Monday, December 21, 2009

Very Pathetic

Getting up this morning was one of the saddest moments of my life up to this point.

My least favorite part of that first sentence there was 'up to this point' because I am certain there is worse to come.

For those of you who did not know, any that would be most of you, since why the hell would most of you know, my back is out. I am having a hard time bending and moving and the pain is really bad.

This morning, when I woke up, I scooched (Spell-check is telling me that scooched isn't a word. Fuck you, spell-check.) down to the bottom of the bed and managed to drag my jeans to me with my feet.

I successfully got my feet into them and then yelled for Joia to come help me since bending over and pulling them up really isn't an option. She's been helping me out with this for the past few days. She's what we would call a real trooper. (Side note: since this blog gets imported to FaceBook and that's where a lot of you read it, hop over to Joia's page and tell her what a trooper she is. She has just been awesome. I keep getting off on tangents. Did I mention that the back thing comes with pain pills & muscle relaxers? Wait, am I doing a blog about the death penalty and how horrible Rick Perry is or how much I hate the Pope? Oh, pathetic waking up moment. I went back and read the beginning. I need an end parenthesis at some point. Here.)

New paragraph.

Sitting at the bottom of the bed, jeans around my ankles, calling for Joia. I thought I heard her answer, but faintly. After a couple of minutes, I roll back and kind of shimmy them up and, it takes a while, but success! I am no longer pantsless and (Spell-check is saying that pantsless isn't a word, what the fuck?! Spell-check is a fascist. It is worse than Satan though not as bad as Hitler or Rumsfeld. How many times do I have to tell spell-check to go fuck itself in one post?) and can roam freely about the house because I have pants.

I know that for all the ladies in the world, this is devastating news, but yes, I am currently wearing pants.

Well, the family is all gone. I still don't know where they are. Errands or something.

Anyway, that scooching (Scooching is too a word, spell-check! God, I hate you so much, acting like you're the boss of me! I'll use whatever words I want! Stop stifling me you bastard! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!) Sorry everybody, I know that you hate it when I fight with the computer in front of you.

But seriously, never trust a computer and the cake is a lie.

The shimmying of the pants was a very sad and pathetic 90 seconds and I just thought I'd share it.

Remind me to share another anecdote involving not being able to bend over to lift the toilet seat.

And, if anyone cares, I'm listening to:

For those of you who were disappointed, stick it back in and let it play five or six more times. It is definitely a departure, but this is an amazing record. Trust me, I have never steered you wrong.

Then again, I should remind you that right now, I am lit up like a Christmas tree. I'm going to take another pill now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why I Don't Believe Them: A Postscript To My Open Letter To The Community Of Christ

Okay, for those of you who read this on leftofleft, this gets imported automatically to my Facebook page and one of my friends asked a simple question regarding my last post, calling into question the integrity of the Community of Christ, specifically the validity to their claims that they had never been approached with any concerns regarding the behavior of the Mohler family, three of whom were lay-ministers at their church.

Let me repeat that what I am talking about here is not a matter of proof or fact, but my own personal distrust of the leaders of this church.

Why don't I believe the Community of Christ when they say they had never been approached about the behavior of three of their lay-ministers?

I understand that it would be very easy to assume that my skepticism is a knee-jerk reaction to a church's credibility when it comes to covering up sexual abuse and rape.
I have to admit that does prejudice one from the outset.

Sadly, western Christendom has a very poor track record of protecting the predators among their ranks than protecting sexual abuse and rape victims.

And no, it's not only the Catholics. Other sects have blood on their hands as well.

(And, in case you were wondering, yes, the picture of Cardinal Mahoney is a reference to a man who ought to be in prison, learning firsthand just what it feels like to have nobody care that you're being raped.)

But that's not all there is to it.
The red flag, in my mind, was the ludicrous notion that the church would keep records of every time a member came to them with a problem.

The statement that the Community of Christ released said,
"We found no reports of sexual abuse of children (were) given to any Community of Christ leaders about the three lay ministers, suspended November 11."

It just doesn't make sense to me. What "reports" are they talking about?

I find it impossible to believe that any kind of report or record would have been made had they been informed of the ab
use and decided to do nothing.

The wording of the statement itself released by the church is beyond suspect. It's ludicrous.

But again, this is no smoking gun and there will never be any kind of proof.
What we are talking about here is my own personal disbelief.

I can only hope that the wife, who chose to take this to the church instead of the police ends up doing some actual prison time for her complicity. I don't know what she was expecting from the church, but the fact that she didn't go to the authorities made years of ongoing abuse possible.

And, I'm still listening to:

It seems to have grabbed me like none of their earlier records have. If that makes me a woman, then so be it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Complicity: An Open Letter To The Community of Christ

Anybody who has been following the story of the Mohler family these past weeks has surely been disturbed at the systematic and familial abuse that went on for years.

Those of us whose exposure wasn’t limited to the filtered and sanitized account of the events given to us by local media outlets, but read the actual probable cause statements probably lost sleep over this.

I know I have.

And yes, elephant in the room, let’s get this out of the way. We’ve all had a great deal of fun with the fact that one of these guys looks ex-fucking-actly like Wilford Brimley.

Then, a couple of weeks ago there was a twist in the case that was troubling, but hardly surprising.

This revelation happened when a search warrant from Columbia stated that the alleged victims told their mother about the abuse, but she did not tell authorities – she told church leaders instead.

The same church where three of the accused are lay-ministers.

But the Community of Christ Church Thursday said a check of their records shows no such complaint.

Let’s set aside the mother’s actions for a moment. I think we can all agree that she is complicit in everything that happened and hopefully, she will be charged at least as an accomplice.

What’s more disturbing, but again sadly not surprising, is the assistance that the church gave these monsters by keeping their mouth shut.

Now, I have to be clear at this point. I am speculating. I am not God and I have no inside knowledge.

I simply don’t believe the Community of Christ Church. They are lying.

Of course, the Community of Christ Church denies any collusion or even awareness of the abuse.

In a short statement, a spokesperson for the church simply said, "We found no reports of sexual abuse of children (were) given to any Community of Christ leaders about the three lay ministers, suspended November 11."

Found no reports? What, you checked your records and verified that this woman never came to you with this? Is that supposed to be funny? Of course, if a member of your church came to you about three of your ministers systematically raping their children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren and you chose to do nothing, you wouldn’t keep a record of it.

I have a hard time believing that after that meeting, the pastor or elder or whomever the woman came to would march straight to the church secretary and ask her to take a note. “One of our members has advised us that three of our lay-ministers have been systematically raping the children in their family. Since I don’t really want any kind of tarnish on our church’s name, I have decided to ignore this and let it continue as if I knew nothing.”

And then, that memo would be filed away so there would be a record of the conversation.

Granted, it’s the church’s word against the mother’s and the mother lacks credibility seeing as how she’s an obvious sociopath who belongs in prison. So, unfortunately, they will most likely never have to pay for their complacency.

I just have to say this and get it out there because somebody needs to call the Community of Christ on this transparent story.

So let me say this.

When you say that you had no idea what was going on, I simply don’t believe you.

Once again, I just don’t fucking believe you.

And if I might pontificate, let’s fight fire with fire.

In Mark 9:42, Christ himself said, “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.”

And yes, inaction in the face of an atrocity like this qualifies as ‘offending one of these little ones.’

Sadly, most churches would rather take steps to avoid embarrassment than protect those in its care that are being harmed.

It was important for somebody to call the leaders of the Community of Christ liars.

Steve Veazey, fuck you.

It’s shameful that most of the people who claim to follow Jesus Christ are nothing like them at all.

If only there were a special place designed just for people like you to spend all of eternity.

And for the record, I’m listening to:

Oh sky cake. Why are you so delicious?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Triangle Tara 4 Charity Dolls Because I Can't Afford One But Maybe Some Of You Can

For those of you who can afford to help out, here is a fucking kick-ass way to do so and get an awesome toy in return.

Do They Really Hate Our Freedom? Do They Really?

Here's a picture of my old friend John's car, circa mid '90's.

Oh John, you crazy paranoid bastard. I miss seeing you on a daily basis. You also had a bumper sticker at one point that said, "Free or Drug Free, America Can't be Both." And that is also very true.

It was David Cross who said it best and I'm paraphrasing because I'm just too lazy to look up the exact quote.

If the terrorists actually hated freedom, the Netherlands would be the largest smoking crater on the planet.

As would Canada, Switzerland, Sweden and every other country that is truly freer than we are.

And, in case you care, I'm listening to:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

#66 Antichrist - Lars von Trier (2009) - “Nature is Satan’s Church”

Before I start, let me say that I would absolutely recommend that about 90% of you not see Lars von Trier's new masterpiece, Antichrist.

It is unbelievably hard to watch. If
Antichrist were food, it would be Guatemalan insanity peppers.

Yes, it is brilliant and von Trier comes closer than ever to reaching the greatness of
Breaking the Waves, (#28 on my top 100 list if you were wondering) but seriously, I would not wish this film on most people.

