Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Geekiness is Getting in the Way of my Nerdiness

I am a geek. I am not afraid to say that anymore. The only reason that I bring this up really, is because most people don’t understand where this love of all things nerd stems from. Well, my gentle readership, I will enlighten all of you in this very essay.

Last night, I purchased Justice League: The New Frontier, a DC animated film based on the award winning graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke, one of my favorite working comic writers/artists working today. The film takes place in the late fifties, which in comic chronology makes it The Silver Age of comics. The Silver Age was the time when heroes started to take the forms and incarnations that fans know and love today. This is when the final designs for Superman, Green Lantern, Batman, and The Flash all became evident. It was during the watching of this fantastic film, I came to realize something….comics are one of the few true Pop Culture loves that I have, and will always have.

Now, mind you, I have plenty of loves in Pop Culture; I love many diverse kinds of music, films, art, and books, but comics where my first and most intense loves as an adolescent. I can even tell you my first foray into comics, The X-Men, the very first issue of the now classic last story arc by Chris Claremont. I was given two large stacks of comics by my mother, who had picked them up at a garage sale. I was nine years old. I had been familiar with heroes such as Batman, the X-Men, and Spider-Man through the sorely missed Fox Kids cartoon series (Interesting Side Note, to this day many hardcore comic fans, myself included, maintain that these cartoons were the single truest incarnation of the comics ever on TV or in films, but Hollywood is starting to come round now). I had never before tried the comics that these were based on, but when I did…there was no going back. After that, I was a child possessed; I bought up and devoured any issue of any main hero, albeit Marvel or DC, I could find. Hell, I even had issues of Spider-Man: The Clone Saga! That’s how devoted I was to this medium. Interests in video games and other fads came and waned, but comics remained, up until this very day.

The real turning point in my love of comics though came in 1999, when I discovered that comics were not necessarily confined to the standard superpowered men in tights. This is when I discovered the likes of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Mike Allred’s Madman, Stray Bullets, the genius of Frank Miller and the two books that forever changed my life as a comic fan: The Watchmen by Alan Moore and The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. I was still living in Seymour with my mother and still buying up so many Marvels and DCs, I could have had fucking stock in them, when I was introduced to a friend of my mother’s who lived by us in the projects (yep, I used the live there). I didn’t know this, but he was a HUGE comic fan, had been since he was my age, but in was introduced to the heavier comic scene through Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, a book I took in and was blown away with later that summer. I was sat down, after a long conversation about heroes and the story arcs that were taking place at that time, and was given the trade paperbacks of The Watchmen and Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes. Think back to the first time you saw Casablanca or the first time you ever listened to your favorite band of all time…now multiply that by a thousand. The pages, the art, the story, and the dialogue seemed to jump into life as I read it. It was beautiful and sad and angry and everything I never knew that I would love.

Since then, there has been no going back. I have loved and will love comics until the end of my days. To be totally honest, I can’t tell you what it really is about them; I think it might be the fact that it our culture’s form of literary gods or perhaps maybe they show me a world with hope and larger than life protectors that will stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves…but I really think it just might be my one and only link to childhood and I can’t lose that.

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night,

Monday, January 28, 2008

I could be anything, anything but sticking around

I realize it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything, and I sincerely apologize.

Wait a second…

Wait just a goddamned second!

Ya know what? I’m not sorry! This is MY blog! This is MY Century! And I’ll update any time I damn well please!

*takes breath*

Okay. That’s better.

I got a lot to cover, ladies and gentlemen, so strap yourself in to your seats and prepare to spend some time with J. Dudley, Earl of Studley.

First, Mr. Partridge and I have decided to finally move forward with the creation of an improvisational/sketch comedy group here in Wichita Falls. This is an idea we’ve tossed around for well over a year and we came to the conclusion two weeks ago that we have no more excuses left to put it off further. I’ll go into detail later once we hash some things out, but if you live in the area and would like to contribute in ANY way (we’re looking for performers, writers, and… well, anyone who knows what they’re doing… because we most certainly don’t), call me, email me, or Myspace me.


On December 11th, on THIS blog, I wrote the following:

I think Obama is going to win Iowa. It'll be close, but he's going to take the prize. In doing so, Hillary's air of inevitability will evaporate completely and the win will push the esteemed Senator from Illinois into the driver’s seat of the front-runner stockcar. From there, Hillary wins New Hampshire but by a razor-thin margin. She’ll claim a huge victory but anyone with a real instinct for the political game will sense that it is only a token win. Obama cleans up in South Carolina in a blowout that no one could have predicted two months ago and it’s smooth sailing from there as he the voters scream “FINISH HER!” and Barack “Kano” Obama punches Foreward, Down, Foreward, B, A, B, Foreward, Start into his Super Nintendo control pad and rips Hill’s still-beating heart out.

Well, Obama won Iowa (though I was wrong in predicting it would be close… because he DESTROYED her worthless ass), Hillary won a very “razor thin” victory in New Hampshire, and His Audaciousness most certainly had the truest definition of a “blow out” in South Carolina on Saturday… so please, feel free at any time to begin worshipping me. I’ll take gifts of gold, frankincense, and Mir as well as celestial virgins and cherry cheesecake.

Now, I realize that it may not be “smooth sailing” considering no one at this point knows how Super Tuesday is going to turn out next week, but I’m predicting now that my main-man WILL be the Democratic nominee sooner than we think and that in January of 2009, we’re going to be treated to an epic, Kennedy-esque inaugural that may quite possibly make grown men weep with tears of pride.

This entire process has been an amazing civic roller coaster ride, hasn’t it? I’m particularly sentimental because unlike a majority of the primary voters in my party, I’ve been a loyal fan of Senator Obama since his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Infact, on July 27, 2004, I wrote this prophetic piece on my old blog…

Okay... have you ever watched some rookie nobody kid... in anything be it sports, movies, television... anything, where you KNOW that this person is delivering a performance that is going to not only make him a star, but will propel him to greatness?? Barrack Obama literally just went from someone no average person knows about, to a future president… the future African American president... I'm not over exaggerating... his speech was THAT good. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand and had him CHANTING his name during the speech... something they didn’t do for Clinton, Gore, Hillary, or Carter. I wasn’t the only person with my mouth open... everyone there could feel that this guy is a star. Tomorrow, everyone is going to be talking about this guy... and his name will be on a lot of peoples lips... though no doubt mispronouncing it. - I'm saying it here... This man will be president one day. Write that down.

We’ll see, my friends. We’ll see.

Aside from that, I also find it odd that up until 6 months ago, I had an amazing amount of respect for Bill Clinton. I can safely say now that that respect had dwindled to practically nothing. I of course still think he was a fairly good President (especially compared to the jerkoff known as Dubya), but his actions lately are inexcusable and downright pathetic. Obama's opposition of the war a “fairytale”? Really, Bill? Perhaps my dad has been right. Perhaps… Perhaps… Perhaps… Slick Willy really IS an unscrupulous piece of shit? If so, then perhaps he and his wife really are a perfect couple. Power-hungry, unethical, spineless ambassadors of the Washington establishment.

Check out this great article written by Philip Gailey of the St. Petersburg Times for more on the Clintons and their Nixon-ian tactics.
If I were to compare the year 2007 to a movie, then I'd most definitely say it was the Godfather, and as for 2008? It looks like it's shaping up to be the Godfather Part II, which means it'll be even BETTER. Below is a list of films I'm most looking foreward to.

Star Trek (December 25th) - J.J. Abrams (producer/creator/director of LOST, Alias, Cloverfield, MI: III) is currently filming this prequel/reboot of sorts of the original Star Trek series with the original characters all recast with younger actors, among them Zachary Quinto (of Heroes fame) as Spock, Chris Pine as Kirk, Karl Urban (Eomer in Lord of the Rings) as McCoy, and Simon F'ing Pegg (Shawn of the Dead/Hot Fuzz) as Scotty. And if that isn't badass-enough, the ORIGINAL Spock, Leonard Nimoy, returns as THE star of the film. No Shatner as Kirk, unfortunately, but I have a reeeeeally good feeling about this. I can't wait to feel like a full-fledged nerd again!

Quantum of Solace (November 7th) - Daniel Craig IS James Bond in the 22nd film in the franchise. A direct sequel to 2006's AMAZING Casino Royale, Bond finds himself on a mission to uncover the truth about Vesper's death; a mission that leads him to the "organization" hinted at in CR and the leader of it, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), who plans to overtake one of the world's most important natural resources. As a life-long James Bond fan left disallusioned and spiteful after Pierce Brosnan's horrible span of films, Craig and the team behind Royale made me fall in love with this character all over again. I am most certainly as excited as a man can be with his clothes on.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May 22nd) - My God, I can't believe I'm actually writing about the 4th Indiana Jones film without having to use "rumored", "on the backburner", or "George Lucas needs to get off his pathetic fat ass and greenlight a goddamned script before I pop a cap in his hackish, fat ass". This film, or different variations of it, has been planned since 1990. I remember reading about the desires of Spielberg and Ford since 1996 when I was a subscriber to the now defunct Cinescape magazine. In 2003, I remember restraining myself from spitting at the television when Lucas announced in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that he had rejected the Frank Darabount (of Shawshenk Redemption fame) script that Ford and Spielberg loved. And then came the day in 2006 when a 100% positive greenlight was given, and I wept tears of nerd joy. So basically, if this film ISN'T good... then the fate of the world may be at stake, as well as my sanity. Count on it.

The Dark Knight (July 18th) - It's gonna be reeeeeeeally strange watching this film now that Heath Ledger is dead. Not necessarily because the fact of his death will be in everyones mind, but because of the new details emerging about how seriously he took the character of the Joker and how it may have driven him in nuts. But regardless, EVERYTHING about this film looks and sounds amazing.

Get Smart (June 20th) - When I was a kid, I worshipped this show. Being a Nick @ Nite junky, I feel I was partly raised by Donna Reed herself, with Dobie Gillis, Mr. Ed, the gang from F-Troop, Dick Van Dyke, and especially Agent 86 himself and his beautiful partner 99 as my neighbors. Not only that, but for nearly two years I PLAYED MAXWELL SMART on the playground with my friends. Richard was the Chief, John was agent 13, Daniel was the dog... K-13, and my girlfriends (yes, plural... they didn't mind sharing the title), Lindsey and Crystal shared the character of 99. As strange as it sounds, it was so much fun that it kept us occupied at recess for two freakin' years! And now Steve Carrell is bringing the character of Max to a whole new generation, with Anne Hathaway by his side as the lovely agent 99. I think after seeing the film, I'll take a walk around the old playground... just for old-times sake.

A ton of other great non-franchise/geek-orgasm films are coming out as well, and I'll be sure to note them later. Seriously, this year is going to be amazing!

Special shout out goes to my pal Sara whom I met at Toby's a few weekends ago. She's cute... AND it feels like she's my twin. But as cool as she is, I WILL destroy her at Monopoly. Count on it.

And that's it for now, my babies. I promise I'll write more soon. Afterall, I can't let MY Century be overrun by the likes of Justin "Dances* with Fat Chicks" Partridge, now can I?

- J.

* - "dances" = codeword for something else entirely. muwahaha.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

You Were Going Places, Kid...

The good always seem to die young.

Heath Ledger, 28 years old, was found dead in a New York apartment on Tuesday. All signs, as of the writing of this, are pointing to an accidental overdose on sleeping pills. The news has sent shockwaves throughout the Hollywood community.

Upon hearing the news of Heath Ledger’s death, my first reaction of complete and udder disbelief, I didn’t see how this could happen. My second reaction, I am sad to say, was a sneaking suspicion that this was some crazy, over the top viral marketing technique to promote The Dark Knight, but that impulse was quickly silenced. This was a guy who, though popular and a critical darling, was poised to become the next great young superstar. He was charming, good-looking, and easy going. His recent roles included a character based on Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There and, of course, The Joker in The Dark Knight. I had never really paid that much attention to Ledger, until just recently because of TDK, but whenever I would see him on screen, I would find myself always watching him. He had a natural charisma that echoed into all of his roles. It is sad to see someone this young, this talented, and this dedicated to the profession of acting be taken away so young.

It’s River Phoenix all over again.

Heath Ledger will be sorely missed in Hollywood and I regret to think on everything that we will be missing with him gone.

-J. Partridge, The Enemy.

"I have to keep talking. If I don't, I will most likely SHIT MY PANTS IN THIS STAIRWELL!!!"

Viral marketing is a funny thing. You see, the thing is that the whole concept can actually hurt or help your film. If your movie is great, the campaign works. If your movie is a hunk of shit, people wonder why the hell you even tried. Cloverfield was a movie that I was on the fence about. I had seen the no-named teaser in front of Transformers and thought, like the rest of the audience, “What in the fuck is Abrams doing?!” I had speculated with the rest of the basement-dwelling masses about whether this was a Voltron movie or just a really shitty story about a Lovecraftian creature attacking New York. I had also grown weary of the constant secrecy and goofy market tactics, which Abrams now, due to his extreme distain for giving shit away, is known for. Still, I wondered what the fuck Abrams, director Matt Reeves, and writer Drew Goddard were up to. Now I know…they were changing movies as we know them.

Cloverfield is more of an experience than a film. It is something that just screams to be seen in theaters. The entire concept (found footage and giant monster attacks a city), though tired and tried, is given a tense and emotional reboot by Reeves and Goddard. Drew Goddard is a name you need to get used to hearing, based on this script; I would not be surprised if he becomes Hollywood’s new, hot writer. Big props also to Reeves, his taut visual style and Spielberg-like (that’s right, I said it) slow reveals just might have written his ticket to the big projects. Also, another crew shout out to creature designer, Neville Page, for creating something that really no one has even seen before. It truly is something that is equal parts terrifying and unnamable.

The story, though slow starting, packs a real weight. It is a simple point A to point B thing, but the way in which the characters interact and think is what makes to buy into the concept of this being an actual event that has occurred. Rob is heading away to Japan for a new job, his brother and his brother’s fiancĂ©e are throwing him a party, and his best friend, Hud, had been put in charge of filming testimonials of the people at the party. Halfway through the party, Rob’s long unrequited love, Beth, shows up in the arms of another man. They fight. She leaves…then its monster time. This initial sequence plays like a Nine Eleven-esque, firsthand account of what is going down. Explosions are happening, debris is falling, people are screaming and running down stairs, and, most importantly, no one knows what in the ever loving fuck is going on. One extra is even heard saying, “It’s another attack!”…the entire movie plays on the fear that gripped us that day, though instead of terrorists, it’s a big fuckin’ thing. They turn on the news to find that they know just about as much as they do. A roar pierces the commotion and something tears its way down the street, eating and wrecking everything in its path. Panic sets in as the evacuation starts, but Rob gets a garbled call on his cell phone. Beth is hurt, she is bleeding, and she can’t move. Rob decides to go back into the heart of the city, ground zero of the monster’s wake, and rescue her. Friends in tow, he starts to make his way into Midtown and this is where the movie starts to take leaps and bounds. The rest of the ninety minutes play like an intense documentary. Characters die and something happens that hasn’t happened to me in a long time of movie going…I care. These people are real to me and that is the real beauty of Cloverfield, it puts a human face on an extraordinary situation and makes it very visceral.

My only real gripe about the movie and it’s really only because I am such a geek for this sort of thing, is the lack of explanation of the monster. I know there is, most likely, a shit load of clues hidden throughout the movie (which I am told there is) that explains it, but I am kinda lazy and I like to know where shit comes from. Also, the start before the first attack drags a bit and some cutting could have tightened that up. Aside from those minor things, Cloverfield is the kind of movie that comes around every once and awhile that completely changes a genre and a highly, HIGHLY recommend that you partake in this.

Trying not to go that way, because there is horrific shit that way,
-J.Partridge, The Enemy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Wish..

I wish I could watch my life through a glass or a mirror so that I could remember everything I saw. Because between you and me I can't remember shit.

I'm pretty sure that I would probably go back in time and kinda kick my ass and the asses of others for the crazy shit that happens.

I wish that I could save the world.
As a little kid, I was like any other, rendered uttlery useless by the powers of tv, Captain Planet! was the culprit. Let's save the world kids! Yay! And then at the end of the show I was like...Holy Shit I wanna be a superhero.

So I wish I were a superhero.

I wish the world really was flat. I blame Christopher Columbus. Prick.

I wish there were less days in a month and more hours in a day.

I wish I could get smarter without getting older.

I wish I had telepathy.

Sometimes I wish life was a cartoon and we could just be funny.

