smashing shopping carts and hugging corgis: just another day in states in contact with the Pacific Ocean

every so often, i like to return from my week-or-so hiatus to randomly comment on some things, and it’s PROBABLY time that we did another one of those “find some outrageous things in the news and get all worked up about them, or, okay, maybe just make some jokes about them, because that is the kind of thing i enjoy doing from time to time. so, alright, here we go:

Hawaii state lawmaker Tom Brower
i’m going to be honest: i think the REAL motivation between this man’s bizarre question to destroy homeless people’s shopping carts is to be seen posing with the sledgehammer

lawmaker takes sledgehammer to Hawaii homeless’ carts

going to be honest here: when i heard about this, i presumed it was some really weird PR-stunt where a lawmaker helped get a bunch of homeless people housed and then dramatically smashed their carts because “they wouldn’t need them anymore” or something like that. you know, a weird maneuver that celebrates something of fleeting value but shows how people Did Something. but then again, apparently Hawaii is fucking crazy. note: i have never lived in Hawaii.

“Hawaii state lawmaker Tom Brower was fed up with the state’s homeless problem. His solution, however, left him branded a vigilante. Brower took a sledgehammer to abandoned shopping carts. “I get a lot of complaints about stolen and abandoned shopping carts in Waikiki, and I was thinking as a public servant, ‘What can I do that would be practical and I can literally do overnight,'” Brower told CNN affiliate KITV.”

okay, let me go ahead and start a list for Brower:

01. work to house these homeless people
02. prosecute them for stealing the shopping carts
03. literally anything aside from smashing the goddamn carts with a hammer

there, that was easy!

“”I’m not doing anything different than doing a community cleanup, or what the city’s administration has tried to do with the issue of people illegally camping on the streets,” he insisted. “I’m just doing it quicker.” He began in late October and estimated that he destroyed about 30 of the carts, which are often used by homeless people.”

please, god, let him have smashed some carts that were totally NOT being used by homeless people. also, i am pretty sure that neither “community cleanup” or whatever the hell the city’s been trying to do with homeless people involve smashing homeless people’s carts. actually, let’s go further: i have NEVER heard of anything addressing the homeless that involves smashing their carts. even in situations where people could not give a fuck less about the actual homeless themselves!

“It’s not advisable (and) not smart,” the state’s homeless coordinator Colin Kippen told KITV. “It’s mean-spirited and is vigilante justice.” Callers to Brower’s office slammed the lawmaker. “What if I smash his car up with a sledgehammer ’cause I don’t like what I see,” one caller said, according to CNN affiliate KGMB. Brower decided to stop. “I guess I shouldn’t use the sledgehammer because it’s a really loaded image,” he told KGMB.”

again, i submit that he just wanted to be seen posing with the sledgehammer. but yes, it’s absolutely mean-spiriting, Brower, AKA GUY WHO RUNS FOR PUBLIC OFFICE AS FAR AS I CAN TELL, I MEAN, I DON’T LIVE IN HAWAII SO MAYBE THERE’S A NUANCE I AM MISSING. also, i don’t want to encourage anyone to smash up Brower’s car, because all that would happen is someone with something to lose would actually get prosecuted while Brower got to preen victoriously on television, but it would be seriously hilarious.

“The controversy marks the latest chapter in Hawaii’s struggle with homelessness. Hawaii has the highest rate of homeless per capita of any state — about 45 people out of every 10,000, according to the Homelessness Research Institute. The only area with a higher rate is Washington, D.C., at about 113 per 10,000. Beautiful weather and generous public assistance programs have helped attract people to Hawaii; very high housing costs have added to the homelessness levels.”

wait, the top two for homeless are beautiful Hawaii and shitty DC? that’s kind of weird. not sure it has anything to do with a flaming need to smash their carts with hammers, but it’s still weird.

“In August, the state legislature approved a pilot program to offer plane tickets off the islands for some homeless people. “We’re going to send them back to their family, a strong support network system where they can get back on their feet,” Rep. John Mizuno said at the time, adding that the plan would “save our taxpayers a substantial amount of money. New York and San Francisco have paid to relocate thousands of homeless people in recent years.”

well, i guess the hammer thing is only marginally more fucked up than “just fly ’em somewhere else.” but honestly, here’s the weird part for me: Hawaii, New York, San Francisco… aren’t these liberal bastions that should be promoting a safety net for their disadvantaged citizens? don’t get me wrong, i understand you don’t want to be taken advantage of, but really? plus, Tom Brower is a Democratic House member of the Hawaii State Capitol? you know… for some reason that wasn’t mentioned in the article, which left me with the impression he was some kind of default “fuck the homeless” Republican.

NOT SAYING THERE’S A REASON FOR THAT OR ANYTHING

(also, there apparently ARE Republicans in Hawaii’s state legislature. i checked.)

“Brower wants to see Hawaii take other steps, as well. “I believe we should have some type of homeless campground because a lot of people on the streets, either they don’t have the discipline to go to the shelter, or they don’t want to,” he told KITV.”

well, he and i agree on one thing: we hope Hawaii takes steps to address the homeless BEYOND “letting some kind of crazy person smash up all their carts FUCK YEAH!” because i just don’t see that being the BEST solution, you know?

alright, let’s get a little saltier…

Jennifer Fearing & Sutter Brown
not going to lie: i would totally hug Jerry Brown’s awesome-looking corgi

critics howl over lobbyist walking governor’s dog

so i had to search up a variant piece because i didn’t want to cite an NRA-ILA article (not because i think there’s anything wrong with it, but honestly, i know people see them as too biased to report fairly), so this might be missing some of the outrage:

“Does the hand that holds the leash of California’s “first dog,” cuddly corgi Sutter Brown, also have a hand in guiding policy with the dog’s master, Gov. Jerry Brown? That’s the question being raised about Jennifer Fearing, the senior state director for the Humane Society of the United States, who critics suggest has turned her role as regular walker of the governor’s dog into a cannily effective way to lobby the state’s chief executive on animal rights issues. Fearing scored a perfect 6-for-6 record this legislative season in getting bills signed by Brown, placing her in the ranks of Sacramento’s most effective lobbyists.

Among the coups for the Humane Society was legislation banning lead ammunition that Fearing said endangered as many as 130 species in California. It was one of 11 bills signed by Brown out of the 18 that the Legislature passed to restrict guns or ammunition. “The question needs to be asked,” said Jennifer Kerns, spokeswoman for Free California, a gun-rights group that opposed the lead ammunition ban. “Is there a conflict of interest with such a close relationship between a lobbyist and a governor” – and his popular pet?”

okay, let’s get this right out in the open: if the situation was reversed, liberals would be screaming for blood over this. SCREAMING. because even if everything is totally on the level, this looks dirty as hell. is Fearing a registered lobbyist? apparently she is. is she arguing for legislation? yup. that should be enough right there for anyone unbiased to say “it looks like there’s a little bit of a problem”: it’s not really about what the legislation is for, other than the fact that those against it will call her out and those in favor will see no problem here. it’s about how this shit LOOKS.

“The Humane Society director, who has strolled the Capitol grounds with Sutter since Brown took office in 2011, said that notion is ridiculous. “If people think I am resting on the furry laurels of Sutter Brown,” she said, they should know that “I work awfully hard to pass these bills, for someone who’s just a dog walker.
“I genuinely like that dog,” Fearing said. “I really enjoy the relationship I have with him” and with his owners, the governor and his wife, Anne Gust Brown. “It’s not contrived or political,” she said. “They let me share him with others … and it’s created a whole aura in the Capitol.””

oh, i don’t doubt she likes the dog and/or that Brown has no issue with letting friends walk him. but that’s not the question, and one should note she basically dodges it with the “i work awfully hard to pass these bills” thing: the contention is not that she does not “work hard,” the contention is that her dog-walking is a conflict of interest (and something she should be reporting). but i will give the SF Gate credit for citing some theoretically unbiased third parties:

“Ethics experts suggest that although the Humane Society head may be a dedicated animal lover, her closeness to the key canine merits a closer look. Fearing is “a powerful person who wants something from the government,” said Jessica Levinson, an expert on law and governance issues and associate professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. With her role in the dog’s life, “she has access to Gov. Brown,” Levinson said. “There are a variety of ways to exercise influence.” California taxpayers, for instance, would have a right to know if “Brown had a kid, and his tutor was head of the California Teachers Association,” Levinson said.”

exactly; it’s about the influence, not about the fact that she likes his dog. i’m sure his dog is awesome! corgis are awesome! i would hang out with famous and/or important peoples’ corgis all day if i could. but i’m also not the head of an organization lobbying for legislation. and if i WAS, i wouldn’t be flip and dismissive if someone questioned my activities. well, okay, i probably WOULD be flip and dismissive because i am kind of an asshole and all that, but i wouldn’t claim there was no issue with a straight face.

this week we enjoy the sweet taste of Bloomberg’s tears: surprisingly similar to Mountain Dew!

personally, i like to savor the sadness of some of the unpleasant people that i regularly make a little fun of around here, and while it might take me a little time to get around to publishing an update these days, i don’t think that can really detract from such enjoyment, can it?

Bloomberg & Friends
the only thing in this picture worse for your health than all those OMG GIANT SODAS is Bloomberg’s smug expression

Bloomberg’s Tears Taste Like Mountain Dew

…which is pretty much the best title this article can have, because it sort of reminds me of that episode of South Park where Cartman is gleefully tasting Scott Tenorman’s tears. granted, it’s a flaw in any analogy if it finds you taking the place of Cartman in it, but hey, here we are. anyway, i think we were actually making fun of Bloomberg or something like that?

“Yesterday New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the state’s highest court has agreed to hear an appeal of the decision that overturned his big beverage ban on separation-of-powers grounds. … The idea that his powers might be limited by law, even when he was using them in the service of what he considered a vitally important cause, left Bloomberg fuming.”

and let’s be clear: Bloomberg is not even mad that he lost a decision on this front. he’s furious that they AGREED TO HEAR THE APPEAL. technically, he could actually win this appeal… but never mind that, the notion that someone dares to disagree with him on this point –and we’re talking about his ridiculous large soda ban here, so it’s not the most cut-and-dry point to make– is the real problem. because Bloomberg knows best or something like that. then again, we’re talking about a man who ran with the argument that changing the law to give him a third mayoral term was cool for him, but not anyone else, so it should be clear what kind of person we’re talking about.

“We have a responsibility as human beings to do something, to save each other, to save the lives of ourselves, our families, our friends, and all of the rest of the people that live on God’s planet,” he said in response to Tingling’s ruling. “And so while other people will wring their hands over the problem of sugary drinks, in New York City, we’re doing something about it.”

i’m not really sure this level of melodrama actually makes his argument more compelling. but i am going to be a little flip and ask why, if he’s in the business of doing SOMETHING to save all these people, doesn’t he use his vast fortune to directly help more people? feeding the hungry or funding hospitals or something like that? granted, that’s expensive, but why is it that all these rich politicians only want to save others by either infringing on my rights or doing something to make me pay for their solution? and i say this not from a position that says the government can’t accomplish anything or that taxation is always wrong.

