Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year From All Of Us At The Hype

Hi, my name is Joe Leger. That's me in the picture over there - editor of The Straight Hype(TM). You may remember me from such movies as It Was Broken When I Got Here; Doctor, it Burns Where it Shouldn't Burn; and Cilantro, The Misunderstood Herb.

The New Year is upon us, and it is customary here at Hype Central to make an amusing and entertaining list of predictions. This year, however, in the spirit of "Change" that has been the credo of so many misguided North Americans as of late (ugh, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little), I shall make a list of rants that may appear to have no purpose, yet when viewed collectively by future generations, will contain within them a wisdom that defined us in deep and profound ways. So here we go...

Thoughts on the past year and the year to come:

A - Being a child born well into the Age of Reason, I don't easily fall victim to claims of malevolent auras pervading the atmosphere - that was until I read of a near-fatal airborne bovine catastrophe in Turkey. Reports are that diners at a swanky restaurant in Istanbul were nearly flattened into their karniyarik after a cow crashed through the roof of the establishment. Miraculously, no one was injured, but the cow was quite dead. Whether the cow was already on the roof at the time of the incident - and just how it got there in the first place - remains a mystery. Curiously, this appears to be a occurrence that happens with some regularity.

B - Why did Constantinople get the works? That's nobody's business but the Turks.

C - President Elect Obama will discover early in his Presidency that the war in Iraq is slightly more complex than pulling out large number of troops at will and declaring; "You sunk my battleship!"

D - Despite the continual flood of email, subpoenas, and cease and desist letters, Wolfe Blitzer will eventually see the wisdom of auctioning one of his kidneys on Ebay! in my mad "kidney for profit" scheme.

E - Israel will continue to bomb the living be-jeepers out of those who claim that Jews are descended from demons and rats, and will no longer allow radicals who have no interest in peace attack and murder their citizens. The world will continue to blame the Jews for the current situation, and international support will be sympathetic towards Islamic terrorists who wish to annihilate the Israelites. Gee! When has that happened before?

F - The Straight Hype will continue to be an unwavering and unconditional ally of Israel.

G - Best Movies of 2008 -

1 - Gone Baby Gone - A thought provoking and gripping thriller by Ben Affleck (yes, Ben Affleck) whose amazing ensemble cast and gritty reality make up for the film's less then credible ending.

2 - In Bruges - A witty and smart dark comedy starring a newly sober Colin Farrell. A true gem.

3 - Valkyrie - By god, Tom Cruise did it! Over budget and late on delivery, this movie packs a punch, despite lacking badly needed character development.

4 - Persepolis - A funny, warm, yet unflinching look at the horrors of living under the rule of Islamic extremism.

5 - Reservation Road - A little known movie and a personal favourite. Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo are riveting. A must see.

6 - John Adams - Though this is technically an HBO mini-series, it is the finest piece of work I have ever seen. It proudly boasts a stunning cast, an amazing score, and stunning cinematography. Based David McCullough's award winning book, it is probably the most accurate and entertaining look at the Revolutionary period seen through the eyes of John Adams. This was also the lovely miss Claire's favourite oeuvre of the year.

7 - Honourable mentions - Though I was less than impressed with these two offerings, my associate editor, the lovely miss Claire (and almost everyone else) nominates both the "Dark Night" and "Iron Man" as superb examples of comic book adventures brought to the screen. Heath Ledger was electrifying as the Joker, and Robert Downey Jr. was superb as Iron Man (I agree with the latter two statements, but come on! Tony Stark performing open heart surgery in a cave in Afghanistan? This would be less irritating to me if the director wouldn't have continued to blather on about the film's "realism").

H - I really try to be nice. I conscientiously read all of my emails and respond to all questions and comments in a timely and courteous manner. My readers are important to me. They are the lifeblood of this organ. Without you, the Hype would be just another dot-com cargo cult in the wasteland of cyberspace. But somewhere, in between your family outing to the monster truck pull and your appearance on Judge Judy, you email the site and pollute my inbox with the noisy static that crams up the inner workings of your brain. Admittedly, I am a bit of an intellectual tricotteuse. It's one thing to give bitch slaps to liberals, paleo-liberals, and rabid Jacobites, but some of you people somehow manage to fall outside of the ice-cold grip of stereotype. You are the people who think music hit it's apex when Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded "Sweet home Alabama", the kind of folks who declare they'll never visit "Effigy" because it seems someone's always getting hung there. You know who you are. You buy generic soda pop and own a copy of "Wrestlemania III". You think Western Civilization reached an all-new cultural plateau when Garth Brooks broke the mold by tearing down the walls between country and rock, spawning the insipid "Country Rock" genre. I guess we should thank you for demonstrating the perils of alcohol and free Internet access at public libraries.

I - Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" was the most thought provoking, meticulously researched and important books of 2008. It turns 50 years of conventional wisdom on it's head with it's humorous but not overly scathing indictment of the Left's cherished beliefs.

J - Most important of all is that I got engaged to the lovely miss Claire this year. My life is truly blessed.

Happy New Year from the Hype.



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Hype!!

Ahhh, Christmas time! The day when the Great Pumpkin rose out of the pumpkin patch and appeared before Linus, bearing Festivus gifts for all the good progressives of the world, before he ascended 3 days later into the bosom of Gaia to rest up and prepare for next year’s Kwanzaa. I kid of course, but I would hardly be gob-smacked to hear that your children arrived home from school with similar tales from their teachers. After reading an article a month ago about a school teacher who drove an 8 year old girl to tears after calling her father a war criminal for fighting an “illegal” war in Iraq, nothing surprises me anymore. President Bush’s naïve - albeit well intentioned - “No Child Left Behind” policy should have had a provision that stipulated that no child should be left behind to endure humiliation at the hands if her pod-brained teacher, who believes the word “sacrifice” only applies to weeks when she’s feeling a bit pudgy, and has to skip the whipped cream on her Starbucks caramel mochachino.

The funny thing about progressives - as Jonah Goldberg points out in his book, Liberal Fascism - is that they are incapable of coming to terms with the sins of their past, or speaking out against the extreme elements of their movement that alienate them from the rest of thinking, breathing, carbon-based life forms. As Islamic extremists continue to bomb churches, trains, subways, cafes, and even their own Mosques, the progressive elites in this country continue to serve as useful apologists for these monsters, while heaping piles on abuse of President Bush who in their minds is “the real terrorist.” Sigh. While the conservative movement intelligently parsed all the nuances of the Iraq war – even luminaries like the venerable William F Buckley Jr opposed it – no self respecting, right-minded thinker, regardless of how they felt, was so daft as to ever blame the United States - or President Bush - for monstrosities committed in the name of Islam.

The left continues to drive a car with no rear view mirror. It was their very same saints and icons who marched outside the White House with signs denouncing President Roosevelt as a warmonger for sending aid to Churchill. I recently watched footage from the ‘40’s showing throngs of progressives in the same above mentioned rally saying “Hands Off Hitler”. Pearl Harbor finally woke them up, but only for about 5 minutes - as we witnessed after 9/11. I often think some crazed Jihadist could lop off the head of Ted Kennedy and use it as a soccer ball, and the left would still be ringing their hands over what America did to warrant such a thing. Of course, if Ted Kennedy where to lose his head, I don’t think we would notice much of a difference in the Senator.

Anyway, I’m being a curmudgeon on Christmas, but that’s a sacred and honored tradition here at the Hype (Hey! Did you Know that Microsoft spell checks Kwanzaa?).

Christmas is a sacred and wondrous time for me. I have never lost that child-like magic of watching the snow fall and bluster in the wind, the smoke curling from chimneys as you look out the window watching the array of colored lights adorn the neighborhood houses. I love decorating the tree, going to Midnight Mass, and having a big meal with friends and family. The spirit of giving and forgiveness, and everyone is able to forget - if only for a little while - the troubles and challenges of life.

