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Hatred: Illogical / Incoherent / Incontinent

17/10/2014

The colossal hissy fit being pitched in Houston has to do with HERO, or the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.  The point that is causing some people to defecate cinderblocks is a provision that basically allows people to use restrooms based on their gender self-identity, not the one arbitrarily issued at birth.[1]

animated horrified old lady

Now, one would think this would not be a problem.  People typically do not walk about unclothed in public restrooms, we tend to do our business behind closed doors or shielded by stalls.

Unless someone was acting out in a threatening or offensive matter, most people would just mind their own business when tending to their business, if you know what  mean and I think you do.

However, there are people who
cannot live and let live,
poop and let poop with others.

The main challenge to HERO has been the perceived threat than transgender people[2] pose to innocent public convenience users, in particular the dread fear that a pre-op transgender female would suddenly be overcome by heterosexual lust and use their still attached penis to commit rape on a physiological female.

Heterosexual, please…

First off, let’s not make light of the issue of rape: 
While certainly opportunistic rapes occur where the victim does not know the rapist, they are not likely to occur in well trafficked areas such as public restrooms.

This is certainly not to say restroom assaults never ever occur, but when they do they are committed by rapists who are just too psychopathic to recognize the danger they are putting themselves in, or else are excited by that added level of danger.

And while I have never heard of a heterosexual disguising themselves as a member of the opposite sex in order to get close enough to a victim to physically assault them, that’s not to say it has never happened.

But look at those parameters: 
It’s not the genuine transgender person who is feared of committing such a crime, but a heterosexual in disguise.

True transgender persons are no more / no less likely to be good or bad citizens than any one else, no more / no less likely to be criminals.[3]

If there is no pattern of same-sex rape in public restrooms among heterosexuals, why should one fear rape by a transgender person?[4]

A rapist determine to carry out a rape will do so, and if their modus operandi consists of donning a disguise in order to get close enough to their victim, they will don a disguise:  Their gender / orientation has nothing to do with it, and they will ignore any and all laws to commit their crime.

They will not stop just because they’re afraid of breaking a public ordinance against people of one physical sex wearing the clothes of the opposite physical sex in a public restroom.

No, this hysterical reaction is based on no real public threat,
it’s based entirely on the ick-factor in many Christians.

The exact same kind of ick-factor that repulsed
white Christians when African-Americans
wanted to use the same restroom.

Look, I understand being raised with one set of preconceptions and then later in life realizing those preconceptions were woefully ill-informed, and yet still not be able to completely shake the emotions and values associated with the now disproved preconceptions.

Nobody’s perfect, and it’s not unreasonable for a person who has been raised to believe “men are men / women are women” to be somewhat ill at ease in certain situations when encountering a transgender person.

But being ill at ease is not an excuse to torment or deny civil rights or common decency and courtesy to a person.[5]

I will give the benefit of a doubt to many of the people who are opposed to HERO and grant that they truly believe they are acting in the best interests of society as a whole instead of their own personal prejudices.[6]

But if they claim to be Christian, they better learn to give up their cherished ick-factor and start treating other people the way they want to be treated.

And if they don’t want other folks deciding
for them which bathroom they can use…

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[1]  I choose my terms carefully.  Typically all of us are assigned a gender identity on our birth certificates based on what appears to be our physiological sex.  Most of the time the hospital / nurses / midwives / taxi cab drivers guess correctly, but has been pointed out elsewhere, that ain’t necessarily so.  Even if only a small percentage of the human race has an issue with their assigned birth gender it is nonetheless an issue with millions of people, and all of them deserve courtesy and compassion in their attempts to come to terms with their physical form.

[2]  I use the term transgender as shorthand to cover a wide range of issues and concerns for a large number of people, not all of whom have similar, much less overlapping objectives and goals.  Insofar as the Golden Rule would seem to indicate we should not intrude on the private lives of others unless invited to do so, any commentary on a transgender person’s personal issues is unwarranted. 

[3]  Though typically transgender persons do tend to be singled out for persecution and bullying by heterosexuals.

