I'm JUST Sayin'

#3: Who’d win?

Set ’em up, and knock ’em down, an’ set ’em up again. As George Carlin once said, “Life… is a series of dogs…”

Doesn’t mean a thing in this context, but what does, really? It’s #3 with a bullet, on the countdown of stuff that may or may not make sense, and this week, I’m going with a discussion I used to have many, many, MANY times, in different contexts, throughout my life.

I’m an old school comic book fan. By that I mean, I actually remember when the X-Men weren’t being published, and I *LIKED* The Disco Dazzler. In either case, in the comic book community, there are several old saws that erupt like pus-filled sores (Ewww.) every time two or more fans enter the room:

Is Doctor Doom scarred horribly, or is he deluded by a small scar to think he’s no longer perfect?

Were Storm and Jean Grey MORE than just roommates?

How exactly DOES Peter Parker stick to walls THROUGH his costume?

Is Dave Sim crazy, or just a perfectly normal man in an insane world?

Most of all, Who’d win, Superman or The Hulk? My answer is short and simple (as most of mine are): “Marvel and DC win.” Alternately, “Put five bucks on the guy with the heat vision…”

In any case, I often wonder what would happen if that sort of Comic Geek knowledge was applied to other venues, and thus do I give you:


Battle One: Girl Spies

Pre-teen battle machine head to head with the charismatic chameleon! Redhead to redhead, mistress of disguise to high-tech headbanger… There’s gonna be flying feet, kung fu chaos, but ABSOLUTELY NO pulling hair.

King Cobra’s Pick: Kim. For three reasons. One, Sydney is, to my mind, more cerebral, and Kim’s impulsiveness gives her the edge. Two, Kim wears pants when she’s “working”, giving her the edge in not falling off her sky-high heels in a micro-miniskirt. Three, Kim’s support team includes a naked mole rat. When in doubt, ALWAYS bet on the naked mole rat.

Battle Two: Science Fiction Icons

Ooh. The inevitable line drawing. The Trekkies versus the… what? Warsies? War-Mongers? Warriors? WAARRRriiiiioorrrRRS!!! Come out and PLAAAAYYYY!!! Mostly because I can, I’m going to make a ruling: This is going to be “Jedi” era Luke Skywalker versus Season Two Original Series Kirk. Two men in their mid-thirties, just on the edge of greatness. One the first harbinger of the (excuse the expression) Return of the Jedi, the other a man of action, in the flagship of his fleet, exploring Space: The Final Frontier.

King Cobra’s Pick: DRAW. This is NOT a copout. Truly, it would be an awesome spectacle, Skywalker’s physicality and mental powers versus Kirk’s strong will. It has been PROVEN that a human of sufficient willpower can shake or elude Jedi mind tricks, and Luke isn’t likely to go all Cuisinart on a man who quite obviously ISN’T evil (just a bit of a ham). With the resources of the Enterprise behind him, Kirk would obviously run about the landscape of the desert planet before getting his shirt ripped and improvising his own lightsabre out of the phaser crystals, some plant matter, and the spine of a jungle cat. Once Luke realizes that Kirk is just lost in time (obviously, since he’s from the 23rd Century, and Luke is from ‘long, long ago’), he’d help them rebuild the warp core and slingshot out of the system. NOT, however, before Spock and The Emperor have a battle on the psychic plane that destroys all memory of Jar Jar Binks and most of the prequels.

Battle Three: Cartoon Caretakers

Here’s a more obvious pick. Brock is really a latter day Race, with the sole exceptions being that Race is intelligent, capable, grown-up, and pretty damned cool. Oh, I guess I should mention that Race’s cartoon was actually entertaining.

King Cobra’s Pick: Two hits. Race hits Brock. Brock hits pavement. (As for Venture Brothers fans, remember my rule: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Corollary: When in doubt, I’m right.).

Battle Four: Goofy Guys Trapped In A World They Never Made.

Two genial losers, two red windbreakers, two ridiculous combatants. Neither is any good in a fight, but both are equally deluded about that.

King Cobra’s Pick: Eric, through the power of ganja. After Eric does his “Bruce Lee” moves and Fry threatens to open “a box of Whuppas O Roni, The REAL San Francisco Treat,” they end up breaking out Eric’s weed stash and watching “Happy Days” reruns together, as Bender and Hyde trade barbs in the background.

Final Battle: British Spy Masters.

The central symbol of MI5 versus the ultimate outsider. Imagine James waking up in The Village, his usefulness to crown and country finished. Imagine Six’s paranoia firing up when someone who is actually his equal, perhaps superior, in cleverness and resourcefulness appears out of the blue. Is it a trap? Could this be another endless recursive loop of prison?

King Cobra’s Pick: Number Six. But not at first. James outsmarts him, outfights him, perhaps even outgimmicks him, but NOBODY outmaneuvers the man in the cricket blazer. Six allows James to seemingly defeat him, then follow the same path Number Six himself followed, discovering the secrets of the Village, searching for answers. When Bond and Six next meet, then James agrees to join Number Six’s quest for Number One. And heaven help anyone who tries to deter them…

That doesn’t even touch on crossovers like Fox Mulder/J’Onn J’Onnz…

Or Gil Grissom and Velma Dinkley…

Or perhaps even Popinjay/Nightcrawler…

Pop! ~teleports Nightcrawler away~
BAMF! ~Nightcrawler teleports back~


In Roy We Trust Part 2

(Read part 1 here.)

“Tobacco Road” was set ablaze when Roy Williams was named North Carolina’s head coach on April 14th, 2003.

Just one week after leading the Kansas Jayhawks to the National Championship game, the former Tar Heel assistant returned to his alma mater to become the head honcho. Athletic Director, Dick Baddour finally got the man he wanted to coach his basketball program.

Every college basketball fan across the country knew the Tar Heels were approaching greatness with the sophomore class of the 2003-2004 squad. It was difficult for the young team to adapt to Williams’s coaching style of playing as a team. Carolina failed to win 20 games in 2003-2004 for the third straight season. Tar Heel fans knew the program was headed in the right direction.

In the spring of 2004, Coach Williams was heavily recruiting J. R. Smith and Marvin Williams. Both players were high school All-Americans and sought by many universities. Smith decided to take his skills to the NBA, and he was drafted with the eighteenth overall pick by the New Orleans Hornets. Marvin wanted to be a Tar Heel. He knew going into the season that he would not be a starter, but he would receive a significant amount of playing time. He would make the most out of his playing time this year.

To begin this season, point guard Raymond Felton was suspended by the NCAA for playing in a summer league tournament. The tournament had been sanctioned by the NCAA up until this past winter, and tournament organizers failed to inform everyone of the change.

UNC traveled to California to battle Santa Clara in the opening game of the season. The Broncos battled hard and the Felton-less Heels were upset. North Carolina then went on a 14-game winning streak, beating a talented Kentucky team and destroying a gutsy Maryland team by 35 points.

With what many sportswriters call “the most talented team in the country,” the Heels have five players averaging more than ten points per game. A very deep bench allows them to keep players fresh and allows the whole team to get involved in the game. Sean May is having another monstrous year and Rashad McCants is looking to pass the ball to his teammates before he shoots. Seniors Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel and Melvin Scott are stepping up to be leaders on and off the court. Freshman superstar Marvin Williams, whom many believe would be a lottery pick if he entered the NBA draft after the year, is averaging double figures and is constantly making SportsCenter for either stepping out beyond the three point range and knocking one down or making a flashy dunk. Either way, Marvin deserves the Freshman of the Year award.

After a shocking loss to Duke last week, Carolina went up to UCONN and pulled out a tough victory over a good Husky team. Right now the Tar Heels are 24-3, and they are my pick to win this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Shut up and Listen: Repent, dear King, or go to Hell. *

Arkansas is a religious state. Okay, not the religious state like islamic countries… we’ve just got more than our fair share of pious folks walking around. And pious folks are raised believing that they are right, and everyone else is wrong.

As a youth growing up here, I was lucky enough to learn early on that chances are, I was wrong about everything. I was what they called a doubter. I doubted my religion, my goverment, my relationships, everything. I guess you could say it was a case of “paranoia, paranoia, everybody’s comin’ to get me” or something. Everything was a little hard to trust.

As a recovering Baptist, I tend to look at religion with a very speculative eye. I’m seeing a disturbing new trend: the posibility of strong religions beliefs leading some to take a political stance, and for those who take this stance to welcome socially counterproductive ideas as their own as a means to show contempt to the “godless”.

The liberal world-IE, the world where all people are considered equals, and no special priveledges are awarded to people based on class or race or gender, there is a strong move for equality. The ten commandments and prayer disappear from school and courtrooms, and it is seen as a blatant attack. So what? Sew buttons.

The Republican party, and therefore 75 of all Christians, were bought out long ago by companies that have sub-par environmental policies. So now, if you love Jesus, you support deforestation and global warming. And despite the impending death of everything on our planet, there are darker intonations. I have my own private qualms with the Republican party, so I won’t go into that. But is the liberal “academic” movement… much maligned by the religious… leading them to embrace hatred?

Today in my course on the Rhetoric and Theory of Composition, we were given a passage written by a student who had a lot to say about Black History month. The following is quoted as best I can remember.

“Black history month… makes me sick. All black people do is cry and whine about crap. They whine about racism, they are the racists. White people have done as much to get blacks their rights as black people, why isn’t there a white history month?”

(…where did the rights go to begin with, Sherlock?)

“…we should have WET. How come black people get their own station? How come rap is a black thing? I guess that means everything white people do is a white thing.”

We were asked how we would respond to getting such a paper from a student. Silence filled the room for about two minutes, until a few people offered some meager suggestions, including myself (tell him to back up his argument rather than using inflammatory comments). However, the professor, an outspoken woman who never shies away from anything, let us know what she had done: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The sad thing was that I know who wrote this. I recognized one of the jokes he made early on. He’s an aquaintance of mine. A fastidious conservative. God is his co-pilot.

We live in a culture where people scream at each other. “Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them” and “How to talk like a Liberal if you Have To” (or something like that) are both books that sold like hotcakes. Both showcase a blatant contempt for the other side, a rejection of all they stand for. Are people really lining themselves up like this in this country? If I support environmental regulations, to I necessarily HAVE to support abortion as well? If I oppose gay marriage, must I also support Social Security Privatization? In a free country, should I have to slice away what I believe to fit with the one that is least likely to screw me over?

Two of the biggest movies of the past year were “The Passion of the Christ” and “Farenheight 9/11”. Both were polarizing, both featured bloody violence. “Passion” easily outgrossed “9/11”, as should be expected. But anyone who’s seen Passion (or anyone for that matter) it can attest to the fact that it’s a more than a little strange to watch a man be murdered over two hours. To paraphrase Marv, “I just know it’s pretty wierd to beat people.”

Some Christians harbor a contempt for other religions, based on one of the early commandments, and it comes out in their sermons. “If you’re a winner or a sinner, a nudist or a Buddhist,” was the refraim in the last sermon I went to, and every time it was spoken, a low, reptilian chuckle ran through the crowd. Equating a widely held belief that stresses deep thought with walking around in the nude? How respectful. Then again, when a religion doesn’t have enough respect for its base teachings (love thy neighbor, peace) to follow them, it can’t really be expected to coexist with anything else.

We really must seperate religious ideology from politics. We’ve seen, several times in our waking lives (and even in Sin City) that people who tout their faith are rarely as faithful as they’d have people believe, and rarely have the best intentions in the forefront of their minds.

But at the same time, Liberal all-inclusiveness and white male bashing have driven people to fall to the feet of malicious liars, and follow them to the ends of the earth, with contempt and outrage burning in their hearts. Liberals, no less militaristic, have met them across a national bloodpool, and we have a country almost evenly split in two, or from a red-blue point of view, a hemorage of outrage held in check by three tattered strips clingin to the outer edges.

Opinion is formed in the early stages of life. It is my concern that Christians who accept the George W. Bush mindset as the mindset of Jesus Christ will teach their children to reject other cultures and existentialism, and instead lead them to lives of piety and quiet labor. At the same time, I fear a world full of P.C. hippie police, forcing me to celebrate Kwanzaa.

Faith and Paranioa dictate everything we do. Both sides of this country are caught in a game of one-upsmanship. We are more evenly divided than we were in the age of the Civil War. So what can be done? How can academics learn to preach their message in a way that does not outrage the faithful? How can the faithful learn not to snap at the hand that tries to feed them new ways of thinking and insight?

I don’t know the answer, but I bet it’s most… most interesting.
* Name the quote.

Soundtrack to Life – "As The Footsteps Die Out Forever" (Part 2 of 2)

(Continued from part 1, which can be found here.)

Some folk never forget certain days. Where they were when they heard about JFK. How they remember 9-11. Me, I’ll never forget January 8, 2000.

Mom had a tendency to get ill once a year. When she did so, it was always in a big way. So, when she got sick this time around, we thought nothing of it. Similar symptoms, she’d had this before. She’d also wrenched her back at work, so she was essentially couchbound for the majority of the day. It had been a relatively cold day, Tim and Pat were at work, and I was busy chatting online. Pat came in rather suddenly, he’d gotten off early for work. He tried to call, but I was tying up the line. It was an annoyance for him then, but he’d soon realize that maybe it was for the best. He woke Mom up so she could get Tim. Something wasn’t right. She was talking about vivid dreams, and how she could have sworn one of Pat’s friends had gone to get him. He questioned her health, and as always, she insisted she was alright. She wasn’t herself though. Something was very off. Pat made her swear that she’d go to the doctor after picking up Tim.
“Okay, just let me go splash some water on my face.” she said. Pat and I exchanged worried glances, neither one knowing that those would be the last words we’d ever hear her speak.

