Monday, March 31, 2008

Science is Cool: New Stonehenge Excavation

UPDATE 04/28/08: This post is attracting an awful lot of hits. Can somebody give me a hint as to why? Is it just the Google link to the image? Thanks!
I've had the opportunity to visit most of the United States, but have only ventured out of the country on a few occasions. Like most people, I've been to Canada and Mexico, and also took a cruise to several Caribbean islands. The only other country I've traveled to was England, and it was easily my favorite trip.

Virtually all of my ancestry is English, or other parts of the United Kingdom. England had a strong sense of "home" to me. It might make a nice alternative to the USA should we be saddled with another Republican administration. But that's not the point of this post.

While in England, I had the chance to visit Stonehenge. As the child of archaeologists, it was a "must see" for me, and I'll never forget the experience. It's just so weird that it's just sitting there by the highway, mostly undisturbed for all of these years. But there is much we don't know about the structure, so archaeologists are once again going to do a little digging.


Archaeologists start Stonehenge dig

Some of England's most sacred soil was disturbed Monday for the first time in more than four decades as archaeologists worked to solve the enduring riddle of Stonehenge: When and why was the prehistoric monument built?

The excavation project, set to last until April 11, is designed to unearth materials that can be used to establish a firm date for when the first mysterious set of bluestones was put in place at Stonehenge, one of Britain's best known and least understood landmarks. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

McCain Girl Has Some Words for Us

A while back, a horrendous video by "The McCain Girls," called It's Raining McCain infested the internets. It's a takeoff on The Weather Girls' immortal gay camp classic, It's Raining Men, singing the praises of (and washing their faces in) John McCain. It's bad, oh-so-bad.

Not surprisingly, it has generated much derision in the blogosphere since its release. But somebody--the lead singer, specifically--is none to happy about the response. And has she got news for you. WARNING: She has a potty mouth.

And if you can take it, here is the original video:

Secretary of HUD Resigns

Photo from source, TPM Muckraker

We Americans have become pretty forgiving when it comes to politicians. I'm not talking about a second chance for breaking the law--that's reserved for Republicans for Republicans. I just mean that when a politician gives an obviously false reason for leaving office, we shrug and accept it. Leaving "to spend more time with my family" has become a catch-all excuse for everything from "I'm leaving because I got caught with a prostitute" to this case, "I'm leaving because I got busted mishandling funds."


Jackson Bows Out to "Attend More Diligently to Personal and Family Matters"

The Bush administration's top housing official, under criminal investigation and intense pressure from Democratic critics, announced Monday he is quitting.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson said his resignation will take effect on April 18. . .

Read more at: TPM Muckraker

Arianna Huffington, Media Mogul

Photo from source, New York Times
I was inspired to create Greenlee Gazette while reading the Huffington Post one Sunday morning. Well that, and a ridiculous story playing on FOX "News" at the time. I link to the site fairly regularly, and so do lots of others. It's now even more popular than the right-wing The Drudge Report. Small wonder, as HuffPost is loaded with content, and Drudge is mostly links.

Anyway, the New York Times did a great write up on HuffPost's founder, Arianna Huffington. Take a look.


Citizen Huff

. . .When Ms. Huffington, the 57-year-old author and former conservative pundit, announced her plans for The Huffington Post three years ago, many critics dismissed the idea as a digital dinner party for her new liberal friends. But it has grown in ways that few, except perhaps Ms. Huffington herself, expected.

In February, The Huffington Post drew 3.7 million unique visitors, according to Nielsen Online, for the first time beating out The Drudge Report, the conservative tip sheet with which The Post is often compared. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Possible Compromise for Michigan Vote?

I wouldn't count on either Hillary Clinton's or Barack Obama's camps to take this compromise. I don't think anything short of a re-vote--which has effectively been ruled out--would make everybody happy. This is a weird election.


Michigan Delegate Compromise Offered

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Michigan congressman proposed an alternate plan Monday for seating the state's delegates at the Democratic National Convention, awarding delegates based partly on Michigan's Jan. 15 primary results and partly on the popular vote in all the nation's presidential primaries.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., in a letter to DNC Chairman Howard Dean, proposed that Michigan's 83 pledged delegates be chosen at congressional district conventions according to the results of the state's primary. . .

Read more at: Breitbart

George W. Bush Booed at Nationals Game

Good. He should have stayed in baseball.

"Earth Hour" a Bust?

This weekend, I went to Google to look something up, and was surprised to see the site reversed, with a black background. It turns out that there was a special "Earth Hour" being observed, an attempt to get people to turn out their lights for an hour. It was an experiment to raise awareness for energy conservation. Oddly, until that random search, I'd never heard of it.

Well, conservatives are taking special glee in the fact that this experiment did not yield any substantial energy savings. Mmmkay. Why would that make them happy? I'm still trying to figure out how a political ideology with "conserve" right there in its name, has become adamantly against any form of conservation.


Earth Hour crashes to Earth

So Saturday was Earth Hour, and as if anyone reading this blog didn't know, lights were supposed to be cut off from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. to send a message to mysterious world power that the world was ready to cut down on energy use. Sort of.

I didn't honor the Earth Hour. We rarely have more than one light on in our home at a time on a daily basis because it's wasteful and increasingly expensive. I don't have a million electronic devices running 24/7, we walk to the store when we can (Heather can walk to work) and luckily, my commute is only about 15 minutes a day. In every daily activity, even blogging, I consider the amount of energy I'm using, and how I can minimize my consumption. . .

Read more at: The Voltage Gate

Man About to be Laid Off, Needs a Job

Do you ever get those emails that are passed around with dire warnings about politicians or governmental policies? Usually, I groan, roll my eyes, and do a search. Then I send the inevitable "false" page to the sender--and they never respond. But I get a chance to feel smugly satisfied.

I got a similar email from The Outlaw, urging me to look over this man's resume, as he is about to be laid off and needs a job. While there may be things in here that are exaggerated for effect, that is true of most job resumes, isn't it? And since I don't send mass emails, I thought I'd pop it up on the blog and see if anybody has an opening this man might fit.

[Resume follows]

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20520


College: I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.

Military: My father helped me join the Texas Air National Guard where I went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.

Law Enforcement: I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I plead guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and are not available.


  • I ran for U.S. Congress and lost.
  • I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas, in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
  • I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.
  • With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.


  • I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.
  • I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.
  • I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.
  • With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President of the United States, after losing by over 500,000 votes.



  • I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.
    I invaded and occupied two countries at an ongoing taxpayer cost of over one billion dollars per week.
  • I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.
  • I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.
  • I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
  • I set the all-time record for most home foreclosures in a 12-month period.
  • I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market. In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.
  • I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history.
  • My "poorest millionaire," Condoleezza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
  • I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President.
  • I am the all-time U.S. and world record -holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.
  • My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. history, Enron. He's now dead.
  • My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.
  • I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history. I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.
  • I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.
  • I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
  • I appointed more convicted criminals to my administration than any President in U.S. history.
  • I created the Department of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States Government.
  • I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.
  • I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.
  • I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.
  • I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. "prisoners of war" detainees and have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.
  • I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US election).
  • I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.
  • I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
  • I garnered the most sympathy ever for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.
  • I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.
  • I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. Citizens and the world community.
  • I have cut health care benefits to veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families in wartime.
  • In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.
  • I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.
  • I have failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice "dead or alive".
  • All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.
  • All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed and unavailable for public view.
  • All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed and unavailable for public review. I have specified that my sealed documents not be available for 50 years.

Top 10 Conservative Idiots: March 31, 2008

Monday is here again, and we're also ushering out March. Is it out like a lamb? Is that because lambs are gentle, or because they look like snow? I can't ever remember, because a lion looks sunny to me. It's all very confusing. But one thing that doesn't confuse me is the fact that there is a never ending supply of Conservative Idiots! And here is Democratic Underground to give us the latest list. Check it out.


The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 331

March 31, 2008
The Surge Is Sucking Edition

This week George W. Bush (1,2) gives up all pretense that he has any clue what's going on in Iraq, John McCain (3,4,5) agrees with Osama bin Laden, and Dick Cheney (6) shrugs off 4,000 dead U.S. troops. Elsewhere, Virginia Foxx (9) wants you to be afraid, and Michelle Bachmann (10) is in bed with, er, big light bulb. . .

Read the list at: Democratic Underground

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

My blogging has been light this weekend, due to a heavy dose of activity. I'm afraid this may tend to happen a lot more, now that the weather has broken, and it's actually light out past 5pm. But to show you that I wasn't just lazing around, here are some photos of the new back yard, with fresh landscaping, a new barbecue and a new garden swing. Hazzah! It's finally finished!

Obsessive-Compulsive Blogs, Redux

I wrote a post on this blog back when I was just getting started, called "Obsessive Compulsive Blogs." In it, I highlighted two very strange (and strangely, related) blogs. One is called Johnny Dollar's Place, and the other is called Olbermann Watch. I stumbled upon the former earlier today when I was writing the previous post (What Will FOX "News" Do if Democrats Win?).

Since I wrote my original post seven months ago, and have been blogging a bit longer now, I thought it might be time to revisit this topic. My initial assessment is still valid, that some blogs and sites are so tightly focused, so strangely devoted to their topics, they fit the definition of obsessive-compulsive. Fortunately for these types of blogs, having such a tight focus ensures readership from the like-minded. My blog, for instance, has a very diffused focus and hasn't found its niche as much as I'd like--probably because it doesn't have a niche. It's too scattered.

But if the writers of the above mentioned blogs are this devoted to (a) slavish adoration of a cable broadcast channel, and (b) intense hatred for a media figure on a rival cable broadcast channel, you can bet there are readers who share that devotion. I just don't think I'll ever understand these people.

Johnny Dollar's Place is a strange place indeed, though it has become prettier recently. He still focuses obsessively on any and everything FOX "News," but has branched out enough to take swipes at FOX's rivals, and favorite targets. MSNBC and CNN fan sites may exist (though I've never found such a thing), but Johnny Dollar's Place comes off as more of a FOX "News" apologist site. Johnny plays much the same role as a creationist who simultaneously evangelizes his cause while assailing all evolutionists. One has to wonder why FOX "News" needs so much defending, and why anyone would feel so moved as to take up such a cause.

