Time to tie a bow on it.

Yeah, we’re done here.
This blog started as an outgrowth of my MySpace page back in 2006. We migrated to Google about 2009 just after Obama’s election and then shifted to WordPress a couple of years later. And I’ve extended millions of words on the various maddness of our age. Some of it even came close to being insightful.

But the honest truth is that my heart is no longer in it.

Since Mom passed in 2013. My output has dwindled to a trickle and the quality is not what it once was. I think the last good post was the one about Hobby Lobby decision. And since then, it’s been drabs and drams. And if I’m going to do something, I’d prefer not to do it half assed,

I know I’ve said that before any number of times but I think this time, I mean it.

I turn 50 this year and I’m just starting to throw myself into filmmaking full time. (Well, as full time as pulling down a day job allows me.) And I’m starting to get some traction in that area. I actually got an invatation from the NorthWest FilmForum to submit a couple of short pieces for an upcoming film festival so there’s a good chance that’s going to be coming up. And the truth is that I’m much happier with filmmaking then I ever was  blogging. And honestly, as my fifth decade on this planet comes to a close and with the end of things staring me in the face, happiness is something I need.

And let’s be honest, outrage is a young man’s game. There are only so many times you can make the same arguments, decry the same injustices, mock the same kinds of stupidy before you start feeling like you’re yelling in a wind tunnel.

I hate that Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show but I understand it.

(Sidebar: For those of you still not convinced that I’m done. Keep in mind that Donald Trump is now a GOP frontrunner. If that barrel of shootable fish can’t drag me back into blogging, nothing will. End sidebar)  

 So, this blog is officialy shut down.  Any blogging I do in the future will be at the “Nerd Alert” blog over at the The E-Book site (Which I may be reconfiguring in the future.) But as far as politics go, I’m done writing about it. 

So to all of you who have followed along with me for the last few years, thanks for reading and I hope you follow me along with the next phase of my life. 

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Yeah, it’s been too damn quiet.

A couple of reasons.

-I’ve been trying to get the opening trailer for the new YouTube channel done. I’ve shot two different versions that didn’t turn out. Mostly because I made the mistake of acually appearing in them which led me to a shattering moment of clarity.
I can act in stuff I’ve written and I can direct stuff I’ve written.
I just can’t do all three at once.
The good news is that trailer 3.0 should be shot this week and I should, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I should have it up by the weekend.

-Still not quite ready to dip my top back into writing about politics just yet. But now that Hillary has finally jumped into the race, I suspect that I should be girding my loins for it. Keeping in mind that with a YouTube channel that’ll need care and feeding, my output still ain’t going to be that hot. But it might be better then it was.

So, stay tuned. Hopefully, I can get my ass moving.

Posted in Personal Stuff, YouTube Channel | Leave a comment

Shaking out of my stupor and getting back to work.

Yeah, I know.

But I have a decent excuse, honest.

Actually, I have more then one.

First off, the Labyrinthitis threw me for a loop more then I expected. While I didn’t have an attack as bad as the initial one that sent me to the ER, it did put the zap on my head enough that I didn’t feel like blogging. So I kind of let it kind of slide.
Also, I got sidetracked with working on a workable first draft for my next short, tentatively titled “The Art of The Post-Kill Quip”. I still have a few problems with the script that I need to work out in the next draft. But the premise and basic structure are sound. Hopefully, I can have it in shape to start sending out to actors within the next couple of weeks.
Also…and I can’t believe I’m writing this…I’m opening up a new YouTube channel.  Long time readers of this blog may remember that I shit canned my old YouTube channel because of…well, this article from August 4, 2010 from the New York Times should explain why

WASHINGTON — Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege.
The charges could be paid by companies, like YouTube, owned by Google, for example, to Verizon, one of the nation’s leading Internet service providers, to ensure that its content received priority as it made its way to consumers. The agreement could eventually lead to higher charges for Internet users.
Such an agreement could overthrow a once-sacred tenet of Internet policy known as net neutrality, in which no form of content is favored over another. In its place, consumers could soon see a new, tiered system, which, like cable television, imposes higher costs for premium levels of service.

Needless to say, I stamped my feet, yelled “FUCK YOOOOOOUUU!!!” to the heavens and consigned my channel to the the digital version of The River Styx.
But now that the FCC has reclassified The Internet as a Title II Utility and for the moment, keeping the series of tubes running at equal speeds. (And coupled with the fact that the tip jars on my videos at Vimeo are remaining stubbornely untipped.) I’ve decided to give YouTube another chance. This time, with a monetized account.  I’m not gonna lie. I’m some what wary of going down this route. But I need to get the work out there. And with the money I got from my mom’s estate dimishing from both the ER visit and this year’s Student Loan payments. I’m gonna have to roll the dice so I can replenish the coffers.
So the new program is that I will be crossposting all my shorts to both Vimeo and YouTube while also creating new content specifically for YouTube.  What that new content will be is still unsettled.
But the brain is churning.

Posted in Comedy Short, filmmaking, Money issues., My personal Videos, Personal Stuff, Vimeo Channel | Tagged | Leave a comment

Into the Labyrinthitis….

Well, the year is barely a month old and your humble narrator has had his first health scare for the year.
This past Monday, I was doing my regular routine.(Brewing coffee, checking my E-Mail and Facebook, etc.) When suddenly, my head started spinning like a tween at a Taylor Swift Concert.
After waiting a few minutes for it to pass, I called my friend Michael Bingham who drove me to the Ashland Community Hospital ER. And after the various blood tests and other stuff, they let me know what the prognosis was.


So, I’ve been on anti-diziness and anti-nausea meds for the last three days. My sleep patterns have been FUBAR’d because the latter meds induce drowsiness. And because I’ve spent the last three days in bed, my lower back is messed up.
Which is why I’ve been quiet about Sarah Palin’s recent attempt at relevance because, sweet lord, have I not suffered enough?
Anyway, don’t expect much from me for a bit. I’m on the mend but not quite 100% yet.

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What I did on my blogging hiatus.

As most of you know, I shut down the blog in August. Half to focus on my filmmaking and the Blog for the website for my E-Book.  And half because if I didn’t stop blogging about politics, my head would explode, much like John Cassavetes’ head in Brian DePalma’s “The Fury”.
The bad news is that I didn’t get as much writing as I wanted on that blog.
The good news is that I was able to crank out three new shorts. And for those of you who don’t follow me on twitter or don’t go to the other site. (And really, you should. Hint, hint for the future.) Here are the shorts I made.

A Few Minutes with Benjamin Franklin in the 21st Century.

It doesn’t look it but this was the most expensive short I’ve made to date.
Part of it was the Ben Franklin costume which I had to rent from the OSF costume shop.
Part of it is that someone had the bright idea to shoot the short in Lithia Park without taking into consideration the possible sound issues from passing vehicles. Which meant we had to reshoot everything a few days later at the Bellevue Grange.
Which means I had to pay my actors twice!
And I had to pay for dry cleaning the BF costume twice!
As a result, it’s the “Waterworld” of comedy shorts about Benjamin Franklin.
Still, I’m mostly happy with it. I have some issues with the color due to someone using one kind of setting on the camera for one angle and then switching it off while changing the angle and not checking to see if the setting went back to neutral. Which it did.
But I am happy with Michael’s performance. And I’m reasonably happy with the script. It was the first thing I wrote after mom’s death and I was still struggling to drag myself out of my depression. And I was kind of on the fence about it.
But screw it, it is what it is.

A Special Announcement from Santa Claus.

I had met Jeb Livingston at one of the Southern Oregon Film and Media mixers and he had expressed an interest in working with me. So when the idea to do a short about Santa Claus losing his workshop to global warming, it seemed like a good fit.
We shot it in the trailer at his house in Talent in one day. Again, good work by him but because of various issues, the footage came out insanely Orange. And rather then correct the color levels shot by shot,  I just said “Fuck it” and slapped on a Black and White filter on to the short and amped up the contrast.
Not quite the look I wanted but screw it. I’m happy with Jeb’s performance and the jokes work.

The Heroes of the War on Christmas: Redux.

As the title suggests, this is a remake of an earlier short I made during my YouTube era. And honestly, it is an improvement over the old version. Apparently, all my shorts benefit from from being shot twice.
That’s going to be a problem when I move into features.
Again, Happy with the script. Did not have to do any tweaking to it this time. (Thank you Fox News.) And having Scott Ford to the opening and closing Voice Over allowed me to do my role without having to resort to the Paul Lynde like voice. (Also, his line reading of “Hey Asshole, Pull up your pants” was the best early Christmas Present I could have gotten.)
Two technical notes.
The reason my scene is all one shot had less to do with Narcissism and more with why I usually don’t appear in these things. I had a take from another angle but I failed to look at it while at the shoot. And when I checked it at home, I found I had shot on my bad side. (And yes, you stinky bitches, I do have a good side. It ain’t a great side but it’s…all right.) Also, the de-noising softwear made my face look so unnaturally smooth, you’d think I was about to ask George Clooney what kind of tree he would be.
The Chainsaw shot. In the original short, I shot two quick angles of Michael Bingham brandishing the Chainsaw while it was running and used one second for each shot.  We couldn’t do that this time because that chainsaw went missing and the only one he had was an electric one, So rather then truffle hunt for an extension cord, I simply had him brandish the saw while I walked towards him and then I just speed ramped it in post and laid down a chainsaw sound effect. Thus giving it a pleasantly Sam Raimiesque feel.

So that’s how I spent my downtime away from the blog. It was reasonably productive and I didn’t commit seppuku with a laminated and sharpened copy of “The Nation” so I am calling that a win.
And now if you will forgive the sudden burst of commercial pandering, I do feel the need to point out that all if you follow the videos to their Vimeo pages, they have links to my Tip Jar attached. So if you like them and want to see me make more, please feel free to put some money in the kitty so I can continue to pay my actors and license decent music.

Posted in filmmaking, Fox News, Movies, Vimeo Channel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#CharlieHebdo and the proper reaction to Satire. (Good or Bad.)

As a human being, I am shocked and appalled at the attack upon the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” in Paris this past week.
As a comedy writer…well, I won’t say the shit has been scared out of me. But I have to acknowledge, there’s been some movement.

What’s been truly disconcerting about this attack (Aside from from the attack itself.) is the hand wringing that’s been going on in some circles over the magazine’s blunt force style.  “Yes, shooting people is wrong but..”
Fuck That!
Okay, pop quiz.  David Duke decides to start his own magazine called “The Klu Klux Komics.”. (And before you start, I am in no which way comparing “Charlie Hebdo” to the Klan.  I am simply picking an example of something that secular progressives would find offensive.) And it’s first cover is a cartoon of President Obama eating a full meal of fried chicken and watermelon while just behind him, Michelle Obama is giving a hummer to Saul Alinsky.
Do you…

1. Say “Holy Crap, that’s totally racist!”.

2. Be a pendent and point out that Saul Alinsky is dead and therefore unable to receive a blow job from anyone, including Michele Obama.

3. Be an even bigger pendent and point out that as a white person, you have over the years,  consumed your body weight in both fried chicken and watermelon and that enjoying said meal should be considered a universal value that is not and should not be confined to the African American community,

4. Shoot David Duke in the head.

If you said 1, 2, or 3, you are correct.
If you said 4, fuck you!
Because as hateful as those images are, Mr. Duke would be totally in his rights to produce them. Just as it would be in my rights to respond with a cartoon showing David Duke crying over the sudden bout of impotence that has effected his micro-penis.

On a recent episode of “Fresh Air” the writer of the new biography of Richard Pryor’s biography, Scott Saul called said that doing stand-up for Pryor was like “Whittling on Dynamite”.  And that seemed to be the same credo that “Charlie Hebdo”operated under.
Now there is a fine discussion to be had about the uses of comedy. About when jokes can slope into hate speech. How far is too far. What is the purpose of the joke you are making.
The thing is you don’t get to make a argument with a Kalashnikov.
If you use a gun because you are offended by a joke, you have revealed yourself to be worth the effort of offending.

I stand with “Charlie Hebdo” and the right to be offensive.

Posted in comedy, terrorism, Writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sarah Palin, Dog-footstool and loving the rubes.

So over New Years Eve, Sarah Palin posts a photo on her Facebook page of her son, Trig standing on the family dog to reach the kitchen sink. Because..why the hell not? 

PETA blasted Palin for the photo in a Tuesday statement.

