Bad Boys better hide, COPS is coming again

Last week the Beaumont City Council approved an agreement with Langley Productions “related to the filming of the Beaumont Police Department for the television show ‘COPS.'”

If you live on Pluto, COPS is the show on which police from various cities and counties throughout the country exhibit scads of police officers encountering mostly law-breakers. Many of those perps seem to either wear no shirt or a sport a “wife-beater.” Some of those suspects may even be wife-beaters.

This is the second time the long-running TV show has visited Beaumont. While the folks from COPS stayed for whatever period, the previous stay only resulted in a small chase in a neighborhood which resulted in one friendly perp was arrested.

I watch the show every now and then, such as now when the satellite system here is acting strangely. I have to admit they encounter the interesting, the pathetic, everyone it seems other than the innocent. Always at the end of every encounter, it seems, the police officers appear to impart a “moral of the story.” That is among the outcomes of the show that I really dislike. I also do not like the actions of a great many officers. This is specifically related to their command-giving and their telling suspects not to “resist” when sometimes it appears the police officers’ actions may lead to “resisting.” Police chases are also a subject that I could pontificate on from here to then.

When police chase a subject, he may not know who the person is that is running. Sure, the person chased might be a murderer. But in some cases, the person runs for what he or she may perceive is a large jam to avoid. Of course, once the officer starts chasing, then technically the offense increases.

I’ve said it before and I know law enforcement officers who admit that it is a personal affront for some one to run away from then. This is especially the case when officers have to chase someone on foot.

Oh and something else that drives me up a wall is what I am watching. A suspected prostitute they arrest her for DWI after failing a couple of sobriety tests by a narrow margin. I just hope I am not suspected of DUI because, even sober and I no longer drink and drive, I would definitely fail these stupid field tests. My diabetes has taken a toe-hold on me, no pun intended, but I have hammertoes on my left feet. One has an ulcer that I have tried to clear up for two months. That’s just not working and I will have surgery next month on my toes to hopefully correct them. Either way, there is no way in hell I’d pass any kind of “roadside gymnastics,” as Gary Trichter, a certified DUI/DWI attorney in Houston, calls it.

I would raise the thought that problems now faced in the country with what seems to be an explosion of police shootings could be due to the COPS factor. I can’t prove it. And it may be years before that is either proved or disproved.

Please don’t think I dislike cops or cop shows. Some of my favorite shows are police-oriented, some live, some recreated and some pure fiction.

Nevertheless, COPS will be back on our streets sometime soon for better or worse. Our police will continue you their often dangerous jobs perhaps playing for the camera, but hopefully not.

Law and disorder

A mean streak is running through society. That happens now and again. Remember the hardhats of the 60s and its unofficial anthem, “Okie From Muskogee?” No matter that Merle Haggard who co-wrote and performed the popular C & W tune insists it was a satire on the “America Love it Or Leave it crowd.”

That is as good as any reason for what seems to be non-stop flailing of young black men by police. Right now I’m hearing on CNN about a black man being found hanging from a tree in Mississippi. What is this, the 1920 Cracker South? We don’t know why the man, a convicted felon, was found hanging from a tree. Is it an old-fashioned lynching or some pissed off gang members of color?

Don’t get me wrong. Those of us happy, misguided, optimists who thought the warm fuzzy feeling just after Barack Obama was elected the first black American president certainly have the reason to feel let down. The right-wing sound machine and the Internet has managed to make the angry white Americans even more pissed off. I see it. It can’t be denied.

But why cops are beating the crap out of or shooting dead young black men may not be what it seems. Oh yeah, some cops equate young black men with “perps.” You don’t see that on “Cops” where a cop tells a perp he is cuffing “don’t resist” even though the suspect is so powerless underneath the police that he has no opportunity to resist. But read this disturbing story about mean police who, if their actions weren’t so deadly would be called “Keystone Cops.” Sorry for the very dated reference but you can get the drift.

These guys are equal opportunity thugs who happen to wear uniforms. They are generally the dullest pencils in the box, hired for political reasons. Add in some instances are taught by trained killers who have left the military for greener — as in money — pastures.

The 24-hour media focuses solely on black men or rather black kids because it raises hackles. And it should.

But there is something even more sinister than racist cops, if you can imagine it. These are cops, some of whom are serial killers and they still ride in their cruisers carrying their high-powered weapons.

I’ll stop here. Just read the excellent Rolling Stone story about a very disturbing American police department. I read it and I was shocked. I mean, seriously. I was so pissed. If you have half a soul you will feel that way as well.

Poor impulse control? No impulse control? Whatever!

Impulse is a word that appears as imparting more bad than good. It would be my guess that people these days seem to associate the word in its psychological form and specifically dealing with “poor impulse control” as in criminal acts. Specifically, the criminal acts – thanks to TV programs such as “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” associated with sex.

But impulse, that dealing with human behavior, is not always negative. Indeed there are some wonderful aspects of life that are constructed due to impulse. Of course, circumstances in which impulse may be great in the same manner may be, well, let’s say not so good. Take for instance life in one of its basic forms: birth.

While it is true that birth control has slowed down the numbers of babies resulting from the impulsive act of, as Bob Seger so aptly put it, “the Horizontal Bop.” So called “unprotected sex” not to mention faulty birth control methods still produce the little “surprise.” Some might see that little surprise as surprise!:) or as surprise:/OMG!

Not to get off the point, but doesn’t unprotected sex seem as quite a harsh expression? The phrase evokes showing up to the bed encased in a latex body suit. Or maybe a suit of armor. Let’s say you are just sitting there slowly rusting away from the humidity of the room while awaiting for the fair damsel to arrive with the key to her chastity belt. Quaint.

It also would be interesting to see studies of children of those with “poor” impulse control. Do they have a plan for everything ranging from taking a shit to having the car serviced?

I heard the Steve Winwood song “Roll With It” today while sitting in the IHOP and the title made me think of my impulsive life, good and bad, but mostly good. I never suspected, by the way, that I would do a phone interview with one of that song’s writers. Will Jennings has written or co-written for what seems like a “Who’s Who” of popular music. He co-wrote most popular songs recorded by Winwood, after the artist’s younger years spent with the group Traffic. I interviewed Jennings after he received Song of the Year honors at the Grammys for “Tears In Heaven,” which he co-wrote with Eric Clapton. Jennings came across as warm and unpretentious, which his friends from the college he attended and taught – my alma mater Stephen F. Austin — said were typical.

Oh, while I’m name dropping, most who know me understand I was far from a George Dubya Bush fan. However, I am proud of having interviewed him when he was head of the Texas Rangers baseball team. I was unmolested by handlers and Secret Service, which were prevalent while covering several events while he was president. I was actually part of the press pool a couple of times during visits he made home to Crawford, Texas. And I did get wet once. Pool, wet, get it? That was from waiting in the rain for the Secret Service to do their sweep of the church where I would attend services with the first family. In between baseball and the presidency, I also covered I don’t know how many events while GWB was governor. The same goes for Ricky Bob Perry.

I have had many good times doing the impulsive. And I never did anything to land me in prison. Well, let me rephrase that. I was never imprisoned for anything and kind of leave it at that.

And I did a few impulsive acts I wish I hadn’t. They mostly cost me money or made me feel awkward the next day. I will kind of leave that at that.

Just remember, my friends, there is no explanation better than leaving matters at that. Or maybe that isn’t so. It’s all according to how your boogaloo situation stands, you understand, as if you ever heard “Clap for the Wolfman.”

Some thoughts on feet n’ football

Welcome back. I suppose that is a correct expression. I welcome myself back. I am trying very hard to stay off my left foot. That is where I have a toe wound and it is linked to diabetes. The wound became infected and my podiatrist was like “Holy shit!” He didn’t say that. But his expression said it for him.

