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Behind The Times

Most of you know I was raised on TV and movies.  It was an escape from my somewhat dysfunctional family and from the daily stress of life.  My roomie and I still enjoy much on electronic media, especially now that so many choices are available.

I recently completed watching the many morality plays that made up Have Gun – Will Travel.  Certainly NOT your typical horse opera.  And I went looking for something else.

And I found something.  It was produced in 2008.  (see, behind the times!)

john adamsJOHN ADAMS

It was an HBO production, and I found it on On Demand on DISH.  A seven part mini-series.

This, too, is no horse opera.  It is based on the David McCullough book about our second President, and his life leading up to his Presidency.  He was not handsome; he was not a great orator.  He didn’t stir the passions his cousin Sam Adams did.

But, he WAS a man of principle.

I find myself wondering if he was the last man of principle to hold that office, politics being as they are.

He abhorred slavery, and unlike some of the other Founding Fathers didn’t own any.  He was very uncomfortable with Dr. Franklin’s dalliances while they were on a diplomatic visit to France during The Revolution, and by all accounts was loyal to his wife.  He was not afraid to pick up a gun in defense of his country.

But few remembered the second President.  Until the book and this mini-series.

You should read/watch it!

Ethics

We have been watching Madam Secretary, a new TV show this season on CBS.  At first, the idea of the show distressed me, because I was thinking it was a stalking horse for you-know-who, especially if it was produced in the manner of The West Wing (a show some years back with Martin Sheen as the Prez).

Fortunately, it doesn’t appear to a stalking horse.  However…

Episode 3 (shown last week) dealt with ethical issues.  In short, the Secretary’s husband, a university professor, was placed in the middle of a diplomatic crisis when an American (who was caught spying for the U.S. in Pakistan, from info from a Snowden-like leaker) was scheduled to be executed.  The professor could stop the execution by giving a Russian diplomat’s daughter an ‘A’ instead of her earned ‘C’, so the Russian would be convinced to give their version of an American missile to Pakistan (under the table, of course).  (Ah, diplomacy!)

The professor’s course was (ironically) in Ethics, and he said he would be violating all he stood for by giving this bribe so the spy’s life would be spared.

The Secretary of State (who was trying to manipulate the Pakistanis, the Russians and her husband) finally convinced her husband he would not violating his ethics if he allowed the Russian’s daughter to take an incomplete (after the approved time for grades), thus her grade point would not be affected, and she could retake the course.

And ultimately, the American would be freed.  And he was.

Now, I recognize this is only a television show.  And I recognize in the real world, many times things are shades of grey, rather than black and white.

But, this is being sold as okay?  Ethical?

At least we know where the ‘real’ Madam Secretary’s ethics stood.  She was fired as an attorney on the Watergate Committee for “lying and unethical behavior”.

And the second episode of the TV show was entitled “Another Benghazi”.

Hardly a stalking horse!

“They’re All Lined Up, Like Good Little Nazis!”

Some years ago, there was a local news ‘reporter’ named Sol Q******.  Now Sol was reporting live from the Central Avenue bridge during a time when rain had made the Salt River flow through Phoenix, and the bridge had been damaged.  And it was one of the few ways people could commute from South Phoenix to Central Phoenix, and vice versa.

And the authorities had determined cars could cross the bridge in one lane-one direction – then one lane-the opposite direction.  Single file.

At least it was something!

And good ol’ Sol intoned, “They’re all lined up, like good little Nazis!”  This was about 10:15 in the 10 PM newscast; by 10:25 there was an on-the-air-apology from the station execs.

And Sol had to find work elsewhere.

Look at your Internet, cellular telephone, land line and Email providers records.  How many of them either buckled under pressure or voluntarily leapt at the chance (Google) to cooperate with government elimination of your rights?

All lined up like good little Nazis.

Witness THIS from my good friend Borepatch:

Comcast says that if you use anonymity services that you’re a criminal

Well OK, then:

Reports have surfaced (Via /r/darknetmarkets and another one submitted to us) that Comcast agents have contacted customers using Tor and instructed them to stop using the browser or risk termination of service. A Comcast agent named Jeremy allegedly called Tor an “illegal service.” The Comcast agent told its customer that such activity is against usage policies.

The Comcast agent then repeatedly asked the customer to tell him what sites he was accessing on the Tor browser. The customer refused to answer.

The next day the customer called Comcast and spoke to another agent named Kelly who reiterated that Comcast does not want its customers using Tor. The Comcast agent then allegedly told the customer:

Users who try to use anonymity, or cover themselves up on the internet, are usually doing things that aren’t so-to-speak legal.

