Celebrities: Why we’re still interested in celebrity news

We can’t help it. Humans are a curious and greedy lot. Celebrities, both here in the US and abroad, represent something that most of the populace will never be. Superstars in modeling, film and prime time television are extremely good looking, generally well-spoken and filthy rich. Whom among us wouldn’t like to have all the money they ever needed, be attractive to both the opposite and same sex as well as be able to handle an appearance in public with poise and an amusing comment on our lips? Very few would be my guess.

You will note that I didn’t include music or politics in the list above. This is a whole other gig. Gore Vidal once referred to American politics as “show business for the ugly” and he would know, having been in the celebrity hotbeds on both coasts all his life. A pleasing face used to weigh heavily on the shoulders of film actors, though sometime in the 50s, around the time of James Dean, the prettiness left film and the “real” person look came in. In the last decade or so, this trend has headed in the direction of television and most movie stars today are again, quite simply stunning. Most, mind, not all as the bad guys are quite often physically unattractive.

As to music, it’s like the ballet. You don’t have to have a great face, all you need is a great body to dance. The music superstars are rarely attractive and don’t have to be. The “bad boys” of rock and roll for instance don’t necessarily serve up a platter of pretty pusses. One may be crazy for Keith Richards’ guitar acumen, but the man’s face is a train wreck. Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler are in a long standing contest as to who has the uglier mug in the business. For years Rod Stewart and Ron Wood argued over who would stand stage left as that’s where their noses looked smaller. The bottom line is that you require the voice or the instrumental skill in music, not the face. A face will get you a place for a short time, but without the actual ability, the no-talent pretty boys and girls will be gone in a couple of years whereas the old road dogs mentioned before have been around for 40 years and will continue on until they die.

Reading about this lot, or hearing news of them on TV or radio does many things for we unsung members of the human race. It reminds us of what we are not. This serves to do one of two things; make us work harder pursuing our dreams or depress us to the point of contemplating suicide. This last is not meant as a darkly witty comment. It is meant to be taken literally and considered when eying one’s children. Death is bad enough, a youngster’s taking of his or her own life is nigh on unbearable. Today’s immediate society has destroyed the childhoods of yore. Now the kids have to have the latest clothes, the killer shades, the fabulous hair and whatever the Internet tells them ad nauseam, or suffer the disdain of their peers. Paris Hilton is someone who is looked up to by little girls on both coasts and in between. The why of this fact will not be addressed here but the reality remains, and if the family isn’t wealthy, the kids are gonna have a tough time.

This certainly is not to say that all teen suicides are caused by celebrity worship. Hardly; there are innumerable factors and this is only one. Whatever other devils may inhabit an adolescent mind, the realization that they probably won’t attain the heights of a Johnny Depp or whomever can be enough to stun some tender hearts into immediate defeat. This is only a small example of the dark side of the question.

On the other hand, for most, the following of showbiz gossip can bring one back to an earlier day when dreams were young. Life was brand new and anything was attainable if you only worked hard for it. For many, this is what real life is, and celebrity is something to be looked upon as entertainment. Something to chat about, like the weather or the price of gasoline. To see the glitterati enjoying their pretty lives is a harmless pass-time while waiting online at the market before getting back to the daily business of tending the house or farming one’s cube.

For most of us, celebrity news removes one from the mundane for a short spate and eases the everyday stress of living in this high-speed world into which we’ve been thrust.

– Jessie Lilley

A Shooting in Santa Cruz, CA

In 2007, Mondo Cult moved its main office from Los Angeles to the Central California Coast City of Santa Cruz. We knew no one but were welcomed here with open arms by all different areas of the community. My husband David and I felt at home right away and as the years have gone by, Santa Cruz has become a place that we feel we have lived in all our lives.

We have been very happy here, and indeed, the issue of Mondo Cult that is up for all those Rondo awards was produced right here on the Monterey Bay (even with all those vampires on the Boardwalk!).

Yesterday, Tuesday, the 27th of February 2013, something terrible happened in our community. Now, all you city dwellers will say big deal—it happens every day here in NYC or Oakland or LA or Chicago—but it doesn’t happen every day in Santa Cruz. And even if it did, it would still be a big deal because lives were lost.

The loss of a life is a big deal.

In this case, the people killed were two plain clothes detectives from the Santa Cruz City PD. We didn’t know them. I have a passing acquaintance with the Chief’s wife and a couple of people on the force, but I didn’t know these people, though I’m pretty sure I’ve met Butch once or twice in the course of business.

This is the first time ANY police officer has been killed in the line of duty in Santa Cruz.

The first time.

And to add to this dismal circumstance, another tragedy has reared its ugly head and it must be addressed by all. That is what I mentioned earlier in this post. I heard today that a person who tends bar here in town commented that he is from Oakland and it happens all the time there. It shouldn’t be treated like such a big deal. People here are making too much of this situation.

It’s a damned shame that the death of the people who are putting themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis has become so commonplace that people like the bartender are immune to the shock of it. Have we, as a culture, become so deadened to the heinous waste of life that we can speak of it in such a cavalier manner? Are we truly that unfeeling that the deliberate taking of a human life is “no big deal”?

Apparently, for some, that flat acceptance of murder has become ordinary. Perhaps—but it has not for me nor for David nor for the majority of the Santa Cruz community.

The shooter, one Jeremy Goulet, has apparently had a checkered history with law enforcement both here and in Oregon. A man with a history of arrests, known for his violent outbursts and before his death in a literal hail of bullets from the Santa Cruz PD, Sheriffs and countless other law enforcement agencies and personnel—he was under investigation for “unwanted sexual advances” toward a co-worker in a coffee shop. Yet with all his background—his own father is quoted as saying that Jeremy was “a ticking time bomb”—he was still walking the streets, spreading his unwanted attentions and when detectives came to his door, he shot them dead and ran.

As my husband would say, another nut with a gun.

I won’t even bother going into the gun control discussions, as it is my belief that it’s not the guns, it’s the nuts that get them that are the problem. Take away all the guns from reasonable people and the bad guys are still gonna get them. Be that as it may…

We extend our condolences to the friends, fellow law enforcement personnel and the families of Sgt. Loren Butch Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler of the Santa Cruz City Police Department. We know there is absolutely nothing we can say or do to make this better, but we do give a damn. We do care, and we are so very sorry for your loss.

Jessie and David Campbell
Santa Cruz, CA

Texas’ Christian Coalition Goes Too Damned Far

I am providing a link to the MSNBC site, where a comprehensive article on what just went down in Teas can be found. Once you’ve read it, please come back here and discuss!

Among other things, how the hell do you remove Thomas Jefferson as an “example of an influential political philosopher”? The man wrote the Declaration of Independence for crying out loud!

What the hell goes in on the minds of these people?

Please, come in here and discuss this. Do you think I’m over reacting? Do you not think the Barbarians are no longer at the gate, but inside the walls?

Does anybody other than me give a damn about this?

God! Help me.

Goodbye California

I really do believe we’ve come to the end of the road here in California. The small-time politicians in Sacramento have bickered us into near bankruptcy and it’s only a matter of time before we have no money left to fight over. The Governor of the State seems intent on dismantling the public education system; his education cuts have landed California at number 49 out of 50 states. The Los Angeles Wave reported in January of 2010 that Pell University  senior scholar Thomas G. Mortenson stated, “California is slipping toward educational and economic mediocrity…” At this point I’d say we’ve slipped. According to the same Wave report, as recently as 2007 California ranked 14th in the nation when it came to college educated members of the work force (over 25 years of age), a huge drop from 8th place in 1981. Since 1980, the state tax fund for education has dropped by 40%. So let’s be fair. It’s not all Arnold.

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom is turning the streets of his town into parks where people can sit and drink coffee but no one can drive or park. Public transportation is coming to a standstill because of price hikes and pay cuts. All by himself, our Gavin is driving out the poor and making San Francisco a place for only the wealthy. Problem is, if the poor people can’t afford to live there and they can’t afford to travel to or around the city, who’s going to do all those nasty little jobs like scrubbing the floors in the mayor’s house? Mrs. Newsom? Who’s going to clean the toilets in the halls of the fabled San Francisco Stock Exchange? The brokers?

Good thing he dropped out of the governor’s race.

The City of Vallejo went bankrupt in 2008. There’s more violence in their streets now than in the streets of their close neighbor Richmond, CA. There aren’t enough police, firefighters or emergency workers to assist those people still living there.  In Salinas they look to be headed down the same road. There’s a gang war going on in those streets between the Norteños and the Sureños. These gang members shoot at each other with the usual collateral damage taking its toll on innocent bystanders and just to keep things interesting, they shoot at the cops as well.  At this point the city officials seem willing to let people die rather than admit that they can’t handle it and call in the National Guard.

