Mr. Charlton – Dog Owner

I own a dog, by proxy. My girlfriend came with a dog. So my extension, I now have a dog.

You see, I didn’t have a dog growing up as a kid. I had a cat. His name was Terminator, and he was a fluffy little badass. He wasn’t a very affectionate cat, and spend most of his time outside, killing mice and other small creatures. He’d bring us a trophy every once and a while, laying it out on the welcome mat for everyone. For the most part though, he kept to himself. So my background with animals is limited to a cat you rarely saw, and was capable of looking after himself.

This is Pookie Bear.


The baddest dog on the planet.

It’s a teddy bear pomeranian, probably the most adorable kind of dog you could ever possibly own. And the little shit head knows she’s adorable. That’s the look of an animal who knows how to tug heart strings. Even though she’s thirteen years old, she still acts like a puppy for the most part. And it’s usually so she can get people to give her something.

Pookie didn’t like me very much at first. The last boyfriend and Pooks didn’t get along so well, he refused to take it out for walks, saying it was emasculating. So the dog was wary of me at first. At one point, I had to take away a chew toy from her, because it was bed time. In an act of pure defiance, Pookie looked me straight in the eye, turned around, and still staring me down, peed right in front of me. I mean, this dog straight up just defiled the soil in front of me. It was the biggest ‘fuck you’ I’ve ever received, and it came from a dog.

When I first moved to Lethbridge, I was looking for a job, so I spent a fair amount of time at home. So I started taking Pooks for walks. This seemed like the natural thing to do. You have a dog, you walk it. It was winter at the time, and Pomeranians are basically little Husky dogs, so she seemed to like it. After a few months, Pookie started warming up to me.

Now when I leave, Pookie sits by the door, waiting for me to come home.


Visual proof that I do not have a heart made of stone.

Even though me and Pookles are getting along just fine now, I still wouldn’t really consider myself a dog person. I like this dog, but I still find other dogs kind of obnoxious. Pookie rarely barks, is house trained, and spends most of her day napping. She’s not a very good lap dog either, and won’t spend any time cuddling people. She’s basically a cat.

Pookie is getting old though. At thirteen, she’s a senior citizen, and has already gone through a major operation to remove a tumour. She’s going deaf, and we think she’s starting to go blind as well. The worst thing about owning an animal is you’re probably going to outlive it. But, she’s still in good health, has most of her teeth, and I can still take her for walks. So she’s got some time.

A year ago, I would have told you I’d never own a dog. And now, here I am, taking the little fluffy ball of jerk out for walks in the park. The once frosty heart of Mr. Charlton is thawing, and it’s partly due to a dog that gave me the largest metaphorical middle finger I have ever received. And maybe that’s why I like her so much. Out of all the insults that have ever been tossed in my direction, from friends and foes alike, no one else has pissed right in front of me while maintaining eye contact.

Bravo, Pookie Bear. You are officially the biggest asshole I know.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. How own Earth can you call walking a Pomeranian emasculating? It’s the manliest dog on the planet. Let’s say I’m taking the dog for a walk, and I run into a bear. Now, if I had a pitbull or a german shepard, they would help me ward off the bear. With a tiny dog, like a Pomeranian or a toy poodle, not only do I have to fight a bear, but now I have to defend the dog as well. And that is way manlier.

Why is Disney’s Zootopia so… Weird?


I recently saw the film Zootopia. Before I continue, I have to say I enjoyed the movie immensely. I thought it was well written, funny, and the animation was great. What I thought would be a standard Disney flick turns out to be a clever buddy cop movie. If you haven’t had a chance to see it, go check it out.

The story follows our heroine, Judy Hopps, a rabbit who wants to be a police officer in Zootopia, the metropolis a train ride away from the farm she grew up on. The problem is, she’s a rabbit, and there’s never been a rabbit on the Zootopia police force. With grit and determination, she manages to secure a spot on the force. When she arrives, she finds that she’s not really a member of the team, and is given parking ticket duty. What Judy soon discovers is she’s only there as a political campaign stunt, and the other police would rather not have her aboard. Still determined, she sets out on fighting crime whenever she sees it.

Enter Nick Wilde. He’s the smooth talking, charismatic fox. He’s a con artist, melting down large ice cream treats for elephants and selling them back to hamsters at a considerable markup. Judy catches him in the act, and through a few loopholes, is able to pin something on Nick unless he can help Judy with a crime. And that’s where the buddy cop film comes into play.

There were the number of usual questions that arose from watching the film though. The usual “Can this world actually exist?” Right off the bat, the city of Zootopia was separated into four quadrants. The desert, the jungle, the arctic, and the regular area. There’s massive heaters to keep the desert hot and dry, and there’s gigantic air conditioners to make the arctic cold and wintery. To make this happen, Zootopia’s energy bill has to be through the roof. The carbon footprint must be outrageous.

How does their economy function? Elephants are charged enormous prices for ice cream, while smaller creatures get away with paying a fraction of the price. How does this work? Do larger animals get more money for doing the same job? Is there some sort of Zootopia subsidy that makes it possible for an elephant to live on a hamster’s wage? Throughout the movie, all the animals seem to be segregated.

