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You Can’t Just Hand Someone Entitlement

A successful culture builds upon the past, providing each generation to follow with not only the tools to continue their growth, but the foundation to build upon.

However, watching these Sanders supporters in action, it’s painfully obvious that the new idea is to eliminate the last generation of free-thinking Americans. The ones who were fortunate enough to listen to first-hand accounts of horrors brought forth by rogue governments and dictators and despots. The generation following mine is somewhat clueless, having been the first of the hard-core “participation trophy” and “no-spanking” bullshit style of passive parenting. And THEIR kids, these miserable, candy-assed, lazy fucking douchebags…They teeter on barely functioning, intellectually, and utterly clueless issue-wise, yet they sure as hell have no problem rambling on and on via 140 character-long rants of piss-poor grammar. They’re distracted and entitlement-borne, and primed to usher in the golden age of another “leadership” disaster. And don’t kid yourself, you saw it this week already: The fix is in. They’re not even wasting time with the lube and dirty talk they had to employ in 2008 and ’12. They’re diving right on in, because they’ve already laid claim to it when you opened that door the first time.

Hyphenate it any way you want, but Socialism is Socialism, and it has NEVER WORKED, PERIOD. Erase history and rewrite it all you’d like, but simple facts remain. To function at even the most base levels, that idea requires a working class. And expecting that class to be earning a huge salary only leads to crippling inflation, and a lack of demand for product, which eliminates the jobs. The ouroboros eventually runs out of tail to munch upon.

Yet, if you’ve raised a couple of generations on empty promises and worthless goals like celebrity and material worship, anything with “free” in the name becomes nearly impossible to NOT want, and by the act of merely offering it you can garner support. After all, nobody actually expects it to be delivered upon; they’re conditioned to live for the thrill of that moment when it’s MENTIONED, bracketed by whatever hashtags are trending. It’s brainwashing and conditioning, and they’d realize this if they had to attend any of the classes they’ll pass simply for having signed-up in the first place. And you can’t expect any of them to pay for shit they don’t use, right?

It’s 2016, and the future is fucked.

The Chains of Acceptable Absurdity

All of this “racial equality” talk surrounding the Oscars really got me thinking. While I can agree that some feel slighted, it’s the prevailing attitude of “my personal feelings and cause are the most important thing in the world” which always leads down the same path toward “screw logic and making sense,” and that’s not always a good thing. I mean at least not in the sense of accomplishing anything, anyway.

In my world, it serves grand purpose. And that purpose is absurdity.

Demanding that someone be nominated, even when they’re not qualified in comparison to whatever the field happens to be is just another case of “everybody gets a trophy,” and that tarnishes the $10 dust collector. ANY award should be a symbol of the hard work put in to best the competition, correct? If you just give everyone praise, regardless of the quality of work presented, you wind up with a society loaded with self-important idiots. You can’t name everyone a Spelling Bee Champion… Otherwise you have to deal with some stupid motherfucker who can’t spell “probably” or doesn’t know the difference between “lose” and “loose.” Sounds pretty straightforward, right?

That said, I’ll just cave to the dumbing-down of everything, and agree that we all deserve a trophy to ensure an inflated, false sense of ourselves. And with that whole Oscars thing fresh in our minds, why not just remake a film to suit this attitude? A lesser man might look to the 1980’s and an action film or cartoon to start with, but I am not “lesser.” I’m going big.

Imagine, if you will, Roots as a racially-equal feature film. The feel-good comedy of the Summer, starring Jim Gaffigan as Kunta Kinte. Where the miniseries was biased toward having many black actors, this new version will have total equality. I mean sure, we’ll have to change most of the plot, and rewrite nearly every scene, but what’s more important? Some “story” or “everybody gets a part?” I’m thinking “road comic nails sit-com deal, but finds the contract to have all sorts of hidden clauses, and hilarity ensues as he tries to get out of the deal.” Based loosely on The Producers and Tootsie (and assorted chapters from the first three Dianetics books… I mean who has time for all of that self-analysis bullshit in the fourth?) I’ll hire Tyler Perry as a co-writer and we’ll bring the funny across demographics and whatnot. I already have the marketing tag line:

“The original had people in chains… But this remake will leave you in stitches!”