[4]  Indeed, when such assaults occur it is typically nothing to do with sex but everything to do with dominance; typically a gang will humiliate a victim of the same sex in order to demonstrate their control and authority.

[5]  Not even on Facebook.

[6]  But not to their leaders, who are lying sacs of human excrement.

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Lying Sacs Of Human Excrement

17/10/2014

If no chain is stronger than the weakest link, no bridge stronger than the weakest girder, then the Christian church is royally fucked.

animated the general trestle collapse

We have bullying liars who, when called on their bullying and their lying, proclaim themselves to be victims, and the very people they have been actively seeking to harm are portrayed as villains.

Let us discuss the recent brouhaha regarding the subpoena issued by pro bono lawyers for Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Ms Parker and the Houston City Council recently passed a measure called HERO (for Houston Equal Rights Ordinance) as is their right as duly elected officials of that city.

So far, so good.

A group of people opposed to that law circulated a petition for a referendum to repeal it.

Again, so far, so good.

Ms Parker et al rejected the petitions citing discrepancies that invalidated most of the signatures gathered.

Hmm, could be problematic;
hope they have the facts to back this up.

The group opposed to them filed a lawsuit — as is their right — claiming the petitions had been arbitrarily and unjustly dismissed.

A serious charge, if they can prove it’s true.

Up to this point, a few things that make one go “hmmm” but nothing illegal, unjust, or unconstitutional. Elected officials make a ruling, challengers go to court to challenge it, happens all the time, all legal and above board.

The next step is the one where
the lying sacs of human excrement
present themselves front and center.

See, under the laws of this great land — hell, under any standard of common human courtesy & decency; including most specifically the Bible’s own Golden Rule — what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

If you file suit against someone, you are asking a court to compel them to hand over evidence they may possess that will strengthen your case, establishing and proving facts that will help your claim.

But guess what?
They get to do
the exact same thing
right back atcha!

Pro bono lawyers, responding to the lawsuit on behalf of the LGBT community, fired back with a volley of discovery subpoenas of their own — which is their right!

They requested internal communications from the group bringing the lawsuit, as well as with people outside that group who had been working with them on the petition issue.

Now, you want to make the argument
that was not the brightest political
move to make, go right ahead;
I’ll agree with you on that point.

But there was nothing illegal, unconstitutional, threatening, or stifling about it.

Rather it was just a logical step any competent (albeit in this case politically tone deaf) lawyer would have done.

The subpoenas issued, while legal and basically justifiable, have been criticized as too broad and ambiguous, in particular when asking for copies of sermons written / delivered by various pastors who were associated with but not part of the group suing the mayor and city council.

The mayor, when she learned of them, had those particular subpoenas recalled; she and her legal team will obtain the information they need through other means.

But here’s what the lying sacs of human excrement have done:
Instead of saying merely that the opposing legal team’s subpoena request re discovery in a lawsuit that they and/or their allies had initiated was too broad, they quite deliberately and unambiguously presented the perfectly legal discovery subpoenas as an unwarranted, unprovoked, and unilateral action aimed at Christian churches purely with the intent of stifling opposition to laws passed by the government, in particular laws that reaffirm equal rights and protection under the law for all citizens and legal residents, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, nationality, gender, or previous condition of servitude.

And that, in a nutshell, is why people
are leaving organized Christianity
in greater and greater numbers.

If you’re going to act like a bully and deny other citizens their God given and constitutionally guaranteed rights, if you are going to file suit against people who protect those rights and demand discovery from them, then you are a hypocrite of the lowest, rankest order if you then turn around and deny you started the ball rolling, deny you initiated the process, deny your opposition is merely enjoying the exact same rights as you do in the exact same set of circumstances.

You are hypocrites.

And you are the reason more and more people are saying “shuck this fit” and walking away from our churches, never to return in our lifetime.

You lying sacs of human excrement are poisoning the well. You are convincing millions and millions of others that everything Christ taught, everything the church traditionally stood for re mercy and compassion and justice for all is nothing but a sham and a lie.

Nobody will side with that.