The vast majority of you will not appreciate or understand that and I do not mean that as an insult in any way.

On the contrary, I think that there must be something wrong with me the way I connected so deeply with Charlotte Gainsbourg's character, the figurative Antichrist for whom the film is named, and felt like I understood this movie so well.

Having said that, this is not only an unusually astute film, but also a very important one, socially and philosophically speaking, that the remaining 10% of you must seek out, no matter how hard it is going to be to find.

And it
is going to be fucking near impossible to find seeing as how we live in a town without an art-house to speak of and when, at last this is released on DVD I can pretty much guarantee that you'll have to seek it out at an independent shop or buy it online.

And if it ends up making a run at the Tivoli, I'll apologize. They ran
Inland Empire and for that, I am eternally grateful. That was Lynch's first film to come out after I moved here and I really thought I was going to miss it so Tivoli, thank you.

One more thing before I dig in.

This is being promoted as a horror film. Oh my God, it is so not.

It is horrifying, revolting even. It says something about a film that it made me look away a couple of times.

But it is not your standard horror fare as there is not a single thrill to be had.

There is also no paranormal element. The title,
Antichrist, is metaphorical.

So here we go.

It would be very hard, if not impossible, to argue that Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves was not easily one of the best films to come out of the independent revolution of the 1990’s.

It is equally impossible to talk about feminism in film without talking at length about von Trier's body of work.

He may be one of the most misunderstood filmmakers not only of our, but of any time.

I have heard von Trier called a misogynist, which is a laughable accusation.

I don't remember which critic it was, but someone actually called Breaking a "celebration of women's suffering."

Clearly, the suffering of women is the theme that ties his films together, but this misery seems to make him by turns weary, morose and livid.

I truly wonder if something horrible happened to a woman that he loved at some point early in his life for this to be so rooted in his cognition.

Breaking was a grizzly epic, a thesis on both the suffering and the heroism of women.

It was one of those rare film, I think there have only been six or seven of them, when I sat through the credits and several minutes of employees cleaning up popcorn after the showing because I was just too emotionally exhausted to move.

My heart still breaks every time I think of Bess’ willingness to forfeit her very soul trying to save someone she loves, losing her life in the process.

Seriously, try to wrap your mind around the gravity of Bess' actions.

She believes with all of her being that her actions will condemn her to an eternity in the fires of hell.

This belief is very real to her and this danger of burning forever is as real to her as any worldly, physical danger is to anyone.

And she makes the sacrifice anyway to redeem this man she so desperately loves.

Bess is one of the most beautiful and selfless characters, not only in film, but in art.

Von Trier followed Breaking the Waves with Dancer in the Dark, another tribute to women’s proclivity to self-sacrifice.

Selma's child will not go blind even though it will cost Selma her life.

Again, a woman, suffering and selfless.

That was followed by Dogville, where the other side of the coin of the misery of women was wrath rather than nobility.

Von Trier's anger, like Grace's was more than understandable and even righteous up to a point.

These are three masterpieces that will stay with you forever once you’ve seen them and von Trier’s latest film, Antichrist is no exception.

To say that the opening sequence of Antichrist plays out like one of Lynch’s Obsession commercials would be accurate but flippant, thick and unfair.

We are treated, right out of the gate, to a black and white montage of Willem Dafoe making sweet slo-mo love to his special lady inter-cut with images of a toddler wandering around the apartment with an aria from Rinaldo by Handel playing in the background.

Von Trier isn't exactly going for subtle here. Character with a God complex accompanied by music by Handel, the guy who composed The Messiah.

The first thing that struck me was just how goddamn un-Dogma this movie was.

Then, we are jerked from this surreal opening straight into a beautifully shot, devastating tragedy.

The rest of the film continues to break pretty much every rule that von Trier set up for the Dogma movement, but you can still see that harsh realism under the surface, trying to claw its way out of every dream sequence, every camera trick, every metaphor, every art-house cliché.

This is probably the first time I have ever used the word cliché without meaning it as a rebuke.

Von Trier swings them like a hammer with deliberate purpose, contrasting them with the realism of the harsh, raw open-nerved emotions his characters are dealing with.

The dream sequences and artsy flashbacks cut into the horrific realism the way the musical numbers broke up the tragic evens of Dancer.

Willem Dafoe is a therapist whose wife is understandably falling apart after the death of their child.

Dafoe quickly finds fault with the care she is receiving from a colleague and breaks one of the rules he lives by as a therapist: don’t treat family.

