Archive | Media

Sexting and Kids

 

Why Do Kids Sext?

 

**VIDEO**

 

An Excerpt from Hanna Rosin
For The Atlantic Monthly

 

 

The following excerpt by Hanna Rosin for the The Atlantic Monthly
looks into one recent scandal and reveals how kids think about sexting–
and what parents and police should do about it.

 

It was late on a school night, so Jennifer’s kids were already asleep when she got a phone call from a friend of her 15-year-old daughter, Jasmine.

“Jasmine is on a Web page and she’s naked.”

Jennifer woke Jasmine, and throughout the night, the two of them kept getting texts from Jasmine’s friends with screenshots of the Instagram account.  It looked like a porn site—shot after shot of naked girls—only these were real teens, not grown women in pigtails. Jennifer recognized some of them from Jasmine’s high school.

And there, in the first row, was her daughter, “just standing there, with her arms down by her sides,” Jennifer told me.  “There were all these girls with their butts cocked, making pouty lips, pushing their boobs up, doing porny shots, and you’re thinking, Where did they pick this up?  And then there was Jasmine in a fuzzy picture looking awkward.” (The names of all the kids and parents in this story have been changed to protect their privacy.)

You couldn’t easily identify her, because the picture was pretty dark, but the connection had been made anyway.

“OMG no f?ing way that’s Jasmine,” someone had commented under her picture.  “Down lo ho,” someone else answered, meaning one who flies under the radar, because Jasmine was a straight-A student who played sports and worked and volunteered and was generally a “goody-goody two shoes,” her mom said.  She had long, silky hair and doe eyes and a sweet face that seemed destined for a Girl Scouts pamphlet, not an Instagram account where girls were called out as hos or thots (thot stands for “that ho over there”).

That night, in March of this year, Jennifer tried to report the account to Instagram’s privacy-and-safety center, hoping it would get taken down.  She asked several friends to fill out the “report violations” page too, but after a few hours, the account was still up.  (Instagram’s help center recommends contacting local authorities in cases of serious abuse.)

She considered calling 911, but this didn’t seem like that kind of emergency.  So she waited until first thing the next morning and called a local deputy sheriff who serves as the school resource officer, and he passed the message on to his superior, Major Donald Lowe.

Over the years, Lowe had gotten calls from irate parents whose daughters’ naked pictures had popped up on cellphones, usually sent around by an angry boyfriend after a breakup.   But he immediately realized that this was a problem of a different order.

Investigation into the Instagram account quickly revealed two other, similar accounts with slightly different names.  Between them, the accounts included about 100 pictures, many of girls from the local high school, Louisa County High, in central Virginia.  

Some shots Lowe later described to me as merely “inappropriate,” meaning girls “scantily clad in a bra and panties, maybe in a suggestive pose.”  But some “really got us”—high-school girls masturbating, and then one picture showing a girl having sex with three boys at once…

…A brief excerpt, you can read Ms. Rosin’s full article
in the
The Atlantic Monthly here.

 

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The Gilded Age

 

And the Gilded Cage:

Americans Poorer Today than Past 27 Years

 

**ZZ Top & Jeff Beck VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

What do you get?  Another day older and deeper in debt.

Once upon a time, the American economy worked for everybody, and even the middle class got richer.

But this story has only been a fairy tale for almost 30 years now.  The new, harsh reality is that the bottom 90 percent of households are poorer today than they were in 1987.

This is actually a much more dramatic statement than it sounds. While the Federal Reserve has already told us that the median households are worth less now than in 1989 — that’s the household right in the middle — it turns out that everybody but the richest 10 percent of Americans are worst off.  

That includes the poor, the entire middle class, and even what we would consider much of the upper class.

The days of shared prosperity have come to an end, gradually and then suddenly.  It started in the 1980s when the top 1 percent awoke from their long postwar slumber, thanks to the combination of lower taxes, financial deregulation, and new technology.  

It wasn’t a total disaster for the bottom 90 percent.  Even as most Americans saved much less and accumulated far less wealth, stock markets and housing prices continued to rise.  Until they didn’t: crashing down in 2007 and 2008.

The problem was that middle class doesn’t own that much in stocks, but went into debt to buy lots of housing.  So the housing crash turned their biggest financial asset into an albatross, wiping out their equity but not their debt.

Here’s a bit of historical perspective:

The top 1 percent now own over 41 percent of all the wealth in the country.  That’s the most since 1939.  Although it’s still well below the all-time high of 51 percent set in 1928.

In other words:  this new Gilded Age might get even more Gilded.

~Via The Washington Post/YouTube

* * * * * * * *

In the early 1950s, Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded his classic country song Sixteen Tons

The song went to #1, and refers to a man working in a mining town where the company owned most everything in town– including the company store.  A laborer working hard all day long loading his sixteen tons of coal could only expect to get “another day older and deeper in debt.”

ZZ Top and Jeff Beck, above, put their own riff on Ford’s tune.

 

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The Love of Chaos and Danger

 

The Life and Death of Tommy Chaos and Stacey Danger

 

**A Very Campy Film**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

We were had just at the title.

Director-Producer Michael Litwak’s The Life and Death of Tommy Chaos and Stacey Danger tells the tale– or fairy tale–  of a very, very strange romantic adventure.

Think Blue Valentine meets Jurassic Park.

Dinosaurs have invaded Earth– but neither Tommy nor Stacey care anymore now that they’ve found each other.  They escape the war, but whether they dive to the bottom of the ocean or fly to the depths of Outer Space is anyone’s guess.  Conflict always seems to find a way into their lives.

Through their ups and downs, Stacey and Tommy fight the idea that maybe they just weren’t made for each other.  Or maybe they were.

For the production of the film, Litwak and his crew built a trench, a spaceship, and a submarine all inside a studio.  They combined old school visual effects, puppetry, and an extremely unique mix of live-action and animation to achieve a distinctive look setting it apart from other films.

It’s fun, it’s campy, and it’s got some high-quality low brow material.  Believe it or not, TLDTCSD swept nearly 40 awards at independent film festivals nationwide.

 

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A Tale of Inertia and Momentum

 

It’s Funny as Long as it Happens to Somebody Else

 

**A Quick Animated Humor Flick**

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Life has its dark and humorous moments at times.

Remember, everyone you meet is fighing their own uphill battle that you don’t know about. 

So just be kind.**

 

**Plato said that.  2,400 years ago.

 

 

 

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Touchable Memories

 

Seeing Eyes, Helping Hands,
 and Winning Hearts

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

If you were blind, how would you “see” a photo?

This is how.

The third dimension can be the critical bridge for the visually impaired — the difference between the flat, indistinct, and illusive surface and the tactile one that provides an alternative to sight.

In a poignant mini-documentary produced by Singapore-based 3D printer company Pirate 3D, five visually impaired people are given the gift of preserved memories via 3D prints of photographs or images that have a personal meaning to each.

Directed by Brazilian filmmaker Marco AslanTouchable Memories features short snippets of five very different people, all of whom are blind — some since birth.

One is Gabor, a filmmaker.  He lost his sight about twelve years ago, but resumed making films despite the obvious impediments.  His first project after returning to filmmaking was a short movie shot in Bolivia.  His memory is a still image from the movie of an elderly woman seated alone in a room.  “I know all the room’s details in my mind but I cannot see it,” says Gabor.  The 3D-printed “memory” he receives is like a small diorama, a box with the top and front open.  Inside sits a stout, elderly woman in heavy garments.  Two of the box’s sides are pierced by windows and a small table under one window.

Mario, an Italian, is a musician.  In the documentary, he explains that music connects him with others in a very personal way.   He’s seen performing in a subway passage, and then is presented with his “memory.”  It’s a 3D print of his first CD cover, designed by a close friend who’s a graphic designer.  The lavish design is meant to describe the energy of his music.  There are two representations of Mario himself in the 3D piece along with musical instruments — his guitar, a tambourine, a xylophone.

Meritxell from Barcelona has been blind since birth.  She explains in the film that it’s a tremendous source of frustration for her not to be able to remember memories as most people do via photographs.  An array of Meritxell’s personal photographs appear in the documentary.  The one that’s printed is a photo from her childhood, created for her as a sculpture of two small figures.   She stands with her cousin; the two wearing festive, pointed caps at the carnival they attended together.

Yassine, also blind since birth, lost his father when he was five years old.  In the film, he’s given a 3D printed sculpture:  a father tossing his son high into the air.  Yassine is able to recall playing with his father, who would call him “my little bird” when they played.  It was a memory made tangible.

Daniela works with people with special needs.  She says, “If I can touch the picture, it brings all emotions to life,” reflecting on the differences between memories for a sighted and blind person.  Her 3D-printed “memory” is from a family ski trip; she, her older brother and her parents pose for a family portrait wearing their skiing gear.  “This creates a whole sensation, because I can really recall that moment,” she says as she lightly touches the figures, “it’s something that’s there forever.”

As each of the five individuals is presented with their 3D printed memories, they examine them slowly and gently with fingertips carefully touching every surface.  

The scenes and their reactions are emotional — brief, and with tremendous impact.

~Via Pirate3d/3D Design, Marco Aslan, Vimeo

 

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Passing Time

 

It Changes with Age

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

We thought we’d bring you a pleasant little diversion and video this fine Sunday.

It was only 40 seconds into the short film Snooze Time, yet this marvelous piece
smartly captured our attention.

With words like this, how can one not be captivated:

“It’s funny isn’t it?  The older you get, the more time plays tricks on you.  When you’re young, it’s no big deal.  There are just different kinds of time.  Like snooze time…”

 

Written by Matthew Harris and directed by Ivan Barge, Snooze Time
is a short film that follows a couple from the start of their relationship
to the eventual demise of it.

Overall, it is quite a simple narrative to follow, yet the way it’s shot and the finer details going into it really highlights the emotional depth of the story.

Director Ivan Barge says that it was important to him that “All the art elements tell a story. Alone they were meaningless, but together they signposted the road ahead.”

Have a good Sunday, keeping time and the road ahead in mind.

 

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Watch Comet ‘Siding Spring’ Bolt Towards Mars– Now

 

Seeing a Once-in a-Million Year Opportunity

 

**VIDEO**

 

Live Online Video Links Below

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s here.  At 11:15 am on the West Coast.

 

Mountain-sized comet Siding Spring has spent its entire life in the outer reaches of our solar system, but today, Sunday Oct. 19, it will enter the inner solar system for the first time, heading toward the red planet, Mars — incredibly close at 87,000 miles to the planet’s surface. 

It’s going to be so close to the planet at 11:15 am PDT, NASA had to take precautions by moving its Martian satellites behind the planet, protecting them from the comet’s path, which will be the closest comet flyby Mars has ever seen in recorded history.

The comet won’t hit the planet itself, but may spray it with
meteors and dust.

It’s a once-in-a-million years event, according to astronomers. 
And you can see it.

 

Where to watch Comet Siding Spring online:

The Slooh Community Observatory will have live stream coverage beginning on Sunday.  You can watch Slooh’s live stream here »

According to Space.com, Slooh will begin a second live stream webcast of Siding Spring beginning at 8:30 p.m. EDT.

The Virtual Telescope Project also promises live coverage of the comet’s Mars fly-by here »

 

 

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Fighting Ebola, Street by Street

 

Shortage of Ambulances and Help
 for Liberia’s Ebola Victims

 

New York Times **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Ambulance work in Liberia is a busy and lonely business.

Racing along cracked and bumpy roads here, Gordon Kamara shouted into his cellphone over the shrieking sirens of his ambulance.  The phone had been ringing nonstop since 5 a.m.

“Not today!  Not today!” Mr. Kamara, an ambulance nurse, yelled.  “We are on the opposite side of town!”

The calls have all been the same in recent weeks:  from friends, friends of friends, extended family, complete strangers.  All of them have loved ones sick with Ebola and beg him to come quickly.  Seven days a week, Mr. Kamara and his crew span Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, in a donated, old American ambulance — with California license plates still attached.

“It never stops,” said Mr. Kamara, getting another call the moment he hangs up.

The 15 or so ambulance teams bolting around the city have had many days of hard choices like this.  Hundreds of new Ebola cases are reported each week in Monrovia, with many more never accounted for.  And over the course of the epidemic, only a small percentage of them have ever made it to a hospital.

“We see it flow through the communities;  first one, then many,” Mr. Kamara said.  “The map is being painted red with the virus.”

To confront the spread of Ebola, some community groups have stepped in, motivated by altruism, desperation and, in some cases, political opportunism.

In some neighborhoods, teams of volunteers fan out to track victims and educate households on staving off the virus, though their pockets are so shallow that they often do not have enough supplies, like chlorine, to thwart the epidemic’s advance.

Mr. Kamara does not work for the government.  He does not even have a dispatcher to tell him where to go, or which patients to pick up.  Instead, his team is financed by an opposition member of Parliament, Saah H. Joseph, who imported two used American ambulances to Monrovia this year.

Mr. Joseph claims to bankroll the operation on his meager government salary, and he deployed the ambulances even before Ebola overran this city.  It was a way of shoring up Monrovia’s tattered health system — and of making a name for himself.

There is little question that the city has long suffered a major ambulance shortage.  And since the epidemic struck, other independent ambulance teams have sprung up, adding a few more vehicles to what is still a tiny fleet in this sprawling city of nearly 1.5 million people.

At the end of a recent 15-hour shift, Mr. Kamara took his final patient of the night, a 17-year-old girl, to an Ebola treatment center.  Wrought with fever, she had stripped off her clothes in the back of the ambulance and fallen off the stretcher, lying twisted and barely conscious on the floor.

“If she does not get treatment, she will die,” Mr. Kamara said.

But as soon as they arrived, he and his team were turned away.  All the beds were full.  The center, meant to house 50 patients, was packed with 85.

 “We could either leave her on the ground to die, or return her to die at home,” Mr. Kamara said.  “There’s no hope here.  We try our best.  But we cannot do more than we can do.”

In recent days, the flow of patients, somewhat inexplicably, seems to have slowed, and beds are suddenly available in some places.  

But the current ebb is a rare — and not entirely trusted — respite from the typical frenzy.  Most days, Mr. Kamara and his team work from sunrise to long past sunset, often sleeping in the ambulance for rest.  On a slow day, he has ferried 10 to 15 new patients from their homes to Ebola treatment centers.  On a busy day, the number has been between 20 and 30.

“When there are beds at the centers, we can do our work,” Mr. Kamara said.  “When there aren’t, we must sit and wait,” he added, explaining that his ambulance would sometimes wait outside a hospital for hours, with a patient
in the back, until a treatment slot opened up.

Mr. Kamara is no stranger to suffering.  More than a decade ago, he worked as a combat medic during Liberia’s civil war.

“It is nothing compared to this,” he said.  “The bullets you can get away from.  Ebola is hidden within our own families.”

Last month, he received news of an uncle falling ill.  He rushed to the hospital to help, only to be turned away by workers there.

“Nobody knows who is alive or who is dead in here!” Mr. Kamara shouted.  “I would go treat him myself if they let me.  I just want to protect my family.”

He takes many precautions at home.  With his constant exposure to the virus, he sleeps in a separate house from his six children to prevent them from getting sick.  In the past five months, he has seen them only a few times.

“It’s a very lonely virus,” Mr. Kamara said.  “Not just for me, but for the entire country.  We are all together, but all alone.”

As he returned the 17-year-old girl to her home, Mr. Kamara explained to her brother why they had brought her back.

“We didn’t want to leave her outside and alone,” he said. “We will come back to pick her up tomorrow in the morning and try again.”

Her brother calmly accepted the news.  He thanked the ambulance crew for trying, and opened the door as they carried her limp body inside the house.

She died the next morning, before the ambulance team could
return.

~Via New York Times/Vimeo

 

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Because ‘I Got High’

 

Driving a Stoned Sofa

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Afroman’s old novelty song has taken on a whole new toke.

The simple little tune once sluggishly lamented the lethargy and uselessness of weed consumption.  But it’s been given a rework to promote the legalization of marijuana. 

Now, I Got High (Positive Remix) lists the healing qualities of weed– ranging from the treatment of glaucoma to staving urges to consume booze, cigarettes and Xanax– while also pointing out legalization benefits to society, mellowing out some criminal activity, and underscoring how amusing it is to drive a sofa on the streets

The remix of the 2001 track is a collaboration with online community Weedmaps and marijuana reform campaign NORML in the run-up for votes taking place in November in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia to decide on the legalization of marijuana, while Florida will decide on a medical marijuana amendment.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Afroman described how the original song, which landed him a record deal and a Grammy nomination, might be a tool to influence the forthcoming reform.

“Getting high– and rapping about it– got me to where I am today and I’ll be forever grateful for that,” he said.

“With the current political battle of states trying to legalize weed, I thought it was a good time to educate– or set the record straight– about marijuana’s benefits, which is why I wanted to remake the song.”

Afroman’s original single was lifted from the album of the same name and became a huge hit.  It was picked up by the stoner flick Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and hit No. 1 in nine countries.

While the controversial promotion of weed via song has a long lineage in the music world, this pro-marijuana remix comes stoking on the heels of Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg’s recent track for corporate-branded marijuana which appears in a video for Kurupt’s Moon Rock and sold at some medical cannabis dispensaries in California.

Afroman’s positive take on cannabis has apparently hit a chord:  the above video scored 2.2 million views on YouTube in 3 days.

And to note, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana thus far. 

Nonetheless, we don’t advocate driving sofas under the influence, whatsoever.

 

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Humboldt’s Bad Cinema Weekend

 

The Eureka Theater

This Friday and Saturday Night

 

Doors Open at 6:30 pm
Movies at 7

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It looks like rain in Humboldt.

Have some fun indoors tonight.  Grab a bite to eat and head on over to see the newly-restored gem of a 1939 Streamline Modern theater:  The Eureka Theater, located at 612 F Street in downtown Eureka.

You think you know what Bad Cinema is?  You’ll forget that blockbuster movie within weeks.  Bad Cinema is with you for the rest of your life. 

Bad Cinema is compelling.  Bad Cinema stars no one you’ve ever heard of.  The hilarious B-grade campy productions cost less than your last kitchen remodel.

Yet you cannot turn away, and you will find yourself watching Bad Cinema over and over again.  Bad Cinema simply endures.

Friday’s double feature for the kid-friendly and whole family event kicks off with Edward D. Wood Jr.’s magnum opus, PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, and continues with the modern masterpiece BIRDEMIC:  SHOCK AND TERROR, written and directed by James Nguyen (Master of Romantic Thrillers™).

The delicious wretchedness continues Saturday with the baffling ROBOT MONSTER (in glorious 2-D!), and concludes with the Eureka big-screen debut of Mystery Science Theater 3000– cleanse your Bad Cinema palate with Joel & the ‘Bots riffing on the sublimely rancid 1960s caveman romance musical.

Egads.  Suffice it to say you’ll be thankful for the full bar of drinks available.  For the kids, there’s refreshments, candy, popcorn and other treats close at hand.

The single admission, helping support the restoration of the theateris only $5.00 each night!

 

 

Bad Cinema Weekend

 

October 17th & 18th, 2014
Doors 6:30 PM | Showtime 7:00 PM

 The Eureka Theater – along with our generous sponsors CityBarberShopLittle Shop of HersL & M Photography, and Cool 105.5 – is deeply ashamed to present the first-ever Bad Cinema Weekend.

Two nights.  Four terrible movies.

Suffice it to say you’ll be thankful for our full bar. (21+ be prepared to show I.D.)

Single admission $5.00 each night

 

Friday, October 17th
Doors 6:30 pm  | Showtime 7 pm
 
Friday’s double feature kicks off with Edward D. Wood, Jr.’s magnum opus, PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, and continues with the modern masterpiece BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR, written and directed by James Nguyen (Master of Romantic Thrillers™).
Saturday, October 18th
Doors 6:30 pm  | Showtime 7 pm
 
The wretchedness continues Saturday with the baffling ROBOT MONSTER (in glorious 2-D!), and concludes with the Eureka big-screen debut of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000–cleanse your Bad Cinema palate with Joel & the ‘bots riffing on the sublimely rancid 1960s caveman musical romance EEGAH! 

 

 

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Glow in the Dark Skiing

 

Let There Be Light

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Show us your silver lining– and make it glow.

Shot on location at the Golden Alpine Holidays Sentry Lodge, Alyeska Resort, and the Alaskan Wilderness, Afterglow is a short and surreal night ski film.

There’s illuminated deep powder, massive pillows, Alaskan spines, dark canyons, and some twistedly dank glow-in-the-dark moves and jump-offs.  It was all filmed at night with massive lights, custom made 7,600-piece LED lightsuits, and a ton of logistics, planning, and engineering to make it happen.

It’s the first ski flick shot completely in the dark, with a rainbow of colors lighting up powdery runs throughout the backcountry of Alaska and British Columbia.  See it on the largest screen you have.

Filmed as a partnership between Sweetgrass Productions, Philips TV, and the Swedish Agency Ahlstrand & Wållgren, Afterglow is two parts creativity, one part content, and a pinch of cool and spooky scenes thrown in for good measure.

Overall, it’s an incredibly unique film combining a different vision of skiing with the color and light technology of the Philips Company.

If you want to see the full 12-minute version, you can find it here
If surfing is more your thing, try this.

 

 

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My Life As A Carny

 

The Corn Dog Summer on the Road

 

**VIDEO**

 

Harry Payne
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It was one big juggling act.

We were coming off our first winter out West.  My buddy Brad finally made it back from Bend a couple weeks later and was seeking gainful employment, too.

Mom and Dad ran into some old friends from Michigan:  Butch and Petunia.

Butch, a barrel-chested, fast talkin’ rabble rouser; sorta famous for tearin’ the hell out of that little town and making all the concerned father’s shit-lists.  Petunia straightened Butch out, and they were slowly growing their amusement business.

They had a couple of food carts and rented out some space in a small, Mid-Michigan-based traveling carnival.  They were looking for a couple of nice young bucks to man their pizza and food wagon, across the way from their lemonade/corn dog wagon.

I spoke with Butch and we agreed on $250 cash, per weekend.  That sounded really good.  $250 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, under the table.  Adventures.  Carny chicks.  

Not bad, and, I’d get a truck to drive for the summer.  I accepted and got Brad hired, too.

There was a lot of ‘jockeying of equipment’ moving from event to event.  Butch and Petunia had a fifth wheel they slept in, so they’d drive down separately, with Petunia towing the lemonade wagon and Butch towing their summer home on wheels.  It took a couple days just to get all the gear to the site and up-n-running.

The final piece to show up was the trailer Brad and I slept in.  Hot and musty, the bathroom smelled of piss and the shower more or less peed lukewarm water on you.  But these were ‘luxury accommodations’ considering the shady and sheisty sleeping quarters for the regular ragtag roster of carnies.

Our day in the wagon consisted of waking up around 9 am, prepping dough, sauce, toppings, and the rest.  Thawing the goods was a crucial step.  We’d make sure the soda was flowing like a river.  

It would always be a long day, every day.  The crowds would show up around 10 am, first couple slices of pie hittin’ the gums around 11 am.  The lights and pizza and food would go down around midnight.

In no time, we were six weeks into the season and humming along.  Man, we hit some ugly little towns.  Our downtime on the road was spent reading, drawing, junkin’ in between, and sweating the nights out in the fifth wheel.

Things weren’t so bad and hell, if anything, the constant traveling was dirty, kinda reckless, and fun.

The carnival’s family hierarchy is broken down systematically.  At the top of the food chain you have the owners.  They own the equipment, book the shows and cut the checks.  The main guy had this perpetual look of disgust and exhaustion on his face; his wife had big blonde hair and lots of gold bling dangling off her buxom chest.

Oh yeah, and a couple of spoiled shit-ass kids running around getting into everything.

Moving right along, the next step down is the food court.  The food vendors rent space from the owners.  If they’re lucky, they’ll build a little empire of fried pig ears and corndogs and have a whole row of wagons set up at any given event.  Butch and Petunia were responsible people with a nice house in some little pleasant town somewhere, a couple of big trucks, and lots of determination and grit to succeed.  For all I knew, they took the winters off due to the riches of summer.

Brad and I—somewhat reluctantly—were part of the “food court” caste.  The worst sweaty weeks spent were selling pizza, corn dogs, curly fries, loose-meat sandwiches, flat bread tacos, corn-on-the-cob, red vines and caramelized apples.  But in our hearts, well, we were pumping carny blood.

The carnies.  Oh man, what a lot.  Rough around the edges, oddly enigmatic, stereotypically undereducated, dirty, colorful, loyal, sunburnt, simple, repressed, and kinda lost, all are descriptions that come to mind.  Some never showered and stunk of stench.  Their faces and strong personalities are ingrained into me forever.

There was this older lady named Agnes who’d lie like a rug. One day she’d have six kids, the next day, seven.  Her husband “Zeke” was this hefty redhead some 20 years her junior with no front teeth, deep-set eyes, a dangling smoke and a big smile to share with everyone.  He’d just nod to all of her lies.

There was another guy who’d get a big Mountain Dew from us each morning with green, rotting teeth.  He’d ask me about living Out West.  I’d ask him about living in Saginaw.  

One time I asked him if he ever planned to fix his teeth.  With a toothy grin and poetic delivery, he said, “Hurts too much to brush ‘em, so I’m just waitin’ for ‘em to fall out!  Ha-ha-haa!”  

And that was that.

There was the erotic vampire novelist who worked the fryer; the old, troll-like man with no teeth who liked to stare at my butt; the U-Haul converted into an apartment others slept in; and showering in the 4-H showers, the same ones the horses are washed in. 

There was also a carny who got pissed at his ex, drove her out into the desert somewhere, and left her there.  We were all hating on her because she was being a drunk crazy bitch– scaring off customers with her brown leathery skin.

Then there was the carny ‘marriage’.  After hours when the park closed, the betrothed couple-to-be would take a few runs up and down on the dinky roller coaster by themselves to consummate their ‘marriage’, much to the amusement and chagrin of the other carnies– the ’witnesses’– watching, drinking, clapping and cheering about in the bleachers.  Don’t ask me more.  You don’t want to know.

Make no mistake.  Carny life is a tough go.  First of all, they don’t get paid shit, and are expected to work long, long hours. 

Some say the men are sleazy perverts, the women tough and catty;  tattooed crackheads and alcoholics and lost souls alike.  I don’t know.  They work hard and wear their hearts of gold on their sleeves.  I do know one guy who smoked 54 cigarettes.  Every eight hour shift.

Set the shit up, run it, tear it down and travel to the next gig.  And that was their summer.  Each night after they shut the fair down, they were allowed a “draw” on their earnings.  The cash was dispersed in an envelope, carefully recorded, and doled out to the eager workers.  Their money often went to smokes, trashy food and beer.

This “draw” business was a calculated part of the relationship between the owners and the carnies.  And man, the whole “draw” thing was one more way to keep them under their thumb and eating out of their hands.  Cuz then when payday would hit, well, they would be taxed for the whole amount and have tiny paychecks.  Plus, they had to rent out sleeping quarters.  The deck was stacked against them in every way:  the work, the hours, the safety issues, the food offered.  Nothing was in their favor.

So we took matters into our own hands. After seeing how much money the wagon made and how fast they made it, I started to “give back” to the people who I felt were taken advantage of.  The carnies had to pay for the food, which, considering how they were treated overall, was complete bullshit.

So a guy would come up to get his daily 50-ouncer of ‘Dew.  It was three bucks.  He’d give me a five dollar bill.  I’d give him a wink, and seven dollars in change.  And so on.  I took it upon myself to give these guys a break, and in the process, won them over.

Now, if anyone messed with us, the carnies would come to our rescue.  I remember some drunk frat fucks messing with us somewhere in the Upper Peninsula and one of the carnies coming over to stand guard by the wagon’s canopy area.  Backup.  Brothers.  It put smiles on their faces and maybe, just maybe, made ‘em feel like someone gave a shit about their plight.

There’s a language, yeah.  And a carny code.  Rules to live by.  Don’t nose into anyone else’s business, don’t screw up anyone else’s hustle, and when the trucks leave the lot all debts are paid.  Band together to protect yourselves, to make a buck, and don’t give ‘em your real name– remember that little disagreement in the last town a few miles away?  And stand by your fellow carnies.

It was one big juggling act.  And things were rolling along just fine.  Until a meltdown changed everything.

It was a late night in Norway, Michigan.  We were busy right up until closing, and being hungry after a long day, we shut the rig down and left without “cleaning up.”

We come back to find Petunia feverishly cleaning up.  We offered to help.  She didn’t reply, visibly miffed, feverishly scrubbing away.

And that’s when Butch showed up, and he went nuts. Accusing us of “not caring anymore.”  I remember him specifically bringing up an incident about the pantyhose.  

At the end of the night, we were “trained” to put a pantyhose on the release drain, and then release the wastewater into the grass or dirt, catch all the crud in the pantyhose, then remove it.  This was against the law as we were supposed to drain the wastewater into a state-sanctioned receptacle.  

So this one night, Brad forgets to remove the pantyhose.  We crash out and the next morning we’re greeted by an official from the Michigan State Health Dept.  Well, Butch got a big fine for that one and was pretty bummed out on us.

Then he started to talk about how, “He oughtta fire us.”  I interrupted him and said, “Nah, you don’t have to do that.  …I quit!”  And man, it stopped him in his tracks.  He went double nuts at this point.

I think I made a point of saying something about how pathetic his “career” was as a fucking corndog huckster or something.  I just remember Brad cautioning me as I unloaded a summer’s worth of disgust on the guy. Fuck him.  We worked hard for them and never lost a sale or turned people away.  We made them a TON of loot and were always there on time.  And this one time when we broke protocol he freaks on us.

So I quit on the spot, and man, it felt good.  I had saved all my summer loot so my Western nest egg was secure.  Then they asked Brad what he was gonna do.  I remember Brad saying, “I’m outta here.  I’m not gonna listen to you talk shit about Harry for the rest of the summer.”  My carny brother had my back.

I remember being outside the owners’ fifth wheel and hearing that little snake-tongued wife say something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t give them a thing.  Get ‘em out of here!” as Butch sought guidance on how to handle our leaving.

And that was it.  We were free.

It was 2 am and we were done.  Stick a fork in us like a baked potato, we were done.  Butch paid us out for the weekend and gave us a hundred bucks for Greyhound tickets.  He recruited this guy with bad hearing and Coke bottle glasses to drive us off the premises and to the next little town where we’d wait the night out until the next bus came through. 

He dropped us off at a 24-hour Laundromat where we caught up on laundry and watched the sunrise. 

The days of the juggling act were over.

Mom and Dad came to our rescue the next morning.

–Thanks: Aaron D., Skippy, Josh, Alicia, Myrtle the Turtle

 

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87 Bounces

 

–Thru 24 Hollywood Movies in 3 Minutes

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Small problems are like dominoes

One tips into the other, setting off a snowballing chain reaction of Rube Goldberg proportions.  On days like this, it would have been better just to stay in bed and let the chips fall where they may.

In 87 Bounces by HOTU Studio, Marty goes out to shoot his new basketball.  Completely missing the basket, he inadvertently sends the ball into the scenes of 24 different movies such as Goodfelllas, The Shining, Flubber, The Big Lebowski, The Mask, Shaolin Soccer, and The Wolf of Wall Street, just to name a few (a complete list of film credits is at the end).

The ball bounces seamlessly from one scene to the next, until it finally comes back innocently to the basketball court where it all began.  And Marty is never the wiser.

Problems shouldn’t be dominoes.  They should be more like washing machines.  They twist us, spin us, and knock us around.  But in the end we come out cleaner, brighter, and better than before.

 

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The Light of Boston

 

Clarity and Illumination for Our Favorite City

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

This is a completely different—and stunning– application of time-lapse photography.

It’s called layer-lapse photography.  What you’re seeing is the world’s first use of it here.

Julian Tryba’s Boston Layer-Lapse is a unique piece of painstaking work.  He explains it like this:

Traditional time-lapses are constrained by the idea that there is a single universal clock.

In the spirit of Einstein’s relativity theory, layer-lapses assign distinct clocks to any number of objects or regions in a scene.  Each of these clocks may start at any point in time, and tick at any rate.  The result is a visual time dilation effect known as layer-lapse.

Max Tegmark put it this way: “The past is not gone, and the future isn’t non-existent; the past, the future, and present are all existing now in exactly the same way.”

 

Tryba took 150,000 photos altogether at different times and placed down approximately 35 layers for each scene clip.  It took about 100 hours to shoot, but 350 hours for him to edit.  He made 800 drafts before settling on this one.

The pixel clarity and brilliance is remarkable when seen on a large screen.  The sound is superb.  The editing transitions are near flawless.

He did a nice job of capturing one of our favorite cities and letting the beauty shine through from many different locations and angles. 

But alas!  He might have made history, but he failed to capture Fenway and the infamous Green Monster. 
Sigh.

 

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Inside the Carnivore Mind

 

Hunting, Passion, and Reason

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug, especially when its waving a razor sharp hunting knife in your eye.

   ~Hunter S. Thompson

 

Hunting is the only thing that makes sense in Donnie Vincent’s head.  It’s also in his blood.

For him, bowhunting game isn’t a hobby or sport; it’s a way of life.  

His film, Who We Are, takes a look at what it means to be a modern day hunter-gatherer in a world more accommodating to mass-produced meats and food neatly packaged up in white wrappers in grocery stores.

Summing up his thoughts with some beautifully shot scenes and dialogue, Vincent makes his case for hunting with a great degree of honesty and passion. 

You may or may not agree with what he says and for what some feel is more of a blood sport than a necessity.  But, as he says, all of our ancestors derived their survival from hunting.  It’s why we’re still standing here today.

And don’t expect Vincent to apologize to anybody for what he does. 

For him, it’s something that we only have in America.  Vincent believes there is no other country in the world where the ordinary citizen can go out and enjoy hunting and fishing, no other nation in the world where that happens.  And it’s very much a part of our heritage.

As he explains in his film overlaid with scenes from hunting trips in the Northern Territories near the Arctic Circle, hunting is something much more personal and deeper than a sport.

“It’s something that drives all of us, regardless of our backgrounds and tastes.  It’s a primal need,” Vincent says, and he is proud to embrace it.

“Don’t confuse me with being anything else other than proud.  Proud to be a hunter,” he says.

“It’s time we stop apologizing for how we get our protein.  This is who we are.  Unless you’re a small time rancher, small time farmer, a hunter or fishermen… you really have no idea where your food comes from.  Most people don’t even think about it.”

 

Photos via DonnieVincent.com

 

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Flipping the Teeterboard Fantastic

 

Landing the Balance

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s like life.  It’s all about the balance and landing on your feet.

Teeter totters and trampolines are probably something you haven’t played on since you were a kid.

But what if you combined the two into one?  Let’s introduce you to something called the teeterboard.

It’s a simple apparatus similar to those rigid pivoting diving boards you often see in circus acrobatic acts.  It’s basically a teeter totter– but with some padded ends and a mat for landing.  With a little practice and a partner, it can propel you into the air for some awesome airtime, bouncing out more than a few tricks and flips.

In this recently-gone viral video from Devin Graham– also known as YouTube’s uber-darling Devin Super Tramp — three guys calling themselves the Streaks perform all kinds of crazy stunts.  They jump, they twist, they flip and fly and catch things.  And somehow they make it look too easy.

Performing teeterboard shows all over the world, this is the Streaks’ first video introducing it to the public at large in Italy.

Dani, Ali, and Jules hail originally from different parts of Europe– Belgium England, and France– but say they all come from “a circus school based in France.”

They say they’ve gotten hurt practicing a few times but keep doing it because they enjoy it.

“For us, we think it’s just something that can be explored, and something that hasn’t been explored fully yet,” said Ali.  ”So we’re ready to do it.”

Life is about balance.  The highs and the lows.  The successes and the fails and the falls.  There’s no joy without an equal weight of pain and bruises balancing out how far you’ve come.

So jump on.  Find your youthful balance and be sure to land on your feet.

Below is Devin’s behind-the-scenes take of filming the video.

 

 

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Life Springs Eternal

 

Fortress:  A Dystopian Sci-Fi Short

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

~Albert Einstein

 

Plato once said, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

This dystopian and awe inspiring short from Russian CGI enthusiast Dima Fedotof, above, is a poignant take on automated machines fighting a war long after the humans that built them are dead.

The city is dead.  The people are dead.  The automated missions continue. 

And in the aftermath of it all, life, however small and precious, continues as it always has done.  Surrounded and protected in the fortress of its own spent munitions shell.

Life, like hope, does Spring Eternal.

 

 

 We suggest seeing the above video on the largest screen possible.

 

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Design, Junk, and Another Man’s Treasure

 

The World of Aaron Draplin

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

He loves design.  He loves hoarding. 
And he loves his mom.

He’s Aaron Draplin.

“Hustlin” by Jared Eberhardt follows the renowned graphic designer who, among other things, sees things others don’t in everyday objects.

Some may call him obsessive.  In reality, he’s simply very passionate about what he does.

He has a massive collection of emblems, matchbooks, first day stamp covers and old tape measures, keeping just about everything with a unique design, logo, brand or symbol near at hand– whether it’s an old cardboard box, a 6-pack of Shasta soda, or peanut butter chips in the original
cellophane bag from the 1970s.

Growing up in Detroit on a steady stream of Legos, Star Wars, family trips, little sisters, summer beach fun, stitches, fall foliage, drawing, skateboarding and snowboarding when he was young, Draplin started his career at age 19 with his first snowboard graphic for Solid snowboards. 

His quest for design took off like wildfire soon after.

Everything from lettering cafe signs to drawing logos to thinking up local advertising campaigns were manhandled under the ruse of the newly-formed and gigantically-reckless Draplin Industries Design Co.

After five winters out in Oregon, the kid sobered up and headed back to Minneapolis to finish up what he says was a high-falutin’ design degree at the prestigious and painfully expensive Minneapolis College of Art and Design.  During this time he polished up his design skills, learned how to weld, and developed photos using nasty and toxic chemicals.  Those were his salad days of easy livin’ when the cotton was high.

In April of 2000, he accepted an ill-fated art director position with Snowboarder magazine.  Moving down to Southern California to
suffer alongside hot, caustic beaches, he wrangled some 23 issues of the mag.  He won “Art Director of the Year” for Primedia 2000, beating out such titles as Gun Dog, Cat Fancy and Teen.

Thankfully, in April 2002, the Cinco Design Office of Portland, Oregon called Draplin up and offered him a Senior Designer gig which he instantly accepted.  He moved it all North to the land of  fog and rain and doom and gloom, mud and more mud, rolling up his sleeves to work on various accounts.

The Draplin Design Co. finally stepped out on its own four hairy Bigfoot feet in 2004.

Some four year later, Draplin’s proud to report that he’s managed to “keep everything out of the red.” His motto is simply, “Work Hard.  Do good work for good people.”

He rolls up his sleeves working for a host of well-known and lesser-known clothing, apparel, snowboarding and publication companies.  As you might have guessed, Vans is one of them.

He’s come a long ways from the days when he once worked as a carnie, then becoming uber-famous in the world of blue collar design.  Draplin sees himself as just a regular straight-talking American guy with eclectic music tastes and a trajectory that’s a little dirtier than yours.

He says he owes it all to his parents.  Seriously, he does. 
Like we said, he loves his mom.

Via Aaron Draplin, Jared Eberhardt, and Vimeo

 

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The Making of Malala

 

2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

 

**Award-Winning NYT VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Her courage and life inspires and captivates us all.

This is the story of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, told by The New York Times’ senior video journalist Adam B. Ellick, who made the above documentary about her in 2009 before she was an international star.

Determined to defy the odds and become a doctor, there is a story to Malala Yousafzai’s improbable transformation from a quiet, deferential 11-year-old living near Pakistan’s tribal areas to a teenage spokeswoman for girls’ education.  

Malala, shot in the head by the Taliban last year, received the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday.  At the age of 17, she is the youngest recipient of the prestigious honor.

Ellick’s video begins with her determined father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, but gets pushed forward by intense news media coverage of her daring campaign against the Taliban.

Given Malala’s re-emergence on the world stage– healing from her wounds and winning the Nobel– raises the back story of some sobering and difficult questions.

Malala was a brave young girl, advocating for a better future for all girls in her country.  She is seen as a young heroine by many.

But was it fair for her to fight so publicly in such a dangerous environment?  To push so strongly for education for women in such a restrictive male-dominated culture?  Or was she thrust into the limelight by adults captivated by the power of a child staring down the Taliban?

Pakistan continues to be one of the worst places to be a woman.  More than half of Pakistani girls are not educated.  Pakistan also has the world’s second lowest rate of female employment in the world, according to the World Economic Forum Gender Parity Report– lower than even Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan’s failure to educate its citizenry is rooted in government ineffectiveness.

Despite a recent increase, Pakistan still spends only about 2 percent of its gross domestic product on education.  That is less than it spends on subsidies for its national airline, and only half the global average.

Malala represents a new coming of age and a bright beacon of hope for those following in her footsteps.

~Via The New York Times, Adam B. Ellick, Malala Yousafzai, and Vimeo

 

 

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Traveling the World in Four Minutes

 

Günther Gheeraert’s Rise Up

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Flamingos in Chile. The people of Southern India. The peaks and prayer flags of Tibet.
The cityscapes of New York.

Günther Gheeraert’s Rise Up is a fast moving film paying tribute to traveling and exploring the world– and the diversity of the 7 billion other people in it.

Gheeraert is a film director, photographer, and blogger from Paris, France, where he’s famously known by the name of Mr. Gü.  For years he’s been creating film and photography for famous worldwide brands such as Diesel, Karl Lagerfeld and Puma, as well as for his own personal enjoyment whenever he could. 

Rise Up was produced for Continents Insolites, a small French travel company that allowed Günther to produce a film that he wanted and using footage from wherever he wanted to go.  Traveling 30,000 miles around the world and working his way through 3 continents, he took more than two months capturing the visually striking footage you see here.  Filmed in HD, we encourage you to see it on the largest screen possible.

Employing beautiful images, subtle delivery and rhythm, expert editing and technical work, and a choice soundtrack from Mooders with vocals from Louise Eliott, Gheeraert’s film inspires and challenges all of us to get up and see the great, magical, and beautiful wide planet before us that is merely an airplane ride away.

In his work, the joy of travel, freedom, and expression shines through the camera lens– as stunning landscapes, beautiful cultures, and unforgettable people are gently gathered from all over the earth.

 

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Running Depressions

 

Getting Out and Doing Whatever You Do

 

**Award-Winning Video**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Making two things work well together.

In this great little short film by Joel Wolpert, we get inside the head of ultrarunner Rob Krar and his experiences with depression. 

In Krar’s words, depression and running go hand-in-hand for so many.

More than a few folks have discovered ultrarunning and parkour.  Although they may have been fortunate as to never have experienced depression, running on the trails has an incredible ability to clear the mind and restore the spirit.

It is both wonderful and exhausting at the same time; good for the body and mind.

Being responsible for our own health and well-being means recognizing when we are in difficulty and when to seek help.  Endurance athletes have this one additional amazing tool to help them deal with it that most people don’t– the sport itself.

So what are you waiting for?  Movement is liberation.  Flow is pleasure.  Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must.  Just never give up.

Make the first move making two things work together.    Get out there and run, ride, swim or do whatever it is you do.

~Via Joel Wolpert/Vimeo, Rob Krar, Canadian Running

 

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Ideas Are That Grand

 

 

**Award-Winning Animated Short**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Great minds discuss ideas. 

Average minds discuss events.  Small minds discuss people.

But what if there is no one to discuss them with?

Sometime in the future an old man, equipped with the benefits of evolution, survived the extinction of all other living beings.  It is a very lonely world for someone unable to die and with so many ideas.

‘Así de Grande son las Ideas’ is a collaboration between director and animator Quique Rivera Rivera, and multiple Latin Grammy and Grammy Award winner René Pérez Joglar (Calle 13).

No matter what people tell you, ideas can change the world.  Even if you don’t speak Spanish.

 
 

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Jefferson County’s Assault on US History

 

Keeping Politics Out of Education

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Historian Howard Zinn, late author of A People’s History of the United States,
would be rolling over in his grave if he knew what was happening in Colorado.

The school board of Jefferson County, Colorado, approved a controversial measure last week to review and whitewash the curriculum of U.S. History courses.  The proposal sparked weeks of student walk-outs and garnered national attention.

The student-led protests began when conservative school board member, Julie Williams, proposed the creation of a committee to change the Advanced Placement U.S. history curriculum to emphasize patriotism, positive aspects of U.S. history, and the benefits of the free market system while downplaying or removing lessons about civil disobedience, social strife, and defiance of authority.

AP students chose to respond with civil disobedience of their own by organizing the first of several walk-outs on September 19th.  Jefferson County teachers showed their opposition by calling in sick en masse, causing several school closures over multiple days.

Gretchen Carlson of FOX News called the young students a bunch of punks.”  The president of Jefferson County’s Board of Education, Ken Witt, called them pawns in a scheme perpetrated by the teachers’ union.

Discontent between members of the community and the school board has been rising since a conservative majority took power last November.

A national, right-wing political group, Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, celebrated the conservative victory in the Jefferson County school-board elections, reported Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.  Dustin Zvonek, the Colorado state director for the group, said the election marked “an exciting and hopeful moment for the county and school district” and told the three-member majority “to strike while the iron is hot,” and that “Board members can and should begin exploring and debating such options with little fear of alienating the public at large.”

Well, the public was largely alienated.  High-school students organized and were just recently joined by local middle-school students, who also walked out.

Local college and university professors formed a solidarity group.  The national SAT testing organization commended the student’s actions.  Last Wednesday, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Civil Liberties Union and eight other national groups sent a letter to the school board condemning the proposed curriculum review. 

They said:

“It would be nearly impossible to teach U.S. history without reference to ‘civil disorder,’ which is appropriately discussed in connection with the American Revolution, the labor movement, civil rights and gay rights activism, U.S. entry into World War I, voting rights protests, public demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, opposition to abortion, government surveillance, and countless other significant events in U.S. history.  Telling schools that they cannot use materials that ‘encourage or condone civil disorder’ in addressing these and other historical events is
tantamount to telling them to abandon the teaching of history.”

High school senior Bethany Keupp says the proposal to potentially alter AP U.S. history content along ideological lines was the final straw for students, teachers and parents.  “We are very frustrated that this is being reviewed because of political issues.  We would really expect our elected officials to act in the best interests of the students, not in the interests of your political affiliation,” Keupp said.

Kerrie Dallman, president of the state’s largest teachers’ union, the Colorado Education Association, says school board member Julie Williams seems to be pushing an agenda instead of working from knowledge of the new AP U.S. History curriculum.

“When you have a school board member like Julie Williams who puts out a press release making all kinds of claims about how AP U.S. History is not covering basic historical figures like Martin Luther King and George Washington,” Dallman says, “and then somebody goes and looks at all ten of the previously approved texts for AP U.S. History in Jeffco public schools, and finds every single one of the historical figures Julie Williams said is not covered is actually in the text books, she clearly hasn’t done her homework.  She is acting on somebody else’s be-
half.  That to me is disturbing and further evidence of the
reason why politics has to get out of Jeffco public schools.”

Texas, Tennessee, Washington and Illinois have seen similar attempts by school boards to change curriculum to reflect a more conservative ideology, but no other place in the nation has experienced protests like Jefferson County, Colorado.

Last week’s school board meeting – the first since Williams made her announcement – drew hundreds of student protesters and their supporters. Despite critics who have labeled the protests unpatriotic, former Jeffco public school student Devi Yanirao says love for her country is precisely what motivated her to support current Jeffco students.

“We want to be able to show both sides of American history, both the negative aspects and the positive aspects, and we shouldn’t just focus on the positive ones,” she said.  “We’ve made good decisions and bad decisions as a country and both sides need to be shown to future students so that they can understand our history and where we are coming from and why we are here today– and the way we are today.”

At the start of the tense school board meeting last week, Julie Williams said her “proposal was aimed to increase community engagement and transparency so people do know what is being taught to their children and as a board we can review the curriculum as we are responsible to do.”

The large crowd, which overflowed into the parking lot, seemed unconvinced.

Some of the most controversial language in William’s proposal was removed, but not before opponents delivered a petition with more than 40,000 signatures asking that her proposal be killed altogether.

Despite the petition and public outcry, the conservative majority voted 3-2 to move forward with plans to create a committee to review AP U.S. History content.  As part of a compromise, students, parents, teachers and other approved citizens will be able to join the committee.

But protesters say they plan to keep up their civil disobedience campaign until they are confident that partisan politics and ideological whitewashing are kept out of their public schools.

Writing for the Huffington Post, Sacramento State University History Professor Joseph A. Palermo said this in his column:

“When high school students in Jefferson County, Colorado walked out in protest against the right-wingers on the school board who purged their history curriculum of content they deemed “unpatriotic,” they probably learned more in a week of direct action than they could learn in a year of going to class.

Not content to write a letter of complaint, or sign a petition, or tap “Like” on a Facebook page – these young people hit the streets in the grand tradition of civil disobedience in America;  the same tradition the Jefferson County school board seeks to airbrush out…

Right-wingers always overreach and try to erase or bend history to fit their pre-conceived ideological notions.  We owe the students of Jefferson County our deep gratitude and appreciation for standing up to power and reminding us about the importance of critical history being taught in our public schools.  

By engaging in civil disobedience they’ve taken it a step further.  Their actions speak louder than any words.”

~Via Google News, CBS News, FSRN, Denver Post, Colorado
Public Radio, Amy Goodman, and Dr. Joseph A. Palermo

 

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T-World

 

The Future of T-Shirt Graphics

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

We had no idea people even think of these things.

For over 40 years, street culture– encompassing graffiti, design, skate, music and urban inspired street wear – has changed the way we see the graphics of T-shirts.

The film, Next: The Future of T-shirt Graphics celebrates the street art style of using the T-shirt as the most accessible canvas.

Is it fashion?  Is it a statement?  Or is it just a simple tee.  The answer is… complicated.

The film’s basic message is both retrospective and responsive—and it asks the question, what’s next?

 

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Ken Burns’ ‘The Roosevelts’

 

PBS Series Reveals Everything Wrong With Our Current Political Class

 

**VIDEO**

 

Joseph A. Palermo
Huffington Post

 

 

Ken Burns’ seven-part PBS series on the lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, is a remarkable achievement.

Burns sheds a poignant new light on the personal and public lives of three monumental figures in 20th Century American history.  And in doing so, he illustrates the relative rottenness of the hacks, partisans, and plutocrats who make up the political class that rules America today.

By exploring the lives and times of TR, FDR, and ER Burns shows that in our not-so-distant past the governing institutions of this country were actually responsive to the needs and desires of working-class Americans.

This superb and moving portrait is a perfect fit for our times.  The utter failure of our current “leaders” is glaring by comparison.

Yes, TR was a warmonger, and FDR signed the order that imprisoned innocent Japanese Americans. There are long lists of both presidents’ failures.  But we shouldn’t let those flaws bury the fact that both TR and FDR were not afraid to stand up to big corporations and Wall Street if they viewed their actions as damaging to the country.  That alone is probably the biggest difference between those leaders of the early decades of the 20th Century and today.

After thirty years of “supply-side” economics that has left working people still waiting for better times to “trickle down”; eight years of George W. Bush’s misrule that brought us war and recession; the Far-Right ascendency in 2010 that has all but shuttered the federal government in an attempt to destroy Barack Obama; and a Supreme Court that is proudly subservient to every tenet of plutocracy — I think it’s okay to flip on PBS and feel a bit nostalgic for a time when there existed effective politicians who actually gave a damn about the quality of life of the majority of Americans.

Over the past thirty years, Presidents and Congresses have become so subservient to corporations and Wall Street that the two major political parties are all but indistinguishable.

One of the reasons why our politics have become so volatile and opinion polls show over and over again that our people have nothing but contempt for the whole political class in Washington and the widespread recognition that the plutocrats, CEOs, and Wall Street bankers have effectively seized our governing institutions.

Another subtext for our times of the Burns documentary is the reminder that people who come from the richest .01 percent of Americans don’t have to be total assholes.  Unlike the Koch Brothers, or the Waltons, or Representative Darrell Issa (the richest man in the House of Representatives) the Roosevelts didn’t feel they had a class interest in keeping their boots on the necks of America’s working people; they strived to uplift them.

And they saw the federal government not as a bazaar of accounts receivable to vacuum up precious tax dollars for the already rich but as a means to improve the lives of the 99 percent.

The Roosevelts also illustrates a time when Democrats had dirt under their fingernails.  There was no need to remind them that Democratic politicians valued labor unions or sought new protections in the workplace.  The leaders and rank-in-file were tied together.

Today, when we see Democratic politicians like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo or Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel bludgeoning teachers’ unions while supping at the table of big campaign donors from Wall Street we’re left with the realization that working people have few reliable advocates for their class interests anymore.

Since 1984, Democratic politicians decided the party needed to “move to the center” given Ronald Reagan’s landslide.  But “moving to the center” meant moving away from serving the interests of working people and moving toward Wall Street and big corporations.

Ironically, in the 1990s, when the Democratic Party grew more diverse based on race and gender, it shifted far closer to the Republicans in terms of class.  We’ve seen one Democratic president (Bill Clinton) push NAFTA and other “free trade” deals that decimated labor unions; unravel the social safety net in the name of “welfare reform”; and deregulate Wall Street.

And we’ve seen another Democratic president (Barack Obama) refuse to send any bankers to jail for the massive fraud they committed in the mortgage markets; choose to beat up teachers’ unions with Arne Duncan’s “Race to the Top”; and accommodate the profiteers inside our health care system.

All of these policies represent a capitulation to the interests of big corporations and Wall Street on the part of Democratic administrations at the expense of their own constituencies.

Another aspect of the Burns documentary is a revealing look at the kind of patriotism that TR, FDR, and ER exhibited throughout their lives.  It was a patriotism that recognized that the country is strongest when all Americans had opportunities and the federal government not only helped to uplift them materially, but also protected them from the rapacious predators of the Wall Street ruling class.

We’ve lost that sense of patriotic duty today.  The “you’re on your own” society has won out in recent decades over the idea that “everyone does better when everyone does better.”

So if you haven’t yet seen The Roosevelts, by all means, sit back, put on PBS, and enjoy watching a time in America that predates the death of the liberal class.

* * * * * * * * * * *

 

Before earning a Master’s degree and Doctorate in History from Cornell University, Professor Joseph Palermo completed Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master’s degree in History from San Jose State University.

His expertise includes the 1980s; political history; presidential politics and war powers; social movements of the 20th century; the 1960s; and the history of American foreign policy.  Dr. Palermo has also written articles for anthologies on the life of Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J. in The Human Tradition in America Since 1945 and on the Watergate scandal in Watergate and the Resignation of Richard Nixon.

Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento, Professor Palermo’s most recent book is The Eighties.  He has also written two other books: In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and the Death of American Ideals.

Part of the Iona Brotherhood, we thank Dr. Palermo for sharing his work with our readers here.

 

 

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Digital Wasteland

 

E-Waste Central

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Agbogbloshie, Ghana, was once a fertile wetland.

It is now the largest electronic waste dumpsite in the world.  Children as young as seven salvage what they can from unwanted technology dumped from China, Japan and the West.

TVs, PCs and refrigerators are burned, releasing toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.  

The majority of people who burn in Agbogbloshie are young boys.  They often cut themselves, are restless, and can’t concentrate for any length of time.  Almost everyone there is suffering from insomnia and heavy headaches.

The health risk is so chronic that many of the workers die from cancer in their 20s.  Cancer, lung problems and brain damage are just a few of the well-known problems.

The inhabitants have nicknamed the place “Sodom and Gomorrah“, a metaphor for what Agbogbloshie looks like and has become: a destroyed city, a war zone, a place covered in ash, waste and fire, and where workers ply the scrap metal trade earning much needed money.

Director Sam Goldwater’s aim for the film Regolith was to determine whether that was true using only his camera and as little intervention as possible.  He captures the area and its workers:  harshly beautiful and stark photography set amidst an extreme and surreal industrial digital wasteland.

~Film by Sam Goldwater; photos Kevin McElvaney

 

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Elvis on the Stairway to Heaven

 

Led Zeppelin Meets Elvis, 40 Years Ago

 

**Archival VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

40 years ago today the band began to play. 
And it was out with the old– and in with the new.

The Los Angeles Forum played host to some of the greatest shows Led Zeppelin ever put on.  It was also the place where, on May 11, 1974, the band came face to face with their legendary childhood hero for the first time.

Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Bonham were in Los Angeles for the launch of their own record label, Swan Song.  The night after the raucous launch party at the Bel Air Hotel, the band– minus bassist John Paul Jones– decided to attend Elvis Presley’s concert at the Forum.

Elvis was alerted to the presence of the rock group in the audience.  During the show, taped and later released as Live in L.A., he said to his band, “Wait a minute… If we can start together, fellas; because we’ve got Led Zeppelin out there.  Let’s try to look like we know what we’re doing, whether we do or not.”

Jerry Weintraub, their mutual promoter at the time, took Jimmy Page and Robert Plant up to Presley’s Las Vegas hotel suite following the concert.

