Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Jacknut Chronicles' Sunday Edition: Butch Paugh Wins Jacknut Again!

After complaining on a local radio talk show about West Virginia becoming a "police state" and detailing his belief that our government has become too intrusive into lives of citizens, Constitution Party gubernatorial wanna-be and pastor Butch Paugh was asked by host Tom Roten how he'd handle the issue of gay marriage, should Paugh ever become governor (at the 8:00 minute mark on the 8/28/08 podcast).

Paugh's response: As governor, he'd like to be able to identify and imprison homosexuals for, as he says, their crimes against nature and mankind.

Even Uber-Con Tom Roten was dumbfounded by the jacknuttiness.

Roten seemed to almost gulp before he asked the next question.

Paugh's comments demonstrate one thing: what constitutes a "police state" and whether or not a government is too intrusive depends upon how one perceives the world. And from my perspective, Paugh's world-view is frightening.

Jacknuttinly so.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The X-Rated Files

If a movie is ever made of David Duchovny's entry into rehabilitation for sex addiction, the tag-line should read:

"I Want To Be Monogamous."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Doing The Job

Most Valuable Jobber(s)

Most Valuable Jobber

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fred Garvin, (Licensed) Male Prostitute

Something about the headline, Licensed To Pipe, from the Charleston (WV) Gazette reminded me of the classic SNL character, Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute.

Don't know Fred?

Dan Akroyd's character was Matt Foley before Chris Farley was in Middle School.

See what I mean?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Film Geek's Advice To Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise may have his career back on track, thanks in large part to his latest role in Tropic Thunder. But he's still not enjoying the can-do-no-wrong artistic mojo he weilded in the early 90s.

As I reflect on his career, I think I know why: Cruise's movies are better accepted and better reviewed when he dances, but doesn't take himself -- or his dancing --too seriously.

In Risky Business: Cruise's character lived by the motto "Sometimes you gotta say 'What the fuck." And his loosey-goosey, what the fuck attitude helped endear him to the audience. As a result, Risky Business was a hit, and Cruise became a major star.

In The Color Of Money, Cruise combined his dancing around the pool table with a smarmy, arrogant grin that let the audience in on Cruise's belief that he'd made the big-time. The goofy dance with the pool cue, combined with that way-too-thick hair made me want to hit him in the face with a broken Bud bottle.

(Plus, he ruined a perfectly good Clapton song.)


Man, Cruise really believed his stuff was gold in this flick. I mean, the sneer, the weird laugh, the perfect hair -- it's all there. Along with the pansy-ass dancing, of course.

Really. Bad. Dancing.

After the couch jump on Oprah, the whole Scientology thing, dumping a talented (and hot) Nicole Kidman to marry that chick from Dawson's Creek and that strange Today Show interview with Matt Lauer, Cruise saw his career headed south. He had to get back to basics.

So, he danced again in Tropic Thunder.

But this time he did it with humility, and humor. And he did it with style.

And it worked. Welcome back, Tommy. Dance more, my friend. Dance in your underwear or dance in strange prosthetics, but don't stop dancin'! Your career depends on it.

UPDATE: Well, YouTube dropped video of Cruise dancing in Tropic Thunder. Go see the flick, you'll see what I mean.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Ruins

During my late teens and early twenties I had a series of strange, surreal dreams that had a recurring theme: in each, I was covered top to bottom with small, white "potato-eye" looking buds that grew out of my skin. As I'd wipe off or break off a bud, another one grew in it's place.

Bigger, thicker and harder to get rid of.

People in my dreams didn't seem to notice my dilemma, and when I'd point out to them the bizarre vegetation covering my body, they'd suggest I was over-reacting. If I'd just be calm, they said, it would all be OK. I never calmed, and it was never OK. In my dreams these "potato-eye" looking things took over my body, completely covering me from head to toe.

What's that you said about my need for control, Dr. Freud?


The Ruins reminded me of my old series of dreams. The movie, which tells the story of twenty-somethings who stumble upon the ruins of a centuries-old Mayan temple, employs intelligent, killer vegetation that craves and consumes human blood as a main plot device.
But that's where the similarities between the movie and my dreams end.

Because my dreams were more entertaining, more suspenseful and scarier than this movie!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Jacknut Chronicles' Sunday Edition: "Yes, Duct Tape Bandit, And There's A Santa Clause, Too"

Sometimes -- usually late at night and, maybe-not-so-coincidentally, after a couple of stiff shots of whisky --a very tiny and very imaginary Duct Tape Bandit and I hang out and discuss the jacknuttiness of life.

