Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones of the Monkees, Dead at 66

Hey, hey, it's the Monkees. Image from source, NYTimes
The Monkees debuted the year I was born, along with a strange number of initially short-lived, but iconic shows (Batman, Star Trek, The Munsters and The Addams Family are among them). I may be the first generation of "rerun babies." Sure, there were reruns before, but we got more of them. And my generation was responsible for the cult status of the shows above, and many others. With our early cable TV (channels 2-13, woo-hoo!), we became aficionados. So, I'm not sure if I was first familiar with Davy Jones from The Monkees, or if it was his appearance on The Brady Bunch as Marcia's crush.

But Davy did make an impression on me. Even as a pre-teen, I could tell he was the cute one. And even though I was more drawn to the sarcastic (and as it turns out, very talented) Mike Nesmith, Davy had something special.

I listen to KTLK-AM out of Las Angeles on my computer, and they've been playing a commercial for a touring concert series. In the mix is Sha Na Na, Chubby Checker and Davy Jones. I've been hearing the spot for weeks, and in fact heard it minutes before the death was announced. They'd already removed him an hour or so later. Acts like Davy's seem to appear every month here in Las Vegas. But rarely to the big names disappear. RIP, Davy.

[Excerpt]

Davy Jones, Monkees Singer, Dies at 66 

Davy Jones, a singer and, by long-held public consensus, the handsomest and most popular of the Monkees, the collectively young, longhaired, wildly famous and preternaturally buoyant pop group of the 1960s and afterward, died on Wednesday in Indiantown, Fla. He was 66. . .

Read more at: New York Times


Daily Show's Samantha Bee Mocks Grover Norquist

I love Sam Bee (and her chubby hubby, Jason Jones). And I'm flat-out amazed that someone as allegedly "important" as Grover Norquist would sit for an interview with her. But Sam takes her usual mockery to a whole 'nother level! Grover really is just a nerdy middle schooler who never grew up, and is stuck on his one "big idea." I don't usually post two things from the same source in a row, but this is too good not to share.


Jon Stewart on the FOX "News"/RNC Connection

Mitt Romney: "We didn't win by a lot, but we won by enough"

Worst victory quote EVER! All of the remaining GOP candidates (and, frankly, the departed ones) are so horrible, I really don't care at this point. But Mitt Romney won Michigan and Arizona. Whoop-de-do. Wake me when Newt Gingrich's billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, stops giving him money, and this gets down to a two-man race, with crazy Ron Paul on the fringe.


Stars to Watch: Lana Parrilla (Updated)

Wallpaper image from ABC.com (click to embiggen)
UPDATE (02/28/12):

I just thought I'd revisit this little nugget from May 2010. I'm not always right, but I was on this one. My favorite Swingtown star has become a sensation on ABC's Once Upon a Time in the dual role of Regina Mills and of course, the Evil Queen! I'll confess to liking OUaT quite a bit, even though I really only tuned in to see Lana Parrilla. Having only seen her in sweet (yet slinky) roles, I had no idea she could chew the scenery quite so well playing wicked!

ORIGINAL POST (05/29/10):


I'm feeling a little of the pop-culture vibe as I write this. I just watched last night's Miami Medical, the cancelled CBS medical drama.  It took a couple of episodes for me to notice that Lana Parrilla was one of the stars, since her character was so far away from the one I knew her from, that of Trina Decker on Swingtown.

Image (Molly Parker, Miriam Shor, Lana Parrilla) from GrooveEFortune
Swingtown was a drama on CBS last summer, an unusual piece of 70s pastiche with a dollop of taboo sexuality.  Parrilla was not the name "star" of the show, but there is no doubt that she was the most memorable part of it. I say this as a person of the gay persuasion who had much to be fond of with Grant Show, Jack Davenport, Michael Rady, Mark Valley and Josh Hopkins. But Parrilla was really something special.  The cast of Swingtown was extraordinary, and the way they captured middle America 1976 was only equalled by--possibly--the movie Dazed and Confused.  It's a crying shame that the show didn't get a second season pickup.  The cast has scattered to the winds (though only a couple have landed in hit shows), and will likely never be captured in quite that way again.

And it would seem that Parrilla is a little cursed when it comes to landing in a program with staying power. But she will, I'm fairly certain. She's awesome. She's beautiful, sexy, vulnerable and utterly believable.  Here's hoping that she lands on her feet in a new or established show that really puts her on the map. But I'm still hoping to see Trina Decker again, in some form, somewhere.  If they could put the Deckers into a spinoff with straight laced Janet (Miriam Shor), I'd be really excited.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

President Obama's Barnburner Speech on Auto Industry

This is what I like to hear from President Obama. The man gives a hella good speech!


The Kissing Marines Speak! (Video)

Image from Miami Herald
Surely, by now you've seen the photo of the kissing Marines, one of them returning from Afghanistan, to his boyfriend in Hawaii. There are some notable things about the picture: 1) the returning Marine was climbing his boyfriend (who is very tall); 2) to gays, the photo is romantic and/or hot; 3) to some straights, the photo is icky, gross, yucky, sick, revolting, disgusting, and the two men are going to hell; and 4) if it were a photo of a straight couple, we'd never have seen or heard of it.

The reality is, while the photo is destined to become iconic, it would hardly be newsworthy if it weren't two men, right after the lifting of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." And, while there are some frothing at the mouth homophobes declaring it to the most vile image ever lensed, and a sign of the end times, I think they're going a bit overboard, don't you? "It's a violation, he's in uniform!" they declare, ignoring the fact that the rule is regularly waived for returning troops.  "God says. . ." NO, stop right there. Your religion does not rule the land.

