Tuesday, December 31, 2013

ABBA's Happy New Year

I can't let the countdown start without posting the classic ABBA's Happy New Year, can I? It's hard to believe this song was released at the end of the 1970s, with ponderings about what the 1980s would bring. There have been recent rumblings that ABBA might finally reunite, and all I can say is, they'd better hurry! Good grief, we're getting old waiting!


The Year 2013 in Four Minutes (by Kenny Pick)

Awesome! And more than a little alarming when you shove all of that into such a small place. Funny, scary. . .all kinds of feels. Good job, Kenny!

 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Benghazi Update: "Scandal" Not a Scandal at All

Image from source, NewsCorpse
Did you happen to catch the fact that The New York Times kinda blew apart the FOX "News"/Right Wing World Benghazi "scandal?" Yep. And though the right will hold onto this anyway (as they do with most debunked stories they want to believe), at least you can read about it. And it's far more fun to do so via the delightfully snarky NewsCorpse.

[Excerpt]

New York Times Demolishes Benghazi Hoax – Fox News Freaks Out

After what was described as an “exhaustive investigation” the New York Times has published a report that thoroughly debunks right-wing accounts of attacks on the United States mission in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. The story concludes that there was no direct Al Qaeda involvement and that many of the participants in the attack were motivated by an anti-Islam film, an explanation that Republicans and conservative media had dismissed. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

(Don't Have to Live With) Duck Dynasty (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

I'm easing back into blogging after perhaps my longest non-active period since I started in mid-2007. So, what easier way to get back in, than to start with a Rocky Mountain Mike song parody? This one takes on the Duck Dynasty flap, via a parody of Tom Petty's Refugee.

 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Greenlee Gazette Extends Christmas Vacation ONE MORE DAY!

You might wonder where I've been the past several days. Well, The Other Half and I went back to the Midwest for a huge, family Christmas visit. Lack of Internet, family obligations and general revelry prevented me from being able to blog at all. I did have some time-release posts set up, but basically they were all Christmas fun things, no serious blogging.

And though I have been back since Thursday night of last week, the Christmas fun times and local friend obligations haven't abated. I sit here on Sunday night, contemplating what if anything to put up on the blog. . .and you know what? I'm enjoying this break too much. And frankly, not much is setting the world on fire this week anyway. Most Americans are likely still in a holiday haze through most if not all of this week anyway. In fact, I wouldn't have to work tomorrow or Tuesday if not for a big project at work.

So, kiddies, nothing new tonight. No Blast from the Past, no new blog posts (save this one) to start the week. Too much food (damn I'm fat), and too much wine to focus. I'll probably get some stuff up on Monday and Tuesday, but it's just not in me today. But I'm betting there isn't a bunch of activity going on anywhere anyway. Happy New Year! See you soon.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

40 Classic TV Holiday Moments in 2 Minutes

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Charlie Brown Christmas Played by the Cast of Scrubs

Another Holiday Cheer/Frivolity Break/Inappropriate Humor post, this time with A Charlie Brown Christmas starring the cast of Scrubs. The key word here is "inappropriate," so don't say I didn't warn you!

A Charlie Brown Christmas With the Cast of Scrubs

Monday, December 23, 2013

Naughty Christmas Songs: The XXX-Mas Shoes




Another one from the vaults, a perennial around here. It's delightfully offensive, so don't read if you're not into that sort of thing!

Original Post:


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

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

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


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Blast from the Past: Contemporary Christmas Songs!

Though the title of this post is "Contemporary Christmas Songs," you'll also note that this is Blast from the Past. As such, we will consider anything from the late-70s to the mid-1990s as "contemporary." Maybe this needs a new name to separate it from "classics," which I'd consider Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, etc. I also don't count The Carpenters and similar acts from the sixties and seventies. As old as I am, those don't feel contemporary. A practical dividing line for me is A Very Special Christmas, a series of albums starting in the 1980s that benefitted the Special Olympics, and brought together popular artists of the day for their renditions of classic songs. And though there's no cutoff since that time, I am not very enamored with really contemporary takes on Christmas songs, at least not in the last several years. So, these songs basically fall in the 80s and 90s, with maybe a few outside that window. And yes, I know that I included two versions of Hard Candy Christmas. Enjoy!

 


And that's a wrap! Happy Monday, and Merry Christmas!

Patton Oswalt: The Christmas Shoes




I've written several posts on the dreaded awfulness that is NewSong's The Christmas Shoes, including my dissection of the lyrics (Anatomy of the Christmas Shoes), and my friend Stupid Monkey Planet's x-rated take on it (The XXX-Mas Shoes).  But how about a take down of the worst song ever by a professional comedian?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Naughty Christmas Songs: It's A Scary, F*cked Up Christmas by Garfunkel & Oates

Ho, ho, ho! Hee, hee, hee!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Cheer: Cyndi Lauper's Merry Christmas. . .Have a Nice Life!

Christmas kind of snuck up on me this year. I didn't even bust out my Christmas CDs, in the annual battle of "contemporary" music with The Other Half's more traditional stuff. One of my perennials is Merry Christmas. . .Have a Nice Life! by Cyndi Lauper. I've long thought that Lauper was a vastly underrated artist, one who deserves a major comeback. So, in my own little effort, here are a few of my favorite Cyndi Lauper Christmas songs.

Christmas Conga



Early Christmas Morning



Home on Christmas



Minnie and Santa
 

Naughty Christmas Songs: Jackie Beat's Santa's Baby

One from the vaults. . .


The Christmas songs under the banner, Naughty Christmas Songs are a little more risqué than things I usually post to the blog. Some are naughty, some are gross, some are both. But I find them funny. You've been warned!

Santa's Baby by Jackie Beat


It Had to Happen: Daily Show Takes on Duck Dynasty Flap


Dispatches from the War on Christmas, Parts #13 & 14

The more I hear of these, the more I think it should be a bigger "thing." Good job, Kenny!
 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

FOX "News" Uncovers Voter Fraud in Ohio: .0003% Worth!

Image from NewsCorpse
Ah, FOX "News." Does your faux outrage know no bounds?

[Excerpt]

War On Voting: Fox News Exposes Voter “Fraud” In Ohio
 
Husted revealed that records indicate that seventeen undocumented immigrants actually voted in the 2012 election. In a swing state like Ohio that translates to about 0.0003% of the more than five million votes cast. Since President Obama won the state by 449,000 votes, the seventeen “fraudulent” votes would have had a negligible effect on the outcome. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Duck Dynasty Star Suspended Over Anti-Gay Remarks

Duck Daddy, or who-the-hell ever. Image from source, HuffPo
Let's get this out of the way: while the Duck Dynasty patriarch uttered offensive, outdated comments, I was not--as a gay man--offended. Mostly because I don't give two shits what this man or his family think about anything. That said, A&E (a channel that used to mean "arts and entertainment," which this program doesn't really seem to fit) has every right to suspend or fire the guy for damaging their brand and public image.  I've been reading commentary on the story excerpted below, and want to smack about half of the commenters. They have a very juvenile understanding of the first amendment, thinking that "free speech" means speech unencumbered by consequence.

On a side note, I'm actually more offended that a partially staged "reality show" with such a thin premise can be so popular. I will admit that having no interest in the subject matter (and honestly can't imagine why anyone would be), I have never partaken in watching the program. I probably never will. But basing a show around duck call makers sounds almost as thin a premise as throwing a bunch of confrontational bitches in front of the camera and calling it "Real Housewives." Finding out that they're overflowing with religiosity in addition to camouflage makes me even less interested, regardless of the homophobia.

[Excerpt]
 
'Duck Dynasty' Star Phil Robertson Suspended Over Anti-Gay Remarks

In an interview with GQ's Drew Magary, the head of the family in the wildly popular A&E series expressed his view that homosexuality was immoral, likening it to bestiality. Some of the remarks were made using off-color language. . .
Read more at: Huffington Post
 
On a side note, this is what the Duck Dynasty folks looked like a dozen years or so ago. Could their image be as phony as "Larry the Cable Guy?" And could the hotness quotient have anything at all to do with Dad's homophobia? Interesting questions I'm just throwing out there.
Image from Life & Style
 
 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

George Zimmerman "Hand Painting" Really Photo-Shopped Stock Image

Image from Wonkette
(Click to embiggen)
Which is weirder, that a hand painting by George Zimmerman is going for tens of thousands of dollars on eBay, or that the Z-man just manipulated a stock photo, and called it an original? Sheesh.

[Excerpt]

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise: George Zimmerman Stoled His Inspirational Flag ‘Painting’ From A Stock Image
 
Nope, it’s not Jasper Johns Day on Wonkette — that there, courtesy of an anonymous Wonkette reader, is a montage of 1) George Zimmerman’s “hand painted artwork” that is currently hovering at a high bid of $99,966.00 on the Ebay, 2) a popular “waving flag” image from the interwebs, and 3) a fancy-schmancy overlay of item 1 on item 2, which is the kind of thing that can be done by a smart reader who actually knows Photoshop. . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Santa is White (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Megan Kelly gets the Rocky Mountain Mike treatment (with the help of the barking Jingle Dogs).


Daily Show Follows Up On on Megan Kelly and White Santa

Something to Ponder While Out Christmas Shopping

As you trudge through yet another store, looking for that perfect Christmas gift for Great Aunt Gerta, you will undoubtedly see something that is very common. It's not new, it's been going on for a few decades, probably really starting in the 1950s and 1960s, growing more and more brazen as we wander up through the decades. Mostly it's tame, sometimes a bit over the line. Often it can make you smile.

