Monday, March 31, 2014

Blame it on Barack Obama! (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

This is one of Mike's best, to the tune of Eydie Gormè's Blame it on the Bossa Nova.


What Happens in Vegas: Chris Christie Kisses Sheldon Adelson's. . .Ring?

Sheldon Adelson, elderly casino tycoon, is something of a kingmaker in the Republican Party. Why? He's obscenely wealthy, and he's highly motivated (for reasons I can't really grasp) to make himself even more obscenely wealthy than he already is, through policy. Like the Koch Brothers and a handful of other rich, white, elderly billionaires, enough is never enough. They think they're going to take it with them, I guess. And of course, they want no "death tax," so that their progeny can be obscenely wealthy without having to pay any taxes on it.

The big guy. Image from source, The Raw Story.
But back to the kingmaker part. The odd thing about Adelson's blessing even being necessary, is that Adelson's near entire slate of benefactors lost in the last election. His billions couldn't buy the election after all, amazingly enough. So, why should it work this time? And Chris Christie? Isn't his goose well and thoroughly cooked as a candidate by now? But they're going to keep trying.


Chris Christie woos conservative mega donor Sheldon Adelson at Vegas GOP forum
Six minutes into a speech yesterday to the Republican Jewish Coalition that marked the opening of his comeback tour, Gov. Chris Christie received a sign. Sheldon Adelson, the GOP mega donor whose bankbook can launch a presidential campaign, conspicuously entered the ballroom at the posh Venetian hotel, sat front and center and listened to the governor pitch himself as a leader who can win. At the end of Christie’s 40-minute speech and question-and-answer session, Adelson joined the standing ovation. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blast from the Past: Foodstuffs (and Food-like Stuff) of the 70s and 80s!

We, as a country, are fat. Big and fat. I myself am finding myself 10 pounds heavier that what used to be my "fat weight." Ugh. How did this happen? Well, of course, the food manufacturers have been combining products (Taco Bell and Velveeta salad dressing?), creating multiple versions of products (3-D Doritos?), and just doing everything they can to make us want to eat their products. Some of them sound insanely good (Bischoff cookie spread?), and others just end up at Big Lots because they sound weird. But few of them will help you stay thin.

Still, it's not like Madison Avenue just thought up marketing. Since the 50s and 60s, food companies have been making all kinds of processed foods and food-like edible products. And by the 70s and 80s, they were firmly in the pop culture consciousness. So why weren't we all fat then? Something to ponder. And while you do, here are some of the items you might have had in your fridge, freezer or pantry back in the 70s and 80s. Most are still around today, but their image was molded (pressed and extruded) there!

1. Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Beefaroni/Beef-O-getti (1970)
2. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (1986) - with William "Refrigerator" Perry

3. Swanson Hungry Man Dinners (1973) - with Jeff Conaway
4. Banquet Pre-cooked Fried Chicken (1976)

5. Franco-American Spaghetti-Os (1973)
6. Roast 'n Boast Oven Cooking Bag Seasoning Mix (1972) - with Eve Arden. This product was a little known cousin to #7.

7. Shake 'n Bake (early 1980s) - with Ann B. Davis of The Brady Bunch
8. Pillsbury "Fun-fetti" Cake Mix and Icing (early 80s) - with the Pillsbury Dough Boy

And now, I'm hungry. Oh well, have a great week everyone. Happy Monday!

SNL: What Won't the President Do to Sell ObamaCare?

Saturday Night Live may always be scheduled lightly through late winter and early spring, but it seems like it's barely had new episodes this year. Add to that the fact that the cast has a lot of new faces, and a new Weekend Update anchor (Colin Jost) to replace the departed Seth Meyers, and SNL is feeling a bit half-baked of late. But the cold open was pretty good, and Jay Pharoah's impression has gotten much better.


Over Time with Bill Maher, March 28, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

What Happens in Vegas: Did Greenlee Gazette Influence Policy at MSNBC?

This could have been a coincidence, sure. But was it? After watching The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on Wednesday night, I tweeted the following:

Pundits! It's pronounced ADD-el-son, not AID-el-son. I can't stand #SheldonAdelson either, but wow, get the name right. @Lawrence
— James L. Greenlee (@GreenleeGazette) March 26, 2014

I tweeted it to Lawrence, because he and his guests pronounced Las Vegas' elderly casino mogul Sheldon Adelson's name wrong over and over again. My tweet looks a little snotty to me now, though that wasn't my intention. It's just that the Adelson name is so well known here, and every time I've heard it on cable news, it's been said incorrectly.

Then a funny thing happened. Thursday and thereafter, every MSNBC host and most guests I've heard, have said ADD-el-son instead of the incorrect AID-el-son. And I had to wonder (much as I did when I think I helped change Wonder Woman's logo back in the day), did my tweet change MSNBC policy?

For Anyone Still Advocating #CancelColbert

In case anyone doesn't believe that Stephen Colbert's "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong" character originated in a satirical response to an actually racist performance by Rush Limbaugh, here is the original clip. This is a lesson in not responding to a perceived "offensive" statement without first getting the context.

America The Stupid: #CancelColbert

I've been wanting to write this post all day, but wasn't able to think of an approach to it. I'm still not sure I have. Sometimes the wave of stupid is so strong, that it's difficult to figure out how to point it all out. In case you haven't heard, there is a protest going on of Stephen Colbert, and his satirical "news" program, The Colbert Report. It manifested as a trending hashtag, #CancelColbert. And the entire reasoning behind it is, as I said, stupid.

The segment, which aired on Thursday night, was about the owner of the Washington Redskins, and his refusal to change the name of the team, despite the fact that the name is a racial slur against Native Americans. Now, before we get into the bit, can I ask, why won't they change the name? It's not even unusual for a sports team to change names or mascots, why on earth are they so attached to it? Anyway, the owner's "compromise" was to set up a charitable fund for Native Americans instead.

Colbert's bit mocked this notion by resurrecting a (purposefully) offensive Asian character, "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong." Now, let's first point out that the character was originally used in response to a Rush Limbaugh controversy, where Rush went on at length in a sing-song faux Asian voice. And, while Limbaugh did get a little heat over it for like a day, I don't recall conservatives being up in arms about it. Funny that.

Anyway, Colbert's entire bit was both a rip on the owner of the Redskins, and on age-old Asian stereotypes held by mostly white people. Even the "Orientals or whatever" part of the faux charity name was a jab at people who complain that ethnic groups sometimes change their preferred name, and deem older terms offensive. There was nothing in the bit that was out of character, literally. The character of "Stephen Colbert" (rather than the actor) is an obtuse, jingoistic, arch conservative. He's an educated, polished Archie Bunker.

I really believe that the only people complaining about this--on the left or right--fall into just a few small categories: a) humorless people who don't understand satire, b) knee-jerk reactionaries who overreacted to a piece of the joke tweeted out of context, c) people who are always looking to be outraged about something, and d) people who probably aren't really upset, but squawk about this for other reasons.

I suppose some people of Asian descent might be offended, not knowing the full context, or the original reason for the creation of the character. But I think that's still a knee-jerk reaction. We're all guilty of that from time to time. But for heaven's sake, let it go. This is not what you thought it was. And Colbert is not going to be cancelled over this. But he might have to make an unwarranted Martin Bashir-like apology. I really hope not. I hope he turns it into an even better bit.


People Want 'The Colbert Report' Canceled Over Asian Joke
Twitter users aimed to get the hashtag #CancelColbert trending on Thursday night after the official Twitter account for "The Colbert Report" posted a joke about Asian stereotypes out of context. The now-deleted tweet read "I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever." That was a quote taken directly from a segment on Wednesday's show that lampooned Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who announced he created the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation to aid Native American tribes while ignoring calls to change the football team's much-maligned name. . .

Read more at: TPM


Twitter killed Stephen Colbert’s joke

. . .The immediate backlash was spearheaded by young activist Suey Park who created the hashtag #CancelColbert as a way of galvanizing the twitterverse against the late night satirist.
“The Colbert Report” recently responded with roughly 140 more characters clarifying:
For the record @ColbertReport is not controlled by Stephen Colbert or his show. He is @StephenAtHome Sorry for the confusion #CancelColbert. . .
Read more at: Salon 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sarah Palin, Fully Loaded

She's coming with a full heart, a full magazine and an empty head. Also too.

What is This Horrror Called "Bro Country?"

Image from source, LA Times [click to embiggen]
It's not like I can't appreciate the imagery of a hot, dumb redneck with some brews on a moonlit night, goodness knows. It sounds like half a dozen classic gay porn videos of yesteryear. Well, except for the ubiquitous girl with the painted on jeans. She's gotta go.

But seriously, even though I don't listen to country music, like at all, on those occasions that a bit has filtered through, it's been all pretty much the same. And all pretty much stupid as hell. What is going on in the genre, anyway? I'm sure country music has always had trucks, beer, girls, moonlight and whatnot. But that's not all it had. These days? Like I said, my samples are small, but it's all I've heard, when I've had occasion to hear it.

Last time I was at the dentist, I spent an unusual amount of time just waiting in the chair, and then the usual amount for the cleaning. The entire time--maybe an hour and a half or so--a popular country station was on. And every song. EVERY. SONG. Every song was about that list above, with various levels of fakey-sounding country drawl, and differing amounts of studio polish. I recognized Blake Shelton's voice, from, well, The Voice on one of them. And here I thought he was one of the "good" ones.

Well, typing this on Thursday night, The Late Show with David Letterman had on some hick in a baseball cap (are those replacing cowboy hats, finally?) named Cole Swindell, which sounds like a porn name, singing "Chillin' It."  It was in the exact same style, but I'd put it on the low end of the quality scale, though this is a very short scale. And I was kind of amazed that these kind of hits apparently just keep on coming. It's dreadful. And it's apparently called "Bro Country."


Are bro-mantic songs taking over country music?
Female country singers are complaining that their music is being pushed off the airwaves by a new crew of young, male, “bro-country” musicians singing interchangeable songs about dirt roads, pickup trucks, girls in tiny cutoff jeans and beer, lots of beer. . .

