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Greenlee Gazette is away at a family event. Some blogging may happen, but not much! See you next week!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Is FOX "News" Test Driving a New Slogan?


I just turned on FOX "News" and saw the following slogan used for a promo:


"FOX 'News.' Where America turns for hard news, and real reporting."


Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hahahahahahahahahaha! There we go, I needed a good laugh.

Michael Musto's Decade in Review


Image from source, Village Voice

As a semi-gay activist (I'm not semi-gay, I'm a semi-activist), I find people like Michael Musto vaguely discomforting. I think it's great that he's out there, but he often makes me shift uncomfortably in my seat. I may have just a smidge of internalized homophobia. But I'm working on it. Anyway, Musto has been a frequent guest on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, most notably in the terminally stupid Carrie Prejean story. And while Musto often induces cringes in me, he also pushes my skewer that bitch impulse. So here is his year/decade in review article. In my effort at self improvement.

[Excerpt]

Michael Musto's Year (and Decade) in Review!

The Naughty Aughties are over, and I'm LMFAO. It will be remembered, if at all, as the decade of the TMI generation. The 15-second fame gang. The micromanaging maniacs. The attention-whoring-for-lunch bunch. The iPhone, iPod, iMac, IMAX, and eye-lift folks. The people who have already forgotten this paragraph. . .

Read more at: Village Voice


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rachel Maddow on the Importance of Reporting on Wingnuts

In the two-and-a-half years I've been doing this blog, I've focused on a lot of wingnuts. From Sarah Palin to Michelle Bachmann to Glenn Beck and everyone at FOX "News", a good chunk of my nearly 6,000 posts have been about wingnuts, and the spew of crazy unleashed by them nearly every day. So, why do I do it? Why give them the attention they so obviously crave?

Rachel Maddow encapsulates pretty well the reason why I--and she--like to shine a spotlight on the crazy train. Because to ignore them is to let them gain acceptance for their nutty ideas.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rush Limbaugh in Hospital With Chest Pains


My mother always said, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Actually, I'm not sure Mom ever said that, or even lived by it. But still, I'm not sayin' anything. . .

[Excerpt]

Limbaugh Taken to Hospital With Chest Pains

A Honolulu television station is reporting that conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been taken to a hospital with chest pains.

KITV reported Wednesday that paramedics responded to a call at 2:41 p.m. from the Kahala Hotel and Resort where Limbaugh is vacationing.

The station, citing unnamed sources, said paramedics treated Limbaugh and took him to The Queen's Medical Center in serious condition. . .


Read more at (where else): FOX "News"

White House (Finally) Fights Back Against GOP Politicizing Underpants Bomber


Image from Black Horizon

Since the Christmas Day attempted terrorist attack by the underpants bomb guy, Republicans have been doing everything they can to politicize the event. Even Darth Cheney has gotten into the act. Fortunately, with the holiday week, any news (or manufactured news) has a fairly difficult time breaking through to the general public. Even me, a political blogger, missed the buzz for quite a while. Sue me, I'm on vacation.

Anyway, one of the several problems liberals have with President Obama and Democrats in general is the lack of fight they have in them. Fighting back against incoherent faux outrage should be super, super easy. You don't even need Aaron Sorkin to come up with counter attacks to stuff this easy. Republicans live and breathe political opportunism, and are usually heedless of facts, even easily proven video and audio of themselves saying exactly the opposite of what they are now saying. Democrats don't have to do that in this (or most) cases. They can just bring out the truth hammer and swing the damned thing. But they often don't. Thankfully, there is finally a response from the White House on at least this one issue.

[Excerpt]

The Same Old Washington Blame Game

There has been a lot of discussion online and in the mainstream media about our response to various critics of the President, specifically former Vice President Cheney, who have been coming out of the woodwork since the incident on Christmas Day. I think we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers. Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer. . .

Read more at: The White House Blog


Kennedy Center Honors Mel Brooks

I love Mel Brooks. Seriously. I think I've watched his films more times than virtually any others. Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Silent Movie, History of the World Part I and High Anxiety. I've been dismayed that movie wise, he lost his mojo after about 1980. Most everything after that was scattershot or even bad. But he got some Broadway mojo with The Producers and (again) Young Frankenstein. So good for him. Even though his glory years were only about 10 years in the movies, his career is much more than that, and he deserved the honor he got this week.



Edited to add one of my favorite scenes from the overlooked High Anxiety.


Sarah Palin: Coward of the Year


Image from source, NewsCorpse

I don't think I've read a better assessment of Sarah Palin than the one excerpted below. And it addresses Palin herself, not the ex-First Dude, or her kids and/or grand kids, Brillo, Brisket, Knob, Stump and the rest. Just Palin and her Facebookin', Tweetin', Rogue Goin', job quittin' self. Also.

[Excerpt]

Sarah Palin: Pitiful, Sniveling, Coward Of The Year

Having already won the coveted “Lie of the Year” award from PolitiFact, it is time that we recognize Sarah Palin for the truly superlative accomplishment of her brief public tenure. It is an achievement for which she has no peer. She has masterfully positioned herself as the undisputed champion in this highly specialized calling.

Congratulations Sarah Palin, for being this year’s most “Pitiful, Sniveling, Coward. . .”

Read more at: NewsCorpse


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Liquids Cost Comparison (Oil the Cheapest!)


This is sort of a fascinating chart. We knew that inkjet ink was expensive, but who realized it was that expensive? Of course, ink makers would argue that the cost is for the technology, and the cartridge (which holds the ink) itself. But damn, dudes, you guys came up with those little-bitty plastic cases with the complicated chips in them in order to make more money. No excuse!

This is interesting, but the relevance is elusive. I remember when gasoline was shooting over $4.50 gal., some stupid politician (R-Naturally) arguing that gasoline was still cheaper than milk. Like anyone needs 16 gallons of milk at a time. But geez, ink costing almost twice as much as human blood? Wow.


