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Mandela at 100

Posted on July 19th, 2018

Dave!The current host of The Daily Show is Trevor Noah, a South African native who was tasked with the impossible job of filling Jon Stewart's shoes after he left the desk.

For the most part, he's done an amazing job. He is incredibly funny, whip-smart, and has a delivery that makes every joke land with a lethal precision that makes so many other comedians feel like a blunt instrument.

The Right tends to dismiss him as a progressive mouthpiece, but that's a gross simplification. It makes him sound like he's a Left-Wing Tomi Lahren who just stupidly parrots talking points without actually contributing anything to the conversation. That's not even remotely true. Trevor has a viewpoint that's uniquely his own, which is on full display on his "Between the Scenes" YouTube Channel where he is totally off-script and just talking to the audience.

Anyway...

On the occasion of Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday, Trevor... who is in a unique position to offer commentary... paid tribute on tonight's show. I have watched this segment three times now, and won't be deleting it from my DVR. If you've ever listened to anything I've had to say here, trust me and take a look at the following 8 minutes...

Only Trevor Noah. If you haven't listened to his audiobook for Born a Crime, you owe it to yourself to do that.

Listening to Mandela telling how he received his "Christian name" is fascinating to me. And profoundly sad. The idea that your name is unacceptable because other people have a problem with it seems... inhumane.

But inhumane treatment was nothing new to Rolihlahla Mandela.

   

Born a Crime

Posted on March 2nd, 2018

Dave!I remember how gutted I was when Jon Stewart left The Daily Show... thinking that nobody could ever take his place... swearing I'd dump the show. And then Trevor Noah came and he was a little rough but I saw how it might work out if he was given a chance. So everybody gave him a chance. And it ended up working because Trevor didn't even attempt to replace Jon Stewart... he just did his own thing within the format he was given. And now it's almost impossible for me to think of The Daily Show ever having been anybody's show but Trevor's, and I am glued to my TV every week night watching him dazzle with his charisma and brutally smart commentary on current events.

A while back I mentioned Trevor's audiobook, Born a Crime, which made me want to listen to it all over again.

And so I did. Seriously, even if you don't like Trevor, The Daily Show, or his politics, his story of growing up under Apartheid is unbelievably compelling. Highest possible recommendation...

As I said, you can sign up for Audible and get a free book credit so you can listen to his book for Free. Assuming you're not already a member. If you are a member, it's worth the credit. If neither of those are an option, check to see if your local library has audiobooks. Many of them do.

In the meanwhile, if you want to get a taste of what Born a Crime is about, check out this fantastic 90-minute interview that The Guardian which touches on a lot of the book's story...

   
Absolutely amazing how things worked out for him!

And he recently renewed his Comedy Central contract to host The Daily Show through 2022, so it's also amazing how things worked out for his fans too!

   

Bullet Sunday 542

Posted on February 25th, 2018

Dave!Prepare yourself, because a Very Special BLACK PANTHER EDITION of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Art! One of the best things about Black Panther is the production design. A lot of what went into that is explored in yet another wonderful edition of Marvel Studio's Art of the Movie books, which somebody on YouTube was kind enough to thumb through...

There's very little of the book that's not fascinating... or gorgeous...

Black Panther Art of the Movie Page

I own the entire series and love them. You can pick up the absolutely beautiful Black Panther edition from Amazon.

   
• Trevor! The detractors for Black Panther have been pretty stupid about it. I mean, if you don't like the movie, fine... to each their own. But the whole "This movie is racist because it's mostly Black people" is laughably stupid. My favorite commentary on this was by Trevor Noah from The Daily Show...

Speaking of Trevor Noah, if you haven't read or, better yet, listened to the audiobook of his Born a Crime, then it is absolutely worth your valuable time to do so. While interviewing Lupita Nyong'o for Black Panther, it was revealed that she will be producing and playing his mother in the movie adaptation...

Can't wait!

   
• Mother! Speaking of audiobooks, a momentary aside... I am just now finding out that Jenifer Lewis released a book last month called The Mother of Black Hollywood. Whether you know her as Ruby from Blackish or one of her many roles over nearly 30 years in Hollywood, it is so good...

Here is Jenifer Lewis being Jenifer Lewis... while plugging her book (and other things)...

If you want to be entertained for hours, search for "Jenifer Lewis" on YouTube and prepare yourself. This video is an hour of amazing...

I have only just started listening to the audiobook, but it is fantastic already. If you are a member of Audible, it's worth a credit. If you are not a member of Audible, you get a FREE credit when you sign up! Go do that and get this book!

   
• Comics! If you've seen the movie (and I'm assuming you have), there's a lot more to the story in the original comic books. Here's my four favorite series...

Black Panther Comic Book Covers

  • Black Panther by Christopher Priest (Vol. 1 Amazon link).
    During his epic run on the character, Priest defined and redefined a lot of what we know today about Black Panther. The movie owes a lot to his work on the character.
  • Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Amazon Link).
    Having a writer of Coates' caliber take over Black Panther is the gift that keeps on giving. The beautiful art by Brian Stelfreeze is just the icing on the cake.
  • Who is The Black Panther? by Reginald Hudlin (Amazon Link)
    I like this series because it has a good ties between Black Panther and the rest of the Marvel Universe. They actually made this into a motion-comic you can watch.
  • Black Panther: Masterworks by Don McGregor (Vol. 1 Amazon Link)
    Here it is... the 1970's masterwork that gave us an epic story arc that's just as thrilling today as it ever was: Panther's Rage.

I would be remiss if I didn't add Jack Kirby's work on the Black Panther, which is also an important read.

   
• Wrong Panther! It'll be reiterated below, but I think it important to state it here: There is NO relation between the Black Panther of the comic books and the Black Panther Party. And yet... I've seen this pop up more times than I can count online.

   
• Panther Facts! Let's wrap up this Bullet Sunday with a list of interesting Black Panther bullets, courtesy of Kevin E. Ross, who has asked that people share it...

  • The Black Panther (real name: T'Challa) is the first mainstream black superhero ever. He was created by Marvel Comics and the team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the same two responsible for heroes like Thor, the Fantastic Four, and Captain America.
  • Created in 1966 during the turbulent Civil Rights era, he is the first black superhero not created as an "token," a dependent, or a sidekick. This was considered extremely controversial for the time period. He predates Captain America's Falcon (1969) and Luke Cage (1971). He also preceded the revolutionary activist group the Black Panther Party by 3 months (he was introduced in July of 1966, and the Black Panther Party in October of 1966. They were not connected).
  • T'Challa (his real name), is also the ruler of a fictional African kingdom called Wakanda (population 6,000,000). Wakanda is considered one of the wealthiest nations on Earth as well as one of the most technologically-advanced. Imagine if Disney World's Tomorrowland and the Rainforest Cafe merged.
  • Wakanda's wealth is the result of a meteorite that crashed on to the continent 10,000 years ago. Composed of a rare alien material called Vibranium, the metal is sought by many in the world for its scientific applications and its military capabilities. It is only available in Wakanda, thus the country keeps itself closed and shielded from the outside world. Vibranium basically absorbs any energy directed towards it and holds it like a sponge. Imagine buildings that wouldn't crumble under the force of an earthquake, or soldiers protected against explosions from grenades and other explosive devices. Wakanda does export other commodities such as coal, diamonds, and technology, which contributes to its worth.
  • Wakanda has tons of vibranium in underground storage. One gram of vibranium is worth $10,000. That means Captain America's 12-pound shield, which is composed of the material, is worth just over $54 million dollars.
  • Being the monarch of the world's richest nation also makes you rich. T'Challa's net worth is $90.7 trillion dollars, which makes him richer than Batman's Bruce Wayne (9.2 billion) or fellow Marvel running mate Tony "Iron Man" Stark (12.4 billion). By a lot.
  • In the comics, the Black Panther is also one of the most well-respected men in the world. He is a combination of nobility (Thor), patriotism (Captain America), and superior intellect (Iron Man). He is also an Oxford graduate with a PhD in physics and is considered one of the top-5 minds on the planet.
  • The Black Panther is more than the special costume he wears. He is also a world-class athlete who was trained in martial arts, judo, wrestling (a popular Wakandan sport), and all forms of hand-to-hand combat. He also has enhanced healing properties, strength, speed, agility, and tracking senses. This is the result of ingesting a special heart-shaped herb that grows only around the site of the crashed vibranium meteorite. The radiation from the meteorite produces the plant which, once ingested, gives the recipient the aforementioned special abilities. Only those in the royal hierarchy and heirs to the panther mantle are eligible to use it. This means that the Black Panther has absolutely no problem going toe-to-toe with Captain America, who is considered the world's best hand-to-hand combatant and fighter.
  • Steeped deep in African tradition, Wakandans worship Bast, a female deity known also as the Panther God. The symbolic mythology here is also directly connected to ancient Egypt. She is revered as a protector and defender of the nation. This makes the Black Panther her agent outside the spirit realm, and thus more than a hero, but a true mythical figure. Imagine if the Pope wore a costume, had superhuman abilities, and defended the Vatican from its enemies both foreign and domestic.
  • Because of Bast, Wakandan women are highly-respected. The king's personal guard, the Dora Milaje, are an elite female fighting force. T'Challa's younger sister Shuri is a genius level intellect and considered one of the smartest women on the planet. Not only does she give the Black Panthers technologically-advanced suit & tech superior upgrades, but also other inventions to help further her country's technological dominance. While Tony Stark, who is considered one of the smartest men on the planet, graduated from MIT at age 17, he did not invent the Iron Man suit until age 42. By contrast, Shuri is only 16 years old.
  • In the comic books, the Black Panther was briefly married to Storm of the X-Men (remember Halle Berry?). Storm was from Wakanda's African neighbor Kenya (but grew up in Cairo, Egypt).

   
Until next week... WAKANDA FOREVER!

   

Bullet Sunday 445

Posted on August 9th, 2015

Dave!Bullets be bullets cuz the bullets be here... and because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Daily? And so Jon Stewart has hung it up at The Daily Show. He will be missed. A lot. In so many ways he was a voice of reason in a world of utter madness, and the fact that it came from a comedy network tells you exactly how big a joke the media has become in this country.

Jon Stewart

I am having a difficult time imagining my life without Jon Stewart and The Daily Show in it.

And yet... there are others...

   
• Here it is... ...your moment of zen.

   
• Here it is... ...your moment of zen.

   
• Here it is... ...your moment of zen.

   
• Here it is... ...your moment of zen.

   
I'm all zenned out. Thank you for everything, Mr. Stewart.

See you in seven.

   

Damage

Posted on June 19th, 2015

Dave!“The confederate flag flies over South Carolina. And the roads are named for confederate generals. And the white guy is the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him? We’re bringing it on ourselves. And that’s the thing... al Qaeda, ISIS, they’re not shit compared to the damage we can do to ourselves on a regular basis.”


   

   

Eventfully

Posted on February 10th, 2015

Dave!Today was most definitely not a good day.

Try as I might, I could not seem to get ahead... and having to deal with boatloads of crap from too many people didn't help matters.

When I finally had a moment to catch up with the internets and what's been going on in the world, I was shocked to find out all the stuff I've been missing.

  • Jon Stewart Leaving "The Daily Show." Of all the things that went wrong today, coming home to find out Stewart is quitting hit me the hardest. He has some very, very big shoes to fill, and making sure they find the right person is critical to the show's continued success.
  • Spider-Man is Officially Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The horrendously bad news about The Daily Show was balanced out by Marvel coming to an agreement with Sony over Spider-Man licensing. Finally. Finally! Spider-Man will be appearing alongside Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk, Hawkeye, and Thor. Equally good? Marvel is going to oversee the creative for Sony's future Spider-Man films. IGN has the best coverage I've found on the news.
  • Brian Williams Suspended. I honestly don't know where to weigh in on this. Brian Williams has no need... absolutely zero need... to embellish his already stellar career and accomplishments. So I tend to want to believe him when he said it was poor recollection that caused him to lie about events that happened while he was covering the Iraq War. Hell, the guy has covered so much news that it's not inconceivable he'd start mixing things up. But, seriously, how could you forget whether or not your helicopter was shot at? I dunno. I like the guy, but this is not the first time he's been caught in an untruth, and I wonder if somebody who can't be trusted to tell the truth is fit to read the news.
  • Shirley Manson, front-man for Garbage and one of my favorite people on earth, has the absolute last word on Kanye West's utterly disgusting disrespect for Beck over his Grammy win. Meanwhile, Beck, whose music I'm not a fan of but still like because he's extremely talented, had a reply that was so typically... Beck. Thanks for being you, man.
  • Richard Sher, the guy behind Says You! on NPR has died at age 66.

As if all that was enough drama, new Matt & Kim...

Geez... can Kim cut a rug or what?

And lastly...

This happened last month but I'm just seeing it now. If you're a fan of David Tennant... and why wouldn't you be?... here he is being surprised with a rather prestigious award...

I really, really wish he'd return to Dr. Who.

   

Oliver

Posted on August 15th, 2013

Dave!Very, very few people could have took over for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show for a single episode... let alone an entire summer.

And yet... John Oliver did an amazing job of it.

He did so well that, while I'm happy Jon Stewart will be returning after the break, I will really miss seeing John Oliver cover the faux news on Comedy Central...

John Oliver on the Daily Show

I hope that Comedy Central sees this too, because how amazing would it be to have another show developed for John Oliver which covers international news or something like that? I would absolutely tune in for it... and I'm betting a lot of other people would too.

And speaking of international news...

Absolutely horrified by the news coming out of Egypt.

My visit to the country back in 2007 was brief, but wonderful. The people were incredibly welcoming and kind, and I ache to think of them embroiled in such violence. Adding to the hurt is how those Egyptians who make a living from tourism are going to suffer. I fear that this is an industry that will not soon be returning to Egypt... much as it needs to.

Peace be upon you, Egypt.

Hopefully soon.

   

Daily

Posted on May 22nd, 2013

Dave!One of the few things that will make me set aside my laptop and actually concentrate on a singular event? The Daily Show.

John Stewart is at his best when he's ripping somebody apart for their blatant hypocrisy, and his take-down of Peggy Noonan tonight is among his best efforts...

I wonder if she feels even a modicum of shame for being such a shining example of the very definition of hypocritical asshole

I'm guessing not.

   

Bullet Sunday 304

Posted on November 12th, 2012

Dave!Don't let that calendar fool you ... because a delayed Bullet Sunday on Monday starts now...

   
• Help. Long-time blogging friend and celebrated author NYC Watchdawg has written a post over at his Social Medic site about supporting medics who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy. If you want to help The Big Picture by contributing to a very worthy small piece of it, here's your chance. You'll be helping those who help others (and continue to help others despite their devastating losses) to help themselves during this very difficult time of their lives. Even if you can't donate, any efforts to spread awareness would be much appreciated!

   
• Investigation. My expedition with Paranormal Georgia Investigations was a great time last night, as expected. And while I didn't capture any evidence with my camera like last time, I did take some photos of the creepy interior of Old South Pittsburgh Hospital. Of course, they don't look half as creepy when illuminated by a camera flash, but still... pretty creepy...

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
Not too bad on the outside... in the daylight, anyway..

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
I liked documenting all the toys left out for the ghost children to play with. This is one lonely rocking horse.

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
I'm pretty sure this bunny was dead. Totally non-responsive.

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
I took this bear away from a naughty ghost child and let him go for a tricycle ride.

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
One sad bear. You'd be sad too if you spent your time in a cold, dark hospital with ghosts.

Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
I volunteered to use my medical skills to remove an appendix or something... there were no takers.

BAD MONKEY WAS HERE! Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
Leaving my mark in Graffiti Hallway with all the professional paranormal teams.

Abandon Hope to All Ye Who Enter! Old South Pittsburgh Hospital
I also tagged the scary dorm room that Muskrat and I got to stay in. We bad! We bad!

Keep in mind that in the dark, while looking for ghosts and stuff, it's quite a different scene than shown here all lit up in a photo. But that's part of what makes the experience so interesting! I'm excited to see what data the PGI team captured of doors opening by themselves and other nifty stuff. Hopefully they'll make their way through the evidence pile soon so I can post a link.

   
• Medicinal. I've mentioned a couple of times that I carry a "Travel Medicine Cabinet" with me when I'm away from home... whether it's a month... or even just a day. Since I never know where I'll be or what I'll have access to, I choose to be as prepared as possible for any scenario. From allergies, colds, and diarrhea... to lost fillings, cuts, and motion sickness. Heck, I don't even get motion sickness... I just keep it with me in case somebody else I'm with gets it...