Read more at: LA Times

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Daily Show: Jon Stewart Unleashes on Hobby Lobby Case

I only hope that Anthony Kennedy watches The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Creationist Response to "Cosmos": Fire Bad Smash Rock (A Rocky Mountain Mike Parody)

Religious Right groups are up in arms over the Seth MacFarlane reboot of Cosmos. Not understanding that Creationism and Intelligent Design are not science, they are thus upset that they aren't getting a shout out by host Neil deGrasse Tyson. It's idiotic. Which is just where comic genius Rocky Mountain Mike went with, "Fire Bad Smash Rock." Enjoy.


Daily Show #McConnelling Morphs into #MeConnelling and More

The Gay Thing: Michigan Gay Couples Have Marriages "Suspended"

While it is true that I never dreamed as a gay kid in the 70s and 80s that I'd ever be legally married (unless it was a sham marriage to a woman, which I could barely imagine), I also never imagined that a legally married couple could have their marriage "suspended."

This is now the third state where same-sex marriage has become legal, only to have a "stay" put in place, because, horrors, the gays will bring Armageddon don'cha know? Except that we've been getting legally married in the United States now for ten years, to no ill effect. Unless conservatives want to switch from President Obama to gays for everything negative in the country. Wouldn't put it past 'em.

Michigan's jackwagon Governor, Rick Snyder,
image from source, Think Progress.
Anyway, I was half of one of those couples who got married in California in 2008, and was once in much the same position. Married for four months, then in limbo, then married legal in California, but in a little pocket universe where no new marriages could happen. And five years later, we were fully legal again, and right after, legal federally. But not in my home state of Ohio or adopted state of Nevada (though there are lawsuits with a good shot of fixing that in both states). And right after federal recognition, Utah had a brief window of legal marriages that was also stayed. In that case, Utah's recognition is withheld, but they get federal recognition too. So, I've got to think the same will happen here.

Ultimately, I think most people think this will all be in the rear view within a couple of years. Barring some incredible change in momentum, and some really twisted legal reasoning from SCOTUS, marriage equality is coming to the fifty, nifty United States. And, if I end up stunned that this doesn't come to pass, the worst case scenario is that at minimum, the 17 states (plus any other stragglers that get through) will still be legal. Either way, it's here to stay. So, I just wish these ridiculous, pointless stalling tactics would just end.

Michigan To 322 Married Same-Sex Couples: Recognition Of Your Marriages Is ‘Suspended’

Following Tuesday’s decision by Sixth Circuit staying the marriage equality ruling in Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) announced that the 322 couples that legally married Saturdaywill have their rights suspended as the case proceeds. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Supremes and Hobby Lobby

For a "creative center," they sure have a boring, boring logo.
Helvetica, really? Image from Crooks and Liars.
The Supreme Court took on the Hobby Lobby case on Tuesday, and many of the news reports were rather alarming to me. The case is ostensibly about the ObamaCare contraception mandate, and whether or not a corporation's religious freedom is violated by it. But the case is potentially much more far-reaching than this one element of the Affordable Care Act.

My first problem with the case is that it assumes a corporation can have religious beliefs. "Corporations are people, my friend," was Mitt Romney's infamous quote, which is a troublesome concept, no matter how you take it. Corporations are actually groups of people, each with individual rights. Claiming that the corporation itself has rights seems like this collection of people has got more rights than a single individual, at least to me. But let's take that as a given, that corporations are people.

Fine then, how do you determine this "person's" religion? Do you go by the CEO? The CFO or COO? Do you take a poll of the board of directors, add 'em all up, take an average, and call that the corporation's religion? What about the employees, do their religious rights and freedoms get automatically trumped by the employer? If so, why? And why on earth should an employer have to follow the boss's idea of what kind of health care she should receive?

It's all such bizarre reasoning, and seems to not even bother imagining what potential pitfalls might follow, if it should prevail at SCOTUS. It also--as many "religious freedom" arguments do--assumes that only Christianity will be the religion in question, to be allowed these exemptions. Nope, if this case wins, every religion from Islam to Wicca to Pastafarians will have a new challenge: finding religious exemptions to laws that they can exploit. What's to stop a lobbying group with an agenda from creating their own religion with a doctrine that matches their list of wants? Suddenly, you have legal chaos. And all because the guy who runs Hobby Lobby really doesn't like President Obama. Crazy.


Supreme Court Struggles In Hobby Lobby Case With Question Of Companies' Religious Rights

Justices on the Supreme Court seemed to struggle Tuesday with the question of whether a private company can get out of a federal law by citing the religious beliefs of its shareholders. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Obama Uses Tea Party Imagery: "Don't Tread on My Obama Care"

Brilliant, just brilliant. I love it.


Obama Co-Opts Tea Party Slogan For Obamacare Bumper Sticker

President Barack Obama's new Obamacare bumper sticker sure looks familiar. Here's how it looks, as unveiled and promoted at, which is now run by the president's advocacy group, Organizing For Action. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Don't Mess With Texas: Town Pays $16K to Keep Ted Nugent Away

Nuge the stooge. Image from TowleRoad
A bargain at twice the price.


Texas City Pays $16K To Keep Ted Nugent Away
Racist, homophobic, misogynistic lunatic Ted Nugent is something of a folk hero among the far right, particularly in southern red states. It would seem that a performance from "The Nuge" would be well-received in the state of Texas, given that Texans elected Rick Perry to govern the state and Ted Cruz to represent it in the Senate. . .