Source: Joe.My.God


Countdown with Keith Olbermann's Wackjob Jamboree 2009

Too good not to share. . .




"Traditional Marriage" Advocate Karl Rove Divorced. Again.

And speaking of Karl "Turdblossom" Rove, here's an interesting tidbit. Not only Is Rove--who has used gays and gay marriage to further many a political end--getting divorced again, he wants his privacy protected. HA!!! If Rove has ever sensed even a crumb of political hay to be made by invading someone's privacy, he has done so.

As someone who believes Rove should be behind bars as a prison wife, I'm galled just to see him flapping his jowls on FOX "News." But if seeing his corpulent, pasty face with the scrote hair on top is the price I pay to see this man's privacy invaded, so be it. Go to it. Rake him over the freaking coals. Nobody deserves it more. Anyway, isn't it time for Rove to finally settle down with Jeff Gannon?

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Karl Rove: Hypocrite

I know that headline is sort of redundant. But I just heard Karl "Turdblossom" Rove on FOX "News" say something so breathtakingly hypocritical, I actually issued forth a hearty "HA!" Paraphrasing:

"This [Obama] administration seems to think that they can just say something, and it magically becomes true."

Thus, Mr. Rove summed up his entire role in the previous administration.

Dumbest Quotes of the Decade


“I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” --Arnold Schwarzenegger

The first quote mentioned in this list cracked me up so much, I had to post an excerpt.

[Excerpt]

The Dumbest Quotes Of The 2000s

The 2000s (or the 'naughties' as the kids are calling them) are coming to a close. And to celebrate, we've been counting down the funniest movies, sketches, and people of the past ten years. Next up, quotes. But not just funny quotes - DUMB quotes, which as we know are the best kind. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post


Shopping for a New Vehicle


Image from UsedCars.com (not from the Vegas lot I visited)

I've been driving my 1998 Jeep Wrangler for over nine years now. It was my dream car, and I still really love it. But while it still has a fairly high resale value, and still looks pretty damned good (especially after my "refreshening" project), nine years is a long time to own a vehicle. It's cost me a lot in repairs recently, and though just about everything is now "new," let's face it, I deserve a car or truck made in this century. Especially since we're entering a new decade.

But I'm not in any kind of hurry. After all, I intentionally put the most recent repairs on my credit card (to help continue rebuilding my credit), and I have a little ways to go on the payments. Who wants to make payments on a vehicle they no longer own? Also, there is the economy to consider. A person could lose their job without much warning, and I'm not immune to that. Still, I'm curious, and interested in some window shopping.

Ever try to window shop at a car dealership? It can't be done. The second your feet hit the pavement, the salesmen descend like locusts. We stopped at a local Las Vegas Dodge dealership when a 2008 Jeep Commander caught my eye. My primary interest was in a late model Jeep Liberty or Wrangler, but what the hey. It was burgundy, and cool looking, and was priced at $14,999. I just wanted an up-close look, and maybe to sit in it. Seconds later, a salesman was there to chat us up.

I should point out that I virtually never buy a vehicle at a car lot, and have never traded a car in. My first two cars were loaners from the parents, my third a gift for graduation, the fourth was bought at a used car lot, a 1980 Toyota Celica GT Liftback, purchased in 1985. After that, two more were bought at auction, and the last two purchased from friends. So my experience with dealers is very limited, though I'm familiar with high-pressure sales tactics, and I don't go in for them.
Our salesman encouraged us to test drive the Commander, and The Other Half and I agreed. I have to admit, I really liked the look and feel of the truck. I can see myself owning one. But it had 53,000 miles on it--more than even my 1998 vehicle has. And it had a couple of flaws that I didn't have to put up with last time I financed $15,000. Still, our salesman encouraged us to come in, "just to see" what kind of numbers he could work up. Having no intention of buying--but still curious about several things--semi-reluctantly agreed.

They took my keys and drivers' license, along with much of my data to run my credit. I wouldn't have, but was curious enough to see if I'd qualify for financing. Well, apparently I did, in spades, because after that they wouldn't stop the sales tactics. Inartfully, to say the least. They ladled on $1000 more in "dealer prep fees," making the cost more like $16,000. With tax and other fees, the cost (not counting registration) was over $18,000. They were only able to cough up $4000 for my Jeep, even though it can sell for as much as $8,000 on the open market. And they were ratcheting up the pressure.

I kept hand-waving them off, indicating that we were just looking. That I rarely buy from car lots. That I didn't have my heart set on a Commander in the first place. That it had high mileage. And flaking paint. Still high pressure, "but you were willing to let us run your credit!" Yeah, so? Eventually, after pressure from three people, I had to stand up and declare that I wasn't ready to buy, and that a salesman should be able to see when a client is not going to buy. And we were out of there.

Could they have won me over? Doubtful. But they didn't start in the right place to even come close. First of all, you don't start by raising the price $1,000. You don't offer bare minimum for a trade in. You don't lie about the "tax savings" a low trade-in provides vs. selling on the open market. Had they lowered the sticker (with no ludicrous fees--allegedly to finance their weekly TV infomercial with a huckster local celebrity), and come up with at least a mid-range trade offer, they may have at least given me pause. Also, if the supervisor (the second guy to pressure me) hadn't been such a ludicrous stereotype of a smarmy salesman, I might have had reason to think about it. In short, they lost me at "hello."

So, unless some sort of no-pressure, no bullshit car lot should magically appear in the Las Vegas desert, I'm unlikely to buy a car from a lot. I'm less likely to trade in my vehicle. And I am not going to be pressured into buying anything. My only weak spot will be if my heart suddenly melts for a certain car and I've just gotta have it, like I did for that 1980 Celica. But I'm not 21 anymore.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Full Screen vs. Widescreen: Not as Easy as You Think


Images from plum.cream.org

This is an old subject for many of us, one we've argued (mostly with older folks, like parents or grand parents) endlessly. But until yesterday, I wasn't arguing with all the information. I've preferred widescreen movies since they first became available on LaserDisc and on some "special" VHS tapes. The black bars on my old 26" 4:3 tube TV never distracted or confused me. I was aware that this allowed for the full picture to be seen. Or does it?

The argument was a little simpler when almost everyone still had the old, squarish TVs. You got black bars (sometimes big ones), or you filled the screen. Thus, "widescreen" and "full screen." Now, with 16:9 widescreen TVs much more common, the full screen moniker doesn't really make as much sense. And of course, your dad will still try to stretch and squeeze whatever picture he is watching to the full dimensions of his set, rendering the people either short and fat, or tall and thin.

Considering myself something of a pop-culture guru, I thought I had all the answers. In the old days, movies and TVs were of about the same dimensions. Then when TV really took off, the movie makers started making films wider and wider, so they'd be more special than TV. Eventually, they settled on 1.85:1 or 2.39:1 ratios for the most part. So when the wide movies were ported to TV, they had to "pan and scan" them. Basically, they had to take the theatrical print, and move the image around to capture as much of the action as they could to still make the scenes make sense.

This can lead to dizzying, jarring viewing if there is a lot of action on the sides of the picture. Or--even worse--it can completely obscure what is going on. Say there are two people talking, one on the left and one on the right. With pan and scan, you either have to watch a tennis match, or one of the characters is just cut out of the frame. Movie fans could feel cheated too, because big parts of the picture were just lopped off. This was rectified when "letterboxed" movies started to form a niche.

Letterboxed movies differ from most modern widescreen movies in that they were still formatted for the old-style 4:3 TVs. They included the black bars, and had to shrink down the picture to get it to fit. If you put one of these old movies on a modern 16:9 TV, you'll have black bars on all four sides of the picture (unless you adjust it, in which case you have to zoom, usually resulting in a grainy picture). But letterboxing was a step in the right direction, sort of getting people ready for the widescreen phenomenon.

Even before 16:9 TVs took off, DVD players started becoming commonplace. Fortunately, most of them automatically adjust to most modern DVD discs. The player must be set by the user (wonder how often people know this) to tell it what size the TV is, but once that is done, you don't usually have to fiddle with any settings to get the proportions right. This is complicated by other controls that can be fiddled with on the TV, so I'm betting a high percentage of users still have distorted pictures and don't really understand what to do about it.

This is all starting to iron out, with the advent of HDMI and Blu-ray (and DVRs, and TiVOs, and who knows what). Eventually, everyone will have a set and an input device that automatically snaps to the correct settings. We're not there yet, but we will be. And our dads will still try to muck it up. And full screen movie selections will probably be completely phased out, except in instances where that size is the original and only version. But this still isn't getting to my point that "full screen" isn't always a bad thing.

I can't tell you how many times I've been disappointed to bring home (as a gift or impulse buy) a full screen DVD. "Damn it! It's full screen!" Crappity-crap-crap! I'm not alone, and while perusing a movie lover's message board last night, I happened upon this same age-old argument. There are still full screen aficionados, people who love to fill up their TV with color and abhor black bars. Some don't care if the picture is cropped, some don't understand the concept. I saw widescreen fans calling full screen "yokelvision." Which is pretty danged funny right there.

I then happened upon a few posts insisting that "most" movies are shot in full screen dimensions in the first place, and that widescreen movies actually crop the top and bottom off! I was doubtful of this claim. But it is partially correct. Many ("most" is a dubious claim) films are shot in a more square-ratio fashion. They are "matted" to the widescreen dimension either pre- or post-production, either in the camera (hard matting) or in the projector (soft matting). If it is matted in the camera, you're done, it's a wrap, only the widescreen version will exist as a master product. But if it's soft matted. . .

Many if not all movies on TV until recently were made from theatrical prints, and thus came to the editor hard matted. That's why they had to be panned and scanned. But if the editor gets a soft matted film, he can pan and scan and use the image to the top and bottom that would have been cropped out at the theater. The risk in this is that you might see boom microphones or other equipment. You might see areas of the film that are outside the set, or other extraneous information. But if the director had both full and widescreen in mind when he made it, you might just do better--or equally well--with a full screen DVD. This is assuming of course that you have an old 4:3 TV. On a widescreen TV, your full screen movie will have black bars on the sides! Oy.

So that was a long way to go (and probably inartfully written, as well) to bring you to a site that compares--via the Harry Potter films--full versus widescreen. It's very interesting to see what is "chopped off" from each style. Sometimes the full has more information, sometimes the wide does. Sometimes it is a draw. But as you'll see, when the director chooses to hard matte the source material (as in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) there is no choice to make: the full screen version is absolutely dreadful.

[Excerpt]

Harry Potter: Widescreen or Fullscreen?

Which is better: the "widescreen" or "fullscreen" DVD edition of the Harry Potter movies?

Although seperate widescreen and "fullscreen" versions of the first movie were released in all major markets around the world (although, as I recall, Australians only had the fullscreen edition), I find it intriguing and interesting that North America (DVD Region 1) is the only market for which Warner Home Video have released full screen versions of the further movies. I assume that poor sales of the full screen version in other markets caused them not to bother, whilst Americans seemed to prefer the full screen version. . .

Read more at: plum.cream.org








Top 100 Weirdest Stories of 2009


Image from source, Asylum

Well, unless something really weird happens in the next couple of days, that is. . .

[Excerpt]

The 100 Weirdest News Stories We Dugg in 2009


The Chawners, a married English couple and their two adult daughters, haven't been able to work in 12 years. The reason? They're too fat. Weighing in at between 240 and 340 pounds, the Chawners claim they're too heavy to find work and that the 36, 000 dollars they get a year in government assistance isn't enough to, ahem, "put food on the table. . ."

See the rest at: Asylum

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blue Screen of Death NOT Vanquished in Windows 7


Image from Photobuok
Sigh. I like Windows 7, I really do. It's pretty. It's sleek. It's faster than earlier versions of Windows. And I'm a Mac-o-Phobe, so I have plenty of motivation for playing up Microsoft's newest operating system. But moments ago, I was stopped in my tracks by the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. While doing. . .well, basically nothing that ought to cause such a thing.

The Blue Screen of Death (BSoD), for the uninitiated, is a fatal error on a Windows computer. The screen turns blue, with white or light blue text on it (a less common varient is the Black Screen of Death). The text is meaningless--like it is on any Windows error box--to anyone but someone who speaks machine language, or your mythical, all-knowing "system administrator." Unlike other errors, however, there is no coming back from a BSoD. Whatever you were working on is goneski. You might easily be able to reboot your machine, or you might have to physically unplug the thing. On rare occasions, even your friendly neighborhood computer guru (like me) can't help you, and you're either off to the Geek Squad, or to buy a new computer.

This morning, on my laptop computer (an admittedly entry-level machine), I had open AOL 9.5, Internet Explorer 8 and Spider Solitaire. Unable to endure the Sunday morning chat-fests with undivided attention, I was mid-move in the solitaire game, actually hitting the "M" key to get a hint on my next move, when DINK! Blue Screen of Death. Instantly, no segue, no warning. Now, the computer did almost immediately restart, Windows loaded quickly, and I was informed that I'd recovered from an error, and that the computer would report the problem to Microsoft. A little creepy, but all right.

But isn't this BSoD issue supposed to be vanquished? Couldn't Microsoft have at least changed the colors or appearance of it, just out of shame? Go ahead and laugh, Cult of Mac. Sometimes we deserve it. Just remember, your "perfect" system has its issues too. . .


Post-Holiday Cheer: Outtakes from Year Without a Santa Claus

This is hilarious. Off-color, slightly twisted, but hilarious.



Found at: AmericaBlog

Little Tea Party on the Prairie: The Earliest Tea Baggers


Watching the political shows this morning, I got irritated at the "year in review" chatter when it got to the tea baggers. The "tea party" movement is treated like a legitimate, grass roots force--when it isn't really either--with a valid, righteous anger. The truth is, the corporations and the prominent conservative politicians co-opted the movement early, stealing any sense of legitimacy it may have had. Worse, the anger felt by these assembled morons "partiers" is so diffused, so frickin' all-over-the-place, it is difficult to call it legitimate. Doesn't it seem to you that they're angry about something, but not quite putting their finger on it?

They claim it is about taxes--though their taxes have yet to go up. They claim it is about communism, Marxism, socialism, any -ism, though most of them would be hard pressed to give you distinct definitions for each. They claim that the Constitution is threatened by the current administration, though they showed no distress over Bush/Cheney using it as toilet paper. Yes, there is something that brings out all this anger. What, oh what could it be? I think this nearly 40-year-old clip from Mel Brooks' classic Blazing Saddles accurately depicts exactly what has the tea baggers so bound up. Some, like Janeane Garofalo agree with me. Your mileage may vary.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Up Early on Boxing Day, Computer Rant


So, I woke up early this morning and couldn't sleep any more. So I got up, and tippy-toed off to the kitchen/family room, trying not to wake The Other Half. Got the coffee cooking, peeled some potatoes to partially boil (feeling like hashed browns this morning), and opened up the laptop computer to see what's going on in the world. And I was confronted with a couple of things from my pet peeves list, from my little Dell Inspiron 1525.


Now, I've been using Windows 7 for a while now, and for the most part I love it. It looks significantly "grown up" from its more cartoonish-looking predecessors, it's sleek and clean and works pretty well. That doesn't mean I can't crash it if I try, but it doesn't do that with any frequency. I've been dubbed a "computer guru" for my self-taught progression from Windows 3.0 to the current version, a title I only partially agree with. I'm often a bumbler, and sometimes just get lucky stumbling upon solutions to computer woes.

There are a few things about Windows computers that have never worked particularly well, like networking and printing controls. Or rather, they often don't work well for me. If you've sent a document to the printer and want to cancel it, you're often SOL, and if a computer on your network can't "see" any of the others, it can be a brain-squasher figuring out the problem. If Windows 7 has made the networking a bit easier (if no more understandable), there hasn't been any change to printing controls. But these weren't my problems this morning.

My first problem is just the time and clunkiness involved in "waking up" a computer from sleep or hibernation mode. Windows 7 does a great job waking up from "off" (compared to earlier versions), but from a suspended state, there is much whirring and clicking--and waiting. At least I've figured out how to wake up my laptop. If I unwittingly press the "moon" button on a desktop, and it goes to sleep, I haven't the barest clue how to "wake it up," as there seems to be no button for that. I suppose I should look it up.

The second problem is with virus-checking software. I use McAfee because it's free with my Cox Cable. But every single time I turn on my laptop, the McAfee program insists I have a problem, and that it can "fix" it with a click of a button. But "fix" does nothing but start a scan, and the scan will not finish. And next time I pop open the laptop, same thing. Grrr.

The third problem is an intermittent one with the text cursor. Often, when typing for the blog or in Facebook (or anywhere), my text cursor will hop up to a different location. If I'm not looking at the screen, I may type several words right in the middle of something I typed earlier. Inordinately frustrating, and worse when you try to find a solution. The Googles are great for finding solutions to problems, but there is more frustration to be had there as well.