I have the inclination to ask him why he wanted to study podiatry. One immediately thinks — at least those of us with somewhat perverted minds — “foot fetish.” But feet stank. Yes I know that isn’t the right word but to get a little OG into it. I’m talking “Original Gangster” but some of you, perhaps it is just I, probably think I was recalling that dirty little short ditty sang by Dr. Hook called “Monterrey Jack.” You know:

“You mean OD/No OG/That’s when you OD and you say Oh gee … ”

I tell you what, for the acclaimed writer of children’s books and poems that Shel Silverstein was, he sure wrote some bawdy songs full of sex and drugs and rock and roll, such as this song. The guy was a f***ing genius.

Where was I any way? Oh yeah, my cousin just emailed me about a Facebook post where I explained a little of what’s going on with my left, second toe. You see, it has a wound partially started via diabetes and the adjacent hammer toes I have. Fortunately, X-rays found no infection in the bone. So if I stay off the foot for awhile in order to heal, perhaps I want have to worry about amputation. As it is, I say a better than even chances. I hate thinking about it. Best not to think about it. So keep it clean, unlike what Shelly did when he wasn’t writing enchanting literature like “I’m being swallowed by a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor … ” And even PG tunes such as “A Boy Named Sue.” Yes, yes, I know Johnny Cash sang it, or whatever he did with it, but he didn’t write it. Neither did Cash write Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” Johnny made other folks’ songs breathe more feeling.

You know something, people tend to overlook the poetry with music of people like Kristofferson, Billy Joe Shaver, Willie Nelson and others of their ilk. They are all Texans, of course. Kristofferson was a Texan by virtue of Army bratdom. I’m just saying.

And also I’m just saying, what’s up with that Marshawn Lynch? These pro football players, some of them, are just trying to be cute. Of course, that wouldn’t be how they would describe it.

Some folks will chalk it up to disadvantaged youths with no father figure at home and 24/7 rap music and drugs and so forth. Do that if you will. But there are people who turn out just fine. I know a couple of former pro football players these days. Then I also was acquainted with a couple of other former pros, both Dallas Cowboys from the early 60s, but I didn’t hold that against them. One was an Episcopal priest and the other married to a Methodist minister. Both nice guys.

Really, if there is blame to go around for people like Lynch acting like buttholes then a share goes to you and me. Well, the literal me not the figurative me. We make these young men big heroes and like to watch them dance in the end zone and make fools of themselves. We buy their crap and like to see them stick it to the man. That’d be the rich ol’ white man.

Over the last few years the Super Bowl has been pretty uninteresting to me. Even the commercials I usually value more than the game itself. So it is likely to be this year. I don’t give a damn who wins. If there was some way both teams could lose, that would be a great outcome in my mind.

Cheating bastards versus arrogant a**holes. Katie Perry “Roars” in between. Come one, come all!

Go out to the parking and get in your car and drive real far … it all makes sense

In my research of commercial spots for the upcoming Super Bowl XLIX — which of this weekend will be Seattle Seahawks facing the New England Patriots — did I find no mention of the hilarious Acura RDX commercial. I won’t give much away except it features an attractive woman who goes on speaker phone in her car without knowing, or apparently caring, that her bosses are listening. The woman is rocking out and singing along to, especially the rap portion, of the 1980 Blondie hit “Rapture.”

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The sing-a-long may not be one of the $4.5 million spots seen on the Super football game but surely it will make it at least once in the hours-long hype leading up to the 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time game on Sunday, Feb. 1.

Of course, we all know the Super Bowl is all about the TV commercials. Well, mostly. I am not a big fan of the Seahawks although a local boy, Earl Thomas, the ‘Hawks Pro Bowl defensive back, from nearby Orange, Texas, is about the biggest thing in Southeast Texas right now since the Valero Refinery. Fellow Seattle DB and Pro Bowler Richard Sherman and Thomas were both injured in their come-from-behind win against Green Bay yesterday for the NFC Championship. Sherman sprained an elbow yesterday though continued playing despite that even I could see him wincing on TV and not using that left hand. Thomas had a dislocated shoulder. Both are expected to play in the world championship in two weeks.

