Friday, November 26, 2010

Best and baddest blogs

Occasionally I go on a surfin' safari of the Web to find entertaining blogs. As if I didn't have enough to do! Arrrgh. The Internet is almost as bad as television for killing time, but on television you don't get the individuality, the quirkiness and personality you find in blogs. These are some blogs I recommend, and will also put them with my links so you can easily access them (after you read my blog, of cuss).

First up is Christian Nymphos, which sounds like a porn site, but is actually a site for Christian wives with a strong sex drive, discussing sex, and also whether certain acts, i.e., anal sex, cunnilingus, fellatio, etc., are immoral within marriage.

Click on the links and not on the illustrations to go to the blogs.

Christian Nymphos is an entertaining and reader-driven blog, and I have read some good advice from women to other women. Whatever gets you off, Christian gals!

Christian Nymphos

I'm a lifelong fan of the late bizarre cartoonist, Basil Wolverton. His son, Monte, carries on the tradition, working in a modified form of his dad's distinctive style. Monte does, among his other artistic endeavors, editorial cartoons for When you go to his site you see examples of his work, plus examples of his father's. I'm sure Basil would approve heartily of Monte's career choice.

We've got two sites with "bad" in their titles. First is Bad Mags, from the books of the same name by Tom Brinkmann.

Tom has collected some of the sleaziest exploitation, porn, and utter weirdness put onto magazine racks in the United States over the past 60 years or so. Remember, trees died so these magazines could live, and yet most of them would be forgotten, moldering in landfills if not for Tom's efforts to keep their memories alive.

Our second "bad" blog is Bad Bad Teacher, which has news stories about teachers accused of having sex with underage students. Even though I've featured several stories of teacher-student sexual encounters ending up in court, even I'm shocked by how much of this is going on. And you can probably figure for every one that gets caught, there are more that don't.

Here's one, Jennifer Gardel, who a jury just found guilty as charged:

Bad Bad

Finally for this posting is LP Cover Lover, which shows some of the stranger and more bizarre record album covers from around the world, submitted by readers. Some of these covers have to be seen to be believed. Here's one that I think would fit in the above Christian Nymphos blog. If ever I've seen a gaggle of girls repressing their sexuality it's this big hair bunch.

LP Cover Lover

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This story reminds me of an old joke.
With what crime did police charge the 99-year-old rapist?

Assault with a dead weapon!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stretching a dollar in hard times

Black Friday's a'comin', so hide your credit cards. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the traditional first day of Christmas shopping, is the day that big retailers like Walmart, the Gap, Sears, Best Buy, etc., try to make us feel bad for not spending more money with them. We haul out the plastic, pushing ourselves further into indebtedness for their benefit. I refuse to accept any responsibility for any store's bottom line. Growing up I was taught that thrift was a virtue, but now Americans are taught that spending, and often way beyond our means, is patriotic by being "good for the economy."

As a retiree on a pension it's important that I save money. For years my wife and I have shopped in thrift stores, and they're becoming even more popular during the bad economy. With careful shopping I can still have some of the things I want. Yesterday I bought a sports coat with the Lands End label for $10.00. A few days ago, at a fraction of the retail price, my wife bought a new top to wear to a special occasion. Many thrift stores--and you have to look through their stock--accept overruns from manufacturers and outdated clothing from department stores, who donate them for tax purposes. We’ve gotten a lot of new name brand merchandise for just a few dollars.

Last week I bought an RCA DVD from my local non-profit thrift store for $12.00. It needed a remote. I rummaged through a shelf full of television remotes, old cell phones and used cameras; I found an RCA remote for $1.00. I needed AAA batteries, which I got at Big Lots, not a thrift store but a discount retailer; I found an 8-pack of Duracell AAA alkaline batteries for $4.50. The remote works, the player works. Yippee. And using the calculator I paid fifty cents for, it all added up to $17.50.

We’d be pushing it to buy Christmas presents from a thrift store (even I’m not that cheap), but Sally found some brand-new cups with Christmas designs she will fill with goodies for her coworkers. She also routinely buys baskets for a dollar or so which she uses for unique ways to give gifts of food.