Of course, Christmas isn’t happy for everyone. There are those suffering from illness, alcoholism and drug addiction, and those who have been forgotten by friends and relatives. Let us help and keep all in our hearts during this time, and always. May God bless you and your family over the holiday season and have kindness in your heart for all – even liberals…if you can manage. I realize that’s a tall order.



Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Tyranny of the Petticoat

Greetings, dear readers, and a plenary indulgence for a buck and half to all (Sorry, I can't do that. I'm not a Bishop and I don't want to agitate the mentally unstable ghost of Martin Luther into causing any more trouble for us Catholics).

I am about to enter into the sacred bond that John Adams once referred to as "the tyranny of the petticoat," although I've never seen the lovely miss Claire wear a petticoat. Maybe she's saving it for a second trip to colonial Williamsburg to wear during a July 4th costume celebration.

Oh yeah...I should also mention she's not a tyrant nor prone to tyrannical outbursts - even while editing, which is a rare feat for editors as a species.

I'm getting married to the lovely Miss Claire on Sept. 18th at the beautiful St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church. She said yes a few days ago and now we are on a collision course toward matrimonial madness. I should admit to this one caveat - I was married before, but it didn't quite take. There are many reasons for this, the primary being that I was always kind, respectful and nice, and she, um, wasn't. Anyway, that's the past. I've been divorced for over 7 years, and my marriage was annulled by the church, so I can re-marry with a Catholic Mass. Getting an annulment was a lot easier than I thought - First, it wasn't expensive; Second, it was quick; Lastly, Tomás de Torquemada wasn't as tough as they make him out to be. I was on the rack for 15 minutes and the guy falls asleep.

I couldn't be happier. We both share a love for American Revolutionary history, National Review, American Politics, lasagna, President John Adams, a belief that toast will one day rise again as the afternoon snack of choice, and of course, each other.

I won't agitate your gag reflex with tales of our mutual love and respect, but I will confess I am the happiest man on the planet. Even happier than that guy who died last year after a truck filled with Twinkies overturned and unloaded their contents, crushing him to death with their sweet, sweet spongy goodness.

Hope you all had a good weekend. The wedding is going to be a small private family affair so you may want to spare yourself (as well as me) the awkwardness of asking if you're invited. But I luvs you all anyway.

Enjoy some Great Big Sea as we head into the week



Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Up Close and Personal

Everyone is an editor. I write too many personal humour pieces, and my fans write in to demand more politics. I write too many political pieces and people write in - pitchforks in hand -to demand more humour pieces. Is there no pleasing some people?

Well, I'm at your service. A writer is like a literary prostitute of sorts. You want me to write the first chapter of War and Peace on my belly with blueberry syrup? I'll do it, providing someone has a crumpled up 20 dollar bill to give me for my troubles.

I'm returning to work on December 19th, which is just about right for me. I was starting to get cabin fever from being cooped up in my apartment. One week, I was so overcome with boredom, I began to think I was some deranged version of Gandalf from Lord Of The Rings, and stood in my open apartment door in a tattered bathrobe wielding a golf club yelling "You shall not pass!" to passing strangers. No one took much notice. I live on Main street, and that kind of stuff is pretty much par for the course.

I am presently at my folks in Bathurst relaxing and enjoying life. I miss the lovely miss Claire but I'll be back in Moncton tomorrow.

Planning a trip to Boston in for February with my brother, Claire's sister and their respective partners. Hope to head out to Braintree to check out Peacefield, President John Adams's old haunt. It's one of the Founding Father's residences we haven't yet seen.

Big announcement to make soon, so stay on your toes, like a midget at a urinal.

Take care, my loyal and trusted readers...and those of you who can't be trusted as well.

Here's a little a treat for you!