Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Now She Tells Us: Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Regrets Bush v. Gore?

Oh, Sandy, baby. . .

Sandy, my darlin.' What a different world this could have been without your vote. Why-ee-ah-ee-ah-ee-aye. . .oh, Sandy.


After Casting Key Fifth Vote For Bush, Justice O’Connor Now Regrets Bush v. Gore

Looking back, O’Connor said, she isn’t sure the high court should have taken [Bush v. Gore].
“It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue,” O’Connor said during a talk Friday with the Tribune editorial board. “Maybe the court should have said, ‘We’re not going to take it, goodbye. . .’”

Read more at: Think Progress

Nokia Lumia Commercial Mocks iPhone and Android Fans

It's hard out there for a Windows phone. How do you make a splash when you're on a platform that is way, way behind iPhone and Android in the mobile phone race? By making a  brilliant and funny video that skewers Phandroids and iPhans, that's how! It's true, there is a war brewing between fans of Android and Apple's iOS platforms. It's ultimately pretty silly, no different than the PC vs. Mac wars of recent years. [Story continues below]

The whole thing stems from a perceived snobbishness by Apple product users (ie., "The Cult of Mac), who look down their noses at Microsoft and now Google users. I've experienced it first hand, it really is a "thing." I myself am bi-platform on computers (whee, look at me!), And only picked Android due to the timing of my previous phone's unceremonious drowning in the washing machine. The iPhone 4 wasn't out yet, and I needed a phone right away, so I opted for the Samsung Epic 4G, after toying with a lesser phone. That was replaced by the HTC Evo 4G when the Epic got crushed by a car. Now, the Evo is on its last dying breath, and I'm eagerly awaiting a Samsung Galaxy S4 (the enormous phone in the commercial), though I flirted with getting the HTC One. . .still could change my mind, who knows.

But I never pondered a Windows phone (or BlackBerry, or iPhone) as a replacement. It's not brand loyalty or fandom. I want--finally--a top-of-the-line phone at the very beginning of my 2-year contract. I don't want an immediately obsolete one. I'd have to wait several months for an iPhone, and my old one isn't going to last that long, and by now I'm not sure I'd want to switch anyway.

But good on Nokia for giving it their best shot.

Monday, April 29, 2013

What Happens in Vegas: Las Vegas Icon Kenny Kerr Dead at 60?

I included a question mark, because though I just heard this story on News 3 here on KSNV in Las Vegas, I can't find the story anywhere. Not even on their own website. Google and Bing have nothing as of this writing.

Image from Toledo Blade
Kenny Kerr was one of the two most famous female impersonators in Las Vegas, the other being Frank Marino. The two had a tempestuous relationship, and Marino always seemed to have the better reputation, and the more consistently on-track career. Kerr's Boylesque ran for years, at more than one property before fracturing into varying shows in varying places. I met Kerr once, complimented him (I had seen Boylesque twice at The Sahara), and found him to be curt and a bit rude. Others who I've met have relayed similar information, but he was entertaining, and very funny in his show.

So, no details, and no second source, but at least one Las Vegas television station has declared Kerr dead at 60. Which is too young, and surely older than Kerr admitted to! RIP, Kenny.

UPDATE: I guess it helps to type in "Kenny Kerr Dead" into Bing. It revealed a Las Vegas Review-Journal story, so I guess it's legit. It doesn't list a cause of death, but it does play coy with whether or not Kerr was gay. Please.

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

UPDATE THE SECOND: Wow, I unintentionally set off a firestorm in the comments section, regarding this post, and my apparent tastelessness in writing it.  I have a tendency toward irreverence on this, my personal blog. And I've never much gone in for "only say the nicest things about the recently deceased," at least not on the blog. But it bears keeping in mind that I'm not just writing this blog for myself, or my small group of usual readers. Often times, people connected to the stories may find me in a Google search, and not take kindly to my phrasing. Apologies if I was too rough in my assessment of Mr. Kerr. I'm sure that especially to his friends and family, he was a perfectly wonderful guy.  I obviously wouldn't have gone to his show twice if I didn't enjoy him as a performer. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blast from the Past: Nonsense Lyrics (Revisited)

Every so often, I like to revisit some of my Blast from the Past subjects, and update them a little, rather than coming up with a whole new subject. Because, if you haven't seen it, it's new to you! So, with that said. . .

This edition of Blast from the Past was inspired by my daily 4-mile walks, listening to Pandora on my mobile phone (I predict the death of the iPod in short order). While walking alone, it's very easy to get lost in the lyrics of a song, and you find out. . .hey, some lyrics don't make much sense.

I'm not talking about intentional nonsense (Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da), or songs with made up words (Sussudio). I'm talking about songs that sound like they're telling a straight-ahead story with their lyrics, but are nonsense when read aloud. The song I happened to hear that tripped off the subject in my head was by Roxette, the Swedish, big in the 1990s group. And perhaps we can chalk up the word salad to a bad translation. Here is a portion of Joyride, a hit from their second album: "She has a train going downtown, She's got a club on the moon. And she's telling all her secrets in a wonderful balloon. Oh she's the heart of the funfair. She's got me whistling her private tune. And it all begins where it ends, and she's all mine, my magic friend."

WTF, Per and Marie? Is that supposed to mean something? And some of their other songs were just as awkwardly worded.

Now, from the same time period (ish) we come to Savage Garden's I Want You, a fun little peppy number. And I suppose the lyrics are intended to be gibberish. If so, they succeeded: "Anytime I need to see your face I just close my eyes And I am taken to a place where your crystal mind and Magenta feelings take up shelter in the base of my spine Sweet like a chica cherry cola."

