Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hoover Institution: Defining Ideas- Bruce Thornton: 'Illiberal Liberalism': Give me a Break!

Source: Hoover Institution-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

Reading right-wingers about people they call "elitist Democrats," or wine and cheese Democrats, people whom I call wine and cheese progressives, the wing of the Democratic Party that believes that anyone who didn't graduate from an Ivy League, other Northeastern university or a school on the west coast is not real bright and needs big government to take care of them, is a little difficult, if I were to take their arguments seriously (good luck with that).  On the other hand, I can just enjoy the unintentional humor and hypocrisy of it and think to myself, "Damn, these guys (including Ann Coulter) have a serious set of balls, balls that you could use to play basketball."  If you've ever been hit in the head with a basketball, you know that it it hurts like hell.  It's like getting punched by a world heavyweight champion boxer.  I would only recommend it for my worst enemy.

Seriously, these are the people who run the country.  They have the money to do it or they serve and are in business to protect the people who do it.  They get on Democrats for elitism when they are constantly putting down organized labor, government workers, and blue collar workers, trying to transfer wealth from the middle class to the upper class and looking for ways to increase taxes on low-income Americans.

You have elitist Democrats like the Kennedy Family and others and you have elitist Republicans like the Bush Family and many others.  You know what they have in common.  They all have a hell of a lot of money and have a hard time communicating with working class people who aren't Ivy League educated, who drink beer, eat chicken wings, hot dogs and french fries.  And go bowling, which I guess is a sin amongst yuppy snobs and elitists on both sides of the isle.  They have a hard time communicating with people who work very hard for a living and spend their free time doing working class activities like going to ball games.

Hearing someone like Bruce Thornton, who may or may not be a right-wing snob himself, using the same language that other right-wingers use when they talk about elitist Democrats, is like trying to swallow a mouth full of horse shit.  It's a little tough to swallow, even if you had to in order to survive because there was nothing else to eat, that is if you take them seriously.  If you don't, you can just laugh it off and make fun of them. 
Snob Boys: Your Everyday Rich Snobs

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dino Forever: The Dean Martin Show- Rodney Dangerfield: 9/14/1972

Source: Dino Forever- Comedian Mr. Dangerous Rodney Dangerfield-
Source: The New Democrat 

I never really got the Rodney Dangerfield no respect routine, I mean, I get it, but I guess I don't agree with it. Rod is seen as a working class hero's comedian with a very quick wit, a great sense of humor and a talent for  one-liners.  That is his background.  He is not Dean Martin,  Sammy Davis,  George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Johnny Carson or any of the other great comedians who have both great wit and  quick intelligence.  They kept up with current affairs and were always able to find the funny side in them.

Rod is sort of the king of the one-liners.  They are mostly about his own life.  A central theme is his perceived lack of respect from others.  He used that routine to make a hell of a career for himself but he's not in the same league as Johnny Carson and the others I listed above.  He's simply step or two below them.  I would compare him to someone like Andrew Dice Clay or maybe a Nick DiPaulo.  Dice, I believe, was inspired by Rodney.  They have similar routines. 

Bill Cosby is a perfect example of a superstar comedian who's at the top of heap, a so-called A-List  comedian.  At that next level, are comedians who are very funny and can always make you laugh but  the topics they cover, like everyday life or their own lives, put them a step or two behind the comedians who can make fun of entertainers, politicians, athletes, and or other celebrities because they keep up with those people and are very knowledgable about those subjects.

Rodney Dangerfield is at the second level, perhaps not B comedians but B+ or A-.  You can be a Hall of Fame athlete without being one of the top five players, or even in the top five percent of players, who ever played your sport, as long as you were one of the best of your era.  Rodney Dangerfield was a great comedian but not one of of the best all time.  He's not quite in that elite group. 
Dino Forever: The Dean Martin Show- Rodney Dangerfield: 9/14/1972

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Movie Clips Trailer Vault: Airport 1975- The Best of the Disaster Movies

Source: Movie Clips Trailer Vault-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

To understand Airport 1975 you have to understand the times when the movie was made and the 1970s as a whole.  People were into this type of disaster movie.  Disaster movies were popular in this decade.  There's a laundry list of them, including Airport 1970 and its three sequels, including Airport 1975, Airport 1977, and Airport 1979.  Earthquake, also with George Kennedy and Charlton Heston, takes place in Los Angeles.