For the first few minutes, Elvis ignored them.

Jimmy Page, who had first picked up a guitar after hearing Elvis’ Baby Let’s Play House on overseas radio in 1955, began to wonder and fidget.  What was going on?  Did he really want to meet them?  Should they say something?

Elvis finally turned to them.

“Is it true,” he said, “these stories I hear about you boys on the road?”

Robert Plant amiably answered, “Of course not.  We’re family men.  I get the most pleasure out of walking the hotel corridors, singing your songs.” 

Plant also offered his best Elvis impersonation, breaking the ice.  He reminisced that Jimmy Page also joked with Elvis by adding that, “We never sound checked, but if we did, all I wanted to do was sing Elvis songs,” Plant said.

“At that meeting, ‘Elvis thought that was funny.  He asked me, ‘Which songs do you sing?’’” 

“I told him I liked the ones with all the moods, like that great country song ‘Love Me:  ‘Treat me like a fool, treat me mean and cruel, but love me…’

For a moment Elvis Presley eyed them both very carefully.  Then he burst out laughing.  Then his bodyguards burst out laughing.

For two hours he entertained them in his suite.  He had never heard their records, he said, except for when his stepbrother played him Stairway to Heaven.  

“I liked it,” Presley said.

Later, walking down the hallway from the hotel room, Page and Plant were still stunned, congratulating themselves on a two-hour meeting with the King.  

“Hey,” came a voice from behind them.  Plant recalled what happened next.

“So when we were leaving, after a most illuminating and funny 90 minutes with the guy, I was walking down the corridor.  He swung around the door frame, looking quite pleased with himself, and started singing that same song, ‘Treat me like a fool…’

“I turned around and did Elvis right back at him.  We stood there, singing to each other.”

Plant later wrote about his impressions of Presley: “I met Elvis with Zeppelin, after one of his concerts in the early ’70s.  I sized him up.  He wasn’t quite as tall as me, but he had a singer’s build.  He had a good chest– that resonator.  And he was driven.”

Elvis’ and Zeppelin’s paths would cross two more times during the ‘70s.

The next meeting took place at Presley’s home in Memphis.  Jerry Schilling, a noted member of Elvis’ ‘Memphis Mafia’, wrote about the encounter in his book, Me and a Guy Named Elvis.

Elvis said it would be okay for them to come by the house.

Schilling was there on the night of the planned meeting and was surprised to see that Elvis was in his pajamas and robe– he and Sheila Ryan were getting ready to go upstairs.  Schilling reminded Elvis that Richard Cole, Led Zep’s band manager, and bassist John Paul Jones were coming.  Elvis remained downstairs to wait for them.

Schilling recalls:

“From the moment Richard stepped into the house, he was loud and profane, packing an amazing number of f-words into everything he said.

‘You know’, Elvis said to him. ‘I’d appreciate it if you’d watch your language in front of my lady.’  Things got very quiet.  Everybody sat down.  

And it stayed quiet.  Then Elvis decided to break the ice, and asked if he could see the fancy watch that Richard was wearing.  Richard handed the watch over, and when Elvis put it on, Richard quickly said that if Elvis wanted the watch, he could keep it.

‘Does it have any special meaning to you?’ Elvis asked.

‘Well, a bit.  Atlantic Records gave them to the group’, said Richard.

‘OK, thanks’, said Elvis.

I don’t know if Richard expected to lose his watch that easily, but about twenty minutes later Elvis went upstairs and came back down with another watch, a real piece of jewelry, covered in diamonds– a wristwatch you could trade in for a car.  Maybe a couple of cars.

‘Here’, he said to Richard.  ’Take this one’.

A very stunned Richard accepted.  From then on the night was nothing but fun, with a lot of laughs and a lot of quoting Monty Python routines (Elvis was the first Monty Python fanatic I ever knew).

Elvis and Richard obviously shared a sense of humor.  And I could tell Elvis also liked the much quieter John.  At one point, Elvis excused himself, went back upstairs, and returned with an equally impressive watch for the bassist.

Before the evening was over, Elvis said he wanted to make another exchange.  He was out of watches, but had another bit of fashion in mind.

So he stood, eyed John, and said, ‘Let’s swap pants’, while simultaneously, in expert Python fashion, let his pajama bottoms drop beneath his robe.

The loud Richard was shocked into silence, while the usually quiet Sheila and John burst out laughing. 

Nobody accepted Elvis’ offer, but it was a great note to end the night on.”

 

The final meeting between Zeppelin and Elvis took place on the Baltimore airport tarmac while both were on tour in 1977.

Presley’s stepbrother, David Stanley, later recalled the encounter:

“The other time the Presley tour ran across the band was while out on the road.  It was at the Washington-Baltimore airport.

We (the Presley tour) were playing in Washington and Led Zeppelin was playing at the Capital Centre.  We arrived on the Lisa Marie, Elvis’ private jet, and Led Zeppelin arrived on the Caesar’s Chariot.  

It was a hell of a sight to see these two private jets, sitting side-by-side, on the private tarmac.

I asked Elvis if I could go with the band that night for their Led Zeppelin concert.  He just looked at me and said ‘No.’

When I asked him why, he said, ‘look at the bottom of your paycheck.’

As I entered the limo with Elvis I said ‘they sure have a nice jet.’

Elvis leaned over and reminded me that ‘they lease their jet from Caesar’s Palace, I own mine.’”

 

Elvis Presley inspired many of the greatest rock and roll acts of the ‘60s, ‘70s and beyond.  Led Zeppelin, too, was no exception, and when their paths crossed it was a thrill for both the band and the King himself.

By August of 1977, Led Zeppelin was sailing at the top of the rock ‘n roll charts as the biggest gig in the nation. 

The King, his popularity waning, became a shadow of his former self.  Overweight, his mind and speech dulled by the pharmacopia he ingested daily, and suffering from glaucoma, high blood pressure, migraines, an enlarged colon, liver damage, paranoia, and abbreviated concerts, would be found dead in his bathroom at Graceland at the age of 42.

Each had taken their own separate stairway to heaven.

 

* * * * * * * * *

 

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The Sounds of Paragliding

 

Motion and Breath in the Air

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s the beauty and the sound of flying.

Put your headphones on or turn up the volume, otherwise the real pleasure of this clip might be lost.

Sounds of Paragliding is a new video from director Shams and sound engineer Thibaut Darscotte who took special equipment into the skies above France to record the sounds of Théo de Blic’s aerobatic paragliding.

Instead of amping up the music and intensity like so many high-speed stunt wingsuit and skydiving videos, Shams instead slows everything down to focus only on the sounds created by Blic’s parasail whipping through the air at incredible speeds.

It doesn’t really get going until after the 2-minute mark, but the pleasure and beauty are worth the wait.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the friendly skies.

 

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Stoned Patients, Stoned Kids

 

92% of Medical Marijuana Users Say It Works

–But Should Children Be in the Mix?

 

**VICE VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 Is it a miracle drug?  Patients and parents think so.

A 2013 survey in the New England Journal of Medicine found that nearly 8-in-10 doctors approved the use of medical marijuana, The Washington Post reported.

Now, a wide-ranging survey in California finds that medical marijuana patients agree: 92 percent said that medical marijuana alleviated symptoms of their serious medical conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, migraine, epilepsy and cancer.

The data come from the California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a representative health survey of 7,525 California adults produced by the Public Health Institute in partnership with the CDC.  Researchers found that in total, five percent of California adults said they had used medical marijuana for a “serious medical condition.”

Treating young children with medical marijuana is controverisal.  It isn’t common but it’s happening, and increasingly often. 

Several US states that have legalized the drug to some degree also allow it as an alternative treatment for kids and even toddlers with epilepsy–  Oregon, Colorado, and California.  Illinois may be next on the list.

It appears Cannabidol, or CBD– one of 60 active cannabinoids in the cannabis plant– is the therapeutic miracle component.

Dr. Bonni Goldstein said she’s seen great success with CBD oil– about 70-75 percent of her patients saw a reduction in epileptic seizures, according to her early data.  She pointed to  a 2013 National Institute of Health study published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior that found similar results: 16 of the 19 children treated with CBD had decreased symptoms of epilepsy, and in two cases the epilepsy disappeared completely.

There are scores of success stories from families with children suffering from leukemia and epilepsy. 

One of Goldstein’s patients, Genesis Rios, said her son suffered from epileptic seizures all day long until she started the CBD treatment. Now, the boy can now go two weeks without having a seizure, she said.

Rios said her son appeared “drugged out” all the time when on traditional epilepsy pharma drugs, but with CBD oil, “He’s actually more alert than he’s ever been before.”

“It’s been basically a miracle,” Rios said.  “He was having seizures 24 hours a day, even when he was sleeping, and none of the medications worked.  Nothing worked, not even surgery.”

Many parents are strongly advocating for the cannabis oil treatment.  The most common version is called Charlotte’s Web, derived from a strain of weed that’s particularly rich in CBD but only contains trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive component of weed that gets you high.

For hundreds of families, it’s a miracle treatment, and epilepsy isn’t the only example.  Austria has prescribed medical marijuana to kids with autism.  In the US, cannabis has been used to treat young kids with leukemia.

But the idea of treating kids with weed is still incredibly controversial.  Some question the validity of the treatment, and the problem is there is very little research to prove the alternative medicine is safe and effective.

Until recently, the war on drugs has hindered our ability to understand the possible benefits such a multifaceted plant can have.  But there’s a movement to change that, championed by the medical professionals who have seen the positive results firsthand, even in children.

“More research is needed, and cannabis should be removed from being a Schedule 1 controlled substance,” said Goldstein, hoping the government will understand how huge an impact the drug can have on the lives of suffering patients and families.

 

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Free Running

 

The Art of Fluid Movement

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s an unusual street sport that’s gaining in popularity.

It’s free running—also known as parkour

It’s the art of moving dynamically from point A to point B.  A highly entertaining art form, athletes demonstrate a variety of acrobatic and gymnastic skills using street objects, roofs, rails, or a dedicated stage or obstacle course.

The central principle of free running is that one should express oneself in the environment fluidly, without limitations of movement.  By running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, flipping, and rolling using both the hands and feet, one moves across the urban landscape as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

Think moving quickly like a ninja or playing Assassin’s Creed and you’ll get the idea.

Having its origins in martial arts and military training, free running is done using only the human body and the surroundings for propulsion, with a focus on maintaining as much momentum and discipline as possible while still remaining safe.

Often times free runners run in packs, mob style.  It involves no equipment, few rules, usually requires trespassing, runs the risk of injury, and like any secret club, has its own internal code of conduct to follow.

After that, you’re free to be you– and run.

 

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The Elusive Freedom of Tomorrow

 

 The Great Dictator’s Famous Speech

 

**Award-Winning Animated Short**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.
   ~George Orwell, 1984

 

“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor.  
That’s not my business.

I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone.  I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white.

We all want to help one another.  Human beings are like that.  We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery.  We don’t want to hate and despise one another.

In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.  The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.  Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, and has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in.  Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.  Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind.  We think too much and feel too little.

More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.  Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together.  The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children,
victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair.  The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress.  The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people.  

And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers!  Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel!  Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, and use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men– machine men with machine minds and machine hearts!

You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men!  You have the love of humanity in your hearts!  You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers!  Don’t fight for slavery!  Fight for liberty!  In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men!  In you!

You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness!  You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security.  By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power.  But they lie!  They do not fulfill that promise. They never will!  Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people.

Now let us fight to fulfill that promise.  Let us fight to free the world!  To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance!  Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!”