Are there any ISPs that aren’t miserable Quisling bastards?

And, of course, word is out that Tor security has been compromised.  I wonder if the government is behind that?
NAH…

Have Gun – Will Travel

I’ve been finding enjoyment on our satellite television with the On Demand feature.  While the choices are numerous, the quality choices are limited, however.

I just finished watching virtually all the episodes of  Night Court.  I met Harry Anderson once, he’s great, and it’s great stuff.  And John Larroquette won three Emmys for his roll as the slimeball D.A. Dan Fielding.

paladin1Having completed that, it was time for something different.  They do have Have Gun – Will Travel.  Not the first of the ‘adult’ Westerns in the 50s, but certainly the second.  (The first having been Gunsmoke).

Richard Boone’s hard living hadn’t yet completely ravaged his once handsome face.  And the stories are not just gratuitous violence, they are morality tales for a simpler time.

I do mean the 1950’s, not the 1880’s…

I often chuckle at a childhood memory surrounding this, though.   When the show started in 1957, I had just began school and was reading, reading well.  But there were many words I didn’t yet understand.  What kind of a stupid first name IS WIRE, anyway?  :-)

paladin

 

 

Suicide Is Painless

Some of you may recognize the post title as the theme song to the film and TV show M.A.S.H.  It’s ironic.

It’s obvious from the outpouring of emotion that the recent suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams touched many people.  And caused THEM pain.

As a libertarian, I believe I’ve the right to do with my own body as I wish.  You do, too.  As long as it doesn’t affect other people negatively.

And there’s the rub.

I can eat more than is healthy, eat the ‘wrong’ foods, smoke or drink if I wish, watch ‘questionable’ videos, read unsavory material, and most of this doesn’t directly affect my family, friends, or former coworkers.

But, what if I choose to do something permanent…?

Why is it it appears the more artistic of us are the most tortured?  Or is that a misconception based on the fact famous people get the media attention?

When I heard about Robin Williams, my first thought was he has children.  And based on that fact alone, he should not have taken this path.

And then I thought of Ernest Hemingway, another artistic person with issues who ended his own life.  And Vincent Van Gogh.  And so many others.

If you have such issues, please get help!  Know that there are people out there who care.  And that the World would be lacking without you.

h/t The Actor’s Studio

The Death Of Small Town TV With A Big Heart

Bill Thompson RIP

When my family moved to The Valley of The Sun (on the hottest day of the year in 1956),  I was 3 1/2 years old.  We had just missed Elvis’ June 9 concert at the Rodeo Grounds – something my then 12 year old sister bemoaned for years.

We had ONE black & white television, with an aerial on the roof.  There were FOUR television channels – NBC, CBS, ABC affiliates and the local channel, 5  (then KPHO).

KPHO had lots of schlocky TV of the period – mid-day movies to entertain the long-suffering housewives while they were doing laundry in the sweltering weather, game shows, and ONE show of particular interest to the children, like me.

IT’S WALLACE? was a spin-off of the earlier Gold Dust Charlie local kid’s show, starring Wallace Sneed (Bill Thompson).  He did vaudevillian schtick between running cartoons like Popeye and Bugs Bunny.  Soon, the college-kid cameraman (Ladimir Kwaitakowski) came to the front of the camera to act with Bill in skits and they performed topical humor for the kids between cartoons.

Eventually IT’S WALLACE became WALLACE & LADMO.  And a legendary television show was born.

You can have your BOZOs, UNCLE ALs and SOUPY SALES.  WALLACE & LADMO (in it’s various incarnations) was the longest-running children’s variety and cartoon show, from 1954 to 1989.

And Bill Thompson WALLACE was the head writer.  They mugged for charities, performed live shows on weekends, marched in parades and supported local police and fire departments, and hospitals.

And made us laugh.

In his private life (what little he had), Bill was a Civil War reenactor.

We lost Ladmo in 1994.

And they essentially gave their entire adult lives to entertaining children in Arizona.

You will be missed, Bill.  Hope you and Lad are yucking it up and getting the rest you both so richly deserve!  :-(

Bill Thompson, known as Wallace Snead from the "Wallace and Ladmo Show" has died. (Source: KPHO-TV)

Truth, Justice And The American Way

A few years back Superman (2011 in DC Comics) announced he was renouncing his U.S. citizenship!  Now, I’ve not been a comic book reader/consumer since I was 10-11 years old, but I was always a big Superman fan.