It won’t be long before the gangs figure out how to organize themselves into a controlling force and take over the town. It might happen in Salinas, it might happen in Vallejo, hell! It might happen in Oakland. Get enough of these people together and the only force they won’t be able to stand against will be the US Army.

Armed insurrection?

You betcha!

And there sits Sacramento, arguing over bullshit while the State crumbles around them, warring over gay marriage and how else they can deny the citizens their civil rights. My personal favorite in the news right now is California State Senator Roy Ashburn (R), who was arrested on March 3, 2010 for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The gentleman has apologized for his behavior. Of course he’s apologized, and yes, he’s sorry. He’s especially sorry that he – a well-known and oft quoted anti Gay Crusader – was arrested after leaving an establishment in Sacramento called Faces, a popular gay bar. Senator Ashburn’s male companion has not been identified. This should prove interesting.

Open carry permits for gun owners are available here in California. The Committees of Vigilance are forming up and down the coast and as usual there are plenty of loud mouths bellowing about how it makes them feel. On one news report, a woman claimed her right to freedom of speech to complain, “I don’t know whether these people are here to have coffee or to shoot everyone in the place!”  Hey! Jackass! If the gun is in plain sight, they’re there to have coffee. All these guns “in plain sight” make the poor dear nervous. Me? I feel safer knowing the citizenry is arming itself against the complete collapse of California’s infrastructure. If I’m going to remain a resident of California’s Central Coast, I can assure you, I’ll be armed as well.

A few months ago I suggested that California would be putting up closed signs at the various State borders.  It’s only gotten worse since I wrote those words. Don’t believe the television ads you see folks. There’s no money, there are no jobs, there is no education and you really don’t want to live here.

California is closed for business.

The Haiti Earthquake

The land of Papa Doc hasn’t changed much since he left. Corrupt government still rules and the people of Haiti still feed their children mud cakes so their little bellies are full. Katie Couric, who has over the last year, risen in my estimation to that of a damned fine news person, said it best – live from Haiti (paraphrased), “All we’ve seen are armed gangs looting the area and other people walking the streets in tears, calling for missing loved ones.”

I understand peoples’ reticence and anger where donations are concerned; relief money sent to Haiti in the past seems to have disappeared into the President’s pocket. It’s not hitting its mark. That didn’t stop me from donating to the Red Cross a couple of days ago. At least where the Red Cross is concerned, if their books are to be believed (yes, I research the books of charities so I can make an informed decision – you can too, it’s the Freedom of Information Act that let’s you do so), 70% or more of every dollar actually goes right into the field with the volunteers. That’s impressive so they get my hard-earned.

The bottom line for me is, though politically I’m staunchly opposed to the regime in Haiti, the people there require assistance and a lot of it. Bless Couric and her staff for telling it like it is, as well as the USA Today people who also have a clear eye to reporting facts and not fiction or maudlin and heart-warming stories. What we require in these situations is fact. I don’t care what celebrities are on board with relief efforts, I don’t care if that idiot evangelist is bellowing about Satan – what I care about is getting money, knowledgeable hands, food, medicine, Marines and clean water to Haiti. If the Red Cross can do that – and they can – then I hope y’all will help them out.

NOTE: To send $10 via text, simply send HAITI to 90999. Carriers participating in the program are Alltel, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, Virgin Mobile, Cellular South. If you require a receipt for your donation, you can get one here.

Adventures in Health Care 2: What Hold Does Holy Joe Have Over The Democratic Senate?

Can someone please explain to me why the entire Democratic side of the Senate would back down because of one man? Who the hell is Joe Lieberman to decide for the entire country who has a right to health care and who does not?

It is so plain that the man is in the pocket of the insurance companies as to be silly. If the health care bill as it stands is allowed to pass, then what damudbug posted in response to a forum topic here at Mondo Cult, will be reality, to wit:

Here is the Republicans’ health care reform program:

1)  DON’T GET SICK!!!

2)  DON’T GET SICK!!!

3)  IF YOU DO GET SICK-DIE QUICKLY!!!!!!!!

I didn’t make this up-one of the congressmen used it during a speech several weeks ago.

I have to say, when someone wants me to die, it makes me want to reciprocate……….

Fuck these assholes in the insurance companies!  They would just as soon see millions of folks (literally) DIE from lack of care.  As far as I am concerned, insurance in all its forms should be outlawed.  Rip the sucker down and start from scratch.  There has just got to be a better way…

The bottom line is that all people in this country should be covered by some kind of affordable health care. No one cares what they call it or how they do it, just get it done. Option, subsidy, whatever the hell – just get it done.

