Thursday, January 28, 2016

This Is Not an Endorsement


I don’t want to write this.

I really don’t.

The Captain is so tired of all the media coverage of Donald Trump. He’s sucking all the oxygen out of the news feed and is so overwhelming the other candidates with his bullying tactics that I didn’t even realize some of them were still in the race.

But, mates, this is getting serious. The Iowa caucus is on Monday and Trump is still the front-runner!

How in Hell is that happening!?!

And he is growing more cocky about it.

This week he bragged that he was so popular he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I would not lose a single voter”.

It’s off-handed comments like these that keep me awake at night!

This is not presidential material!

Do you remember in 1984 when President Ronald Reagan was testing a microphone and quipped, “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

That shit’s not funny!

Especially when tensions between the U.S. and Russia were high!

The Captain can imagine this happening on a daily basis with a Trump presidency.

Do you remember a couple years ago when everyone was worried about campaign finance laws and how the PACs and Super-PACs would ruin our democracy? Do you remember how everyone was concerned because the Koch brothers were building a well-funded political machine to put their candidates into place?

None of that apparently means anything in the current presidential race. The Koch brothers' political machine and their billions of dollars are impotent. Even the well-funded and highly-connected Jeb Bush can’t get any traction in this campaign.

For what it’s worth, the Captain is polling only 2% lower than Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul, running neck-and-neck with Rick Santorum.

And now, with the Iowa caucus just days away, Trump is throwing a tantrum – carefully orchestrated to keep his name in the news – trying to manipulate fellow billionaire Rupert Murdock into replacing Megyn Kelly as the moderator of tonight’s Republican debate. Trump says he won’t show up if she stays.

He’s still mad at Kelly from a debate five months ago when she asked him to explain his previous misogynistic statements.

Sadly, he actually thinks FOX network is going to lose money if he doesn’t participate in the debate.

He obviously doesn’t realize that television networks make money through ad sales, not tickets sales.

In retaliation, Trump plans to host a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project to compete with the Republican debate.Huckabee and Santorum are joining him there after their "undercard debate".

Ironically, the Wounded Warrior Project has recently come under fire for its lavish spending. Begun in 2003 in a basement to provide backpacks for wounded war veterans, it has grown into a fundraising behemoth, taking in $372 million in donations in 2015.

Just the kind of project Trump would support!

But WWP spends some 40% of that for administrative costs – which includes marketing (to raise more money) and expensive trips like in 2014 when it flew its 500 employees to Colorado Springs for a corporate retreat and celebration of a record-breaking fundraising year.

Many other agencies supporting veterans keep administrative costs below 10%.

WWP employees have admitted to flying first-class for business-related trips, and staying in $500-per-night hotel rooms.

Again, just the kind of project Trump would support!

But like his mind-boggling statements on the campaign trail thus far, his antics are not hindering his progress toward Iowa either. He is still the front-runner, with equally-cukoo challenger Ted Cruz hot on his tail.

And he continues to gain endorsements: right-wing harpie Ann Coulter, TV wrestler Hulk Hogan, reality TV star Tila Tequila, outspoken Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and – of course, VP-wannabe Sarah Palin.

His entourage is starting to look like a Clown Car!

*With apologies to Ringling Brothers Circus.
Even the gun-totin’ president of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr., has declared Trump to be the Evangelical Christian candidate of choice.

Despite the fact that Trump's attitude and political positions are far from both Evangelical and Christian!

Captain’s Note: The Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Executive Director, Ralph Reed, has endorsed Ted Cruz. Now what will Evangelicals do?

It is important to note, however, that Trump has received no endorsements from a sitting member of Congress.

So what’s really going on here? Is Trump really serious about being President?

The Captain sees two possible scenarios here.

First, hopefully, Trump is filming another reality show. Unfortunately, the other Republican candidates don’t know that they are the contestants.

But here’s a more likely scenario.

Did you ever see the 1983 movie “Trading Places”? It stars Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Lee Curtis.

So you know the Captain has seen it many times!

In that movie, Wall Street investors Mortimer and Randolph Duke make a bet with each other – for one dollar – that they can ruin the life of one of their up-and-coming managing directors (Aykroyd) and replace him with a poor street hustler (Murphy). As this “nurture-vs-nature” experiment unfolds, Murphy overhears the Duke brothers laughing about their bet, and he teams up with Aykroyd to get revenge and make things right.

Jamie Lee Curtis plays the beautiful and kind-hearted prostitute who helps Murphy and Aykroyd get their revenge.

So here’s what the Captain thinks. You know Trump has long entertained the idea of running for President. You might remember this quote from 1998:

It's almost like he predicted 2016!
So somewhere in a back room at one of Donald Trump’s casinos, one of his billionaire cronies made a bet with him – perhaps for no more than a dollar – that he would never be elected President! To make it interesting, the rules would be that Trump would have to campaign while wearing a stupid baseball cap and making the most outlandish statements any candidate would ever dare to make.

Unfortunately, his antics are dragging down the other candidates – and the Republican Party – as they strive to keep up with this apparently new style of campaigning.

With his anticipated absence from tonight’s debate, perhaps real substance can be discussed and the Republican Party will find a better candidate around which to rally.

We can only hope.

Monday, January 25, 2016

C'mon, Peoples!

The above picture was posted on Facebook recently. I don’t remember who posted it. If it was you, dear reader, the Captain apologizes for what is to follow.

Oh, wait. No I don’t. Because this is completely asinine!

The internet is crammed full of this garbage. Pithy little sayings that are supposed to represent little nuggets of wisdom to make someone somewhere feel better about their life.

The problem is, most of these are just hollow sentiments that mean absolutely nothing.

Let’s think about the above meme for just a moment.

