WITHER GLENN…?

The world is a troubled place. Wars, terrorism, disease, hunger and the like plague us. I have no solutions to any of that. My mind remains clouded by one question: What happened to Glenn?

I am an unabashed fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead. I make no apologies for that nor will I offer any explanation. If you’re not a fan, there’s no point in your reading this. If you are a fan, you know Glenn is in trouble of the worst sort. You’ve likely thought of little else lately.

The last time we saw Glenn (four weeks ago at this writing–Season 6, Episode 3) he was on the ground amid a herd of walkers. (“Herd” is the most common word for a large group of walkers. Personally, I prefer a “stagger” of walkers, but the show’s writers continue to ignore me). Glenn’s fate has been determined by the dastardly Nicholas whose thanks to Glenn for not killing him culminated in a weakly mouthed “thank you,” followed by Nicholas’s suicide shot the head.

At the moment the bullet passed through Nicholas’s worthless head, he and Glenn were standing atop a dumpster surrounded by walkers. Mortally wounded, Nicholas fell into Glenn and both toppled into the walkers below. We then see Glenn silently scream while bloody entrails are ripped from him…or someone.

This looks really, REALLY bad for Glenn.

This looks really, REALLY bad for Glenn.

 

Glenn is dead. Or he isn’t. Or he is. Let’s examine the evidence.

GLENN IS DEAD

Why would I think Glenn is dead? Consider:

  1. Someone got ripped apart. It’s either Glenn or Nicholas. That’s a 50/50 proposition.
  2. Glenn was surrounded by walkers, swarmed even. There’s no reasonable way to escape that. Does he slide (backwards, mind you) under the dumpster which is conveniently elevated several inches off the ground? I just don’t see how that happens without at least a bite or two.
  3. No one has heard from him. No sign. No signals. Nothing. Rick escaped from an RV which was just as surrounded and made it back to Alexandria. It’s been at least days, and there’s no sign of Glenn. That’s bad.

So, maybe he’s dead.

GLENN IS NOT DEAD

How could anyone think he’s not dead? Well, think about it:

  1. Glenn isn’t just any character. He’s not Tyreese, for God’s sake. He’s Glenn freakin’ (whatever he last name is)! He’s been on show since Season 1. He’s the moral conscience of our main group. He can’t die.
  2. We didn’t see him die. As long as we didn’t see him die, he could be alive. Who else died like that? Okay, maybe we didn’t see Merle die either, but Merle was an asshole. We always see the good guys die, and there’s always drama.
  3. There are too many questions. He (and, more importantly, I) deserve some finality, some resolution. Until it’s resolved, he’s alive. Maybe.

He could be alive.

WHAT DIDN’T HAPPEN

If I’m not sure what happened,  I do know some things that didn’t happen–or at least better not have:

  1. It’s not a dream or hallucination. Why kind of writing hack would do that to us? It would be the worst kind of manipulation of a loyal audience. The shark would be jumped at that point with Bobby Ewing riding on its back.
  2. He didn’t fight his way out unscathed. All he had was a knife. Forget that one.
  3. He doesn’t get saved at the last minute. Oh, I know it would be cool if Daryl came riding up on his hog (which was stolen in Episode 606) and drew them all away just as they were finishing up on Nicholas’s corpse and about the tear into Glenn. You might as well have all the walkers struck by lightning.

If none of these happened, how could he possibly be alive? I’m thinking he’s dead again. It’s hard to say, really.

WHAT DID HAPPEN?

I’ve studied this episode like it’s the Zapruder film. Yes, I know that Nicholas and Glenn ran past a fire escape. I, too, have screamed at the TV about this, hoping they’d hear me. They didn’t even look at it. I’ve read that one can hear a distinct “click” of any empty gun after Glenn emptied his, indicating that Nicholas’s gun was empty. If so, it’s all a dream. I’ve watched that scene again and again. Is there a click? Maybe. It’s there if you want to hear it. It’s also not there if you want it to be something else.

I can suspend disbelief with the best of them. After all, I accept the existence of walking dead people. I accept the fact that no one ever calls them “zombies” when, in fact, that is all they would be called in real life. All the dead people wear clothes? Okay. Ever notice that no matter how desiccated the dead are, they rip humans apart–by HAND, no less–in seconds? I don’t think that’s possible, but I’ll accept. It’s the same with tearing people apart with your teeth. We’re humans. We don’t have fangs. Why don’t the dead ever get really weak? I don’t know. It’s a TV show. I’ll accept a lot of things to be entertained. But, there is a limit.

If Glenn survives, it needs to at least be plausible within the show’s context. Consider this aerial view:

The-Walking-Dead-Glenn-Death markup

Artist’s rendering of Glenn’s approximate location.

Where I come from, that’s called some deep shit right there. Where is he going to go? Maybe, just maybe, he slides under the dumpster and then somehow gets out. He has to sustain a couple of bites. Do they do replay of Sophia (one of the best scenes EVER, by the way) with Glenn staggering into Alexandria only to be dispatched by Rick? Wow. That would be lame.

How about this? Glenn is just gone. He never comes back, and we never know. In this world, that would happen, probably often. People would disappear. The problem–and it’s a big one–is that this cheats the audience. We are observers. We should know what’s happening even when the characters don’t.

(At this point, I must note that the comic book has a much different demise for Glenn. That’s a possibility, I suppose. The show has deviated from the comics many times. There’s no reason to think it won’t here, too.)

Oh, hell, I don’t know what happened to him, either. If Rick can get out of that SUV surrounded by walkers (same episode), maybe Glenn got out. Nicholas was a nut. He could have hallucinated or fantasized or whatever you want to call. Did you notice how hard Glenn hit the pavement when they fell? How did that happen? There was no clear space. He would have land on top of the walker herd. Why would Nicholas fantasize about Glenn screaming? Seems like you’d fantasize about yourself screaming. So many questions. I’m more confused than ever.

Oh well. Again, what happened to Glenn? I have a feeling that we’ll find out in Episode 607 (November 22, 2015). Whatever happens, I’m bound to be disappointed as I’ve convinced myself that no outcome can be satisfy me. I hope the writers prove me wrong.

©www.thetrivialtroll.com 2015

 

My Reality TV Gold

I’m an idea man. That means I think about things and don’t accomplish a whole lot. Imagine Steve Jobs without the intelligence and work ethic. For instance, I’d like to have a universal TV remote control implanted in my brain. I’m sure it can be done, but I just can’t get started on it.

I watch a lot of TV. Many of my friends harrumph “I don’t watch TV, except CSPAN. I’m too busy re-reading the classics.” Well, good for you. You’re missing out, my pseudo-intellectual friend.

Sports are on TV. The great film Road House is often on. There are news programs, comedies, horror movies, history programs and, of course, Reality TV.

Reality TV is just TV without actors. You take non-actors and film them doing stuff. It helps if your stars are mentally impaired, already famous, or have odd physical anomalies. Generally strange lifestyles such as survivalism, obscure religions and polygamy are also pluses.

Reality TV falls into two broad categories. One is slice of life programming ranging from the curious world of Honey Boo Boo to the insufferable largesse of the Kardashian family. The other category is the competitions such as singing, dancing and survivalism.

TV producers love Reality TV because it’s cheap–no actors, no sets and very little scripting. Of course, there are scripts. After all, if we really followed someone’s life we’d watch them make beds, pay bills and nap. We have to have a little structure for entertainment purposes.

With all this in mind, I’ve been thinking, as I’m wont to do, about my own reality shows. I have several ideas, and they are all solid gold.

AMISH CSI

We take a young Amish man (probably named Yoder) and set him off during Rumspringa to be trained as a crime scene investigator. Yoder incorporates his Amish ways into modern crime-fighting, using saw dust to dust for fingerprints and drawings instead of demonic photography.

Yoder returns to Pennsylvania Dutch Country to fight crime among the Anabaptists.  Each week we follow him as solves a new mystery such as horse thievery, buggy vandalism and the use of electricity.   Violent crimes are not excepted, either.  He can investigate forced shavings and other such outrages.  I’ll figure it out as we go along.  Remember:  The Amish are entertaining regardless of what they are doing.

132 POUND SCROTUM GUY

Anyone who follows me on the various social media knows my admiration of The Learning Channel Special, The Man With the 132 Pound Scrotum.  I’m a big fan, not as big as his scrotum, but big nonetheless.  I was equally parts fascinated and horrified.  Why?  Well, the guy had a freakin’ 132 pound scrotum!!  How about that?

In my show, we follow him around with a camera and record his adventures.  Okay, I know the guy got the scrotum thing fixed (Thank God!).  I would never suggest that he regrow it just for my TV show (unless he really wants to).  We can fit him a lifelike prosthetic scrotum to duplicate the real one.

We can get him a job in various Reality TV occupations such as pawn shop owner or commercial fisherman.  Hilarity and horror will ensue, because of–well, you know–the giant scrotum situation.  Perhaps we can even turn him into a Doomsday prepper just to see if anyone would be willing to share his shelter with him.

Did I mention that he had a 132 pound scrotum?  People will tune in just to see that.

DANCING WITH THE DWARVES (DWARFS?)

Everyone loves little people.  They used to be called midgets, but I understand that is now a pejorative term.  I think “dwarf” is still okay, but it sounds worse than midget.  By the way, is it “dwarves” or “dwarfs?”  I don’t know. Spellcheck says it’s “wharves.”  I’m pretty sure that’s wrong.) Anyway, if that, too, is offensive we’ll change the title, although we lose a certain alliteration.

This one is simple.  It’s just a dance competition among little people  Here’s the twist:  Their dance partners are non-little people professional dancers.  (I hesitate to say “normal” sized. After all, that infers that the little people are abnormal.  I don’t want to alienate my core audience).  Wouldn’t you  watch little people dance madly about trying to keep up with their larger partners? OR we could have professional little people dancers try to teach clumsy big people how to dance.  Either way, it’s ratings gold.

SISTER WIVES AND BROTHER HUSBANDS

The History Channel’s R. Lee Ermey marries Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’s Mama June, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, Chloe Kardashian and Flavor Flav.  They all move into a house together.  I don’t have anything else figured out for this yet, but you’d watch it.

NAKED AND GAY

This is perhaps my most controversial idea.  Homosexuals have long been feared, yet quite entertaining.  From Broadway musicals to figure skating, they have provided endless hours of joy for heterosexuals who are otherwise are terrified of them–much like our African-American friends were viewed a generation or so ago.

I’m tired of this.  I want to create a fascinating gay reality show intended to both entertain and horrify.  Each week, we take a couple of gay men, the more flamboyant the better (think of a gayer version of skater Johnny Weir).  We then strip them naked and place them in various survival scenarios.  (Alright, they don’t have to be naked–unless they want to be, in which case I’m perfectly okay with it.)

I’d prefer gay men for show–not because I’m gay or anything, not there’s anything wrong with that.  It’s just that the world of pornography has worked many years to mainstream lesbians.  Gay men, on the other hand, remain feared and loathed, what with their awesome Gay Agenda which they pass out to people on the street.

We’ll send them to gun shows, Tea Party rallies,  NFL locker rooms, church services, Arizona–anywhere we can think of that they might be unwelcome.  They can announce things like “Hey! We’re gay people!  We’re here to turn you and your children and grandchildren all gay like we are!”  They can make out with each other.  Maybe we’ll even send a minister to marry them on the show.  As long as they gay it up good, I’m fine with it.

Controversy notwithstanding, I realize there’s not much of story line here.  I mostly just want to annoy people.  This will probably do it.

These are just five ideas.  I have many more.  We can take a bed-ridden, morbidly obese person and have him or her live in the wild with Bear Grylls for a week.  How about someone with a hideous deformity trying to become a country music star? What if Gary Busey and Bob Dole travel across the country on Route 66 on motorcycles?  Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, Willie Aames and the Kid from Deliverance form a Christian Alt-Folk band?  The Bachelor, starring Abe Vigoda? Let’s set up a camera in prison and hope that we see Jerry Sandusky get violently abused.

I’m running out of ideas now.  I’ve been thinking about something like a microwave, only it freezes things really fast….

©www.thetrivialtroll.com 2014

Superman, Court Storms and Other Random Musings

My mind spins with random thoughts.

SUPERMAN

The only comic book I ever read much was Superman. I loved Superman. I loved the Superman TV show with George Reeves. Honestly, I don’t understand why I loved that, but I did. Even with body padding, George Reeves made for a decidedly unfit looking man of steel. Jimmy Olson, as played by Jack Larsen, looked like he could whip Superman’s ass. Of course, that may have had something to do with the fact that Larsen appeared to be in his 30’s playing the young Olson.

A new Superman movie comes out this year. I hear it’s a darker Superman. I guess he’s a troubled soul. I don’t buy that. Superman isn’t troubled. He’s Superman.

Now, I’m hearing that there may be a Justice League movie. You know the Justice League–Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and The Green Lantern band together to fight evil. Later, other more obscure superheroes joined. You may have seen the cartoon series with the wonderfully sonorous tones of Ted Knight as the narrator.

Here’s my question: Why the hell does Superman need to join up with these other so-called superheroes? He can do everything they can do and more. Super-strength, super-speed, super-vision, super-swimming. He can fly!! Oh, and he’s indestructible. Okay, he doesn’t have Wonder Woman’s invisible plane. Big whoop. Again, he can freakin’ fly! He’d kill Batman. Just flat kill him. The Flash? Be serious. Superman is so fast that he can turn back time. He’d catch The Flash and then beat the living crap out of him. I never even understood The Green Lantern. Superman can do everything he can do.

Let’s don’t even talk about Aqua Man. He has gills and can talk to sea creatures. That’s helpful–TO NO ONE!

So, that’s it. Superman has no business in the Justice League. Let them fend for themselves. Of course, when they get in a bunch of trouble, who will they call?

COURT STORM

Fans of the University of Miami (Don’t call it “Miami of Florida”) had the audacity to run onto the court after beating the Duke Blue Devils. If one followed the many breathless accounts (hundreds of which were via ESPN’s sundry media outlets), you would have thought two things: (1) This is the first time this has ever happened; and (2) Numerous Duke players were trampled to death.

Neither is true, but it happened to Duke so it’s a big deal. Coach Mike Kszwkfjkdsji (close enough) did as he is wont to do and hurled obscenities at the crowd. When asked about it, Coach K sounded like he had survived the Benghazi attack. Now, countless talking heads have had enough. This must stop.

Let’s first disabuse ourselves of the notion that Coach K is a potential Nobel Prize winner who just happens to coach basketball. He’s a tempermental, foul-mouthed coach. His mentor is the despicable Bobby Knight. He’s not a college professor. He’s a college coach.

Here’s what should happen. Every school’s fans should run on the court after every Duke game, win or lose–whether they are playing Duke of not. Just run wild. In fact, when Duke loses, fans in every arena in the country should rush the court when the score is announced. Let’s just make it a tradition like that crazy octopus-throwing thing in hockey. One exception should be North Carolina. Don’t ever do that against your big rival. It just makes you look sad and desperate.

I say we go a step further. Opposing fans should rush the court even when Duke wins. That should make Coach K completely mental.

I am a proud alum and lifelong fan of the University of Kentucky. We’ve had the court rushed on us at INDIANA UNIVERSITY! Indiana, winner of multiple national championships, poured onto the court after beating UK in a regular season game. They put it on the cover a phone book. We’ve had this happen so many times that the Southeastern Conference now levies heavy fines for it. Trust me, the SEC isn’t concerned about Arkansas fans going wild if they beat Auburn.

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Imagine Coach K’s reaction to this.

The uninformed might ask: When do you UK fans rush the court? Answer: When we win the National Championship and only then to congratulate the players on doing what we knew they would do any way. I’m not saying we’d never do it during the regular season. As soon as we win a game that we fans don’t expect to win, I’m sure we’ll consider it.