The time is coming when perhaps the kindest thing true Christians can do to the rotting shell of their organization is just to walk away from it, let it collapse, and start planting seeds for a truly organic Christian faith to grow.

It may be time to start thinking about walking away from Omelas.

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Corleone Family Values Day

13/10/2014

You celebrate your murderous Italian criminals,

corleone family portrait wedding

I’ll celebrate my murderous Italian criminals.

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Grudge Match: Norman Rockwell vs Edward Hopper

30/09/2014

So I was reading a discussion on art (specifically what differentiates “good” art from “bad” art)[1] and it occurred to me that while usually comparing one artist to another is typically at best comparing apples to artichokes, there was one comparison where we could at least get granny smiths compared to jonagolds.

Norman Rockwell (1894 – 1978) and Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967) are near perfect compare & contrast subjects. Both lived at the same time, both staked out small life America as their prime subject matter.

Make no bones about it, Norman Rockwell was a phenomenally talented painter, and easily one of the best illustrators ever. A good eye for detail and composition, an even keener eye for anatomy, characterization, and facial expression. Look at his paintings and a whole story unfolds before you. Clever, witty, a consummate illustrator of the American scene.

Norman ROCKWELL Going and Coming 1947

Note that word:
Illustrator.

As much as I enjoy Rockwell’s work, as appreciative as I am of his talent and ability, Rockwell only brought so much to the party. He expected — nay, required his audience to already be familiar with his subjects before his put brush to canvas.

norman rockwell the-discovery

There was nothing new he had to offer, nothing original besides his personal style which, while good (arguably the best in his field) was not demonstratively different from literally scores of other artists working for the same markets.

norman rockwell cover_9260626

Yes, there is something unique to Rockwell’s work, and you can almost always spot a Rockwell painting…but there are a whole lotta guys who were doing pretty much what Rockwell was doing and they were all pretty much interchangeable.[2]

Norman ROCKWELL Christmas Homecoming 1948

This is not to diminish the talent or the ability or the skill sets of Rockwell’s direct competitors, but the difference among them was pretty slight, typically one of degrees, never of magnitude.

Amos Sewell - baseball-in-the-hospitalcase in point:  Amos Sewell

Cross to the other side of the street to see what Edward Hopper was doing with the same subject matter and –

HOLY @#%& — LOOK AT THAT LIGHT!!!

edward hopper - nighthwk

NOBODY EVER SAW LIGHT THAT WAY BEFORE!!!

Whatever Rockwell saw in a scene, Hopper saw something…else. He saw something that was truly unique, something that no other artist had ever put on canvas before.

conference-at-night

Something we had all seen but had never realized we had seen, and so when we saw it through his eyes it was a shock to the system, a startling realizing that yes…it was like that…it did look that way!

Summer Evening by Edward Hopper

Hopper didn’t rely on us to bring our own past knowledge to the experience; Hopper brought something we didn’t even know existed.

Office at Night

And that would have been remarkable by itself, but Hopper took it several steps further.

morning-sun_custom

He used light as no one ever used it before, taking the quality of his light — be it a melancholy setting sun or an office like by a single stark bulb or a nether zone of shadow between the dreamscape of the cinema and the tawdry lurid lights of the lobby — and putting it to work to literally shade and illuminate his characters.

tumblr_mex7awoYXs1s0psoao1_1280

It’s pretty easy to figure out the story in any Rockwell painting, and with the exception of the occasional rained out baseball game we know it’s going to be a happy ending.

hotel-lobby

Not so with Hopper. There are dark, unseen melancholies we can’t recognize not because we are unfamiliar with them but because we are too familiar with them, locking them up and blocking them off deep in our hearts, pretending they do not exist.

cdec177946b613760fa806e405ec86cf

Hopper brings them forth, and we are forced to admit we have no pat, happy answers to banish them, that they will stay with us now, circling around the edges of our consciousness, a sad but constant reminder that we are not the masters of our fates / the captains of our souls that we want to be.

Kinda special for daubs of paint of stretched cloth, huh?

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[1] As distinguished from hack work.   Hack work exists all along the spectrum.

