White Christmas?

Within the confines of the hovel at my new gig I can hear music played lightly by the gal next door. This is a new concept for me as at the last place playing music without headphones was banned under penalty of confining one to the cubicle overnight while a merger of Bieber and Kanye was played via massive loudspeaker for eight straight hours. Needless to say, nobody violated this regulation. But here it’s considered okay.

This doesn’t bother me as much as I would have expected. Half the time she plays classical music which is soothing to hear as I grind away and contemplate what’d be like to actually one day have a job I enjoy. Sometimes she plays weird pop rock or whatever and I have to break out my headphones to drown it out with music of my own. This is fine too. But being the season, she’s progressed to the occasional Christmas music.

I’m not sure if I can handle this. Christmas is a long 12 days away. A lot of Christmas music is great, classic stuff. But when you really think about it a whole bunch of Christmas music is terrible. The ones where somebody whines about their relationship during the Christmas season are the worst. Nobody cares people, dating is just as much a wheat thresher in May as it is in December. Live with it.

But also, to me Christmas music is an intensely personal experience. At the height of its powers, it evokes memories of childhood where we would all pile into the van to drive to Grandma and Granddad’s place. In the dark, cold Christmas night my Dad would invariably switch over to Christmas music on the radio for the length of the drive. These are nice memories. All my grandparents and my Dad have moved onto the next realm, so the music is especially poignant. As it is, Christmas music almost becomes kind of sad for me, like a requiem.

Lots of people aren’t in the Christmas spirit either this year I guess. Go ahead and read anything online or in the papers recently and apparently the universe is over. Earth is finished. Christmas is cancelled. You’re a walking bleached skeleton. By June of this year, machines or aliens (or both) shall be our masters, dogs and cats will have lived together and procreated creating a master race of pet, The Walking Dead will have somehow become a good television show, and Trump will have become that guy in Star Wars with the wrinkled creepy monster face.

Gee wiz, I had no idea we were that doomed? Though I sadly suppose it’d be the same hysteria regardless of what loser won this last election. Hey you know I didn’t vote for either of them, both of them were terrible, but I never (and still don’t) had it in my mind that either one of them could actually destroy anything. Go read the Constitution, or contemplate how little Obama has been able to accomplish after eight years.

The way I look at, is to default back to my Grandma and Granddad. For you see, they did four Christmas days at war. Think living under Trump or Clinton would have been bad? Trying living through Christmas Day 1942. Unless you happen to live in Syria, we cannot comprehend the struggle and terror of those Christmases where whole cities and countries were being swallowed whole. My Granddad did Christmas Day 1944 under fire at the front within the Battle of the Bulge. Merry Christmas! Signed, your friend, Adolf.

This was a war that killed 300K Americans, probably around 100 million worldwide. One in nine Americans served in uniform. The equivalent number today is if four years from now 30 million Americans were in the military. This is beyond our comprehension.

So later on in their lives I have this idea that Christmas 1956, 1972, or 1986 was always very special for them. They could go back and look at their kids and grandkids and remember just how bad it’d been. Instead of all that nightmare, they could lean back on the couch, sigh deeply, and truly appreciate the joy of Christmas that surrounded them. More than anything, that war defined a whole lifetime’s existence.

Of this, I offer as further evidence the 1954 movie White Christmas. If you haven’t seen this movie, gather the kiddies and those you love, and watch this movie. It’s just too wholesome good not to watch. It’s got a great fun plot, decent music, good dancing, and is basically just an enjoyable time. But at its heart this is a movie about two guys who got shelled together doing everything they can to aid their former general and his failed business. And they get hundreds of their war buddies to help out. It’s a story where memory of the war bleeds through.

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I think that White Christmas connection lasted about seven decades. In an equally godawful presidential election of 1972, you could have voted for Nixon (liar, lunatic) or McGovern (dreamer, lunatic). But regardless of who won, you would have remembered that after Christmas 1943, it couldn’t be much worse.

And indeed, Nixon rightly got his ass kicked out of office and the country somehow didn’t implode. And if your neighbor in 1973 had voted for the other guy, then that was okay because they’d been 19 miles to your left on the front lines and so they were an alright dude regardless of who they voted for.

Now, 75 years later that type of deep societal connection is just about gone. There is literally nothing holding the vast majority of the American psyche together. This is another bother for me with Christmas music. All the good ones were written with this 1956, 1972, or 1986 mindset. These songs were written for people who’d literally been through hell, and could fully enjoy the Christmas meaning and spirit.

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“Merry Christmas, Motherfuckers!”

Who would write an appropriate hit Christmas tune today? No Kanye rapper or Bieber-like-man-child has it in them. Even if they did, would anybody listen or would people just hear it and get sad because they’re too mentally wrapped up in what Trump said about the percentage of glycerol in Twinkies on Twitter?

Do you hate your neighbor and fellow human? Maybe you should. Let’s hate everybody! Christmas spirit? Nonsense! Christmas is yet another day on the calendar to contemplate how awful everything is.

happy hilary.jpg

“Hmm, 60 million have had Christmas ruined because I should never have run.  Hmm, eh, fuck it.”  [lights cigar with $1K bill inside $27.3M mansion]

I have in mind, to write this Star Trek episode. It’s a Christmas episode special. In it, Kirk, Picard, Spock, and Data roll down to some waste planet accompanied by four Red Shirts. They go exploring around. Red Shirt 1 accidently blows himself up with his own phaser. Red Shirt 2 dies from food poisoning after last night’s failed turkey mole dish (true story). Red Shirt 3 gets dragged behind a rock by what the audience sees as a crab-like shadow.

Red Shirt 4 whilst walking upon a ledge gets scared by a monster neither he or the audience can see, and he falls off the cliff to his death. So then there are Kirk, Picard, Spock, and Data investigating the ledge where Red Shirt 4 fell.

Data scans the area and he’s like, “Captain, my scans show there to be zero evidence of alien activity in this sector. It is thus reasonable to conclude, that Ensign Timmy was alone here. Before he fell.”

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Spock nods, and he’s like, “I agree, Captain. Fascinating. It is thus logical to conclude, that whatever Ensign Timmy saw, was contained solely within the confines of his mind.”

spock-speaking

Then Picard, looking straight at the camera, earnestly, with campy Christmas music playing, in a scene worthy of 1979 says, “Why, it would seem, that even in this Christmas season, our darkest fears can overcome us, blind us, and lead us across a fatal line. Perhaps, it is time, during this season above all, to look deep within ourselves. For our own optimism, our own guidance, our own Christmas joy.”

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And all four guys nod happily at this revelation as the music reaches its crescendo.

Then, out of nowhere a giant crab monster jumps out from behind a rock. It attacks Kirk and rips open his shirt.

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Then the crab pulls a knife.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ9FdpLfL98

Kirk spends four and a half minutes going hand-to-hand with the crab monster, ultimately beating him to death with a rock. And Kirk’s screaming and panting over the mangled crab monster corpse. Picard, Data, and Spock are just looking at him, like, “Dude, calm down.”

Eh, either way.

White Christmas? My friends, it is your choice. In the next 12 days you’ll be bombarded with the black, the dark, the unpleasant. Choose the White. Choose optimism, to love your neighbor, to be kind even to your enemies. This is what it’s about. We need more of it. Now more than ever.

Bond villains and my lack of art skill

Both my Brothers have music and/or art skills.  When I was a kid I played the piano, about average I’d say.  I gave that up as I grew older but recently I’ve been trying to get back into it with very mixed success.  It just doesn’t come naturally to me.  My older dog will come lay with me as I play and even he’s not impressed, and he thinks I walk on water.

I think it’s the same way with art.  I remember really wanting to draw well when I was a kid.  But I couldn’t.  I used have those coloring books where you could trace out a drawing that wasn’t your own.  So it looked like you could draw real well when you actually couldn’t.

I distinctly remember as a little one drawing this cool car at school and it looked really nice.  So this girl walks up and is very impressed with my art skills.  But I had to show her the trace book and admit it wasn’t my talent.  She was not impressed and walked away.  I guess I blew that one.  She probably grew up to be a supermodel.  I should have lied to her.

Anyways, I bring this up because this morning I got it in my head to write about how Mark Zuckerberg is a future Bond villain.  And I had this idea to paste Zuckerberg’s machine-engineered-cosmetic-skull atop a Bond villain frame I found online.  After about ten minutes of struggling to make this happen, I gave up and remembered that I have no art skills.  But hell, even The Onion guys struggle to make their composite shots look clean sometimes.

But hey, it didn’t actually matter because somebody online already did for me!

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Must be just pure chance that somebody else already thought of this one?

Either I have already said it on this blog, or maybe it was in person to folks, that I genuinely would be uncomfortable sharing a room alone with Zuckerberg.  I don’t sit in coffee shops.  I get my black coffee and go.  But let’s say I was alone in one early with just one employee there.  And I’m drinking my coffee and reading my paper.  Zuckerberg comes in and orders an $11 fancy cup.  He then sits down and starts playing with some kind of square screen.  Then the employee excuses himself to go to the bathroom.  So Zuckerberg and I are in there alone.  At that point, I’d have to get up.  I’d be out the door so fast.