TAXES

It’s tax time again. Pause. Are you done moaning? I pay a lot of taxes, and I’m fine with that. You know why? It means I make a good living. If I didn’t pay any taxes, I wouldn’t be making much money. I like making money. Now, I’ve known some folks who made a lot of money and didn’t pay taxes. Some of them went to jail. I’d rather pay taxes.

AMISH PEOPLE

Why are there so many Amish TV shows? I don’t get it. Amish Mafia? Amish people in New York? Young Amish running wild during Rumspringa. Evidently, the Amish are entertaining. Hmm.

I met an Amish guy once, I think. He had the beard, the hat and the poor-tailored clothes–that’s my stereotypical view of the Amish. But it was at a gas station. He was buying a bottle of water. That doesn’t seem Amish. We exchanged pleasantries. He had a bit of an odd accent. Nice enough, too. Yeah, he was Amish.  He didn’t entertain me.

I don’t find the Amish any more entertaining than Mennonites or Hutterites. I grew up in Eastern Kentucky where we had some experience with Mennonites. They did mission work in Eastern Kentucky. That’s how pitiful we were. Mennonites thought they had it better than we did. Again, nice people but not a barrel of laughs, unless you think bonnets are funny, which they kind of are.

Of course, all this makes me think about Shakers even though they aren’t Anabaptists. I live near a historic Shaker village. It’s pretty nice unless–like me–you enjoy cable TV. The Shakers don’t marry or procreate, and they’re prevented from adopting. There are only three left, and they’re like 90 years old. Not much TV potential there.

The Amish do one thing entertaining. Sometimes, they hire men to replenish the gene pool. That’s right–hired men to impregnate their women just like in the movie A Boy and His Dog. You have to do it in front of the husband. There’s some reality TV for you.

SEQUESTER

Let us not speak of this again.

COMICS

Okay, I lied. I used to read Archie comics, too. I’m still haunted by why he rejected Betty. SHE THREW HERSELF AT HIM! I didn’t know any girls who looked like Veronica and Betty. Maybe that’s why I liked it.

I knew this kid who would steal your comics if he came to your house.  We had to check his coat sleeves before he left.  Oh, and he used to draw obscene things on Betty and Veronica.

Well, that’s it.  Those are just a few random things rattling around in my head.  I feel better now.  Wait a second…what if Superman had been raised by an Amish family?  Imagine the possibilities…..

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

The Sad Case of Charlie Brown

What can I say about Charlie Brown?  Plenty, as it turns out.  Poor Charlie Brown.  Blockhead.  Lovable loser.  Hard luck follows him.  This passes for entertainment for kids.  I’ve had enough.

Everyone of a certain age knows Charlie Brown, the prematurely bald, eight year old protagonist of the late Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip.  Charlie Brown also starred in numerous television specials.  Many of these specials center around a holiday–A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown, etc.  Others follow a similar theme of the dour circumstances of young Charlie, such as You’re in Love, Charlie Brown, You’re Not Elected Charlie Brown, What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown, ad nauseum. Each of these hour-long specials involve some sort of maudlin circumstances  where our put-upon hero is bullied, terrorized and berated until the inevitable “upbeat” ending where some kind of lesson is delivered.

He is always called “Charlie Brown,” not Charlie.  The only exceptions to this are the androgynous pair of Peppermint Patty and Marcie who call him “Chuck” and “Charles.”  He even called his grandmother once and said “Hello, this is Charlie Brown.”

Charlie Brown is tormented by insecurity and self-doubt, hardly a healthy role model.  He constantly battles the vacuous children of his school.  They, of course, reinforce his insecurities by consistently reminding him of his various inadequacies.  He’s bald, too.  Charles Schulz said that he isn’t bald, that he has close-cropped, light-colored hair.  Sure.

He’s bald. There’s not even stubble. Note, too, how the little hair he does have almost spells the word “Sex.” What’s that about?

Let’s be clear.  I’ve got no beef with Charlie Brown. In fact, I identify with him to a certain extent.  Insecurity, self-doubt and downright neurosis hover about me.   This is how I looked when I was eight years old:

I wasn’t bald, but I was certainly disturbed.

I may sympathize with Charlie Brown, but the same can’t be said for the maladjusted gang of misanthropes with whom he surrounds himself.  I loathe his so-called friends.  He’d be better off among the Children of the Corn.

As a kid, no Christmas show may have disturbed me more than A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Poor Charlie Brown tries to teach that pack of troglodytes the true meaning of Christmas while they turn it into a Bacchanal of consumerism.  Even his own dog, Snoopy, fails to understand.  Okay, in the end, everyone “gets it” and all is well–except of course for the severe psychological wounds inflicted upon Charlie Brown.

The perfect ending to A Charlie Brown Christmas

(Actually, a piece of TV tripe called The House Without a Christmas Tree is worse.  Jason Robards plays an emotionally abusive father of a 10-year-old girl.  The bitter old bastard hates Christmas and won’t allow a Christmas tree in his house.  By the time he sees the light, you’ll already have wished him dead for so long, you won’t care.)

As far as I know, my children have never seen even one Charlie Brown special.  There’s a simple reason for that.  I love my children, and I don’t encourage them to warp their minds with cartoon child abuse.  If they are to be bullies themselves, I would prefer it just develop naturally rather than be learned on TV.

