Leaving Las Vegas; On Hiatus

Greenlee Gazette is on hiatus until the first week of February. New stories may appear, but I'll be mostly offline. Please come back and see me after I make the transition!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Joni Ernst and MAD TV's Stuart's Mom: Separated at Birth?



I have to give credit for the inspiration for this to The Stephanie Miller Show.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Many Republicans Think Climate Change is Real

It's always amazing to me when we see polls and punditry that debate the percentage of people who believe or disbelieve relatively empirical things, based on their political leanings. I mean, who cares how many of group X believe that the earth is round? It's round regardless. And when climate scientists nearly unanimously agree that there is a consensus that man-made climate change is a real thing, being a conservative* shouldn't matter in the equation to whether or not it is "real."

Anyway, to find that any significant percentage of conservatives are seeing the light is a pleasant surprise.

*Now, all of that said, I'd really like to know how being a climate change denier is "conservative" in nature in the first place. Conservative implies conservation, carefulness, caution, tapping the brakes, and being a tight-ass. Today's conservatives are seemingly about wastefulness, heedless of warnings if it hurts profits, full-speed-ahead/damn-the-consequences, and inventing a conspiracy theory amongst scientists while having no rational story for a motive. I don't see any relationship between the "conservative" brand, and the traditional definition of the word.

[Excerpt]

Despite Current Congress, Many Republicans Think Climate Change Is Real
 
In Washington, D.C., Rep. Chris Gibson could be considered an anomaly. Unlike 68 percent of his Republican colleagues in the 114th Congress, the congressman from New York does not publicly deny the science of human-caused climate change. In fact, Gibson is one of the small handful of congressmembers who publicly states that climate change is real. He’s even gone so far as to introduce a resolution that would “recognize the reality” of global warming’s dangers. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Blame it All on Obama (Another Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Well, it's Rocky Mountain Mike to the rescue again. Between all the bon voyageyness from friends--in other words, social obligations out the wazoo--and planning/packing/moving, blogging has necessarily been difficult. So, I was happy to hear this tune on The Stephanie Miller Show today, because I knew I'd have at least a little material for the blog!

To the tune of LaBamba by Ritchie Valens. For more the complete tunes, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!
 

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Rocky Mountain Mike 2-Pack of Song Parodies

Sorry for the dearth of posts. The preparation for the move has my time divided, as well as my attention. But Rocky Mountain Mike has posted (or re-posted?) a couple of tunes, both Beach Boys-tinged. And if you like your political humor bi-partisan this will kind of cover the spectrum. So, enjoy! And I'll drop by the ol' blog when I can. . .

For more the complete tunes, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!

 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Scott Walker Comment Might Save ObamaCare from The Supremes?

Oops. Image from source, Think Progress
Interesting theory. It would be icing on the cake if The Affordable Care Act was cemented by the offhand, callous comment of an extra-douchey conservative hero.

[Excerpt]

How A Stray Remark By A Republican Governor Could Save Obamacare From The Supreme Court
 
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) plan if the Supreme Court reinterprets Obamacare to take health care away from hundreds of thousands of his constituents is to “do nothing,” according to a local news report, even though he and his fellow Wisconsin Republicans have the power to save these individuals from that fate. This may not be a particularly surprising revelation, as Republican elected officials throughout the country have done little to conceal their disdain for the Affordable Care Act, yet Walker’s willingness to admit this fact could have the ironic result of saving Obamacare from the justices. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Captain Obvious: Chris Matthews Discovers Tea Party "Aren't That Far" from White Supremacist Groups

I've had a few issues with Chris Matthews of late, where his always vacillating political needle seemed lodged in libertarian/conservative land. But he still shows flashes of reasonableness, even if the topic is blindingly obvious. In this case, it's noticing the not-so-very-far-apartness of white supremacist groups and "Tea Party" conservatives. Um yeah, we noticed that.

[Excerpt]
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: Tea Party Republicans ‘aren’t that far’ from white supremacist groups

MSNBC host Chris Matthews slammed Tea Party Republicans on Tuesday, likening them to white supremacist organizations like the one currently linked to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA).
 