I use this dude’s product every day.  So he puts out a quality app, that is also kind of invasive and creepy at times.  Anybody else get slightly weirded out when Facebook does that Good Morning greeting now?  Or how about when it offers to make you and your co-workers friends simply because it knows you both logged on from work via a similar IP source address?

Beyond the making of a decent product though, Zuckerberg is just a creepy guy.  Just watch the way he talks to people or does interviews.  It’s just uncomfortable to observe, but he has more power and money than Buddha so he gets away with it.

In about 30 years he’ll be a Bond villain for sure.  He’ll have kidnapped ten little urchins off the street in an attempt to harvest their power so he can live forever.  Or he creates Facebook X, his plot to use all the Like data he’s acquired over the decades to build a Moon Base (because why not).

He already has some of the tendencies required to lose his morality on the road to evil villain status.  Here’s a shot of him jogging in Tiananmen Square to suck up to the Commies.  Note the pack of cigarettes in the background that he had to smoke in the process.

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All in the vain hope that China might open its doors to Facebook so it can effectively compete for the honor of getting its clock cleaned by a more successful organic Chinese option.  Anybody ever hear of Uber China?  It’s in the library logged in the Sports Authority section.

If you follow the plot of Bond movies, Zuckerberg has to be old to play the villain right.  He’s 32 today.  So give him three decades and he’s 62.  Bond is let’s say 30 when he’s in his prime.  Which means that the future Bond who will battle Zuckerberg in the duel of the fates could be born about today.  Did you have a kid recently?  Your child could be that Bond.

So when your child drops Zuckerberg off the penthouse level of a 340 story office block or blows him out into space, you’ll know you’ve contributed your necessary offering to the betterment of all mankind.  After all, Bond wouldn’t be Bond without a good villain.  A bad guy worthy of an epic bad guy death.  So maybe it’s all for a purpose.  Zuckerberg’s just walking his appropriate path toward the airlock.  Cool, walk on dude.

Donald-Pleasence-as-James-Bonds-arch-nemesis-Ernst-Stavro-Blofeld

“For you see, Mr Bond, the newest version will display ads [dramatic pauses] 23 percent better on mobile devices.  Ahahahahaha!”  [Bond pounds fist into palm]

we nitpick the worst trailer in screen history

If it is indeed true that all good things must come to an end, then it’s assuredly also true that all bad things never seem to end, or that things that were once good, but became bad, must last forever.

Were you once a young-degenerate-loser too?  I sure was (past tense, I swear).  Remember when this show was actually good?  I bet you don’t.  For if you saw the last few seasons / movie you undoubtedly came to the realization that when a show doesn’t end at the right time, it becomes horrible.

I’m not quite sure what Fox is thinking, other than that they’re banking on many degenerate-losers at least viewing it for nostalgia sake.  But the last movie was awful and made no money.

If they want more money, they sure got off to a bad start.  With the most boring trailer I’ve seen in a long time.  Even the music sounds like it was written by a failed engineering student turned high-art-musician.

Eh, whatever, let’s have at it!

 

why the name

Why do they have to show her holding the phone with his name on it?  Can’t they just have her answer and we hear his voice?  Then we know it’s Mulder, without actually seeing the text.  Do they think we forgot his name?  Are they trying to trigger the part of our brains that’s activated by textual memories in addition to visual memories?  Get outta my head, Fox!

 

he's right there

But this is all besides the point because in fact, he’s standing right there!  He’s thirty feet in front of her!  Why is he even calling?  He could just tap on the glass.  If you rewind, you see from the aspect of her eyes that he is clearly inside the 45 degree arc that enables most humans to notice when another human is creepily standing in front of a glass door without knocking.  What’s going on here?  We haven’t even started and already I have no idea what’s going on again.

 

evil drone

Evil!  Drones are so evil.  They’re the new black unmarked helicopters.  Do you get it?  Evil!

 

then do something about it mulder

“Then do something about it, Mulder?”  Uh, hey Mitch, you’re like the Assistant Director of the freaking F.B.I.  Why don’t you do something about it for a change?  Don’t you have like 3K goons on speed dial?  How about you take care of this one instead of outsourcing the planet’s problems to a vicious-boring-sex-addict?

 

'splosions!

‘Splosions!  I’m so excited.  Nobody has ‘splosions on screen anymore.

 

boring mulder

“You don’t understand Scully, since the last time we slept together, I’ve become a vicious-boring-sex-addict.”  Hey speaking of that relationship, what ever happened to their kid?  Wouldn’t that, like, be kind of important to these two?  Seeing as how it’s been like a decade, they should probably go check up on him, maybe baby needs a new trike?  Seriously.