If there's a problem with shopping thrift stores it's not that you "get what you pay for," because often you get much more in value than it costs, but that it doesn't come with a warranty. If my DVD player quits on me then I'm out $12.00, but that's not really so much. I'll just shop around until I find another used machine in good condition.

There are a lot of bargains out there; you just have to keep looking.

Before the modern meaning of “Black Friday,” (a day when stores go “in the black” financially) it meant the day the stock market crashed in 1929. I’m not sure if that’s the meaning that Steely Dan had in mind because with Steely Dan and their sometimes opaque lyrics you just never know.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The smart set

For a variety of reasons these cartoons from the 2010 New Yorker calendar made me laugh. Over 85 years after it began, and established its cartoons as being the smartest of all the smart magazines, they're still the smartest.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fighting the wars

We Americans love war. We're always fighting a war or two. Or three.

We've been in Afghanistan since 2001, going into our tenth year. Looks like we're really in for the long haul. I wouldn't doubt we'll be there ten years from now, in one capacity or another. Oh well, we're out of the war in Iraq. Ha-ha. That's a joke, folks. We're "out" in name only. Something happens then we send troops back in, we're right back in it. As long as you declare a war over then you can do anything you want. It's just that after action stuff, mopping up, you know. Call a war by another name, because we like to use the word "war" for other things.

Like the War on Cancer. Didn't know about that war, did you? That was Richard Nixon's deal, back in about 1970, when he pledged massive amounts of federal dollars to help eliminate cancer. Gee, we'd done it with smallpox, polio, measles, mumps...but we've never really won against cancer. Maybe one of these days we'll win, but right now cancer continues its insurgency, guerrilla tactics, hiding out, striking when we least expect it to attack. As far as I know the War on Cancer is still being waged, with no armistice ever called.

How about the War on Crime? That was instituted in the sixties because half of the population was under the age of 25. As someone once said, "If you lock up all the young men between the ages of 15 and 23 crime will come to a halt." So why didn't we just do that? Americans have more people in prison per capita than any other country in the world. We could have just made it a national policy: put all the guys into prison for about 8 years when they turned 15, then turn them loose at 23. War's over! It's time for dancing in the streets. "We got no crime, 'cause all the boys doin' time!" I haven't seen any soldiers in the War on Crime marching in any victory parades lately.

And as a corollary to the War on Crime we have the ever popular War on Drugs. We still haven't won that war and never will. Americans love drugs. We love legal drugs, we love illegal drugs. We love drugs that make us high and drugs that make us hard. We love drugs that speed us up and slow us down. We love drugs that wake us up and drugs that put us to sleep. It's hard to fight a war when everyone loves the enemy. I admit, drug kingpins and drug wars in Mexico are problematic, but after all, it's on their side of the border, so sleep well, you drug warriors on this side of the Rio Grande. Just pop another Valium and forget all about those awful drug pushers.

How about that War on Poverty? Did that one get won yet? Do you remember, going back to the early '70s, and Richard Nixon again, when there was talk of a guaranteed annual income? At the time they were bandying around figures like a minimum of $10,000 a year for a family of four. Sounded good to me! I was making about $5,000 a year at the time. Some damn killjoys started hollering "socialism" and everyone backed off.

Then of course we have the War on Terror. That's not even a war; it was over on September 11, 2001 when some Saudi Arabians flew three planes into our buildings. Right then the terrorists won. They took away our security, they made us place ridiculous rules on travel. My wife and I are grandparents, sixty-somethings. OK, so I look kind of sinister, but my wife doesn't fit any profile of any terror group in the world. Still, we all go by the same rules to get on an airplane. We take off our shoes, our watches, stick our laptops into a plastic bin to go through an x-ray machine. Sometimes they make us go into a booth and stick our hands in the air like a game of stick-em-up. That's so they can look at us through our clothes.

If you want to opt out of that, then they get to feel you up, make sure you're not carrying a gun or weapon in your naughty bits. So just who are the current terrorists? The people who let you on airplanes as long as you follow their rules. Believe me, there would be no worse terror than being hustled off by security because you got balky about a major invasion of your privacy and personal space.

War is an overused word that has almost lost its meaning. It really means armed conflict between enemy nations. Edwin Starr feels strongly about it, and has a song he wants to sing about that kind of war. Take it away, Edwin!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The English language remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo stars Daniel Craig and newcomer Rooney Mara as Lisbeth. It will be released in 2011. I recently watched the 2009 Swedish language version of the movie, and don't know why it has to be remade. But I know my fellow countrymen don't like movies that aren't in English. The English translation of the book on which the movie is based is a best seller in the U.S., and Americans are generally not willing to support a film with subtitles. So, make it over!

Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace play Michael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander, respectively, in this moody and sometimes very violent movie. Anyone who's been living in a cave or doesn't read fiction might not have heard the genesis of the novel, Men Who Hate Women (the title in Swedish), the first of a trilogy by the late Swedish journalist, Stieg Larsson. Larsson died at age 50 after plotting out 10 novels, but had finished three.

Like most popular mysteries, Dragon Tattoo is notable not just for its plot, but for the lead characters, Lisbeth and Michael. Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth walks away with the movie. Lisbeth is a girl with a terrible past, a ward of the state because of past violence. Rapace explained in an interview included with the DVD that she put herself on a diet and worked out to reshape her body to be more like a boy, rather than her softer, more female figure. It paid off; Lisbeth is totally believable.

We're shown just how violent Lisbeth can be when attacked by a gang of toughs in the subway, and manages to fight off several big guys.

As a warning to the sensitive, there are two violent rapes in this movie. The second rape is revenge for the first. Despite the brutality shown in both scenes, the watcher feels that justice, in its crudest form, has been done.

The journalist, Michael Blomqvist, is hired to find a girl, Harriet, who disappeared 40 years ago. Is she alive or dead? Her uncle, millionaire Henrik Vanger, thinks she has been murdered, and clues point in that direction.

Two stories are told simultaneously, of Lisbeth, a genius computer hacker with a photographic memory who has delved into Blomqvist’s case via stolen online information, and Blomqvist’s search for clues to the disappearance of Harriet. It’s when the stories converge, and Michael and Lisbeth get together, that the movie goes in unexpected directions.

If I have a complaint about the movie it’s the length, mostly in the ending, which is anticlimactic. It wraps up the mysteries, but could have been edited down without so much exposition. Despite the drawn-out denouements I highly recommend The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The meal is free, but the waiting will cost you...

Sally told me, "Applebee's restaurant is offering a free meal to all veterans on Veterans Day. We should take advantage of it."

I said, "How do I prove I'm a veteran?" She said, "They said bring something that shows you're a vet, your discharge or wear your uniform." Huh. My uniform went to a thrift store about 40 years ago, and wouldn't fit me anyway. I took my framed Honorable Discharge from the United States Army off the wall, disassembled the frame, made a photocopy of the document on my scanner/copier/printer.

We decided lunchtime, noon to 1:00, would be too busy. If we got there about 2:00 p.m. we should be OK. So we did, and we weren't. The veterans were waiting in a long line inside the door to the restaurant.

The guys I saw looked a lot like me, "of an age," as we say. They mostly had on ball caps, some caps had the names of Navy ships. Several of the guys had white beards, just like me. I thought, all the Vietnam-era guys want to get in on the free food. I had told Sally I didn't want to wait in a long line, even for a free lunch. We drove up the street to a Village Inn restaurant. When we went in I noticed several men with their wives, and they looked just like the vets standing in line at Applebee's. They probably had the same idea as me; it wasn't worth waiting in line. When we were in the service we all waited in long lines.

We passed up a freebie, but Sally and I had a nice lunch and talked. It cost me $25.00, but my wife and I enjoyed it and I didn't have to wait.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A coming home Veterans Day

November 11, 1968, 42 years ago today, was the last day of my two-year stint as a soldier in the U.S. Army. I flew home, greeted my family, and went on with my life. I was in the army during wartime, but never went to war. I was stationed in Germany. In the main I didn't sacrifice anything but a couple of years of my life.

On the other hand, a very special veteran came home yesterday, in time to be honored on Veterans Day. The story is told in my local paper this morning of George Willard Grismore, who was killed at age 30 in World War II, shot down in an airplane in which he was flying with five other men from Leyte to Mindanao to deliver fuel to Filipino guerrillas, and were never seen again.