Travel Medicine Cabinet

Tonight I was very, very glad that my kit contained "Hearos" ear plugs. Let's just say that my hotel neighbors are crazy-loud with their nocturnal activities... and I was in no mood to listen to it. If there's one thing to learn from the Boy Scouts (other than "thou shalt not be gay"), it's to always be prepared. I can't tell you how many times that's paid off for me.

   
• Petraeyal. Like most people, I am a bit sickened by the massive CIA Overlord / Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus scandal that's rocking the headlines right now. Yes, he's a fucking scumbag that cheated on his wife with another fucking scumbag that cheated on her husband... but we don't know all the facts there, and it's none of my damn business what he does in his fucked-up private life. No, the sickening part to me is the FOX "News"-led conspiracy crap that this was some kind of scheme by President Obama to keep Petraeus from testifying in the hearing concerning the Benghazi attacks. Which, naturally, I learned from watching The Daily Show...

Yeah, no agenda there. Pathetic. I mean, seriously? America's best line of defense against a network that rips this country apart by spreading more lies and disinformation in a single day than North Korea does in a decade is a COMEDY SHOW? At some point, you really have to wonder how we've survived this long.

   
• Foxy. This will come as a shock to nobody, but I don't watch the FOX "News" channel outside excerpts that get torn apart and mocked on The Daily Show. Their "Fair and Balanced" credo is a crock of shit, and they are the epitome of the partisan hackery that's ripping this country apart. Just like nut job Keith Olbermann on the Left, I long for the day FOX "News" fades into irrelevance on the Right.

And because I don't watch FOX, I was completely unaware of the bat-shit crazy un-reality bubble they created around themselves with the delusion that Mitt Romney was not only going to win the presidency, but was going to dominate the election in a landslide. Until I saw their coverage on Election Night. Since I was convinced that President Obama would get his second term, there was no place I wanted to be watching except FOX. And seeing it all unfold there was a revelation. Everybody there was certain Obama would lose? Really? This made everything even more entertaining than I had imagined... until Karl Rove went into denial, at which time it just became sad. The entire network was dedicated to getting Romney elected, and they completely failed.

And while I get no pleasure seeing people genuinely upset that their candidate of choice was not elected... I fully admit to experiencing an entirely new level of Schadenfreude watching FOX News implode. And now, thanks to the wonderful people over at Pundit Shaming, I can relive the heady days of denial over and over again.

Which is almost as fun as watching Ben Afflek (YES, THAT BEN AFFLECK!) masterfully tear apart the afore-mentioned Keith Olbermann on Saturday Night Live back when people actually gave a shit about Keith Olbermann...

Schadenfreude is so not pretty. But I just don't care!

   

And, on that shameful note, I suppose I'm off to bed. Goodnight everybody!

   

Sanity

Posted on October 29th, 2010

Dave!This weekend is when The Colbert Report has its "March to Keep Fear Alive" and The Daily Show has its "Rally to Restore Sanity." Both are parody-laden responses to the crazy-ass crap going on across the USA as the midterm elections grow near.

Unfortunately, my real fear is very much alive that Jon Stewart is far too late to restore sanity to this nation. That ship has sailed. The rampant dumbfuckery plaguing our country in the form of bigotry, racism, hatred, ignorance, deceit, hypocrisy, selfishness, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, incompetence, and greed... it's all rapidly approaching the point of no return. Even worse, any form of actual sanity is readily attacked by people too stupid to even understand what they're attacking.

So good luck with that...

Sanity Banner

And the stupid shall inherit the earth.

Luckily it will be a world of their making, so at least they'll be getting what they deserve.

   
UPDATE: Well, the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" has just concluded. For the most part, I thought it was pretty bad. It wasn't funny. It wasn't even entertaining. I was bored throughout the entirety of the event, and thought the screaming interaction between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert was embarrassing. There were glimmers of hope... like when Yusuf (aka Cat Stevens) and Ozzy Osbourne hit the stage, but it was all destroyed when Stewart and Colbert went into some kind of mock music battle. Nothing seemed to come together, and a everything seemed so staged and pointless. I guess you had to be there?

HOWEVER... the speech at the end by Jon Stewart made the entire ordeal worthwhile. It was inspiring. He truly managed to put everything into perspective and diminish the fear-mongering assholes that are ruining this country. I hope that a transcript or video recap of the speech is posted, because it's well worth a look.

   

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