Last night, just as I finished my third shot and chaser, I heard a small commotion in the guest room, where The Bandit's been sleeping for a couple of months. I stepped inside the room, and saw a cleaned-up Bandit fixing his tie.

(It was a bolo tie, but a tie nonetheless.)

"Why the tie?" I asked The Bandit. "You got a hot date?"

The Bandit guffawed: "Naw, no date. I'm a-fixin' to go see da gov'ner."

I wasn't sure I heard him correctly, so I asked for clarification. "The governor of West Virginia? You mean, Joe Manchin?"

"Gov'ner Manix, MoJo, whatever people call'em these days. I hear Mojo meets wit' people all da time to hear their beefs, and I gots a beef. I'm gonna be sentenced in a few weeks for some things I done across the river, and I figure Mojo might be willin' to talk to da judge for me. You know, put da fix in for a lighter sentence."

"Why would he do that, Bandit? Governor Manchin doesn't interfere in the legal system for people. Especially for people from outside the Mountain State. Bandit, I gotta remind you, dude: you're from Kentucky!"

"Dat's not what I hear," snorted The Bandit. "I heard somewhere dat Mojo was helpin' out some Yankee-based chemical plant by fixin' it's beef with da judge. You probably saw da movie 'bout it, the one about da West Virginia town dat got sick from da chemicals. It starred that chick from Pretty Woman, Ellen Brokowitch."

"The movie was Eren Brockovich, and it starred Julia Roberts, Bandit. And the movie was not about the townspeople of Spelter, West Virginia who were made sick by environmental contamination. The movie was about something else. But that's besides the point; the point is, the governor is not going to see you, much less commute your sentence."

I felt sort of sorry for the guy, really. The Bandit's view of life is sometimes way too simple.

"Can't hurt to try, man." The Bandit finally got the tie just right, turned away from the mirror and started for the door. " It worked for da freak who thinks dat driver's licenses are da damn mark of da beast."

The Bandit had a point.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad

Around age 14, I discovered my Dad's stash of adult magazines hidden in his closet. I'd wait until he and Mom went to the store, to visit a friend or whatever (it didn't matter where they went, as a drive to anywhere was at least a 30 minute trip) and sneak into their room, find the Club and Hustler magazines and [ahem] read them.

I read 'em real good.

He suspected, I think, but he never knew for sure.

I don't have a lot in common with my dad. He is nearly bald, and I have hair. Lots and lots of hair. We don't share the same beliefs about life, and we have different views on religion. Dad still counts himself a Bush supporter, even though it's not trendy to be so. Given his druthers my old man would stay at home all the time, and avoid interacting with other people. Dad needs the fewest people in his life than anyone I've ever known.

But I have one thing in common with my Dad, who turns 66 years old today: we both love us some porn!

Happy birthday, Dad. My gift this year is some sound advice: Remember, if the erection lasts for more than four hours, please call the doctor!

UPDATE: Because my Mom emailed me this morning, horrified and defensive after reading my blog, and because Mrs. Film Geek didn't get the joke either, I wanna add this update:

Balls-busting is a guys way of saying "I love you."

Lighten up. Jeeze...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Watchmen: An Update

Legal red tape between Fox and Warner Bros. may create a delay in opening of the movie, according to reports.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Country Justice

On most days, catching up on the goings-on from West Virginia blogs is an enjoyable part of my morning routine. With it's hot cup of joe and the occasional sausage melt from Tudors, the early hours of the morning are reserved for The Huntington Herald-Dispatch, The Charleston Gazette and the newest blogposts fed to me by Bloglines.

The fun came to a halt this morning, though, when I read that my friend Scarlet had her car burglarized. I'm guessing a plan has already been put into place at the home to keep things safe and secure, and I pity the fool(s) should he, she or they be caught.

As I read the story I kept wondering what I would do if I was in the shoes of Scarlet and Jackie. And then I remembered.

I remembered how my grandpa distributed country justice.

During the early 1970s, a thief regularly stopped by our rural chicken farm during the wee hours of the morning.

He'd help himself to a chicken here and there, and once in a while to something of more value. My grandpa--a County Constable--didn't take nicely to thieves, especially those brave enough to thieve regularly.

Although I was very small, I still recall watching my dad and grandpa string electric fencing around the perimeter of the barn, then hearing my dad ask something about where it would be plugged in.