Americans, then as well as today, liked seeing people pushed to their limits with their lives and health at risk and not knowing if they will survive the experience.  In Airport 1975,  the head stewardess has to fly the plane herself, at one point.  This, and a mid-air transfer of a pilot between planes, are excellent examples of people under pressure pulling off extraordinary things when they have to.

The plot of Airport 1975 is fairly simple.  A 747 is flying through pretty awful rainy weather.  There is a small charter plane nearby that, apparently loses contact with the ground controllers.  These two planes do not know they are in the same area headed right at each other without enough warning to avoid collision. The pilot of the small plane has a heart attack and loses control.  His plane hits the 747 with its five-hundred, or so, passengers.

The collision kills the navigator and co-pilot.  The pilot survives but is blinded and barely conscious. There are no other pilots on the plane but, except for a hole in the cockpit, it is in decent shape and doesn't have to crash if someone can fly it.  The head stewardess (Karen Black)  conveys the situation the situation to the airline's command center.

She, with instructions, from Al Murdock (Charlton Heston) the company's chief aviation instructor,  flies the plane,  including pulling the it up so that it doesn't run into a mountain.  They attempt a mid-air transfer to get an actual pilot in the cockpit into the plane. The first attempt fails with the pilot falling to the ground.   The second attempt succeeds in inserting Murdock into the plane.  He takes over and saves the day, so to speak.

I'm a big fan of Airport 75, even though it is an airplane disaster movie.  It has a very funny cast, Sid Caesar, Jerry Stiller, Conrad Jannis, Normal Fell and others.  It's a well written movie with funny people making the best of a horrible situation, not knowing if they will ever be able to crack jokes on the ground again, and using humor to avoid going crazy in an extremely stressful situation.
Movie Clips Trailer Vault: Airport 1975 Official Trailer

Friday, April 4, 2014

Movieclips Trailer Vault: Heartbreak Ridge 1986- A Movie About Turning Boys Into Marines

Source: Movieclips Trailer Vault-Clint Eastwood-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Heartbreak Ridge is my favorite Clint Eastwood movie and that is saying something because there might be ten of his movies that I love, including Magnum Force, Dirty Harry, The Enforcer, The Gauntlet, Pink Cadillac, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and a few others.  All of these movies have a few things in common: great stories, great writing, great casts and great quick-witted humor, all at times when you might think, "How could someone joke about that?"

Heartbreak Ridge was made in 1986 but takes place in 1983, about the time of the bombing of the marine barracks in Lebanon. Its about these lazy recon marines who are in the Marines to chill and have a good time.  They are basically still in boot camp, as far as their level of training goes, and are seen by the officers at their base in North Carolina as screw ups, which is putting it mildly.  Assholes would be more accurate.

Sergeant Tom Highway (Eastwood), a thirty year veteran of the Marine Corps who served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, a distinguished member of the silent generation in this movie and in real life, is brought to this unit to get these assholes in shape and turn them into real marines.  The problem is that Sergeant Highway's superior officer, Major Powers, (Everett McGill) is an old school, by the book, tight ass who wants things done his way or no way.  Highway is not in the Marines to play by anyone else's book, so they clash.

Highway has to make these very young men, late twenties at the oldest, into marines with this tight ass major on his back the whole time and do it without losing his job.  He takes his unit into battle in Granada to rescue some Americans.  There are over two hours of this in the full version of the movie along with a lot of great humor from Eastwood and his crew.  Teenage boys, maturity wise, become good U.S. Marines.
Movieclips Trailer Vault: Heartbreak Ridge 1986 Official Trailer