How can the carnivores survive without eating meat? Nobody throws down a burger or a steak in the movie. It’s mentioned a number of times that predator and prey used to follow the natural norm, but society has blossomed and there’s no one eating meat. How can that be? Lion’s still are carnivores, as are wolves, foxes, otters. Are there intelligent cows, and then regular cows they eat? Who determines where to draw the line?

But the most important question for adults appeared when it became apparent that the two main characters, Judy the bunny and Nick the fox, were flirting with each other. A lot. These animated pair have more chemistry than most regular people I know. So the question popped up. Can judy and Nick have bunny / fox hybrids? Would they just have some bunnies and some foxes instead? Is breeding even possible, and would they be forced to adopt? For all the films messages, like, “You can be whatever you want to be”, all the films couples were portrayed as same species. Otters got married to Otters, Shrews got married to Shrews. All the pairing were animal-normative. Is inter-species coupling in Zootopia frowned upon? Is there an underground civil rights movement happening in Zootopia the film doesn’t mention? Will the sequel bring into the focus of this power struggle?

“Mr. Charlton, why on Earth are you getting worked up about a silly movie for kids?” Aha, now that’s the question for the ages. What made this movie seem so bizarre is that it never really felt like a kids film. It felt like an honest to God buddy cop film with animals. Most of the themes were pretty serious. There was some jokes thrown in for kids, but as a film, it bucked the rules. Most of the time, with animated films like this, you get a children’s film with a few adult jokes sprinkled in. This was the opposite. It was an adult movie with kids jokes in it.

It’s still an enjoyable movie for all ages. But Disney, if you’re going to make a film with a lot of adult tones, keep in mind that you might get a lot of adult questions.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. And goddamnit Disney, stop giving your animals bedroom eyes. There’s enough confused furries as it stands.

The Sentencing of Matthew de Grood

On April 15th, 2014, Bermuda shorts day, the last day of class for students at the University of Calgary, Matthew de Grood entered a house party in the Brentwood area that was winding down. Inside the house there was 23 year old Kaitlin Perras, 27 year old Lawrence Hong, 23 year old Josh Hunter, 21 year old Zackariah Rathwell, and 22 year old Jordan Segura. Matt was only 24 himself at the time. Matt grabbed a ten inch kitchen knife and stabbed all five of the pre-mentioned victims. All five of the young, promising students ended up dying from their wounds. It’s the deadliest mass murder in the city of Calgary’s history.

On May 25th, 2016, over two years later, Matthew de Grood was found not criminally responsible (NCR) for the murders. Two of the three expert witnesses suggest that de Grood leaned towards schizophrenia, and all three believe that he was suffering from a psychotic episode at the time of the stabbings. The question now remains. Was the NCR verdict correct?

The events that transpired were during a psychotic episode, keep that in mind. Matt de Grood thought he was an alien fighting werewolves, vampires and members of the Illuminati when the attack happened. He was under the impression the world was coming to an end. He bought a garlic supplement from the Safeway where he worked the night of the murders. Before the attack, he texted his parents a few bizarre messages. They became worried, and the father, a former investigator for the police, went looking for him, while his mother sent an alert to the authorities. They were concerned he had become suicidal.

Up until two months before the attacks, Matt was an exemplary student at the University of Calgary, and employed at nearby Safeway in the produce department. His boss described him as “… a really nice guy. He was very caring to people, an all around good person”. Two months before the attack, his co-workers noted he became paranoid, and started acting irrationally.

Matthew de Grood gave a statement via his lawyer, saying how deeply sorry and apologetic he was for the deaths of the five people who lost their lives two years ago. I’m not certain if Matt actually understands the gravity of his situation since the attack, due to his condition. While it is possible that, with time and treatment, Matthew de Grood could be reinstated into society, there’s also the possibility that he will remain in a psychiatric health facility for the rest of his life.

NCR states that a person is not responsible for the crime that occurred. The NCR defense isn’t concerned with person’s current mental state, but rather the stare of the perpetrator when then offence took place. The NCR verdict isn’t a failure of our judicial system. What it highlights, however, is our societies failure to recognize and seek treatment for those who are suffering from mental health issues.

I’ve heard comments that some people wish to have Matt locked away for the rest of his life. Others want him put away in jail. I’ve heard some people talking about the death penalty.

We can’t bring back the people who lost their lives on that tragic night. The only thing we can do is move forward, and our actions today will pave the way for future tragedies. Matt de Grood didn’t murder five people on that night. Mental illness did. The decision the courts made was the right one. If we don’t examine this man, if we don’t question him, learn from him, study him, and medicate him, then we are doomed to repeat this tragedy. We need to start learning the signs, recognizing when someone is losing their grip on reality. This will happen again unless we start to take mental illness seriously.

