Monthly Archives: June 2018

Well, Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

Referring to the caption describing the cover story.

The Latest in Reality Television

TLC, the low-rent cable network that hasn’t presented anything of redeeming value since it shortened its name from “The Learning Channel,” thereby declaring its abandonment of any aspirations beyond simple titillation, has announced that come the fall it will unveil its latest attempt to lower our collective national IQ: a new show called Kate Plus Date.

The “Kate” is Kate Gosselin, she of Jon and Kate Plus 8 fame in which she and her equally defective husband share the travails of raising twin daughters and their sextuplets (that’s six young’uns at once, folks).

If you ever saw Jon and Kate Plus 8 or its sequel, Kate Plus 8 – Jon having fled the nut house for a life as, among other things, a restaurant host, a DJ, a male stripper, and others – you know that Kate Gosselin is more than a few gallons shy of a full tank.  She is a full-blown loon, and people only watch her, The Curmudgeon has long suspected, for the same reason they crane their necks at an auto accident or a fire or at two women punching each other or at the late Anna Nicole Smith’s similarly awful reality show:  because no matter how hard you try, it’s just so awful that you just can’t bring yourself to look away.

So, Kate, why date now?  The Curmudgeon turned to the always-reliable People magazine for answers:

“I’m nervous, I’m excited, and I’m forcing myself to do this,” Gosselin, who was married to ex-husband Jon for 10 years, tells PEOPLE about the upcoming docuseries.

And,

“As we’re talking about Mady and Cara going off to college which is becoming more and more of a reality, it’s gonna happen, it almost became like a worry for them, too, like ‘Mommy, you’re gonna be all alone soon,’ ” shares Gosselin. “But it was very apparent, now that they’re older and talking about dating and how they’re all gonna get married someday … it became apparent: they want someone for me. They want me to have somebody in my life.”

So Kate’s going to do it the old-fashioned way:

“If I’m going to date someone, I can’t just go out on a date — it’s creepy to me to think of just going out somewhere with some stranger, and so I actually feel like doing it like this is the best and safest way for me to go on a date — a camera crew will be there! I’ll be safe!” she says. “And the person will have been vetted by a matchmaker.”

The sore in your mouth that you can’t resist poking with your tongue

Gentlemen, a word of advice from The Curmudgeon: get your running shoes ready, and if some matchmaker comes to you and says “I have this blonde I think you might like to meet,” lace up those sneakers and run as fast as you can for as long as you can.

Coming to the little screen this fall:  Kate Plus Date.

 

 

 

 

Hypocrisy

Two amazing examples of hypocrisy from the Trump administration this week.

Yes, that was Sarah Huckabee Sanders making a plea the other day for civility in public discourse.  After getting thrown out of a restaurant for believing in things the restaurant’s owners does not – a despicable action by the owner, at least in The Curmudgeon’s view – Sanders tweeted that

I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.

And then, Sanders gave this little speech at her Monday press briefing: her plea for civility.

Yet this is the same Sarah Huckabee Sanders who, about ten days before that, responded to a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta – a real horse’s ass, by the way – by saying

I know it’s hard for you to understand even short sentences, I guess, but please don’t take my words out of context.

So much for Sanders’ commitment to civility.

Next it was Trump himself, criticizing congresswoman Maxine Waters – a certifiable loon, to be fair – for allegedly inciting violence.  Waters said

Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.

That’s pretty obnoxious – and Trump called her on it.

But in a way that was no less obnoxious.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!

Which means he’s essentially responding to what he perceives to be Waters’s threat with a threat of his own – in addition, of course, to his old standby:  name-calling.

But Trump is an old pro when it comes to attempting to promote violence against those who dare disagree with or oppose him, as you can see, in living color, here and here.

These Trump people are true hypocrites.  Also, they can dish it out but they sure can’t take it.

 

 

Stupid People With Guns Absolutely Accidentally Kill

Two economists from Wellesley College who had never done any research on gun violence were curious about what happened to gun sales in the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass murder and also were interested in whether the people who bought those guns knew how to handle them safely.

So they got down to work, knowing that without a single database of gun sales and gun deaths, the going would be tough.

They found, for example, that the search phrase “buy a gun” was entered four times more often than usual as a Google search term during the four months after Sandy Hook.

And that searches for “clean gun” more than doubled.

In all, they found that about three million guns were sold in the four months after Sandy Hook.

They also concluded that based on past statistics on accidental gun deaths, the number of accidental gun deaths rose 27 percent.  That translates into about 60 more accidental deaths.

They also found that the rate of accidental gun death victims who were children rose 64 percent – 20 kids – so that children constituted about one-third of the newly dead.

The gun people like to say that we need access to guns to protect ourselves in a dangerous world.  Well, they got their wish:  we’re now permanently protected from those 20 kids.

Well-done, NRA and followers!

