Once upon a time there was...

- 'A king!' my little readers will say at once.
No, children, you are mistaken.
Once upon a time there was a piece of wood.

You might not have guessed it, but these are the opening lines of the classic Carlo Collodi's 1881 tale made famous worldwide by Disney's 1940 cartoon.

This recent remake, while still a work in progress, has proven, thus far, a troubling but well crafted adaptation.

Like in the original tale, the plot involves a wooden puppet named Pinocchio being brought to life by a blue fairy, who tells him he can become a real boy if he proves himself brave, truthful, and able to tell right from wrong by listening to his conscience.

Pinocchio doesn't understand what a conscience is, and Jiminy appears to explain it to him.

However, Pinocchio is led astray by the conniving Honest Joe and Gideon, who convince him to join Stromboli's puppet show instead.

The songs are all memorable and great. My favorites are "Give a little whistle," "When you wish upon a star," and "An actor's life for me."



Know your place!

Who cares what people want?

Who cares what voters say?

What did you think?

What were you expecting?

This is not a deliberative democracy!

Ours is a modern Republic!!!

Since the 1830s when Alexis de Tocqueville warned about the "tyranny of the majority" in a democracy, advocates of the rights of minorities have warned that the courts needed to protect those rights by reversing efforts by voters to terminate the rights of an unpopular minority.

Corporations are citizens too. And they have rights---rights, which are to be protected from the would be mob-rule of people like you.

Now, you know.

The Founding Fathers would have been proud of the 111th congress.

And they would have been proud of this administration.

And so would have Theodore Roosevelt---or so says the Ministry of half-truths:

Repeat after me now (from Bloomberg article above): " will take years before the public recognizes their [the Democrats'] achievements."

Warning: Do not continue if you have epilepsy.




A holiday song

For your pleasure..... that is, if you are filthy minded, a family disgrace, and hope to cunningly exceed your tab at the bar..... Ladies and gents, Tom Waits......


Make a wish


What's Next?

"Begin with the end in mind."
---Stephen Covey, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You (It could happen):

President Obama is likely to sign the debt ceiling package House Republicans hand him, which includes the privatization of Social Security and Medicare, spokesman Robert Gibbs said today.

"We don't have the luxury of playing partisan politics," President Obama said. "The 2011 extension of the Social Security tax cut has more than doubled the size of Social Security’s projected long-term shortfall."

With fellow Democrats balking, President Barack Obama declared that a reform of the system was necessary to help the economy and address the concerns of deficit-weary Americans. He passionately defended his record against Democrats who complain he's breaking campaign promises: "To Democrats, I would caution you that just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership."

The President also reminded Americans what is at stake if we do not move forward with changing the rules of the road. "We can ill afford to allow shortsighted partisan politics to keep the future of this nation and the future of our children at the cliff's edge," the president said. "If we don't step forward, we'll always be in the same place. We can still come out ahead if we put our head down and push forward."

In the agreement, the president gave up a key goal. But he said the deal would prevent the major crisis of unimaginable proportion that was bound to ensue if the unthinkable were permitted to happen and the U.S. defaulted on its debt.

"It's a good deal for the American people," Obama said.

Mum mum mum mah . . .



This is insulting!

I just wish they would stop calling it political Kabuki. Frankly, I find it insulting.

Kabuki derives from the verb kabuku, meaning "to lean" or to "to be out of the ordinary."

There is nothing "out of the ordinary" about the political theater Obama & Co and Congress have been staging. Just business as usual. A bad B movie poorly written: everybody knows already how it's gonna end and who's done it, and who will get the shaft. And yet, there is nothing you can do about it (the movie has already been cut), as you watch one and a half hour of mediocre writing, and bad acting. Not to mention the half-truth oratory and thought-terminating clichés of the sanctimonious animatronics marionette currently sited in the oval office.

Call it a bad Soap Opera, if you must, but Kabuki it isn't---Kabuki has style.

Or else make them all wear makeup!



Recommended Reading

But then, some people never learn.


What is it that gentlemen wish?

What would they have?



Define "Anti-American."



The trouble about man is twofold...

He cannot learn truths which are too complicated;
he forgets truths which are too simple.
~Rebecca West

The same is true of the men who make all these important decisions for you, the powerful rulers of the megacorporations that run your world, and the lowly politicians who crave their favors.

(Leaning over the bar) They...(whispering) can't handle the truth.


(Leaning back and reaching for a bottle) But you're different.

You showed concern for me.

Let me put your mind at ease: I am not as young as you assume - not by your standards. And, yes, I work here of my own free will.

You've been asking nicely.

(Pouring another drink) And so, this one is on me:

There is a worm at the heart of the tower.
That is why it will not stand.

But you already knew that.

It is an old story.

