CASH ON DEMAND Blu-Ray Movie of the Day! US vs UK version!

CASH ON DEMANDPeter Cushing never gave a bad performance in his beloved career, and this is another standout great performance, by Hammer’s most bankable star. This Indicator Bluray boxset (click on the image) is the way to get this film (as well as three other great films). As the name implies it is about a bank robbery, more than that I will leave you to discover, except to say Andre Morell is brilliant, and there are two versions of this film. The shorter 68 minute UK theatrical cut, and the 12 minute longer 80 minute US Extended cut.

Typically, rightly or wrongly, the US cut is assumed to be the ‘censored’ or ‘edited down’ cut. In this case that thinking is 100% incorrect as the US version is VASTLY superior to the UK theatrical cut. When given the choice between the two, always go for the US Extended cut, it is just a stellar example of great writing, great direction, and great performances. Click on the image above to purchase.

Grade: One of the best and essential HAMMER crime films. I adore this film. B+/A-.

Spoilers: Read the following after viewing the film-US Extended Version

Comparison of the Two Versions

CASH ON DEMAND- UK 68 minutes, A tight, nail-biting, brilliant 68 minutes. Leading to a stitched up ending, that because of how well the protagonist is stitched up, seems a bit truncated unrealistic, even rushed ending.

The US cut adds 12 minutes, that now empowers that final scene in a way that was missing in the UK version. It adds three notable scenes. One, a scene prior to Cushing’s arrival, which I think is helpful for fleshing out the Bank workers, and this mentioned holiday party.

Two, some initial business about Peter Cushings character being tyrannical and dressing down his subordinates. Just heightens the irony, and the rough justice in Cushing’s character suffering what he does.

Third, a nice addition with a firetruck siren, and the fantastic Andre Mrrell discussing Cushing’s character over a drink, and his… absence of mercy.

All of these additions gives more weight and nuance to the movie as a whole, in that you are not firmly in Cushing’s corner the way you were in the UK version, which downplayed his abuse of his subordinates. The US version, there is more grey, and the viewer to an extent enjoy Cushing’s character getting back some of his own, and the teaching of a man without mercy,.. watching him learn the value… of mercy.

The US version makes the ending resonate more, because all of them, even the criminal(s), ultimately show more mercy than Cushing’s character does. The suave bank robber, knows and cares more about the people Cushing’s character works with than he does.The US version is the superior version. It is in certain ways the story of Scrooge, but told without ghosts and the clanking of chains, and tells us ultimately something canonical… about treating our fellow man, and the measure of mercy. The UK version is a good film, the US version is a great film.

Movie of the Day : Blue Underground’s DELIRIUM

 

Rita Calderoni in Delirio caldo (1972)

1972’s Renato Polselli directed Italian Giallo/Thriller DELIRIO CALDO (loosely translated as ‘Hot Frenzy’, and in the US called… DELIRIUM), remains 48 years later jaw-droppingly ludicrous, ‘wtf’ inducing and bat-guano insane. One of the more luridly filmed of Italy’s spate of Giallo films, even for that genre this film was strange.

Strange in the performances, strange in the script, strange in the direction, the film lives somewhere beyond reason in more ways than one. Many times throughout the film, if you are anything like me, you will alternate between shaking your head at the ludicrousness of the movie, and ‘WTF?” exclamations at the audacity and luridness of the movie.

If you are familiar with films like PEEPING TOM and PSYCHO and the works of Dario Argento, you know the general ground this film covers, but this film seems to be as much about titillation as it is terror, covering that ground in very much a grind-house, soft core porn, exploitation way.

It is not a film made with any sense of humor (there is a slight comedy relief character, but as is typical in these films he is not remotely amusing), but there is a sense of ludicrousness in watching it, in just how extreme and over the top everything is, from the direction to the performances to the depravity to the fashion.

Delirio caldo (1972)

 

It is the odd period between the swinging sixties and free love seventies, Italian style, before it all went to hell; and even in a movie as debased as this one, that touchstone to the age of miniskirts and bell bottoms and psychedelic shirts (even for police officers 🙂 ) is strangely fun to see.

There are two distinct versions of this film, the Italian version and the US version, both pretty different, but both equally odd and equally worth seeing/comparing. Being a 70s Italian Giallo, these were typically recorded without sound, so both the Italian and English versions are ‘dubbed’ versions, the soundtrack put on afterwards. Both soundtracks are equally valid, you just have to determine which cut of the film you prefer.