I wish that all of the time in the day could be like the time right between sunrise and the beginning of a new day. That would be great. That would make a great movie...Jack Black in The day without a day..dun dun dun..its a comedy, thriller, drama, tearjerker, documentary about a guy who wakes up one day and finds out thats all there is...just a day that has no day whatsoever. Does he find the day, hell no. Does he just sleep all of the time...mmmm, no. Will his life change once the day comes back...what the hell are you talking about? Its just a day without a day. You wake up thats all there is. End scene. Millions.

I wish that I could fly.

I wish I could invent something. The guy that made Breathrite nose strips had a friggen paperclip up his nose when he came up with that crap. A paperclip. And now a bandaid that you put on your nose to help you breathe better. Millions.

I wish I could invent something like Ron Popeil. Just set it and forget it.Millions.

I wish I could be invsible at random times during the day...not all the time just sometimes.

I wish I had a billion Myspace friends, so that I could possibly be the most popular gperson in the world. Mwuhahaha. I don't even know why that would impress me, but I think it would impress anyone.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen the film The Departed, first off, you are an idiot and you must see it at once and secondly, I describe, in great lengths, the ending of said film in the essay below. If you wish not to know the ending of the film, please skip the first paragraph of the essay. Also, a hearty thanks to Sir Justin Dudley (whose century is his) for the bit of punch-up he gave to this article.

Remember the last twenty minutes of The Departed? Billy Costigan had finally caught the rat inside the State Troopers in the form of Frank Costello’s lapdog, Colin Sullivan. Costigan is inside an elevator to bring Sullivan to justice at long last. There is a moment in which he breaks down and pleads with Billy to just kill him, in which Costigan replies, “I am killing you”. The ride ends, the door opens, a shot rings out, and the brains of Billy Costigan are now painting the back wall of the elevator. The bullet that crushed the hearts of thousands of love-struck Leo-lovers (including me, I’m not ashamed to say) came from the gun of another Massachusetts state trooper. Immediately following, the chubby black guy whom Costigan attended the police academy with comes running down the steps, met with the gruesome visual. A beat is followed by another gunshot resulting in the death of the token “fucked” black guy in Boston. It’s then shockingly discovered that this no-named, red-shirted* trooper was yet another mole put into the department by Costello. And Sullivan, being the dirty, no good motherfucker that he is, splatters THAT guy’s brains as well in a wonderful orgy of gratuitous, cerebrum smashing that only our Lord Scorsese can deliver. Of course, Sullivan gets away and lies his way through the funerals and gets his life back on track. Cut to his apartment, who is standing there with gun in hand? Marky-fucking-Mark Whalberg, who takes one shot and one shot only. Long story short, everybody gets a bullet save for Marky.

This is in a nutshell, how my day went on January 15th, 2008. Single handedly, the worst single day of my life, for now. What follows is a short hand account of the day’s events from the time I wake up to the time I rested my weary head. Enjoy my pain.

I wake up and get ready and attend my first class. All in all, the day didn’t seem that bad from the start, everything just seemed kind of stagnant and that was totally ok with me. So, I noticed that I was not on the role for my first two classes…this concerned me, so I walk over to the Office of the Registrars to inquire about what in the blue fuck is going on. I talk to them and I am told that I am unenrolled from every single one of my classes and that I was sent a letter telling me that I would have to update my schedule, according to what they need me to do. I am the only one around my household that checks the mail and I never received such letter, when I relay this to the wonderful woman behind the counter (at this point, I didn’t want to kill everything), I am told nothing…the only answer to this was a shrug of the shoulders. Fuck.

I am also told that I have to totally redo my class schedule. So, I walk out of the Hardin Building, with head still held high, to redo it. Oh, did I mention that my advisor wasn’t fucking there, at school? Yeah, so after about a wait of thirty minutes (it is now about 11:30), my advisor rolls in, we do the damn thing, and I am off to the Academic Advisement thingy that I have to go to on campus. I sign in, sit for a bit, and think quietly to myself, “Buck up, Kiddo! There is no way that things can get any worse!” I forget that these are words that are said before every real disaster in history. The people who work there are going to lunch and will not be back until about 2:30, I have to pick up my sisters in Iowa Park by three. Good Lord. So, I talk her into a meeting at two, which should give me ample time for the kid fetching.

Cut to two, after a brief nap and lunch for myself. I am back at the AA building and sitting in the waiting room. I am called back. I start to explain my situation and the advisor appointed to me nods and starts to work it all out with me. She gets me all signed up and enrolled. For the first time, during the day, I am happy and things seem to be looking up, but then I take a look at my classes. Every other class is wrong. I am just waiting for a bus. I interrupt a meeting and tell her what has happened. It seems that my actual major’s advisor has written down the wrong call numbers for my majors classes. It is during the correction of this mistake that I come to realize that Midwestern State University is the Wichita Falls equal to the Bush Administration. No one knows what the hell is going on with the students, the staff is in shambles, and MSU has absolutely no exit strategy.

I leave the red tape covered institute of learning, enrolled and wanting to get some things right today. I pick the girls up with no incident, but I realize I need gas. I get money and proceed to the North Texas Rehab Center. It is at this lull in the narrative, that I will introduce a sub-plot that will come to play later, tonight is the starting auditions for the show this semester: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I leave the girls with my mom and start toward a gas station, only to promptly run out on an access road. I curse my family’s name and start making phone calls to be rescued. Remember that sub-plot? Here is comes, I had been on the fence about auditions anyway and had finally decided to do it, so I called my mom to break the news, with the school of thought that if you are a theatre major, you need to do shows. I had called the director, who had assured me that the rehearsals would not be as time-consuming as my first show, The Importance of Being Earnest. I call my mother, who does not take the news well. She is still under the impression that I am still, at best, a high school sophomore, and plays are still a thing that is second…it’s not like I can make a career of it or fucking anything. It really boils down to me not being able to work as much and the complete disgust my parents have for helping me out from time to time with money issues. At some point in my family’s history, one of our women fucked a Jew and so began the line.