A “thud” came from the bathroom, and after knocking with no response, Pat let himself in. He quickly told me to call 911 and tell them what had happened. I got off the phone with the dispatcher and wandered back in the vicinity of the bathroom. It was eerily silent. Then, words rang out that will never escape my memory.

“JOOOOOEEEE!!!! She’s not breathing!”

I ran to the phone, muttering something along the lines of “Oh Christ!” over and over again. I got the dispatcher back on the line and told them about the change in the situation. I grabbed a pair of boots and told Pat I was running for help. I barely noticed that the laces weren’t tied or the heaping amount of snow quickly filling the boots as I dashed across the yard to our neighbors, The Bertrams. They were at the door in a flash thankfully, and I told them of what was happening. Sally and Barry Sr. were there immediately. Sally and Pat kept tabs on Mom as Barry waited by the door. Myself, I ran to the bottom of the driveway, pacing back and forth and repeating “This can’t be fuckin’ happening.”, waiting for the ambulance to arrive. 5 minutes becomes an eternity when the life of a loved one hangs in the balance. A jogger trotted past with a bewildered look at the ashen-faced young man, barely dressed for the weather.

When the ambulance arrived, I cleared a path for the gurney, and then stayed in the kitchen as the EMTs, out of sight, attempted to resusitate my mother. I couldn’t watch. I couldn’t see her like that. It wasn’t right! They loaded her into the ambulance as we called our relatives. They were there promptly to take us to St. Joseph’s. I remember Sally hugging me and telling me I’d have to be strong, as if she already knew.

Waiting for the ambulance was hell. But sitting in that waiting room was even worse. Surrounded by loved ones, hoping for the best but fearing the worst. It was now right around 2 o’ clock. Dad would be leaving work soon. How were we supposed to contact him? All you can do is sit, wait, and hope for the best. The doctor’s arrival cut the tension, and as I looked up at him from my seat, I could read the expression on his face

“I’m sorry. We did all that we could…..”

Something shattered then. I remember hearing static and seeing things go gray. Perhaps this is how the mind deals with such things. I just hung my head. Just sat there, still, face to the floor but staring at nothing. All I could focus on was the fact that I wasn’t crying. The most important woman in my life was gone and I’d never see her again. Not one tear. Maybe it was my upbringing, I’m not wholly certain, but I couldn’t bring myself to cry. It’s a fucked up feeling knowing that this is where you’re supposed to emote and you just can’t do it. We gathered our stuff from our house, figuring that staying with the relatives tonight would be best. It was…. otherworldly. I just moved automatically, as if it was the next thing to do. Not thinking about what I was doing, just doing it.

I sat listlessly as my aunts discussed ministers and funeral homes. Suddenly, there was Dad. He burst into the room, bawling. He gave us all a big hug, and now was the time for me to finally break down. I’d never seen him like this, never before. This man had stood as a marble pillar in my life, never wavering. And yet, here he was, sobbing like a child. It really hit me then. Despite the war that had been going on for the past 6 years, he still loved her. In fact, his love for her was stronger than that any of us had. We were born with her a part of our lives, so we had to love her by default. My father, Michael Nichols, didn’t have that love thrust upon him. Of everyone in the room, he was the only one who had the choice of loving her, and he did. He chose to have this woman be a part of his life, just as she had chosen him to be a part of hers. Despite the rugged final years, by god, he still loved her.

The funeral was simply amazing, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone complain about a slipshod funeral before. It just doesn’t happen I guess. People came from all around to pay tribute to this wonderful woman, and sympathy to the family she’d left behind. It was overwhelming. I saw relatives that I’d supposedly met when I was only knee-high, people who’d I’d never even known she’d touched in her life, and of course, all of our close associates; friends and family alike. It’s in times of crisis such as these that you learn who your friends are, and sure enough, I had a small gathering of my best and most loyal friends there. Being one of her sons, I had the privilege of carrying her to her final resting place….

It’s been 5 years now, and I can’t help but wonder what would be different if she were still with us today. I guess we all wonder these things about our lost loved one. Still, she was a cornerstone of my life. Would she be proud of where I am in life and who I’ve become? Would she support many of the decisions I’ve made along the way? What may or may not have happened if she were still alive and well? Well, I can tell you for certain, I wouldn’t be sitting here in the middle of the night, sans distractions and audience writing about her. And I know that despite this tragedy, it opened the door for the greatest experience of my entire life. But I’ll save that story for another time.

As I was saying earlier, people in this society don’t care much for emotional people anymore. In this society, it’s becoming a rule that nobody is allowed to get offended at anything anymore. PC, whiny, and emo are just a few of the tags given to those who have a distaste for certain humor that is supposed to be funny. Guess I fall into that category then. Never was a big fan of “Your Mama” jokes to begin with, and only one person ever dared cross that line with me after her death. I call this man “friend” and I nearly obliterated him in the school parking lot before he realized the thoughtlessness of the act. Yes, I’m a little touchy on the subject. Does it make me emo? Maybe. Does it mean I’m easily offended? Only cuz I choose to be. Does it make me a Momma’s Boy? You bet your ass.

I remember, before her service, the minister asked if anyone in the family had a final dedication to her, a song they’d like to sing at the wake. Had the rhythm not been so upbeat, and the vocals were notably more mellow, I probably would have done it. Every time I see this band live, every time they do this song, I go wild in the pit and wind up with tears in my eyes. It’s the only song that really comes to mind when I think of this amazing woman and the life she led. Because if there’s one thing she’d want, it would be that we not wait up for her.

“As The Footsteps Die Out Forever”
by Catch-22
She was diagnosed on a Friday,
the kids were almost home,
the kids were on their way back home from school,
lying face down in the gutter
of unaccomplished dreams and broken memories of things to come,
“Sorry ma’am, I really am. I had to break the news.
I had to make the phone call to tell you that you’re due,
you know where,
I’ll tell you when,
and I suggest you start living these next three weeks, the best way that you can.”

Every night for three long weeks,
she’d roam the hallways half asleep
and as the footsteps fade away
in my mind, I could swear, I could swear, I heard her say:
“Don’t wait for me,
I’ve got a lot to do
I’ve got a lot to be
and in the end maybe I’ll see you there.”

Lost her strength on a saturday.
Spent the day in bed.
Yeah, I’m fine, it’s just the flu she said
with a smile, but when they turned their backs,
the tears would flow.
She knew she only
had a while to live
to breathe
to see
to be
to bleed
to stand on her own two weakened feet
“and so I pray everyday: don’t take my mother away”

Every night for three long weeks,
she’d roam the hallways half asleep
and as the footsteps fade away
in my mind, I could swear, I could swear, I heard her say:
“Don’t wait for me,
I’ve got a lot to do
I’ve got a lot to be
and in the end maybe I’ll see you there.”

Every night for three long weeks,
she’d roam the hallways half asleep
and as the footsteps fade away
in my mind, I could swear, I could swear, I heard her say:
“Don’t wait for me,
I’ve got a lot to do
I’ve got a lot to be
and in the end maybe I’ll see you there.”
And in the end you know i’ll see you there
and in the end i’ll see you there

“Don’t wait for me,
I’ve got a lot to do
I’ve got a lot to be
and in the end maybe I’ll see you there.”

Rest in Peace, Mom. From your loving son; Joe.

Brent Bozell, Dickless Wonder

L. Brent Bozell III. Perhaps you’ve heard the name? At one point, this red-haired, bow-tie wearing fella was riding high in his assaults against the WWF (Not the World Wildlife fund, although there’s a good chance he’s against that too), garnering a lot of attention for decrying the sexual content and language of the show. He’s bitched like none other, filing 99.8% of all complaints to the FCC. Luckily for us, this loud-mouth has kept his gestapo-esque opinions to himself, and kept his hyper-religious reindeer games to himself.

Oh, if only that were so.

During (and after) the 2004 elections, Bozell dove into the mix, endorsing Bush and “exposing” “liberal” “slants” in the “media”. But going back… in 2000, he slammed McCaine, the more “moderate” Republican, endorsing the take-no-prisoners, “My way or go fuck yourself” Bush Cheney ticket. Well, good for him. Angry white bloggers just don’t get the job done sometimes. Bozell’s bitching helped boost his own popularity, and who knows… maybe got his column in a few more papers. But look out! Bozell’s breaking all the rules… even his own!

“Notice how PBS would rather not have “this kind of debate,” a debate about bias. They just want their billions from the government, and save the bias debate for someone who gives a damn.”


Not only that, but consider this exchange between him and Paul Waldman (Editor of the Gadflyer http://gadflyer.com/articles/?ArticleID=189).

WALDMAN: He didn’t accuse any individuals of anything.

BOZELL: You’re a liar!

WALDMAN: He never accused those guys of anything.

BOZELL: John Kerry is a liar, and you’re a liar!

WALDMAN: What are you talking about?

BOZELL: Fuck you!

Heavens! Well, thank god no cameras were on you, Brent. Then again, I guess hypocrisy really isn’t that big a problem for you. Just titties and cuss words.

Really now… do we seriously require yet another stuff-shirt, unfunny, dickless conservative douche who spends his time (the time most people devote to either work, having sex, or watching one of these shows Bozell hates) trying to tell us what we can and cannot do? One was enough, but we’ve had dozens this century.

Bozell is a bland, boring addition to the Conservative movement; not as attractive as the Bush twins, not as articulate as Zell Miller, not as well endowed as Anne Coulter. But he’s a noisy bland, boring addition, endlessly droning his message of bland, un-fun entertainment, liberal-bashing, and various other repetitive crap we’ve all heard a hundred times before. Bozell has led a coalition to destroy PBS for it’s political bias (ie, tolerance to all people), yet has left Fox News unscathed. Why is this?

Well, Bozell is a pedigreed socialite, rich and fiercely religious (at least for the cameras) figurehead of the PTC, and columnist for the Media Research Center (a very official sounding name for several megabytes of conservative horseshit-Bozell likes that word too). He has five children, which is sad for Brent, because this means that his wife is probably cheating on him. That is, of course, unless he’s somehow found the ability to have sex without a penis.

But I digress, to a topic that people might actually want me to prove (unless some wierd soul wants to see Bozell without pants): that Brent Bozell III is a radical, condescending fascist with no respect for anyone else, be they supporters or detractors.

Go here: http://www.parentstv.org/

Note at the top of the page: The Top 10 Best and Worst shows for YOUR Family. Because we all know every family is alike, and that they’ll love shows about, oh… wholesome white families. Except for that black family he tacked on at the end… you know, where the father figure makes fun of one of the children for being a possible homosexual. But this is okay… Bozell manages one minority family amid his boring wholesome family show collections, last year he gave some airtime to the Mexicans in the form of George Lopez. Look it up!

Speaking of which, scroll down a little more. Bozell takes it to the fags by attacking Will and Grace. Despite the fact that the banter is tame compared to a lot of other sitcoms that have come and gone (where the hell is the Simple Life on these lists?), this show has maintained a place on the list since it began. Bozell can beat around the bush all he wants, but his columns at the Media Research Center show that the man has a serious issue with homosexuals. Which is usually a defense mechanism for men with serious sexual repression issues. My guess is that either Bozell was called gay while growing up (How could that happen?*) or knows how precarious his position is, and can’t admit to it, or that he hates seeing potential heterosexual penises being used in this fashion. Borne of penis envy, perhaps.

Bozell, despite his strange “Salem 1600s” style of tolerance, states in a column…

“I was preparing for a recent interview on a national newscast the other night when the reporter asked me off-air if it was correct to label the Parents Television Council, which I founded and head, a “conservative” group. Next he asked: With which religious movement was the PTC affiliated? When I answered No and None, he seemed genuinely perplexed…
…my personal ideological perspective on things political is no secret, and it is to be expected that the connection would be made.”

NO FUCKING SHIT SHERLOCK. A man who wastes money he could be donating to the poor (which is an idea I think might have been in the Bible at some point) doing things like this…


…just might have a conservative bias. How much did it cost to get Charlie Daniels to play at your bitch-fest? Didn’t he have some biscuits and gravy to eat somewhere? To all those chic young male Republicans: Keep in mind that when you grow up, your life of personal repression and closemindedness will leave you either a douche in a bow tie with a bad haircut, or a morbidly obese old man with a fiddle. Either way, you probably won’t be able to see your dick.

I tend to treat religion, sexuality and politics the same way: learn to express your opinions in a meaningful manner, and give respect where respect is due. Which, I figure, is a lot better than becoming a media terrorist with delusions of destroying the institution of free speech and instilling Radical Christian Doctrine on a nation that was built on the institutions of Freedom and Liberty (hey, using those concepts to make a point is fun!). It’s not up to the networks to raise children. And it sure as hell isn’t up to Brent Bozell. The sooner he realizes that some people are smart enough to make their own decisions and have the discipline to keep pasty douchebags like himself out of their family member’s lives, the better. So Bozell, do us all a favor. Shut your fucking mouth and get a real job.

* Here’s an idea: http://www.mrc.org/stillshots/2003/dishonor/event/Bozell_podium.jpg

I'm JUST Sayin'…

Or: The Point Is Having A Point!

There are things known… and things unknown. And in between are The Doors. And some windows. A little bit of conduit for the electrical work, and some various and sundry pipework. Welcome to another record-breaking installment of I’m JUST Sayin’, the column that dares to ask “Is that a Maidenform bra?”