Of course, it isn’t long before he finds himself breaking another rule: don’t fuck your patient.

But give the guy a break.

He’s married to the woman.

Still. Turns out, banging your

patient, even if you’re married to her is not a good idea.

It is established almost immediately that this film is about payback.

The puzzle lies in figuring out which character has it coming.

You have the therapist, Willem Dafoe’s best performance since The Last Temptation of Christ, whose narcissism is so bountiful, whose God-complex is so vast that von Trier names the film after the character who defies him: Antichrist.

And just as we have tentatively decided who to indict, we realize, to our shame that nobody has it coming. We have spent a hundred minutes thinking about blame, as have the characters in this harsh and disturbing film.

But despite the events in the opening sequence, bad things do not happen because we fuck.

And suppressing our sexuality to the point of mutilation, sometimes figurative, sometimes tragically literal is never the answer.

Von Trier’s point here is this: Nature is not Satan’s church.

It sounds like a ridiculous notion, but it’s ingrained in our collective psyche nevertheless.

We think of human sexuality, the most natural thing in the world, as a breeding ground for all that is wicked.

We do in fact believe that nature is Satan’s church.

But we do not have it coming. We do not deserve it. We have to stop punishing ourselves.

It’s more than sad, it is appalling how people see God, but this is an accurate portrait of how western Christianity has set him up.

Like von Trier presents Willem Dafoe's therapist, Christians have painted God as a malicious being who talks about love, but whose sole purpose is actually to dole out unflinching, unforgiving and unjust punishment.

Too many see him as evangelical America has presented him: as a brute to be followed by the anonymous and faceless masses.

That is how so many see God because that is what too many of our religious leaders have been insisting for centuries that he is.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bryan Cranston And Emmy Voters Will Be Welcomed Into The BatCave: Stay Out Of My Territory

Bryan Cranston won again. It restores one's faith in mankind.

Who would have guessed, years ago, that the dad from Malcolm in the Middle would end up being like the coolest motherfucker alive?

There is absolutely no question that, along with Dexter, Breaking Bad is one of the two best shows currently in production.

There are surprises at every single turn and not a single one of them feels forced.

Everything that happens grows organically from our protagonist, played with an unheard of credibility by Cranston.

The fact that Bryan Cranston has won two Emmys in a row is very heartening. Maybe the world doesn't have as bad taste as I thought.

Christ, he's the only actor I know who can play that contradiction that is an emotionally vulnerable bad-ass.

I'm tagging this post film instead of TV just because Breaking Bad is actually better than most moving abortions of sadly incompetent storytelling masquerading as television and films being cranked out today.

Bryan Cranston, Verily, I say to thee, this day (well, not this day but when the time comes) shalt thou be with me in the BatCave.

And if you care, I'm listening to:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Guess I Can't Argue With You There

Okay, you win.

And in case you care, I'm listening to:

I Heart Protesters

Oh God, why did we put her in that Chinese nursing home?

Monday, September 21, 2009

One Without The Other

Mr. President, I really want to support you.

I do.

But if you pass an individual mandate for everyone to carry Medical insurance, you have to accompany it with a public option and an employer mandate.

And please stop saying that this mandate is comparable to the requirement for every driver to carry auto insurance. That requirement is to offset liability for harm that you might accidentally cause somebody else.

Huge difference.

You don't have to compromise the way the Clinton administration did.

You have the majority.

You have the upper hand.

Is it so outrageous to ask you to put the single payer option back on the table?

Please don't give away so much that this reform turns into a payday for insurance companies and a screwing for the poor.

Actually, as long as I'm asking for things, is there any way I can talk you into having an intern break into Senator Baucus' office and take a shit on his desk?

Workers Unite!

And, in case anyone cares, I'm listening to:

A Reasonable Parson

This was encouraging.

Reverend Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham gets to keep his job at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale.

Coral Ridge, under Rev. D. James Kennedy was a fiercely political voice of opposition to both reproductive rights and gay rights.

Rev. Tchividjian, like his grandfather, believes that the primary function of a church is to meet the spiritual needs of its congregation, not a cynical political tool.

Naturally, this does not sit well with some worshipers.

Six church members organized an effort to oust Rev. Tchividjian, calling his leadership a "disaster" claiming that he has shown "a complete lack of respect."

The church voted to keep Rev. Tchividjian by more than a two-to-one margin.

So more Christians than we realize believe that the church is more than just another group of conservative lobbyists.

Once again, this is encouraging.

And if it matters, I'm listening to:

And later, I plan to listen to: