Thursday, October 30, 2008

CREDITS (Or Debits?)

"It's not about how good you are, but who gets the credit."
(Denny Crane)

There has been much debate, in the U.S. and abroad, regarding the experience level of both Barak Obama and, especially, Sarah Palin. Most would agree that there is a reasonable cause for concern, and it is this very situation that has elevated the press worldwide to become far more interested in the credentials of all individuals whose influence sway millions, whether they are leaders in the political, military, economic or entertainment arena.

As a result, it came as no surprise when the Needtovent hierarchy was approached by the respected research departments of both the Buddhist newspaper Hyundae Bulgyo and the Winnemucca Sun inquiring about the credentials and experience level of our Founder, CEO and Supreme Potentate -- Robert A. Nowotny. Our response to these requests, which were made through official channels and in full compliance with applicable international laws governing such disclosures, is posted below. Be advised that this listing is an abridged compendium of Mr. Nowotny's credits and accomplishments due to space limitations and an admittedly less-than-perfect memory. It is anticipated that additional credits will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.

Robert A. Nowotny Resume -- Part I
(Credits Listed Alphabetically)

2nd Lieutenant in the Fighting 69th Airborne
Academic Tutor (College Level)
Actor (Stage, Screen and Television)
Advertising Copywriter
Advocate (For the IRA -- County Clare and Dublin)
Animal Trainer
Anti-War Demonstrator
Automobile Racer (Drag Strip and Open Wheel)
Baseball Umpire
Beauty Pageant Judge
Blackballer and Fraternity Hazing Specialist
Boom Operator
CableACE Awards Judge
Cattle Herder
Cave Guide and Spelunker
Christmas Tree Salesman
Clown (Intentional and Unintentional)
Co-Founder -- The German Rocket and Science Foundation
College Graduate (BBA and MA -- both with Honors)
Corporation CEO, CFO and COO
Court Jester
Day Trader
Decider (Like George W.)
Duck Wrangler
Economic Stimulus Participant
Electric Utilities Repairman
Film Festival Founder and Judge
Fly Fisherman
Frog Gigger
Grocery Stock Boy
Historical Researcher
HOA Nazi (Retired)
Homing Pigeon Racer
Hunter (Deer, Dove, Quail and Snipe)
Infidel (So charged in France -- Unrepentant)
Jazz Record Producer
Jehovah's Witness Interrogator
Leaf Blower
Left Fielder -- Roy Hobbs Baseball League
Lecturer (Land Based and Cruise Ship)
Libation Mixologist (Creator of the rum-based "Stem Christi")
Linoleum Salesman
Liquid Fuel Rocket Engineer
Master Of Ceremonies
Motion Picture Producer, Director, Writer, Editor
Mountain Biker
Newlywed Game Auditionee
Nielson Family Member
Off-Shore Drilling Rig Roustabout
One-time card carrying member of The Groucho Club (London), BPOE, Rick's Cabaret and the Zuider Zee Lunch Bunch
Original Member -- Inner Mongolian Liver Flukes
Pall Bearer
Panel Moderator
Pin Boy (Bowling Alley -- Not Pinhead)
Pine Beetle Eradicator
Plumber -- Unlicensed (Just like Joe...)
Pole Vaulter
Political Campaign Chairman
Political Pundit
Private Pilot, Instrument Rated
Published Author (Fiction and Non-Fiction)
Radio DJ
Real Estate Investment Advisor and Speculator
Rock Band Promoter
SAG Liaison
Skateboard Designer
Ski Instructor
Snake Handler (Non-Religious)
Solicitor -- Nuevo Laredo & Ciudad Acuna
Sports Announcer
Stand-Up Comedian
Still Photographer
Student of Theology
Studio Recording Engineer
Teacher (College Level -- Undergraduate and Graduate)
Telephone Solicitor (for non-profit)
Woman's Softball Team Manager
Zealot (Miscellaneous Causes)
Zoysia Lawn Subsistence Provider

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


"The World Without US" is a fascinating and informative socio-political docu-drama that takes a close look at one of the major issues facing America today -- a potential return to isolationism. The United States currently has a military presence in over 100 foreign countries, and there are more than a few who believe this is a far too costly, intrusive and unjustifiable foreign policy. With US troops spread thinner than an O. J. Simpson alibi, filmmakers Mitch Anderson and Jason J. Tomaric travel to 21 countries over the course of two years to try and determine what the world would be like if all of our overseas military bases were to close and all of our troops were to come home.