Olbermann Watch is sort of the flip-side (but surely not opposite) of JDP. Affiliated with the previously named site (or possibly run in tandem), OW's mission is to tear down and insult Keith Olbermann, his show and his guests, generally with ad hominem attacks. It uses a lot of in-joke phrases, nicknames and shorthand, to the point of being difficult to follow without reading the comments section. I actually got involved in the OW comments, albeit briefly. What started out as dispassionate commentary devolved into a pissing contest, and I lost interest (but not before being offered a guest commentary by the editor, which was admittedly pretty cool of him).

It's a very black-or-white world at OW (as well as at JDP). You love or you hate FOX or Olbermann, and you defend and agree with all that they do, or you despise and condemn it all. All or nothing.

In this world, you cannot be a Countdown with Keith Olbermann fan unless you're willing to defend and support everything he ever said or did. You are not allowed to disagree with anything on FOX "News," even if you use video and a transcript in your dissent. It's a very George W. Bush "with us or against us" mentality, and I find it quite sad. But it seems to be working--both sites eclipse Greenlee Gazette's site meter hits by wide margins*. Oh well, FOX "News" is the highest rated "news" channel on cable. It doesn't mean it's better.

*Or rather, they did eclipse me. JDP is still doing quite well, but I cannot locate Olbermann Watch. Perhaps their server is down, or they may have just quit the game. I'll update if I find out.

UPDATE: OlbermannWatch is still there. The site must have just been down for a while.

What Will FOX "News" Do if Democrats Win?

It's interesting to speculate what FOX "News" would do if Democrats take control of the Presidency and/or one or both houses of Congress (I'm guessing three out of three) in November. Intelligent and honest people all know that FOX "News" is a propagandistic, right-wing commentary station, not a legitimate news outlet. Their bread and butter is happy-talk and spin from a hard right-wing slant about the news of the day. "Democrat Party" [sic] = bad, Republican Party = God's chosen party = good.

But lest we forget, FOX "News" was born during the Clinton presidency. Sure it lost countless millions for years, not gaining a solid foothold until The Decider was thrust upon us, but they managed to hone their message in a "hostile" environment. Rush Limbaugh and his inferior (can you imagine being inferior to Rush?) wanna-bes also thrived during Clinton's reign. He gleefully joined in on the "vast right-wing conspiracy," pushing ridiculous conspiracy theories about Vince Foster and "troopergate."

So I believe FOX "News" will weather a Democratic government. Hopefully, however, they'll be pushed to the fringe margins, where they belong, in the public's eyes. Does anybody remember that the fringe is where Rush Limbaugh (and people like Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, etc.) used to inhabit? These are not mainstream opinion holders, and they need to be slotted in the public consciousness where they truly are.


Before we write off Fox News…

Most political observers, regardless of ideology, assume that there will be a Democratic House and Senate next year. It’s too soon to know what to expect from the presidential race, but it’s hardly a stretch to think that come January 2009, there will be a Democratic White House and a Democratic Congress for the first time in 16 years.

Given this landscape, what’s Fox News to do? . . .

Bill Maher's New Rules, March 28, 2008

Bill Maher has got a new list of rules, and once again, they're pretty funny. And sure, it's a cheap way for me to put up a fresh post, so sue me. I had a busy day!

Margaret Cho is Beautiful (Mini Review)

Image from Margaret Cho's official site

I've returned from my long and productive day away from the blog. We got the new barbecue, gave the old one to a neighbor, and got a new garden swing, though we're not done assembling that. We had dinner with The Bodacious Friend at Tommy Bahama's in Las Vegas' new Town Square (cool place, by the way). And we finished just in time to make it to the Palms for Margaret Cho's Beautiful.

Margaret was playing the Pearl, Palms' concert theater, and it seemed like a near-sell out crowd. We had wonderful seats, right in the center. The theater is very nice, though I wonder how well it would clear during an emergency. I only had time to wonder before and after the show though, because I was laughing myself sick for most of the performance.

Margaret was nothing short of hilarious. She's not for every taste, certainly. Extremely adult is how it would be phrased, but tears-in-your-eyes, fog-up-your-glasses, hysterically funny. I was also pleased that her show was current, with jokes targeting very recent events like the Eliot Spitzer and Jim McGreevy sex scandal stories. She described a "meeting of the fag-hags," which included herself, Kathy Griffin, Olivia Newton-John and Cyndi Lauper, a dream dinner party guest list, if ever I heard one.

Describing the show, or trying to relay one of her jokes would be quite impossible. You just have to be there. She's a very visual comedienne, requiring your attention for much of the humor. Even watching a video of the performance would probably be not quite as funny as being there. Still, if the only way you get to experience Beautiful is on a DVD, I highly recommend it. If you're not easily offended, that is! But if she comes to your town? Go! Or is that, you go, girl!

Very Highly Recommended

For a list of Margaret Cho's upcoming tour dates and locations, "Beautiful" link above, or click the link after "CONTINUED."


March 14
The Warfield: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellySan Francisco, CA. Tickets.

March 15
The Warfield: 7:00pm and 10:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellySan Francisco, CA. Tickets.

March 21
The Orpheum: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyLos Angeles, CA. Tickets.

March 22
The Orpheum: 7:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyLos Angeles, CA. Tickets.

March 28
The Queen Elizabeth: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyVancouver, BC, CANADA. Tickets.