Anyway, this photo did get some nasty--and shouldn't that be telling?--comments, but also a huge amount of gushing praise. I'd say on the whole, it will be remembered along with the abolition of DOMA, of this moment in history. And the two men--who say they had no idea this would take off this way--seem like great guys. Haters are going to hate, but they're not the ones who will be remembered here.


Santorum Campaign Robocall Urges Michigan Democrats to Vote for Him

Boy, Frothy's starting to look smug! Image from source.
You could say that Rick (don't Google me) Santorum's campaign isn't actually playing dirty, since Michigan has an open primary. Democrats are permitted to vote. But how sneaky is it to imply that Santorum's views on auto bailouts are somehow different from Mitt Romney's?

[Excerpt]


Santorum Robocall Asks Michigan Dems To Vote For Him 

Rick Santorum’s campaign is locked in a tight battle with Mitt Romney ahead of Tuesday’s Michigan primary. On Monday his camp started openly courting a demographic that’s not often reached out to in GOP primaries: Democrats. . .

Read more at: TPM Muckraker

Monday, February 27, 2012

Warren Buffet: Corporate Taxes Not Strangling American Competitiveness




















So, there you are. Found at: AmericaBlog.com

Jimmy Kimmel Live Presents MOVIE: The Movie!

Made of awesome.

Rick Santorum: Country With Firm Church-State Separation, Vomit-worthy

Note: This picture of Rick Santorum is composed of stills
from gay porn. Don't click it unless you're into that sort
of thing! Image found at UnicornBooty.
I've seen a few of the dimmer right-wing bloggers say things like, "You can tell the left is scared of [Candidate X]! Look how much they're talking about him, all of the sudden!" But it isn't fear. It's the bizarre "candidate of the moment" nature of this season's GOP presidential contest. Rick (don't Google me) Santorum is only the most recent recipient of the "Not Romney" love. He's only been the guy for a few weeks.

So, it's only natural that Santorum's froth has risen to the top on left-leaning blogs like this one. He's got the spotlight on him, and when he does. . .well, he shows who he really is. Hence, I've got a number of Santorum posts. I know it's distasteful, but what can I do? Anyway, this particular post is necessary, not just because of its newsworthiness. It's important because there is a distinction that needs to be made loud and clear:


This country was founded upon the principal of the separation of church and state.

Yes, religious people can be active in politics. Yes, they can become elected officials. What they cannot do, is legislate their religious beliefs into law. They cannot make their constituents--who are comprised of people of many faiths, or no faith--adhere to laws that are based on any religion. This is the way it is supposed to work. It doesn't always. There are--for example--no good reasons for the rabid opposition to same sex marriage that are not religion-based. "Blue" laws are almost universally religion-based, and those date back centuries in some cases. Here in Las Vegas, we even have Mormon-based laws about when you can sell new cars, no joke. And of course, "In God We Trust" is on the money. Most non-God believers don't make much of a fuss over that one, but it is obvious that it shouldn't be there (and it makes as much sense to me as, "In Wookies We Trust.").

But religion isn't supposed to affect law. And Rick Santorum obviously would like it to be otherwise.

[Excerpt]


Santorum: Separation Of Church And State 'Makes Me Want To Throw Up' 



. . ."I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state are absolute," he told 'This Week' host George Stephanopoulos. "The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country...to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.". . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rick Santorum Lied on Meet the Press

Politicians lie, yeah, I get it. It's true of--really--all of them. The ones we like, and the ones we don't. For instance, for political expediency, President Obama pretends to be "evolving" on the issue of same-sex marriage, even though most of us suspect he's either indifferent, or is actually for it.  That's the political expedience lie, and they literally all do it. We shrug our shoulders.

But, when they lie about obvious things; things we just flat-out know are brazen lies? It's pretty irritating, even though they may all do that too. It's even more irritating when hosts of news programs just let the lies fly. "We're going to have to leave it there," is such a cliche, but that's usually where Wolf Blitzer, John King, George Stephanopoulos and Chris Wallace leave it.
[Story continues below]



David Gregory may be most guilty of all. With his insipid "Trends and Takeaways" segment on NBC's Meet the Press, Gregory is all about the surface of things, and the horse race. He loves polls and percentages, and indulges in the occasional "gotcha" question. But he rarely asks followup questions of any weight. Until Sunday. Rick Santorum tried to put the news cycle onto his campaign's talking points, but Gregory wasn't having it. For what I hope is the first step in a trend, I commend Gregory for his tenacity. Oh, and Santorum (don't Google me!) is a weasel.

[Excerpt]

Rick Santorum Tells Two Whoppers

Rick Santorum tried yet again to pretend on Meet the Press today that he doesn't talk about social issues, and in response he got a swift dressing down from moderator David Gregory. But that didn't stop Santorum from telling an even bigger whopper, claiming no proof exists that he wants to impose his own values on other Americans. . .

Read more at: The Advocate

Blast from the Past: Oscar's Best Pictures of My Lifetime

Nearly every year, I watch the Academy Awards, and seemingly as often, I haven't seen any of the films up for Best Picture.  Almost certainly, I haven't seen the winning movie. I'll be 46 this April, meaning that there have been 45 Oscar telecasts since I was born (the 46th begins in moments, as I type this). And I've seen enough Best Pictures to fill this column, nothing more. Here they are:



1. Midnight Cowboy (1969) - For some reason X-rated. It's a very good film, but uncomfortable to watch.
2. The French Connection (1971) - I caught this one on "Telecinema" the precursor to HBO, when I was no more than 10 or 11. But Gene Hackman is good in everything.



3. The Sting (1973) - Another caught as a youth. Other than the stars and the theme, The Entertainer, I remember very little of it.

4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) - Wow, I guess I caught a lot of these on Telecinema. More memorable for the Mad Magazine parody with "Nurse Wretched" than the movie itself.



5. Driving Miss Daisy (1989) - Yes, the stretch is this long. So, not only did I miss both Godfather movies, I also have never seen Rocky, The Deer Hunter, Rain Man, Out of Africa, Terms of Endearment, Ordinary People, Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, Kramer vs. Kramer, Annie Hall or Amadeus!

6. Dances With Wolves (1990) - Apparently, in this stretch, I was going to the movies a bit. This particular one was of course, epic. But I never understood why "Stands with a Fist" had such perfect, blow-dried hair.



7. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - By far my favorite from this list. Jodie Foster is amazing, and Anthony Hopkins kills! With fava beans and a nice Chianti.

8. Schindler's List (1993) - It took me a good many years to get around to it, but I finally watched this one. And I'm very glad I did.



9. Forrest Gump (1994) - Again, I didn't watch this one right away, but got around to it on video. It was good, but the hype was a bit overblown. Tom Hanks is brilliant in the movie, but the story was ludicrous in parts.

10. Titanic (1997) - I saw this movie on two different dates with two different men! The second time was with my current husband in 1998, so you could say the movie got things rolling. Fortunately we have only hit minor icebergs along the way. I do remember we both had to pee very, very badly by the end of this very long movie!



11. Shakespeare in Love (1998) - Another seen in the early days with my hubby. Another big favorite for both of us.

12. Gladiator (2000) - Big, epic. . .overblown. I like Russell Crowe, but, meh.



13. Chicago (2003) With rare exceptions--Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More, with Feeling!--I'm not a fan of musicals. But this one? I thought they did a pretty good job!

14. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2004) - The Other Half loves this movie and its sequels. Never having read the Tolkien books? This is a big interminable first part of a big interminable movie series. Torturous.

And that's it! 14 out of 45! I'm sure I've seen a few that came before my birth, but that is a longer list. And the holes in my list here really should be filled if I'm going to continue thinking of myself as a pop culture genius. I can only guarantee one thing: I haven't seen the film that will win tonight (last night, to you Monday readers)!




Friday, February 24, 2012

Obama: Opponents are ‘Rooting for Bad News’ on Gas Prices

No kidding. Could we please get some real discussion on this subject now? "Drill, baby, drill" isn't just overly simplistic, it's stupid. More oil is being drilled and refined under President Obama than under Bush. When is right-wing world going to realize that if we pipe oil sands from Canada to Texas that the oil doesn't magically become "ours?" That oil prices aren't controlled by the United States? That if we drill, baby, drill, we're not going to move the price of gasoline?

[Excerpt]


Obama: Opponents are ‘rooting for bad news’ on gas prices




President Obama said Thursday that there are no “quick fixes” for rising gasoline prices that are threatening the economic recovery and providing fodder for attacks from his political rivals.
Gas prices have risen 29 cents per gallon since December, with regular-grade gas now averaging $3.64 a gallon in the Washington region at a time of year when consumers usually enjoy a respite from price hikes. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Mike in Raleigh: What Height is That Tree?

So, when did my blog become a repository for the comedy bits made by fans for The Stephanie Miller Show? Well, I guess it's when I figured out I could post them. Mike in Raleigh is very prolific, as well as very talented, as are Kenny Pick, Shane-O and others. I'd space them out more on the blog, but they just keep coming up with them! This one is a riff on George Romney's son, Mitt, and his curious habit of random, robotic commentary. To the tune of George of the Jungle.



GOP Candidates' One Word Answers

Here's a very funny bit from Kenny Pick, famous from The Stephanie Miller Show. Steph is developing enough free talent on the side to just sit back and push buttons! Wait, producer Chris LaVoie does that. . .okay, at least they'll know what to do with the show if Stephanie ever leaves. If nothing else, it really spruces up my blog. Thanks, Kenny!

GOP: Describe Yourself in One Word by Kenny Pick

Thursday, February 23, 2012

GOP Debate Bores This Blogger

Image from source, Washignton Post
Well, I've fallen down as a blogger. I came home from work Wednesday night with the goal of watching the most recent GOP debate. And I did, sort of. I parked myself in front of the big TV, with my Mac on my lap, logged in to Twitter. But I couldn't bear to pay much attention to the TV. No, I was reading the fantastic and funny tweets by the comedians, pundits and other smart people I follow. The television droned, and I was eventually run out of the TV room by The Other Half, banished to my office.

I picked it up there, both on TV and Twitter. But the problem didn't get better. These are four odious men, none of whom I'd trust to watch my cat, let alone the country. The pandering was cringe worthy. The crowd would applaud any red meat thrown to them; they'd boo anything they found remotely negative toward conservatives. The whole thing was just distasteful. I'm having a very, very hard time figuring out what Republicans see an any of them.

[Excerpt]


Mitt Romney attacks put Rick Santorum on defensive in GOP presidential debate

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum was thrown on the defensive here Wednesday night as rival Mitt Romney attacked the former senator over spending and earmarks and accused him of compiling an inconsistent and contradictory record. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional. . .Again

Image found at Moorfield Storey Blog
It's irritating sometimes to pay a lot of attention to a particular issue. Because the more intensely you watch it, the longer it seems to take for anything to happen. Like a watched pot, following marriage equality wend its way through the courts can be interminable. Proposition 8 passed in California in November 2008, and has been challenged and beaten in court. The revocation of same-sex marriage rights in California was declared federally unconstitutional. This was in 2010. And here we are in 2012, and gay couples still can't get married, even after the ruling was affirmed.

