Do You Have The Courage To Watch This Movie?

October 27, 2011

I’m going to guess that 90% will claim you do, but then do nothing. Sorry, folks, but that’s who we are, and I hope by challenging you, you will prove me wrong. Let me explain:

Take a look around you. Are you happy with where our society has gone?  Does it bother you to see the amount of violence our society seems to accept as “normal?” Are you uncomfortable seeing children grow up with virtually no concept of right and wrong?  Does it trouble you that young adults seem to make up their own rules as they go along, eschewing the accepted values of society?

It should worry you.

But what should worry you even more is the realization that we are now reaping what we have sown for several generations spawned from those wonderful days of “the sexual revolution” of the 60s. Since then, we have (as a society) sub-contracted the job of raising our children (and, therefore, instilling values) to day care centers, school systems, and the government who now feels it’s their right to establish goals for sex education for our young.

Be mad. But be mad at ourselves.  As a society, all too often we have abandoned our posts as parents. We’ve passed on the one opportunity we get as parents to teach our children. And we are guilty of letting our children be subjugated by a society that has few or no values to offer. The problem we have created is threatening our society, dragging it into a cesspool of neglect and, in many cases, indifference. We have reached a point where young, single mothers with few morals see their babies as a hindrance to their dating and partying.  And all too often, it’s the children who pay a tragic price. But the problem really stems from those who father the children, then simply move on. Therein lies the focus of a movie that may be the most important film you may never have heard of.

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Ted Williams’ Redemption Metaphor: People, Not Government, Make America Work

January 10, 2011


Is there anyone among us who, by now, hasn’t seen or heard of the miraculous turn of events for radio voice-over artists Ted Williams? Williams, who was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, NY, had worked in Radio as a disc-jockey and voice-over artist until (by his own admission) cocaine, crack, and alcohol took over and cost him his career and home leading to 10 years of homelessness and his eventual redemption recently.

For those who have somehow not seen or heard  his story, the below video will bring you up to date…

But there’s a second, even more significant story that is, perhaps being overshadowed by Williams’ own story. And while it is directly related, it could well-define the future of this country.

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Top 10 Things NOT To Say During TSA Pat-Down

November 24, 2010

Not Recommended For Airport Travel

During this most busy travel season, delays are unavoidable. And with many people threatening to boycott the new TSA scanning/ pat-down process, delays are likely to be even longer.

As a public service to our readers,  I would like to offer a few suggestions that can minimize your delays and make your travel a bit safer and less burdensome.

Of course, the Obama administration gives exemptions to themselves regarding these new security requirements (ironic, don’t you think?). Michelle Malkin has a great piece on the epitome of chutzpah regarding this.  

Toward that end, and in the interest of avoiding what could be a 3-5 year delay on your travel (with accomodations provided by the “graybar hotel”), I offer the following things probably best left unsaid if you are selected for (or request) a pat-down inspection:

10.) Who me? Oh, I’m not actually going anywhere. But it’s been months since I’ve been on a date and…

9.)  I’m ready, and my seatback and tray tables are in their full upright position, if you get my drift.

8.) What do you say we get a couple of Long Island Iced Teas and then get down to business here?

7.) Try to avoid my stimulus package, will you?

6.) I think I’m gonna need a paper towel when you’re done.

5.) Oh  yes… yesssYES!!!!!!! (Sigh…) Got a cigarette?

4.) I just want to know one thing: Will you still respect me when you’re done?

3.) Ashes to ashes…dust to dust… if you know what’s best, keep your hands off my bust!

2.) Oh, I’m ready, all right… I’m traveling commando, if you know what I mean…

And the number one thing you should avoid saying during a TSA pat-down check:

1.) How much extra for the Happy Ending?

Here’s wishing all of our traveling readers a safe, molestation-free journey… and a very happy Thanksgiving!

Gerry Ashley
Grand Rants

Michael Vick’s Stats Can’t Hide The Monster Within

November 17, 2010

You won’t find any fawning Pro Sports fans here at Grand Rants, so if that’s what floats your boat, you might as well enter the URL for ESPN  and be done with it.


For a long time, it has been the opinion of all three writers here at Grand Rants that Pro Sports, like  the entertainment world in general, is emblematic of all that is wrong with American Society: Greed, avarice, and the absolute willingness to rush headlong towards the lowest common denominator in society and cling to it as if it were an enviable aspiration.  We Americans have come to embrace hype over substance and are willing to look the other way at any and all behavior, no matter how abhorrent, as long as the person is good-looking or famous. Nothing illustrates this so well as the media and public response to celebrities and professional athletes.