But, what of Charlie Brown’s “friends?”  That alternate between contemptible and pathetic.

Lucy Van Pelt

Lucy was likely the prototype for Rhoda in The Bad Seed–a hateful, conniving little witch whose singular purpose in life is to make Charlie Brown miserable.  Her running gag is to hold a football for Charlie Brown to kick and then pull it away at the last second, thus humiliating him once again.  Perhaps one can rightfully question Charlie Brown’s intelligence or self-esteem to fall prey to this prank dozens–if not hundreds–of times.  Nevertheless, it is Lucy ultimately who bears the responsibility for this abusive behavior.

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Once again, Charlie Brown falls prey to Lucy’s dangerous pranks.

Once–just once–I’d like to see Charlie Brown trot toward that ball, stop abruptly and kick Lucy square in the teeth.  Hard.  Blood spurting freely from her mangled mouth, she’d roll on her back.  Just when you think she’s dead, she coughs, spewing blood and a mouthful of broken teeth.  Charlie Brown, grinning slightly, mutters “I guess that one split the uprights, bitch.”

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Pig-Pen

Pig-Pen doesn’t pick on Charlie Brown like the rest of those miniature Blutos in whatever the hell town they live in.  No, his “humor” derives from his horrific hygiene.  He is always surrounded by a cloud of dust or dirt and is perpetually filthy.  He is largely shunned by the other third graders.  Only Charlie Brown, of course, unconditionally accepts him, leading to Charlie Brown’s further ostracization.  Pig-Pen last appeared in Peanuts in 1999, shortly before Charles Schulz’s death.  Evidently, the humor to be found in a filthy child died with him.

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Pig-Pen, the hilariously filthy child of Charlie Brown’s world.

Growing up in Eastern Kentucky, I knew filthy-looking kids.  They weren’t funny.  My parents always said that one sign of trashy people was a baby with a dirty face.  Pig-Pen, alas, may have been trash or just drawn that way.

LINUS VAN PELT

Lucy’s younger brother, Linus is as close as Charlie Brown gets to a real friend.  Of course, Linus is an odd, possibly mentally ill child who fantasizes about The Great Pumpkin, a holiday myth in which he is the only child who believes.  He is also emotionally attached to his blanket, no doubt as a result of the absence of his parents, a disturbing living condition of all these children.

Linus appears to have well-above average intelligence.  Of course, this may just be damning him with faint praising by comparing him to the sadistic children who degrade Charlie Brown.  Lucy, of course, also attacks Linus trying innumerable times to hide or destroy his blanket, hoping no doubt to force a final break from reality for her younger sibling.

PEPPERMINT PATTY

Peppermint Patty is a lesbian.  There, I said it.  Oh, I know others have made the same observation.  It doesn’t take a person perceptive about human relations to make this deduction.  She is.  No big deal, mind you.  The irony is that she also has a crush on Charlie Brown.  That’s how things go for Charlie Brown.  That’s right. One girl likes Charlie Brown, and she’s gay.

Patty regularly dominates Charlie Brown in sports, baseball especially.  This further adds to his degradation.  If Linus is a genius, Patty appears to be a nitwit, believing that Charlie Brown’s dog, Snoopy, is a kid with the “long nose.”  Her long time companion, Marcie, consistently refers to Patty as “sir.”  This gender-bending can only warp young minds.

THE LITTLE RED HAIRED GIRL

She is Charlie Brown’s unattainable true love. One time she wrote Charlie Brown a note and said she liked him.  Did we ever see her again?  Of course, not.  That’s how Charlie Brown’s world works.

I theorize that the Little Red Haired Girl doesn’t really exist.  She’s merely a figment of Charlie Brown’s imagination created to maintain some semblance of sanity.  No doubt his fragile young mind created her as an unapproachable ideal, yet something to make his life tolerable.

What I don’t like about the Little Red Haired Girl is that Charlie Brown still can’t catch a break.  He swoons and he carries on about her.  He obsesses like a bald, eight year old stalker.  But, does he ever really get to work his game with her?  Of course, not.  Even an imaginary child disses Charlie Brown.

I read that the Little Red Haired Girl was based on Charles Schulz’s unrequited love for a woman who left him to marry another man.  I don’t know if that’s true.  If it is, it’s unfortunate.  Perhaps some psychological counseling would have been appropriate, rather than tormenting Charlie Brown.

VIOLET

She doesn’t readily come to mind when one thinks of Peanuts, but she is the most despicable of them all.  It is she, I believe, who coined the term “block head” for Charlie Brown.  She both verbally and physically abuses him.  She’s also a haughty little harridan, constantly bragging about her father or other self-perceived superiority.  If these characters aged like real people, I’m confidant that Charlie Brown, after years being institutionalized, would return and decapitate her and bury her head in Snoopy’s doghouse.

SCHROEDER

Along with Linus, Schroeder may well be a real friend of Charlie Brown’s.  A piano prodigy modeled perhaps after Van Cliburn, Schroeder supports Charlie Brown in most of his endeavors.  Unfortunately, his obsession with the piano limits his availability.  He also thumbs his nose at Lucy, rejecting her at every turn.  For that alone, I like him.

SNOOPY

What?!?! I have a problem with Snoopy?  Man’s best friend?  Yep, I do.  He’s arrogant and self-absorbed.  Unlike a faithful, loyal, real life dog, Snoopy smugly lolls about his doghouse expecting Charlie Brown to bring him food or address any other whim.  He doesn’t even know Charlie Brown’s name–referring to him as that “round-headed kid.”  This is a dog who can communicate with a bird.  The least one could expect would be that he knew his master’s name.  If Snoopy were any kind of dog, he would maul Lucy, tearing out her throat.  The day he does that, I’ll change my opinion.

THE ADULTS

The adults are never seen.  When they are heard, it is only as the mute drone of a trombone.  Having children myself, I realize that is the sound they hear when I talk.  Regardless, one would think an adult–any adult–would step in on occasion and protect Charlie Brown from the slings and arrows of his childhood.  Instead, they sit idly by while his torment continues.  To Hell with them, too, I say.

Many other characters have traveled in and out of the Peanuts world.  Franklin the black kid.  Charlie Brown’s sister, Sally.  Snoopy’s sidekick, Woodstock.  All of them have piled on Charlie Brown on occasion.  Is this entertainment?  Perhaps.  So is bear-baiting for some folks.

While everyone gathers around to watch the latest abuse heaped on Charlie Brown, remember this:  He might grow up one day.  If he does, there will be Hell to pay.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012

The Madness of Joe Biden

While Paul Ryan tries to make a point, Joe Biden laughs like Chris Rock is on stage.

I didn’t watch the Vice-Presidential Debate. After watching a bunch of clips of it, I wish I had. Joe Biden went mental. I’m not sure that he made any salient points, but he put on a show, gesticulating like a silent film star. It might not be good politics, but it was certainly good theater.

It raises the question, of course, of whether Biden is mad. Not angry, but mad as a hatter mad. He probably isn’t, but he could be. His odd and inappropriate behavior was certainly refreshing after the President’s narcoleptic performance in his first debate.  After the President’s woeful effort, the pressure was on Biden.  He delivered, I guess.

I imagine Biden’s debate prep going like this:

Aide:  Mr. Vice-President, when he mentions Medicare or Medicaid, that is your opening to say that Romney plans to take 700 billion out of the system, while the President’s plan is actually 700 billion in savings.  You must stress that at every opportunity.

Biden:  Yeah, I’m sure that’s a good idea, son.  How about this?  Every time he says anything, I’ll just laugh like a f***ing tool.

Of course, if the VP were truly insane, this would be problematic. Normally, the VP is just an ineffectual twit like Al Gore or Dan Quayle. Common sense dictates that we are indeed fortunate that neither of those empty vessels ascended to the White House; however, neither appeared to be certifiably deranged. Biden, perhaps, is different.

Actually, I doubt he is truly daft.  If you learn about his background, he’s quite impressive.  He has overcome terrible tragedy and illness and spent most of his adult life in the U.S. Senate.  I think the man is an entertainer.  I suspect he read my post on how to liven up the Presidential Debate and took it to heart.

Poor Paul Ryan and his wonkish–yet compelling–numbers crunching. As soon as he would make a point–or attempt to do so–Biden would cackle or roll his eyes or fart to draw attention to himself. It was like they forced Ryan to debate Jim Carrey.

From what I saw of the VP Debate, I came away with three impressions of Biden:

1.  Laughing is okay, I guess, but I would try to tamp it down when topics like terrorism and assassination are being discussed.

2.  He might have been high.

3.  As annoying as it was, it’s a good laugh–a hardy guffaw.  I think he really did think everything was funny.  Maybe he is nuts.

Ryan’s reactions were funny, too.  He seemed baffled by Biden.  One time my mother had a bad reaction to some medication and couldn’t make any sense when I talked to her.  Ryan probably felt like I did then.

With no more VP debates, Ryan is now at a disadvantage–at least as far as being interesting is concerned. Should he try to counter Biden’s Ace Venture: Vice-President performance? If not, why not? If so, how?

Ryan is no shrinking violet. We know he can run a marathon in Kim Jong iL-like times. He has the body fat of a world-class athlete. He poses for pictures like this:

Ryan putting on a gun show

I like this, because I also like to pose like that:

Your author’s pythons put Congressman Ryan’s spaghetti arms to shame.

Okay, those pictures are irrelevant. I just needed an excuse to post one of me.  Let’s continue.

Ryan also has an impressive story and, like Old Joe, has spent his adult life in Congress.  He also appears to have a sense of humor. That’s a good thing. With a month left before the election, he must let the public know that Biden isn’t the only able to capture the public’s imagination.

Why should he try to out-Biden Biden? Ryan impresses me as a smart guy. I like a lot of his ideas. That’s all well and good, but it won’t help dim the glare of Biden’s Bidenness. Besides, no one votes for the VP anyway, except possibly the candidates’ families. Think about it: Mondale, Quayle, Gore, Cheney–No one would vote for them. Even when we do, we know it’s a mistake (Bush the Elder).  Okay, I’ll admit that most people did vote for Gore, but what the hell were they thinking?  Oh, yeah, GW.  Let’s move on.

None of this will sway votes, but it should be a matter of personal pride.  Ryan needs to make an impression these last three weeks. Boring numbers about deficits and entitlements won’t do it. Here are five modest suggestions:

1. Donate his widow’s peak to Biden to make hip youthful-looking hair plugs.

2. Hook up with Biden’s daughter. Call Biden Poppa Joe.

Paul Ryan needs to work himself into this picture with Ashley Biden, uber hot daughter of Crazy Joe.