This week, we’re wadin’ into column Number Two (“Who is Number One? You are Number Six! I am not a number! I am a free man!”) and I find myself adrift in a world of uncertainty and recollection… So far, 2005 has been an enormous cluster of annoyances, like climbing through a blackberry bush, but I have consulted with Elvis and Thoth-Mercury, and they’re hoping to make things a little more tolerable with a few well-placed lightning bolts… I’m down with that.

In any case, let’s kick off the NEW AND IMPROVED 2005 with my new mission statement:

“I, The Lizard King, a.k.a The Mighty King Cobra do solemnly swear to treat every day as a new treasure, and to always take my 11 month old daughter Molly’s perspective on life: ‘It may be the same damn Wiggles episode we’ve seen fifty times, but dammit, we always clap for the pirate.’ Also, her correlary: ‘Wherever I am is the most exciting and amazing place on earth.'”

With that in mind, we get to the heart of this week’s missive: CLARITY. I started this column not knowing what the hell I wanted to say, and so, decided to say something about having something to say. (Follow THAT, Freud!)

Okay, I admit it. I write exactly the same way I talk. The previous paragraph is a good example of my style, in all its naked glory: Circumlocutive sentences, long drifting points, pop-culture detours, intrusive side-thoughts, and the occasional complete loss of point. When this happens, I like to use the most invaluable resource any of us has: My ability to read. I go back and READ it aloud in my head. If it doesn’t parse to *ME*, then I rip the sentence apart, and try to figure out what the hell I MEANT to say, or more importantly, what I NEEDED to say at that point.

In an internet-type forum, there tends to be a wide variance in writing skill and usage. That’s to be expected, and isn’t really that much of an issue. You can usually figure out the basics of what’s being said, and when you CAN’T, you can usually ask and get a response much more quickly than with a print-based medium.

Spelling in and of itself is not always an issue. There are hundreds of spell-check systems out there, there’s dictionary.com, there’s even books for those of us still working in the 20th Century. There’s even the old saw that proves that it doesn’t matter what order the letters of a word are in, so long as the first and last are correct you can dope it out… Smeotmies teshe rleus cnoisst of msolty blusliht.

So, when we take away the vicissitudes of spelling, and ignore the issue of style, we get to the point of clarity. It’s not necessary to say anything NEW about a topic, nor anything revolutionary. It’s not necessary to even be original. And I’ll stand by the point I tried to make with Mr. Walrus regarding the visionary status of the Wachowski Brothers in breaking genres with “The Matrix”: It’s not even necessary to be original, as long as you have SOMETHING to say.

Something to say can be as simple as “I like girls,” if you can convince somebody to give a place to SAY it, and you do it in an entertaining manner. Or it can be as complex as saying “These are the fifteen sub-categories of female personality, cross-referenced by culture, height, IQ, and shoe size, and are listed in descending order of HOW attractive I find them.” Again, doesn’t matter HOW you convey your point, so long as you can convey it.

Questions of tone, of form, of medium, of skill, of craft, all are moot points if no one can dope out what the hell you’re trying to say. While I sometimes take the scenic route to get there, I try to be able to simplify and break any given composition down to its point, thusly:

“Romeo And Juliet”  Boy meets girl. Boy’s family hates girl’s family. All hell breaks loose. Exeunt.

“The Matrix”  Everything you know is wrong. Bill S. Preston still can’t act. Exeunt.

“The Fantastic Four”  Everybody has family, and they’re all fuckin’ crazy, yet you still love them. Exeunt.

“The Bible”  There was light, and it was good. Wackiness ensued. Many people misunderstood, got beheaded, and probably went into the afterlife. Those that remained didn’t get it. Exeunt.

“Friends”  Unlikely allies make the best relationships. Phoebe is stupid. Exeunt.

It’s not about HOW well you write, what tools you use, or where it’s going to be read. It’s a question of playing fair with the eventual readers. Even if you’re just writing erotic stories for the spank bank, you need to make it as clear as possible what you mean by “throbbing manroot” and “flowerpetaled center of her being.”

Start at the beginning. End at the end. Try to remember where you’re going in the middle. Once you’re done, go back and reread, rewrite, rework as necessary. Even a simple four line posting to the Media Rebellion/BP message boards should be as clear as possible. That doesn’t mean short and to the point, it doesn’t mean edited to the point of pain, it doesn’t mean written like your favorite author, or in a false persona… It doesn’t mean you need to agonize over every syllable, though some do. It doesn’t mean you need to bend over backwards to use your entire vocabulary, or to try and make people agree, or even prove how cool you are.

Most of all, it doesn’t mean it has written like King Cobra wants it to be… You have a voice, you have a keyboard. Go nuts.

Soundtrack to Life – "As The Footsteps Die Out Forever" (Part 1 of 2)

Well well well. We’ve had our share of new comers to the board since the summer of 2003. Lotta new faces I’m seein’. So, lemme introduce ya to this little column you’re reading. This is Soundtrack to Life. What’s it about? Simple really. Music is a big part of this community, and tends to play heavily into most young lives. Face it, every now and then you’ll be listening to the radio or playing through your old CDs when you hear a particular tune and harken back to when you first heard it. Maybe you remember that summer. Maybe it reminds you of someone. Or maybe you can remember an exact instance in which that song was being played. Much like in the movies, a lot of events in our lives just wouldn’t be the same without that score in the background. That’s what this column is about. The memories we attach to our favorite songs. Though in the coming weeks, provided you keep an eye on this column, you’ll be reading about some of the stories from my life and what songs I’ve attached to them. Everyone is welcome however, to send in their own stories, so hopefully it won’t just be me prattling on every week. Past guest columnists include Aki, Hawaiian Bryan, and Mike-O. If you want to remain anonymous, that’s fine, but if you want your name known, then you will be given full credit for your story. I just ask for something of substance. I don’t want any “This one time, I was fuckin’ this chick, and we were listening to ‘The Minute Waltz’, and it was great.” Silly, dramatic, serious, I don’t care so long as it has considerable substance and discernable link between story and song. On that note, let’s begin.


Soundtrack to Life
“As The Footsteps Die Out Forever” by Catch 22
Momma’s Boy

The story I’m about to tell you is one I’ve never told before. Not to speech class, not to my friends, not in my blog, not even in my personal journals. It’s a world premier of sorts. See, I don’t like being an emotional guy. About the extent of my emotions I ever let show range from happy to pissed, that’s about it. I can’t really bring myself to discuss heavy emotion, especially in person. I do it mostly in my personal writings, and that’s it. Hell, I’ve never even yelled at anyone. Never cut loose. Raised my voice, and that’s about it. Then again, in this day and age, you’re hardly allowed those kinds of emotions. People don’t like emotional people. This story brings a lot to the surface. It’s a little long, so I believe I’m gonna have to do this in two parts.