Thomas is, understandably a hometown hero, he apparently spends a lot of time back home in Orange during the off season, doing good works for the community. So, if even half of what I hear about Thomas is true, it certainly speaks well of the young man. Sherman, obviously loves his mother and Campbell Soup. That, and being one of the best cornerbacks in the game, doesn’t prevent his generally being regarded as one who regularly engages in dirty play.

I didn’t intend to spend so much time writing about the upcoming Super Bowl. I just found the Acura ad amusing and liked that it used what is probably the only “rap” song I like even though it isn’t totally rap. I just have not liked rap or hip hop all that much. I suppose the major difference between “Rapture” and the rest of rap is Blondie vocalist Debbie Harry’s sexy voice — now 30-something years later —  as well as the rock and funk that underlies the tune. A couple of hip-hop pioneers, Fab Five Freddy and Grandmaster Flash, are also name-dropped in the song.

All I’m saying is that it’s a cool song though saddled as both rap and disco tunes. “Rapture” is pretty fly, my man. I gotta figure, that’s a good thing.

 

The sound and smell of Facebook and free speech

Many reasons exist as to why one should avoid Facebook at all costs. Probably just as many reasons are out there why Facebook is a valuable communications platform.

“I don’t use Facebook,” said someone, I don’t know who, during a holiday gathering recently. I remarked that I use it to keep up with my family. I usually check it a couple of times a day.

I disagree with much that I see on Facebook. I see just as much with which I do agree. I take the good, with the bad, relatively speaking.

A friend in Alaska is discovering or perhaps rediscovering her eye for art in the digital photos she takes. Most are of outdoors with her dog. Her dog photographs well. Many of her nature shots are otherworldly. Those I mention are true art.

One of my brothers moderates a group devoted to our hometown. These are thoughts shared about all of our past days in the small East Texas town or within the school district in which many, if not most, shared.

A former student, brother of a classmate of mine and whose mother worked with my mother, hit a Facebook homer over the last couple of days sharing and asking the group to share little giblets of memory. These involved remembrances of sounds and smells. It is so incredibly mind-blowing to me as a journalist to take in all these moments in time. And that is what they are — moments. Add them up in actual time and you might get a couple of hours.

Shared are sounds of screen doors noisily but reassuringly closing. The sound of horse hooves and tack are recalled as the young boys and girls rode in their Texas tradition. Then there is the call of the bird I always thought was the whipoorwill. Turns out, it was a different bird.

The smells included fresh hay in the hot summer sun that teenaged boys sweated while loading up bales on trucks and trailers for the local farmers and ranchers, and rewarding the kids with a little spare change. The honeysuckle that any East Texan must surely smells in the brilliant green of spring.

That particular sense, that of smell, became expanded for me. Certain times that sense will take me to my younger days though not necessarily in my hometown. Instead I remember my young adult days.

The smell of diesel in the morning hits me with a memory of Central Fire Station where I mainly worked at the beginning of my five intense and memorable years as a firefighter. With each snootfull of diesel comes a vision of the wall where helmets and bunker gear were lined up for all the shifts. It is simple enough why it is such a stunning memory. It was where we were gassed with diesel fumes from Engine 310. Here I was a 22-year-old man, making my own way in the world, and where I feared only that which was knowable. That’d mostly be another daunting smell, one of the homes we would encounter fully engulfed in fire, “burners” as we called them.

It was said that the scent of flesh and bones from the “toast” — what we privately called with a macabre sense of humor those unfortunates who were burned up. Perhaps it was an insensitive description but it was one of those mechanisms to prevent our dwelling upon that misfortune.

The sea had its own distinctive smell, or should I say smells. The scent of the Gulf of Mexico beaches and those of Southern California were different. Places such as “the OC’s” Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach in LA County or San Diego’s Pacific Beach sometimes was as much sun screen than marine. But after spending a year on a ship in the Western and Southern Pacific you would sometime forget you were floating out there. Oh, and how could I forget the 2 1/2 years I was only a mile from the man-made beaches of the Mississippi Sound?’

Finally, there is the scent of reefer, so pervasive in the 70s and 80s that it was difficult not to inhale, as a president said he didn’t.