The American version is a rather crudely cut, at times butchered and toothless version (at times not), tacking on a completely moronic vietnam war opening and flashbacks, and cutting the manic scenes that essentially make this movie, into pretty tepid, uninspired bits. Definitely see the Italian version if you can only see one. And if planning to see both see the Italian version 1st, and watch the American version more just to see the diferences.

Now one interesting plus to the American version is It does actually in parts make more sense than the Italian version, however it does this, again in parts, at the cost of the hyperbolic dream madness momentum that drives the Italian version.

It also loses and changes major subplots, by including scenes not in the Italian version, and the films divulge further the closer you get to the end. At first I see those changes as weaknesses, but as the film goes on, the American version, while not as fun, is bat crazy in its own way. The American version, particularly with its Vietnam wraparound, very much predates a similar far more popular 1991 horror-tinged American film.

It is a fascinating look at two very distinct cuts of a film. So yeah, this review is pointing you toward the Italian version, if you can only see one of them, but yeah comparing the two is very intriguing.

I have to tell you, re-watching this film, the Italian cut, after having not seen it in years, taken for what is is, a piece of 1970s era exploitation fluff, and with a caveat that violence against women is a bad thing of course, this film as a bit of not to be taken serious film-making, is absolutely mind-boggingly ludicrous and entertaining at the same time.

I would have to say if you are a fan of 1970s Italian Giallo’s and have not seen this one, you should rectify that. While not in the same cinematic league as the best of Argento ( DEEP RED, SUSPIRIA) or the best of Fulci (ONE ON TOP THE OTHER, SEVEN NOTES IN BLACK, DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING, and LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN) this is definite compulsive watch in its own right.

 

Unsurprisingly this film is currently not available on streaming (for me, this emphasises the ‘here today – gone tomorrow’ unreliability of streaming, and why physical media will always be necessary and king, and the gold standard for viewing… your way. And this comes from a guy who also enjoys and pays for streaming). However BLUE UNDERGROUND put out a great DVD of it, with both cuts of the film. Use the link below:

 

DELIRIUM by Renato Polselli

“One of the more bizarre and extreme giallo. Exactly as described – this one has not been oversold; it’s charms are not exaggerated.Even the most jaded “seen it all’ viewer will get some kicks from this underrated gem.”

–Amazon.com Review

 

Thanks for looking and if you liked this post, give a like. Always appreciated! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Katia Cardinali and Mickey Hargitay in Delirio caldo (1972)

 

 

 

Gift – Purchase of the Day / Week : TWO SUN TS102 Knife

I was raised to believe there are a few things every working man needs.

  • A good truck.
  • A good hat.
  • A good book.
  • A good shotgun
  • A good knife.
  • A good goal.
  • And a good sense of value to others, before value to just you.

The seven goods I like to call them.

I think they help…  not guarantee, but help… set up a young man… to aspire to be a good man, and a man of use, to those around him.

I believe in the seven goods.

Today’s purchase recommendation of the day, revolves around good #5.

 

I’ve carried a good pocket knife with me for decades. Briefly in the boy scouts, than occasionally in the military, and relatively constantly in civilian life. It’s a daily carry and essential to me in my work and personal life. And I lump multi-tools in with knives.

Anyhow I’ve had a Spyderco knife for years, followed by a Kershaw Clash knife for years. They are both splendid working man’s knives. For me (even though it is out of fashion these days) an old fashioned  tip-down, half drop point, half serrated, blacked out blade, remains the height of functionality and usefulness. Open mail, open boxes, strip wires, get out of a stuck seat-belt, removing tie-wraps, even as a prybar in a pinch.

Kershaw Clash Black Serrated Pocket Knife (1605CKTST) 3.1" Stainless Steel Blade with Black-Oxide Coating; Glass-Filled Nylon Handle with SpeedSafe Open, Locking Liner and Reversible Pocketclip; 4.3oz

KERSHAW CLASH Get yours here!

 

I’ll do a list later of my top 5 KERSHAW knives, but click here to browse them yourself.

 

 

There is a reason why the Kershaw Clash is one of the best selling pocket knives of all time. It’s not titanium, it’s not on ball bearings, it’s not the metallurgy composition of the moment,  it doesn’t have a rad pocket clip, but what it is… is easily one of  the best pocket knives ever made.

And no Kershaw is not paying me to say this (Hey Kershaw… Call Me! 🙂 )

In a day where pocket knives are undergoing something of a resurgence, and in large part because of social media, and streaming and youtube knife communities, knives today are being made as sought after collectibles arguably even more so than functional pieces. Knife prices are skyrocketing, as more and more companies, just like car companies, are gearing a segment of their market to those with more money than sense. So pockets knives these days can run hundreds to thousands of dollars.

I personally think once you go over the $150 mark, for a pocket knife, you are paying  for the wrapping paper, rather than the product. But each to their own.

As far as a pocket knife for hard use, after many years of hard use, I’ve found no pocket knife related job that a $30 Kershaw can’t do.

But a man does not live by utility alone.

Sometimes you get a thing, because it calls to you, and everything else being reasonable, the cost, the fit, the functionality… you answer the call.

There is no other knife I NEED besides the Kershaw

But I recently found a knife i wanted. Because it was a thing of beauty.

And it is not the HINDERER or THE CHAVEZ or the ABSTRUSE.

I’d no more pay hundreds for those knives, than I would pay hundreds of thousands for a car. Even should I have the disposable income to spend hundreds on knives or hundreds of thousands on a car, it always, being a working man, occurs to me, how you keep money, is by keeping value foremost in your mind regardless how much money you have.

According to articles, some of the people who aren’t just rich, but stay rich, are frugal purchasers. Every purchase has to sustain or keep its value. Very few of the people who maintain wealth through generations, buy without an eye to value.

So, when there is a Kershaw Clash in the universe, paying 10 times what the Kershaw Clash costs for a knife that is not ten times better, and may not functionally be better at all… does not compute.

That $150 limit, kicks in for me. And that limit amount is different for everyone. That price point where acceptable bumps up against a waste of money.

Chinese Knives, as China more and more embraces the benefits of capitalism in a socialist country, and as more and more of American production is off-shored , the quality and status of Chinese Knives has risen, to the point where they are making desirable quality knives at a great price point.

So it wasn’t the multi-hundred dollar Hinderer or Chavez or ZT knives that called to me with a combination of beauty and aesthetics that are beyond the Kershaw Clash, but also at an acceptable value point.

It was a company from China called Two Sun. And it was a specific knife.

The Knife below:

 

 

 

 

 

I think the pictures say it all.

And the price on that work of art? Not $700. You can get one today, delivered for around $70.

TWO SUN makes a lot of knives. In my opinion the TS 102 is the finest looking one they make, and the one that called to me.

Get yours HERE!

 

Please use the links, as purchases made thru them is the best way to keep the proverbial lights on for this blog. Also like this post if you found it useful and subscribe. The 2 seconds it takes you to do that, is really appreciated.

 

Now the fit and finish on the knife are stellar. Beautiful in person. However it is not without minor issues out the box. It comes over oiled, which will need to be addressed. Also there was a minor speck, scratch on the blade. The one I received had a weak action/deployment, you have to give it a bit of wrist to fully deploy.Because of the extra oomph you have to give it the flipper tab can become rough on your index finger. The pocket clip, while stunning to look at, is so tight that out the box, getting it in to your pocket one handed, not so much, You’ll probably have to work in the pocket clip so it is a smooyh one hand seat and unseat into your back pocket.

The pluses do outweigh the speed bumps, visually it is a showstopper. the feel is solid metal, no plastic here, with a little muscle memory you can get the deployment to work consistently for you. I love the perfect centering and that the blade will smoothly drop shut. And lastly, out the box it is SCARY sharp. It is “you need to respect this knife at all times” sharp. My Kershaw which, functionally, as a pure work knife, EQUALS OR beats this knife in every area, can not hold a candle to the TS102s sharpness.

So report card: In terms of Quality Control, the TWO SUN could use a little work, making sure the blade arrives without any sign of wear, not over oiling it, making sure the action is set properly for reliable full deployment. Those issues taken into account at the $70 price point the knife is a no-brainer of a purchase.

It is today’S and this week’s recommended knife purchase!

Tell em HT sent ya!!!

Today’s Vetted Amazon Purchases! Gift Ideas!

Today’s Vetted Amazon Purchases! Gift Ideas!

Everyone knows, just like Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB or any other site, Amazon is subject to a lot of fake reviews.A lot of those 4 and 5 star products when you take the time to do the research are junk. Puffed up with scam bot reviews.

This new segment is designed to help you find only the products that have been vetted or checked to have a reliability rating of over 70%. Meaning at least 70% of the reviews are accurate, as well as checking if the company as a whole has an abundance of reliable or scammed/generated reviews.