I never liked playing excessively active games with the neighbor kids. As a result, I was a frequent subject to ridicule and taunting. When you’re young, you aren’t used to facing the injustices of the cruel world out there, so you demand things right themselves. For me, I was a bit of a tattle tale, and I always ran to Mom when the other kids picked on me. It earned me a nickname that you don’t want on the playground, not at that age, and especially if you’re a boy. Momma’s boy. I hated them for that label. Hated being called the Momma’s boy, and hated myself for knowing deep down that I deserved it. Today however, it’s a title I wear proudly.

Cynthia Ann Nichols was, in some aspects, what you’d call an ordinary mother. Great cook, loved to tend her flower and vegetable gardens, absolutely loved watching birds and coming up with ways to attract the rarer species into our backyard, and to a slight extent a Soccer Mom (yeah, I had soccer practice when I was younger, fuck off). Her knowlege of nature and plant life helped my brothers and I on numerous school projects, a lot of it I still carry with me today. All that and an excellent bowler and award winning pool player amidst the area leagues. It was always fun schooling my friends on the pool tables at the arcades and bowling alleys. Always when they asked how I learned to play, I’d tell ’em my mom taught me. Skating, nature walks, mini-golf, whatever the adventure of the day, my mom led the expedition.

One could argue I get my sense of humor from her. Always quick with a bad joke. Her and my dad both. It’s probably the reason they got along as well as they did when they met. She’d laugh at her own jokes all the time, Leo women tend to do that, but she’d also come up with absolutely bizarre ideas. Who’d think to dump marbles in the shoes of their eldest son after he’d passed out drinking that evening? Monty Python, John Cleese, The Muppets, George Carlin, M*A*S*H*, Letterman; all comedy that we shared a fondness for.

Her battles of wits with my little bro were often a topic of conversation. She had her “My Son is Crazy” picture collection of Tim. Boy can make the goofiest damn faces you’ve ever seen. Not just the goofy faces naturally, but the odd things he’d do often made him a target for Mom’s camera. Sitting in cooking pots, hanging a bean bag chair off his head, lord knows how many bizarre haridos. And she kept them all. All the pictures that could conceivably be incriminating, all kept in their seperate file. She had to have some ammo against his non-stop barage of “old” jokes. The classic we always mention, is when she walked into the living room and stopped.
“How did I just forget what I was gonna do?” she asked.
“I’ll take Because I’m Old for $500, Alex.” he snapped back, and took off like a shot.

It was right about the time that I entered Middleschool that the war began however……

Pat, being the eldest son, was often singled out by Dad. Dad berated him for his failing grades and lax attitude toward school time and again. It hadn’t really been note worthy before, but his tirades were becoming more and more frequent for even more insignificant things. I think Mom knew all along and she just needed another set of eyes to bring the problem into light. Pat had begun studying the effects of alcoholism on families, and ours was a classic case. Pat was the Scapegoat, the one for which all things are to blame. Tim, my younger brother, was the Mascot, the one who tried to keep everyone looking at the lighter side of things through bizarre behavior. Myself, The Refferee, the one trying to maintain peace within the family. And there was my mom, left to face a harsh fact about the one she loved.

The next few years were turbulent, at best. I watched my peers turn on me for being a nice guy, and my family was falling apart at the seams. Before long, my parents didn’t even share a bedroom anymore. My dad took the bedroom, and my mother quietly moved to the living room. They’d never talk unless it was to exchange orders and demands. My father had become the beligerent tyrant, and my mother the peaceful nurturer. The whole household had sided with her, as it was obvious that it was Father with the problem. He fired back with his own accusations, but they held little or no relevance. She fought back in her own little way, leaving library books on alcoholism lying about, researching it on the internet and printing it out, sniping all the small shots she could without a full blown argument. I remember 7th grade being the gift exchanging part of the war. Mom and Dad, vying for our favor with gifts and trips. I know a lot of you probably wish you got this kind of attention. The diversions were nice, but it was tearing me up inside. Mom didn’t have to try. I believed her. I knew Dad had a problem. It hurts watching the ones you love attempting to defame one another. But still, I always knew, even if the worst happened and they got a divorce, my mom would always be there to watch over us. She was the one whom we’d wind up with.

From grade 6 to my senior year this war was waged. That makes 6 years. It takes a toll on a fellow. I hated the people at school for just being jerks to myself and my peers. And I hated going home every day, afraid that I’d walk into another battle. But, in 1999, the papers were being finalized. I hated to admit it, but it was for the best that my parents were getting a divorce. It’s not a healthy environment to grow up in. Pat fell deeper into depression and became an alcoholic himself, despite his complaints about how what Dad was doing was wrong. Tim had taken to his own experimental phase. And I refused to even touch anything that might wind me up like any one of them. And there I was, once again. The Momma’s Boy. I stayed away from the partying, usually kept to myself, and my mother and I would exchange snide comments about the mess going on in the basement. She was my only ally in that house, and we kept each other sane. The divorce was finalized as of December 31, 1999.

(to be continued…)

Shut up and Listen: A column at gunpoint

Howdy folks, it’s Bryan Bishop. Well, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. “Howdy” wouldnt’ be fair to the people who consistantly read my column… I’m more popular in blue states and England. So scrap the howdy.

I was sitting at my desk, dozing in an out of sleep, occassionally waking to try and beat my pinball score, when Jeff Martin walked in, and began brandishing a gun at me. He’d been drinking heavily, as I could tell by the beer bottle he’d stuffed down the front of his chaps. Yes, chaps. His team had won at the rodeo, and afterward, it appeared he’d been making rather merry. On his stumbling walk back to his apartment, he’d broken into someone’s apartment to check his email, and seen I had not written my column. Needless to say, the furious Canadian made tracks to my dwelling…

So here we are. To quote the wierd Nazi guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark… what shall we talk about?

How about sampling?

A few years ago, Will Smith (a character actor who’s had a few minor roles in a few films) came out with an album. Yes, the man behind “Willenium” and “Wild Wild West” decided to give us another hit, this one “Miami”. You know.

“Party in the city when the heat is on!
All night on the beach ’til the break of dawn!
I’m goin’ to Miami… anna me o maggi aggi!”

Or something like that. Well, the song, like most music nowadays, featured… sampling. When some talentless yahoo needs to make a quick buck, he samples a song done by artists, shouts during it, and sells it. You can see this everywhere… Eminem totally raping Aerosmith’s “Dream On”, Piff Doobie or whatever you call him now DESTROYING “I’ll be Watching You” by the Police… but I have to thank Will Smith.

The song he samples is “And the Beat goes on” by Whispers, which contains one of the COOLEST backbeats in the history of cool backbeats, not to mention some okay lyrics (better than Will Smith wheezing like a pervert over the women of Miami, that’s for sure.

That’s why I’m inviting you to do me a favor. I want you to find the following songs, and compare them to the (real) music, which they sampled and totally screwed up.

“Miami” by Will Smith / “And the Beat goes On” by Whispers

“I’ll be Missing You” by Puff Daddy / “I’ll be Watching You” by the Police

“Out of Touch Techno remix by some asshole” / “Out of Touch” by Hall and Oates

“Men in Black” by Will Smith/ “Forget me Nots” by La Bouche

There, that should be enough. I’d seriously have more, but… yeah, Jeff’s getting antsy. Better keep moving.

I really don’t believe in structure, and this week has been a little rough, so I’m going to keep up this theme of music, since I’m on it. In fact… let me make a suggestion for your listening pleasure. And what’s the best way to do this? Why, plugging a CD of course. And best of all, these guys don’t sample… they make real music. The sort of stuff that rappers will be sampling years from now.

“Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” by the Flaming Lips came out in 2001 (or 2002, I dunno). The band is mildly successful, with a distinct sound that dooms them to obscurity in these days of crappy, manufactured rap or pop. (Drop it like it’s Hoooot, Drop it like it’s hoooot….). You probably best remember them (if you never picked up this CD) as the band that played “Bad Days” on the Batman Forever Soundtrack.

“Yoshimi” is an album that grows on you. I use iTunes, and futiley rate each song as I listen to it… most of the songs on this CD I’ve listened to 30 to 40 times in a little over a month, in addition to rating them during a spate of boredom. Check out these facts on the album:

Track One: Fight Test
Personal Plays: 38
Ranking: *****

A mellow batttle song if there ever was one. Forceful, strange, and wonderful. I suppose this tells the story of a young man who backed out of tough decisions, until there were no more decisions to back away from, and he realized he’d wasted everything. The last line… “The Test is Over… F.” says it all.

Track Two: One more Robot/ Sympathy 3000-21
Personal Plays: 42
Ranking: *****

Beautiful, eerie, transluscent in meaning. On the surface, it’s the story of a robot slowly becoming human. But beyond that, it speaks volumes on the nature of humanity itself.

Track Three: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (1)
Personal plays: 30
Ranking: ****

The name says it all.

Track Four: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2)
Personal plays: 30
Ranking: **

An instrumental that just comes across as dorky and screechy. But better stuff is on the way…

Track Five: In the Morning of Magicians
Personal Plays: 30
Ranking: *****

An epic, to say the least. Not sure what its about (I don’t think it fits into the “concept album” handbag), but it’s definitely telling a story that is absolutely glorious. “In the morning I’m awake, and I could not remember/what is love and what is hate? The calculations entered…”

Track Six: Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell
Personal Plays: 28
Ranking: ***

Slow, sexy, driving… not up to par with the song before it or after it, but still a hella cool song to play while driving around. Although a little wimpy at times.

Track Seven: Are you a Hypnotist?
Personal Plays: 41
Ranking: *****

A song about enigmatic people who play games with those of us who are paying them attention. Something wonderful, clouded.

Track Eight: It’s Summertime (Orange Throbbing Pallbearers)
Personal Plays: 41
Ranking: *****

Originally, my least favorite track on the album, now one of my most favorite songs ever. It’s a beautiful ballad about grief during a happy season… very close to heartbreaking.

Track Nine: Do you Realize?
Personal Plays: 33
Ranking: ***

A little hokey for my taste… but still beautiful to listen to, if not to think about.

Track Ten: All we Have is Now
Personal Plays: 32
Ranking: ****

A really cool song, about a man who is visited by himself… from the future. He learns his time is limited, and that all he has with the people he loves around him is… now.

Track Eleven: Approaching Pavonis Mons by Balloon
Personal Plays: 32
Ranking: ****

An instrumental to end things… a really cool, “we kicked ass” sort of feel to it. Definitely check this track out… you won’t be disappointed.

Well, while I await my free Flaming Lips memorabilia, it appears Jeff Martin has passed out. I’ll take this opportunity to sneak out before he wakes up… but let me leave you with a few passing words of wisdom….

“Drop it. Like it’s Hot.”
-Snoop Dogg

I'm JUST Sayin…


Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends… Wait, I used that one already. Crud. Ah, well, nevermind.

What we got us here is the first ever installment of ‘I’m JUST Sayin,’ your in-depth look into the mind of King Cobra, a.k.a The Lizard King. Though I don’t expect to have a THEME or TOPIC, per se, but I promise I’ll try and be entertaining, make some sense, tell you some neat stories and not make you think too hard. Expect pop culture, dime-store philosophy, brazen arrogance, and the occasional obvious pass made at the closest hot young lady.

For our first installment, I thought I’d share a few things with you that makes sense to me. They’re not rules, in that they may not be universal. They’re not advice, since I’m just a goon, and have no real right to give anyone advice.

But they’re true things, sometimes. And they may help understand the general tone of the things I’m gonna throw at you come Tuesday evenings…


1. The existence of a lane does not imply the right to pass.

2. Everyone’s job sucks. I just try to keep the suffering to myself.

3. Personal expression is a wonderful thing. That said, keep your ‘Peeing Calvins’ to yourself. 🙂

4. 90% of everything is bullshit. All opinions about things that suck, including this one, are part of everything.

5. A true conviction is defined by what it is, not what it isn’t. Saying ‘I’m Anti-fill-in-the-blank’ isn’t a conviction, it’s an indictment of character. Your own.

6. By the same token, question any decision that was made by asking yourself what X person/religion/authority figure/relative would do and then doing the opposite.

7. How a person looks isn’t worth insulting. Fashion is just a group delusion, actions are what matters.

8. In that vein, be careful when indicting the actions of others, ’cause we’ve all done something stupid and indefensible. Probably earlier today…

9. Play by the rules. If you don’t like the rules, try to get them changed. If they won’t change them, there’s other games. If you don’t like the game, sometimes you can make up your own. But sadly, there will come days when you’re playing billiards with a cricket bat. Try not to get killed.

10. No matter what it is that you believe, any group that advocates the destruction/eradication of all those that oppose it may in fact be evil… Choose wisely.

11. If a person is old, you gotta think they’ve learned a thing or two about what’s going on around them. Doesn’t mean they’re RIGHT, and it doesn’t mean their ideas will work for you.

12. Likewise, the man who wrote the self-help book may actually want to help, or he may want a lot of money from writing a self-help book in a world where any hints are sorely needed.

13. While it is good advice to not believe everything you hear, it’s equally important not to hear everything you believe. If you only truly believe what you’ve been TOLD, you’ll never add anything new to the equation. The ability to make your own decisions and create your own paradigms is critical.

14. Respect the differences between human beings… They are what perpetuates the species. (It is not wise to marry your siblings).

15. The Wonder Twins had the right idea. I defy you to think of any crisis situation that would not be vastly improved by the presence of a gorilla with a bucket of water.