See how fucking stupid the whole thing sounds? You want to change things moving forward? Write an intelligent script that avoids racial stereotypes and pitfalls, cast it properly and produce the damned thing with some care. THAT is what will win awards; not bitching and boycotting. Besides, what the fuck have you done of any note lately, Jada? Roll credits. (stinger to feature Roger Moore as me dropping a mic and exiting the screen via levitation)*

* Consider the genius of a William Castle-esque gimmick, wherein the audience that sticks around for the stinger feels a bump on their feet following the mic drop, and they receive a souvenir microphone that plays a half-dozen phrases from the movie

 

No, It Wouldn’t Be Cool OR Plausible

Look at you, fan of the sciences: You saw that pic and re-posted the whole “gosh, if our moon were replaced by Saturn” bullshit concept. Some third-rate hack with Photoshop learned a layer technique and boogered a few planets into a poorly-framed shot of the horizon, and suddenly you’re Neil Degrasse Tyson, pondering the mysteries of the universe with regard to altering the makeup of the solar system as though it’s yours to fuck with. It’s not all about YOU. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that I can make this all about ME. That is, after all, the point of social media, right? “Look at ME!”
 
Sorry to burst your bubble, cupcake, but let’s be honest here. It wouldn’t look all neat-o with Saturn hanging there with those rings all silhouetted against a blue sky. In fact, it’s doubtful that your dumb ass would be here to see it, assuming that one approached this fucking idea logically, and realized that between the extremes of heat caused by never-ending plate tectonics and volcanic activity (not to mention the debris thrown skyward as a result), any atmosphere that could survive the gravitational pulls and releases would be opaque at best on a clear day (perhaps whatever higher power there is had a spark of compassion, and in its almighty pity sent a little functional weather your way and blew a few metric tons of poison gas and particulates out of the way). I mean we’re not even getting into the really important things like orbital shifting and irregularities that may have severely altered the processes of life and evolution, rendering your existence improbable in even the remotest sense. And then there’s the whole pesky fabric of space thing, which would have buckled, drawing the two objects into a collision. resulting in one mass, floating in (and causing) a destructive field of massive rock fragments and near light-speed particulates, which (judging from the makeup of the two planets) may have just enough energy to create something entirely different altogether.
 
And let’s say that all of that physics talk took a day off, and you managed to somehow evolve into the social sharing fuckwad credit to your family of obvious inbreeders that you are today… Each day on your wondrous ring-bedazzled moon-having planet would be many, many times the length of a current hollow iron space station moon-having current habitat (Scientology, motherfucker!). And that might lull you into a sense of false security when blocking an entire aisle as you debate between the store brand and the name brand Oreos as you text back and forth to your bros about how great the new Star Wars movie is. I mean it only took you eleven viewings, because REAL fans have to see the same shit nearly a dozen times to fully grasp the whole intricate layering of Han and Leia having bred some evil, whiny prick that talks to Voldemort in an obvious rip-off of Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy. And don’t even get me started on the whole comparison of a certain character dynamic that rings awfully close to a little chunk of the last Star Trek film. But rest assured, I still have to waste MY time on THIS planet (with an atmosphere I can see through – even if it has been poisoned by the illuminati – and solid ground and weather and an orbit that makes some sort of sense) standing behind YOUR self-absorbed ass.
 
The problem isn’t some dumb Photoshop or social share, and it isn’t even the fact of having a moon that would somehow be roughly ninety-five times the mass (or over seven hundred and fifty times the volume; although Earth has it beat on density some eight times over… and we’re not even getting into the rings and the shit-storm THOSE would cause… not unlike that bratty-ass kid of yours, orbiting around your cart and sneezing and coughing on everything) of the planet that it orbits. It all comes down to ME simply wanting to squeeze by so that I can get the fuck out to my car and inspect the latest ding from some lazy asshole who just threw a cart into the quarter panel, versus trudging the extra eleven feet to the CART RETURN with it’s wonderfully bright signage, so designed as to stand out against the blue sky which lacks what? Fucking Saturn hanging there like some childish cut-and-paste nightmare.

