Monday, December 11, 2017

On Holiday Break 2017

David is currently enjoying his much-needed break from commenting.

However, should something big happen, he will give his quick thoughts over at the Brutally Honest Rants page on Facebook.

In the meantime, please feel free to check out all of the articles of the past.

New articles will return during the last weeks of January 2018.

Enjoy the holiday season.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Week of 12/04/2017



The 2017 Brutally Honest Awards
Wow!  We have (almost) made it to the end of the year and we are still alive!
As has been tradition here, our last article for the year is dedicated to noting the best of the best and the worst of the worst, and sometimes the other stuff that must be said that has happened during the past 12 months.  This list is not in any order, and, as always, the only person that is determining what is the best or worst is yours truly.  There is no judging panel or committee.  It’s pure speculation and opinion from a clearly-noted commentator as guaranteed under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.  (Just in case Anthony Scarmucci and/or his shyster lawyers are reading this.  They seem to have a hard time telling the difference between journalism and commentary.)
So here we go...
The Worst Person of 2017: President Donald Trump – Get used to seeing his name, and you should not be surprised to see it right off the bat.
To those who expected Trump to somehow change and become some kind of humble and practical statesman simply because he was elected to the highest public office in America and be the leader of a not-so-free nation, you should have known better.  As I noted in my first article of the year, I try to give every incoming president the opportunity to be the better person, to actually be the kind of president that America needs and deserves.
It took George W. Bush four years to piss away my optimism.  It took Barack Obama six months.
Donald Trump did not last twenty-four hours.  His insistence that his inauguration was the biggest ever – “period” – in defiance of photographic evidence to the contrary, combined with him bringing a cheering crowd to accompany him to visit the CIA, shows that he is every bit the narcissistic self-promoting clown act that people feared he would be.  What you saw of Trump in “The Apprentice” wasn’t an exaggerated made-for-TV personality.  That was him.
Every time the media gave him an out, complimenting him for something that should otherwise be par for the office, every time someone in the media would say “now the president is being presidential”, Trump would ruin that moment with a Twitter-tantrum and a quick bash of the very media that complimented him.  And if it wasn’t him, then it was his surrogates and enablers, and I’m not even talking about the propaganda mill over at Fox News and the talk radio gang.
His obsessivecompulsive fixation to erase everything connected to Barack Obama makes me wish there was someone telling Trump which parts of the White House that Obama touched just to see Trump attack it with a sledgehammer like some Looney Toons character.  In fact, his “planned renovation” combined with the rumored comment of the White House being “a dump” could suggest that his obsessive hatred of Obama is that comedically extreme.
The Second Worst Person in 2017: North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, aka “Panda Bear” – I’m sure the Panda Bear is pissed at America right now, because there is only room for one unstable and spoiled narcissistic man-child, and now it’s not him!  I’m sure that has to be really grating on him to know that Trump can out-crazy him and be an even bigger embarrassment to the world scene.  That’s probably why he’s been taunting the world to nuke his sorry ass with his missile “tests” and his bombastic rhetoric.  It’s a little hard to get what you want when you’re up against someone that can match him in the “small hands” department.
The Third Worst Person in 2017 (huge tie): Harvey Weinstein, American Ayatollah Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey, Senator Al Franken, Brett Ratner, Oliver Stone, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, former President Bill Clinton, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and President Donald Trump – You know why, even if most of you will never admit to it.
The Biggest Loser Of 2017: The Whole World – Between the Narcissist-in-Chief, the sociopathic GOP-dominated Congress, and the deranged Panda Bear on the other side of the Pacific, I don’t know if we’ll even survive to 2020, never mind 2024.  We probably should all be researching how to build a fallout shelter and stockpiling on survival gear and ready-made food.
The Biggest Winner of 2017: Russian President and strongman Vladimir Putin – Even if you discount the alleged manipulation of the 2016 Farce, even if you discount all the claims of collusion with Trump’s cult leaders, even if you discount any connection to cyber-hacking and cyber-sabotage and just took the former KBG thug at face value, you’d have to admit that Putin still comes out on top on the global stage.  All he has to do is let everyone else screw up as they have been doing.  Trump makes America and Europe look bad.  Kim Jong makes China look bad and Japan look weak.  Putin can prance around shirtless and still rack up an easy win.