“t’s odd that anyone—let alone a mother—would find it appropriate to post such a thing, with no apparent sympathy for the dog in the photo,” the statement reads. “Then again, PETA, along with everyone else, is used to the hard-hearted, seeming obliviousness of this bizarrely callous woman, who actually thought it appropriate to be filmed while turkeys were being slaughtered right behind her in full view of the camera.”

But Palin would have none of it, and on Saturday tried to turn the controversy on President Obama.

“Chill. At least Trig didn’t eat the dog,” Palin wrote in an open letter to PETA on Facebook. “Did you go as crazy when your heroic Man-of-Your-Lifetime, Barack Obama, revealed he actually enjoyed eating dead dog meat?”

Palin continued to bash PETA in a lengthy post:

Aren’t you the same anti-beef screamers blogging hate from your comfy leather office chairs, wrapped in your fashionable leather belts above your kickin’ new leather pumps you bought because your celebrity idols (who sport fur and crocodile purses) grinned in a tabloid wearing the exact same Louboutins exiting sleek cowhide covered limo seats on their way to some liberal fundraiser shindig at some sushi bar that features poor dead smelly roe (that I used to strip from our Bristol Bay-caught fish, and in a Dillingham cannery I packed those castoff fish eggs for you while laughing with co-workers about the suckers paying absurdly high prices to party with the throw away parts of our wild seafood)? I believe you call those discarded funky eggs “caviar”.

First off. forget for the moment not having the common sense of telling your kid to not step on the dog but instead taking a picture like it’s just cutest thing in the whole gosh darn world. The woman lacks the self awareness that posting said photo on the internet would be a bad idea. Considering that said Internet is filled to the brim with people who would consider stepping on a dog to be a very bad thing.
Second, the note to PETA.
Someday, years from now, scholars doing research on Sarah Palin will come across a collection of personal letters written by her to friends over the years.
And they will be shocked by their unexpected beauty, their lyricism and and turn of phrase.
And will use these letters to confirm the thing I’ve long suspected about Sarah Palin which is when she writes her little Facebook missives, She knows exactly what she is doing.
The imagery is pure corn pone, boiled down liberal bashing that’s been poured into and filtered through an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies”. And the crazed word salad construction of the sentences are not the results of bad writing. It is a purposeful  Brechtian alienation device meant to aggravate educated liberals who simply dismiss it as bad writing even though her intended audience can look past the the bad grammar to get at the chewy caramel-covered red meat at the center.
Sarah Palin is the Harlan Ellison for paranoid, under-educated white people.
And the best thing about this is the realization that she will never run for office again. There’s a belief that if you can make a decent living if you have a thousand true fans and for Sarah Palin, that is her audience.

Posted in Politics, Sarah Palin, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

This fucking year…

A Mother being killed by her two year old in a WalMart with her own gun is 2014 taking it’s crappiness to the Goddamn Hole!
And yes, you can take this brief post as an Announcement that “News from the Front” is reopening for business.
And that business is pain.
And brother, business is booming!

Posted in Personal Stuff, Politics | Leave a comment

Turning down the lights and covering the couch with a sheet.

To those of you following along for the last several weeks, this may not be that big of a surprise.
Posting has stiff been sporadic for the last several weeks. I’m still occasionally throwing stuff out I’m nowhere near my peak. And I still have other things that need my attention including new scripts and my NERD ALERT blog for my EBook webpage.
So I’m making a decision that’s been a long time coming.
I am for the time being, shutting down “NEWS FROM THE FRONT”.
Not for forever, just for a while until I can get my head straight and get some other stuff done.
Because honestly, I can’t write about politics right now.
I know I’ve said all this before. But honestly, I really mean it this time. I’ve been doing this since 2009. (Even longer if you count my long dormant MySpace blog that I started during the Bush Years.) And honestly, that is a metric fuckton of yelling.
And honestly, I’m tired of it.
I have a post about Gaza in my draft folder. (Short version, the Israeli response is goes far beyond any definition of “Self Defense” and is sloping into “Massacre”.) I don’t want to finish it.
Not because I don’t care but because my churning out words about it seems futile.
And that makes me feel like a damn pussy because I have always said and still believe that every voice counts. And we are coming up on midterms which are shaping up are shaping up to be a “Last Twenty Minutes of John Woo’s THE KILLER.” style battle royale and it’s all hands on deck time….
And I still can’t muster up the energy to throw down words.