Say ‘please’ before you open the latch,
go through,
walk down the path.
A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted front door,
as a knocker,
do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.
Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat nothing.
if any creature tells you that it hungers,
feed it.
If it tells you that it is dirty,
clean it.
If it cries to you that it hurts,
if you can,
ease its pain.

From the back garden you will be able to see the wild wood.
The deep well you walk past leads down to Winter’s realm;
There is another land at the bottom of it.
If you turn around here,
you can walk back, safely;
you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.

Once through the garden you will be in the wood.
The trees are old. Eyes peer from the undergrowth.
Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman. She may ask for something;
give it to her. She
will point the way to the castle. Inside it
are three princesses.
Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.
In the clearing beyond the castle the twelve months sit about a fire,
warming their feet, exchanging tales.
They may do favours for you, if you are polite.
You may pick strawberries in December’s frost.

Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where you are going.
The river can be crossed by the ferry. The ferryman will take you.
(The answer to his question is this:
If he hands the oar to his passenger, he will be free to leave the boat.
Only tell him this from a safe distance.)

If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.
Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that
witches are often betrayed by their appetites;
dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;
hearts can be well hidden,
and you betray them with your tongue.

Do not be jealous of your sister:
know that diamonds and roses
are as uncomfortable when they tumble from one’s lips as toads and frogs:
colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.

Remember your name.
Do not lose hope – what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn.
Trust dreams.
Trust your heart, and trust your story.

When you come back, return the way you came.
Favours will be returned, debts be repaid.

Do not forget your manners.
Do not look back.
Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).
Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).
Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).

There is a worm at the heart of the tower; that is why it will not stand.

When you reach the little house, the place your journey started,
you will recognise it, although it will seem much smaller than you remember.
Walk up the path, and through the garden gate you never saw before but once.
And then go home. Or make a home.

Or rest.

~Neil Gaiman, "Instructions"



Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

As one of the industry's top performers and entertainers, William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton can provide a marvelous upbeat show for any event that will include his standard motivational message as well as a new unique comedy stage hypnosis show.

As a professional Comedy Stage Hypnotist, Bill will take you and your imagination to new heights as you escape into the ultimate state of relaxation.

What, following Democratic principles?

Subtitle on Yahoo! homepage:

It has been nine months since the president last indulged in a habit he is not proud of


One of my kind

The pointy ears give it away ;-)



Oh My!

Radical Centrism can be such an ugly thing.

Some rancid centrist cultists have apparently let their anger loose at Jane Hamsher and them "liberal bloggers" last night, and totally surrendered their critical thinking abilities in the process:

Who sends stuff like that?

Wait! OMG! Please, please, tell me it wasn't you, Robert.



Not again!

Let's face it, Quinty got it right, the GOP was in an untenable position:


Good luck with that and the GOP brand during the holiday cheer.

That was until Obama's new deal, that is.

Now the headlines read - I quote (front page of the LA Times):

You've got to be kidding me.

So, now, if the deal falls throw and unemployment benefits are allowed to expire during the holidays, let me see, it's gonna be the Democrats' fault, right? (On the bright side–who knows?—perhaps Dennis Kucinich or someone else will get another Air Force One ride out of it.)

I can hear Robert Gibbs already: Here they go again, these damn heartless, soulless radical "obstructionist progressives," first, they threatened to block Health Care Reform because it was "not perfect enough" for these loons ("Do they want little Timmy to die?") and now they want the jobless to go hungry during Christmas.

Why does the President keep on placing his own Party in these self-defeating positions–again and again?

That's no compromise, it's capitulation!

Whose side is he on, anyway?

And who runs that crooked casino?

I want another deck of cards.

And while I am at it, I think I am going to want another dealer, too.

The House had passed a bill to extend tax-cut to middle class. The pressure was on Republican congressmen to vote yea on it—or else dare vote nay and pay the political price.

Same with unemployment benefits extension.

As a matter of fact, a senior Republican in the U.S. Senate said today that emergency unemployment benefits probably would have been extended for a short period of time even without the compromise on the Bush-era tax cuts hammered out by the White House and GOP leaders.

The Democrats were doing just fine—thank you very much.

What Obama has done is unconscionable—and short of betrayal—especially in view of the fact that the Democrats were kept out of the loop when the deal was made.

UPDATE: On the front page of the LA Times, today (12-08-2010).

This takes the cake!



"We cannot play politics," Obama said.

You can say that again, Mr. President---except that nobody is that lame.

Don't get me wrong, you're not a bad actor---it's just like you're not even trying anymore.

But, hey, who needs to fool all of the people all of the time, right?

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.



They Live (2011)

I wonder if the remake will live up to the original.

I mean, how do you measure up to that?

Or, for that matter, to that:

Or that?



Creatures of Light and Darkness

All I ever really needed to know I learned from gaming: