Five “Evil” Movie Presidents Who Would Win The 2016 Popular Vote

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This is the second time I’ve broken rank from my main party, and it will probably not be the last. When you vote independent, people will often tell you that you wasted your vote.  I’ve voted for the who I feel is the best candidate, and I did it with a clear conscious. I don’t apologize for being in the minority.

Voting for the lesser of two evils, as everyone else has been putting it, just doesn’t make sense to me.

Can an independent win? Not this year. Can an independent win in the future? Let’s hope so. Because the state of the two main parties are have made Saturday Night Live’s job way to easy.

Either way, many men and women have fought and suffered to give Americans the right to cast a vote. Regardless of your position, respect your country and cast a vote.

And now without further ado, those who could have won the 2016 Presidential Election.

5 – Donald Pleasance, Escape from New York, The President

“Well, I… I wanna thank them. This nation appreciates their sacrifice.” (while getting his makeup done)

4 – Martin Sheen, The Dead Zone, President Greg Stillson\

“The missiles are flying. Hallelujah, Hallelujah!”

3 – Donald Moffat, Clear and President Danger, President Bennett

“How dare you come into this office and bark at me like some little junkyard dog? I am the President of the United States!”

2 – Mel Brooks, Spaceballs, President Skroob

“Sanders! Sanders! You gotta help me, I don’t know what to do. I can’t make decisions, I’m a president!”

1 – Terry Crews, Idiocracy, President Camacho

“Now I understand everyone’s (expletive)’s emotional right now. But I’ve got a three point plan that’s going to fix EVERYTHING.”

 

Get Your Obit Life In Check If You Are Double Dipping

If you’ve ever worked a news desk, then you are quite familiar with seeing and hearing a lot of strange things. Some of the requests people have made for press releases and announcements are beyond baffling and usually comical. leroy-black-obit-9071e6e785ba07d8But this one…this one I wouldn’t even know what to say to these people aside from “Please don’t do this.”

But if you’re going to pay for the obit, the newspaper will certainly take your money. And the money of your wife and mistress.

Wife and Girlfriend Pay For Competing Obits

The Jon Snow Debacle; And When Ned Stark Wielded A Lightsaber

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            The Game of Thrones crowd, book readers and show watchers alike, feel as if their skin has been repeatedly flayed for the past week after He has risen in possibly the show’s least spectacular plot reveal.

No one can blame them.

Everyone’s favorite character – an assumed untouchable – was treated as a poor plot device for a season cliff hanger.

Jon Snow’s resurrection seemed so effortless by the red enchantress that it could not possibly satisfy the craving show watchers have had for months and book readers have had for years. It all seemed so unMartin-like. King George does not write like that, they cried. He is edgy and outside the box. Yet it was as old fashioned schlock as old fashioned schlock can get – predictable, rushed and pointless.

Try to understand why the audience was mad. It wasn’t because Jon Snow wasn’t dead – we all knew that – it was just we were expecting something more imaginative to have taken place.

Yet when it comes to storytelling, the fault was not in the resolution of the plot. It was the origin of the plot itself. (Forgive me for attempting to provide logic in a world of dragons and demon smoke babies.) Jon Snow’s resurrection didn’t make sense because his assassination didn’t make any sense. The Night’s Watch commitment to their sacred code of honor to wage war with the wildlings simply does not hold water politically once the wildlings had already crossed into Castle Black.

The invading Army of the Dead is real, and like winter, is coming. This is not a Jon Snow hallucination. Multiple crows saw the White Walkers first hand at Hardhome. It is impossible to fight that army without the legions of the Free Men. The need for allies and numbers should have deterred our celibate watchmen.

Crows still want to have a grudge? Then it has be dismissed after the wildlings were already in the compound. Because the only reason to keep the thousands of wildlings from killing the hundred or so of the Night’s Watch is Lord Commander Jon Snow.

Without him as a buffer, the Night’s Watch is as good as dead.

Cue large giant break down. Cue large giant smash soldiers. Cue overrunning of the castle.

And yet Allister Thorne is bewildered by this development.

“How could this happen! Why would these savages be so angry that we just murdered the man who saved them all from becoming ice slaves?”

We can’t even argue that the Knight’s Watch didn’t value their own lives and would greatly sacrifice their own to kill the traitor Lord Commander, because they all tossed their swords down the moment that Tormund was ready to start cracking skulls.

Politically, it all just didn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense. The only person who would not have this foresight and not understand the true ramifications would be a boy – say a boy whose family was murdered by the Free Folk. He would be blinded by revenge. He would not consider that Snow’s death would mean that the Crows would become meat for the wildlings. It was to meant to be done alone.

Ollie should have been the lone gunman.

This plot point was doomed from the start, unless the resurrection is not the end of the plot line, and that Snow has significantly changed since his eyes have reopened. Can episode three erase the bitterness the fans have feeling after two lackluster episodes, filled with several poorly executed murders of somewhat important yet forgettable characters?