“Bloomberg wanted reporters to know that Tingling’s decision “was not a setback for me.” Rather, “this is a setback for the people who are dying.” He added, lest there be any misunderstanding about his paternalistic motives, “In case you hadn’t noticed, I watch my diet. This is not for me.””

there’s also a flaw in Bloomberg’s reasoning here that will never occur to someone with his paternalistic attitude: he’s declaring this law won’t affect him because he manages to watch his diet, presumably to include not guzzling giant sodas, WITHOUT the law being in place. and yet no one else can do this? or, to go further, is there no way the average New Yorker can watch their diet without a law forcing them to do so? maybe Bloomberg thinks there isn’t, but frankly, that’s the goddamn problem with Bloomberg: not agreeing with him is a flaw in your thinking, and obviously, a law or twi should be installing to correct this outrage.

“Yesterday he was slightly more restrained: Obesity is the only major public health issue we face that is getting worse, and sugary drinks are a major driver of the crisis. The related epidemics of obesity and diabetes are killing at least 5,000 New Yorkers a year and striking hardest in black and Latino communities and low-income neighborhoods. New York City’s portion cap rule would help save lives, and we are confident the Appeals Court will uphold the Board of Health’s rule.”

it’s touching of him to express all this concern about black and Latino communities when you consider the fact that he wants nothing to do with the black and Latino communities’ concerns about things like Bloomberg’s precious stop-and-frisk. or, you know, anything else that Bloomberg disagrees with. but as a side note, i thought that Bloomberg’s anti-gun noise was based on it being a “major public health issue” as well? granted, he could want to see THAT solved with draconian bans (and by “solved,” i clearly mean “not fucking solved”) whether or not it’s getting worse, mainly because he wants to argue that guns are terrible BUT that his police are perfect and stop all crime without any inappropriate behavior on their behalf. but it still seems… contradictory.

also, i just have to quote Sullum on this point:

“Notably absent from Bloomberg’s comments about the setbacks suffered by his pint-sized pop prescription: any explanation of why he has the authority to do what he wants to do. As with the NYPD stop-and-frisk program, he seems to think calling a policy effective or important is tantamount to showing it is legal.”

bingo.

anyway, de Blasio is making it seem like the city’s not going to be pushing hard for this under his tenure as mayor, which probably infuriates Bloomberg all the more, so while i doubt i’ll be a big fan of de Blasio, i’ll give him credit for this maneuver. and speaking of policemen operating under Bloomberg:

Raymond Kelly
not pictured: Raymond Kelly’s request for a six-man detail to protect him from these post-9/11 photographers!

Ray Kelly Wants 6 Detective Detail When He Leaves Office

Outgoing Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly wants to take half a dozen detectives to protect him and his family after he leaves the NYPD, DNAinfo New York has learned. Citing the fact that he will remain a “high profile target” after he leaves office, Kelly informed insiders at Police Headquarters that he will request the contingent of detectives — each will remain on the city payroll making about $120,000 a year — to shepherd him around town and protect him and his family during their travels, sources told “On the Inside.”

i know it’s the default pro-gun guy thing to point out how guys who can rely on government-approved, armed security are often mysteriously unable to understand why an average citizen would want to keep a gun for self-defense (and why they wouldn’t want that gun to be restricted by laws that attack magazine capacity or “assault weapons” or whatever), but come on, i think we can all see what’s going on here. and i’m pretty sure that in New York, Kelly’s immune to many of those laws that affect the average man –you know, the ones that clearly don’t hurt anyone’s self-defense, right?– so he should be even better off than the average guy. and yet he needs this level of protection?

“Meanwhile, over at City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to take virtually his entire contingent of officers with him — about 17. But that crew — a lieutenant and the rest detectives — will all file for immediate retirement, collect their pensions and head off to work for the billionaire ex-mayor, who will be paying each of them $150,000 a year.”

now while i think it smacks of double-dipping to retire and grab a pension while working a $150000-a-year job, that’s at least something allowed by the current situation, and the $150000-a-year cost is being paid by Bloomberg. but since Kelly’s not a billionaire, he’d like to afford the perks of being one on the state’s ticket because… uh…

“He maintains he needs the taxpayer-funded, round-the-clock protection because he has served for 12 years in a post-9/11 New York and made himself the face of fighting crime and terrorism in the Big Apple.”

so he served in the highest-ranking, highest-paid police position in NYC in “post-9/11 New York” (and i really don’t understand how that makes a difference) and presumably lives in a nice, safe neighborhood with plenty of non-detailed police protection and can’t list any specific threats or plots or even vague notions of them. look, i’m sure that the man DOES have enemies and all, but i’m also sure that every police officer who’s help prosecute criminals does, and they don’t all get six-man detective details. also:

“In 1994, after Kelly served as police commissioner for 18 months under Mayor David Dinkins and was in charge during the 1993 World Trade Center terrorist bombing, he kept one detective to chauffeur and escort him around town. After four months, the detective was restored to regular police duties.”

so to be clear, in PRE-9/11 NEW YORK, he also requesting continuing protection, got one detective, and the city found that was unnecessary after four months. so what exactly has changed. the article also notes the last other commissioner to take taxpayer-funded police protection:

“In August 2000, Howard Safir, who was commissioner for four years, took a 12-member contingent to protect him around the clock. He said the security was necessary because of vague threats against him. After seven months, the detail was pared down to a sergeant and seven detectives. At the time, the size of his detail was sharply criticized by NYPD observers and good government groups. “Any ex-commissioner who can afford his own security or can have someone else pay for it should not foster the cost on the public,” one former commissioner said.”

pretty much, former commissioner, pretty much. frankly, i would think that if Kelly needed a six-man detail, he’d be able to clearly state a) why he wasn’t able to afford his own security (or, i suppose, admit what level he COULD afford) and b) why the fuck he needs this level of security, or any security at all. but hey, what do i know, i’m just a lowly prole and all that.

okay, i realize this is going to be VERY New York-themed (a city/state i don’t live in, no less), but one final one:

Anthony Weiner & Friends
this picture is awkward enough that i don’t think i really need to make jokes about it, but come on, Anthony, raise the tray up!

Anthony Weiner Blames Profile Writer For Not Asking About His Sexting

i know the standing narrative, at least from the right, is that conservatives are for personal responsibility and liberals are not, but whether or not that’s REALLY true, it definitely seems to be what Weiner’s operating under at this point:

“Anthony Weiner has found another person to blame for the implosion of his mayoral campaign: the profile writer who never explicitly asked him whether he had kept sexting internet strangers after resigning from Congress. Weiner launched the trial balloon for his mayoral bid with an 8000 word profile in the New York Times Magazine – a largely flattering look at his relationship with wife Huma Abedin and his redemption after being forced to resign over his online sexual behavior. Left unmentioned was that Weiner had carried on at least three raunchy online relationships after his resignation, including one with Indiana woman Sydney Leathers – whose revelations ultimately tanked his campaign.

Now, Weiner claims the flattering profile wasn’t what he wanted after all.”

now, i think it’s pretty clear in light of all past events that the reason Weiner sat for that profile WAS to prepare for the failed mayoral bid he just staggered through. granted, he PROBABLY didn’t think he’d get flayed for those “at least three raunchy online relationships” because that’s the kind of self-delusional prick that he is at the time… but since that’s what absolutely torpedoed his campaign, he’s decided to retroactively claim that’s what he wanted all along:

“The problem was that the story was completely different from what we thought would be written,” he told GQ magazine. “I thought there’d be thousands of questions about the sexting. But there wasn’t a lot of conversation about that. We had a guy who wasn’t tough enough. We needed someone to just tear away at me. And not someone who would do something sympathetic. He wrote an aftermath story, about two interesting people. Later, I thought, ‘We didn’t get this done. Of the hundred things we wanted to do, the one thing we wanted to accomplish was to get that out there!'” he said.”

now, there’s a couple of issues here:
01. if he wanted the sexting discussed… why wouldn’t he have just brought it up himself? either during the interview, or post-interview, when he had this “we didn’t get this done” moment? is a reporter NOT going to write about Anthony Weiner’s sexting if Anthony Weiner calls him up before publication and says, “wait, we should have chatted about my sexting?” but we’ll come back to this.
02. furthermore, if the issue was the UNKNOWN, post-congressional sexting, how would the author have covered it if Weiner himself hadn’t brought it up? no one really know about it at the time. and frankly, the fact that it was unknown AND that Weiner brought his family to this piece really implies that he wasn’t prepared to talk about it if it HAD been sprung on him. so this is all highly disingenuous.
03. look, if you have “one thing you want to accomplish,” you don’t really have a “hundred things you want to do.” you have one thing to do.

“Asked why he didn’t offer up the information in the many hours of interviews for the piece, Weiner said, “I should have!…That’s on the list of the hundred mistakes you make in a campaign.”

note that Weiner says this EVEN THOUGH he claimed a) he went into the interview wanting to talk about the sexting (“the one thing we wanted to accomplish was to get that out there”) and b) realized after the interview he didn’t talk about it even thought he TOTALLY wanted to! look, the new revelations torpedoed his campaign. i don’t care if it should or shouldn’t have (okay, it should have), but the fact is, this is NOT something he wanted to talk about, or he would have. but it IS something that he wants to claim after the fact to make himself look like less of a flagrant dumbass who took this level of secrets into an election.

“The profile writer, Jonathan Van Meter, bristled at Weiner’s comments, speaking publicly about Weiner for the first time. “Somehow Anthony is blaming me and my 8,000-word story for the fact that everything turned to s— for him. I wish I knew if there was a word for all this. There’s probably a German word for it,” Van Meter told GQ, saying he was told by sources close to Weiner and Abedin that the former Congressman deliberately decided to hide his sexting relapse.”

oh, there’s a German word for EVERYTHING. but in the end, this is telling about guys like Weiner: it’s not about whether or not their personal failings make them unfit for office, it’s about them feeling they DESERVE the office so badly that they don’t let their personal failings come into the equation. and if they fuck it all up somehow, it’s not actually their fault for that development somehow. and people wonder why i have a low opinion of politicians…

alright, that’ll do it for this time!

Juan Cole: presumably a jackass, but definitely in favor of censorship

so what do you say we just turn this website over to janklow just bitching about totally random things that no one cares about? wait, we weren’t there already?!

now, one of the things i do on the internet is read a range of random news/current events/whatever sites and blogs for reasons i can’t really explain, since it’s not like this is required for my field of study or employment and certainly doesn’t seem to add to my quality of life; still, it happens regardless. anyway, it’s usually the case that i get turned on to said site through another and continue to read it because i find its material interesting. in this case, we’re talking about Juan Cole’s blog Informed Comment, a blog on the topic of, to quote the site, “an independent and informed perspective on Middle Eastern and American politics.”