March 29
The Pearl at The Palms: 8:00pmspecial guest Ian HarvieLas Vegas, NV. Tickets.

April 3
North Fork Theatre: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyWestbury, NY. Tickets.

April 4
Massey Hall: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyToronto, Ontario, CANADA. Tickets.

April 5
The Orpheum: 7:30pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyBoston, MA. Tickets.

April 10
Warner Theater: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyWashington, DC. Tickets.

April 11
Warner Theater: 7:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyWashington, DC. Tickets.

April 12
Fillmore/Jackie Gleason: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyMiami Beach, FL. Tickets.

April 17
Arlene Schnitzer: 8:00pmspecial guest Ian HarviePortland, OR. Tickets.

April 18
Dodge Theatre: 8:00pmspecial guest Ian HarviePhoenix, AZ. Tickets.

April 25
The Orpheum: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyMinneapolis, MN. Tickets.

April 26
Chicago Theatre: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyChicago, IL. Tickets.

April 27
Nokia Theatre: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyGrand Prairie, TX. Fan Club Pre-sale starts 1/30, Password: Beautiful

May 3
Paramount Theatre: 8:00pmspecial guest Ian HarvieDenver, CO. Tickets.

May 5
Atwood Concert Hall: 8:00pmspecial guest Ian HarvieAnchorage, AK. On Sale TBA

May 9
Jackson Hall/Mondavi Ctr: 8:00pmspecial guest Ian HarvieDavis, CA. Tickets.

May 10
Paramount Theatre: 7:00pm and 10:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellySeattle, WA. Tickets.

May 16
Viejas/Concerts in Park: 8:30pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyAlpine, CA. Tickets.

May 17
Viejas/Concerts in Park: 8:30pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyAlpine, CA. Tickets.

June 6
Hard Rock Live: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyOrlando, FL. Tickets.

June 7
Tabernacle: 8:00pmspecial guests Liam Sullivan and KellyAtlanta, GA. Tickets.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lazy Saturday: Don't Expect Much Today!

Photo from Margaret Cho's official site

The blog comes to cross-purposes today. My site meter is within striking distance of overtaking all previous months save one (December was my best month). I'd love to have enough visitors to surpass the 8 other months I've been around. It gives me kind of a boost, and a motivation to keep plugging away.

But I have a lot to do today. I want to get a new barbecue grill. We bought our current one 10 years ago--the day after The Other Half and I met. I also want to get a new backyard swing. We just had landscapers "fix" our backyard (also after 10 years), and the swing (around 8 years) was ratty and falling apart. I've shopped and located both items, but transporting them presents a challenge. I have a Jeep Wrangler, and The Other Half has a VW Golf. Not big haulers.

Also, The Ex-House Mate is back for a few days to go see Margaret Cho at the Palms tonight! Add this with a dinner out with The Bodacious Friend (explanation to possibly follow from The Other Half at a future date), and a possible overnighter at TBF's house, and we have a full day!

So "lazy" is probably the wrong word. But don't expect many--if any--posts until tomorrow. I may find the time, but probably not. But please do come back (I'm talking to you fickle RSS readers out there!). I'm just taking a blogging breather. I'll be back soon with a view of the Margaret Cho show!

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Sordid Lives: The Series" to Debut

I have yet to see the movie Sordid Lives, a comedy that The Other Half raves about. But the film has been turned into a series, and based on this preview (which plays like a preview for a movie), I'm going to have to see it soon. I want to be up to speed when the series debuts! The show will star many of the same stars as the movie, including Olivia Newton-John, Leslie Jordan, Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan and Rue McClannahan. It looks great. Check it out.

WARNING: Probably NSFW, with some cussing, as much nudity as YouTube will allow, and oh yeah, the gay thing.

Karl Rove's Fingerprints All Over Siegelman Case?

Photo from PhotoBucket

Wow, two Karl Rove stories in one day from me. We'll need some kind of detergent to take care of the mess.

Anyway, after seven years of watching Republicans do whatever the hell they please, laws, ethics and the Constitution be damned, it would be nice if this somehow came to something. I'd like for the photo above to be something more than one of my fondest wishes. It's about damned time for some of these vile people to have to pay for their actions, and I can think of no better (worse?) person to start with.


Don Siegelman got out of jail today. He had a conversation with the New York Times and he immediately and appropriately blamed Karl Rove for his legal troubles. Rove is going to have to answer a lot of questions about this case. And, that pompous little bastard better not claim executive privilege. If Rove can spend hours pontificating on Fox News, he can find the time to answer some questions -- under oath . . .

Read more at: AmericaBlog

Blast from the Past: World's Oldest Voice Recording

Photo found at JeffBots

I wrote at least five variations of the same term paper on Thomas Edison (appropriately changed for advancing grades), so this story is both cool and a bummer. A bummer because it makes Edison the second person to make a recording, which is not something one usually aspires too. But it's still OK, because he likely never heard of this other guy, and Edison was still the first to record and play back sound. So no need to re-revise that paper! Whew.


U.S. experts find oldest voice recording, from 1860

U.S. audio historians have discovered and played back a French inventor's historic 1860 recording of a folk song -- the oldest-known audio recording -- made 17 years before Thomas Edison invented the phonograph.

