Spared or Spoiled Movie Reviews: Captain Fantastic

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Captain Fantastic (Bleecker StreetUniversal Pictures)

captain-fantastic-poster

Written & Directed by Matt Ross

Starring Viggo MortensenFrank LangellaKathryn Hahn & Steve Zahn

Philosophical and intellectual plot holes in abundance but Captain Fantastic is still a pretty good film. No really it is.

Captain Fantastic is the story of a family that has lived for years off the grid. Self-sufficient. Healthy and happy. Until family tragedy (the mother’s mental illness and death) forces them to rejoin the world, begrudgingly and hysterically. This is a fish out of water family. Who clearly benefit from healthy living and minimized technological distractions. But the children have no experience with modern society and very few social skills while at the same time being capable, confident, and extremely intelligent. It is a great movie. And in between yelling at it for being wrong about so many things, I liked it… I guess.

Verdict: SPARED

captain-fantastic

The kids of Captain Fantastic are all amazing. (great actors and great characters) The idea is… interesting (I use that word a lot). The kids in this movie are all smarter than me (or is that smarter than I?). I really liked how bright the children are. I liked how well-trained they were for survival. But any well-rounded training would also include etiquette and social discourse. So I felt this was a tremendous plot hole. And any reading list would include books about human interaction (at least Dale Carnegie’s How to…). But the most egregious plot hole is that they call the mother a Buddhist throughout the film and yet her children know very little about Buddhist philosophy. I guess that part of the curriculum is forgotten.

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The “hippie” movement is made fun of quite a lot. And becomes a running joke throughout the film. They make fun of the idea of celebrating Noam Chomsky’s birthday. (HOLES!!!) I did enjoy the joke about not making fun of fat people (Americans are a fat and sickly population and it’s not a joke). But the children are told that it’s okay to make fun of Christians. Then they pretend to be ultra-religious Christian home-schooled kids to scare off police who come snooping around their bus. That was genius. But if you’re strongly Christian you might find that as annoying as I found the fake Buddhism.

captain-fantastic-school-bus

Captain Fantastic is very good from a pure enjoyment stand point but the way it flings around political terms and claims of being morally superior is troubling. The mother was supposedly a Buddhist but never taught her kids not to steal. Not to mention that she was wealthy and didn’t have to steal. The mother was supposedly a Buddhist but in the first scene they kill a deer. I guess the mother was a pretend Buddhist like most of the 60’s hippie children of rich parents. Not interested enough to do the research.

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Then there’s the nonsense about the mother’s mental disorder and her husband sending her to a facility away from her children and her natural food and her healthy lifestyle. Of course she died. And yes I’m saying 100% healthy living is better than all the antipsychotics that exist or will exist for helping to handle even the most serious mental afflictions. (I know this for a fact) There were so many of these social, economic, philosophical and political plot holes in their upbringing that it became annoying. I liked the ending though. It’s a good movie (really it is). Fantastic writing (everything but the philosophy stuff). Good performances from all the kids. Viggo Mortensen is great once again. It’s just the movie pretends to be smarter than it is.

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But of course, if they did things my way, there wouldn’t be a movie. The mother would still be alive. The kids would be capable of social discourse. They would grow their own food. Not kill animals for selfish reasons. And they surely would not have cut off Sweet Child O’ Mine before the change. That’s the best part of the song. What the hell, Matt?

captain-fantastic-2016

Captain Fantastic is a great film about family but a horrible film about philosophy. It’s like they had all of these heady ideas and in trying to find a balance with ignorance (that seems to be a running theme these days. Ignorance gets to have its say, in our schools, in our politics, and in our fucking movies) the film-makers poke fun or completely misinterpret simple ideas about compassion and healthy living.

You know you can entertain and still inform right?

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Captain Fantastic features a fantastic cast and a fantastic story and a fantastic premise, it just has a very tenuous grasp on its own philosophical concepts. But it’s still a delightful story with an excellent cast of fine young actors. So I liked it, I guess.

– Mel

Eight Songs That Make Me Happy

This is a public service announcement… with guitar.

When I suffered from depression music was always my escape. When I was little it was silly songs. There was this Flintstones album in the public library that I wore out. When I was a teenager it was angry songs. Rock, Metal, Punk. Gangsta Rap. By High School and University I was wallowing in depression with dark songs, moody songs, or just some good old blues. But we’re not going to wallow in it today. Not getting angry. Or being silly. We’re going straight to happy.

woo-hoo

“Woo hoo!!”

We do this meditation in the Buddhist traditions where we wish for people to be happy. We think about people we know being happy. How everyone, all over the world, wants to be free from suffering. And why everyone has a desire to be happy. And then we form the resolution in our minds that we are going to make them all happy with our thoughts, with our actions, with our wishes, with our words

And with our blogs.

Yes Buddha does mention blogs in the Sutras. You just have to find the right translation.

snoopy-happy-dance

January 20th, 2017 is fast approaching and we all know what that means. President Donald Tr… I still can’t say it. So it’s easy to let it get you down. But I say screw that.

These songs are my surefire depression busters. I’m calling it my eight-fold path to dancing in your underwear before the world burns.

It’s a temporary fix. But it’ll help you take your mind off of it.

So these eight songs (lyrics included) are designed to put the happy back where it belongs. In your feet. In your butt. And in your face. And none of them are by Pharrell.

happy-minions

“Yebey!!”

Here we go…

First up… Crooning with a smile.

Feeling Good by Michael Buble

“It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life. It’s a new life for me…”

———————————-

Next… Some Attitude.

Troublemaker by Weezer

“I’m such a special guy.”

————————————-

And now a personal favorite… I love this guitar riff and this video and Morrissey’s dance moves alone make me very happy.

What Difference Does It Make by The Smith

All men have secrets and here is mine
So let it be known
For we have been through hell and high tide
I think I can rely on you…
And yet you start to recoil
Heavy words are so lightly thrown
But still I’d leap in front of a flying bullet for you

So, what difference does it make?
So, what difference does it make?
It makes none
But now you have gone
And you must be looking very old tonight

The devil will find work for idle hands to do
I stole and I lied, and why?
Because you asked me to!
But now you make me feel so ashamed
Because I’ve only got two hands
Well, I’m still fond of you, oh-ho-oh

So, what difference does it make?
Oh, what difference does it make?
Oh, it makes none
But now you have gone
And your prejudice won’t keep you warm tonight

Oh, the devil will find work for idle hands to do
I stole, and then I lied
Just because you asked me to
But now you know the truth about me
You won’t see me anymore
Well, I’m still fond of you, oh-ho-oh

But no more apologies
No more, no more apologies
Oh, I’m too tired
I’m so sick and tired
And I’m feeling very sick and ill today
But I’m still fond of you, oh-ho-oh

Oh, my sacred one…
Oh…

—————————————–

Now here’s a song about self -love and just being a good neighbor.

Satellite Mind by Metric

Hold it I’m about to drop off
Let me tell you my last thought
Drift into a deep fog
Lost where I forgot to hold it
I can feel you most when I’m alone

Coming home cause I want to
Hang out with a starlet
Stare out at the ceiling
Preview of a screening
Flashback of a feeling
Sixth sense of the call and
I heard you fuck through the wall
I heard you fuck

When I’m bored
I send vibrations
In your direction
From the satellite mind

I’m not suicidal
I just can’t get out of bed
I drift into a deep fog
Lost where I forgot to hold it
I can feel you when I’m alone
I can fell your ghost when I’m alone

Coming home cause I want to
Hang out with a starlet
Stare out at the ceiling
Preview of a screening
Flashback of a feeling
Sixth sense of the call and
I heard you fuck through the wall
I heard you fuck

When I’m bored
I send vibrations
In your direction
From the satellite mind

When your voice
Became vibrations
From the satellite mind

It sounded like mine

——————————————–

Next… A happy tune about getting everything you could ever want for just one dollar. (make sure to read the fine print)

Step Right Up by Tom Waits

“Only a dollar. Step right up.”

—————————————-

Next… Denial (but with an infectious melody)

Everything’s Just Wonderful by Lily Allen

“Oh well I guess I mustn’t grumble. I suppose that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”

———————————————-

Next up.. a little more self-love (of the less erotic kind)

i (love myself) by Kendrick Lamar

“The world is a ghetto with big guns and picket signs. But it can do what it want, whenever it want, I don’t mind.”

————————————————

And lastly… The happiest bass-line in the world.

Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz

City’s breaking down on a camel’s back.
They just have to go ’cause they don’t know whack
So all you fill the streets it’s appealing to see
You won’t get out the county, ’cause you’re bad and free
You’ve got a new horizon it’s ephemeral style.
A melancholy town where we never smile.
And all I want to hear is the message beep.
My dreams, they’ve got to kiss, because I don’t get sleep, no
Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Love forever hand in hand
Taking it all in on your stride
It is sticking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let’s turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Laughing gas these hazmats, fast cats,
Lining them up like ass cracks,
Ladies, homies, at the track
Its my chocolate attack.
Shit, I’m stepping in the heart of this here
Care bear bumping in the heart of this here
Watch me as I gravitate
Hahahahahahaa.
Yo, we gonna go ghost town,
This motown,
With yo sound
You’re in the place
You gonna bite the dust
Can’t fight with us
With yo sound
You kill the INC.
So don’t stop, get it, get it
Until you’re cheddar header.
Yo, watch the way I navigate

Windmill, Windmill for the land.
Love forever hand in hand
Take it all in on your stride
It is sticking, falling down
Love forever love is free
Let’s turn forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?

Don’t stop, get it, get it
We are your captains in it
Steady, watch me navigate,
Ahahahahahhaa.
Don’t stop, get it, get it
We are your captains in it
Steady, watch me navigate

Hahahahaha


I love you guys.

Remember to smile even when you don’t feel like it because it will probably make someone else smile and then someone else… traveling from person to person and before you know it you’ll see your original smile on someone else’s face.

And then you’ll smile for real.

– Mel

What’s Good? (TV 2016 Edition)

Been kind of out of it these past few days. I had a significant religious experience over the holiday weekend that I won’t bore you nice people with… much.

the-exorcist

“The power of Christ compels you to talk about Buddhism!” (You know it, Padre)

I have been in what can only be described as a completely stunned state (of the incredibly pleasant variety) for a while, and I totally forgot to post to my blog in between forgetting to breathe. (Am I breathing now? How about now?)

The Good Place

“Well this is incredibly pleasant. Not spectacular but amazingly pleasant. Are you sure this is a religious experience?”

However I promise to remedy that in the next few days starting with a long overdue:

What’s Good? TV 2016 Edition… where I cover my top ten favorite new shows, and list the ones I tried but gave up on. Some other stuff.

And anyway, Buddha says hi.

people-of-earth

“Are you Buddha?” “No. Are you?” “Noooo.” “Then what the hell is he talking about?”

 

MY TOP TEN FAVORITE NEW SHOWS (of the past few months)

So many good and clever new shows this year. And as always my favorite stuff is in the Science Fiction section. All but one of my Top Ten New Shows is sci-fi and the other is pretty damn fantastic.

Let’s start with that one.

Atlanta (FX)

Atlanta FX

Created by Donald Glover

Okay, this show reminds me of another of my favorite comedies, Portlandia. Portlandia is amazing. Portlandia is a sketch comedy about the city of Portland with recurring characters played by the two leads; Carrie Brownstein (one of my favorite people) and the amazing Fred Armisen. The way Portlandia sends up the unique characteristics of Portland, Oregon, Atlanta does the same for that city in Georgia, except without the sketches, just the recurring characters. Three friends; A rapper on the verge of minor stardom, His partner in crime (literally), And his cousin who desperately wants to manage his career (played by the almost annoyingly multi-talented writer, producer, actor and musician Donald Glover [aka Childish Gambino])

atlanta-is-amazing

“Hold up. Is he trying to say he met Buddha? The ACTUAL Buddha? On Christmas?” “I think so.” “This boy’s talkin’ crazy.” “Mm hm.”

Atlanta is outstanding. Gritty and real. Poignant and touching. Hysterically funny and irreverent. Funky as all hell. Stupidly political to the point of genius. As subversive as early South Park. As well-written as the first few seasons of Modern Family. As entertaining as a German Shepherd discovering a love for snow for the first time in his dog life. And yes I couldn’t think of a show to compare it to for sheer entertainment value because there has never been a show like Atlanta. Its ten episodes are like ten choice cuts off the début album of the best new artist of the year. It’s just beautiful.

ATLANTA --  Pictured: (l-r) Brian Tyree Henry as Alfred Miles, Keith Standfield as Darius, Donald Glover as Earnest Marks. CR: Matthias Clamer/FX

ATLANTA — Pictured: (l-r) Brian Tyree Henry as Alfred Miles, Keith Standfield as Darius, Donald Glover as Earnest Marks. CR: Matthias Clamer/FX

Atlanta is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

 

The Good Place (NBC)

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Created by Michael Schur

The second in my list of Top New Shows is the adorably quirky The Good Place. A show that takes place in one of the heavenly realms. A setting fraught with religious pitfalls but handled with class and respect and painted with deliciously delicate non-denominational brushstrokes that border on brilliance. And so fucking funny.

THE GOOD PLACE --  "Everything Is Fine" Episode 101--  Pictured: (l-r) Jameela Jamil as Tehani, Manny Jacinto as Jianyu -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

THE GOOD PLACE — “Everything Is Fine” Episode 101– Pictured: (l-r) Jameela Jamil as Tehani, Manny Jacinto as Jianyu — (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Kristen Bell’s amazingly self-centered character dies in a freakishly embarrassing accident and finds herself in heaven but… well… she’s not supposed to be there. The show is funny and sweet and sexy (like Ms. Bell herself). But at the same time deep and philosophical and… regrettably… much, much too good for TV. So watch The Good Place before the powers that be make it go away. It’s really good.

 

People of Earth (TBS)

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Created by David Jenkins

People of Earth is a great new comedy from Conan O’Brien and his team of funny people. It deals with the lives of the survivors of alien abduction. It is as brilliant and funny as you’d expect from Conan and crew. And as incredibly silly and insane. It is madcap and it is amazing. It’s just plain crazy.

PEOPLE OF EARTH

“Oh great. He’s hanging out with Buddha and being abducted by ALIENS is insane.” “I know. Right?” “Pot meet Kettle.” “Who are they?” “It’s just an expression.” “But I don’t know them.”

The cast is sensational and the stories and characters are cleverly written. Wyatt Cenac joins a support group in a small town where many abductions have happened. What they don’t know is that a small band of aliens has taken up residence in the town as part of a larger plan. Invasion? Sheer lunacy. Very funny. (oh shit I just realized what I just did TBS. Very Funny. I get it now).

 

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (BBC)

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Created by Max Landis  Based on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams

Here’s a show that defies description. I could never do it justice. It’s like combining Agatha from Minority Report, The Doctor from Doctor Who and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants into a blender and… I don’t know… putting ’em in a Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Buckaroo Banzai mashup. Dude. I love Douglas Adams (even if I haven’t read these books. sorry I just don’t read as much with no place to go on the subway)

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Hammer don’t hurt ’em. Can’t touch this.

Dirk Gently is some funny, fun and well-written shit. Full of body swapping and time travelling and “Everything is connected.” Just watch it. Okay?

 

Black Mirror (Netflix)

black-mirror

Created by Charlie Brooker

Black Mirror is a Sci-fi anthology series in the same vein as The Twilight Zone but with a decidedly modern bent. Technology hides horrors. Amazingly dark and beautiful horrors. Do me a favor please. Do not binge this show. These stories stick to your ribs. Don’t pile them one on top of the other. Hell, I still have three more to go in the new series. I’m so glad Netflix picked this up.

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If you like this post, please click like… please… PLEASE… No seriously you guys. I’m begging.

I’m looking forward to being creeped-out to the point of not being able to sleep for years to come. Don’t binge it. Let it marinate.

 

Westworld (HBO)

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Created by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy  Based on Westworld by Michael Crichton

Yes I know everyone has theories. Everyone has opinions. And everyone loves Westworld. Why? Because it fucking rocks. The acting. The writing. The story. The Buddhism. Yeah that’s right I said it.

westworld-is-the-best

“Wait. Am I Buddha?” “No, hon. It’s me.”

It’s about a wild west themed resort populated by robots. If you don’t know the premise, I’m going to have to ask where you been.

“These violent delights have violent ends.”

 

The Exorcist (FOX)

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Created by Jeremy Slater  Based on The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

This was done so well. The Exorcist TV series first season was a joy to watch. The first few episodes of the run are sensational. Great cast. Great story. Scary and cool like the original movie (the only good one). Priests versus Demons. The way it should be.

the-boy

Who you calling boy?

You know the story. Little girl gets possessed. Says the darnedest things to a young priest and an old priest while doing TV friendly things on a bed. Where have you been?

“Time to give the people what they want, Padre.”

 

Supergirl on the CW (CW)

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Created by Greg BerlantiAli Adler & Andrew Kreisberg  Based on Characters by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster

Okay, I know this isn’t new but it sure feels new. I loved the first season of Supergirl but the show had to do a massive reboot in its second season because they moved the production to a new city when they moved to a new network. And everybody knows what the show lost but what it gained is immeasurable. Crossover appeal baby.

supergirl-crossover

If I had to decide between dating Felicity or Supergirl, I don’t know who I’d pick. They are both so awesomely hot. (Throw Oliver in the mix and I’m totally confused)

They added her cousin Superman as a recurring character. My girl Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor. As well as letting Melissa Benoist shine in the title role. I love the move. Yes I miss Calista but seeing Kara interact with Felicity and Barry and Oliver more than makes up for it.

Supergirl -- "Worlds Finest" -- Image: SPG118_2740 -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Grant Gustin as Barry/The Flash -- Credit: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. © 2016 WBEI. All rights reserved.

Supergirl — “Worlds Finest” — Image: SPG118_2740 — Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Grant Gustin as Barry/The Flash — Credit: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. © 2016 WBEI. All rights reserved.

And they’re just getting started. They gave her an easy crossover button. So psyched.

 

No Tomorrow and Frequency (CW)

These are two new CW shows with promising premises and good casting.

no-tomorrow

Developed by Corinne Brinkerhoff  Based on the Brazilian series Como Aproveitar o Fim do Mundo

No Tomorrow is a romantic comedy based on a Brazilian series called How to Enjoy the End of the World. It’s about a very pretty man who thinks the world is going to end and the woman he meets who thinks he’s just too good-looking and charming to not look past that. It’s very funny and cute.

frequency

Developed by Jeremy Carver  Based on Frequency by Toby Emmerich

Frequency is a time-bending procedural based on the movie of the same name. A clever story about a police officer communicating with his daughter (also an officer) in the future. Or is that the other way around. It’s great the way they help each other solve cases in their respective eras. It’s very cool.

no-tomorrow

“Sure he claims the world is ending but at least he doesn’t say that he hung out with the Buddha in the Pure Lands on Jesus birthday. Now THAT would be a red flag. Am I right, girls?”

What can I say I’ve become a huge CW fan. I pretty much rock their entire line-up now. The superhero shows. Flash, Arrow. The relationship shows. Crazy Ex, Jane. I love it all. They’ve got a formula that really works. Hot actors and good writing. Who knew?

frequency1

“You don’t have to be from the future to know that he’s going to say that he knew.”

I knew. That’s who. I did. Good writing. Pretty people. And if there’s room left in the budget dress them all up real nice. Wardrobe is key. Surefire hit.

And those are my favorite new TV shows.

dirk-gently-episode-3-1

“Wow! He completely left off my favorite new show.” “I know. And he missed that other one.” “Right. It must be all that meditating.” “Probably wrecked his brain.”

I Tried These But Didn’t Like:

Lethal Weapon (too dumb)

Son of Zorn (too silly and dumb)

MacGuyver (too outrageously improbable)

Timeless (too timey whimey and not in a good way)

Conviction (too serious but still great casting) &

Designated Survivor (too cliché… horribly cliché, more great casting)

I didn’t stick around long enough to see if they ever got their shit together.

donald-glover

“Too busy hanging out in other realms, I guess. Huh?”

That’s it for TV

Loving The New Seasons of:

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Jane The Virgin
Luke Cage
Lucifer
Humans
Star Wars Rebels
Life in Pieces
Man in the High Castle
Sense 8
Mozart in the Jungle

dirk-gently-bart-curlish-fiona-dourif

“If he mentions that fucking monk one more time. I’m gonna shoot myself in the head thus killing everyone including him.” “That’s deep.” “NO. IT’S NOT.”

Not Liking The New Seasons of:

The Last Man on Earth (stopped being funny)
Legends of Tomorrow (bad writing bad acting still watching)
AHS My Roanoke Nightmare (couple of really cool things mostly crap)
The Walking Dead (enough with Negan already why doesn’t the show just marry him)

NOW I’m done with TV.

I’ve got a bunch of movie posts coming up so… I’ll be back… I promise.

Stay Tuned

– Mel

To All My Friends (Who’ve Wondered Where I’ve Been)

I know I haven’t been around much lately. Too much anger. Didn’t really want to get it on you. I have a tendency to spew hate when I’m angry. I hate it when the bad guys win… I’ve been experiencing a what-the-fuck few weeks. The American election was hacked and I’m surrounded on all sides by people waiting for their chance to say “I told you so.”

“I told you so.” Among the bodies of the dead.

“I told you so.” Brought to you by the makers of Pepsi and Xanax.

“I told you so.” Translated from the original Russian. (actually, little known fact, it was in German before it was in Russian)

I’ve reached a point in my life where more people are younger than me than older. I’m surrounded on all sides by the children of the damned. Social media misfits more concerned with likes and dislikes. Trolls without bridges. History books unopened. But mouths that will not stay shut.

chinese-farmer

I haven’t been around much lately because I know me. The thoughts racing through my head should not be shared with anyone. My doctor doesn’t want to know. My lawyer doesn’t want to know. The fake twitter accounts of Russian trolls, who successfully influence the tired liberals into hopelessness and fits of screaming, don’t want to know.

For one misguided instant I considered self-immolation as a form of protest. Nothing else, it seems, can penetrate the walls of the corporate pay-to-play media and so-called social media’s cavernous, echo-amplifying, bottomless pits of ego and frustration. Setting myself on fire in front of some monument to our fallen democracy seemed like a good idea at the time… for like, literally, a second. For like one scary second.

So I’ve been away.

And I apologize. I figure there’s like 25 or 30 people who read my blog. And I love you guys. And I’m going to post some good stuff. Life goes on no matter how dire. I know my friend Alex misses my movie reviews. New shows, some of the best stuff I’ve seen on TV, came and went. Anybody watch Atlanta? That was amazing. Donald Glover is knocking it out of the park on the daily. Speaking of which, my list of the best albums from this year includes more genres than you can shake your rump at. Who knew I’d like Trap Music. OMG I like Trap Music.

Music, Movies, TV, the third chapter of my novel… but politics, fucking politics, pissed me off to such an extent that I couldn’t write but scream. I couldn’t think but scream. I could not talk because all the screaming made me lose my voice.

So I went away. Started meditating again. Got back to temple. Working out. Stopped doing the few remaining vices I’d allowed myself over the past decade. Pizza, Beer, Porn, Masturbation. It’s about time I stopped living like a 13 year boy without adult supervision. I’m gonna be 50 next year. And the US president is going to be Donald J. Tr… I can’t even say it.

The pounds flew off since I stopped eating garbage. It’s amazing how much more money I have in my budget since I stopped drinking. And the energy. The sexual energy. The mental energy. The spiritual energy… it’s through the roof. And now being channeled into less selfish endeavors.

thats-great-maybe

Doing yoga everyday. Getting to the temple at least three times a week. Working on my compassion and my mindfulness and my body. I will require these things to make it through the next few weeks. Let alone the next few years of protests and civil (and uncivil) disobedience. Gotta build my stamina for all the marching and demonstrating. Because, as you know, Donald J. Tr… I still can’t say it.

I’ll never be able to say it.

What is the true nature of reality? We see things as we want them or don’t want them to be. Sometimes a fantasy. And sometimes as our worst fears realized. We label situations and phenomena as good or bad. As helpful or unhelpful. As progress and advancement or… as the… the nightmarish, back-sliding, hateful, racist hell-scape that I can’t seem to wake up from. Somebody please wake me up.

WAKE ME UP!!!

I meditate to find love for the seemingly unlovable. I meditate to find focus amidst the din of unchecked voices (un-fact-checked and un-verified). I meditate to find the me that can help and not just criticize. That can pull his weight and not just pull his dick. That can be a calm in the storm and not just more destruction and distraction.

Because it’s looking more and more like we’re going to have to violently overthrow the US government. And I don’t say that lightly. People are going to die. People are going to die because they’ve lost their healthcare and can’t afford their treatments. Because they’ve lost their government jobs as the agencies that protect us, from emotionless and compassion-less corporations, are shuttered one after another. People are going to die because they’ve lost their minds after too many deployments in some foreign distraction called another war. People are going to die.

thats-awful-maybe

And we can’t just sit around waiting for a miracle. Like that one time that one guy resigned from being pope because he realized he was too evil and stuff to be pope so he let the cool guy be pope. We can’t wait for that. We can’t wait for lightning to strike his ostentatiously disgusting jet plane as it floats on a cloud of ego or one of his fucking hotels to collapse under the weight of his hubris. We can’t wait for that. And we can’t sit around watching our neighbors die from treatable diseases or complications from dangerous pregnancies or malnutrition. Fucking malnutrition in the 21st century.

So yeah. We need to violently overthrow the US government… but with love. Out of compassion for our fellow human beings these people have to go… on both sides. I will not be governed by hate. And also I will not be governed by hate. So that really no one has to die for idiotic and preventable reasons.

We’ve been hacked. Our election. Our government. Hacked.

And respectfully, the only course of action, after you’ve been hacked, after they infiltrated your system, installed their malware, their trojans, their porn, the only course of action is to unplug the damn computer, and reinstall the operating system.

I went away.

But I’m back.

I’m going to see Rogue One tomorrow. So I’ll let you guys know how I like it. I’m going to post all my reviews and stuff over the holiday season. There’s a lot. You know I didn’t even realize it was the holidays. This is usually my least favorite time of year (except for the Doctor Who special). Because I’m alone and everything about this time is geared toward family and friends and stuff. But ever since I’ve rediscovered my faith, going to temple and Dharma classes and meditation, I don’t feel so alone.

I feel great actually. This is the best I’ve felt in a long time. The healthiest I’ve been mentally, spiritually and physically. The best.

And to think, I owe it all to the rigged, hacked, fraudulent and fucked up election of Donald J. Tr… you know what, I still can’t say it.

You guys thank him for me.

See ya tomorrow after Rogue One (unless I’m too hyped to post anything but OMG OMG OMG OMG then I’ll post on Saturday after Dharma class)

Now watch this 2 minute video.

– Mel

The Littlest Psychopath

(a sob story)

This is the story of a boy called Melvin. And before you think he is me… he is not me. We sort of share a name but he is not me. He is somebody else. A little boy who grew up in a house full of psychotic people. And everyone knows that psychos prey on the weakest. And he was the weakest. He was the littlest psychopath.

Let me see… There was Violent Psycho, Trust-Me Psycho, Grandma Psycho, Rapey Psycho, Uncle Psycho and a half-brother he called monster, that we’ll call Half-Monster Psycho.

And before you feel too bad for little Melvin. He was not alone in this house full of demented psychos. He had a friend; A teddy bear, he named Teddy Beam. This was his companion and protector… that doubled as a football on its day off. Its name was Theodore Melvin Beam.

Its first name was Theodore because Melvin was only five years old when he found it and failed to realize that this was an awful name for a teddy bear. He chose Melvin as its middle because HE was Melvin, so shouldn’t his bear be named Melvin too. And its last name was Beam because… Well, because it doubled as a football. Teddy Beam was a good football.

And I know he sounds like me, but little Melvin was not me. He was not. He was somebody else.

At five years old, Melvin wanted to be an actor when he grew up.

Grandma Psycho was an elderly heroin addict whose habit had outgrown her income. Melvin loved her for her stories and for her butter and maple syrup sandwiches. Heroin addicts sure love their sugar he never thought, because he was only five and had no idea.

When she baby-sat for him, they would read tarot in the kitchen and eat their sticky sweet sandwiches and laugh at the ghosts and demons that came to mess with them. Grandma Psycho would stay with him until the money was gone and the drugs wore off and there were no more suckers, who only wanted to hear what they already knew told to them by an old soul dealing out cards while an even older one stared blankly at their dead relatives or lost friends and grasped his little teddy bear for dear life.

But once the drugs wore off and there was nothing left in the house to steal, she would rent little Melvin to the local pedophiles for money. That’s right. Grown men would pay her money. Not a lot of money. Just enough for her to get good. Money to spend time with a little boy.

“Grandma needs her fix.” she said “And grown men need their hugs. She’ll just be in the next room getting high on these here drugs.”

Theodore Melvin Beam was a tan classic bear. One of his eyes was brown while the other was a black button. He had been someone else’s bear before Melvin and they had apparently let things happen to him. Bad things. But Teddy Beam wants you all to know that he’s safe now. He’s good.

At six years old, Melvin wanted to be a comic book artist when he grew up.

Uncle Psycho was Melvin’s least favorite uncle. He would take Melvin down the block to watch him and his friends drink cheap wine and get into fights. Sometimes there was blood and they would have to run. Or down to the bar or to the brothel until it got dark and Melvin couldn’t wake him because he was too drunk. Or until Melvin was forgotten somewhere along the way, like that jacket you’re always leaving everywhere, the one your mother tells you that you’re going to lose one day.

And the whores would kiss Melvin’s fat little cheeks and pretend to care about him in between giving blow jobs to patrons and it got too dark and he’d have to find his own way back in that dark and the six-year-old boy, older than his years, his cheeks stained cherry red, would head for the door to walk home in the dark.

“You’ve forgotten your jacket sweetie.” a working girl might say. “Can you make it back alone?”

“I got it. I ain’t scared at all.” In fact, it’s scarier at home.

Theodore Melvin Beam always smelled of wine, whiskey and spirits. Jack Daniels was his favorite. He could drink with the best of them. He was the most interesting bear in the world. Then Teddy Beam turned to the camera and said, “Stay thirsty my friends.”

At seven years old, Melvin wanted to be a professional photographer when he grew up.

Violent Psycho and Trust-Me Psycho were a couple. They were in love. He bought her things and made her feel pretty and wanted. Trust-Me’s mother, Melvin called her Grandma, was fond of telling her that no one would ever want her and she believed it. So when a violent psychopath brought her flowers, she overlooked that he’d been abusing her seven-year old son so badly that he’d been hospitalized twice.

Melvin had a scar over his eye where the doctors had to cut it open so that it wouldn’t go blind. This was before the time when “I fell on the swing” or “I bumped into the door” was questioned. No one cared and no one came.

Melvin was Violent Psycho’s whipping boy. VP had a long oak staff that… (Oh do you guys mind if I call him VP? It’s just so much easier) Well, he had a bo staff. And it was that he used to beat the hell out of little Melvin. In the morning. The afternoon. At night. He was a martial arts instructor, militant radical and an overall sadistic human being. Your basic violent psychopath.

At dinnertime, Melvin was his favorite little plaything. He would make Melvin stand beside the table with his arms held out at his sides parallel to the ground. If they dropped at any point, if Melvin got tired or lost his focus, VP would snatch up his bo staff and whack Melvin across the thighs with it or across the back or on the head.

While the rest of the psychos ate dinner in silence, Melvin had to stand there like a statue straining against gravity until everyone was finished with the meal. Or until Melvin had gotten angry enough or tired enough to drop his arms in defiance and take the beating. The savage beating that had hospitalized him twice. Some days he added books to his hands.

And before we go much further I can tell you think he’s me. He is not me. He’s somebody else. I say this honestly.

One day VP thought it would be amusing to juice Melvin’s most hated vegetable and force him to guzzle a large glass of beet juice in one go.

It got messy.

Little Melvin tried his best to keep it down. But it came back up violently and so Melvin ran into the bathroom to escape the beating. He would beat Melvin even when he wasn’t mad. Just for fun. So an angry beating was always particularly brutal.

The bathroom was the only room in the house with a lock. It wasn’t actually a lock but a hook and eye. It was a wall, a moat with alligators, a tower with sentries, an impenetrable force field with a thousand-year power source. It was a little piece of metal with a bracket screwed into the door frame. It was a place of solace.

Violent Psycho huffed and hollered. He banged on the door. He could have easily smashed it in but he enjoyed the game. Even angry, he enjoyed the terror he created.

Then there was the sweetest little knock. It was Trust-Me Psycho’s sweet little knock on the bathroom door. So he unhooked the eye and let her in. She smiled.

“He’s not angry anymore. Breathe. You can stay here if you like.” And then she shoved him out the door. I even think she whispered, “Psych!”

Theodore Melvin Beam was just a stuffed animal and did not feel pain. This came in handy when he was dropped from a great height. He was often dropped from great heights but he never complained. Teddy Beam was always cool like that. He was very cool.

At ten years old, Melvin wanted to be a rock star when he grew up.

Trust-me Psycho was fond of saying I love you when dropping Melvin off with strangers. “Out of sight, out of mind.” she used to say. She said a lot of things. “I love you.” “I’ll kill you.” “Who are you? Why are you trying to hurt me?” “What happened to my spaceship?” OR “God hates me.” Were some of her favorite things to say, to the wall, the door and anyone and no one in particular.

She met a man at school who lived with a mute boy. They were not related. Just a mute little boy who lived in his house. (Sounds legit, right?) She would drop little Melvin off at this house and leave him there so the boys could play.

I’m going to call the man RP for short. It stands for Rapey Psycho because his house was a full on pedo-trap. He had coins on his floor. Dimes and nickels that were easily pocketed when he wasn’t looking. And candy dishes near the sofa. Kids would come over to play and leave with almost a dollars worth of change and a pocket full of candy.

But on the table, where he sat and watched the children, he kept dollar bills, just out of reach. This one time Melvin took a chance and sat down with him at the table where the bills were. Melvin had gotten greedy for money and that’s when he served Melvin the Kool-aid, the Kool-aid with the quaaludes in it, or whatever, that knocked him right out cold.

And when Melvin opened his eyes he found himself on RP’s large creepy water-bed. The little mute boy, the little mute boy who was not the man’s relative, still played on the carpet. Who leaves their child in the house of a man with a large creepy water-bed and a boy who is not his own?

So when the man suggested a sleep-over, a chill ran up Melvin’s spine. Trust-Me Psycho gave him the choice. He could sleep over the pedophiles house or come back home where Violent Psycho had something special ready for him. It was his choice.

The little mute boy said, “Stay.” Not mute after all. Just scared and lonely. Melvin chose the gentler of the two options. He chose to stay.

“Giving your child to pedophiles seems like the family trade. But you’re doing this for nothing, bitch. At least Grandma was getting paid.”

Theodore Melvin Beam sleeps in a bed. He is hugged for comfort and not for pleasure. He chases away the demons with his softness. But the years have hardened his material. He is still soft on the inside but his outside is course and hard. Don’t judge him by his exterior. He has feelings, you know.

At fifteen years old, Melvin wanted to be a filmmaker when he grew up.

He was not alone. Melvin was not alone. There was someone watching from the corner of the room. There was someone with him. There was someone there at every turn. A monster in the corner delighting from his pain. Melvin had a half-brother. A half-monster. Three years older and dumb as a bag of bricks. He was friendly one moment and a complete monster the next. His half-brother must have hated Melvin like something out of a fairy tale to watch all that abuse and say nothing. He watched years of torture and torment that his little brother endured.

But at nicer times, they would play catch. During the down times, Teddy would fly through the air like a beam of light. He was a pretty cool football, that Teddy Beam.

His brother was not a football. He was a smiling witness. He was there to pour salt on the wounds because the psycho rolls downhill. He was glad he was no longer the youngest, the weakest, the littlest psychopath. And that smile of relief for not being the center of abuse never left this half-monster’s face.

He left home when he turned eighteen and never looked back. He asked Melvin to come with him. Melvin had a girlfriend. Melvin was in High School. Melvin was fifteen and moving across the country with a half-monster just didn’t seem like the right decision. The devil you know. Plus by this time all the other psychos were dead or in jail. Except for Trust-Me Psycho, who Melvin desperately wanted to trust. So, he chose to stay.

“I saw them beat, saw them rape you.” he said. “Put you in the hospital twice. But I don’t think it was that bad. It was actually kind of nice.”

And then he left.

Theodore Melvin Beam had been through the wars. Through the fire. Through the mill. And had passed every test. He was a good…

“And you don’t need a teddy bear.” his brother said, as Melvin complained in earnest, then he ripped it from his arms and then he threw it in the furnace.

Melvin stood and stared in horror as Theodore Melvin burned.

“Now you have nothing!” The monster slammed the door, never to return.

Theodore Melvin Beam had been through the wars. Through the fire. Through the mill. And had passed every test. He was a good friend. He was a good companion. He was even a good football. And he will be missed. R.I.P.

At seventeen years old Melvin didn’t know what he wanted to be if he ever got to grow up. It really wasn’t that important anymore.

He was left alone… with HER.

Trust-Me Psycho was in rare form. She was talking to herself and redecorating her life as if she lived by herself. But there was someone breathing in the next room. There was Melvin; Her son. She couldn’t drop him off with relatives; They were all dead, or pawn him off on psychos who were all in jail.

And the boy was a handful. He had anger issues and personality problems. He had beaten up those boys at camp and bullied kids at school. He had yelled and screamed at his grandmother and never visited on her deathbed. He had threatened the lives of her boyfriends and set fire to their things. He punctured that man’s water-bed and flooded his house. He had chased his uncle with a knife when he tried to touch him. He had no respect for his elders. No respect for his mother. The screaming. The fighting with his brother. The temper tantrums. She couldn’t take anymore of this… this… little psychopath. He was a psychopath and she just couldn’t.

“What do you want from me?” she asked. “Stop looking at me.” she ordered. “Are you telling your friends that I’m a bad mother?” She was all over the place. But then suddenly calm.

She said, “I love you, little Melvin. Of that there is no doubt.” and then she swung open the front door and screamed. “Get out. Get out! GET OUT!!!!”

Melvin, after seventeen years, had finally found himself psychopath free… and homeless. Homeless and psychopath free. Well… there was one more left; Melvin himself.

He had survived Grandma, Uncle, Violent, Rapey, Trust-Me and Half-Monster Psychos. And even lost his imaginary friend along the way (a psycho in his own right and one hell of a football). But there was one more psychopath to go. And this would be the trickiest one to get rid of.

He decided to decide that he did not want to live with Melvin anymore. He did not want to BE Melvin anymore. Melvin was a victim. Melvin was a sad-sack. Melvin was a whipping boy.

He would change his name and become someone else. Someone else entirely. Someone who didn’t have the same skeletons as Melvin, the same psychos in his past.

He would change his last name from that old man’s name to something given to him by someone he liked.

He would shorten his first name to something he wanted to be called. Something better.
Something that wasn’t short for anything. And he would just move on.

But this was not a fairytale. It does not have a happy ending. He tried to finish High School but didn’t graduate with his class, mostly because of attendance but also because his life-long straight A’s became straight D’s overnight.

And he would always have trust issues and relationship problems that had deep roots. And though he’d exhausted the hospitality of his friends, after three years of night school (while sleeping on the subway), he finally got his diploma. And would start his new life. Freeing himself from his old one.

It is not a fairytale. But the one thing he learned was how to survive. This new man was a survivor. The memory of old Teddy Beam still comforted him though it had been replaced by a psycho kitty. A cat, which is a better companion for a grown man than a teddy bear.

And I know what you’re thinking; That last part definitely sounds a lot like me. And I’ll give you that much.

“We may share the same scars and our state of mental health.” he said again. “but this story is not about me. It’s about somebody else.”

Okay?

The End

Injured Teddy

For Teddy Beam