Placing the blame on Matt for the murders is akin to placing the blame on a cancer patient for getting sick. Matt suffers from an illness. It’s not a well-known illness, defining it has been difficult, with the three expert witnesses not coming to a conclusion as to what he suffers from, but he does have something terribly wrong with him. Matt wasn’t on drugs at the time, he wasn’t drunk. There’s nothing to pin on Matt, except that he’s crazy. That he’s mentally ill.

These things happen, and they will continue to happen until society as a whole starts treating mental health issues seriously. This is something that affects everyone, our society as a whole, not just the person who suffers from it. If you’re interested in justice for the victims, understand the problem isn’t going to go away if we locked de Grood up and throw away the key. We can only honor those who were killed by making a conscious effort to learn why it happened in the first place. Calling someone crazy or sick isn’t going to cut it.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton


Kaitlin Perras

Lawrence Hong

Joshua Hunter

Zackariah Rathwell

Jordan Segura

If you sincerely want to honour them, then support those who are looking for a reason as to why it happened, and how this sort of thing can prevented in the future. Looking for punishment isn’t going to make your world any safer.



Is Beer Becoming Snobbier than Wine?

“Beer, it’s the best damn drink in the world.”

Jack Nicholson

Beer has been around as long as human civilization. When human beings gave up the nomadic life of hunting and gathering, and chose instead to settled down and farm, they started making beer with the grains they were growing. Although wine came shortly afterwards, beer is considered by most to be the oldest of alcoholic beverages. And wine, for a very long time, was considered the drink of choice for those who could afford it.

We’re living in a golden age for beer and wine. There’s never been a period in history where alcohol was made to the standards that it is today. Both wine and beer are made in the same fashion. You let a bunch of food sit around for a while until it turns into hooch. Beer was made from fermenting cereals, and wine was made from fermenting grapes. Yeast, the active bacteria that eats sugar and defecates alcohol, is found in the air, and will actively begin to ferment fruits and grains under the right conditions. Today, yeast is added to both wine and beer process, to speed up and control the procedure.

The point I’m trying to make here is this; the kind of alcohol people drank for thousands of years was rotting food. And human beings couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Our entire species owes it’s formation to booze. My guess is, rotting grapes tasted quite a bit better than rotting wheat mash. Wine was seen as the drink of the gods, while beer was given to slaves.

Even in the twentieth century, wine was the drink of the wealthy and the establishment. Beer was for the blue collared working man. Wine enthusiasts would prattle on about vintages, regions, terroirs, sniffing and sipping on wines from France and Italy. Classes could be taken, and certifications could be earned. Wine sommeliers earned their living by waxing poetic about their drink of choice, claiming that certain wines should be paired with certain foods. Beer was the drink the mechanics and the plumbers would crack open after a long days work. Beer usually came in one flavor, Beer flavor. That’s recently changed.

There’s always been craft beers, beers that were brewed by Trappist monks, beer that was creating with insane hop flavors, but these stayed out of the public eye for most of the twentieth century. We now have access to a wide range of beers, from black stouts to citrusy white beers. Beer pairings have started popping up, suggesting complex Belgian style beers with red meats and Pilsners with certain cheeses. Beer snobs have been growing like weeds.

This is great news for beer drinkers, because that means there are a whole slew of new and exciting new beers to drink. This is also great news for wine.

Wine producers, believe it or not, have been trying to shed the notion that you need to be knowledgeable about wine in order to enjoy it. This imaginary wine boundary has prevented wine makers from tapping into a larger market. The people who grow wine grapes and bottle the result don’t want to limit their customer base to a select few, who claim some sort of magic knowledge is required to appreciate their product. They want everyone drinking wine. Who cares if the Cabernet Sauvignon doesn’t pair with the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner? Put it on the table anyways. There’s too much bullshit surrounding wine that’s based on pretentious clowns trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

I should know. I’ve taken a sommelier class in wine.

Right after I did, I was the wine expert among many of my friends and family. I’d get phone calls, asking me if they should crack open the bottle they bought, or if they should lock it away in the cellar. I had to tell people they weren’t wasting their wine if they paired it with something other than goat’s cheese and children’s tears. When presented with a wine as a gift, I had to reassure my friends that yes, the wine they got me was a good wine.

So I’ve put together a little list for people, so we can bury a few myths about wine.

  1. Most wine was made to be drunk right away. There’s a couple of wines that benefit from sitting around for a while, like an Italian Barolo. Unless you’re asking for something specific or you’re a wine collector, that bottle of wine is probably safe to drink right now.
  2. Pairing is nice, but unless you’re also a food snob as well, you’re probably not going to notice. Same goes with beer.
  3. Go to a nice liquor store and talk to someone who works there. I can’t stress this enough. That’s what I do when I want something special. I talk to a person who’s made it their living to sell wine.

Will beer become snobbier than wine though? Never, in my opinion. The snootiness of wine is too implanted in our culture to easily shake, but I’m hoping that wine continues to become more accessible to people in the future. Booze isn’t nearly as classy as the advertisements would have you believe. Just remember, you’re drinking the urine of microbes in order to get your slant on.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I love both wine and beer equally. No preference here.

p.s.s. If someone offers you a beer and you accept, you forgo the right to reject the beer being offered. If they hand you a Lucky, then you drink the Goddamn Lucky. Learn some damned manners and be a gracious guest.