One has to use Facebook wisely. Don’t show those pictures of you passed out in the yard with “dead soldiers” littered all around. Trophies which were exhibited from those days of “partying till you puke.” Some thought should be given how such a powerful platform as Facebook should be used.

Those words written by Ol’ Justice Oliver W. Holmes’ from Schneck v. United States in 1919 are probably a good enough reason to watch one’s P’s and Q’s regardless whether one believes in self-censorship.

“The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic … “

Oh well, I don’t go to theaters much these days anyway.

 

Twice with “The Interview” and still no funnier

And in the end, after all the hubbub and a threats and serious talk of cyber-terrorism —  not to mention dipshit’s such as CNN’s Jake Tapper who postulated the United States lost the first cyber war — there was a movie. That movie had little going for it albeit some R-rated humor that made for some big laughs with an ending that might (no promises) have sufficed had I not already known the ending. Oh well, the movie was billed as comedy. The world went topsy-turvey for awhile aided by an electronic news media that seemed to evoke for some the second coming of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Along that backdrop did I watch “The Interview” twice. I watched on my laptop after its simultaneous release online and in “fearless” movie theaters across the US of A.

I couldn’t really complain about the price. The movie had several online outlets. The one I used, seetheinterview.com, streamed the movie at the low, low, price of $5.99  and could be watched for 48 hours. Thus, I came back and watched it again a short time ago. Not much really changed during the second viewing.

Only if someone occasionally finds low brow humor really funny can enough parts of the film remain salvageable. (Rob Lowe ‘removes’ his hair, exposing several strands extending from front to back. This leads a control room lady to exclaim: “It looks like someone’s taint!” The James Franco character finds a double entendre which only he sees the hilarity until discovered by the North Korean leader. “They hate us ’cause they ain’t us” This comes out of course as “They hate us ’cause they anus.”)

One also wonders whether the movie’s production folks were channeling Ed Wood, what with several noticeable inconsistencies — Franco and Seth Rogan whispering because of possible bugs in the Kim palace guest rooms then inexplicably talking out loud. As LA Times critic Betsy Sharkey writes: “This is, to put it bluntly, not a good film.”

As discussing with my friend across the Pacific, Paul, yesterday, it almost seemed as if watching this film somehow became an act of patriotism. Other friends sees the run up to the movie with the warnings of 9/11 style attacks as well as the puzzling water cooler gossip — the Sony email which calls Angelina Jolie “a minimally talented spoiled brat” — some kind of bizarre way to pack theaters.

The supposed hacking of Sony is one of those events which comes along leaving more head scratching than answers. To paraphrase an earlier phrase about Angelina Jolie, “The Interview” was a minimally funny comedy.

But it certainly got talked about.

Who need the perp? Not me.

Perp walks. I just saw one on local TV. The “perp” looked as if his head was going to snap as he walked with his head away from the cameras. This young suspect of a home invasion robbery in nearby Port Arthur, Texas, was able to pull his sweater over his head. The few local reporters there all asked the man if he pulled off the crime. Apparently, the man didn’t answer, on camera at least. He probably said that he didn’t do it. Do what, Man? It is likely he’s done a crime or two before.

The perp walk typically happens when the cops call or email the press about an upcoming prisoner transfer to jail or arraignment. Usually, the reporters don’t just come up on a perp walk on their own.

I went to a few perp walks in my career in the news business. I found those occasions only slightly more useful to a news story than the “man on the street” interviews, what we called the “geek on the street.”

Maybe other countries are above such showmanship. Say nations like North Korea. Yes, it seems totalitarian nations would love a similar exhibition. But maybe not, if on the other shoe. The other stinky shoe of Kim Jong-Un.

I wouldn’t like to be on the other shoe. Pew.

Perhaps an all-star cast, starring Kim, maybe even Dick Cheney. And too bad Hitler’s dead. We can’t do Adolf. And I doubt we would get even get the live ones, like Cheney.

