Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quickie Movie Run-down

Okay, I know I usually name my movie reviews "mini" ones, because I don't usually write feature-length reviews. Well, we're going micro for this one. Here is my take on a variety of recently watched (or re-watched) movies.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - The fourth MI movie is good for what it is. It's the best one I've seen, actually. But I'm still irritated that they took the popular series--which has an established format--and basically chucked most of it in favor of Tom Cruise action/adventure. I'll never forgive them for what they did to Jim Phelps. But this installment almost redeems them. I dug it. **** (of 5)

Piranha (2010) - This sequel/remake is pure schlock, but doesn't pretend to be much else. It was very obviously originally in 3D, which may have obscured the fakey effects a bit. The blood is hyper-red, and the gore is plentiful and extreme. Many recognizable faces appear, including Elizabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell (whose makeup effects are mondo grody), Christopher Lloyd, Richard Dreyfus and Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation). There is no redeeming value in this one, but it does entertain. * (But as a guilty pleasure? ****)

Lots of skin--and lack of it--for boys and girls to
ogle in Piranha
Fright Night (1985) - I rewatched this one after having reviewed the remake. It is still very entertaining, but is a product of the eighties. Stephen Geoffreys' acting as "Evil Ed" is really amazing, which I'm not sure I noticed before. Cheesy, but fun. ***

Paranormal Activity 2 - I'm one of the few people who found the original PA to be kind of lame. I mean, I liked the actors, particularly Micah Sloat, but it just didn't scare me. The conceit of the original was that it allegedly really happened. Part 2 continues that, and even includes the original actors characters before they "died." There are a few good scenes, but far too many static shots of home surveillance video, with the viewer combing the image for something unusual happening. Sometimes it's a billowing curtain, sometimes a door creaking open, sometimes a pot falling off a pot rack. Thrilling. Not. **

2011's New Year's Resolutions: How'd You Do?

As we close out 2011, we leave a pretty crappy year behind us. But it wasn't all bad. In fact, last year's New Year's resolutions were my most successful ever. Last year, I resolved to

1) Quit smoking
2) Start exercising regularly
3) Lose weight

I quit smoking on January 3rd, the first day back to work. I haven't had a cigarette since.  My exercise plan was always to come later in the year, since January resolvers tend to pack the gym. I started in April. But, the no smoking led to weight gain, despite the regular exercise. My half-hearted low-carb diet plan needed revamping. So, in September, I kept on with my exercise, and hit the Atkins Diet full bore.

Prior to Christmas break, I weighed in at 149 lbs., a full 30+ pound loss from my highest weight. I'm still exercising 5-7 days per week, and even with a one-week "break" from the diet, I'm still at 154 lbs., and re-started the diet today.

So, for 2012, I resolve to

1) Remain a non-smoker
2) Continue to exercise regularly
3) Maintain my weight loss, to at worst below 160 lbs.
4) Use my MacBook Pro to learn Adobe CS5 to proficiency

I'll check in with you in a year to let you know how I did!

Mini Movie Review: Final Destination 5

The Final Destination series is one of my favorite movie franchises, horror or not. The first one was one in a series of "teen stars in horror film" movies with a poster of four or five kids in a row with a logo. It was in there with Scream and Urban Legends and countless others. But FD had a special something. A sadistic glee, an inventiveness with which the victims were dispatched.

And then, the awesomeness was cemented with Final Destination 2. The plane crash disaster of part one was surpassed with an incredible freeway pileup! And the batch of nubile teens was offed! Right at the beginning! FD2 upped the ante by playing by part 1's rules, and making it better by linking all of part 2's characters with part 1's. Everything hooked together and made sense, and kablooey, a cool ending!

Then came part 3, which--unfortunately for me-involved amusement rides. I come from the industry, so I know that the roller coaster disaster in that installment couldn't happen that way. But undoubtedly, none of the disasters is 100% authentic, so, whatever. Part 3 didn't hook into the first two much, but is better to me than it first appeared. It is quite enjoyable for what it is.

Part four was entitled THE Final Destination, and by that moniker, you would think it was the last one. It was also in 3D, and heavily promoted as the final installment. It was fun--involving a NASCAR racetrack-type disaster. I'm a binocularly-challenged person, with the unfortunate inability to see 3D movies. But I liked FD4, just the same. It was better than 3, less than 2, about the same as 1. But who could know there would be a part 5?

should have known. I've been through, Friday the 13th V: A New Beginning. I've seen, Amityville II: The Beginning. I've seen Wes Craven's New Nightmare. I'm sure there'll even be Psycho: What You Really Didn't Know, is That It Started Like This! So, an unremarkably named Final Destination 5 wasn't surprising.
What was surprising, was that the fourth sequel would be as good as the rest of the series, or better. In fact, it's as good part two, perhaps as good as the original.

Horror movies tend to be derivative. And part five can't offer originality. But the special effects, the acting, the surprises? Part five has it in spades. The only flaw for me was the law of diminishing returns. The spectacular opening can't be matched in later set pieces. While I had a lot of fun, the thrills tend to get smaller by half with each dramatic demise. If they had only ended the picture with a dramatic finale on the scale (or 3/5 the scale) with the opening.

My rating: **** of ***** (with a nod to the genre, of course)

Mini Movie Review: Fright Night (2011)

Okay, so one of the things I wanted to do with my vast (now, nearly depleted) Christmas vacation, was to catch up on some movies. I don't get out to the moving pictures much, unless my friend Stupid Monkey Planet entices me out for a brew and a view.  So, one of the 2011 movies I missed was the remake of the classic 80s horror/comedy flick, Fright Night. The original is treasured by folks of my vintage (seventies/eighties pop culture fiends), but it is not--by any stretch--award winning cinema.

Image from Wikipedia
The original Fright Night starred a pre-Herman's Head William Ragsdale, a pre-Married. . .with Children's Amanda Bearse, a pre-gay porn Stephen Geoffreys and a post-Susan Sarandon Chris Sarandon. It was as much humor as horror, and is a pastiche of the 80s. I loved it then, I loved it later, and I. . .kind of. . .like it now. It is simply a product of its era. So, quite rightly, a remake should be of its current era.

Whether it is or not is a question for a future time, and for a student of the twenty-pre-teens. As it is, I quite liked it. Anton Yelchin (2011's Star Trek's Chekov) stars in the Ragsdale role of Charley Brewster. As in the original, Brewster is the unfortunate neighbor of new home owner Jerry Dandridge (Colin Farrell), a vampire. As in the original, Brewster comes to realize Dandridge's real nature with the assistance of his nerdy friend Evil Ed. And Evil Ed gets to live up to his name this time too.

Chris Sarandon, the original sexy vampire.
The new version amps up the effects (the original's were effective the first time, but don't hold up well upon repeated viewings), and has the advantage of almost thirty years in technology. Farrell is at least as sexy as Sarandon (who appears in a cameo), but lacks the subtlety of the original. The change in venue to Las Vegas makes sense, but will not fool a near-native like me. And there is something about modern movie making that simply surpasses the art of the 1980s. But the charm of the original is lacking.

I liked 2011's Fright Night. It even made me jump at least once, matching the original. But will it rate in my lifetime top 100, to be viewed over and over as I age into oblivion? Probably not.

My rating: *** (on a scale from crap to *****, genre always kept firmly in mind)

Friday, December 30, 2011

What Happens in Vegas: Las Vegas Hilton Sign Coming Down

This is a sign of the times, literally. The Las Vegas Hilton sign is well known, and has been a landmark of its own in the past. At one time, it was the largest free-standing sign in the world. And then it collapsed in a taco-shape one day in a wind storm. It was remodeled after that, but it remained familiar in appearance. Now, it will be removed, since the property will be changing its name to. . .wait for it. . .LVH: Las Vegas Hotel & Casino! That's just so. Different. Or something. Anyway, goodbye LVH! And hello, LVH!

Current sign, image from 8NewsNow
Thanks to Stupid Monkey Planet for the link.

Source: 8NewsNow

A shot of the rubble after the collapse of the original sign.
Image from: July 20, 1994, edition of the Sun.

Is Rick Santorum Elligible to be President?

Image from ThinkProgress
So, after hearing about Rick (don't Google me) Santorum's Santorum Surge (blecch), there have been several new Santorum stories in the news. In one of them, I heard Santorum described as the son of an immigrant, born in Italy. I gave the news my best Scooby Doo "HUNHHG?!?"

After all, according to many conservatives--and the theory is suspect, I must point out--a "natural born citizen" must be born of two citizen adults parents. Some even take it so far as to say that both parents must be native born citizens, which sounds like it creates a chicken-and-egg paradox. But what they mean is, both parents must have been born in America in order for the candidate to meet the natural born citizen requirement.

So, while I don't care where Santorum's parents were born, any "birther" should. And Santorum's base is very, very likely to be chock-full-o'-birthers. The birthers, remember, were the people who first believed that President Obama was born in Kenya (or Canada, or in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or elsewhere). Some still do, and/or believe that Obama has dual citizenship, and believe that disqualifies him. Or they believe he isn't who he says he is at all, has several Social Security numbers, is some sort of Manchurian Candidate, and any of several other twisted conspiracy theories. All of those theories are debunked at Obama Conspiracy Theories, if you are interested.

But what I'm looking for is consistency. Shouldn't any good birther question Santorum's eligibility?

Amusing Stupid Monkey Headlines Appearing on 12/30/11

Today's amusing headlines come from around the web. Some are the funny "ha-ha" type whilst others are of the funny peculiar type. Enjoy.

"What the fuck?"
HEADLINES: 12/30/2011

• Perry slams surging Santorum as a 'prolific earmarker' - MSNBC

• A Santorum surge in Iowa? - MSNBC

• Investigations of the Year: What's In Your Egg McMuffin? - ABC

• Friends: Texas Gunman Was Mad Wife Doing Well - Fox News

• 385 Pounds of Caviar Found in Russian Morgue - Fox News

• Gingrich wants it both ways? - CNN (see below)

• Poll: Gingrich down, Santorum up - CNN

• 10 ways not to kill your book club - CNN

• Justin Bieber tops Kim Kardashian as most-searched - LA Times

• Man killed by train can be sued over bystander's injuries - LA Times

And believe it or not....
• Van Halen announces 2012 tour with David Lee Roth - CBS News

Frivolty Break: A Distraction...

While our Dear Editor is on his feasting, lazy, relaxing, pay-free vacation, I thought I should distract you for a moment.

Watch this video... It will suck you in & won't let go. Enjoy.

Like a train wreck

Surging Santorum?

Santorum's previous campaign made his daughter cry.

Oh, you've GOT to be kidding! I take a bit of a break from this here blog thingy, and Rick (don't Google me!) Santorum surges? Aside from the unpleasant visual, it just isn't freaking possible. Of all the clowns in the GOP car, Santorum is the least likely lead Bozo. You just know that Jon Huntsman is righteously pissed that he hasn't gotten his turn yet. Well, politely pissed, seeing as he's a Mormon and all.


Surging Santorum Blasts Frontrunner Romney For Relying On Waivers To Repeal Obamacare

Surging presidential hopeful Rick Santorum took a shot at frontrunner Mitt Romney during a stop in Coralville, Iowa this morning, arguing that a president should not repeal the Affordable Care Act by issuing waivers to the states, as the former Massachusetts governor has suggested. Instead, Santorum promised to use the reconciliation process to eliminate the law if Republicans fail to gain a 60-seat majority in the Senate. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Michele Bachmann's Iowa Guy Jumps Ship to Ron Paul

"Marcus! Get your--I mean MY--purse. I need a Motrin,
I'm getting a migraine!"
Image from source, Huffington Post
When Iowa picked Mike Huckabee in 2008, many people (like me) thought they were kinda nuts to do so. And many people (like me) openly wonder why Iowa has a permanent #1 slot in primary season anyway. This year, it won't be surprising if they do it again. After all, there is a wealth of looney candidates in this season's race. So chock full of nuts it is, that the campaign chair from one goofy candidate has jumped ship for one of the other ones!


Michele Bachmann's Iowa Chairman Kent Sorenson Abandons Her For Ron Paul 

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) accused her former Iowa campaign chairman of accepting money to jump ship to support Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on Wednesday, issuing a terse statement within two hours of his announcement. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Still Loafing on Christmas Vacation

Hi. Me again. I'm STILL lazing about, not tending to my blog. I'll likely have 3 readers when I return full strength. For those of you who've hung in there, here is the perfect video clip to bridge the Christmas-New Year's gap!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Still on Christmas Vacation

Yes, yes, I know I am being a lazy pig. And, I promise I'm going to get some stuff up later today? But for now, I'm going to enjoy my morning, and go out with The Other Half for pancakes!

Monday, December 26, 2011

So, How Was Your Christmas?

A scene from The Ref, one of the best Christmas movies ever.
It's the day after Christmas, and it's a Monday. That's a helluva combination right there. You've got your post-holiday blahs, and the most depressing day of the week rolled into one. In fact, it's probably the second worst day of the year, after January 2, the day we all have to go back to work when the holidays are really and truly over.

There is good news, or at least there is for me! I have the week off! It isn't paid time off, so it isn't all great. But it is time off. A whole week of it. I'm already sad that I've burned up three days of it, but there is still a week to go! I'm quite certain that it will be over with before I'm ready. But I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. BUT. . .the irony of all of this time off, is that even though I have the time, I'm unlikely to be a prolific blogger this week. Oh, I'll get some stuff up. Probably even some good stuff. The Iowa caucuses are coming up, after all. But it isn't going to be a banner week.

So, please, if you're here for some snarky news nuggets and political commentary--thank you--and please come back when more is going on! Thank you, and please forgive my laziness!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

As it is every year, Christmas is a slow blogging time. There's stuff going on, but very few people reporting on it. I suppose that's just fine, because I've got stuff to do! At Chez Greenlee, we had Christmas on Christmas Eve. So Christmas Day is a big, traditional dinner at a friend's house, and that means I have to make pies. So, the blog will remain mostly derelict, unless I find a minute here and there (and the inlincation!). Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Poutrage! The 10 Most Ridiculous Right Wing Outrages of 2011

The entire New Black Panther Party. Image from source.
I don't know for certain that there is someone out there drawing up talking points, and distributing them daily to FOX "News," Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and the other 448 right-wing talkers. But it sure seems that way. When you start hearing something from different people that sounds weird--you know, like outrage about the "Cash for Clunkers" program, months after it ended--you can bet it lit right wing world on fire recently.

You can almost always be sure that the story is at best over hyped.  At worst an outright lie. But even if the story has been utterly and thoroughly debunked (see: Obama's Birth Certificate), it will live on in right wing world forever. It will be repeated in the future as surely as Obama's "57 states" gaffe from 2008. And it will be recalled with righteous anger. These manufactured outrages are so plentiful, I'm surprised they can be narrowed down to just ten.


The 10 Most Ridiculous Right-Wing Outrages of 2011

Call them nontroversies, poutrages or pseudo-scandals. Since the 2008 elections, the conservative media have peddled a seemingly endless series of trumped-up non-stories, pitched as scandals rivaling Watergate, to their loyal rubes in an attempt to paint liberals, the media, scientists, Democrats and Obama – and other enemies of the Wingnut State – as perfidious, dishonest or downright treasonous. . .

Read more at: AlterNet

40 Classic TV Holiday Moments in 2 Minutes

The FOX "News" Christmas Display Looks Like it's Dripping Blood

Fox News' Bloody Christmas Display from on Vimeo.

Friday, December 23, 2011

So, It's Come to This: Riots Over $180 Shoes?

If it were $180 iPads, $180 HDTVs, $180 diamond tennis bracelets. . .well, it would still be sad, but it would be understandable. But $180 tennis shoes? Really? I don't care if they're Air Jordans, they're sneakers. And not even particularly attractive ones. Do you know how many presents you can get somebody for $180? SHOES???

And as a side note, I think the police are getting awfully pepper-spray happy, don't you? Pepper-spray was introduced to reduce the incidence of lethal force. They're using it now as routine crowd control.


Ugly shoe sparks riots. Image from source, Huffington Post
Seattle Police Pepper Spray Air Jordan Shoppers

Scuffles broke out and police were brought in to quell unrest that nearly turned into riots across the nation Friday following the release of Nike's new Air Jordan basketball shoes – a retro model of one of the most popular Air Jordans ever made. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Follow us on Twitter & Facebook!

Trolling once again to get people over to the Greenlee Gazette Facebook and Twitter pages. Almost everything from this blog is posted at Facebook, and automatically linked on Twitter. But several other quickie posts only appear on those pages. So, come check me out! And check out Stupid Monkey Planet, my longtime friend and contributor. He'll take you to places you've never been before.

Holiday Cheer: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses

I know that many people aren't fond of "contemporary" Christmas tunes, which can mean anything from about 1969 forward. But Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it on The Dr. Demento Show when it first came out in the eighties. For a punk rock/new wave band, the lyrics of this song are quite poignant and engaging. I think this one will remain a favorite of mine into my dotage.

Video Hoaxster James O'Keefe Accused of Sexual Harrassment

In a previous post, I mused about the unlikeliness of uncharismatic people like John Boner Boehner and Mitch McConnell rising to powerful positions. But it isn't just them. How do unsavory people like Andrew Breitbart or James O'Keefe attain any level of success or fandom? Breitbart is an egomaniac on par with Donald Trump. And O'Keefe? Well, words like skeevy, sleazy, creepy and sociopath come to mind. Best part? ". . .O'Keefe lives with his parents." Ha!


James O’Keefe accused of sexual harassment

The Record reporter Chris Harris appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Thursday night to discuss the possible civil sexual harassment lawsuit against conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe. . . 

Read more at: The Raw Story

Boehner Caves on Payroll Tax Holiday Extension

John Boner Boehner is a little less orange in the winter time. He doesn't sound any less drunk though. He sounds like he's trying mightily to avoid slurring. But Boehner is also really, really bad at his job. For the life of me, I can't figure out how these zero-charisma politicos like Boehner and Mitch McConnell rise to such levels of power. But then, if I understood it, I'd understand how Newt Gingrich became a viable Presidential candidate.


Boehner announces deal with Reid on end to payroll tax impasse

House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday that he had agreed with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on a two-month extension of a package including a payroll tax cut and an extension of unemployment benefits.

Boehner said in statement he and Reid "reached an agreement that will ensure taxes do not increase for working families on Jan. 1 while ensuring that a complex new reporting burden is not unintentionally imposed on small business job creators. . ."

Read more at: MSNBC

PolitiFact is STILL Wrong

Image from source, PolitiFact
PolitiFact, the fact-checking organization with the "Pants on Fire" meter has always been my go-to page (along with Snopes) to see if something is true or not. Funny then--considering that they are a regular source of mine--that PolitiFact's response to those of us who had an issue with their "Lie of the Year", is that we live in an echo chamber.

Do I watch The Rachel Maddow Show? I almost never miss it. Do I listen to liberal talk radio? I can only find it on my computer (Side note: there are 450 conservative talkers in the country. Maybe 10 liberals), but I listen to quite a bit of it. I also read several newspapers online (USAToday, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal), as well as heaping helpings of left- and right-wing blogs and forums (Joe.My.God., ThinkProgress, FreeRepublic, RedState). My sources are certainly weighted to the left, but I get information from all over the place. As Sarah Palin said, I read "all of 'em!"

All of that is quite beside the point. PolitiFact said that the most egregious lie of the year was Democrats saying that Paul Ryan's plan would kill Medicare. It would. It's not a lie. Paul Ryan's plan would phase out Medicare, and replace it with a voucher system called Medicare. It would be like if your dog died, and your parents replaced him with a cat with the same name. "Skippy didn't die, he's right there!" At worst, the claim was imprecise. To call it the lie of the year in a year filled with whoppers is ridiculous. They made a mistake, and like Donald Trump does, they're doubling down on it.


Fact-checking in the Echo Chamber Nation

At a Republican campaign rally a few years ago, I asked one of the attendees how he got his news.

"I listen to Rush and read NewsMax," he said. "And to make sure I'm getting a balanced view, I watch Fox."

My liberal friends get their information from distinctly different sources — Huffington Post, Daily Kos and Rachel Maddow. To make sure they get a balanced view, they click Facebook links — from their liberal friends. . .

Read more (but it's bullshit) at: PolitiFact

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Red State Update: The Elf Who Liked Ron Paul

Love these guys.

More on the Very Stupid Faux Outrage Over Obama's Christmas Card

I already mentioned the stupid, stupid faux outrage over President Obama's Christmas card. If you didn't know, it's a warm, festive card with a fireplace, and the First Dog, Bo. There's a poinsettia, presents. . .it's certainly better decorating than I've ever done. But conservatives like Sarah Palin and others are so against anything and everything Obama, they've got to pick it apart. He didn't mention Chistmas!!! There's not a Christmas tree!!! It's almost as if the Republican outrage machine is based on this woman's world view:

When you know the real history of Christmas, all of the ridiculous "put the Christ back in Christmas" stuff is ironic. Jesus was actually grafted onto the holiday, which has its roots in Paganism and other cultures. And of course, the Puritans actually outlawed the practice of Christmas, because they knew from whence it came.  But the War on Christmas™ being fought by FOX "News" is seemingly trying to make Christmas even more commercial than it already is. They're constantly haranguing retailers for saying "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings." Because somehow, Christians are downtrodden, marginalized people. Hah!

That all plays perfectly into the everything Obama does is bad crowd at Christmastime. The card is wrong and evil. He's going on vacation to that foreign country, Hawaii! He took his dog to PetSmart! Horrors!!! Funny though, that most things they try to tar Obama with, turn out to be standard operating procedure for all Presidents.  As Herman Cain said, "Now, I don't have facts to back this up," but I'm still convinced this is rooted in racism.

Naughty Christmas Songs: Jackie Beat's Santa's 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 "Read more." If you're like me, and you enjoy the bawdy, irreverent and brash, by all means, click through!

Santa's Baby by Jackie Beat

Funny or Die: Coming Out on Christmas

When I came out to my family, I had to call home, because they are 2,000 miles away in Ohio. Long story short, nobody was home, and I had to leave super-important, vague messages for everybody. The resulting call-backs were a comedy of errors, and nobody was too put out or surprised. But, my situation was a little more ordinary than this. . .


Liberal Talk Radio Quake in San Francisco

Image from BradBlog
In 2008, my state of Nevada voted for Barack Obama. Were it up to the most populous county--Clark, home of Las Vegas--it would have been a landslide. But, Las Vegas has never had a liberal talk radio station. Conservative talk hosts and fans say that "the market has spoken," and that there is no market for liberal talk. But I don't believe that. In fact, it would be a difficult conclusion to draw, when a serious attempt at the format has rarely been tried on an equal playing field.

Air America Radio was an experimental liberal talk network, launched in 2004, ahead of George W. Bush's re-election. It was fronted by Al Franken (now a Senator), Rachel Maddow (now a successful MSNBC host), Janeane Garofalo (acclaimed actress), and Randi Rhodes (the queen of liberal talk). Unfortunately, the money guys and others behind the scenes weren't radio people. And most of the stations they secured were low-powered, with spotty reception. AAR hung on for several years, with much tribulation, and then went out of business. But by then, the stars were gone anyway.

Shows like The Stephanie Miller Show, The Ed Schultz Show, The Thom Hartmann Show and others survived (or were never a part of) AAR. They've managed to do well, but with a far smaller terrestrial radio reach. Most of the time, when the format has been tried, it has been on those low-wattage, smaller stations. When the format has succeeded in its market, often it is dumped anyway. In fact, a Madison, Wisconsin station dumped liberal talk, and ended up re-upping when the replacement format tanked. It then became one of the strongest liberal stations in the country. I have been listening to liberal radio since the birth of AAR on my computer. It's the only place you can get it here (well, and nowadays on your smart phones).

My image for my burned CD of the Sexy Liberal Tour.
Feel free to steal it, if you want it!
Right now, Stephanie Miller's Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour has been taking her show on the road, with John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks and local celebrity guests. The show is burning up the stages, outpacing many other established acts. Their online concert album is doing extremely well on iTunes and They're selling out auditoriums in states that have no liberal media presence. But that didn't stop the owners of the only San Francisco liberal radio station from monkeying with the format. San Francisco. The most liberal city in America. See, there's no market for it. Bullcrap! "Liberal media," my gay, moonbat, lefty, liberal ass!

PS. Steph, bring Sexy Liberal to Las Vegas, please? And bring Chris LaVoie and Jim Ward with you!


Clear Channel Allows Progressives to Stay on Air in San Francisco, but Adds Glenn Beck to Line-Up 

You might call it splitting the baby. Sort of.
Progressive radio will be allowed to remain on our public AM airwaves in San Francisco, though with major schedule shake-ups, the removal of its popular progressive branding and several bizarre additions to the line-up, including far Rightwing extremists such as former Fox "News" phenom Glenn Beck in the place of what had been one of Green960's most popular morning shows. . .

Read more at: BradBlog

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

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Even Karl Rove Thinks Boehner Blew It

Ain't he purty? Image from TPM
On the way home from work, I heard our local right-winger (well, one of them) on the radio. His name is Kevin Wall, and he's sort of new. When he's not beating a local story to death, he's spinning the news to the advantage of conservatives, and is fond of blaming President Obama for anything. On Wednesday night, he was giving it his best shot, making Harry Reid the problem with the Payroll Tax Holiday Extension fiasco. But even with the ease that conservatives in Nevada blame Harry Reid, Wall wasn't very convincing on this one

And no wonder! The Senate managed to pass their extension by eighty-nine votes. You can't get eighty-nine votes affirming the cuteness of puppies in the Senate. What exactly was John Boner Boehner holding out for? It would seem that Boehner is spectacularly bad at his job.


Karl Rove Concedes House GOP Blew It On Payroll Tax

Even George W. Bush’s top strategist Karl Rove thinks House Republicans overreached in reneging on the payroll tax cut deal. His advice: having lost the politics, Republicans should wait until (or to see if?) President Obama flies off to Hawaii on vacation, bash him and congressional Democrats for abdicating their duties, and then … pass the same Senate payroll tax cut compromise they could have passed on Tuesday. . . 

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Jib-Jab's Goodbye to 2011

Naughty Christmas Songs: The XXX-Mas Shoes

I didn't get much new on the blog. Sorry.  So please enjoy this rerun of The XXX-Mas Shoes, a parody--and a decidedly off-color one--of the awful The Christmas Shoes by NewSong.

Original Post:

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Politifact's "Lie of the Year" is Nothing of the Kind

NOT.  Image from MediaMatters.
I couldn't believe it when I heard it. Politifact's lie of the year was the allegation by Democrats that the "Ryan Plan" would "kill" Medicare? At worst, it was an exaggeration, as the Ryan Plan would certainly kill Medicare as we know it. Ending the program, and replacing it with a voucher system called "Medicare," doesn't negate that.

But that's not the half of it. In their apparent over-eager attempt at being bipartisan, Politifact had to step around countless doozies made just in the GOP debates alone. The Politifact scale goes from "true" all the way to "pants on fire." That Politifact chose a "mostly true" statement over countless "pants on fire" ones throws their judgment into question.


Politifact's Flawed "Lie of The Year" Selection Only Encourages More Lying

In naming as its 2011 "Lie of the Year" a statement that is, at worst, arguably true, Politifact has inadvertently said more about itself and the media's failure to adequately combat the lies and deception that act as a cancer on American democracy. . .

Read more at:

The Tim Tebow Skit from Saturday Night Live

When I watched this skit on Saturday Night, I thought it was cute. Kind of funny.  It wasn't riffing on religion or Christianity as much as it was riffing on excessive displays of religiosity. Saturday Night Live is  satire, and in satire, very little is off limits to my mind. Sure, SNL can sometimes be unfunny, and can veer off the rails all the way to offensive. But this wasn't offensive. Do you know how I know? Because Pat Freaking Robertson was offended. 'Nuff said. He doesn't matter.

More from the Front of The War on Christmas™

Spoiler alert: Bush's cards didn't mention Christmas either.
Image from NewsCorpse
I was just debating whether I should run my old War on Christmas™ post from the early days of the blog, revamp it, or rewrite it entirely. And then I stumbled upon a post by the wonderful News Corpse, and decided I'd put mine off, and excerpt his!


The Annual Fox News Tradition Of Bashing The Obama’s Holiday Greeting 

It’s that time of year again. The time when winter’s chill nips at your nose and poinsettia blooms abound. The time when children’s laughter echos through the streets and families come together for joyous feasts. And the time when Fox News lambastes the President and his family for not celebrating the holiday in the manner that they think good American, Christian, patriots ought to. . .

Read more at: News Corpse

Boehner Resorting to "Tricks" on Payroll Tax Holiday?

John Boner Boehner, from ThinkProgress
It is normal--regrettable, but normal--for a politician to spout a line, while doing the opposite. For some time, the Republicans have been the very vocal party of "tax cuts." Didn't matter what tax, or if it caused deficits, cutting it is always a good thing. Except for when it isn't.

Far more important than adhering to their own principles, to House and Senate Republicans, is beating Barack Obama. It's more important than taxes. It's more important than the economy. If people are unemployed, homeless, starving, it's all collateral damage. Beat Obama. But what happens if those unemployed, homeless, starving people wake up and see that it's the Republicans what done it to 'em?


BREAKING: House Republicans Again Delay Payroll Tax Cut Vote, May Resort To Procedural Gimmicks 

In a stunning move, the House Republican leadership postponed a vote planned for late tonight on a two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits that passed the Senate with a huge bipartisan majority. Republicans planned to reject the Senate bill today in a gambit to force the upper chamber to come back from recess and pass a longer term extension. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Newer (But Still Old) MacBook Pro

Right in the middle of Christmas shopping, and other holiday obligations, I developed an obsession with replacing my decrepit first Mac, an old PowerBook G4 15. It was in its day--January 2005--a top of the line machine. But bargain basement PCs of the same era could run rings around it. The whole point of getting a Mac laptop was to learn it, particularly the Adobe suite of graphics software. With the PowerBook's slowness, it just wasn't possible.

Yes, Travis, this is the one I got. Yours is better. Got it.
So, I was on a quest. I didn't want a $1000 - $2500 system, especially not so recently after my $800 PC purchase. So, my eBay quest was for a MacBook Pro before the redesign of late 2008. Those are insanely  expensive for used computers. So, the target window was 2006-2008. I lost several sales, and was relieved when I started to notice the processor speeds. But I got a little obsessed, and put a bid on one with everything I wanted, but had a few flaws.

I panicked when nobody bid against me in the waning minutes of the auction. But once it sunk in that I'd won it, I made a plan. I posted my old Mac, my old PC laptop and some software on eBay, and they ended up selling for almost the same amount as what I paid. Wonderful. I tracked the shipment, and was dismayed when it arrived in Las Vegas on Friday night, but would not arrive until Monday.

But now it's Monday! My computer arrived and, a) the flaws in the finish were much less objectionable than they'd appeared in the photo, b) the computer is much, much faster than the old one, c) the computer has much more software on it than advertised, d) the power cable was brand new, and gleaming white, and e) it has un-advertised flaw: some bright-spots in the display that look like eyeball floaters.

I think I'll get used to  them, but it's slightly irritating. It is outweighed though, by the improvement over the old one! Here I am, blogging. That was nearly impossible with the old one. Should even an aging top-of-the-line Mac fail at blogging? Well, what a difference three years makes, I guess. It makes me wonder though, if this one will become a doorstop in three more years. Guess I'll find out.

SIDEBAR: This is an aside to any Cult of Mac-ers out there. My quest for a new(er) Mac was very, very illuminating. It would seem that Macs are not immune to problems. In fact, the number of damaged, broken, troubled used Macs for sale online is higher than the good ones. Screen troubles, drive troubles, clasp troubles, battery troubles, "for parts only". . . Apple's dirty secret is out! Not only that, their users have a habit of denting, breaking and just basically knocking the crap out of their computers!  And then they want the frickin' moon when it comes to resale value!

And then there was my attempt to make a CD-backup of Lion after I installed it. I went to several sites, all of which told me to find the Lion Installer program. Which doesn't exist. This process is--so far--exactly like trying to do a similar thing on a PC. Except, on a PC I generally know what to do! 

MSNBC Up for the Year, FOX "News" Down

This just in: Anderson Cooper is still sexy. Image from source.
Of course, misinformation juggernaut FOX "News" is still the number one channel in the segment, though cable news is a rather loose category altogether different from actual news. There are people who would call MSNBC the flip-side to FOX, but it's true only in the most general sense. Both have politically biased evening programming. The similarity for the most part ends there. For what it's worth, MSNBC has the word "news" nowhere in its name, nor do they proclaim to be "fair and balanced."

But the good news is, MSNBC is trending up, and FOX is trending down. Whence shall the twain meet? Well, as FOX's audience of retirees dies out, I suppose. Maybe it'll take the retirement of Billo the Clown. Just remember, every time you see or hear a conservative riffing that "nobody watches" MSNBC--and they'll say it virtually any time the subject comes up--even on their best day, FOX only has two or three times MSNBC's audience. Three times nothing is nothing. Right? And lots of MSNBC viewers watch the shows online or on DVR. FOX's audience still uses VCRs, and they're blinking 12:00 - 12:00 - 12:00 - 12:00. . .


Year End Cable News Ratings: MSNBC, CNN Up in Primetime while Fox News Takes a Loss

MSNBC's primetime beats CNN for the third consecutive year in the 25-54 demographic, while Fox News continues to top the competition despite falling ratings. . .

Read more at: The Live Feed

Kim Jong Il is Dead

Dead, dead, dead. Image from source
Well, 2011 has been a banner year for the deaths of horrible, terrible, no good leaders, hasn't it? And I doubt there are a lot of tears over any of them. Well, except perhaps Jim Ward of The Stephanie Miller Show and Margaret Cho, who both have delightful impressions of Kim Jong Il.



North Korean television announced in a "special broadcast" that its leader Kim Jong Il has died in Pyongyang, the AP reports

Kim's death was announced Monday from the state capital of Pyongyang. He reportedly suffered a stroke in 2008, but appeared relatively healthy on recent trips around Asia, which were documented by state media. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blast from the Past: Classic Sitcom Christmas Episodes!

Like last week, this weekend has flown by, and there has been a lot to do. So, rather than my usual lengthy Blast from the Past posts, I'm just kind of winging it this week. Let's see how many classic sitcoms' Christmas episodes I can find. . .okay, get ready. . .begin!

Let's hope that holds you until next week! Happy Monday!

More "Frothy Santorum"

Yes, wipe that Santorum off your brow.
I bow down to Mike in Raleigh of Stephanie Miller Show fame. I'm a few days late in posting this, but it is no less funny. If it doesn't hit your funny bone, go here.

Frothy Santorum Update by Mike In Raleigh

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

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

Christmas Conga

Early Christmas Morning

Home on Christmas

Iraq War is Finally Over

Welcome home. Image from source, Reuters
If--back when this war started, in George W. Bush's first term--we knew that it wouldn't be over until December 17, 2011, would it have ever been allowed to start? If we knew that there were no WMDs. If we knew that there wasn't even a tangential relationship to the September 11, 2001 attacks? If we knew that we'd lose thousands of soldiers' lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, more than a trillion dollars? And tell me, somebody. . .tell me Republican faithful. . .what did we gain? What did we win? What was all of this for? Can anyone say?


Last U.S. troops leave Iraq, ending war

The last convoy of U.S. soldiers pulled out of Iraq on Sunday, ending nearly nine years of war that cost almost 4,500 American and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives and left a country still grappling with political uncertainty. . .

Read more at: Reuters

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Georgia "Birther" Suit Tries to Block Obama from Ballot

There are certain conspiracy theories that just. Won't. Die. It doesn't matter that every single element of it has been disproved. It doesn't matter that the root of it is really ugly. No, the based-in-racism "Birther" conspiracy theory lives and breathes, even though its brain is dead.

The part of the theory behind this current round of insanity is the quack claim that a person must have two citizen parents to be a "natural born citizen." This is stated nowhere in law, but after all the other elements of Birtherism were dropped by all but the most insane, they're clinging to it.

By the way, if you are one of those easily-swayed people who think there just might be something to all this Birther stuff, save yourself the embarrassment, and go to Obama Conspiracy Theories. There, you'll find each part of the theory debunked thoroughly and entertainingly. Enjoy.


Georgia ‘Birther’ suit attempts to remove Obama from 2012 ballot

According to Dustin Baker of the blog Georgia Politico, a suit has been filed with the office of Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp challenging Barack Obama’s legitimacy to appear as a presidential candidate on the ballot in the November 2012 elections. . . 

Read more at: Raw Story

Quote of the Day: News Corpse

He's a pig. Image from source, News Corpse
There's a fantastic site out there that deconstructs FOX "News" and its like-minded conservative media outposts, called "News Corpse." Things I only aspire to are accomplished at the News Corpse site. Today, I found a particularly pithy quote, and I had to share it.

"And speaking of hyperbole, notice the Fox Nation headline saying that “Limbaugh Shatters Obama Into a Million Pieces.” Really? Because the last time I looked Rush is still hosting an AM radio program with an audience of self-described “dittoheads” and Obama is the leader of the free world."

Read more at:

Three Marus!

My life has been a little busy. So, maybe you won't notice, if I post a cute video of that Scottish Fold Japanese kitty, Maru?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Does Rick Perry Have "The Gay?"

Snappy dresser. Good looking. Kind of stupid. But gay? There've been rumors for a long time, but Rick Perry didn't trip my gaydar until he did the "Strong" ad, which was ironically both anti-gay, and featured Perry in a close copy of Heath Ledger's Brokeback Mountain coat!


All Your Rick Perry Gay Sex Rumors Collected in One Handy Book

Glen Maxey, the first openly gay member of the Texas State Legislature and longtime Democratic activist, spent most of last summer helping a reporter for a "national news outlet" nail down persistent rumors of Rick Perry's sexual relationships with men. The story got killed. So Maxey has published an e-book laying out the evidence. Among the charges: Rick Perry has a small dick. . .

Read more at: Gawker 

Mitt Romney's Convoluted "Solution" to Marriage

So, wait, okay, I'm legally married in the State of California to my same-sex husband. But Mitt Romney's not cool with same-sex marriages. Except for those that have already happened. Those are okay? Maybe? But there are new rules from here on out? Or something? Help?
Romney is consernstipated about "the gay."

Romney Unveils 3-Tier Marriage System For Gays

During an interview with the Boston Herald on Wednesday, Mitt Romney reiterated his support for a federal amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, but also said that he would establish three different tiers of marriage specifically for gay people. . .

Read more at:

Christopher Hitchens, Dead at 62

Christopher Hitchens wouldn't want us to wax nostalgic, and long for his effervescent life force. He'd say "bollacks" to that sort of sentiment. Hitchens was a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, a confirmed anti-god sort of person. And so am I. So, I can be sad for his passing. Lament that I won't read a new volume of his musings. But I won't ponder whether or not he's suspended above me in an etheral, extra- scientific embodiment. He's just gone. And that's sad. Even if his political ideas were bollacks.


Christopher Hitchens Dead: Legendary Writer Dies At Age 62        

Christopher Hitchens died Thursday in Houston. He was 62. The legendary writer was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2010. . .

Source: Huffington Post

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jon Stewart's Reaction to Barbara Walters' Reaction to Herman Cain

Gotta go to a Christmas party, so not much time for blogging. But this is worth it! Very funny. Jon Stewart dissects Barbara Walters' response to Herman Cain in an interview. Made of awesome.

Democrats Cave on Surtax for Super Rich?

Harry and Chuck, you're letting us down.
Image from source, TPM
Why? This is an issue that is only defended by super-arch-conservatives. Taxing the super rich polls in the 80-percentile. Why on earth would the Democrats cave on that? Aaarrrrrgggggh. Harry, Harry, Harry. You know we're going to keep voting for you, because the alternative is so much worse. And I guess that's your reason, right there. I just don't understand how anybody is threatened by John Boner Boehner or Sen. Mitch Talking Turtle McConnell.


Dems Consider Dropping Demands As Republicans Risk A Shutdown

If it weren’t for the filibuster, Democrats would have the GOP neatly over a barrel. But Republicans believe they’ve regained the upper hand — and two developments suggest they’re right.
Senate Democrats are now considering dropping their demand that a payroll tax holiday for workers be offset by imposing a small surtax on millionaires, according to Democratic aides — resigning themselves to the fact that Republicans won’t lift their filibuster if the surtax stands. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

I'm Sorry, I'm Not Able to Answer the Blog Right Now. . .

I'm just getting in, as I write this, from seeing one of Las Vegas' big shows. Or, rather, it's a traveling show that is destined to become a regular show. It was Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson Immortal, and it really was quite something. I actually have been to Neverland, and got to attend with other friends who were there with me, and one who worked there. So, when the troupe rolled out the big Neverland gate, it was pretty cool. As with all Cirque shows, Immortal is elaborate, very, very busy and breathtaking. Also, noisy. If I had one complaint, it would be the thundering bass. I like the shows that go boom, but this one takes it to eleven.

I can only imagine what the permanent show will be like, when the stage doesn't have to be portable. Michael Jackson's fans will love it. Hell, Michael would have loved it. If it comes to your area, I highly recommend it.

But, because I've gotten in at such a late hour, it is doubtful that I'll get much more than this post done. I'll try to find something, but I'm tired. And tomorrow night, I have a party! Whee. And it's a steam train to Christmas and New Year's now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Worst Cars of All Time

Is THIS the worst car of all time?
What is the worst car of all time? Your mileage may vary, pun intended. Of the eleven cars I've owned, only one falls in this list, and I disagree with it. My 1986 Chevrolet Cavalier RS was the cheapest miles I've ever driven. Sure, it had a severely underpowered engine, and over-eager "stylish" but square design. But I remember it fondly! I do thank them for leaving out my current ride, a 2009 Mitsubishi Galant. I love my car, but it would be easy to skewer it in the space of a paragraph!

But, how on earth could they leave out my leaky, slow, ridiculously designed 1998 Nissan Pulsar NX SE?


100 Worst Cars of All Time

If there weren't bad cars, how could the world appreciate the good ones? Since we already went through the Top 100 Vehicles of All-Time, here's a look at some truly awful vehicles. Some of them were fragile. Many were dynamically iffy. A lot were underpowered. And a few would melt into a pile of rust before your eyes.
Terrible, for this list's purposes, is loosely defined as a car that shaped current American automotive culture around its bad example. That doesn't mean that all the cars here were big sellers, only that their undeniable stink made everyone notice. . . 

Read more at: Inside Line
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