Juan Cole
Juan Cole: noted expert on firearm technology

and i would agree with that; Cole seems to know the topic(s) in question and while i cannot recall the specific reason why i started reading his blog, i was certainly linked there by another author for some reason and enjoyed his work on the topics he purports his blog to be about. i certainly have no credentials or other standing to otherwise malign his work, but then i wouldn’t anyway. except…

so the thing is, a guy who blogs about one topic (even if it’s a HUGE topic that you can easily go down the rabbit hole on) is invariably going to discuss off-topic things of interest, and Cole does that. and one of the failings Juan Cole seems to seriously possess is to presume he is the same degree of expert on those things as he is on his topic of, well, ACTUAL knowledge. it’s a little like listening to Tom Cruise expound on psychiatry: i have no doubt that, whatever his level of natural skill, Tom Cruise could thoughtfully explain acting and his methods… but that doesn’t mean he knows as much about medical matters. now, MOST of us understand this and rein ourselves in when we’re about to lecture people on topics we lack knowledge of. but in Cole’s case…

ANYWAY, one of Cole’s pet peeves is OMG AMERICAN GUN LAWS and, as you can imagine, i have some strong opinions on this as well. now, i do not consider myself an expert, but there are many aspects of firearm ownership that i AM familiar with. but what brings us to our particular topic is this: some months ago, on one particular occasion, Cole began to opine that what the US needs is gun laws on par with Canada and other nations that do not allow the ownership of semi-automatic firearms, a statement that is, frankly, entirely false, and which someone can discover to be false with minimal effort. and frankly, this is a disappointing position from anyone with any level of education, because it seems to me that if i were to argue “let’s install this country’s series of laws,” i would first, you know, LEARN WHAT THEY ARE.

on this occasion, i pointed out, in what i assure you was the politest fashion possible, despite whatever you know about me, that this position was not correct, on the grounds that, well, you can own semi-automatic firearms in Canada. he disagreed and supported his argument on the grounds that i was wrong because… well, because he disagreed. i reiterated my point (essentially, that while Canada has more strict laws in many respects, a total ban on semi-automatics is not one of them), and he then began to delete my posts.

now, i know this is really just being Mad On The Internet on my behalf, but this is the kind of stuff that really grinds my gears. like a professor that rails against 4th Amendment violations while promoting 2nd Amendment violations or something! but more seriously, this is the result of several things:

#01. the continuing misconception by anti-gun people that “semi-automatics” means “FUCKING MILITARY-ISSUE MACHINE GUNS”;
#02. the willful efforts by these people to not bother to learn what they’re actually talking about;
#03. people’s misconception that knowing a LOT about one topic means you know a goddamn thing about another topic.

Glock 17
#04. THIS IS NOT A GODDAMN MACHINE GUN

summation: Juan Cole sucks and i have no doubt he’d have harsh words for someone who actively censored his words. this is why i don’t read his site, which was quite informative and enjoyable when on topic, anymore. internet rant over.

50% making fun of racist drunk, 50% guns guns guns. blame Maryland’s illustrious governor for this

Joe Rickey Hundley
Joe Rickey Hundley: “okay, i admit that i am racist and hate children, but i am not THAT much of a drunk!”

man pleads guilty to slapping toddler on Delta flight

so i was walking into work the other morning and this story came on the television, with the declaration from the man in question (AKA Joe Rickey Hundley, whose name is apparently being styled like that of a serial killer) that alcohol “may have been a factor in his actions.” say what?

“The man accused of slapping a toddler on a Delta Air Lines flight early this year pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday afternoon. Joe Rickey Hundley agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in which he could serve up to six months in federal prison, instead of a maximum one-year term he would have faced if he had gone to trial and lost.

Hundley, 61, and his attorney acknowledged that alcohol may have been a factor in his actions on Feb. 8, but both gave more weight to the fact that Hundley’s son was about to die. “I discussed the issues over grief… in AA meetings I’ve been going to since February,” Hundley said when U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Baverman asked whether he’d been to counseling since the incident.”

MAY have been a factor, mind you; sure, he was accused of slapping a toddler and yelling a related racial slur, but how dare you consider him to be a drunk of any sort? in fact, isn’t the way this is supposed to work that you do something awful and/or racist and then, after the fact, run with the excuse that “oh, yeah, i was totally drunk and thus needed to yell slurs!” at least that’s what i learned from that episode of Law & Order: SVU where Chevy Chase is a horrible version of drunk racist Mel Gibson and i just wish Chevy Chase was dead.

also… how does the fact that your son was/is about to die make you want to yell a slur at a baby? still not getting that one. well, let’s read on:

“Hundley was arrested after allegedly striking a 19-month-old baby during a flight from Minneapolis to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, prosecutors said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzette Smikle said Hundley was seated on the row with Jessica Bennett, whose 19-month-old son stood in the rear of the plane during much of the flight. But as the flight descended into Atlanta that evening, the little boy likely became irritated by the change in altitude and began crying, prosecutors said.

Smikle said Hundley used a racial slur when he addressed Bennett about the crying child. “Ms. Bennett said, ‘What did you say?'” Smikle told the court. “Mr. Hundley leaned over and fell against the face of Ms. Bennett.” Bennett told authorities after the flight that Hundley told her to “shut that (racial slur) baby up,” then slapped the child in the face with an open hand, leaving a scratch beneath the toddler’s eye, according to a federal affidavit. “He appeared to be intoxicated at the time,” Smikle said Wednesday in court.”

now, the most i could see is if Hundley hadn’t really used a slur and Bennett said, “well, if i add that he threw in a racial slur, it’ll make him sound TERRIBLE and help my case.” but we’d still be talking about a drunk guy that slapped a toddler, so frankly, i am quite inclined to believe he did all of the above things… especially since his argument is less “i might get drunk occasionally, but i would never yell a racial slur at a baby” and more “GRIEF MADE ME A RACIST BABY-PUNCHER!” i find the latter to be… less packed with veracity.

“Hundley initially pleaded not guilty, and was due to fight the charge in a trial set to begin Thursday. But his attorney Marcia Shein said he decided on Tuesday to enter a guilty plea. “He couldn’t take it anymore,” Shein said after the plea hearing.

She said he was traveling to Atlanta that February evening after having been awake for 24 hours straight to have his adult son, who was lying brain-dead in a metro hospital, taken off life support. Hundley’s son, Shein said, had intentionally taken an overdose of insulin, and died shortly after that. “He lost a child,” she said of the elder Hundley. “And to hear a child scream … he lost it. He was up for 24 hours determining whether to unplug his son.”

now, i don’t mean to minimize the fact that if your son has to be taken off life support, it’s very traumatic… but let’s be honest here, was this really not something more along the lines of “i was completely stressed out (possibly because of the whole scenario with my son) and the sound of a child crying was TURBO-ANNOYING and thus i reacted out of mindless rage?” obviously you can’t say that and expect a jury to say “SET THIS HERO FREE,” so you have to run with something else… but i’ll tell you, i have seen a lot of people deep in episodes of grief, and none of them have felt compelled to slap a child.

and again… what about grief makes you want to yell racial slurs? oh wait, his lawyer had something to add:

“Shein said her client admits drinking during the flight. “Certainly, he’d had at least one cocktail and he lost his cool,” she said. “He shouldn’t have, obviously, and that’s what he’s paying the price for.””

now, okay, if you mean he’s paying the price “for losing his cool,” fine, we’ll come back to this… but if you mean he’s paying the price for having had “at least one cocktail”… look, let’s be clear about this, he’s paying the price for SLAPPING A TODDLER IN THE FACE. somehow i suspect that if he’d, say, just drunkenly yelled racial slurs in the face of the toddler, he wouldn’t be going to jail for six months.

“An executive for an aviation company in Idaho, Hundley was fired from his job amid the media attention to the allegations. And he hasn’t worked full-time since, he said in court. The plea agreement requires him to seek drug or alcohol treatment and undergo anger-management counseling. “I’ve already enrolled in” an anger management program “and am seeking approval of the government,” Hundley told Baverman in court. “We would ask for probation,” Shein said. “He’s already lost his son and his job.””

again, i understand they’re basically saying “go easy on this asshole because his life has been rough recently”… but come on, while you can argue the job loss thing WAS punishment for this child-slapping, his son dying is not “punishment” he suffered as a result of his actions. in fact, thinking about it, it doesn’t even seem that Hundley is SORRY for slapping this child, just that he feels justified because he was sad at the time.

“Shein said although her client admitted guilt, neither she nor Hundley agreed completely with the allegations. “The racial slur was not the basis for the injury to the child,” she told Baverman.”

nice. this is code for “well, we admit he said the slur, but it should be irrelevant for the purposes of punishing me for this crime.” which, okay, maybe it’s not what he should be SENTENCED for (that would be “slapping a toddler”), but if your concern about the allegations is “well, sure, he was drunk and proceeded to yell a slur and slap a child, but he’s not admitting the slur hurt the child”… i don’t know, i guess a lawyer has to argue these things, but again, i would just have gone with “he was tragically drunk and he’s sorry he’s an asshole.” then again, i am not a lawyer.

also, a little belated, but:

AR-180 meets M76 in

the final (well, if you don’t count lowers for projects) actions before our “lovely” Maryland ban took place: the SIG 551, which i really wish i had the means to construct one of those crazy super-magazines for by clipping four or five 30-round magazines together with their little integral clips (but i won’t, thanks Maryland); and the Steyr AUG, which with that barrel length, i have to admit, is SO GODDAMN TINY. in fact, it’s tiny enough that if it wasn’t banned by name, it would still be too short to pass the “copycat” test. also, please don’t ask me how a “copycat” test is about features and length and not being copies of banned rifles. just… just don’t try to make sense out of it.

of course, if you DO count lowers for projects (and maybe we should, since i listed that last one)…

so damn many Engage Armament E4 lowers

yeah, a couple of things to work out post-10.01. but given the way this year has gone, i think it’s pretty clear these are going to be longer-term projects and not anything that i will be funding the completion of any time soon.

2013: apparently it’s going to be lectures all the way down

so after the tragic events at the Washington Navy Yard, we once again have the president on the news lecturing us about how “we’re going to have to change.” to be honest, aside from some events that have been bright spots here and there, 2013 has been a pretty disheartening year for myself, what with gun rights being SO near and dear to me, simply because it’s been nothing but an exhausting series of lectures about what an awful person i am. i don’t care how confident you are in your self-image, that’s just exhausting.

