Tag Archives: california

Manson In Love

Play me some damn Barry White!

I’m in the mood for love. Play me some damn Barry White! Get me a beer, Shelly!


Code Name: Star

Eight Simple Rules For Mating My Mid-Twenties Plotter

Who says there’s no good news anymore? A wedding?!? For reals? Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah! I, for one, am ready for a healthy, deep-cleansing cry. Somebody get me a hanky.

Charles Manson, 80, and Afton Elaine Burton (using the known alias of Star), 26, are getting ready to say the big “I do.” Reportedly the State of California has issued these rambunctious youngsters a license to marry.

I was wondering about the rules in a situation like this. Here goes.

  1. No touching!!! Daddy horny, Michael.
  2. Write your own vows. I obtained an advance copy of Charlie’s. “If you look down at me you will see a fool; if you look up at me you will see a god; if you look straight at me you will see yourself.” That’s some deep fucking shit. I wasn’t able to get my grubby mitts on a copy of Star’s but I imagine it would be something along the lines of, “These shrooms are making me so high, man.”
  3. Sometimes a crazed look in the eye is more than enough.
  4. A single serving of Viagra is worth a carton of cigarettes.
  5. An appropriate color scheme is crucial to complement the swastika tattoo between your eyes.
  6. Scheduling early is crucial if one wishes to be joined together by an officially licensed Church of Satan representative.
  7. As a musician, Manson can also be the wedding singer performing his own original songs. No one should have to sit through that. (I offer my services performing the song, Halloween In Heaven; Christmas In Hell.)
  8. The couple wishes no gifts from this physical plane of existence (other than Depends) and asks that donations are made in the couple’s name to Toys For Tots.
Charles Manson wedding vows. (Alternate version.)

Charles Manson wedding vows. (Alternate version.)

Sideways goes Vertical

Source: Wikipedia

Was it really way back on May 9, 2010, when I speculated about a sequel to Sideways, one of the most successful independent movies of all time? Wow. Time sure flies when you are having fun.

If you aren’t regularly reading my blog, you miss out on bleeding edge shit like this.

Since then search engine terms like “sideways 2” and “sideways sequel” have consistently performed well in bringing traffic to my blog. For the last seven days terms related to Sideways are the second most popular reason people visit my blog and I only wrote about the topic that one single time.

That sort of thing is a testament to the popularity of the book by Rex Pickett and the movie of the same name.

Now we know more about what’s next for Miles and Jack. Rex Pickett has written a new book that picks up their story. It has been seven years since that crazy week they spent together in Santa Ynez valley…

Miles and Jack are back.
The Follow-up to Sideways

It’s seven years later. Miles has written a novel that has been made into a wildly successful movie, and the movie has changed his life. Jack, contrarily, is divorced, has a kid, and is on the skids. Phyllis, Miles’s mom, has suffered a stroke that’s left her wheelchair-bound and wasting away in assisted-living. She desperately wants to live with her sister in Wisconsin. When Miles gets invited to be master of ceremonies at a Pinot Noir festival in Oregon, he hatches a harebrained road trip. With Jack as his co-pilot, he leases a handicapped-equipped rampvan, hires a pot-smoking Filipina caretaker and, with his mother’s rascally Yorkie in tow, they take off for Wisconsin via Oregon’s fabled Willamette Valley.

Source: Vertical – A Novel by Rex Pickett

LOL! I can already see it. 🙂

Alas, I’m a little late bringing you this news. The book has already been on sale since December 1st. If I had known I would have told Santa to bring me a copy.

Looking back I can see my original post was pretty darn accurate. Remember, you heard it here first!  Jack’s marriage failed? Check. Oregon’s Willamette Valley in search of more pinot noir? Check. Yamhill County? Check. (That’s where McMinnville is located.) Miles as the Master of Ceremonies at the International Pinot Festival? Check!

What about Maya? Apparently she and Miles are no longer an item (were they ever?) and she doesn’t make the trip. Miles’ life has evolved (devolved?) into celebrity, the wine festival circuit, and, get this, groupies. For Miles! Wow. Of course there is plenty of wine drinking, too. And sex. But that’s all I know at this point.

In the course of this book Miles apparently comes face to face with his abyss (if you’ll pardon the phrase) and reaches several turning points including one with his mom. I haven’t read the book yet so I don’t know how it all turns out.

In closing, I’d simply like to propose a toast to Rex Pickett and the hopefully forthcoming conclusion to The Sideways Trilogy. You hear that, Google? The Sideways Trilogy. The Sideways Trilogy. The Sideways Trilogy!!!

I crack myself up. Now pardon me, I have to go swill down some Merlot.