"It's magic," audio historian David Giovannoni said on Thursday. "It's like a ghost singing to you. . ."

Read more at: Reuters

Karl Rove to Cash Out and Head for Emerald Coast?

Photo from source, Raw Story

Remember when your mom would pull on your toes, and tell you where each little piggy went? I'm having trouble remembering. . .which piggy was Karl Rove? Or is he a different body part?


Karl Rove's next move: A million-dollar home on Florida's Emerald Coast

The abrupt resignation of President Bush's top adviser and long-time mentor, Karl Rove, in August 2007 in August 2007 raised many eyebrows inside the beltway and as many questions. Rove had been a fixture in the political life of George W. Bush for decades and had weathered innumerable political scandals. [snip]

A $165,000 lot becomes a $1 million home. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

My Favorite Movies: Comedy Edition #1

It's been a while since I posted one of these types of posts, and it's long overdue. Politics are important to me, but it can be dreadfully dry, and make me seem single-minded and screechy. So, here's something fun you can enjoy.

Some of my favorite movies are comedies. But in my opinion, they just don't make them like they used to. Whether they're straight-ahead comedy or spoofs, most of today's funny films don't seem to me like they'll hold up to the test of time. Spoofs in particular--while still full of funny moments--are so scatter shot these days. You have to go back to the days of Airplane! or early Mel Brooks to find some of the truly inspired comedy films. Here are some of my favorites.

#1 - Hot Shots! - By some of the makers of the original Airplane!, this parody of Top Gun never lets up, and is funny from beginning to end. Charlie Sheen really shines in this type of comedy, and Lloyd Bridges is inspired casting. This one must be watched repeatedly to catch all the gags.

#2 - All of Me - This is one of Steve Martin's best comedies, chock full of comedy gold, and quotable lines. Lily Tomlin was also at her peak. But check out how they made movie trailers in the early 80s. . . There is an art form that has only improved.

#3 - High Anxiety - Not one of Mel Brooks' most popular films, but one of my favorites. Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Harvey Korman. . .who could ask for more? In this extended clip, watch for the infamous obscene phone call bit at about 3:20.

#4 - Top Secret! - Another one from the makers of Airplane!, but surely one of their more obscure ones. Val Kilmer is dynamite in his first role, and the gags here are loopier than in the other spoof films. This film demands repeated viewings. Even the trailer for the film is funny.

Comfort for the Very, VERY Nervous: Quantum Sleeper

Source: Wonkette

Science is Cool: Space Tourism Ready for Liftoff!

Photo from source, Scientific American

Sure, it will be something probably only available to the super-rich. But who knows, if it gets popular enough, maybe the price will come down. Do you suppose they have standby lists?


Space Cadets, Grab Your Sunscreen: Space Tourism Set for Liftoff

Eager not to be left behind when space tourism takes off, rocket engine maker XCOR Aerospace in Mojave, Calif., announced Wednesday that it will be ready to blast ordinary (albeit wealthy) Earthlings into space within two years. XCOR reps said at a press conference Wednesday that its Lynx suborbital spaceship, still in the prototype phase, will be a two-seat (one pilot, one passenger) craft that takes off like an airplane and glides back to Earth like a space shuttle. During the journey to and from the outer edge of the atmosphere, a passenger will be treated to a 30-minute ride that includes a minute and a half of weightlessness. . .

Read more at: Scientific American

Thursday, March 27, 2008

10% of Americans Think Barack Obama is Muslim?

Image from

This just in. . .10% of Americans are dumber than a brick. After three weeks of saturation coverage of Barack Obama's Christian minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, cognitive dissonance has apparently taken hold. For the uninitiated, that's when you hold two contradictory ideas to both be true. He's a Muslim! He's a crazy Christian!



One in 10 voters believes Barack Obama is Muslim, a mistaken impression that lingers across party lines, a poll showed Wednesday.

Fourteen percent of Republicans, 10 percent of Democrats and 8 percent of independents mistakenly think he is Muslim, according to a survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. Just over half of each group correctly identified him as Christian, while about a third said they don't know his religion. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Bad News in Iraq, and at the Pump

Photo from source, Times Online

After all the rosy talk of "success" in Iraq, both by The Commander Guy and elsewhere, feels a little hollow with stuff like this going on. I'm so tired of happy talk, and the efforts of this administration to create its own reality. Enough.


Areas of Baghdad fall to militias as Iraqi Army falters in Basra

Iraq’s Prime Minister was staring into the abyss today after his operation to crush militia strongholds in Basra stalled, members of his own security forces defected and district after district of his own capital fell to Shia militia gunmen.

With the threat of a civil war looming in the south, Nouri al-Maliki’s police chief in Basra narrowly escaped assassination in the crucial port city, while in Baghdad, the spokesman for the Iraqi side of the US military surge was kidnapped by gunmen and his house burnt to the ground. . .

Read more at: Times Online

Should Hillary Clinton Quit, Already?

Photo from Reuters

Tough question. Just when I find myself solidly behind Barack Obama, I find myself unexpectedly pulling for her. But the last two weeks, that has been happening less and less. While I'm firmly in the belief that the "party tearing itself apart" meme being shouted by the press is overblown, I think the perception is taking root. And politics is all about perception.