Aaron Alexis
fuck you, Alexis, fuck you. now i have to get lectured AGAIN because i own a couple of guns

now, i remember back in 2008 when Obama was running for office: many pro-gun people i know were going to vote for him because they didn’t like McCain, they REALLY didn’t like Palin (i’m with them on that one) and frankly, they thought that Obama was going to be so centrist and pragmatic that he wouldn’t act on guns. you could certainly make that case after his first term, when he really didn’t say ANYTHING on the matter, even thought that term included the shooting at Aurora. i have never trusted the guy on the topic since he always had an anti-gun pedigree and frankly, as long as the Democrats keep the call for an assault weapon ban (and more) in their national platform, i will never trust ANYONE they run on this issue. but i saw the case.

…until Newtown and this term, when you could argue he’s feeling safe in his second term and ready to act on guns. this failed (unless you count it buoying movements in states like mine that managed to fuck over gun owners on a state level when they couldn’t do it on a federal one), but it still resulted in a combination of lectures and tantrums, the latter coming most spectacularly when the Senate rejected Obama’s gun control desires. i still maintain there’s something funny about a president who says that a poll claiming 90% support for universal background checks (a conveniently vague phrasing) means senators should vote for whatever Obama wants, while a poll claiming 90% did not approve of his Syria schemes means senators should ignore the poll and vote for whatever Obama wants, but it’s also “funny” in a way where it doesn’t make me laugh.

anyway, the lectures boil down to the same basic concept: if you don’t support whatever Obama wants on gun control –however vague or ineffective that might be– you’re a bad person. i’m not actually sure if he’s more trying to browbeat moderates who didn’t bend his way earlier into FINALLY doing so or trying to shame people who flat-out disagree with him on this issue into feeling bad, and maybe it’s even a little of both. but what i DO know is that he wants to make the point that if you if don’t agree with him on gun control, that:

#01. you’re the problem;
#02. you don’t have compassion for victims, consideration for society, etc;
#03. you should feel bad.

because really, when the shooting at Newtown happened, we talked about mental health… but we’ve really said nothing more about that, although we DID get lectures about how awful gun owners are. or when we see a big shooting in Chicago, we don’t talk about poverty or the drug war… but we DO get lectures about how awful gun owners are. sure, there’s some lip service about “a common-sense way to preserve our traditions including our basic Second Amendment freedoms and the rights of law-abiding gun owners” mashed into every lecture, but i always ask myself the same question: what do these guns actually DO that promotes preserving those freedoms and rights? because all i hear is stuff about banning guns, confiscating guns (if we could, anyway), and so on.

perhaps what it boils down to is this: i’ve owned guns for many years and never used them to commit a crime. but i DO get a lecture every time someone else does something awful with a gun, no matter what gun it is, no matter why they did it, no matter what other factors may have played a role. i get to listen to people who are paid by the Brady Campaign act as simple outspoken victims while anyone remotely affiliated with the pro-gun side is deemed corrupted by the NRA. or listen to NRA money being seen as buying elections, despite the fact that it’s a national organization with millions of donating members, while a billionaire like Bloomberg dropping even MORE money is seen as, well, nothing of consequence.

here’s an example: we always talk about having a “conversation” on these issues. so when Maryland pushed for a huge gun ban, pro-gun guys basically tried to take people who they feared would vote for the ban to firing ranges and explain what various guns really WERE, what the features did, etc, etc. and when this looked like it would result in the bill being watered down –by which i simply mean the ban would have been less severe– our anti-gun governor threw a tantrum and demanded a blanket ban on AR-15s because he wanted it. they’re not used in crime in MD, but he wanted it.

often in the last year or so, i’ll say things like, “one day, i’d like to live in a country where i feel the president gives a shit about me.” i’m NOT claiming that outlook started with Obama’s election, because it didn’t. but he’s definitely proven that’s the way i’ll feel for all eight years of his time in office.

fundamentally i know this is me being salty about being lectured and i understand that other people don’t feel the same. some probably ENJOY getting lectured by the president when he’s unhappy. i just want anti-gun people to remember this when they’re wondering why we’re so unwilling to compromise.

side note: while commenting on the fact that Colin Goddard presents himself as an “outspoken survivor” of the shooting at Virgina Tech when he should REALLY be identified as a paid employee of the Brady Campaign, i learned that remark is apparently over the line for the Washington Post comment section. live and learn, i suppose. but we should be clear that that is, in fact, what he is.

a quick one while our motivation is away

let me be honest, i would be lying if i said either of the following things: #1: that i wasn’t sincerely trying to keep our formerly-standing practice of “one update a week,” which to be frank, is about the maximum output i can manage under my solo power; and #2: that, let’s be honest, it’s just not happening, which i find VERY aggravating as we’re winding down 2013 into “whatever is going to happen around these parts in 2014.”

actually, it’s a weird dilemma, because it leaves me in a weird limbo of feeling like i am not getting enough done in terms of updating (which, to be fair, is ALWAYS true) and yet not enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of “eh, fuck it, i’m taking a break from feeling any sort of responsibility for this nonsense” because i really DO feel like i owe some output here and can’t really enjoy not getting it out. so… let’s focus on some other unpleasant thing. why not?

Members of a police SWAT team conduct a door-to-door search for 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev on April 19, 2013
“unassuming, quiet professionals operating without the need for recognition”

SWAT cop says American neighborhoods are ‘battlefields,’ claims cops face same dangers as soldiers in Afghanistan

i’m always really torn about Radley Balko’s current blog, because i love his work (if nothing else, i cannot think of any other non-gun owners who are bothering to really stick up for gun rights), but his current work forces me to link to the Huffington Post (ugh). that’s fine, though, let’s keep it moving. so Balko’s book Rise of the Warrior Cop came out recently and i have, unsurprisingly, enjoyed it. it’s filled with many sad, sad turns in the militarizing of policy, as you can PROBABLY guess from the title and all. anyway, recently it’s been that phase where the book’s out there and feedback on it, as well as Balko’s related work, is getting lofted around. which brings us to this article by Sgt. Glenn French.

now Balko properly rips this and so i don’t want to be redundant, but here are some additional thoughts and invectives and the rest regarding that essay:

“SWAT Operator with Sgt. Glenn French”

so i have to assume that “SWAT Operator” is a PoliceOne.com thing and not something French is using to identify himself. still, as Balko points out with other examples, notice how it’s SWAT [b]OPERATOR[/b] and not something like “SWAT Officer.” i know it’s pretty common to mock the guys fully embracing the ‘tacticool’ by noting how much they consider themselves to be high-speed, low-drag operators, but it works here: even a SWAT team member is supposed to be a police officer, not a special forces operator. i know they’re highly trained, i know they’re not patrol cops, i know many of them are legitimate bad-asses in every sense of the word. but if you want to be a Green Beret, you have to go be a Green Beret. SWAT is supposed to be something else.

French then goes on to actively declare police officers should act like soldiers (“we trainers have spent the past decade trying to ingrain in our students the concept that the American police officer works a battlefield every day he patrols his sector”) and throw out dubious statistics (“The fact is, more American police officers have died fighting crime in the United States over the past 12 years than American soldiers were killed in action at war in Afghanistan. According to ODMP.org, 1,831 cops have been killed in the line of duty since 2001. According to iCasualties.org, the number of our military personnel killed in action in Afghanistan is 1,789”) and to some extent, okay, you have to expect all this, even if you don’t appreciate the deceit. Balko on the numbers:

“Even accepting French’s preposterous premise here, his numbers are wrong. The U.S. has lost 2,264 troops in Afghanistan, about 22 percent more than French claims. Moreover, more than half police officer deaths since 2001 were due to accidents (mostly car accidents), not felonious homicide. Additionally, depending on how you define the term, there are between 600,000 and 800,000 law enforcement officers working in the United States. We have about 65,000 troops in Afghanistan. So comparing overall fatalities is absurd. The rates of cops killed versus soldiers killed aren’t even close. And that’s not factoring in the soldiers who’ve come home without limbs. The dangers faced by cops and soldiers in Afghanistan aren’t remotely comparable.”

now French does, to his slight credit, acknowledge that SWAT teams are often used when they should not be and should strive for professionalism. but he undercuts all his points: he notes SWAT teams are deployed when “unnecessary and, more importantly, unjustified”… but he says that right after claiming they face the EXACT same threats as soldiers, so who can say when they’re truly “unjustified?” he states SWAT teams should be composed of “unassuming, quiet professionals operating without the need for recognition”… but doesn’t ever fault ANY aspect of the police tactics that deploy military-style helicopters or armored vehicles and swarms of men in full battlefield kit on the streets? take the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing: was that level of gear truly necessary for the threat faced? and does it represent “unassuming, quiet professionals?”

like Balko, i don’t say any of the above to bash cops, most of whom work unpleasant hours at thankless jobs and who DO face real danger in their work. SWAT teams ARE necessary in many situations. but while that’s all well and good, i don’t think we need this breathless declaration that the average beat cop is stuck in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban when he’s on duty.

starts out kind of angry, ends up kind of tired and depressed: welcome to HOH in 2013

one of the things that drives me crazy is that i have some half-assed rant to get out regarding something topically, but by the time i get around to finishing it off, some time has passed (what else is new) and it seems almost pointless to get into the stuff at that point. but with the ongoing quest to get everything caught up by the time 2014 hits… well, fuck it, let’s live in the recent past a little. some of the points may even still be valid. which brings us to Anthony Weiner and Bob Filner.

Anthony Weiner
i am truly unsure as to what this expression is supposed to be conveying. no fucking clue at all

brief aside: i know that’s a particularly unflattering picture, but damn, who is voting for THAT to hold office?

anyway, so i think we all know the brief background here: Weiner was bounced from office for a sexting scandal, decided that the world NEEDED his services and tried to get back into the game by running for mayor of New York, and then saw that campaign derailed (and that’s putting it nicely) by ANOTHER sexting scandal that came out of nowhere. we’re just going to skip over the morality/issues of the whole sexting mess, because there was/is really just three points i wanted to touch on here.

01. maybe i just accidentally watched Primary Colors too recently or something, but isn’t the whole thing we learned during the 1990s that if you’re a politician who MIGHT have a colorful personal history that could torpedo your political ambitions, then you should have someone basically investigate you to see if you can even make this whole thing work? because with the speed and force this scandal came out, you’d HAVE to think someone on the team could have deduced and pointed out that it might kill the whole mess before it got started.

02. problem #01 with society this points out: voters who will overlook nonsense in order to allow a politician into office because they like them. now, i am not trying to pick on Democrats or New Yorkers or any other demographic that missed having Weiner in politics, really. EVERY possible group out there has some politician that they’re giving a bullshit pass to. but you know, if you DIDN’T like Weiner, you’d find the sexting unsavory. you’d find the deceitfulness (if you don’t want to call it lying) in and of itself to be a reason to say “you know, this guy shouldn’t hold elected office.” i don’t know, maybe i find that i personally spend a fair amount of time demanding the people that represent my party affiliation, my issues, my side, or whatever else NOT be as reprehensible as possible (set to choruses of people responding “why do you have to attack the guys on our side”), so i somehow expect people in opposition to me to do the same so we can create, i don’t know, a better government or society or some shit like that. i am not actually sure why i think this.

