Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Larry Flynt, American hero

Most of us would agree that Larry Flynt is a pretty sleazy guy. 

In 1974, he published the first issue of Hustler magazine, which quickly became the most sexually graphic publication in America. At its peak, it had a monthly circulation of 3,000,000, but its current circulation is around 500,000. In addition to the magazine, Larry Flynt Publications also licenses the Hustler brand Hustler Casino in Gardena, California, a chain of Hustler Club bars and clubs, and a Hustler store chain that sells adult-oriented videos, clothing, magazines, and sex toys



Larry Flynt is now 74 years old, and lives in Hollywood Hills, California. He has been married 5 times and divorced three (his third wife, Althea Leasure, drowned in 1987). In case you are wondering, his net worth is an estimated $500 million, which seems to disprove the old adage that the wages of sin is death.

In spite of his checkered background, though, all of us owe Larry Flynt a debt of gratitude. If you review the Wikipedia article about him, it’s clear that he has generated numerous lawsuits and controversies in his lifetime. None of those lawsuits, though, was as important to the rest of us as the 1998 Supreme Court case known as Falwell v. Flynt. A summary of that court case can be found below:


One of the net effects of the court case is that it essentially granted cartoonists and other satirists immunity from lawsuits, which is critically important at a time when the current occupant of the White House would like to jail journalists who publish articles that are critical of him. He also happens to believe that the 1st amendment of the United States Constitution is “outdated”. 

Recently, a story was in circulation that Donald Trump’s lawyer was threatening to sue Berkley Breathed, who published Bloom County from December 8, 1980 until August 6, 1989. On July 13, 2015, the strip resumed, allegedly in response to the Presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. A little research on this story found that it was actually “fake news”, a label that has attached frequently as of late to some of the more august publications in America. To quote Kellyanne Conway, it’s another example of “an alternative fact”.


Garry Trudeau has been poking fun at Donald Trump for roughly 30 years, and many of his strips can be viewed in the recently published “Yuge!, which will certainly bring a smile to your face. 

Donald Trump has been a huge gift to late night comics, like Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, and he has also provided a TON of material for political cartoonists around the country. Here’s one example from our local newspaper. Thanks to that old scumbag Larry Flynt, all of them, and all of us, owe him our heartfelt thanks. 



Saturday, May 20, 2017

this old house, part 2

Almost all of us have fond memories of the houses that we grew up in, a fact that I covered in my post of 9/27/15:


I lived in the little white house on Third Street in St. Paul for more than 20 years, and my dad lived there for 44. That’s a considerable amount of time, but it pales in comparison to the time my uncle Harold lived on “the Stenson farm”

Harold and the rest of the Stenson family moved from “the little house on the prairie” in 1929 (see the link below) and he called the house on what used to be known as “rural route 3” his home for more than 80 years. The house likely dates back to the early years of the 20th century, and it’s still the property of the Stenson family – at least for now.


As a kid, I made a lot of trips to the farm, and those trips continued even after I reached adulthood. Initially, the gathering of the Stenson families was “Christmas on the farm”,   but it morphed into “Christmas in July” when the Kimmes family joined the clan.

The old apple orchard is gone, and so are the machine shed and the windmill. The barn still stands, but it has not housed cows for decades.  The house is also one of the few homes that I have ever been in that has an actual “root cellar”- but no basement.

Harold passed away at the age of 95 on May 11 of this year. Although his sister Grace had also lived to be 95, Harold turned out to be the sibling who lived the longest, since he passed away roughly 7 months into his 95th year. 


Despite the fact that Harold had some emotional and physical setbacks in his life, he was always a pretty cheerful guy, and he was always in his prime after he had had a couple of beers, a pleasure that he enjoyed until very recently.


According to one of his daughters, he lost his “chipper” a few times during the last year of his life, so his passing was not a surprise to those who were close to him. 

Since I live in Arizona, there is virtually no chance that I would be able to get to his funeral, and it’s also not likely that I will ever see the Stenson farm again, but I’ll always have the memories of a great old guy, and a great old farm.