Read more: TowleRoad

Monday, March 24, 2014

Over Time with Bill Maher, March 21, 2014

Blast from the Past: Fabulous Appliances of Yesteryear

Last week, I brought you gadgets of yesteryear. This week, I thought I'd go bigger. The kind of thing you got at an appliance store, something that used to be a lot more common before big-box stores became the norm. See how many you remember, and if you're too young, see how it used to be.

1. Amana Radarange microwave oven (1976) - With Barbara Hale of Perry Mason fame.
2. Maytag (1967) - This is the first of the "lonely repairman" spots, for all of Maytags appliances.

3. RCA ColorTrak TV (1979) - Sadly, not the one with Rula Lenska
4. Magnavox LaserDisc (1980s) - Not a commercial, but a demonstration, with Leonard Nimoy!

5. GE Dishwasher (1983)
6. Sears Appliances (1983) - Several appliances here, from a microwave to a VCR, a washer, a projection TV, and more.

7. Sharp Carousel microwave (1986)
8. Westinghouse Refrigerators (1968) - Here's a weird promo (longer than a commercial) for "Match Your Mood" customized fridges.

And we'll leave it there for this week, since this was a harder topic than I realized! It'll do for now though, and I'll see you back here next week. Meanwhile, have a great week. Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Gay Thing: Michigan's Ban on Gay Marriage Ruled Unconstitutional

And the marriage equality hits keep on coming! It's getting hard to keep count though, especially with Utah's brief run of marriages, and then the stay. So, Michigan makes 18 states where gay couples can actually marry, though a stay could be coming. For at least this weekend, in one county, there is marriage equality in Michigan!

There are now several states that could count as states number 19, 20, 21 and beyond, but they're up in the air from these stalling tactics. Most people who follow these things seem to agree that it will be heading to the Supreme Court sooner rather than later, maybe in the next year or so. If it all goes well (and all indications seem to be that it is), we could leapfrog to 50 states without this state-by-state countdown. Here's hoping.



A federal judge has struck down Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage. Back in September 2012 Towleroad posted about April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, a Detroit couple suing the state of Michigan over its ban on gay adoption, who expanded their lawsuit to take on the state's marriage amendment. In March 2013 we reported that Federal Judge Bernard Friedman stayed his decision in the matter until after the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA. And last July, Friedman ruled that the couple could proceed with their challenge. . .

Read more at: TowleRoad

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Rev. Fred Phelps is Finally Dead. Good.

And they say evil never dies. Image from source, Advocate.
Yeah, I've already run a piece on the previously pending death of Topeka's ironically demonic Reverend Fred Phelps, but now that the bastard is dead, I couldn't let the opportunity pass. Phelps has been antagonizing gay people for a very long time, seemingly forever. He and his cultish family church would protest just about anything gay-related, wielding signs carrying slogans that were even over-the-top in the less-enlightened 80s. Emblazoned with words that I refuse to type here (but which are still seen in arch-right-wing armpits of the internet like, Fred and his family were fearless in their disregard and slander of an entire group of Americans.

Remember, this was during some of the worst of the AIDS crisis, so not only was the LGBT community still reeling from that, they then had to go on defense against these hateful people. Called The Westboro Baptist Church (but disowned by actual Baptists), this demented group owned a block of homes and a plain (ugly, really) church in Topeka, Kansas. I drove by it about 10 years ago when on business in the city, and recall the dumpy neighborhood, cramped one-way street, and on the church, a banner that read

I have no idea which Phelps this is, but
helloooo, sister! Image from Huffington Post.
See, after the Phelps family got tired of picketing the funerals of AIDS victims, they branched out. America in total was their new target, because of tolerance for abortion (occasionally) and gay people. So, they started protesting at the drop of a hat, barely even trying to tie a logical thread between the protest and the protestee. They'd release extremely low-tech press releases that looked like third- or fourth-generation mimeographs of bad copies of bad faxes. Their website--which, again, I refuse to type--had the look of absolute insanity, but without the artistic flair you'd expect from the insane.

But it wasn't until they started regularly protesting soldiers' funerals that mainstream America stood up and took notice. Suddenly, these vile people were attacking people who "mattered." Even Right Wing World began to call WBC and the Phelpses out for their wicked, hateful behavior. Of course, the right can't help but point out that Fred himself was at least one time a Democrat, which is almost as relevant to his behavior as the fact that he used to fight Jim Crow laws. Both facts actually go counter to his behavior, especially in the past 25 years or so.

But the most important thing is, this nasty fucker is dead. Dead, dead, dead. Oddly, most mainstream gay organizations, blogs and celebrity types are urging calm, respectful, quiet responses, if any. And they're of course free to do whatever they want. But not me. This man didn't deserve respect, reverence, politeness, or anything resembling common courtesy. He's dead. Good.

Here's hoping that his demented family--minus their lighting-rod patriarch--eventually tires of their pointless hate carnival, and the WBC just peters out. Until then, I hold this cult in exactly the same regard that I hold their former leader.

Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Dead at 84

. . .The 84-year-old preacher and disbarred lawyer built a hateful name for himself by establishing the WBC in the 1950s, and rose to prominence picketing the funerals of people who died of AIDS complications, then gained international attention when the church picketed slain gay college student Matthew Shepard's funeral in 1998. Under the leadership of Phelps, Sr., his children and grandchildren who comprise the vast majority of the church's congregation made a habit of picketing the funerals of military veterans, carrying inflammatory signs with messages like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," and claiming that the death of American troops was God's punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. The WBC regularly picketed funerals and events which they believed were sinful, often "thanking God" for natural disasters, violent massacres, and even the attacks on September 11, 2001. . .

Read more at: The Advocate

Thursday, March 20, 2014

FOX "News" Host Thinks Noah's Ark Real, Compares to Missing Plane

When that new Noah film comes out, I'm really curious how they manage to spackle over the huge plot holes in the actual story. One of the big ones is, why--if the ark came to a rest on Mt. Ararat--isn't there a fossil trail that leads from the mountain to the far reaches of the earth, showing that kangaroos and buffalo and elephants and penguins all got off the boat, and then scurried off to where we find them now?

But FOX "News" host Bill Hemmer believes the story. So much, that he thinks we've found the boat itself! He's a little (okay, a lot) off on the timeline, even if the unlikely story somehow happened to be based on a real event. But he's proven that Brian Kilmeade and Steve Douchey Doocey aren't the only goobers on the FOX "News" payroll.


Fox News Host: 'It Took 2,000 Years To Find Noah's Ark' So Will We Ever Find Flight 370?

Fox News host Bill Hemmer on Wednesday referenced a peculiar hoax in order to help explain just how long it might take to find the missing Malaysian Airlines jet. "So what it took us what 100 years to find the Titanic? It took us 2,000 years to find Noah’s Ark. Do we ever find flight 370?" Hemmer asked his guest, aviation attorney Salvatore Lagonia. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Original #McConnelling Ad May Break Campaign Rules

Such a face! Image from source, TPM
Who knew, in this post-Citizens United world, that there were any federal campaign rules left? But if Sen. Mitch McConnell (and apparently lots of others on both sides of the aisle) are breaking them? I say shut 'em down. We don't have much left to keep up the integrity of campaigning and elections, but we need to work with the rules that we have.


#McConnelling Ads May Break Federal Campaign Rules

Wordless political ads campaigns post that many say are likely meant to help super PACs could break federal law, according to campaign finance watchdogs. That argument came up after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) campaign posted an ad of what appeared to be b-roll* of McConnell smiling and posing with voters in various shots. Observers speculated that the ad was really meant for pro-McConnell super PACs to use. It is illegal for those organizations to coordinate with the campaigns. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

New Sarah Palin Reality Show Looks Dreadful

It's obvious everyone's favorite political celebrity and relentless grifter is looking to grab the Duck Dynasty zeitgeist, with what looks to be an absolutely dreadful reality show. But it's not on a  major network, by anyone's standards, so I don't know if her fading star power will be enough to get very many people to follow it. I'm betting on a cable news-sized audience the first night (maybe a little better), followed by a fast fall-off, and then it will peter out. Of course, Sportsman Channel probably doesn't need many viewers to become their top-rated program. I'm not sure we even get it here in Las Vegas.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Science is Cool: Big Bang Gets a Boost!

I'm not going to pretend I truly "get" all of this. I'm a science fan, not a scientist after all. But it sounds really cool. Sure to tick of a few of the usual suspects though, don't you think?


Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun
One night late in 1979, an itinerant young physicist named Alan Guth, with a new son and a year’s appointment at Stanford, stayed up late with his notebook and equations, venturing far beyond the world of known physics. He was trying to understand why there was no trace of some exotic particles that should have been created in the Big Bang. Instead he discovered what might have made the universe bang to begin with. A potential hitch in the presumed course of cosmic evolution could have infused space itself with a special energy that exerted a repulsive force, causing the universe to swell faster than the speed of light for a prodigiously violent instant. . .

Read more at: New York Times

What Happens in Vegas: Man with 132-pound Scrotum Dies

I mean, wouldn't you? Poor guy.


Wesley Warren Jr., Man With 132-lb. Scrotum, Dead At 49

Image from source, Huffington Post
Wesley Warren Jr., who received worldwide notoriety because of his problems with a scrotum that grew to 132 pounds, died Friday at a Las Vegas hospital. He was 49. No cause of death was officially announced, but Warren's roommate, Joey Hurtado, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Warren had suffered two heart attacks recently. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bill Maher's New Rule on Noah's Ark Story Makes Right Wing World Angry

As an atheist, I can tell you that of all of the books in the Bible, it's Genesis that marks the spot for me where I started to doubt the story. Literally on page one, with the firmament, and the order of creation, then the separate, contradictory story of creation. And lots of other things. But it's the Noah's Ark story that made me think, "surely, nobody really believes this."