Why Haven’t People Colonized the Oceans?

There was a television show back in the nineties called ‘SeaQuest DSV’ (the DSV meant deep sea vehicle). In the near future of 2018, humanity has all but exhausted natural resources on the surface, and now look to the vast oceans to provide a new source of food and energy. Underwater colonies are setup, and the crew of the submarine ‘SeaQuest’ travel the deep blue solving issues and discovering mysteries. The show had a Star Trek feel to it, and included an incredibly smart dolphin that could communicate with the crew. It wasn’t a bad show, but only lasted two and a half seasons.

With NASA getting people fired up to head to Mars, and with Astrophysicists like Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Dr. Stephen Hawking amping up the hype, some people are left wondering why we aren’t headed to into the depths of the oceans? More than 95% of the oceans still remain undiscovered. If there is that much of our own Earth left to discover, why aren’t we hearing more about it?

Right off the bat, it’s worth mentioning the two frontiers aren’t at odds with each other. Money that doesn’t get invested into space exploration isn’t automatically going into deep sea research, that’s not how any government functions. Money is being invested into exploring the oceans, and there are agencies like the NOAA (Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) which currently fund the vessel Okeanos, which is the only ship being funded by the United Stated government to map and explore the oceans for the advancement of knowledge.

There’s also a number of oil companies that are consistently mapping out and searching for resources underneath the ocean floors. There is the very good argument, especially after the BP Deepwater Horizon spill that happened in the Gulf of Mexico, that drilling in the ocean is damaging to the ocean’s environment. What you need to remember is that science rarely gets any funding unless there is some sort of profit to be made, or issue to be solved. Space exploration is becoming big again, because there are people who want to monetize the stars. Cancer research funding is incredibly political, and labs across the planet are constantly trying to get more funding, whether it’s from the government, large corporations, or small donations made by people like you and me.

The real boundary for deep sea exploration is the actual physics of going that far under the surface of the ocean. Going to the bottom of the ocean is far more dangerous than going into space. Space exists as a vacuum. Once you’re out there, the strain on the orbiting vessel is constant. With water, every inch you descend, the pressure to the exterior to the submersible increases. The deepest recorded manned vessel was the Trieste at 10,911 metres below sea level, and was accomplished in 1960 by Jacques Piccard and Lieutenant Don Walsh. They explored the Challenger Deep, a part of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans.

The other issue for research and reconnaissance is the lack of light. Light from the surface stops penetrating at a depth of roughly a 1000 metres. Most of the ocean is covered in this depth. To truly observe and collect visual information, high powered lights are required. This poses two problems. The lights aren’t able to look very far underneath the ocean. Even with lighting, sight is reduced to a few metres. As well, the life that exists at these depths isn’t used to light. This could change the behavior of the life at these depths, and render the studies of marine life to be skewed.

We’ve done a pretty good job of mapping the ocean, so we have an understanding of the topography done below. Will we ever colonize the ocean floor, as seen in dozens of sci-fi movies and television shows? Probably not. It’s way too expensive to build and live at the bottom of the ocean. Not to mention how dangerous it is. There’s no point. For anyone hoping to move to Andrew Ryan’s undersea paradise, free from the shackles of government and religion, then I hate to burst your bubble. If the supply of oil starts to dwindle, you can be sure a lot of companies will be sending robotic scouts down there.

Truthfully, I’m hoping people stay away from the depths of the ocean. The last thing our planet needs is a bunch of Kaiju running around.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Hey, when you’re writing a post everyday, you can phone it in every now and again.


Facebook – Free Always Comes With a Price

If you follow me on a somewhat regular basis, you’ll know I recently downloaded a browser extension called ‘Fluff Busting Purity’, or FB Purity. The goal of FB Purity is to allow people to fully customize their Facebook experience. You have the opportunity to remove game requests, shared stories, linked articles, and more. You can change the layout, the font, you can modify a lot about the whole look. It really does improve Facebook, especially if you use it on a regular basis to keep up with friends and family. The question is, why is this extension necessary? Why have the changes Facebook made over the last few years degraded the user experience?

Facebook is free to use. There’s no fee to use it, and the likelihood of the site charging money is non-existent. At the same time, Facebook is worth money. Quite a bit of money in fact. It’s worth over three hundred billion dollars. The money that Facebook generates isn’t from the users of the site, but rather the advertisers selling ads. Much like Google, Facebook doesn’t sell products, it sells ad space. Like the newspapers of yesterday, Facebook’s main goal, as a business, is to sell ads. Unlike newspapers though, content isn’t provided by a team of journalists or reporters. It’s provided by the users.

