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President Pussygrabber

There are really no words for how I feel this morning.

America has spoken. I really thought we were better than this. Guess not.

Trump was the least qualified candidate ever nominated by a major party for the presidency. Come January, he will become the worst president in American history, and a dangerously unstable player on the world stage.

And the decimated Democrats, a minority in both House and Senate, do not have the power to hinder him.

Over the next four years, our problems are going to get much, much worse.

Winter is coming. I told you so.

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This, That, and t'Other Thing

Another football Sunday has come and gone, with mixed results for yours truly.

The Giants won, hanging on by the skin of their teeth to defeat the Iggles of Brotherly Luv. Gifted with an early 14-0 lead by two Carson Wentz INTs, they still almost managed to blow it. Eli threw his own INT just when it looked as if Big Blue was about to put the game away, but fortunately the defense saved him. Biggest worry coming out of the game was an injury to Victor Cruz, which I hated to see. He's one of my favorite players. I hope he's back next week.

The Jets, meanwhile, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. After trailing for most of the game, they seemed poised to take the lead in the fourth quarter, only to have Fitz throw a devastating pick in the end zone. Yet somehow they managed to get the ball back, and this time Fitz redeemed himself, tossing the go-ahead touchdown. But the joy did not last for long. On the ensuing kickoff, the Dolphins ran the ball all the way back for a TD, and that was that. Gang Green now has as many losses as they did all last year. The season is effectively over. Bryce Petty looked pretty good in the short stretch they had him in after Fitz got clocked. I hope we get to see more of him in the game to come. Much as I like Fitz, we have to start thinking about the future.

On other fronts...

The election still has me in a state of high anxiety. I am not sleeping well, and I think I check 538 about three dozen times a day, hoping for some good news. Tuesday cannot come fast enough for me. I think I speak for a lot of Americans when I say that I desperately want this thing to be over. It has been SO ugly. Come Tuesday night, I will either be relieved or suicidal. I think I speak for a lot of Americans about that as well.

Oh, and speaking of that: the Trump PACs have rolled out two new television ads in New Mexico this weekend. Both attack ads, natch. One is a cartoon with animated Bill and Hillary characters rolling up to the White House unpacking boxes of scandals. The other features an actress badly made up to be Hillary, in wig and pants suit, destroying phones and hard drives with hammers, drills, chain saws, and the like. Both ads are stupid and offensive, and both confirm and underline the main point I made in my "Simple Observation" post. Hillary's ads feature real footage of the real Donald J. Trump saying the things he really said. These Trumps ads, on the other hand, have to resort to cartoons and over-the-top impersonators because they can't actually find any real footage of Hillary saying or doing anything reprehensible, comparable to the stuff Trump has said.

I cannot possible imagine that any actual voters will be swayed by this stuff. "Hell, damn, I'm going to vote for Trump, did you see what Cartoon Hillary was doing?" But what the hell. Even Honest Abe admitted that you could fool some of the people all of the time...

I'm still excited about Emily St. John Mandel coming to the Jean Cocteau tomorrow. If you're in the neighborhood, come join us.

The crowds at Meow Wolf of late have been astounding. Since we first opened in late March, more than 300,000 people have visited the House of Eternal Return. It's become one of Santa Fe's premiere attractions, and I am so pleased to have played my small part in creating it.

Oh, and last night Parris and I went to see DOCTOR STRANGE at the Violet Crown (in part to escape the crowds seeing TRUMPLAND at the JCC). 'twas fun. As many of you know, I'm a Marvel fanboy from way back, and Doctor Strange was probably my favorite single character... well, him or Spider-Man, both drawn by Steve Ditko, whose art I loved. (I say single character because I always loved the group books as well, the FF and Avengers and X-Men). How much did I love Doctor Strange? Well, let me just say, one of the characters I wrote for the comic book fanzines of the 60s was called Doctor Weird, so...

The movie is NOT the best Marvel superhero movie, as I was hoping it would be... it's more middle of the pack, I'd say... but it looked great, did justice to the character, and had some scenes that were downright Ditko-esque. Of course, they had the obligatory Stan Lee cameo. Now, if they had managed to include a Steve Ditko cameo, that would really have been something. (Yes, I know, I know). I do hope that Ditko saw at least a little money out of this. He was a genius in his own way, and Doc would never have been half as interesting without Ditko's unique and idiosyncratic vision.

Move Along, Nothing to See

In case you missed it, here's the latest statement from FBI director James Comey on the bureau's investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails.

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At the Jean Cocteau

TRUMPLAND opened yesterday at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, playing to large and enthusiastic crowds. Whatever you may think of Michael Moore or his politics, he's never less than entertaining. He makes some great political points in TRUMPLAND, but even if you disagree with every one of those, there are a lot of laughs as well. We're the only theatre in New Mexico showing the film and we'll be running it through the election, so do come down and catch it if you can.

We do have one break in the TRUMPLAND screening schedule, however. Come Monday night, we're having another one of our famous author events. This time the JCC is honored to be hosting EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL, the best-selling author of STATION ELEVEN and other acclaimed novels.



I'll be doing an interview with Emily, followed by an audience Q&A, and of course a signing. We should have all of her earlier novels in stock, as well as the new paperback of STATION ELEVEN.

Emily St. John Mandel is one writer that I've never met before, but I'm very excited that I will have a chance to talk with her. STATION ELEVEN just blew me away when I read it, a few years ago. Actually, it was the best novel I read that year (2014), and I was hoping it might be a Hugo contender, as regular readers of the Not A Blog might remember. I wrote, "One of the 2014 books that I did read stands above all the others, however: STATION ELEVEN, by Emily St. John Mandel. As best I can recall, I've never met Emily St. John Mandel, and I've never read anything else by her, but I won't soon forget STATION ELEVEN. One could, I suppose, call it a post-apocalypse novel, and it is that, but all the usual tropes of that subgenre are missing here, and half the book is devoted to flashbacks to before the coming of the virus that wipes out the world, so it's also a novel of character, and there's this thread about a comic book and Doctor Eleven and a giant space station and... oh, well, this book should NOT have worked, but it does. It's a deeply melancholy novel, but beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac... a book that I will long remember, and return to."

((Sadly, no, STATION ELEVEN did not get a Hugo nomination. The reports of my vast power and influence within the field seem to be greatly exaggerated. So far as I can tell, my effect on the Hugo nominations is exactly nil. But I'll keep recommending good stuff anyway. I'm stubborn)).

Anyway... if you're here in the Land of Enchantment, come down and join us on Monday night and meet Emily St. John Mandel. And if you're not, well, autographed copies will be available afterwards for mail order. Of her books, my books, books by all the great authors we've hosted. (Depending on what happens on Tuesday, we may remember Monday night as the last good time before the lights began to go out. Though I hope not).

Tickets to both TRUMPLAND and Emily St. John Mandel are available on the Jean Cocteau website: http://www.jeancocteaucinema.com/

Weighing the Choices

Tuesday looms, and many people are supposedly still undecided on who to vote for.

I hear people saying they don't like either candidate. That there is no difference.

To which I say...

Oh, wait, Seth Meyers said it better than I could:

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A Simple Observation

New Mexico has been a battlefield state in past presidential elections, most recently in 2000 and 2004, but Obama carried it easily both times, and of late it has been trending blue. So much so that until very recently it was considered safe for Clinton this time around, which meant that neither side was paying us much attention.

That's changed in the last couple of weeks. All of a sudden, it is thought that the Land of Enchantment is in play, and we're seeing campaign commercials for both sides daily, often hourly. All summer our airwaves were blessedly free of those, but now one can't escape them. Some of them are positive ads, about the wonderful things the candidates is going to do for us... but the vast majority are negative, attacking the opponent. Sadly, that seems to have become the default setting for politics in this 21st century of ours.

Watching them, however, a very huge and basic difference struck me.

The Trump commercials are all fairly standard political attack ads. You've seen a thousand like them. Find some bad pictures of the opponent, in this case Hillary, pictures that make them look ugly or angry or crazed (easily done, there are thousands of unflattering pictures of any public figure floating around these days). If they are not bad enough, put them up in black & white, which always seems to make them worse. Juxtapose them with negative imagery, maybe some out of context headlines. Use a faceless narrator's voice over the pictures telling us that the candidate is corrupt or a liar or "too extreme." The latest Trump ad manages to add Anthony Weiner, who is called "Pervert Anthony Weiner." The blatant name-calling -- flinging around words like 'pervert' and 'crooked' -- is not something we have often seen before in American politics, unless you go back to the 18th and 19th centuries; that's Trump's own original ugly contribution to lowering the tenor of political discourse. The rest, however, is Attack Ad 101.

What's notable here is that the whole thing is accusation. It's one side calling the other side names. If any political positions are presented, they are usually distorted. Smith says Jones is corrupt. Jones says Smith is a liar. Smith says Jones voted for something unpopular. Jones says Smith favors something vile. Trump's ads against Hillary tick every box here. They are made of assertion, innuendo, and name-calling, but there's no substance to them.

Clinton's ads are something else. Very different, and -- to my mind -- much more truthful. The star of all the Clinton ads in Donald J. Trump. There are no deliberately unflattering photographs, however. Nothing in black and white. Just video clips, full color, professional footage from news cameras at his rallies, interviews, television appearances. There's no name-calling either. Clinton doesn't need to label Trump as "crooked" or "a liar" or link him with "perverts." Clinton's ads just show Trump being Trump.

So what we have here is not Smith claiming that Jones said terrible things. What we have is actual footage of Jones saying and doing those things. No one has to accuse Trump of anything, he has laid it all out there in public for the world to see.

Yes, he mocked a disabled reporter. There he is, doing it.

Yes, he told Billy Bush he liked to kiss women without their consent and grab them by their pussies. There he is, boasting about it. When you're a star, you can do anything.

No need to accuse Trump of going into the dressing rooms of Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA pagaents when the contestants were changing so he could see them naked. There's Trump himself, telling Howard Stern about it.

Yes, he said women should be punished for having abortions. There he is, telling Chris Matthews. His own words, his own face.

Yes, he said he wants to ban all Muslims from entering the US. Here, see the clip.

Yes, he's in favor of Japan and Saudi Arabia and South Korea having nukes, here's the clip where he says so.

And on and on and on and on. The Gold Star family, the bad hombres, Judge Curiel, the Miss Universe contestant... his own speeches, his own tweets, his own words.

The usual pattern in election is that Smith says Jones said something terrible, and Jones denies it. Not so here. Hillary does not need to use the sort of hoary attack ads that Trump is using. She only needs to present him as he is, and let his own words condemn them.

And they do.

In my lifetime, there has never been a presidential candidate more unfit to lead this nation.

You don't need to like Hillary. You don't need to listen to what Hillary says about Trump, or what I say about Trump. You just need to listen to Trump. If you can do that, and still consider voting for him... well...

Pappy Bush lost an election by looking at his watch. Michael Dukakis lost an election by riding around in a tank. Howard Dean lost an election by giving a yeeeehah scream. Trivial things. Insignificant things. Trump, on the other hand, has said the vilest things any presidential candidate has said since George Wallace, and he's rising in the polls.

He has boasted that he could shoot someone dead on Fifth Avenue and still not lose any votes. I am beginning to think he was right.

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Cubs Win

The Cubs have won the World Series.

Yes, you read that right. The Cubs have won the World Series, for the first time in one hundred and eight years. They are weeping in Cleveland and dancing in the streets of Chicago.

Surely the end of days is at hand. The seventh seal has broken, some rough beast is slouching toward Bethlehem (or Washington, D.C.), pigs are flying. The Cubs have come back from being down three games to one, and that bleating you hear is the billy goat that cursed them so long ago.

Somewhere Harry Carey is saying "Holy Cow," and Steve Goodman is singing.



Truth be told, I'm a Mets fan. We have our own agonies, sharing a city with the Yankees. But it's nothing like the pain Cubs fans have known. We will always have 1969. A painful memory for Cubs fans, and golden one for Mets fans. And we will always have 1986. Agony for Red Sox fans, magic for Mets fans... and especially for Parris and me, who were actually there for game six, in great seats four rows up on the first base side, so close to the field that we could see the stitches on the ball as it rolled between Bill Buckner's legs.

But I digress. As I saying, I'm a Mets fan... but I did go to college at Northwestern (1966-1971), and did my VISTA service in Chicago (1971-1973), and lived there in Uptown afterwards (1973-1976), so I have a certain affection for the Cubbies too. I certainly enjoyed many a lazy spring and fall afternoon sitting in the bleachers at Wrigley, both in college and after. (Okay, okay, living in Chicago and being surrounded by Cubs fans as I was, I took a certain cruel pleasure from the Mets classic run in 1969, mea culpa). I'd still prefer the Mets to win it all... but if it can't be them, I'm glad it was the Cubs. Chicago is a great city, Wrigley is a great field, and Steve Goodman was a great songwriter.

So congratulations to all my friends in the Second City. Enjoy the moment. Let's hope it isn't another hundred and eight years before it comes again.

There is one fly in the ointment, though. Last week, when the Cubs were down 3 games to 1, Nate Silver wrote that Trump had as much chance of winning the election as the Cubs did of winning the series.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The Cubs have won the World Series. The end is nigh.

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Voted

Just got back from the courthouse, where I cast my vote.

It was a busy, bustling scene. The poll watchers and election personnel told me that early voting is way up compared to 2012, at least in Santa Fe County. That's encouraging.

After you cast your ballot, they give you one of those little red, white, and blue I VOTED stickers. We want to do our own part in encouraging everyone to get out and vote, so from now until November 9 anyone who turns up at the Jean Cocteau Cinema with one of those stickers will get a FREE POPCORN. No charge for butter, or the topping of your choice. And we do have the best popcorn in town, so...

I have to admit, this election has me very anxious, especially this past week as the polls began to tighten. Every four years someone is sure to say, "This is the most important election of our lifetime," but this year I think that is absolutely true.

In other words: vote. Do it for America, do it for the world, do it for your children, do it for the popcorn... but DO IT.

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Trump is Coming...

... to the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

Opening tonight at the JCC for a one-week LIMITED ENGAGEMENT, we have TRUMPLAND, the latest film from Michael Moore.



TRUMPLAND is the latest from the Academy Award winning director of SICKO, BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, FAHRENHEIT 9/11, and many more.

And the Jean Cocteau is the only theatre in all of New Mexico showing TRUMPLAND. We're a small theatre, so if you want to catch this one, I'd get my tickets now:

http://www.jeancocteaucinema.com/

See you at the movies... and at the polls, I hope.

A Win is a Win

A win is a win. And any win is better than a loss.

Still... it is hard to get to excited about the Jets' victory yesterday.

They beat the Cleveland Browns. The hapless, winless Cleveland Browns, who are clearly the worst team in the NFL this season, stumbling ahead toward next year's number one draft choice.

They barely beat the hapless, winless Cleveland Browns. In fact, they were losing for much of the game. Gang Green came out sleepwalking, and snoozed through the entire first half, allowing the Browns to run up a 20 - 7 lead. The offense was asleep, the defense was asleep, and Fitz was just awful.

They woke up in the second half, hallelujah, and scored 24 unanswered points to take the lead. Then, with the game seemingly in hand, they went back to sleep again in the final two minutes, to let Cleveland score a late TD and a 2-point conversion, so the whole thing came down to an onsides kick. Final score 31-28.

It was ugly and it was sloppy and it was way too close. A win, sure, but not one for a Jets fan to feel very good about. If the Jets are only twelve seconds and three points better than the Browns, it is hard to imagine they are going anywhere this year.

But at least it wasn't a loss.

(The Giants had a bye)

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