Two Lives Separated by Mere Letters

It’s not merely the spelling of their last names which provided for an incredibly diverse life for two gentlemen, but the careers of Smokey Yunick and Smokey Eunuch couldn’t have been any more different if they had planned them.

Do Something BIG.

This Christmas season, help a kid or family in need.

Each year, the tradition in our home is to not buy one another a gift. Rather, we “adopt” as many Christmas Angels as we can afford, shopping for wish list items such as clothing, jackets, school supplies and a toy or two. We always throw in some extra art and craft supplies in the hope of inspiring the next artist or designer… or maybe get their mind off of the things that are a bit too big for a kid to have to deal with. And while we can’t help every child, we can try to inspire others to do likewise, and that may help a few more in many communities across the nation.

That said, I’m closing the online store on our website through the end of the year. Please excuse any inconvenience, but I felt it beat to put my money where my mouth is, and lead by example. If you can find it within your means, please reach out locally, and try to help someone who may not be able to help themselves, and offer a helping hand.

That said, thanks for your consideration, and Merry Christmas.

More TV Show Ideas

I’m hoping to find time this week to bang out a draft of my all-new Prime-Time Action Thriller TV series starring Charlie Sheen and Bill Cosby as black-ops agents who travel the globe (and time!) to off dictators, terrorists and freestyle-rapping geniuses. Each will rely on the skills of the other, with both having help from a team of super chemists and biologists. After all, we can’t have Charlie dropping a load and the resulting damage taking several years to be effective now, can we? We have like forty-four minutes each week. If we can spring OJ, the series could go much darker.  …and in that way as well.

The working title is The AIDS Team, and we don’t expect much resistance from Stephen J. Cannell, what with him not so alive anymore.

Or how about Bruce Jenner in Half-Manimal. It could be a 15-minute time killer, backed to another series, like R Kelly’s That Ain’t 18 Yet!, which could explore bad ideas that happened in the last fifteen or so years.

Failing the action market, we simply do what Hollywood does best: Rehash the same old shit. Cosby, Sheen and Jenner in Two and a Half Men. BOOM. I smell an Emmy.

BETTER: We keep the action theme, but it’s Chuck Norris and Bruce Jenner. Same title. Hollywood loves a reboot, right? Hell, we get Peter Jackson aboard, and we can stretch this fucker to eight movies.

BETTER STILL: We reformulate The Amazing Race. In our version, we remove a vital organ, and hide it someplace on Earth, leaving only vague clues as to where it may be. IN the mid-season break cliffhanger, a contestant finds his spleen, but it’s… IN ANOTHER PERSON. And he’s hiding in a knife factory.

Next time, we’ll dive into my Facts of Life-meets-Twin Peaks conceptual game show/thriller mini-series.

Bruce’s Man Cave

It’s time for another of our “Billion-Dollar TV Show Ideas”, kids!

With the popularity of home improvement-style shows continuing from the last decade, it seemed only fitting that we throw an additional celebrity element at one, and that too has worked marvelously. Consider such greats as Vanilla Ice and now even Mr. T having shows. Yet, there’s a missing puzzle piece, and that piece is a celebrity with current tabloid exposure. This isn’t simply about mindless voyeurism or celebrity deification; it’s about revolutionizing reality and home improvement TV in one sweep using some dude’s junk.

The pitch:
People want to see a celebrity in day-to-day life. People enjoy seeing these celebrities engage in projects. Those same people like watching home improvements happen (and we’re betting that they’re not so engaging on their own). And consider that your average voter thinks that “change” can mean something in even the most inept of hands. What if we brought all of that together with a celebrity home improvement show that REALLY makes a change? Think Trading Spaces meets Bathroom/Backyard/Kitchen Crashers meets Man Caves meets What Not to Wear meets The Science of…, with a “Hey, I didn’t want to know THAT!” twist. And while I am plenty aware that our friend already has a show, I simply can’t imagine that it’s working to its full potential. And being a giver, well, I see a need and try to fill it. You can learn a lot from the movie Robots.

You may wish to sit down, as you’ll probably collapse under the weight of a “why in the fuck didn’t I think of this?!” moment of realization.