…Not for too long, though. It’ll give you a headache!

“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward.”

Okay, I’m good with that. That is how one properly shoots an arrow.

“When life is dragging you back with difficulties…”

Wait. What is that supposed to mean? I’ve heard of life dragging you down. I’ve heard of circumstances holding you back. But "dragging you back"?

What, was this translated from Chinese or something?

But the Captain gets it. You’ve taken a phrase describing the difficulties of life and twisted it around so it will fit nicely with the imagery of an archer pulling back an arrow.

…Because, at least in your world, “Life is like an arrow.”

But someone else said “Life is like a melody…”

“Life is like an ocean…”

“Life is like a box of chocolates…”

“Life is but a dream [sha-boop]…”

So which is it?

Frankly, I don’t feel like my life is like an arrow.

The Captain thinks life is more like a callaloo or a gumbo... a whole bunch of whatever is available jumbled together in a big pot and cooked down into a tasty meal. Add a dash of Tabasco to spice it up a bit and a Red Stripe to wash it down… Yum!

But I digress...

“…it means it’s going to launch you into something great.”

Still with the arrow thing.

Obviously the author of this meme has never shot an arrow. The Captain has. And I can tell you that in the hands of an amateur not every arrow flies off into “something great”.

It sometimes falls short of its intended target.

It sometimes flies wide.

I’m pretty sure there is still an arrow up on the roof of my childhood home.

If not properly notched, the arrow will even fall impotently at your feet.

I suppose in that way life IS like an arrow!

“So just focus, and keep aiming.”

But you just told me my arrow is necessarily going to be launched out of my “difficulties” “into something great”! Why would I need to “focus” and “aim” if I’m already destined for greatness?

And, hell, if I could “focus” I might not be having those “difficulties” in the first place!

Oh, you know you laughed!

Yes, I know. The Captain is just a heartless S.O.B., robbing all the joy out of overly-simplistic internet memes, depriving you of the pleasure of giving simple-minded people a moment of false hope.

But false hope is just that. It is a lie.

It is not something in which to entrust your future.

And frankly, until you are willing to enter into the Captain’s “difficulties” and see what is REALLY ‘dragging me back’, don’t bother me with your sappy sentimentality.

Now, for that Callaloo…
Gratuitous Bottle of Beer!
Consume responsibly, mateys!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Let's Do the Time Warp Again...

It has been a difficult start to the New Year for the Captain. I wish I could "Time Warp" and start it over again.

It seems every time I turn on the news or open up Facebook, someone else has died.

Wayne Rogers.

Natalie Cole.

David Bowie.

Alan Rickman.

Dan Haggerty.

And then, as I was doing some research for this post, I discovered that actor Tim Curry had a stroke back in 2012 which has left him wheel-chair bound.

This photo was from June 2015 when he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Tony Awards Ceremony.

What the hell have I been doing these past three years? How did I miss this?

It comes as a hard realization that one is growing old when your childhood heroes begin dying off.


In some cases too soon.

But this post is not about the deaths of my heroes. This post is about a travesty that is about to take place related to another great institution: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

The Captain was introduced to RHPS in the early 80s. A group from college drove to Memphis to catch a midnight showing. During seminary it was an annual Halloween tradition to go see RHPS after the campus Halloween party. I’ve seen the movie numerous times since.

At one showing there were only three other people in the auditorium – a Dad & Mom with their 9-year-old daughter who sat in the row right behind me… in an empty theater!   

Aaaarrrggghh! I hate that!

It was kinda fun listening to the child’s questions though…

But I digress…

It was announced in April of last year that Lou Adler (the producer of the original RHPS) is teaming up with FOX to create a remake of the 1975 cult classic, scheduled to air on Halloween of this year.

The Captain sees two immediate problems.
     1) No one will ever be able to remake RHPS. Nor should they! I realize it is still performed on stages around the world with a wide variety of actors. But to remake RHPS would be like remaking the original "Star Wars" movie and renaming it "The Force Awakens".

As the slogan goes, “Often imitated, never duplicated”. 

     2) Even in 2016 you can’t show RHPS on network television without some serious editing, thus doing serious damage to the production. The script is full of subtle (and not so subtle) inuendos, double-entendres, sexuality (of many sorts), and partial nudity.

But what really twists the Captain’s sails is the casting for this travesty.

The key to a great RHPS is having a great actor like Tim Curry to portray Dr. Frank N. Furter, the “sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania”.

‘One Million Moms” will have a collective stroke from that line alone being sung on national television!

So who has been cast for this prize role? Laverne Cox of the hit TV show “Orange Is the New Black”.

Wait. What? A woman?

Oh, wait. I see what they’ve done. You see, Laverne is a transgender woman, so...

At least she looks good in a corset.
Uhmmm… Okaaaaaaay…

No, I still don’t get it.

Moving right along, here’s the original Brad & Janet, made famous by Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon.

And here's the new Brad & Janet, Victoria Justice (who?) and Ryan McCartan, one of Disney Channel's stars.

Here's the original Riff-Raff, brought to life by Richard O'Brien, one of the show's original screenwriters.

And the new Riff-Raff, Reeve Carney (from "Penny Dreadful").

Folks, the Captain is just not feelin’ it…

But today’s announcement is what triggered this post. The role of Eddie, made famous by the inimitable Meatloaf...

...will be played by… [drum-roll please]… American Idol star Adam Lambert.

Aw, hell, no!

As if this isn’t enough to make me choose to watch a rerun of “Friends” instead of this ship wreck of a remake, here's one more factoid to keep you awake at night: the show will be pre-produced, directed and choreographed by Kenny Ortega – who gave us “High School Musical”.

What channel will that “Friends” reunion be on?