The hierarchy at Game of Thrones may be starting to lose grasp on the show, not that it would prevent people from watching, but by leaving them frustrated and unfulfilled. Like most great shows, they eventually suffer from Lost Syndrome – when a show it so damn good and expectations are so damn high that the resolution rarely is near impossible to be clever enough to compare with the show’s earlier seasons. Then plotlines become desperate instead of imaginative. And then you end up in purgatory, time travel, or a deus ex machina which deviates far from the core of what the show once stood for.

Martin can save the day, right? He’s imaginative and creative, right? He’s got us this far. Right?

Well.

I’m not so sure if I buy that. Martin’s genius is probably that he’s made you think that he’s a genius. His dialogue is second to none for a fantasy novel, and he excels at very different point-of-view character writing styles, but he can often be extremely long winded in his descriptions while creating unnecessary chapters and plot points.

He is a master story teller before being a master wordsmith, which is not an insult, as most writers are usually one over the other. And because he is a master story teller, he understands that Jon Snow could have never died without the character finding out and reacting to his lineage. Game of Thrones prides itself as portraying its storylines as if it were real life and not a story, and in real life people die before they fulfill their story arcs, but here’s a secret. It is a story – and Jon Snow and Denaryius Targaryen aren’t going anywhere for the time being.

Don’t bet against Martin, you want to tell me. They killed Ned Stark. No one has ever done that before, right? No one has ever killed an older warrior in the beginning of a story to ignite fury and rage in the pupil, prompting them to create a crusade against evil. Right?

Well, a long time ago in a Westeros far, far away, there was another Ned Stark who was not so eager to rush into battle yet was mentoring a reckless yet humble youth. His death would not stark spark a war, as it was already in motion, but instead add a personal touch to it a character worth following sets to avenge his master’s death.

Give me movie editing software and let me add ten more minutes of face time and a riveting speech about the evil of Galactic Empire, and you have Obi Won Stark. What is dead in the Force may never die.

Ben Kenobi’s pupil has been split in half, as the innocence of Luke is portrayed by Jon Snow while the rage of the angry, black cloaked Jedi who tore down Jabba’s palace is portrayed by Rob, The King of the North. As for Luke’s sister, Leia’s feistiness and aggressiveness (Arya) yet ladylike courtesies (Sansa) are still in play as well.

Maybe I’m reaching. But it’s not like there are twins who kiss in both stories. (mic drop).

Martin’s true ingenuity and deviation from standard storytelling is how he does not regularly allow the characters the revenge the deserve. That is his true power. The Joffreys, Balon Greyjoys and Roose Boltons all get the justice they deserve, just the man or woman who passes the judgment rarely gets to swing the sword.

So while I’ve defended the resurrection scene (which is really a backhanded compliment because the plot line to kill him was so weak), today is the day we find out just what exactly Martin has up his sleeve when it comes to Jon Snow.

If he has returned as the same character who made us cringe when he was betrayed that cold stormy night at Castle Black, then Martin has failed us. But if a new character has emerged with different motivations and function in the story, then Martin wins. And we should not be shocked. It is simply good old fashioned story telling at its finest.

 

We Have Learned Nothing From Gary Hart

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This election has left me wondering at what point do we just stop trying to have presidential debates.

Does anyone say anything of value? Does anyone actually pitch a detailed plan about how to move America forward? All I see is a platform to speak about catch phrases and political attacks. Politicians often talk more about their opponents’ faults than their own qualifications.

“Don’t vote for that person because they did A and B. That’s a lot worse than I have done. So clearly, I am your best choice.”

The substance is missing.

I’m not going to just blame the politicians. A lot of this is our fault. Our as in me and you – the journalist and the reader/viewer. You don’t care to listen or read it, so we don’t care to present it to you.

Bernie Sanders is a socialist. (Well at least we are consistent, because isn’t Obama supposed to be a Communist?)  Donald Trump is a racist. Hillary Clinton is a liar and an elitist. Ted Cruz (apparently has an ugly wife) and is a womanizer.

So it goes.

That’s all most of us know about this election. And the fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings… said a wise political assassin a long time ago.

It’s easier to follow the election this way, and make a decision based on Twitter feeds. Because it essentially absolves us of all responsibility from the actions of our newly appointed leader. Because we can then say with honesty that we didn’t know any better.

While smear campaigns have existed since Jefferson and Adams turned on each other, the first one I remember as a child was Gary Hart.

The following column by Yahoo columnist Matt Bai, Are We Getting The Leaders We Deserve, had me thinking about Hart, and his infamous speech that has been forgotten about.

I was a kid when his scandal hit. I didn’t know anything about him except that he apparently had an affair with a younger woman. This apparently disqualified him from running the United States of America.

His speech was supposed to be one that reeked in shame and begged for forgiveness. Instead, the true nature of the speech may have predicted the shenanigans of upcoming Presidential races. I’ll leave it to you to see if his theories ring true.

Sadly, his speech was lambasted by the press, because he asked for some media accountability. The public fired back, stating to nearly every national outlet in polls that he had been treated unfairly and that his infidelity should not have been the focus of the media coverage – because frankly, aside from his wife and family – who cares?

Apparently, the media didn’t listen.

I take a lot of pride in an industry that holds its own to standards. The media is one of those fortunate businesses that can criticize those of its own who are not holding up their end, unlike so many other professions who are chained to their unions. Yet this time, we dropped the ball big time, and we can’t be ashamed to admit it.

Front page stories - clearly in order of importance.
Front page stories – clearly in order of importance.

Personally, I can care less whether a politician has inhaled. Or cheated on his or her wife. Or any of the other nonsense. The President’s job is not one of a choir boy. Let’s top pretending we need to elect one.

The nature of the coverage presented by the media, and craved by audiences, is now a four year loop of pointless scandals that decide who is be the leader of the greatest country in the world.

You deserve to have better information presented to you. We should be doing better in our coverage.

We deserve to be writing and presenting better stories. You owe it to us to demand more and not be making decisions based on Saturday Night Live sketches.

Mike Tyson Overflow

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Thank you everyone for your comments and support in regard to the Mike Tyson piece published last month. Some have asked about some other sections that didn’t make the cut or some other interactions with some fighters. Sometimes, to keep the narrative churning, you have make some tough cuts.

I spoke with Chuck Wepner and Ray Mercer. Unfortunately, I did not get to speak to Bernard Hopkins. I actually had no idea he was at the event until he got on the microphone.

So for those that didn’t get enough of Tyson in their diet…

Chuck Wepner is holding court in front of a dozen onlookers at the Venetian ballroom near the honored guest table. The 6’5 bruiser can’t take two steps without someone reaching for his paw and pleading for a photo. With every request, he offers a quick-witted compliment while the wives of his admirers struggle with the camera zoom.

A fan introduces himself and grabs the Bayonne Bleeder’s right hand, the same one that crunched Muhammed Ali’s ribs and forced him to canvas nearly 40 years ago. He whispers in his ear, “You sparred with my brother, Chuck.”

“Hell of a fighter, your brother,” Chuck answers quickly to the unidentifiable face. “I hope he didn’t hurt me too bad.”

I approach. He is huge. I have been around 6’5 athletes before, but I’m in awe of how imposing he is and how big his hands are.

“Give me a buzz. We’ll put something together,” Chuck says as he tosses me his business card for his liquor distribution business. His fight with Ali in 1975 was the inspiration for the movie Rocky. He sounds intrigued in my history of New Jersey boxing book. The flipside of the card is a picture of Chuck, standing over a crumpled Ali. Few men ever have a photo taken of themselves toppling Goliath.

***

“Hey Merce, you need to meet Mike,” his former trainer shouts as my eyes find a mountain known as Ray Mercer. Now in his early fifties, the former WBO champion is still imposing. Mercer was bull in the ring. Fierce. Mean. Everything a crowd craves of a heavyweight. A scene of scavenging zombies feasting in the Walking Dead is more pleasant than watching Mercer’s savage knockout of the recently deceased Tommy Morrison.

The last time he was in a ring, he was actually competing in mixed martial arts. He was fighting former UFC heavyweight giant Tim Sylvia for the Adrenaline MMA promotion. Sylvia was another ominous monster who could be outwrestled in an MMA ring, but not knocked out. Never knocked out.

It took “Merce” a mere nine seconds to nearly behead him.

He approaches me with a warming grin. He is a gentleman and I wish I had more time with him. I want to discuss his controversial title losses to Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. Many people think he won those fights. He’s clearly in a different place, and his friends tell me they are not sure if those losses even matter to him anymore, or if they even ever did. He talks about his charity, findadream.org, and reminds me that being a success in life is about helping children and providing positive influences in their lives. His sincerity is genuine, yet I can’t stop grinning, thinking about Sylvia’s head flying into the stands.

***

When I think of Mike Tyson, I think of June 27, 1988, and the Convention Hall in Atlantic City. I think of the scowl he wore to the ring against Michael Spinks. I think of being a young boy frightened by the monster.

Spinks chose the ever-intimidating “This is it” – a collaboration from Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. It is if the lamb could not pick a better theme for his slaughter.

Tyson’s music was not actual music. It was just pulsating noises and crashes. He wasn’t wearing a robe. He didn’t look at the crowd. His eyesight was on only what was in front of him as he stormed down the aisle. The WBA, WBC or IBF belts were nowhere near him. Plain black shorts and plain black socks. He was all business.

The destruction took ninety-one seconds. After a few uppercuts, Spinks never fought again, and the title was unified. This is the epitome of Tyson’s career in New Jersey, as far as I’m concerned.

Tyson continues to stare at me. I can’t move. I debate telling him that I’m not crazy about Ali. I’m actually a Joe Frazier kind-of-guy. I’ve always been in Smokin’ Joe’s corner. Then I remember there are consequences for spitting in a pit bull’s eye.