[2] Don’t believe me, go look at the “slick” magazine covers of the 1940s – 60s: Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s, Liberty, plus dozens of regional and special interest magazines. If Rockwell had been abducted by aliens in 1940 the genre would never have missed him and would have continued on pretty much as it did, only with more work for the other guys.

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Been There, Done That

13/09/2014

So Bill Maher went on the Charlie Rose show and said blah blah blah something something something “most Muslim people in the world do condone violence just for what you think”.

Not having seen the show but only reading the transcript, I don’t know if Maher meant it in the sense of “condone violence just for the thoughts you think” or if he meant it in the context of beheadings, stoning apostates, genitally mutilating women, etc., etc., and of course, etc. being what you think the Muslims condone.

And being the crafty shifty shaper of words that he is, he immediately tries to have his cake and eat it by saying “vast numbers of Islamic people around the world [are not distancing themselves from ISIS]. That’s just not true” but “Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you leave the Christian religion you should be killed for it. Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second class citizens. Vast numbers of Christians…do not believe if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ you should get killed for it.”

Well, thanx, Bill:
You just created enough straw men to cast every production of The Wizard Of Oz well into the 23rd century.

BM Scarecrow

Next time tell us what you mean by “vast” and “not vast”.  You can pull anything out of your ass hat and claim it fits those parameters.

He blathers on:
“There was a Pew poll in Egypt done a few years ago — 82% said, I think, stoning is the appropriate punishment for adultery. Over 80% thought death was the appropriate punishment for leaving the Muslim religion.”

Cherry picking data from a poll taken at an unspecified point a few years back, Maher fails to state if he is citing actual responses to questions or if he is merely extrapolating from data.  More recent polls have indicated a small-to-medium shift away from Islamic believers support of strict Sharia law, but, hey, you can’t trust “those” people, can you?  They never change their attitudes and beliefs…

…just as American Christians never change
their opinions on matters like same sex marriage.

And needless to say, the bigoted chattering class
has embraced Maher’s weaselly rantings.

I’m sorry, folks, but I can’t hear you over the screams of Holocaust victims, burning Huguenots / Knights Templar / “witches”, Caribbean and Native American peoples, or the weeping of Africans crammed in the hulls of slave ships…

Yeah, right now there’s some pretty ugly stuff flourishing in various corners of the Islamic world.  We in the Christian West had to go thru similar festering periods in our own history, they have to go thru it now.

You don’t get to escape your adolescence on your way to becoming an adult.  The West has, for a variety of reasons, a 500 year head start on the rest of the world.  We also have more blood on our hands and in our history than they do.

As a brown skinned Middle Eastern religious leader of a few millennia back once said:
“First take the plank out of your own eye…”

Read Rodney Stark.  Read Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, And Steel.  So called “Christian” nations & leaders have behaved just as swinishly as non-Christians, they just sugar coated it with “it’s God’s will” or “manifest destiny” or “divine providence” or “American exceptionalism”.

Bull. 
Fucking. 
Shit.

Look how many people were murdered in the Holocaust by Germany because they were the wrong religion. Germany gave us Martin Luther, and for all the good he did Luther also signed off on the persecution of Jewish people.

His poison permeated the German culture:
Track down an unexpurgated collection of the Grimm Bros tales and see how many stories involve a Jewish villain who deserves death or a Jewish victim the Christian hero is justified in abusing.

All this created a toxic environment where selfish industrialists in the aftermath of World War One promoted a crackpot and his failing anti-Semitic party in order to prevent communists / socialist / trade unions from demanding any of the industrialists’ hard earned won stolen cash.

And weep not for Germany:
Millions of them turned a blind eye and kept a silent tongue towards the hatred and persecution of the Jews and the gypsies and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  They capitalized on the extermination of their neighbors even if they didn’t shove them into the showers personally.

What happened to them at the hands
of the Russians was richly deserved.

They never questioned their culture, they never asked if “those” people were truly as evil as their children’s stories and popular literature and pastors claimed.