The story can't be taken seriously without enormous faith goggles. There are plot holes galore, not to mention that the moral is really questionable, and this God guy comes off more like a monster. And yet, this fable is often presented as a children's story! God killed every human except for one family, and presumably all of the plants and animals that didn't make it on the boat. Imagine the stench of that impossible amount of animals on a boat for six months. It's not a story for kids, it's a horror. [Story continues below]

Amazingly, this has been made into a major motion picture starring Russell Crowe. I may have to watch it, just to see how they gloss over the big potholes in the story, like how one family could play zookeeper to the entire world's remaining animals for so long. How and what they fed them. How they kept them from eating each other. Where and how they stored the insects, arachnids, viruses snd bacteria. How they managed to clean up all of that animal waste . . . gaaahhhhhhh. . . Just, nasty.

Because of the movie, Bill Maher devoted a portion of his "New Rules" to it on this past weekend's Real Time. From my perspective, Maher was dead on the money with every line, and was funny while doing it. But Right Wing World is aghast, appalled and offended. Surprise!


Bill Maher Slams Christian Films: God 'Psychotic Mass Murderer'

God is a "psychotic mass murderer" who "drowns babies," HBO's Bill Maher says in a rant about the upcoming film "Noah," slamming Christians for believing in in a deity that he says isn't true. Maher, on his "Real Time With Bill Maher" program Friday night, kicked off his rant — which left few religions untouched — by complaining he is sick of seeing ads for the Russell Crowe movie, calling it a "floating piece of giraffe crap,". . .

Read (if you must):

Blast from the Past: Electronic Gadgets of the 70s and 80s

Gadgets! Why gadgets? Do you have a better idea?

1. Polaroid One Step Camera (1981) - Mariette Hartley and James Garner
2. Texas Instruments Calculator (1978) - "Little Professor"

3. Coleco's Head-to-Head Electronic Football (1980) - vs. Mattel
4. Atari VCS/2600 (1978) - with Pete Rose!

5. Radio Shack Cell Phones (1987) - Only $1399!
6. Sony Walkman (1983)

7. Pulsar Digital Watch (1972)
8. Sony Betamax VCR (1977)

Feeling old yet? Well, enough of that then. Let's get going on a new week, and start the countdown to next weekend, shall we? Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Westboro Baptist Church Leader, Fred Phelps, Allegedly Dying. Good.

Barking mad. Image from source, CBS News
When you hear that someone is probably dying, the natural reaction is empathy, a little sadness, and the dim awareness that this our own fate eventually. It's almost always a downer. Not in this case.

I can't even scare up a hint of sorrow for the likes of the Reverend Fred Phelps. And while I'm an atheist, if by some remote chance there is a god, I'll bet you he won't be kind to this guy.


Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps Sr. “on the edge of death,” son says

The estranged son of the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church said his father is "on the edge of death."  Fred Phelps Sr. became famous for organizing picket lines of brightly-colored signs carrying hateful messages against tolerance during the funerals of military personnel and famous figures. His actions led to at least two federal and several state laws restricting protests during military funerals. . .
Read more at: CBS News

Right Wing World: Obama Doesn't Wear "Mom Jeans," Conservatives Don't Get Humor

Right Wing humor is an odd thing. No, strike that, it's practically a unicorn, because I'm not sure it exists. I should maybe say, Right Wing attempts at humor are an odd thing, a very, very odd thing. For the rest of us, humor has to have an element of truth to it. It has to grow out of something that exists, and
Not Mom Jeans
then is exaggerated to humorous effect. Conservative humor seems to start with an exaggeration or misconception, and the gets more exaggerated and more distorted in the telling and retelling of the joke. It then gets repeated endlessly, as though it's as hilarious in the 3,000th telling as it was the first time. Then, inevitably, Sarah Palin works it into her word salad.

Of course, if you're not conservative, the first telling is a head scratcher, and on the umpteenth retelling, you get so irritated about the lack of humor, you can't hold your tongue anymore. If it's your Republican Uncle Ralph, this can start a family fight. If it's on the interwebz, you might dive into the viper's pit that is NewsBusters.  

NewsBusters is a "liberal media" (hah!) watchdog site, run by Brent Bozell, he of the "put my byline on columns written by others for years at a stretch" infamy. They'll
Still not Mom Jeans.
rail about The NBC Nightly News with the same fervor as Kathy Griffin or Bill Maher, so their idea of news media is rather loose. And if you're a liberal, you'll scroll through their "outrage" headlines, and kind of wonder why any of the headlines is particularly outrageous. My response to most of them is, "yeah, so?" But their comments section is among the most poisonous on the internet. You could point out the correct spelling of the president's name and be called the stupidest, filthiest, most worthless person on the planet.  It's that kind of place.

So, I happened by one day, and caught the repetitive joke that was bugging me one too many times, and couldn't hold my tongue. The joke was about "mom jeans," a reference to a Saturday Night Live faux commercial from several years ago. "Mom Jeans" are those high-waisted pants that seemed to be on every mom in the 1980s and 90s, which made women's rear ends look longer, lower and flatter. They were characterized by a very long rise and fly, which gave seemingly acres of denim from crotch to waist on both the back and front side. It was funny because it was instantly recognizable, and for the tag line that said, "I'm not a woman anymore, I'm a mom."  [Story continues below]

None of the pictures of Obama supposedly wearing mom jeans have these features. None of them. They might look dorky.* They might be ill-fitting. But none fits the joke. In many cases, the funny looking part of the picture is the president's pose (throwing a baseball, riding a bike) or something else he's wearing (like a bike helmet). In no case does the photo match the joke. And yet, they'll insist that it does. And they'll get  vicious to anyone who points out this fact! I even started my entry into this realm by showing the picture (shown here) of the SNL original ladies in mom jeans, and picture of Willard Mitt Romney in similar pants. Because, you know, I'm a helper. Didn't work. They still fail to get the joke, still have no ability to see where they're wrong, and still treat me (even though I'm unfailingly civil, if snarky) like vermin.

Now these are mom jeans!
I don't know why I bother. The commenters at NewsBusters-like those of any conservative site that even allows non-member comments--are instantly hostile to almost any contrary comment. Hostile in a very different way from those you might see to a conservative on a left-wing site.  In Right Wing World, it seems the default response to an "interloper" is to heap on the derision and venom, in an out-of-scale, bazooka-style blast. If you enter into it with a sincere, inquisitive mindset, you'll be crushed. If you go in with the foreknowledge that they're knee-jerk assholes, it's kind of fun.

But somebody who is on their side should really explain humor to them. Because the mom jeans thing is missing the mark, but it's far from their only humor blind spot. I tell you though, if you want to see what Right Wing World--at the base--is really all about, go take a gander at NewsBusters' comments section, and see if you can suss out what they think is funny (such as calling Rachel Maddow, "Ray," "Mad Cow" and "he" or "it," EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.). Here's a link to where I had my latest kerfuffle with them. Note also that this "watchdog" site that allegedly only exists in reaction to the crassness of "liberal media" has no problem calling Maddow "surly" in their headline!

It's here: Newsbusters

*It should be pointed out that at the root of this joke--even though they're not applying it right--is that the president is feminine, girly, not a man. NewsBusters is only a hop and skip from World Net Daily, after all, where they come right out and say that the president is gay. That's why this joke delights them so much, and why they desperately want to make the evidence fit the joke. But it still doesn't.

Over Time with Bill Maher, March 14, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Daily Show with Jon Stewart's Original #McConnelling Bit

I made my entry into the #McConnelling challenge (which you can see here), but if you want to see the hilarious original bit, here it is.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's #McConnelling Challenge

One of the sillier, but funniest Daily Show segments aired on Thursday night. I'll post the clip when it's up, but essentially, they just took a promo clip for Sen. Mitch McConnell, and set it to music. The clip is apparently for use in cobbling together Super PAC commercials or something, but it's a bunch of poses and basic "B-roll" footage of everyone's favorite turtle Senator from Kentucky.

The songs chosen had no relevance, other than they were just funny when played behind the video. In addition to running several (and cracking up on camera), Jon Stewart issued a challenge to viewers to make their own videos, and post them at twitter, with the hash tag #McConnelling. Challenge accepted! My song choice is as far from Mitch McConnell as you could imagine, Clarence Carter's ribald Strokin'. Enjoy!

UPDATE: If that's not to your liking, how about Mitch with The Spice Girls' Wannabe?

Not doin' it for you? Okay, then how about Right Said Fred's I'm Too Sexy?

Lindsey Graham Called "Ambiguously Gay" by Challenger

Image from source, TPM
First, I'd like to say that I'm not sure that the Senator from South Carolina qualifies as ambiguously gay. But it is irritating that accusing a politician of being gay--whether true or not (it's true)--is still considered a pejorative in 2014. I guess in the South, that kind of allegation makes the challenger a better candidate?


Primary Challenger Says South Carolina Is Tired Of 'Ambiguously Gay' Lindsey Graham
A primary challenger to Lindsey Graham on Thursday called the Republican senator "ambiguously gay," according to The State. "It's about time that South Carolina (says) hey, we're tired of the ambiguously gay senator from South Carolina," little-known candidate Dave Feliciano said during a press conference at the state house. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Happens in Vegas: Jackie Gaughan Dies at 93

A little of "old" Vegas has passed with the death of Jackie Gaughn. Not old like Bugsy Siegel, but darn close. Gaughan had properties like the El Cortez, Gold Spike, Vegas Club and the Union Plaza, downtown casinos and hotels, rather than the glitzy megaresorts. But he was no doubt a pioneer. His son Michael continues in the family business with the South Point Casino and Hotel (which happens to be a hop and skip from my house), but at one time owned a string of locals casinos.

Image from source, Las Vegas Sun

Las Vegas gambling pioneer Jackie Gaughan dies at 93

Gaming was in Jackie Gaughan’s blood. The son of an Omaha bookmaker and the father of an owner of casinos, Gaughan took the most pride not in bragging of his own accomplishments — which he had earned a right to do — but rather in how his family built a gaming empire that likely will never be equaled on the non-corporate level. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas Sun

Sean Hannity Somehow Blames Missing Malaysian Aircraft on Obama

Of course he denies--mid-accusation--that he's blaming the president. The dope. I'm actually kind of shocked that Hannity didn't try tying it all to Benghazi!!!


Hannity: Missing Malaysian Jet Obama's Fault, Just Because

This is worthy of a whole page on Alex Jones' website. While we wait to find out what has become of vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Hannity and his (really stupid) guest Angela McGlowan indulge in conspiracy theory speculation involving Iran, stolen passports, and terrorist acts. . .

