Monday, November 29, 2010

Conspiracy Corner: Birthers Get Spanked Again

Old conspiracies never die, they just get more resistant to facts, and more entrenched. Well, surely, some people initially taken in let go of them. And when facts come to light, the more rational among us can't hold on to a conspiracy theory, and remain. . .well. . .rational. So, each theory's adherents are boiled down to their stubborn base.

That's not to say that there aren't ever conspiracies, or that you are a defacto nut if you believe one. Many very bright people still think there's something more to the JFK assassination than the Warren Commission's conclusions. The 9/11 Truthers have a point when they say that "the official story" of what happened that day doesn't seem plausible. Both groups have a point, but their more wacky contingents are their undoing. It's all well and good to point at the things that don't make sense, but more often, a conspiracy theorist will take it further, drawing their own conclusions to what did happen. And some of those conclusions make the whole group look crazy.

The Obama "Birth Certificate" theory is different though. It fails on all levels. Every single element of it has been utterly debunked. Even so, it lives on, and its adherents regularly rant (It's not a Birth Certificate, it's a Certificate of Live Birth!!1!11!!!) about things that are completely disproven. My other two examples at least have gaps in the "official story" that aren't adequately explained, opening a window for the theorist to speculate. With the Birth Certificate thing, there are no gaps. It's all filled in. If you don't believe me, spend a little time here: Obama Conspiracy


Justices turn aside another challenge over Obama's citizenship

The Supreme Court has again cast aside an appeal that raised doubts about President Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship, a grass-roots legal issue that has gained little legal or political footing, but continues to persist in the courts. . .

Read more at: CNN

Dr. Laura Rises from the Dead

Image from source,
Gahhh. I knew it was too good to be true that the rictus-grinned Dr. Laura Schlessinger would simply retire and go away. After her n-word diatribe months ago, she pulled the plug on her own show, because her free speech rights were being taken away. Which was weird, because they weren't, she never shuts up, and she wasn't fired, she quit. Anyway, though we can be glad that she's on satellite, and only available to paying customers, this means she'll still be a celebrity of sorts, and will still pop up and frighten us on the teevee from time to time.


Dr. Laura Signs With SiriusXM

. . .Schlessinger says her new show will be about the "morals, values, principles and ethics" that she has long stood for. A campaign calling on advertisers to boycott her new show has already been launched. . .
Read more at: Joe.My.God.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shirley, you can't be serious... Leslie Nielsen, 1926-2010

In honor of one of the greats ...

Although, this monkey will be quoting Frank Drebin & Dr. Rumack until the day I die...
For now, I am at a loss for words... Shirley, I am... RIP.

"I'm afraid if I don't keep moving, they're going to catch me ... I am 81 years old and I want to see what's around the corner, and I don't see any reason in the world not to keep working. But I am starting to value my down time a great deal because I am realizing there might be other things to do that I am overlooking."
~ Leslie Nielsen, 1926-2010

Learn more about Leslie Nielsen here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I was all set to do a Leslie Nielsen tribute, and my pal Stupid Monkey Planet beat me to it! And a good job he did, basically posting exactly what I would have. The only thing else I'd add is that while I loved Nielsen's work in Airplane! and The Naked Gun series, I think the latter-day makers of parody movies seemed to think if they plugged Nielsen into their movie, it would automatically be funny. He was of course, but not so much the movies. I'm glad the ZAZ team tapped into the comedy that Nielsen could provide though, and am very sad at his passing. Thanks for doing the leg work for me, Monkey!

Where Do You Fall on the Political Compass?

Several months ago, I took a political compass test. It gauges where you fall in the right vs. left, and also the libertarian vs. authoritarian political ideologies. I decided to take the test again, just to see if I've shifted in any direction. As it turns out, I've pretty much stayed put.  Here is the original graph from my first test:

And here is where I fell today:

Amazingly enough, I ended up at almost precisely the same position, though the graphics has changed, making the comparison more difficult. But I'm happy to say that I'm not extreme in any dimension, finding myself ensconsed in the left/libertarian quadrant, though more left than libertarian. Where do you fall? Find out at: Political Compass

Frivolity Break: Madonna Vs. Marilyn Monroe

The other night, The Other Half called me into the TV room for a pop culture moment. He had the DVR paused at the beginning of Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend, Marilyn Monroe's iconic song and dance number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Of course, after watching it, I had to go to the YouTubes and watch Madonna's homage to the piece, her video for Material Girl. Both are pretty fantastic, though Madonna wisely limited the bad "grey jobs" on the guys' hair, compared to the movie.  So first, here's the original:

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend

And the Madonna take, Material Girl

Photo in Need of a Caption

Via @RogerEbert on Twitter. Seriously, WTF?

Sarah Palin Walks on Water

Image from source, Las Vegas Gleaner
Boy, I've had a bunch of Sarah Palin stuff up lately, huh? I guess her media blitz for Sarah Palin's Alaska, her book, With Freedoms and Liberties, You Betcha! Also, and the conservative attempt to hijack Dancing with the Stars has had its effect. But this picture and headline was just too great to resist.


President-elect Palin to walk on Lake Mead later this year

Americans cannot rise as one in 2012 to crown and acclaim their new Savior and President for Life until puny earthling pretenders are cast into the abyss. . .
Read more at: Las Vegas Gleaner

The Problem With Superhero Movies

All images from
I've spent a good portion of my evening reading about upcoming superhero movies. As I often do, I sort of got lost in the topic, having no idea how much time I was spending. But through all of that reading, I was also doing a lot of thinking. There are tons of great characters out there (and I'm just talking about the DC and Marvel characters I'm most familiar with). They've had in some cases over seventy years of story ideas. Yet somehow, many characters languish for years in development hell, and others come to the screen as major disappointments.

Part of the problem is that comic book fans are notoriously fickle. You couldn't find a group of people--outside of Star Trek or Star Wars fans--who are harder to please. They don't like the director, they don't like the script, they don't like the actors chosen to play their favorite heroes, villains and the lot. Mostly, they'll complain that the final product is too different--or paradoxically too much like--the source material.

Another part of the problem is that if they're too faithful, they might just look silly. As good as the first two Superman movies were, Christopher Reeve's tights did look goofy. The Spider-Man movies of the last ten years and Superman Returns (highly underrated, in my lonely opinion) proved that they can make a fairly faithful costume that doesn't look ridiculous. And in the upcoming Green Lantern movie--which looks like it could either be great or crappy--they wisely ditched the elbow-length white gloves.

One of the biggest problems with bringing our heroes to the big screen seems to be Hollywood meddling. You would think with so much source material, coming up with a gem would be an easy proposition. But a look at some of the stuff that didn't make it shows that Hollywood doesn't know what it's doing a lot of the time. If you've ever seen pictures of the Tim Burton take on Superman (staring Nicholas Cage as Supes!), you know what I'm talking about.  Even when they get it right, the sequels always spin out of control. 

The original Superman series got progressively more silly, and lower-budget, to the point of embarrassment. The 80s-90s Batman franchise added too many characters, and changed actors too often. X-Men just. . .lost something.  Spider-Man fell to the same "too many characters" trope, and The Punisher could never figure out how to replicate the comic, amongst many other problems.  Only Iron Man and The Fantastic Four seemed to be consistent with tone and style, though I'm again in the minority of opinion on that one, and FF is rumored to be on a reboot schedule as well.

And when they don't fall apart, they reboot. This makes sense, as with Batman Begins, starting up a dormant property in a new era. But only a few years passed between The Hulk and the reboot, The Incredible Hulk. Spider-Man is being rebooted with only a couple of years since the last installment. Superman: Man of Steel is on its way, as a reboot only six years after the last one.

All of this is taking place in a market already saturated with bombastic, CGI-laden "blockbuster" films (now in 3D!). How many times can we watch the "first" installment of a new or rebooted series, with half the picture taken up by an origin story? How many times can an audience be expect to "reboot" their brains to keep a now changed storyline straight? Especially when they're trying to tie the Marvel stories and the DC stories into respective "universes" so that they can make "group" movies like The Avengers and The Justice League of America?

Honestly, as much as I want to see my favorite heroes (Wonder Woman, The Metal Men, Plastic Man, Firestorm, The Flash, Shazam!, JLA, etc.) come to life at the movies, I have a funny feeling that all of this is going to collapse under its own weight. Maybe if Joss Whedon's The Avengers, along with Captain America, Thor and Green Lantern all manage to be both good movies, and successful, that feeling will go away. But given the recent history of failed or stillborn attempts, I don't have a good feeling about the genre in general.

Now, if you are interested in finding a place where all of the future superhero movies can be read about in one place, I've got a link for you. A lot of them are subject to change or cancellation of course, and several of them sound like they can't possibly happen with the given details (could The Flash, JLA and Wonder Woman really all come out on the same day?), and some will make you groan. I mean, they're really going to call a Captain Marvel movie Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam!? Why not, Shazam! The World's Mightiest Mortal, or With One Magic Word. . .SHAZAM!?  Anyway, the site is called Superhero Movie News. Don't get lost there, like I did.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sarah Palin Dredges Up Obama Gaffes to Balance Her Own

Image from Crooks & Liars
This is just so lame. And one more time, it will be viewed with entirely different emotions, depending upon which side you sit on the political aisle. Sarah Palin recently said on Glenn Beck's radio program that we have to stand with our allies in North Korea. The gaffe made the blogs because it's not only a gaffe by a political celebrity, but a knee-slapper as well. Many, many of Palin's missteps have been of that sort, and it isn't difficult to believe sometimes that it may have been less of a gaffe, and more something she really believes.

In other words--even if it isn't the case here--it is often the case that Palin's gaffes could have more to do with her ignorance than merely a slip of the tongue. Oddly, her legion of cult-like followers don't care. Regardless of the root of her misstatements, missteps, and other potentially politically damaging actions, they love her more for it. They embrace whatever mistake she makes as a character enhancement, rather than a flaw. As when she was caught making notes on her hand, she turned it into a regular bit at future appearances.  But one thing she can't do is be classy, humble, or contrite. She can't merely "own" one of her own mistakes without turning it into an opportunity to lash out at critics, the media, or the political opposition.

But the funny thing is--besides basing her political queendom in Facebook--her attempt to turn her defense of her North Korea remark into a slam on President Barack Obama only illustrates the glaring difference between the President's gaffes and her own.  The paragraph of Obamaisms (which she surely didn't write herself) is a cobbling together of Obama's most oft repeated mistakes.  And I really mean most of them. If I've seen the "57 states" bit once--a mistake made by a weary Obama on the campaign trail after having visited 47 events--I've seen it a thousand times. Not one sentient human believes that Obama really believes there are 57 states. But how hard is it to believe that Palin might not know the difference between North and South Korea? Didn't she even demonstrate in her own debate preparations that she didn't know why they were two countries?

What the Obamaism paragraph illustrates is that you can pile together all of Obama's most prominent gaffes and make a short paragraph. You could turn Palin's into a book. Or a series of books. Or a page-a-day calendar.  Much like George W. Bush's comments being turned into Bushisms, you easily make Palinisms, and not run out of ideas for weeks.


Sarah Palin Defends Korea 'Slip-of-the-Tongue,' Blasts Media

In a Thanksgiving Day Facebook message addressed mockingly to 57 states -- a play on President Obama's slipup in May 2008 -- Sarah Palin blasted the media for blowing up herKorea "slip-of-the-tongue" and singling her out when it comes to gaffes. . .

Read more at: ABC News

Weekend Update: Turkey Coma

I'm presently having one of the lightest number of blog posts runs in a while. I guess I'm just not feeling it. Thanksgiving time is one of the worst times for finding interesting things to blog about, but to be honest, I'm not looking very hard. I'll likely be back later in the day, and for sure on Sunday. But for now? Still shaking off the sleepies from my turkey coma. Have a great day, everybody.

Friday, November 26, 2010

FOX Nation Publishes Onion Satire Piece as Fact

If you've never been to FOX Nation, it is a far-right outpost on the interwebs, kind of like only with the FOX "News" brand name. When it started out, FOX Nation was touted as a place for all political viewpoints, but much like its "fair and balanced" parent, it is frequented by conservatives of the extreme end of the spectrum. FOX Nation has a lot in common with Tea Party Nation.

Also like its parent, FOX Nation seems content to jump right into a story if it supports their preferred narrative, fact checking be damned.


Fox Nation readers confuse Onion article with real news

Fox News' opinion website Fox Nation and their readers don't seem to know satire when they see it.  Fox News' opinion website Fox Nation and their readers don't seem to know satire when they see it. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What Happens in Vegas: Larry Flynt for Mayor?

Image from source,
Las Vegas City Life
Why not? Alleged mob ties and a love of Bombay Sapphire Gin didn't hurt Mayor Oscar Goodman's popularity. And with Larry Flynt, there are no possible skeletons in his closet to shake loose. It's all out there. We'd know exactly what we were getting. Unfortunately, I don't get to vote in Las Vegas elections. Most of the Las Vegas valley is unincorporated, or is made up of other cities (Henderson, North Las Vegas). Even the Las Vegas strip lies outside the city limits. But I'd still lend my endorsement to Flynt. He's no B.S., and is a civil rights advocate.


Porn mogul and First Amendment rights champion Larry Flynt hates politicians, but just might become one

Porn magnate, casino owner, Bill of Rights champion and world-class showman Larry Flynt ended our interview with a tantalizing, twinkle-in-his-eye, tidbit. . .

Read more at: Las Vegas City Life

Thanks again to Stupid Monkey Planet for the link.

Three Boys Thought Dead Rescued in Pacific After 50 Days Lost

Image from source, The Herald Sun
I think on Thanksgiving we should get at least one good news story, don't you? Well here's one. Thanks to Stupid Monkey Planet for the link.


Teens adrift in Pacific in tiny tinnie for 50 days - with only raw seagull to eat

THREE teens survived 50 days adrift in the Pacific in a small tinnie, sharing a single raw seagull and drinking small amounts of rainwater.
Samuel Perez and Filo Filo, both 15, and Edward Nasau, 14, were dehydrated, sunburnt and very hungry when rescued after being spotted by a tuna boat. . .
Read more at: The Herald Sun

Joy Behar and Panel Discuss Sarah Palin

You know, conservatives get all twisted in knots when Sarah Palin is discussed in unflattering terms. They get irritated when her family is "dragged into" the discussion. But Palin and her family keep putting themselves out there. We had Bristol on Dancing with the Stars. We've got Sarah Palin's Alaska. Sarah's on FOX "News" with some frequency, in addition to all the first and second-tier right-wing talk radio shows. And there's her new book, Across This Great Country of Ours, With Freedoms and Liberties, Also.  It's all fodder for the media mill, and they cannot expect it all to be glowing and supportive.  Plus, she thinks we're allied with North Korea. So man up, Sarah! You're a celebrity, and will be deconstructed accordingly.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The TSA Explaining Room


Found at: AmericaBlog

Sarah Palin Loves Kim Jong Il?

No, not really. She just stuck her foot in her mouth again. Now, her fans will dredge up that "at least she didn't say there are 57 states," and will lobby cartographers to change the designations of "North" and "South" on maps to better reflect Sarah's understanding of the world. 


Palin: ‘Obviously, We’ve Got To Stand With Our North Korean Allies’

In recent days, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has hinted in her clearest language yet that she is seriously considering a run for the presidency in 2012. Many observers have argued that Palin could never win because of her embarrassing lack of expertise, knowledge, or interest in foreign policy. . .
Read more at: Think Progress

Steepness in Seattle: Slip Sliding Away!

More from my friend Tracy, who lives in Seattle. Where it is a little unseasonably cold this week. And apparently slippery! Be carful, Trace!

Photo of the Day: Oreo Barbie

Okay, I really don't want to think about this. Thanks to Tracy for the link.

Tom DeLay Finally Convicted

Image from source, MSNBC
Is it too much to hope that this is the start of a trend? Maybe he can use his Dancing with the Stars moves to teach his cellmate Jail House Rock?  Thanks to Stupid Monkey Planet for the link.


Jury convicts Tom DeLay in money laundering trial

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay — once one of the most powerful and feared Republicans in Congress — was convicted Wednesday on charges he illegally funneled corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002. . .
Read more at: MSNBC

Motor Trend Editor Slams Rush Limbaugh

Image from Think Progress
And I couldn't be happier. I'm a Motor Trend subscriber, I think the new Chevys are pretty cool lookin', and I think Rush Limbaugh is a complete tool. Not even a useful tool. He's like a metric socket set when you're trying to work on your Corvette.


Motor Trend Editor On Limbaugh’s Chevy Volt Attacks: ‘Just Remember: Driving And Oxycontin Don’t Mix’

Last week, the influential auto magazine Motor Trend announced that it had named the breakthrough plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt as its 2011 car of the year. Conservatives immediately picked up on the story and attacked Motor Trend. The magazine “awarded the Obama-approved, government-subsidized Chevrolet Volt its annual ‘Car of the Year’ appellation,” the Weekly Standard whined. . .
Read more at: Think Progress

The War on Christmas 2010: The Beat Goes On

I wasn't planning on re-running my "War on Christmas" post again until closer to the holiday season, when I need a little more time for family and friends. But Tuesday, on my short commute home, I listened to KXNT, one of the Las Vegas right-wing talk stations. KXNT had a major revamp this year, and though evidence is hard to find, I would bet they're not doing as well as they used to. Sure, they've still got Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, but they shuttled the aggressively annoying Mark Levin to a tape-delayed slot in favor of local host Alan Stock.

I've had personal run-ins with Stock when they allowed comments on their web page, during the anti-gay marriage constitutional effort here in Nevada (which was, alas, successful). I'm not a fan, but I listen to see what he's up to. Tuesday's topic of discussion was the "War on Christmas," and Stock had a man--I didn't catch his name--who was spearheading an assault on retailers to feature "Merry Christmas" in their advertising campaigns.  Stock--who is Jewish--sort of blew the guy's whole point, when the man wished him a Merry Christmas. Stock said [paraphrasing here], "Well, for me, it's Happy Hanukkah. I said that before, but he didn't get it." Exactly! Bingo! My point was proven.


Let me first say that "the War on Christmas" is a ridiculous myth that is only believed by drooling, mouth-breathing FOX-heads. It's stupid, sooooo stupid, and yet every year they get energized by it. The very fact that "Christians" are all up in arms because the holiday of Christmas is not commercial enough, is part of the stupid.

Let me lay this out for you, Christmas Warriors: "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons' Greetings" are not a new invention. They've been around for decades, possibly over a century. People who say these phrases and print them on cards, packaging and advertising are not trying to insult anybody. They're not trying to denigrate your religious beliefs or anyone else's. It's a nice thing to say, and is universally relayed with the best of intentions. You taking offense is stupid.

Get this through your thick skulls. Christmas is one day. Two if you count Christmas Eve. It makes no sense to be wishing people "Merry Christmas" from Thanksgiving until New Year's Day. "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons' Greetings" are nice catch-all phrases that not only spare you from having to guess your intended's religious holiday beliefs, the phrases cover: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, not to mention Advent, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Chanukah. It's not a freaking war on Christmas.

Christmas is the most over-celebrated, over-prepared for, over-abundant holiday there is. The fact that any sane person thinks it is somehow under attack; in some sort of danger of being cancelled; or somehow not celebrated enough is stupid.

Rachel Maddow's 1990 High School Graduation Speech

Wow. It looks like Rachel Maddow has always been a smart, somewhat snarky and irreverent, natural speaker! She may no longer be quite so glam, with golden locks and all. But she had a natural, commanding presence, even twenty years ago.  On a tangent, Glenn Beck was a morning zoo "shock jock" around the same time. Discuss. . .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dancing With the Stars Spoiler Alert

I don't watch Dancing With the Stars, nor do I care who wins it. I even wrote a post recently expressing a small measure of glee whenever a silly reality show gets punk'd by its own rules. And while I seriously doubt anyone will land on this page who could possibly be spoiled for the revelation of who the winner is, I also don't wish to spoil anyone's fun. So, I'm putting the rest of this post low down on the page. Scroll on down to read more.

Now that you're here, I'd fist like to point out that Bristol Palin didn't win. Despite the best efforts and nearly mentally unbalanced effort given by conservatives such as Tammy Bruce and the whole of, Jennifer Grey managed to pull out a win.  This doesn't give me any real joy. The results of the contest are usually completely off of my radar. But given the all out, insane push to stuff the ballot box as some delusional "payback" for the nonexistent voter fraud by the left in actual elections, I do have a small bit of satisfaction.

But what if Bristol had won? What exactly would that have proven? Nothing, not really. But it does speak to a trend.  One of the biggest reasons expressed by people voting 1,000s of times for Bristol was "to see liberals' heads explode." This was all about making the left angry, frustrated or otherwise get their panties in a twist. If you read any of the online chatter about it, you'll quickly find that there is far more talk about how many times they voted, and how great it would be if Bristol won--than anything about her skill as a dancer.  Check it out here if you don't believe me.  This situation is nearly exactly mirrored in just about any discussion around Sarah Palin's prospects for the Presidency.  They talk about her chances. They spin away her gaffes and malapropisms. They pump her up, and tout her as the ultimate candidate. But she's about as good a politician as Bristol is a dancer. No, scratch that. Bristol's better than that.

Jennifer Grey is Dancing with the Stars Winner 2010: Did She Deserve It?

There was a lot of controversy on Season 11 of Dancing with the Stars and the controversy is continuing even after the winner has been announced. While Jennifer Grey has been given the title of Dancing with the Stars 2010 Champion, there are many viewers who think (for one reason or another) that she wasn’t deserving of the win. . .

Read more at: Twirlit

Does The Christmas Shoes Count as WMD?

Every year since I started the blog, I've had fun at the expense of the perennial holiday favorite (and worst song ever recorded) The Christmas Shoes. I have a couple of pieces of my own that I'll be tweaking and re-running soon. But this week seemed to be the one that people started listening to Christmas music. So, I got to thinking that somebody out there must've been somebody else out there who agreed with me. And I found one!


"Christmas Shoes" and Other War Crimes

. . .I know that I'm prone to hyperbole, still I know what I'm right when I say that "Christmas Shoes" is not just the worst Christmas song of all time--which it certainly is--but also the single worst recorded song in the history of the medium. Further, I'd like to argue that "Christmas Shoes" might be the single worst song in theory as well: i.e., even in the most perverted imaginings of current and future songwriters, it is highly unlikely that anyone could conceive of a worse song. . .

Read more at: Fort Wayne Reader

Bill O'Reilly Claims FOX "News" Is Most Powerful News Organization

Image from source, Mediaite
They're a powerful something alright. But a news organization ain't it. While I don't go for the common false equivalence levelled between FOX "News" and MSNBC, I can lean forward and say that they're merely "The Place for Politics," a news commentary network.  FOX "News" is also a news commentary network, in addition to a news maker-upper network and a 24-hour free commercial for the Republican Party.  But let's assume that FOX "News" didn't deserve those quotation marks. Does even the biggest "FOX fan" think they're the most powerful news force in the world? Really?


Bill O’Reilly: Fox News Is The Most Powerful Media Agency In The World

Forget the usual sniping about MSNBC–Bill O’Reilly wants you to know Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow simply don’t rate in one key area: global power domination. . .

Read more (with video) at: Mediaite

New Buffy the Vampire Slayer Movie Without Joss Whedon.

Image from Los Angeles Times
Dumbest. Idea. Ever.

Once upon a time, there was a comedy movie called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry. It was a silly little movie that put supernatural creatures into a Clueless-type universe. It was a fluffy little concoction, and I enjoyed it for what it was. Then, a few years later, the writer of the movie turned his movie into a TV-series.

The TV version starred Sarah Michelle Gellar, of course, and became--if not a ratings success--one of the biggest cult sci-fi/fantasy/horror/comedy series of all time. The premise of the movie was fleshed out into a rich, sprawling world (the "Buffyverse") that would even produce a spinoff, Angel, starring Bones' David Boreanaz. Joss Whedon (also the creator of Dollhouse and Firefly) was responsible for all of this, and his fans may not be able to adequately support a network show, but they are very, very loyal.

Flash-forward a few years, and vampires are hot.  True Blood splashes gore on HBO, The Vampire Diaries is treading similar waters that Buffy swam years ago on The CW, and Twilight sparkles up the big screen.  But as the ABC summer series The Gates proved, merely having vampires around does not guarantee success. Still, if you owned the rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wouldn't you want to use them?

Well, maybe, but they probably should have struck when the trend was a little hotter. All of the above have been around for a couple of years now. Plus, if they had any brains at all, they'd know that the value of BTVS is not in the title or the concept. It's in the creators, writers and actors.  Fans of Buffy are not going to go in for a project that merely shares the name of their show.  Unless by some miracle the thing turns out to be good, it is very likely to be completely shunned by Whedon's fans. Moreover, they're potentially wrecking any future Whedon-involved project based on the property.  Greedy idiots.


Joss Whedon responds to ‘Buffy’ news with ‘strong, mixed emotions’

. . .This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths — just because they can’t think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself. . .
Read more at: Los Angeles Times


Joss who? Meet the writer of the new ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ film

. . .“Generally, I wouldn’t have said, ‘Let’s revive this,’ but Whit’s take is pretty compelling and a lot of fun, and it’s interesting to see all of this reimagined. This is a completely new reboot. Tone is extremely important, and you want the audience to realize what is at stake and the peril is real, but at the same time what’s going on should be fun and inviting and keep everyone engaged. It needs to be relevant to today too, and that is what Whit has found a way to do. . .”

Read more at: Los Angeles Times

Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA: No Body Cavity Searches

Yeah, for now. Everyone practice their toe-touches, just in case.

Rupert Murdoch Sarah Palin's Biggest Supporter?

Which is less surprising, that Sarah Palin once again has a--surely ghost written--book out just in time for Christmas, or that Rupert Murdoch is financing the book tour? I curse John McCain for many things, but unleashing this woman upon the world is perhaps the worst thing he ever did to America.


Image from Raw Story
Bankrolling book tour, Murdoch emerges as Palin’s top 2012 supporter

As she embarks on her 16-stop book tour promoting "America by Heart," former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has one person to be enormously grateful to: media baron Rupert Murdoch.

Palin's publisher, HarperCollins Publishers, is part of the News Corp. media empire, and they're bankrolling her tour. It's not coincidence that her stops focus inordinately on swing-states, either. . .

Read more at: Raw Story

The Simpsons Slams FOX "News"

Nope, not the first time they've bit the hand that feeds them, and probably not the last. But it is appreciated every time!

"Family" Groups Added to Hate Group List

Image from source, Joe.My.God.
Dating way back to the Reagan years, uber-Christian anti-gay groups began using the word "Family" in their names, to make them sound warm and fuzzy. The implication of course is that gay people are "anti-family" a charge that has zero substantiation. I can't be sure this was the beginning of Frank Luntzian double-speak in politics, but it's one of the earliest examples I can remember.

Groups like "The American Family Association" seemingly only exist to stomp out gay rights--or gay people. It's about time that they were given proper acknowledgement for what they are: hate groups.


Southern Poverty Law Center Adds Family Research Council & American Family Association To Anti-Gay Hate Groups List

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the nation's leading watchdog of hate organizations, has added the Family Research Council and American Family Association to its list of anti-gay hate groups. Also making the list for the first time is the Illinois Family Association, the former home of Porno Pete LaBarbera, whose group also makes the list. . .
Read more at: Joe.My.God.

What Happens in Vegas: The Marina Hotel Still Exists at MGM Grand

Image from Gaming for Gold
I've lived in Las Vegas for close to 16 years now, but I never knew this. I got lost in a Wiki-hole Sunday evening, reading about the MGM Grand fire of 1980, which was 30 years ago Sunday (thanks, Dan). I started reading various stories about strip properties, curious about what used to stand where the big resorts are today. It turns out, not only did the Marina Hotel used to stand at the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard, it still does! The west wing of MGM Grand has a stepped-down terrace effect that ends at the re-skinned Marina. I imagine this must've saved them a few million dollars, otherwise, why would they have bothered.  Anyway, I was involved in the opening of MGM Grand in 1993, and still had no idea of this little nugget of information. So, I figured it might be of interest to others.

Read about it here: VegasTodayAndTomorrow

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blast from the Past: Unsuccessful TV Spinoffs!

This week's Blast from the Past idea came from my time wasting activity today. Yesterday, I found the complete series Tabitha on DVD at Big Lots for $3. I grew up loving Bewitched, and watched the spin-off when it aired in 1977. I remember really wanting to like it, but that it was sort of marginal.  Even at eleven years old, the problems with the show stood out.

First, the show debuted only five years after Bewitched was cancelled, so Tabitha should've only been about 12. Her brother Adam would've been six or so. Instead, she was 20-something, and Adam somehow passed her in age. Also, only Tabitha had magic, with Adam filling sort of a Darrin role, tsk-tsking his sister's use of magic.  Complicating matters was "Aunt Minerva," a heretofore never known member of the family.

It wasn't all bad though. The star, Lisa Hartman, was outstanding, doing a fantastic Elizabeth Montgomery impression. She was beautiful and spunky. Robert Urich played her smarmy boss, and was at his peak of attractiveness.  The theme song was pretty great too, though it took until the third episode to debut. Oddly, the first two shows had the same opening sequence with a dreary instrumental tune. The difference is startling, and shows that maybe if the show had been given a little longer to catch on, it may have gelled into something better.

I have to think if they tried again, they might have better luck. Of course, most of the cast of the original Bewitched is dead, but after the bummer of a remake movie, a recast, re-thought out version of Tabitha might work. Maybe Lisa Hartman could play Samantha? We know she could do it. So, lets get on with it, shall we? Here are some openings from spinoff TV series, all short-lived.

1. Tabitha - Great theme song, sung by Lisa Hartman. I think this opening may be the reason I've always wanted a VW Super Beetle convertible.
2. AfterMASH - After stretching the Korean War out for eleven years, CBS still couldn't let M*A*S*H go. This sorry followup is probably the most disappointing spinoff ever attempted.
3. The Golden Palace - Okay, so maybe this one, the spinoff of The Golden Girls takes the cake for bad spinoffs.
4. The Lone Gunmen - This one should have worked. The quirky guys from The X-Files were one of my favorite things about the original series.

On a side note, I usually post eight clips in this feature. But today, I decided to use my Mac to do the post. For all the noise made about how intuitive Macs are, it fought me all the way on this one. When something as simple as copy and paste go haywire, it's enough to make a "PC" like me lose his marbles. And therefore, just four today. 

Have a great week, everybody!

SNL Does Rachel Maddow Show Again

This week's Saturday Night Live, with host Anne Hathaway got off to a strong start, but kind of petered out after Weekend Update. Someone needs to tell them that Penelope--Kristin Wiig's mentally unbalanced character--is past her sell-by date. But the cold open, a riff on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show was pretty funny. SNL is incapable of skipping the obvious gay jokes, but we're used to that. Abby Elliott's Rachel impression is still missing something. . .maybe it's that the voice isn't quite there. And they didn't make John Boehner orange enough, nor did they get his mouth twitch in there. Dan Aykroyd does Boehner better. And it should be noted that Boehner would never, ever appear on TRMS.

Sunday Update

Image from Alan Colmes' LiberalLand
I woke up rather late today, actually surprised it was already 9:30. Skies were overcast here in Las Vegas, making it appear much, much earlier. But the cat's incessant cries were enough of an alarm clock for me to realize it was time to get up. I stumbled into the kitchen for a pot of ambition, and settled into the couch to watch some of the Sunday political shows, per usual.

On two of them, I saw Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who came across as thoughtful and smart. While I voted for Barack Obama, I have no aversion to Clinton, and have a difficult time seeing what inspires such hatred toward her from so many people. Anyway, other than Clinton, I saw little on Meet the Press or FOX "News" Sunday that struck me as memorable. Then, on FNS, came Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Perry is a very attractive man, I'll give him that. But like our own Captain Hairdo here in Nevada, Senator John Ensign, Perry strikes me as having traded on his looks alone to get him this far in politics. It certainly isn't evident in his interviews that he's got the brains or policy ideas to warrant voting for him. But that is all subjective, and just my opinion. What isn't subjective opinion is how one statement by him this morning came out. He said "President Bush kep' us safe."

Did he? I'm trying to remember who was president during the worst terrorist attack to ever happen on American soil.  How is it that George W. Bush gets a pass for allowing the September 11 attacks to happen? How is it possible to gloss that over? And even if you do, you then have to ignore the later anthrax attacks, and several other events that could easily be counted as domestic terrorism. And what about President Obama? Does he get credit for "keeping us safe" for the last 2 years?

And one more thing: has anyone ever waited with anticipation to find out who FOX "News" Sunday's "Power Player of the Week" is? Honestly, that's about as significant an award as a T-ball trophy.

Okay, enough grumbling, time to start my day.

Consumer Alert: Maytag Ice2O (Belated)

Back in 2006, I managed to finally claw myself out of an enormous pile of debt. Due to a combination of a ridiculous relationship I had with a money-grubbing gambling addict, and an unfortunately timed career meltdown (in which a principle executive embezzled $2 million dollars), I found myself indebted to credit card companies to the tune of $30,000. But in 2006, I was paid off. And then, my employers gave me a bonus that put me way into the black. So, as a congratulatory gift to myself, I bought a Maytag Ice2O refrigerator.

We'd had a standard issue, bargain basement Kenmore refrigerator previously. It was perfectly serviceable, but boring and smallish. We still have it in the garage for sodas and beer, and it's hanging in there admirably. But the Maytag Ice2O is a big, black monolith, huge and impressive. I love its deli tray, a full-width, slide-out drawer. I love the bottom freezer, which can hold two turkeys and tons of other goodies. I'm not as impressed with the amount of room that the freezer unit takes up in the fridge, but I love having the "French door," right there in front of you fridge section. 

But it isn't all wine and roses. From the first week, we had problems. Suddenly--a week into ownership--the water dispenser stopped working.  We'd never had water and ice through the door before, so this was a big feature for us.  I called the Maytag repairman, who showed up, but wasn't amused by my jokes about the fabled commercials.  The repairman took the fridge apart inside, taking all the panels off, using a heat gun. . .nothing worked. He left, telling me he'd have to talk to headquarters.

After he left, I got the brilliant idea to take all the food out to the garage refrigerator, and turn the thing off for a few hours. After I turned it back on, VOILA! The water worked again! Thinking the problem was solved, I called Maytag, and said it was fixed. Little did I know, the problem would return two months later.  I tried the same trick again, and it worked again. For a couple of weeks. Then, I tried it again, and it worked again, briefer this time.

Eventually, we tired of the effort.  We now have a filtered pitcher for water, and only rely upon the "through the door" access for ice.  I offer up this testimonial only for others who may have the same problem, or are considering buying a new or used Ice2O. I have an extended warranty for my refrigerator, and probably should look into it fast to see if there is a fix.  Buyer beware.

Has the TSA Gone Too Far?

Image from Passport Magazine
I have to fly to Ohio in a few weeks, and so I likely will have the option of either the naked body scan or the full-on groping by the TSA.  I likely will just go through the scanner--though the radiation worries me a bit--but the groping wouldn't bother me. I'm old enough now to have had a doctor staring up my butt, so I don't embarrass easily anymore. But I am a little offended that we must subject ourselves by law to these indignities for the privilege of flying.

It's easy to refer to people who object to these measures as whiners. But are they? I for one loathe being treated as a potential criminal or terrorist. Take for example the practice of many stores that insist upon seeing your receipt before you exit a store. At a Sam's Club or Costco, I get it. It's a club, you're a member, and you play by their rules. But at a Wal-Mart, Best Buy or Fry's? Why do they need to see my receipt, I'm not a thief. I resent being treated as though I might be.

And while I may have no issues being photographed naked, or being fondled by a TSA agent, it is easy to think of scenarios where a person could be traumatized by such a thing. How about a rape victim? An incest survivor? How about a person who has a phobia about being touched? And let's not forget that the cut-off age for the search is twelve years old. That means pre- and current pubescent children are being handled this way. I don't know about you, but I know that I was extremely self-conscious about my body at thirteen years old.

On top of all of this, the procedures themselves aren't even known to be effective. How many potential terrorists have been stopped by the TSA anyway? Wouldn't it be front page news? I know that the dozens of times I've had to remove my belt, shoes, ring, watch and pocket contents have always made me grumble, because it's a pain in the ass, and because I always suspected that it was all theater. Just there to make us feel safe.  Still, some people will insist that it is necessary, and if we want to be safe in flight, we must submit to such indignities.

Hmm. Funny. I live in Las Vegas, tourism capital of the world. We have innumerable targets for destruction here on the ground. If I want to go play the penny slots, should I have to go through a similar procedure at the MGM Grand? How about at Hoover Dam? Disneyland maybe? Are airplanes the terrorists' only targets?

Now that we've acquiesced to this massive change to the security procedures, are we going to stop here? I mean--and I know I'm not the first to posit this--what if a terrorist decides to pack his bomb making materials into his nether regions?  This new procedure was enacted due to the underpants bomber, so I suppose if we get a suppository bomber, we're going to have to bend over and spread 'em? Tell me why that notion would not come to pass, based on what has come before.

The excerpted story below indicates just one horrifying encounter with the new TSA procedures. Another involved a cancer survivor who was forced to present her prosthetic breast to the agent. This procedure is new, and those two examples are likely only the tip of the iceberg.


TSA pat-down leaves traveler covered in urine

A retired special education teacher on his way to a wedding in Orlando, Fla., said he was left humiliated, crying and covered with his own urine after an enhanced pat-down by TSA officers recently at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. . .
Read more at: MSNBC

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Barbara Bush Thinks Sarah Palin Should Stay in Alaska

Me too, Bar, me too.  Because [chuckle] I think it would work out quite well for her.

Claim Against Senator John Ensign Dismissed



Cash Complaint Dismissed Against Sen. Ensign

The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint against Sen. John Ensign over a $96,000 payment his parents made to his former mistress and her family.. . .

Read more at: 8NewsNow

Thanks to Stupid Monkey Planet for the link.

Jon Stewart's Brilliant Glenn Beck Parody

Last week, Glenn Beck came up with a whopper of a story, using marionettes of all things, to prove that (cue scary music) George Soros is trying to take down America.  As with any good conspiracy theory, there were nuggets of truth, some wild conjecture, and lots of hyperbole.  But the funny part was, much of Beck's storyline--a rich, powerful old white dude with a media empire, and a stated political viewpoint--could easily fit Rupert Murdoch, Beck's own boss.

On Thursday's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Stewart gave us his latest comedic Glenn Beck impression, and nailed it.  It was brilliant, and it was funny. And it kind of went against Stewarts recent arguments that he's more comedian than political pundit

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
George Soros Plans to Overthrow America
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Manchurian Lunatic
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity
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