3. Mock Obama’s Kenyan heritage by challenging him to a marathon.

4. With no future debates, try to explain budget plan to confused old men at a Waffle House lunch counter.

5. Publicly announce that “If that old man laughs at me just one more time, I’m going all P90X on his ass! You can write it down!”

These pointers will help, but Ryan has to step up.  Again, this won’t win the election for Romney, but it will entertain us, and that’s the important thing.  Perhaps, Ryan can attend the next Presidential debate and then he can laugh uproariously throughout.  Maybe he can guest star on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and debate Sugar Bear.

(I would make one serious suggestion:  Fire the aide who suggested the anecdote about the family maimed in a car wreck, since–ahem–Biden’s wife and daughter were killed in a car wreck.  That was a little awkward.)

I’ve concluded that both candidates are actually better than the ones their parties nominated for President, even if one of them acts nuttier.  I would like them to be Co-Presidents, in fact.  Since that’s not possible, maybe they can star in a remake of The Odd Couple or in their own sitcom:  Crazy Joe and Paul about a bookish young man forced to live with his senile uncle.

Although I’ll vote for Romney, I have to admit that I like both Biden and Paul.  While I might disagree with Biden’s politics, he’s feisty, nutty and passionate.  He’s also prone to gaffes which are entertaining.   Ryan is smart and not afraid to propose radical ideas.  I like that.  Neither one seems to take himself too seriously (I certainly can’t say that about their Presidential counterparts).  I just wish they had another debate scheduled.  Maybe Biden would turn the tables and cry throughout.

So, is Old Joe crazy?  Crazy like a fox, I say.  Having him as VP is like giving Obama a Kevlar exoskeleton.  Everyone–regardless of political stripe–will pray for Obama’s good health if he’s re-elected.

I don’t have anything else to say.  I think Biden said it best, “HAHAHAHAHA!”

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012

A Debate Overview: What Went Wrong?

Like most folks, the first Presidential debate surprised me.  I wasn’t surprised that Romney did so well.  What did he have–like 200 debates against that Republican field?  He should be ready for anything after that.  Debating a comparatively sane person should be like shooting lay ups on a four-foot goal.  No, the surprise was how poorly President Obama performed.

I’m one who disagrees with many of Obama’s positions.  Now, don’t confuse me with people who think he’s a time traveler able to doctor birth records in the past or that he’s lived his entire life as some sort of Manchurian Candidate groomed by a cabal of Muslim socialists to take over the world .  I just disagree with him.  That said, I know why people like him.  He’s convincing and charming.  So, it was all the more surprising that he was neither in the debate.

Of course, there have been many on the left rising to his defense with explanations.  Some say Obama did fine, but Romney is just a big, fat liar.  Al Gore thinks it was the altitude (personally, it bothers me if the President is only able to function well at certain elevations, but that’s probably just me).  Chris Matthews has just yelled a lot without really making a point.

Regardless of the validity of any of these arguments, I’m convinced that something had to be wrong.  Naturally, no one will admit that, but I don’t give up that easily.  Through a combination of cursory research, speculation and guess-work, I have surmised a number of reasons to explain Obama’s performance:

     10.  Thought it would be more humiliating if the Republicans lost to a stammering moron.

      9.   He forgot it was his anniversary, and Michelle hit him in the head with a frying pan just before the debate.

      8.   Squandered valuable preparation time watching TiVo’d episodes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

      7.   All that writing he was doing?  Sudoku.

      6.   Last minute decision to bring in poorly prepared “Replacement” President.

      5.   Counted on Jim Lehrer to strangle Romney over PBS comments.

     4.   Mistakenly thought debate format required only disinterested scribbling and smirking.

     3.  Debate coach:  Joe Biden.

     2.  Thought he could use Bill Clinton as a “life line.”

     1.  Let’s just say that the altitude wasn’t the only thing a “mile high” at the debate.

As an aside, I’m probably done with my debate-watching for this cycle.  I know how I’m voting, and the debates won’t change that.  I do, however, hope they liven up a bit.  My ten-year old son kept hoping they’d attack each other.  My 17-year-old, on the other hand, had just watched the Kennedy-Nixon Debate at school and said they didn’t “choose” each other like Romney and Obama.

I do have one hope for the remaining debates–that they get the make-up fixed.  Jim Lehrer looked like the Joker.  Obama’s make-up was some pancake stuff that made him the color of a creamy Dove Bar.  Romney–despite his fabulous hair–was just blotchy.  It’s HDTV folks.  Get it together.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012

Debating 101: A Primer

My father was fond of saying “This isn’t a high school debate!” whenever I took exception to anything he said.  It was his way of saying “Shut the hell up!”  That’s pretty much how I would handle a debate if I were a Presidential candidate.

I have never participated in a debate.  I’ve argued a lot and even yelled at people, but that’s different.  I have been married for almost 25 years, so these types of encounters happen on occasion.  That said, I’m sure I would do poorly in a real debate.

I don’t pay that much attention to politics, except for the few issues which interest me.  As a result, I’m not fan of political speeches or heated back-and-forth on the issues of the day.  I do, however, watch quite a bit of television.  Presidential debates are, after all, made-for-TV events. As such they neglect one basic element of good television:  Entertainment.

