Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The A-Team Movie/The End of 'Merica

While unwinding afterwork, at my local undisclosed tavern, I noticed a relatively new movie on the big screen TV. The movie included some helicopter chases, an older military man with a cigar, a couple of chumps, and someone that reminded me of Mr. T. Eventually I put two and two together, and asked the gentleman sitting next to me if that was supposed to be the A-Team.

"YES." (was the answer)

I perked up and tried to follow along. I wanted to like it but my spirit wouldn't let me. Now, I have no clue what the plot was or how it ended - but everything, from my 20 to 25 minutes of "sort of" watching this movie had me uneasy. It seems as though they took the members of the A-Team, watered them down, stripped them of any real character or uniqueness, and had them working for the military. (I don't know how it ends, as I've said, but I heard they do "go rogue" at the end).

The new "Murdoch" was the closest to any character I could tolerate. The rest of them were just horrible imitators. Seriously, why even bother trying to replace George Peppard (Hannibal) in the first place, few men have his class and ruggedness. The new "Face" might have been the biggest attrocity, lacking the charm and, and dare I say glow of the old one played by Dirk Benedict. I won't even bother talking about Mr. T.

To make matters worse, they were in Iraq, working with the military...working with the government. WTF?

Yes, working with the government and not the common man (woman).
Enough said.

I'm done and heading to the latrine to vomit my tacos. If you are indeed a masochist and grew up with the original show, I highly recommend watching this movie. Otherwise, like most things in American pop culture...stay the f### away!

Dukes of Hazzard Memoirs

(picture courtesy of: )

It's a tough world out there. A boy needs healthy examples of family and friends (those who got your back) and heroes (courage and ethics). Any self respecting American boy should also be brought up with a distrust of law enforcement and government power (truth to power). I got all of these through the Dukes of Hazzard as it aired roughly around the time I was about age three to age eight.

(for those looking for a detailed description of this great programme, check here: )

The tail end of that period (not that it was a perfect age - no age is perfect) where men could unapologetically be men, fast well made American cars dominated the markets and roads, and it was understood that it was one's duty to stand up for their own honor. Only the bad guys whined. (Now we all whine).

The Dukes made my first memorable television moments along with Waylon Jennings doing much of the side commentary, keeping us in suspense over commercial breaks (commercials were better than too). A good show will make you want to be part of it, and its conflicts, and I wanted to be a Duke.

And while I couldn't be a Duke, (if they did exist in real life, they would've hated me for being a Yankee Catholic) we did, (my brother and sister and mother) come up with a fun Dukes of Hazzard ritual I remember to this day very fondly during the hot summer nights in Shadyside.

We had cardboard boxes. We each sat in our own. We could decorate these boxes to look like the cars in the car chases. I was probably three years old, so I'm sure mine looked like shit. Regardless, it made us feel as though we were participating in the chases along with an element of creativity. Consider early 1980s virtual reality. A couple other neighborhood kids would come over too. Nobody was too cool for this shit. This was the shit.

Mother would make Chef Boyardee from those pizza "kits" and it was the bomb. (While I make my own well-crafted pizzas these days, I often think about buying one of those pizza kits to bring me back to those times).

All of this was watched on a black and white television. We had decent reception.

Life wasn't hard then.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Beheaded and Quartered

So, a dispute happens in a soccer match in Brazil. A player gets a penalty (if that's the correct term), refuses to leave, then gets stabbed by the referee. Stabbed to death, that is. Okay, that's weird and uncalled for, but I'm sure it's happened before.

The fans and family members of the stabbed player rush the field, stone the referee to death (biblical style), then proceed to behead the gentleman and cut off his arms and legs. That's not enough, they put his head on a fence post.

(You can't dream this stuff up)

To put this in context, the match did not occur in a large arena, it looked more like a park. As I'm thinking about this story, I'm trying to match it with a setting in my own location. Possibly a softball game, or a men's basketball game, or an adult baseball league. I'm thinking of the parks around here and games that I've gone to, or walked by, and thinking about how messed up it would be to see an umpire or referee's head placed on the foul poll or post on a baseball field, or seeing separated bloody limbs on a grassy field, or basketball court.

((From a moral/ethical standpoint, the fans were obligated to go after the referee and stop the stabbing. That was an act of defending the innocent. The referee is not an innocent victim. Let's be clear. What they did afterwards is the part most of us can't understand. Most of us seem to, or were born with, respect for a dead corpse.))

Of all the bullshit people post on facebook, nobody seems to be mentioning this, maybe the most craziest story of our lifetime (definitely Top 5). Or, at least crazy to me, maybe I'm an ignorant American who has no understanding of the intensity of South American soccer culture.

Since the Nick Berg beheading (2004 or 5 ~ Iraq War) I've had a strange interest in that whole process and what drives people do to it. In a wartime situation, people will do anything for propaganda (though I believe the government was behind Berg's death ~ and used it for propaganda, quite well).

Beheading someone during a soccer match I just can't comprehend, even if it was in retaliation for a stabbing.

For those of you who haven't heard this story, or think I'm making it up, check the link below: