Friday, December 31, 2010

Correction: 2011 Glasses Did Happen

Well, I'm not really surprised. 2011 marks the end of any reasonable reason to have novelty glasses with the year on them. 2010 was the last year until 2020 with two holes in the 0s, and even then there will be a fat "2" in the middle. No matter! The glasses apparently sold like hotcakes and there is money to be made! So, let's just slap a lens in the 1, and call it a day. . .

Watch Out, Baby New Year!


Found at: Joe.My.God.

ABBA's Happy New Year

I can't let the countdown start without posting the classic ABBA's Happy New Year, can I? And though it is the end of a decade, just pretend the "end of '89" line (not really the end of a decade) is "end of 2020." Mmkay?

Mini DVD Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I finally got around to watching Wolverine, and I've got to say, I'm not sure why it was regarded as something of a failure. I guess like Fantastic Four and its sequel, X-Men III: The Last Stand, Watchmen, Superman Returns and so many other superhero films, the outcry is coming from die-hard comic book fans. The producers "didn't get it right," and so, the movie gets a big FAIL from them.

I'm a super-hero fan from way, way back. But I'm relatively easy to please. All of the above movies mentioned, and many others have pleased me just fine. I understand that the transition from comic books to the silver screen involves changing them to some degree. Having grown up on DC Comics, with their multi-verse concept, "Elseworlds" and "imaginary stories," I understand that each incarnation of any particular character will involve many variations and differences.

That's not to say that all of the changes are good, or that every super-hero movie is great. The Michael Keaton/Val Kilmer/George Clooney Batman series is vastly overrated in my opinion (as is the current Christian Bale one, but for different reasons). Superman III and Supergirl were disappointing (but not without their fun parts), and the less said about Superman IV: The Quest for Peace the better.

But I thought that Wolverine was plenty enjoyable for me. It didn't hurt that we got to see Hugh Jackman in the altogether, and any appearance by a wisecracking Ryan Reynolds is always welcome. I was never a Marvel Comics fan, so I only had a vague familiarity with the many characters introduced in the film. This probably helped, since I had no fan "bible" to go by. The movie manages to give Wolverine a full back-story--only hinted at in X-Men--while neatly tying it into the parent series' storyline.

The movie didn't feel as big or bombastic as Iron Man (one of the best super-hero movies ever made) or Spider-Man, but it didn't feel like it needed to be.  I guess this one needs to be entered into with lowered expectations. Accept it for what it is: the movie version of some of your favorite comic book characters. Leave your fanboy nit pickery at the door, and enjoy.


Absolutely Fabulous: Bubble Explains the New Year

Happy New Year!

2010 is ending, and good riddance! It wasn't a particularly good year for a lot of people, your editor included. It wasn't all bad, as several good things did happen. Off the top of my head, some of the positive things were

- "Don't ask, don't tell" was repealed. Or at least pre-repealed. Definitely a positive step.
- The Walking Dead premiered, was good, got good ratings, and got renewed.
- My sister announced that she's going to have another baby.
- I got a new(ish) car.
- Even though Democrats lost big in November, the uber-crazies (Christine O'Donnell, Joe Miller and especially Sharron Angle) lost.
- Election 2010 was nothing if not entertaining.
- The stock market went up (even if my own meager stocks declined).
- I got my first Mac. And didn't get assimilated into the Cult of Mac collective.

Okay, so it's not much of a list. And I did no research. I may tomorrow, if the mood strikes. Hey, I'm on vacation, cut me some slack! Bad stuff doesn't seem like a good thing to dwell upon, though I may visit a little of that too. For now, I'll leave you for now with a couple of observations:

- 2010 is the last year that those goofy New Year's Eve glasses will be credible, being the last year with two zeros in it (without a giant number in the third slot, at least). I have no doubt that the trinket hustlers will try to make them with 2011 and beyond, but they'll look dumber than they already did.
- 2010 is the end of the first decade of the 2000s, but it is also the last decade-ending year of the century that will be viewed that way. 2020 will be the last year of the teens, but will be viewed as the start of the '20s, much as 2000 is included as the beginning of this decade, even though it was not. Which is why you're seeing decade retrospectives this year, rather than last year, and they start at 2001.
- We got through a whole decade without naming it. I suppose this is normal. I'll bet the "gay nineties" wasn't thought up for the 1890s until later (and wouldn't get a name like that today!). But what was it? The oos? The two-thousandsies? The aughts? The lost decade? Or is that to come?

Anyway, have a very happy (and safe) New Year's Eve, and a prosperous (or at least better) 2011 than we had in 2010.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Keith Olbermann: "FOX 'News' is 100% Bullshit"

Image from source, Huffington Post
Too good not to post. And totally true, though I hope he doesn't get in trouble again for it.


Keith Olbermann: 'Fox News Is 100% Bullshit'

. . .One Twitter user, William R. Dickson, tweeted back at Olbermann with the following, which he retweeted to his 169,000-plus followers:

"Surely not 100%. Surely it is a rich blend of manure from a wide variety of farm animals. . ."

Read more at: Huffington Post

My Favorite Things: Christmas Was Good to Me

The blog is still slow, I know. I've been taking this vacation thing seriously. In fact, I only switched from my pajamas to daytime pajamas: T-shirt and sweat pants. My one venture out was to deposit some checks that my very thoughtful parents sent to me for Christmas. Do I care they arrived today instead of last week? Hell no! One of my very favorite things is the unexpected gifts you might get after Christmas.

Today, I tried to gather some friends for one more post-holiday, pre-new year lunch. It's still going to happen, but as Sunday brunch, which is just as well, because i didn't really feel like getting dressed today. And, no, I wasn't the only person at the bank in sweat pants!

This year, as I stated before, was supposed to be a "hard candy" Christmas for us and most of our friends and family. While I did spend less than usual, really it just was a lot less work, and the whole thing was distilled down to the good stuff, minus the pomp and circumstance.  Here in no particular order are the things I was happy to receive this year (in addition to the cash, thanks Mom!).

Sony Blu-ray Player - We already have had a Blu-ray player, for a year or two. But I bought it when they were first at the outer rim of affordable (around $225 or so). It's a Magnasux, as I like to call it. It takes forever to respond to simple things like "powering on" or "opening the drawer." When you get past the three minutes it takes to pop in a disc, it then takes another three to boot up the movie. Add to this a badly designed remote control that The Other Half cannot read without glasses, and you've got a crappy player. But wait, there's more! When you finally get the movie going, it has little digital spaz attacks every 90 seconds or so, distorting the screen with random pixels. This is not the experience I bargained for.

The new Sony (thanks again, Mom!) is 3D-ready (updateable free?) and has wireless internet connectivity. What for? Well, initially, I thought it was just for "BD-Live," a feature on some discs. In addition to that, you can watch YouTube videos directly from the internet, along with various free videos--including TV Shows and movies--as well as an assortment of pay-per-view services like NetFlix.  I really think this is a bridge to the future of how we'll ultimately connect the internet, television, video libraries and who knows what other devices. The Sony is a little techno-geeky, and might be a notch or two too clunky for some people. But I'm a techno-geek myself, and having a ball with it. I even connected a standard USB keyboard to it, and am able to type searches into it, rather than use the remote control!

Best of all, it turns on quickly (if not quite as quickly as a standard DVD player), the drawer pops right open, and the bootup process is mercifully shorter than the Magnavox.  Incidentally, the model is SONY BDP-S570/BX57. Highly recommended!

Sonoma Hoodie - This one may not seem like much, but I've gone through a series of light-to-medium casual jackets, and I never like them. For one thing, one trip through the washer, and they just seem crappy. They pill up, lose their shapes. I've been on a quest for something for a couple of years. Here in Las Vegas, a heavy winter coat is rarely required, particularly if you're already wearing a sweatshirt or sweater. The Other Half ended my quest by getting me a fleece-lined hoodie at Kohls (I got the green one). Actually, the sizing was a little odd, so our quest wasn't quite over. We had to hit two Kohls stores to find me an XL, though I'm usually a L at most. But now that I have it? It's one of the most comfy, cozy things I've ever worn. It's a trifle too warm to wear around the house, possibly. But, it's also a couple of notches above the quality of your usual sweatshirt material, so I'm betting it survives its first trip through the washer better than my earlier jackets. It turns out that though this jacket only set us back $32 or so, they are currently selling it at for $80.00. So go to the store if you want one! Highly recommended.

Peerless Kitchen Faucet - I've already done a post on this one, so if you want to see why this was such an improvement, see our original faucet here.

Bloom County: The Complete Library - I actually bought Volume 1 of this collection for The Other Half. It was $40, which made the whole 5-volume set kind of over-the-top cost-wise. But thanks to a $50 gift certificate for, and the fact that on Amazon the books sell for $26, went ahead and ordered Volumes 2 and 3, which takes us from 1980 to 1986! I guess we'll hold volumes 4 and 5 for our birthdays or anniversary.

Anyway, we haven't had time to get very far into the books. But they collect--for the first time--every Bloom County comic strip ever published, in addition to other treats like some of the original Academia Waltz strip, remembrances from famous people like Ted Koppel and notations in the margins to explain the 80s to folks who weren't around (or don't remember).

We've already got The Complete Far Side two-volume library by Gary Larson. We've also got The Complete Calvin & Hobbes three-volume set by Bill Watterson. Now, finally, we are well on our way to completing our ownership of every comic strip that ever really mattered to either of us. Those three gone-too-soon strips are by far the best that comics can be. But for now, I'm getting set to plunge into the tales of Opus the Penguin, Bill the Cat, Hodge Podge, Portnoy, Milo, Oliver, Binkley, Steve Dallas, Lola Granola, Alf Mushpie, and Rosebud the Basselope in that wonderful dandelion patch, and relive it all again.
Highly recommended, of course.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Celebrities We Lost in 2010

In memoriam.

Found at: Joe.My.God.

2010's Gifts to Comedians

Image from source, Huffington Post
As you might have noticed, there have been few posts over the last few days. Oddly enough, when I'm on vacation--and actually have more time to post--I seem to get less done. Mostly, that is because I'm usually off during holidays, and the news world seems to just stop. Part of this is because second-stringers are delivering the news at those times, and part of it is because I'm not paying attention! Still, I like to get a little something posted every day, just to keep the blog fresh. So, here's a quickie for me that is also entertaining. Who were the people of 2010 that provided us with comedic fodder?


2010's People Who Made Comedy Possible (PHOTOS)

The year 2010 had a plethora of intensely funny people, but where would they be without their targets, who may be equally funny for altogether different (and unintentional) reasons? Midterm election years always make the stakes of politics and our culture more heightened than non-election years, and that sense of urgency only fuels the fire of comedians' wit. . .
Read more at: Huffington Post

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Maybe I Don't Get it 'Cause I'm Not Catholic. . .

Lines for Santa Claus were never like this.  Ahem.  Readers of this blog (all six dozen of you) know that I'm not religious. Not even a little bit religious. Maybe a little anti-religious. But I love the trappings of Christmas. I'm all about the peace and love, the giving (and receiving!) of gifts. I like the egg nog, the wassail and the parties. I'm as fond of sending a gift as I am of receiving it. And as dodgy as the whole Santa Claus myth might be ethically for the little kiddies, I'm totally down with it.

But when you get to the midnight masses, and the overtly reverent religiosity, I couldn't give a damn. Seriously. I'd wager that most efforts at this part of the Christmas experience are by rote for most people. And when we get to the Catholic parts of the holiday? The Popey parts? Well, in the days of Pope John Paul II, I wasn't too bugged. He seemed nice, and smart, and not all that creepy (until they were almost propping him up). But this new guy? Creepy. Star Wars' Emperor Palpatine creepy. Zombie creepy.  Nazi creepy. So, while I have no evidence or knowledge that the current pope has any affinity for kiddies, this picture still gives me the creeps.

Source: Joe.My.God.

Joe Miller Just Won't Give Up

I don't really care about Alaska politics, but anyone would have to admit that after the Harry Reid/Sharron Angle battle here in Nevada, the Senate race in Alaska was one of the more interesting of the 2010 election. Lisa Murkowski's write-in campaign was historic, even if the results were down to the wire.  In close elections, the person perceived to be the winner is usually the winner. So, it is important to keep the thing in the air, to make it seem as though you are the winner, even if you don't know.

If you're George W. Bush, you get lucky, and the United States Supreme Court appoints you to office (but no precedent, just this once!). If you're Al Franken, you're lucky enough to both be certified the winner, and be running against a hardcore douche nozzle like the odeous Norm Coleman, who nobody wants to win anyway. If you're Joe Miller in Alaska, I guess you're just hoping for the tea party and Sarah Barracuda Palin to be enough to drag you over the finish line.

But mostly, I'm just running this piece because the folks at DailyKos picked the perfect video clip to run with it.


AK-Sen: It's not over until he runs out of courts.

As Joe Miller's statement yesterday makes clear, his quest to have the courts overturn the results of his failed election bid isn't over yet. While he won't stop Murkowski's victory from being certified and her being re-sworn in next week, he's leaving the door open for his continuing federal court challenge to undermine the basis of her victory and, he hopes, an ultimate certification in his favor which the Senate would accept. . .

Read more at: Daily Kos

Frivolity Break: Time Lapse Blizzard

When I was a kid, I made a stop action movie with no plot, with my mom's 8 mm movie camera. When I was a young adult, I did the same with a video camera. With the advancement of technology and the ease of use (not to mention ease of editing), I'm surprised I haven't tried a similar project in my encroaching middle age. Oh, who am I kidding, middle age.  So, I found this pretty cool.

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hard Candy Christmas

We've just had what we've been calling a "hard candy Christmas" at our house. Ostensibly, this means we didn't spend as much money, but mostly it just meant less work. I did spend about $130 on an upgrade for our kitchen though, and preparing for that took part of the morning and afternoon. Thanks to my good friend Lester though, it was very much worth it!  Here is what our old kitchen faucet (which was leaking and crusted with lime) looked like. . .

And here is the (vastly) new and imroved version. . .

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays! From The Monkey

I promised the editor I wouldn't say "fuck" on the blog today...
So, Merry Christmas.

Holiday Cheer: Pat Benatar's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

With apologies for the Dennis Miller interlude. . .

Holiday Cheer: Pat Benatar's Christmas in America

Jimmy Kimmel: How the Bill O'Reilly Stole Christmas

The Grinch would be proud. . .

Does FOX "News" Hate Christmas?!?


Friday, December 24, 2010

Patton Oswalt: The Christmas Shoes

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

Holiday Cheer: A Cyndi Lauper Christmas

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

Christmas Conga

Early Christmas Morning

Home on Christmas

Young Turks: FOX "News" Jealous of Jon Stewart?

Well, sure. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is by far a more legitimate news source than is FOX "News," particularly the peculiarly named FOX & Friends.

GOP Uses "The Gay" to Gin Up Their Base

I almost filed this under Captain Obvious. The GOP uses gay people to get their base to the polls in much the same way that evangelical shysters use it on their flocks to get them to open their pocket books. Thanks to Stupid Monkey Planet for the link.


Former right-wing gay Republican confesses GOP uses gays ‘to gin up their base’

David Brock, the former closeted gay Republican-cum progressive media watchdog, appeared Wednesday on Chris Matthews' Hardball to discuss the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and the creation of his new watchdog group fighting for gay equality, "Equality Matters. . ."
Read more at: Raw Story

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Cheer: "D**k in a Box" from SNL

A holiday classic!

Rachel Maddow: Newt Gingrich is a Direct Mail Scam Artist

Also, he has a really goofy name. Needed to be said.


Maddow: ‘Newt Gingrich is a direct mail scam artist’

Speaking to a live audience at the 92nd Street Y Wednesday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow blasted former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for his opposition to federal unemployment benefits. . .
Read more at: Raw Story

John Fugelsang: Happy Holidays to War on Christmas

Well said.

FOX "News" and the Repeal of the 20th Century

I found this at AmericaBlog, and had to pass it on. I'm frankly a little surprised to see Teddy Roosevelt slammed by FOX "News." One of my conservative friends hails TR as a personal hero. I wonder what he thinks about this?

Congressman Barney Frank Takes on Stupid DADT Questions

Yeah, I know there's a lot about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on the blog of late. I'm sure the news cycle will move in in a fairly big hurry, so no worries. In the mean time, here's a fantastic response by Congressman Barney Frank, when asked some pretty stupid (and sadly, standard) questions about the DADT repeal. Good stuff.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

President Obama's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal Speech

It is historic, but it isn't yet complete, I know. It's still a big deal, and with all the nay-saying by people like me about President Barack Obama's "fierce advocate" status on gay rights issues, credit where it's due.

Holiday Cheer: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses

Sadly, there doesn't seem to be an official video for the classic new wave Christmas song by The Waitresses, but this one is one of my favorites. So here's one of those timed-to-the-music Christmas lights displays. It'll do.

Captain Obvious: Yet Another Gay Primer

I've spent some time--perhaps too much time--reading some of the right-wing reaction to the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy.  As is usual, there is a lot of homophobic name calling, and sub Jr. High School-level attempts at "humor." But mostly, there is a level of obsession over the sex aspect of homosexual, that even most gay people themselves don't indulge in. To live in right-wing world is apparently to know no gay people, and to believe only the most damning, negative things about them.

By far, the biggest theme on right-wing sites about the lifting of DADT is that the military will now be "homosexualized." In their feverish dreams, they envision soldiers holding hands, wearing pink uniforms, smooching in the commissary, a-doin'-it in the barracks, fondling in the showers, and horrors imposing themselves upon the uber-macho straight soldiers against their wills.  There is also a lot of cognitive dissonance at work. For instance, they'll insist that gays make up less than 1% of the population (ha!), but that they're all-powerful, and "taking over" the military. They'll portray us as mincing queens, flitting about, while simultaneously portraying us as predatory animals, overpowering the defenseless straights. It's all a little crazy. Okay, a lot crazy.  So here, is one more attempt to set the record straight. . .uh. . .so to speak.

1. There have always been gay people in the military - The only difference now is that gay soldiers won't have to hide that fact.  Until now, they've been forced to lie, by deed or omission. That can create a very stressful situation, with all sorts of attendant problems.

2. Gays in the showers and bunks is thus nothing new - But now, if you're a service member who has a real aversion to teh gay, you'll know who to avoid! This is a win for you guys, though it's pretty dumb. The military isn't the only place where same sex groups of people bunk or shower together. Do you belong to a gym? Then you've showered with gay guys, trust me.

3. Sex in the military is still against the rules - This is the big one. Many right-wingers seem to think that "serving openly" means "behaving as though life is a gay bar." The same rules that apply to straight soldiers will apply to gay ones. So, no sexy times on base. Sorry, you'll just have to look for it on the internet, just like everyone else.

4. There is no sex act practiced by gays that isn't practiced by straights - The ultimate in obvious, yes, but important to point out. For all of their supposed revulsion, FReepers in particular are unusually fixated upon gay sex acts, the more extreme the better. But if a gay person has done it, you can rest assured that a straight person has done it as well. What's more, at upwards of 90% of the population, there are probably more straight people doing it. Oh, and the gerbil thing? Nobody does that, unless they're trying to recreate an urban legend.

5. Gay couples won't be living on base together - Unless the military begins allowing unmarried straights to cohabitate on base, it won't happen with gays either. Since the US Government does not recognize any same-sex marriages, they won't be recognized by the military either.  If same-sex marriage should become legal federally, that could change, and it should.

That's if for now, but surely not the last time I'll write a post like this. The disinformation and willful ignorance of the right is sure to inspire yet another sequel, and Captain Obvious will once again have to point out what should already be. . .obvious.

Ann Coulter Blathers About "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal

I really don't care about much that Ann Coulter says. And based upon the last several months of news cycles, I must not be alone. When's the last time a Coultergasm caused waves in the news? Girlfriend's act is as tired and old as her little black cocktail dress. So, why am I posting a link to a story about Ann Coulter, and her lunatic ravings about the repeal of DADT? Because the attached picture is creepy and/or hilarious. That is all.
Image from source, MediaIte

Ann Coulter Engages In “Utterly Ridiculous” Duel With Red Eye’s Andy Levy Over DADT

On Fox News Channel’s Red Eye, Ann Coulter unleashed a fury of controversial comments in response to the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military policy. However, whether one finds her thoughts offensive or funny depends entirely on one’s own view of Coulter’s role in political discourse. For those who take her every word seriously, you probably will be justified in being upset with her comments. . .
Read more at: MediaIte

Huckabee Defends First Lady Against Sarah Palin?

Image from Reuters
Politics in this country tends to wallow in the stupid, this is not news. But the far-right outcry that First Lady Michelle Obama is trying to be "the food police" tops the list. Every first lady has her "cause," of course. With Nancy Reagan, it was "Just say no to drugs." With Laura Bush, it was literacy. Mrs. Obama's happens to be fighting obesity in America. What could be wrong with that?

Well, right-wing world doesn't like being told to put down the fries and pick up some cauliflower.  And since anything supported by an Obama must by definition be bad, they've amped up their faux outrage to ridiculous levels. Riding the crest of faux outrage is what Sarah Palin does best, so it is no surprise that she'd take a shot at Mrs. Obama. But since she doesn't have an actual political position to squawk from, she has to do it via her reality show (!) or FaceBook.  Gotta hand it to her, she's got a zinger for everything, and the ability to have every thought--no matter how well formed--make a splash in politics.  But, Palin's possible political future makes her a target, even on her own side.


Mike Huckabee Defends First Lady in Food Fight With Sarah Palin

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee knows a thing or two about obesity. Huckabee, who lost more than 100 pounds after learning in 2003 that hew had diabetes, says fellow Republican Sarah Palin maybe doesn't get it when it comes to First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign against childhood obesity. . .

Read more at: AOL

Autotune the News: Backin' Up Remixed!

I loved this one the first time around. But they made it better!

Holiday Cheer: Megan Mullally's I'll Be Home for Christmas

She'll always be Karen Walker to me, but the lady can sing.

Huffington Post's Best Signs from December

Image from source, Huffington Post
 Big holiday party at a friend's house, which is the reason for no blogging thus far. Here's a little something though. I'm a sign maker by occupation, so these sorts of posts are always in my sweet spot. Add in a little holiday irreverence, and you've got me. Enjoy.


The 10 Funniest Signs From December (PHOTOS)

Here are 10 fantastic signs that just came in. Enjoy! Upload your own Signspottings and check out the new blog-mode for easy viewing at And don't miss the brand new Signspotting 2011 Day-to-Day Calendar. . .
Read more at: Huffington Post

Monday, December 20, 2010

Anti-gay Iowans Trying to Impeach Judges

The Hate Bus, from TPM Muckraker
Oh, for crying out loud. As wrong as it seemed to me that three judges were successfully un-retained in the November election, this is more wrong. The Supreme Court of Iowa declared that the law against same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, and that threw the bigots into a frenzy. So, in the vote to retain the three judges up for reinstatement--something that almost always happens--a successful campaign was mounted to get them bounced. Now, they're going to try to impeach the rest of the bench.

If the judges had done something illegal, or something unethical, I'd get it. If they'd overstepped their bounds, I'd almost get it. But they didn't. They performed their jobs as they are supposed to. They just came to a legal conclusion that a small but loud group of homophobes didn't like. I hope this fails, because impeachment should be reserved for something other than ruling in a way that torques off a hate group.


Anti-Gay Iowa Republicans Will Try To Impeach Supreme Court Justices

For conservatives angry over the Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous decision last year to legalize gay marriage, getting three of the seven justices booted from the bench just isn't enough. Now, a handful of Republican lawmakers are now trying to impeach the remaining four. . .
Read more at: TPM Muckraker

Lunar Eclipse Tonight/Morning. . .Don't Forget!

Image from source, Huffington Post
Yeah, this post is only good for a couple more hours. And I already did a Science is Cool post about it. But anyway, at 11:41 pm PST, get your coat on and go stare into the sky. You don't even need one of those ridiculous pinhole, pie plate contraptions!


Lunar Eclipse Tonight: 2010 Winter Solstice To Coincide With Total Full Moon Eclipse On December 20, 21

Multiple astronomical events are lining up for a rare display of synchronization tonight as a total lunar eclipse overlaps with 2010's winter solstice.

Depending on the location, late night December 20 or early morning December 21, the full moon will be darkened by Earth's shadow as our planet passes between it and the sun. December 21 is also the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, after which the days will begin to grow longer. Coupled with the lunar spectacle, it means we're in for an especially dark eve. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

GOP Stops Bill Preventing Child Marriage

Image from Barbados Free Press
Did you say, "WTF?!?" as loudly as I just did?


GOP shuts down bill to prevent child marriage

Preventing child marriage may seem like the most non-partisan of non-partisan issues, but to Republicans scrambling to deny political victories to a lame-duck Democratic House, it seems to be yet another political football. . .
Read more at: Raw Story

Naughty Christmas: Jackie Beat's Santa Baby

One from the vaults. . .

These Christmas songs are a little further around the bend than I'm willing to post on the front page. Some are naughty, some are gross, some are both.

So here's how it works. If you are 1) easily offended, 2) a hard core Conservative (thus lacking a sense of humor), or 3) a "humorless, stick up the butt Liberal" ( The Stephanie Miller Show), do not click the link after the word "Continued." If you're like me, and you enjoy the bawdy, irreverent and brash, by all means, click through!

Santa's Baby by Jackie Beat


Science is Cool: Lunar Eclipse, Full Moon on Solstice

We've never seen this before. I'm serious, it's been over 400 years!


Solstice Lunar Eclipse

Image from source, NASA
. . .The luster will be a bit "off" on Dec. 21st, the first day of northern winter, when the full Moon passes almost dead-center through Earth's shadow. For 72 minutes of eerie totality, an amber light will play across the snows of North America, throwing landscapes into an unusual state of ruddy shadow. . .

Read more at: NASA

Evolution Taking Hold Over Creationism?

Image from source, Raw Story
It's easy to get down about America, to think that overt religiosity, superstition, ignorance and outright stupidity is taking hold. But every once in a while, I'm heartened by a story like the one excerpted below. I'm not arrogant enough to say that I'm 100% right about my (nearly atheistic) agnosticism. As an agnostic, I don't have to claim that I know 100%, it's kind of the point. But it is easy to say that Genesis cannot be taken literally, or squared with what we know about science.


Poll: More Americans believe humans evolved without God

More Americans today believe that human beings developed without any involvement of a higher power, according to a new poll.

Gallup reported that since 1982, the number of Americans believing that humans evolved over millions of years increased by seven percentage points. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blast from the Past: Christmas Specials!

I haven't had much holiday cheer up lately, and I'm running out of time. But what better time than now? Some of these songs have left the realm of old holiday specials, and joined the regularly played Christmas tunes. Which is cool.

1. You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch - From the Dr. Seuss classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
2. The Who Song (Welcome Christmas) - This one is on the Christmas stations all the time, also from How The Grinch Stole Christmas
3. Christmastime is Here - From A Charlie Brown Christmas.
4. We're a Couple of Misfits - Rudolph and Hermey the gay dentist elf, from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
5. Frosty the Snowman - From the cartoon of the same name, by Jimmy Durante.
6. Heat Miser/Snow Miser Song - From The Year Without a Santa Claus, one of the Christmas specials that filled enough of the logic gaps in the Santa story to keep me believing for a couple more years.

Happy Monday!

Irony Department: Michele Bachmann is on Intelligence Committee

Image from Alan Colmes's
My brain just exploded.


Bachmann gets on Intelligence Committee

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, vying for a leadership position in the new Republican-controlled Congress, was given a new spot on the House Intelligence Committee on Friday. . .

Read more at: Star Tribune

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Picture of the Day: The Palin Who Stole Christmas

This PhotoShop-job is currently making the rounds on the interwebz. I have no idea who made it, but will happily provide attribution if someone sends it along.

Thanks to The Other Half for sharing.

Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Has Freepers Freaking Out

When anything goes the Democrats' way, you can count on a collective shriek rising from Right-Wing World, particularly from internet outposts like  FR is kind of like Sophia from The Golden Girls, minus the humor. Sophia was said to have had a stroke which removed her "tact" filter. She said whatever came to her mind, whether or not it was fit for public consumption. FReepers are more likely than most right-wingers to speak without a filter. This is because if you don't toe their line, you'll be ejected from the forum.

An example of FReeper humor, from source
Xenophobia, racism and especially homophobia are rampant at FR. Worse is their shocking, seemingly willful ignorance on the subject of homosexuality, and their "11-year-old bully" senses of humor.  So, I knew that when word came down that the end of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is virtually assured, I knew that there would be rage among the FReepers. Remember now, this is one of the most frequented right-wing sites on the web, not some obscure little blog. Take a look.

"This will destroy the US military, just as it has destroyed the Israeli, UK, Australian, Canadian and Germnan armed forces."

EDITOR: Yep, everyone knows those militaries just crumbled. Especially Israel's. Idiot.

"So now that this has passed, I think they should make separate platoons of only openly homosexuals. This should be the first platoon in, as no one else would want to be in front of them."

EDITOR: An example of the oh-so-developed right-wing sense of humor. Can't stop laughing, can you?

"The utter demolition and incineration of the Republic and its institutions continues unabated thanks to ZERO supposed 'checks & balances.'"

EDITOR: Hyperbole much?

"By voting to repeal, it can probably be assumed that you are condoning consenting sexual encounters in the shower or the barracks. . .It means that the gay lifestyle language and physical mannerisms may be displayed while in uniform and that ‘flippy’ salutes must be tolerated. . ."

EDITOR: This is the type of ignorance I'm talking about. Apparently, gay people do not--in this person's view--have any control over their attractions or behavior. And rules against sexual behavior already in place won't apply to gay people. What? The rest of this person's statement (and there is more) is as utterly ridiculous.

"Second, sorry Dingy [Harry Reid], our precious country was not founded on queers and fagots. [sic]"

EDITOR: And here, ladies and gentlemen, is an example of bigotry and ignorance (or is it stupidity?). If you're going to type an insult, at least learn to spell it. Idiot.

"Kinda gives new meaning to never leaving your buddies behind......"

EDITOR: Ha, ha, ha, ha! Not.

"This isn’t about gays or rights. This is the liberal agenda telling regular Americans that our value system of family, God, country, and hard work is outdated and must be abolished in favor of the new."

EDITOR: Ah, yes. The alleged "ulterior motives" of the "gay agenda." I still want to know when and where the meetings were held, when it was decided how we were going to go about destroying America. And why I wasn't invited. This was entirely about rights. Idiot.

"Time for a BIG tea party."

EDITOR: Yeah, 'cause that doesn't sound even a little bit gay. . .

"Well, there goes the shelf price for Vaseline petroleum jelly over at every AAFES worldwide!"

EDITOR: What gay guy (or gal) uses Vaseline? Do they even still make it? Fails as comedy, because it has no relevance.

"The end game is the deconstruction of the military. The left is using the gay issue as a tool just as they use the environment as a tool, race as a tool, gender as a tool, children as a tool, food as a tool ..."

EDITOR: More feverish delusions. This guy really thinks that the left collectively set up a plan to "deconstruct" the military, and apparently America using diversionary tactics that only he and other FReepers have deduced. Yeah, as though Democrats had the ability to plan something that in-depth and secretive. Tell me another one.

"One look at Fairy Reid tells you he is a FAG."

EDITOR: Facepalm. . .

"Men and women can now hold hands on base
Men can now dress as women on base.
Chaplains will be targeted.
DOMA will now be asked to be overturned.
Feds now recognize homosexuality.
Homosexual parties can now happen on base.
Homosexuals can now kiss each other on base.
Homosexuals can now have their queer flags on the wall on base.
Homosexuals can now say and do anything in a shower , in their room etc
The list is endless and the ignorant pro commie homosexuals lovers.supporters say no big frigging deal.
Will we also see homosexuals parades now?
Will homosexual assaults happen?
Will homosexuals be promoted of their homosexual boyfriend or girlfriend?
If anyone thinks this is not the end then wake the hell up as they have done more than enough damage with their ignorance

EDITOR: This person has done entirely too much thinking about "teh gay," and thinks that the Uniform Code of Military Conduct won't apply to gays for some reason. He/she is an idiot. And probably a little gay.

There is more, and tons have been added since I started typing this. They're foaming at the mouth about this, and it is all supposition of what might happen. As you can see by the selections above, these folks are all id, with no particular reasoning ability, nor are they hampered by actual facts or logic. And they are thankfully now just noise. If you really want to see what else they have to say, I can't stop you from going to FreeRepublic.

UPDATED: I just had to add this one quote, because it sort of blew me away. . .

"To add, homosexuality is incompatable with military service, and starting today, military service will be incompatible with Christianity. From this day forward, I’ll have no respect for anyone enlisting or re-enlisting."

EDITOR: Wow. Just wow. So, for eight years it was "support the troops" or you were un-American. But now that a gay person will be allowed to serve without hiding? Not so much. Why is this attitude not considered un-American?

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Nearly Certain to be Repealed

Our Senate, as most of you know, is weird. Even though a bill can be passed and sent over from the House, the Senate still has to take a vote to find out if they can take a vote. It's baffling. But the first vote--in today's reality--must have a majority of 60 votes to pass. This is because Republicans have turned a rarely used procedural tactic known as the filibuster (which is really more the threat of a filibuster) into an every-day, almost-every-vote procedure. They vote against everything. They vote against voting against everything. And because they've gotten away with it, I'm sure that unless they change the rules on January 5, this will continue to be the way things get done.

But in a small miracle, the vote to allow a vote on the repeal the military's discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy passed with 60 votes. This clears the way for an "up or down vote" (remember those?) in 30 hours, and it only needs 51 votes to pass. This virtually ensures the end of DADT. 

And while ultimately this law only effects a relative handful of people, it has much broader implications.  It is easier to hold on to prejudices and bigotry when there are institutionalized laws and policies that separate those same people out. DADT (and the "Defense of Marriage Act" or DoMA) are two things a homophobe could point to and say, "see, the government agrees with me."  With the repeal of DADT, we have one less institutionalized discriminatory law, and that is a very good thing.  As for the DREAM Act, I'm for it, but don't have a huge chip on my shoulder about it.  It sounds like a great idea, but it is not my fight.


Senate votes to advance 'don't ask, don't tell,' DREAM Act fails

The Senate voted 63-33 Saturday to proceed to a final vote to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy which bans openly gay people from serving in the armed forces. . .

Read more at: CNN

Jon Stewart Shines Light on 9/11 First Responders

The Republicans in the Senate--much like they did earlier this year in the House--have rather shamelessly been blocking passage of a health bill for 9/11 first responders. If Democrats were doing such a thing, the cry from Right-Wing World would be deafening. But because Democrats are for it, Republicans are again' it. Just for fun, Harry Reid ought to put a vote on the schedule to affirm Mom and apple pie as "American," just to see the Republicans vote against it.

Oddly, the 9/11 first responders story has gotten rather short shrift from the media. Again, I'm sure this is because it is Republicans who are blocking it. The angle is maybe too weird for them to wrap their inside the beltway minds around. So, once again, it's up to Comedy Central's Jon Stewart to bring a spotlight to the issue. For all of his protestations to the contrary, Stewart is an important political voice.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Worst Responders
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
9/11 First Responders React to the Senate Filibuster
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

Friday, December 17, 2010

Back to Math, Right After This Message

It was bound to happen. As Stupid Monkey Planet (who sent me the link) says, "I would like to congratulate the graduates of Frito Lay High... And the football team for their sound defeat of Proctor & Gamble High in the finals. Now if you could each come up & get your Doritos snack pack & diploma."

To which I added, "And don't forget to visit our new Slim Jim-nasium!"


LA schools to consider allowing corporate sponsors

The cash-strapped Los Angeles Unified School District will consider raising funds by turning to corporate sponsors - but parents and students shouldn't expect to see logos on campuses from tobacco or alcohol companies. . .

Read more at: Fresno Bee

Frivolity Break: Toto, I Don't Think We're in Kansas Anymore!

Who knew this line was used so much?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is Microsoft an Underdog?

This past week, while I was back in Ohio, I ended up--as I often do--doing a lot of computer repairs for my family. I recreated Mom's defunct home wireless network, I resucitated Mom's year-old but dead as a doorstop HP TouchSmart computer, I refreshed Mom's slightly older notebook computer, and helped salvage a hard drive from my sister's and brother-in-law's ancient business computer (destroying the rest of the computer in the process).

Image from source, Huffington Post
These procedures were performed on machines running various iterations of Microsoft Windows (Millenium Edition, XP, Vista and 7), all with their attendant ideosyncracies. Along the way, I got to thinking, what's the future of Microsoft anyway? While the overwhelming majority of computers still run on one of those operating systems, the era of boxed software on a specific platform is clearly waning. Even a long-time Mac-O-Phobe like me now owns a Mac. We've got smart telephones with their own software (only a minority of which are run by Microsoft software). We've got PS3s and Blu-ray players that wirelessly connect to the internet. There are countless other devices, new ones all the time, and many of them are neither Microsoft Windows, nor Mac OSX related. And even when they are, there are tons of ways to get your work done without laying out $300 to upgrade to the latest Office suite.

For years, it has been obvious that we're headed to some sort of convergance of all of this technology. The real winner is going to be whatever company becomes dominant in tying together our entertainment systems, computing systems, gaming systems, cable, and telephone into one cohesive, interconnected thing. That's my opinion anyway. And who knows, it could be Microsoft. Or it could be CyberDyne Systems, and we could be headed for the dystopian future of The Terminator.


Microsoft's Cracked Windows: How The World's Technology Juggernaut Lost Its Buzz And Became The 'Underdog'

. . .Microsoft as underdog. At the beginning of this decade, this description would have been ridiculous, like referring to the Yankees as an unsung, longshot baseball club. From the spread of personal computing through the dawn of the World Wide Web, its software governed the desktops of more than nine in ten desktop computers. Microsoft was so dominant that it became a symbol of monopoly power run amok, supposedly snuffing out innovation. Its rivals affixed pejorative labels like "Death Star" and "Evil Empire. . ."
Read more at: Huffington Post

Big Omnibus Spending Bill Dead

Image from MSNBC
All these billions and trillions are starting to make me dizzy. I have no idea if I should be for or again' them anymore. But it's big news apparently, and I guess the government could shut down if they don't figure it out. All I know is, I don't want to get stuck behind one of those damned Omnibuses if I'm on my way to work.


GOP Senate resistance kills giant spending bill

Democrats controlling the Senate abandoned on Thursday a huge catchall spending measure combining nearly $1.3 trillion worth of unfinished budget work, including another $158 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. . .

Read more at: MSNBC
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