George Willard Grismore

They weren't seen that is until their remains were found in 1999, at which time they were shipped to Hawaii for identification. They were taken to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Central Identification Laboratory. This is a program that employs 600 people whose job it is to identify the remains of "the nearly 88,000 soldiers still missing from the various wars," according to the article by columnist Paul Rolly in this morning's Salt Lake Tribune. Rolly is the nephew of Grismore, who died three years before Rolly was born. Rolly provided DNA because identification is made through the mother's line.

Sixty-five years is a long time to be away from home, away from loved ones. Time has taken its toll, and many of Grismore's loved ones are now deceased. But survivors of Grismore were there in the early morning hours when Grismore's casket, decorated with an American flag, was delivered.

I'm often angry with my country over wars it fights for dubious reasons. I think the wars in Vietnam and Iraq are good examples of wars we should never have fought, but I'm never angry with the men and women who go to war. They have no choice. Most soldiers are like me. They do their time, then they come home and live the rest of their lives. Some are damaged, physically and mentally, and some come home in a casket draped with a flag.

Happy Veterans Day to all the people who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States past and present.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Tuesday museday

Going through the Life magazine archives on Google Books yesterday I came across this startling photo from the May 20, 1966 issue. Two women with a device that looks like...well, you know what it looks like. It looks like a device that would bring a smile.

Queen Hope Cooke was all the rage for a while, in 1963 marrying the king of a small Himalayan country, but in 1970 the king was put in jail. She came back to he U.S., where she now lives. I wonder if she brought back the object.

I clipped "Spudboy" out of my local newspaper a few years ago, from an article about the local farmer's market. I cut off the information about the photographer, so I don't know who to credit. The picture is carefully posed to show off the very phallic looking potato the smirking boy is stroking. The young Harry Potter lookalike is holding it like Harry might hold his magic wand, with great respect.

The cover of the latest issue of Vanity Fair sells sexagenarian sex with Cher, who is now 64 years old. Cher has good genes and is still beautiful, but has the help of a skilled photographer, makeup, wigs, plastic surgery and Photoshop. I stood close to a stage one night in 1965, when she and then-husband Sonny Bono came through town and gave a concert. Cher was in her original incarnation, the 19-year-old in hip-hugger bell bottom pants and dark bangs in her eyes. Cher looked out and above the audience and did not see us. In front of me were three college guys with hats. They had it worked out so that every time Cher turned in our direction they would raise their caps in greeting to her. She never saw them because she never looked down from the stage to her audience. The boys lifted their caps four or five times, then finally gave up trying to get her attention.

Cher has had an amazing career spanning five decades, and she's a lot smoother now with an audience. She also has talent as an actor, with a new movie, Burlesque, coming out. She's survived in a tough business. If she cuts one more slice of cheesecake out of an aging body then more power to her.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Redneck rockin'

The election results were disappointing to me, but the elections are over, at least. Time to move on.

And 2012 isn't that far away, so the presidential candidates should start lining up in a couple of months. This is the kind of thing that makes me glad the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012.

Because I'm sick of politics I've found solace in music, just like I have all my life. Instead of my CD collection I've gone surfing on YouTube. I'm always amazed at what I find there. Lately I've been thinking about the Marshall Tucker Band.I had a'hankerin' to hear some good redneck rock, so I went to YouTube and sure enough, there they were. And here they are, doing their own brand of country rock from the '70s, "Can't You See." The Marshall Tucker Band wore cowboy hats, but played a hybrid music, and even included a flute.

I also found a live clip of Lynyrd Skynyrd doing one my favorite redneck rock songs, "Gimme Three Steps."

I'm not sure Little Feat classify as redneck rockers, but "Dixie Chicken" is sure a redneck rock song. And singer Lowell George is wearing overalls. In this clip from Midnight Special the band is joined by Bonnie Raitt and Emmy Lou Harris, quite a pair of backup singers.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Chas Addams 13

Winter is pushing its way into my neighborhood, and I'm feeling about as gray and dark as the clouds over my head. To celebrate the Halloween just past I dug out the 1943 book, Drawn and Quartered by Chas Addams. Nothing like some cheery black humor from the master to bring a little color into my life...