To further quote the aforementioned brown skinned Middle Eastern religious teacher of two millennia ago:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Oh, but that was those nasty rotten Germans:
We are better; we are Anglo-American Christians and thus have a higher, nobler standard we live by.

Again:
Bull.
Fucking.
Shit.

Look at the Manga Carta; while preening over how wonderful a document it is regarding rights and freedoms, don’t overlook the part where a Jewish person’s estate couldn’t collect debts after they died, nor should you overlook the Edict of Expulsion just a few years later.

Cross the Atlantic:
Read about Columbus & his men enslaving or massacring Caribbean natives, often using brutal methods that make a trip to the showers at Auschwitz seem like a spring walk.

And speaking of walks, how
about that Trail Of Tears?

Want something a little more recent?
Let’s talk about how the Southern Baptist Convention was formed to justify slavery as a Christian institution in the U.S., how after the Civil War they supported segregation and fought against civil rights, how they and others of their ilk formed the backbone of the Ku Klux Klan, lynched hundreds of African-Americans, terrorized hundreds of thousands more, then when the rest of the country finally said, “Hold!  Enough!” to segregation, they ran off to form colleges and private schools and start home school movements to make sure their previous white broods didn’t have to breath class room air contaminated by…”them”.

Maher’s rant is based on one thing:
All he sees in the Islamic world is a bunch of “not-mes” he can justify dehumanizing and hating.

Maher, being an avowed atheist, is
welcome to his God-damned opinion.

What disgusts me is the huge number of purported Christians who kvel orgasmically at this utter repudiation of Christ’s basic message.

Going back to that ol’ brown skinned Middle Eastern religious teacher:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

If you want to embrace this bigotry,
please, by all means, feel free to do so.

But have the common courtesy
to renounce Christ first, m’kay?

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Never Complain About Your Job…

12/09/2014

Professional Poo Diver

…EVER!

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Revival Houses

7/09/2014

Hollywood suffered a major disappointment at the box office this summer, and it looks like we’re seeing a major sea change in the way motion pictures and TV shows are viewed / consumed.

[We’re going full bore
theological after the jump,
but secular readers
are
safe until then.]

In a nut shell, fewer and fewer people feel like shelling out $10-20 bucks to eat overpriced popcorn while watching a movie they know little if anything about.

Previously, they had been willing to spend that kinda money for something they knew they would enjoy, either a branded form of entertainment like Walt Pixar Presents Harry Marvel’s War Trek 007:  Die With An Expendable Transforming Hard On, or Something Just Like It.

New[1] movies, unfamiliar concepts, non-popcorn crunchers just didn’t warrant a $10+ entry fee.

Wait till it comes on Pay-Per-Vue or HBO or Netflix or (really scraping the bottom of the barrel here) YouTube.

Heaven knows this is how I watch most of my media:
If it ain’t on Netflix /  HBO / YouTube or available on DVD, I’ll pass.

As a result movie theaters are slowly starting to spiral the drain.  Their biggest hits are aimed at a teen male heterosexual audience that can’t find dates and whose parents monitor their computer so they can’t watch porn.

There’s next to nada for older and/or female audiences.

Movies used to be a shared common public experience: 
You went to see something along with a bunch of other people, and then you discussed that experience with other people who hadn’t been there with you.

Now we share the experience online, comparing notes over TV shows and movies we watched in the privacy of our own homes.[2]

We don’t really connect with the rest of an audience in a movie theater.

Now, there is an exception to that, and that’s when  people come together to share a specific common interest.

Here in L.A. we have the El Capitan Theatre which shows Disney movies accompanied by elaborate stage shows.  People who go there go specifically to see a Disney movie with an elaborate stage show wrapped around it.

Or people go to sing-a-long events where classic musicals like The Sound Of Music are played with follow-the-bouncing-ball accompaniment, turning it into karaoke for the masses.

Or, if they are real film buffs, they go to the rapidly dwindling number of art / revival houses to see a specific film selected for them by the theater in the company of fellow film buffs.