It will never cease to amaze me, when I go to message boards for computer issues, how many people will try to help solve a problem when they've obviously never experienced the problem themselves. How can I tell? Because they'll start off with, "Well, have you tried?. . ." or "What exactly were you doing when. . ." or "What version of Windows/processor/browser/etc. are you using?. . ." or "Well maybe you accidentally. . ." Each of these lead-ins tells me, they're fishing. If they knew the answer, they'd say: "Do this:" And when you run into one of these kinds of answers, it is like a eureka moment. My cursor problem isn't me. It is either my hardware, or it is my software, or it is a combination. But I'm not the only one it has happened to. So, why isn't there a computer problems database out there somewhere that just has answers?

ps. Yes, yes, get a Mac some will say. They have no problems whatsoever, are perfect in every way, and will even boil your potatoes for you. Sure, sure.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Greenlee Gazette!


I honestly don't know how much I'll be posting this weekend, due to the holiday. Experience teaches me that almost all of the blogs--and much of the news--goes practically dark this time of year. So, scouring for interesting articles and features is doubly hard. And shoot, I'm on vacation! So, I'll pop in and out occasionally these next few days. . .but not very much.

In the meantime, have a great holiday (whatever it may be, unless yours is already over, in which case, enjoy your Chinese food!). It's time to open presents, so I. Am. Outta here!

ps. Yes, Virginia, the picture is Photo-Shopped! (Click to embiggen)

And for the curious, here is a link to the original shot: AwkwardFamilyPhotos

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Cheer: Merry F*#@ Christmas! (South Park)

I'm sure you know somebody who tries to enforce what religion you are, and what holidays you practice. So adamant they are in their way, they will denigrate anyone else with a different view. That's what makes this South Park clip, with Mr. Garrison spreading the "Christmas cheer" by being as awful as possible.

Senate Passes Health Care Reform


Image from source, MSNBC


Good thing? Bad thing? Too soon to tell. What the decision will lead to is a steaming batch of family arguments between warring political factions. Feliz Navidad!

[Excerpt]

Senate passes historic health care bill

Senate Democrats passed a landmark health care bill in a climactic Christmas Eve vote that could define President Barack Obama's legacy and usher in near-universal medical coverage for the first time in the country's history. . .

Read more (with video) at: MSNBC

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Death Panels" Stage a Comeback


Image from source, Think Progress

Even though the Sarah Palin-created "Death Panel" talking point has been named "lie of the year," the GOP is resurrecting it, in a last ditch effort to derail health care reform. Sigh.

[Excerpt]

In Last-Ditch Effort To Derail Reform, Right Wing Calls Medicare Commission A ‘Death Panel’

Last Friday, Politifact declared that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s infamous claim that health care reform legislation included a “death panel” for “the sick, the elderly, and the disabled” is the “lie of the year.” Palin’s claim was widely interpreted to be about voluntary end-of-life counseling provisions in a version of the House’s health care bill that were not included in the Senate legislation because of the uproar caused by Palin’s lie. . .

Read more at: Think Progress


Holiday Cheer: Santa Cat in Boots

This little bit of holiday frivolity from my little sis. Thanks, Jen!

Al Franken's Anti-Rape Amendment Signed Into Law


Image from source, Think Progress

I don't give a rip what conservatives think of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). He's awesome. Hands down, no arguments and no apologies.

[Excerpt]

Obama signs Franken’s anti-rape amendment into law.

. . . H.R. 3326, the “Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010,” which provides FY 2010 appropriations for Department of Defense (DOD) military programs including funding for Overseas Contingency Operations, and extends various expiring authorities and other non-defense FY 2010 appropriations. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top 10 FOX "News" FAILS of 2009

I couldn't resist. . .

[Excerpt]

Top 10 Fox News Fails of 2009



Most of us know that Fox news is to news as MTV is to music. Since the 2003 court ruling giving the channel the right to lie on TV, they realized they didn’t have to be a credible news source as long as they are entertaining. And they do not disappoint (in being entertaining). The problem is what most of us find entertaining is the train wreck they call "reporters" and "news". . .

Read more at: Ranker

Sarah Palin Chosen for "Lie of the Year": Death Panels


Image from PunditKitchen

I'm really hoping this woman becomes a Trivial Pursuit question--and nothing more--very, very soon. As much as I love poking fun at her many and varied foibles, I think I've just about had enough. I mean, this story is sort of her capper: she made up a lie out of whole cloth, and it became a juggernaut of "truthiness." Conservatives think we're afraid of Palin because she's so good. No, it's because she's so bad.

[Excerpt]

PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: 'Death panels'

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

"Death panels."

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn't made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page. . .


Read more at: Politifact

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Cheer: Tingles the Christmas Tension

Thanks to my little sis for sending along this demented little piece of holiday humor!

Glenn Beck "Wins" Media Matters' Misinformer of the Year

My goodness, how in the world could they choose? Given the stunning amount of misinformation in politics and in the media, there were so many misinformers to choose from, John Boehner, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity (last year's winner), Michelle Bachmann, and soooo many more. But I certainly won't quibble with Media Matters' choice of Glenn Beck.

[Excerpt]

Glenn Beck: Media Matters' 2009 Misinformer of the Year



Glenn Beck's well of ridiculous was deep and poisonous before he launched his Fox News show, but the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States -- and the permissive cheerleading of his Fox News honchos -- uncorked the former Morning Zoo shock jock's unique brand of vitriol, stage theatrics, and hyperbolic fright, making him an easy choice for Media Matters' 2009 Misinformer of the Year. . .

Read more at: Media Matters

Holiday Cheer: Eric Cartman Sings O Holy Night

I cannot hear O Holy Night by anybody anymore without thinking of Eric Cartman of South Park. Good thing? Bad thing? I don't know, but there you go. . .

Holiday Cheer: Funniest Christmas Decorations of All Time


Image from source, Huffington Post

Given my built-in hedonistic and darkly humored ways, I'm surprised I've never gone the humor route with Christmas decorations. The closest I've come is with Star Trek and South Park decorations on the tree. I've pretty much kept the Christmas humor to my choice in holiday music. Maybe next year. . .