~Charles Chaplin, The Great Dictator (1940)

 

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Aliens That Go Bump in the Night

 

‘Envoy’

 

**Award-Winning Sci-Fi Film**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

A liberating force together, technology and indie filmmakers can deliver the goods. 

It’s hard to believe the top-notch quality productions amateurs can make today with limited resources and on a shoestring budget.  David Weinstein’s Envoy is the latest example of this.

A story about a troubled young boy who befriends a deadly alien creature and embarks on a life changing journey, Envoy is a fallback to many science fiction and action films reminiscent of the ’80s & ’90s genre. 

In a mere 10 minutes the film packs a decent story, some kick-ass cutting edge visual effects and animation by Adam Coggin, great cinematography and a superb soundtrack by Edwin Wendler– a feat even most big-budget Hollywood productions often fail to accomplish.

Envoy is a short trailer offered as proof for a larger full-length motion picture; that is, introducing the concept and story to fans and financiers while demonstrating the team’s ability to craft high-end productions for a mere fraction of the cost.  Let’s face it:  no one reads scripts in Hollywood anymore.  They want a visual accountability of what you can do and how much it will cost.

Delivering high production values and a solid story on all levels, Envoy has real potential to move forward in the realm of Hollywood filmmaking today.  We hope it does.

 

If you liked this film, you may like our other one:  Genesis

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Beyond the Zen of Pizza

 

Bake Pizza, Ride Bikes:

Pursuing Passion and Excellence

 

**Award-Winning Short**

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Whatever you do, do it well.

Anthony Mangieri owns and operates Una Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco.  His dharma has always been to be a pizza man.

Mangieri’s considered by many to be one of the top pizza makers in the world.  He also seems a little too crazy about his pizza– fantastic, simple and delicious 12-inch Neapolitan basil and mozzarella wood-fired numbers that look absolutely perfect in their hot melted cheesy goodness.

Growing up in New Jersey, he was a kid obsessed with Italy, skateboarding and punk rock, but he wanted to be a jazzman, even trying out for the musicians union in Atlantic City.  But, as he puts it, he stunk.

So he followed his passion for food.  He trained and worked in Naples, New Jersey, Manhattan; he opened up his pizzeria in the South of Market area of San Francisco in 2010.

“I just had an oven and that was it,” he says.  ”I mixed everything by hand. … I’d be lucky if we made 100 bucks.”

When he opened his first pizzeria, Neapolitan pizza was an unknown in America.  He bought Caputo flour– a specialty Italian flour used for pizza– from a guy selling it from the trunk of a car, because that was the only way to get it in the United States.  Nowadays, the same flour is available at Safeway.  And nowadays customers beat a path to his door.

Awash in tattoos and strong opinions, with his cap pulled low, Mangieri, 41, is an engaging, charismatic figure, joking constantly in his Jersey accent between tales of Naples lore and his own misadventures.

Mangieri’s routine begins when he comes to the restaurant every morning, usually alone, sometimes accompanied by his wife and infant daughter.  An avid cyclist, he often rides a bike or scooter from his Sausalito home.  

Once he arrives, he turns up the music high– jazz on one day, maybe Italian opera another– and creates the dough in a tiny room, unadorned save for a crucifix.  The dough is a three-day process, unrefrigerated and naturally leavened.  Like his own experience, it’s naturally risen.

That night, Mangieri will offer the same five pizzas as he did the day before, and as he will tomorrow.  For two decades, Mangieri, 41, often clad in a worn baseball cap and T-shirt, has done the same thing every day.

When he runs out of dough, he closes for the night.

It’s a constant pursuit of perfection. It’s the drive, the passion, the rhythym, the blue-collar repetition.  It’s “Groundhog Day” in a pizzeria setting.

Some might assume that boredom would set in, but Mangieri sees the process differently, full of creativity and continuously challenging.  For a forum with so few ingredients– flour, mozzarella, olive oil, tomatoes– the variables are constantly changing.

“I’m always changing things here, even though it’s always been the same idea.  Basically the dough is different every single day,” he says.  “It’s an infinite dance, an unending riff.  The temperature and air fluctuate daily; the fire is a living being.  The dough itself continues to evolve, even over the course of the dinner service.  The more specialized you get and the more you try to do one thing excellently, the more you realize it’s really, really hard.”

It’s the passion and dedication that brings him back every day.  With the proliferation of cookie-cutter pizzerias as an example, Mangieri sees a dilution of what he calls the truth.

“It’s so easy to get all the information, to buy the mixer, buy the oven, buy the flour.  It takes away people’s commitment to really learn.  There’s no growth. There’s no time spent in things. There’s no becoming a part of something, Mangieri says.

“I always think of John Coltrane.  I’m not comparing myself to him at all, but in a sense that’s a guy that went through many phases of his art or whatever he was doing,” Mangieri says.

“It’s not like all of a sudden he decided to abandon chord change.  He learned and built and built and then found freedom through all the learning and practice.”

“It’s the same with anything.  Trying to be dedicated and sticking with it.  This is what you do; this is what you should be doing.”

“The secret to all this, and what makes it really magical, is such a small nuance that you can’t be taught it in a week,” he continues.

“If you’re in the Zen zone, it’s like an improvisation of music.  There are these moments you can’t fake;  when that happens, the pizza can be beyond.”

 

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Comic Book Heaven

 

Calling It Quits in a Different Era

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It closed its doors for good.

After more than a quarter of a century, a struggling New York Sunnyside comic shop is gave up its battle against the forces of digital books, eBay and superhero video games.

Joseph Leisner, the tough talking octogenarian owner of Comic Book Heaven in Queens said business wasn’t what it used to be.  And he’d like to retire while he’s still able to pursue an acting career — and a girlfriend.

“The comic book business is not a healthy business anymore,” said Leisner in his thick Brooklyn accent. 

He shuttered his shop in December of last year.  “I want to retire while I’m walking, talking, driving and able to run after women,” he says.

His sales plummeted 80% since the height of the comic book craze in the early to mid-90s, he said.  And they’ve fallen another 35% in the last 18 months, he said.

Playboy magazines, still in their plastic wrappers, sat on shelves alongside issues of Conan the Barbarian and old copies of Mad Magazine.

He also carried an assortment of fading kids books and baseball cards in the dingy shop.

“I was young when I got here,” said the widower and grandfather, who opened 26 years ago.  “Look what it did to me.”

Comic shops are struggling to compete with online retailers, which sell the books at a fraction of the price of brick-and-mortar stores, said Comic Book Collecting Association President Steve Zarelli.

“Comic books may continue to survive for a long time to come,” Zarelli said.  “But it’s becoming more of a niche market like record stores or even CD stores.”

And now kids are learning about their favorite caped crusaders through movies and video games — instead of traditional comics.

“The kids today play video games and spend all day texting their friends,” Liesner said.  “Gone are the days when kids would collect things, like stamps and sports cards.”

“I’m afraid to be retired with nothing to do,” Joe lamented before closing the business down.  “I think a lot of people are.”

Say it ain’t so, Joe.  Superheroes never really die.  They just fade away. 

It’s the end of an era. 

~Via Sunnyside Post/NYdaily/Vimeo/CBH Films and E.J. McLeavey-Fisher

 

 

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Flying Water Cars and Robotic Dolphins

 

 

Ride the Hose!

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Buckle up and hold onto your hose.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

YouTube sensation Devin Graham has released another video using a few cool water toys and featuring some awesome stunts.

Graham, a young American film director more commonly referred to as Devinsupertramp, decided to add a novel twist in his short film with the use of a robotic dolphin and a flying water car.

The above video shows Graham and friends flying through the air and landing in water with the use of these insane water toys. 

Jetovator and Seabreacher invented the Dolphin and the FWV–
Flying Water Vehicle— provided to Graham for the making of the video.

They’re both unique marvels of engineering.

The Jetovator uses water thrust from the jet unit and a 40-foot hose to propel and elevate the rider 30 feet into the air at speeds of up to 25 mph. Taking about 5 minutes to learn and master, the Jetovator can redirect the water thrust of the two front nozzles and maneuver the rider safely in all directions above the water.  One can also plunge 10 feet under the water as well if the spirit moves you.

Unlike conventional watercraft that only operate on a two dimensional plane, the custom built Seabreacher operates more like an aircraft with full three axis of control – pitch, roll, and yaw.  This allows the vessel to sharply turn left and right, jump, cut though the waves, perform 360-degree barrel rolls, and also dive under the water with a passenger.

These are beyond personal flotation devices.  They’re more like way-fun personal flying devices.

Below is the behind-the-scenes take of Graham’s experiences filming the shoot.

 

 

 

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City of Light, City of Night

 

Coast to Coast:  From NYC to LA

 

**Award-Winning VIDEOS**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Cities are like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. 

Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because they are created by everybody.

For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home.  Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, a friendship, or an enmity.

Where one city will raise a certain individual to glory and riches, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality.  One city gives you gifts, another robs you.  One gives you the heart’s affections; the other destroys your soul.

Cities are as alive, as feeling, as fickle and uncertain as people. Their degrees of love and devotion are as varying as with any human relation.  Just as one is good, another is bad.

All cities are mad, but the madness is brilliant.  All cities are beautiful, but the beauty is grim.

In cities we know where we belong or not; where we are loved and where we are rejected.

As a famous man once said: 

Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light?  Or just another lost angel… City of Night?

 

ANGEL CITY from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

 

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The Late Great Kate Wolf

 

 

Kate Remembered

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Every night we light the candle
that stands beside our bed,
but sometimes the flame’s too much to handle,
that’s what you said.
That’s what you said,
and you should know,
because you built a fire in me and you made it burn,
you followed me watching every move,
matching every turn.

Your green eyes they don’t miss a thing,
they hold me like the sun going down,
warm me like a fire in the night, without a sound.

You were waiting till I heard,
just as patient as that love light in your eyes,
you never threw away a word, or ever talked in a disguise -
I ought to know.
You were a beacon to a sailor lost at sea,
I saw it in your eyes when you looked at me, so openly.

Your green eyes they don’t miss a thing,
they hold me like the sun going down,
warm me like a fire in the night, without a sound.

The first time I ever saw your laughter break loose inside and tumble out to me,
my heart knew it had found what it was after, and it came so easily
we should know.
After all the years of the hard and lonely times,
now our days go by like best friends’ story lines,
yours and mine.

 

Kate Wolf was a well-loved folk singer-songwriter with the angelic voice from Northern California.

Although she passed on in 1986 just as she was reaching national acclaim, her music captured the hearts and minds of many.  Her influence can still be heard in many contemporary country and folk artists today.

Her poetic and haunting lyrics, the simplicity and beauty of her melodies, and her lovely crystalline voice held audiences in wondrous splendor.

Kate played her heart out whether she was playing for a small gathering of 50 in a coffee house or a larger audience of 500 in a concert hall.  She loved her family, friends and fans alike.

Kate’s 1985 music hall concert at Austin’s PBS station came at the height of her career, just a few months before she was diagnosed with acute leukemia.  It was her first major television exposure and a great success.

The concert was edited for a popular PBS country/folk music show and broadcast frequently during the following years.  Green Eyes, above, was from that debut, accompanied by her long-time band members Nina Gerber and Ford James, and guest Randy Sabien.

Kate always delivered strong performances that remained faithful and true to her well-known California folk style.

Her parting words at the age of 44:

“I live for a sense of a feeling of purposefulness in this world. 

You know, I could stop my life at any point and feel that my life has been worthwhile; that the people I’ve loved and my children have all reached a point where their lives are now going to come to fruit.

And as far as something I live by, it’s to try to be as alive as possible and to make my mistakes and try to be as honest as I can with myself.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

~For Kathy, strong, smart and wise.