It's the act of public displays of affection (PDA). You see them practically everywhere, in lines at movie theaters, walking through the promenade at the mall, swinging interlocked hands as they walk (too slowly) through the parking lot in front of your car. If you're a people watcher like me, it can be almost like watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Beautiful, perfectly matched twenty-somethings. Awkward, fumbling teens. May-December sugar daddies with their arm candy. Sometimes, you see odd combinations that take a little pondering, like a hottie Victoria's Secret model with a schlub.  Or the reverse, a hot military-lookin' dude with a woman who's let herself go far, far too early. And after pondering all of that, you might spy a couple who have obviously been together for 50 years or more, still sweetly holding hands.


It might be enough to warm your heart a little, and feel a little less beat down by the holiday hassle. But there's a consistent something about all of them. Something you likely never noticed, maybe never even pondered. No matter how old, tall, fat, beautiful, or unremarkable they may be, virtually all of them are heterosexual. Think about it, other then teenage or college girls having a goof by pretending to "go bi" (and really, how often do you see that?), when do you see a gay couple hanging all over each other. Or even barely touching?

I'm not really complaining here, don't get me wrong. Though I've known I was gay for close to 35 years, have been out for nearly 20, with The Other Half for 15 and married to him for 5, PDAs
You don't see this much,
do you?
haven't ever been my thing. How much of that was beaten into my by being closeted in my 20s, or fear of reprisal, I don't really know. I do know that my husband and I edit our behavior when out in public, keeping the "honeys" to a minimum, and other small adjustments. But even in environments where I think we can get away with it (gay pride events, gay nightclubs, etc.), we've never gone beyond a quick smooch, momentary hand-holding. To be honest, I've never gotten my fingers to mesh right for the standard couple hand-hold.

But I've never had the opportunity to practice! And it occurs to me every so often, particularly when you see a series of couples in various degrees of PDA. "I can't do that," I think. Or, "I've never done that in public." If I ponder beyond that, my mind goes to more political places: "If I did 1/10th of what that couple is doing, it would automatically become a political act, and would cause a scene." Mothers would tug their children toward them, maybe shield their eyes. Some would point and laugh, some might have more negative, even confrontational or violent reactions. One thing is virtually certain, it would get a reaction.

I'm typing this prior to a big holiday family gathering with The Other Half. Believe it or not, it's the first such Christmas gathering I've gone to with his family, and it's the first of any type where we're officially "a couple" to everyone in the family. My presence will be--to a degree--a political statement, or at least, very, very noticed. I'm lucky that they're all really good people, and most have been in on the "secret" from the beginning. But I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little nervous.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dispatches from the War on Christmas, Parts 9 - 12 (Kenny Pick)

More funny Ken Burnsian excerpts from the mockumentary that really ought to be made! From the genius that is Kenny Pick. Enjoy.

 

Family Guy Spoiler

Yes, it's a spoiler.

So, I'm moving this down a bit.

I know this is kind of pointless.

Because, if you follow Family Guy enough to know anything about it. . .

. . .Then you know what this spoiler is all about.

But just the same, I'm putting a little effort into not making it too obvious.

But I've got to ask you. . .

If you've read down this far already, and you still haven't been spoiled, and have no idea what this is about. . .

BUT, you do follow the show enough to be interested in what all the fuss is about. . .

Just how bad are your reasoning skills anyway?

Just kidding, here you go:

[Excerpt] 

Brian Is Alive!

Just a few weeks ago, Family Guy fans were saddened when Brian Griffin got hit by a car and died. . .

Read more at: BuzzFeed

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"I Just Shipped My Trousers!" K-Mart's Funny Christmas Commercial

The One Million Three Dozen Moms will be aghast.
 

Blast from the Past: A Demented Christmas!

I was always a fan of parody and novelty tunes, all the way back as far as I can remember. I think they were kind of like audible cartoons, even though I might not have understood what made them funny. As I grew older, my fondness for funny songs grew, coupled with my lack of religion, twisted sense of humor and basic irreverence and tendency for inappropriateness. As such, if I listen to Christmas music, it is much more likely to be spoofs of Christmas music, rather than the classics. Oh, I like "contemporary" Christmas songs (if you can consider 80s-era A Very Special Christmas CDs contemporary). But Doctor Demento-style music is much preferred. So, I'm on a quest to put together my favorite funny Christmas tunes for this week's Blast from the Past. Enjoy!

 


1. Twisted Chipmunks - Bob Rivers' take on the Alvin & the Chipmunks Christmas song is very well done and funny, and it leads into. . .
2. Chipmunks Roasting - Bob Rivers' spot-on parody of The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting), which--despite a potential bit of soft racism toward the end--is very, very funny.



3. There's Something Stuck Up in the Chimney - This one (Bob Rivers again) might be slightly overplayed, but it really hit my funny bone the first time I heard it.
4. Walking Around in Women's Underwear - Again, Bob Rivers wanders into dicey territory, with a tune that some people might find homophobic (transphobic? cross-dresser-phobic?), and a bit dated with the Murphy Brown reference. But I've for some reason overlooked that for decades, and have always been tickled by it.



5. I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus - Kip Adotta (more famous for the delightful Wet Dream) did this little role reversal, which also might tippy-toe into homophobia, but only if you're very, very sensitive.
6. Christmas Wrapping - This wonderful song by The Waitresses has kind of moved out of the "novelty" arena, and become something of a perennial "contemporary Christmas" (again if 1982 can be called that) tune. It tells a very sweet story, considering the "edgy" air the group had about it.
 


7. Santa Claus and His Old Lady - Cheech and Chong are as much a delight in the twenty-teens as they wee in the 1970s, and this classic will never go out of style.

8. 12 Days of Christmas - I would never include this interminable song by anyone else (including the most recent take by Mike Huckabee. . .ugh). But Bob & Doug McKenzie (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) managed to take everything about the song that sucks, and made fun of it while making it their own. Probably a bit of an 80s pastiche, but I still love it.




9. O Holy Night (Christmas Tree & Pie) - There are a lot of funny South Park songs, but this is the only one that has noodled its way into my brain, so that no matter which version of this song I hear, I have Cartman and his lyrics in my head! Hilarious.

10. Merry F***ing Christmas - Believe it or not, this isn't the most offensive song on the South Park "Mr. Hanky's Christmas Classics" album! But fair warning, it is offensive to some. However, it is also extremely apropos for the people whining about the phony FOX "News" War on Christmas. Like them, Mr. Garrison wants to force "Merry Christmas" on the whole world, like it or not!

And to quote David Gregory on every episode of Meet the Press, "we're going to have t leave it there." Any more videos in this post and it will choke your computer on Holiday Cheer! I'll probably be sprinkling the blog with more fun stuff as Christmas approaches, but much like every year, that stretch between Christmas and New Years will be slim blogging from me (and virtually everyone else). Especially this year. So for now, Merry Christmas and Happy Monday!


 

SNL: Obama and the Sign Language Interpreter

I wasn't much of a fan of Jay Pharoah's impressions at first, but his President Obama is getting very, very good! Funny stuff, about the sign language interpreter hoaxster from the Nelson Mandela funeral. And Keenan Thompson is very funny in this bit too.

 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

White Jesus (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

You've got to hand it to Rocky Mountain Mike, one day Megyn Kelly of FOX "News" says something stupid, and the next, there is a pitch-perfect Bing Crosby Christmas song parody available. Thanks, Mike! "I'm dreaming of a white Jesus. . ."


Friday, December 13, 2013

FOX "News" Host Megyn Kelly: Santa and Jesus are White! (And Real!)

Image from NYDaily News
Megyn Kelly, newly minted hostess of the oddly named FOX "News" program, The Kelly File has some odd ideas about history. Kelly--who just this week told Jay Leno that she's a straight-up news gal, not an opinion host--has proclaimed both Jesus and Santa Claus to be actual, historical people. White, historical people.

As an atheist, I'm aware that Christians are convinced that Jesus was an actual, real person who is also the Son of God, and also God himself and some combination, plus his own dad. I won't pick that apart here other than to say "huh?" I can concede that there may have been a living person of his description walking the planet a little over 2,000 years ago. Whether he was just as described in the Bible remains completely a matter of faith, not fact. And his race and appearance are wholly (not holy) a matter of speculation.

The Bible only says Jesus had hair like wool. For such an important figure, it's odd that the book doesn't describe his appearance at length, but it doesn't. So, what everyone imagines as Jesus is what he looks like in famous portraits and statuary, which were plucked out of the artists' imaginations, inspired or not. Still, it's rather unlikely that a Middle Eastern Jewish guy looks like a white 6' European dude with strawberry blonde flowing locks. Mostly, what it makes me wonder is if people are really seeing images of John Lennon rather than Jesus in their morning toast and other random foodstuffs.

Megyn Kelly is a bit less curious about such matters. In fact, she's certain that Jesus existed and was in fact white. Not only that, Santa Claus apparently is also real, and white as well! Which makes me think Kelly is something of a fluff-headed lightweight, which really isn't too surprising.

[Excerpt]

Megyn Kelly Really Wants The Kids To Know Santa And Jesus Are White

This is how Megyn Kelly handled a story by a black woman who wrote that maybe, just maybe, Santa doesn't have to be white all the time (because—spoiler alert—Santa can be all things to all people!) . . .

Read more (with video) at: Huffington Post

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rachel Maddow to Write Monthly Column for Washington Post

As a fan since Unfiltered on the ill-fated Air America Radio Network, it's cool to see Rachel Maddow hit even more career high marks. Good for her. In a time when liberal voices are being silenced, even in very liberal cities (both Los Angeles and San Francisco's liberal talk radio stations are switching to Limbaugh/Hannity/Beck), it's good to see one of the best getting another venue.

[Excerpt]

Rachel Maddow to write Washington Post column
 
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow will write a monthly column for the Washington Post, Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt said in a memo to staff Wednesday morning. "We expect that she will bring to Post readers the strong arguments, sharp wit and thoughtful analysis of political and social issues that have made her show an Emmy Award winner," Hiatt said. . .

Read more at: Politico

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Anatomy of The Christmas Shoes, Revisited (Still Again)

This is the seventh Christmas season for Greenlee Gazette, amazing as that seems to me. And though this year I haven't heard it yet, every other year, I couldn't escape the worst Christmas song in history.  It isn't possible to inflict enough derision upon the now perennial The Christmas Shoes. It's abysmal. It's horrific. It deserves far more crap flung at it than has ever been flung. So here is my effort, from the early days of the blog, to put this lame-ass song in its place. This post has appeared on the blog each of the last six years. This year, I present it again, with a few additions and changes. . .




As you head into your holidays, you are undoubtedly going to be assaulted by Christmas carols somewhere. And if you're like me, you will unwittingly overhear The Christmas Shoes by NewSong, one of the worst songs of all time.

I was inspired to write my own dissection of the song after reading "The Annotated Christmas Shoes," on the (sadly now gone) Diary of a Blood Ray (aka The B Pryde Machine) blog years ago. The first time I heard the song, my reaction was much the same as Blood Ray's. I wasn’t moved to tears. I didn’t find the song precious or heartwarming. The song actually kind of pissed me off.

The more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that this song was brainstormed (if you can call it that) to be as manipulative of people’s emotions as possible. I can envisioned the writers sitting down to write a sappy Christmas song, trying to pluck the heartstrings until they frayed. Now that the season is upon us, this hideous song has already started to play. And play. And play. And I just can't take it.

So, taking a page from Blood Ray (whose post I miss, and so wish I had saved), here is my own version, which I call "Anatomy of The Christmas Shoes." Because I'm dissecting this hideous beast. Put on your glasses, I'm shrinking the font because of length.

Image from Blood Ray's original post.
Anatomy of "The Christmas Shoes" by NewSong

It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line
OK, It sets the scene, and it’s not so bad yet. It does manage to telegraph what’s coming though.


Tryin' to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood
Still setting the scene, but there’s the country-fried tryin’ as though "trying" wouldn’t be heartwarming enough.


Standing right in front of me was a little boy waiting anxiously Here’s where my cynic antennae start going up. I’m thinking the writers picked a boy, because a girl would just naturally do something nice for her mom. So, yeah, let’s make it a boy, to make it more poignant.

Pacing 'round like little boys do Filler. You can’t really pace in a line, and little boys don’t do it more than anyone else, do they? Did he have to pee?

Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Handshake Seen Around the World"

Lawrence addresses the ludicrous non-troversy of President Obama shaking Raul Castro's hand during Nelson Mandela's funeral. And he shows a goodly number of other presidents and officials essentially doing the same thing. Can no one on the right do a little research before having a knee-jerk reaction?
 

Dispatches from the War on Christmas, Parts 5 - 8 (Kenny Pick)

More great bits by Kenny Pick (often of The Stephanie Miller Show) about that ridiculous War on Christmas.

 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mandela Funeral Spawns Two Faux Controversies for President Obama

The worst thing that ever happened, part 1. From LA Times.
In my previous post, you can see President Obama's eulogy to Nelson Mandela. The consensus was that the speech was "moving" and "touching," and clearly, the President himself was very warmly received. The event was billed as a celebration of Mandela's life, rather than a dour, sad affair. That stands to reason, with a figure who was himself not particularly religious, had affected so many people, and who had lived to such a ripe old age.

Right Wing World (aided and abetted by the--I-can't-believe-they-still-call-them-the--liberal media) focused more on twin faux outrages. One, was a "selfie" photo taken by Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of herself with Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. The other was the fact that Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro. Both are ridiculous things to be "outraged" about.

The worst thing that ever happened, part 2.
From USA Today.
Why? Because they aren't the least bit out of the ordinary. Though this was a funeral, it was not entirely funereal. As previously stated, it was a celebration of life. That said, I've been to funerals that were entirely somber affairs. Even so, there were moments of levity. Pictures taken (including smiles), even some basic goofing around by family members. It not only happens, it happens frequently. And at a long, star-studded event like Mandela's memorial? Do you really think anyone there sat in quiet contemplation for the entire event? So of course it would be possible to "catch" President Obama in lighter moment. Anyone dinging him on this one is being unfair and ridiculous. More on that in a second.

Short memories. Dubya making out with the Saudi Prince.
Image from detroityes.com.
As for the Castro handshake, this one is even dumber. World leaders who adore, like, loathe or can't stand each other shake hands. They bow. They have entire books of protocol to follow so as not to offend each other. They give each other gifts, and stage (sometimes phony baloney) summits. There are countless photos of countless Presidents and other high-ranking officials shaking hands with countless friendly and less-than-savory world leaders. There are pictures of George W. Bush holding hands and kissing Saudi King Abdullah!

So, conservatives, please do us a favor and just get off it. You'd be outraged at anything this man did or didn't do. The fact that these two harmless events lit your world on fire on Monday is evidence that you'd bitch about anything. Calm down, take a breath, and look at this photo of our previous President. Your guy. At the same Mandela funeral. Hmmmm. He's posing for a photo, isn't he? With a celebrity! Clutch-the-pearls, at a funeral? Oh, my stars!

Sources: New York Daily News, Los Angeles Times, USA Today

President Bush and Bono at the Mandela funeral.
Image from New York Daily News.

President Obama's Eulogy to Nelson Mandela


Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval Reaches Agreement to Tax Amazon.com

Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NV) from
LVRJ.com
Boy, does this one ever have me torn. On one hand, as a liberal, I can acknowledge that the untaxed nature of items for sale on the internet is hurting states (who are missing out on taxes), and is hurting brick-and-mortar businesses (who are being undersold). Taxing purchases like this seems fair. On the other hand, I'm a big online shopper for just about anything that has free or low shipping charges. Seriously, I got my 60" TV that way, a big electric roaster oven, just about all books, movies, music and printer inks. My local purchases have been reduced to groceries, and any item I just don't want to wait 2-5 days for. Amazon.com has become my primary retailer for things I don't get on eBay, essentially, including most Christmas purchases.

So, when this tax goes into effect, part of the benefit of going on Amazon will have been removed. I'm sure I'll comparison shop a little more, and may resort to eBay on pricier items. Or hey, I might even shop locally, if there isn't a price difference with tax. But hey, I really kind of feel like I've gotten a free ride up 'til now, so like I said, I'm torn.

The bigger question is, what do conservative Republicans think? I mean, this is essentially a huge new tax, levied by a Republican governor with aspirations to higher office. Isn't this a huge black mark? It'll be interesting to see if this haunts Sandoval.

[Excerpt]

Gov. Sandoval reaches sales tax deal with Amazon
 
Gov. Brian Sandoval and Internet sales giant Amazon announced an agreement Monday to allow the state to start collecting sales taxes on the company's Internet sales to Nevada customers beginning in 2014. In addition, Sandoval and Paul Misener, Amazon's vice president of global public policy, said they will work together to induce Congress to pass a law allowing the states to collect sales taxes on all Internet purchases. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Review-Journal

So, THAT Happened: Ted Cruz has a Coloring Book out in Time for Christmas!

Ugh. As anyone who reads my blog knows, I find Ted Cruz to be exceptionally creepy looking in virtually every photograph. To say nothing of his smarmy demeanor, his craven politics, and on and on. The perfect subject for a children's coloring book. In hell.

[Excerpt]


Image from source, Think Progress. They didn't
quite capture the creepiness.
There’s Now A Coloring Book To Teach Your Children To Love Ted Cruz
 
Are you a new parent terrified that the liberal media will turn your child into an Obama supporter? Or do you just need something to entertain your kids during those long drives to Tea Party rallies? If so, then a brand new coloring book is just the thing for your family! The “Ted Cruz to the Future™ – Comic Coloring Activity Book” is a “non-partisan, fact-driven view of how Texas Sen. Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz became a U.S. senator and details, through his quotes and public information his ideas for what he believes will help America grow,” according to its publisher Really Big Coloring Books. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Dispatches from the War on Christmas, Parts 1 - 4 (Kenny Pick)

These are truly hilarious and well done Ken Burns-style parodies, as if "The War on Christmas" was a real thing, by Kenny Pick who (like Rocky Mountain Mike and several other talented folks) is famous partly for his appearances on The Stephanie Miller Show. I'll run some more clips soon, but they're all available at Kenny's SoundCloud portal, here.

 

Sarah Palin, The Little Dumber Girl (Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

Ha! Some holiday cheer from Rocky Mountain Mike.


Satanists to Build Monument Next to Oklahoma Ten Commandments?

Image from source, Wonkette
Unintended consequences. That's what "good Christians" tempt, every time they try to insert their religion into matters of state. If you allow The Ten Commandments or a crèche at the state courthouse, you have to allow similar things from other religions. They're not all "nice" religions, from the Christian perspective. But they should have thought of that, shouldn't they? And what constitutes a "religion," anyway? Couldn't just about anybody invent a religion, ordain themselves a priest, and--ahem--erect any kind of monument their religion might think of?

[Excerpt]

Satanists Generously Offer To Build Monument Next To Oklahoma Statehouse’s 10 Commandments Display

In a move that pretty much says “I’ll see your rhetorical question and raise you an ugly public monument,” a group calling itself the “Satanic Temple” has offered to display a big ol’ monument in honor of the Hornéd One, to be installed on the Statehouse grounds near the state’s display of the 10 Commandments. These are the dadaist religious trolls who made “God hate Fred Phelps’s mom last night back in July. Best of all, the epic trolling appears to be sanctioned under the 2009 law that erected the 10 Commandments at the statehouse. We hope the Pastafarians will be next, because noodles are yummy. . .

Read more at Wonkette

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blast from the Past; Holiday Cheer Edition: Christmas Specials!

The Christmas fairies (both of us) blew in to our household this weekend, featuring a) a spectacular full-wrap of light grids on the big bush out front (eight packs of lights!), and a small display (with a smaller tree) on the coffee table. That's about it this year. We'll be in and out so much over the holiday, there's just no point going overboard. But it's brought the Christmas spirit to Greenlee Gazette with it. However, I'm still shaking some flu-bug symptoms and I'm a little tuckered out. So, I'm going a little easy on myself for this post.

Below are the full videos of every Christmas specials I could find. Not the songs, best parts, or opening themes, the whole episodes. I don't even know as I type this how many I can find, but I'll give it a go! This will save you the time and effort of finding the shows on TV or on video.

1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964, Rankin-Bass)
2. Jack Frost (1979, Rankin-Bass)
 

3. Year Without a Santa Claus (1974, Rankin-Bass) Part I
4. Year Without a Santa Claus (1974, Rankin-Bass) Part II
 

5. Frosty the Snowman & Frosty Returns (1968, 1992, Rankin-Bass/Lorne Michaels)
6. Yes, Viriginia, There is a Santa Claus (1974, Bill Melendez)
 

Those are the biggies I could find.  I could only find bits and pieces (or Spanish language versions) of Santa Claus is Coming to Town and the original A Charlie Brown Christmas. There are lots of others, but these are--to me--the quintessential Christmas specials of my childhood. Hope you enjoyed 'em! In the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting numerous Holiday Cheer posts on the blog, so be on the lookout. Happy Monday, and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Liberal Talk KTLK-AM in Los Angeles to Become Conservative "The Patriot"

The drugster. Image from source, LA Times.
Well, crap. I've been listening to liberal talk radio at work since 2004, when searching for The O'Franken Factor, Al Franken's original show on the late "Air America Radio." Since those days, there have been several challenges to continue listening. We've never had liberal talk in Las Vegas (even though we voted for Barack Obama twice), so I've always had to seek out online stations to get my fix. iheartradio.com has been my solution, but I've still had to change stations here and there.

KTLK-AM out of Las Angeles has been my primary home. From that station, I can listen to The Stephanie Miller Show (highly rated in LA, by the way), and The Randi Rhodes Show. The rest of my listening day is really just filler, since I don't much care for Ed Schultz, and since The Thom Hartmann Program is on at the same time as Randi. But now that's going to change.

For some reason, KTLK is being changed to a conservative station, in liberal Los Angeles, California, which already has talk radio on KABC, KFI, KBRT (Christian talk), KOSS, and KRLA. KFI (which currently airs Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity) will change to all local talk. This leaves my programming up in the air again. Allegedly, this is to somehow boost KTLK's ratings, when in fact it will lose its entire current audience, and apparently absorb most of KFI's. Since both radio stations are owned by Clear Channel, I'm not sure I understand what they're doing, besides killing two stations and alienating their audiences.

Stephanie Miller is much more entertaining than a
drug-addled gas bag.
I'm sure I'll be able to find Stephanie Miller and her mooks somewhere on the dial, as long as this squeeze doesn't force them off the air altogether. But this move inspires quite a bit of frustration, irritation, and anger for me. For one thing, how does the myth of a "liberal media" persist when there is so little outlet for liberal political opinion? Where does Clear Channel get off using a circa-2002 branding of "Patriot?" Why on earth would they think killing their KFI brand is a good idea (I'm no fan of KFI, but it's a huge name in LA for conservatives)? Why yank Stephanie Miller, who is huge in the LA market?

I know that radio is a fickle business, and that KTLK has managed to stay in one format for quite a while, despite shake-ups with Air America, Nova-M, shuffling lineups caused by time-slot changes, and other issues. And I also know that every station, pretty much, has an audience that feels alienated by every format change. I think this move is for the sake of movement though. KFI is already owned by Clear Channel, and already runs the shows that are shifting to KTLK. How can bumping both sets of audiences, and then paying a whole new roster of local hosts be more cost effective and profitable?

I will be sniffing the air for whatever station picks up Stephanie Miller and Randi Rhodes. If the LA market doesn't offer a suitable alternative, I'll take my listening ears elsewhere. And you know what? If that station offers something better than LA has on from 9-noon and after 3, I might just stick around for that too. And I really hope it's not Clear Channel.

[Excerpt]

Clear Channel moving Rush Limbaugh from KFI to revamped KTLK

Rush Limbaugh's radio tirades will have a new home on Los Angeles airwaves next year. KFI-AM (640) is losing the conservative host's three-hour show, long a fixture on the station, to KTLK-AM (1150), which owner Clear Channel is hoping to pump up as an outlet exclusively dedicated to right-leaning chatter. . .

Read more at: Los Angeles Times
 

Sarah Palin Has No Idea What Happened with Martin Bashir

A world class idiot. Image from source, Raw Story.
MSNBC fired (or accepted the resignation of) Martin Bashir, after he made a very well-phrased suggestion that Sarah Palin eat shit. More or less. Palin had made a typical really bad analogy comparing the budget to slavery. Bashir gave a history lesson on the horrors of actual slavery, along with an allusion that Palin might deserve a very specific punishment afforded some particularly unfortunate slaves in the past. This begat a Right Wing World freak-out, followed by a very sincere (and I think, more thorough than necessary) apology by Bashir, followed by more faux outrage, followed by his dismissal.

So, the man apologized profusely, continued to take a critical drubbing and then was run out of his job. Apparently, FOX "News" thinks more should have been done to him, and has--as far as I know--not even broached the question of whether or not Palin's original comments were over the line. The question would be academic anyway, because Palin hasn't the first, foggiest clue what she herself is talking about.

Palin learned the art of the non-answer, either on the pageant circuit, the news studio, or the political stage. So, I will acknowledge that she has a very specific talent, and an aptitude for learning this one "stupid human trick." She can talk around any topic, sprinkling words that sound like she's saying something, maybe even something related to the topic. If you were a conservative fan, or an indifferent person who isn't paying attention, her peppy delivery, confident demeanor and that sparkling glint off of her lip gloss would make you think she's just a firecracker!

But Martin Bashir got something very, very right. He said, in part. . ."America’s resident dunce, Sarah Palin, scraping the barrel of her long deceased mind, and using her all-time favorite analogy in an attempt to sound intelligent about the national debt. . ." He also said, ". . . Given her well-established reputation as a world class idiot, it's hardly surprising that she should choose to mention slavery in a way that is abominable to anyone. . ."

In her response to questions by another of America's lesser lights, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Palin proved Bashir's assessment accurate. Responding to the question of whether or not Bashir has been sufficiently shamed, Palin replied,

“My role is to accept his apology and be humble enough and to, you know, accept it and move on,”  So far, so good, though "role" was probably not the right word, she's hardly humble, and she had to throw in a "you know." She continued.  [Story continued below]



"But I just hope that unprovoked attacks like that don’t result in people being hesitant to jump in the arena anyway, to get out there and serve the public or start a business or really commit themselves to changing within their family, their community, their world, doing whatever they can despite the fact that, in this world, you are going to be hurt and attacks will come your way." Utter word salad, stream-of-consciousness, nonsense. The "attack" wasn't unprovoked. And what arena are these mythical "people" stepping into. . .starting a business and. . .changing within their. . .what? Martin Bashir is now going to be out there randomly criticizing people opening their own restaurants or, I don't know, putting a Florida room on their house?

But she didn't stop with that random, run-on sentence. She finished with this doozy: “The target of the attack is usually more significant than what the attack, the articulated words used, actually are, and that’s part of that doubled standard.” So, the target--Sarah Palin--is more significant than what Martin Bashir said about her, and that's a. . .double standard?

She has no idea what she herself is talking about. Martin Bashir's mistake was in assuming she had any clue what had come from her own mouth. She is a world class idiot.

[Excerpt]

Sarah Palin: People might be afraid to ‘start a business’ because Martin Bashir attacked me
 
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Thursday responded to Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC by saying that she was used to being the victim of liberals, but she hoped that the former host’s attack did not stop other people from starting businesses. On Wednesday, Bashir had announced that he was resigning from MSNBC after suggesting that Palin deserved to eat human feces the way that slaves were once forced to for her remarks comparing the federal debt to slavery. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela Dead at 95

Image from source, CNN
You'd think I'd be more knowledgeable about Nelson Mandela and Apartheid in South Africa. After all, I'm a liberal, I came of age in the 1980s, and other than hunger in Ethiopia, Apartheid was the big liberal issue. But somehow, it just didn't resonate with me in Columbus, Ohio. I suppose if I'd been in a proper college for more than a year and a half, I may have been more involved in a student protest or something. But I couldn't miss stories about Mandela's imprisonment, release and later ascendance to the presidency.  I also couldn't miss his Morgan Freeman-like gravitas and class. RIP, Mr. Mandela.

[Excerpt]

What made Nelson Mandela great

Nelson Mandela was always mindful that his leadership role in the liberation of South Africa from apartheid might not have been possible if he had not been imprisoned. "It is possible that if I had not gone to jail and been able to read and listen to the stories of many people. ... I might not have learned these things," Mandela said of the insights that he gained during his 27 years in jail. . .

Read more at: CNN
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