16. Be honest about your weaknesses, if only with yourself.

17. Your credentials mean less to me than the viability of your ideas. Some of our best thinkers were untutored.

18. Qui-Gon Jinn knew his biology. There IS always a bigger fish.

19. The service sector is filled with people who don’t want to be there. Be as nice to them as possible.

20. Your right to swing your fist ENDS at the bridge of my nose. Any RIGHT bears with it an equal amount of responsibility. If you can’t handle the responsibility, you need to be careful how you exercise your rights. If you go looking for a fight, you’ll always find one.

21. To a great portion of humanity, being secretly gay isn’t a scandal and probably never should have been. To that portion of society that does think that being gay is a scandal: I respect your opinion, and refer you to #14.

22. We cannot control what makes us angry, or happy, or sad, or horny. We’re all in denial, but not all of us need to be ‘snapped out of it.’

23. Often times, unpleasant news is best delivered by someone close to the target. It isn’t always your business to ‘educate’ them, no matter how much you want to.

24. No matter how much it may hurt, s/he can’t help the fact that s/he doesn’t love you right now. It’s not a personal slight, and there’s no use is figuring out ‘what s/he’s got that I don’t.’ It’s not a bank transaction.

25. Competition isn’t always a good thing, nor is it a goal unto itself. Conversely, when used properly, it can be a good motivator. Use its powers only for good.

26. Possession or non-possession of a y-chromosome doesn’t make you a separate species. Mars? Venus? Bullshit. We all act the way we do because of what we’ve seen. Gender can color that, but it doesn’t define it.

27. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? Maybe the children don’t need nearly as much protection as we want to give them… Could be all they need protecting from is us.

28. Every one of us is unique. Every one of us does the same stupid shit, every day. We’re perfectly alike, yet completely different. When you figure out how that works, you’ll understand humanity.

29. Any list of this nature should be designed so you can pick and choose, tossing what doesn’t work. It should end with ‘although I could be wrong.’

30. I could be wrong.

Back in the Day Cafe #4

bad mother fucker walletSometimes, when you wake up in the morning, you have a wise-ass idea, one that makes you think “What the HELL was *I* smoking?”

That, dear friends, is my life. Welcome to another tour of the mind of the Mighty King Cobra, a.k.a. The Lizard King, and this time, it might be vaguely educational, too!

As always, our premise: One of the minor plot points of the movie Pulp Fiction, is that the wallet carried by Jules Winnfield is adorned with three powerful words. Bad. Motha. Fucka. And Your Lizard King has taken it upon himself to ask:

Who Else is Qualified to Carry the Bad Mothafucka Wallet?

Without further ado, we bring you, The Lizard King’s BAD MOTHAFUCKA #97:

Bad Mothafucka #97: Ernest Hemingway

bad mother fucker walletHere’s where we detour, remaining, as always, vulgar, course, rude, and pretty fuckin’ funny, but keeping in mind: This shit actually happened!

“Papa” Hemingway is remembered for a lot things: His avid pursuit of hunting, bullfighting, pugilism and the “manly” arts; his body of work; the (possibly apocryphal) stories of his childhood; and the ongoing “revelations” regarding his sexuality.

But, as our first real-live Bad Motha Fucka, Ernie gets the nod on these strengths:

#1: The Style

After Ernest graduated from High School, his father wanted him to go to college… but Ernest had very different ideas. Hemingway wanted to join the forces or learn to write. By October 1917, he was working in newspapers, for the Kansas City Star. He was trained ‘on the job’ by studying a style manual which declared good writing meant short sentences, and positive writing.

Any of us who’ve ever read his works are familiar with “The Style.” Short, terse prose. None of that flowery bullshit. His writing, like so many other facets of his life, is straight-shooting, and to the damn point. Hemingway himself said he “distrusted adjectives,” giving his writing a simple, yet effective voice. Sort of like John Wayne, with a quill pen.

And that applied to more than just his writing. Early in 1918, Hemingway was working for the Star, when he found himself at Union Station. On the stone floor lay a man on a stretcher, bundled in blankets. The crowd had formed a circle around him at a respectful distance, for his face was broken out in ugly sores. There seemed to be no one attending him. He was moaning a little.

“What’s the trouble here?” Hemingway demanded.

“He’s got a contagious disease,” someone in the crowd piped up. “No one dares touch him. Some one sent for an ambulance.”

“Why is he left alone like this? Isn’t anyone in charge of him?”

“Two men took him off the train and brought him here. Then they went back on the train. I suppose the man’s a pauper and couldn’t afford to pay anyone to take care of him.”

“How long since they sent for an ambulance?”

“About half an hour.”

Hemingway swore, “Why, I wouldn’t treat a dog like that. What’s the matter with you people? Why didn’t some of you carry him out on the stretcher and put him in a taxi and send him to the General Hospital? The man’s got smallpox and will die if not given care immediately. I know what smallpox is because I’m a doctor’s son and recognize the symptoms. Who’ll help me get him out of here?”

At the word smallpox, the crowd retreated. No one offered to help.

Hemingway became angry. “What’s the matter with you yellow bunch anyway? Are you going to stand there and let a man die?”

When still no one made a move, he himself picked up the man in his arms and carried him out of the station. Then he ordered a taxi and took him personally to the hospital, charging the expense to The Star.

Sometimes… a man’s gotta do, what a man’s gotta do.

#2: Running Of The Bulls

Hemingway’s childhood gave him an insight into all aspects of life and, being such an inquisitive person, he wanted to try everything and be exceptional at everything he did. He found it very frustrating when his health or poor eye sight kept him from fulfilling his goals. He wanted to join the forces, but was unable to. His crappy eyesight meant he could only join the ambulance corps. That might be enough for some people, but not our Papa. He wanted to excel, to be thought of as the best. Exhibit A:

bad mother fucker wallet

He’s the one in white pants, irritating the angry half-ton of beef. When it came to excitement, Hemingway went FAR beyond the call… Sort of like the first extreme sportsman. (Fuck you, Tony Hawk. But can he do a half-twist Fakey Ollie Grind?)

#3: His Wives

bad mother fucker walletHemingway married four times. Four freakin’ times! Does this prove that he was hard to live with? Well, probably, yeah. But it also shows him as a man of his passions, a man who reacts with his heart (and, to be fair and frank, with his balls as well), a man who DID WHAT HE WANTED TO DO, and consequences be damned. It’s admirable, in a fearsome way. I have to admire someone with the cojones to live the way he wanted to.

That said, the same passions that drove him to each new woman, each new bullfight, each new book, each new conquest, certainly drove him to his death. In a way, it seems ironic that the same courage that impelled him to live, impelled him to kill himself. Under no circumstances will I defend, from a moral, legal, or even a psychological point of view, the act itself. That’s WAAY beyond the scope of a flippant Internet countdown.

I’ll sign off with the words of Papa himself:

“I always try to write on the principal of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it under water for every part that shows. Anything that shows, you can eliminate, and it only strengthens your iceberg. It is the part that DOESN’T show…”

(Next Time: No wound they gave was ever anything but fatal…)

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