03. problem #02 with society this points out: assholes who think their presence on the politic scene is SO VALUABLE that this kind of stuff doesn’t matter. and for that matter, i guess there’s a problem #03 that goes hand-in-hand with that: assholes who don’t understand that this calls their judgment into question regardless of the legality/morality of their conduct. look, Weiner might have some issues once which his stands are important to many voters. great… but you can’t work for them OUTSIDE of elected office? you can’t back and assist a non-tainted politician who agrees with you on these issues? because of course he could, but instead, reflects that we need not someone working on these issues, but rather, someone who needs HIM. frankly, an asshole with this state of mine replacing Michael Bloomberg is entirely appropriate, because his “two terms are only for mayors who AREN’T me” policy puts him in this same category, with the caveat that Bloomberg at least keeps his personal life under control.

Bob Filner
Filner is apparently groping this woman in this picture; judging by that expression, that seems accurate

and Bob Filner is no better, as he proceeded to sexually harass about 18 women or so (irony that this is being done by a Democrat, who has presumably argued that he and his party are the side that cares about women, is noted), bailed on his therapy earlier than he probably should have, and then passed the blame to the city not ever making him take harassment training for the purposes of making sure taxpayers would have to eat the cost of any civil suits resulting from his behavior before FINALLY resigning. now again, could someone not have worked for the same things Filner did? could an orderly and respectful resignation ALSO helped mitigate possible civil suits while showing he wasn’t a complete asshole who, let’s be frank, probably DID do what he was accused of? well, yeah… but then HE wouldn’t have been in office. and how would we get by without Filner?

you know, i do find all this annoying, infuriating, disgusting, and so on. part of what originally fueled this update was that you’ve got two politicians who rose quite high and who are supposedly progressive gents (because, to be honest, don’t we expect this kind of behavior to be coming out of some conservative senator’s office or something?) acting this way in 2013, and how the FUCK does that happen? but maybe it’s the delay in getting this done… but fuck it, i suppose we get the government we deserve. i cannot believe that this is the first time these guys have acted this way. actually, i don’t know that we get the government we deserve, because i ultimately think we don’t deserve guys like Weiner and Filner making policy or laws or anything else. but i don’t see how it’s going to get better in the future. that’s what hurts.

somehow, this update got VERY genital-themed. accordingly, i regret making it a “new gun” update

alright, in order to compensate for that ridiculous Swayze mess that took up so much time last time, i think we all know what we have to do here: quickly make fun of some things we saw in the news at some point and keep it moving. i mean, i don’t want to be too excited about it, i don’t want to be dismissive… hey, it is what it is. and i am pretty sure we’ve done THIS kind of introduction before. so… here we go!

Christie Dawn Harris
here in Oklahoma, we keep it 100% classy

Christie Dawn Harris, woman arrested with loaded gun in vagina, sentenced to 25 years

so i understand that i am appealing to the lowest common denominator by running with a story like THAT, but there are two things from the title alone that make me LOVE this story:

#01. the way it’s worded, doesn’t it make it seem like the specific reason she got 25 years was that she put a gun in her vagina? as if the state of Oklahoma was saying, “yeah, the meth and illegal gun possession are bad things, but wait, you put the gun IN YOUR VAGINA?! well, miss, you’re never getting out of prison again. THUS SAYETH OKLAHOMA.”

#02. the fact that this phrase –“woman arrested with loaded gun in vagina”– will be how Christie Dawn Harris will be known for the rest of her life, barring, of course, her becoming president or winning the Nobel Peace Prize or something on that level. people that don’t know her and would NEVER know her will know she’s “that woman who was arrested with a loaded gun in her vagina.” people who DO know her for many reasons will probably still think of her as “that woman who was arrested with a loaded gun in her vagina.” and this is funny to me. it sort of reminds me of this long-ago Denis Leary bit that i am 99% sure he didn’t steal from Bill Hicks about people remembered for something absurd (specifically in his case, being killed by a poodle falling from an apartment building onto someone’s head).

“An American woman found to be hiding a loaded gun in her vagina and a bag of crystal meth in her buttocks when she was arrested, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.”

also, i may have forgotten to mention that this article is from the UK version of the Huffinton Post for some reason. as in, i don’t know why i got it from the Huffington Post and i don’t know why it came from the UK version. see, this is what happens when you don’t get these updates out the door IMMEDIATELY.

“Police detained Christie Dawn Harris, 28, after a sweep of her car yielded crystal meth, drug paraphernalia, a pistol and some ammo. After being taken to the local jail a police sniffer dog indicated she needed to be searched further. After initially refusing – pleading she was on her period – Harris was eventually cavity searched revealing the previously undetected items, the gun’s handle reportedly protruding from between her thighs. The weapon inside her vagina was a .22-caliber revolver loaded with three live rounds and one spent shell.”

okay, questions:

#01. what was the point of not giving up the gun? she’s already busted for gun possession if ANOTHER gun was found in the car. i can’t imagine that a tiny pistol is the handiest weapon to have in prison (although i guess you COULD sell it or use it, so it’s not worthless). i guess it just seems to me that what’s most likely is you get caught with it at some point and eat more charges, and this time, ones that are ever HARDER to dodge.

#02. one spent shell? you mean you’ve got the foresight to keep a handgun in your snatch for emergencies, but NOT to make sure its skimpy 4-shot capacity is fully ready for action? or was it tucked up there AFTER use? because if the latter is true… well, now i REALLY don’t want to get into a fight with this Christie Dawn Harris character.

also, always with the women and using their time of the month as a proverbial get-out-of-jail-free card, am i right?

“Harris pleaded guilty last month to possession of drugs with intent to supply, possession of a gun and bringing contraband into jail. She was also ordered to pay $1,300 in fines, reports The Smoking Gun.”

i’ve never understood the point of fines in situations like this. i mean, okay, i understand the POINT of the fines. but is some meth-smoking woman with a handgun jammed into her twat likely to be the kind of woman who can pay a $1300 fine, especially in light of her recent plea to drug, gun and smuggling charges? i mean, you’re never going to see that money, so the fines just seem MEAN, if you ask me.

“When the news of her original arrest was broadcast WGN-TV anchor Robin Baumgarten wept with laughter (see video below) as she delivered the news, exclaiming “What?!” Her co-anchor Larry Postash added: “The old caboose pistol; everybody has one.””

good work, Robin and Larry, because that is the EXACT proper way to respond to a story like this one. seriously. who the fuck keeps a straight face when talking about a woman with a heater tucked away (well, MOSTLY tucked away) in her most private of areas? exactly.

Snake in toilet illustration
note: the below article LITERALLY captioned this picture with “Snake in toilet illustration”; i find this unspeakably lame

man’s penis bitten by snake while relieving himself in toilet

well, i mean, if this week’s theme is “awkward things happening that involve people’s genitals…”

anyway, so to start, i think this story has throw guys for a loop, because it seems like either you have to go with something lame like “snake bites man’s ‘snake’ on the toilet” (really? man’s “snake?”) or else something that seems redundant like the above “Haifa man’s penis bitten by snake while relieving himself in toilet.” was i supposed to assume he might have been doing something ELSE in the toilet?

“A man was rushed to a hospital after a snake bit his penis while he was relieving himself in a toilet, according to hospital officials in Israel.”

which i suppose DOES raise the question of, hey, how exactly was he relieving himself that he didn’t see the snake AND the snake was close enough to bite his penis? because it certainly sounds like there’s some jokes to be made about men sitting down to urinate…

“The man, 35, of northern Israel was bitten on Friday after the snake suddenly appeared from inside the toilet. The man suffered minor injuries.”

again, a little redundant: isn’t it obvious that the snake “suddenly appeared?” i mean… would this man have started urinating into a toilet and onto a snake if it was just chilling there in blatant view? i will give this guy a little credit and assume otherwise.

“Magen David Adom rescue workers responded to the scene and took the man to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, where he received medical treatment. An examination revealed that the snake was not poisonous. The man told emergency workers that this all happened after he went to the bathroom to relieve himself and suddenly felt a strong burning sensation in his penis.”

not going to make an STD joke, not going to make an STD joke, not going to make an STD joke…

“One of the paramedics said the man told him that he has seen the snake and the snake was very small. According to the paramedic, despite the location of the injury, the man managed to stay calm and even had a laugh with workers at his own expense.”

so i guess i understand WHY you’d tell him, “relax, man, it was a small snake,” but when the snake’s just taken a bite out of your genitals, i don’t imagine you feel much better knowing it was a SMALL snake. like, if a catfish swims up into your penis and attaches itself with with barbs, you don’t feel better because the doctor goes, “well, i’m going to have to open your penis to remove the fish, but relax, it’s a SMALL catfish with SMALL barbs,” right?

“”This is the first time I’ve seen a snake bite like this,” the paramedic said. “Luckily, all tests seem fine and the man is feeling well,” the paramedic added.”

also, i know paramedics, like cops, have usually seen a lot in their time, but let’s be honest: shouldn’t any time a paramedic sees a man who’s been bitten in the dick by a snake be the first time? don’t the odds pretty much dictate no paramedic will see this injury twice? and also, if that’s NOT true, then remind me to move the fuck away from wherever the paramedics live where they see this kind of thing all the time. goddamn.

also, and let’s all be adults and not draw a connection between genitals and this…

AR-180 meets M76 in

feel free to fire up “My Little ArmaLite” to celebrate the AR-180. or… wait, i don’t have a sassy Finnish song to celebrate the Valmet.

so what’s been happening in the great state of MD is that due to the intense wait times (i think we recall an 11-week wait for a stripped lower), FFLs have started releasing early (as in, before MD returns their “not disapproved” background check) based on criteria determined by the dealer. so it just so happens that i was able to meet two different FFLs demands in the same damn week. and if it makes anyone feel better, that was 100+ days for the AR-180 and maybe 20-30 less for the Valmet. go Maryland! not really sure what’s going on with the Valmet’s stock having that bonus pad, but this is what happens when you’re trying to meet a lot of goals by a deadline.