So, I, feeling cornered, start to lash out and the conversation is ended and I am saved by Dearest Stephanie Burris and Cutesy Daisy. I have to go BACK to the NTRC and buy my dad a fucking hat…I can’t make something like that up. I walk into my mom’s office and my dad is there. He asks me if I have gotten an estimate for the fender bender I got into the previous weekend. I reply no and start to explain my day. Now, one thing you have to understand about my mom is that her method of making a point is that she really just belittles you until you crack, which is immediately what happened. She is trying to hammer home the point that I was lazy last semester, failed a class, and have to repeat. She did this over and over and over until…


Yeah…I was going to tell her I wasn’t going to anyway…but yeah…

So, my mom kicks me out of her office and I get a stern taking to by my dad, which I really thought was going to end in a public flogging. Then I attend a Majors and Minors meeting and have to tell everyone that I can’t audition and have to endure all of the shit that came with that.

All in all, I lived a twenty-four hour Smiths song. The only thing that could have made things any worse was if I would have gotten a random blood test and the results being that I had AIDS, Sickacell, and Rickets all at the same time. Enough of this! This is the last pity post! Well, until something else bad happens…Be looking out for a Cloverfield review and a music article soon.

Good Night and Good Luck,
-J.Partridge, The Enemy

* It would be safe to assume that many of you do not know what the term “red-shirted” means. It would also be safe to assume that many of you are clueless motherfuckers who only care about pop-culture history starting in the year of our lord 1999. Well, my hapless friends, to be red-shirted means to be killed… Star Trek style. In the original series, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy would usually be accompanied on away missions to ‘strange new worlds’ by two or three security guys dressed in red Star Fleet uniforms. And 9 out of 10 times, these guys would be phasered to death, crushed by falling boulders, left on the planet to freeze to death, or poisoned by strange alien flowers spraying hazy death pollen… likely a form of 23rd century “insta-AIDS”.

So there ya go. Enjoy your random irrelevant 60’s pop culture reference of the day. You’re welcome. Hang on, If you haven’t seen The Departed and do not get the red shirt thing, you really don’t need to be reading this blog…or breathing…ever…

Monday, January 14, 2008

I just spent $140 on supplies for ONE CLASS

Well… the first day of a new semester is now officially coming to a close.

Thank God.

All last week, I was really excited about getting back to my super-fun friends up in bustling Oklahoma City. But when I got up here, I realized that I wasn’t looking forward to being with these people (who are actually pretty boring and the city is just as lame as Wichita Falls)… I was anticipating getting away from my damn sister. Those of you who know Courtney will sympathize.

Now, at the end of Day 1, I am still trapped with Courtney, I’m away from my WF buddies, AND I’m not making 18 bucks an hour anymore. This is not an inspiring beginning to a new year.

A little about my two most noteworthy classes-

My math teacher has embraced his senility with open arms. He babbled aimlessly for the first 10 minutes of the class then a giant gorilla walked in the door. The gorilla very kindly introduced himself as Winston and proceeded to tell the teacher to sit down, shut up, and that he would be teaching this class from now on. As Winston the Gorilla launched into a lecture about the politics of building contractors-vs-Tarzan, the girl next to me woke me up and told me that class was over. I departed that building and headed over to my wellness class.

The teacher over there had each of us think of a word that describes us that starts with the same letter as the first letter of our name. For instance (and these are actual examples people used): Jolly Julia, Laughing Leslie, Enigmatic Eric, Silly Scott. After the teacher yapped about her two sons, Matthew and Mark, I decided that Wise-Ass Whitney probably wouldn’t go over well. She even asked Eric to define enigmatic. Ladies and gents, she was serious. Most of the people in the class laughed a bit, but when she just kept staring at him, he finally said, “You know… like an enigma? *silence* A puzzle?”

It is going to be a long semester. 

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Commencement Address by Neal Boortz

This is a long one, I realize that, but stick with it and you can accomplish anything, such as reading this lengthy speech. It's worth it, and you'll appreciate it.


Neal Boortz

Many commencement speeches are boringly predictable. Neal Boortz a Texan, a lawyer, a Texas Aggie, and now a nationally syndicated talk show host from Atlanta. His speech is far different from what either the students or the faculty expected. Agree or not, his views are thought provoking. It would have been particularly entertaining to have witnessed the faculty's reaction! Don't stop reading if and when you find things that disturb you, you'll find other stuff that you'll find genuinely part of the reality of life in the Untied States of America.

His Commencement Address

"I am honored by the invitation to address you on this August occasion. It's about time. Be warned, however, that I am not here to impress you; you'll have enough smoke blown up your bloomers today. And you can bet your tassels I'm not here to impress the faculty and administration. You may not like much of what I have to say, and that's fine. You will remember it though; especially after about 10 years out there in the real world. This, it goes without saying, does not apply to those of you who will seek your careers and your fortunes as government employees. This gowned gaggle behind me is your faculty. You've heard the old saying that those who can - do. Those who can't - teach. That sounds deliciously insensitive. But there is often raw truth in insensitivity, just as you often find feel-good falsehoods and lies in compassion. Say good-bye to your faculty because now you are getting ready to go out there and do. These folks behind me are going to stay right here and teach.