Read more at: Crooks and Liars

Atheist Wants I-Beam Cross Removed from 9/11 Museum

I'm an atheist. But I'm also a realist. I know that even though we're supposed to have a separation of church and state, there are some battles that are just not going to be won, right or not. "In God We Trust" isn't coming off the money, though it doesn't belong there. "Under God" isn't coming out over the Pledge of Allegiance, even though it was only inserted there in the 50s (and how weird is a pledge of allegiance in a free country anyway?). [Story continues below]

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

You do have to draw the line somewhere. There is no earthly reason that the Ten Commandments should be in front of a court of law. Religious displays really shouldn't be on display at City Hall (even with multiple other religions and context, it's still unnecessary). And the latter can even come off as a buzzkill. But every so often a grim atheist (they're always just dire) will "fight the good fight" and try to get a court to order such things unconstitutional. It works on the monuments. But the rest always throws judges into contortions worthy of Cirque du Soleil, desperately reaching to find a reason why these things don't constitute a violation.

Such it is with the "cross" at Ground Zero, the crossed I-beams found in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Christians took the cross as a sign of. . .something. Jesus, yes, I know. But what it means isn't clear. That Jesus could've stopped the attack, but didn't? That Jesus "won?" I dunno. But it's kind of like when a fanatic sees the Virgin Mary in a tomato, or Jesus in a splotch on the garage floor. It's not a cross, it's a section of the building, which are--surprise!--crossed all over the place. But it wouldn't be any kind of deal at all, except for the fact that this museum is partially federally funded.

Christians (and very likely the lawyer and/or judge) will deny that the cross is a religious symbol. Clearly, it's just a section of the building! And they'll likely win. But you know the only reason they want it at all, is because it is, or at least has become a religious symbol. The atheist in this case is correct. But he's going to lose.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

President Obama Appears on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis

In something sure to tick of the right, but tickle his fans--especially younger ones--President Obama appeared on's Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. The web series is along the lines of Chris Farley's mock interviews on Saturday Night Live years ago, only with weird and awkward in place of manic and awkward.

The "interview" was a clever way to market the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare™) to younger people, and apparently, that's already paying off. It also let the President show himself to be hip and (kinda) funny. And while the right will never like anything the President does, the truth is, he came off pretty well. I couldn't help but imagine how Dubya would have fared.


Zach Galifianakis Interviews Obama, And Twitchy Has Thoughts About It Buried In There Somewhere We Guess

Here is a funny “video” of Zach Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns interviewing one B. Barack Obama that you have probably already seen, because you probably did not sleep in until seven a.m. Pacific like some kind of slob jerk who sleeps in all day and then does something else slobby and jerky, we do not even know, this Daylight Saving Time changeover kind of did a number on us, and now we sort of suck at our “job” of typing dick jokes on the Internet and having examples of things that would be slobby and jerky. It is funny! There’s at least two, possibly three, fuck it let’s call it four, good loud laughs in there. Bamz is steely-eyed and pissy, it’s great! . . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Warning to Computer Users: Windows XP Being Put Out to Pasture

If you have an older computer, it's almost for certain that it's running Windows XP. Am I right? Maybe Vista, if your machine is really ancient, 98 or Me, but most likely, it's XP. And your frugalness is about to come to an end. Microsoft plans to stop releasing updates to the program in a few weeks, which will leave your computer vulnerable to viruses, malware and your basic nuclear annihilation.

People are already starting to stamp their feet about it. How dare they! Don't they know a huge chunk of computer users still have Windows XP? Yeah. But how long were they really supposed to support the thing? It came out in 2001 you guys. Actually, just a couple of weeks before September 11, 2001. The whole Bush administration and five years of the Obama administration have happened in that time. Were we supposed to get hip-deep into the Clinton (or, shudder, Cruze) administration before they pushed it into its grave?

The fact is, Apple stops supporting its products after just a few years. Microsoft's alone in supporting what amounts to ancient software in computer years. But I'm in the same boat. Though our home systems have Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and OSX Mavericks, at work we must have seven or eight XP machines. After the 2008 financial collapse, we didn't upgrade much. To make matters worse, our software upgrades pretty much stopped with our hardware. . .and the old stuff doesn't run well on new machines! So, we're going to (finally) have some decisions to make.

You've been warned!


Microsoft to Take Windows XP Off Life Support Despite Its 29% Market Share

Change: It’s inevitable in and of itself, and it’s inevitable that some people don’t like it. Ars Technica cites a report from Net Market Share contending that Microsoft’s almost-13-year-old operating system, Windows XP, can still be found on almost 30% of computers that connect to the Internet. . .

Read more at: Time

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jon Stewart's Autopsoy of CPAC 2014

Nobody does it better.


Jon Stewart Rounds Up ‘Crazy’ CPAC: ‘Take It Out and Jerk It for America!’

Jon Stewart rounded up the best of “crazy” CPAC Monday night, which he described as “Burning Man for people who don’t do drugs and are afraid of fire.” He summed up the big, patriotic speeches with some genital-centered jokes, declaring, “Take it out and jerk it for America!”. . .

Read more (with video) at: Mediaite
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