But these are minor offenders. Two groups embody the nonsense lyric like no other to my pop-culture knowledge. Sugar Ray ranks second only because they had a more abbreviated career than the all-time champs, who we'll come to in a second. Sugar Ray's first hit was the made-for-radio Fly, a hit that was omni-present in 1997. It's a pleasing pop music confection, and it is utterly indecipherable: "All around the world statues crumble for me, who knows how long I've loved you, everywhere I go people stop and they see, twenty-five years old my mother God rest her soul."

And Sugar Ray never got much clearer than that. From Someday"Some say better things will come our way, no matter what they try to say, you were always there for me. Some way, when the sun begins to shine, I hear a song from another time and they fade away." Um, yeah.

But the all-time champ-een nonsense lyrics singers are 80s faves Duran Duran. As far as I can tell, they've never sung a hit song that made a lick of sense. Here, their first big hit in the USA was Hungry Like the Wolf. Can you decipher this? "In touch with the ground, I'm on the hunt I'm after you. Smell like I sound, I'm lost in the crowd. And I'm hungry like the wolf. Straddle the line, in discord and rhyme. . ." The whole song reads that way.


But they were just getting started. How about these New Moon on Monday lyrics: "Shake up the picture the lizard mixture, with your dance on the eventide. You got me coming up with answers, all of which I deny. I said it again, could I please rephrase it. Maybe I can catch a ride. . ."

Sure, okay.  Or how about The Reflex: "You've gone too far this time. But I'm dancing on the valentine. I tell you somebody's fooling around with my chances on the dangerline. . .The reflex is an only child he's waiting in the park. The reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark."

And we can keep going with this. In Union of the Snake, Simon Le Bon makes no more sense than in any of the above: "Telegram force and ready. I knew this was a big mistake. There's a fine line drawing my senses together, and I think it's about to break. If I listen, I can hear them singers, voices in your body coming through on the radio." But I think you get the idea.

UPDATE: As I said, I want to revisit this, because I left out one of the most egregious offenders in this category, a lady named Sheryl Crow. Now, I love me some Sheryl Crow music, and happened to be driving over Santa Monica Boulevard the first time I heard All I Wanna Do. But did you ever try to figure out what she's singing about? In that song, she actually tells a story, if a fragmented one. But in A Change (Would Do You Good), she sings "Ten years living in a paper bag, Feedback baby, he’s a flipped out cat, He’s a platinum canary, drinkin’ Falstaff beer, Mercedes Ruehl, and a rented lear." And it never makes more sense than that.

So then, try If it Makes You Happy on for size: "Put on a poncho, played for mosquitoes, And drank til I was thirsty again, We went searching through thrift store jungles, Found Geronimo's rifle, Marilyn's shampoo, And Benny Goodman's corset and pen."

So with that, we have a new winner! So, I'll wrap, and call it a weekend. Happy Monday, everybody!

Over Time with Bill Maher, April 26, 2013

Conan O'Brien at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

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

Steven Spielberg's Obama, Starring Daniel Day-Lewis

If you don't feel like checking out President Obama's entire speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, at least watch this clip.

President Obama at the Annual White House Correspondents' Dinner

After the painful remembrance of the Bush years over the last week, I'm happy to see the focus back on our current POTUS.  This year's schtick wasn't quite as snappy as in year's past, perhaps. But President Obama's still got it. And he got some laughs out of me. And the Obama Steven Spielberg bit was golden.

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

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Republican National Committee Using George W. Bush as Fundraising Opportunity

Thanks W? Yeah, thanks a hell of a lot, George.
By the way, dumb asses, it's missing a comma.
I, along with millions of Americans, got an instant refresher course in all things Dubya over the last couple of days. In some cases, George W. Bush's tenure at the White House was glossed over, but I didn't see very much that actually tried to play his presidency off as a success. Mostly, it was just polite and respectful. Perhaps too respectful for my taste. I know that my political ideology colors my views, but to be fair, much of my current ideology was shaped in reaction to the eight years of Bush/Cheney! And watching that little weasel on television with his insipid answers to vapid questions (Q: What do you do with your time; A: Paint 2-3 hours a day!) just brought it all back. How embarrassed I was watching him represent our country.

Listen, I'll cop to having a case of Bush Derangement Syndrome, but unlike current sufferers of Obama Derangement Syndrome, I had an honest, earned case of it. There wasn't as much making crap up then, inventing things to get torqued about. Oh, we nitpicked, sure. And we wondered what that boxy thing was on his back during the debate. And why he had that weird gyrating jaw when he talked. Wondered what the real story was behind the pretzel incident, and the falling off the bike incidents. . .mostly, all of that stuff just made us wonder if he was still on the sauce or the blow. But we didn't question his paternity, his citizenship, his religion, his sexuality or his patriotism. We thought he was a dolt, in over his head, with a collection of incompetents and/or amoral opportunists working for him. I could write a 10,000 word post for all of the solid reasons why I despised the Dubya Bush administration, but will save time, and just refer you to the bulk of this blog from its inception until January 20, 2009!

My take on best uses for the RNC's new image. Like it?
And George, if you can't tell after that, NO! We don't miss you yet! NO! We will not thank you for anything but leaving and going away. And, Mr. Reince Priebus, if you think that stupid sticker is going to work wonders for the RNC, I've got to think you're demented. Many Bush voters are loathe to admit it now. Fewer would display any kind of "W" sticker on their car. And any revenue you gain from this little endeavor is more likely to be overshadowed by the scorn heaped upon it. And also very likely to generate a whole new internet meme built ironically around it. I'll do my part.

Get yours here though, if you feel moved: Republican National Committee

Friday, April 26, 2013

Barbara Bush Says No to Jeb in White House

Image from Talking Points Memo
As unbelievable as it might seem, Barbara Bush was First Lady of the United States beginning 24 years ago. At the time, there were some funny Saturday Night Live skits with Phil Hartman as Bar (a notable one with him trying to drag Jan Hooks' Nancy Reagan out of the place). But mostly, she seemed to be an affable, elder figure, if a little above it all. But I don't remember having even the slightest dislike for her.

That changed during the years following the George H.W. Bush presidency. In several different stories, she came off badly--aristocratic, cold, odd, uncaring--leaving a bad taste in my mouth. The fact that her son George still makes my skin crawl has also probably colored my view. It would be fair to say, my feelings toward Barbara Bush have dimmed considerably over the years. But now, I find myself in agreement with her, and I may have to reassess!


Barbara Bush Thinks There’ve Been Enough Bushes In The White House, No Room For Jeb

Amid the celebration surrounding the opening of son George W. Bush’s presidential library, former first lady Barbara Bush is brushing aside talk of a Jeb Bush run for the White House. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jon Stewart: 2nd Amendment the Only One Conservatives Care About?

Jon Stewart raised the topic of the odd conservative fixation on the 2nd amendment to the Constitution--seemingly above all others--in a way that just tickled me. Because I have made this argument countless times both on the blog and in conversation, but I never succeeded in making it this entertaining. Keith Olbermann did it once, but we don't have him to kick around anymore. So, thanks to The Daily Show for making the point so well.

NOM's Brian Brown: Gay Marriage Worse Than Death of Parent, Divorce

The oh-so-heterosexual Brian Brown.
Image from source, Raw Story
No. The head of the badly named National Organization for Marriage didn't really say that did he? Yeah, he really kind of did. Or rather, that is the logical conclusion to draw from his badly thought out, illogical argument that same-sex marriage somehow deprives a child of a parent.* One thing I'm really enjoying though, is watching these guys--this guy--start to lose. And lose it, apparently.


Brian Brown: Same sex marriage worse than death or divorce

Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, on Wednesday compared same-sex marriage to the death of a parent. In a prepared statement, Brown lashed out at the Rhode Island legislature for approving a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

*If it is not immediately obvious why this is such a bad argument, realize that gay parents already exist. We're not talking about the legality of gay people having children, or gay people adopting. We're talking about civil marriage equality. The kids of gay parents aren't going to suddenly lose or gain a parent should same-sex marriage be legalized. It's a very stupid arguement, but it seems to be NOM's "all-in" gambit.

Boston Bombing Doesn't Somehow Negate Gun Concerns

Yep. Special kind of moron.
Bad analogies make me crazy. Oh, I know, I'm sure I've made a few, not every attempt at cleverness is a success. And in a world that is now ruled by social media memes, it seems even the most horrific happening is (quickly) turned into them. Some are truly clever, thought provoking and memorable. Others strain so hard to make their point, they hit you over the head like an anvil. And the conservative attempts at "humor?" Well, they're often better left unsaid.

Several days ago when there was a mass stabbing, there were goofy memes playing off of "knife control," entirely missing the point that nobody died in that unfortunate event.  And now, with the Boston Marathon bombing, the pressure cookers used to make the bombs have become the new "isn't this clever" item to mock gun control. First, let me say that conservative attempts at humor are often  groan-worthy. But it is often difficult to articulate what it is that bugs you about it, the weak attempt at humor, the bad analogy, the poor execution. . . Mostly, it's the actual sentiment behind the "joke," the lame argument that is being made, that is actually believed by a whole group of people.

So, it is wonderful when you find the perfect encapsulation of what bugs you about one of these things. And here it is.


If you think Boston is a reason to abandon gun safety laws, you're a special kind of moron

. . .Let's imagine a scenario in which roughly 4,000 Americans have been killed by weaponized pressure cookers between last December and now. I'm willing to bet Campfield would be fairly beside himself demanding we stop bad people from getting pressure cookers, and the idea of letting people who have already have a history of assaulting people with pressure cookers buy more pressure cookers, due only to our own unwillingness to check up on those things, would sound so stupid that nobody would even propose such a thing. Let's imagine a world in which, whenever a child finds a pressure cooker under his parents' bed, there's a good chance that child dies. We'd damn well be figuring out what to do about parents who leave goddamn pressure cookers under their beds. Yes, you can kill someone with a pressure cooker, or a spoon, or a piece of stout twine—but there's nothing better for killing people than an actual weapon. . .

Read more at: DailyKos

The George W. Bush Presidential LieBerry

My version of W's memoirs, from the
early days of the blog.
A great promo for Dubya's hall of shame, from Kenny Pick (of The Stephanie Miller Show).

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In Case You Missed It: The Ricin Case Gets Weirder

It was weird enough that the guy who was suspected of mailing a poison called ricin to the President and others, was an Elvis impersonator with conspiracy theories. Now it turns out the got the wrong guy, but that he's even weirder than we thought. And it looks like he's the victim of the ultimate revenge fantasy of somebody else. So yeah, this guy was framed. But he's gotta be guilty of something: excessive weirdness, at the very least.

He's out, ladies! The line must be forming for those
free foot rubs! Image from Raw Story.

Freed Elvis-impersonating ricin suspect thanks Jesus, offers foot rubs to Mississippi ‘ladies’

On Tuesday’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow said that if you’ve been watching the case of Paul Kevin Curtis, the Elvis impersonator arrested and then released on charges of sending ricin letters to public figures, for its “wacky factor,” then Curtis’ press conference on being cleared of charges on Tuesday “did not disappoint. . .”

Read more at: Raw Story

We'll Have a Gay Old Time: Marriage News by the Truckload

Image from Huffington Post
"Truckload" might sound like the wrong metaphor, but you're forgetting about the lesbians, aren't you? Heh. Anyway, there has been a lot of marriage equality news. I know I swore I'd get away from "the gay," and I really thought that the subject would fade until June's big Supreme Court decisions. But truly, the love that dare not speak its name is really tired of being kept quiet, it would seem!

We're only to Wednesday, and already three states have jumped some hurdles on the way to passing marriage equality legislation, Nevada, Rhode Island and Delaware. If they are successful (and they still have a ways to go), they will join 9 states and Washington DC in allowing same-sex marriage, putting the percentage to over 25%. . .and that's pretty amazing, given that the first push against it really didn't hit until the late 90s.

More significant, at least in its immediacy is the decision of France to legalize same-sex marriage. It's sparked some violent overreaction from conservatives in the country, which is somewhat surprising. Supposedly, Europeans were supposed to be much more indifferent to the notion, we've been lead to believe. And you have to wonder how much of that has been the direct result of American meddling by the (badly named) National Organization for Marriage, which seems to be in the process of rebranding itself as international. Though they've uttered some perfunctory words of condemnation of the violence in France, they've been fanning the flames for weeks.

My bet is, that overworked, overblown reaction will peter out, and "gay marriage" will just become an ordinary thing, as it largely has in those countries and US states where it has already been passed. Now, it would be wonderful if this was NOM (IOM?)'s last gasp, and that the marriage equality wave would finally just crest over the civilized world. Then I could maybe really change the subject around here! But even with the swiftness of this movement, it still has a long way to go. Even so, the constant flurry of activity is very exciting to see.


France Legalizes Gay Marriage After Harsh Debate, Violent Protests

France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate that exposed deep conservatism in the nation's heartland and triggered huge demonstrations that tapped into intense discontent with the Socialist government. Within hours, fiery clashes broke out between protesters and riot police. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Openly Gay NV State Senator, Kevin Atkinson
Image from ABC News

Gay Senator Comes Out As State Approves Same-Sex Marriage

While the country waits for rulings from the Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, states are rushing ahead to reform their own regulations on marriage. Several states have bills coming up on their legislative dockets that would allow gay couples to legally marry in their states. Rhode Island’s Senate Judiciary Committee and Delaware’s House are both set to vote on same-sex marriage bills today. Minnesota and Illinois are also engaged in fights over whether to open up marriage to gay couples. . .

Read more at: ABC News

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims Awesome for Several Reasons

An appropriate shot of Brian Sims
from his Facebook page.
For some time, a politician in Pennsylvania named Brian Sims has been on the liberal radar, mine included. Part of the reason is kind of shallow: he's a former football player who is big, beefy and very attractive. But after you discover that part, you find out he's also very smart, well spoken, and a strong liberal with integrity. That's pretty awesome. Then, if you didn't already know, he turns out to be openly gay, and was electable in a state where that hadn't happened before.

So, Sims wins a seat in the Pennsylvania legislature, and everyone who was paying attention probably still has him in their Twitter feed and is still following him on Facebook, and you start to see that he's a pretty awesome dude like, all the time. He really seems like the real deal, saying and doing all the right things, and looking great doing it. And now, he's really gone and done it: he's warmed the hearts of both the pro-choice constituency and those of us opposed to the intrusion of church into state.

I'm going to keep following him.


Brian Sims, Pennsylvania Democrat, On Abortion: We Did Not 'Swear To Uphold The Bible'

. . ."This legislation is about advancing an ideology of oppression and suppression, even if such a plan means ignoring the oath of office that each of us swore," Sims told his colleagues during a floor debate in the House of Representatives. "As a reminder, Mr. Speaker, I do believe this has been forgotten entirely by many of my colleagues today: Each of us put our hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. We did not place our hands on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible. . ."

Read more at: Huffington Post

New Hampshire GOP Lawmaker: Boston Marathon Bombing an Inside Job

The face of crazy, from Gawker
GOP Laot much I can add to the Gawker write-up on this batshit crazy New Hampshire House Rep, they cover it pretty well. But, I think a good litmus test for if a person ought to be bounced from office? That they look to Glenn Beck or Alex Jones as a "news" source. That ought to be enough to get you a stay in a padded room.


GOP Lawmaker Suggests the Boston Marathon Bombing Was an Inside Job

Tremblay posted on Glenn Beck's Facebook wall last week, saying that the search for the suspects was going exactly as he'd suggested it would. She then goes on to suggest that the U.S. government planned to whole thing, but for what reason she does not specify. The message was posted Friday morning, before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested, for some context. . .

Read more at: Gawker

Nevada Begins Slow Reversal of Gay Marriage Ban

A lot of people bemoan how easy it is to get a constitutional amendment passed in the State of California. It's said that it's so easy, the people might make a hasty decision that turns out to be faulty, which was the case with Proposition 8, a change that rescinded the right of same-sex marriage, and was found to be nu-Constitutional by more than one court (and is being decided by the Supreme Court right now).

In Nevada, a citizen-initiated change to the constitution is much harder. It has to pass in a popular vote twice, in consecutive elections. And so it was with Question 2, one of the early anti-gay marriage amendments. As stupid as it sounds (and it sounds pretty stupid), anti-equality forces played up "the sanctity of marriage" in a state that has drive-thru wedding chapels, quickie divorces, game shows that award spouses, Elvis impersonator officiants, and the infamous 55-hour marriage of Britney Spears. A giant douche nozzle named Richard Ziser spearheaded the effort, and attempted to parlay his success into a political career. Fortunately, he lost.

So, how do you undo something like this? Well, it takes even longer. See, the legislature needs to pass it twice to put it up for a vote, and then it has to pass again. Twice again. And Ziser is sure to round up his old gay-hatin' posse, and break out the disingenuous clap-trap about Jesus and "what about the children" and the fabric of society, blah, blah. They'll pretend that we aren't known as a libertarian, live-and-let-live state, that we aren't known for legal brothels, legalized gambling and all manner of vice. Only this time? I don't think it's going to work. The times, they're-a-changin,' and I think this time Nevada will do the right thing. But it will still take years.


Gay Marriage Resolution Advances in Nevada

The Nevada Senate took an emotional step toward legalizing gay marriage with a near party-line vote to repeal the state's heterosexual definition of marriage. . .

Read more at: 8NewsNow

Monday, April 22, 2013

Divinyls Lead Singer Dead at 53

Awww. Though I was never really a Divinyls fan exactly, I always loved their song I Touch Myself, and really liked the lead singer's performance on that song and in the video. Christina "Chrissy" Amphlett died much too young of breast cancer. RIP.


Divinyls Singer Christina Amphlett Dies at Age 53

Christina "Chrissy" Amphlett--frontwoman for the Australian rock band the Divinyls, whose "I Touch Myself" went to number four on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1991--died Sunday at her home in New York. Amphlett was 53 years old. . .

Read more at: Yahoo!

Blast from the Past: Snacks!

Snacks? Why snacks? Because this was my birthday weekend, and I jumped off the diet, that's why! And I've been enjoying myself too, but fun time is almost over. But I long for the good old days when I had the metabolism of a hummingbird, and could eat as much of whatever I wanted as I wanted, and never gain a pound. I would have enjoyed it more if I'd know those days wouldn't last long!

So, here--in no particular order--are some classic food stuff commercials from my formative years. And because I'm wrapping up my mini holiday, I'm just giving you the vids this week. Doing these things with write-ups and links is hard work, and I'll have plenty of that at work this week!

I even ended it with a commercial that was trying to be calorie conscious! And on that note, have a great week everybody. Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Meanwhile, on Facebook: The Media Hokey-Pokey


And I love that it looks like Sean Hannity. . .

FOX "News" Hosts Blame America First

Image from source, NewsCorpse
September 11, 2001 is simultaneously a recent event in American history, and a very long time ago. And it is difficult to put yourself back into the mindset we had and lived with that day, and in the days, weeks, months and years that followed. While we got a little reminder this week with the events in Boston, there were marked differences.

Now, obviously, the events are not directly comparable. We don't know the motives of the two bombers, and we don't even know if they are tied to any particular movement, or if they are just a couple of assholes with their own agenda. The scale of the attack was also much smaller, and the loss of life much more restricted. But if 9/11 hadn't happened, think of how it would have hit us. But beyond the scale, there were differences in how people reacted.

C'mon, admit it. These Chicks took a lot of
undeserved shit.
After 9/11, there was no right, no left. There were no Republicans or Democrats. There may have been a few rogue contrarians, but they were in the extreme minority. Those of us who did not vote for and were no fans of Bush/Cheney held our tongues. For a long time. We may have muttered under our breath (and Bill Maher lost his job for saying something "too soon"), but the general consensus was that we were Americans first, and all else was secondary. This ultimately became opressive, as--I
think--partisan conservatives took this to be the new normal, and expected everyone to play along with their agenda from then on.

So, as people started to chafe at some of the Bush/Cheney policies, and the two wars (particularly Iraq), and many of the new perceived losses of freedom (Patriot Act, Torture, Guantanamo), dissent was met with swift and viscous condemnation. We were un-American. Unpatriotic. "Blame America firsters." People who criticized the Bush Administration were chastened for attacking America, during wartime. The Dixie Chicks weathered a wholly out-of-scale attack by conservatives after a mild insult of Bush one of them uttered on stage. Even as late as 2008, conservatives blasted Barack Obama for not being sufficiently patriotic, for not wearing a flag pin, for not (apparently) standing at attention for the National Anthem, and other things.

Nuge the stooge, conservative hero.
But these days, with Obama in the White House, none of those things matter at all. We are still at war, but there is no attack of the President, his administration, or even the entire government, that is out of bounds for conservatives. They can accuse him of being an un-American, evil, Marxist, socialist, Maoist, communist, homosexual, adulterous, Nazi, statist, Kenyan Muslim who has as his explicit agenda destroying America. Notable celebrities such as Ted Nugent--quite unlike the Dixie Chicks--can come this|close to threatening to assassinate the President, and still draw air, but no condemnation from the right. And after an attack on this country as happened this week, the right is ready and eager to blame the government and the President for it. And then of course, there is FOX "News."


Fox News Hosts Join The ‘Blame America’ Firsters

Shortly after the attacks on 9/11, a stunned nation struggled to explain how such noxious hatred could have formed and congealed into the heinous plot that took the lives of so many innocent people. In a statement that still ranks amongst the most feeble-minded insults to America’s intelligence, George W. Bush proclaimed that “they hate us for our freedom. . .”

Read more at: NewsCorpse 

Over Time with Bill Maher, April 19, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston Berzerk

As I type this, I'm up late (or early, I suppose) into the early hours of my birthday. I should be sleeping, so that I can get up early and have a wonderful birthday breakfast. But there is an unfolding, and utterly bananas story coming out of Boston.

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

There is too much conflicting and contradictory information to report with any level of accuracy. I'm watching MSNBC, which seems to be really trying to not overstep into too much speculation. Everything is qualified and clearly said to be guesswork when it is, with endless repeatings of the facts as they are known, and then just what they're hearing. The skittishness is understandable, given the bad reporting by The New York Post, CNN and FOX "News" earlier in the week.

But the gist is that a police run-in with a seemingly unrelated criminal element in Watertown, with an officer shot, a hail of gunfire in a fire fight, a pressure cooker bomb being "lit" and thrown at the cops, and a very likely but still tentative naming of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. . .one dead? One on the loose? Possibly three of them?

It's really unclear, though even as I type this, it would seem that they're getting surer that these are the guys that the FBI was looking for. But even that doesn't prove that they were the actual bombers. . .or the only bombers.

Oddly, some sources are saying that one of the guys--the one on the loose--is a guy named Sunil Tripathi, who has been missing for a month. I don't know what that's about, but there you go. I'm sure this story will continue to morph, and some things will turn out not to be true, other things play out, etc. But this is going to be a movie or miniseries one day. Count on it.

UPDATE: As I suspected, this Tripathi kid is NOT one of the names of the two suspected bombers. I'm not sure how his name got in the mix, but I sure didn't think he looked like either of them. More later.


Explosions, fatal shooting in Boston area

Two men identified by law enforcement sources as the Boston Marathon attack suspects — armed with explosives and guns — battled authorities in a Boston suburb early Friday morning, unleashing chaos until cops took one of the men into custody, and the other fled, the sources said.
Officials later said the the suspect taken into custody died. . .

Read more at: NBC News

Ricin Mailing Suspect is an Elvis Impersonator?

Maybe this was a suicide attempt, and he just forgot to write
"Return to Sender?" Heh. Image from CBS News.
The news is just too freaking weird this week, honestly.


Ricin mailing suspect charged; once impersonated Elvis for Sen. Wicker

Paul Kevin Curtis, the suspect arrested for allegedly sending letters laced with ricin to President Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker, R- Miss., was charged Thursday with making threats against the president and other threatening communications via the Postal Service. . .

Read more at: CBS News

Happy Birthday to Me: All About April 19th

What follows is a reworking of a blog post I did on my birthday four years ago. I was 43 then. I'm 47 now. Early forties to late forties, just that fast! Or is the entire span mid-40s? Hmmm. . .

But it really doesn't sound so bad. I can still (barely) play the doubling game, where you figure out how old you'll be at twice your age: 94. Not entirely likely, but not impossible either. I could get there. Grandpa Greenlee made it to 92 and only expired because he wanted to, I'm convinced. Grandma Greenlee got all the way to 94, though a good portion of her marbles didn't, sadly. The maternal grandparents only got to 67 and 79, so taking an average drops the number to 83, which doesn't sound so bad.  And hey, most of my friends and co-workers are older than me, and The Other Half will be 52 this year so 47 sounds just fine.

April 19th isn't a particularly happy day in history, despite its meaning to me. Here are just a few of the bad and/or very serious things that happened on my birthday:

- 1775: "The shot heard 'round the world," the first shot of the American Revolutionary War fired. Sure, it ended up OK, but somebody was on the other end of that shot!
- 1927: Mae West sentenced to ten days in prison for indecency!
- 1961: Bay of Pigs invasion.
- 1989: 47 soldiers killed on USS Iowa.
- 1993: Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas is raided, then burns to the ground.
- 1995: Domestic terrorism of Oklahoma City bombing.
- 1997: Red River Flood in North Dakota.
- 2005: The previous Pope was named. He was creepy.

This week's unfortunate events in Boston, Mass. and West, Texas have preceded April 19th by a few days, and though they haven't officially been tied to any of the above, I've just got to wonder if there's a connection somehow.

Then again, some good and/or interesting things happened on April 19th too:

- 1775: That American Revolutionary War thing turned out to be good, of course.
- 1892: First automobile driven in the United States.
- 1935: Actor Dudley Moore born.
- 1946: Actor/singer Tim Curry born.
- 1971: Charles Manson sentenced to death. . .so why is he still alive?
- 1987: The Simpsons debuts as a short, recurring cartoon within The Tracey Ullman Show (on my 21st birthday, and I was watching!).
- 2011: Fidel Castro resigned.

Yeah, so I might not be blogging very much today, dig?
Other birthdays today include Kate Hudson, Jayne Mansfield, Hayden Christensen, Ashley Judd and Suge Knight, who is exactly the same age as me. Deaths on this date include Charles Darwin (1892), Pierre Curie (1906) and Benny Hill (1992).

And did you know that my birthday is also: Bicycle Day, Venezuala's Independence Day, "Feast Day" of several Roman Catholic saints, and this sometimes it's Orthodox Easter! My birthday has occurred on ordinary Easter three times during my life, and never will again, unless I live to be 105. Fancy that!

Source for much of this frivolity: Wikipedia.org

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Meanwhile, on Facebook: Tick-Tock, Ted Nugent. . .

CNN Blows It in Attempt to "Be First" to Report Arrest in Boston Marathon Bombing

To be fair, FOX "News" and AP jumped on this bogus bandwagon too. . .

President Obama's Angry Response to Senate Filibusters on Gun Laws

The President wasn't thrilled with the Senate's decision to do nothing about gun control legislation. I wasn't either, but the Blogger software ate my entire post, so here's the video. I'm tired.

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Major Explosion at Plant in West, Texas

Not western Texas, but the town of West, Texas. It looks bad, as this eyewitness video shows, and then it gets worse at about 30 seconds in. . .


Deadly fertilizer plant blast levels homes in small Texas town
A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in the small Texas town of West left at least two people dead, leveled several homes and prompted a widescale evacuation in the community of 2,600 people. . .

Read more at (with more video): CNN.com

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Seth MacFarlane Condemns Family Guy Boston Bombing Conspiracy Theory

Seth MacFarlane, image from source Raw Story
As predicted, the conspiracy theorists are already out with a slew of half-baked conspiracy theories around the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15. One of them focuses on Seth MacFarlane and his popular cartoon, Family Guy. Unsurprisingly, MacFarlane isn't pleased with this.*


Seth MacFarlane condemns ‘abhorrent’ Family Guy mash-up of Boston Marathon bombing

“Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane condemned a doctored online clip of the show depicting its star using a cellphone to trigger explosions at the Boston Marathon.
The fake clip was based on scenes from an episode of the cult animated series which aired last month, and which was pulled by broadcaster Fox from online service Hulu.com because of sensitivity after Monday’s blasts. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

*If you really want to send one of these wing-nutters into a tizzy, be sure to tell them that MacFarlane was supposed to be on one of the planes that crashed on September 11, 2001, but was hung over and missed his flight. So he says. Maybe he was tipped off? Okay, wing-nuts. Go!

Robin Williams' Moving Tribute to Jonathan Winters

Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters and Pam Dawber,
the cast of Mork & Mindy from NYT
Robin Williams often spoke of his admiration of Jonathan Winters, and got to work with him on the last season of Mork & Mindy. Winters was Williams' comic inspiration, so I expected that he'd have something to say about the comedy legend's passing a few days ago. And he didn't disappoint.


A Madman, but Angelic

. . ."Jonathan’s improvs on “Mork & Mindy” were legendary. People on the Paramount lot would pack the soundstage on the nights we filmed him. He once did a World War I parody in which he portrayed upper-class English generals, Cockney infantrymen, a Scottish sergeant no one could understand and a Zulu who was in the wrong war. The bit went on so long that all three cameras ran out of film. Sometimes I would join in, but I felt like a kazoo player sitting in with Coltrane. . ."

Read it at: New York Times

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Will Conspiracy Theorists Will Have a Tough Time with Boston Bombings?

When something bad happens in the news that is of the scale of the bombings in Boston, I feel compelled--and I don't know why I do it--to check in with FreeRepublic.com. Not to get the news, or some kind of insight, heavens no. I just want to see what the lunatic fringe (now, sadly with representation in Congress) is saying, right off the bat.

I liken FReepers to Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls, who was said to have suffered a stroke that removed the "tact" filter in her brain. FReepers have no filters, except the reality distorting Right Wing World prism they run everything through. They have no concept of "too soon" or "out of bounds," unless it goes against one of their near-and-dear issues, and then they are extremely easily offended, and full of outrage. They are also prone to instant conspiracy theories. Some flame out very quickly, some catch fire. All have inconsistencies, blind alley tangents and plot holes, with some having coherence problems at the very beginning, and others falling into unintelligiblity later on.

And sure enough, there were already FReepers calling the Boston Marathon bombings a false flag incident. Some were tying it to Sandy Hook. And that of course was leading them to some sort of tie-in with "gun grabbing" and Obama using it to take more of our "freedoms." Yeah, they're idiots. So, while I was glad to find this article from Dave Weigel about why spinning this into a conspiracy will be awkward, he underestimates the wingnuts. They don't care if their theories are around the bend, make no sense and are self-contradictory. They're all id, no tact, no logic, and have no problem with cognitive dissonance. See why I keep tabs on 'em?


Why the Conspiracy Theorists Will Have a Tough Time With Boston

. . .We walked past it right in time to hear the "false flag" guy. Dan Bidondi, a "reporter/analyist" (sic) for Alex Jones's InfoWars, managed to ask Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick the very first question in a nationally televised press conference. 

Why were the loud speakers telling people in the audience to be calm moments before the bombs went off? Is this another false flag staged attack to take our civil liberties and promote homeland security while sticking their hands down our pants on the streets? . .
Read more at: Slate

Patton Oswalt on Boston Marathon Bombings

Image from Oswalt's
Facebook Page
By now, you've heard about the bombings at the Boston Marathon, and frankly, there's not much I can add to that. I'm not going to speculate on who, what or why. If I'm right, what have I gained? If I'm wrong, I expose my own prejudices, or at least would appear to. So, I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'm passing along something else you may or may not have seen. It's from comedian Patton Oswalt. I'm a big fan, for several reasons, and this just makes me like him more.

From Patton Oswalt's Facebook Page

"Boston. Fucking horrible.

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, "Well, I've had it with humanity."

But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, 'The good outnumber you, and we always will.'"


Monday, April 15, 2013

Blast from the Past: TV Shows That Nobody Remembers

This week's Blast from the Past is a personal favorite topic. It's kind of the basis for columns like this: nostalgia, and forgotten pop culture nuggets. Sometimes "forgotten" just means you haven't seen it in a while, and it slipped your memory. But this list is more like, I'm the only one who remembers. Now, I will cop to being a little too absorbed by pop culture my whole life, and to having an unusually sticky brain that remembers useless details. So sometimes, I'll remember a show that may have been on only a couple of seasons, maybe wasn't really all that highly rated, but I just love it. Then it is cancelled, and never gets rerun anywhere, so the world forgets.

Not me. I remember them all. And this list is an unearthing of the corpses of several of my favorites.

1. Throb (1986) - This was a show about a working single mom (Diana Canova of Soap), raising a cute kid (Paul Walker of The Fast and the Furious), who takes a job at a fledgling record studio, working with the flighty Blue (Jane Leeves of Fraiser) and diminutive-but-adorable boss Zach (Jonathan Prince). At home, she had best friend Meredith (Maryedith Burrell of Fridays). It was syndicated, and only lasted three years, but I loved it.

2. Tucker's Witch (1982) - This one is probably forgotten because it only lasted 12 episodes, though they were spread out over an entire season. It starred Catherine Hicks (7th Heaven) and an in-his-prime, frequently shirtless Tim Matheson (Animal House) as a husband-and-wife sleuthing team with a twist: she was a witch. It was like Bewitched crossed with Hart to Hart, only with younger, hotter actors. Particularly memorable were Barbara Barrie as Hicks' mom, and Dickens the Himalayan cat.


3. Stingray (1986) - Nick Mancuso was a mysterious man (identity unknown!) who drove around in a black vintage Corvette Stingray (naturally), and looked cool doing it. Notable mostly for its Mike Post theme song, and a vibe that pegs it as sooo 80s, right in the heart of the Hunter and Silk Stalkings milieu.

4. The Phoenix (1982) - Judson Scott (Ricardo Montalban's number one in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn) stared as a frequently shirtless alien/superhero. The show was unremarkable. But you might be catching a theme of some of these "favorites."

5. The Powers of Matthew Star (1982) - Peter Barton starred as another alien/superhero, who wasn't as frequently shirtless, possibly because he suffered some pretty bad burns as a result of shooting the show. But again, you see where my memories tend to congeal.

6. Automan (1983) - I know it seems that I had a one-track mind when it comes to these things, and I guess I kind of did! But I disguised that aspect of my personality in those days, which wasn't hard to do because I also loved superheroes. Automan starred the amazing looking Chuck Wagner as a holographic hero drawn by a cursor into the real world. He was programmed by the still cute Desi Arnaz Jr., and together they fought crime. Really ahead of its time, and probably should be rebooted!

 7. Sledge Hammer! (1986) - Getting away from the studly heroes (but not too far) comes this over-macho, crime fighting farce, starring David Rasche as Hammer, who talked to his gun as if it were a woman. It was very much in the spirit of Police Squad! but lasted a bit longer.

8. Cover Up (1984) - And we're back to the often-shirtless crime fighter. Starring Jennifer O'Neil and the impossibly good looking Jon-Erik Hexum as undercover CIA agents. Their cover was photographer and model. Sadly, Hexum shot himself with a prop gun and died, and was replaced by Antony Hamilton (also quite the looker), who died only years later, an early casualty of the AIDS crisis. Very oddly, O'Neil had accidentally shot herself a couple of years before.

And on that very strange note (but no stranger than both Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers of Hart to Hart losing their spouse/partners to unusual deaths two weeks apart), we leave the trip through my memories, and face a new week. Happy Monday everybody!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

SNL: Obama Announces Success in Gun Control Battle. Sorta.

I don't know if Jay Pharaoh is getting better at his Barack Obama impression, or if I'm just warming to it.

Over Time with Bill Maher, April 12, 2013

Weird group of guests this week, Bill. Bob Costas and Stephanie Cutter were good picks though.

How Do I Justify Buying an iPad?

All my phones, from 1995 to 2013
I have too many screens in my life. I spend all day at work with my PC's 22" flat panel screen a foot from my face. While there, I frequently check my Android phone for things. I spend roughly 9 hours all said, and I head home. In the car, I have a stereo/backup camera screen in the car, which interfaces with my phone if I want it to. When I get home, I plug my Android phone into the USB cable to my desktop PC with its 23" screen. But I don't turn the PC on when I get home.

If I have sufficient motivation, I may go for a 3-4 mile walk, in which case, I'll unplug that phone, and pop in some earphones for my walk, periodically checking the screen for mail, messages, and to change what I'm listening to. Back home at last, I put the phone back on the PC to charge, get cleaned up, and head to the family room, where I have a 60" DLP HDTV. Off to one side, is my MacBook Pro 15", which will migrate to my lap, to the arm of the couch and back again for as long as I watch whatever I have on the big TV.

This screen lost its marbles last month, so I upgraded
to a newer MacBook Pro
I may make dinner with the big TV running in the background, or maybe take a brief break from screens while I prepare the meal. But more often than not, I'll take my dinner plate into my office, and put it in front of the PC screen. I'll usually turn on the 20" flat panel desk HDTV. I will then spend an obscene amount of time with two screens, maybe three if you count the times I check on the phone. 

You'd think that when I head to the john, I'd be free of screens. But no. I have a  cheapie Andoid 4.0 tablet, bought mostly as a reader, and I'll sometimes take it to the loo to play Scramble or Words With Friends. But because the tablet is so slow, I'm more likely to just take the phone in there for the same purpose. Through all of this time at home, The Other Half is using his own screens (if not sharing mine), and will sit in his own office on his 21" flat panel on his PC,  or lay in bed, watching the 39" HDTV we have in there.
The screen in my car

Doesn't this amount to a less functional version
of my MacBook Pro?
Whew! That's a long way to go to illustrate the absurd amount of time we spend (well, me mostly) with 1, 2 or 3 screens going. In fact, it is a rare moment when I don't have one nearby. In a few weeks, I will be upgrading my phone (a near antique 2010 Evo) for either the HTC One or the Samsung Galaxy S4, either way a 5" screen. I've already upgraded the MacBook, and will shortly be giving The Other Half my i5 PC, and upgrading to Windows 8 in my office.

So, really. How can I justify buying an iPad? I'm never away from a screen, or computing device. And while an iPad would undoubtedly take up less room than my MacBook Pro, I use that puppy. I'm a touch-typist, and use graphics  programs,  both things better suited to a full-fledged computer. Whichever new phone I get,  its near-tablet size will be much larger than my current phone. Other than "I want one," what possible justification do I have for getting an iPad?

Does "because I want one" justify spending hundreds of dollars for a toy? I'll give Apple this much: they have a talent for inventing expensive items you never needed, but really, really want.
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