Image from source, Raw Story

“How do you think Louie Gohmert feels toward David Duke?” Matthews askedHuffington Post reporter Sabrina Siddiqui. “How do we know? What do you think of [Ted] Yoho, and that crowd? These guys believe [President Barack Obama] was somehow an illegal immigrant from Africa because they can’t stand the fact that he’s an African-American president. Let’s be honest about it — they’re not that far from the crowd they refuse to associate with. . . .”

Read more at: Raw Story

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Gay Thing: Marriage Equality Comes to Florida

Usually, "Dateline: Florida" equals something very strange, very sad or just baffling. Florida is weird. But this time, it's a good story. Marriage equality is finally a thing in the Sunshine State! The state with Sushi the drag queen dropping from a giant high-heeled shoe every New Year's Day has finally dropped all pretense. Actually, they put up a rather ridiculous, pointless, expensive fight, slowing the process down everywhere they could. But they lost, as has been the case across the country

Image from source, MSN
In all, there are now 36 states (plus Washington DC) where same-sex couples can legally marry. We're getting very, very close to 3/4 of the country (and that's just counting 36/51). Population-wise, we're likely already there. The Supreme Court could decide this year to make it 100%. But in the mean time, a whole lot of gay Disney fans can now plan their weddings!

[Excerpt]

Same-sex marriages begin in 1 Florida county
 
Miami-Dade County became the first place in Florida to allow same-sex couples to marry on Monday, half a day before a gay-marriage ban that has been ruled unconstitutional is lifted in the rest of the state. . .

Read more at: MSN

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mike Huckabee Quits FOX "News" to Join 2016 GOP Presidential Race

Image from source, MSN
Though quitting FOX "News," and exploring a run for the GOP presidential nomination isn't quite a lateral move for Mike Huckabee, it's certainly merely a change of position within the same "company." Given the symbiotic relationship between FOX, right-wing talk radio, political celebrity (Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich), and actual elected office and the quest of it, it's just a matter of where the wheels line up. But, there are still a few rules left, and you can't run for president while remaining the host of a national show, so there you are.

This one doesn't trouble me like it would have years ago. I still find the Huckster terrifying on virtually any issue. And his ability to sound like a kindly grandfather, coating even homophobia with home-spun honey and brown sugar is genuinely worrisome. But he's had a show on FOX "News" for years. There are hours and hours of Huck spouting some pretty bizarre shit, and hosting some batshit crazy guests. If there isn't a wealth of disqualifying tape there for even the laziest opposition researcher to find, then what hope is there anyway? No, I'm not worried about a Mike Huckabee presidency. Because if it comes to that, we've got bigger problems. All of that said, the political humor possibilities with this one are endless.

[Excerpt]

Mike Huckabee Leaving Fox News; White House Run Next?

The former governor of Arkansas is calling it a career at Fox News Channel. The network said Mike Huckabee will announce his exit during Huckabee tonight at 8 PM ET. FNC reported the news during the 5 PM hour, and a spokesman said the split was amicable. Fox News said it will run specials in place of Huckabee’s political commentary show for the next few weeks and will be trying “a few new ideas” in its longtime weekend time slot. . .

Read more at: MSN

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Blast from the Past: TV Shows, Gone Too Soon



Okay, back to blogging after an extended holiday break. Seemingly, the world kind of stopped there for a couple of weeks, didn't it? Or did we kind of just not pay much attention? Either way, we're still here, and mostly things are the same. Though I'm sure the new GOP-heavy Congress will give me plenty to blog about, even with my upcoming cross-country move.

In the meantime, one of the few Christmas gifts we indulged in this year (with our self-imposed hard candy Christmas) was season two of Better Off Ted, one of the funniest sitcoms to air in recent or even distant memory. It lasted a bare 26 episodes, and barely made a pop culture blip. But it was brilliantly funny, and much-loved by the small, core group of people who managed to discover it. Reading quotes from some episodes can make me laugh until I cry.

So, that show has prompted this edition of Blast from the Past. The topic is any program I can think of that was cancelled too abruptly, whether that means before it had finished a complete season, or if it made it a couple of years, but was unceremoniously yanked long before its time. In some cases, these will be theme song clips, in others (such as with Better Off Ted which had little in the way of an intro) either compilations, trailers, or other relevant pieces. Let's go!