The “Shut The Hell Up And Go The Hell Away” Award for 2017: Hillary Rodham Clinton – No, seriously.  You need to go away.  You don’t want to acknowledge that you screwed up in a presidential election that was literally hand-picked for you to win.  You literally owned the dominant political party that handed you the nomination.  And I mean “owned” like it was bought on eBay!  You had the media all but swearing you in before the November election.  You had all of that going for you and you still managed to screw it up. 
And that is on you, Mrs. Clinton.  Not Trump, not Putin, not Bernie Sanders, not the DNC, not the Internet, not Fox News.  You.  Hillary Rodham Clinton.  This is on you.  You need to stop trying to blame it on everything and everyone other than yourself and just go the hell away. 
You want to help the nation, Mrs. Clinton?  Help it by going away.
The “You Need To Go Away Too” Award for 2017: House Minority Leader And Major Failure Nancy Pelosi – How bad is the ineptitude of Nancy Pelosi?  She is so inept that voters everywhere except in her district are voting her out of office!  When Democrats challenge the GOP contenders in special elections, they don’t lose because they ran bad campaigns.  They lose because the GOP would make their elections about Nancy Pelosi. It would be *her face* plastered on big-money election commercials, and *her name* bantered about in mailings.
Pelosi’s name and face are so toxic to America that voters in Alabama are on the verge of electing a suspected child sex predator over the man that prosecuted members of the Klu Klux Klan!  Think about that!  Voters would rather vote for a suspected child predator over a celebrated prosecutor to be in the United States Senate, simply because that prosecutor is being connected to *you*, Congresswoman Pelosi!
Take the hint, madam, and go away!
And take Hillary with you!
The Fastest Turnover In The Cult of Trump for 2017: Anthony Scaramucci – There have been people that have come and gone through the White House, sometimes even before their business cards can be printed.  I have seen nominees un-nominate themselves just days after it came out they did something stupid.  I remember when former governor John Sununu ended up being shoved out of his job as White House Chief of Staff under Bush Senior.  Smart man.  No joke.  Member of MENSA.  I actually met him once.  But he wasn’t smart enough to avoid a few screw-ups that led him to be “asked to resign” (in other words, fired) in 1991.
But Anthony, Anthony, Anthony, you take the cannoli. 
Bad enough that you go in to replace the bullied and besieged Sean Spicer as White House Communications Director, but you end up getting fired in just ten days, even before your position was supposed to be “official”!  You force Reince Priebus to resign as Chief of Staff, you pick a fight with Trump’s mad-monk advisor Steve Bannon, and you expect people to accept that you’re the “voice” of Trump?
You’ve been on TV, sir, so you know this simple unwritten rule: you do not upstage the talent!  And guess what?  Trump is the talent, not you.
Of course he’s not done picking fights.  Some people are like that.  They just don’t know when to stop.  If Tony Soprano were alive, he’d be calling “The Mooch” up and tell him “’ey, tone it down, alright?  You’s giving us a bad name ‘ere.”
The Most Deserving of Sympathy Under Trump in 2017: Sean Spicer – This was the guy that went from being the GOP press secretary to being Trump’s Press Secretary, to White House Communications Director *and* Press Secretary, to being the punchline for Saturday Night Live... and played by a woman.
And you have to feel sorry for the man.  There have been times where he looked like he was just trying make Trump look good, and he was being bullied all the way by his boss and his coworkers, and criticized by the very media that he was hostile to.  I’m surprised he didn’t lose it at some point.  I half-expected him to either have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown, and, given whom he was working for, we really wouldn’t have known the difference.  Stutter, drool, collapse... “Uh, was that the President’s feelings on this or are you just making it up as you go along?”
Here’s how bad things were for him: picture being the only Roman Catholic in the bunch and you are not brought along for a once-in-a-lifetime meet with the leader of the Roman Catholic Church!  Thankfully Pope Francis invited Spicer to see him after he left the White House.  Then again, that’s Pope Francis.  Far better world leader than Trump.  Far better!
The Early Quitter Award for 2017: Keith Olbermann – For the past year, Keith has been doing his online rants through GQ, criticizing President Trump and his cult at every opportunity, but mostly focusing on the investigation about Russia.  He has been fixated on the ongoing investigation and who is involved and who could be indicted and whether or not Trump would pardon himself or pardon anyone over Russia.  He’s been more fixated on this singular subject than Fox News has for years on Hillary and Benghazi.
