Friday, August 29, 2014

HIMYM (Requiem).

I have spent a lot of time thinking about it and I have decided that I am okay with the way that How I Met Your Mother ended … you know, 5 months ago. It wasn’t great and it deserved to be better, but it was no basket of onion rings, you know.

That’s probably all I’m ever going to say about that.

Except - I will say - regardless of how it ended, there’s always this.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thoreau, Howard Zinn, and My Bad Day.

I had kind of a crappy day and so I am just going to write a little bit.

Don’t feel obligated to read any of this. I don’t even know what it will turn out to be yet, but I have some time, I have Posrtishead going in the background and I have a little bit of nice cool white wine. Let’s see what happens.

I always feel the need to preface posts about my troubles by saying that: YES, I understand that I am not a tax collector in Mogadishu. YES, I understand that I am not getting gunned down by racist cops. YES, I understand that I am not getting beheaded in the desert. YES, I understand that the problems of two people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. YES. I KNOW.

But I think it was Graham Greene who said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation” and that has always inspired me to not be quiet about it!

It wasn’t actually Graham Greene by the way, it was Henry David Thoreau who wrote that in Civil Disobedience, but I always feel kind of pretentious quoting Thoreau because he was a pretty pretentious dude. Don’t get me wrong, I think he was well-intentioned and I think he had some good ideas, but I also imagine that he was an insufferable prick. As I understand it, that cabin he lived in was on Emerson’s land and people used to walk right up to the cabin to bring him food and wine and hang out at night. During the day is when he would write about being alone and an individual. But I have no desire to pick on Thoreau. If anything I’m sympathetic. He did his work and died a century before anyone much cared about it.

I don’t know why I’m more comfortable attributing that quote to Graham Greene. I’ve only ever read one of his books. I know that he worked for MI6 during WWII and maybe that is why I have such an affinity for him; I love those Brit spies. I know that he did actually write, “Despair is the price one pays for setting oneself an impossible aim.” That’s rich coming from a man who was both a spy and a novelist (those are - in my humble opinion - the only worthwhile professions), a critically and popularly successful writer who was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in literature.

The Nobel Prize - BTW - is named for Alfred Nobel the Swedish industrialist who, among other things, invented dynamite and made his fortune manufacturing cannons and other various weaponry. There’s some irony in the fact that the medal placed around the necks of Nobel Peace Prize winners bears the face of the man who also basically thought up the torpedo.

How strange is it that someone had to invent the torpedo? I have only lived in a world where it existed. Doesn’t it just seem like a forgone conclusion? For fun I sometimes think about how funny it would be to suddenly be transported 200 or 300 years into the past. I imagine a character who would seem like a fricken’ genius if he fell backward through time with no special knowledge of technology other than what one picks up just going about contemporary life.

When I was younger and living in the long, dusty San Joaquin Valley of California I used to kill some of my spare time by driving around the empty country outside of town and imagining conversations I might have with Thomas Jefferson. He would say something like, “I demand to know what sort of self-propelled vehicle we are traveling in!” and then I would have to explain to him what a car is.

ME: … and it runs on gasoline.
THOMAS JEFFERSON: What is this ‘gasoline’ of which you speak?
ME: It is basically just oil.
ME: No, of course not whale oil. Get your head out of your ass Thomas Jefferson.

We would prattle on like that for hours. In retrospect, I probably should have imagined that I was riding around with Benjamin Franklin. I love me some Thomas Jefferson, but it seems that he was a far too complicated and contradictory a man to just have a joy ride with. And I’m not just talking about the outsized contradiction of the slave owner who wrote “all men are created equal”. No, I am talking about the wild insanity of a man who took the Bible, cut out with a razor all the parts he didn’t like, rearranged the stuff he did like, and then published it calling it the “Jefferson Bible”. In his defense, he was smart enough to know not to publish it while he was alive.

The point being that Jefferson may have been brilliant, but he also kinda seems like a haunted and hypocritical pain in the ass.

Now Ben Franklin on the other hand, he seems like a man I could hang out with. Most days I walk to work and I always end up having to wait for the light right here at the corner of Zelzah Ave and Devonshire (the intersection of two pretty busy streets) and while I wait there, I often find myself hearing Ben Franklin in the back of my head:

BEN FRANKLIN: What is that?
ME: That, Benjamin Franklin, is a street light.
BEN FRANKLIN: What is a streetlight for?
ME: It controls the flow of traffic through the intersection.
BEN FRANKLIN: Who is operating this street light?
ME: No one, it works automatically.
BEN FRANKLIN: No one is operating it?
ME: Nope.
BEN FRANKLIN: But everyone does what it tells them anyway?
ME: Yep.
BEN FRANKLIN: But if no one is controlling it ... what if the street light is wrong?
ME: Look Ben Franklin you’re blowing my mind a little bit right now. Could you stop?
BEN FRANKLIN: What is THAT?! Up there!
ME: That’s an airplane.
BEN FRANKLIN: What is an airplane?
ME: It’s that thing you’re pointing at.

I think that anybody who could just invent the Post Office probably had enough mental alacrity to enjoy discovering the modern world with me. Although - I realize now - that wasn’t actually what I said before. Before I was talking about a modern person going backward through time, but here I have wasted all of this time talking about founding fathers springing forward through time. Sorry about that!

We were talking about the inevitability of the invention of the torpedo, I think. If Nobel hadn’t thought them up then someone else surely would have. There is a hilarious section in the foreword to the Daily Show book America that deals with this issue. That foreword is - coincidentally - “written” by Thomas Jefferson and it goes something like this:

Yes, we were very accomplished. We discovered electricity, invented stoves, bifocals, the lazy susan, efficient printing presses, and the swivel chair. But in the 18th century it was nearly impossible not to invent something. “What if we put refuse in a receptacle?” “Oh my God you just invented a sanitation system!” We lived in primitive times. Hell, I shit in a bucket and I was the president.

That America book is actually pretty fabulous. It is styled to look like a high school civics or history textbook. When I was doing my undergrad I actually used it as a source once. I was writing a paper on Nathaniel Hawethorne’s The Scarlet Letter and in a section discussing America’s religious history I pulled the line “The Pilgrims were searching for the freedom to practice the most stultifyingly oppressive brand of Christianity ever known to man.” (Stewart 18)

I got an A on the paper and in the class. I figured I could get away with it because I don’t think that professor did more than skim the papers. He had done his dissertation on the works of Thomas Pynchon, he liked to try to make himself seem cool by talking about all of the drugs he had done, and I know atleast one girl who swears her grades started to improve the shorter her skirts got. That is all to say that this guy found himself to be far too fancy and important to be interested in my paper about The Scarlet Letter.

Once you have picked up the America book, you should then check out Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the Unites States. Not because it is funny - it is actually one of the most horrifying things I have ever read - but because it is so hard to read that we begin to understand that the snide and glib humor of America - and the Daily Show generally - is actually just a defense mechanism against how truly gut wrenchingly vile America’s history is. If you have not come across Howard Zinn before, then you just need to know that he does meticulous research and he brings a post-colonial sensibility to America’s story. For instance, America would not stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific were it not for greedy opportunists, patriotic fundamentalists, and more than a few bloodthirsty racists. You do not get the America that we live in today without murdering a fuckload of native Americans - is Zinn’s point - and we shouldn’t be so casual about sweeping our dirty history under the flag.

I’m explaining this poorly. Zinn deserves a better write-up then that. Remind me to come back to him when I can really dedicate some time.

I actually had to draw on some of my Howard Zinn knowledge yesterday. My semester has started and I am teaching another one of those Supplemental Instruction classes. Basically my students are in what once would have been called a “remedial” English class. We go to their freshman English class together and then afterward they spend another hour with me and I help them work through everything they’re supposed to be learning. Sometimes that means workshopping their essays, sometimes that means leading a discussion about certain readings, sometimes that just means answering their questions about STDs and what the fuck is going on in Iraq. Well this week they’re reading an essay by Sherman Alexie. He’s a well-known Native American writer. The essay is called “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me”. It is a pretty good personal narrative essay wherein he recounts his falling in love with books. He makes a lot of references to growing up on an indian reservation and several oblique references to the low expectations placed on his socioeconomic group, but he doesn’t give any of the history! He writes to an audience that already knows what Manifest Destiny was. So I spent a while yesterday explaining - for the benefit of my Kuwaiti students and my Chinese students and my Indonesian students - what exactly he meant by “reservation” and what exactly “Wounded Knee” was. I tried to be as straight with them as I could, because it is college and that’s when you’re supposed to learn that everything you have ever been taught is a lie. One of my students grew up in Glendale and she claims to have never heard the term “Manifest Destiny” before, so it was probably a good thing we covered it.

But that was yesterday. Yesterday I felt okay. Today I have felt less okay. Some of it is money stress; I’m about to drop half of my current net worth on car repairs and maintanance and that doesn’t feel very good. I also had kind of a rough day personally. Nothing we need to talk about here, but I felt sort of lonely. Not just lonely, but forced into the corner of loneliness by someone close to me. That may have been unintentional on her part, but it falls into a pattern of behavior that at this point is so long that the future of it is completely statistically predictable. So that brought on some deep thoughts of the un-Jack Handey sort and that was no fun.

But look at all this stuff I have written in an effort to duck my own feelings tonight! It sure is a lot of STUFF! And I do feel better now than when I sat down to start writing. Writing is always a kind of therapy for me and this blog is the couch that I lay on. This stuff would all be terribly embarrassing for me - my inability to process emotion in a healthy way, my inability to describe Howard Zinn properly, etc. - were it not for that fact that no one reads this thing except for South Korea Guy and he probably only comes here because he reasonably assumes that “standardkink,com” should be a porn blog.

Although … if you get off on the self-involved navel-gazing of an over-read, self-indulgent would-be writer, then I guess this is a kind of porn blog after all.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The 124 Minutes of The Jackal, Or: Bruce Willis and His Hair.

The 1997 assassination opus “The Jackal” just popped up on Hulu and I got so excited that I almost peed myself a little. Now let me be clear here: I have a whole lot of things I should be doing right now, but I just reorganized my to-do list and ranked everything in terms of its priority status and you know what seems to have ended up on the top of my list? Yeah, that’s right:

#1 Thing To Do: Watch “The Jackal”

For those of you not familiar with this cinematic marathon of Bruce Willis hair pieces, it would be my great pleasure to tell you about it!

First, the movie is loosely based on the 1971 thriller novel by Frederick Forsyth called “The Day of The Jackal”. I have actually read that book and it is actually pretty good. That is about a plot to assassinate Charles de Gaulle. The hired assassin is a steely, calculating Brit who goes by the nom de guerre “The Jackal”. Forsyth took great pains to make everything about that novel as accurate as it could be, from the way The Jackal acquires a fake identity to the way that he meticulously researches his target. That’s the first part of the book, there’s another section that focuses on the manhunt to find and stop him. It’s all very fun stuff. It is worth noting that in the 1997 film the cost of a high-profile assassination is $70 million. In the book it was $500,000, or not quite enough money to buy you a one bedroom apartment in modern Manhattan. Inflation is a real bitch that way.

The film I am watching right now attempts to deal in some similar assassin methodology territory and does a pretty good job considering that it is a movie and doesn’t have as much room to stretch its legs as a novel.

But that’s not what makes this movie great.

The story was very much revamped for the late 1990s. The FBI is working in Russia with the MVD to combat organized crime, a Russian mobster’s brother gets killed during an arrest and in an act of way-over-the-top revenge, the mobster hires The Jackal to kill a prominent American (for most of the movie we aren’t 100% sure who he is supposed to kill). But that’s also not why its fun.

It is fun because the FBI here is embodied by none other than Sydney Fucking Poitier. Yeah, they somehow got Academy Award winner, Golden Globe winner, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire Sidney “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” Poitier to be involved in this crapfest. And you know what he spends most of his time doing? Solving crime with Richard Gere! Oh yeah, did I not mention that Richard Gere is in it? Oh he’s so in it, playing former IRA sharpshooter Declan Mulqueen. And get this ladies: he has (when he remembers to do it) an Irish lilt. Charming and roguish, he agrees to help Sidney Poitier track down the assassin Bruce Willis on the promise that Sydney will help get him sprung from the American prison where he has been incarcerated for making “Autumn in New York” or something like that.

Interesting historical aside here: By the late ‘90s The Troubles in Northern Ireland had largely subsided due to a couple of ceasefires, but they would flare up now and again in the form of public bombings. There is a fairly dumb exchange in the movie wherein Irish Richard Gere (IRG) explicitly explains that he was a sniper and he was NEVER part of the IRA bombing campaigns, “THAT WAS NOT MY WAR!” he yells at Sydney Poitier who is busy collecting his check from the producers. This is interesting because in order for IRG to be our hero he needs to be absolved of all that blowing-the-legs-off-innocent-British-children stuff that the IRA used to do (or so says Hollywood screenwriting logic). For a marginally more nuanced version of Hollywood’s discomfort with the IRA check out 1994’s “Blown Away” with Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones, or for a surprisingly boring look at the whole issue watch 1997’s “The Devil’s Own” where Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt lovingly watch each other engage in some real ‘capital A’ acting. Come to think of it, you could also watch 1992’s “Patriot Games” also with Harrison Ford. In that movie Harrison Ford plays Tom Clancy’s American cross between James Bond and an accountant: the one and only former Marine Dr. Jack Ryan. “One and only” is a joke here because he has been played now by four actors (Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine) in a series of Clancy adaptations that have completely and inexorably fucked the timeline of the books so badly that for 2014’s “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” they just had to make up some new shit completely unrelated to any of the novels. I have not seen that one yet, but I will snap it up the moment it hits Netflix because I refuse to pay to see crappy action movie in the theater and because:

1) Chris Pine seems to be a capable actor despite being so good looking that I would like to see him get hit in the face by a bird while riding a roller coaster (Fabio reference!). I heard that his “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” was astoundingly good and, for better or worse, he does a pretty good Captain Kirk.

2) Kiera Knightley is in it and I - like everyone - have had a crush on her since “Love Actually”.

3) Kenneth Branagh directed it and I have apparently become a Kenneth Branagh apologist on account of he made the best Hamlet that anyone ever has, though he also made “Thor” and I don’t care what anyone says, that was just a dumb movie.

4) Kevin Costner is in it. Long-time readers of this blog know that I have a love/hate relationship with Kevin Costner. Actually, let me clarify: I LOVE to HATE Kevin Costner. He is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad actor, but he’s SO BAD that I can not tear myself away from him. He is - and I have never said this to anyone before - worse than Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio PUT TOGETHER. Those guys WISH they had Costner’s flat delivery and insufferable smugness. Like seriously, if you have not seen the Costner opus “The Guardian” then I insist that you stop reading this blog RIGHT NOW and go watch it. It is a drama about US Coastguard rescue divers and it also stars Ashton Kutcher. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a critic score of 37% and an audience score of 81%. It is one of those rare films where - when I saw it in the theater in 2006 - I was crying from laughter and the person next to me was crying because of how much it had touched her. We shared tissue but literally nothing else bound us together.

But alas, I need to start un-digressing here. First I will un-digress back to IRA movies.  If you’re actually interested in watching a useful movie about this stuff then go find the Liam
Neeson vehicle “Michael Collins” where he plays the man who started the IRA. For my money it is both a legit good movie and a pretty good primer for everything that would happen in Northern Ireland for the rest of the 20th century. Writer/director Neil Jordan (who also made “The Crying Game”) crafts some moments that still haunt me a little bit. It also stars Aidan Quinn (arguably the Chris Pine of his day), and Alan Rickman in a post-Die Hard/pre-Snape role that is surprisingly rich and nuanced considering how little screen time he gets. Julia Roberts is also in it. Remember how after “Pretty Woman” she was in a bunch of “serious” movies (I’m looking at you “Mary Reilly”, “Dying Young”, and “Sleeping with the Enemy”)?

I shall now un-digress back to the matter at hand: Bruce Willis’s hair.

As the international man of mystery known only as “The Jackal” he is very cautious and he changes his identities frequently as he globetrots and makes preparations for the assassination. One moment Bruce Willis is a suave jet-setting business man who speaks in a Don Draper-esque gravel. Other times he is a stringy haired blonde surfer dude. Sometimes he is a sweaty, bespeckled Canadian businessman. A few times he has kitten-soft, angel-like blonde hair that makes him seem as though he could be a cross between Patrick Bateman’s mentor and a Great White shark.

The absolute best though are the couple of scenes when The Jackal adopts a gay persona in order to seduce a mark in Washington D.C. That persona is played with such a smirk that it becomes so meta that it is like the whole point of filmmaking collapses for a second through some event horizon of what-the-fuck-is-going-on-here? Because we can’t tell if it is Bruce Willis having a little fun, or if it is the actor Bruce Willis imagining a stone-cold killer who thinks that he is doing his best gay impersonation, or if the character of The Jackal is actually releasing some homosexual subtext and so that smirk is actually some sort of pleasure. These are very complicated scenes, but in reality it is probably just Bruce Willis fucking with our idea of him the same way he did on “Friends” or in “The Whole Nine Yards” or in “Ocean’s 12”.

Now I do not know if the team in charge of Bruce Willis’s hair won any awards for their work, but I hope that they did. I would hate for this blog post to be the only place where they are honored.

After all of that, there isn’t much else to say about the movie. Irish Richard Gere’s love interest of sorts is a former Basque separatist. I know that Basque nationalism is a thing, but I always find it kind of silly. I always imagine them as the separatists that all the other world separatists just pat lovingly on the head and then ignore.

Pre-fame Jack Black is in the movie briefly and that makes me sad because I always go, “Oh yeah … I remember Jack Black. He was funny there for awhile, once.” (Take note Russell Brand and save your money.)

J.K. Simmons is in it too, sadly “The Jackal” was made before people knew how funny he is. He plays like an FBI agent or something.

There is a climactic and ridiculous scene at the end of the movie when The Jackal’s plot is finally assembled and he has what is basically a Polish anti-aircraft gun in the back of a minivan on a DC street and he is directing the gun by remote control using a laptop that is - get this - plugged into a cell phone! This was some whizz-bang shit back in 1997!  You also get to see Irish Richard Gere fast rope out of a Super Stallion helicopter and run around on rooftops with some heavily-armed Army guys, which is all silly and delightful in its own right.

Sidney “In the Heat of the Night” Poitier saves the target of assassination at the very last millisecond by dashing across a stage and tackling her just as The Jackal’s anti-aircraft gun begins shredding an entire building in a way that probably looked pretty apocalyptic to a pre-9/11 moviegoing audience.

I don’t think I’m giving anything away by telling you that Bruce Willis dies at the end of the movie. It is all but inevitable though because during the chase scene when Irish Richard Gere pursues him through the subway tunnels of Washington D.C., his otherwise unflappable blond hair has become disheveled. It is actually quite sad in a somewhat existential way, to see this iceman character of The Jackal sweaty and cornered and in need of a good mani-pedi. It is as if the spirit animal of his hair has abandoned him.

In the shockingly bad 1985 James Bond movie “A View to A Kill”, Christopher Walken played the villain Max Zorin who sported similarly spectacular blond locks and in an interview years later he said (I’m paraphrasing here), “That was my subtext in every scene. I would be saying my lines, but really what I was saying was ‘Do you like my hair?’.”  

And so - his hair all a mess - the Jackal dies there at the end of the movie and is later buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave near a landfill.

I would be remiss here if I didn’t mention that the movie “The Jackal” actually has a pretty good late-90s “electronica” soundtrack: Fatboy Slim and Moby just before they broke into the mainstream, a Goldie remix of the Bush song “Swallowed”, not to mention Ani DiFranco, The Prodigy, and Massive Attack, and a Black Grape song called “Get Higher” with samples from Ronald Reagan speeches.

The title sequence is also impressive. Basically it is like watching a three minute visual documentary that gives you a hundred years of Russian history. I think it was done by the same people who did the title sequence to “The Island of Dr. Moreau”, but don’t even get me started on that movie. I really have a lot to say about that one.

FUN FACT: It has taken me the exact 124 minute running length of “The Jackal” to write this blog post about “The Jackal”. Both I, and it, are done now.


My Hair is My Subtext.

Because I just can’t help myself, here is a picture of Christopher Walken as Max Zorin in  “A View to A Kill”. Look at that luxurious hair! Eat your heart out skinny Val Kilmer.


Saturday, August 23, 2014


The editors here at standardkink are pleased to inaugurate a new occasional Q&A series that we’re calling “ASK AN ASTROPHYSICIST!” Some of the questions we receive here are too complicated for our staff to answer and so he have worked out a first-of-its-kind partnership program with JPL and the California Institute of Technology whereby ACTUAL ASTROPHYSICISTS will answer your questions. We are very excited about this. Please read on.


Submitted by Frederick Thomas Paper, Dentist
What is the name of that thing called - you know - when electromagnetic radiation moves toward a lower energy state on a longer wavelength?

ASTROPHYSICIST: I believe you’re attempting to describe red shift.

Submitted by Stober M. Zipfain, Dental Assistant
So how did you guys fake the moon landing?

ASTROPHYSICIST: That actually happened.

Submitted by Stober M. Zipfain, Dental Assistant
Yeah, sure, but really though?

ASTROPHYSICIST: Look, I didn’t work here then.

Submitted by William Blake Wilsoncraft, Orthodontist
Did you ever see Capricorn One? I think that’s a pretty accurate guess at how they would fake something like that.

ASTROPHYSICIST: Isn’t that the movie where O.J. Simpson plays an astronaut? I can’t imagine anything about that being accurate.

Submitted by Helen Glass-Skapskin, Dental Hygienist
What, are you a racist or something? What about Neil deGrasse Tyson?

ASTROPHYSICIST: No, I am not a racist. I just meant that it would take an unreasonable suspension of disbelief to accept O.J. Simpson as an astronaut. I have nothing but respect for Dr. Tyson.

Submitted by Wade Wayne Wammerson, Dental Technician
Did you ever hear that joke about what do you call a black astronaut?

ASTROPHYSICIST: I’m not going to answer that.

Submitted by Craig “the Craigbot” Botterman, Dental Therapist
I have not heard that joke, what is the punchline?

ASTROPHYSICIST: Okay, look, I was told that these would be questions related to physics.

Submitted by Angeline Trethewey, Oral Surgeon
How come all of the characters on Big Bang Theory are white?

ASTROPHYSICIST: I’m pretty sure one of them is Indian and a couple of them are Jewish. Are any of these questions actually going to be about physics? Or any kind of science? Any kind of science would be fine.

Submitted by Jerome J. Ithica, Periodontist
My question relates to paleontology: which sort of dinosaur did Jesus ride? My mother says it was a Stegosaurus, but I think it had to have been a Brontosaurus. Which of us is correct?

ASTROPHYSICIST: Okay, you guys are just fucking with me now, right?

Submitted by Hedwin Clarke Naimerk, Dental Lab Technician
Who would win in a fight between one unicorn-sized leprechaun and a hundred leprechaun-sized unicorns?

ASTROPHYSICIST: Yeah, I’m done with this.


Please don’t forget to follow us here at standardkink so that you won’t miss the next instalment of ASK AN ASTROPHYSICIST!


Language Ambiguity.

I heard on the radio today that an animal rights group has lodged a complaint against the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, accusing them of euthanizing healthy animals too quickly.

In my brain I immediately thought: “Those sick twisted animal rights bastards! What? Do they want these poor, sad, homeless animals to be killed more slowly? Starved? Left exposed on mountainsides?” I realize now that what they meant was that the the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control should wait longer before euthanizing them.
Language ambiguity is fun!
Also, please remember to have your pets spayed and neutered.


LAPD Horse Conspiracy.

As I’ve mentioned before, I live in LA. Some people would say that I don’t, that I actually live in the San Fernando Valley. I would never say that I live in Los Angeles, because that is a city with boundaries (I used to live down there a few years ago), but I have come to find that “LA” is a more generalized term that refers to most of this mess south of Santa Clarita and north of Long Beach. I guess. That’s a pretty nebulous area and I’m not even sure that I agree with those borders. I used to say that LA was anything south of the Grapevine and north of Camp Pendleton, but I don’t think that’s quite right either. It is a hard thing to pin down. I don’t love living here, but I have learned to enjoy it. If you have your own thoughts about what and where LA is then please email them to

I mention that I live in LA only so as to explain that I end up hearing a lot of local news when I listen to NPR and recently there was a great half-scandal concerning the chief of the LAPD. His name is Charlie Beck and he got in some trouble because the department bought a horse from his daughter in a possibly unethical way. Now I could not let a horse scandal go un-researched, so I looked into it a little more. Basically though it isn’t so much a scandal about a horse, but rather it is mostly about whether or not Beck lied about his involvement in the whole thing (He totally lied, BTW), but I quickly lost interest because none of the articles I read included interviews with horses. You can read all about it here.

So none of this is very interesting, right? No way to make a movie-of-the-week out of this, right? Well what if I told you that LAPD chief Charlie Beck looks a whole lot like Tom Selleck? Yeah, now you’re interested.

This is Charlie Beck.

This is Tom Selleck.

This is a picture of Tom Selleck dressed as a police chief (Or is it?)

This is a picture of Chief Charlie Beck dressed as General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

This is actually a picture of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Just kidding! That’s Harry Truman.)

This is a picture of Tom Selleck if his body were to rotate around his face.

This is a picture of Chief Beck, as rendered by a police cake-sketch artist.

Now what if I tell you that I am NOT THE ONLY ONE to have noticed this? The LAist was on this back in 2009. (Only I didn’t know that until just now while I was googling for pictures of Tom Selleck).

I don’t have a theory worked out for this whole thing yet, but I will say that it is quite a coincidence that Charlie Beck and his family have horses and that Tom Selleck has been seen riding horses, but has never been seen with Beck.

I’m going to look into this some more. I’ll shake some trees and see what falls out. If you don’t hear from me again … well then you’ll know why ...