Police Academy (1984, directed by Hugh Wilson)

It’s come down to this. After being locked up for a month and a half, we were left with no choice but to watch Police Academy.

Through the Shattered Lens

God help us, it has come to this.  After a month and a half being locked down, Lisa and I watched the first two Police Academy movies last night.

The first Police Academy takes place in an unnamed city that appears to be in California.  Due to a shortage of officers, the mayor has announced that the police academy will now accept anyone who wants to apply, regardless of their physical or mental condition.  Naturally, this leads to a collection of misfits applying.  Martinet Lt. Harris (G.W. Bailey) is determined to force all of them to drop out of the academy and he has a point because I wouldn’t trust Michael Winslow’s human sound effects guy to investigate any crimes that were committed in my neighborhood.  What’s going to do?  Make silly noises while I’m trying to figure out who stole my car?

The leader of the recruits is Carey…

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Lockdown Jounal: 4-22-20

It wasn’t a bad day.  I woke up to rain and I’ll probably be going to bed to rain.  In between, the weather was pleasant enough to take a walk around the block.  Of course, wearing a mask while taking a leisurely stroll felt strange but that’s the way of the world is right now.

The Dallas county stay-at-home order has been extended until May 15th.  Interestingly, the main opponent to Dallas’s stay-at-home order has turned out to be J. Wiley Price.  Price represents some of the most economically disadvantaged areas of Dallas County and his argument has been that, the longer the economy is shut down, the more likely it is that the small and locally-owned businesses in those communities will never be able to reopen.  That will take jobs and opportunities out of communities that are already struggling.  Price is a controversial figure in Dallas and he’s said a lot of things over the past few years that I disagree with but I actually agree with him here.

(In Dallas, Price’s nickname is “Our Man Downtown.”  It’s generally agreed that he’s corrupt-as-Hell and he was very publicly investigated by the FBI a few years ago.  But, regardless of his personal ethics, he does seem to take care of his constituents.)

There’s been a shift recently among those who want to keep the economy locked down.  They’ve gone from talking about reopening when the curve is flattened to reopening when there is a vaccine.  However, there’s a very good chance that there will never be a vaccine for this.  Waiting until there is zero risk is not realistic because there will probably never be zero risk.  It’s scary but that’s the truth.

Today’s Lesson: Never Tweet

Last night, on twitter, I came across a discussion about Chris Cuomo.

Chris Cuomo, the CNN anchor who is also Andrew Cuomo’s kid brother, was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the end of March.  For the last few weeks, he’s been broadcasting from his basement and talking about how difficult the quarantine has been for him.  At one point, he said that he was so delirious with fever that he saw the ghost of his dead father.

Cuomo has also broken quarantine, to go visit a property that he owns.  (Apparently, a second home is being constructed at the property.)  This is not just a rumor.  Not only did many people see Cuomo at the site while he was claiming to be quarantining in his basement but Cuomo himself confirmed a story about getting an argument with a bicyclist who demanded to know why Cuomo was out of quarantine.  The bicyclist later came forward to confirm that he and Cuomo had the argument that Cuomo described.

Last night, on CNN, Cuomo very dramatically emerged from his basement and announced that he was now over COVID-19.  Despite the fact that Cuomo himself has admitted to breaking curfew, CNN reported the story as if this was his first moment to emerge from the basement.

I have to admit that, ever since he claimed to have seen the ghost of his dead father, I’ve felt that Cuomo’s been milking the situation for everything that it’s worth.  While I don’t doubt that he was sick and I agree that COVID-19 is not something to take lightly, I’ve always felt Chris Cuomo was laying it on a little thick.  Common sense says that if you’re so delirious that you’re seeing a ghost that you’re not then going to be in any shape to do a nightly TV show from your basement.  My suspicion has always been that Cuomo, not being in the age group that’s usually hit the hardest by the disease, had a mild case of COVID-19 and, because of the attention that he was receiving, he exaggerated his description of how sick he was.

That was the theory that I attempted to share last night on twitter.  Unfortunately, I said that I suspected Cuomo was “faking.”  Again, I don’t think he was faking being sick.  I think was faking the severity of his condition.  However, I didn’t make that clear and I immediately started to hear from people who apparently believe that every case of COVID-19 is fake.  Though it wasn’t a huge amount of people (and the majority of the replies I got did seem to understand what I was trying to say), there were still enough people in the “Coronavirus isn’t real!” crowd that it was an eye-opening experience to read their tweets.  It was a real trip down the rabbit hole.

So, for the record, I think COVID-19 is real.  I think people are getting sick and that they’re dying and that we’re fools if we pretend like it’s no big deal or that it’s not actually happening.  I also think Chis Cuomo should be ashamed of himself for breaking quarantine and CNN should be ashamed of themselves for pretending like he’s been down in the basement for the last two weeks as opposed to leaving the house and potentially exposing others to the coronavirus.

The main lesson that I’ve learned from all this?  Never tweet.  It’s just not worth the trouble.

Lockdown Journal: 4-20-20

Today is 4-20.  Because I know my mother occasionally checks this blog, allow me to say that I have no idea why that date would be significant.  Some people were excited about today’s date but not me.  No way.

Another day in lockdown.  Three more bandannas arrived at the house today.  I ordered them off of Ebay a few weeks ago and they finally showed up.  Lisa and I put them on, just to see if they were the right size.  Then we stared at ourselves in the mirror and wondered what it’s going to be like to spend the rest of our lives looking like we’re about to hold up a stagecoach or rob a bank.  For a few minutes, at least, we felt like Bonnie and Clyde.

I heard today that Georgia is scheduled to reopen on Friday.  A lot of people are saying that it’s a huge mistake and others are saying that it’s about time to reopen the economy and loosen some of the lockdown restrictons.  I don’t know what’s going to happen.  Even if COVID-19 hasn’t been the end of the world event that some people thought it would be, it’s still not something to mess around with.  At the same time, there’s something galling about the same people who refuse to close Central Park criticizing another state for wanting to get back to work.  So much of the coverage of this pandemic seems to come from people who almost seem to be rooting for massive red state fatalities.  It’s a sad statement about the current lack of national unity.  My hope is that things will be okay in Georgia.  And, if they’re not, my hope is that we’ll learn a lesson from it.

Mike Bloomberg Spent How Much?


That is the amount of money that Mike Bloomberg personally spent on his failed presidential campaign.  That is a record-setting number.  This is more money than any wining campaign has ever spent during a general election.  Bloomberg spent over a billion of his own dollars to win 49 delegates and to permanently ruin whatever chance he had over being remembered positively and without an asterisk by history.

It’s Bloomberg’s right, of course, to spend his money on whatever he wants to spend it on.  That he’s always felt he would be a great President is something that we’ve known for years.  Though it’s easy to laugh at him now, a lot of people took Bloomberg very seriously when he first announced he was running.  The media loved his chances, especially when it looked like Biden was struggling.  Bloomberg’s commercials were everywhere.  After the first three Democratic contests, there was serious speculation that the race for the nomination would come down to Sanders vs. Bloomberg.

But Bloomberg failed as soon as he got out on that debate stage and showed that he wasn’t prepared to actually be challenged.  As he struggled to answer charges that he was a Trump-style sexist, it become obvious that, like many rich men, Bloomberg had become so used to only having to deal with yes men that he no longer knew how to effectively defend himself.  Liz Warren destroyed him, just as effectively as Tulsi Gabbard earlier destroyed Kamala Harris.  Both times, it was fun to watch because there’s nothing better than watching a smug candidate get bested by a so-called “lower tier” contender.

Ultimately, Mike Bloomberg proved that money can, at least briefly, make you a contender but it can’t buy you victory.  Candidates matter.  More than money, more than media hype, more than inside connections, candidates matter.  If you can’t connect to a wide swath the voters, you’re just going to become another Mike Bloomberg.



Lockdown Journal: 4-15-20

The days are blending together and right now, there’s no end in sight.

In a time of crisis, people have to be able to trust that there’s someone looking out for their interests.  What makes this crisis so difficult is that many of us no longer have that feeling.  We don’t know how bad things actually are.  We don’t know how close things may be to reopening.  We don’t feel like anyone — in the government or the media — is willing to be honest with us about the situation and it makes us all feel even more alone.  It’s hard to trust Trump’s positivity because we know that he’s loathes the idea of acknowledging that there’s a problem that he can’t solve on his own.  It’s hard to trust the media’s negativity because the media has been telling us that the sky is falling for three years now.

Unfortunately, the election is not going to change that.  Even if Biden defeats Trump, it’s going to be hard to trust a media that has such a clear rooting interest in one party.  In 2016, we had a terrible choice.  In 2020, we’ve got another terrible choice.

I wish I could be more positive tonight but realistically, I can’t be.  Fortunately, there’s 7 Police Academy films on Netflix, just in case I need to remind myself that things could be worse.

Lockdown Journal: 4-14-20

I went grocery shopping this morning.  I put on my mask.  I waited outside of the store with a group of other people who were all wearing masks.  When we were allowed to enter the store, everyone who worked there was wearing a mask.  It felt as if I had left the house and stepped into a low budget science fiction movie.

I returned to the house and checked the news.  I saw that Obama finally endorsed Joe Biden.  A lot of people think it’s strange that Obama waited until there was literally no one left to make his endorsement but it didn’t surprise me.  If Obama endorsed Biden and then Biden lost to Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, or any of the other major candidates (as it appeared he might at one point), it would have been a huge embarrassment.  If Obama had endorsed anyone other than Biden, he would have been admitting that he didn’t have faith in the man that he selected for vice president.

Trump announced that he is halting American funding of the WHO while a review is conducted to examine WHO’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic.  It’s about time.


Lockdown Journal: 4-13-20

Lisa and I are currently watching something called Tarzan in Manhattan.  It’s a late 80s tv movie where Tarzan goes to New York and teams up with a private investigator played by Tony Curtis.  Jan-Michael Vincent is in it, as well.  It’s pretty bad but at least I know what I’ll be reviewing for the Shattered Lens tomorrow.  As bad as this is, I’m glad that we found it before we forced to resort to binging our way through the Police Academy movies on Netflix.  That day will come eventually but we’re still trying to hold it off for as long as possible.

We watched a little of Trump’s daily press briefing today.  A lot of people are upset because Trump said, incorrectly, that he has absolute authority as President.  It’s amazing to watch the people who celebrated eight years of “I have a pen and a phone” suddenly discovering why checks and balances are actually a good thing.  One would hope that they would continue to remember it even after they return to power but I doubt they will.  They’re not really upset about the potential usurpation of power.  They’re just mad that Trump is the one doing it.  America deserves better than it’s getting from both its leaders and its media.

Other than Trump’s press conference, the big political news is that Bernie formally endorsed Joe Biden today.  They had a live stream conversation, during which Biden appeared to be reading from a teleprompter.  Say what you will about Bernie, and I think I’ve made it clear that I don’t agree with him about much, but Bernie doesn’t need a script to have a conversation.  It may not matter, of course.  Trump is such a divisive figure that the Democrats may not need a good candidate to beat him and there are a lot of people who will happily vote for anyone but Trump.  But I still can’t imagine actually being enthusiastic about Biden on any level other than the fact that he’s not Trump.

In the UK, Boris Johnson is out of the hospital.  That’s some good news to end on.

Lockdown Journal: 4-10-20

Today, I’m tired.

There are lines in front of grocery stores.  People are getting pulled off of buses for not wearing a mask.  In Kentucky, the governor has announced that the police will be checking out the church parking lots on Sunday and writing down license plate numbers so that people can be forced to go into quarantine.  I’m torn between knowing that we have to take extreme measures to fight the spread of the COVID-19 and also knowing that this won’t end after the lockdown does.  9-11 started the process of normalizing the idea of living in a police state and snitching on your neighbors.  COVID-19 is here to finish the job.  We’re saving lives at the cost of freedom but what are we supposed to do?  Let people die?  These are troubling times and right now, there’s not much we can do but wait and see what we’ll be dealing with in the future.


Lockdown Journal: 4-9-20

The latest news out of the UK is that Boris Johnson is out of the ICU and that he’s recovering.  That’s good news, regardless of whether you voted Tory or Labour in the last general election.

Here in the States, there was briefly a flurry of excitement when it was reported that Colin Kaepernick, who has been a free agent since 2017, had been signed by the New York Jets.  It turned out that the story was based on a tweet that was put out by a parody twitter account.  What was interesting was witnessing the number of media figures — the same people who were told we should listen to in times of crisis — who fell for the tweet.  Those of us who have never particularly cared about whether or not Kaepernick was signed to an NFL team have often wondered who Kaepernick’s fans actually were.  Now, we have our answer.  They’re people who work for the cable news channels.

Myself, I never really cared whether or not Colin Kaepernick wanted to take a knee during the national anthem.  It was his right, as an American, to kneel.  At the same time, I also think the NFL had the right not to sign him.  Many people seemed to feel that an NFL team should have been forced to sign him but, even if that was constitutional, it just would have meant Kaepernick would have been spent the past three seasons sitting on the bench instead of appearing in Nike commercials.

Today has been a good day.  It’s been as close to a normal day as anyone could hope for during a pandemic lock-down.  Everything that has happened has really given me a new appreciation for normal days.