"We'll run an extension cord into the house, and plug it in there," my grandpa answered.

"But that high voltage could kill anyone that walks into the wire," replied my dad.

My grandpa paused for a second, then said: "Yes. Yes, it could."

He was a nice guy, but he really hated thieves. And ours sure didn't come around much after that.

Monday, August 18, 2008

High School Quotes I Remember: Quote #7

(I make no judgements about content. I'm simply purging some of the clutter that's been inside my head since 1983.)

"I didn't know your name was Hughes. I asked if you wanted a menu."

~The very pretty Pizza Hut waitress to the Nicholas County High quarterback, who's last name is Hughes. In a moment of vanity, he thought his reputation as football star and community stud had preceded him.

It hadn't.

The QB was so upset about his faux pas that he punched a wall and broke a finger. For the rest of his time in school, he was known as "Menus."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Jacknut Chronicles' Sunday Edition: Rush Might Consider Using The Other Half Of His Brain

With half his brain tied behind his back, Rush Limbaugh cherry-picked the personal tragedy of Elizabeth Edwards to make political hay.

"What could have John Edwards' motivations been to have the affair with Rielle Hunter, given his wife is smarter than he is and probably nagging him a lot about doing this, and he found somebody that did something with her mouth other than talk."

The thrice-married radio talk show host should start using that other half of his brain now and again. The half he's been using for the last twenty years seems to be growing a bit tired.

Friday, August 15, 2008


A little closer to A Night At The Roxbury than it was to Anchorman: The Ron Burgandy Story. Unfortunately for me, I thought the ads for Semi-Pro were funnier than the flick.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tropic Thunder

On the way to work this morning I heard on the radio the leader of a national disabilities advocacy group discuss his hope that folks will refuse to see Tropic Thunder, the new Ben Stiller laugh-fest, because of its repeated use of the word "retarded."

Dude, I gots news for ya: the repeated use of the word "retarded" is the least of this film's politically incorrect messages.

Seriously. The least.

And I loved it.

I'm not a fan of gratuitous use of stereotype and generalization. Most of the films that employ those are third generation rip-offs of once great movies, or are just so damn silly that they can't be taken seriously (or in some cases, even watched). You know, the cheap-ass movies that hope to catch on with tweeners once they hit the DVD shelves at Blockbuster, but which have no real substance or smarts. Movies that once you finish it, makes you think --whether you want to or not --"well, that was sorta [something other than smart]"

Tropic Thunder isn't retarded.

Tropic Thunder successfully makes fun of all those movies that perpetuate stereotype and promote generalization. Just like some have "taken back" offensive words and phrases once used to belittle or spread hate, Tropic Thunder examines Hollywood excess and greed in order to put it in it's proper place: as something to be mocked and laughed at, instead of being something to glorify.

And it makes you pee in your pants laughing in the process.

Stiller's washed up actor Tugg Speedman is on the wrong side of the What's Hot And What's Not list, and sees his lead role in a dramatic war movie as his ticket back to stardom. Robert Downey, Jr. is Kirk Lazarus, an actor who goes to great lengths to get into the skin of the characters he plays. And Jack Black is the heroin addicted comedic actor Jeff Portnoy, who wants to be taken seriously as an actor, but isn't.

Dropped into a dense jungle near a large drug manufacturing farm, the actors at first believe they are carrying out a scene from the movie they are shooting. Then, after all hell breaks loose, they realize they are in a fight for their lives.

But it's a funny fight. A goddamned, mother-fucking, hell-raising, politically incorrect, funny as hell fight. And a terrific movie.

The only thing better than catching a smart Ben Stiller comedy on opening night is watching it with a best friend who enjoys it just as much as I. Hoyt and I started laughing a few seconds into the flick, and we never stopped for more than a minute.

As Hoyt said as we left: Tom Cruise may have redeemed himself of his couch jump with this role in Tropic Thunder. And I'll go as far as to say it was Cruise's best role since Risky Business. I was sort of surprised he took the supporting role, then remembered that sometimes you gotta stop taking yourself too seriously, and say: "What the fuck."

It's a lesson a lot of folks could learn.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Living It Everyday

Since I gave up my car a couple of weeks ago, I've been carpooling with Mrs. Film Geek. It looks like that may end, though. According to her -- and I'm not sure exactly why-- she "can't take it anymore!"

She offered this snippet to me as an example of why I may be bus-bound until I pony up some cash for another car.