Without further ado today’s recommended low cost sub $100 tablet. This is for someone who wants a 2nd tablet for non-intensive tasks such as security cam checking or ‘digital frame’ usage or other very casual surfing.

You have lots of mostly Chinese made items in the sub $100 market to choose from. The ones with decent reviews, if you take the time to research, 9 out of 10 are fabricated reviews.

I’ve done the research to find that one out of ten low cost sub $100 tablet that is worth your time (along with the needed memory card). Below is one that has a predominance of reliable reviews:

 

The HOOZO TABLET 10.

I never heard of this tablet before today. But I was looking for a tablet that would do cellular, that is a lot better than the limited options the cellular provider was offering.

And as I mentioned in this range the market is almost exclusively Chinese made products, due to American big business willingness to dismantle domestic operations to outsource everything to the lowest bidder. And Chinese products are often viewed with a certain amount of dubiousness, and unfortunately when it comes to products China exports there have been numerous documented reasons for this outlook.

Whether it is a matter of varying degrees of quality, sub par build due to making tight margins, or orchestrated malfeasance all of these things have been documented when it comes to Chinese products exported to US shores. And again I’m not blaming the Chinese, I’m blaming short sighted American policy, that has in the last few decades dismantled the idea of local autonomy and creation and putting us at the mercy of the lowest common denominator mentality; unchecked capitalism, being indistinguishable from unchecked tyranny.

All that to say, when it comes to products you are putting in your home, you have to use more than usual diligence. The China made Wyse security cameras that everyone is racing to put in their homes and laud for its features ( which I admit are impressive) has perhaps a glaring issue. The same issue that a lot of devices have, but turned up a few notches. The security camera, may actually be invading your security. But that is an article for another day, but it is in the reviews if you take the time to look.

Anyhow, yes when it comes to products from China, you of course will have great products and great companies. The job is finding them.

That brings us to the HOOZO 10 Tablet.

This one checked all the boxes and was way  higher on the reliability scale than the tablets being offered by my cellular provider. And ever since that scandal a few years ago with cellular providers installing hardware back-doors into the devices they sold consumers, I’ve always preferred to bring my own device to a cellular provider.

So this tablet at a sub $100 price, is not going to replace your main machine, but as a secondary or dedicated machine for browsing device or gaming device  to free up your main device to be exclusively for more sensitive transactions (if you are using your phone to do purchases,and or banking, or secure email, you should not have game apps, or cooking apps, or puzzle apps, etc on it, that is where this secondary device comes in).

This machine is to help you avoid the  ‘one ring that rules them all’ point of failure or security breach.

Get yours here:

https://amzn.to/2TMmIeK

AEGO 64gb Micro SD Card microSD Memory Card UHS-1 Class 10 for Kindle Fire/Tablets/Dash Cam/GoPro with Free Adapter (U1 64GB)

 

 

AEGO 64gb Micro SD Card microSD Memory Card UHS-1 Class 10 for Kindle Fire/Tablets/Dash Cam/GoPro with Free Adapter (U1 64GB)

https://amzn.to/2JVba9F

I had started my search for 64gb Micro Sd cards, by checking out the usual players first Kingston, Samsung, etc. After digging into the reviews I wasn’t happy with what I was seeing. I then found this unknown to me company AEGO, with a very striking visual design, and much to my surprise they had great pricing AND RELIABLE reviews! More reliable than some of the big names in the field. Add to that there is not often you pick up a micro SD card and give any thought to how beautiful it is, AEGO gets props for making a very utilitarian item such as an SD card, look like a work of art.  My vote… pick it up.

Use this link to check it out. If you decide to pull the trigger you will earn a few pennies for this site which I will be grateful for. It helps me to keep producing more content like this. Share the link and spread the word. Without further ado, the link:

https://amzn.to/2JVba9F

 

So yeah guys, I hope you found this post helpful. Took me a few hours to do the research and put the post together, so if you enjoyed the post definitely use the links, like the article, spread the word. Till next time…

Be Well.

2018 : The resurgence of BOXING Interest in the US!

The last couple years have shown a real resurgence in mainstream US interest in Boxing.

 

Now that Interest has never waned abroad, and is arguably stronger than it has ever been everywhere from England to Russia, but only in the States that for most of the 20th century was the heart and head and seat of professional Boxing (The home of Boxing’s greatest champions From Jack Johnson to Evander Holyfield), has Boxing been shuffled off the main stage, into all but minor league obscurity.

And while MMA is undoubtably big these days, it is not Boxing. And it is not better than Boxing, it exercises different interests, the way Soccer differs from Football. They both have their strengths.

For my money while MMA has its strengths, and I am glad for its growth, that growth should not come at the expense of Boxing. Anymore than the growth in Rugby should mean we stop giving airtime to Football.

While I like MMA as a discipline and there have been many great matches, the standup game of Boxing and that specification of strikes, and limitation of styles, lends itself to truly epic engagements deserving of apellations such as fight of the year, far more often and regularly than MMA.

 

Boxing due to its length and its style lends itself to being… more than a sprint, when you have two great fighters and styles in the boxing ring, you get these epic engagements of will that allows you to see a fighter’s chin tested and his endurance tested in a way that the sprint, submission style of MMA, rarely lends itself to.

Again there are many great fighters and matches in the past and present of MMA, from the domination years of Royce Gracie to the domination years of Sakuraba to the domination years of Anderson Silva to the current domination years of fantastic fighters such as Jon Jones (currently the best UFC fighter and a personal favorite, who I like to introduce, whenever I see him fight, in my best Boxing Announcer voice as… ‘JON JONES…… THE MARTIAN MANHUNTER!!!!! You have to be a comic book fan to get the reference, but I think that is way better than the idiotic nickname of ‘BONES’ that they give him) and such phenoms as Buakaw (if you do not know that name, go searching for any of his over 200 professional fights. Yes I said over 200 fights!!!!! He is the stuff of legend.); but these exceptions aside, as a whole Boxing’s stand up style lends itself to far more interesting engagements.

 

I recently watched (on the big screen TV, I don’t watch video on a phone or tablet or laptop. If I am going to take the time to watch something, I want to watch it as close to its intended scale as possible. Only then can you get close to adequately consuming, or reviewing and forming and intelligent opinion on the content consumed.  David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA  seen in 70mm on a full size movie theater, which I have done, is a completely richer experience than watching it on someone’s LCD monitor. How you consume content, is part and parcel of the experience), courtesy of the Youtube App on my Roku device, a bevy of classic 70s and 80s Boxing matches, with men who fought true wars in the ring.

 

Of course Ali, Frazier, Norton, George Foreman (people remember Foreman for his later post Ali years as Champion and beloved funny guy and elder statesman of boxing, but during his first life, as a boxer, that went from 1969 to 1977, this guy… in a heavyweight scene full of fearsome men, was the most feared man on the entire planet.

He was a young, gigantic, brutal,and undefeatable force of nature breaking everything in his path. Ivan Drago’s character in Rocky 4, the character played by Dolph Lundgren (‘I will break you.’) that was George Foreman in the late 60s early 70s. An unbeatable force of nature, till a man called Ali found a way to beat him.)

 

And similar, stuff of legend wars… were fought in the lighter divisions by men with names like Tommy the Hitman Hearnes, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Roberto the man with the hands of Stone Duran, And Sugar Ray Leonard.

I watched the 1st Duran Hearnes fight, then I watched the Hearnes Sugar Ray fight, and its eight year later sequel.

Here is the thing people forget about Hearnes, he much like George Foreman, because of his height and frame and reach… was something new in boxing for his weight class. A kid, like they all were back then, coming out of Detroit he cut through the middlewight division like a knife, earning the name of Hitman by knocking out everyone he faced. An undefeated champion, he and Sugar Ray Leonard, also a champion, would meet in September 1981 for a winner take all unification match.

It was called the showdown and lived up to its billing. Being a 15 round war and one of the greatest fights of that year or any year.

I take this trip down memory lane to say that… what is great about Boxing, can not be replaced or usurped by MMA. There is a uniqueness to Boxing, that makes it, when you get a talented crop of Boxers, the stuff of legend.

I think after 20 years of neglect, and corruption (something that the UFC seems to be dealing with, as well as K1. The japanese PRIDE was the best thing to happen to MMA, and since its effective buyout and dissolution, we have an increasingly suspect, in terms of management, UFC). 

you now have a very exciting Boxing landscape starting to form, particularly at the lower weight classes. Terrence Crawford and Errol Spence being two of the most exciting fighters to come along in decades. And suddenly you begin to see this return of interest and money to the boxing landscape, that I for one am looking forward to.

For more on Boxing, go listen to two recent, pretty darn excellent John Siuntres WORD BALLOON podcasts, that veer from comic books to boxing, in interviews with two great names in the Boxing coverage landscape.

 

http://www.wordballoon.com/

http://percolate.blogtalkradio.com/offsiteplayer?hostId=1113527&episodeId=10850405#

http://percolate.blogtalkradio.com/offsiteplayer?hostId=1113527&episodeId=10858419#

Completely riveting interviews, and after listening, you, like I, will be searching Youtube for great Boxers past and present and future.

Thanks for checking out this post, and if you enjoy please leave a like, or comment. And feel free to recommend your 5 favorite recent boxing and or mma matches or websites.

To get you started here are my recommendations of must watch Youtube boxing/mma videos:

I love watching Thomas Hearnes fight. He had a fantastic jab, a great left hook attack to the body and head, and one of the best, most devastating, right hands in Boxing history. Which makes the following clip, all the more amazing. And why Sugar Ray Leonard, like his idol Muhammad Ali, is the greatest of all time. Because he fought unbeatable men… and found a way to beat them.

And if that is the past of Boxing, here is the present and future: 2018 is the year America remembers what the world has never forgotten, that the boxing ring is the place where the last legends of the world…. are made.

And for more on how to stay ontop the changing world of Boxing, I recommend the following two sites (that both offer subscriptions to their magazines):

http://www.ringtv.com

http://www.ringsideseatmag.com

A minute with the DOCTOR : WHO defeats EBOLA in NIGERIA?!!!

“WHO Declares Nigeria Ebola-Free

Abuja – The World Health Organization, today, 20th October, 2014 officially declared Nigeria Ebola-Free, having passed the mandatory period with no new cases; 42 days after the last confirmed case of the virus was discharged from the hospital, giving sufficient confidence to declare the outbreak over.”

“This is a good public health story with an unusual twist at the end. As part of preparedness for an imported case, several advanced countries with good health systems are now studying technologies “made in Nigeria”, with WHO support, to improve their own contact tracing capacities.

The story has another very clear message, as noted by Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General. “If a country like Nigeria, hampered by serious security problems, can do this – that is, make significant progress towards interrupting polio transmission, eradicate guinea-worm disease and contain Ebola, all at the same time – any country in the world experiencing an imported case can hold onward transmission to just a handful of cases.”

Read the whole remarkable story here!

Happy Holidays, Merry Mass of Christ and Improbable Heights

‘When you strip everything away from Batman, you are left with someone who doesn’t want to see anyone die.’ — KINGDOM COME by Alex Ross and Mark Waid

When I think of humanity in general, and the holiday season in particular it strikes me that that should be our goal. The pursuit of a world, where nobody dies in vain.

But the reality, particularly in America, this time of year is that with the eyes of the media diverted; government sponsored mass-murders actually ramp up, bombings ramp up (now of the drone and unmanned variety, machines murdering men.. what an unholy road we walk), the terrorism of the rich… ramps up.

I’ll not forget the media celebrating the death of Bin Laden. Death and Murder and Torture are never things to celebrate, no matter the justification.

While I am savage enough to know that killing may be a necessary evil, I am human and moral enough to know it is never a joy, never a victory, never a cause for celebration.

Be the murdered Bin Laden, or Hitler or insert bogieman here, bringing murder to murderers is never anything less than a soiling, and a failure, necessary though it may be, it is a failure of reason. And as such is a solemn time, not a glorious one.

Because to do otherwise, to take joy from death, and celebration from degradation and horror… is to devoid you of moral high-ground, is to make you (in ways stark and true) worse than those you would revile, worse than your Hitlers and Bin-Ladens. It makes you a lynchmob, a coward, and an opportunist of carnage.

We must strive to be better than that, otherwise your protestations of Christianity, and Holy Nights, and piety are just lies, are hypocrisy and mendacity most foul, that you use to conceal your roman desire to see people bleed and suffer and die.

You become that lowest form of life, a gibbering coward among cowards, you become nothing more than a grasping claw, a rolling eye, and a screeching mouth… in the creature we call lynchmob. And there is no lower, and ultimately, more inhuman form of life.

Our goal therefore must be to reject that, to reject the easy lies and the easy hates, and work toward this wildly improbable world where no one dies in vain.

But humanity’s very existence is an improbability, so we can bend that already fanciful existence to either improbable heights of good, or improbable depths of evil. We just have to pick a direction.

‘We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. ‘ — John Fitzgerald Kennedy when imploring men into space

Here, on this holiday season, more fiction than fact, ‘goodwill to all’; look into yourself and find what is hypocrisy, what is lies, and find it in yourself to make truths, and truly believe and act on this idea…. of a time of peace.

Here endeth the lesson.