Of course, as far as legal cases go, this isn't unusual. And if it weren't for the rampant busybodies fighting marriage equality, the whole fight would be over by now. Progress is going very fast, considering. It just feels like forever. Still, our hopes are buoyed often these days. There have been encouraging decisions all over the country recently, even with the party poopers like New Jersey's Chris Christie trying to sit on our parade. Even the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)--that Clinton-era compromise--is getting chunks taken out of its hide. Another judge has ruled it unconstitutional. Frustratingly, DOMA still stands. But its days seem to be numbered.


[Excerpt]


Federal Court Says DOMA Unconstitutional: Analysis of the Ruling

Another day, another victory for equality. Today, Judge Jeffrey White, a George W. Bush appointee to the federal bench, declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional as it applied to Karen Golinski. . .


Read more at: TowleRoad

"Santorum" Creator Freaked Out by "Santorum Surge"

The right frames Rick Santorum's Google problem as an unprovoked, mean spirited attack on a socially conservative politician. This isn't true, which is plain if you click through to the explanation. Santorum said some nasty things about gay people (such as comparing us to "man-on-dog" sex), and was unrepentant about it. So, Dan Savage, sex columnist and political activist, held a contest to redefine what "Santorum" means. The winner was at the link above, but if you haven't clicked it yet, it's www.spreadingsantorum.com.

Anyway, this all sort of fell by the wayside when Santorum was soundly defeated in his Senate re-election attempt. Other than some forgettable appearances on FOX "News"--where he and competitor Newt Gingrich were both on the payroll--Santorum was only remembered by those of us who made sure that Santorum's  alternate meaning stayed at the top of the Google results.

"Yeah, I don't know how I got here either."
But against all odds, Santorum has become the GOP front-runner. Nobody, not even people who agree with everything he says (shudder) thought Santorum had a chance. Even fringe loonies were for Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann or Donald Trump. And hilariously, Santorum only landed this plumb spot by process of elimination. He's held the position of front-runner for what, two or three weeks? Meanwhile, Mitt Romney continues to damage himself, Ron Paul gets no traction, and Newt is crossing his fingers that Wednesday's debate does something to prop up his candidacy. And the establishment GOP is crapping itself. But my side is a little weirded out too!

[Excerpt]

Dan Savage ‘freaked out’ by Santorum surge


Gay activist and sex columnist Dan Savage told Mother Jones in a recent interview that he was “freaked out” by the rise of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

National polls have found the staunch social conservative surging ahead of longtime frontrunner Mitt Romney. In early February, he came in first in the Missouri Republican primary and the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses. . .

Read more at: Raw Story


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jon Stewart on Virginia's "Trans-vaginal Probe" Law

You know, I've often said here that as a middle-aged gay man in a long-term same-sex marriage, the subjects of birth control and abortion are just not my issues. At all. But even I can see the insanity being rained down by the GOP on both local and national stages. For instance, only a loon would say that the "morning after" clump of cells is a person. And most people probably think that these personhood proposals don't intentionally rule out whole classes of contraception. They'd be wrong about that. I've recently learned that the right-to-life crowd has moved beyond fretting about third, second or even first trimester pregnancies, and right up to the second the sperm meets the egg. Insanity.

But the anti-abortion measures being taken up in Virginia lower the bar on insanity. Government mandated, medically unnecessary, trans-vaginal probing? THIS is smaller government? WTF? Something this crazy can only be adequately dissected by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Because it belongs on Comedy Central.


The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Punanny State - Virginia's Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook
We've already seen Republican crowds whipped into a frothy lather at 2012 GOP presidential debates. But this time, it will be Frothy Mix himself in the spotlight. Little noticed in early (or hell, even later) debates, Rick (don't Google me) Santorum has improbably risen to the top of the mixture.

I don't think that Santorum should get too big a head over this though. He's not at the top because of anything more than the process of elimination. The front runner status has gone to Trump, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich, Romney, Gingrich again, and finally Santorum. Until his fluke, eventual squeaker in Iowa, Santorum was barely on the map. Check out this chart, from Daily Kos:

The green line is Santorum. Yes, the GOP nominee could be the guy with this two-week hot streak.
[Excerpt]

At Arizona debate, Santorum to get his turn in spotlight

After months on the sidelines, Rick Santorum finally gets his chance at center stage in a debate of Republican candidates on Wednesday, and the increased scrutiny that comes with it. . .

Read more at: Baltimore Sun

In Case You Missed It: SNL's Cosby/Obama Show

I forgot to post this skit from the Maya Rudolph-hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend. It's pretty high-concept, merging the Obamas and the Cosbys. But kudos to Fred Armisen for the effort!


Santorum: The Democratic Party Is About Sexual Freedom

Image from Think Progress
Oh, Frothy! Again with the stupid. Doesn't Rick (don't Google me) Santorum know that sex is popular?  Not just the homo kind, either! So, if the Democratic Party is all about "sexual freedom?" I'm glad I signed up! Now, what does that mean the Republican Party stands for?

[Excerpt]


Santorum: The Democratic Party Is About ‘Homosexuality’

“. . .Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. The prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that’s sex. And the whole abortion culture, it’s not about life. It’s about sexual freedom. That’s what it’s about. Homosexuality. It’s about sexual freedom. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

President Obama Sings with B.B. King

And he ain't half bad! I'm sure his daughters are mortified, but he's at least as good as Bill Clinton on the saxophone!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crazy Conservative Contradictions

Image from Addicting Info
Well, I'm off to a busy week, and didn't get much new on the blog for the day (though there are a couple of great Mike in Raleigh clips below). But I stumbled upon this great piece, and wanted to be sure to share it. It's a problem that comes up a lot if you argue politics in person or online. This might at least help you recognize the contradictions, and point them out to the arguer.


[Excerpt]


Crazy Conservative Contradictions

There’s a reason liberals look at conservatives like they might be insane. Often, a conservative will say one thing and then, almost immediately, contradict it. Pointing out the contradiction often angers the conservative who then accuses you of either being “stupid” or “twisting their words.” But, because it’s funny to look at crazy people, let’s take a look at conservative contradictions. . .

Read more at: Addicting Info

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mike in Raleigh's Maine Dropped Mitt Romney on His Head!

Yes, two Mike in Raleigh (of The Stephanie Miller Show) posts in a row! I can't help it, he's funny and talented! Two things I aspire to but miss by a skosh. This one is a parody of Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head by B.J. Thomas.

Mike In Raleigh's The Tea Party

New from Slime-Life Books! Mike Raleigh is the creator of many, many funny clips played on The Stephanie Miller Show.

Rick Santorum: Liberals are the Anti-Science Ones

Hahahaha! Oh, Frothy, tell me another one!

[Excerpt]

Santorum: Liberals ‘are the anti-science ones’

 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum charged on Monday that President Barack Obama and Democrats were “anti-science” because they refused to exploit the Earth’s natural resources to the limits of technology. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

What if Your Boss Forgot You?

Sooo. . .I went to work today. Unlocked the shop, turned the alarm off and the lights on. I clocked in as usual, and made a pot of coffee. Went upstairs, opened blinds, turned on computers and fired up my programs. I went through 285 emails, and 125 spams (you have to check them). I sorted the mail, and the faxes. And then I realized. . .I'm the only one here! It was about 8:30, so it isn't unprecedented. If there is a crash on the freeway, two of the people could be late. The two bosses are often either otherwise occupied in the morning, or just late arrivals. As the minutes ticked by, however, it became odd. So, I called one boss, and the call went straight to voicemail. I called the other boss--same thing. I called her at home, and whattaya know? We're off today!!! Surprise!!!

So, I'm home. Without pay. But, I got in two hours I wouldn't have gotten otherwise, and I'm up and at them earlier than I would be if I knew today was a day off. If I'd known, I'd surely still be in my pjs, sipping coffee. Now, what do I do with my day?

Blast from the Past: The Cars I've Owned!

I've previously run (and rerun) a blog post on the cars I've owned. But I never tried to find commercials for them all. I think it's about time I did!



1. My first car was a 1973(ish) Toyota Corolla. This ad misses the mark by about six years. But I'm still not sure if it was a '73, '74 or '75.
2. My second car was a 1980 Datsun 210. The one in the ad is a year older-- and a hatchback--where mine had a trunk. But close!



3. My third car, a present for graduation, was a 1978 Dodge Colt Station Wagon. Try to find a commercial for THAT! And believe it or not I did, but missed it by a year. Mine did NOT have faux wood grain sides, however.
4. This was the first car I bought for myself, the 1980 Toyota Celica. And while the commercial is EXCATLY the right year and car. . .they used a 1979 model for the ad! You can tell, because the '80 had rectangular headlights and a different grille.



5. After paying off my first car, I got restless and bought an '86 Chevrolet Cavalier at auction (for $2490!), only two years old. Mine was the red, sporty model.
6. My sixth car was an ill-advised purchase, also at auction. The '87 Nissan Pulsar was cute, but it leaked and had all sorts of problems.



7. When my Pulsar threw a timing chain, and turned into sculpture, I bought a 1989 Mazda 626 Turbo hatchback. Loved that car! In Japan, it was apparently called the Capella, as shown in this ad.
8. After the Mazda was near death, I bought a 1998 Jeep Wrangler, which had been a vehicle I'd wanted all my life. Since I held onto it for nine years, you can be sure I loved it. But all good things must come to an end. . .



9. And we come to my current car, which is oddly enough, currently at the body shop after a minor collision. The 2009 Mitsubishi Galant--which is only superficially different from the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Galant--may not win any awards, but I love it. And I don't expect to add a tenth car for a while.

So, that's it for now. Happy Monday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Responses to "Five Reasons to Oppose Gay Marriage"

I did it again. I wandered into the vipers' pit at FreeRepublic.com. And I simply couldn't resist commenting upon their ridiculous post, "Five Reasons to Oppose Gay Marriage." Since it is apparently impossible for me to comment on their site (I signed up, but was never allowed to post), I shall do so here in my own space. My efforts to bait FReepers into visiting me here have been (wait for it) fruitless, even when I seeded articles with as many disparaging words as I could think of. Oh well.
Image from WBET
Here are the bullet points, followed by my comments.

1) Gay marriage is incompatible with Christianity (and for that matter, Islam & Judaism).

[Editor]: First and foremost, this is only a reason to be personally against same-sex marriage. It is not sufficient reason for laws or constitutional amendments. Conservatives like to squawk about religious liberty, but often forget that the first amendment is supposed to also protect people from religious oppression. So, a religious objection is (or should be) irrelevant in law.

Secondly, not all Christians (or Jews, and I'm sure some Muslims) are anti-gay. Some are very welcoming. Besides, the bible's scant admonitions are imprecise, probably badly translated, and inherently open to interpretation. If you parse "thou shalt not lie with man as with a woman," there's plenty of wiggle room there (pun intended). And it says nothing about two women. Jesus, by the way, never said boo on the subject.

2) Gay marriage will end up infringing on religious freedom.

[Editor]: In no way is this true. Religions and the religious are free to go on thinking that same-sex marriage is bad, and that gays are demonic heathens. No serious person is attempting to have same-sex marriages performed at churches who do not want them. Churches are currently allowed to deny performing marriages, and do so all the time. 

As for business people "being forced" to provide catering halls, cakes, flowers and the like, really? If a person is so religious that their personal morals are offended by selling goods or services to gay people, perhaps they should try a different vocation. Good grief, do they run background checks on all clients, in case they may be doing something against their religion? This potentiality has nothing to do with legalized marriages anyway. Right now, gay people regularly have commitment ceremonies, and the business owners are faced with the same decision. 


3) Civil unions could confer every "right" that marriage does.*

[Editor]: This one is dumb. But let's take it at face value. If civil unions and marriage are the same, why bother with different terms? "The same, but different" or "separate but equal" don't fly in the United States. Anyway, the statement isn't true. Civil unions don't have any federal recognition at all. The solution is simple. Everyone should recognize that there are civil marriages and religious marriages (holy matrimony). I got married at City Hall. I didn't ask for--nor do I want--holy matrimony.

4) Gay marriage may be where it starts, but it wouldn't be where it ends.

[Editor]: Even though it is a common part of speech, a "slippery slope" argument isn't just a logical fallacy, it's one of the main ones. It actually has that name! The following is an actual line from this argument:


"Furthermore, once that door is opened, where does it stop? How about brother and sister? Marrying the dead sound any better? How does man and dog strike you? Adults marrying children? How does marrying a tree or a clay urn hit you?"

In all of the above examples--except the brother and sister, assuming that they are both adults--you have not just bad logic, but a legal impossibility. Leave aside how insulting it is to have my relationship compared to one with a dog, corpse, tree, child or urn. None of those things can offer informed consent. So the argument is void. The incest argument is a red herring too. Nobody is sexually oriented toward family members. It isn't a sexual orientation. And there are no throngs of incest activists looking to get married! Let 'em move to Kentucky or something.

5) Marriage already has enough problems as it is without gay marriage.

This is probably the stupidest item in the list. "Marriage" isn't a collective, like The Borg on Star Trek! My marriage--and I already have a legal, gay one--isn't, doesn't, can't affect anyone else's. Opponents act as though expanding marriage to include same-sex couples is a zero-sum game. If I take some "marriage," it doesn't take some away from somebody else!  


Okay, so that's it? Those are your "good reasons" to oppose gay marriage, FReepers? None of your reasons can explain why my current gay marriage is doing anything to anybody. There are thousands of married gay people in several states and the District of Columbia. What tangible harm are they causing right now? Because this isn't hypothetical anymore. We're here, we're queer, get used to it. That may be cliche, but it is 100% apt.

In the unlikely event that you want to read the article that inspired this response, by all means, go to FreeRepublic.com. Hang around, read some stuff, but be warned. They're pretty appalling.


*Upon re-reading #3 above, I realized that a surface reading of my response could be seen as a contradiction. First I say separate isn't equal, then I say I will take civil marriage over religious marriage. If you took it that way, read it again. This is about civil marriage, and the rights and privileges afforded by it. This isn't and never was about holy matrimony.  

Bill Maher on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Right-wing Talk Host's Hit & Run at Gay Bar

Nope, nothing phallic in this picture.
Image from Houston Press.
Oh, boy. A homophobic talk radio host/former politician busted outside a gay bar? No wonder he skipped out, he had a lot to lose! But, what a jerk, really. I'm starting to think that every right-wing homophobe is secretly gay. Not that I'm talking about anybody in particular (cough).

[Excerpt]


Police watch bar video in hit-and-run probe


Security camera footage from a well-known gay bar has played a key role in a hit-and-run investigation of a former Houston City Councilman, who is now a conservative talk show host, Local 2 Investigates reported on Wednesday. . .


Read more (with video) at: Click2Houston

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Response to Open Letter by RightPride, Nevada's GOProud Chapter

I offer this sexy picture as a peace offering to the hopelessly deluded
gay Republicans. I'm kidding. I'm not. You decide.
Have you ever known a gay Republican? I've known a few. In fact, I have a friendly couple of ours who are decidedly right-of-center. Fiscally conservative, they'll say. Nobody really falls for that far-right, socially conservative crap. That's for the rubes. Except it isn't. Particularly right now.

There was a little hope in the early days of the "Tea Party," the "spontaneous" reaction to President Barack Obama (immediately after, and not because he's black, surely not). Yep, the Tea Party was taxed enough already, even though Obama promised no new taxes but for the rich. It was all about money, no sex, no religion. Until it was. All the sudden, everything was about gay marriage, and abortion and birth control. WTF, over? This crap was supposed to be settled!

So, what do you do if you are a gay, conservative group? Especially if you are a gay, but divorced from the more moderate Log Cabin Republicans? GOProud, the little-g gay, big-C Conservative group is in something of a pickle. Most gays abhor them, but then so do most conservatives! They're so bullied, there should be an "It Gets Better" movement, just for them.

But it's ridiculous, and does not deserve its own martyrdom. Gay conservatives are like individualist communists.  They are an anachronistic contradiction. They should not exist. Maybe--like the bumble bee--if their inherent impossibility were explained to them, they would cease to exist?

Anyway, read this, and tell me if YOU get anything out of it. . .

[Excerpt]

Open Letter to Readers of QVegas, Las Vegas Night Beat and Las Vegas Gay Community

. . .This month, a list of primary election endorsements appears on NevadaImpact.com, a joint effort of Rob Schlegel, QVegas and Las Vegas Night Beat. These endorsements are also published in the current issue of both aforementioned publications. Under the guise of helping “the LGBT community be better informed about candidates,” Rob Schlegel and his cohorts have gone out of their way to continue the long history of spiteful partisanship by the so-called leaders in our community. Schlegel endorses in 47 of the 67 races he lists, backing 50 Democrats and 8 Republicans. He even used three of the eight Republican endorsements to take petty swipes at the candidates, and ripped another half-dozen GOP candidates just for fun. . .

Read more (if you can take it) at: GOProud

Grover Norquist and His Plans for America

Grover Norquist is basically a lobbyist. But he has the GOP wrapped around his unelected, politically naive finger. Grover thinks there should never be a tax raised for any reason, under any circumstance. But who the fuck is Grover Norquist, and why should anyone care?


Rick Santorum Ad: Mitt Romney Shooting "Santorum" AT Santorum?

Is this genre savvy, or genre blindness? Self aware, or simply clueless? I don't know, but Rick (don't Google me) Santorum making an ad that features Mitt Romney shooting brown goo? What was he thinking?


Why Are Gas Prices Going Up With Low Demand?

With the economy improving on most fronts, and an upward trajectory for quite some time, it is no longer assured that the Republicans can win on "it's the economy, stupid." Because, if the economy is improving under President Obama's leadership, why should we change horses? An excellent question.

But one sticky wicket is gas prices. Gas is at about $3.50 per gallon on average right now, which isn't--by far--an all-time high, but it is higher than it has been in a while. Why? Demand is down. Republicans are sure to zero in on President Obama. They're wrong, and they're right. First, Obama isn't the reason for high gas prices. But, Obama could have lead the charge to reign in oil speculators, who caused gas prices to rise into the near-$5 range in 2008, and seem to be behind the most recent rise.

We got screwed by speculators in 2008. Why on earth didn't Obama, or hell, even the Republicans do something about it after that?

UPDATED JUST TO ADD: Notice that anything you read about this will say that we can expect gas to go over $4 this summer, and possibly $5 by the end of it. How. In the world. Does anyone. Know this? Speculation!!! (cue the scary music)

[Excerpt]

Oil Prices Are Rising Despite Lowest Demand Since 1997

. . .Strangely, the current run-up in prices comes despite sinking demand in the U.S. “Petrol demand is as low as it’s been since April 1997,” says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service. “People are properly puzzled by the fact that we’re using less gas than we have in years, yet we’re paying more. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Phony Baloney "War on Religion"

A certain segment of the American populace loves to pretend that they're put apon, marginalized and under attack. It isn't all religious people. It isn't even all Christians. It's the usual suspects: ultra-conservative, (usually) white, (outwardly) straight, (often) male evangelical Christians. There are others that ebb and flow in and out of this beleaguered lot, from Mormons to Catholics, but it's mostly those that I mentioned. They act as though they're outraged, but they're not really. They're thrilled to act the part of victim.

It's gotten so bad that Christians can't even pray in public.
This is obvious if you frequent right-wing blogs, right-wing talk radio, or FOX "News." The reactions are so over the top, the stories so tailored to the victimhood narrative. In the most recent case, with President Obama's plan for insurance contraception plans, the obviousness is glaring. Even after the Catholic Church itself was removed from any direct funding for contraception, right-wing world is still wobbly on its axis. But as one of my favorite writers, Eugene Robinson points out below, Christians are not under any sort of attack, or in any kind of danger that they're going to lose the right to practice their religion. It's preposterous. Don't believe me? Pay attention to your fellow humans between now and Easter. Any changes? Anything different? Didn't think so.

[Excerpt]

Drumming up a phony war on religion

At ease, Christian soldiers. There is no “war on religion,” no assault on the Catholic Church. A faith that has endured for thousands of years will survive even Nicki Minaj.

It never occurred to me to evaluate the Grammy Awards show on theological rectitude, but apparently we’re supposed to be outraged at the over-the-top “exorcism” Minaj performed Sunday night. The hip-hop diva, who writhed and cavorted amid a riot of religious iconography, is accused of anti-Catholic bigotry — and seen as an enemy combatant in an escalating “war on religion” being waged by “secular elites,” which seems to be used as a synonym for Democrats. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Keith Olbermann's Worst Persons in the World, Feb. 15, 2012

I haven't posted a clip from Countdown with Keith Olbermann for a while, probably because I can't get it on Cox Cable in Las Vegas. But this one is good. The only thing is, I'd give Andrew Breitbart a lifetime achievement award.


Sign Humor: Kerning Recognition as Revenge

As a sign maker, one of my dubious talents is kerning recognition, which is being able to see improper or proper spacing between letters. I also can recognize off-center and off-level signage nearly instantly. It doesn't come in handy often, and tends to annoy the production department.

Source: Joe.My.God.

Senate Strikes Tentative Deal On Payroll Tax

Harry Reid and Yertle. Image from TPM.
My first thought when I saw this story? What's the catch? There has to be a catch. The GOP in both houses of Congress don't tend to compromise, or make nice. Maybe I'm cynical, but I'm expecting the other shoe to drop, and then we'll have a couple of weeks of squawking about that damned shoe.

[Excerpt]


Lawmakers Strike Tentative Deal On Payroll Tax Package

Top Democratic and Republican negotiators have struck a broad tentative agreement to extend the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and Medicare physician payment rates through the end of the year, aides from both sides who are familiar with the deal tell TPM. Some of the details have yet to be ironed out, but Congress appears to have had a critical breakthrough in negotiations to prevent the three provisions from lapsing. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jon Stewart on Abortion and Birth Control, Pt. II

Jon Stewart is even funny in this second part of Monday's abortion and birth control topic.


Jon Stewart on Birth Control and Religion

Hilarious.

In Case You Missed It: Rachel Maddow's Op-Ed on Abortion and Birth Control

It's really, really, really big government to have it
controlling our sex lives, isn't it?
As I've said before, this is not my issue. But it's been stirred up to a frenzy (probably because the economy is improving) in politics lately. Rachel Maddow wrote an op-ed this weekend on the subject, and makes several good points. It's worth a read. So, read it, won't you?

[Excerpt]


War on birth control

In 2008 in Colorado, a rebel faction of antiabortion activists decided to pursue a “personhood” initiative. Over the objections of the mainstream antiabortion movement, they proposed amending the state’s constitution to redefine the word “person” to include zygotes. Under the proposal, “from the moment of fertilization,” a woman would be considered two people under Colorado law. When the initiative went before voters, it failed by more than 40 points. . .

Read more at: The Washington Post

Right Wing World: Reaction to Gay Marriage in Washington State

Oh, I just can't leave well enough alone, can I? I get happy news, like marriage equality in Washington State, and what do I do? I have to go dip a toe into the frigid waters of right-wing world. If you ever want to go for a dip there, the most distilled waters are in FreeRepublic.com. There you'll find the tea-baggin'est, god-fearin'est, Palin-lovin'est crowd of keyboard commandos anywhere on the internets.

And they don't like gay people. At all. At all. At all. Your average FReeper either doesn't know (or know that they know) any gay people, or hates every one they've met. They believe the most ridiculous statistics (most gays die by age 42!), craziest lies (most gays have "gay bowel disease!"), most insane urban legends (gerbils!), and use the most heinous language (f*g, f*ggot, d*ke, and worse), and senses of humor on par with Beavis and Butthead.

So, it should go without saying that the FReepers would go ballistic over this decision. But I'm not going to let it go without saying. Here they are, (mostly) uncensored. And remember, this is not an obscure site. This is the face of the Republican base.
 
"The left does error “not knowing the scriptures”. Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil....."

[Editor] The right would do well to learn that no one in this country is bound to follow their religion, or their interpretation of it.

"Get ready for the almost immediate issuance of all so called marriage licenses to ask for partner a and partner b, no more husband and wife, no more bride and groom."

[Ed.] Yes and no. The paperwork will probably say that. The words you use for each other are your own. For my marriage, we are husband and husband. On the paperwork, Partner A and Partner B. Nobody is outlawing words.

"I hope this perverted bill goes back to hell where it belongs"


[Ed.] The bill is perverted, and it came from hell?

"PERVERTS are NOT Equal to normal decent citizens. Not now not ever......"

[Ed.] Excuse me? Heterosexual perverts are already allowed to get married. This is about equality!


"Sounds like pretty good grounds for a serious "beat down", either in person or in court. . ."

[Ed.:] Annnnd, we have our first threat of violence.


"Prime example of why civil unions (defined here as “everything but marriage”) aren’t good enough for the homosexual activists. After they got civil unions, they immediately went to a “separate but equal” argument as to why even civil unions aren’t enough."

[Ed.:] When the "everything but marriage" separate but equal law was percolating in Washington, the anti-gay brigade fought it tooth-and-nail. In Ohio, they passed a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage and civil unions. So, what's good for the goose. . .

"A man and sheep — separate but equal. . ."


[Ed.:] Classic false equivalence. Animals (and children, and toasters) cannot give informed consent.

"Perhaps we will have to distinguish between secular marriage, or government marriage, and biblical Christian marriage."

[Ed.:] We already do, moron. Civil marriage and religious marriage, ie., "holy matrimony." My side has been arguing this from the very beginning!

"Queerly beloved, we are gathered together with the approval of Satan and in this company of weirdos to jon [sic] together in unholy deadlock these two perverts."

[Ed.] I've got to hand it to 'em. While the thread on this subject was vile as usual, it was rather restrained, compared to others. And this last statement? The closest thing to humor--malicious though it may be--that I've seen in all of the FreeRepublic. Kudos!

UPDATE: THERE'S MORE!

"I have already cancelled my Sunday newspaper subscription because I don't want to see the faggot ‘wedding’ pictures."


[Ed.] Yes. Because wedding announcements are renowned for their sexually graphic photos.


"San F*Gcisco takes the top spot but the Western Wa. area is a liberal commie cesspool/sewer of the highest order."

[Ed.] Oh, the hilarity! And I assure you, there was no "*" in the original.

"Our fudge packer supporters here in Seattle are second only to San Fran Freako in their depravity."

[Ed.] Okay, obviously the quasi funny comment a couple of quotes up drained whatever potential humor these folks have. I feel bad for comparing them to Beavis and Butthead, who are at least funny.

As an aside, how many cities and states in America are on the "not REAL America" list anyway? 


- Chicago (Chicago-style thug politics)
- Massachusetts (Taxachusetts)
- San Francisco (San Fran Freako/San F*Gcisco, above)
- Seattle (Does it have a nickname yet?)
- Hollywood (Hollyweird)
- Las Vegas (Sin City)
- Washington, DC (Obama-nation)
- New York (Godless)
- New Orleans (Before Katrina)
- Detroit (Should have been left to die)

That's quite a list of American places that conservatives hate!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Marriage Equality in Washington State!

Thank you, Governor. Image from LA Times
Though it is sure to be contested by busybodies, the Governor of Washington State has signed same-sex marriage into law. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn't do anything more than expand the number of couples eligible to be married. It doesn't take anything away from anyone. It doesn't damage existing or future opposite-sex marriages. Except for the fuss raised by the afore-mentioned busybodies, there will be no effect except for the happy couples, their families and friends, experiencing marriage equality.

It's funny though, to see Washington named the seventh state (plus Washington, DC) to legalize gay marriage. It's actually the eighth. California is not currently performing marriages, but it legalized them. The proposition that undid that has been found unconstitutional. Twice. They'll be back in place eventually, after the appeals run out. Mark my words.

[Excerpt]


Washington state makes 7: Governor signs gay marriage law

"My friends, welcome to the other side of the rainbow!" state Sen. Ed Murray declared Monday as Washington became the seventh state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

In a boisterous ceremony at the state Capitol in Olympia, Gov. Christine Gregoire -- a Catholic who weathered strong opposition, including a last-minute "action alert" from the state's Catholic Church leadership -- signed legislation to give same-sex couples the same right to a marriage license as anyone else. . .

Read more at: Los Angeles Times
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