We follow a former Olympian (and current celebrity/reality TV star) as he trades his man cave for a scrap-booking room. We’ll follow along as a team of decorators and contractors help him “make the switch” in this ten-episode (oooh, a decathlon reference – see how thought-out this is?) mini-series. Plenty of room for guest appearances, and consider the genius of being able to switch demographics, bringing in fresh advertising through a season? I know. It’s that good. Guest spots from decorators, designers and handymen, as well as RuPaul, Dr. Ruth, (bonuses for the writing team if they work with me to bring in the Ghost Hunters guys – or John Edward OR even better: The Long Island Medium lady – to channel the spirit of Dr. Joyce Brothers in a… wait for it… cross-over episode) and assorted stereotypical men and women. We’ll be teaching not only design and construction, but learning all about society and gender roles, and then throwing that out of the window, should ratings dictate such a thing. This will grab awards like someone is just throwing them at it.

TLC, are you listening? Bruce’s Man Cave can be all yours… for a price, naturally.

…and of course, assuming that we can pay him enough to go along with it. Including my $1.81 found around the desk, that gives us exactly nineteen cents less than $2.00, still well-shy of even the most meager of lunchtime meetings. But it’s not about where we are, it’s about the place that we identify with as being… So long as it buys a beach house or three.

When Did Hot Rodding Become Hip Hop?

bedalle hip hop rodding

A little piece I threw down for Tubbed Magazine. Stop by and enjoy the second coming of Pro-Street.

Think back to your first memorable experience that set your fate as a “car guy.” Don’t let nostalgia sway you, just blurt it out. Just roll with the first one that comes to mind.

I’d be willing to bet that it had nothing at all to do with what anyone else thought of you. Taking that a yep further, I’d sweeten that bet by adding that it had nothing to do with fame or money. While one or two of you may have though about the guy with the bitchin’ ride in your hometown that got all of the girls  or that every other guy wanted to be, that seems pretty normal, and had nothing to do with defining just who you were. It started with the car, right?

Along that patch of blacktop we all travel on our way to becoming full-fledged car guys, we all get a taste of the pride that comes with a thumbs-up at a stoplight, or the strangers wanting to discuss our cars and the one they had “just like it” back in the day. Ego always grows a bit to fill those freshly upholstered bucket seats, and it’s all fine if you know how to keep it in check. And if you had any car guy friends worth anything, they knew how to help you keep that in check. It’s what good friends do.

It’s a family.

Compare your memories to what any kid coming into what remains of the hobby today will know it as:
A bunch of posturing and ego-driven, money-hungry wannabe celebrities driving catalog-sourced vehicles destined to provide big returns at auction. In an entitlement-driven, fame-is-everything era, we’re losing the real car guys and builders to a steady stream of TV stars and project managers. It’s an awful lot like Hip Hop and reality TV: Just a load of “look at me” bullshit with no redeeming value. And having already conquered reality TV, it’s not a far stretch to see the whole thing sink to a level of commerce-driven stereotypes telling you what’s cool this week, and making everything so base and trend-driven that they’ll be left with little choice but to either cannibalize the damned thing, or just leave it to die and move to the next.

Let’s roll with the whole Hip Hop analogy. Let’s create a fictional car guy who maybe came into the scene in the late-1970’s. He’s stoked about these “Pro-Street” cars, and can’t get enough of the look. It becomes in his mind the right look: Big, fat tires out back, a rake, skinny tires up front, and perhaps some form of induction poking though the hood. The essentials are in place. Our budding car guy is exposed to cars like Joe Ruggirello’s Mustang II or Lisk’s Challenger or Kollofsky’s ’55 Chevy (side note: Anyone else find it coincidental that all of these guys have names befitting a cool character or bad-ass cop in a movie?) or any other of a series of killer, pro-style bruisers. And much as any fan of what would come to be called “Hip-Hop” would have heard Grandmaster Flash or the Cold Crush Brothers early on and been drawn to it for the unique approach and the imagery it inspired in anyone outside of the Bronx, what would come to named “Pro-Street” did likewise to anyone who never cruised Woodward.

