Category Archives: Time Out
That’s right. Cigarettes actually cure cancers of all kinds, if you are to believe doctors in Indonesia (whom are supported by Philip Morris.) Billboards and TV ads for cigarettes are everywhere in that country of 237 Million, according to the new Vice documentary Tobaccoland. Ten year old kids who smoke a pack a day are encouraged to smoke by adults. Don’t care about Indonesian kids, and believe American tobacco companies need to make profits there, since we no longer export much else?…other than bullets and…oh wait…there’s more news related to soda, our third major export these days: Taking up the Philip Morris strategy here in the U.S., Coke has launched a campaign to promote drinking Coke as a cure for obesity! Sure, why not? Are you diabetic? Are you a spoon, fork, and knife shy of a full place setting? Drink more Coke! Just switch to Diet Coke, and get some artificial sweeteners suspected of causing…CANCER. (Wow, there’s an irony! Especially considering PHILIP MORRIS ONCE ADVISED COKE ABOUT MARKETING.) How stupid do they think consumers are? (Not completely, that’s why they spend billions on ads, in effect buying our brains.) Only it’s not working as projected anymore. So here’s what Coke says about its new Come Together campaign (what, are they like John Lennon smoking something other than tobacco? “Our ambition is to grow servings across the entire portfolio and for people to understand that Coca-Cola is right for certain occasions and perhaps not right for all occasions. We are a multi-beverage company. If more people drink Coke that is not a bad thing, but drink Coke in the right way. More people should be aware of the choices they have in the beverage category across our portfolio.” (Note he used the word PORTFOLIO twice…must be a very important word to him, like BONUSES.)
NY Times food journalist Mark Bittman responded to this statement: “So professional. So brilliant. So smart. And so deceitful. Soda is the biggest single source of calories in our diet, and the most harmful. It’s good that Coke recognizes that and is beginning to apologize. But all calories are not the same — those from soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages are actually worse than others. So it’s up to us to remember that Coke makes its money selling sugar-sweetened beverages, and even when they’re apologizing for that, as they appear to be doing here — they’re still selling them.” Marilynn Marchione of Reuters: “The more sugary drinks someone consumed, the greater the impact of the genes on the person’s weight and risk of becoming obese. For every 10 risk genes someone had, the risk of obesity rose in proportion to how many sweet drinks the person regularly consumed.” And Dr. Mark Hyman (whom I’ve interviewed about his book The Blood Sugar Solution) said THIS about high fructose corn syrup, contrary to Coke’s campaign to make people believe HFCS is the same as sugar (just cheaper.) BTW, Coke is asking for your ideas about getting more active, too…just don’t say anything about lowering your dosage of soda, or they’ll censor you (they screen all comments to their youtube videos as well.) And don’t mention that health care costs are projected to BANKRUPT Social Security and Medicare within ten years, too, unless Congress funds it (and stops buying jets and tanks the Pentagon admits they don’t even need.) Fat chance of that. Congress can’t even agree on booze and deck chairs.
Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski has been charged with sexual battery after a woman reported he grabbed her breasts and buttocks in a parking lot in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 5, before fighting him off. The kicker? HE IS A SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION CHIEF. Wow, who needs to write satire anymore? The headlines themselves are a joke. What’s next? The Air Force is requesting jurisdiction over the case, a “move” that is described as their “standard position.” Gees, they gotta go by the E.L. James rule book? Maybe what these people need to do is read WASHINGTON RULES by former Col. Andrew Bacevich, who suggests voters change the rules. (Term limits are a start.) As it is, the Pentagon thinks that not punishing victims who seek treatment is “change.”
In future news, do not be surprised to see a new magazine intended to hook future sports addicts even earlier…it will soon be making the way into toy stores. Bundled with baby rattles and pacifiers, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED FOR INFANTS will feature no words, only pictures of pitchers, umpires, quarterbacks, etc. Some mothers are outraged at those photos which depict chewing tobacco, beer swilling, and half-naked men in Lazy boys munching potato chips, but little do they know that a pilot program is in the works to subliminally broadcast ball games into the wombs of mothers who opt for ultrasound. Stay tuned.
Time out. Apparently no one liked my last post about zombies coming to your neighborhood, so I’ve taken it down. I’m tired of zombies anyway. Particularly those in Washington. Can zombies swim? Apparently not. The CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines was a no-show during his company’s accidents and failures at sea, which cost the taxpayer over a million on occasion via military towing (by the Coast Guard or the Navy.) That’s right, Carnival didn’t have to pay for the towing, nor do they pay much at all in taxes either, since they are registered in Panama. (How much in taxes do they pay? Just over one-half of ONE percent, or .6 %.) Other major corporations unrelated to cruising pay less taxes now than in the past as well. The average is 9%, while a decade ago it was 20%. Corporate salaries and bonuses are way up over past decades, while revenues to the government down. And of course they want to be bailed out when anything goes wrong, too. By you. The kicker? Corporate CEOs are amassing fortunes in offshore accounts, sheltered from the laws affecting your pocketbook. Not only this, but many Americans (Republicans especially) have given up on any sense of justice or right-and-wrong, and would love to be able to join the zombie money games. True, there is fraud in entitlements, but my question here is this: should we admire CEO Micky Arison, who, when his Concordia capsized in Italy, or when his “Triumph” was stranded and towed, was courtside at a Miami Heat basketball game (a team WHICH HE OWNS)? He’s the richest man in Florida, using a taxpayer funded stadium, and doesn’t see any of this as wrong, much less “a crisis.” Like Paterno, he’s legally innocent (thanks to a corrupt Congress.) But is he also an American hero? Should a solid gold statue be erected in his honor? And should we pay for that statue? Just asking, because that is exactly what we are doing. The super rich are more popular and doing better now than at any time in American history, but most people don’t care…”more power to them”…what is more important is what Lebron James and others are doing on the court. Or as the sports editor of Tucson Weekly said in a recent column, “nothing else matters but sports.” Oh really? You haven’t gotten your tax bill yet, Brian. I don’t mean the deferred one you’ve seen so far, I mean the one coming for you and your grandkids. War is a sport, too. We’ve been playing those games big time in the last decade as well, filling the record books with even more meaningless scores in the red. …Hey, maybe Brian should join another Brian (Warner) from CelebrityNetWorth.com and go to Afghanistan to count body bags instead of going ga-ga over people like Arison (Kim Kardashian only being worth a measly forty million.) Just a sugges— Oh, wait… Gees, I forgot! There’s a game on, isn’t there? Nevermind.
Bonus screenplay (set on a cruise ship) is included in my new book, click on link to right (or on “About.”)
Have you noticed how short our conversations in person have become lately? Unlike the Europeans, who sit in cafes and talk for hours, we generally say nothing at all to each other except “hi” and “bye.” Variations of this are “How are you?” and “Have a nice day.” Same thing. Without a cell phone, we generally don’t care about the answer, so this longer version of “hello” only elicits the response “Fine, and you?”
If we’re all so fine and dandy, why do we tailgate each other like we’re late for the Second Coming, buy more guns than Afghan warlords, and then barricade ourselves behind security systems as though our neighbors were all sociopathic serial killers? Something is wrong with this picture we’re developing at the corner drug store photo-processing center, (next to McDonalds and across from Starbucks). Here we live in tract homes and apartments once built to cookie-cutter specifications by fly-by-night low-bid builders employing subcontractors who moved among us like hookers at a truckers convention. Everyone hoped to make a killing and move on before the bubble burst. Now you’re not even a human, anymore, you’re a consumer, a demographic, an identity theft victim. But even identity thieves don’t have an identity. They’re faceless too. Like hackers, spammers, or banking CEOs too big to jail. Why can’t we all get along? I’m guessing it’s because we don’t really talk, anymore. Or listen, for that matter.
We don’t read, either. Or at least men don’t read. Instead, we watch television more than anyone in the galaxy, which may explain why space aliens want to kill us so badly. After all, look at what we’re beaming them: celebrity trials, soap operas, ball games, reality shows, comic book movies, chicken nuggets. All one-liners, not true conversation a la “My Dinner With Andre.” Not even close.
I saw a tee-shirt recently reading, proudly: iPHONE, THEREFORE I AM. Does this also mean we’re afraid of our own private thoughts? iThink so. There’s always something “on,” always something “playing” to interrupt any original thought, these days. With books in decline, people with nothing to say are nonetheless saying it in strings of one-liners on “smart” phones while making left turns at high speed with one hand. (Teens here go “he’s like…” and “then I’m like…” never mentioning anyone over, like, 30.) Meanwhile, outside our own intimidating gas-guzzlers, we occasionally mumble things like “Merry Christmas” or “Have a nice day” when cornered, proud to have spawned the Facebook generation.
iWonder if anyone has time to smell the rose-scented Glade plugins, much less to contemplate our souls amid all the head butting on TV. Because we’re not even sure what human consciousness is. Do our brains equal “us,” for instance? We need to talk about this. Because if your brain controls everything, this obviously means your body is only a shell. You could lose your arms and legs and still be 100% “you.” Liposuction has no effect on you, either, except to make your shell more attractive to other hormonally-driven brains. But if you cut out your brain. . . well, that’s it. You’re cooked. So the lesson here may be that people are really only three pound clumps of jelly, which you could probably hold in your hand for at least a few seconds before freaking out. How “cool” is that? And all this time we’ve been worried, too, about what some other clump of jelly thinks about our own clump of jelly. All over the country these three pound “jellies” recognize the shell holding our clump, and our clump wonders how these jellies are “doing” or “feeling,” and if they’re coming to visit you for what is termed a “holiday,” and if the alignment of electrical impulses inside our jelly mold can ever “forgive” or “love” or “whatever” them again. Or even if we should. Meanwhile Hollywood would have us believe there just might be huge 600 lb. jellies moving this direction at near light speed to make slaves of all the smaller jellies on this tiny world we’ve dubbed “Earth.” Am iRight?
Such thoughts plague my jelly whenever it can’t get into REM sleep due to neighbors who can’t stop moving furniture until 3:30 AM. One day I may find peace at last from these troublesome ruminations. Until then, unless someone finds a few minutes in their day to stop following scores and talk in person, I fear I’ll end up wearing a tee-shirt reading iTHOUGHT, THEREFORE iWAS as I wander around Wal Mart parking lots, complaining that the two buck Dasani water is still the safest option to diabetes that Coke offers, although it’s just filtered tap water bottled at 2000 times the energy cost of tap water and 20,000 times the price. And no one will listen to me then, either.
Justin Bieber? Britney Spears? No one is quite sure who they are anymore. The year is 2113, as imagined by the supercomputer Deeper Thought. (Actually, it’s our own reporter Ryback Solomon, who is in a coma and connected to a quantum mechanical EEG 2.0 machine that interprets brain patterns and dreams. Top secret stuff. Apparently, people in a coma can see the future. …Hey, if pseudo-scientists can claim quantum effects to write books like The Secret, why not me and you??) Actually, my point here is that pop music gets millions of hits that serious musicians do not. Justin and Britney’s music is now known by everyone, while far fewer have ever actually listened to musical geniuses. Take the Chopin piece below, performed by the winner of the last International Chopin competition. (No, it didn’t even make PBS.) The number of hits on this video, posted early last year, hasn’t even reached 2000, while 50 Cent gets 50 million. My point? You’d have to watch the loop of Britney above for months on end to come close to the number of hits she gets for every song. But in a hundred years (if the human race survives, of course), more people on the street will have heard of Chopin. Irony? Not really. Time decides who is a fad and who genius. Salieri or Mozart? Mozart. The Who or The Beetles? “Who’s Who?” they might ask, yet know The Beetles. It’s hard to say. I was just reviewing a book by John D. MacDonald, and thinking about all the bestselling slasher or vampire books out there in comparison. There really is no comparison. When something is unique, time decides. I will put James Lee Burke up against all of the current top bestselling authors, and say there is no comparison. It’s like a grass fed filet mignon against those three dozen feed-lot fed hogs that went into that sallow hot dog on sale at the Piggly Wiggly. It’s like Avatar vs. Battlefield Earth, or Life of Pi vs. Troll 2. All of which said so that you’ll take an actual 7 minutes and watch this video, then tell me you were not moved (at which point I will recommend a psychiatrist to help you avoid taking an AK 47 to the next Batman sequel.) If you like this, check out my short essay on what an artist is here. Enjoy.