But now, suddenly, Olbermann has decided that it’s “over”.  Trump, he believes, is toast.  There is nothing more that needs to be said.  Every option that Trump would have, according to Olbermann, leads to either indictment, impeachment, conviction, resignation, or a removal from office under the 25th Amendment.  (Go ahead and Google it.)
So that’s it, Olbermann says.  He’s done.  Trump is done.  Game over.  This time online has been trying on him, and he is, thankfully, done with it.  The whole thing.  Political commentary.  Olbermann is out.
I’m guessing the book sales haven’t been too good, right Keith?  Here’s a hint: conservative groups buy their propaganda material by the bulk, but it still counts as if individuals buy them.  Ann Coulter could write a book just listing the ingredients off an oatmeal can, give a liberal-trashing title to it, and it would still sell in record numbers for that reason alone.  Catching on yet?
My problem with Olbermann’s rationality is that he’s jumping the gun on Trump.  Those in government are never easily taken down, and now that Trump is part of the government, they’re not going to let him go until *they* decide they can’t keep him around.
How many times did the GOP write off Bill Clinton?  Even after the impeached him, he still stayed in the White House.  Remember Bush Junior?  When the GOP ran things, the Democrats kept on talking impeachment, but as soon as they took over the Congress in 2007, nothing.  When the GOP took control of Congress, they suddenly stopped talking about impeaching Obama.
So, I’m sorry the commentary has been trying on you, Keith.  It’s trying on me and I’ve been at this for over two decades now.  But be honest about why you’re calling it quits, Keith.  The game is only over for Trump when he really is out of office, not just because you decide it is.
The One Most Missed in 2017: Hugh Hefner – The founder of Playboy Magazine and the creator of the Playboy brand passed away in September.  But I really don’t mourn for the passing of the man as I miss the man that he used to be.  The Hugh Hefner that would know and spell out the difference between appreciating women and preying on them.  The man that supported women’s rights.  The man that did more for Hollywood in preserving its history than anyone in the major studios.  The man that literally made James Bond a household name and gave us women like Jenny McCarthy, Pam Anderson, Bettie Paige, Jayne Mansfield, Cynthia Myers, Claudia Jennings, Kathy Shower, Erica Eleniak, and Shannon Tweed.
I’ve come to know that Hugh Hefner from not only his publication, but also from the friends that I have come to know over the years that also knew him the most.  I miss that Hugh Hefner. I wish I could have met that man in person.
The One Least Missed In 2017: Charlie Manson – The crazy king of crazy is dead.  And the only good thing to say about the man is that he’s dead.  Good!
The Best Superhero Movie of 2017: “Wonder Woman – Come on, did you really think I was going to say “Justice League”?  Not even “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” could match Wonder Woman’s solo film debut!  Director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot gave the DC Cinematic Universe its first uncontested win against the almighty Disney-owned Marvel and it encouraged Warner Brothers to make that needed “pivot” for future movies.  No more dark and angsty.  More color, more optimism, and more heroism.
Now if only they can fire the idiot at Warner Brothers that chopped key segments from “Justice League” just to “save time”.  That person really needs to go.
The “A-for-Effort” Award for Superhero Movies in 2017 (tie): “Justice League” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” – “Justice League” is far from perfect, but it did exceed expectations and it did redeem Zach Snyder for the failings of “Batman v. Superman”.  Spider-Man: Homecoming”, on the other hand, thankfully did not re-tell the origin story like previous incarnations did.  But it also gave a lukewarm performance with a “meh” ending.
Oh, and don’t worry, these superhero movies will be reviewed in due time over at “Hero Corner”.
The Failed-To-Deliver Award in 2017: All the Successors to “City of Heroes” – It’s been five years since fans of the beloved “City of Heroes” MMORPG were left orphaned by the managerial ineptitude of NCSoft, and while there have been plans to create the so-called “spiritual successors”, none of them have yet to materialize outside of one alpha test.  Come on, tech companies!  “Champions Online” is mired in lockbox fetishes.  “DC Universe Online” is too confusing for users.  We need our online heroes!
The “Goddamned Son-of-a-Bitch” Award for 2017: NCSoft – Bad enough that NCSoft shut down “City of Heroes” five years ago.  This year they turned around and resurrected Statesman, the iconic superhero from CoH, and put him in their new “Master X Master” arena game.  But, wait, wasn’t Statesman dead long before they shut down the MMORPG?  Yes, but they came up with a half-assed story to justify it.  It’s not “really” Statesman.  It’s his Praetorian counterpart, Tyrant, that decided to become Statesman.