While Hip Hop evolved by taking outside influences from funk and soul to new wave and even punk, Pro-Street did likewise, borrowing from Street Freaks and Street Rods and other places, always looking to raise the bar just a touch. And, like anything gaining popularity, each had a stand-out that came to be the face of the movement: Hop Hop had acts like Run DMC, and we scored with names like Sullivan, Dobbertin and Hay (they could play the law firm in that film idea mention earlier). And in that popularity of a select few, we can trace the evolution of each, mans see the ongoing influences applied to shape just where each might head.

Like anything that goes popular, there exists the danger of haven it buckle under its own weight. While Pro-Street suffered from a number of ills, we could blame the decline on magazine saturation and constant competition to be the next big thing, with cars adding more extreme power plants and detailing and so-on, that it just became a caricature of itself, and begged for something to step in and rebel against it. We wound up with Pro-Touring, which didn’t seem to heed its own warnings, and is finding itself on a similar path. As for Hip Hop, it changed from a creative ocean of experimentation and arrangement to a soul-less money farm in the 1990’s (oh, the similarities between Hip Hop and Pro-Street are many, kids), and eventually a sad joke with all of the “gangsta” posturing and crunk-style bragging. (Side note 2: Consider that Dr. Seuss coined the phrase “crunk car” back in the 1970’s, and you start to feel all lightheaded, right? Scary how that works.) Where Hip Hop and its offspring found their way into the mainstream via MTV and radio play, hot rodding was doing likewise via major events, magazines and videos. TV wouldn’t be far behind.

It’s not such a far reach then, to  compare Hip Hop and Hot Rodding. Each became a pale version of its former self once television became a part of the marketing. Hell, we could take this little notion on a whole other ride, but let’s settle on the marketing of each as being hand-in-hand harbinger of destruction forthe movement. Don’t get me wrong, I get the money thing… We all need to eat. But when the problems come banging down the doors, they usually look like the fresh-from-College guys from Marketing. And when they come visiting, even the goldfish stop swimming, if you get my drift. The dollar signs flash, and it’s off to the races. On the music side, it becomes about selling the image of what Marketing thinks that it should be, with reference to moving product (as Yogurt the Wise taught us so many moons ago, the real money is in merchandising). You craft an image, and get the kids to buy into that.  On the car side, it’s eerily similar: Craft an image of what someone outside of the whole thing thinks it should be (based upon what the data shows will sell), and run with it, facts be damned if need be. Understanding that, it’s not so difficult to see why we had shows like Orange County Choppers or, keeping with the theme, Pimp My Ride. On one hand, you had screaming and yelling and time crunch drama because, by golly, that has to be how it is in a real shop, right? The natural outgrowth was American Hot Rod, Wrecks to Riches and their ilk. They appealed to the “behind the scenes” exclusivity gene which TV inserted into the genetic code, and never mind how skewed from reality it might be… Just cash that check and find more shit to fight about. Take that a step further in the appeal to “you can sell these cars and make money!” idea, and by golly, the shows practically write themselves. I am convinced that there are but two formulas for any reality-based show:

1. The Shop as setting for drama (family, client/shop, contest, money or otherwise) formula,
2. The find it/buy it/fix it up/sell for profit/repeat formula

…each of which may be seasoned to taste by adding celebrity appearances, surprises, some form of competition, pranks or canned “tech tips” wherever holes appear in the story line. Take a long, hard look at Monster Garage and tell me it isn’t so. Shit, get a hold of a script from Lords of the Car Hoards, Unique Whips, Leepu and Pitbull or Fast N Loud, mix them all up, and I’d bet that a seven year old could put a season’s worth of shows together at random, and you’d never be able to tell the difference. You could do likewise with any current Hip Hop video premise. It’s not about telling a story or building a cool car; it’s about who can brag the loudest. And that opens the door to really scary things, and can usher outcomes like not unlike the Lucifer Effect, as postulated by Philip Zimbardo (aka the Stanford Prison Experiment), wherein the wheels can be put into motion that make a good person do some really twisted evil things. I mean, what would the dollar amount be for you to sell out and bastardize the car hobby you love? Roll with your first instinct. That’s a lot of fucking zeros, isn’t it? And that’s chump change when the Advertising Department bros get involved (and you thought that little fishie was holding still earlier? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet). And when the image consultants and writers come to play, you’ll hardly recognize yourself. It doesn’t take a lot to go from singing about your sneakers over a sampled loop to bragging about the women you slept with in the penthouse last week and how big the rims on your SUV are when the residuals roll in.