And is this folding of the tents on the liberal left reasonable? Is this what we elected to represent us on the Hill? Mr. Obama and his congress are a sore disappointment in this as well as some other things which I go into in the forum, but this health care issue is the absolute limit. I would rather see them table it and come back after Christmas and get the job done right than vote on it now when there is so damned much at stake.

Giving up now is nothing more nor less than giving in and keeping everything as it has been. That is not good enough. This country requires a change and Mr. Obama promised change in his campaign. The slogan “Yes We Can” has become a joke around this house.

Yes We Can what, Mr. President?

  • Yes we can go back to business as usual?
  • Yes we can let the citizenry of the United States go whistle for health care?
  • Yes we can let one man represent the pharmaceutical lobbies in DC and squash any chance of legitimate reform?
  • Yes we can continue to ignore the people in favor of lining political and corporate pockets?

Hey! Barry! I’m beginning to wish I’d never given you my vote. Not even a year in office and you and your majority Congress have folded in the face of one greedy, small-minded bullshit artist. I guess I’m not really angry with Joe. He can’t help being an asshole. He was born that way; but the tremendous lack of balls in the Democratic Senate and apparently in the Oval Office as well is more than a disappointment. It’s downright demoralizing.

Thanks a lot guys. If we all make it to the next election (I expect several of us may well be dead by then due to lack of medical attention) and things are as they are today, I can assure you, my vote will be cast elsewhere.

Breaking News: Nelson supports health bill after tough bargaining.

Ban the Monster Mags! Villagers at the gate…

I recently read a post on a horror-themed forum on the internet by a fellow who was complaining about the “whorish looking women” in a monster magazine and how he felt he should hide it from his kids. He’d rather the magazine didn’t print things like that because he doesn’t like to feel he has to hide the mag as if it were porn.

Whorish looking women. For crying out loud! That’s exactly what my mother said about Hammer Films! You know, those classic horror films we all (except for Tom Weaver) know and love? Do you hear yourselves? Not all of you, of course, but man! Some of you are carrying on like these mags are printing the Communist Manifesto and sneaking around trying to get your kids to not only buy them, but join the Party!

Didn’t we go through this with comic books back in the 50s/60s?

Congratulations to all those who find coverage of horror films to be bad for the children. Congratulations to all of you who don’t want your children to read monster mags because they’re too bloody/gory/sexy/nasty in your opinions. Congratulations for desiring censorship for the children. You have effectively become members of the Establishment that we (well, we being a lot of us but not all of us, obviously) fought against in the 60s and 70s. What are you gonna do next? Demand the burning of all the monster mags you don’t like so no one can read them?

Me? Over reacting? No. I don’t think so.

See, this is how it starts. One parent thinks the gore in say, Fangoria, is too much, so they don’t let it in the house. Then they learn that other mothers and fathers have done the same. So they form a group. And then they begin to write to parents they don’t know. And then those parents join the group. And then people with no kids who just don’t like gore flicks get into the group. Pretty soon you have a few hundred, maybe a few thousand people who are calling for the banning of Fangoria, and getting all angry and heated about it and bellowing “What about the children?” Pretty much screwing it up for the majority because they’re voices are louder than those of us who are busy sitting around reading our magazines and letting people live and let live. Well, I’ve never been known for keeping my mouth shut.

What about the children? I’ve printed this before. If you don’t know what to do with them you have no business having them. Teach them you dim wits. Let them learn from you and then as they grow, permit them to make their own choices. If they read a couple of issues of Fango – or whatever – one of two things will happen. They’ll enjoy it, and know it for what it is – a magazine about make believe — or — they won’t find it interesting and move on to something else. Don’t sell your kids short here. They’re no doubt an intelligent and curious lot. Most kids are. Protect them too much and you’ll wind up with a generation of mal-adjusted, socially inept and cringing adults.

Oh, wait! We’re already there, aren’t we.

We have, here in the States, a culture that has produced a generation of obese kids that sit around all day – in the house – playing video games. Again, not all of them by any means, but enough that childhood obesity has reached high enough levels that it’s being called a health crisis. When these kids aren’t playing games, they and their thinner counterparts, interact socially not in person, at parties or dances or hike or in the Scouts (boy or girl) but on Facebook, MySpace, FaceSpace, MyBook – name it. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of places out there. They hang out watching YouTube and think it’s great entertainment. Take these kids out and put them in a restaurant or a park and they don’t know what to do. If they can’t type it, they don’t know how to react. Look someone in the eye? Not a chance.