Add to that the fact that Hillary Clinton's potential for winning is almost non-existent, barring a tragedy for the Obama campaign, maybe it is time. This guy sure thinks so, check out his first sentence.


Democratic race over? Clinton doesn't think so

Somebody forgot to tell Hillary Clinton the Democratic presidential race is over and Barack Obama won.

Obama has captured more state contests, more votes and more of the pledged convention delegates who will help decide which Democrat faces Republican Sen.
John McCain in November's presidential election. . .

Read more at: Reuters

Bush Gives Umpteenth Iraq "Progress" Report

Picture captured from video at source, Washington Post

I sometimes wonder if George W. Bush has been replaced by an automaton, programmed to go out and say the same thing over and over again about a given topic. Something like the "Buffybot" on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Superman's legion of robots. . .only dumber.

The only thing that blasts a hole in that theory is that it looks like The Decider has a little wound over his left eyebrow. Maybe he took a header into the coffee table after too many "near beers." He does seem to have that overly annunciated "s" and "sts" sound at the end of his words. I'm just sayin'. . .


Despite New Violence in Iraq, Bush Stresses Progress

The images from Baghdad and Basra bristled with explosions, burning buildings, angry street protests, rocket smoke wafting from the Green Zone. The words from Dayton were "remarkable" and "victory" and "rebirth."

"Normalcy," President Bush said, "is returning back to Iraq."

If you can take it, there's more (with video) at: Washington Post

Kid Sells Millions of Bad Bullets in Arms Contract?

Photo from source, New York Times

There have been a ton of stories about contractors ripping off the government. . .or our government being complicit in giving contracts where they are getting ripped off. It's one big mess. But this one really takes the cake. This kid (he was 18 when he got started) seems to have made millions by selling crappy imported artillery shells to the government for use in Afghanistan (you know, the other war). What, was he really good at eBay? This is just nuts.


Supplier Under Scrutiny on Arms for Afghans

Since 2006, when the insurgency in
Afghanistan sharply intensified, the Afghan government has been dependent on American logistics and military support in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

But to arm the Afghan forces that it hopes will lead this fight, the American military has relied since early last year on a fledgling company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur. . .

Read more at: New York Times

Software I Can't Wait For: CorelDRAW X4

Photo from

I work in the sign industry, which means I work on a PC platform. This is counter-intuitive to most graphics people, who tend to favor Macs. The reason for this is that sign making machines, once they fully embraced the computer age, opted for the PC. While it may be theoretically possible to operate some of the machines with a Mac, it would certainly take away from the Mac's alleged ease-of-use.

This all worked out for me, because I've been using PC software for graphics almost since such programs were made available. I've used CorelDRAW since version 2. Add to that the fact that I'm a bit Mac-phobic (not scared of them, just dislike them), and also have a profound distaste for Corel's main competitor, Adobe. So I'm kind of excited by a new release from Corel.

One feature that Corel has had for a long time--and one that Adobe lacks--is the ability to set the interface to look almost exactly like the competition. So if you find yourself in front of CorelDRAW, and you are trained on Adobe Illustrator, in a few quick clicks you can be in familiar territory. The only chance Adobe has at ever converting me is to return the favor.

If you're curious about what CorelDRAW X4 (the 14th release) has to offer, here's a preview.


CorelDraw Graphics Suite X4

CorelDraw is often regarded by designers as a Creative Suite for marketing departments, but this hasn’t stopped Corel pitching it as much at creative professionals as those who create media as only part of their job. The Graphics Suite X4 bundle combines vector artwork design, page layout and image editing in a single package that costs around a third of Adobe’s equivalent package. . .

Read more at: Digital Arts

Hillary Clinton Really Was Dodging Fire!

I haven't commented here on the whole "Hillary Dodging Sniper Fire" story, largely because it's just so stupid. I mean, what was she thinking? What other examples might we have of a politician saying something that is demonstratively untrue? I just can't think of anything. . .

Joking, of course. We have countless examples of video or audio proving that a politician is lying. It gets worse when, like Dick Cheney, they persist after being proven wrong. In Hillary's case, I suspect it was sort of a "fish story," a tall tale that kept getting taller until she didn't remember what had actually happened.

On the other hand, maybe it happened just the way she said. Let's go to the video to find out, shall we?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

World's First Pregnant Man?

Photo from referring site, Queerty

Just because I like to mess with your minds. . . Oh, and because I also think this is a pretty cool story.


Labor of Love

To our neighbors, my wife, Nancy, and I don’t appear in the least unusual. To those in the quiet Oregon community where we live, we are viewed just as we are -- a happy couple deeply in love. Our desire to work hard, buy our first home, and start a family was nothing out of the ordinary. That is, until we decided that I would carry our child. . .

Read more (you know you want to) at: The Advocate

Frivolity Break: American Idol's David Cook, Original?

Here's a shocker for you. This deeply cynical, black-hearted lefty liberal moonbat blogger watches American Idol. Don't panic, I don't usually watch it with both eyes. I'm usually at the computer or reading when it's on. And yes a disclaimer is necessary. Watching this show has become synonymous with the disconnected American.

That out of the way, I just wanted to comment on this year's American Idol "rocker dude," David Cook, and how he usually comes off as original. He tends to pick arrangements of hit songs that make them sound different, and thus avoids sounding "cabaret" or "karaoke." Ah, but there's a wrinkle--didn't you just know there was? It would seem that he's simply covering less well known versions of these songs! So much for original.

David Cook:

Chris Cornell:

Source: Not Original from DListed

News of the Weird: Jesus! Clean Your Shower!

Sorry. Actually don't clean your shower. Jesus! Because, uh, well, Jesus has appeared again. This time as a mildew spot. I'm not kidding.

Cheesus: Jesus Found in a Cheeto Bag
Jesus Found in Potato!
Jesus Found in Slab of Granite
Jesus Christ on a Pancake!

Blast from the Past: Before I Was a Blogger

Image from

Today at work, I was sifting through some old files, and found a blog post I wrote in 2005. The strange part is, I didn't have a blog in 2005. I have no idea what the heck I was doing. . .blowing off steam at lunch time I guess. Anyway, since it never had a home before (except lost in an old computer file) I thought I'd present it here, in its original form.

Some of this I've touched on in subsequent posts here, but what the heck. Picture it, it was 2005, and I was irritated. . .

Monkey Speak

In this over-consolidated, info-tainment-saturated, 24-hour news drenched society, some words and phrases begin to become overused to the point of becoming meaningless. In this column, I will address these terms, and explain why we should remove them from the lexicon.

1. Politically Correct (or "PC") - This term was thrown around and abused from the time of its inception (somewhere during the first Clinton administration, I suspect). People used it as a catch-all for words and phrases that were more polite towards diverse groups of people. At first, it made sense; if a group we used to call "blacks" preferred to be called "African-American," where's the harm in that?

Of course, the term became sort of bastardized by both the right and the left. More and more ludicrous terminology began to spew forth, i.e. "vertically challenged" for short people, or "differently-abled" for people with handicaps. Some were clever, some were funny, and some just ridiculous. After a while, anything considered PC was pretty much demonized or ridiculed by the right.

Now, it seems, the term has lost all meaning. Talking heads on Fox News assign the term to mean anything at all that represents ideology left of center (or, shoot, left of Sean Hannity). But, to call something "politically correct" implies that one must talk this way in order to remain politically viable. Under this monolithic one-party rule, does that even make sense? To be politically correct these days would require being anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-gun control, pro-religion in government, pro-corporation, pro-torture. . .oh. . .you get the picture. We either need to re-label PC as pro-conservative buzzwords and euphemisms, or dump the phrase altogether.

2. At the End of the Day - This phrase is uttered with alarming regularity on cable news and elsewhere (and both sides are guilty of it). There's nothing wrong with the phrase, per se, but it has been over-used to the point of becoming cliché. What's wrong with "in the end," or even the much shorter "ultimately?" This one is just my own personal pet peeve.

3. Homosexual Lifestyle - From my point of view, if you cannot define something, then you have no business using the term. I used to think people who used this phrase were referring to the stereotypically promiscuous, drinking, drugging party-boy gay guys. Of course this is unfair, because it assumes that ALL gay people live a debauched life, which is completely untrue.

Now, decades into the term's use, it is clear that it is a catch-all euphemism for being gay--period. It's particularly used for "active" homosexuals, but can be heard in reference to anything and everything to do with homosexuality. The term is hugely inaccurate. At its best, (like "at the end of the day") it is just lazy English. At its worst, it is double-speak for "I don't like gay people."

4. Pro-life - OK, I'll start out by saying that I don't have strong feelings on the abortion issue either way. As a gay man, I'm very unlikely to ever be involved personally in the decision to have one. Also, being agnostic, I do not have any religious directives that I have to follow. As such, I don't get too heated up about it. But the term "pro-life" is really a misnomer. Created to avoid being "anti-" something, the phrase implies that the person isn't merely against abortion, but in support of life in general. But, many pro-lifers are also rabidly pro-death penalty, and pro-war. They also tend to be against so-called entitlement programs that help poor people and their children to, well, have a life! Maybe a new term is in order? Pro-fetus?

5. Real Journalism, Fair and Balanced - Repeating a phrase over and over doesn't magically make it come true. Especially when it is superimposed over pictures of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. FOX's ludicrous attempt to sell themselves as an unbiased entity is so transparent, a monkey could see it. I don't see anything inherently wrong with having a conservative bias, if it is made clear that it's what you're doing. But, lying about it-you would think-would go against what they allegedly stand for. The argument that Fox is just offering an alternative to "left-wing media bias" is equally specious. Which brings us to. . .

6. Left-wing Media Bias - This is a moldy oldie that is still trotted out on a regular basis. Even if there was some credence to the allegation that mainstream news tends to skew left, there is simply no comparison to what the conservative-biased outlets do. Mainstream television, radio and print news (nearly all owned by huge conservative corporations) may stray a little left from time to time, but it's a fairly subtle and quite subjective cant. There simply is no mirror to right-skewing news/info sources. Even loudly and proudly liberal Air America Radio can't match the ferocity and spittle-flying partisanism evidenced on FOX or conservative talk radio.

State of the Union: Worst Since Watergate?