“lyrics will use the phrase “…and I’m Swayze,” meaning that the speaker has become “like a ghost”…”

now, around these parts our unabashed fandom of Patrick Swayze is pretty well-known; while i am not going to argue that he qualifies as the acting superior of, say, Robert De Niro (my default choice for America’s Greatest Actor), i will go to bat as a general rule for his filmography. to be specific, i believe the exact phrase i used regarding this in the conversation that has spawned this update concept was, “i can say i will always stop what i am doing to watch something from Swayze’s filmography, with absolutely no regrets. well, except for that one movie that was nothing but regrets.” granted, i immediately undermined this bold statement by cracking wise about some specific films, but it DID make me wonder exactly how accurate my hyperbole was.

so basically, what i figured i’d do is run through Swayze’s films and see a) if i have actually seen all this stuff, which is unlikely when you consider some of the material, but more likely when you consider i say things like, “well, i have seen that episode of M*A*S*H Swayze guest-starred in about 13 times,” and b) maybe, you know, crack wise about some of them. i am, however, going to eliminate television shows, television movies, voice work and cameos from this list. now let us adventure through the past of Swayze!

and yes, this is the second time in four years i’ve made a list of Swayze things. what the hell? only i think last time i ranked a performance I HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN, so you tell me what the hell was going on there. anyway, let’s move on.

HERE BEGINS JANKLOW’S ADVENTURE THROUGH PATRICK SWAYZE’S FILMOGRAPHY

Patrick Swayze in... Red Dawn
yeah, i’m reusing this image because, quite frankly, have you ever seen a better one of Swayze? i rest my case

Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979); Swayze’s role: Ace Johnson
has janklow seen this? not at all. it seems to have a lot to do with competitive roller-skating (i guess this was popular in the 1970s, because the only films i can really recall having a significant amount of roller-skating going on were ATL and Rollerball), so i am not exactly chomping at the bit to do so. i guess that makes me 0 of 1 for his filmography so far.
janklow’s opinion: well, i haven’t seen it. but the internet DOES tell me that Swayze “roller skated competitively as a teenager,” which is pretty excellent in that ridiculous way that it turns out that Kris Kristofferson has done EVERYTHING in life.
regrets? none! can’t regret seeing a terrible movie i never saw! 1 for 1!

Uncommon Valor (1983); Swayze’s role: Kevin Scott
has janklow seen this? so as i have seen a lot of Vietnam War films, i really, really thought i had seen it. but upon reading the synopsis, it really seems like i haven’t and maybe am just fantasizing some fictional movie where Swayze cuts a swath of vengeance through a plot that’s cobbled together from Missing In Action II and Rambo II. this is a movie that i would watch if it was real, obviously. anyway, 0 of 2.
janklow’s opinion: it cannot be any worse than Missing In Action II, which i have seen at LEAST twice. so it has to be worth viewing at least once. consider this one added to my queue.
regrets? well, Ebert gave this movie a thumbs down, so it probably sucks. still, you can’t regret seeing a movie you’ve never seen. 2 for 2!

The Outsiders (1983); Swayze’s role: Darrel “Darry” Curtis
has janklow seen this? i recall watching this film back in my grade school days because we’d read the book (ugh) and it was one of those “let’s view the film adaptation and Have Opinions about the differences between the two” kind of events. so we’re finally on the board at 1 of 3 Swayze films actually viewed.
janklow’s opinion: so, to be totally fair, i hate the book the Outsiders and i hate that someone’s named Ponyboy in it, and all in all, i didn’t like this movie, although it has a white-hot cast for this time period and i don’t think my hatred of the film has anything to do with Swayze (although i cannot say the same for that “Ralph Macchio” character). and i think it’s cool he worked with C. Thomas Howell in a film before… well, we’ll come back to that.
regrets? not really: i don’t like the source material, but people seem to legitimately like this movie, and i can’t say it was terrible, more that it wasn’t for me. so no regrets! 3 for 3!

Red Dawn (1984); Swayze’s role: Jed Eckert
has janklow seen this? OF FUCKING COURSE. seriously, i used to religiously watch this movie all the time when i was a kid, which is weird because a) i always remember it coming on around Easter time despite the fact that b) back in the 1980s, this was THE most violent film (in terms of that whole “acts of violence per minute” concept) out there. this might explain a lot about my upbringing. 2 of 4!
janklow’s opinion: i love Red Dawn to death. once again, we’ve got a white-hot cast for this time period, plus America’s hero Powers Boothe (i mean, he DOES have a great name) and the plot alone (alternate 1980s where the USSR invades the US and gets fought by a band of teenage guerrillas known as the Wolverines) is priceless. PRICELESS. yeah, it’s not a perfect film, but it’s about as fun as a 1980s movie gets.
regrets? i am going to say no because i ADORE this movie… but i do sort of regret the fact that some money-hungry executives allowed someone to make a shitty, soulless remake of this film. still, that doesn’t count against the original film. 4 for 4!

Patrick Swayze in... Steel Dawn
i think my brother-in-law actually watched this movie on purpose recently. may god have mercy on his soul

Grandview, U.S.A. (1984); Swayze’s role: Ernie “Slam” Webster
has janklow seen this? nope, and based on the long-winded plot summary on Wikipedia, i do not think that i am missing very much in this regard. 2 of 5.
janklow’s opinion: is it weird to anyone else that Swayze has TWO films whose titles end in “U.S.A” only five years into his career? because i find that weird. anyway, this film sounds completely nuts (to quote the aforementioned Wikipedia article, there is a scene that can be described as “Later that night, Candy and Donny are having sex in Slam’s house when, suddenly, Slam appears on a bulldozer and knocks the walls down. The cops arrest Slam.”), but not in a good way.
regrets? well, it’s the movie for which Swayze wrote the song “She’s Like the Wind,” but since they didn’t lose it, i have no regrets in that regard. and if it was all Swayze smashing shit with bulldozers? it would be Regret Central… but it’s not. 5 for 5!

Youngblood (1986); Swayze’s role: Derek Sutton
has janklow seen this? apparently not. i was sort of hoping that it was some kind of crazy 1980s vampire movie (as there can NEVER be enough of those), but it’s just some hockey drama that’s more of a Rob Lowe vehicle than anything. or at least that’s the impression i get. 2 of 6. boy, it really seems like i am slacking on my Swayze viewing.
janklow’s opinion: well, i have known dudes who love hockey movies and none of them have suggested i watch this; apparently Swayze did not sweeten that pot for them. and it appears to end up with an incredible improbable hockey fight AND Swayze gets seriously injured by someone Rob Lowe beats up at the end of the movie, so i think it’s safe to say that if i HAD seen this movie, i would probably have vomited into a bag during it.
regrets? in keeping with our policy of dodging trash, no regrets. 6 for 6!

Dirty Dancing (1987); Swayze’s role: Johnny Castle (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe)
has janklow seen this? i have, of course, seen Dirty Dancing, if for no other reason than i was a kid in the 1980s and my mother and sister essentially forced me to watch it by default. also, did you know Swayze is excellent? because he is the best thing going in this film. 3 of 7.
janklow’s opinion: well, it definitely seems like a movie pitched to the ladies; it’s a coming-of-age story about a female teenage, for crying out loud. but between Swayze and Jerry Orbach declaring that “nobody puts Baby in a corner” (a popular phrase i think i still don’t understand) and the movie’s overall ridiculousness, it’s just kind of fun. that’s right, i support everyone watching Dirty Dancing. although i want to say for the record that i don’t see what’s so great about the actual dancing in this movie.
regrets? the closest thing i have to a regret is not realize for YEARS that “She’s Like the Wind” was written and performed by Swayze. shame on me! anyway, it’s not like that goddamn Seven Brides For Seven Brothers movie. no regrets! 7 for 7!

Steel Dawn (1987); Swayze’s role: Nomad
has janklow seen this? unfortunately, i have. this is, to ruin the suspense, “that one movie that was nothing but regrets.” 4 of 8.
janklow’s opinion: honestly, as ridiculous as this makes me sound, i think this is a good idea for a film: a nomadic swordsman wanders through a post-apocalyptic world (let’s assume it’s America), sort of looking for some guy that killed his mentor, with no one really clarifying the apocalypse or what happened after it, and everyone with edged weapons because no one has guns. then he ends up defending a town against a local dude that wants its water. however, despite the presence of Brion James, this film is an absolute mess: no good action, no good dialogue, awkward chemistry between Swayze AND HIS REAL-LIFE WIFE, lame villains. honestly, i think people consider this to be a rip-off of the Road Warrior and thus doomed to suck, but i think it could have been saved! of course, i also think that about the Godfather, Part III.
regrets? nothing but regrets. 7 for 8. but this was the permissible exception!

Patrick Swayze in... Road House
still the gold standard for bouncer movies, guys; i don’t think we’re ever going to top it

Tiger Warsaw (1988); Swayze’s role: Chuck “Tiger” Warsaw (shocking)
has janklow seen this? no, i have not, despite the fact that it’s nestled in between his great 1980s phase. 4 of 9.
janklow’s opinion: well, this film has an incredibly vacant Wikipedia entry –literally, the contents are “Chuck “Tiger” Warsaw (Swayze) brought sorrow to his family fifteen years earlier when he shot his father Michael (Lee Richardson) and made him a semi-invalid. After fifteen years of self-destruction, Tiger returns home to the steel production community of Sharon to seek forgiveness”– so it’s hard to say if i’m missing something or not, but let’s just assume that this was an entirely forgettable venture.
regrets? it seems unlikely that i should have any. 8 for 9!

Next Of Kin (1989); Swayze’s role: Truman Gates
has janklow seen this? you know, it sort of feels like i have, because this weird plot of “Swayze as a Kentucky-born Chicago cop who gets into an inadvertent blood feud with the Mafia and probably wins, and Liam Neeson is there, and Adam Baldwin is there” sounds familiar. but i am going to be honest: i probably have not seen it, or i would assuredly have strong opinions about it, and i don’t. 4 of 10.
janklow’s opinion: well, Swayze got nominated for a Razzie in 1989; as he also had Road House released in 1989, and since that can’t be what he got nominated for a Razzie for, he must have been deemed to have done poor work in Next Of Kin by the precursors to today’s internet nerds. still, this film features Ben Stiller being tortured to death, and between that and the above synopsis, it’s very hard for me to believe this film is THAT bad.
regrets? well, as we’ve said, you can’t regret seeing a movie you haven’t seen. but i am THIS CLOSE to feeling bad about not seeing it. still, 9 of 10!

Road House (1989); Swayze’s role: James Dalton
has janklow seen this? well, not to be redundant, but OF FUCKING COURSE. in fact, i am pretty sure that a long time ago, i did a house of hate update that covered this. 5 of 11.
janklow’s opinion: if i am being honest, Road House is pretty much the definition of a movie that’s entirely fun to watch and where, clearly, the cast (Swayze, Sam Elliott, Ben Gazzara) is just having a great time with the ridiculousness of it all, but which we cannot (with a straight face, anyway) call a GOOD movie. that said, as a half-assed film snob, i would absolutely watch Road House before a lot of GOOD movies. but i am known to be crazy like that. and i do love me some Road House. my colleague J.Millz pointed out that all door staff in America know and love this film, but i think it’s great for everyone, what with the crazy fights and ridiculous one-liners and all.
regrets? NOT A ONE. it’s goddamn ROAD HOUSE, after all. pain don’t hurt! 10 of 11!