Despite some thinking that 47% of the public has made up its mind about the election, I doubt that.  My guess is that 45% are in the bag for Obama and 45% are on the Romney bandwagon.  That leaves 10% to decide the leader of the Free World.

Chances are that these folks aren’t much interested in politics, but–like all of us–they want to be entertained.  Something has to resonate with these folks–draw them in.  I don’t think two stiff politicians droning on about political minutia will do it.

The few debates I’ve watched have been dreadfully dull, like most of the candidates.  Given the critical nature of the upcoming presidential debates, I’ve thought about what could be done to spice them up a tad.

The first thing needed is a change in format.  Rather than one dullard as a moderator, I would pick a panel of controversial blowhards.  My initial thought is to have Keith Olberman, Ann Coulter and Simon Cowell.  Instead of the usual mundane questions, they could take turns introducing hot button topics, such as:

  • You, sir, are a damned liar!
  • Tell us about Bill Ayres!
  • Where are your tax returns?
  • Where is your birth certificate?
  • Sing your favorite song!
  • I hate you!
  • You are a communist!
  • You are a rich sonofabitch!
  • You are a Muslim!
  • You are a Mormon!
  • You don’t have star power!

After each topic is introduced, each candidate will have two minutes to respond.  Our panel, being pathologically unable to stay quiet, will be free to interrupt the responses with their own inane rants.

These changes, while helpful, won’t fix things unless the candidates themselves are willing to make some changes to their own approaches.  Below are my suggestions for both candidates:

For Obama:

  1. If asked about the economy, light up a Marlboro and mutter “I don’t know.  I just don’t know….”
  2. Demand that Romney make public all his tax returns…and his wives.
  3. Invoke Patriot Act; Declare Romney an Enemy Combatant.
  4. Announce that Biden is being replaced with The Turtle Man so that someone more qualified will be in line for the Presidency.
  5. Throw Osama Bin Laden’s head into the audience, screaming:  “I didn’t say anything about not spiking his head!”
  6. If asked about taxes, respond with:  “I’m taxing you bastards into the Stone Age.”
  7. Plant Bill Clinton in the audience.  Have him interrupt to answer any difficult questions.
  8. At some point, say:  “KARL Marx?!?!  That’s completely different!  All this time, I thought I was following GROUCHO!”
  9. Counter any valid argument with “I’ve got your predator drone, right here!”
  10. Announce plans to end war in Afghanistan; start war in America.

For Romney:

  1. Enter stage with Honey Boo Boo on his shoulders, thus insuring ratings bonanza and currying favor with the 47%.
  2. Announce that he’s legally changed his name to “Mint” and wear gigantic gold dollar sign around neck.
  3. Pointedly challenge Obama:  “If you’re really Kenyan, then explain to the public why you can’t run faster than Paul Ryan!”
  4. Draw hilarious caricature of Mohammed.
  5. Drink first cup of coffee ever during debate.  Go mental.
  6. Announce plans to invade Canada.
  7. Take vow of poverty, then laugh uncontrollably until time is up.
  8. Respectfully address Obama as “Commissar Commie Pinko Obama.”
  9. Wear a monocle.
  10. Undermine Biden’s inroads with biker-voters by referring to Ann as “my old lady.”

In addition to these specific pointers for the candidates, there are also general tactics which can be used by either candidate. These will insure lively back and forth while not turning off the viewer with wild, controversial stands on important issues.

A tried and true approach is to redirect the question toward a topic you’d really like to discuss. I call this “Debate by Diversion.”  Here is an example:

QUESTION: Sir, you have been accused of being vague on specifics. How exactly will you balance the federal budget?

ANSWER:  I’m glad you asked that question.  A balance budget is vital to our future–and that of our children.  I will balance the budget, but–speaking of children–the more important question is why does my opponent continue to deny that he authored a series of erotic novels for children? 

This outlandish and baseless accusation will subtly divert the viewer from the mundane budget issues, focusing his or her attention on the more inflammatory topic of adolescent erotica.  The opponent will be on the defensive for the remainder of the debate, plus viewers will remain glued to their TVs for the remainder of the debate.

There is also the irrelevant point:

QUESTION:  Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was long viewed as a staunch ally of the United States.  With the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt, what will you do to re-build our relationship with Egypt?

ANSWER:  A strong, democratic Egypt is vital to our interests in the Middle East.  I will work with all Egyptians to build a strong relationship based upon mutual respect and peace.  Of course, the biggest issue facing us today is the rampant abuse of bath salts, both here in the United States and in Egypt.

The candidate has defused a potentially devastating lack of knowledge of the Middle East by injecting an irrelevant issue into the middle of the debate.  Many more undecided voters are likely to be addicted to bath salts than to actually know someone in Egypt.

Then, there is the non-response.  If your opponent makes an especially stinging comment, respond:  “WhatEVer!” Then, storm out of the room and refuse to speak to your opponent until he apologizes, even though he did nothing wrong.  Okay, I’ll admit that won’t improve ratings, but it works.  My wife does it all the time.

Finally–and most importantly–do not take a position on anything, except being “Anti-Terrorist” and “Pro-America.”  Don’t screw up and become “pro-crime” or “anti-God.” Your ratings will plummet.

Trust me, when you watch the debates, you’ll wish they’d read this.  Of course, you can always check out Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and watch the debate highlights on the news.  That’s my plan.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012