 

roswell

Roswell!  1950s!  Black suits and top hats!  Aliens!  [wipes brow; breathes heavily]  Oh, thank god, I was really worried they’d go with something actually interesting and original.
[smoking man

[unintelligible profanity]  You, have, got, to be… [unintelligible profanity]  What kind of c-grade nonsense is this?  When we last saw this dude, he was getting his corporeal form incinerated by helicopter gunship rocket fire.  How exactly do they plan to talk themselves out of this one?  Time travel?  Alien teleportation?  Intervention by the Divine Almighty?  Eh, whatever, I won’t be around to find out.

 

no, please no

no, please no

nobody ever suspects the butterfly

I saw this dude twice today, if it was in fact the same dude.  When I saw him this morning I stared at him for about five minutes.  Then when he came back this afternoon I took a picture.  But it’s a bad picture on a phone (dude was just too fast), so you’ll have to play Where’s Waldo to find him.  For those of you too young to know, Where’s Waldo was an old smartphone app that’s lost it’s popularity.

butterfly

I have no idea what type of butterfly this is.  I don’t particularly care.  I was fascinated by the complexity of God / Nature that made this little thing to eat while also expending limitless energy to fly around flowers.  This thing weighs less than a penny, but can fly all day and eat and be good to go.  We don’t appreciate it, but little things like this are freaking miracles.

My family’s been through hell and I’m hesitant to talk about it even to my own brain.  But my brother, for intermittent laugh purposes, brought up this Simpsons joke.  I have no idea why.  I didn’t care.  I laughed.  It was enough.  This clip sucks [thanks Fox copyright assholes] but you get the idea:

Then today I saw the butterfly and remembered my brother’s reference from a few days back.  I laughed.  And then I watched the beautiful butterfly.

My other brother (I have two, blessed by God) kept flipping to Gladiator the other day while the family was together.  For those who have seen it, Oliver Reed / Proximo has one of the greatest lines of all time:

“…we mortals are but shadows and dust…”

Yeah, we are.

Nobody ever suspects the butterfly.  That it could remind you of what you are.  But in a good way.  The butterfly is a freaking miracle.  And so are we.  But we can also do poetry, write songs, and drink beer.  So we’re better off than the butterfly.

But next time you see the butterfly?  Stop what you’re doing.  And watch for a few minutes.  You’ll be glad you did.

Arcturus News Muster – Swift seizes West Coast, proclaims New Republic of Love

Cupertino, California – 22 June 2015 – In a shocking joint statement Apple Music head Eddy Cue, speaking alongside California governor Jerry Brown, surrendered unconditionally to the forces of Taylor Swift after a violent, bloody twelve hour struggle.

Battle hardened Silicon Valley warriors solemnly listened as a tearful Cue summarized his decision to unilaterally end all hostilities, “… our forces had already experienced a lot of concern from indie artists whose rear echelon attacks had begun to drain our bottom line, but our recent defeat leads me to the conclusion that our cause is finished.”

Cue later tweeted, “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. We submit to your authority. Please, please just stop. Love, Apple.”

The unexpected termination of hostilities followed this weekend’s crushing defeat of the Valley’s Sixth Division outside Sacramento. Initial reports indicate the Sixth Division suffered upwards of 95% casualties encapsulated by an unverified Tumblr video appearing to show a blood stained Swift holding the severed head of Apple CFO Lieutenant General Luca Maestri.

Panicked evacuations from various Valley campuses were indicated by the numerous private jets, helicopters, and auto-gyros arriving at Aspen bearing panicked Valley leaders toting what meager worldly possessions they could gather as they fled, such as $20K Apple Watches, $15K pop-collared shirts, and a $4 VCR.

Rumors swirled throughout the West Coast that Swift’s forces were occupying government buildings and public spaces riding armored hybrid-electric vehicles blaring “Shake It Off” from loudspeakers.

Governor Brown’s concurrent statement seemed to confirm this capitulation as he’d apparently placed the California National Guard under Swift’s command. “I don’t know what else I can do, my state’s essentially bankrupt, we’re outta water, I don’t remember where I left my keys, but hell, she’s got enough money to fix all this. Right? I think?”

Yet Valley devotees expected Cue’s capitulation would not impact Apple CEO Tim Cook’s plan to run a government in exile until a point he could use Apple’s mammoth reserved funds to build the world’s fifth largest standing army and counterattack.

Said one Apple insider, Tim’s counting on the loyalty of his Foxconn employees to manufacture a bunch of awesome new iWeapons to turn the tide. He figures they’ve been loyal to Apple all these years, and so he can trust them to back his return.”

swift

“I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else you have done: If you betray my rule, I’ll kill you all.”