Ghost (1990); Swayze’s role: Sam Wheat (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe for a second time, presumably because Ghost makes ladies as wet as October)
has janklow seen this? well, like i said about Dirty Dancing, i have “if for no other reason than i was a kid in the 1980s and my mother and sister essentially forced me to watch it by default.” 6 of 12. hey, we’re getting back to a respectable percentage of Swayze films seen!
janklow’s opinion: so … you know Ghost is not really a movie meant for my demographic (which would be “cool dudes”) and that’s probably going to seal the deal right there, but to be frank, i still think it sucks as a movie. fine, fine, he loves Demi Moore, wow. but while the supernatural aspects are okay in sort of a nuts-and-bolts way, the thriller stuff just seems lame to me. it’s like a more romantic version of Darkman up in here.
regrets? on the one hand, no, because this is the movie that gave us the title of this update. but to be honest, this is a balance between “it’s very well-known and i can say i have seen it and rate it honestly” and “i don’t fucking like Ghost.” let’s give me a break and say “no real regrets, no matter how convenient that is.” 11 of 12.

Patrick Swayze in... Point Break
i hear they’re going to remake this movie without any surfing in it, to which i can only say, what the hell, man

Point Break (1991); Swayze’s role: Bodhi (for which he was nominated for some damn MTV Movie Award for “more desirable male,” as if he needs an award to prove THAT)
has janklow seen this? yes. and i have actually watched it while sitting on my deck cleaning assault weapons, if you wanted me to hit some crazy “redneck ridiculousness” points regarding Point Break. 7 of 13! a majority!
janklow’s opinion: remember what i said about Road House? “pretty much the definition of a movie that’s entirely fun to watch … but which we cannot (with a straight face, anyway) call a GOOD movie?” that definitely applies here as well. i will weirdly argue that it’s not as good as Road House: Swayze as a leading man is superior to Reeves as a leading man, and i do not even say this to mock Keanu; and Road House, thanks to its setting, is somehow a more realistic scenario for a film. but all that being said, Point Break is still pretty cool. and there’s few Keanu moments as funny as the “rage-shooting into the air.”
regrets? nope, Point Break is terrible, terrible fun. 12 of 13.

City Of Joy (1992); Swayze’s role: Max Lowe
has janklow seen this? yeah… no. sorry about that. 7 of 14. so much for that majority.
janklow’s opinion: well, it sounds fucking TERRIBLE: basically, Swayze is a “disillusioned Texas doctor” who moves to Calcutta and, through a series of events (aren’t they all), becomes very emotionally invested in this slum neighborhood called the City of Joy. that being said, it was directed by Roland Joffé, who has a legitimate filmography (i really do dig the Mission), so it’s probably more serious and boring than anything else. i guess what i am saying is that my opinion is not likely to get any better based on an actual viewing of this film.
regrets? nope, as i have not seen it. 13 of 14.

Father Hood (1993); Swayze’s role: Jack Charles
has janklow seen this? actually, i have, and this might be the last one before we enter a dry spell of Swayze films that i have not seen for reasons of all sorts. anyway, it was the early 1990s and so we’ll blame my mother/sister for making me watch this. 8 of 15.
janklow’s opinion: you can probably guess the drill: Swayze’s a career criminal who, when burdened by the appearance of his kids, first seeks to ditch them and commit crimes (some kind of heist or robbery or whatever), but ultimately goes straight (and probably stops all the crime) because of Love For His Kids. you know, the love that didn’t exist for the years and years they were growing up while he was out committing crimes? then again, i recall Halle Berry being the love interest of sorts in this film, and we’re talking prime early 1990s Halle Berry, so maybe that explains his decision to go straight.
regrets? alright, i waffled last time, so i’ll make up for it here: yes, regrets exist. it’s not a FUN movie. it’s not a GOOD movie. it’s just a stupid fucking family comedy that i cannot remember a single positive thing about beyond Swayze’s glowing smile. full-on fucking regrets, and there goes my contention. 13 of 15.

Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures Of Pecos Bill (1995); Swayze’s role: Pecos Bill
has janklow seen this? a crazy Disney movie involving folk heroes sort of being real? i think i would remember it if i had. actually, in fairness, i think i DO remember some ads/trailers for this movie that featured Swayze, but i cannot in good conscience say i actually remember seeing the movie itself. 8 of 16.
janklow’s opinion: seriously, it sounds entirely berserk: a daydreaming child (fittingly enough, played by Nick Stahl, who specializes in being in crazy movies) goes on to, “through a series of incredible adventures, [meet up] with the legends that his father has spoken about – cowboy Pecos Bill (Patrick Swayze), lumberjack Paul Bunyan (Oliver Platt), and ex-slave and strongman John Henry (Roger Aaron Brown),” and then have them help him fight a land developer. but not so berserk that it would actually motivate me to watch it of my own accord.
regrets? haven’t seen it, so no regrets to be had. 14 of 16.

Patrick Swayze in... Black Dog
are these two guys bad enough dudes to rescue the president? it sure looks like it

Three Wishes (1995); Swayze’s role: Jack McCloud
has janklow seen this? god no. one prays that will never change. 8 of 17.
janklow’s opinion: it sounds TERRIBLE. TERRIBLE. reaching new lows terrible. Swayze is a magical drifter who bonds with a single mother’s child over motherfucking baseball and, i presume, from there works his way into the family dynamic. yes, that is correct, he is literally a drifter and, i think, is introduced to the family when the mother hits him with her car. this sounds like a textbook script for a TERRIBLE romantic comedy to be played on the Hallmark channel and make me convinced there’s no purpose to humanity’s continued existence.
regrets? again, i haven’t seen it, so there are no possible regrets. 15 of 17.

To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar (1995); Swayze’s role: Vida Boheme (for which he received his third Golden Globe nomination; no luck on winning any of them, though)
has janklow seen this? no, and to be honest, it’s probably not anywhere near as bad as i imagine. still, i am not about to risk it. 8 of 18.
janklow’s opinion: i think we all know what the scheme here was: cast three macho actors (well, Swayze and Snipes clearly qualify; Leguizamo is not quite the same level, but is clearly a macho guy playing against type) as drag queens and collect dollars and awards from the results. i don’t think they QUITE got the results they wanted (i guess it was at least profitable), but i suppose they garnered some level of satisfaction from freaking out the squares. well… good for them.
regrets? no; i think this is the kind of movie i would end up being annoyed with even if it was awesome through and through. 16 of 18.

Letters From A Killer (1998); Swayze’s role: Race Darnell
has janklow seen this? no; like i said, we’re entering a phase where i admittedly have not seen a lot of his work. 8 of 19.
janklow’s opinion: the plot (“a man who is falsely convicted of the murder of his wife … during his time in jail, he finds comfort from four women with whom he corresponds … he is finally freed from prison only to be framed for yet two more murders which he did not commit”) sounds pretty ho-hum, so we’re probably talking about something that is either forgettable in every way, or is elevated by Swayze’s performance (as there isn’t much else of a cast involved here). and as much as i enjoy Swayze’s work, he’s not THAT phenomenal of an actor, so i suppose we should be realistic and take a dim view of this film. that being said, “Race Darnell” is a pretty excellent name for a character, so i did miss out on THAT.
regrets? “haven’t seen it, so no regrets to be had.” 17 of 19.

Black Dog (1998); Swayze’s role: Jack Crews
has janklow seen this? unfortunately, no. 8 of 20.
janklow’s opinion: seriously, the plot is Swayze as a truck driver with a checkered past hauling a load of illegal guns which are trying to be captured by criminals who feel cheated (and are led by fucking MEAT LOAF) and the FBI/ATF/whoever, who back in 1998 were less about allowing illegal guns to be smuggled all over the place. ZING! oh, and Randy Travis is his sidekick and there’s a pit bull named Tiny riding in the truck with them. it all sounds gloriously insane, much in the vein of Point Break’s 100% realism, and thus i actually feel like this is one of the few Swayze movies that i have not seen that i really, really should. first Next Of Kin, then Black Dog.
regrets? strictly speaking, i do not have regrets under the terms we have laid out for such regrets. 18 of 20.

Patrick Swayze in... Donnie Darko
this role always leaves me torn between “such a good performance” and “HOW COULD THEY DO THAT TO SWAYZE”

Forever Lulu (2000); Swayze’s role: Ben Clifton
has janklow seen this? as a general rule, a movie named Forever Lulu is never going to be one that i will watch. 8 of 21.
janklow’s opinion: an ignoble start to the 2000s, this movie is apparently so lame that it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. i am sure you can work this joke out in any manner you see fit to, but whatever the worst, most terribly lame movie you can think of is, i bet you that it has a Wikipedia page. unless, of course, the turbo-lame work of film you were thinking of was Forever Lulu, in which case, you’ve won at the internet! look, my go-to film for “the worst fucking film i have ever, ever seen” is Glitter, and Glitter has a goddamn Wikipedia page. this might indicate something is wrong with the world, or that Forever Lulu is really, really bad.
regrets? “haven’t seen it, so no regrets to be had.” 19 of 21.

Donnie Darko (2001); Swayze’s role: Jim Cunningham
has janklow seen this? of course, as it was once very popular with nerds on the internet, and internet nerds are my kind of people. 9 of 22.
janklow’s opinion: i really, really enjoyed this film when it came out, although it’s probably not aged that well (it’s been a little while since i have seen it), it’s more fashionable to bash it than love it, Richard Kelly didn’t seem to capitalize on his success her, and the director’s cut idea seemed ill-advised. but that all being said, it still Swayze’s got a plum supporting role as a motivational speaker inadvertently busted for possessing child pornography, and he really does nail it. so even if you DO find the film more bad than good, you’ve still got his work to look forward to. plus, it’s got a phenomenal soundtrack no matter HOW you slice it.
regrets? no, i still stand by Donnie Darko at this point in time. maybe i should watch it again? 20 of 22.

Green Dragon (2001); Swayze’s role: Gunnery Sergeant Jim Lance
has janklow seen this? sadly, no. 9 of 23.
janklow’s opinion: well, it’s not exactly a Vietnam War film as much as it is an “immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War” film, so my failing to have viewed this film is less extreme. and Swayze/Forest Whitaker is a solid tandem to headline a film, to be fair. but considering that the internet claims “initially, Bui did not want Patrick Swayze for the role of Jim Lance due to fears that his big name would overshadow the story and message of the small film,” my reaction is, “i bet this is one of those films that the writer/director thinks is REALLY good and REALLY important and will just leave me thinking “eh.” this might, of course, be unfair.
regrets? still having no regrets over films i have failed to watch. 21 of 23!