Why am I telling you this?  Because NCSoft decided to shut down “Master x Master”.  The game shuts down at the end of January 2018.  Their gross incompetence and ineptitude rivals that of the Democratic Party!  They can’t even support their own creations for more than six months now.
And finally...
The Biggest Screwjob in America for 2017: The GOP Tax Plan – I honestly cannot believe that the GOP-ruled Senate finally pulled one off.  They couldn’t fix healthcare, they have no idea how to work with the House to pass a stupid budget, but apparently they could finagle their way to getting a tax bill passed in the dead of night with hand-scribbled additions that they can’t even read.  Of course, given that it benefits their billionaire owners, we really should not be surprised that this would be the one major thing they could get done.
It should also be to no surprise that they would justify this giveaway with the biggest lie they have ever told in their corrupt sociopathic lives. 
“If you give billionaires a tax cut, they’ll take the money and invest it in the workplace!”
Right, and “if you give homeless people money, they’ll just spend it on drugs and booze.” And “Obama wasn’t born in America but Ted Cruz was”.  And “9/11 was an inside job”.  And “there’s a secret sex dungeon full of kids in the basement of a pizza parlor that has no basement”.  And “oral sex is not sex”.  And “the Moon landing was fake”.  And “the Earth is flat”.  And “the Las Vegas mass-shooting was fake”.  No, seriously, there are people who believe all these things.  To quote the LEGO Joker: “Probably worth a Google”.
And let’s get brutally honest here... why should anyone be surprised at what the GOP under President Donald Trump and his ready-made red-hat-wearing MAGA cultists are doing?  It’s not like any of these things are secrets!  It’s not like we didn’t know that these things were going to happen or at least be brought up.  They flaunt these things online and in the propaganda mills and the Sunday Morning talk circuit and in their various books and fake documentaries.  They own the White House, they own the Congress, they are owning the courts, and they have at least until the 2018 Mid-Term hoax to do whatever the hell they want.  So, really, the only thing that can stop them from carrying out each-and-every one of their political fantasies is their own inevitable incompetence.
Well I think I’ve given enough rants to hold out until January of 2018, don’t you think?  Hopefully there will still be a world to rant about by then, but given we have President “small hands” here in America and Kim Jong “small hands” in North Korea, we can’t really take that for granted anymore.
Stay safe, everyone, and hopefully we’ll be back in 2018.  Nukes pending, of course.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Week of 11/27/2017



Warner Bros Do Not Deserve DC!
You know, I’m going to come out and say it…
What the hell, Warner Brothers?!?
Longtime readers know that I’m a big supporter of Superman and DC Comics.  Of course, when I first read Superman comics, DC Comics was self-owned.  Then it got purchased by Time-Warner, which owns the film titan Warner Brothers.  And for the longest time, this partnership helped, because Warner Brothers could call on DC heroes for superhero movies.  Superman and Batman, of course, were the big guns for the WB.  They were the money-makers.  And when they weren’t spending money on live-action movies, they were doing TV cartoons and animated motion pictures.
It was a win-win for them.  They owned the rights to all the characters they could use for their productions.  This was something that Marvel Comics could not claim, after selling the movie rights of their biggest money-makers to Universal and Sony and 20th Century Fox.
But lately, the overpaid executives in Warner Brothers have been screwing up as bad as the Democratic Party when it comes to their DC heroes and villains.
First, they countered the financial success of Marvel Studio with “Man of Steel”, which was a controversial reboot of the Superman cinematic franchise.  Instead of the iconic superhero, we got a brooding and sullen drifter.  A “Superman” that quite literally was made by the same people that just rebooted the “Batman” series for the “Dark Knight” trilogy.  It did okay in the box office and it divided diehard Superman fans as to whether or not we got the hero we deserved.
Then director Zach Snyder hit the “reboot” button again for Batman and putting him in the next movie: “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”.  The problem being that he pitted his newly-rebooted legends against each other, made Superman into a villain (no, really, he did), and then killed him off.  (Oops.  Spoilers.)
But that would be okay, right?  It made money.  It made good money.  Who cares if it pissed off fans?  Who cares if it alienates the very people that have kept these characters alive in their hearts and minds for three-quarters of a century?  It made Warner Brothers almost a billion dollars and that is all that matters to them.