[Excerpt]

The Funniest Christmas Decorations Of All Time

'Tis the season to be jolly...and annoyed by your family...and resentful to those people at the mall who look happy. Let's face it, we can all use a laugh this time of year and these folks have supplied them for us. WE WANT YOUR PICS TOO! If you have a funny Christmas photo send it our way or upload it below. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post


FReepers Flip Out Over Health Care Reform


Image from InterShame

Given all of the tea bagging madness we've endured this year, it is no surprise that the denizens of one of the internet's most whack-job conservative outpost, FreeRepublic.com, are flipping out. To just pick one crazy post is a difficult task, but I think this one shows their craziness the best:

If you have not yet prepared yourself with:
a weapon;
ammunition;
food;
water;
hard currency;
something to carry these in;
outdoor clothes and boots/shoes . . .

then you are a complacent FOOL. Civil strife is coming; probably civil war. If you live in a city, it is coming there first. If you are a member of the military or police, remember your oaths, and gaze upon the rape of our Constitution and our freedoms. You will soon be forced to decide if your oath reflects who and what you are - or was just noise.

Posted on Sunday, December 20, 2009 10:51:31 PM by Psalm 144 (What did you think NEW WORLD ORDER meant? The Constitution? States' rights? Individual liberty?)

For more (if you can stand it), go to: FreeRepublic


Holiday Cheer Torture: Jack Bauer Interrogates Santa Claus

This has been around a little while, but I hadn't posted it yet (sorry, 'been busy!). This edit of an episode of 24 is really well done, and St. Nick is played very well. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Cheer: Naughty Christmas Songs #1


These Christmas songs are a little further around the bend than I'm willing to post on the front page. Some are naughty, some are gross, some are both.

So here's how it works. If you are 1) easily offended, 2) a hard core Conservative (thus lacking a sense of humor), or 3) a "humorless, stick up the butt Liberal" ( The Stephanie Miller Show), do not click the link after the word "Continued." If you're like me, and you enjoy the bawdy, irreverent and brash, by all means, click through!

F*** Me, This Christmas (It's not what you're thinking) by The Wet Spots

Continued






Holiday Cheer: Naughty Christmas Songs #2


These Christmas songs are a little further around the bend than I'm willing to post on the front page. Some are naughty, some are gross, some are both.

So here's how it works. If you are 1) easily offended, 2) a hard core Conservative (thus lacking a sense of humor), or 3) a "humorless, stick up the butt Liberal" ( The Stephanie Miller Show), do not click the link after the word "Continued." If you're like me, and you enjoy the bawdy, irreverent and brash, by all means, click through!

Santa's Baby by Jackie Beat

Continued






79.9% Interest Credit Card? Sign Me Up!


Image from source, National Ledger

Holy crap. 79.9% interest? Are you frackin' kidding me? I remember not so long ago when Democrats in Congress were trying to pass a 30% interest cap on credit cards, and Republicans--as they are wont to do--voted, "no!" But could even the "f**k the poor" GOP have forseen 79.9% interest? I guess my 12.9% Discover card isn't so bad after all.

[Excerpt]

Credit card's newest trick: 79.9 percent interest

It's no mistake. This credit card's interest rate is 79.9 percent.

The bloated APR is how First Premier Bank, a subprime credit card issuer, is skirting new regulations intended to curb abusive practices in the industry. It's a strategy other subprime card issuers could start adopting to get around the new rules. . .


Read more at: National Ledger

Saturday, December 19, 2009

RuPaul: Going Vogue!


I don't watch RuPaul's Drag Race (though The Other Half occasionally indulges), but I love the graphic for the new season. Can a Julie Brown Going Vague parody be far behind?


Source: Passport Magazine

Lieberman the Sock Puppet (MoveOn Ad)

It's funny 'cause it's true.

What Happens in Vegas: Famous Sign Vandalized



Image from source, Examiner

As a sign maker in Las Vegas, I can be proud that little bits of my creativity are all over town. But that swell of pride comes with a tinge of regret: almost all of that signage is temporary. They may stay in place for months, or even years. But re-theming, revamping--and hey, imploding--will happen eventually, and my work will be lost. Rarely, however, a sign will become so famous, that changing it or removing it would practically be a sacrilege.

That is definitely the case with the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. For older locals, the sign is often thought of as a nuisance. It causes traffic headaches (though not as much now that they've modified the area it sits on), and people of the same vintage as the sign think it's ugly. I don't feel that way, but I like the rat-packy design era. The guy in the story below probably didn't hate the sign as much as what it represents though.

Las Vegas is in the midst of darned near a depression. Sure, most of the country is too, but we are consistently at the top of that un-fabulous heap. Parts of town are more fabulous, like the recently opened City Center. Others show signs of real problems, not the least of which the derelict, unfinished remains of Echelon Place. Unemployment is at 13%, and that does not include the under-employed, like me, working on reduced schedules. So while I cannot agree with this man's actions, I do understand the impulse.

[Excerpt]

Iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas " sign vandalized by paint slinger

The famous sign that welcomes drivers to Vegas on the south end of the strip was vandalized today. Vegas police indicated that 69 -year old Joseph Pepitone sloshed red and black paint on one of the world's most famous signs today, leaving at least three quite visible paint streaks . The apparently miserable Mr Pepitone was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention center on a charge of injuring or damaging the property of another. The sign slosher apparently had no previous criminal record. . .

Read more at: Examiner


What Happens in Vegas: Atheist Billboards Installed, Removed



Image from source, Las Vegas City Life

Thanks to Stupid Monkey Planet for the tip for this story. I'm sort of caught in the middle in modes of thought on this issue. An atheist group decided to erect several billboards proclaiming their beliefs--or rather, lack of beliefs. This shouldn't be a problem in a fair and hypocrisy-free world. But we don't live there.

In my own family, there has been a mini version of this battle. My brother, sister and I are all fairly firmly in the "unbeliever" camp. My sister and I will occasionally foray into confrontation mode, just little stuff. I for instance have a Flying Spaghetti Monster emblem on my Jeep. You know, subtle. My brother goes the balls-out route, loudly declaring his atheism via his license tags, bumper stickers and the like. This outraged our mother, and I'm stuck between, both believing my brother has every right to do this, and that my Mom could be understandably embarrassed by it.

So what is the difference between proclaiming your atheism and others (many, many others) with Jesus fish, "Praise God" and "Jesus is Lord" bumper stickers? There is no difference in our imaginary world. But in the real one, the pro-religious messages are essentially the default. The pro-atheism ones are controversial, confrontational and apparently not very billboard worthy. Still, as a gay man, I understand the urge to stand up and shout, "I'm here!" See, straight is the default too, and anything else--anything--is controversial, confrontational and definitely not billboard worthy.

The irony of course, is that this is Las Vegas. Sin City. Racy billboards are the standard, not the exception. Religion exists here, and ironically owns part of the sin. The religious right was capable of prohibiting same-sex marriage here, by loudly proclaiming the "sanctity of marriage." In a town with drive-thru wedding chapels, quickie weddings, and quickie divorces. My imaginary world makes a lot more sense.

[Excerpt]

A sign from above
ClearChannel exorcises a billboard message that tried to bring some reason to the season

Rich Hermsen is a skeptic, not a Scrooge, so he didn't set out to spoil anybody's Christmas.

In October, the 81-year-old engineering professor agreed to pick up the tab for the Freedom From Religion Foundation's billboard campaign dedicated to promoting atheism. He and the foundation hoped to extend an existing billboard-advertising contract with ClearChannel Outdoor into November. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas City Life




Friday, December 18, 2009

The Year in Crazy


Image from source, Salon

The problem with naming the craziest person of 2009, is that there are so many people to choose from. They just keep coming out of the woodwork.

[Excerpt]

Crazy of the Year!

2009 will be remembered as the year that one man's craziness gripped America with fear

The staff and readers of Salon had a big debate over choosing Glenn Beck our "Crazy Person of the Year." As we stated in the introduction to "The Year in Crazy," we disqualified certain media stars -- Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly -- and some GOP leaders -- Sarah Palin and Liz Cheney -- whose crazy behavior was purely opportunistic. We rejected prominent people who had a crazy belief or two -- Whoopi Goldberg casting doubt on the moon landing -- but didn't seem driven by crazy. . .

Read more at: Salon


Thom Hartmann: President Must Come Clean on Back Room Deals

Thom Hartmann is one of my favorite voices on the left. Here he has some harsh words for President Obama. He's only the latest outspoken liberal to do so. They're calling it a "circular firing squad," but I'm hoping it has the effect of letting Obama be Obama, much as the fictional world of The West Wing had to do for President Bartlett. I'm hoping that we look back over Obama's tenure in the future, and say "he was a little slow to get going, but once he did, he was a great President." It isn't too late, but right now, Obama is losing the support of the very people who worked so hard to get him elected. That can't be good.

Holiday Cheer Horror!: Dick Cheney Shot Santa in the Face!


Ho, ho, ho! Go f**k yourself!

[Excerpt]

Christmas Is Canceled: Dick Cheney Shoots Santa In The Face

On Thursday December 17, 2009, Richard Cheney, of McLean, VA was placed under arrest at the Halliburton Hunting Area after being observed discharging a rifle directly at another individual, victim Kris Kringle (aka Santa Claus). The perp claims he was hunting for caged quail. These actions on behalf of Cheney served no legitimate purpose and caused harm to an unarmed citizen.

On the above time and date, I was on uniformed duty in an unmarked police cruiser assigned to the Administration Section, working from 7:00-3:00 AM. I overheard a broadcast for a possible shooting and due to my proximity, responded. . .

Read more at: AirAmerica



What Happens in Vegas: CSI Worthy Gruesome Murder Case



Image from source, Las Vegas Sun

I've been a semi-regular viewer of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation since the first episode. But one thing that has always bothered me (outside of the out-of-whack Las Vegas geography on the show), is the gruesome deaths. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big horror movie fan too, so I'm not bothered by the gore and violence. It's just that if we had a twisted murder (or two or three) a week like they do on the show, we'd have the most interesting local news reports in the nation!

Then again, we do get some weird cases. We had a body builder who murdered a lady and burned her in her car. We had a guy who almost did himself in making the poison, ricin. We've had uncounted "Vegas connections," where the criminal has had some sort of tie to the area. And then there's this nasty story.

[Excerpt]

Judge sets bail at $2.26 million in ‘very gruesome’ death

. . .Michael Victor Lane, 37, appeared today in front of Justice of the Peace Nancy Oesterle, who set the bail and a preliminary hearing date of Jan. 11.

He is accused in the death of Ginger Candela, 44. Candela’s body was found by missing persons detectives Nov. 30 in the garage of her home in the 3100 block of Westfield Street. Her body was cut in half and stuffed into a trash can filled with bleach, according to a police report. Police said they believe she died about two weeks before she was found. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Sun

Holiday Cheer: SNL's "Schweddy Balls"

Alec Baldwin, Molly Shannon and Ana Gastyer's holiday classic never fails to amuse.

Wal-Mart Gouging on Shipping to Military


Image from PeopleOfWalMart.com

Remember when Wal-Mart was as American as apple pie? Back when much of what they sold was "made in America?" Yeah, I know, it's been a while. But they're still a red state favorite. I'm not sure this development is going to sit well with their "base."

[Excerpt]

Some retailers inflate costs to ship to APO addresses

Overseas military customers ordering gifts online from certain retailers might get an unpleasant surprise when shipping and handling fees are tacked on at the end of the purchase.
Those same customers might be most surprised to find that retail giant Walmart had the biggest markup.

On a $120 purchase, Walmart.com charged $10.35 to ship to an APO address, compared with $2.10 to a stateside address. For most items, Amazon.com charged the same to ship to an APO address as a stateside address. And Target offered shipping on a $120 purchase to an APO address for less than to a stateside address. . .

Read more at: Stars and Stripes

Hat tip to Stupid Monkey Planet for the link.

Senator Al Franken Shuts Down Joe Lieberman on Senate Floor

Hee hee hee!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stuck on Crazy: Prayer for Health Care Reform

Yes, Rachel Maddow again. But for a non-religious person, I found this just jaw dropping. Maybe not all religion is crazy, but this sure looks crazy to me, and Sam Brownback and Jim DeMint are right in there with the nutty evangelists. Frightening. Really.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Holiday Cheer: The XXX-Mas Shoes (Song Parody)

Another one from the vaults. . .

But first, the video for the dreadful The Christmas Shoes, so that you get a real flavor for how bad it really is. . .




ORIGINAL POST:

Please enjoy this rerun of The XXX-Mas Shoes, a parody--and a decidedly off-color one--of the awful The Christmas Shoes by NewSong.

Original Post:




In my earlier post, Anatomy of the Christmas Shoes, I mentioned that the song was ripe for parody. Friend and contributor, Stupid Monkey Planet took me up on the challenge, and wrote a new song, using the cadence of the original.

That is where the similarities end, however! The Monkey has a dirty mind, you see, and he envisions the song a little differently than NewSong. Oh, it's still a Christmas tune, but with a decidedly adult take on things.

For this post, I'm instituting a new feature that allows me to put part of a post "below the fold." So, if you're not easily offended, and you hate "The Christmas Shoes" as much as we do, by all means read more. You've been warned. . .

Continued


“The XXXMas Shoes”
© Copyright 2007 Stupid Monkey Planet
(real name on file at Greenlee Gazette)

It was almost breakfast time
I stared into my glass of wine
Already had a drink or two
Which really gets me in the mood
Sitting down right next to me
A dirty woman I'd rate a three
What else was I gonna do
So, I asked her where'd ya get those shoes?


She was kinda worn & old
"A whore" is what I've been told
Oh what the hell, it’s Christmas Day
I leaned towards her just to say


[Chorus]
How much to wear your shoes?
For a Christmas tease
They are darling & I really like them used
And one more thing, please
May I also wear your hose?
For starters, run them under my nose
Slide them all the way up to my knees
Let us go somewhere so that no one sees
How much for all of this tonite?


I counted pennies for what seemed liked years
I said, "I sure hope that there is enough here."
She counts the pennies frantically
She turns & is smiling at me
She says, "Let's you & me head down to my house."
It was at 3rd & Holy Cross
I tell ya what I couldn't wait to do
Was put on her hose & dirty, dirty shoes


[Bridge]
She pulled the hose up & down
Tightened the strappys around
I will never forget the look on her face
Seeing me all dressed up in used lace

[Chorus]
How much to wear your shoes?
For a Christmas tease.
They are darling & I really like them used
And one more thing, please
May I also wear your hose?
For starters, run them under my nose
Slide them all the way up to my knees
Let us go somewhere so that no one sees
How much for all of this tonite?

I knew I'd caught a glimpse of heaven's love
These shoes fit me like a glove
I knew that God had sent that dirty girl
To remind me, that ten more, gets me 'round the world.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wonkette's Top 100 Moments of the Decade


Image from source, Wonkette

Hey, any excuse to show the Santorum family meltdown picture. I almost used this as my Christmas card. . .

[Excerpt]

Decade of Feces: Top 100 Moments of the 2000s

Whoa hey is it almost the 2010s? And here I am still writing “Fuck the Pope” on my checks. Well, let’s start the first of a Very Long Series of special “year ender” journamalism features of the kind you could once find in your “local newspaper” this time of year, back when there were newspapers. . .

Read more at: Wonkette


What Does Hooters Have to Do With Health Care Reform?


Image from source, Think Progress

Because it's kinda funny. . .

[Excerpt]

Chamber of Commerce using Hooters gift certificates to fight health care reform.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce — one of the Obama administration’s staunchest opponents — is using “incentivized” web ads to get people involved in their campaign to fight health care reform. The incentive? A $150 gift card for Hooters. TPM Muckraker reports that pop-up ads offer readers the gift cards in exchange for completing surveys, one of which is sponsored by the Chamber and urges people to sign up for free emails about “how to protect your family’s future and bring common sense solutions to the health-care debate”. . .

Read more at: Think Progress


Olbermann's Special Comment On "Unsupportable" Health Care Reform Bill

This should (but won't) end the "MSNBC is 'in the tank' for Obama" meme by "FOX Fans." President Obama's actions and inactions on the health care reform bill (among other things) isn't just torquing off "far left" liberals and progressives, it's losing him The Rachel Maddow Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Here is Olbermann's Special Comment outlining his extreme displeasure with the health care reform bill as it currently exists in the Senate. It also has harsh words for the President himself. Now, I know that FOX "News" luminaries like Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly will claim that they spoke out against President George W. Bush, they never did anything like this. Mr. Obama, it is really, really time for an Aaron Sorkin moment.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Why Liberals Are Turning on Obama

In my last post, I shared my idea of how to resurrect the yes we can Barack Obama from the current, will conservatives like me if I concede everything to them? Obama. The won't, by the way. But if you want a more in depth dissection of just what has the liberals so irked, here's a great article for you.

[Excerpt]

Liberals: Why didn't Obama fight?



More than anything else in
Barack Obama’s presidency so far, health reform has exposed a get-a-deal-at-any-cost side of Obama that infuriates his party’s progressives.

And as Democrats tried to salvage health reform Tuesday, some liberals could barely hide their sense of betrayal that the White House and congressional
Democrats have been willing to cut deals and water down what they consider the ideal vision of reform. . .

Read more at: Politico

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