 

 

Book Banning in Texas

It’s been a while since The Curmudgeon has poked fun at Texas; after all, Texas is so terribly, terribly pokable (such as here and here and here). He assures you it has nothing to do with his wife’s mother, her brother and his wife, their three daughters, and their son, daughter in-law, and new baby all living in the Lone Star state. The Curmudgeon adores his new family but Mrs. Curmudgeon has never lived there and that’s what matters most.

Recently Texas came to The Curmudgeon’s attention for doing something very Texas-like:  banning books in state prisons.

Actually, there’s probably a reasonable case to be made for banning some books in prisons.  The kind of judgment Texas authorities exercised in banning books, though, just screams for attention – and belittling.

The Lone Fool state

The Dallas Morning News takes up the story.

More than 10,000 books are banned from Texas prisons, but they might not be the ones you think. 

 Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for fiction, is not allowed. Neither is Freakonomics, the 2005 bestseller that explained concepts such as cheating at school and parenting techniques using economic theory. 

 But Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, as well as his On National Socialism and World Relations, are both on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s list of approved books. Also allowed are two books by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke as well as James Battersby’s The Holy Book of Adolf Hitler, described on Amazon.com as “the Bible of neo-Nazism and of esoteric Hitlerism.”

Where’s Waldo? Well, we know that one place Waldo is NOT is in a Texas prison library

 Where’s Waldo? Santa Spectacular is banned. So is Homer Simpson’s Little Book of Laziness andMonty Python’s Big Red Book. A collection of Shakespearean sonnets is banned.  On the approved list? Satan’s Sorcery Volume I by Rev. Caesar 999 and 100 Great Poems of Love and Lust.

Say whaaaaat?

The story continues:

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s policies, a book, magazine or other publication can be banned because it contains:

Information on the manufacture of explosives, weapons and/or drugs.

  • “Material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption,” like strikes or riots.

  • “Graphic presentations” of illegal sex acts, “such as rape, incest, sex with a minor, bestiality, necrophilia or bondage.”

  • Sexually explicit images. “Naked or partially covered buttocks” does not constitute reason for automatic disapproval. Staff review medical journals, reference materials, art books and other publications containing nudity on a case-by-case basis.
  • Information on criminal schemes or “how to avoid detection of criminal schemes.”

Well, this certainly explains why Where’s Waldo? is banned, right?

And there’s more.

Sexual content often lands a book on the banned list.

Many graphic novels and art books are prohibited for nudity or sexual images, including the Game of Thronescomic books and some titles from The Walking Dead. Monty Python’s books were also banned for this reason, as was an illustrated history of the Coen brothers movie The Big Lebowski.

 The Big Book of Angels and the book of Shakespearean sonnets were banned for containing nude images of children.

 “Sexually explicit image” is defined as a photograph or drawing showing the sex act from any vantage point, full frontal nudity or “the exposed female breast(s) with nipple(s) or areola(s).” This means a calendar of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders is OK, but “Penthouse Hottest Girls Since 1969,” not so much.

 Erotic novels are only banned if the sexual behavior is unlawful. That’s why some of E.L. James’ Fifty Shadesbooks are OK but Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels, which includes a rape scene, is not (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is also banned for sexually explicit content).

Also,

Maps are banned (including one on the Islamic Society of Greater Houston’s 2015 calendar) because they “could facilitate an escape,” according to Jason Clark, TDCJ deputy chief of staff. Some home improvement guides, like Basic Wiring, contain “instructions which cause security concerns.”

 The Color Purple is banned because the story describes incest, Clark said. While Walker implies and the reader believes the main character is raped by her father, the reader learns later this is not the case. However, the book could still be banned for depicting rape.

 But Freakonomics, which contains sections discussing crime reduction after the advent of legal abortion and the working conditions of crack cocaine dealers, remains on the banned list.

Finally,

Clark said Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s economic treatise ended up on there because it contains “racial content” that could be construed as being “written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption.” 

 But what about My Awakening — in which David Duke argues for racial segregation — or his Jewish Supremacism? What about Mein Kampf?

 In explanation, Clark said Hitler’s Nazi thesis conforms to the state’s guidelines: “Mein Kampf is on the approved list because it does not violate our rules.”

Texas truly remains the gift that keeps on giving.

 

 

 

 

Better Be Nice to Your Kids, Moms

Because there are some pretty nasty ways for them to get revenge if you’re not.

Even after you’re gone.

At least that’s what happened to Kathleen Dehmlow, of Springfield, Minnesota, who passed away late last month at the age of 80.

She apparently wasn’t much of a mom, and her kids therefore apparently had no qualms about sharing that opinion with the world upon her passing.

See for yourself below.

Meet the Candidate

The Curmudgeon would like to introduce you to Seth Grossman, the Republican candidate for New Jersey’s second congressional district seat.

Grossman has…issues, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“The whole idea of diversity is a bunch of crap and un-American,” Grossman said at a GOP campaign forum held April 21 in Pittsgrove, Salem County.  

And this:

… Grossman calls diversity “an excuse by Democrats, communists, and socialists, basically, to say that we’re not all created equal; that some people, if somebody is lesser qualified, they will get a job anyway, or they’ll get into college anyway, because of the tribe that they’re with, what group, what box they fit into.”

This is more than one kind of ignorance, too, because Grossman doesn’t appear to understand the difference between diversity and affirmative action.

Which doesn’t say much about his intelligence.

And it’s pretty funny, in this day and age, that Grossman is still worried about communists.

But Grossman has something to say about other groups, too.

He also insults Kim Guadagno, the former Republican lieutenant governor who ran and lost to Phil Murphy in the New Jersey governor’s race, suggesting she was only nominated because she is a woman. 

And he’s not finished with women, either.

He yearns for a time when women did not have to work, and says a tightening of immigration laws should appeal to African Americans.

And there’s this gem:

“Once we say that the Republicans want these traditional ways that made America great for all these years, then maybe African Americans would realize that when we enforce our immigration laws, there’ll be more opportunity for Americans of all backgrounds,” Grossman says.

Those times included a time when women did not need to work, Grossman says, and there was no need for tax credits for child care.

“When we talk about women saying, ‘Well, we need special care for child care. We need this credit and that credit. Say, wait a minute, when America was great, one parent alone earned more than enough money to comfortably support a family,” he said. “That’s what happened before we chopped Americans into these different boxes and saying I’m entitled to something because I’m part of this group.”

The finest New Jersey Republicans can offer

This isn’t a matter of a “fake news” reporter taking these things out of context or inaccurately reporting his words, either; the reporter ran this stuff by Grossman and he verified it all.  Good thing, too:  there’s video, which you can find here, embedded in the newspaper article.

That’s Seth Grossman, New Jersey voters:  there’s pretty much something for EVERYONE not to like.

And he’s the best and brightest New Jersey’s Republican party has to offer its voters in the second congressional district.

Get your lawn signs now!

The Facts About Separating Illegal Immigrants and Their Children

For the past few weeks President Trump has insisted that his administration is bound by law to separate children from their parents when those parents are arrested for crossing illegally into the U.S.

It’s not. He’s lying.

He says separating parents from their children is required by law.

It’s not. He’s lying.  It’s a choice he and his administration made. They don’t have to do it if they don’t want to do it.

But he says it’s the law.

It’s not. He’s lying.

He says it’s a law that was given to him by Democrats.

It’s not. He’s lying.

He says only Democrats can fix this.

He’s lying – first because there’s no such law, and second, if congressional intervention can fix this problem, Republicans don’t need any help from Democrats:  as the majority in both the House and Senate, they could change any current law without the support of a single Democrat.

Although 100 percent of Democrats in Congress would support such an effort.

So again, he’s lying.

The truth is that this policy is the brainchild of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his evil sidekick, Stephen Miller.  They reason that the threat of separation will cause people accompanied by kids to think twice before illegally crossing the border out of fear of being separated from their kids.

Which the growing numbers of separated parents and children suggest isn’t working.

And Sessions’ claim that enforcing this law is mandated by the bible?

Sessions is sworn to protect the constitution, not the bible.

He’s a law enforcement official, not a minister.

And nowhere does the bible tell countries to forcibly separate parents from their children.

And house those children in cage and tents.

It hurts to be ashamed of your own country, doesn’t it?

 

In the World of Low-Rent Cable Fare

While innocently pedaling the stationary bike recently The Curmudgeon caught an ad on television for a TBS program called “Drop the Mic” – “mic” being short for “microphone” even though there’s nothing about “mic” that suggests “microphone.”

The premise of the show is that two celebrities engage in a battle of nasty wit in which they rap insults at one another.

In other words, educational television it is not.

Most episodes feature C, D, and E list “celebrities,” although among past participants have been Halle Berry and Shania Twain.  More common are “say what?” combatants such as James Van Der Beek, Niecy Nash, Mayim Bialik, Nick Lachey, Padma Lakshmi, Shaquille O’Neal, and the ultimate proof that the program is about schlock and mediocrity: Wayne Brady.

Two quick observations.

First, amateurs should not rap.

Second, white people, both amateurs and all but a few exceptions, should never, ever, ever rap.

And that brings The Curmudgeon back to the advertisement he saw while pedaling his stationary bike and wondering whether that was really how he was supposed to be spending his brief time on this earth.

The “battle” advertised at this time pitted Molly Ringwald versus Jon Cryer.

And in that moment, two things occurred to him.

First, setting aside the casting gimmick – Ringwald and Cryer appeared together in a mildly amusing movie – get ready to feel old, friends – 32 years ago, who in the world thought it would be a good idea to have Ringwald and Cryer rap insults at one another on television.

And second, who in the world would willingly, consciously tune into a program that featured Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer rapping insults at one another?

Time to BUILD A WALL!

To protect us from those evil…Canadians!