Back in the day these sorts of theaters, while not exactly plentiful, were easy to find.  Every major urban area had at least two or three, sometimes many, many more.  Often they would show a new double every night ( not counting special kiddee matinees on Saturdays or late night cult films on Fridays and Saturdays).  The films would either be selected as complimentary to one another or as an interesting juxtaposition.  Once or twice a month there would be an evening of short subjects / cartoons / music videos.

ScalaForeverBeyondprogramme

In other words, every night a three to four hour block of interesting, thought provoking movies representing a wide variety of genres and styles.

If I were king of the forest, I’d want a neighborhood revival house where the staff selected an interesting double feature / selection of shorts for each evening.  Projection would be a state of the art digital system; it would be set up to scan 70mm / 35mm / 16mm / 9.5mm / Super 8 / 8mm films without having to run them through hellacious loud / hot / cranky projectors, as well as taking digital downloads / Blu-rays / DVDs / VHS / Beta / laserdisc / Fisher-Price PXL2000 sourced material.

There would be a selection of healthy / inexpensive drinks, good popcorn popped fresh daily, and quality snacks; and next door would be a Denny’s-style coffee shop so after the screening either the film makers or the theater manager could take people over to discuss what they had just seen and get to know one another better.

What we have instead, however, is a theatrical film going experience that relies more and more on variants of previous successes.  It is the rare theatrical film that makes even a token gesture at a fresh interpretation of old tropes, or presents itself in a style other than that of last year’s block buster.[3]

Read the rest of this article »

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It’s Jack’s World, We Just Live In It

28/08/2014

Today is Jack Kirby’s birthday.

Jack Kirby at work

Tom Spurgeon goes the extra lightyear will all sorts of kracklin’ Kirby goodness.

I’ve already posted my feelings regarding Jack, and since I don’t think I can do better at this time I’ll just link to it again.

Jack, we miss you and Roz.  You were one of the greatest artists ever to weild a pencil in the comics medium, but more importantly than that you and Roz were great people, a joy to be around, a blessing to others, an honor to know.

jackirby12

Roz & Jack photo found at Mark Evanier’s NewsFromME.com

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What Love Is

14/08/2014

Had an odd twinge of nostalgia / sadness today.  Saw / heard two things that I wished I could have shared with now deceased family members.

The thing that made me feel nostalgic / sad was not that I was missing them for what they had done for me, but because I was missing the chance to do something for them.

Even something as silly and as slight as relaying a cartoon or good news that they might particularly enjoy is a privilege that I’m now doing without.

That, ultimately, is what love is all about:
The desire to do something good for another person, no matter how small, with no thought of reciprocation other than the delight and satisfaction in knowing you helped another human being.

Human beings, being human of course, tend to form their closest bonds to their immediate families / mates.  That’s to be expected, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.  (Indeed, I feel sorry for those who are the products of dysfunctional families, who never learned to love and trust those physically closest to them; may they find peace and happiness and that missing love with others.)
But beyond our immediate familial / blood / mating ties there should be love that extends to others.  First it is those like us in age or interests or community, then it is to those who share our same general values even if they are not immediate neighbors, then our entire country / culture / religion.

But that’s still too narrow a band on love.

Love should extend to everyone everywhere all the time.  This most pointedly is NOT saying that all actions are equally benign, or that all behaviors should be tolerated under all circumstances.

But it does say we are to love our enemies, to love those who despitefully use us, to love those who hate us and do no reciprocate our gestures of mercy and forgiveness and tolerance.

Never return evil for evil,
neglect for neglect.

The writer Andrew Vachss summed it up succinctly:

“Children know the truth.
Love is not an emotion.
Love is a behavior.”

Bill Mauldin one for the enlisted men

“Beautiful view!  Is there one for the enlisted men?”
Bill Mauldin, circa WWII [this is how a military leader
expresses love for his troops; he sees that their needs
are taken care of first, and that he enjoys nothing
they
can not have as well.]

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Lauren Bacall (1924–2014)

12/08/2014

1920x1080_humphrey-bogart-lauren-bacall-HD-Wallpaper

…and in other news, Keith Richards is still alive.  Go figure.

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