1. Better Off Ted (2009-2010) - The fist, very off-color clip here isn't a blooper reel. It's an alternate set of scenes to a real episode, in which a memo glitch demands that employees of "Veridian Dynamics" must now insult each other. The broadcast version was tamer, but still one of the funniest episodes of episodic television I can recall.



2. Firefly (2002) - No list of this sort would be complete without this Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Marvel's The Avengers) sci-fi gem. Given only a short half-season (and eventual movie spin-off), it never had a chance to become something great, so it's fortunate it was already so good.



3. Dollhouse (2009-2010) - Another show, like Better Off Ted that squeaked out two short seasong (and somehow managed the same number of episodes during the same set of seasons), and another short-lived Whedon show, Dollhouse was a personal favorite. It was morally muddy, occasionally humorous, often disturbing, and got better and better as it went. But it was so deep in its own (eventually hyper-accelerated) mythology, it may have been inaccessible to anyone but its most ardent fans. I was one. I was also happy to see a shout-out ("Did I fall asleep?" "For a little while.") on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., also a Whedon show.



4. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009) - The Terminator series was nothing short of fantastic in its first two films. The third was a major disappointment. But this series, set in an alternate timeline that picked up after Terminator 2: Judgment Day, followed the storyline that worked, and managed to do it on a weekly basis on a TV budget. It started with a bang, had a couple of lulls, and then came out blazing, with some truly great individual episodes and loads of promise. That FOX could manage to fumble a product with so much cachet when it was actually also quite good, remains a mystery.



5. Police Squad! (1982) - The Zucker-Abrahms-Zucker Airplane!-style humor evidenced in this very short-lived Leslie Nielsen-led sitcom, wasn't for everyone. It is quite incorrectly regarded as "stupid" humor, when in reality, many of the jokes would be missed by actually stupid people. It was an outlandish spoof of the very staid police procedurals of the 50s, 60s and 70s, and did so brilliantly. Fortunately, the brilliance was recognized, and the show was eventually spun off into a series of movies (with the third blatantly stealing many of the gags from the actual TV show).



6. Arrested Development (2003-2006, 2013) I almost didn't include this one, since it got a revival on Netflix in 2013. But it is an excellent case of a show "too good for TV," or at least for a broadcast network. It also joins Better Off Ted in this list with a "brilliant but cancelled" series that stars Portia De Rossi.

And that will do it for this week, kids. It's back to work for me, at least for the next few weeks. As my departure time approaches, things on the blog are going to start to get weird. Well, weirder. But I'll be here, remarking on as much of it as I can. Meanwhile, Happy Monday!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Behind the Blogger: 2015 New Year's Resolutions

New Year's resolutions are a silly tradition. For the most part, we never get started on them. Occasionally, we commit to them. For a week. Maybe two. If you keep it up for three weeks, you've got maybe a 50% chance of going past a month, and if you make it to a month, I'm betting you're in rare company.

That said, in 2011, I gave up smoking as a New Year's resolution. Other than the fact that I picked January 3 as my start date (since that was a Monday that year), it took. I have had zero ciggies since January 2, 2011. Truth be told, I could have given them up on Dec. 31, since I think I rationed out my last pack over two days, and ended up giving the rest to The Other Half (who is still occasionally puffing, by the way). Other resolutions have not been nearly so successful, though I often do make it through long past when others drop out.

Usually, it's lose weight, get in shape. I've done that many times. I rarely ever stop exercising completely, so that one is usually stepping up my exercise. But I often fall off the diet. I'm a yo-yo dieter with a really long yo. I can go 18 months at a good weight, then life gets in the way, and boom, chubbo again. Doggone it. Some people think it's as easy as simple math, calories in, calories out. This doesn't take into account differing metabolisms, differing types of food that either stick or pass on thru, and other factors. And it doesn't take into account that Atkins really works, and you don't have to count calories to do it. It's just bloody boring after a while. But...