Ask yourself: Would Charlie Sheen be the subject of such adulation (from both sexes for, sadly, many of the same reasons) if he weren’t a star of TV/Movies?

Would Michael Vick have been welcomed back to his old job after serving time for his involvement in illegal dog fighting if he was a computer operator instead of an NFL quarterback? What message does it send, not just to the other NFL players, but to children who look up to professional athletes as their inspiration? This is a tragic case of opportunity lost (or as Barack Obama would call it, “A Teachable Moment”) and, as a society, we’re too damned stupid to even understand what, exactly, we’re missing.

Case in point: The sports world is buzzing over the performance of Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick logged on Monday Night Football’s matchup against the Washington Redskins. In that game Vick passed for 333 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 80 yards and another two touchdowns. On the first play of the game, Vick threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson.


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It’s Always Something

November 8, 2010

Oh brother. Even Saturday Night Live, in its 70s-and-80s cocaine-fueled heyday never conceived of anything like this:

Having a safe Halloween took on a different meaning in one Oregon neighborhood, where trick-or-treating teenagers received condoms in their goodie bags.

Daniel and Kathleen Harris, of Silverton, tell The Statesman Journal the free condoms were part of their effort to promote health. They also handed out toothbrushes as well as candy bars.

Back in 1977, Beldar and Prymaat Conehead only gave out beer and fried eggs to the neighborhood kids at Halloween. Now people are handing out condoms.

A lot sure has changed in 33 years.



The War Against Capitalism

October 20, 2010

Update: Bob Owens, the Confederate Yankee is on the same wavelength today!

I scanned the headlines this morning of what my homepage (Comcast/Xfinity/whatever it is these days) considers to be news. In the rotating “Today’s Highlights” section I saw this:

It’s a very subtle ploy, that statement, “already making more money than most will earn in a lifetime.” Does it make you feel good? Glad for those billionaires, and proud of their enterprenurial spirit? Or does it make you feel slightly envious that these young kids will make more than you’ll ever see in your life? Yeah, me too.

The ongoing repetition (only slightly unpalatable in single instances) permeates society these days. It’s in the press, on television, online… all the time. Captialism is evil; tax the rich; make the rich pay their fair share; they’ll make more than you’ll see in a lifetime. It’s pernicious, it fosters an us-vs.-them mentality, and frequently it’s not all that subtle.

But let’s take a look at a few of the evil young capitalists on the list above, and see what makes them so awful:

  • Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of FaceBook
  • Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo!
  • John Arnold, Centaurus hedge fund manager
  • Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google

Just looking at those four young men, the companies they founded or inherited employ over 35,000 people. Combined, they have donated billions of dollars to various charities. How can this be undesirable?

Unlike the conventional wisdom of today, the world would not be richer if there were fewer rich people. On the contrary: everyone would be much poorer. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of jobs would not exist if inquiring minds didn’t create companies like Google and Yahoo!

Philanthropic entities would cease to exist if there were no more wealthy people. Of course charitable giving would continue, as we are a charitable nation, but the big philanthropies–like the Gates-Buffett Challenge–would be out of business (and again, fewer jobs).

Who would endow libraries, hospitals, universities, medical centers if those prosperous enough to do so ceased to be so?

In short, the world would be an infinitely poorer place if capitalism fell so far out of favor as to be actively discouraged, and if all our rich, millionaire, and billionaire citizens were to cease to exist (or simply to go elsewhere). But we’re not too far away from that right now.

Were that to occur, we’d be asking “Whatever happened to John Galt?”


IHOP(e) This Suit Is Pancaked By The Court

September 16, 2010

From the semi-tongue in cheek department: 

According to an International Business Times report, International House of Pancakes (the restaurant chain known for its all-day breakfasts and which, for years, has used the acronym “IHOP”) is suing a church group based in Kansas City Missouri calling itself the “International House of Prayer”. The reason? Because they too are using the acronym “IHOP.” Quick: Circle the syrup dispensers!

Sign created by the author

Apparently IHOP (the restaurant) is afraid people might get confused with the double use of the acronym. 