But again, I digress.

I am appalled to find fellow monster movie fans calling for the banning, wrapping and otherwise destroying of monster magazines because their children might see them. Things have come to a sorry pass, and no mistake. Yep, next thing we hear, someone will be bellowing that Brad Linaweaver is a Republican. Or that Arbogast can’t post on the internet anymore.

That’ll be a dark day.

California Tells College Kids, “If You’re Not Wealthy, You Can’t Go to School.”

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Education Report Card, California is rated #42 in the nation. In celebration of this, Governor Schwarznegger approved a budget that cut State assistance to the U.C. system alone by 20%. In late May of 2009 he noted a proposal to cut another $4.2 billion for the 2009-2010 school year.

That’s nice. Maybe we can go from being #42 to hitting the absolute bottom of the barrel and hit the #50 slot.

The U.C. Board of Regents voted today (11/19/09), to increase yearly student costs by 32%. Students from San Diego to Berkeley turned out in record numbers yesterday and today to protest this increase. I’m with them. As of now, it will cost a U.C. student over $10,000 per year, and that’s before room and board and before books!

Between the mess that health care has become and this ridiculous treatment of the students, California has apparently decided that if you’re not wealthy, you should leave the State. They side with the Republicans health care idea that says (in not so many words) that if you get sick, you should die quickly because we don’t care. The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave cares only for the almighty dollar and its citizens can just go to hell.

My God! There’s even a rumor abroad that Harley-Davidson might be sold to a Chinese company.

Does anyone else think this is totally fucked up besides me?

I think we should just put up a bunch of signs at the borders that say, “Welcome to California. Sorry. We’re Closed For Business. Try Arizona.” I wonder what the folks at Big Lizards think about this.

Hypocrisy?

From the Vegan website:

what is a VEGAN? A vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is someone who, for various reasons, chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians choose not to use flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.

why VEGAN? Veganism, the natural extension of vegetarianism, is an integral component of a cruelty-free lifestyle. Living vegan provides numerous benefits to animals’ lives, to the environment, and to our own health–through a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Okay, a worthy attempt and no mistake. So the old man and I are killing some time watching Anthony Bourdain’s wonderful No Reservations.  In this San Francisco episode, he visits Pirate Cat Radio, a studio space combined with a vegan café. Now, our Anthony is a maniac for pork.

Main Entry: pork
Pronunciation: \ˈprk\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French porc pig, from Latin porcus — more at farrow
Date: 14th century

1 : the fresh or salted flesh of swine when dressed for food

This from Merriam-Webster online.

So what is our intrepid lad doing in a vegan café for crying out loud? Well, there’s a latte they serve: The Maple Bacon Latte. Bacon. Huh? Oh! Well says DJ Monkey, this is refined bacon. So it’s okay.

Now, I haven’t been able to locate anything regarding refined bacon – other than various blogs about this particular episode and some scientific gobbledy-gook that I honestly can’t fathom – but based on the episode I just watched, your host at the café, DJ Monkey, says it takes approximately 10 pounds of bacon to produce 4 ounces of refind bacon. So okay. He says it’s okay because it isn’t flesh that they’re eating.

But it came from a pig! It’s not okay to eat a strip of bacon but it’s okay to refine 10 pounds of the stuff and call it vegan?! I can’t be the only person who doesn’t buy this crap. Bourdain himself asks quite plainly how they justify this. He really didn’t get any kind of answer, other than that it wasn’t actually flesh.

The look on Bourdain’s face was a study in disbelief, but he left it lie there and that’s okay too. For all I know, he’s blogged it and I missed it.  No doubt I’ll wander along now and see what, if anything, I can find. In the meantime though, I ask for your opinions on this. Is this use of all this pork to flavor a coffee drink against the precepts of Veganism, or am I being too specific in my definition.

Oh, wait! It’s their definition. Whaddayathink?

I love what DJ Monkey is doing with the whole studio/café idea, but I really dislike the iffy use of the term Vegan.

Myself, I’m a meat-eater and apply myself to my cuts of beef, pork, chicken, etc with gusto. I’ve nothing against the Vegans and like of this world and wish them well. I’m all for their desire to protect those who can’t protect themselves through no fault of their own. I do, however, take exception to trading on something noble like that to make a buck.

Hypocrisy?

Yes, I think so.