I found this action repulsive.  One – that the beloved character would do such a thing, and Two – that in so doing such a children’s fictional comic would make the national news.  After all, they ARE just comic books.

Fast-forward to NOW.  It was announced a couple of months ago (and made the national news again recently) that beloved perennially-in-high-school everyteen comic book character Archie Andrews would die in the comic book.  This was NOT due to his having been in high school 78 years.

It was because he would dive in front of an assailant attacking his friend with a gun, and his taking a bullet for him!  Archie’s GAY friend!

What do I make of this?

Political correctness aside, I like to believe I would have done the same thing for any good childhood friend.  My best friend from third grade through college was a legitimately brilliant.  IQ off the charts.  Socially, less skilled.  But, except for his studies and church, my constant companion.  He was the geek I aspired to be, even though I didn’t have the mental acuity.

After his own father disowned him when he came out of the closet as a college freshman, and my own father lampooned his gayness, I had to stand up for Carl.  Fortunately, no one shot him.  And I, myself, had to overcome childhood indoctrination regarding gayness, and what that means.  After all, sexual preference aside, he remained my friend!

I’m not yet certain how I feel about comic books being tools for political correctness.  Of course, even Peanuts eventually had a Black character.  I suppose comic books must change with the times, as well.  I don’t know how the Archie friend’s character’s gayness is shown to the comic book audience.  Obviously kids are more aware of such things than I was 50-60 years ago.

But, I know one thing.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  –  John 15:13 (ASV)

If we can teach this to the self-absorbed-faces-glued-to-their-cell-phone adolescents, then all is not lost.   If only adults read comic books.

archie

Next On Matlock

Not THIS Matlock!

Not THIS Matlock!

Isn’t it wonderful when the family of a dead alleged criminal arrives to tell us how there wasn’t really a home invasion?

Somehow, the homeowner didn’t see it that way:

Authorities on Monday said Ronald Green, 66, was watching TV when he was startled by the sound of his front door flying open.

Ramon R. Matlock entered the home, and Green ran to a bedroom to retrieve a revolver, authorities said.

Matlock swung at Green, and Green fired a shot into Matlock’s chest and another into his lower back, authorities said.

Authorities said Matlock ran out the door, but only got as far as the front yard. The Omaha Fire Department pronounced Matlock dead at the scene.

ramon-e1394622574160

His family claims that perhaps the teen had been drinking and was confused, and thought he was at his aunt’s house. Presumably, crashing in through doors and taking a swing at those inside after they’ve retreated to their bedrooms is just how Ramon greeted people.

The district attorney said that Ramon was known in the neighborhood… and not for his hugs. He ruled Ramon’s entry a home invasion, and his swing at the homeowner a deadly force attack justifying the use of deadly force.

No charges will be filed.

Another example of wasted youth.

I did some incredibly stupid stuff in my youth, and as my Dad used to say, I’m not young, anymore.  But, it never occurred to me to get drunk, kick in someone’s door and take a swing at a 66 year-old man!

I was more into whining I had no date for Saturday night.  And the only time I kicked in a door was when I locked myself out of my own bedroom at my college roommates house.

h/t Bob Owens, Robert McDonald

Questions of the Universe

Betty or Veronica?  Ginger or Mary Anne?  Zelda or Tuesday Weld?

OR, another imponderable…

WHAT DID BARNEY RUBBLE DO FOR A LIVING?

barney

The question is posed by on Neatorama by Eddie Deezen.  Don’t cheat, try to find the answer in your own memory, then go read his essay at the link from the picture.

And remember Mel Blanc laughing as Barney:  “Ah hehehe, hehehehe!”

You’re NOT Jack Bauer!

You’re NOT Jack Bauer (And Other Reasons You Need to Stop Skimping on Training)

WRITTEN BY 

Good thing!.  Tactically, he sucked.  and with regard to his ‘technique’…

Bauer grip

Well, THAT sucked, too!  Cup and saucer?  SERIOUSLY?

Regardless, go see Mr. Michalowski’s essay at the link above.  We need to keep training, especially because we are NOT finely-tuned spec-ops guys.

And we know better.

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

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It’s about who is at the tiller of this Republic’s Ship of State. - Guffaw

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The Four Rules

1. ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.

2. NEVER POINT YOUR MUZZLE AT SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET AND YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT.

4. KNOW YOUR TARGET AND WHAT'S BEYOND.

Certified EVIL!

FEAR

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Bene Gesserit, from Frank Herbert's Dune

Penn Jillette

“F**k Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. The marketplace of ideas cannot be toned down for the insane.” - Penn Jillette

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