My resolutions for 2015:

- Lose weight, 20 pounds or above, keep net 20 off for the year. If I lose 25, and end up with just the 20, I'll take it.
- Keep up and ramp up the exercise.
- No smoking (this one is easy)!
- Keep blogging, even though it's mostly for me. Everyone needs a hobby.
- Grow my business/get a job. One or the other or both will be necessary after quitting my job, and moving cross-country with The Other Half.
- Save political arguments for the blog and online shouting matches. No need to start unnecessary arguments with politically incompatible family members!
- Enjoy the changes the move will bring, don't panic, don't overthink, enjoy.
 

The Best of Rocky Mountain Mike (2014)

I often feature the works of Rocky Mountain Mike on the blog, not because I have anything to do with making them--I don't--but because I'm a huge fan, and Mike posts handy-dandy embedding links! Also, I'm a huge fan of The Stephanie Miller Show, which is how I came to find Mike in the first place.

Through the year, as in previous ones, he's produced quite a few masterful song parodies, some Stephanie Miller in-joke specific, some brilliantly spot-on takedowns of whatever happens to be driving the news cycle, from Sarah Palin's latest drunken family brawl, to the Bundy Ranch, to the evil that is Dick Cheney. Here's a taste of several of them in this year end medly.

For more the complete tunes, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!

 

What Happens in Vegas: Will It Snow, Will It Snow, Will It Snow?

Well, it's almost time to retire my What Happens in Vegas feature, along with the year of 2014. In a month or so, I'll officially be a Buckeye again, after a lapse of 20 years. Time will tell if I develop a Useless Nut feature when Greenlee Gazette takes up root back in Ohio.

For now, my soon-to-be abandoned adoptive state and city look to be giving me a going away present: snow on New Year's Eve. It's never happened, at least with anything resembling accumulation, since people have been keeping track of such things. I've been here for a handful of  Las Vegas' very few recorded snow storms, and I'm very much looking forward to this one! If it happens. I know I'll quickly have my fill of snow when I get back to Ohio, but there's something different about it when it happens here. Probably the palm trees.


Yeah, yeah. You've promised this before.
Image from source, LVRJ.com
Still, the tourists from out of town have got to be cursing my enthusiasm. Some years you don't even need much beyond long sleeves on the strip for NYE. This year, you'll freeze your (by now, pointless) 2015 novelty glasses off.

[Excerpt]

It’s gonna snow! Probably.

People celebrating the eve of the New Year in Las Vegas may be seeing more than confetti falling from the sky. The best chance for snow — it’s a 60 percent chance — will come late Wednesday afternoon and early in the evening, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Stachelski. Even though the storm system is carrying less moisture than was forecast Saturday, Las Vegas will likely see between a half-inch to an inch of snow and record low temperatures, Stachelski said. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Michigan to Test Welfare Recipients for Drug Use

Michigan Governor Snyder. Ain't he a peach?
Image from source, Think Progress
There are reasons why Republicans have a reputation for being both tight-asses and just flat mean. Here's one, in fairly bold letters. There is no particular evidence that welfare recipients are larger than average drug users as a population (in fact some studies show the opposite). So, what is the point of this kind of legislation, exactly? Shaming? And hey, where are all of the conservative "values" people when the children of those found to be using drugs are denied food and medicine? What about the children?

And of course, I'd like to know if any government assistance should require drug testing of recipients? Corporate welfare, perhaps? Why not?

[Excerpt]

Michigan Governor Signs Bill Requiring Drug Testing Of Welfare Recipients
 
Welfare recipients in some Michigan counties will soon be tested if they’re suspected of using drugs, under a set of bills signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder this week. The Senate and House bills, which were signed into law Friday, will create a yearlong pilot program in three counties that will screen welfare recipients and applicants to determine whether or not they’re suspected of using drugs. If they are, the applicants or recipients must submit to a drug test. If the test comes back positive, they will be referred to a treatment program, and if they choose not to enter the program, they will lose their welfare benefits. Applicants and recipients will also lose their eligibility for welfare benefits for six months. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

New GOP Congress Off to Bang Up Start

Wow! See, America, this is what happens when you don't pay attention, fall for truthiness, decide it's the other side's "turn" or just don't vote because you think "they're all the same." The new team--yet to even be sworn it--already has a prominent member guilty of a felony (and resigning after saying he wouldn't). And now a guy third from the top in the House of Representatives who gives speeches for white supremacists. And didn't realize it. He's also kind of a nutbar. Is this what you bargained for?

[Excerpt]

House Majority Whip Scalise confirms he spoke to white nationalists in 2002

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House majority whip, acknowledged Monday that he spoke at a gathering hosted by white-supremacist leaders while serving as a state representative in 2002, thrusting a racial controversy into House Republican ranks days before the party assumes control of both congressional chambers . . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Monday, December 29, 2014

Blast from the Past: New & Improved!

I was stuck for an idea for the year's first Blast from the Past. And then I thought, new year. New and improved (we hope) year! Remember how all the products on TV in the seventies were constantly new & improved? We never really figured out what was so different, but they sure made a big deal of it. So, here are some of those old pop culture nuggets.






1. Tide detergent - Probably the most improved item in commercials was detergent. By now, you'd think they'd have it perfect!
3. Zest soap - Soap was always being improved too. And how many times did they go through the, "Wait a minute, it's not new." "No, it's new and improved!" bit?
3. Quake & Quisp cereal - How improved could they be? Did you ever even eat either of them in the first place?
4. Secret deodorant - Yeah, apparently, they couldn't get this one right the first time either.
5. Diet Pepsi - This one was novel for its time, inspiring countless spoofs, including a classic Saturday Night Live "General Dynamics" clip.
6. Pringles Potato Chips - Now, with RIDGES!
7. Hunts Tomato Ketchup - Roy Clark of Hee-Haw explains why Hunts is now better than Heinz.
8. Windex window cleaner - I'm betting your life just wasn't complete until they improved Windex with lemon.

That's it for this week. I'm sure there are many, many more. But the YouTube search engine doesn't make it easy! Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Behind the Blogger: Leaving Las Vegas, Back to Ohio


[Every so often, I use this site as a personal confessional. That's kind of what "blogs" originally were: personal web logs. Since I haven't written in a while, I thought I'd do one of these, to explain what I've been up to, and where I've been]

It's the end of a personal era. It all began in 1994. Rather, it didn't begin there, but things that were already in motion took off there. I'd been in the amusement industry for about six years, and in 1994 Las Vegas was experiencing an amusement ride boom. Along with several other principal members of the company I'd worked with in Ohio, I made the decision to journey across America, a 2,000 mile trek to the desert. I landed here almost exactly 20 years ago, plus a couple of weeks.

This year's Christmas card (with apologies to Berkeley Breathed)
The first two years were exciting and new. I'd never lived so far away from my family. Prior to this, I was still a 30-minute drive away, and sometimes went weeks without seeing any of them, but it was possible to get together on a moments' notice, or for holidays, birthdays, gatherings or lunch. Now, I was alone, except for my four other fellow travelers.

Initially, we spent a whole lot of our time together, and didn't much wander out of our own little group, especially me. I was the fifth wheel, the perpetual single to the two couples. More than that, I was the gay one, to their straight-married normalcy. And I was also shy and didn't date. So, we spent way too much time at The Rio, The Hard Rock Hotel, and other "new-to-us" gambling meccas. Eventually, I tired of being alone, and dipped a toe into the dating waters. After a few tries, I started dating a guy of considerable charm, but with a dark side.

We dated for six weeks. After escalating just-short-of-violent behavior (and other sketchy behavior), I dumped him. He spent a week winning me back. We dated for six more weeks, his sketchy behavior picked back up, moved to the actually violent, and I dumped him again. All the while, I funded his favorite activity, namely: video poker and pool. I did this--stupidly--to my own financial detriment. But, in a very wise move, I dumped him again. Unfortunately, because we traveled in the same circles, I knew I could not avoid him. So, though we no longer dated, I maintained a distant but not hostile "friendship" with him. Every so often, I'd watch him play pool, though I no longer gave him a dime.

My favorite vehicle, a '98 Jeep Wrangler, owned for 9 years, entirely
here in Las Vegas, now gone for five years.
I had no dimes! They were spent, along with future dimes! And the timing couldn't have been worse. Unbeknownst to me, my (at the time) high paying job was quickly coming to a close, due to malfeasance by a principal member. I had a crucially bad combination of factors: 1) exhausted savings, 2) growing personal debt, 3) an already scheduled Christmas vacation, 4) naiveté about just how bad the work situation was, and how quickly a financial crisis can snowball. I continued to work for no pay, continued to incur expenses, and didn't know enough to drop the job as quickly as I'd dropped the boyfriend.

I married The Other Half in '08, during
the brief window it was legal in California
that year. Now it's legal in Nevada, and in
most of the country. . .but not Ohio!
The new job paid half what the old one did. I inherited a sibling (also down on his luck). And my finances were a shambles. During this time, I pretty much withdrew into my own life and troubles, and my group of friends and I had a lengthy period of separation. Fortunately, we all came back together. But one set had started a family, and remained in a slightly removed orbit for most of the rest of this story (still love 'em, still see 'em, just not as often). I spun off the sibling into his own story, dated a little more, and my job grew into a career.

The story greatly improved the following year, when I met The Other Half. We had a fast courtship, a brief separation, and then a solid relationship and cohabitation, all in just over a year. We've been together ever since, with a relatively consistently improving or steady time of it all along the way. Debt problems are in the distant rear view (where I hope they stay). Two cats have come and gone. A couple of cars, though far fewer than most people. I gathered some friends with the relationship, and for the most part, the two circles have remained steady, and tend to overlap on special occasions.

But there is the pull of family, and of something less tangible. After having been here twenty years (and The Other Half nearly as long), we could both see that both of our very long careers would likely end before too many more years. Our nieces and nephews are growing up fast (some have grown entirely from infancy in this time). Our remaining parents are getting older, siblings too. Family health problems are beginning to crop up with alarming regularity. So, the 2,000-mile buffer has become more abrasive lately then comforting. It's time for a change.

Jinx the Cat came and went, but managed 14 years
here in Las Vegas, 12 of them with us.
It was somewhere about year 13 when I took up hobbyist blogging. It's difficult to believe, but when I moved here, Bill Clinton was still in the first half of his first term in office. In the early days of my relationship, we had The Lewinsky Affair and the impeachment. Next was the 2000 election nightmare, followed by the Bush/Cheney night terror that wouldn't end. It wasn't until Dubya was three-quarters of the way wrecking things when I just was so damned sick of it, that I started this blog as an outlet for my frustrations.

I'd been a keyboard commando since the days of bulletin board services. I can't claim to have gotten too into it until the age of Prodigy, and early AOL though. I'm an early adopter, but not that early. Still, my political arguing skills have been honed online for all of my 20 years here in Vegas. And it occurs to me that pretty much the entire internet age for most people has happened within those same years. When I left Ohio, I had a modem, but it had seen only sporadic use!

The blog started slowly, grew quickly, consumed tons of my time in the first and second years, and then waned on an almost imperceptibly slow decline ever since. I've never gone more than a week without a post, and rarely longer than a weekend. But a quick look at my posting history will reveal that my output here has nearly crashed this year. Life, finally, has gotten in the way lately.

One of several things that didn't exist 20 years ago:
Flat-panel TVs and monitors.
I imagine I'll keep the blog going as long as Blogger is a "thing." I see no reason to kill it off, or make some big declaration ending it. It is rare that a week goes by when I don't have something I want to write. I still enjoy sharing things, and regularly cross post on Facebook and Twitter. But I can't deny that a daily routine is becoming a drag. There's a reason I've almost eliminated blogging late Friday-to-Sunday evenings, and reduced or non-existent posting over holidays. I no longer panic and seed time-released posts when I know I won't be around. If I don't get a post up for the night, sometimes I explain why, sometimes I just don't worry about it. [Story continues below]
BETWEEN 1994 AND 2014

- Flat panel TVs and monitors didn't exist, outside of portables or laptops, and they were extremely small and expensive. They are now ubiquitous. Our household has at least seven. We have no glass tube screens, and used to have at least 5.
- Cell phones were rare, expensive, huge and heavy. They are now ubiquitous, and smarter than any PC from 1994.
- FOX "News" and MSNBC didn't exist until 1996, and the 24-hour news cycle wasn't really a thing yet. CNN was unique.
- We had no idea who Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Ted Cruz, Rachel Maddow, Adam Levine, Ryan Seacrest or Simon Cowell were. Or what a Kardashian is.
- We went from VHS to DVD (mostly skipping LaserDisc), and on to Blu-Ray along with instant, streaming high definition, sometimes 3D video. Often over wireless wifi, which would have been indistinguishable from magic twenty years ago.
- Speaking of wifi, our connected world would all seem like magic to a computer user with a 14.4 dialup modem with CompuServe, in 1994. The internet and the many ways we connect to it should amaze us more than it does.
- Google and other search engines have rendered trivial knowledge a useless talent.
- In 1994, Justin Bieber was an infant. So was Ariana Grande. Miley Cyrus was 2. One Direction's entire lineup was 0-3 years old, with an average of less than 1.

And that's probably how the future will go. As we move back to the Buckeye state later this winter, the blog will mostly remain static unless something really interesting/exciting happens. When I arrive at my destination, I'll undoubtedly pick it back up. In fact, at first, I'll probably have the time, and want to post things. But hobbies are a time-available thing, and our time will be in demand, both with the practicalities of moving, and with visiting our newly-close-by families. We'll be looking for jobs (though maybe not right away), and a house. There are going to be other things to do.

So, if you've made it this far, thank you for reading, thanks for stopping by. If you enjoy this blog, know that it isn't going away. Just maybe check in less often, or just expect that I might not have anything new that day. If I ever do decide to end the blog all together, there will be a final post saying so. But I can almost guarantee that there will still be new posts after that! I just can't imagine that I won't want an outlet sometimes.

 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Cheer: American Dad! Christmas

I've been fruitlessly searching for just one more post for the night, and have been coming up empty. Then I thought about the fact that I've only got a couple of more days left for "Holiday Cheer" posts. And one of my favorite Christmas-themed TV episodes was available on Hulu. So here you go, American Dad's "Most Adequate Christmas Ever."

How The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report Kept Liberals Sane in 2014

I have a problem with virtually everything that emanates from Right Wing World these days, but there is one thing they are excellent at: messaging. It's their super power. Unfortunately, they are more on the Legion of Doom side of things, preferring to put their powers to evil use. But they--for all of the malarkey you hear about a "liberal media"--control the message, the narrative and the news cycle, by-and-large. Check out Meet the Press, Face the Nation, FOX "News" Sunday, This Week or any of the other political shows, and check out the ratio of conservatives to progressives. And check out the way they're unbound by worries about the truth. Truthiness is key.

And that's where Comedy Central's potent twosome of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert came in. From completely different perspectives, they point out the cracks, flaws and falsiness behind the truthiness. While Stewart is still going strong (for now), Colbert has left for more networky (and less political) pastures, leaving us with the untested Larry Wilmore's The Nightly Show instead. Wilmore has some huge shoes to fill. And he'll have to decide if he's himself or a character! Because, while Stewart is a version of himself, Colbert's faux conservative persona went places that skewered the right in ways that are otherwise hard to reach.

I still hope that Col-bert doesn't completely kill off Col-bear. Hopefully, we'll still get glimpses, or even complete segments featuring Colbert the character, even if we don't get them right away. In any event, 2014 sure needed these guys.

[Excerpt]
 
These Daily Show And Colbert Report Segments Helped Cure A Year Of Right-Wing Lies

Nothing captures the absurdity and insincerity of conservative media quite like Comedy Central's The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Media Matters takes a look back at Stewart and Colbert's best takedowns of 2014. . .


Read more (with more videos) at: Media Matters

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In Case You Missed It: Dr. Evil Schools North Korea's Kim Jong-Un on How to be Evil (Saturday Night Live)


I forgot this. As far as I know, this is the first time that Mike Myers has shown up on SNL unannounced, unlike say, Andy Samberg or Kristin Wiig, who are liable to turn up any given week. And funny too that the character of Dr. Evil started as Myers' impression of SNL producer Lorne Michaels!



Holiday Cheer: "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses



I know that many people aren't fond of "contemporary" Christmas tunes, which can mean anything from about 1969 forward. But Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it on The Dr. Demento Show when it first came out in the eighties. For a punk rock/new wave band, the lyrics of this song are quite poignant and engaging. I think this one will remain a favorite of mine into my dotage.


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