For context: I have a meeting on Wednesday in another city that is very important. So important that I gave in and bought a new suit of clothes to wear to the meeting.

Which I would never do, otherwise. Ever.

After dropping off the kids at day care Tuesday morning, I hear:

Mrs: Film Geek: "I thought your meeting was on Wednesday."

Me: "It is, why?"

Mrs. Film Geek: " Uhhmmm...because you're wearing your new clothes today. And today is Tuesday."

Me: "Yeah, I'm getting used to them."

Mrs. Film Geek: "You're what??!?"

Me: "Getting used to them. If I wear the clothes for the first time Wednesday, I'll be off my game. I'll feel uncomfortable. So I'm wearing them today to get used to them. I'll wash the clothes tonight, so they will be clean on Wednesday."

Mrs. Film Geek: "But people will notice that you wore the same clothes two days in a row."

Me: "So?"

Mrs. Film Geek: "Well, it's gross. And people will think it's gross."

Me: " What people think is less important than how I feel. I gotta feel comfortable, so that's what I'm gonna do."

It was about that time she let out a mid-level scream and said something about the nearest bus stop.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Film Scenes That Matter: Kramer Vs. Kramer

There are days in my life that I live out this scene. It's real, and it's genuine. And it's one of my all-time favorites.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Film Scenes That Matter: ...And Justice For All

I'd love to know how many lawyers were inspired into their careers by Pacino's character, Arthur Kirkland, and by this final scene.

I also wonder how many of those attorneys, nearly 30 years later, now practice in corporate firms.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Jacknut Chronicles' Sunday Edition: The Devil In The DMV

Butch Paugh, a West Virginia minister who seems to genuinely believe he gets inside tips from The Man Upstairs, has been lobbying state government for years to allow West Virginians who share his beliefs to drive legally without a state issued drivers license. (Quick wave "hello" to Pastor Butch: everytime I mention his name on a blog, my Sitemeter goes bonkers from someone in central WV a-google-ing his name.)

Why the issue with the DMV? He thinks having digital pictures, part of the licensing process carried out at the DMV, in cyberspace is paramount to accepting the mark of the beast.

(But for some reason, Paugh isn't that concerned with his digital image being on the youtube. He's got more posts on that video sharing site than a 14 year old vlogger looking to impress chicks.)

Think I'm lying? Here's the link to the actual discussion Paugh had with West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin about the issue from a couple of years ago.

Well, I'll be damned if Paugh's efforts haven't paid off. According to the Charleston Gazette, it looks like MoJo figured out a compromise.

"A handful of people who believe digitized photos on state driver's licenses could be the beginning of the biblical 'mark of the beast' will receive special licenses from the Division of Motor Vehicles today.

'What these people objected to was the digital image. Right now, I have three or four people who have requested it for religious reasons,' DMV Commish Joseph Cicchirillo said. 'I think what they told me was it had to do with the mark of the beast.'

One member of Paugh's group, Phil Huddock, a Randolph County physics teacher, contends that the digital photos give people's 'unique facial' qualities and 'will do more to identify people than fingerprints.' He also objects to school photos, saying companies that take the pictures are sending them to the national database of the Amber Alert program, which deals with finding missing children.

'My children won't even have yearbook pictures taken,' he said."

It's always been my contention that if the whole Mark Of The Beast thing was true, I'd be first in line to sign up. Being able to exchange and obtain information quickly and over long distances would be a valuable technology to have, and never having to use cash or cards to buy groceries at Kroger would be really cool. Simply waving my hand--with my account information encoded in a chip embedded in the palm of my hand--over the clerks scanning device would not only be efficient, it could be fun. Sorta like I was magic!

C'mon, jacknuts. Lighten up.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Bernie Mac

1957 - 2008

I'll still be laughing with you every Christmas Eve!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Oh! That Reminds Me!

Speaking of my car:

I started my first job full-time job in early 1985, and left it 17 years later after agreeing to spend a year employed in Des Moines, Iowa. My last day, a Friday, was a difficult one: I was leaving long-time friends, a business I'd helped build and the place I met and fell in love with my wife.

It was emotional. Really emotional.

I left the going away party at my office at 3:00 pm, jumped into my 1996 Ford Taurus and headed home. I was going to spend the weekend packing, and then drive to Des Moines on Monday. After driving through the downtown area for a few miles, I decided the Taurus needed an oil change before the trip. So, I pulled quickly into the Jiffy Lube.

The oil change took less than 10 minutes (as advertised!), but I noticed the guys working on the car were laughing really hard, then looking at me with strange grins on their faces. When I stepped up to the counter to pay, I asked the manager -- who was still laughing -- what was so funny.

"We got a kick outta your license plate," he said.

"What do you mean?" I asked. His comment made no sense.

"Your license plate. We think it's funny."

"I don't know what you're talking about," I replied. So he lead me back to the oil-changing area, where guys were still standing behind my Taurus, laughing. There, all shiny and bright where my old license plate used to be, was this (although it was a WV plate, not a NY plate):

Suddenly, I realized why my friend Cara Hedrick slipped out of my going away party for a few moments that afternoon. She put it on, hoping I'd drive 1,500 miles and half-way across the country without knowing.

Man, I have some great friends!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Long May You Run

After 188,000 miles, I finally gave in and traded my 1996 Ford Taurus. My favorite car, ever. The trade wasn't for another car; instead, the swap got me about a thousand dollars worth of electrical and handy-man-type work completed at my house. The kind of stuff I couldn't put off any longer, but which I had no personal ability to do.

I miss it already.

The Taurus was the first car I ever bought new and paid for. It broke down exactly once, in 2002.

The guy who put in the new fuel pump it needed said, otherwise, the car was in great shape. It was so dependable that I grew to love that damn car.

And I always thought it loved me back.

Even during the swap, it seemed as though the car was sacrificing itself for my greater need.

I hope that wherever it runs, it runs right.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Historia De Un Letrero (or The Story Of A Sign), which recently won the Cannes Film Festival award for Best Short Film, is a beautiful five minute reminder that sometimes its one's perspective on reality that is most important.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Daddy, What's An ' 8-Track' ?

I used to plug the Charlie Daniels Band 8-track into the player of my dad's truck, and turn it up loud as I drove to my girlfriends house. Sixteen years old, full of sass and pretending I lived every lyric of the song "Long Haired Country Boy. "

Listening to a song over and over on the 8-track was no easy feat, but I wore that tape out in just a few short months. So I felt a surge of nostalgic excitement when I read The Charlie Daniels Band will be playing at the West Virginia State Fair on August 14th.

Then I remembered: These days, I'm pissed at Charlie Daniels.

My frustration has nothing to do with Daniels being an ultra-conservative who appears regularly on various Fox News shows, and who shares the stage once in a while with Sean Hannity. Nope, I don't begrudge anyone their politics, regardless. My frustration has to do with the idiotic tinkering Daniels did several years ago to my favorite of his songs.

The original contained the lines: "I get stoned in the morning, I get drunk in the afternoon," and later "I don't want much of nothing at all, but I will take another toke."

Daniels cleaned it up. He now sings "I get up in the morning, I get down in the afternoon." And instead of taking another toke, he sings about telling "another joke."

"But I will tell another joke." What the fuck?

Every time I hear the new version, I want to scream. It's Charlie's song, of course, and he can do with it what he wants. But when he changed it, he changed my memory.


Changin' lyrics of a decades-old hit song to reflect a change in personal values...
And you never did think that it ever would happen again, in America, did you?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Jacknut Chronicles' Sunday Edition: This Joker's Wild

He's no Heath Ledger. But 20-year-old Spencer Taylor is a jacknut.

The Three Rivers, Michigan resident figured the best way for him to get away with stealing The Dark Knight memoribillia from a local theater was to put on a purple suit, a green wig and face paint a la Batman's arch-nemesis, the Joker.

Way to be stealthy, jacknut.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Real Heroes Deserve Better

I'm more than saddened by the tragic and senseless death of a local social worker, Brenda Yeager.

Missing since Wednesday afternoon, Mrs. Yeager's dead body was discovered by police inside a car being burned by Stephen Foster, Sr. According to reports, Mrs. Yeager was sexually assaulted and murdered by Foster's son, Stephen Foster, Jr. and his fiance Rosemary Forney, while on a scheduled professional visit to their home.

Here's the latest news.

I didn't know Mrs. Yeager, but I know dozens of people like her. People who go into the community to help young children who are disabled, ill or abused, to support the elderly or to help improve the lives of those living in poverty.

Heroes. People who deserve attention for the work that they do day-to-day.

Mrs. Yeager was a hero who, sadly, had her life taken by the very people she was trying to assist.

She deserved better.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Flashback! Bad Movies That Haunt Me: Speed

A bomb's on the bus
"What do you do? What. To. Do?"
Ask for a refund