I have to accept the fact that I am burned out on writing about politics and I need to refocus on other things for both professional and personal reasons.
That doesn’t mean that I’m burned out on politics in general. I’m still keeping myself informed.  I’m still signing petitions and I will be donating money to Rep Jeff Merkely for his re-election campaign. (Because Jeff Merkley is the motherfucking man!) And I’m still staying otherwise active.
But as far as writing goes, I have to walk away for a while.

I’m still going to be blogging. But at the NERD ALERT blog. (Daddy need to move some books. And just a reminder, Sales Links are also on the page.) And I still need to finish the script for my next short.
So, I’m still going to be busy.  Just not here.
Thank you for your indulgence and past support.

And I’m sorry.

Posted in Personal Stuff, Politics, Sen. Jeff Merkley | Tagged | Leave a comment

Vladimir Putin and the limits of machoism.

Mostly, What Josh Marshall said…(Via Talking Points Memo.)

The audio tapes posted by The New York Times might as well be from some future Russia-based version of Waiting for Guffman or Best in Show, a comical rendering of rustics and morons stumbling into an event of vast carnage and international consequence mainly because they’re hotheads and idiots – the kind of people no one in their right minds would give world class weaponry to. It’s like finding some white supremacist/militia types on their little compound in the inter-Mountain west and giving them world class missile launchers and heavy armaments.

Europe and even America never cared that much about Crimea. It is difficult to dislodge an annexation when a majority of the population likely really did support it. And the Europeans, as long as the big red lines weren’t being crossed, are too tied to Russian fuels and their myriad other concerns to care that much about mischief on Ukraine’s eastern border. But having a passenger plane, filled with EU citizens, shot out of the sky above what is presumed to be the bubble of first world safety that is “Europe” is a game changing event not only in the Ukraine crisis but much more broadly about Putin’s role in Europe generally.

In a paradoxical way, I think the future ramifications of this are almost greater because it is about Russia’s recklessness and bumbling than it would be if it were more clearly a matter of intent. This is a f’-up on Putin’s part of almost mind-boggling proportions. Yes, a tragedy. Yes, perhaps an atrocity. But almost more threatening, a screw up. Malign intent is one thing. So is aggression. But goofs of this magnitude by someone who controls a massive military arsenal and nuclear weapons are in a way more threatening.

This is what happens when you let a narcissistic ex-KGB agent with delusions of grandeur run your country.
Putin has now put his big, shirtless, man-tit in the big ringer. And now, the big question is what happens next. (Via Daniel Treisman writing at CNN.COM.)

Putin will, thus, have two options, both dangerous for his regime.

He could reject the conclusions of the international investigation and stand by the separatists. This would result in serious damage to the Russian economy from sanctions that might now target whole sectors such as banking or energy. Such measures would send the economy — already forecast by the IMF to grow just 0.2% this year — into a painful recession.
At the same time, the Kremlin would find itself more internationally isolated than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Not just the U.S. and Britain, but many other countries that were previously friendly or neutral would start to treat Putin as a pariah. And Putin would have to worry that his protégés across the border might commit some new atrocity, provoking the world into even tougher countermeasures.

Putin’s second option would be to accept the report’s conclusions and cut off supply lines to the rebels. But that could create significant problems for him at home.
To those informed about the conflict by Russian state-controlled television, such a turnaround would be bewildering. A relentless barrage of propaganda has convinced many Russians that their co-ethnics in Donetsk and Luhansk are being massacred by troops commanded by a fascist regime in Kiev. For Putin to bow to international pressure and abandon his former charges would look like cowardice.

Bottom line: He either becomes a pariah or a pussy. Neither of which bodes well for Russia.
For years, Putin has tied his political brand to his masculinity. The hunting. The sports events. The many, many photos of his bare, barrel chested manliness. All of it tied to one message. “I am Russia! Russia is me! Together, we are powerful!”.
Hell, no wonder he and Bush got along so well. They both share the same 2D image of manhood.
But now, Putin is stuck with a choice that will diminish him, no matter which way he swings.
And like the schoolyard bully, he’s about to discover that manly bluster means jack shit when you’re nose has been unexpectedly bloodied.

Posted in Russia, Vladimir Putin, War | Tagged | Leave a comment