And then afterward... “Suicide Squad” was good, but pissed people off simply because it was in the same universe as BvS.  But then “Wonder Woman” did good, mostly because of director Patty Jenkins keeping it light and upbeat and optimistic and not “BvS”.
And then…
Loyal DC fans have been nervous about Snyder’s third movie, “Justice League”.  Snyder and his wife were the overseers of the DC Cinematic Universe since “Man of Steel”, and with the exception of “Wonder Woman”, we’ve been left a little disappointed.  We’ve been wanting a DC version of Marvel’s success, being able to have a string of movies that bring DC’s characters to the big screen just like the Disney-owned competition.
And in between these movies, we’ve been teased with ideas about other movies. A sequel to “Suicide Squad” and “Wonder Woman”, solo films for Aquaman and Flash and Cyborg, a movie about the Green Lantern Corps and Shazam, even a solo movie for Batman.  These gave us reasons to hope and to endure the disappointments.
But then came the rumors.  All those great ideas end up being just that.  The solo movie for Batman gets a new director and then the script gets wiped and suddenly rumors are abound of Ben Affleck wanting to leave.  The solo movie for Flash becomes “Flashpoint”, the storyline that rebooted the DC Comic universe into something worse.  That’s pretty much like going from Issue #0 right to Issue #500 and expecting people to just go with it.  Someone decides to come up with a Joker and Harley Quinn movie that has no connection to the DCCU at all and make it like a “young romance” deal.
And then comes “Justice League”.  The movie that had to be finished with “Avengers” director Joss Wheedon because of a Snyder family loss.  A good movie, but not great, hacked to conform to some micromanaged artificial timeframe, and quickly mocked by haters.  And then, to add insult to injury, it gives a mediocre return at the box office.
Now everything is up in the air.  The solo “Batman” movie may or may not happen and it may or may not have someone other than Ben Affleck as Batman.  The Flash movie is missing a director.  The “Wonder Woman” sequel is supposedly a go, but that is still just talk right now.  The solo “Aquaman” movie is done shooting, but that may very well be the last DCCU movie.
And that makes me again ask… what the hell, Warner Brothers?
Let’s get brutally honest here… Warner Brothers has been doing the world of DC Comics a huge disservice when it comes to movies.  Sure they have ideas and money and talent, but they lack the means of translating all of that into putting DC’s characters onto the big screen and keep doing it.  They want the kind of money Marvel has been bringing into Disney, but they just can’t seem to make it happen.
What the executives at Warner Brothers need to do is to swallow their arrogance and their pride and put the DC Cinematic Universe under better direction.  They need to stop talking about hitting the “reboot” button and stop talking about ending the DCCU and instead go all-in with someone in charge of the vision.  Warner Brothers already has a division called DC Entertainment, which has been doing a great job coming up with direct-to-video animated movies.  Maybe what Warner Brothers needs to do is to put all of their live-action DC worlds in there as well; movies and TV and online and direct-to-video.
The other thing that Warner Brothers doesn’t seem to understand is that DC is not like Marvel.  Marvel’s characters are supposed to be more down-to-Earth.  They’re supposed to be more practical and more realistic.  Well, with the exception of Thor.  But that’s their schtick.  DC, on the other hand, is meant to be iconic and legendary.
If you ever saw the documentary “The Death of Superman Lives”, then you’d know that Warner Brothers really screwed themselves over the multiple attempts to remake Superman prior to “Superman Returns”.  That’s how you turn a good idea into an existentialist abomination featuring Nicholas Cage as Superman.  That’s what WB execs did to Superman because they simply did not understand the character.
“Wonder Woman” succeeded because director Patty Jenkins understood the character.  “Justice League” redeemed itself to many fans because Joss Wheedon knew how to make superhero movies work and made the right tweaks to Snyder’s vision.  DC needs to follow through and move forward, not look for a reset button.  They don’t need to remake anything.  They have all the material they need already.  They just have to be allowed to make it happen, and in a timeframe that the fans would appreciate.
There is an old saying that too many cooks spoil the broth.  It is high time that Warner Brothers learn from their mistakes and let the DC world show them how to make superhero movies.  Make the good story first, the kind that the fans want to see, then the money will follow.  That’s how you match Marvel and eventually beat them.