Category Archives: funny stories

Why The Dark Knight is to blame for our current political quagmire.

It’s been 8 years since the epic Detective Comics based mega motion picture exploded into neighborhoods across this great land.  Hardly seems like it.  Yet the damage wrought by the creative carnage has spread like a malignant tumor into the very fabric of the American ethos. Spread to the degree that our political system sits precariously now, perched over a terminally ill cliff, with a diagnosis of death by self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Let me explain.  When popular culture crowns a product with a tiara of success, it generally conveys some level of artistic achievement that transcends genre.  Our addictive obsession with film and the cult of stardom which parasitically attaches to it pay homage to the idea that is espoused with the cliché ‘life imitates art’.  So when $1 billion is earned in box office revenue alone, not to mention DVD/Blu-Ray and merchandising, consider that more clue than hint.  When the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences changes its award eligibility criteria, take that as more coronation than concession.  Multitudes of fanboys attending multiple theater viewings aside, both dinner debates in the homes of moguls and agent provocateurs, along with power lunches turned hushed lecture sessions in see and be seen west side eateries, speak to the level of penetration Filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s experiment had into the collective consciousness of Americana.

Hyperbole!  You say.  Allow me to add wax.  What we have here is not a failure to communicate.  Our society has done nothing less than exemplify a failure to educate, to motivate, to compete, to shake loose the bourgeois trappings of prosperity a priori obesity, to care enough about each other, our children and ourselves.  And, for lack of a better phrase, to thrive.  As a result our institutions begin to topple.  Schools, private industry, the Congress, the White House, and SCOTUS, all frayed at the edges.  Forget about apple pie.  What happened to the foundation of our democrapitalism, organized labor?  Ask a millennial to define pension.  Don’t panic when you get a description of Orange is the New Black.  Symptoms.  Gotham City, USA has never looked so bad.  There isn’t anyone left that matters apparently, who can compare current events with the 1930s or the 1860s.  Are the recent 60s and 70s now thought of as the good old days?  Great revisionist history, Batman!

Back to the Caped Crusader, as you were.   Consider Bruce Wayne, with power nonpareil – as masked and armed – and financed the same.  Does that bring to mind President Barack Obama?  Then compare how our public is led to scorn the vigilante when he dares use his assets to do battle for the home team.  Why, some want him prosecuted!  Our hero.  Don’t they realize his intentions are to act in the best interests of those he would protect?  Metaphorically going halfway across the globe to rein in Wall Street villains in the persona of mob bagman Lau, he is thwarted by bosses Gambol, Sal Maroni, and the Chechen, when they take a contract out on him with The Joker himself, who we’ll call ISIS for arguments sake.  Gambol aka public education, Maroni aka an intransigent Congress, and the Chechen aka the exodus of middle class wage careers, conspire against him to attack his Achilles heel, foreign policy.

While his attention is diverted by an old flame Rachel Dawes, none other than Hillary Clinton, he’s hit with one sucker punch after another; Benghazi, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Israel, the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty negotiations with Iran.  But who can blame him?  Rachel has a new rival for her attention, Harvey, the real Donald J. Trump, Dent.  He is the savior.  The man with a plan.  So easy, so easy, so easy, let me tell you.  So quick, so quick, so quick.  The Great White Hope, riding in on his white horse, is a stark contrast to our Black Knight.  AND light minded PEOPLE BELIEVE HIM.  Why he’s the legitimate offspring of E. F. Hutton and the most interesting man in the world.

But he’s not alone.  Championing his cause as the true blue representative of the people is Coleman Reese, who follows the Joker’s lead and attempts to expose Batman for the fraud he is, not addressing the fact that we never learn anything about our Joker other than what he cares to share in his fable-like musings. Stunt doubles for Reese include the Sean Hannity lead Fox News Network, backed by the understudies Limbaugh and Coulter et al.

Smack in the middle of this standoff is The RNC or Gotham PD, helmed by Commissioner Gordon – Reince Priebus.  Forced to carry the torch for Dent, Gordon, surrounded by corruption within the ranks, falls on his sword to save the convention ceremony and takes a bullet for the cause.  Laid up, he is helpless to prevent Dent from revealing his two-faced nature long hidden beneath the surface.  A latent xenophobic tendency which The Joker exposes with every hospital bombing and nightclub massacre.   Yet Gordon’s fate is sealed when he makes a deal with the devil to perpetuate a lie so that the public is convinced of Dent’s integrity.  Dent can’t be a fraud.  Everyone knows the Batman is to blame.  Don’t they?

In the end the Joker is defeated, and declared the loser.  Or is he?  At what cost to society was this victory purchased?  Has the interim damage opened such a crack in the foundation that constructors will be forced to start over with new blueprints?  Check back in November for the next episode titled: Doctor Strange.  Pray to God that this time art imitates life.

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Bev’s Cat

ARE YOU TALKING TO ME? …, I asked. Bev’s Cat Micah, held my gaze.

“No. I’m not talking to you. I’m having a conversation with the white elephant on the kitchen counter, you moron.”

“Hey,” I said. Then I stopped. Turning slowly I scanned the room. We were alone. So where was the voice coming from? Bev had dropped Micah off late last night before catching a red-eye to Australia. No worries. I assured her. Micah had always been lovely whenever I’d visited. But now the impulsive drive up to my cabin on Walker Lake was looking like a bad idea. Desperate for a nap, I’d just fed Micah before seeking some much needed rest. I’d heard sleep deprivation had risks, but hearing voices?

“Hey!” Startled, I dropped the milk bottle, shattering pieces of glass everywhere. I reached for the broom and glanced back at Micah.

“Forgive me, James. I didn’t mean to frighten you. My sarcastic streak got the better of me, but I didn’t think you would mind that.”

“Are you,” I began, pausing at a loss for words.

“Talking to you? No. Cats can’t talk.”

“Then I have lost my mind.” I don’t believe I just said that, to a cat.

“You don’t see my lips moving do you?”

I fumbled for my cell phone, not knowing who I was calling, somebody, and anybody who could talk me down from wherever it was I had gone.

“Listen James, you seem upset. I’m afraid there isn’t a cellphone signal for miles around. So why don’t I go for a walk while you clean up this mess. I’ll come check on you later and we can finish our conversation.” Micah jumped up onto the chair, climbed over the sink and perched on the sill below the open window. He tilted his head down at me and, winked, before disappearing into the darkness outside.

AWAKENING

I’d slept, fitfully. Unsure if I’d dreamed, imagined, or experienced the bizarre event earlier. I didn’t know what time it was. I had no watch and my phone was off, the battery spent, with no charger in sight. There was no sight of Micah either. I rose slowly. I found myself checking the premises, finding nothing suspicious. Eventually I relaxed, fixed myself a sandwich and ate it quietly. I even chuckled a bit, with my sanity somewhat restored. Sitting on the balcony, I stared out over the treetops, the glimpse of barren shoreline below caught my eye. I could hike down, go for a swim. It would do me good. Not having a day off in months must be getting to me.

“Psst.” I looked down at my feet to find Micah sprawled out, grooming his black velvety pelt into a high gloss.

“I see you’re better now. Let’s do this, shall we?”

“Do…what?” I stammered.

“Communicate. Yes. I am in your head. But don’t worry. You aren’t going crazy.”

“I’m hearing voices. They call that schizophrenia where I come from.”

“They call it telepathy where I come from.”

“The mission district?”

“Not exactly. Not 21st century San Francisco, anyway. When I come from, your future, telepathy is the primary language used, for those of us fluent in it.”

“I don’t believe this.”

“The sooner you do, the better, bud, and we don’t have much time so do you think you can get over it?”

“I’m talking to a cat.”

“Yeah, so? Who doesn’t? It’s not like I can read your mind. So please, do talk. It will go much better that way.” Micah ran into the cabin.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m starved. Got any sardines? That kibble was a bit dry for my tastes.” I watched him jump into a chair and curl up on the cushion, he was licking his paws and yawning.

“Okay, I give up. Let’s say for argument’s sake you’re a telepathic cat from the future. You are here, why?”

“Time travel is neither simple nor easy, James. I was fortunate enough to make the trip. The future of our existence depends on it.”

“How so?”

“I’m here to help repopulate the species. I need to mate with as many of the locals as possible in the time I have. And I have to tell you. This idea of yours to drive out to the boonies is killing my action. Can you help a dude out?” I started to laugh. Beginning with a mild chortle, it grew, uncontrollably, until I was doubled over on the sofa, and bordering on hysterical. I noticed a scowl on Micah’s face and tried to compose myself to no avail. Finally, after several failed attempts at speech, I was able to sit up and look at him.

“Are you done? You seem to find the situation all too amusing.”

“Wouldn’t you if you were in my position?”

“I don’t know, James. I’m not in your position. And quite frankly I wouldn’t trade places with you either.”

“Oh. And why is that?” I asked.

“The earth…let’s just say that cats are better suited to the environment than humans.”

“In the future, you mean.”

“In the past, the present, and definitely the future. Take your pick.”

“That may be true, Micah. But since we’re speaking frankly, I never cared for cats much myself. Why should I help you indulge your agenda? We have enough stray felines already, in my opinion.”

“If only I could say the same for you, James.”

“Convince me,” I dared.

“James. You’re 30 years old. You were born on the Island of Antillia. And you’re an orphan, both your parents died in a shipwreck off the coast of Spain.” Micah paused, watching my reaction. He had my attention now. Either I had fallen back into a state of utter delusion, or something far less believable was happening.

“I guess I am supposed to ask you how you know all of this.”

“James,” Micah said, glaring at me with iridescent blue eyes, “I am you.”