Mr. Anderson was born in Romania and learned to love America by listening to his father's short wave radio while being told that some day soon Eisenhauer would return to his part of Europe and free him and his fellow countrymen from brutal Soviet domination. Even though Ike never came, the dream of living free and some day coming to the United States never wavered. After multiple failed attempts and subsequent prison confinements he finally succeeded. It is this historical backdrop that causes Anderson to question why America has a military presence in virtually every country on earth, yet decides to intervene on only certain occasions, leaving other, similar situations alone.

The film opens with a fictitious presidential candidate, William Turner (played by Roy Werner, a veteran of film and television), running on a campaign promise to end our military's "overextended" presence abroad and to use one-half of the significant resources saved to help fix a multitude of domestic problems right here at home. It is also pointed out that even if America's defense spending were to be cut by a full 50%, it would still exceed the military budgets of China, Russia and all members of the "Axis of Evil" combined.

The unique structure of "The World Without US" divides the film into three parts, taking a look at what might happen if Turner were to be elected and his promise to pull all overseas troops were to be realized first in Europe, then the Middle East and, finally, in Asia. Anderson interviews a wide variety of individuals comprised of both ordinary citizens and academic experts. What may be surprising to many is how fully informed the average citizen overseas is when it comes to America's foreign policies. Having been to 37 foreign counties I have often noticed how well educated the average cab driver, as an example, is on the topic of international politics and America's involvement in global affairs. Compare this level of sophistication with the average American Wal-Mart devotee or Alaskan Governor and you'll have an awareness gap wider than Condoleezza Rice's front two teeth. Yes, buckaroos, where most Americans babble incoherently while living complacently and in ignorance even as our sons, daughters, neighbors and fellow countrymen are giving their lives to causes that are often more beneficial to citizens of other countries than to us, you'll find that the average Joe the Plumber in Panama, Taiwan, Egypt, Germany, Kuwait and scores of other countries actually knows what the hell he's talking about.

Among the handful of academic experts interviewed is Dr. Niall Ferguson, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University. He makes several interesting points including his analysis that American intervention in what was formally known as Yugoslavia, including the conflict in Kosovo, was both desirable and necessary, calling it "human rights imperialism," while all of Europe either ignored the situation in their own back yard or did not have the backbone to do anything about it. He also claims that without America's significant presence in the Middle East, Israel would soon be destroyed and the entire region would rip itself apart causing global economic, social and political ramifications. It is important to note that in the "Bonus Section" of this DVD there is a segment on America's influences -- good and bad -- in Latin America. Once again, our neighbors to the South, just like those to the East and the West, provide informative insight, especially in regards to Panama.

Special mention should be made concerning the sophisticated and effective musical score by Christopher First, the sharp editing by Jason Blum and the use of powerful and illuminating film clips from around the world. The scenes from a North Korean Communist propaganda film are especially revealing.

Of course, the bottom line for most Americans is why should we police the world when no one else is willing to help (the impotent, insignificant "Coalition of the Willing" is a joke; how many foreign combat soldiers remain by our side -- eleven?). And, just as importantly, why should we bear the cost in both lives and resources when some of the countries who depend on our protection have higher standards of living and more wealth per capita than we do? (Japan being just one example -- it's vulnerability to China and North Korea forms the basis of the final conclusion reached by Anderson and Tomaric; a conclusion I will not give away here. Yes, you will have to get a copy of "The World Without US" to see for yourself -- something I highly recommend.)

A Final Thought -- During WWII America's propaganda machine (and I use that word without prejudice of any kind) produced a series of highly effective films directed by some of Hollywood's finest (Frank Capra being the most notable), which explained why we were at war with Germany and Japan. The seven episodes comprising "Why We Fight" were a tremendously effective series, something which should have been replicated in recent years regarding our invasion of Iraq and our incessant "War on Anxiety." With that said, credit must go to Anderson and Tomaric for at least giving us one installment attempting to explain the reasoning behind "Why We Fight -- Again and Again and Again."

("The World Without US" DVD can be purchased for $9.98 via Singa Home Entertainment's website ---

Monday, October 27, 2008


Review by Jerry L. Nelson

Dorothy Parker is reputed to have once said to one of her friends at the Algonquin Round Table, and I may be paraphrasing here, “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone, come sit over here by me,” but you get my drift, I hope. It’s amazing how the brain connects things. As I wrote that line about Ms. Parker, I flashed on the time when my wife, sister-in-law and niece, in an effort to save some money on decorating our wine cellar, stenciled the floor to look like a hand crafted tile floor imported from Italy and laid by an artesian. As they stood there rather frazzled looking after a day of backbreaking effort, waiting on edge for my compliments, the best I could come up with was “Well, it doesn’t suck.” I’ve always been a quick thinker when pressed into a corner. As time has passed since that creative phraseology crossed over my lips, I now rather enjoy walking into the cellar and glancing down at the floor knowing there’s not another one like it. But I digress.

Our most recent culinary excursion, “our” being friend and me, again sans spouses, was to Palmer’s Restaurant, Bar, and Courtyard in San Marcos, located on the corner of Ranch Road 12, also known as Moore Street, and Hutchinson, just a few blocks around the corner from the Court House Square. The first thing you’ll notice about Palmer’s is that you won’t notice it. For more than thirty years it has occupied this greenery covered corner lot and I must admit I have passed by for years and never really saw it.

Not being deterred by its lack of identity, Friend and I ventured in one recent fall evening and were given our requested seats in the courtyard, as the weather was seemingly perfect for us. Little did we know, there were creatures lurking in the bushes for which it was also perfect, as we became the main course for hundreds of non-discerning mosquitoes. Fighting them off long enough to enjoy a very nice Grilled Tuna appetizer ($8.00) we retreated into the dining area of the bar and were seated at a small table near a very large circular fireplace, fortunately not in operation at the time, but sure to take the chill out of a cold, winter evening.

Once our waiter found us, the evening continued with dinner. Friend requested the Grilled Chicken with mixed veggies and a rice pilaf ($16.95). It really looked good, right down to the grill marks on the chicken breast. Friend was not disappointed. The flavor and texture were quality as well.

I opted for the Bone in Pork Chop. It came with your standard garlic mashies and surprisingly good corn niblits, not cut from the cob, and most likely previously frozen, but none the less, quite good and reasonably priced at $18.95. Since Friend had chicken and I had pork, we compromised on a soft White Horse Pinot Noir with which to swill it all down. A good choice it turned out for both of us.

Wanting to try as much as we could, we requested dessert menus. It’s beginning to seem as if more and more restaurants are getting their dessert ideas from the same shows on the food channel. Nearly every place you go these days offers what’s becoming standard choices of Carrot Cake or Key Lime Pie and some form of chocolate decadence. I guess the two of us are falling into a rut as we ordered the Key Lime and the Carrot Cake ($6.00 each). Nothing outstanding here but not disappointing at the same time -- adequate for lack of a better description.

Overall, a pleasant foray, not into the bowels of culinary hell but a bit short of heaven at the same time. Most of our experience was enjoyable and the prices were reasonable. Service was smooth and polite.

I guess I can only equate our experience with my pseudo tile floor. The more I think about it, the more pleasant it becomes; some place I’ll enjoy returning to because it didn’t suck.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Inspired by a true story, LA TRAGEDIA DE MACARIO is a remarkably poignant and insightful film written and directed by Pablo Veliz, a supremely talented young filmmaker (he was 23 when he shot MACARIO) who lives and works, whenever possible, in San Antonio, Texas. Blessed with a talented young cast and crew, this low budget, independently financed featurette has a running time of only 71 minutes, yet it succeeds in addressing in a powerful, moving and intelligent manner a combination of social, ethical, religious and political issues all at once -- and it does so with a budget that totals less than $8,000. Talk about a miracle...

Come to think about it, maybe the Virgin Mary, who appears on camera in several highly stylized and memorable scenes, actually blessed this debut effort by Mr. Veliz. Divine intervention or not, there's no denying that Rogelio T. Ramos, who plays the title character, Macario, puts an indelible face on the stereotype of the illegal immigrant. And Milicent Figueroa, who portrays the loving, left-behind wife, Regina, will break your heart given the impending "tragedy" that punctuates this story. The fact that the title gives away the ending is of no concern, as Mr. Veliz does a superb job of getting us to this point utilizing a variety of risky, but ultimately successful cinematic techniques which combine stark realism with a dream-like, almost mythical and magical series of scenes that in the hands of a lesser director would have been a disaster.

Macario's decision to seek a better life by going to America, where a relative has promised work and good pay, is a fatal one. On more than one occasion the Virgin Mary materializes before him warning Macario not to go, but the despair and depravation he and Regina are forced to endure, especially once he loses his menial job working on a nearby ranch, along with the promise of making as much as $800 a month in the U.S., unite to form a powerful combination too tempting to resist. And so Macario, along with his best friend Felipe (Victor Agustin), find a "coyote" who promises to not only help them cross the border, but he'll personally welcome them on the other side when he unlocks the boxcar they, along with a dozen or so others, are being transported in. The lowlife coyote never shows -- all are asphyxiated. Consider yourself warned because these scenes depicting realization, then desperation and, ultimately, suffocation, will haunt you for some time.

Special mention must be made for the wonderful music by Carlos Sanchez and Pablo Veliz, as well as the first-rate sound work by Dagoberto Patlan and Jeff Seale. Overall production values are excellent given the budget, with all technical elements such as cinematography and editing, etc. surprisingly solid, especially given the relative youth and inexperience of all involved. Accordingly, LA TRAGEDIA DE MACARIO has been selected for screening honors at Sundance, Worldfest-Houston, SXSW and numerous other film festivals. These accolades are well-deserved.

Postscript: Living in the South Texas Hill Country affords one numerous supposed sightings of the Virgin Mary, in such widely divergent and unlikely places as in the center of a corn tortilla, the bark of a mesquite tree, the water stain on a Whataburger ceiling panel, a puddle of oil on the floor of a Jiffy-Lube or, most remarkably, on the surface of a diseased rutabaga. As a result, this reviewer hereby vows that if such a vision ever appears and the Virgin Mary is trying to warn him about something, like she did Macario, you can bet your bottom dollar yours truly will take heed -- all avowed agnostic beliefs notwithstanding.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It seems that today the question isn't just "Where's the beef?" It is also "Is this beef real?"

The following letter was sent to all of the world's leading news outlets including, among others, Reuters, CNN, Deutsche Zeitungen, USA Today, La Opinion Publica, Telemundo and, of course, the Bulverde Standard. We at Needtovent are proud to be the first to publish it.

October 21, 2008

Under the Federal Trade Commissions Act:

-- Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive.
-- Advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and
-- Advertisements cannot be unfair.

Based on the political ads I have seen, the FTC “Truth in Advertising” rules obviously are in abeyance until the end of the election. According to Sam Adams in Steven Yount's brilliant novel Wandering Star, “There are lies, there are damned lies, and there are statistics.” Can anyone disagree that the incidence of lies and statistics from both political parties at the national, state and local level are currently at an all-time high? Enough already...

The FTC’s Deception Policy Statement declares an ad to be deceptive if it contains a statement – or omits information – that:

-- Is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances; and
-- Is “material” – that is, important to a consumer’s decision to buy or use a product.

One of the definitions on of a “product” is a person or thing produced by or resulting from a process, as a natural, social, or historical one. Example: He is a product of his time.

Personally, I think in our elections we are buying a “product.” Therefore, FTC Truth in Advertising laws should apply. Why aren’t they??? After so many years of untruthful campaign ads (on both sides) shouldn’t we ask the FTC, as part of the government we are paying for, to do their job?

As a final note, if political ads are all truthful and therefore do not fall under the Truth in Advertising laws, why do all the major media have “” as part of their daily analysis?

If anyone is interested, the FTC link is:


Lynda Nowotny

Disclosure: Maitresse Nowotny (aka "The General") has had a long and distinguished career at Needtovent serving as a research analyst, copy editor, computer technician, craft service provider and histrio dominatrix. This is her first Op-Ed piece to published.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Narrator: In an urban society, everything connects. Each person's needs are fed by the skills of many others. Our lives are woven together in a fabric. But the connections that make society strong also make it vulnerable.

On September 23, 1984, the BBC telecast the most horrific, the most gruesome, the most visceral viewing experience in mainstream television history. Almost twenty-five years later, no broadcast has even come close to making a similar impact. Perhaps more importantly, current world politics make this provocative and powerful anti-war statement as relevant as ever.

THREADS is a shocking examination of what would really happen if an all-out thermonuclear war were to take place. Set in Sheffield, England, Britain's fourth largest city and a prime military target thanks to a nearby NATO airbase, this apocalyptic political drama, shot in a terrifyingly realistic semi docu-drama style, proves once and for all that a widescale nuclear conflict is neither winable nor survivable. Forget about "duck and cover" -- those wooden school desks, much less all the duct tape and vinyl sheeting money can buy at Home Depot, will not save you or your family.

The First Act introduces us to our primary characters, Ruth Beckett (brilliantly portrayed by Karen Meagher) and her boyfriend, Jimmy Kemp (Reece Dinsdale). When Ruth discovers she is pregnant they decide to get married, a decision that is not totally supported by their families. Although set in the Cold War, Writer/Director Mick Jackson suggests that the Soviet Union is interested in making Iran a Soviet satellite and so Russian troops are marched into that mid-east country triggering a tense stalemate with the United States and its allies. As tensions continue to mount, we see Ruth and Jimmy and their families continue their normal daily routines paying little attention to the increasingly escalating situation in Iran. After an exchange of tactical nuclear weapons within the borders of Iran an all-out thermonuclear war ensues and Sheffield is hit by two Russian ICBMs, annihilating most of the city and its inhabitants. Jimmy is killed in the resulting firestorm, but Ruth and her family survive, their house severly damaged but not destroyed.

The Second Act concentrates on the devastation of Sheffield and its inhabitants. These terrifying scenes are shockingly graphic and unforgettably horrific. Milk bottles on the front steps of homes liquify. A terrified woman in the streets literally loses control of her bodily functions as the mushroom cloud emerges on the horizon. A cat rolls in agony in the burning, twisted debris. The faces of men, women and children literally melt down to the bone in unimaginable agony. I could go on and on and on...

And it is the dead who are the lucky ones.

At one point prior to the attack a character in a pub states, "If an atomic bomb does drop, I wanna be pissed out of my mind and straight underneath it when it happens."

Amen, brother.

The Third Act takes a look at the aftermath of some 3,000 megatons of nuclear destruction worldwide. Civilization, as we know it, no longer exists. All the threads are irreparably severed -- there is no water, no food, no electricity, no communication, and nothing resembling public order, only chaos, despair and suffering of unspeakable magnitude. And, of course, there is the radiation sickness which slowly, painfully, chillingly takes the lives of Ruth's family and countless others, leaving a barren, radioactive, inhospitable landscape where crops are almost impossible to grow and daily life is reduced to, at best, medieval conditions.

Ruth eventually gives birth to an apparently healthy daughter before she succumbs to leukemia thirteen years after the attack. As if this isn't depressing enough, the finale will leave an indelible impression as the very future of mankind is depicted in a brilliantly suggestive, off-camera manner that will haunt the viewer for the rest of his or her life. Make no mistake, you will be stunned virtually into submission, and the 401K problems you are worrying about today will seem ever so insignificant.

One final comment: A little less than a year before THREADS premiered in England, ABC broadcast THE DAY AFTER. This somewhat similar film starring Jason Robards, JoBeth Williams, Steve Guttenberg and John Lithgow examined post nuclear life in Lawrence, Kansas. I can still remember being frightened by this landmark program; if you saw it also, you, too, might recall the alarming effect it had on virtually all viewers. With this being said, let me state that in no uncertain terms THE DAY AFTER is like a picnic in the park when compared to THREADS.

There have been a dozen or so excellent films exploring a post apocalyptic, post nuclear world. The same is true for films taking a strong, unrepentant anti-war position. THREADS is at the very top of this list -- it is a film you must see and a film you will never, ever forget. THREADS may be a difficult DVD to find, but the search is well worth it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


"Show me the money."

Jerry Maguire asked for it and Needtovent's own Robert A. Nowotny is happy to show the first one million dollars being sent off to some Wall Street tycoon under the inscrutable, insidious, insolent and insane government-induced $700 million (and counting) bailout plan.

Insolvency for the fat cats never looked so good.

Insurgency by the hard-working dogs from what was once called "the middle class" never looked so good either.

Hey, up until the 1980s Bolivia had experienced more coup d'etats (both military and civilian-led) than it had years of existence as an independent nation. Maybe it's time for a little overthrow of the powers that be in both Washington and Wall Street by those of us who believe in traditional American values and a sense of fair play that can still be found at places like the Wall Drug Store in South Dakota.

We once held a Tea Party that produced some pretty good results.

Maybe it's time to hold another one...

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Tonight's much anticipated Vice Presidential Debate pits the bull, the Lipstick Dipstick, Ms. Sarah Palin, against yet another pasty face white guy running for national office, the Gaffemaster himself, the Not-So-Honorable Mr. Joe Biden. It will be interesting to see which candidate will make a favorable impression. Our guess is that neither will emerge triumphant. In fact, given the history of these two party-loyal participants, the entire staff here at Needtovent is surprised that a network other than The Comedy Channel elected to even carry this event.

After her impressive debut speech during the GOP National Convention, Ms. Palin grew on the Republican faithful like she was a colony of E. Coli and they were a slab of room-temperature Alaskan moose venison. In fact, this photograph taken at yesterday's Bar-W Republican fundraiser proves that eye candy just might be highly influential after all -- it has clearly morphed the eyewear of the washed masses as seen here.

As for Mr. Biden, this recent photograph proves he's not much more than a Bozo with a mouth -- a great big mouth. (There are black bass in Lake Sam Rayburn who are jealous). If only Obama had selected Hillary as his running mate -- the ensuing cat fight would have been a lot more fun than this match-up, the equivalence of an Army-North Texas college football game. (The only two winless teams in Division 1 as of today. So much for their BCS chances.)

From BCS to plain old BS -- be sure to tune in tonight. After all, who doesn't like seeing a trainwreck?

ATSF's "Chico" is, of course, the only possible exception.