Website: VerticalTheNovel.com

Can you believe it has been six years since the movie Sideways came out? It was released all the way back in 2004. If you haven’t seen this movie yet I highly recommend it. For the uninitiated the trailer and the review by Ebert & Roeper are included at the bottom o … Read More

via Shouts from the Abyss

Props for no Eight

Don’t Stop Believing.

Today I shout with Glee! No, not the TV show.

To celebrate the legal decision against Prop 8 yours truly designed the t-shirt shown here. (Note: At no time do I make any claim that this design is clever or good.)

It’s a serious matter when the legal system overturns a vote of the people and I feel a bit sobered by that reality. A lot of people feel like celebrating, me included, but even if the legal decision is justified, striking down a vote of the people is a monumental thing to do.

The initiative process is a wonderful thing in our Republic that gives the people a direct route to lawmaking, basically an “end around” of the people who normally make our laws. Even though it is a wonderful thing, however, that doesn’t mean the will of the people is always right and/or legal. I sincerely hope the decision made today was based on solid legal grounds.

No doubt this will turn out to be one more skirmish in the overall war, but it is an encouraging sign.

Credit shouts: Tshirt image generated using the Custom TShirt Generator.

Sideways 2 – Merlot Strikes Back

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Can you believe it has been six years since the movie Sideways came out? It was released all the way back in 2004. If you haven’t seen this movie yet I highly recommend it. For the uninitiated the trailer and the review by Ebert & Roeper are included at the bottom of this post. The film is equally funny if you know a wine snob or happen to be one yourself. No interest in wine is required to enjoy the film, however.

The film is about an aspiring writer named Miles (played excellently by Paul Giamatti who should have won an Oscar) who is a bit of a wine snob and still hasn’t moved on with his life following his divorce. Miles and his friend and former college roommate Jack (played hilariously by Thomas Haden Church) decide to spend a week in California’s Santa Ynez Valley wine country as a send off to Jack who is to be married at the end of the week. Miles wants to turn his friend onto wine, eat good food, play golf and enjoy the scenery. Jack just wants to “get his nut” with one last sexual fling before getting hitched. The week they share is at times hilarious, touching, sad, disturbing and poignant.

One of the most famous scenes from the movie, perhaps, is:

Jack: If they want to drink Merlot, we’re drinking Merlot.
Miles: No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!

One of the recurring notes of the film is the constant denigration of Merlot by Miles. You see he has a particular penchant for the red wine varietal Pinot Noir. Interestingly the movie had an effect on the wine market:

Throughout the film, Miles speaks fondly of the red wine varietal Pinot Noir, while denigrating Merlot. Following the film’s U.S. release in October 2004, Merlot sales dropped 2% while Pinot Noir sales increased 16% in the Western United States. A similar trend occurred in British wine outlets. Sales of Merlot dropped after the film’s release possibly due to Miles’ disparaging remarks about the varietal in the film. However, sales of Merlot in the United States remain more than double those of Pinot Noir, the country’s second most popular wine. (Source.)

The movie was based on the book “Sideways” by Rex Pickett. The novel on which the movie was based is said to be largely autobiographical even including the scene where Miles famously drinks from a spit bucket:

Q: Why did you drink from a spit bucket?

A: I was at Epicurious. It was a special tasting upstairs. It was high-end Cab. They weren’t really spitting, they were dumping. Maybe a few had spit. You’ve got to understand, I was broke back then. I thought, “Wait a minute, there’s a lot of good Cab in there.” I picked it up and drank from it. They talked about that for months. I knew it had to go into the novel.

Q: So how did it taste?

A: I admit, I was a little drunk at this point. I think I said something like, “This is a great Meritage.” Honestly, it’s a true story. But I didn’t guzzle from it. Let’s get that straight.


Did I mention this is an awesome movie? With scenes like this and plenty of others that rival it how can you go wrong? 🙂

It has been reported that Pickett is writing a sequel after a trip to Oregon and being told he “missed the boat, that the real pinot noir story was in Oregon.” (Source.)

Details are still a bit sketchy on the sequel, but the gist is that Jack’s marriage has failed. Big surprise, eh? Sorry Napa Valley, you get dissed again. This trip finds Milo and Jack together again and on their way to Oregon’s Willamette Valley in search of more pinot noir. No doubt there will be plenty of fun along the way but eventually they find themselves in Yamhill County where they decide to crash (and succeed) at getting into an event know as the International Pinot Noir Celebration. I don’t know much else about the plot, but I seriously doubt Merlot will strike back. I don’t anticipate Miles’ preference changing in that department.

Other than the report linked above stating that Pickett is writing the sequel I can find no other information about a possible sequel. There appears to be no movie deal at this time and no commitments by any of the actors to reprise their roles. But he’s hoping.

If a sequel does happen, I’ll even pop a bottle of pinot noir and try to find out what Miles sees in it. 🙂

Sideways trailer:

Sideways reviewed by Ebert and Roeper:

Churches and high school homecomings

Oh the humanity!

Imagine a 15-year-old girl attending her high school homecoming dance. For one girl in October 2009 in Richmond, California, the night turned into a horrible excursion into hell. The girl was raped and beaten by 7 to 10 men and “boys.” Those arrested by police included boys aged 15, 16 and 17 and men aged 19 and 21.

Worse, if there can even be such a thing as “worse,” the event was witnessed by up to an estimated 20 bystanders. As word of the rape spread, it was reported that more came to watch. None did anything to stop the attack or report it to authorities. It was reported that some allegedly laughed and some even allegedly took pictures with their cell phones.

The event was significant for getting the phrase “bystander effect” into the media for a while.

Last week the Catholic sex abuse scandal also became news. According to Wikipedia, “much of the scandal focused around the actions of some members of the Catholic hierarchy who did not report the crimes to legal authorities and reassigned the offenders to other locations where they continued to have contact with minors, giving them the opportunity to continue their sexual abuse.”

An extremely troubling response from the Vatican in Sept. 2009 estimated that “only” 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse. (Remember – this is the incidence rate they gave themselves. No doubt the actual rate could be even higher.) The response also indicated that the church was “busy cleaning its own house” and in a logically spurious argument that completely avoids personal responsibility claimed that sex abuse in other churches occurred at a higher rate.

In the Richmond incident, bystanders did nothing to prevent a crime in progress. In the Catholic sex abuse scandal, persons in positions of authority did not report the possibility of crimes when they were discovered.

I submit that both of these examples are cut from the very same cloth.

Aside from resolving these ongoing cases by helping the victims and punishing the guilty, the primary question becomes: What do we do now?

My proposal is something I’d like to call the “do the right thing” law. Or perhaps it could be known as The Bystander Law.

The tragedy in the Richmond case is that our justice system will only prosecute actual participants in the attack. The witnesses who stood by and did nothing, spread the word to others, and/or enjoyed the show will never be held accountable for what they have done. Similarly, in the sex abuse case, persons who facilitated protection of the guilty who then went on to commit additional offenses will also never be held accountable.

That lack of accountability is unacceptable. We need a solution with more teeth.

In short, a “do the right thing” law would hold witnesses and abettors fully accountable as if they committed the act themselves.

Come across a rape in progress? Immediately report the act or you will face the same penalty of law as if you were the one who committed the act. If the rapist gets eight years, the witness who did nothing should also get eight years.

If you are an official in the Catholic church and receive allegations of sex abuse, immediately turn them over to the police. Fail to do so and you will be held accountable for that person’s actions from then on. Fail to turn over allegations of abuse to the proper authorities and you should go to jail. These reported incidents are not “internal matters” to be handled as the church sees fit. They are crimes. The church has clearly demonstrated it is unfit to investigate them.

This is important. The people who did nothing, laughed, took photographs, or facilitated additional cases of abuse are still out there among us.

I don’t give a shit if psychologists and social scientists say there is a so-called “bystander effect” or not. We need a law that says “do the right thing or you will pay.” Or else next time it might be you or your own little girl that gets attacked for hours while society stands by and does nothing.

A tomb with a view

This weekend my wife and I journeyed afar. One of the places we visited was Ferndale, California. There is a cemetery located on a hill overlooking the city. My wife and I climbed all the way to the top of the hill, which must be one of the highest in town, and my wife took the photograph at the top of this post.

Ferndale was hit with an earthquake back on January 9th. Almost two months later we saw many signs of the quake including some minor damage in the cemetery. The quake was also referenced on flyers in several shop windows. We also saw many windows that were still boarded up. At one store I was tired of shopping and went to sit in front and wait. My threshold for browsing in quaint little shops had been reached and I had to get out. While waiting I happened to look up and noticed that directly over my head the front of the building was being held up by two pieces of lumber. I was supremely confident that the lumber met safety codes and had been properly installed and tested, but all the same, I opted to get up and wait somewhere else where I wouldn’t (presumably) suffice as a living crash test dummy.

Ferndale also served as a fictional town in the movie “The Majestic” starring Jim Carrey. Interestingly the local theatre wasn’t used in the film. Instead the set for the “Majestic” was built in a parking lot.

According to Wikipedia:

Ferndale is known for well-preserved Victorian buildings, which are also known as “Butterfat Palaces” due to their construction during an epoch wherein considerable wealth was generated in the dairy industry, especially during the 1880s. The entire town is an historical landmark (see California Historical Landmark No. 883).

Anyway, I really liked the picture above so I obtained the photographer’s written permission to include it on this blog. 🙂

Today’s puzzle courtesy of The Terminator himself


Can you find what is so interesting about this letter? Mwuahahahahaha!

Here’s a link to the official government web site where the original PDF version of the letter can be found.