I can appreciate a company wanting to protect its image, name and likeness from a competitor. But if that were really the case, then why didn’t IHOP go after a chain restaurant called “HOPS” (which DID confuse me at first). 

But what is the likely confusion with a small, one-off church group based out of Kansas City Missouri? There are three IHOP restaurants in the area. Are they afraid people might wander into the restaurant looking for a prayer service? And I’ve thoroughly checked the church’s web site. Not ONE mention of Chocolate Chip pancakes. Or “Rooty-Tooty, Fresh & Fruity Salvation.”

Since we at Grand Rants have been suggesting solutions to the political time bomb that is the current administration, I figured we ought to be able to resolve a simple issue like this, and it didn’t take long for me to come up with I believe to be the best all-around solution: 

I recommend the church group change it’s name to the Diocese for the Enlightened Natural Nazarene in You

That would be DENNY’S for short. 

Once they’ve changed their name, the church could implement an intervention program to break people of domestic abuse. They could call it the “GRAND SLAM INTERVENTION.”  

Then there could be variations of their Ultimate Skillet program to break people of bad habbits like smoking, drug and alcohol addiction.  

And to top if all off: Free Redemption on your birthday! 

Problem solved.  Next? 

If you will excuse me, I have to go now to attend the grand opening of my new business: 

Created by the author

Gerry (“Come to IHOP to get your i-Phone”) Ashley

It’s the Little Things: TV Edition

June 30, 2010

As a response to Stoutcat’s  post of yesterday, I got to thinking about the insidious nature of television commercials, and started a quick compilation of “little things” which, taken singly seem innocent enough, but which, when bombarded throughout the 24-hour cycle, are little short of damning in their  flaunting of  flat-out rudeness and out-and-out celebration of bad behavior…

  • In one of the Nikon D-5000 ads, the all-too-full-of-himself photographer insists on getting his fashion show pictures by blocking the other cameramen
  • Miller Lite depicts an antique appraiser joking about dropping a customer’s vase
  • Not to be outdone, another Miller Lite commercial shows an indignant delivery man taking back product because a nightclub has a reserved section for paying customers
  • Volkswagen commercials build on the old child’s game of “Punch Buggy” (hitting a chum on the shoulder at the sight of a VW) by having adults do the same
  • Cat Genie has unhappy cat owners throwing out litter boxes, one of which almost hits a jogger
  • In an Advil commercial, a woman rudely leaves a shopping basket full of other pain relievers in mid-aisle
  • Let’s not forget Geico’s Charlie Daniels, as he embarrasses himself in a French restaurant, and then takes a customer’s bread stick
  • Quality Inn has John Ratzenberger at a buffet line heaping his plate to the point of overflowing onto the floor and then walking away… his wife just watches and walks away as well
  • Allstate shows a man being hit by a car and then asks, “Are you in good hands?”
  • Starbucks shows the result of an affair uncovered – a slap
  • Lite and Fit yogurt has a woman slurping an empty container like a five year-old
  • A talking Super 8 sign berates a man (on his own property) for not taking a vacation

And so it goes. It’s reached the point where a reclusive billionaire feels the need to remind us of core values, putting his money where his mouth is in a series of public service commercials:

Sigh. Has it really come to this?

Alan Speakman

It’s the Little Things…

June 29, 2010


The late great Robert A. Heinlein had his finger on on the pulse of society, and  was able to tell us succinctly what’s wrong in the world today. Amazingly enough, he pointed this out to us nearly 30 years ago, with the publication of his novel, Friday, in which two of his characters discuss how to spot a sick culture: 

It is a bad sign when the people of a country stop identifying themselves with the country and start identifying with a group. A racial group. Or a religion. Or a language. Anything, as long as it isn’t the whole population…

Before a revolution can take place, the population must loose faith in both the police and the courts.

High taxation is important and so is inflation of the currency and the ratio of the productive to those on the public payroll. But that’s old hat; everybody knows that a country is on the skids when its income and outgo get out of balance and stay that way – even though there are always endless attempts to wish it way by legislation. But I started looking for little signs and what some call silly-season symptoms. [Emphasis mine]

I want to mention one of the obvious symptoms: Violence. Muggings. Sniping. Arson. Bombing. Terrorism of any sort. Riots of course – but I suspect that little incidents of violence, pecking way at people day after day, damage a culture even more than riots that flare up and then die down…

These are all things we’ve been experiencing in large and small ways for some time now. For every item in the list above, I’m sure you can call to mind several recent occurrences that you’ve read or heard about in the news. Good grief, if our current economy and the ridiculous legislative attempts to spend ourselves out of debt isn’t a poster-child for doom, I don’t know what is.

But there’s more to it than that, and as you might expect, Mr. Heinlein isn’t done with us yet:

Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms as you have named…  But a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot.

This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength.

This may seem like a little thing–a tiny annoyance to be lived with. But it seems that this kind of sickness starts at the top: at home as well as in government. When adults abidcate their roles as parents, turning that job over to schools, daycare centers, home computers, and television; when parents attempt to be “friends” rather that parents to their kids; when parents are still children themselves; all these things lead to, among other dire outcomes, the loss of manners and civility, and the rise of thuggish behavior, crudity, boorishness, disorderly conduct, and a coarsening of public discourse.

And as for government, well when we have President Kick-Ass and Vice President Smart-Ass as our role models, what else can we expect but gross incivility and ultimately, downright vulgarity?

And why is civility in society so important? Of course, Heinlein has an answer to that as well:

Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untravelled, the naive, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as “empty,” “meaningless,” or “dishonest,” and scorn to use them. No matter how “pure” their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best. [Time Enough for Love, 1973]

Given what I’m seeing these days — in the public sector especially –  if civility were the hallmark by which our society were to be judged, I don’t think we’d even be able to scrape by with a passing grade.

Our culture is sick, possibly even dying; there’s no denying that. And there seems to be precious little we can do, or that we as a people want to do, to effect a cure.

Clearly, this is the public discourse version of the Broken Window theory. We could clean up our act if we wanted to. But sadly, a very visible, very vocal, very popular, and very influential minority of society (think Hollywood, Washington DC, the recording industry, and professional sports) are not terribly invested in having a vibrant and healthy culture. But they are the arbiters, the trend-setters, the emperors of what little culture, or anti-culture, still exists.

And so… Ave Imperator! Morituri te salutant!


Losing a Battle, Winning a War

March 23, 2010


I find myself horrified to be thinking about a segment of American society as “the enemy” and to talk about being “at war” with that segment.  And yet, that is exactly what we are facing at this point in history.

The majority party in the Executive and Legislative branches of our government have made clear their hostile intent toward the American people: their goal, to continue to inflict damage to our country, to our people, and to our Constitution. They are so enamored of their growing power that there is very little that any one section of the electorate could say that would stay them from their disastrous course.

And they are so full of themselves and their Pyrrhic victory–which included those well-loved Consitutional tactics of arm-twisting, threats, bribes, pay-offs, quid-pro-quo, and no doubt a few Scooby snacks for Biden–that they take no thought for the actual will of the people, the palpable  mood of the people, the smoldering ire of the people.

How I wish that Pelosi or Obama, after the vote on Sunday night, had said something like this:

“I truly regret that we were forced to go to such lengths to get this vital bill passed. I wish we had been able to garner bi-partisan support for it, as well as the general support of the American people. However, since no such support was forthcoming, I felt it necessary to pass this bill in any way I could. The victory is lessened by that lack of support, and yet, since this healthcare initiative is so important to America, I am grateful that it did pass. And I hope that in the days and months and years to come, that more and more Americans will accept and even appreciate this outcome.”

What effect would a statement like that have had on the majority of Americans who believe that this abomination of a bill was stuffed down our throats in direct opposition to the well-documented, unmistakably-voiced will of the people? Might it have poured at least a bit of oil on these very troubled waters? Assuaged some of the bitter anger that is now, as it has been for nearly a year, simmering inside some of us?

We’ll never know, because it never occurred to either Pelosi or Obama to say anything even remotely resembling that. In their eagerness to attain more power by absorbing one sixth of the economy under the auspices of the federal government, they took the DC equivalent of an in-your-face victory lap. In other words: “We won.”

And just an hour ago, at the official signing of the healthcare bill into law, Obama and Biden drooled all over each other in an absolute frenzy of self-congratulation over such a historic event, while shills and sycophants cheered them on, further alienating even the most moderate among us.

So we are reminded once again, however obliquely, that votes (and elections) have consequenses. And come November, I believe that we the people will be able to re-acquaint the Presdident and Congresswith that very fact.

We may have lost this particular battle. But in the new War for America, we will win.



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