And that’s where we stand today: It’s not about some guy with a cool 1970’s action movie cop name building a kick-ass machine that will set your synapses afire, blazing a whole new path for thought across your brain or even mashing two things together that have never been mashed before. It’s about having some money guy or project manager (at best) playing the douche (OK, sometimes it’s not a stretch for the guy. As a wise man once told me, “Only two kinds of people wear sunglasses indoors: Rock stars and assholes. Be on the lookout for a guitar.”) and creating some filler to top with ad sales. It’s loosely connected product placement opportunities designed to make the numbers so that Trent and Blaine in the front office can keep that tee time. You don;t have the imagination or thrill of discovery involved with your entry to the hobby anymore. Instead, you have an image to play up to, and try to out-douche so that you can make your own mark and score that show.

After all, it isn’t about the cars anymore, unless they’re a prop for your bitches to lean against while you pose with jewelry and assorted gold-plated handguns. While I can appreciate how anyone uninitiated into the family that is hot rodding can fall for this, you can bet your ass that I’ll be stepping into frame and doing my best to drop knowledge on Quick Mix Theory and Bill Jenkins’ Pro Stock Vega.

A Helping Hand

A note to the Broad Museum:

They prefer to be called “chicks” or “girls” these days. One would think that being so “contemporary” and all that you’d know this. However, I am looking forward to your coming exhibition, “Knockers, Wazoos, Gazongas and the Mona Lisa: Stuff You Can’t Just Touch All Willy-Nilly.”

Tastes like…

Actual Breakfast conversation: Ethical Cannibalism.

“I don’t believe that it would be as simple as a cut-and-dried argument about just WHICH people would be eaten.”

 

“True. They would have to be ‘food-safe’ or inspected like beef and so-on.”

 

“Are we talking people farms? Like ‘we can breed them in Montana, and have mini malls for free-range Edifolks – great name, by the way – or just huge houses with them being bred and fattened-up in front of TV’s…. Or more like punishment? ‘Your sentence is to become a meal, douchebag.’ That would open some doors to arguments. And interesting zoning meetings, I’d bet.”

 

“I like Edifolks. Or Meatple.”

 

“I would like the Shepherd Pie, and my little lady there has a hankerin’ for some cowboy burger.”

 

(laughter, sounding much like the gibbon cage at the zoo is sporadically interrupted with a variety of names for culinary treats such as “Lou-sagna”)

 

“I think we’d just need to concentrate more on breeding good-natured people to avoid anything like Mad Cow.”

 

“OK, forget all that. The big question is ‘would you eat it?’ I mean, no market means no point in building the farms.”

 

“It would really depend on how they taste. I mean, a neutral taste like pork or whatever could be OK, because like Chinese food, you could season it, and it could pass for a lot of things.”

 

“Even more useful would be if humans tasted like turkey. Because they use turkey to imitate beef AND pork. Like turkey bacon, for instance.”

 

“The real trick, then would be to raise the people you’re planning on eating much as you’d raise a turkey.”

 

“So, like, to get that right flavor?”

 

“Exactly. Like you know how corn-fed beef tastes different than grass-fed beef?”

 

“Oh, yeah! So like, if you had cereal-fed food people, they might taste different than the ones you feed only Burger King.”

 

 

“For future cannibalism. It’s probably going to happen, so we’re desensitizing ourselves to the possibility. Like a new area in the meat counter at the supermarket. That brings us back to ‘Free-Range Meatple’ and whatnot.”

“See how progressive we are?”

 

“I’ll have the Moo-Shu Dork, please.”

 

“I’m eating light. Do you have anything on the Vegan menu?”

 

“Do you think the Mulims would…“

 

“Leg quarters would be a huge meal on their own.”

“Perhaps you need to switch to a leaner brand.”

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