Waking Up in Reno (2002); Swayze’s role: Roy Kirkendall
has janklow seen this? an advertisement calls it a “swinging feel-good comedy?” yeah, absolutely not. 9 of 24.
janklow’s opinion: first off, i don’t understand what “comedy drama” means: dramas can have jokes, you know, and comedies moments of seriousness. so frankly, the fact that someone’s trying to claim something’s a “comedy drama” turns me off completely. also, the plot? well… it “focuses on two redneck couples taking a road trip from Little Rock to Reno to see a monster truck rally.” so that’s strikes two through about one thousand. also, is it just mean, or does the name “Roy Kirkendall” sound like one of those “oh, man, this is such a funny COMEDY NAME” name? also, the cover is fucking APPALLING to look at.
regrets? …still having no regrets over films i have failed to watch. 22 of 24!

Patrick Swayze in... Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights
at least, i am assuming this is Swayze in that movie, because i didn’t actually watch it

One Last Dance (2003); Swayze’s role: Travis MacPhearson
has janklow seen this? it’s a dance movie and i don’t want any part of that. 9 of 25.
janklow’s opinion: to be fair, this is really a project for Swayze’s wife, which he DID probably owe her after that whole Steel Dawn fiasco we talked about above. it’s basically a movie she directed and wrote that revolves around her and Swayze showing off their dance movies. now, to be honest, that’s probably a much better plan than saying, “hey, honey, what do you say we start in a weird sword adventure through a post-apocalyptic wasteland?” since, if nothing else, we know they actually CAN dance. but in the end, i will always give weird sword adventures through post-apocalyptic wastelands 100 more chances than even the best dance movies. that’s just how i roll.
regrets? yes, well, you know my position. 23 of 25.

11:14 (2003); Swayze’s role: Frank
has janklow seen this? i am really getting disappointed in myself for how few of these i have seen. 9 of 26.
janklow’s opinion: okay, so, Wikipedia tells us that this movie “involves a series of interconnected events that converge up to the same time at 11:14 p.m. The connections between the events are not apparent at first, but are gradually revealed by a series of progressively receding flashbacks” … which means it’s 99% likely to be one of those films where the idea is SO novel and SO cool that we spend most of our time and energy on that, and that tends to not leave a lot left over for the performances. then again, it DOES involve someone’s penis getting cut off by a window somehow. that has to count for something.
regrets? yet ANOTHER Swayze film that i have not seen. 24 of 26!

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004); Swayze’s role: Dance class instructor
has janklow seen this? no, no, no, and we’re down to 33% of these. 9 of 27.
janklow’s opinion: so i guess this is a weird scenario where someone said, “hey, let’s remake Dirty Dancing, and set it during the Cuban Revolution for some reason!” okay, granted, the Cubans are known to love to dance, or so they tell me, so i guess there’s that factor involved… but still. anyway, Swayze shows up in here in an homage to the original as a throwaway dance instructor role or something. so that’s cute, but is it really a reason to watch this movie? well, i suppose that depends on how obsessive your Swayze fandom is.
regrets? well, i haven’t seen this one either. 25 of 27.

Keeping Mum (2005); Swayze’s role: Lance
has janklow seen this? (hangs head in shame). 9 of 28.
janklow’s opinion: oh, a comedy with Rowan Atkinson in it? yeah, i’m out. i mean, okay, i know the guy has/had his fans and so i suppose, if any of those fans are still living and employed, that’s who’s being targeted here, but that’s not a demographic i’m part of. i mean, come on, it’s not a Swayze movie, it’s a Rowan Atkinson movie that happens to employ Swayze. i appreciate the effort, but it’s not going to get me to watch some random lame comedy, you know?
regrets? running out of ways to put this… 26 of 28.

Patrick Swayze in... Powder Blue
so i think we can all see what i mean about “trying too hard”

Jump! (2007); Swayze’s role: Richard Pressburger
has janklow seen this? (continues hanging head in shame). 9 of 29.
janklow’s opinion: so this is around the time Swayze’s sick, and i have to think that, since we’re sort of entering the tail end of his career regardless and the TV movies have been especially thick as of late (hence the more sparse nature of these later films), he wanted to do something a little more serious here, which this vaguely seems to be. that said… i don’t really think it can have been that good. more like a sincere attempt to be serious, is all, you know? anyway, i didn’t want it and i don’t plan to and here we are.
regrets? well… 27 of 29.

Powder Blue (2009); Swayze’s role: Velvet Larry
has janklow seen this? well, let’s close with failure: 9 of 30. what a catastrophe this scoring turned out to be!
janklow’s opinion: if you look at the list of people in this film (Swayze, Jessica Biel, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Liotta, Forest Whitaker) and then you look at the roles they’re playing (sleazy owner of a strip club, dancer and single mother, head of a corporate crime organization, former crime employee, suicidal ex-priest), it seems pretty clear to me that maybe we’re all just trying a BIT too hard here. let’s just go ahead and say “well…” and walk away from this whole mess right now, what do you say?
regrets? same deal. 28 of 30.

so in conclusion, i was wrong: i didn’t have just one regret, i had two. but since i was ESSENTIALLY right? fuck it, i’m calling my bold-ass statement accurate. there we go! and now this hot mess is finally concluded after about a month in the making. wow.

janklow stars in… the local mall, which is totally not a legitimate topic for a travelogue, what the hell, man

people that know our hero janklow –and we’ll assume that this includes you, loyal reader, since odds are, if you’re one of the three people reading this, you’re really only doing so because you DO know me and there’s some lingering sense of obligation at work– can probably imagine that i do not enjoy a visit to most places populated with the lowest common denominators of humanity, or, really, any humanity. after all, i may really, really love guns and thus love gun shows, but i’ll be damned if i am not almost IMMEDIATELY annoyed with at least 50% of the people at those gun shows. and those are my people! luckily, they are able to redeem themselves in my eyes by casting pro-gun votes in elections.

anyway, a prime, prime example of a location deeming with the “average man” (and woman) not naming “Wal-Mart,” is, of course, the local mall. now i really, really do try to avoid the mall: generally when i happen to be there, i mostly notice that they’ve phased out more things like books in favor of “additional access to skinny jeans.” and let’s be honest: i worked in a food court of a mall once, and that seemed like it took about 50 years of my life away, so there might be a little bit of a grudge there. unfortunately, i managed to smash all my glasses within a span of a week or so (okay, three weeks, but the last couple of pairs were mashed on back-to-back days, whatever), and when i go to get my lenses replaced… i have to go to the mall.

but luckily, i have some sociological observations!

Israeli Dead Sea salt, i guess
i don’t care how scenic the Dead Sea is, Israel, i’m not buying your exfoliating scrubs if your salesmen are such dicks

the inexplicable nature of this insulting foreigner salesman

so your hero (again, janklow) is hustling to pick up his glasses when this salesman at one of those kiosks (i am going to presume it’s one of those that sells Israeli scrubs based on Dead Sea salts or whatever) asks him if he wants to try something to cleanse his face. now, let’s be honest: most of us don’t like being singled out from a crowd to be sold a product, and i personally am not exception. oh, and i don’t really want to become one of those guys spending good money on facial products; i’m not criticizing anyone that does, but it’s not me. at the same time, one tries not to just be an asshole to random people, even salesmen, because, you know, we’re living in a SOCIETY here. so i politely (i swear) say, no thanks, and keep walking.

now this is typically where you, as a salesman, cut your losses and move on to the next mark, right? not this Israeli dude (i base this on both his accent and his product), who proceeds to take the following inexplicable steps:

#01. politely ask “one moment” and do that thing where you reach out to give someone the IMPRESSION you’re touching their arm/shoulder, but without the actual touching that sometimes prompts a lawsuit and/or a knife in the groin;
#02. apologizes for his English, which, to be fair, wasn’t bad at all, despite his strong accent, but it’s also possible he apologized for his accent, although i could have SWORN it was the former;
#03. sets me up for the burn by asking, “do you use any products on your face?” i answer no (curse you, social contract!), and am about to turn away and keep moving, when…
#04. he hits me with the burn: “well, you should.” and then he immediately goes back to hustling his product.

now, an aggressive salesman is one thing (i do have a story about an unfunny shouting match between myself and a credit card program’s salesman got into fucking RANDOMLY) and a rude salesman is one thing –and let me note that the very concept of “rude salesman” seems pointless, since ultimately you’re supposed to be selling me your product, and i can’t see how being an asshole to ANY potential customer helps with that, but then hey, what the fuck do i know about the sales industry, right?– but a rude salesman who apologizes for his speech before talking shit? who the hell does THAT?

granted, it’s entirely possible that he really WASN’T talking shit, and that it was sort of a “here’s my throwaway advice BUT NOW I AM IMMEDIATELY GOING BACK TO WORK” type of remark… but who does THAT either? and then there’s the whole “you really had to be there to hear his tone BLAH BLAH BLAH part. so i’m taking it how i want to take it: so fucking WEIRD.

ROSIE THE RIVETER FUCK YEAH
in order to counterbalance the incoming sexism, i went with an image of strong female power. YOU GO, LONG-DEAD 1940s-ERA GIRLS

what i shall refer to as “booby trap” girls

DISCLAIMER: this is probably going to get accidentally sexist, so i apologize in advance to all my sisters out there. stay strong in the face of, well, i guess me, ladies.

anyway, one thing i think we’ve all heard is that when you’re seriously dating a woman, you need to examine the condition of her mother, on the grounds that, well, to put it unkindly, that’s what you’re in store for in the future if you keep her around. it’s not 100% for obvious reasons, but you know, for mysteriously reasons like “parentage,” whatever the condition of the mother, you can see the similarities. except…

so i am at this mall and i am waiting for, i think, service on these glasses (the timing of this story is not that important) and a girl and her mother are doing some shopping right nearby. now, this girl is, to put it politely, well put together. not trying to be a creeper here (seriously), just a straight-up observation… but her mother is a goddamn TRAIN WRECK.

now, right, it’s not 100% and you could probably argue stuff like “maybe it’s her stepmother?” or “maybe it’s her beloved aunt with whom she has a mother-like relationship but shares different genes with?” or whatever… but i am going to assume, based on the overheard conversation, that they were actual mother and daughter. and to this i can only say: if some guy doesn’t scope out this mother in advance, he’s likely to find this girl to be one HELL of a booby trap when she turns 40 or so.

these goddamn kids
for the love of good, NEVER GOOGLE SEARCH “FUCKING TEENAGERS” WITH SAFESEARCH TURNED OFF. anyway, these kids are having a good time

me wanting to punch kids in the face

ultimately, i can’t do this: it’s illegal and i am way too small to not pay the ultimate price for it. but i think it definitely speaks to what age you’re at in life: at one point, the swarms of dumbass teenagers seem inexplicably cool, then they’re your peers (for better or worse), then they’re what you look back on and smile, and finally, you just want to hit them all in the face for the myriad of dumbass things you see them saying and doing. granted, i might have going directly from five years old to the latter category, but what the hell, it is what it is. DAMN KIDS!

anyway, that’ll be it for now, so, on to the next one.