era” in which certain A-holes were born, I say, “Go sell that excuse someplace else.” Willful ignorance and insensitivity are learned behaviors, not vintage collectibles. Americans are just as aware that the narrow-minded walk among us as they were in 1963, but thankfully there are far more opportunities today to learn the difference between acceptance and tolerance, as well as bad character versus bad taste. (P.S. Only someone with a grapefruit for a brain would think it “bad taste” to get caught sharing racist thoughts or humor; when the perpetrator is old enough to know better, it’s no-less than treacherously immoral.) (more…)

“With a Needle in His Arm”

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

This week’s media drumbeat: “Found dead with a needle in his arm.”

It’s bad enough he died alone with the only disease on earth that convinces its host it’s not there.

ACEHalfway through the first full day of Philip Seymour Hoffman media coverage I knew that “with a needle in his arm” had entered our cultural zeitgeist. Ever since, it’s been a week of the phrase, over and over again.

Yes, we know why – it’s a lurid, gritty and vulgar journalistic standard, but this has hit such a level of capitalization, it’s almost as though it’s been sexualized, as if media outlets can’t cover Hoffman’s death without worming it in, right upfront.

As the week has progressed, in fact, I’ve been hearing ever more creative insertions and timing of the phrase in broadcast media. News readers both local and national threw it out there immediately at first, but now it’s hangin’ back by a sentence or two. By next week it’ll be a paragraph, but only because the story has turned toward the Somali Pirate Chechnya Warlord Taliban drug dealers who might’a sold a beloved fat white guy a truckload of smack.

(more…)

Bernard Kerik: The Wrong Man to Talk about Prison Reform

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Kerik, former Homeland Security Secretary nominee, should shut up.

face.jpgBernie Kerik is no friend to those who have been prosecuted excessively for drug crimes or, for that matter, to anyone serving time in prison. By my estimation, his unlooked-for discovery that America’s drug sentences have created a huge underclass of offenders is little more than fodder for Kerik’s own PR agenda.

Here’s both barrels:

For starters, though Kerik did spend time behind bars, he can’t speak on behalf of the general population. A former NYPD Commissioner and the man who once oversaw one of the facilities in which he was detained, Kerik definitely did not live among gen pop inmates. He was housed in protective custody, a much less transitory and smaller environment. Protective custody (a.k.a. administrative segregation) is mainly for informants, self-harmers, perverts, and anyone else facility administrators deem likely to become stabbing practice.

So from my perspective – and probably that of every other rational general population convict – Bernie Kerik is free to speak only for snitches and kid touchers. Sure, like me, he’s entitled to a second chance and the opportunity to use that chance and his platform productively. But I say, consider the source. (more…)

Breaking the Narcissist Richter Scale

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Goofing on cosmetic surgery martyrdom and Justin Bieber’s toolface

Narcissist-Richter-Scale_Where Excuses Go to DieIf I look like Justin Bieber, I’ll live like Justin Bieber, goes the thinking of a sick, dumb animal.

When humans are psychologically backed against a wall, they often do silly things reminiscent of the crazed stumble of mad cow disease. Narcissism is like mad cow, in that infected animals’ brains and spinal cords get wonky after eating too much of themselves. 

At 33 years-old, “songwriter” Toby Sheldon is one such sick, dumb animal, thanks to his diseased missteps in pursuing the surgeried  likeness of Justin Bieber’s pout. He may not have succeeded in turning his mug into a copy of The Bieber’s, but he has broken the Narcissist Richter Scale and become this month’s poster boy for GET CHARACTER OR BECOME ONE.

DUMBASS AND DUMBERASS_Where Excuses Go to DiePerhaps it’s unfair for me to pick on one of God’s mixed up creatures, one whose likely next move is stumbling in a circle until it dies. But God commanded me to write this blog, and I can’t be blamed for self-poisoning narcissists who shudder, shake, and stagger madly before my oncoming truck.

Maybe the rule of thumb should be that, if you’re such a delusional cosmetic surgery pigeon that becoming a laughing stock is a minor consequence, you should be entitled to special insurance coverage or perhaps your own island residency. I favor the island, a zero-liability  environment where you can immolate yourself with a can of gas, invent a chainsaw radio, or stagger delusionally off a cliff, all free from the legal or social judgments of others.

(more…)

The Sounds My Neighbor Makes

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Yeah, getting to know my neighbors means getting over myself

Sounds My Neighbor Makes_Where Excuses Go to DieIt’s funny, wanting to stand out. We desire individuality and to express ourselves uniquely, but we’re pleased when we discover we’re just like those we want to stand apart from. We enjoy learning that celebrities have wrinkles, blotchy skin, and one leg longer than the other. We gobble up captured private moments of public figures and we’re eager to learn how much in common we have with those whose fabulous lives we insist could never be ours. I can’t even imagine having anything in common with Paula Deen, but you get the idea…

Down here on earth and up the street on which my wife and I live, I smile when I hear my next-door neighbor drops his keys and mutters under his breath, still balancing things in his hands. I hear his daughter ask questions he either doesn’t have the answer to or has no patience to explain, and though I don’t have children myself, his impatience is gratifying. It’s not his exasperation that makes me root for him, but rather the certainty that I’d be likewise confounded. Soon the daughter will be older and bolder. Maybe she’ll hide his keys behind her back one afternoon and I’ll lean in to hear how it turns out.

In the meantime, like watching some vulgar, egomaniacal luminary who’s been stripped down to my level of hygiene and over-limit fees, overheard and superficial commonalities with my neighbors will have to do. (more…)

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!

“Shooter” Is Now a Job Description

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

“I am the shooter!” Oregon mall gunman Jacob Tyler Roberts reportedly shouted as he opened fire. He did so as if he’d just reached the top level of an Xbox game. Roberts wasn’t playing a game, though: his actions were a Schizoid’s demand for attention. But Xbox or no, in his mind, he won.

I figure that at the rate America is crankin’ out these sick, dumb animals, it won’t be long before “Shooter” becomes even more aspirational. Of course, nobody aspires from childhood to kill themselves after spraying a Banana Republic with bullets, nor has any job application yet been written for a Highway Sniper. Yet Roberts wanted us to know he was in charge, if only briefly. Per his announcement, he’d achieved his “be all you can be” moment.

Welcome to the real Tomorrowland, where basic job application categories may soon collide horrifically with the mental distortion of dumbed down America. This is where “shooter” can substitute for “teacher,” “bus driver,” or “dentist,” because gaining notoriety — in this case for shooting up a food court — has essentially become a viable version of the American Dream. (more…)