By the way, just because you are leaving this place with a diploma doesn't mean the learning is over. When an FAA flight examiner handed me my private pilot's license many years ago, he said, 'Here, this is your ticket to learn. The same can be said for your diploma. Believe me, the learning has just begun. Now, I realize that most of you consider yourselves Liberals. In fact, you are probably very proud of your liberal views. You care so much. You feel so much. You want to help so much. After all, you're a compassionate and caring person, aren't you now? Well, isn't that just so extraordinarily special. Now, at this age, is as good a time as any to be a liberal; as good a time as any to know absolutely everything. You have plenty of time, starting tomorrow, for the truth to set in.

Over the next few years, as you begin to feel the cold breath of reality down your neck, things are going to start changing pretty fast... including your own assessment of just how much you really know. So here are the first assignments for your initial class in reality:
Pay attention to the news, read newspapers, and listen to the words and phrases that proud Liberals use to promote their causes. Then, compare the words of the left to the words and phrases you hear from those evil, heartless, greedy conservatives. From the Left you will hear "I feel." From the Right you will hear "I think." From the Liberals you will hear references to groups -- The Blacks, The Poor, The Rich, The Disadvantaged, The Less Fortunate. From the Right you will hear references to individuals. On the Left you hear talk of group rights; on the Right, individual rights.

That about sums it up, really: Liberals feel. Liberals care. They are pack animals whose identity is tied up in group dynamics. Conservatives and Libertarians think -- and, setting aside the theocracy crowd, their identity is centered on the individual. Liberals feel that their favored groups have enforceable rights to the property and services of productive individuals. Conservatives and Libertarians, I among them I might add, think that individuals have the right to protect their lives and their property from the plunder of the masses.

In college you developed a group mentality, but if you look closely at your diplomas you will see that they have your individual names on them. Not the name of your school mascot, or of your fraternity or sorority, but your name. Your group identity is going away. Your recognition and appreciation of your individual identity starts now. If, by the time you reach the age of 30, you do not consider yourself to be a libertarian or a conservative, rush right back here as quickly as you can and apply for a faculty position. These people will welcome you with open arms. They will welcome you, that is, so long as you haven't developed an individual identity. Once again you will have to be willing to sign on to the group mentality you embraced during the past four years.

Something is going to happen soon that is going to really open your eyes. You're going to actually get a full time job! You're also going to get a lifelong work partner. This partner isn't going to help you do your job. This partner is just going to sit back and wait for payday. This partner doesn't want to share in your effort, but in your earnings. Your new lifelong partner is actually an agent; an agent representing a strange and diverse group of people; an agent for every teenager with an illegitimate child; an agent for a research scientist who wanted to make some cash answering the age-old question of why monkeys grind their teeth; an agent for some poor demented hippie who considers herself to be a meaningful and talented artist, but who just can't manage to sell any of her artwork on the open market. Your new partner is an agent for every person with limited, if any, job skills, but who wanted a job at City Hall; an agent for tin-horn dictators in fancy military uniforms grasping for American foreign aid; an agent for multi-million-dollar companies who want someone else to pay for their overseas advertising; an agent for everybody who wants to use the unimaginable power of this agent's for their personal enrichment and benefit. That agent is our wonderful, caring, compassionate, oppressive government. Believe me, you will be awed by the unimaginable power this agent has: power that you do not have; a power that no individual has, or will have. This agent has the legal power to use force, deadly force to accomplish its goals.

You have no choice here. Your new friend is just going to walk up to you, introduce itself rather gruffly, hand you a few forms to fill out, and move right on in. Say hello to your own personal one ton gorilla. It will sleep anywhere it wants to.

Now, let me tell you, this agent is not cheap. As you become successful it will seize about 40% of everything you earn. And no, I'm sorry, there just isn't any way you can fire this agent of plunder, and you can't decrease its share of your income. That power rests with him, not you.

So, here I am saying negative things to you about government. Well, be clear on this: It is not wrong to distrust government. It is not wrong to fear government. In certain cases it is not even wrong to despise government for government is inherently evil. Yes ... a necessary evil, but dangerous nonetheless ... somewhat like a drug. Just as a drug that in the proper dosage can save your life, an overdose of government can be fatal.

Now let's address a few things that have been crammed into your minds at this university. There are some ideas you need to expunge as soon as possible. These ideas may work well in academic environment, but they fail miserably out there in the real world.

First is that favorite buzz word of the media, government and academia: Diversity! You have been taught that the real value of any group of people - be it a social group, an employee group, a management group, whatever - is based on diversity. This is a favored liberal ideal because diversity is based not on an individual's abilities or character, but on a person's identity and status as a member of a group. Yes, it's that liberal group identity thing again.

Within the great diversity movement group identification - be it racial, gender based, or some other minority status - means more than the individual's integrity, character or other qualifications.

Brace yourself. You are about to move from this academic atmosphere where diversity rules, to a workplace and a culture where individual achievement and excellence actually count. No matter what your professors have taught you over the last four years, you are about to learn that diversity is absolutely no replacement for excellence, ability, and individual hard work. From this day on every single time you hear the word "diversity" you can rest assured that there is someone close by who is determined to rob you of every vestige of individuality you possess.

We also need to address this thing you seem to have about "rights." We have witnessed an obscene explosion of so-called "rights" in the last few decades, usually emanating from college campuses.

You know the mantra: You have the right to a job. The right to a place to live. The right to a living wage. The right to health care. The right to an education. You probably even have your own pet right – the right to a Beemer for instance, or the right to have someone else provide for that child you plan on downloading in a year or so.

Forget it. Forget those rights! I'll tell you what your rights are! You have a right to live free, and to the results of 60% -75% of your labor. I'll also tell you have no right to any portion of the life or labor of another.

You may, for instance, think that you have a right to health care. After all, Hillary said so, didn't she? But you cannot receive healthcare unless some doctor or health practitioner surrenders some of his time – his life - to you. He may be willing to do this for compensation, but that's his choice. You have no "right" to his time or property. You have no right to his or any other person's life or to any portion thereof.

You may also think you have some "right" to a job; a job with a living wage, whatever that is. Do you mean to tell me that you have a right to force your services on another person, and then the right to demand that this person compensate you with their money? Sorry, forget it. I am sure you would scream if some urban outdoorsmen (that would be homeless person" for those of you who don't want to give these less fortunate people a romantic and adventurous title) came to you and demanded his job and your money.

The people who have been telling you about all the rights you have are simply exercising one of theirs - the right to be imbeciles. Their being imbeciles didn't cost anyone else either property or time. It's their right, and they exercise it brilliantly.

By the way, did you catch my use of the phrase "less fortunate" a bit ago when I was talking about the urban outdoors men? That phrase is a favorite of the Left. Think about it, and you'll understand why.

To imply that one person is homeless, destitute, dirty, drunk, spaced out on drugs, unemployable, and generally miserable because he is "less fortunate" is to imply that a successful person - one with a job, a home and a future - is in that position because he or she was fortunate." The dictionary says that fortunate means "having derived good from an unexpected place." There is nothing unexpected about deriving good from hard work. There is also nothing unexpected about deriving misery from choosing drugs, alcohol, and the street.

If the Liberal Left can create the common perception that success and failure are simple matters of "fortune" or "luck," then it is easy to promote and justify their various income redistribution schemes. After all, we are just evening out the odds a little bit. This "success equals luck" idea the liberals like to push is seen everywhere. Former Democratic presidential candidate Richard Gephardt refers to high-achievers as "people who have won life's lottery." He wants you to believe they are making the big bucks because they are lucky. It's not luck, my friends. It's choice.

One of the greatest lessons I ever learned was in a book by Og Mandino, entitled "The Greatest Secret in the World." The lesson? Very simple: "Use wisely your power of choice."

That bum sitting on a heating grate, smelling like a wharf rat? He's there by choice. He is there because of the sum total of the choices he has made in his life. This truism is absolutely the hardest thing for some people to accept, especially those who consider themselves to be victims of something or other - victims of discrimination, bad luck, the system, capitalism, whatever. After all, nobody really wants to accept the blame for his or her position in life. Not when it is so much easier to point and say, "Look! He did this to me!" than it is to look into a mirror and say, "You S. O. B.! You did this to me!"

The key to accepting responsibility for your life is to accept the fact that your choices, every one of them, are leading you inexorably to either success or failure, however you define those terms.

Some of the choices are obvious: Whether or not to stay in school. Whether or not to get pregnant. Whether or not to hit the bottle. Whether or not to keep this job you hate until you get another better-paying job. Whether or not to save some of your money, or saddle yourself with huge payments for that new car.

Some of the choices are seemingly insignificant: Whom to go to the movies with. Whose car to ride home in. Whether to watch the tube tonight, or read a book on investing. But, and you can be sure of this, each choice counts. Each choice is a building block - some large, some small. But each one is a part of the structure of your life. If you make the right choices, or if you make more right choices than wrong ones, something absolutely terrible may happen to you. Something unthinkable. You, my friend, could become one of the hated, the evil, the ugly, the feared, the filthy, the successful, the rich.

The rich basically serve two purposes in this country. First, they provide the investments, the investment capital, and the brains for the formation of new businesses. Businesses that hire people. Businesses that send millions of paychecks home each week to the un-rich.

Second, the rich are a wonderful object of ridicule, distrust, and hatred. Few things are more valuable to a politician than the envy most Americans feel for the evil rich.

Envy is a powerful emotion. Even more powerful than the emotional minefield that surrounded Bill Clinton when he reviewed his last batch of White House interns. Politicians use envy to get votes and power. And they keep that power by promising the envious that the envied will be punished: "The rich will pay their fair share of taxes if I have anything to do with it. The truth is that the top 10% of income earners in this country pays almost 50% of all income taxes collected. I shudder to think what these job producers would be paying if our tax system were any more "fair."

You have heard, no doubt, that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Interestingly enough, our government's own numbers show that many of the poor actually get richer, and that quite a few of the rich actually get poorer. But for the rich who do actually get richer, and the poor who remain poor ... there's an explanation -- a reason. The rich, you see, keep doing the things that make them rich; while the poor keep doing the things that make them poor.

Speaking of the poor, during your adult life you are going to hear an endless string of politicians bemoaning the plight of the poor. So, you need to know that under our government's definition of "poor" you can have a $5 million net worth, a $300,000 home and a new $90,000 Mercedes, all completely paid for. You can also have a maid, cook, and valet, and $1 million in your checking account, and you can still be officially defined by our government as "living in poverty." Now there's something you haven't seen on the evening news.

How does the government pull this one off? Very simple, really. To determine whether or not some poor soul is "living in poverty," the government measures one thing -- just one thing. Income. It doesn't matter one bit how much you have, how much you own, how many cars you drive or how big they are, whether or not your pool is heated, whether you winter in Aspen and spend the summers in the Bahamas, or how much is in your savings account. It only matters how much income you claim in that particular year. This means that if you take a one-year leave of absence from your high-paying job and decide to live off the money in your savings and checking accounts while you write the next great American novel, the government says you are 'living in poverty."

This isn't exactly what you had in mind when you heard these gloomy statistics, is it? Do you need more convincing? Try this. The government's own statistics show that people who are said to be "living in poverty" spend more than $1.50 for each dollar of income they claim. Something is a bit fishy here. Just remember all this the next time Charles Gibson tells you about some hideous new poverty statistics.

Why has the government concocted this phony poverty scam? Because the government needs an excuse to grow and to expand its social welfare programs, which translates into an expansion of its power. If the government can convince you, in all your compassion, that the number of "poor" is increasing, it will have all the excuse it needs to sway an electorate suffering from the advanced stages of Obsessive-Compulsive Compassion Disorder.

I'm about to be stoned by the faculty here. They've already changed their minds about that honorary degree I was going t o get. That's OK, though. I still have my Insensitivity from the Neal Boortz Institute for Insensitivity Training. I learned that, in short, sensitivity sucks. It's a trap. Think about it - the truth knows no sensitivity. Life can be insensitive. Wallow too much in sensitivity and you'll be unable to deal with life, or the truth so, get over it.

Now, before the dean has me shackled and hauled off, I have a few random thoughts.

* You need to register to vote, unless you are on welfare. If you are living off the efforts of others, please do us the favor of sitting down and shutting up until you are on your own again.

* When you do vote, your votes for the House and the Senate are more important than your vote for president. The House controls the purse strings, so concentrate your awareness there.

* Liars cannot be trusted, even when the liar is the president of the country. If someone can't deal honestly with you, send them packing.

* Don't bow to the temptation to use the government as an instrument of plunder. If it is wrong for you to take money from someone else who earned it -- to take their money by force for your own needs -- then it is certainly just as wrong for you to demand that the government step forward and do this dirty work for you.

* Don't look in other people's pockets. You have no business there. What they earn is theirs. What you earn is yours. Keep it that way. Nobody owes you anything, except to respect your privacy and your rights, and leave you the hell alone.

* Speaking of earning, the revered 40-hour workweek is for losers. Forty hours should be considered the minimum, not the maximum. You don't see highly successful people clocking out of the office every afternoon at five. The losers are the ones caught up in that afternoon rush hour. The winners drive home in the dark.

* Free speech is meant to protect unpopular speech. Popular speech, by definition, needs no protection.

* Finally (and aren't you glad to hear that word), as Og Mandino wrote:

1. Proclaim your rarity. Each of you is a rare and unique human being.

2. Use wisely your power of choice.

3. Go the extra mile ... drive home in the dark.

Oh, and put off buying a television set as long as you can. Now, if you have any idea at all what's good for you, you will get the hell out of here and never come back.

Class dismissed."

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I killed my dinner with karate, kick 'em in the face

Yeah yeah yeah, I know I haven’t posted anything yet. But tonight, in a hotel in Dallas, I feel inspired.


After working 3 straight 10-hour days, I am no longer exhausted. I haven’t slept, nor have I gotten to really relax but presently, I am wide awake. I’ve got Sex and the City on TV as background noise as I try to figure out what I can write about, and I have suddenly become aware that I have no idea where my phone is. In cruising myspace, facebook, and a few other websites that I frequent, I’m seeing a large number of year end and New Year’s reviews and wrap ups. I think I’ll add mine to the masses.


2007 was fun. I took a semester off school, made some money, moved not only out of my home, but out of the damn state, and made some wonderful friends. My New Year’s Eve was a pretty accurate representation of my year as a whole. My day began with a few text messages to friends, asking where the evening’s festivities would take place. Partridge had no idea, as usual, and Dudley gave me details a few hours later, also as usual. After working a bit, I get ready and head out to Cornman’s. Upon entrance, I’m informed that we’re listening to Beatles LP’s, drinking champagne, and Cornman has been drinking since 5. After establishing that I’m less entertaining than the boys, I decide it’s better to watch, drink, and listen rather than be clever. This plan worked well. I got to be a part of their exceedingly dysfunctional group, and enjoy a truly comfortable and fun New Year’s Eve. After we came back inside from the boys smoke break, Dudley insisted on seeing me in the kitchen. I was the given information I will never forget:

“Put your hands on your head like a big, old moose,

Keep your elbows high, and your legs loose.

You jump around the floor, ad you skip and prance-

The next thing you know, you’re doing the Antler Dance!!”

Once Cornman had let us know roughly 47 times that he had a white cashmere scarf, and that we should be jealous, midnight was upon us.

3…2…1… Antler Dance time! 

 I was regrettably unable to participate in the antlered festivities, as I was taking pictures and getting a video of the first occurrence of this new tradition. I finished my champagne, and headed out about 20 minutes later. ‘But Whitney,’ I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘why the hell did you leave a New Year’s party at 20 minutes after midnight??’ The answer to your question is a ridiculous one, and one which I will answer in 2 parts.

1)    I’m a moron. I should have stayed. Especially after Dudley’s phenomenal midnight toast. There’s nowhere I would have rather been either, man.

2)    I had to be at work. Allow me to state that again, because it bears repeating. I had to leave a New Year’s Eve party at 20 minutes after midnight, after drinking 3 glasses of champagne, to be at WORK.

The job that I was going to was at MSU, where I was part of the 4-person crew responsible for taking down the decorations in the warm-up gym at the coliseum. I arrive 10 minutes late… to one other person working. That’s right, folks. I’m tipsy, the other girl there is tipsy, and that’s it. The 4-person job that was supposed to last no more than an hour had just transformed into a 2-person job that would take 3 and a half hours. When I realized this, I texted Partridge and Cornman to let them know that I was not going to be able to finish ringing in the New Year with them.

I arrive at my house at 4 a.m. I am pissed, sore, tired and I feel jilted. An evening that started with such promise had ended with me collapsing onto my bed, fully clothed and crying, and passing out.

Even though my night ended poorly, I still had more fun in the few hours I was hanging out with the guys than I’ve had in a while.

But, in the end, it’s all semantics anyway, right?


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