So TV news stars to be, here is a thought. Unless your manager, makes you go to a perp walk, I suggest you do something else. Maybe there will be a birthday celebration for someone who is turning 105 years in age. Or maybe the local firefighters are rescuing a cat from a well, perhaps even there is a real story out there. Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then.

 

 

Gore and darkness awaits one on the movie screen

Lately I have become a devotee of the Redbox. It is not any red box, but rather the Redbox standing so prominently outside local grocery stores and pharmacies and the like. I don’t know why, but I never watched movies on my laptop computer much before. Since I bought a new laptop I have begun to play the discs on my computer screen.

I haven’t watched movies, relatively new ones at least, very much in the past several years. I am not big in going to the theater unless someone goes with me. And I have kind of been a loner in the majority of the last decade with a couple of exceptions when I was dating. So most of the movies I have watched were on TV, either cable or otherwise.

There are a couple of down sides of watching these movie-in-a-box rentals. First, the DVDs aren’t always in the best condition. I got a couple of discs a week ago that I couldn’t watch because it wouldn’t play, or it would play and stop for long periods of time. Redbox did, to their credit, give me a couple of promotional codes for free movies in the future.

And, I don’t know if it is just me, but some movies have become way too gory for me to enjoy or are either too dark. I will give a couple of examples.

I should have expected a pic with Arnold Schwarzenegger to be filled with a lot of action and a certain amount of blood. But I wanted to see one of “Ahnold’s” films since he left the California statehouse for another run at Hollywood. The movie “Sabotage” is one of his recent flicks.

The story is about an elite DEA team that finds itself being depopulated one-by-one after stealing millions of dollars in a cartel cache. Now I will spare you some of the ways the rogue agents are taken out. That is not only to spare one from scenes being spoiled. Also, some of the manners in which the agents are killed are just simply full of more gore than most folks need.

A movie I also watched with some cringe factor at work was a South By Southwest premiere last year by the title of “Cheap Thrills.” The E.L. Katz directed work is listed as a ‘black comedy”but its darkness far exceeds its comedic factor.

The show’s plot is about a working-class Joe and would-be writer who finds himself, his wife and kid in financial straits and about to be thrown out of their rental into the street. The character, Craig, finds out he is laid off just after pulling an eviction notice from his front door. Like every good man in the deep doo of financial ruin, Craig goes to a bar. While there Craig runs into a buddy he hadn’t seen in five years.

At his core, Craig is an upright — and a bit uptight — guy who loves his wife. But his foundation gets shakier and shakier as the film goes on. The two old buds runs into a seemingly rich and definitely twisted couple in the bar who are supposedly out celebrating the wife’s birthday. That celebration gets higher on the Perverse o’ Meter in each frame.  I will just give a tame for instance. The rich guy says he will give one of the old friends $200 to say something to a good-looking lady that will get one of them slapped. And believe me that is as tame and injury free as it gets from there.

I have never been much enchanted with gory slasher-style movies. For some reason though, lots of graphic shit bothers me. Even one of my favorite TV shows, NCIS, has scenes that I will have to turn my head away from especially when a body is on the coroner’s table burned to a crisp. No doubt, my head turning in that case isn’t surprising because such instances in real life as a firefighter and as a reporter revealed similar scenes of what we would call in our own dark humor “crispy critters.”

I don’t have nightmares about some of the repulsive stuff I saw in real life, at least that I know of, who knows what all there is lurking in the deep recesses of our beans.

One thing is for certain though, if I am to continue my movie watching, I think I will have to watch the ratings more carefully. When they say bloody, or scenes too graphic, maybe I will just leave the disc be. After all, what’s $1.20 for a movie disc when it comes to your sanity?

Shocking new drinking game: Prepare to get Blitzered!

Here is a way to get totally blitzed and somewhat informed, for awhile at least, at the same time.

Watch Wolf Blitzer’s show on CNN. Take a drink every time the bearded newsman says “shocking!

“Shocking!” “Shocking … ” ” … shocking … ” “Shocking … Well, better drink beer. Better drink light beer or 3.2 beer. If you take a shot of tequila or whiskey you will definitely be Blitzered.