This is one of the problems with Facebook. The reason many creative people, musicians, artists, comedians, and movie makers, have beef with Facebook is the method in which allow you to share content. Facebook boasts over eight million video views a day. In the first quarter of 2015, 725 of the top 1000 videos on Facebook were stolen from Youtube. If the video is viewed on Youtube, the creator of the video gets reimbursed with cash. If the video gets played through the Facebook player, the creator gets squat. Now, this is obviously an issue, because the people who make the content will have less of an incentive to create more content. And it’s incredibly easy to steal content or ideas, just like I did. all the information I pulled was from this video.

Luckily enough, even if you watch this video from my site, the person who made it still gets a view.

With FB Purity, I get the option to turn off all of Facebook’s videos, but it still allows me to view Youtube videos that have been posted to Facebook. I get to still watch videos from Facebook, as long as they give the original Youtube link. There’s also the option to turn off the autoplay that is normally turned on when you go to Facebook. Most of the changes made to Facebook are to link you directly with advertisers.

I’ve read numerous posts in regards to the changes Facebook keeps making to their site, and most of them are negative. Facebook makes it difficult to stop the inflow of garbage to your feed. You have to reject every specific application or game request, it seems. FB Purity solves a lot of the issues that have appeared in recent years, allowing you to flat out purge a number of items that are clogging up your Facebook page.

Facebook claimed that FB Purity violates it’s terms of service, and they’re probably right. At the same time, FB Purity still has a Facebook fan page, here It won’t harm your computer in any way, and Facebook isn’t going to come after you if you install it. If you’re one of the many that have become dissatisfied with Facebook recently, then you will at least want to check it out.

Even though Facebook continues to grow, and currently has over a billion subscribers, most the people signing up for Facebook happen to be over thirty. Facebook has a hard time attracting young people to it’s service, as their parents tend to have the service as well. Teenagers are much more interested in sites like Instagram for their social media needs. Facebook is seen as a place where old people hang out.

Will Facebook be around forever? I’m not sure, but I’d place my money on it going the way of the Dodo. Social media has been around for only a short amount of time, and before Facebook there was Myspace. Google has cemented itself in the age of information by creating an extremely powerful search algorithm, one that has changed the way our information is connected. Facebook… allows us to connect to each other in a manner that’s more efficient than phone calls and emails? Facebook needs to reinvent itself to become cool again, because the last demographic in the tech world you want to attract are the old fogies. What Facebook desperately needs is a Facelift.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m not saying that Youtube is devoid of content theft, they have their own unique problems.


You know, I typically find Canadian Politics boring. A yawn. A snore. That’s a good thing though. Entertaining usually means stupid. Right now the leader for the republican party is a reality show host whose never once held a position in politics. Incredibly entertaining. Right now Canadian politics are following suit.


My expression when I found out what the deal was

Let me explain what happened. There was a vote on a bill. The bill was C-14, which is amending laws in order to allow physicians to perform assisted suicides. There were a bunch of NDP members of parliament, who were milling about, in order to delay the voting procedure. They were obstructing other members of parliament from voting. One of the MP’s trying to vote was Conservative Gord Brown. Prime MIninster Trudeau, who was getting frustrated, ran over to Gord, knocked into a bunch of people forcefully, and pulled him over to his desk. The NDP MP,  Ruth Ellen Brosseau, was elbowed in the chest by Trudeau, left the chamber immediately afterwards, and as a result didn’t vote.

Everything about this is embarrassing. The school yard tactics that the NDPs were using to block other members from placing a vote? Quite the show, but shameful. The Prime Minister of Canada barging through a group of people, yelling ‘Get the fuck out of the way’? Hilarious, but wildly inappropriate. Ruth Brosseau, pulling the flop like a soccer player? Makes for good television, I guess. Politicians are like the people who were popular in back in high school, if the cool kids in high school didn’t grow up to be adults that I actually respect and admire.

These are the people who lead the nation. They form the laws that govern us and protect the people who don’t have a voice. They’re in charge of the billions of tax dollars we provide, to spend it on making our country a better place to live for everyone. And they’ve turned the house of common into an elementary school playground. The thing is, these sort of tactics are used all the time. The ‘milling about, setting up a roadblock so other MPs can’t vote’ tactic? Apparently this is a legitimate play. Acting inappropriately outraged over something? Pretty common in the House of Commons. Spewing vitriol in every direction on social media? This is pretty new, but every politician has soaked it up.

Ask yourself this question. Would any of these behaviors, the blocking, the shoving, the elbow, and then the aftermath of insults, apologies, and rude behavior, would any of this be acceptable in your workplace? More than likely not, and repeated incidents would probably have you fired. Why are these things accepted in politics? Why does the House of Commons look like a crowd of soccer hooligans who are about to riot with clubs made of bills and legislature?

The fact the system we have in place for making decisions is over a century old is embarrassing. We live in a digital world now. There’s absolutely no reason we need a House of Commons and there’s no reason we need to stick a bunch of politicians with opposing views in the same building. Why not have a virtual House of Commons, a giant online messaging system so that politicians wouldn’t have to leave their ridings? It would be easier to regulate, and would cost the taxpayers a lot less. Sure, the discussions would be a pile of insults and barbed comments, but that’s the rest of the internet anyways. Throw them a party once a year so they can shake hands and talk face-to-face. Problem solved.

With the system we have in place, I’m surprised elbows aren’t happening on a regular basis. I’d go feral if someone’s strategy was to get in my way to prevent me from doing my job. I’d be raging, throwing Judo chops left and right. The way things are, we might as well throw them on a slab of ice, give of some gear and sticks, and then have them play over the bills they’re voting on. I’m not sure how effective it would be, but politics isn’t very effective anyways, and this would be way more entertaining.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Mr. Charlton really dislikes politicians as a whole. I cringe a little every time I vote.

p.s.s. There’s two soccer references in there, for ya.

p.s.s.s I can’t stand that journalists have been calling it ‘ElbowGate’. It seems throwing ‘Gate’ on the end of something signifies a scandal. Doesn’t make any sense.

Batman is a Crazy Person – 3rd Installment

In the first installment, we talked about how strong, smart and wealthy Batman is. In the second installment, we discussed how Batman is making Gotham city a worse place to live. To wrap it up, let’s talk about how crazy Batman is, and what drives him to continue being a masked vigilante.

There’s one famous Batman comic, titled ‘Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth’, where Batman is lured to Arkham Asylum. His arch nemesis, the Joker, has brought him there, to convince Batman that he belongs in the Asylum with rest of the psychotic criminal scourge. He’s right. Batman absolutely should be locked up in Arkham.


The death of Bruce Wayne’s parents scarred him for life, to such an extent Bruce never grew up. Even with all of his strength and his genius intellect, he’s decided to confront the problem the same way a child would. Watching his parents die in front of him terrified young Bruce Wayne so badly that he’s been emotionally stunted, locked in a promise he made to himself to “get stronger and make the bad guys go away.”

Genius doesn’t grant perspective, only time and self-reflection can do that. Between the dozen of university degrees he’s earned, the handful of languages he speaks, and the hundred or so martial arts he’s mastered, how much time has Batman had to reflect on his choices? His character is known to be stubborn, a loner, and difficult to work with.

Remember,  Batman grew up insanely wealthy, before his parents died. He lived a sheltered, privileged life. What if Thomas never had the opportunity to explain to young Bruce that the bad guys aren’t always on the streets? That there are also those who take advantage of other while wearing a suit? The truth is, all three Wayne’s died that night. Bruce died and became Batman.


Even though he’s an adult, he’s still emotionally a child. This can be seen from the fact that his partners, or his ‘wards’, are young children. His inability to connect with adults is apparent. His only known true friends, those who know his true identity, are limited to a handful. Even then, he chooses to keep his distance.

Then there’s the case of true identity. Other superheroes use a disguise and an alter ego to protect those they love from harm. Who exactly is Batman protecting? Himself. Remember, Bruce Wayne acts like the one percent the poor tend to despise. He does so to give a wide berth between himself and Bruce Wayne. What would happen if people found out that the crime fighting hero known as Batman was the rich asshole Bruce Wayne?

People would hate him. How many of the working poor have been sent to Arkham do to excessive force? How many families broken up? Why wasn’t Bruce Wayne creating more wealth in Gotham? That’s what he was doing with his fortune, playing dress-up as a superhero? Bringing more chaos and violence to Gotham city? There would be riots in the streets, Bruce Wayne would have the book thrown at him. His entire empire would crumble around him.

That’s what the citizens would do. His villains? They would have a field day! The Joker would put up posters all over Gotham of the crime scene. He’d have loudspeakers playing the last known recorded voice of his parents. And that’s just the Joker. Every single enemy Batman has ever made would be using this information against him. Batman has confronted every villain in Gotham, but has he ever faced the demon within himself? I’m pretty sure Batman would start beating his enemies to death while sobbing and screaming.

To top this all off, let’s look as his counter part, Iron Man. Batman was created by DC comics, and Iron Man by Marvel. They’re both rich, both industrialists, both crime fighting heroes. Batman lives in crime riddled Gotham, Iron Man lives in New York city, one of the greatest cities on the planet. Batman keeps the population poor in Gotham so that he can deliver justice, Iron Man is too busy fighting alien invasions and false gods to worry about street crime, he leaves that to the proper authorities. Batman keeps his identity a secret, while every knows that Iron Man is the famous mechanical genius Tony Stark. You know what demon Tony Stark had to face? Alcoholism. And he beat that by quitting the hooch.

Bruce Wayne should have seen a damn psychologist after the death of his parents. I’m guessing the only psychologists in Gotham are from Arkham Asylum, and I’m certain the sessions had the therapist screaming at Bruce that this was his fault while collecting his tears for some bizarre experiment. Batman is a lame super hero. I rest my case.



The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m outta things to say about Batman. If you still think he’s the best superhero around, then I can’t help you.

p.s.s. The Batman video games still kick ass, though.



Batman Sucks – Part Two

If you have not read the previous post, go read that now. It’s important. I wanted to solidify two points in the last argument; Batman is incredibly smart, and he’s incredibly rich. Why is that such an issue? Wouldn’t a wealthy genius with an armament of gadgets be the perfect vehicle for fighting crime?

What are the causes of crime?

We first need to examine why people turn to a life of crime in the first place. Statistically, criminals come from a lower socioeconomic background. The average person who takes up crime isn’t doing it because they want to be criminals, but rather they have to take these dangerous illegal positions. Think about it, how many people do you think actually want to work with the Joker? A psychopath who might kill you for kicks, that’s sounds like a great employment opportunity. Most thugs are taking these jobs out of desperation. And the ones who are actually crazy, unfortunately there’s only one psychiatric ward in Gotham, and we’ll get to that later.

Gotham city, we’re told again and again, is so crime ridden that Batman rarely sleeps. The police are so under funded and corrupt they’re seen as largely ineffective. Gotham is a symbol of what happens when the gap in wealth widens to staggering proportions. Thomas Wayne, Batman’s father, was turning the tide against this gap by investing in local jobs, public transit, health care and other progressive measures. Why didn’t Bruce Wayne take up this mantle of forward thinking? That list I produced in the last with the degrees Batman has? Here’s a better list of things Bruce Wayne should have studied.

  • Urban Planning
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Business Management
  • Leadership
  • Civil Engineering
  • Law
  • and a slew of other things

With his genius and his money, turning the city around should have been easy. He could have revolutionized Gotham city’s industry, turning it into the next Metropolis. Batman chose to fight crime on the ground as a super vigilante.  You might argue ‘But Bruce Wayne gives tons of money to charities’. You mean charities in Gotham? In a city where the police, the elected officials, the bankers, the doctors, and pretty much everyone is corrupt? I sure the people distributing money to the poor are squeaky clean.

The thing about Bruce Wayne is that he has to act like a rich jackass to keep his identity a secret. Bruce is portrayed as an alcoholic playboy, someone with more brains than money. He’s the stereotypical rich asshole everyone loves to hate. This is important, and I want you to remember this part. Bruce Wayne acts like the one percent poor people tend to despise.

Is Batman creating his own enemies?

The low level thugs he beats up, for justice? This is what that looks like. Here’s a clip from the video game, and it’s considered the definitive take on Batman’s fighting prowess.

Batman is braining thugs left and right. Remember, Batman is a guy who can easily bench a thousand pounds. How many concussions does Batman hand out on a regular basis? Batman has never killed a man, it’s against his code of ethics, but apparently giving a guy a brain injury isn’t out of the question. Let’s say a guy, out of work in Gotham, wife and kids at home, decides to sign up to a gang to make something, anything for his family. Some dude dressed in pajamas swoops down, cracks his skull, and now he’s developmentally disabled. Where are they sending him? Arkham Asylum.

Arkham Asylum – Making the sick, sicker

Arkham Asylum is a big part of the Batman lore. It’s the only institution in Gotham city that treats people with mental health issues, and it’s a notorious hell-hole. Not only does it house Batman’s roster of violent villains, it’s a decrepit nightmare of a building. Run down, underfunded, it’s infamous for having doctors more twisted than most of the patients. It’s also haunted. If you were a regular guy who ran into Batman going in, you’re coming out a certified crazy thug when you get out. Arkham is not a rehabilitation facility, let’s make that clear. Arkham Asylum is a Batman punching bag factory, where practice dummies are manufactured for Batman to assault later on.


And where did all these crazy, super powered villains come from? There weren’t any Killer Crocs, Poison Ivys, Banes or Jokers before Batman. Why are there so many now? Becoming Batman has had a butterfly effect on Gotham. He’s the greatest fighter on the planet, and has attracted villains from all over the world with a chip on their shoulder, looking to pick a fight. The reason Bane came to Gotham? To challenge Batman. And how did he get Batman’s attention? By letting out every single insane inmate from Arkham Asylum out of their cage and on to the streets. There was chaos, property damage and widespread murders. All so someone could take on the Batman. The Joker is the most iconic of the Batman villains. The only reason he causes destruction and mayhem is to force Batman to break his one rule and have Batman kill him. That’s it. There are Batman stories where the Bats dies, and the Joker winds up either leaving Gotham or becoming normal again, and actually feeling bad for the damage he’s done. It’s been stated numerous times in the comic books and the movies; the only reason the Joker exists is because Batman does. The scariest, most ruthless villain on planet Earth exists solely because there is a Batman.

Batman sucks

Batman is terrible because he’s self-perpetuating the problems he’s claiming to fix. He’s attracting monsters to Gotham who are looking for a fight. Due to the brutal methods of his form of justice, he’s created a legion of mentally ill, unstable men, who’s only chance of redemption and rehabilitation is an underfunded psychiatric ward. And where is Bruce Wayne, Batman’s alter ego, in all of this? Pretending to be drunk and carefree. Bruce could have gone into politics, or studied the social issues surrounding crime, or gone after white collar criminals as a genius lawyer, and is so smart could have easily done all three. Instead, he learns Krav Maga and starts kicking the shit out of poor people.

Do you think Thomas Wayne would be proud of his son? Thomas was a doctor and a man who aspired to help those who couldn’t help themselves. Would Martha Wayne be proud of her boy? She was dedicated to the charities she ran that made Gotham a better place. The Waynes are rolling in their graves. Their son is inadvertently keeping the city poor and destitute so he can fight crime with his fists, so he doesn’t have to grow up and realize that sometimes bad things happen to good people. Being Batman is a form of twisted therapy, to alleviate the guilt Bruce feels because he wasn’t able to save his parents as a child.

Batman is an asshole.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. In the third installment, I’ll be talking about what is mentally wrong with Batman.

p.s.s. And everyone knows it’s the villains that make Batman interesting.


Batman is Terrible – A Three Part Examination


I write up a post, and this is the first comment I see. Great. Now some pencil pushing clown is telling me Batman is good. I mentioned briefly in my last post that Batman is a lame character. And he is. He’s the very definition of lame: broken, fractured, useless. Gotham city would be better off without the Batman.


Batman is considered one of the greatest superheroes of all time. Starting out as a comic book character in 1939, he’s since become a franchise, with movies, video games, cartoons, toys, clothing lines, and novels. Often hailed as ‘The World’s Greatest Detective’, he’s a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Bruce Lee, a gifted criminal investigator at the top of peak physical condition. If I were to guess, I would say that Batman is the world’s favorite superhero. Unlike most heroes of today mythos, Batman possesses no special powers, except for an iron will, a genius level IQ, and billions of dollars at his disposal.

This is going to be a three part post. In the first post, I will demonstrate exactly who Batman is, what his capabilities are, and why he fights. In the second post, I will explain why the selection of choices he made as a young adult have warped his perception, and why he’s perpetuating and escalating the violence in Gotham city. Finally, I’ll evaluate Batman and try to accurately diagnose exactly what wrong with him.

Bruce Wayne, the alter ego of Batman, is the son of the rich industrialist Thomas Wayne. When he was a young boy, Bruce saw his father and mother, Martha Wayne, gunned down in front of him. Determined to make sure the tragedy would never happen to anyone else, he dedicated his life to fighting as the masked vigilante known as Batman.

Let’s talk how good Batman is at being Batman. He’s considered by Superman to be ‘The most dangerous person on Earth’ and by dangerous, he meant badass. First and foremost, he possess indomitable will. He’s an expert as interrogations, whether it’s methods used by law enforcement or straight up torture. He’s physically conditioned to a level bordering on superhuman, his benches over a thousand pounds, his reflexes are off the charts, he’s probably the finest human specimen on the planet. He’s a master at gymnastics and acrobatics.

He has mastered over a hundred styles of martial arts, including Muay Thai, Karate, Ninjitsu, Krav Maga, Judo, Boxing, Shaolin Kung-Fu, just to name a few. He’s not just familiar with them, he has mastered them. This bears repeating. He’s proficient with weapons as well, including swords and throwing stars. In the comic book world, he’s one  of the best hand-to-hand combatants in the universe.

Did I mention he’s smart? Insanely smart. With an IQ of 192, he’s a genius. Here’s a list of the subjects he has university degrees in:

  • Criminal Science
  • Forensics
  • Computer Science
  • Chemistry
  • Engineering
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Technology

He’s also studied mathematics, mythology, geography, history, diverse environmental training, security systems and even magic. He’s can also speak a dozen languages. To top that all off, he’s a brilliant strategist, is an escape artist, a crack pilot, better at driver vehicles than professional race car drivers, a knowledgeable tracker and a master of disguise.

Batman accomplished all of this and more before he was thirty, and was already fighting crime during much of this. Batman is a bona fide badass.

You think Batman is cool? You should see the lineup of villains he’s regularly putting away at Arkham Asylum. There’s the Killer Croc, a ten foot alligator-man who’s more brawn than brain. Poison Ivy, a femme fatale who can control plant life. The Riddler, a criminal mastermind who loves puzzles. The Penguin, an old school mob boss with a love of umbrellas. Two-Face, who was a district attorney in Gotham before an accident scared him and awoke a split personality disorder. Bane, a juiced up warrior, known as the man who ‘Broke the Bat’. And lastly, his most famous foe, the Joker. A psychotic clown who is known to have murdered thousands of people, he’s the Yin to Batman’s Yang. Where Batman represents order, the Joker represents chaos.

Batman wages war on these villains and the general scourge of crime plaguing Gotham city. He’s relentless, as he made a promise to his parents, all those years ago as a child, to right wrongs and fight injustice as he saw fit. Batman will hang up the cowl when he believes Gotham is safe.

Batman is a cool character, don’t get me wrong. As a superhero though, he fails on many levels. The next post is going to talk about how he’s made Gotham a worse place to live, ten-fold. This post set up all the pins, the next one is going to knock ’em down.



The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. There’s just two things I want you to take away from this. Batman is insanely smart, and Batman is insanely rich. We’ll discuss why that’s a problem tomorrow.