Photo from source, Guardian UK

When things are not going so well in America, it is a sticky issue to say so. The Limbaughs and Hannitys of the world tend to call any criticism of America, its President, or its foreign policy as completely out of bounds. You must hold up your We're Number 1! foam finger at all times if you are a true patriot! You will stand up, sing the national pledge of allegiance anthem, hand over heart, other hand saluting, flag pin not optional. Anything less, and you are an "America Hater."

So sometimes it is illustrative to see what the foreign press--who are not cowed by such sentiments--has to say about us.


US has not felt this bad since Watergate

Collapsing house prices across the United States have made Americans more pessimistic about the year to come than at any time since the height of the Watergate scandal and the first postwar oil price shock in the early 1970s, it was revealed yesterday.

Adding to fears that the world's biggest economy is falling deeper into recession, two reports showed an acceleration in the decline in house prices and an unexpectedly sharp fall in consumer confidence. . .

Read more at: Guardian UK

John McCain Broke the Law. Want to Do Something?

You know, when I found out it was definite that John McCain broke a campaign finance law, I rolled my eyes, and I dutifully reported it here. I commented, and believe, that nothing will come of this. Law or no law, it'll be a little blip, and go hardly noticed by anybody. Republicans who have broken far bigger laws have been skating left and right.

But after thinking about it, I realized that if this were Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, the shrieks from right-wing talk radio and FOX "News" would be deafening. And then I got this email, offering a place to make a bigger deal out of this if you want to. Want to?

[Excerpt from Email]

John McCain is breaking the law.

When McCain's presidential campaign was in trouble, he opted-in to public financing through the primary, limiting him to a $54 million spending cap.

But laws aren't for "mavericks"... McCain's latest spending report, filed by his own campaign, shows he has spent in excess of $58 million so far -- a public admission by his own hand that he has broken the law.We filed a formal complaint to Federal Election Commission yesterday, and we want you to sign-on for a second delivery of signatures later this week.

Please read and co-sign the letter to the FEC right now.

Arnold Terminates Dirty Harry

Photo from source, yep, FOX "News"

Can Dirty Harry stand up to The Terminator? Apparently not. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood are both Hollywood actors turned California politicians, but I guess this was really no contest. "Go ahead, make my day." "You've been terminated!"


Clint Eastwood Laughs About Being 'Fired' by Schwarzenegger

Clint Eastwood is not too upset that his friend, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, no longer wants him on the state parks commission, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The actor says he joked about it with Bobby Shriver, the governor's brother-in-law, who was also terminated. . .

Read more at (why not): FOX "News"

Ford Unloads Land Rover and Jaguar, Cheaply

Automotive news is really the purview of The Other Half, but even I was aware that Ford Motor Company was in some financial dire straights. So, it's time for them to offload some of their extraneous brands. Jaguar, for one, never seemed like a good Ford fit to me, and apparently they finally think so too. But how strange is it that a British mainstay like Jaguar could be taken over first by former British colonists, the USA, and now be run by India? I'll bet the Queen is not amused.


Ford clears new path with sale of Jaguar, Land Rover

Ford Motor Co. removed a major distraction from its massive restructuring plan with the sale of luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover to India's Tata Group, analysts said on Wednesday. . .

Read more at: The Economic Times

Air Marshals on Fewer than 1% of Flights?

Creepy training picture from source, CNN

So, everything changed after 9/11, right? Maybe not so much.


Sources: Air marshals missing from almost all flights

Of the 28,000 commercial airline flights that take to the skies on an average day in the United States, fewer than 1 percent are protected by on-board, armed federal air marshals, a nationwide CNN investigation has found.

That means a terrorist or other criminal bent on taking over an aircraft would be confronted by a trained air marshal on as few as 280 daily flights, according to more than a dozen federal air marshals and pilots interviewed by CNN. . .

Read more at: CNN

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Cast Reunites

Photo from source, MTV

Now this is an event that I would have loved to attend. I've made no secret of my love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the blog. It's right up there with superheroes (well, she is a superhero), scary movies and pizza. And to see all of my favorite performers cutting up with one another would have been a hoot. While no news is forthcoming about an actual filmed reunion, I think it bodes well that they participated in this event, and seem to get along so well. Viva Buffy!


'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' Cast, Creators Reunite To Debate Angel Vs. Spike, Buffy's Same-Sex Romance

"Final analysis, final verdict," TV Guide scribe Matt Roush said to the assembled panel of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" castmembers and creators. "Angel or Spike?"

As Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, looked amused but shocked — and James Marsters, who played Spike, wriggled uncomfortably in his chair — only Nicholas Brendan, who played Xander, had the nerve to pipe up and rephrase the age-old question: "
Given the comic book, I think Willow. . ."

More (with more video) at: MTV

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Which American Accent Do You Have?

Here's a bit of frivolity for you. Do you have an accent? I've never thought that I do, and this little test bears me out. I pretty much sound like anyone you might hear on an ordinary TV show. There are a few words that leak out, especially if I'm not trying to annunciate: "pilla" for "pillow," "ott" for "ought," "udder" for "utter."

I've been a Nevadan for over a dozen years, and frankly most people here sound like me too. But I'm from Ohio, and we do have tells. Fortunately, I've broken myself of saying "pop" for "soda," and "sack" for "bag," which would peg me as an Ohioan--well, to other Ohioans. Here's where I rank. What about you?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
North Central
The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
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