 

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Magic Moments of Burning Man

 

Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, 2014

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Sitting and smiling on the playa awaiting the temple burn, I noticed
the person next to me, English John, click something in his hand.

He quietly said to himself, “Now this is deserving of a magic moment designation.”

Noting my curiosity, he leaned over and said, “When I first got here, my friend Toby gave me this counter and asked me to click it for every magic moment I experienced.”

I asked, “What’s the number at now?”

He responded, “About 150!”

We both sorta laughed. 

He began clicking it several times rapidly and then said in his full-on Brit accent, “Christ!  You could click it a thousand times….every second….every breath…. is a magic moment!”

We pondered that thought for a moment.

The person sitting in front of John, Simeon, having overheard our conversation, leaned back and said, “Yeah, but…John…when you click it…are you counting the magic moments, or are you creating them?”

* * * * * * * * *

 

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Pride and Bullets

 

Cause and Effect

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

The causes of World War One have been written about countless times.  You probably know the straight-away story.

It began on July 28, 1914, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, sometimes referred to as “the bullet that started World War I.”

This seemingly small conflict between two countries spread rapidly.

Soon, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, France, and the United States were all drawn into the war, largely because the former were involved in treaties and alliances that obligated them to defend certain other nations.  

Western and eastern battle fronts quickly erupted along the muddy borders
and hedgerows of Germany and Austria-Hungary.

1916 and 1917 were particularly dominated by the continued bloody trench warfare in battlefields.  Soldiers fought from dug-in positions, striking at each other with the new technological development of machine guns, heavy artillery, tanks, and chemical weapons.  

Soldiers died in the onslaught by the millions under ugly and brutal conditions.  By the score, they were killed, maimed, blinded, and gassed.

Although both sides launched renewed offensives in 1918 in an all-or-nothing effort to win the war, both efforts failed.  The fighting between exhausted, demoralized troops continued to plod along until Germany, under Kaiser Wilhelm II, lost a number of individual battles and gradually had to fall back.  A deadly outbreak of influenza, meanwhile, took a heavy toll on soldiers of both sides. Eventually, the governments of both Germany and Austria-Hungary lost control of the war as both countries experienced multiple mutinies.

The war ended in the late fall of 1918, after the member countries of the Central Powers signed armistice agreements one by one.  Germany was the last, signing its armistice on November 11, 1918.

Kaiser Wilhelm, an ineffective war leader scorned by the public and the army for Germany’s worst defeat, abdicated the day before and fled into exile to the Netherlands.

As a result of the armistice agreements, Austria-Hungary was broken up into several smaller countries. Germany, under the Treaty of Versailles, was severely punished with hefty economic reparations, territorial losses, and strict limits on its rights to develop its military.

Many historians, in hindsight, believe that the Allies were excessive in their punishment of Germany and that the harsh Treaty of Versailles planted the seeds for World War II rather than foster an extended peace.

The treaty imposed steep war reparations payments on Germany and forced the country to bear the financial burden of the war.  Already stretched financially thin by the war, the additional economic burden caused enormous resentment.

Ultimately, extremist groups under the banner of patriotic nationalism– the Nazi Party under Adolph Hitler– were later able to exploit this humiliation and resentment, taking political control of the country in the decades following.

The well-researched video thesis above offers an alternative history and gives a different take of how World War I– the War to End All Wars– began 100 years ago.

By tracing the story backwards in time we stumble upon a very unexpected cause, and discover that sometimes the most harmless of inconsequential things can indeed have terrible consequences.

Cause and Effect– and how history repeats itself—is an important lesson for all of us to understand and remember, even in this modern day and age.

 

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I Think It’s Going to Rain Today

 

 

Rain, Blessed Rain, is Here

 

**Music VIDEO by Peter Gabriel**

 

 

Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
With frozen smiles to chase love away
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

Lonely, lonely
Tin can at my feet
Think I’ll kick it down the street
That’s the way to treat a friend

Bright before me the signs implore me
To help the needy and show them the way
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

 

* * * * * * * * *

We have rain in Humboldt.  Thank goodness. 
It’s a welcome relief and everyone is happy.  For now.
If it isn’t raining where you are, the message is the same.

Sung by Peter Gabriel, I Think It’s Going to Rain Today was written by Randy Newman.

 

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The Bored Kids on the Block

 

‘Daybreak’

 

**Award-Winning Short Film**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Daybreak is a beautifully horrific film about kids and their
pack behavior.

Surrounding the curiosity of a group of bored pre-teens in an affluent Montreal suburb, director Ian Lagarde captures the thought process and point of view of today’s kids with minimal dialogue.

The kids themselves carry the performance with a unique combination of maturity and innocence that lend itself toward the film’s success.  But what makes this film particularly special is Lagarde’s ability to capture the authenticity of the children’s point of view.

Based on Lagarde’s personal experience which he says “pretty much guided the narrative point by point,” he captures the social and sometimes violent dynamics of the pack.  They spend much of their time discovering limits and pushing one another to see how far they will go.  While there is clearly a leader, they seem to operate as fluidly as a collective in which general curiosity supersedes morality.

Lagarde says:

 “I didn’t want to make a moral film, I wanted to make something more subjective, from the kid’s point of view, shot at their height and concentrated on their faces.

I don’t think it even makes sense to judge an event of children based on morals.  I am way more interested in group dynamics and the loss of reason, or independent thought, in these contexts.”

 

Daybreak carries with it a distinct reality.  While the point of view is that of children, the film doesn’t focus on how an adult might perceive a child’s perspective.

Children aren’t aware that they think or behave like children, and Lagarde does a good job of staying true to the inner workings of a child’s mind. 

We’ve all had similar experiences during our childhood:  what it is like to push ourselves to the limits, watching others push themselves, and ultimately, knowing what it is like to get caught.

And without parents parenting and a community watching over us, we often find ourselves in trouble.

~Via Ian Lagarde, Short, and Vimeo

 

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Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson Speaks Out

 

The Duck Commander Quacketh On

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

He’s blunt, opinionated, and funny with a wry taciturn wit.

Phil Robertson, who first found wealth as the inventor of the Duck Commander duck calls and then fame as the patriarch of a clan of Louisiana duck hunters on A&E’s Duck Dynasty reality series, is no backwoods bumpkin.  

He’s a multi-millionaire with a master’s degree in education.  He’s also perhaps the best athlete ever to come out of the little town of Vivian, La.  He could been a pro football quarterback– but he left the game to start the family business.  Call it Duck Destiny.

The controversial pop culture uber-darling Robertson briefly answered some questions covering the gamut of correctness, politicians, parenting and religion, toning it down from previous interviews in anticipation of the release of his new book, unPHILtered: The Way I See It.

 

You’re not a fan of political correctness.

Phil Robertson:  Listen to the definition according to Noah Webster.  You gotta remember, right or wrong, I’m a guy who believes in Biblical correctness.  Political correctness is this according to Webster’s dictionary:  ’Conforming to what is regarded as orthodox liberal opinion on matters of sexuality, race etc.  Usually used disparagingly to connote dogmatism, and extreme sensitivity to minority causes’, so if you read the definition according to the Webster’s dictionary, it’s not real favorable.

It’s just liberal opinion and I’m like, ‘Well let me give you the Biblical view.’  I love all men and women on this earth, including by the way all the current terrorists who are lopping people’s heads off.  I would rather sit down and have a Bible study with ‘em and put ‘em to Jesus because he’s all about life and what they seem to be into, it’s all about death.  It’s just a sad situation we found ourselves in world wide.

You’ve got to remember, I’m not a preacher.  I’m just one guy living on the river looking around saying, ‘We might ought to try loving God and loving each other for a while and I think all these race problems would disappear.’  Of course, I have the Biblical view of marriage.  In the beginning, God made male and female and he said marriage is between the two, but I love all people.  I just give them the Biblical view.

The last thing I am is a man who hates people.

 

You’re talking about the GQ interview?

Robertson: If someone comes to you and walks in your living room like that guy did about a specific sin you say, well let me think about it.  Would I go to a medical textbook, a dictionary?

He asked about sin.  He asked did I think homosexual behavior was a sin.  I said, ‘Well, where would you go to find out about sin?’  In other words, what’s amazing is if he had asked, ‘Do you think stealing is a sin?’ I would have given him the same text.  If he would have asked, ‘Do you think drunkenness is a sin?’ I would have given him the same text.  

By the way, the news media didn’t even know it was a text for a week.  The text is First Corinthians nine and ten.  I just gave him what the apostle Paul said.  I don’t know what else I would have done in that situation.

 

You write that we the people are to blame for our politicians.

Robertson:  The people are at fault because we elect leaders and then we whine and bellyache.  My belief is we need spiritual men making political decisions.  I just think based on the Founding Fathers, you can read them at length, I was amazed at how godly and how they revered the Bible.

Somewhere between there and I’m sorry to say, my generation, we got here, we started smoking dope, tune in and turn out, make love not war.

There are about 90 to 100 million of us who claim Jesus.  The problem is only half of you register to vote and out of the half of you that registers to vote, only half of that group actually goes and votes.

Therefore, when you’re looking up there and griping and complaining about what you see in Washington D.C., you might as well shut up.  The reason they’re there is we’re putting them there.  If you don’t get anything else out of this, remember this — register to vote for crying out loud.

The bottom line is we have really screwed this thing up.  I just think we need to get back to what our Founding Fathers told us.  Get back to God, love our neighbor.

We’ve lost it folks.  We ran God out of our schools.  We ran him out of the entertainment business.  We ran him out of the news media.  We’ve run him out of the judiciary, and we’ve run him out of Washington D.C.  Well, what you get is what is left up there.  They’re ungodly.

By the way, I do have a master’s degree in education.  A lot of people keep calling me a backwards redneck.  I’m well read; I’m no dumbo.

I just think we’d be better off with Biblical principles, keeping our families intact.  I think the reason our TV show went ballistic is because people saw a family group, it’s all intact, no divorces and we all love one another and we thank God for being alive and our food, and amazingly in our time, the 21st century, it’s an aberration in-
stead of being normal.

You think about that, that’s pretty scary.

 

It would surprise some people to read that you and Kay didn’t raise your boys with a lot of rules.

Robertson:  We read the Bible.  All scripture is useful for teaching, for correcting, for rebuking, for training in righteousness.  So we trained our children in the Biblical ways.  There’s just one race here on planet earth kids, it’s called the human race…. Love is the greatest gift a human can have.

You’re right, very few rules.  Jason always says, ‘I love the way you raised us.  The only rule is there are no rules!’

I always say that some people are so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good.  There’s moderation and common sense.  We’re no prudes, like alcohol is the devil’s firewater.  We say, Jesus turned like 135 gallons of water into wine at a wedding so he’s making it for people to drink, so the bottom line is a person can have a glass of wine or beer, we’re not jumping up and down.  

Christianity is not as ruled and regulated as people would have you believe.

~Via Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty, 411/AETV, I Am Second and YouTube

 

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    Off the Charts   - The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities,  AARP, the AFL-CIO, Consumers Union, and ten other national organizations have written to the U.S. Trade Representative asking that Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs be excluded from the investor-state dispute settlement provisions of pending trade agreements. ISDS would give compani […]
  • Links: Action
    Action news How to plan your own Moral Monday Building peace teams Cellphone guide for protesters Why we need history   Corporations that have deserted the US for tax purposes  BURGER KINGBOYCOTTS Israel  Academic/Cultural Koch Brothers Nestle North Face Staples Walmart Monsanto   ACTIONS Detroit Water Brigade Moral Mondays Tar Sands protests Occupy ACLU Bad […]
  • Stats: Population growth
    CRAIG CRAWFORD […]