Welcome. For the record, this little web site has no sponsor. I´m totally to blame for the content. I like to think of Fodder as a silo—a place to dump my opinions, mostly black & white, sometimes mean-spirited and always judgmental. Fodder is dedicated to no single cause, except to criticize what´s wrong, which is 80 percent of everything (except what I think). From time to time, you may agree with me; but if you stay tuned long enough, you´re bound to bristle a bit. I have no posting schedule. The first item under “Recent entries” is the latest posted.

Dick Toomey

October 27, 2014

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Anybody who gives a rip wants to know what’s wrong with the world. Unless you live in a cave or some other remote outpost, every hour, every day, you witness the ugly side of humanity. You want answers. You turn to theological experts who preach faith, love and forgiveness; and then listen as they ask for money. You turn to political leaders who predict a new day and then listen as they ask for money; if you give them money, they want more money; if they get elected, they want more money to keep the job they can’t seem to do without more money. You turn to professional commentators and talking-head experts who offer armchair opinions before they promote their latest books that are always on the NY Times best selling list — books that you can buy with your money that allegedly goes to charity. You turn to the World Wide Web and wade through pop-up windows to learn a heretofore never revealed secret — How You Can Profit From The Next Financial Meltdown — absolutely free — contained in a video library — yours free — when you subscribe to a monthly newsletter — a $595 value for only $19.95 per month — and if not fully satisfied, you pay nothing. Then you turn to the always reliable Dewers Rocks Twist and in no time at all you have an answer. The answer isn’t immediately clear; but after 30 minutes in conference with DRT, you discover that what’s wrong with the world today is what was wrong with the world 100 years ago, 500 years ago and 2500 years ago. And after 60 minutes, you concede something that you debated countless time before — that 80 per cent of humanity always chooses to live peacefully, respecting life, liberty and property. Unfortunately, that percentage leaves  1.2 billion other humans who prefer to either cheat, lie, steal, or murder their way through life. And, routinely, many of these evildoers occupy the highest positions of power — lying, cheating, stealing and committing murder on an epic scale. Later, another Dewers helps recall a Universal Truth — that Evil is as constant, as predictable, as the tide. In a moment of stark clarity, you reach the obvious conclusion: the Evil Minority persists because the Majority doesn’t really believe in Evil. The Majority believes that all humans are Jekyll & Hyde characters, a combination of good and bad, sinners everyone — not to judge, “lest we be judged.” The Majority can’t bear differentiating between Sin and Evil, because to acknowledge Evil, not knowing where you stack up, is a colossal, personal risk. But, if 6000 years of human folly proves anything, it’s that risk is worth taking. At this moment, a week before the 2014 midterm national election, Evil Americans are preparing to lie, steal and cheat their way to power. DRT finally confirms that any voter who casts a ballot for any candidate whose political views diminish individual liberty by even a smidgen –  is Evil. Not sinful, mind you. Not mistaken. Not unsettled. Not unscrewed. Not whacko. Not schizzo. Evil. Nothing less. An extreme, wildly irresponsible indictment, you say, daring to malign loving mothers, generous friends, business associates, compassionate neighbors and family members who happen to embrace a progressive ideology. Sorry. Evil has many faces — even beautiful faces — that continue to nourish the ugly side of humanity.

October 5, 2014

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Fox calls the program Outnumbered. The name ostensibly derives from the talk show’s format. Four “foxes” literally surround the dapper male anchor, to debate whatever subject some program director thinks will engage 8th grade mentality, meaning the majority of TV viewers. Male viewers, bored with topical conversation, can always focus on four pairs of fashionably crossed legs, stylish hems enticingly parked at mid-thigh, a prerequisite of all Fox “foxes.” But don’t be misled. These legs have credentials. Former track star Sandra Smith actually took some business classes and minored in speech at LSU before diving into the Wall Street world where her father and many of her other family fiddled with financials. Jedediah Bila, valedictorian at Wagner, studied Spanish and business, earned her Masters at Columbia and taught high school and college students in NY. Kimberly Guilfoyle graduated magna cum laude from Cal Davis, and earned her JD from USF. She interned at the DA’s office in SF and quite understandably modeled Victoria Secret lingerie for local department stores.  Harris Faulkner studied business economics and mass communications at the University of California Santa Barbara and worked as a junior accountant before becoming a freelance writer. Rotating panelist Katie Pavlich, primarily known for her journalist work at Townhall.com, authored Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal And Its Shameless Cover-Up. Not bad for a 26-year-old outdoor adventuress. And then there’s Tucker Carlson, elder son of Richard Warner Carlson, a former LA news anchor and U.S. Ambassador to the Seychelles; and adoptive mother Patricia Caroline Swanson, heiress to the Swanson food-conglomerate fortune, not to mention great-uncle Sen. J. William Fulbright. Naturally, a son of privilege, he would attend St. George’s School and major in History at Trinity. It all adds up. Education, looks, accomplishment, poise, verbal acuity. Very much the attributes of one Barack Obama, minus the accomplishment, of course. But you digress. Something’s missing. It’s the something that’s missing on most of the popular “talk shows.” With rare exception, young TV desk jockeys never served a day in the military, never owned a business, never met a payroll, never worked in law enforcement, never managed a corporate department, never labored in an industrial factory and never held a hospital bed pan. Yet these experts blithely make authoritative pronouncements on everything from blood and guts military to nuclear weapons to farm subsidies. In sports programming, you surely will see a blond with a short skirt, but at least she’s a moderator for male talking heads who are former athletes — professionals who actually played the game. Thankfully, credibility carries some weight in sport. But you have to give the Fox Network credit for finding beautiful people with sleek legs to deliver news and opinions. Like many of television’s talking heads, Megyn Marie Kelly, she of the ultra demonstrative, staccato delivery, is an attorney who parlayed smarts and glamor to displace the whiny Hannity. Another network (name begins with an “A”) has an even dimmer view of America’s shallow audience, opting to host celebrity talking heads in something called The View. Reminiscent of politics, this network has decided that viewers, like voters, will choose unqualified “celebrities” over persons of accomplishment. At the end of the day, as they say, the “expert” blabbers are no different than you and your expert blabber friends, sitting around the fire and offering opinions about the issues of the day, as if you and they had proprietary information. It’s so much talk, so much chatter, really. But some broadcast experts believe it’s entertainment. Compared to Rap, they do have a point.

August 9, 2014

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It has to be said. No one is as innocuous, as hackneyed, as stale, as hyperbolic, as farfetched, as overblown, as shallow, as unlettered and, as Andy Dufresne once said to Warden Norton, as “obtuse,” as a sports radio or television commentator. Rich Lerner, Frank Nobilo, Brandel Chamblee and Notah Begay III, apparently bowing to the demands of Golf Channel execs, jacked their jaws ad nauseum, dissecting Tiger Woods’ most recent tragic injury, probing his spine physiology, muscle spasm syndrome, performance psychology and golf swing anatomy. You’ve heard cardiothoracic surgeons discuss triple bypass with less precision and resolute certainty. Brilliantly, you observe that keeping Tiger on a kingly pedestal has bottom line consequences for these pundits, for the network, for the advertisers and for the vast entourage of special interests that shadow his every step like salivating scavengers. Certainly, America loves a soap opera. Certainly, money talks. Unfortunately, so do the talking heads. You do get it. Somebody has to fill the time, however ungrammatically. Evidently, talking heads never actually read what they say after they say it, realizing that transcripts wouldn’t pass 7th grade English standards or journalistic standards for probity. Typically, you’re unduly critical of people simply trying to do a job. Be fair. Admit that the job is important — promoting a business, the celebrities who occupy the stage and the charities they support. True, but the job has nothing to do with journalism or reporting or investigating to uncover the truth of anything. For example, you never heard one sport’s pundit on any network question the authenticity of the Woods’ injury. Like any other ordinary observer, you only know what you saw — Tiger hitting a ball from an awkward lie, nimbly jumping into a bunker, collecting himself and striding up the fairway. On multiple replays, you didn’t see a wince or a grimace. You didn’t see a lurch or a falter. And this was the exact moment he apparently felt the “twinge” or the “tweak.” Subsequently, as his performance unraveled, so did the condition of his back. As he “painfully” quit the stage, no commentator dared utter a smidgen of doubt. They couldn’t risk the disapproval and the disgrace. They couldn’t risk being shunned and drummed out of the business. Fair enough. So it’s left to amateur critics to risk denunciation — to suggest that Woods has a history of playing poorly only when injured, of never being injured when playing well, of never leaving the field of play when in contention, of never attributing a sub-par performance to his own failure. You must conclude the best golfer in the world must always be best in the eyes of the world. Only circumstances outside of his own unparalleled ability can get in the way of his vaulted stature. And the pundits rigorously feed this appraisal. if Tiger isn’t at the head of the class, he must have leg or back issues; his teacher must be meddling with his swing; he must be shouldering intense media pressure, etc. Excuses are the convenient armor of a prodigious ego. But excuses are essential to a media that believes, without Tiger, the money machine will sputter and shrink. At the end of the day, broadcasters are terrified that an absent Tiger will cripple the PGA tour, and materially affect their careers. Some even make the case — asking if the tour could possibly maintain its prominence without its superstar. Your opinion counts for little but you seem to remember that golf  continued to blossom without the likes of a Jones, Hogan, Nelson, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus and Player. Baseball, football and basketball manage to thrive without  iconic heroes of yesteryear.  But sports media pundits must live to exaggerate — to make gods of men. It’s what they do, relentlessly — because exaggeration is in their self interest. You have only one recourse — the mute button. Use it.

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