Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Eileen Brennan Dies at 80

Image from source, New York Times
For a pop culture guru, I can sure get it wrong sometimes. Perhaps because Eileen Brennan was involved in a terrible accident (being run over by a car) back in the 1980s, I've thought she was already dead a couple of times. She popped up as a guest star on Will & Grace several years ago, and I was delighted to see her not only still acting but still breathing! Then, for some reason, I thought she'd passed again, and was informed on Facebook (via the Hollywood Babylon group) that no, she was still with us. This was only days ago, and now I have to revise my mental rolodex again.

I really liked Brennan in everything I ever saw her in. The most obvious ones are her performances in Private Benjamin and Clue, though there have been many others. I'm glad she made it to 80, even though I apparently was doing a mental whammy on her for years. RIP, Mrs. Peacock!


Eileen Brennan, Stalwart of Film and Stage, Dies at 80
Eileen Brennan, a smoky-voiced actress who had worked in show business for more than 20 years before gaining her widest attention as a gleefully tough Army captain in both the film and television versions of
“Private Benjamin,” died on Sunday at her home in Burbank, Calif. She was 80. . .

Read more at: New York Times


Doubling McDonalds' Paychecks Wouldn't Raise Menu Prices Much

Not McDonald's food, but one of several facts HuffPo
says the fast food industry doesn't want you to know.
Remember awhile back when the Papa John's founder (John McDoucherson, I think) balked at "ObamaCare," saying it would "force" him to raise the price of his pizzas by 14 cents each? And most rational people thought, "Wow! For 14 cents, the pizza workers can have health care? Great!" Well, except conservatives who for some reason don't want that. Anyway, the point is, nobody is going to cancel their pizza order over 14 cents, and look at all the good that would do.

Presently, McDonalds (and Walmart and others) are all in a twist over raising the minimum wage. Even though doing so wouldn't necessarily hurt business. In fact, it would create a larger base of consumers who can--you know--afford to buy things. What's more, given the big corporations' multi-billion dollar profits, they actually could afford to raise all of their workers' salaries, and still make a profit, just less profit. Or, they could raise their prices. But really, not all that much. Check out the story excerpted below.
And in a sidebar, I'd love a clarification on something. We hear, virtually every quarter, that Exxon-Mobil, BP and Shell have had record-breaking profits. In fact the biggest profits in the history of man. McDonalds makes billions too. A number of companies do. And then there's Walmart, with its handful of very, very lucky heirs. They rake in tens of billions in profits per year, per person! What is it to Alice Walton if she makes $10 billion this year, rather than $20 billion, but her employees can afford to shop in her own store? I'd seriously like to know, where do all of these multi-billions in profits go anyway? How much can Sheldon Adelson, for example, spend before he crumbles to dust? Why do the mega-rich try so hard to get even more mega-rich, while their employees can barely scrape by?

Doubling McDonald's Salaries Would Cause Your Big Mac To Cost Just 68¢ More: Study

McDonald's can afford to pay its workers a living wage without sacrificing any of its low menu prices, according to a new study provided to The Huffington Post by a University of Kansas student. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Obama Pushes Jobs Bill, GOP Says (Of Course) "NO!"

Add caption
Every month or two--sometime around when they're voting for the umpteenth time to stop "ObamaCare"--you'll hear John Boner Boehner shout, "Where are the jobs, Mr. President?" Forget that the House of Representatives haven't put forth any jobs bills, and that the President can't. And mostly forget that the President has, on more than one occasion, spoken out forcefully for the need for a jobs bill, works projects and the like. He's come up with a number of ideas and solutions, some of them traditionally bipartisan in nature.

But, much like when you're trying to help a friend or a sibling through a tough time with a list of solutions, every one is getting shot down. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (looking and sounding more like a cartoon turtle every day) whined vague reasons why he'd reject it, as did Boehner, who will again ask "where are the jobs" in a few weeks, undoubtedly.


Obama challenges GOP to fund jobs programs in exchange for corporate tax overhaul

President Barack Obama will offer Republicans a new “grand bargain” on taxes and job creation—an attempt to find some common ground while a bigger deal to reduce the deficit is stalled. . .

Read more at: Marketwatch

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bradley Manning Verdict In: Mostly Guilty, But Not of Aiding the Enemy

I don't know where I come down on the whole Bradley Manning deal, kind of like with Edward Snowden. I understand their motives but not necessarily their methods. And with Manning being military, and this being court-martial? Well, I'm not enough of a military buff to know the ins and outs of all of that. I do know that you literally cannot be guilty of treason if we're not in a declared war, at least so says the Constitution.

All of that said, it would seem that Mr. Manning was treated pretty badly, and not very speedily leading to his trial. I'd still like to know why. And I hope whatever his sentence is, his treatment is a whole lot more "by the book" from here on out.


Bradley Manning acquitted of aiding the enemy for giving secrets to WikiLeaks

Bradley Manning, the 25-year-old Army private who gave thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, was acquitted of aiding the enemy in a military court-martial, but was convicted on multiple other counts. . .

Read more at: CBS News

Carlos Danger Man! (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Anthony Weiner gets the Rocky Mountain Mike Treatment, for his online cruising name, "Carlos Danger." To the tune of (what else?) Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers.


Mitt Romney Claims He Didn't Make "47%" Comment

By now, we're not surprised by a politician who denies saying what he plainly said. Meet the Press not to mention The Daily Show have long made hay pulling old speeches out to prove a candidate is wrong or has lied. But when the statement in question is one of the most glaring, most obvious pivot points of the race? What point is there in lying about it now? I mean, I know that Mitt Romney had a truth-telling problem (especially for a Mormon), but this one really takes the cake.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Monday, July 29, 2013

North Carolina Bill Aims to Make Voting Harder

I've said it before, Voter ID laws sound reasonable. I mean, you need ID to rent a car, or even a tuxedo. You need ID to cash a check, to get a library card, for all kinds of things, and we don't give it much thought. But here's the problem with Voter ID laws: they weren't created to stop voter fraud, they were created to prevent "undesirables" from voting. The fact is, the people most likely to not have ID (which includes an amazingly high number of voters) are disproportionally likely Democratic voters. In unguarded moments, several prominent conservatives and Republicans have even admitted as much.

Voter fraud is vanishingly rare in the United States, and North Carolina is no exception. But I hear you, you think it's a reasonable requirement. Though this ID had better be free, and had better not be difficult to obtain, or it is the equivalent of a poll tax. And if the passage of one of these laws is so urgently important, I'd say there ought to be a broad campaign to educate the public about exactly what they'll need in order to vote. That would only be fair, right? Except in places where these things tend to pass, that sort of assistance rarely seems to happen.

Add to that, that Voter ID itself isn't the only thing being passed here. There's a whole list of things on deck to complicate or restrict current voting rules. They want to cut early voting times. They want to stop pre-registering 17-year-olds who are soon turning 18. They want to complicate voting by college students. They want to repeal same-day registration. They want to ban straight-ticket voting.

Whatever you think about the individual parts of the bill, the fact is, this is an effort to make voting harder. What's amazing to me is that there doesn't seem to even be a cover story for why they're doing it. As with the huge list of restrictions and regulations (regulations from conservatives!) on abortion clinics that exist simply to make abortion harder, this voting bill is just trying to reduce the number of likely--mostly Democratic--voters. It's as plain as day.

And that--my dear Republican friends--should piss you off too. You've got an organized movement at the state level by the GOP to skew election results just by preventing voting by a group of people. It's not really "winning," it's cheating. And it's amazing to me that they don't even have to present even a bullshit reason for why they're doing most of it.


Voter ID bill raises controversy in North Carolina

Republican Leader Berger rejects the notion that his party is trying to suppress the Democratic-leaning black and youth vote. "Absolutely not," he said. "I am concerned the people are talking about substantial problem with this that I don't agree exists."

State-issued IDs, which now cost $10, will be free in the future, according to the bill. State Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr., the Democratic Deputy Minority Leader, tried to stop the reforms he called "draconian. . ."

Read more at: CBS News

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blast from the Past: Sex in Song!

The other day, I let my phone run out of juice, utterly, by mistake. For whatever reason, it was taking forever to recharge, so when I went walking, I took an old MP3 player for company. I'd forgotten I'd loaded my old Philips GoGear with new tunes last time I used it. And I'm still astonished as old as this thing is (512 MB!), that it's still a great little player.

Anyway, I must've been in a frisky mood when I put this playlist together. After a couple of ordinary songs (Aquarius by 5th Dimension, a little Annie Lennox), suddenly it segued into just sexy, sexy songs. I thought it would make for a good subject for Blast from the Past, and here we are. All because I forgot to charge my phone.

1. Love to Love You Baby by Donna Summer (1975) - A song so filthy, Summer wouldn't sing it during her "born again" phase.

2. I Want Your Sex by George Michael (1987) - This is from back when George was pretending he was straight. And at the time, it was just about as dirty as you could get on the radio.

3. Sex (I'm A. . .) by Berlin (1982) - This one always cracked me up, because Terri Nunn was so inventive, and the guy is just "I'm a man!"

4. Wicked Game by Chris Isaak (1989) - This song's lyrics aren't explicit, but it just drips with sex, and the video? Scorching.

5. Honey, Honey by ABBA (1974) - What, ABBA could get sexy. Yes, with a deceptive candy coating. This one is anything but innocent, which was proven in the musical, where this song was used while reading Mom's tawdry diary!

6. I Touch Myself by Divinyls (1990) - The (sadly) late Christina Amphlett is loving herself in this one, but she's doing so while telling her lover what she'd rather be doing!

7. Touch Me (I Want Your Body) by Samantha Fox (1986) - Fox was always an embodiment of the nasty/nice girl, looking so pretty, but also kinda slutty. I'm sure when guys who lusted after her in the 80s found out she was gay, really wish they had that juicy detail back then!

8. Boom Boom (Let's Go Back to My Room) by Paul Lekakis (1987) - My, the gays are well represented on this list, aren't they? You've got your gay favorites, and your actually gay artists! And here's one who was the male flip-side (uh, so to speak) to Samantha Fox.

9. Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1983) - See? This one is as gay as you can get, and also as dirty/sexy as you can get (practically, I mean check out #10). There's a crescendo in the song that's just nothing but a musical orgasm. And the lyrics are hardly subtle.

10. Closer (to God) by Nine Inch Nails (1994) - By far the most profane song on this list, it is also the outright sexiest. Picture it: mid-90s in a Las Vegas nightclub. Two lipstick lesbians writhing to this song, from its slower parts to its wind-up to its frenzied climax, and then the gentle finish. Let me tell you, everyone was spent when they were done, and this was a men's gay bar! Awesome, filthy, sexy song.

And now that you're all hot and bothered, you have to go to work! Happy Monday, have a great week everybody.

Over Time with Bill Maher, July 26, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

Quote of the Day: Harvey Fierstein on Ender's Game Author

Stolen verbatim from Joe.My.God., because it needs no embellishment.

"Look at that asshole [Orson Scott Card] that wrote this new Harrison Ford movie [Ender's Game]. I think that you can have any opinion you want, but at least be willing to take the consequences of your opinion. It’s like, 'Well, I hope that people will be more understanding,' or what did he say? 'More tolerant of my views.' The quotes that got me about him weren’t against gay marriage -- he wanted homosexuality criminalized in the United States. That's what he called for. You want me to be tolerant of you wanting to criminalize homosexuality? Fuck you on your grave, you piece of shit." - Harvey Fierstein, telling it like it is to the Hollywood Reporter. 

Source: Joe.My.God.

Rick Perry Angry that Eric Holder Wants to Prevent Discrimination in Texas

"Don't mess with, uh. . .oops."
Image from HuffPo.
Okay, so Texas wanted to pass some new voting rights restrictions a while back (Why? Because it's a good way to suppress Democratic votes, that's why.) And because of the Voting Rights act, they couldn't get away with it, because the restrictions were deemed to be discriminatory against minority voters. Then, the Supreme Court hobbled the Voting Rights act, for reasons that are baffling. Within a couple of hours, Texas is there waving their already-declared-discriminatory restrictions, and insisted they're going to ram them through.

To me, this just confirms that the Supreme Court's decision was wrong, and that without the Voting Rights Act, some states will act in a discriminatory way. I mean, Texas just proved it, showing no restraint whatsoever. The Justice Department reacted by trying to find another way to prevent discrimination. And Governor Herp Derp Goodhair has whipped out his can of "Don't Mess with Texas" stupid ass whoop ass.


Rick Perry Slams Eric Holder, Department Of Justice For 'End-Run Around The Supreme Court'

Gov. Rick Perry (R) criticized a decision by the Obama administration to pursue legal action against the Lone Star State to place Texas back under preclearance, requiring federal approval for any changes to voting laws. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Zimmerman Juror Concedes That He Got Away with Murder

Image from source, NBC News
Well of course he did. Or at least he got away with manslaughter. And if this juror's side of the story is accurate, it sounds to me like the jury was a bit confused. I mean "beyond a reasonable doubt" does not mean beyond any doubt. It doesn't mean beyond a ghost of a chance. But I will concede that the prosecution blew this case (and was handicapped by a poor initial investigation). I still don't buy George Zimmerman's story for a second.


Juror: Zimmerman 'got away with murder' but had to be acquitted

A member of the jury that acquitted George Zimmerman said Thursday she thinks Zimmerman "got away with murder" but that jurors had no choice in finding him not guilty under the law. . .

Read more at: NBC News

The Gay Thing: Nevada Lined Up for Next SCOTUS Marriage Case?

Well, I guess I'm too late to submit my marriage to The Other Half as a test case for Nevada's ridiculous gay marriage ban. There are already eight couples a-doin' that! Good for them. Because the case for the "sanctity of marriage"--in Nevada of all places--was always disingenuous. Of course it was discriminatory, and came from animus. Can we at least admit that much, by now?


Nevada lawsuit tees up the Supreme Court’s next marriage equality decision

In a piece published this week, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Steve Sibelius reminds readers that a lawsuit out of Nevada may be the next marriage equality case to make it all the way to the Supreme Court. . .

Read more at: Equality on Trial

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Work Question: Will Gerber Omega Composer Work with Windows 8?

UPDATE: I finally went ahead and got that new Windows 8 computer, as I've noted in previous posts. And I have to report, so far things are working just fine. Gerber Omega Composer installed just fine. My Gerber fonts moved over just fine. The program opens faster than I've ever seen it open. The only glitch I've seen so far is that the little purple USB fob couldn't be found on the first try. I unplugged it, and plugged it back in once, and since then all is well.

I can't speak to compatibility with plotters, routers or digital printers, because my home business is design-only. But other good news was that the CorelDraw X5 Graphics Suite seems to be fine, even though I was warned it might not be compatible. And I got an alert from Corel right after install that provided a service pack, without me having to go look for it! Further, I was able to install Microsoft Office 97, no joke. I pared it down to Excel, Word and PowerPoint, but all seem to work just fine. Now, if I could just find a replacement for Windows Live Mail. My biggest problems to this point (even after running Windows 8.1 Preview) are just adapting to the Windows 8 environment.


I know this is an oddly specific question to pose to my blog audience, but truth is, when these articles ping to search engines, it may trip the answer from somebody out there in the vast internets, so I figure it's worth a try! If you have no knowledge of the sign industry or software, just scroll on by. Thank you.

Okay. At my sign company, we have four workstations that run Gerber Omega software, specifically Composer, all version 2.6.1. While Gerber Scientific makes Omega version 5.0 these days, we're still back on the earlier version, mostly because of the Great Recession. We're running on mostly
Ours aren't this old, but some are close!
Windows XP computers (even one Windows 98 machine to run our ancient router!). We would like to gradually update our equipment, because doing it all at once would be cost prohibitive.

But we can't even really get started, because we don't know if Omega 2.6.1 will run on a Windows 8 computer, particularly with a 64-bit processor. We have two Windows 7 setups, which both run the software just fine (though the Braille Interpreter must be run from Virtual PC on the 64-bit computer*). Our shop does use other software to run the laser cutters, and I do some designing in CorelDraw and other programs, but if Omega won't run, we'd be completely hobbled. I'm hopeful that since the ISA sign show is here in Las Vegas this week, that there will be some Googling on this subject going on, and somebody out there can answer me. So here is the question, clearly as Google bait: 

Will Gerber Omega Composer 2.6.1 run in Windows 8 on a 64-bit Computer?

Here's hoping! Thanks, everybody.

North Carolina: Guns Everywhere!

Bartender, I'll have a shot! Image from source,
Think Progress.

It's become almost a cliché that the answer to gun violence is more guns. Basically, the argument is that life--in any area--is so dangerous because of gun violence, that we must be allowed to protect ourselves. With guns! There's a (circular) logic to it, but it's just so friggin' weird. I've been around guns all my life, have friends and family who have veritable arsenals, but I still don't understand this country's gun fetish, I really don't.


North Carolina Gun Owners Will Soon Be Able To Carry Firearms At Bars And Playgrounds

On Tuesday, North Carolina lawmakers approved a bill allowing gun owners with concealed-carry permits to bring their weapons to playgrounds, bars, and public recreation areas, although bar owners will still be permitted to deny entry to armed patrons. Gov. Pat McCrory (R) is expected to sign the expansive bill into law soon. The measure will also allow concealed-carry permit holders to keep their guns in cars parked on school campuses. The bill was stripped of an especially extreme provision that would have eliminated the requirement for background checks or handgun permits. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bill Clinton Sings Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines

Funny stuff!

John Fugelsang on Why Virginia is Not for Lovers

Anthony Weiner: Clear and Carlos Danger!

By now you know about aspiring New York Mayor Anthony Weiner's latest "not really sex" scandal, in which he referred to himself in sexting as "Carlos Danger." Ira Verklempt, maybe. Irving Meshugga? Anyway, he's got all new nekkid pix with something for the foot fetishists, and something for those who are into pixelization (if anyone can hook me up with the uncensored ones, forward them on, y'hear?). So, don't let it be said that I can't poke fun at a Democrat. And I probably shouldn't have said poke.

Source: Wonkette

Harry Reid says Mitch McConnell ‘Tried to Make Love to the Tea Party’

Posted for two reasons: a) to give credit to Harry Reid, who I often criticize for being to milquetoast, and b) so that I could make and post this graphic!


Harry Reid says Mitch McConnell ‘tried to make love to the tea party’

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vowed Monday that Democrats would hold onto their Senate majority and mocked Mitch McConnell for failing to placate restive tea party critics. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Rush Limbaugh Minimizes "Caucasian" Responsibility for Slavery

I put "Caucasian" in quotes because what Rush Limbaugh means by the word is white Americans. Because he seemingly doesn't count ancient Romans and other white slaveholders from history in his rationalization for his latest baffling argument. You know how Bobby Jindal said that Republicans have got to stop being the stupid party, after they got bogged down saying dumb things about rape and abortion (and they totally didn't stop)? This is one of those topics Rush. You might energize some racist listeners, but you're just further galvanizing minorities. . .and rational people.


George Zimmerman Helps Rescue People from Car Wreck, Maybe?

Okay, let me start by saying that when I heard that George Zimmerman had stopped to help rescue some people from an overturned vehicle, my first thought was, "Imagine taking THAT 911 call!" Second, I thought. . .Okay. And? And then when they reported it happened a week ago, and that it was being reported by Zimmerman's smarmy lawyer, I thought. . .where's the police report? Because it just sounds odd.

Stephanie Miller, image from NewsBusters
Obviously, if you have a political talk show, particularly one that has been hashing and re-hashing Zimmerman's trial in the death of Trayvon Martin, a fishy story does more than raise your eyebrows, it gives you something to talk about, speculate about on your show. The only one I can speak to on the story is the one I'm familiar with, The Stephanie Miller Show. I listened to today's show, and the topic was discussed, both by the on-air talent and phone callers.

The show is political, but is primarily political humor. So, they had some fun with this one, going so far as to invoke NewsBusters, the so-called "liberal media" watchdog site, not once but several times. Little wonder then, that NewsBusters bit. They saved most of their ire for Bill Press, who I don't listen to. But they did go after Steph and her mooks, mostly by just block-quoting only their comedy riff on the topic, not even jumping on the actual speculation! There had even been a caller who (not citing a source other than being a local) said Zimmerman was merely one of several people who called 911. I'd like to know if that is true, wouldn't you?

Anyway, you can read it all at NewsBusters if you feel motivated. But I warn you, stay out of their comments section if you haven't had your shots. For everything.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Gay Thing: Judge orders Ohio to Recognize Gay Couple’s Marriage

I'm not an attorney, nor am I any kind of legal expert. But I have to think this is a foot in the door to getting marriage equality in Ohio. Crossing fingers, because I may be moving back there one day.


Judge orders Ohio to recognize gay couple’s marriage

A federal judge ordered the state of Ohio on Monday to recognize the marriage of two gay men, one of whom is dying. According to Towleroad, Judge Timothy Black ruled that Ohio must list John Arthur as “married” on his death certificate and name his partner of 25 years, Jim Obergefell, as his “surviving spouse. . .”

Read more at: Raw Story

Back to Blogging on Tuesday Night!

It's been a pretty spotty summer--particularly July--here at Greenlee Gazette. I know, and I'm sorry. But for most of the next six days, The Other Half will be away. And my struggles with computer upgrades (particularly Windows 8--oy!) will be down to a dull roar. It's taken all of my Monday time though, so I'm just going to leave you with this Maru video to tide you over. Back soon!


Progress Report: Computer Transition Under Way

The goal: a) Get new computer up to snuff as a blogging and graphics machine, b) Convert my old computer to The Other Half's computer, c) make sure we both have everything we want from the old machines without needlessly cluttering our new ones.

I'm at least halfway done, with each computer in its proper place (the Other Half's old one is presently set up on the coffee table until it is put to pasture). Files are partly backed up, but not moved off of the external device. And I discovered the pleasure of multi-screens!!!

One of these days. . .
But I've gotten too excited too quickly. I started with an older, non-widescreen flat panel from the closet, next to my huge 27" monitor. And it works pretty great! But that old monitor is not particularly clear, and not particularly attractive. The extended display space is really, really nifty. So, I thought, why not get the older 22" from the Other Half's old computer? Great idea. It's big, it should be just the ticket.

Unlucky me, there is no Windows 8 driver for it. And every website that purports to have one looks extra dodgy. So, I'll either rough it with the old 19" or just stick to one panel at a time until I feel I can justify the price of a second, modern monitor. But now that I have a taste? I've got to tell you, I want it!

UPDATE: It occurs to me, that since I'm blogging this to the whole world, it couldn't hurt to put the name and model of my old monitor out there, just in case there's a techie out there who has happened by. It's an Envision G22LWk. Drop me a line if anyone has an idea how to make it work. I mean, I've gotten several other, supposedly incompatible things to work!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Upgrades at Greenlee Gazette

While I usually have less bloggng on weekends, by this time (currently 8:30ish on Sunday night), I've started getting some new stories up. So, what's the deal? Well, though I've only had my most recent desktop PC since late 2011, I went and got a new one!

See, I'm the techie in the family. And besides the blog, I have a freelance graphics business. So, even though it's The Other Half's computer (circa 2006) that is at death's door, it makes no sense to give him a brand new computer. He was really Mr. Complainy-pants about it before he left on his trip, so I decided to "start looking into" getting a new system for myself, and to hand-me-down my old one to him.

So, I hit Sam's Club, to see if there were any markdowns. There weren't. Okay, so I'll go take a look at the floor models, see what things are going for, get an idea of what I'm in for. I found a Dell (tower only) that had the bells and whistles I'd want, for $799. I looked at a couple more, some all-in-one with touchscreens (not good enough, or too pricey), a couple of budget models (Pentium chips? Really?), and then happened upon an $899 HP, with a 27" monitor. Hello, gorgeous. Nice size!

But I figured, with that big monitor, there must be a scaled down set of specs. But looky here, it's $125 off, from late June to July 21. Today. I wanted to do at least cursory study on this before plunking down my Discover card. Since I'd left my phone at home, I memorized the stock number (19. 45. 81. 19-45-81. 194581. Over and over). I looked it up at home, and was impressed. I looked up the tower-only one, and compared them. Still favorable. I decided I'd better compare the AMD chip in the one I wanted with the others Intel i5. It was a little less powerful, but only a teeny bit. And there was that 27" monitor! Back to the store I went, and now I'm typing this blog post on it.

But I'm far from done. I presently have the new one set up next to the old one. I've got The Other Half's computer backing up to the external drive. I've got my old one backing up. I've started converting my old one to his new one. And I'm putting everything I need on the new computer. Let me tell you, it's a lot of work! So, blogging tonight may be reduced, or non-existent while I finish up.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Over Time with Bill Maher, July 19, 2013

I don't understand why any TV host would want Grover Norquist to come on and talk about anything. But if you must, having Dan Savage on as counter-balance is a brilliant move.

Movies I Can't Wait to See: DC Comics Announces Superman/Batman Movie!

Image from source, MoviePilot
ERMAHGERD!!! Talk about a nerdgasm! What comics fan (particularly a DC Comics fan) wouldn't go nuts for a "World's Finest" team-up or battle between Superman and Batman? Ecstatic, even! There are however a few problems, namely, a) having to re-boot the Batman character, since Christian Bale is done with it, b) dealing with recaps or retellings of either character's origin stories, c) clarifying the timeline, as to if Supes and Bats have both been around for a while, or if this is a brand new relationship, and d) bridging the worlds of Gotham, Metropolis, and the larger DC Comics universe (Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Justice League).

With a) and b) I wish they would just dispense with retellings and rebootings. I think with three actors in a row having played Batman in the Tim Burton-started series, same thing with the Hulk, changing actors for the love interest in The Dark Knight, and the continuing changes in the James Bond universe, audiences can handle a loose continuity with these characters, without having to go back to square one. Fanboys might squawk a bit, but we don't have to see Batman's origin story again, we get it! If there's a significant change to the backstory, highlight that in a flashback, and then move on.

With c) and d) there is a more delicate problem. So far, DC Comics-based productions have been all over the place, and their behind-the-scenes pre-productions have been insane. It almost seems like a good movie comes out with a DC character. I mean, they were going to have Nicholas Cage be Superman? REALLY? Anyway, they scored a three-fer with The Dark Knight series, and I think continued it with Man of Steel. Count me as one opinion that just because Bale doesn't want to be Batman, that they could easily keep the continuity of the series with a new actor, whether it's Joseph Gordon Leavitt or a replacement for Bale. I've never understood why those three movies have to "stand alone." Even the naming conventions between TDK and MOS are the same. Why start from scratch.
mistake when a

What not to do. Image from NYDailyNews
Their most difficult task is going to be building this shared universe without going overboard, or screwing up one of the puzzle pieces. How will they introduce the other characters, without diverting from the story, or just throwing too much up on the screen? The Marvel template is there to follow, but you know they're going to want to do something different. Can Warner Brothers sustain the franchise with popular movies based on unproven characters, and keep the hype up until Justice League is born? Marvel managed it. In fact Marvel has managed in across studios, with the X-Men and Spider-Man series running in separate worlds from The Avengers. DC is developing their movie universe in a huge shadow.

But they couldn't wish for better than a Superman/Batman movie, done well. If that is done well, and ably sets up some spin-off characters, they will be off and rolling. Henry Cavill has shown that he's a great Superman. If they do as well with their new Batman, it's going to be some show! Can't wait.


Warner Bros. Announces Superman/Batman Movie For 2015

Big news Justice League shippers: Zack Snyder is returning for the sequel to Man of Steel.

Only this time, the aforementioned icon will be joining forces with the Dark Knight. . .

Read more at: MoviePilot

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Daily Show: Lewis Black's Awesome FU to Texas Ad

Virginia is for BORING Lovers?

There's got to be an easier (and more
Constitutional) way to "keep kids safe."
I swear, the GOP is getting meaner and weirder, and leaning toward batshit crazy, particularly at the state level. I mean, how do you explain an attorney general, aspiring-to-be-governor, who wants to reinstate a sodomy law. Not the kind of sodomy you're thinking of (though it's that too), but basically the really broad definition that includes just about everything but the missionary position. Who is the target audience for lawmaking like this? What in the world is the base this man covets?


Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Campaigns On Effort To Restore Ban On Oral Sex

In an unusual move, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R), his party’s nominee for governor, launched a new campaign website Wednesday highlighting his efforts to reinstate Virginia’s unconstitutional Crimes Against Nature law. The rule, which makes felons out of even consenting married couples who engage in oral or anal sex in the privacy of their own homes, was struck down by federal courts after Cuccinelli blocked efforts to bring it in line with the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Liz Cheney Carpetbagging Her Way to the Senate?

Image from source, Wonkette
I often get into scuffles and skirmishes on the internets, because I can't help myself. And often, my sparring partner will froth at me, "you hate anyone who disagrees with you!" or some such nonsense. And I always tell them I don't hate hardly anybody. I save that heated emotion for people who deserve it. Just Cheneys.

Liz Cheney, the demon spawn of Darth Cheney, is running for US Senate, from the state of Wyoming--where she does not, and hasn't ever lived--against an incumbent conservative Republican. Liz's chief qualifications are her noxious, bilious, horrifying commentary on FOX "News," and some government job her dad got her back in the Bush era. But far more scary than this harpy in the Senate is that it portends her aspirations which are surely higher. Another Vice President Cheney (who is secretly pulling the strings, like daddy did)? Horrors!


Liz Cheney Will Waterboard Wyoming Until It Makes Her Senator

Since Fox News does not (yet) have representation in the United States Senate, torture fan Liz Cheney announced Tuesday afternoon that she is willing to let the state of Wyoming elect her in 2014. . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Faux Outrage from FOX "News" Over Boston Bomber in Rolling Stone

Image from source, NewsCorpse
Okay, let me see if I can wrap my brain around this "scandal." Rolling Stone--long a blend of pop culture, rock 'n' roll and political journalism--has a picture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Bomber--on their cover. The picture is totes adorbs as the kids say, with DT all fluffy-haired and scruffy and cute. He looks a bit like one of my nephews. And because Rolling Stone is seen as a liberal magazine, this is seen as. . .glamorizing a killer? Okay, I can see that raising the ire of some, maybe even causing a bit of a flurry at newsstands (as much as there still are such things).

But since FOX "News" has turned this into their latest 24/7 outrage, it must be another left/right divide kind of story, and because FOX "News" is the chief antagonist, it must also have a bit of a bullshit quotient to it. Thanks to Mark, the blogger at NewsCorpse for once again saving me from having to do any actual research. Of COURSE there's a bullshit quotient. In fact, FOX Nation--the ugly, nasty internet brother of the cable channel has used the exact same photo, as far back as April 19. Surprise!

In Rolling Stone's defense, the blurb calls him a monster. And artistically, the juxtaposition of a harmless looking teenager against the story of what he really is, works. It's only the context of being "On the cover of the Rolling Stone!" that you can call this a glamorization, to my way of thinking. And I guess we'd just have to comb through their past covers before squawking about this one. But that's just me.


OUTRAGE! Fox News ‘Glamorized’ Boston Bomber Three Months Before Rolling Stone

For a network that perpetually displays an “Alert” graphic regardless of whether they are reporting on a car bombing in Afghanistan or the opening of a Hooters in Tacoma, it is not surprising that Fox News’ hair-trigger Outrage Detector is stuck on “Apocalypse Now.” The standard facial expression of a Fox anchor at any given moment is an eye-bulging, jaw-dropping, sweat-dripping, fright mask of horror. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How the System Failed Trayvon Martin

Image from source, New York Times
Unless there is an astonishing development, or profoundly newsworthy happening regarding the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin shooting incident, I don't imagine I'll be writing much about it again. Oh, I'm sure "Stand Your Ground" will come up, and it's possible that there will be significant events, such as a civil trial or maybe even something from the Justice Department. But of the trial itself, and the horrible actual shooting, I think I'm spent on the subject.

So, I will put a bow on this stage of it at least with the best piece I've seen written on the subject, by Charles M. Blow. It's worth a read, whichever side you came down on.


The Whole System Failed Trayvon Martin

In a way, the not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for his killing of Trayvon Martin was more powerful than a guilty verdict could ever have been. It was the perfect wrenching coda to a story that illustrates just how utterly and completely our system of justice — both moral and legal — failed Martin and his family. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Schools CNBC Hosts

Image from source, Talking Points Memo

I love this woman. She's made of awesome, smart, calm, collected. . .and is a Democrat that can work with John McCain? This is presidential timber we're dealing with.


Ouch, Better CNBC Anchors Might Be Required
If you’re an Elizabeth Warren fan or really if you’re just into facts, you gotta watch this . . .

Source: Talking Points Memo

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

John Oliver's Daily Show Reaction to Zimmerman Verdict (Video)

Now that the video of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart John Oliver's reaction to the George Zimmerman trial verdict is available, I had to post it. It was really, really well done.

Daily Show: John Oliver Takes on Zimmerman Verdict and Nails It

Image from Mediaite
For the first time since Jon Stewart took his summer break from The Daily Show, Stewart may have reason to fear for his job. Fill-in host John Oliver started fairly strong, and has only gotten better. And with his report on the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin trial verdict, he was truly every bit as good as Stewart. I know they share a team of writers, so the words are going to be there, but this was a terrific, funny and spot-on piece. If The Other Half weren't asleep, I would have stood up and cheered. Cheerioed? Great job, Mr. Oliver!


John Oliver Slams Florida: ‘Just Because You’re Shaped Like A Dick Doesn’t Mean You Have To Act’ Like One

In his first show after a two week hiatus (nice life), Daily Show interim host John Oliver excoriated the entire state of Florida for the George Zimmerman verdict and the Stand Your Ground laws that surrounded the case. . .

Read more (with video) at: Mediaite

Sarah Palin's America (Rocky Mountain Mike Parody)

Oh, I needed some levity! I'm not sure if this is brand spanking new, or an older Rocky Mountain Mike bit reposted, but it comes at a time when I needed something funny. Thanks, Mike!

Filibuster Showdown Allegedly Coming

Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, from source, HuffPo
Harry Reid disappointed a lot of Democrats when he didn't enact filibuster reform, back when the Senate's session started. It was at least the second time that he let the window pass that I'm aware of. Republicans--of course--continued to filibuster everything anyway. Well, they threaten to filibuster,  which is all they need to do anymore.

What I, and a whole lot of other liberals wanted was the classic "talking filibuster," the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington kind. That way, there couldn't be any bitching about the filibuster having been eliminated, they would just have to work for it. Wouldn't that be nice? But no, Reid had some sort of gentleman's agreement with Mitch McChinless McConnell, who is clearly not a gentleman. But now, Reid is showing some backbone (or pretending to), and McConnell is squealing like a stuck turtle tortoise pig.

I hope they do something. I know it won't be the so-called "nuclear option." Reid is worried enough that the GOP will regain the majority (a hellish, impossible-to-believe-it's-possible possibility), that he'll make this "reform" limited. Just enough to get the President's confirmations through. But I'd be thrilled if he tacked on the talking filibuster for everything else. Majority or not.


Filibuster Reform: Senate Edges Closer To 'Nuclear Option' 

The Senate edged closer to a historic showdown over presidential appointments Monday night, with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) prepared to launch the so-called nuclear option after a rare all-senator meeting produced no compromise, but an agreement to keep talking.
"We had a very good conversation, that conversation is going to continue tonight," Reid said after the 3 1/2-hour meeting. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Monday, July 15, 2013

Breaking News: George Zimmerman to Host FOX "News" Program, Stand Your Ground

Image from source, the brilliant NewsCorpse
No, not really. But would it surprise you?


Fox News Signs George Zimmerman As Host: “Stand Your Ground” Premieres This Fall

. . .Sources inside Fox News have confirmed that Zimmerman has agreed to host a nightly crime and social affairs program on the network that is set to premiere in October 2013. The controversial signing is consistent with Fox’s programming philosophy of exploiting the transient publicity of media spectacles by drafting the beneficiaries of inordinate press attention, despite a lack of experience or qualifications – e.g. Sarah Palin. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Minority Report Is Here

This is my actual ring. Seriously, unless you're buying diamonds and
other precious stones and such, get your wedding rings online.
You'll save a hella lot of money.
No, I don't mean that we're putting people in jail for crimes they're going to commit in the future. We might be--who knows at this point--but I'm talking about the hyper-intense, very personalized marketing that the film Minority Report depicted.

We all know that if we buy something on Amazon, we start to see related advertisements in other internet activities. It gets really weird when you search for something on your computer, then get an ad for it on your phone. And I understand that when huge corporations run software and hardware companies that are integrated, and cross-platform, and all of that kind of crap, we're bound to start getting weirded out a little.

I've actually been trying to create this phenomenon by searching for odd things, things I don't normally have any interest in, like Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Bing, ladies' golf shoes in Yahoo, and Dymo label makers in AOL, just to see where those things might pop up. Oddly enough, none of that worked. What did, was by accident. My boss needed to get a ride to a Lexus repair shop, and I typed "Lexus Las Vegas" into a Google Maps search. After that, I got used Lexus ads in AOL email for weeks.

This is not an ad for you,
it's the targeted ad
for ME.
I unwittingly prompted this again just a couple of days ago. A couple of weeks ago, I bought matching wedding rings to replace our old ones, to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. I bought them from eBay, having learned that jewelry is crazy expensive from traditional sources. I got lovely tungsten carbide/carbon fiber rings for $14.99 each, no joke. And no shipping charge! But that isn't what flagged me. No, just a few days ago, I got it in my head to find out what the rings would have cost if I'd bought them from standard jewelry retailers.

I tried some local Vegas outlets like Tower of Jewels, to no avail. I tried Zayre, and couldn't find our rings. Then I tried Kay Jewelers ("Every Kiss Begins with Kay!"), and found our exact same rings. The cost $299 each. Wow, did I ever get a great deal, and wow is Kay ripping people off! After I found that out, I closed the browser window, and didn't think another thing about it. Then, while cruising the inernets, I was stunned to see the ad you see at the right. That's my ring, that's Kay Jewelers, and they really apparently want me to spend $274 more dollars than I did for the same ring. Again. Or something.

This is really no big deal of course. It's just deeply weird. I mean, I did use Google to search for a "tungsten carbide men's wedding band." I did click Kay Jewelers' matching picture, along with a pictures that matched from a couple of other sources. I'm just kind of surprised that Kay puts together the actual image search into an ad that specific. They can't know I already have the rings, and wouldn't dream of spending that much!  And when I think  of other pictures I've searched, I'm a little horrified at what might pop up on a any random web page!

And PS., Kay: I doubt I'm going to surprise "her" with matching men's wedding bands! But thanks, just the same.

Over Time with Bill Maher, July 12, 2013

In case you missed it, here is the internet-only portion of Real Time with Bill Maher from last Friday.

Blast from the Past: Up, Up and Away! It's Superman!

Man of Steel--the latest live-action version of Superman has been out for about a month and made over about $620 million worldwide. Oddly, some movie geeks think that's a lackluster performance. It also got some mediocre professional reviews, but has been generally loved by the public, so go figure. One thing it did is cast a huge shadow over every previous version of Supes, and there have been a lot of them. The Metropolis of Man of Steel for example, is so enormous that even though there is more destruction than has ever happened outside of an atomic bomb blast, 95% of it was left standing! It sort of made Superman II's destruction scenes look puny by comparison.

But as a long-time comics fan, particularly DC Comics and Superman, I'm notoriously easy to please, and like just about any version, cheesy or not. Here is a sampling of each edition I was able to find.

1. Superman (1948) - Movie serial starring Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill
2. Adventures of Superman (1952-1958) - Syndicated TV series, starring George Reeves

3. Superman: The Movie (1978) - Movie starring Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder
4. Superman II (1980) - Movie starring Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder

5. Superman III (1983) - Mostly bad movie starring Christopher Reeve and Richard Pryor
6. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) - Horrible, cheap movie starring Christopher Reeve

7. Adventures of Superboy (1988-1992) - Syndicated TV Series where Clark is Superboy for (somehow) several years), starring Gerard Christopher, who replaced John Haymes Newton
8. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997) - ABC TV series, starring Dean Cain and Terri Hatcher

9. Smallville (2001-2011) - WB/CW TV series, where Superboy stays a teenaged boy for way, way too long
10. Superman Returns (2006) - Quasi-sequel to Superman II, ignoring III and IV (wisely), and pleasing nobody except me, who kinda liked it

And that brings us up to the present, with Man of Steel, but since it's a month old, I can still put it on Blast from the Past, I guess. Any excuse to feature the incredible Henry Cavill. Sigh. . .

And yes, I'm aware that all of this would have made more sense a month ago. But it's been a weird couple of weeks folks! Hope you liked it, and hope you have a great week. Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

For What It's Worth: This is Glee Star Cory Monteith's Final Tweet

For those of you who don't know (see previous post), Glee star, Cory Monteith--Finn, the football hero--died on Saturday. It's very sad, unexpected (at least to me), and a bit disconcerting to find that he was playing 19 but was 31. Anyway, perhaps even more surprising is the final tweet on Twitter by the actor. As a person whose family makes a living off of combing over estate sales and auctions, I'm used to the banality of a person's last days. But could anything be more awesomely random than Cory Monteith's final tweet?

All of that snarkiness said, I am sad that such a promising, attractive and talented young performer has passed from this mortal coil.

Fair Warning: George Zimmerman is Loose on the Streets

Trayvon Martin, from
Oh, I'm sorry. Is that headline a little harsh? I don't really care, at this point. While I can certainly understand the vagueries of the letter of the law, and the difficulty of proving murder beyond a reasonable doubt, there is no doubt that a kid was killed, and that George Zimmerman killed him. There is no doubt that Trayvon Martin--surely not a perfect kid, but by no measure a "thug" as he's often been portrayed--was unarmed (no, a "sidewalk" doesn't count). There is no doubt that if Zimmerman had stayed in his truck, that this case would never have happened.

Where is there doubt? Well, nobody knows the actual sequence of events between the 911 tape and the arrival of the cops, except for Zimmerman. The witnesses have been contradictory and unreliable. The cops apparently let Zimmerman go with a reduced investigation, due to Florida's idiotic ALEC-scripted "stand your ground" law. So, evidence was lost. The prosecution was ham-handed, and seemingly borderline incompetent. So was the defense! The trial was a sad spectacle and sideshow. It followed in a long line of "marquee" cable-news-ready trials, and was one of the few I've paid any attention to.

The truth is, even though this trial became ridiculously overly saturated by the press (with MSNBC's countdown clock, and FOX "News"'s cheer leading for the defense), it wouldn't even have happened without a public outcry, and media attention. Because of the "frontier justice" laws of the batshit crazy state of Florida--Castle Law, Stand Your Ground, loosey-goosey self defense law--Zimmerman was let go with a minimum of forensic investigation. His blood alcohol level wasn't even tested.

I don't know what happened (and neither do you), but
I can tell you this: I fell while walking last week, into
gravel. I bled more--a lot more--than this.
So, no, I can't state with any assurance that Zimmerman was definitely guilty, and has gotten away with murder. And as a juror (who would have gotten more info than I have as a semi-casual observer), I may have had a hard time hanging 2nd-degree murder around his neck. But it was manslaughter. At least.

The facts of the matter that cannot be escaped are: a) Martin was not doing anything wrong and was unarmed. b) Martin wasn't in an area he wasn't supposed to be in. c) It is not unreasonable for a 17-year-old kid to go to the store on his own on a weekend night at 7:00 pm. d) Zimmerman was not supposed to have a gun as a neighborhood watchman. e) Zimmerman shouldn't have had his gun not just loaded, but with a bullet ready to fire. f) Whatever Zimmerman's fears for his life, Martin had just as much reason to be alarmed at being followed by a strange, unidentified man. g) The kid is dead, and can't speak for himself. h) Pot doesn't make you aggressively anything, except possibly aggressively hungry. And he wasn't eating his Skittles.

I could probably carry out those indisputable facts to z). We don't know who initiated the brawl between the men. We don't know whose voice (maybe both?) we heard on the tape. We don't know if Zimmerman was truly being beaten within an inch of his life, or just felt like he was. What we do know is that a kid is dead, and nobody is being held accountable. We know that--using this case as precedent--if you get into a fight, and you are losing (and have a gun!), you can shoot the other guy, and get away scot free. At least in Florida.

[My best guess on this situation is that Zimm was gung-ho about catching a crook, thought he saw a perp, knew he himself had a gun, called in to 911 (as though he was calling dispatch), pursued the perp (whilst still on the line), was told "we don't need you to do that," and did it anyway. loose cannon and all that. The kid--freaked out by the guy following him, who has not identified himself--flees for a bit, then turns and "stands his ground." There is a tussle, a bit of "upper hand" back-and-forth," Trayvon gets the better of Zimm, and--remembering he has the piece--Zimm blows Martin away. It may have even been the recoil of the gun that bonked Zimm in the nose, and bounced his head off the ground.]

I'm saddened by this result. I wish there had been a third option for the jury, a wrongful death or negligent homicide option or something. Because Zimmerman getting off with nothing? For shooting a kid armed with Skittles!?! It's crazy. Insane. It's certainly not justice.

Shocker: Glee Star, Cory Monteith, Dead at 31

Cory Monteith, Image from source, Huffington Post
Well, this is one you don't expect. We expect actors who play teenagers to be much older than the characters they play (though 31 is really pushing it), but you don't expect them to just turn up dead. Wow. Seemed like a nice kid. Guy. Whatever. But I guess you never know. As a casual fan of the show, this one kind of felt like a hit to the gut. Didn't expect that. Especially after the round-house kick of the Trayvon Martin murder case verdict. RIP, both to Mr. Monteith and Mr. Martin.


Cory Monteith Dead: 'Glee' Star Found In Vancouver Hotel Room

Cory Monteith, a Canadian actor best known for playing Finn Hudson on the hit show "Glee," was found dead Saturday in a Vancouver hotel room, police announced on Saturday. Monteith was 31 years old. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post
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